Sunday 30 September 2007

Some realism on the BBC comments page

The current number 1 recommended comment on Have Your Say - "Tory Party Conference: Your views" is this:

"Added: Sunday, 30 September, 2007, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK

the BBC interviewed david cameron this sunday morning, asked clearly "you are behind in the polls! how are you going to change this?"

david cameron replied "polls go up and down, you should ask a polster about this, im here to present a real change for the british voter."

he then went on to list policies and answer questions on the individual points.

at the end of the interview, the program went to latest news headlines, the first headline was read out, "david cameron has said he is worried and faces a big challenge to reverse his party's poor showing in the polls!"

come on BBC, disgraceful reporting!

how can you tell us you are not pro labour biased when you report like this?

[denzil69] "

BBC biased against the Conservative leader, who would have thought it...

This comment, the most recommended at 19:31 last night appears to have disappeared from the comments page, I wonder why?

Andrew at Biased-BBC has followed this up and documented it nicely and will get more feedback than I would here. I will keep this blog updated as I feel this sort of bias needs as much publicity as we can give it.

Bend over Britain

Thanks Theo Spark for this one -

Big Brother Britain

This Labour government's mania for control and surveillance of the law abiding majority in this once free Country gets more out of control by the week. This week the news concerns "Officials from the top of Government to lowly council officers will be given unprecedented powers to access details of every phone call in Britain under laws coming into force tomorrow.

The new rules compel phone companies to retain information, however private, about all landline and mobile calls, and make them available to some 795 public bodies and quangos.

The move, enacted by the personal decree of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, will give police and security services a right they have long demanded: to delve at will into the phone records of British citizens and businesses."

"Files will also be kept on the sending and receipt of text messages.

By 2009 the Government plans to extend the rules to cover internet use: the websites we have visited, the people we have emailed and phone calls made over the net."

"The new measures were implemented after the Home Secretary signed a 'statutory instrument' on July 26. The process allows the Government to alter laws without a full act of Parliament.

The move was nodded through the House of Lords two days earlier without a debate."

Debate, why should we need a vote; it's all for the good of us, it must be - Gordon wants it. Will the BBC cover this attack on freedom, will they f**k.

Banana Republic

Just read it.

The Economy is FUBAR (part 4)

For more on the faltering UK economy and why Gordon Brown has to call a snap election read this article in the Mail on Sunday.

"Even as he was making his triumphant conference address in Bournemouth, the cold winds of economic reality whipped around Mr Brown's ears. Moments before he took the stage, new data showed the Government borrowed a colossal £9.1 billion last month — the worst August on record and about £3 billion more than predicted.

In his final budget as Chancellor, in March, Mr Brown said that borrowing would fall this year — the August figures gave that the lie. " The Prime Minister will not have been happy to see the public finances once again failing to match up to Treasury forecasts," says Robert Chote, the director of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies."

Any coverage of that on the BBC last week or this? Of course not, it's not part of the "narrative".

Andrew Gilligan comes clean

Andrew Gilligan has a Comment is Free article mainly attacking Alastair Campbell and I am all ion favour of that. Hidden in amongst this article is this admission "For my part, I confess I've never in the least minded criticism from Alastair. I'm part of a long list of people on the left - Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, Rhodri Morgan - whose careers have received the priceless boost of being attacked by New Labour." Yet another (now ex) BBC man who is "part of the left", how many more are there there?

BBC anti-Conservative party attacks

I have blogged previously about the BBC attacking the Conservative party and you can read much more about the BBC's inherent anti-Conservative and pro-Labour stance and especially their love-in with Gordon Brown at Biased BBC. Some comments in the Biased BBC forum caught my eye this morning and I repeat them here to show that there are people who will report on any BBC bias in this coming week. After the disgustingly pro-Brown coverage especially the PM programme, I have already said that the coverage of the Conservative party conference will be from a completely different angle and will include the compulsory "lurch to the right" comment if any Conservative mentions immigration whilst Margaret Hodge, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw etc. can "play the race card" without being accused of so doing.
My comments in italics

Comment 1:
Following on from Towcestrian's comments, the BBC kicked off coverage of the Conservative conference (6pm news on R4) quoting Alistair Darling berating the Conservatives over their review of Gordon's blundering mess of a tax credit scheme. The report ended with a threatening - 'the Tories won't be allowed to get away with any unaccounted spending plans'. Amazing really after Brown has just got away with a whole raft of unaccounted spending plans in his fantasy of 'personalised' health care and 'personal tutors' for everyone and education funding up to 21 for low income families etc etc etc. without any airtime given to the opposition. In the beeboid world only Conservatives have to be held to account. When the Great Brown Man speaks they get so choked with pride and emotion somehow no questions are asked.
Oscar | 29.09.07 - 6:24 pm |"

Oscar, the Labour spending plans are fully costed and workable, they must be they are the product of Brown and Darling, whilst the Conservative ones must be uncosted and either reckless or stringent cuts.

Comment 2:
The 5 lite attack dogs at work on the Tories already. Attacking a Tory for comments that some BNP supporters might have legitimate points. (what that our Country is being over run and turned into an Islamic state?)

Noticed that they didn't mention that Margaret Hodge had made similar comments not that long ago.

Martin | 30.09.07 - 8:52 am |"

See above Martin, see above. Nobody ever said that the BBC was unbiased; did they?

Comment 3:
You guys have got to check out Andrew (Nu Labour luvvie) Marr's interview with Cameron.

Endless question about Green Taxes and how they don't work. Don't seem to remember him asking Labour or Lib Dems about that?

Oh and as usual he's asking Cameron to justify every spending pledge. Yet last week Brown went down a huge list of spending pledges yet NOT a single question from the BBC as how to fund them.

Why not Andrew Marr?
Martin | 30.09.07 - 9:27 am |"

The answer to that is obvious Martin, it is because Andrew Marr is a BBC Labour supporting stooge.

Comment 4:
Martin - agree with every word. The contrast with Marr's interview last week when Brown was treated like royalty, and his attempt to humiliate Cameron this week couldn't have been greater. Marr even stooped to rustling around with the newspapers while Cameron was speaking. Why is a party that isn't in power (and on present polls is not likely to be in power) subjected to the third degree while the government gets away with fantasy plans for spending sprees with no questions asked. When policies that were dubbed as nasty right wing filth when Michael Howard produced them are suddenly hailed as wonderful when Brown spouts them, and when the BBC entirely jettison their green agenda in the interests of getting at the Tories, it shows the depths of their sheer unprincipled partisanship. When it comes to NuLab they've gone from being the feral press to the fawning press at a single brownite stroke.
Oscar | 30.09.07 - 10:32 am | "

Yes that would explain it Oscar, the bias is becoming so noticeable that I wonder if David Cameron should "go big on it" during his speech...

Comment 5:
William Hague gave a barnstorming performance to open the Conservative Conference packed with good one liners leaving the BBC spoilt for choice for their coverage. What did the World at One do instead? They didn't mention Hague's speech at all but spent ages playing inaudible sounds from Blackpool to show up some sound problems the conference had experienced. It was just ridiculous and petty and reveals what we all know - the BBC are openly campaigning for the Labour party in the run up to a possible GE.
Oscar | 30.09.07 - 4:54 pm |"

Any good speech must be ignored, the "narrative" is dissent, problems, splits and lurches to the right.

Comment 6:
And as a postscript - the R4 5 o'clock bulletin actually headlined (I paraphrase) 'On top of the bad news in the opinion polls the conservative party conference has had another setback' What setback could that be? Yup - the earthshattering information that there've been technical problems with the sound system. And they call it news.
Oscar | 30.09.07 - 5:45 pm |"

Any good speech must be ignored, the "narrative" is dissent, problems, splits and lurches to the right.

Comment 7:
It looks like the BBC has their 'narrative' for the Tory party conference all sorted out. There is a crisis in the polls, Cameron is struggling, there is a huge challenge ahead, there are appeals for unity, and some Tory ministers have made "extremely controversial" comments about immigration. Expect lots more references to "a lurch to the right", rumours of leadership challenges etc etc. Pretty much every report looks like it's going to be a negative one.
I expect that even sound Tory proposals will be headlined with the Labour reaction, i.e.; " the government has criticised the latest Tory proposals to..." - just as they did with John Redwood's proposals to cut red tape a few weeks ago.

Still, I expect the BBC reporters are looking forward to getting their teeth into some politicians, especially after the fawning and totally uncritical and unquestioning coverage that the Labour Party conference got last week.
bodo | 30.09.07 - 6:05 pm | "

As above, the "narrative" is dissent, problems, splits and lurches to the right.

