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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

It's election day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh no, I forgot the great clunking fist bottled it...

Oh well; here's some video of our beloved leader from when he was but a humble Chancellor of the Exchequer



If the video is not viewable you can also see it here.

You can see why he was elected Prime Minister without any other Labour candidate coming forward, can't you? Well would you pick a fight with him?

I'm sorry, I'll get my coat...

I agree with Tony Benn!?

First Jeremy Corbyn and now Tony Benn, I may have to re-evaluate my politics! Tony Benn - "“Members of Parliament are lent the powers of their constituents and they have to return those powers undiminished at the end. It is not for Members of Parliament to give away the powers that were lent to them, because they don’t belong to Members of Parliament but to the electorate.”" Watch Tony Benn talking sense here, well most of the time...


The EU Treaty = The EU Constitution

I have blogged about this matter 51 times so far and see no reason to stop yet. Please go and read this article at the always excellent Archbishop Cranmer's blog. A beautifully crafted piece that you should read.

"This could not be clearer. The Treaty is simply more complex, convoluted, unpenetrable and inaccessible, in order to minimise scrutiny and analysis, and such obfuscation is considered to render the need for a referendum redundant since few will comprehend what they are voting about...The only difference between the Constitution and the Treaty is that the original proposals of the former have simply been dispersed through old treaties in the form of amendments. And such a subtle change is deemed to be of such significance that referenda are no longer required. This is no Treaty; it is manifestly the Constitution. The trick is in the obscurity of the language, and the constant denial that they are the same. It is a lie, and now that M Giscard d'Estaing has said as much, the Conservative Party should not be afraid to use the word."

Labour in Cash for Votes scandal

Newsnight tonight and Jeremy Paxman is presenting a piece on Labour election fraud in Birmingham. I do not have Sky+ so this is as I hear and type it - just some key phrases - "Banana Republic", "told lies", "bribe their way into power", "city wide election fraud", "thousands of £s bribing voters", "£20 per postal vote", Asian drug addicts paid to impersonate voters in multiple polling stations - 25 times at £5 a go, "corrupt and illegal practices". So that's the same man found guilty in 2004 (although cleared on a procedural appeal) and up before the electoral court again in 2007.

A Labour party statement is read and Sir Alistair Graham is interviewed about electoral register improvements, apparently his recommendations submitted in January have yet to be reacted to by this Labour government.

You might want to look at this article for more on this case, from a while back.

Political parody

From The Daily Mash news that "PRIME minister Gordon Brown has drawn a red line around the savoury cheese sandwich on his desk and warned the EU to back off...The prime minister told the House of Commons: "Law and order, immigration, our economy, our environment and our national defence are all now safely in the hands of some nice Dutch people. "But on the core issues, I faced up to my European counterparts and said, 'if you so much as look at this sandwich or any other British sandwich, I will write a column in The Sun'.""
Go read the rest of the article and the rest of The Daily Mash is worth a read.

I especially enjoyed HALF OF ALL YOUNG TORIES ARE VICTIMS OF POLICY THEFT, SAYS CHARITY.

BBC parody?

Parody?

Crime and Punishment

From today's Evening Standard a story of police priorities in this brave new Britain. Dave Consalvi lost £1,500 when his debit card was cloned, a week later his credit card was stolen. Dave Consalvi went to a store where the debit card was used, went through the CCTV footage and found "great pictures of the two guys using my stolen credit card", he also found the debit card card cloners' car registration plate and went to the police with the information. "They didn't do anything". However the police did take action when they discovered that he had not updated the address on his car registration document when he moved and so had not paid a speeding file (8mph over the limit), they came to his house with an arrest warrant.

It appears that 51.7% of crimes in London are "screened out" by the police. That is of course an average and some crimes are being all but ignored by the police - 43.4% of burglaries are "screened out", 71.4% of criminal damage offences are "screened out" and 77% of theft/handling stolen goods are "screened out". I wonder what percentage of the cases that are not "screened out" result in a prosecution. I further wonder what percentage of the cases that are actually prosecuted eventually result in a conviction. Finally I wonder what percentage of convictions result in a prison sentence of long enough to be a punishment or a deterrent. Now what percentage of crimes do you think result in a prison sentence? Now do you wonder why crime is so high? The chances of a thief getting caught are slim, the chances of their case being proceeded with are less than 25%, the chance of getting convicted slim and the chance of actually being meaningfully punished even slimmer.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Inayat Bunglawala and Star Wars music - That's a title I could never have predicted I would ever write

Channel 4 News tonight had a report on King Abdullah's visit and a little piece about the report on Islamic extremism in UK Mosques and bookshops. There was also a Jon Snow interview with Dean Godson, Research Director of the Policy Exchange who produced the report and Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain. You can watch the video here




Read more about the Policy Exchange report here on the Telegraph website or the whole report here on their own website.


In case you are unsure the "tune" the band played to greet the arrival of King Abdullah was the "The Imperial March/Darth Vader's Theme". As Wikipedia says "The theme...represents the totalitarian Galactic Empire as a whole, and Darth Vader specifically. More than other Star Wars themes, the March has attained an iconic status in the Western consciousness as a general "evil theme", and as such is used to portray power at public events". An accidental choice of music or something more subversive, you decide...

BBC playing the race card

Last night's Six O'Clock News had a piece that amazed me. Thankfully Biased BBC has the transcript on-line. Read the whole article and get angry about the BBC's blatant bias.

Shared values?

Apparently Kim Howells, a Foreign Office Minister, "told a conference ahead of a state visit by Saudi leader King Abdullah that the two states could unite around their "shared values"." Perhaps Mr Howells could explain what these "shared values" are. Is he thinking of public hanging, amputations of criminals limbs, the stoning to death of adulterers, the hanging of homosexuals, the flogging of people found guilty of being drunk, the ban on followers of a religion other than Islam of practising their religion, the ban on followers of another religion from wearing religious insignia (such as crosses or crucifixes). Perhaps Kim Howell could explain his thought process to us.

It appears that "at the opening of the Two Kingdoms Dialogue between the two countries, Mr Howells told the audience that both the UK and Saudi Arabia respected each other's religious and political traditions and have common reason to work together for increased security." So do we respect their religious traditions (see above) and their political tradition of no political parties and power being vested in the Royal Family and their associates. Perhaps Kim Howells likes the idea that "Saudi Arabia has no parliament, instead there is a national "Consultative Council" who are 150 Saudi citizens that are appointed by the king for a period of four years to serve as an advisory role. The size of the council has been increasing steadily over the years, and it does have its own committees and a limited ability to discuss proposed legislation, but its primary function is to advise the king." Maybe that is the direction that Citizens Juries are taking us in.

Shared values? Maybe shared with this government, certainly not with this blogger.

The record of the Blair/Brown Government since 1997

I have just found this article from February of this year on the "notes from a small bedroom" blog and I think it worth your while reading.

"I’ve been looking back to the beginning of the Blair regime - that time of misplaced hope, ‘glad, confident morning’, etc. - and was struck by a number of things in the New Labour manifesto. This in particular now strikes a rather chilling note:

“New Labour is the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole.”

I mean WTF? Isn’t that the kind of thing totalitarian regimes say about themselves? At least we can’t pretend we weren’t told.

Then there’s already an indication of a desire to play fast and loose with the legal system:

“…fast-track punishment for persistent young offenders by halving the time from arrest to sentencing”

Note the missing stage of trial and actually needing to be found guilty. As ever it’s hard to believe so many of them are trained lawyers.

Some stuff, though is almost comic in the mismatch between what they said and what they actually did:

“…In health policy, we will safeguard the basic principles of the NHS, which we founded, but will not return to the top-down management of the 1970s. So we will keep the planning and provision of healthcare separate, but put planning on a longer-term, decentralised and more co-operative basis. The key is to root out unnecessary administrative cost, and to spend money on the right things - frontline care…”

and

“…Over-centralisation of government and lack of accountability was a problem in governments of both left and right. Labour is committed to the democratic renewal of our country through decentralisation and the elimination of excessive government secrecy…”

But best of all is the list of 10 pledges, of which this is number nine:

“We will clean up politics, decentralise political power throughout the United Kingdom and put the funding of political parties on a proper and accountable basis.”

Yeah, right. Maybe it was a typo and they meant ‘We will clean up in politics”.

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.
Edmund Burke"

and these people are in power!

Peter Hain, the Work and Pensions Secretary, admitted that 300,000 foreign citizens working in Britain were left out of official statistics. Some 1.1 million people from abroad have taken jobs in Britain since 1997, the Government said. The previously given figure was 800,000. So just 37% out, not bad for this government. Do you remember how many people they said would come from the expanded EU when they were first asked and how they reacted to Migration Watch's estimates?