Comment 8:
Voice of Reason:
Last Sunday Julian Worricker's programme had three guests who all agreed amongst them selves that they all wanted 10 more years of a Labour government. I was outraged by the lack of balance this displayed but presumed it was because of the Labour conference starting that day. Yesterday the programme had three guests who all agreed amongst themselves that David Cameron was rubbish and Labour was only only party worth voting for. |The BBC has now given up all pretense at being a national broadcaster and is now simply a vehicle for Labour propaganda
Voice of Reason | 01.10.07 - 11:15 am |

Why do the Conservative leadership not bring this up again and again. It is a disgusting policy decision by the BBC that needs attacking.

Comment 9:
The BBC has now given up all pretense at being a national broadcaster and is now simply a vehicle for Labour propaganda
Voice of Reason | 01.10.07 - 11:15 am

Agreed. It's incredible how blatant the BBC is about their diehard support for the Labour government. All fighting talk of independence died with the demise of Blair. Since Brown arrived the slavish adherence to Brown led spin and bully boy tactics against the opposition is pretty much complete. And the honourable exception of Andrew Neil, whose coverage of the Lab party conference was frequently 'off message' - is treated like a pariah in the BBC hierarchy. Wonder how long his programme will last with cuts looming.
Oscar | 01.10.07 - 11:42 am |

We all know it, but what can we do about it?

If you hear any more of this type of coverage do please add it in the comments to this entry in my blog.

Saturday 29 September 2007

Do you need to stay up all night?

If you don't want to go to sleep tonight, then read this article, nightmares all but guaranteed...

The speech David Cameron won't make

Richard Littlejohn has written the speech he would give if he was David Cameron. He's not and I don't think David Cameron's speech will bear much resemblance to this speech, nor do I think that David Davis would have given such a speech if he had won the leadership election instead of David Cameron. However, it is way past the time that David Cameron and the rest of the Conservative shadow cabinet stopped being nice and cuddly to try and stop the BBC from crushing them, and realise that that a lot of the public have finally realised what this Labour government have got away with for 10 years and want some attacks on this Labour government. Forget being nice, get Gordon.

Brown pledges bluetongue action

According to the BBC, "Brown pledges bluetongue action". Isn't this what he was trying to do when he invited Lady Thatcher to Number 10?.

Sorry but I couldn't resist making that joke...

Goodbye Jane

Jane Garvey is leaving BBC 5 Live and the BBC are asking for our fond reminiscences of her broadcasting genius. I did enter my suggestion yesterday on the relevant BBC suggestion page but oddly the BBC have decided not to use it. My suggestion was of course the subject of this post back in May. It concerned Jane's reminiscences about the 1997 election night party atmosphere at Broadcasting House as the BBC celebrated Labour winning the election. Here's the transcript of the broadcast -
"Jane Garvey: I do remember I walked back in - we were broadcasting then from Broadcasting House in the centre of London, all very upmarket in those days - and the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles. [Hearty laugh from Peter Allen] I'll always remember that. Er... not that the BBC were celebrating in any way, shape or form…

Peter Allen: No not all...

Jane Garvey: ...and actually I think it's fair to say that in the intervening years... er... the BBC, if it ever was in love with Labour has probably fallen out of love with Labour, or learnt to fall back in, or basically just learnt to be in the middle somewhere which is how it should be. Um, but there was always the suggestion that the BBC was full of pinkos who couldn't wait for Labour to get back into power. That may have been the case - who knows - but as I say there have been a few problems along the way over the last ten years. Wish I hadn't started this now. "

Ah, broadcasting genius...

Take a look at Biased-BBC for their coverage of this matter.

Will he or won't he?

Gordon, Gordon, Gordon, it must be hard being Gordon. The Labour party is sitting pretty in the opinion polls and he is receiving favourable coverage from the tame media, the Labour party pulled together and the press didn't look too deeply for any dissension. By contrast the press will be out to look for any signs of disagreement within the Conservative party next week, Lord Tebbit has been used for this purpose this weekend already, and the BBC will not give David Cameron the full PM positive view treatment that they accorded Gordon Brown last week. So what's the problem, why is Gordon worried? He's a worrier, just look at the chewed nails and the nose picking, what if it all goes wrong? What if the Sunderland council by-election result is more representative than the polls? What if the Labour vote is just piling up in the Labour safe seats and not in the marginals? What if the economy tips over between calling the election and election day? What if someone, somewhere, starts to attack Gordon Brown's record and personal reputation as they should do? What if the BBC can no longer keep the lid on the nose-picking and the other more scurrilous stories that are doing the rounds? What if, what if, what if?

Friday 28 September 2007

BBC censorship?

I blogged yesterday about the Mariella and Gordon love-in. Thanks to "Lurker in a Burqua" on Biased BBC we can see that the BBC have changed the caption under the picture of Mariella Frostrup within that article. The original caption was "Ms Frostrup is a family friend of the Browns", the new caption is "Ms Frostrup asked Mr Brown about the election date". You can see the original here and the new version here - Don't you just love Google cache?

What caused the BBC to change the caption? Surely Mariella isn't embarrassed at being fingered as a friend of the Browns. Surely Gordon isn't embarrassed that his tame interviewer has been outed as a family friend. Surely the BBC aren't trying to stop highlighting the friendship. Surely the BBC aren't doing Gordon's bidding or trying to protect him...

Thursday 27 September 2007

Gordon Brown is upping the temperature over the coming election

The Brown Broadcasting Corporation has upped the temperature over the possibility of Gordon Brown calling a general election here and here. It would appear that "Labour has begun recruiting people who would play an integral role in any forthcoming general election campaign, the BBC understands.
A number of individuals have been asked by the party if they could begin work next Monday, BBC political editor Nick Robinson says. Their jobs range from planning the logistics of campaigns to liaising with voters and the media. The recruitment process is not proof that a snap poll will be held, however. And advisers to Gordon Brown continue to insist that the prime minister has yet to decide whether to hold an autumn election." Surely Prudence Brown wouldn't spend money on wages for people to run an election campaign that isn't going to happen... Also "Women's minister Barbara Follett has fuelled fresh speculation about a possible autumn general election. Speaking at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting, she said there was an "80% chance", suggesting 25 October, 1 or 8 November as possible dates. Mrs Follett is the first minister to speak so explicitly about the chances of a snap poll and its timing. Skills Secretary John Denham has said opinion polls predicting election gains were "exciting" to see. Meanwhile, Ed Balls, schools secretary and aide to Prime Minister Gordon Brown questioned whether the greater gamble would be to wait before having a snap poll. Senior figures are suggesting a snap poll is now more rather than less likely and Mr Brown has again urged Tory supporters and members to join him. Mrs Follett told a conference fringe meeting: "When I came here I thought there would be a 40% chance - I now think there's an 80% chance. "It's about having a mandate, having a fresh start, whether its 25 October, 1 November or 8 November," she said."

There was an interesting letter in today's Telegraph "Sir- I have already been contacted by Electoral Services regarding my availability for polling station duties, listing all Thursdays from October 18 to the end of February, except for those in December. Admittedly this is described as a "contingency plan", but this is the first time I have known this to happen. Fay Davies, Barnet, Hertfordshire" I think the pressure is building and the planning so advanced that even cautious Gordon will feel the time is ripe to go to electorate.

The Labour attacks on Boris Johnson & "Posh Tories"

I blogged here, here, here and here that I believe Boris Johnson to be a dream opponent for the Labour party and their in-house broadcaster, the BBC and how his "poshness" and being an ex-Etonian would be targeted relentlessly by them. In the aforementioned articles I showed a few examples, these incidents will increase now he is the official candidate but I see that Blinky Ed Balls layed into Boris Johnson and David Cameron yesterday, he described Boris as "a Bullingdon club throwback to a bygone age" and said that "David Cameron's back to basics is back-to-privilege" and that "they are still the Tory party of the privileged few". Expect to read, hear and watch much more of this over the run up to the General election and the London Mayoral elections, in which ever order they come...

Hazel Blears was at it at 08:40 on Friday's ToadyToday programme, even Edward Stourton sounded embarassed!

An article worth reading

Read this article by Peter Oborne on "Magna Carta 2007 - an updated version to protect us from an overweening State".

George Bush is a moron

Well that's got the attention of the anti-Bush brigade so now comes the story. Sites such as this "I just have to mention it. Thursday's episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Oh my God. How funny was it? And for a very wrong reason indeed. I've already shared it with others. George W Bush thought Nelson Mandela is dead? Dude! How wrong could he possibly be! It was incredibly funny though. Especially Jon Stewart's reaction.", this "Usually he’s just too easy a target to bother posting on his many gaffes, and after almost two full terms you’d think you’d get used to this president, but unfortunately George Bush still conspires to surprise with another incredible dose of the stupid. Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this.", this "The Daily Show just showed another classic Bushism: "Today I hear people say, 'Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead." Did I miss a meeting? Just for contrast John Stewart's now interviewing Bill Clinton...", this "Nelson Mandela is still very much alive despite an embarrassing gaffe by U.S. President George W. Bush, who alluded to the former South African leader's death in an attempt to explain sectarian violence in Iraq. "It's out there. All we can do is reassure people, especially South Africans, that President Mandela is alive," Achmat Dangor, chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said as Bush's comments received worldwide coverage. In a speech defending his administration's Iraq policy, Bush said former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's brutality had made it impossible for a unifying leader to emerge and stop the sectarian violence that has engulfed the Middle Eastern nation. "I heard somebody say, Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas," Bush, who has a reputation for verbal faux pas, said in a press conference in Washington on Thursday. Jailed for 27 years for fighting white minority rule, Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for preaching racial harmony and guiding the nation peacefully into the post-apartheid era. References to his death -- Mandela is now 89 and increasingly frail -- are seen as insensitive in South Africa.", this "Strap Him Down and Sedate Him - Fast
I saw this last night on the Daily Show, a breathtaking example of how utterly screwed up America's presidency has become. It was George w. Bush hisself opining on the sad fate of Nelson Mandela: "I heard somebody say, Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas." George Bush, by all accounts is not a stupid man. Oh hell, he is so."

So it's clear, George Bush is a moron, he thinks Sadam Hussein killed Nelson Mandela. Well no, that wasn't what he said or meant; this is what he said "Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein's brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where's Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this. So there's a psychological recovery that is taking place. And it's hard work for them. And I understand it's hard work for them. Having said that, I'm not going the give them a pass when it comes to the central government's reconciliation efforts." You can read the whole transcript here. George Bush was using an analogy, he was explaining why in Iraq there was no Nelson Mandela type figure as there had been in South Africa. As you can read at the Captains Quarters "Bush didn't claim that the Nelson Mandela himself was specifically dead -- he used Mandela as a metaphor for the lack of civil disobedients that could have facilitated a peaceful transition of power. Those that had existed in Iraq got murdered by the tyrant, a fate that did not befall Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
It's really a simple analogy. In fact, it's so simple that everyone but a Reuters journalist could figure it out. That does mean a moron attended the press conference, but it wasn't the man behind the podium."

Thanks to Tim Blair for the heads up.

For more on the perceived stupidity of George Bush take a look at this previous article of mine.

Sharia Law

See this for a previous take on the coming of Sharia Law to Britain and see this for he BBC's take on the issue - "Some British Muslims want Shari'ah law implemented in the UK. But how could this work alongside the existing legal system? Shari'ah law is already practiced informally here to resolve Islamic divorce, inheritance and family disputes. But many in the west see Shari'ah as oppressive and brutal with punishments like stoning and amputations.
Award winning filmmaker Ruhi Hamid, a British Muslim goes to Nigeria to see Shari'ah law in action."

Some British Muslims? I think the last figures I saw showed that "Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country".

The MSM news have been covering one Muslim supporter of Sharia law recently, Dr Omer Butt. You can read the BBC article here but the salient points are that "A dentist who told a female patient she must wear a Muslim headscarf to receive treatment has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct."
"Dr Omer Butt was found guilty of discriminating against the woman, known as Ms A, by a disciplinary panel of the General Dental Council (GDC)."

And the punishment was.... "an admonition at the end of the three-day GDC hearing."

"Giving evidence in his defence, Dr Butt said he "politely requested" the woman, a non-practising Muslim, to wear a headscarf.

He said it was "unlawful" for him, as a Muslim, to look at a Muslim woman who was not properly covered up."
Look out for a lot more of this type of "unlawful" defence as we are got used to the idea that Sharia law has a proper standing in the UK. In this case it was a Muslim woman that he wanted to wear a headscarf before he would treat her, in a few years it will be all women - see Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. etc. etc.

They do love HMV at the BBC

The BBC's positive coverage of everything Gordon Brown says or does is reaching new levels. Take a look at this "sketch" by Nick Assinder and try to keep your last meal down. Headlined "Gordon the tease melts Mariella" the more interesting extracts run as follows (my comments in italics):

"Tony Blair may have flirted outrageously and Bill Clinton may have mesmerised with his louche charisma."
No mention of any right of centre flirters then, I wonder why?

"But when it comes to turning grown women into stammering jellies, Gordon Brown, it appears, is your man."
Is this real, or part of the decided "narrative" that Gordon Brown is a sex symbol for women. It must be footage like this that turns them on -

"Mariella Frostrup, not normally known as a pushover, seemed to come over all unnecessary when she hosted a question-and-answer session with the prime minister at the Labour conference."
Mariella has several good qualities but is she renowned a hard questioner, I think not. In fact I would have said that her career had been based largely upon flirting with male guests.

"You might think she would have become immune to the PM's entirely unintentional charms by now - after all, she is a family friend."
Or you might think that as a family friend and occasional actress it would be in her interest to act "all unnecessary". You might also winder why the BBC use a Gordon Brown supporter to host this Q&A at the Labour conference.

"But no. Her normally composed TV persona slipped as she introduced the prime minister with just one giggle too many and then, after around the third mention of his official title, gasped: "I shall lapse into 'Gordon' shortly, I am sure." "
Well she is a family friend so I doubt she calls him anything but Gordon over a family lunch.

"Mr Brown treated the question with precisely the same weight as he did all those which followed."
Mr Brown doesn't have much light and shade in his speaking, just solidity and a fake smile.

"Ms Frostrup asked Mr Brown about the election date
He promised his answer would be shorter than the question - and quite dramatically failed to deliver.

He then led us into a sort of extended state of deja vu as we listened again to his favourite jokes (very good but not worth this amount of retelling) and some lengthy expositions of the policies we had already had explained from the conference floor over the past few days."
Gordon Brown's favourite tactic for years has been to bombard his audience with figures, lots of figures, so many figures until the audience a)can no longer process information, b) forget what the question was and/or c) lose the will to live. Gordon has now added the trick of repeating the same phrases over and over and over and over and over again, it saves thinking of new things to say and he has learnt the key phrases very well indeed; in New Labour Britain, this is known as foreplay.

"Mr Brown ruled out a referendum on the EU treaty and abolishing the remaining grammar schools, and he again said he wanted to "reach out" to supporters and even members of other parties to join his crusade for a better Britain."
We are nearing the formation of a one party state in England which is just what the BBC want.

"By the way, all this reaching-out talk has sparked rumours there are some more Tories being lined up to defect to Labour - perhaps at the start of next week's Conservative party conference."
You think? Gordon Brown will do all that he can to ensure that the "narrative" at the Conservative party conference will be negative - splits, defections and discontent to contrast with the joy abounding at the Labour party conference; the BBC will set the mood music beautifully.

"Then, after a much longer time than anyone had expected, Ms Frostrup brought proceedings to a close with something along the lines of: "I know you could sit here and chat all day, but some of us have jobs to go to.""
Really Mariella, what is your current day job?

"But then, as the sound of scores of chair legs scraping on the floor filled the centre as delegates prepared to exit, she landed a corker.

"So when will the general election be then?" Ms Frostrup asked.

Silence reigned.

"Charming as you are, Mariella, the first person I would have to talk to is the Queen," came the reply.

Oh Gordon, you are awful. And a terrible tease."
Tease, hmmm, fat fraudulent liar more like.

HMV = His Masters Voice

If you want to read a more "pungent" critique of the relationship between the BBC and Gordon Brown shown by the Mariella Frostrup interview then you could take a look at The Devil's Kitchen: The Gobblin' Lothario.

If you have a strong stomach you might even read this earlier article about Gordon Brown's sex appeal to both women and gay men.