Did Alistair Darling lie to the public and the House of Commons?

Read this article and decide for yourself. The Independent are hardly showing their independence.

BBC sound problem

I wonder what Gordon Brown and his chums have planned for us next

If they have been watching what's happening in the US then it could be a thought crime prevention bill. The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill called the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007". Sounds perfectly reasonable doesn't it? After all we are all against homegrown terrorism. However there is at least one worrying aspect of the legislation and that is the definition of Violent Radicalization - "The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change." The this definition of violent radicalization could allow a government the laxity to define it as the promotion of any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. This would be the perfect weapon for our increasingly totalitarian Government and its even more controlling European Union masters to be. The EU like thought crime legislation and would happily use it against anyone who opposes the EU. Alongside the aforementioned arrest warrant, EU ministers have previously proposed a new directive to establish a common set of offences, to criminalise xenophobia and racism. The definition of xenophobia would include being against the EU.

Monday, 29 October 2007

and finally Cyril...

Political Philosophy blog style.

EU Constitution referendum

Early Day Motion 2143 submitted by Bill Cash on 17 October says "That this House notes that the impartial European Scrutiny Committee concluded that the Reform Treaty is substantially equivalent to the original Constitutional Treaty; that the Government Manifesto promised a Referendum on the original treaty; that the Conservative Party voted against it in principle on the Second Reading of the Bill implementing that Treaty; that the Prime Minister said that he will reject the Reform Treaty if the Government's Red Lines are not guaranteed on 18th October, but (following the European Scrutiny Committee examination of the Foreign Secretary on 16th October) that these Red Lines do not satisfy UK vital national interests and that the European Court of Justice will determine these matters, not this House; that, contrary to the statements of the Foreign Secretary, parliamentary democracy is enhanced when this House, as the Labour Government in 1975, hands back a Referendum by Act of Parliament to the voters who elect Members of this House; that 27 million voters have been denied a Referendum on any European Question since 1975; that over 70 per cent. of the voters want a Referendum but that the reasons have to be fully explained; that the Reform Treaty is a consolidation of the existing treaties into a merger of the European Community into a European Union involving substantial, fundamental, constitutional and structural change by the Government's own criteria for a Referendum; and insists that the Prime Minister rejects the Reform Treaty on 18th October and holds a Referendum before or after ratification."

So far 47 MPs have signed the EDM, 46 Conservatives and 1 Democratic Unionist.
The 47 MPs who do believe in democracy are:
Cash, William
Redwood, John
Ancram, Michael
Chope, Christopher
Whittingdale, John
Leigh, Edward
Shepherd, Richard
Spink, Bob
Jenkin, Bernard
Knight, Greg
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Brady, Graham
Clappison, James
Conway, Derek
Davies, David TC
Duncan Smith, Iain
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Amess, David
Bacon, Richard
Bottomley, Peter
Tapsell, Peter
Widdecombe, Ann
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Nicholas
Binley, Brian
Bone, Peter
Carswell, Douglas
Holloway, Adam
Davies, Philip
Dorries, Nadine
Duddridge, James
Dunne, Philip
Hands, Greg
Kawczynski, Daniel
Stuart, Graham
Walker, Charles
Pritchard, Mark
Scott, Lee
Penning, Mike
Baldry, Tony
Crabb, Stephen
Evans, Nigel
Moss, Malcolm
Campbell, Gregory
Wilshire, David

If your MP is not on the above list, ask them why not.

So what do you say to this Mr Brown?

Gordon Brown, David Miliband and the rest of the Labour Government never tire of telling us that the shiny new EU Treaty is nothing like the old EU Constitution, they are as different as "fish and fowl". I blogged some time ago about the percentages that various EU figures had given as to how similar the EU Treaty is to the Constitution, Mr. Giscard d’Estaing said that more than 90% remains and Jean-Luc Dehaene, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, says that the figure is 95%. Now Giscard d'Estaing has said that "Looking at the content, the result is that the institutional proposals of the constitutional treaty … are found complete in the Lisbon Treaty, only in a different order and inserted in former treaties," He continued "Above all, it is to avoid having referendum thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed,""

What do you say to that Mr Brown? Is Giscard d'Estaing lieing or are you and your cohorts?

So BBC will you cover this story or will you stick to questioning any policy that the Conservative Party comes up with?

Media bias - this time Sky not the BBC

Take a look at this article from Guido Fawkes' site. It concerns Sky News's Julie Etchingham and her accidental interruption of some remarks by David Cameron. David Cameron was speaking and said "Let me outline the action that a Conservative government would take. As we have seen, some of the increase in population size results from natural change - birth rates, death rates. Here our policy should be obvious... " at this point Julie Etchingham's microphone came on and she was heard to say "Extermination". Disgraceful and Sky News have taken serious action, well actually they release a mealy mouthed statement "A comment was made in the studio during David Cameron's speech that was broadcast in error. The comment was not intended for broadcast. The off-the-cuff remark was regrettable." You will not be surprised to hear that Julie Etchingham worked at the BBC prior to working at Sky News.

House Prices

As predicted previously - they're falling.

Man Made Climate Change?

Take a read of this from Devils Kitchen about the latest news regarding Man Made Climate Change. I presume the BBC will be covering these news articles in depth.

Do you think the Queen knows?

I blogged on Friday about the Saudi flags on the Mall ahead of the State visit by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia this week. The wording on the flags may be of interest to the Queen as she is "Supreme Governor of the Church of England". The Arabic phrase translates as "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger", it is "The Shahadah", the Islamic creed - the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as his final prophet.

To convert to Islam all that is required is a single honest recitation of the Shahadah in Arabic, so maybe the Queen should not ask King Abdullah what the wording says.

The State visit

I rarely recommend the Independent but today there is some decent coverage of the indecent State visit by King Abdullah to this country. You can read the main article here where you can read about the torture rooms, the oppression of women and the Saudi government's financial support for hardline Maddrassas across the globe.

Saudi Arabia is apparently the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive a car.

Do you remember this news from 2002? A fire broke out in a girls school in Mecca, but the school was locked at the time of the fire. However when the students tried to escape the blaze, Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped them because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress. "15 girls died in the blaze and more than 50 others were injured. According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily newspaper, firemen confronted police after they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam. One witness said he saw three policemen "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya". The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police - known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned "it is a sinful to approach them". The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even refused to open the gates to let the girls out. "Lives could have been saved had they not been stopped by members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," the newspaper concluded. Most of the victims were crushed in a stampede as they tried to flee the blaze. The school was locked at the time of the fire - a usual practice to ensure full segregation of the sexes."

If you want to learn more about life in Saudi Arabia I can recommend The Religious Policeman a blog by a Saudi Arabian now living in London. The blog was last updated in June 2006, but the articles on it are a good insight into life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also recommended are Stilettos in the Sand, a blog that gives the views, often trenchant, of an American woman living in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Jeans that gives the views of a twenty something Saudi man.

Gordon Brown as consistent as ever

At the Labour Party conference last month, Gordon Brown made a speech in which he stated that he would oppose dictatorship everywhere - "The message should go out to anyone facing persecution from Burma to Zimbabwe ... human rights are universal." Gordon Brown has also refused a summit if Robert Mugabe attended because "there is no freedom in Zimbabwe, and there is widespread torture and mass intimidation of the political opposition."

Bearing the above in in mind you would not be surprised to learn that Gordon Brown had decided to boycott the visit by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on the grounds that there is little freedom in Saudi Arabia, there is widesptread torture and no political opposition and because anyone not of the Islamic faith cannot practice their religion in Saudi Arabia. Prepare to be surprised; Gordon Brown will be meeting King Abdullah during the State visit and will be attending the State banquet in King Abdullah's honour on Tuesday when he is even expected to wear white tie and tails for the first time, having previously refused to do so on such occasions.

"Prudence" Brown was an illusion, it appears that we cannot call him Constance Brown either.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Speed Cameras

Back in 2002 the Government, amid great publicity, issued guidance that required all fixed speed cameras in safety camera partnership areas to be painted yellow and sited conspicuously, this was to try and pretend that the cameras weren't there to trap motorists but to prevent speeding. However it now appears that the Government have changed this legislation recently, with no discernible publicity, and now the partnerships can disguise them and even hide them. What a lovely bunch of duplicitous bastards rule us.

Gordon Brown the great giver of freedom

Or so he claimed this week when he made a speech on "liberty" in which he outlined a series of constitutional changes which he says will make the British government a "better servant of the people". Of course it is all an illusion. We are supposed to believe that Gordon Brown and Jack Straw who voted for and implemented some of the most draconian restrictions of personal freedom in this country now are offering us some of these rights back as a great leap forward. This is so ridiculous that even this Cabinet of non-entities must realise that they are not going to fool the electorate, OK maybe not they do seem to have an endless capacity for self-delusion.

Henry Porter has written a nice article for today's Observer that makes some excellent points about this matter, including this rather nice analogy "Putting Jack Straw in charge of the consultation process on a bill of rights is like turning over a campaign against prostitution to the head of an escort agency." I also liked this description of Jack Straw "Such a man can only see a bill of rights as political tool and a way of further entrenching the powers of government and the executive."

As Henry Porter says about Jack Straw, "He presents his case with the persuasive rhetoric of balance - balancing rights with duties, balancing public safety with individual freedom - yet it must be evident that Straw, who only two weeks ago announced a further attack on freedom of speech with proposed laws against the incitement of hatred of gays, is hardly the man, as Brown has suggested, to 'investigate the idea of freedom of expression audit for future legislation'. Ask yourself where he stood as Foreign Secretary on rendition. We heard not a peep out of him as Blair attacked jury trial, habeas corpus, the right to silence, the exclusion of hearsay evidence from court proceedings, double jeopardy, the principle that a man cannot be punished without a court deciding the law has been broken. Ask yourself who was speaking but did nothing when Walter Wolfgang was hauled out of a Labour conference. Now he comes to us burbling about constitutional renewal and the 'relevance of rights'."

This Government scares me; the left wing of politics has always had controlling coercive tendencies but under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, this Labour Government has exceeded all expectations. This Government with a Home Office run by such renowned libertarians as David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and John Reid has eroded civil liberties, whilst the rest of the Cabinet has concentrated on feathering their nests and power for powers sake.

Will Gordon try to do next what Tony did previously?

Tony Blair promised a referendum on the EU Constitution in order to cancel out a popular Conservative policy at the last General Election. According to The Sunday Times it is rumoured that Gordon Brown might offer a referendum not on signing up to the EU Treaty but on whether the UK should remain in the EU itself, this will be done in an attempt to open up the splits within the Conservative party on Europe. Whilst the Conservative Party could hold together calling for a referendum on the EU Treaty and could probably stay together if such a referendum was called, I can not see the Ken Clarke and John Redwood wings of the party holding together in a referendum on EU membership.

What is it with Labour politicians eating their bodily effluvia?

News reaches me that the the leader of the Australian Labour Party, Kevin Rudd has been caught on video sitting behind the person speaking in their Parliament whilst picking his ear and eating the excavated earwax, you can see the video here.

Do you think this will damage his chances of winning the upcoming Australian elections? Well maybe not, after all this



didn't seem to stop Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister, albeit without an election.

The fight against Scots ruling England takes a small step forward

This Labour government has pushed legislation through the House of Commons that only affects those living in English constituencies, the matters concerned having been devolved to the Scottish Parliament (and sometimes the Welsh Assembly too), by using the large Labour majority in Scottish MPs. New proposals that have been put forward by Sir Malcolm Rifkind in a paper submitted to Ken Clarke's Democracy Taskforce would create an English Grand Committee at Westminster, open only to English MPs, where votes would be held on issues relating solely to England. This Grand Committee would sit on the floor of the House of Commons. The proposal will now be discussed by David Cameron and his advisers. I understand that the some in the Conservative and Unionist Party would see this as not very Unionist but for two reasons I believe the proposal should be accepted and formally proposed; first that if you believe the Union is important then the Union is currently at risk from the English resenting Scottish rule and this proposal should dilute that feeling, second if you believe the Union is falling apart then the electoral arithmetic is biased enough against the Conservative Party in England without them having to overcome the Scottish seat arithmetic.

The proposal is reported in today's Observer, but I still believe it to be true. In that Observer article David Cairns, the Scotland Office minister panics for (fearing the effect on Labour power) and rather ridiculously warns "the plan would have dangerous consequences. He told The Observer: 'This proposal is utterly unworkable. Taken to its logical extent it would create multiple categories of MPs. Where does it end? Do the Tories think only London MPs should vote on Crossrail, only countryside MPs vote on fox hunting, only coastal MPs vote on fishing? It is utterly impracticable.'" That is not the logical extent, that is typical Labour using ridicule when you cannot use proper argument.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

What's the link

Question: What links Des Lynam, Barry Norman and and Melvyn Bragg?

I'll give you a clue, it's 50 years old on Sunday 28 October 2007...


Answer: They all, briefly, presented Radio 4's Today programme. I think bringing Des Lynam back as presenter instead of James Naughtie would be an improvement, he couldn't be any more biased towards the Labour Government. Mind you Melvyn Bragg would probably be less biased and he's a Labour Peer.

Ken Livingstone and Crossrail funding

I think we have just found a key part part of Boris Jonson's election video campaign, it's Ken Livingstone being caught out over Crossrail. Watch this video courtesy of Burning Our Money




Why do some politicians say one thing one week and another the next and then try to pretend the two are not irreconcilable? Why do their supporters go along with the charade? Why do the main stream media (MSM) not do more to publicize such slips by Labour politicians? You can bet your bottom dollar they would if had been a Conservative politician.

Ken Livingstone and the truth behind the Olympic 2012 Budget

We all thought we knew that the Olympic bid was a load of hogwash, not including the VAT for example, but now Ken Livingstone has confirmed the fact whilst defending the Crossrail budget - "This is not like the Olympics where we made a guess because we were in a bidding process." A guess, the Olympic bid was a GUESS in order to have a chance of winning the bid competition.

Do those people care that the money they are throwing about with such disregard is not theirs, it is the taxpayers money?
Meanwhile the actual cost of the Olympics rises inexorably, see this.

Le God

I am not a Southampton FC supporter but this man almost made me one, Matthew Le Tissier. Watch this, this and this to get an idea of the man's shooting and dribbling skills, one of the finest strikers of a ball from outside the box, along with Bobby Charlton. Also take a look at Le Tissiers's pass at 5:35 in this, like Glen Hoddle at his best, Southampton's manager at this time, it was odd that Hoddle didn't pick Le Tissier more for England when he was the national team manager.

Read more about the man here.

Porridge quotation

Mr Mackay "My wife is like my house"
Fletch "Big is she?"
Mr Mackay "Spotless"

Well it was funnier on the television, I can't find a clip of that but here is the bit that immediately follows it.

One of the reasons taxes are so high

How much do you think it costs to create a zebra crossing? You know paint some white blocks across a road, add some zig zag white lines install some belisha beacons and power them up. What do you think, a day to get a power supply connection and a day's work for 2 men to do the painting. I suppose there must also be costs for complying with planning regulations and shutting the road for a day. So shall we say £5,000 to cover everything?

The actual cost appears to be £114,000.

More BBC bias - this time of omission

Take a look at this from Iain Dale and wonder how the BBC can claim to be unbiased. The BBC help to define the political agenda, "the narrative" as I call it, and they can do this by angling the stories that they choose to cover and also by not covering stories that don't fit "the narrative".

Emily Thornberry, Labour MP for Islington South, is the MP in question and she was named by Sir Philip Mawer (Parliament's standards watchdog) as being "unwise" to have inserted a quote into an official press release. Tou can read the report here and you will notice that Ms Emily Thornberry's name appears quite prominently near the top of the report.

From the conclusion of the report comes this "I find proven on the facts the allegation that Ms Thornberry inserted a quotation from herself in an Electoral Commission press release, without first obtaining the Commission's permission, before sending it to the media in a form which might reasonably have given the impression that it was still an official document from the Commission."

Mind you the Commissioner concludes that "To sum up, on the evidence before me, I find the first limb of Councillor Hitchins's complaint proven as to the facts, but the second not proven. Ms Thornberry's actions in adding a quotation in her own name to an Electoral Commission press release without the Commission's permission and then distributing the release to the media in a form which could suggest it was still a Commission document were unwise and unfortunate. They are not to be condoned. For the reasons I have set out in paragraphs 42-48, I do not, however, believe they amounted to a clear breach of the Code of Conduct. " In other words what you did was wrong but I don't want to risk losing my job like Elizabeth Filkin.

Also take a look at this.