The NHS up close - (The shade)

Mr NotaSheep found himself in hospital very recently with a severe allergic reaction. Once pumped full of antihistamines and pain killers what I really wanted to do was to sleep, but sleep on a NHS Acute Observation Ward is not easy to come by. One patient talked to himself all night; "Ow, ow, I wanna go home, go home, I wanna go home" for six hours, he was not a well man but the nurses did nothing, surely a side room could have been found for him. Then there were the nurses who chatted all night about this and that, only occasionally looking in on a patient who needed treatment, I was visited not at all that night, it was Mrs NotaSheep who gave me water and a few bites of an apple. To make sleep harder to come by, the ward lights were left on all night in the male ward (although they were off in the next door female ward - same nurses' station). In the morning after some of the nurses had discussed career paths, spoken to their various family members about the day ahead and chatted to the cleaners, Mr non-stop talk was moved to a proper ward and the lights were turned off, leaving the ward in semi darkness for half an hour before the sun came flooding in. I would have thought that sleep was a good medicine, if so I was denied it during my stay. The staff were generally friendly and competent and out of the half a dozen or so nurses and two doctors I saw, at least one spoke English like a native. The instructions from the East European Doctor re tablet taking were no helped by his inability to cope with English tenses, which made our conversation over when I should take tablets as opposed to when I had taken tablets, slightly surreal.

Overheard homework - (The light)

I was at a client's house yesterday when I overheard his daughter discussing her music homework with a relative. The girl was trying to get a list together of singers who write their own songs and was advised to include Barry Manilow in her list. "Does he write his own songs then?" she asked. How I restrained myself from bursting into song, I do not know:

"I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs"

Interestingly (and I use the word wrongly - thanks Stephen Fry for that line) although Barry Manilow wrote many of his own songs, "I write the songs" was written by Bruce Johnston.

Light and shade

I don't normally do much in the way of personal blogging but the next two items are in that territory; one light, one definitely not.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips has always been part of the New Labour project; he was a close friend of Peter Mandelson, working with him at London Weekend Television and Peter Mandelson was his best man at his wedding. He only joined the Labour Party so as to campaign to be London Mayor but went on to become Chair of the London Assembly. Trevor Phillips was a great champion of Multiculturism, so it upset many of his fellow travellers on the left of British politics when he said in 2004 (extract is from the CRE website link here) that Multiculturalism was born out of a desire to recognise that diversity is a good thing, and to appreciate the many qualities newcomers brought to Britain. But he stressed that today we face new challenges that simply can’t be answered in the old language of race relations: My quarrel is not with those who like diversity. It is with those who want to make a fetish of our historical differences to the point where multiculturalism, as it is practised, becomes ridiculous, or worse still, a dangerous form of benign neglect and exclusion.

This was a strange article to write as it seemed to go against so much of what he had written and said in the past. In 2003 he wrote an article where he said "from Rome, through Constantinople to Venice and London, our (European) nations have a history of peacefully absorbing huge, diverse movements of people, driven by war, famine and persecution; and there is no history of long-term ethnic segregation of the kind one can see in any US city." A statement that any trip to Southall, Brixton, Tower Hamlets or many northern British towns would render negated.

In 2006 Trevor Phillips was appointed head of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, which was to be the great organisation promoting equality issues across the full raft of ethnic, gender, sexual-orientation, disability and other minority interests.

So what was Trevor Phillips thinking when he said at a Labour conference fringe meeting that British history should be rewritten to make it "more inclusive". He said Muslims were also part of the national story and "sometimes we have to go back into the tapestry and insert some threads that were lost". He quoted the example of the Spanish Armada, which was held up by the Turks at the request of Queen Elizabeth I. "It was the Turks who saved us," Mr Phillips told a Labour fringe meeting. You can read more about this here with the usual high level of BBC journalistic critical coverage. Now Mr Phillips studied Chemistry at Imperial College, London and I do not know when he stopped studying history. So here are a few facts to help him with the story of the defeat of the Spanish Armada...

1) There was no Turkey in the 16th century, I think he must be thinking of the Ottoman Empire, except all empires are bad so best to say Turks

2) Maybe Trevor Phillips is thinking of the battles of the early 1570's between the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish, the Spanish defending against the rise of the Islamic Ottoman empire's expansionism. Maybe someone has told him about the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

3) The Ottoman Empire was at war with Spain in the late 16th century as were England but the causes were not the same.

4) Did you notice I said England (above)? That's because there was no Britain in the 16th century, the Kingdom of Great Britain only coming into existence under the 1707 Act of Union. Yes they did share a monarch from 1603 but they were separate countries, a bit like now after devolution...

5) Trevor Phillips theory comes direct from Dr Jerry Brotton, who postulates about a letter sent by Elizabeth 1 "The letter, ordered the ambassador, William Harborne, to incite the Turks to harry the Spanish navy. It was written in the mid-1580s"
Thank you Conservative Party Reptile for helping with this bit, 16th Century wars and politics not being my speciality. "It was actually written in 1584 or 1585, 3 or 4 years before the Armada, and had no impact on Turkish policy, because they were busy at the time in the Balkans."

6) I believe the Spanish Armada along with their Portuguese allies were defeated by an English navy with assistance from some of the Dutch navy, no Ottoman navy were noticed off of the coast of England or Scotland at that time.

Since Trevor Phillips is so concerned with emphasising the relationships between England and the Ottoman Empire, will he also push for the following subjects to be taught at school:

1) The life and times of Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis

2) The campaigns of Admiral Barbarossa

3) The story of Malta and the Ottoman Empire

4) 1683 - When a 140,000 strong Ottoman Empire army arrives at Vienna in June and started to besiege the city. The siege was broken at the Battle of Vienna on September 12 with the arrival of a force of 70,000 Polish, Austrians and Germans under the Polish-Lithuanian king Jan III Sobieski, whose cavalry turns their flank. Considered to be the turning point in the Ottoman Empire's fortunes. Maybe this story wouldn't fit the "narrative" of evil Christian Crusaders and gentle Ottoman's defending their lands that we are encouraged to believe.

5) The story of The Coming Of The Corsairs and how Ottoman corsairs took the number of Europeans enslaved 1530-1780 at 1.25 million.

Laban at Biased BBC has just posted an excellent digest of this story, take a look there.

Burma & Tibet

It is good to see the MSM finally catching up with those of us who have been trying to alert the world to the iniquities of the Burmese military rulers.

Maybe the MSM could also look at another Buddhist country that has been pillaged by a military dictatorship; I refer to Tibet. Somehow I doubt that we shall see much coverage of the terror that followed the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the pages of News International papers.

I just caught the end of the Radio 4 Toady Today programme reporting on events in Burma and heard them wonder if China could get more involved so as to protect the pro-democracy protesters. Two thoughts came to my mind:

1) do the BBC not realise which country it is that has been supporting the Burmese Military Government over recent years. I found this article that really shows naivety "Beijing is traditionally reluctant to speak publicly about the internal affairs of other countries.", reluctant to speak but happy to invade Tibet though. China imports much raw materials from Burma and is also building oil pipelines through Burma to ensure ever more oil can reach China to fuel its plans for world domination economic growth. Also before the BBC praise China and its ability to help Burma, maybe they could broadcast the fact that "Beijing used its veto in the United Nations' Security Council in January to block criticism of Burma's military junta."

2) do the BBC not think that promoting China as a country that could help Burma's pro-democracy demonstrators is rather odd, have the BBC forgotten the Tiananmen Square massacre?

Does anyone else find it ironic that the Labour Government are standing up for the rights of the Burmese people to hold protest marches in Rangoon and Mandalay having previously stopped the British people protesting within one kilometre of Parliament without the advance permission of the Metropolitan police.


Google is a great tool but I wonder if he person who reached my site by googling quran +sheep +sex really found what he was looking for here? I am sure I have use each of those three words in separate articles but I doubt if I could squeeze them into one article.

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Where are the Conservative voters of 2005 now?

I blogged yesterday that there were several strategies that Gordon Brown could follow in order to a) win the coming general election and b) win a European Treaty referendum or avoid holding one. I finished by saying that "The anti-EU Constitution movement needs to galvanise itself and I am afraid that the priority is to support the Conservatives rather than UKIP because UKIP cannot win any seats but splitting the pro-referendum vote between Conservatives and UKIP will give Labour and the Lib Dems more seats than would otherwise be the case."

It would appear that one reason behind the Conservative's poor performance in the opinion polls is that 5% of the electorate (albeit on a small sample) that voted Conservative in 2005 now intend to vote UKIP. The Cameroonie's obsession with moving to the middle ground of British politics and so appeasing the BBC, may have lost them the Euro-sceptic supporters that they also need to win a general election. Of course the BBC having helped to get the most acceptable (to the BBC)of the Conservative candidates elected as Conservative leader can now help to attack him for his being an old Etonian, out of touch with the British public and so on. The same attacks that will be unleashed with even more ferocity on Boris Johnson once he is the official Conservative candidate for London Mayor.