Totalitarianism

Back in May I wrote this about Labour Totalitarianism. Well not so much wrote as found on Iain Dale's excellent site. It was the comments section on an article entitled "John Reid Threatens Our Civil Liberties" which ended with this "Surely in this so-called war on terror we show weakness if we introduce the very kind of measures the terrorists will view as a small victory. Anyone who is concerned about our civil liberties should be very worried indeed by these developments. If a Conservative government had proposed these measures it would be accused of being on the road to a semi-fascist state." A good point and one that needs making again and again. Some of the legislation that this Labour Government has introduced over the last ten years would have been screamed down by the Labour party if suggested by the Thatcher/Major governments of the Conservative opposition under William Hague or Michael Howard.

Anyway back to the comments, here are extracts from a few, do go and read the rest -"We are on the road to being a totalitarian state. Hazel Blears thinks that elections are an inefficient way of deciding policy - she's probably not alone in her party on that."
"It's apalling political positioning. The Tories and LibDems will oppose this ludicrous measure, so Reid and Blair will say they are "soft on Terrorism"....to cover up the fact that NuLabs control orders haven't worked and they have lost track of many potentailly very dangerous terrorists."
"So this is the reality of life in Brown's new 'open, fair and democratic' society. A quasi-fascist surveillance state. This proposal - together with the raft of other sinister nulab public control measures which hugely erode our freedom and civil liberties- is all too evocative of Germany in 1933 and obnoxious measures to enforce S. African Apartheid. It would increase nulab's existing abuse of power. What next, Muslims made to wear yellow stars? Shoot on suspicion?"
"Stop and Search is ineffective, so the answer is Stop and Question? It would be nothing less then giving the Police a licence to go trawling. Don't answer their questions and they'll probably have grounds to arrest you, let alone issue you with a hefty fine. Arresting you will get you on their fingerprint and DNA databases whether you are charged with anything or not."
""if the Police want to stop and search you why would you refuse?" This is the variation of "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.". Under this proposal, not answering a question will result in a charge of obstructing a police officer in his / her duty. This means that absolutely anyone could end up with a DNA test, criminal record, difficulty travelling to countries such as US, etc. etc.
The conversation would go something like this:
Officer: Excuse me Sir / Madam, where have you just been?
Citizen: Why do you want to know?
Officer: You're nicked"
"The real issue behind all this again is the great white elephant in the room that everyone is pretending doesn't exist: UNCONTROLLED 'IMMIGRATION'!!!(actually invasion) If Labour hadn't let in so many foriegners who hate our way of life they wouldn't have to stop anyone, would they? Create the problem then offer the solution; the sign of all political nervous breakdowns!"
"The Labour Party, now headless, is rushing about like a maddened dog -snapping and barking in all directions. It is the natural instinct of socialists to attempt to control all aspects of society."

Catching up

I have just gone through 26 of my "draft" articles and published quite a few, deleted a few and left some there for eventual updating. The ones that I published have, thanks to the wonders of blogspot, appeared on the day that I first wrote them. So you will have to search for them, should you want to read one. I will however add a repost of something I found back in May about totalitarianism.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The Audi R8 has been getting rave reviews and a lot of attention for its "sideblades". I just saw an old Top Gear repeat and then I found out where those "sideblades" were first seen...

Here's the brand new 2007 Audi R8 ...


and here's the 2004 MG SV-R ...

The Qana incident

I have been meaning to write about this for some time now but this article says it all, so just please read it. Remember just because the BBC and the rest of the MSM have been taken in, it doesn't mean you should be.

Sir John Bourn

I have been following this in Private Eye for months now and you can read plenty about it all over the blogosphere and in the dead tree press, the whole affair reeks to high heaven of snouts in the trough'ism. The Guardian has a little piece on four day's of Sir John's business dining, here's an extract...
"For a man hardly notable for his flamboyance, Sir John Bourn knew how to entertain. On June 11, the head of the National Audit Office - grey, bespectacled and known as Inspector Morse for his fastidious scrutiny of government accounts - met a government official for lunch at the Bibendum fish restaurant in Kensington. The bill: £86.01.
Later that evening, he was at Wilton's in Jermyn Street with another official, an outing costing £199. The following day it was the Goring hotel for lunch, with two guests and a colleague. That meal cost his employers (and by extension the taxpayer) £222.64."

Of course he was then abstemious for the rest of he week, wasn't he? Well he did only have an expenses paid lunch on Tuesday 12 June with a NAO colleague and two unspecified "guests" at The Goring - £222.64, no dinner listed.

On Wednesday 13 June the PAC met to discuss allegations that he had been indulging in excessive junketing, no lunch or dinner on expenses on that day.

On Thursday 14 June he had lunch at Brown's Hotel with a parliamentarian - £120.

Don't forget who is paying for his lunches and dinners, the taxpayer.

Satire?

Private Eye have always satirised the Prime Minister of the day. I have been reading Private Eye since the late 1970s and so remember "Dear Bill" (the letters allegedly written by Dennis Thatcher to Bill Deedes, "The Secret Diary of John Major (aged 47¾)" (the alleged diary of John Major) and "St. Albion Parish News" (the parish newspaper writings of Tony Blair and his team). All very funny but surpassed in terms of believability by "Prime Ministerial Decree" - a weekly "alleged" mock Stalinist decree by the "supreme leader" (Gordon Brown). The dictator hails the "Age of Change" and often attempts to revise history, making harsh attacks on the "discredited regime" of "former Comrade Blair". The current issue's entry is spectacular "Let us remember the immortal words of wisdom enshrined in the Little Brown Book: “When is a Constitution not a Constitution? It is when the Supreme Leader has decreed it to be so, in accordance with the wishes of the People which only he can know... Since I have now been chosen unanimously to express the will of the entire British people, such exercises in pseudo-democratic populism are mere futile charades unworthy of the age of change."

Satire works best when it is believable and this is oh so believable. This issue includes the denunciation of the "Blairite Running Dog Gang of Four" ("the hated, corpulent aristocrat, the self-styled 'Lord Falconer', "the snivelling lickspittle Byers", the "one-time Trotskyite renegade Milburn" and the "obese former Party functionary Clarke". This is a required read.

Pro Referendum Rally and the BBC

The BBC 5Live news has completely ignored the Pro Referendum Rally so far this morning although they have mentioned the anti-abortion law rally taking place immediately afterwards. I wonder why they are ignoring the Pro Referendum Rally, surely they are not biased in their coverage of the EU?
The BBC News website appears to be completely lacking coverage as well, on the news pages and searching yields no reports either.

Gordon Brown - a shining beacon of consistency

Go and buy Private Eye and take a look at the article in the bottom right corner entitled "A New Kind of Politics". It highlights four pieces of consistency from the Great Bottling Twit; on CGT taper relief, the 10% starting rate of Income Tax, Air Passenger Duty and the Inheritance Tax threshold.

Alan Johnston

I haven't blogged too much about Alan Johnston and the BBC's attitude to Hamas before, during and after his being taken hostage, here's article that might be of interest.

More BBC political bias

Argentina is holding its Presidential elections this weekend with a second round in a month's time if necessary. The BBC have a helpful guide to the four main candidates. Of the four, two are described as "centre-left", one as "centrist" and one as "centre-right". See if you can guess which candidates get a photograph and which don't? See if you can guess which ones get the most narrative?

Not too tricky was it, only the centre-right candidate doesn't warrant a picture.
The word counts show that the "centre-left" candidates get 148 and 116 words, the "centrist" candidate gets 113 words, the centre-right candidate gets 63 words.

Anyone would think the BBC was full of "centre-left" journalists... Oh hold on, what's that Sooty, they are. Who would have thought it?

Friday, 26 October 2007

The sign of things to come?



Take a trip down the Mall for a possible sign of things to come in this country; alternating Union Flags and a green flag with a scimitar and some Arabic writing on it. I assume this is to "celebrate" the visit of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to this country next week. It appears that some people are concerned about this visit. There was an Early Day Motion put down about this visit in the House of Commons on Thursday 18 October, see here "2102 STATE VISIT OF KING ABDULLAH OF SAUDI ARABIA 11:10:07
John McDonnell
Mr Andrew Dismore
Jon Trickett
Kate Hoey
Mr David Drew
Jeremy Corbyn
* 17
Dan Rogerson Kelvin Hopkins
That this House notes with concern the state visit of King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom on 30th October 2007; believes that Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive societies on earth, with no political parties, free elections, independent media or trade unions; views with alarm the systematic human rights abuses that exist within the Kingdom, such as the lack of basic rights for women, the practice of public beheadings and the repression of homosexuals; condemns the recent sale of 72 Eurofighters to such a barbaric regime; and calls upon the British Government to base its foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia on democracy and human rights rather than on narrow economic interests."

I rarely agree with Jeremy Corbyn but in this case I do.


UPDATE:
I have just blogged that the Arabic wording on the flags translates as "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger", it is "The Shahadah", the Islamic creed - the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as his final prophet.

Vincent Cable has also been on the radio this morning explaining why he will not be meeting King Abdullah on his State visit.

NotaSheep agreeing with Jeremy Corbyn and the leader, albeit temporary, of the Liberal Democrats; strange times indeed.

Are these quotations correct?

I was just on BBC Biased when I saw these two quotes in their sidebar. Can anyone confirm their veracity?

"If you just took everyone from the BNP and everyone who votes for them and shot them in the back of the head, there would be a brighter future for us all", Jeremy Hardy, on BBC Radio 4 , 2004

"..the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off."
Andrew Marr, The Guardian, Feb. 1999

Snouts in the trough

Just from today's media...
This from Guido Fawkes/The Guardian, including "A Labour peer has admitted taking money to introduce an arms company lobbyist to the government minister in charge of weapons purchases. The case of 'cash for access' in the House of Lords is likely to ignite fresh concern about ethical standards in parliament. The lobbyist paid cash for an introduction to Lord Drayson, the defence minister in charge of billions of pounds of military procurement, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian. Money changed hands with former Labour frontbencher Lord Hoyle, previously Doug Hoyle, an ex-government whip and former MP for Warrington. The lobbyist, Michael Wood, who trades as Whitehall Advisers, agreed to pay Lord Hoyle an undisclosed sum in June 2005. MoD documents released to the Guardian show that Lord Hoyle then engineered a private meeting between Mr Wood and the newly appointed defence minister. Mr Wood is a former RAF officer who works for BAE and other smaller arms companies to help get them contracts. He has free run of the Palace of Westminster because he has a security pass as a research assistant to another MP. He operates his company from his nearby flat. Paying cash for ministerial introductions is a practice frowned on at the House of Lords, but not specifically outlawed. 'Cash for introductions' is forbidden by the main lobbyists' trade body, the Association of Professional Political Consultants, but Mr Wood is not a member." Read the rest in the Guardian...

The MPs expenses for the last year have been published and they make interesting reading. I shall be looking at the expenses of the MPs that I know or irritate me hugely and will report back. In the meantime you can read more here, here about the delightful Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper and their "£300,000 in expenses in the last financial year, including £30,000 for the cost of their "second home"", here about how it is MPs in marginal seats who are claiming the highest expenses, I wonder why? "In the past some MPs have been accused of using the stationery allowances, which are used to pay for the paper and postage for letters to constituents, for campaigning purposes."

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Read this and have a jolly good laugh.

Oops

Take a look at this from Dizzy Thinks. "This morning's Times carries a rather worrying report about how the Labour Party appears to have conspired with the mobile phone operators in the UK over roaming charges. Purely as an aside and point of interest, Gordon Brown's PPS, Iain Austin MP, sponsors a Commons "secretary/researcher pass" for an employee from Orange."
It would appear that Mike Harris, for that is the researcher's name, no longer works for Ian Austin, he says that "...you'll see this the next time the Declaration of Members' Interests is published."

Doesn't stop this being a very interesting story, does it?

The Times article includes the information (my emphasis) that "Labour conspired with mobile-phone companies to let them impose high bills on consumers for international calls, according to documents obtained by The Times. Frank messages involving civil servants and a minister detail how Britain led a dogged campaign to prevent Europe imposing swingeing cuts in “roaming” charges. At one point, when negotiations suggested that the EU would impose a tough line on the companies, a civil servant e-mailed Vodafone to say: “UK still not happy bunnies.” Consumer experts were appalled by the disclosures, under the Freedom of Information Act, which show that the Government and phone businesses acted in concert to fight compulsory price cuts...The documents show that Britain’s lead negotiator regularly e-mailed major mobile companies. At an early stage, he told BT: “Fight goes on.” He warned Vodafone about an initiative by a senior European official, adding: “I assume we want to avoid at all costs!”"
We, we, we
, is that we the general public, we the users of Vodafone, we the Labour party, we the Government, we the friends of the UK mobile telcos or we the people with our snouts in the trough?

More from the Times article "Industry experts privately believe that Labour owed the operators a favour. Gordon Brown’s economic success relied heavily on an auction of 3G mobile phone licences in 2000 that raised £22 billion. He used the windfall to reduce debt and help to borrow for public spending while operators have struggled to recoup their investments."
Nice... "Whiter than white" I think not.

Don't forget to attend the Pro Referendum Rally on Saturday

Pro Referendum Rally

"Many MPs and MEP's representing 18 million British electors - contemptuously denied a vote by Gordon Brown over the EU Constitution / Reform Treaty - will be casting their ballots outside the Houses of Parliament in Old Palace Yard this Saturday October 27th.

Come and cast your own vote in support of British Democracy against the creation of an undemocratic EU superstate at the rally. You can download a ballot paper here. Simply print it off and bring it with you.

The rally is mustering at Old Palace Yard, opposite the Victoria Tower, Houses of Parliament, Westminster at 12:00 - 12:15. MPs and MEP's will cast their votes first followed by members of the public."

"If you can't make it to the London rally, rallies and ballots are also organised in Edinburgh, Truro and Folkestone, so if you can please go along to show your support."


I note that the BBC have given this rally zero publicity, so let's get as many people as we can down to the Houses of Parliament on Saturday and make sure that the BBC have to report the event.

Get a sense of perspective

This video from Carl Sagan will make you feel so insignificant, well it did to me...

Mind you so will this ...



"Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth."

Misleading

It appears that Speaker Martin has ruled that it is now not unparliamentary language to accuse an opponent of "misleading the House", I fear that we will now hear a lot of use of this phrase.

Totalitarianism in the UK

Read this article from Samizdata it explains succinctly and concisely what I and many others feel about the way this country is going. We are being herded towards total state control but as it is being done "for your own good" or "for the children" or "for the environment" many dare not object. I fear that by the time the majority in this country wake up to what has happened it will be too late.

The Toady programme and climate change

Some interesting titbits on this mornings Toady programme; one article that stood out was that a UCL and an Oxford professor had produced a report saying that compliance with Kyoto and concentrating on reducing CO2 emissions should not be the only routes used to combat Man Made Climate Change. The presenter was clearly incredulous that anyone could propose such heresy, but was partially placated as the BBC "expert" reassured him that these two were not climate change deniers.

An interesting article re "Cash for Honours"

I don't often recommend an article from the Guardian but here's one that you might find interesting; it's by Angus McNeil.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

PMQs - 24.10.07 - some impressions

I am blogging this "as live", albeit with much use of the pause button as I type, as I missed it earlier today, even Mr NotaSheep has to work sometimes.

What did Gordon Brown mean when he said that "As a result of the targets we have set, cancer is down 17% in this country."?
Is he saying that the incidence of cancer is down by 17%
Is he saying that the death rate from cancer is down by 17%
17% of what since when?
Does he not care what he is saying so long as the figure quoted sounds good?

"One and a half more admissions to hospital"
Is that necessarily a good thing? Surely above a certain point, we want less admissions to hospital not more. Is the UK a sicker society now. One and a half million more than when?

"I fear, I fear if there is a black hole in different parties finances..."
This is the new Gordon Brown rhetorical device as we have seen in PMQs; a stuttering repetition of an opening phrase as he gets all excited at the opportunity to lead up to a learnt joke or jibe. It would be quite sweet if it wasn't so poorly executed.


"There are 1.7 million surpluses in our schools at the moment"
1.7 million surpluses, this seems unlikely, here is the database of UK schools, have a recount Gordon.
Maybe he means £1.7 million surplus, that is what I predict Hansard will helpfully correct his words to show tomorrow.

"Sometimes it is better if he does his research"
Very similar to his line last week. I suppose the intention is to make David Cameron
look as though he does not research matters. Gordon Brown hopes that one of these jibes makes the news or maybe he's planning an advert containing all of these jibes at Cameron. Whichever is the case, the repetition of a lie does not make it true, see some of my previous postings.
Why is Ed Balls nodding so much and so intently? Has he been told to do so? The two nonentities on Gordon,s left are at it as well, Jack Straw is just biting his lips.

"£6 billion out of the public services"
David Cameron shouldn't let that slur stand, the lie left uncorrected lives on...

David Cameron accuses Gordon Brown of "a mania for state control" He won't like that line.
Now is is £1.7 billion, maybe it was before, sometimes I find Gordon Brown's diction a little faulty.