The Labour government and their propaganda wing, the BBC, will do their best to ensure that we are ruled by a Labour government until the day comes when the European project comes to fruition.

Boris Johnson's web site is back

Following my post about the disappearance of Boris Johnson's web site, I hope that you have all followed the links to see what was the cause. This affair has become a bit of a cause celebre in the blogosphere although MSM coverage has been minimal. However, I read that this may be about to change as "Tonight, during the Saryusz-Wolski report "Towards a common European foreign policy on energy" the Euro realist MEP Tom Wise will use parliamentary privilege to spell out the allegations against Alisher Usmanov. He has been talking to Craig Murray to ensure that the allegations are accurate and to the point...Under the rules governing parliamentary privilege, any news organisation can repeat what has been said in the Parliament chamber, allowing the MSM to circumvent the legal threats being thrown about by Usmanov's lawyers Schillings."

We shall see, I still think that Britain's reputation as the best place in the world to sue for libel will still scare off much of the MSM. In addition the Dr Laurence Godfrey vs Demon Internet case which set the worrying precedent for Internet hosting companies has many of them scared rigid that in the future they may be sued for libel by a very wealthy and powerful businessman rather than an hirsute nuclear physicist.

It's generous Gordon, not.

An announcement made at the Labour conference this week was that of giving all service personnel serving six months or more in Afghanistan or Iraq a £140 rebate off of their Council Tax. The BBC report is here.

Of course like most New Labour announcements, the headline is better than the reality. There is no new money being made available so this money will come out of existing funds. The MOD press release boasts a 25 per cent rebate based upon ‘the average Band D Council tax bill’, however the small print shows that they’ve not actually used the Band D figure to calculate the rebate; instead, they’ve used the figure for average council tax. This means, troops living in Band D accommodation are getting £25 less than they should (£140 rather than £165). Also this rebate is of course less than the rebate that the government grants to prisoners, who pay no council tax whilst in prison.

You can read more about the MOD's view of this announcement on Iain Dale.

I am embarrassed, but also a little proud

Iain Dale's Diary: Guide to Blogging 2007: Top 100 Right of Centre Blogs - 90th position - not bad for a relative newbie.

Monday 24 September 2007

New Liebour

Thanks to Theo Spark for this image -

BBC PM programme

17:30 to 17:43 was 13 minutes of Gordon Brown adulation. An excerpt from his speech, quite a lot of the staged applause and then interviews with five or six current Cabinet colleagues about how marvellous Gordon Brown is, how fantastic his speech was etc. etc. etc. Then by way of contrast there was an interview with John Hutton who told us how marvellous Gordon Brown was and how he, a Tony Blair supporter, had been so pleasantly surprised by how marvellous Gordon Brown was. John Hutton also told the ever so gentle interviewer how Gordon Brown would only call a general election if it was in the country's interest and how Gordon Brown's decisive leadership contrasted with the shambles that is the Conservative party. Finally there was "expert" analysis from a BBC political "expert" who told us how marvellous Gordon Brown was and how he didn't think Gordon would call an election soon because he was so trustworthy and didn't want to be seen as cutting and running and so ruining his trustworthiness.

That was thirteen minutes of pro Gordon Brown coverage, do you think we will get the same next week when David Cameron makes his conference speech?

Poor Gordon, poor us (part 4)

I blogged twice in August about Gordon's indecision about calling an election this year. As I said in the second article "I actually hope that he does win because like the 1992 election (but more so) this is the election to lose; when the economy fails the government in charge will be blamed. So don't campaign too hard David Cameron, hold back on you best shots and let Gordon get back in. I so much want to see his face as the economy that he has talked up for so long tips over into recession. The blame for the misery this will cause for millions in this country will have to laid upon Gordon Brown and even the best efforts of the BBC and the rest of the MSM will persuade the public otherwise. The crash will be painful and many will suffer but that is a given anyway (it is all but unavoidable), the important thing is that Gordon Brown and the rest of this sorry government take the blame and the opprobrium of the British public." Since I wrote that article we have had the Northern Rock debacle and Alan Greenspan's exceedingly pessimistic predictions for the UK economy (which the BBC let Gordon Brown skate over so easily yesterday on the Toady programme), so what will Gordon Brown decide to do?

All is not as it seems

You may have seen the Sun newspaper today and its coverage of the EU Treaty with some unkind coverage of Gordon Brown. I believe that this is a smokescreen, the Sun is firmly behind Gordon Brown as it was behind Tony Blair because the Sun backs winners and at the moment Gordon Brown is a winner. Rupert Murdoch has authorised an attack on the one policy of Gordon Brown's that Mr Murdoch cannot stomach and to warn him of what will happen if there is no referendum. My prediction is that one of the following three things will happen:

1) Gordon Brown will announce a referendum on the Treaty but worded as a sign up to the Treaty or Leave the EU choice and then hit the scare stories about exiting the EU as hard and fast as he can

2) Gordon Brown will announce a snap autumn general election and not explicitly promise a referendum in the manifesto and see if Labour can win on that basis. If Labour do win then he can say that the issue was put to the electorate and they voted Labour whose manifesto excluded a referendum (unlike in 2005) so that is that

3) Gordon Brown will hold a referendum on the same day as the general election so as to maximise the turnout and hope that he can convince people of the importance (see above) of voting the Labour way. This would allow Rupert Murdoch to sanction a vote Labour, vote NO the EU line. A Labour election victory and a Yes vote would be the outcome that he hopes for but a Labour victory and a No vote in the referendum would give him time to formulate another plan.

The anti-EU Constitution movement needs to galvanise itself and I am afraid that the priority is to support the Conservatives rather than UKIP because UKIP cannot win any seats but splitting the pro-referendum vote between Conservatives and UKIP will give Labour and the Lib Dems more seats than would otherwise be the case.

Naughty, naughty Blinky

Read this and wonder at the cheek of these people, "snouts in the trough" does not get close.

Naughty and so wet, from the Sunday Telegraph - "When I was 16 or 17, I would have a small glass of wine at lunch on a Sunday, or a shandy or babycham at Christmas". A babycham, I wonder if Gordon Brown shares his ex-Number Two's taste for the babycham?

You Gov Poll and Worcester council seat by-election

I blogged yesterday about the You Gov poll in the Telegraph. The same Telegraph article leaned quite heavily on a council seat by election in Worcester, which Labour won with 17% swing in votes, a huge swing. this seemed a little odd but the explanation is more interesting that much of politics, it appears that Lisa Ventura, the Conservative candidate for this safe seat suffered because of her running of a erotic website,, that included discussions of the merits of various sex toys. The small-mindedness of much of the population of this country never ceases to amaze me. Reading this article, Lisa Ventura's address brought a smile to my face - Beaver Close, Lower Wick, Worcester - you couldn't make that sort of thing up!

Sunday 23 September 2007

BBC continue to mislead over Climate Change (part 2)

The BBC has affected at least one person, This letter from today reads - "Martin Johnson quotes Christopher Booker's view that "the 'global warming' edifice is starting to crumble" (Letters, September 16). In the same edition, you report that the North West Passage is free of ice for the first time since records began (International News). Funny that…"

As I blogged last week "I read on the BBC's web site that "The most direct shipping route from Europe to Asia is fully clear of ice for the first time since records began, the European Space Agency (Esa) says." I was seriously scared until I read further down the article that records didn't begin in 1878 or even 1928 but in 1978. This is typical BBC, a scaremongering headline about "Climate Change" with a few paragraphs of detail to fuel the scare and then put the qualifier where most people wont bother reading to. The BBC may have had to cancel their Planet Relief day but that doesn't mean that they wont keep ramming this sort of cr*p down our collective throats as often as possible."

Well done BBC another victory for brainwashing and "the big lie".

Trust the government - a fine example

I blogged earlier that 53% of those polled did not trust the government to tell the truth over recent "issues". I wasn't going to go back over all of the examples of this government fiddling figures or lying to us but then I considered the matter of unpaid fines.

In March 2002 it was reported that "More than one-third of financial penalties handed down last year went unpaid, says a report from the National Audit Office today. Across the 42 magistrates' court districts in England and Wales, penalties totalling £385 million were imposed but less than two-thirds of this was collected." The report included some examples of how fines came to be unpaid "In Cheshire, between 1996 and August 2000, magistrates imposed eight fines on a man for fraud and various motoring offences. Last year, he still owed £1,100 despite 60 enforcement actions and 26 enforcement hearings against him.

A man fined £80 plus £50 costs for criminal damage in south Durham in 1998 accumulated further fines totalling £500 by the following year. A series of enforcement notices were returned marked "Gone away". Eventually he was arrested in April 2000 and an order made for the money to be deducted from his wages. The fines were eventually paid off in May 2001.

In inner London a man failed to pay £1,000 compensation for damaging a car in a "road rage" incident. Eventually a warrant was issued for his arrest only to find he was already in jail on another offence. Magistrates asked the victim if he would waive the compensation, something he refused to do. Seven years later he is still waiting for his payment.

In 1991 magistrates in Cheshire imposed a fine of £160 and a compensation payment of £1,782 to the victim of a deception. In the intervening 11 years the court has taken 120 actions against the defaulter, including cancelling the fine in 1994. These include summonses, arrest warrants, committal to prison (suspended), changes of instalment plans and attachment of earnings orders. The victim is still waiting for the money to be paid."

In May this year, it was reported that "Almost half the fines imposed on offenders remain unpaid six months after they were handed out by the courts, according to Whitehall's spending watchdog.

In a critical report, the National Audit Office said that in some parts of the country the proportion of fines collected is as low as one in three. Last year alone, magistrates' courts imposed fines totalling £352 million but only £222 million was collected.

Of the remainder, around £75 million of fines were cancelled because they had been set at the wrong level, while the remaining £55 million were unpaid."

This article finished thus "The NAO's conclusions contrast with the Government's claim that the national payment rate for fines has risen from 55 to 80 per cent over the past three years."

In July this year, it was reported that "The amount of uncollected court fines has risen despite a high-profile Government campaign to improve performance.

Ministry of Justice data released today shows £486 million in fines was outstanding at the end of March in England and Wales, up £12 million on the previous year."

So there is a clear problem that a high percentage of fines were not being collected so this glorious Government had to do something and they did... According to a report in today's Telegraph (which I cannot find on-line, please assist...) what the Government have actually done is to write off millions of pounds of fines a year. "Around £50 million of unpaid fines are simply being cancelled or discontinued...The practice has allowed ministers to claim a dramatic rise in the rate at which fines are being paid...As a result, the official proportion of "paid" fines has shot up from around 60 per cent a few years ago to 98 per cent now."

Listen out for Labour claims that the "proportion of paid fines has increased from 60% to 98% and listen out for the complete lack of questioning of the figures by the Main Stream Media.

Now ask yourself this, what other "official" figures are being fiddled?

World Cup Rugby

I have just turned on the Scotland v New Zealand match and am somewhat confused, both teams seem to be wearing the same coloured kit. New Zealand normally wear an all black kit, hence the name "All Blacks" and Scotland generally wear a dark blue kit. Today both teams are wearing black shorts and predominantly grey tops, the only differences appear to be that the All Blacks' kit has a little black on the shirt and the Scots have a little white. This is making watching the rugby rather confusing, except for the fact that the player scoring the try is playing for New Zealand!

Trust the government

There was a fair bit of publicity on Saturday for the latest YouGov opinion poll that appeared in the Daily Telegraph. The headline was the lead that Gordon Brown's Labour party still held despite the Northern Rock debacle. Two things struck me about this poll, first that Labour's figures dropped from 41% to 39% but more intriguing were the answers to the question "thinking about some of the issues that have erupted in recent weeks (such as terrorist threats, floods, foot-and-mouth and Northern Rock) how much do you trust government ministers to tell the truth on such occasions? The replies are interesting to say the least; 5% trust a great deal, 35% trust to some extent, 28% do not trust much, 25% do not trust at all and 6% don't know. Apart from saying that the 6% who don't know shouldn't be allowed out in public (let alone vote), that is 53% who on balance don't trust the government to tell the truth - a ringing endorsement of Gordon Brown!

UK electoral system inherent bias

The Labour party is excessively favoured by the electoral system and here are some figures to explain this - In the 2005 election across the whole UK Labour received 36.2% of the vote but 56.5% of the seats, by way of comparison the Conservatives received 33.2% of the vote and 31.5% of the seats, the Lib Dems figures were 22.7% and 9.9%. In English seats the Conservatives won 35.7% of the vote compared to Labour's 35.5, yet Labour won 286 seats to the Conservatives 194. Fair? Labour's majority in the 2005 election on a reduced vote (compared with 2001) was achieved despite receiving the lowest share of the vote for a "winning" party since 1832. Fair?

Take a look at this, this and this.

Saturday 22 September 2007

Saturday night laughter

Remember Rainbow? Have you seen this piece of video?

Code Provided by Funny Videos

TV trivia

Brindsley Forde guitarist and vocalist with Aswad was previously one of the cast of Here comes the Double Deckers; now that is weird...

Lucky Belgium

Belgium held a General Election on June 10th, since then the political parties have managed not to agree any coalition to govern the country. That's over 100 days without a government; has the economy come to a grinding halt? No. Has anarchy broken out? No.

How long do you think Belgium could cope without a government? How long do you think the UK could cope? Makes you think...

The United Kingdom?

Watch this video

and ask yourself why? The answer is simple Scotland returned 72 MP's to Westminster, way out of proportion to their population, this will be reduced to 59 seats at the next General Election and they used to mainly return Labour MPs.

UPDATE: I stand corrected, I though the reduction to 59 MPs would come in the next election when in fact it started in the 2005 election. THe point about over representation by population in Scotland is therefore no longer as true.

However the Labour party is excessively favoured by the electoral system and here are some figures to explain this - In the 2005 election across the whole UK Labour received 36.2% of the vote but 56.5% of the seats, by way of comparison the Conservatives received 33.2% of the vote and 31.5% of the seats, the Lib Dems figures were 22.7% and 9.9%. In English seats the Conservatives won 35.7% of the vote compared to Labour's 35.5, yet Labour won 286 seats to the Conservatives 194. Fair? Labour's majority in the 2005 election on a reduced vote (compared with 2001) was achieved despite receiving the lowest share of the vote for a "winning" party since 1832. Fair?

Al-dura case

A report coming very soon...

The McCann's

I have not blogged about the Madeleine McCann affair before, I have resisted all temptation as I think that there has been quite enough coverage on every TV station and radio station and every newspaper for the last what seems like six years. Then I read this article in the Daily Telegraph. I can honestly say that this is the biggest load of bollocks that I have read since the last Labour election manifesto and that is no real surprise as the McCann's this week took advantage of the services of Clarence Mitchell, a former BBC News presenter then working as a senior government spin-doctor to become the new voice of the McCanns. Ever since there has been a barrage of pro-McCann propaganda stories in the British press. I do not know what happened to Madeleine McCann and I am not sure if I really care that much. Hundreds of British children go missing each year and yet it is this story that has dominated our media for the last 4 months or so.

So has Clarence Mitchell been earning his, no doubt, substantial corn. Let's look at the afore-mentioned Daily Telegraph article. Apparently "Gerry McCann is convinced his daughter's kidnapper was hiding behind a door in their holiday apartment as he checked on his sleeping children, according to a friend." Why is he suddenly so convinced now? Who is the "friend"?

"The cardiologist saw all three of his offspring – Madeleine, and the twins Sean and Amelie – sleeping peacefully at just after 9pm on the night of her disappearance. But as he turned to leave the ground floor room, he noticed that a door which he thought he had closed earlier was slightly ajar. Agonisingly, he is now sure that standing behind this door was his four-year-old daughter's abductor, waiting to steal her from her bed in the Praia da Luz."
He's sure is he? Not just suspects?

"The friend said Gerry had pondered over the sequence of events that night for four and half painful months. "He believes the abductor came in, opened the door and didn't have time to close it (before Mr McCann arrived)," said the friend."
He's taken four and a half months to come up with this story.

As I say, I don't know what happened that night and I don't know if the McCann's had any involvement in the disappearance of their child; I do know that the stories coming out of the McCann camp now are pure and simple propaganda.

NHS shenanigans

This is one of the most anti-democratic articles that I have read for quite a while on the web. Dr Ray is a consultant radiologist at a hospital in the Welsh borders. He writes that "Yesterday evening I had an insight into the workings of Nulabours "consultation" process on the planned closure of NHS District General Hospitals and replacement with dumbed down polyclinics.

A few weeks ago invitations to attend a public consultation were sent to consultants at our Trust. We were only given one day to reply for the meeting in the near future even though we have to give 6 weeks notice of leave because of "choose and book".

Obviously this meant that most of us could not attend but one consultant did take up the invitation.

The location of the meeting was kept secret until three days before the event and when this consultant was eventually told the location and turned up in Birmingham for the "Citizens Jury" it turned out that medical staff were outnumbered 2:1 by laypeople specifically chosen by an agency to attend the event. The media were present and had obviously been invited to publicise the event.