Vincent Cable asks a question with a nice "Brown is less green than Blair" quip...
Oh dear, I think Gordon actually thinks that his lines about the Liberals (he thinks it is funny to say Liberals not Liberal Democrats - maybe we should all call his party the bour party and see if he likes it) having regular changes of leader are funny, I fear he is deluded on this point.

Gordon Brown is pushing wind power again, I assume he hasn't read the research findings on the appalling generating record of these wind farms and the massive subsidies necessary to make them even appear economic prospects. Maybe he does know the research but realises that he has to push wind power because that is an EU policy.

Michael Meacher is asking for "a clear commitment" that Gordon Brown would not support militarily or politically a US or Israeli attack on Iran. I fear he is going to be disappointed as Gordon Brown doesn't do "clear".
I was right, I rule nothing out...

Ah the West Lothian/Barnett Formula question from Graham Brady (?) "Why should my constituents pay more tax so that his constituents pay no prescription charges?"
Is that Harriet Harman or Tessa Jowell smiling so broadly during Gordon Brown's answer, quite disquieting.

"British jobs for British workers" I cannot believe the way Gordon Brown is being allowed to get away with the regular use of this line. Can you imagine the furore if Michael Howard had said anything similar when he was leader of the Conservative party? "Playing the race card", the "nasty party" would have been the calls from the Labour front bench. The Labour party really are scared of losing votes to the BNP in working class constituencies in the north of England and Essex and Kent aren't they.

David Cameron doesn't go for Europe this week but instead opts for an attack on the Labour cock-up in the organising of the Scottish Assembly elections, nice line of attack, a surprise line of attack to me, but potentially a profitable one. "Party interest before voters interests...unacceptable conduct of ministers", David Cameron's line of attack on Gordon Brown and his government's honesty and trustworthiness is a good line of attack, it chimes with what is increasingly the public perception.
"Decisions made about the elections that could have been better made..."
Interruptions quelled by Mr Speaker Martin, the less said about his impartiality the better... No blame on any institution or any individual? Is that right? I thought blame was laid at the door of the Scottish Labour party, I will check..."all political parties must take their share of responsibility". Is that true? If it is I wonder in what proportions the responsibility should accrue?

Good grief, I see that Speaker Martin has to reprimand Ian Austin again, I couldn't hear what he was shouting. Named twice in two consecutive weeks, not good for you. "Stay away from my chair".

David Cameron attacking on trustworthiness again, "in a democracy that is a complete scandal" Man to blame was Scottish Secretary, so that's Douglas Alexander, who is now Labour's election (not that there was ever going to be one) coordinator. Lovely line about the international development secretary lecturing other countries on probity in elections. Gordon Brown wont like that, he's the son of a preacher man, don't you know, moral compass, vision etc. Maybe I do Gordon Brown a injustice, maybe he will accept the point with good grace....
"The right honourable member is misleading people.." can he say that? Oh dear, Gordon looks very flustered I think he realises that he shouldn't have said that, the stutter is returning to his voice - maybe he a pre-prepared line to impart..."Let me actually, let me actually" there's the repetition, he must be preparing to deliver a good one, I bet it's really funny and will sound very spontaneous... Oh, no we have Speaker Martin interrupting to deal with the hecklers, first, got to ensure that Gordon Brown has a nice quiet audience to hear his rib tickling line...Oh interesting, the Conservatives are calling "withdraw" and Speaker Martin is consulting with his clerks, Speaker Martin surely can't be about to tell the Prime Minister off, Gordon Brown might explode (if he did I would have heard about it on 5 Live news, wouldn't I? Nope the Speaker bottled it, it must be catching, he's just called for temperate language, Gordon gets up to speak, can David Cameron come up with a killer line in the next 20 seconds or so?
Gordon Brown is one angry PM, angry but not magnificent..
David Cameron "I don't know how the Prime Minister has the gall to accuse me of misleading.." "Look at page 17... party self interest evident in ministerial decision making.." Here comes the end line, hoping to be a sound bite on the News, "The Prime Minister promised us a new type of politics, he said he'd be more open and honest, he said he'd be frank about problems, he said he'd be candid about the dilemmas; that was in his leadership speech a hundred days ago, after his performance today, doesn't that feel like a hundred years ago?"
Now we will get a Gordon Brown learnt line to finish the exchange, will it have a stuttering start? Yes it did but there was no killer line, but Gordon Brown does sound ever more angry.

Nice question from Mr Donaldson and a reasonable answer from Gordon Brown.

Pete Wishart accusing the government of gerrymandering and monumental blundering, he wants a Scottish government. He wants an apology, I don't think he'll get one.
Nope, he gets a "regret" and a share of the blame.

A Conservative asks about foot and mouth and lays the blame at the government's door, Speaker Martin cuts him short, that's more like it Mr Speaker, protect the PM.
I don't think the Conservatives realise that Gordon Brown and most of the Labour party don't care about farmers.
Gordon Brown waffles a reply, "done what we can". "We will do everything in our power to help them" - Farmers should hold him to that uncosted commitment.

Lindsay Hoyle (Labour) asks about deporting foreign prisoners rather than early releasing rapists. Deport 4,000 foreign national prisoners this year, we will see. 1,000 Nigerians in British cells, that's an incredible number.


My assessment, Gordon Brown doesn't like answering questions and really David Cameron having a regular line of attack each week that Parliament sits, no wonder he's approved a few weeks extra holiday for Parliament...

One and a half hours to do the above, I need a break.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Democracy?

This government lurches further and further from the spirit of democracy almost by the day. Today I read that "Gordon Brown plans to force the European Union Reform Treaty through the House of Commons by denying Labour MPs a free vote on the controversial document...challenged by David Cameron, the Conservative leader, to allow a free vote to the sizeable number of Labour MPs with doubts about the treaty, Mr Brown ducked the question. Downing Street later confirmed that "normal parliamentary procedures will apply," indicating that Labour whips will put pressure on MPs to back the Government over the treaty."

So the Labour backbenchers will be "influenced" by the Labour Whips Office to vote for this dishonest Treaty and the UK's independence will be lost all so Gordon Brown does not have to put the Treaty to a referendum.

Gordon Brown called of a general election because he feared losing it, he won't hold a referendum on the EU Treaty because he fears losing that as well. Is Gordon Brown the biggest coward in British political history?

Thank your lucky stars that Paul Daniels doesn't do this trick



Thanks to Theo Spark for the tip.

Dear Foreign Secretary

This article is reproduced in its entirety from an entry on Prodicus's blog entitled "Dear Foreign Secretary", Prodicus wants this letter to be as widely spread as possible.


"Dear Foreign Secretary,


I write to explain why I shall be among thousands of angry and despairing British citizens attending the Referendum Rally in London on Saturday 27th October and why I and others now urge our fellow citizens to overturn hundreds of years of highly developed Parliamentary tradition and demand a national plebiscite on the Reform Treaty.

In refusing us our referendum, you repeatedly say that Britain is a Parliamentary democracy; that the British people have chosen to send representatives to Parliament and to allow themselves to be governed by their decisions; that it is not our national tradition to resort to referenda. (You wish us to overlook the fact that it is your political party which has repeatedly used referenda when you have found it convenient, and you cannot possibly imagine the contempt in which you and your associates are whenever you dishonestly pray in aid 'tradition'. Your government has done more than any other in recent centuries to destroy our traditions, jeopardising coherent governance and the integrity of the nation itself.)

But you are right - we have not customarily used referenda. However, something so fundamental has changed because of your government's actions that we have no choice but to use the referendum to preserve our democracy and our right to self-determination.

What has changed, Foreign Secretary, is our Parliament. Your government has rendered it incapable of representing the people and acting in the nation's best interest. Your government, Foreign Secretary, is in the process of forcing Parliament itself to betray us. We no longer trust our Government, formed from the members of our Parliament, nor our ancient Parliamentary process, and for the very simplest of reasons.

You and the Prime Minister intend to castrate our Parliament by giving away to the European Union the power which was loaned to you by the British people in order that you could protect and defend us. You intend to pass this power, permanently and beyond recovery, to a foreign power while knowing exactly what you are doing and while lying about it to us even as you do it. You are doing this this not only without our consent but against what you know to be our wishes.

Your government has become a dictatorship. You are following the same pattern as dictators throughout history: you have accepted the acclaim of the people and then turned the power they have given you into the means to ignore and oppress them

Let me briefly specify the chief of the list of crimes against your country which you have committed, and about which you have brazenly lied to us:

You tell us that you have obtained an abiding 'protocol' (you call it a 'red line') to the Reform Treaty which, you say, prevents the future transfer of further 'competences' from Britain to the European Union. At the same time you have agreed to a formula by which -- the British veto abolished with your approval -- the Union may arrogate to itself additional 'competences' without any further treaties.