The delegates were split up into groups and each allocated an electronic voting device. A "minder" was allocated to each group.

Then the stars of the show arrived: Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson and Ara Darzi.

There followed a rapid succession of questions from the podium on which the delegates were asked to vote. The minder was available to suggest the best answer if there was any doubt.

Strangely, almost all the votes were 2:1 in favour of Nulabour's policy. Even the question: "Would you prefer gynaecological surgery to be carried out in your GP practice even if it meant the closure of your DGH facility?" was answered with 2:1 in favour.

Following the "consultation" the medical delegates were told to leave but the other 2/3 of the audience were kept back and each given an envelope. My colleague was intrigued by this and managed to catch one of the "chosen ones" and ask about the contents. Each envelope contained £75 in cash!

So now the consultation is over and the results indicate there is overwhelming public and doctor support for closing down the DGHs. I can only say that the way the voting was done makes the "Blue Peter" voting fraud seem like, well, "Blue Peter".

According to the Downing Street website there are nine more of these "consultations" due around the county. That's an awful lot of people to bribe with taxpayers money, but once they're done the business of closing the DGHs can start in earnest."

Is this true, is this how New Labour will get the results they want from Citizens Juries? Is this what New Labour mean by listening to the people? Do you trust New Labour to actually consult honestly on anything? The sad thing is that I am not really surprised by this story?

From a Biased BBC comments thread:

Many readers of this blog will already be aware of the shenanigans surrounding Gordon Brown's NHS citizen jury in Birmingham (Brown's favourite polling company OLR bussed in "citizens" to support the government's proposals in return for envelopes stuffed with money).

One organisation heavily involved in the promotion of the citizen jury scam is Involve (or "involve" as the logo declares, with lower-case inevitability). Judging by the website this appears to be yet another pro-Labour outfit masquerading as independent.

Involve's director Richard Wilson is an adviser to the Home Office, the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and the BBC. Head of Research & Development is Stella Creasy, a former Labour councillor and adviser to Douglas Alexander. The rest of the staff all have backgrounds in quangos, unions and big government bureaucracy. For example project manager Edward Andersson has worked for The Environment Council ("a UN-affiliated Lobby Group"), a Swedish Trade Union, and has "delivered participatory processes with the BBC", whatever that means.

The board members are more of the same, ranging from the chairman - sorry, chair - Geoff Mulgan, the Labour party strategist who was Head of Policy in No 10, through to Perry Walker of the left wing think tank the New Economics Foundation.

Involve's funding comes from the "progressive" (ie leftie) Joseph Rowntree Trust, but its projects have also been funded by the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Home Office, the Department of Communities and Local Government, the DTI, the Scottish Executive, the OECD and the Food Standards Agency. Oh yes, and the BBC.

All very cosy this use of our taxes and licence fee, isn't it?
Anonanon | 23.09.07 - 1:33 pm | # "

Tim Henman - a British sporting hero

Tim Henman was the best English male tennis player from 1994 until the arrival of Andy Murray, Greg Rusedski in 1997 may be the exception. I remember following tennis in the 1980's and there was very little to cheer other than Annabel Croft's "form". Tim Henman's ATP end of year rankings from 1994 were: 167 95 29 17 7 11 10 9 8 15 6 36 39. During that period he won 11 ATP tournaments, contrary to the "he never won anything" brigade's claims. In the 1980s English tennis players rarely made it the second week at Wimbledon, Tim Henman's Wimbledon record is from 1994 1R 2R QF QF SF SF 4R SF SF QF QF 2R 2R 2R - that's 1996 to 2004 four semi-final losses, four quarter-final losses and just one fourth round loss. You can add to that a French and a US Open semi-final appearance in 2004 and an Olympic silver medal in the men's doubles in 1996. Tim Henman reached the ranking of Number 4 in the world. Tim Henman's serve and volley style was best suited to Wimbledon where he played his best tennis. Two of his four semi-final losses there were to the then world number one, Pete Sampras and another to Lleyton Hewitt, that year the world number one ranked player. He should have beaten Goran Ivanišević in the 2001 semi-final and came within two points of victory before the rain came again and again. In 2003 he took his first and only ATP Masters Series title, winning the Paris Masters against Andrei Pavel. On the way to the final he beat Nikolay Davydenko, Sébastian Grosjean, Gustavo Kuerten, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick and only lost one set in the entire competition.

I get really angry at the insults aimed at Tim Henman for not being angry enough on court and for not winning anything. As I have pointed out above, he won lots and how many tournaments have the overpaid, over hyped English football team won? They seem to make quarter finals and occasional semi finals and yet they are acclaimed as heroes. As to his lack of anger on court, I think he learned his lesson in 1994 when he was disqualified at Wimbledon in 1994 when he hit a ball in a fit of anger during a doubles match, striking a ball girl on the head. The other angle of attack on Time Henman has been his being middle class, an unforgivable offence for many in New Labour Britain. The insults that I have heard aimed at Tim Henman for being a middle class mummies boy would if aimed at a working class footballer have been described as discriminatory. The fun that "The Now Show" have made of Tim Henman and his fans has been nothing short of disgraceful. It seems that in "modern Britain" it is fine to make fun of middle aged, middle class female tennis supporters and to express disgust at their polite queueing and cries of "come on Tim" but at the same time it is not allowed to question too closely the antics of the many shaven headed, thuggish football fans who drunkenly cause more damage every weekend at football matches all over the country.

As Tim Henman wins his last Davis Cup singles match yesterday and today hits the winner, a fabulous cross-court forehand in the doubles against Croatia, thus taking England into the World Group for the first time since 2003 we should salute a great British sporting hero.

President Ahmadinejad of Iran visits New York

The dean of Columbia University's school of International and Public Affairs, Lisa Anderson, invited the Iranian President, Mr Ahmadinejad, to speak at the World Leader's Forum, a year-long program that aims to unite "renowned intellectuals and cultural icons from many nations to examine global challenges and explore cultural perspectives." A staggering thing to do? Well Columbia University has form in the area of inviting representatives of anti-semitic regimes to speak at their University. In 1933 Columbia University invited a representative of the Nazi government in Germany to speak at the University, you can read an article on this visit here. "in 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him. Luther represented "the government of a friendly people," Butler insisted. He was "entitled to be received ... with the greatest courtesy and respect." Ambassador Luther's speech focused on what he characterized as Hitler's peaceful intentions. Students who criticized the Luther invitation were derided as “ill-mannered children” by the director of Columbia’s Institute of Arts and Sciences...Columbia also insisted on maintaining friendly relations with Nazi-controlled German universities. While Williams College terminated its program of student exchanges with Nazi Germany, Columbia and other universities declined to do likewise. Columbia refused to pull out even after a German official candidly asserted that his country’s students were being sent abroad to serve as “political soldiers of the Reich.”

In 1936, the Columbia administration announced it would send a delegate to Nazi Germany to take part in the 550th anniversary celebration of the University of Heidelberg. This, despite the fact that Heidelberg already had been purged of Jewish faculty members, instituted a Nazi curriculum, and hosted a burning of books by Jewish authors. Prof. Arthur Remy, who served as Columbia’s delegate to the Heidelberg event, later remarked that the reception at which chief book-burner Josef Goebbels presided was “very enjoyable.”"

Of course Columbia was not unique in inviting representatives of Nazi Germany to speak at American Universities, Harvard, MIT and Princeton all did likewise. The difference is that these other universities seem to have learnt the lesson of the 1930's whilst Columbia has not. According to Israel’s ambassador, inviting Ahmadinejad to speak is the equivalent of “inviting Hitler to [speak] in the 1930s,” because “appeasing fanatics and granting them legitimacy leads to genocide and war.” Will some future Columbia president one day look back at the invitation to Ahmadinejad and say the same thing? I hope not but fear it may be the case.

It appears that the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, yesterday withdrew the invitation to the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Mr. Bollinger said he canceled Mr. Ahmadinejad's invitation because he couldn't be certain it would "reflect the academic values that are the hallmark of a University event such as our World Leaders Forum." He told Ms. Anderson that Mr. Ahmadinejad could speak at the school of international and public affairs, just not as a part of the university-wide leader's forum. That is something but appeasement was not the answer in the 1930's and I don't believe it is the answer now.

It appears that President Ahmadinejad also asked to visit Ground Zero during his visit and this request provoked the response that he wanted, that is lots of anger that a supporter of terrorism in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and elsewhere and a vehement enemy of the USA wanted to visit the site of the Twin Towers' destruction by Islamic terrorists in 2001.