In other words, this Treaty, the founding document of a new legal entity is, in essence and effect, the final treaty. It enables the European Union to exert indefinitely extensible power over Britain regardless of the wishes of the British people.

There will never be another opportunity for Britain to loosen the chains placed upon us by the European Union.

Your contemptible 'red line' is worthless and you know it, and to offer it to us as though it were some kind of democratic assurance is a gesture of contempt. An insult. You insult us, Foreign Secretary, and we will have our revenge on you for this, too.

You have a peculiarly un-British vision of what one might call 'the future history of Europe' as a socialist analogue of the United States of America. You think its emergence historically inevitable, as a Marxist historian might. In the furtherance of your pan-European socialist vision, you have exceeded your authority. You have ignored the cry of the British people who disagree with you - as you are well aware - and who employ you - which you seem to forget - and you would now sign our nation away into an international organisation with quite awesome and unaccountable power over us. You are destroying the most precious element of Britain's ancient and flexible constitution -- our Parliament. You would reduce to a pathetic, muttering, impotent, regional assembly the people's means of self-government and their ultimate recourse when they seek protection from oppression by native dictators or inimical foreign powers.

You would rob us of all hope of democracy and self determination. Our inherited rights, liberties and protections, gained with our forefathers' blood over centuries, now fail us, because of your actions. You leave us no choice but to find and use whatever new, peaceful means we may, to express both our outrage at your crimes and our determination to prevent you from any further traitorous actions against us.

In previous centuries, Foreign Secretary, we would have hanged you. In these enlightened times, we will not do this, but you should be aware that this is only because we are determined to rescue our constitution, our institutions and our nation from yourself and your associates.

You do well to be very afraid of the outcome of any referendum on the Reform Treaty, and indeed of the general election when it comes. It is obvious, of course, from your refusal to conduct a referendum on the Reform Treaty that you are fully aware of the position as I describe it here, and therefore culpable of the crimes of which I accuse you and the Prime Minister.

If you had any honour in you, you would not have agreed to this Treaty without the approval of the British people by referendum, but no-one could accuse you and the Prime Minister of being honourable men. In view of your traitorous behaviour to date, though, might I ask you to at least have the grace to cease using the words tradition and British when you address us, lest you anger us to the point where we have to reconsider the proper way to deal with traitors?

I remain, sir, anything but your obedient servant,

Prodicus"

Crime and Punishment (reprise)

Last week we had the this that "Five boys have been sentenced to two years' detention for killing a father who collapsed with a heart attack after being pelted with stones and rocks." This week we have the news that a 44 year old man who "left a 96-year-old war veteran blind in one eye after attacking him on a packed tram has been given a three-year supervision order." Not even a day behind bars, just a supervision order, you know the punishment that really works!

Stephen Gordon, 44, launched his unprovoked attack on Shah Chaudury in Croydon, south London, in December" and "was found guilty of grievous bodily harm after the attack was caught on CCTV, Croydon Crown Court heard."
Three years supervision for an unprovoked attack on a 96 year old man. Mmm I feel much safer now I know he's still on the streets. Hats off to British justice I say.

Make way for the Politburo member

I referred in anarticle not too long ago about the way that the political class in this country see themselves as more important than us the electorate. I included this thought "This Labour government is so anti-democratic and full of self importance. Do you remember Tony Blair's convoy using the M4 bus lane soon after it opened, far too important to wait in traffic with the voters. When the Olympics are on it has already been decided that certain lanes on London's main roads will be for Olympic related business only, anyone want to bet that this will include all MPs? Pretty soon after that we will have lanes reserved for politicians and party workers and then Gordon Brown and his apparatchiks will be able to drive around in their nice new Zills just like he always dreamed."

Now news from today's Times confirms my worst fears "The team organising the London Olympics in 2012 is adopting the most aggressive anticar policy ever applied to a major event in an attempt to deliver a permanent shift in people’s travel habits. The eight million spectators will be banned from travelling by car and forced to take public transport, walk or cycle."
I'm not going to the Olympics, I didn't want them in London, I was right royally pissed off when we won the right to stage the 2012 Olympics because I knew it was going to go way over budget, cost every tax paying Londoner for years and be an excuse to change our commuting habits.

"The plan discloses that the Olympic Delivery Authority wants to make the Games a testing ground for a radical shift in transport planning to be extended to all major cultural and sporting events. It is even trying to deter spectators from using cars for part of their journey and has cancelled plans in the original bid for two giant park-and-ride sites on the M25 and M11. "
The ODA was not created as a "testing ground for a radical shift in transport planning", it was created to get the Olympics in on time and on budget. Since they will fail on those two measures why not try and succeed in a third area, not that they will. Will the savings from cancelling the two park and ride sites be taken into account when the ODA's next budget overrun is declared? I think not, it will just help them to keep the overruns down a little.

"Even drivers not travelling to the Olympics will be affected by the plan because, for two months around the Games, one lane on several key routes in London will be reserved for 80,000 members of the “Olympic family” – athletes, officials and media. These routes, dubbed “Zil lanes” after the routes reserved for the Soviet Politburo cavalcades in Moscow, are likely to be policed by dozens of cameras and a team of enforcement officers."
This is just the start of this sort of lane reduction policy. It was trialled with the M4 bus lane, a bigger waste of time and space I have rarely seen, was extended with 24 hour bus lanes all over London and after the Olympics will be extended still further. For two months there will be lanes dedicated to Olympic traffic! So should the rest of us just stop working for those two months? We can't all travel by bus or tube, some of us might carry heavy equipment with us, or travel between areas badly served by public transport or (heaven forbid) choose to travel by car. I am getting very, very pissed off by the way this country is lurching towards nanny totalitarianism.

Health Fascism again

I have blogged regularly about this Labour governments fascist tendencies and I see from Devils Kitchen commentary on this article from The Independent, that Professor Julian Le Grand, chair of Health England and a former senior Downing Street aide to Tony Blair, said a completely fresh approach was required by Government to reverse the epidemic of obesity and to tackle similar ills caused by "excess consumption" In a speech to the Royal Statistical Society last night, Professor Le Grand said instead of requiring people to make healthy choices – by giving up smoking, taking more exercise and eating less salt – policies should be framed so the healthy option is automatic and people have to choose deliberately to depart from it.

"Among his suggestions are a proposal for a smoking permit, which smokers would have to produce when buying cigarettes, an "exercise hour" to be provided by all large companies for their employees and a ban on salt in processed food."
A permit to smoke, exercise hours and a "ban" on salt in processed food, very "Yes Commissar".

"The idea, dubbed "libertarian paternalism", reverses the traditional government approach that requires individuals to opt in to healthy schemes."
How can this be libertarian? Paternalistic definitely, fascist more like.

"On smoking, he said permits could be issued annually and the signature of a doctor might even be needed. This would require individuals to "opt-in" each year to being a smoker, rather than "opting out" by choosing to give up."
I hate the smell of cigarette smoke and used to go out of my way to avoid smoky atmospheres but this is a measure too far. Are we to be allowed any freedoms, other than the freedom to vote Labour?

"Sellers of tobacco from supermarkets to tobacconists would have to see the permit before any sale. To get a permit would involve filling out a form and supplying a photograph as well as paying the required fee. Permits would only be issued to those over 18 and evidence of age would have to be provided. The money raised for the permits would go to the NHS."
"Paying the required fee", it all comes down to money with this Labour government doesn't it. Tax, tax, tax all the live long day.

I am actually finding it hard to envisage any tax raising, freedom reducing policy that this government would not introduce.

Spain's view of the EU Treaty

In an editorial in El Mundo on Saturday it was stated "....The new Treaty conserves the core of the Constitutional Treaty......In reality, the Treaty rejected in 2005 by the French and Dutch has hardly been changed..."

Thanks Iain Dale.

Snouts in the Trough

Take a read of this from Guido Fawkes. It concerns the way that MPs will benefit more than most from the recently announced changes to CGT law. "David Gauke pointed out that MPs would, as a result of the reforms, now get a 55% tax cut on capital gains (down from 40% to 18%) when they sell their taxpayer subsidised Westminster second homes. At this self-serving outrage there was a collective "what the f***!" from a roomful of exasperated entrepreneurs...Guido thinks when the vote comes, those MPs who vote themselves a 55% tax cut and small businesses an 80% tax hike, should be named and shamed. Guido is thinking not just of Yvette and Ed Balls, but those champagne socialists with their multi-million pound property portfolios who will benefit. Michael Meacher and Emily Thornberry spring to mind"

Go on ask your MP which way they will be voting and how much they will stand to gain as a result.

A story that wont receive much coverage and spot the missing word

From the BBC web site news of an "Eritrean Christian gospel singer who was tortured and detained without charge for two years in her homeland has been granted asylum in Denmark.
Helen Berhane was imprisoned inside a metal shipping container and beaten in an effort to make her recant her faith." A story that should receive more coverage, maybe take a read and then have a look at this article I wrote a few weeks back.

Now re-read the the BBC article, note this passage "More than 90% of Eritreans belong to one of four recognised religions - Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran Churches and Islam." Now see if anywhere it identifies the followers of which of those four religions tortured Helen Berhane. No, no clue at all, I wonder which of the official religions' followers might have been behind this attack and I wonder why the BBC have hidden the answer.

Half of Britain's nuclear power stations are not working this morning

The Toady programme are making this a big story this morning and had Michael Meacher on saying we need "certainty of supply". Perhaps every morning the Toady programme could tell us what proportion of wind farms produced electricity the previous day. On a morning such as today I would estimate that most wind farms are producing next to no electricity.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Fanny Hill

What an appalling treatment of the original novel.

There is a mood growing in the country

I have blogged before, here and here for example about "This Labour government's mania for control and surveillance of the law abiding majority in this once free Country". I know I am not alone, there are many others in the blogosphere such as Devils Kitchen and Samizdata who regularly blog about such matters. On Sunday I read a lovely argument by Simon Jenkins entitled "You’re better safe than free - the mantra of the Whitehall Taliban", you can read the whole article here; but these two sentences jump out "Voltaire and John Stuart Mill insisted there should be an ideological chasm between disapproving an act and wanting it halted. In modern Britain this chasm has become a skip and a jump. Whatever we dislike we require the government to ban." and "Each new straw may seem sensible in itself until suddenly we have broken the camel’s back. We find that we have crossed the line from a mature, responsible democracy into an arthritic and fearful police state. Aspects of British public administration are reminiscent of the Taliban." Read the whole article and the comments underneath, I particularly love this one "The UK is getting closer to a single rule of law where everything that is not mandatory is forbidden.

This government seems determined to criminalise the majority of the population by systematic use of fear-factor legislation to threaten the majority of law-abiding people with prison sentences but does little to manage the actual violence and abuse practised by a minority.

Labour was voted a huge majority and have systematically used it to strip the electorate of any voice by railroading endless new law. It will never be possible to know what Tony said to Gordon in their private and "bully boys" closed meetings, previous governments left records. Not this one.

Thought crime is heading for the statute books: prison sentences for people caught with "extreme pornography", even though it's not clear if the people or the pictures are supposed to be dangerous, or who is supposed to be at risk. Even if it's fake.

Write to your MP, they are meant to be working for YOU

J Fox, London, UK"


Forward Simon Jenkins' article to as many people as you can and spread the word about this government's controlling tendencies, they must be stopped.

Some more Health and Safety rubbish

From today's Times it appears that "Firefighters have backed out of a long-standing agreement to take down their town’s festival bunting because health and safety rules no longer allow them to climb ladders to remove it... The town council has insisted that Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service must go through risk assessment procedures, despite their expertise with ladders. "

Complete tosh as usual.

No apologies, more on the EU Treaty

This time from William Rees Mogg in today's Times, "Gordon Brown, in common with all other Labour MPs, was elected on the Labour Party’s 2005 manifesto. Far and away the most important constitutional provision of that manifesto was the promise to hold a referendum on the European constitutional treaty. That commitment had no qualifications or escape clauses. It was a contractual term of the general election. If there is no referendum, that will be a breach of contract between Labour and the British people.

The manifesto paragraph needs to be read carefully: “The EU now has 25 members and will continue to expand. The new Constitutional Treaty ensures the new Europe can work effectively, and that Britain keeps control of key national interests like foreign policy, taxation, social security and defence. The Treaty sets out what the EU can do, and what it cannot. It strengthens the voice of national parliaments and governments in EU affairs. It is a good treaty for Britain and for the new Europe. We will put it to the British people in a referendum and campaign wholeheartedly for a ‘yes’ vote to keep Britain a leading nation in Europe.” "

and read this paragraph "Last week Mr Brown accepted the reform treaty but he has backed out of his party’s commitment to a referendum, on the false pretence that the two treaties are different. This is not an action in good faith. If he persists in it, he deserves to be removed from office. For a man to obtain an advantage by a trick is inherently dishonest. For a prime minister to do so destroys his covenant of trust with the people he is governing."

Read the rest, beautifully crafted as always and making perfect sense. Read it, pass it on, add it to your blogs, send it to your MPs and ask them to respond, spread the word and let's get something done.

One European civil code?

Read this and wonder if all of the following is being done as a dry academic exercise or in preparation for something else. "More than 150 law researchers from across Europe are drawing up a so-called 'Draft Common Frame of Reference' which will consist of legal articles related to the exchange of goods and services - for example on leasing, damage, the right to withdraw from contracts and unjustified enrichment. The articles will seek to describe what is the common core of European private law (in this case, mainly contract law), the bulk of which is currently covered by the 27 EU member"

"Mr Von Bar stresses that at the moment, the draft framework remains a purely academic exercise which has no legal or political status in the EU. "We as academic researchers are developing the technique - but it fully depends on a political decision of the European Commission, the [EU] Council and the European Parliament if in the end, the Common Frame of Reference will be adopted as an EU instrument", he said."
Hmm...

"The commission - which has funded the project to the tune of €4.3 million through its research budget – publicly takes an extremely cautious line on the issue."
cautious for the moment, don't want to scare any of the electorates before everything is signed and sealed.


"the European Parliament has less taboos about the similarities between the planned Common Frame of Reference - draft articles of which can already be found online - and a European Civil Code. A parliament resolution adopted in March 2006 said "Even though the Commission denies that this is its objective, it is clear that many of the researchers and stakeholders working on the project believe that the ultimate long-term outcome will be a European code of obligations or even a full-blown European Civil Code."


"If ever adopted in the future, an EU civil code could be based on the Common Frame of Reference blueprint. It would harmonise member states' contract law, as well as other legal areas which do not strictly fall under contract law such as tort law."
Step One...

"It is however not expected to include the most sensitive parts of national civil law systems - notably family law and inheritance law."
Not immediately...

"A European civil code could replace domestic civil law codes or - what is more likely - exist alongside national systems as an "optional" scheme."
Alongside initially and then to replace national law. Why do so few people realise what the end game is? Read my article about Altiero Spinelli for more on this.

One rule for Scotland, another rule for England

Free University education, free care for the elderly and now free prescriptions in Scotland. Not bad policies but when they are paid for by the UK taxpayer, which means mainly the English, well really the London and South East of England taxpayer, then I think I am allowed to feel somewhat aggrieved.

Man Made Climate Change - What the BBC won't report

Take a read of this article from David Bellamy in the Times today. Apparently "the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction has come up against an “inconvenient truth”. Its research shows that since 1998 the average temperature of the planet has not risen, even though the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has continued to increase."

Interesting, how about "A recent survey of Klaus-Martin Schulte, of Kings College Hospital, of all papers on the subject of climate change that were published between 2004 and February of 2007 found that only 7 per cent explicitly endorsed a “so-called consensus” position that man-made carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic global warming. What is more, James Lovelock, the author and green guru, has changed his mind: he recently stated that neither Earth nor the human race is doomed."

Surely if this was true then the BBC would report it? As Jeremy Paxman would say "Yeeeeeees,"

Here's another interesting fact "in 1817, while still in the grip of the Little Ice Age, the Royal Society was so worried that 2,000 square leagues of sea ice around Greenland had disappeared within two years, and massive flooding was taking place in Germany, that its president wrote to the Admiralty advising of the necessity of an expedition to find out what was the source of this new heat."


Man Made Climate Change has become the self-proclaimed consensus among scientists and has so "detached itself from the questioning rigours of hard science and become a political cause. Those of us who dare to question the dogma of the global-warming doomsters who claim that C not only stands for carbon but also for climate catastrophe are vilified as heretics or worse as deniers."
Vilification of the opposing opinion about science smacks of the Inquisition to me.

"Scientific understanding... is advanced by robust, reasoned argument based on well-researched data...The last peak global temperatures were in 1998 and 1934 and the troughs of low temperature were around 1910 and 1970. The second dip caused pop science and the media to cry wolf about an impending, devastating Ice Age. Our end was nigh! Then, when temperatures took an upward swing in the 1980s, the scaremongers changed their tune. Global warming was the new imminent catastrophe."