Rugby World Cup

I missed the World Cup victory in 2003 as I was on an airplane, so I am less than happy at being able to watch England's "performances" this time around. To cheer me and you up, try this rugby related cartoon -

News from the Lebanon

The Lebanon is an unfortunate country, what was once the Paris of the East is in a geographically important position and suffers from having powerful neighbours and a very mixed population. Interestingly the population split in the Lebanon is unknown because they have not held a census since 1932 because of sensitivity/controversy over the religious makeup of the population. It is estimated that the Lebanese population is now about 60% Muslim and 40% Christian. Wikipedia states that "Lebanon is a parliamentary, democratic republic, which implements a special system known as confessionalism. This system, meant to insure that sectarian conflict is kept at bay, attempts to fairly represent the demographic distribution of religious sects in the governing body. As such, high-ranking offices in the government are reserved for members of specific religious groups. The President, for example, has to be a Maronite Catholic Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the Deputy Prime Minister an Orthodox Christian, and the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim. The Lebanese parliament building at the Place de l'ÉtoileThis trend continues in the distribution of the 128 parliamentary seats, which are divided proportionally between Muslims and Christians. Prior to 1990, the ratio stood at 6:5 in favor of Christians; however, the Taif Accord, which put an end to the 1975-1990 civil war, adjusted the ratio to grant equal representation to followers of the two religions. According to the constitution, direct elections must be held for the parliament every four years, although for much of Lebanon’s recent history, civil war precluded the exercise of this right."

Lebanon's main problem is its neighbours, it's Southern neighbour is Israel but its more dangerous neighbour is to the East and North, Syria. Syria has increasingly wanted Lebanon as under its control, as it was prior to independence from France in the 1940's. Syria has been meddling in Lebanon's affairs for many years but recently this has reached serious levels. On February 14 2005 the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut. Syria was accused of carrying out the attack due to rift between Hariri and Damascus over the Syrian-backed constitutional amendment extending pro-Syrian President Lahoud's term in office. The assassination of Hariri marked the beginning of a series of assassination attempts that led to the loss of many prominent Lebanese figures.
The United Nations Security Council unanimously called for an investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri. The findings of this investigation suggested the assassination was carried out by a group with considerable resources, that it had been prepared many months in advance, and that the group had detailed knowledge of Hariri’s movements. This investigation into the Hariri assassination is ongoing and has yet to be concluded. The United Nations Security Council and the Lebanese cabinet have approved a Special Tribunal for Lebanon that would prosecute those responsible for Hariri's death. On February 28 2005, with over 50,000 people demonstrating in Martyrs' Square, Prime Minister Omar Karami and his Cabinet resigned. In response, Hezbollah organized a large counter-demonstration attended by hundreds of thousands of people, supporting Syria and accusing Israel and the United States of meddling in internal Lebanese affairs. On March 14 2005, one month after Hariri's assassination, throngs of people rallied in Martyrs' Square in Lebanon with around 1 million people. Protesters marched demanding the truth about Hariri's murder and independence from Syrian presence in Lebanon. The march reiterated their desire for a sovereign, democratic, and unified country, free of Syria's hegemony.
In the weeks following the demonstrations, bombs were detonated in Christian areas near Beirut. Although the damage was mostly material, these acts threatened to drag Lebanon back into sectarian strife. Eventually, and under pressure from the international community, Syria began withdrawing its 15,000 army from Lebanon. By April 26 2005, all uniformed Syrian soldiers had already crossed the border back to Syria. On April 27 2005, anti-Syrian Lebanese celebrated their first free-from-Syria day. UN forces led by Senegalese Brig. Gen. Mouhamadou Kandji and Lebanese Brig. Gen. Imad Anka were sent to Lebanon to verify the military withdrawal which was mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1559. During the first parliamentary elections held after Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2005, the anti-Syrian coalition of Sunni Muslim, Druze and Christian parties led by Saad Hariri, son of assassinated ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, won a majority of seats in the new Parliament.The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), though not allied with the Rafik Hariri Martyr List during the elections, garnered strong representation in the newly elected Parliament. The political alliances were interesting in that in some areas the anti-Syrian coalition allied with Hezbollah and in others with Amal. They did not win the two-thirds majority required to force the resignation of Syrian-appointed President Lahoud voted for by Rafik Hariri parliamentary bloc, due to the unexpectedly strong showing of formerly exiled General Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement party in Mount Lebanon. Despite being staunchly anti-Syrian during his 15-year exile, upon his return Aoun aligned himself with politicians who were friendly to the Syrians in the past decade: Soleiman Franjieh Jr and Michel Murr. Their alliance dominated the north and the Matn District of Mount Lebanon. Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblatt joined forces with the two staunchly pro-Syrian Shiite movements, Hezbollah and Amal, to secure major wins in the South, Beqaa, as well as the Baabda and Aley districts of Mount Lebanon. This alliance proved temporary. On February 6, 2006 Hezbollah signed an understanding of disarmament with Michel Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement. After the elections, Hariri's Future Movement party, now the country's dominant political force, nominated Fouad Siniora, a former Finance Minister, to be Prime Minister.His newly formed representative government has obtained the vote of confidence from the parliament. On July 18 2005, Lebanon elected a new parliament dominated by an anti-Syrian coalition. This parliament approved a motion to free Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces, who had spent most of the past eleven years in solitary confinement in an underground cell with no access to news. The motion was endorsed by pro-Syrian Lebanese President Émile Lahoud the next day. (The above section quotes liberally from Wikipedia)

What has happened now is that another Christian politician has been killed by a car bomb. Antoine Ghanem, 64, a member of the Right-wing Christian Phalange Party, was killed along with eight other people in the attack in a Christian suburb of Beirut. He was the eighth prominent anti-Syrian figure assassinated since 2005 and the attack came just six days before parliament was scheduled to meet to elect a new president in a deeply divisive vote.

This assassination is aimed at preventing any elections from taking place and at distracting world attention from Syria's weapons programme, a plan that took a severe knock on 6 September - see my article on Syria.

Friday 21 September 2007

Get lost (reprise)

One of my first posts back in May concerned the European Gallileo project. It now appears that "The British Government, along with every other EU state, signed up to the principle of Galileo in 2000 on the basis that it would be co-funded with industry in a public-private partnership. The original plan was for taxpayers to finance for the first four satellites, and industry to pay for two thirds of the costs of the next 26.

The project was allocated €1 billion (about £700 million) in the current EU budget. But the complete withdrawal of funding from commercial companies has left Galileo in urgent need of a further €2.4 billion to stay on schedule for completion by 2012. With just one satellite in orbit, four more need to be launched as soon as possible to get the system back on track.

Britain has found itself powerless to stop the spiralling costs – initially €915 million – because all the main decisions are taken by qualified majority voting and a strong group of countries that believe firmly in grand European projects – including France, Germany, Italy and Spain – have consistently voted in favour."

So now the French have decided to bail out the project with a €2.1 billion raid on the EU farming budget. This would of course break many EU budgetary rules and set an alarming precedent. However, with European prestige and Gallic pride at stake the French government has won the backing of the European Commission to use public money.

How is this possible you may ask? The answer is that all the main decisions are taken by qualified majority voting and a strong group of countries that believe firmly in grand European projects, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, have consistently voted in favour.

Boris Johnson's web site

If you are looking for Boris Johnson's web site today you will not find it. has disappeared. Why? Well the answer is most intriguing and can be found at Iain Dale's Diary: In Support of Tim Ireland and Craig Murray#links#links. Most intriguing and worrying.

UPDATE: This story is all over the blogosphere but not being covered much by the MSM, I wonder why? You can read more and find more links here and here.

The coming General Election

Next week is the Conservative Party Conference, I think that in contrast to their generally favourable coverage of Menzies Cambell's speech and the Liberal Democrat's conference in general the BBC will be covering the Conservative conference rather more critically and especially questioning the leadership of David Cameron and the presence of splits within the party over grammar schools and Europe. The Labour government need a resurgent Liberal Democrat party to reduce Conservative gains in the coming election and the BBC will oblige their masters.

I have a feeling that Gordon Brown may be readying himself to announce a snap election and may do so on the day of David Cameron's conference speech so taking the spotlight away from David Cameron and rousing the spirits of his party. Announcing an election then would also reduce the chances of opposition to his policies being voiced at the Labour conference.

Of course the main reason to call an election now is that the economy is on the edge of disaster and the economic and political climate will not be as positive for a long while.