Thursday, 31 January 2008

An article on Benefit Fruad that I missed

Please take a read of this from the always excellent Burning Our Money. The figures are well know to many of us but the pathetic levels of punishment handed out to anyone who is actually caught defrauding the taxpayer are scandalous.

National Identity Register (aka ID Cards) news

The latest government "thinking" on ID cards has been leaked and you can see it here via Samizdata or here via Guido Fawkes. Guido also has some questions arising.

John Prescott

My how I miss John Prescott, well I don't actually miss him; but I do miss the opportunities he gave us all to laugh at his pomposity, pretentiousness and pathetic lack of ability. Now I read on Dizzy Thinks that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, that key department of state, cost the taxpayer £12,121,559 on travel in the UK between 2002 and 2006. That's on travel IN the UK, so not including his jaunts to sunny climes to advise the world on climate change or how to design an integrated transport policy.

The money wasted by government is disgusting and as this government nears the end of its hold on power you can expect all such costs to rise as they milk the public teat for every last drop.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Torchwood - To the last man

An excellent thought provoking story. However Naoko Mori once again ran the full gamut of emotions without any believability. Weird how Tommy Brockless (Anthony Lewis) looks like Steve Coogan's younger brother. Once again Russell T. Davies had to thrust Captain Jack's bisexuality down our throats, oh well.

Public sector pensions

The Daily Mail reports that "The public sector pension liability is £1,000billion - much higher than ministers have admitted, researchers claimed yesterday.

A report from a Right-wing think-tank found that the Government is using an artificial interest rate which massively underestimates the true cost...

Officially, the Government has pension liabilities of £835billion - but Neil Record of the think-tank said that a more realistic estimate would be £1,071billion. This works out at £43,000 for every family in the country.

He said this will increase the Government deficit to 5.4 per cent of gross domestic product - more than twice the official estimate."

Marvelous, simply f***ing marvelous. I wonder which party the majority of these feather bedded public sector workers are likely to vote for?

Police bias?

An interesting article in The Guardian entitled "Secret report brands Muslim police corrupt - Fury over internal Met study which says Asians need special training". The article reports that "A secret high-level Metropolitan police report has concluded that Muslim officers are more likely to become corrupt than white officers because of their cultural and family backgrounds.
The document, which has been seen by the Guardian, has caused outrage among ethnic minorities within the force, who have labelled it racist and proof that there is a gulf in understanding between the police force and the wider Muslim community. The document was written as an attempt to investigate why complaints of misconduct and corruption against Asian officers are 10 times higher than against their white colleagues.

The main conclusions of the study, commissioned by the Directorate of Professional Standards and written by an Asian detective chief inspector, stated: "Asian officers and in particular Pakistani Muslim officers are under greater pressure from the family, the extended family ... and their community against that of their white colleagues to engage in activity that might lead to misconduct or criminality."
It recommended that Asian officers needed special anti-corruption training and is now being considered by a working party of senior staff.

The report argued that British Pakistanis live in a cash culture in which "assisting your extended family is considered a duty" and in an environment in which large amounts of money are loaned between relatives and friends."

The rest of the article comprises primarily the reporting of a policeman, a MCB spokesman, a representative of the Association of Muslim Officers and one from the chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association saying how unhelpful this was and how it was a sign of bias:

"One Muslim officer with the Met said: "It is like saying black officers are more likely to be muggers. Today it is Muslim officers who are treated as the Uncle Toms. How can they say to the Muslim community 'trust us', when they don't even trust their own Muslim officers."

Ahmanrahman Jafar, vice-chairman of the legal affairs committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said it was shortsighted of the Met to be alienating its Muslim officers at such a sensitive time.

"We've got about 1,000 wrongful anti-terrorist arrests since 9/11 and I believe that if Muslim officers were involved in looking through that intelligence and understanding the context, we would have far greater efficiency in the police force and a far greater prosecution rate," he said. To support its conclusions, the report gives examples of cases in which Pakistani Muslim officers have been accused of corruption and misconduct. According to its critics, the report gives insufficient weight to the motivation of those who made the complaints or issues of institutional racism.

Superintendent Dal Babu, chairman of the Association of Muslim Officers, said the report had racist undertones. "We are gravely concerned about its contents and the message it sends to recruits and potential recruits," he said.

George Rhoden, chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association added. "We have made it clear that we disagreed totally with the conclusions ... the whole thing needs to be researched in a much more comprehensive way.""

I do not know how the report was researched or what detail it contains, but one explanation that the four people quoted and the Guardian have obviously not considered is that "Muslim officers are more likely to become corrupt than white officers because of their cultural and family backgrounds." It is not racist tho state this as fact, if it is a fact. So let's see if it is a fact before decrying the report. I would accept as "fact" if I read that a report had concluded that the majority of football hooligans are white working class males, would that be considered a racist report?

The ARmy Rumour Service (ARRSE)

I am a regular reader of The ARmy Rumour Service (ARRSE) and today stumbled across their "ARRSEpedia" definition of the BBC. You can see the whole entry here.

"Now hideously politicised by Neu Arbeit and its leftie cohorts, and staffed by war heroes and liberators like John Simpson and (formerly) Martin Bell.

These typically like to journey to the most dangerous, smelly places on the planet and then whinge to the MoD when the Army doesn't turn up to save them from the natives with the sharp fruit. They occasionally get slotted, whereupon there is much hand-wringing and inquests as to how the tragedy happened. For happening tragedies read foreign policy... or rather lack of.

The BBC was extremely surprised (the only people who were) and took it quite hard when they were told they are a bias, liberal bunch of pinkos."

I also liked their review of the upcoming BBC beta website, it truly is dire - if you are (un)lucky you can see a preview here.

PMQs 30 Jan 2008

I await Hansard's "definitive" version of what was said in Prime Ministers Questions today, but I could have sworn that Michael Martin (the incredibly pro-Labour Speaker of the House) said something along the lines of "let the Prime Minister answer in his own way". This was when Gordon Brown was singularly failing to answer a straightforward question from David Cameron as to whether Gordon Brown will be allowing Yusuf al-Qaradawi into Britain. Gordon Brown's first reply was "an announcement will be made soon.. we do not expel people from this country other than through proper judicial processes...". David Cameron came back pointing out that "This is not about expelling someone, this guy wants to come to our country... thinks that gay people should be executed and encourages people to turn their bodies into bombs... Does the Prime Minister think that Yusuf al-Qaradawi should be allowed in or not? A simple one, yes or no" Once again Gordon Brown "He is not in our country, the issue is (pause to look at briefing notes), the issue is, the issue is should he (jaw sag and some anguished chewing). Now Speaker Martin interrupts the laughter from the opposition benches at Gordon Brown's inability to answer (or possibly understand) a simple question. "Allow the Prime Minister to answer the question... Order, in his way" Cue laughter from the opposition benches and even a smile from Speaker Martin. When your tame Speaker is laughing at your inability to answer a simple question, even Gordon Brown must realise that he is a laughing stock.

Even the front bench toadies have stopped looking at Gordon Brown with feigned admiration. Harriet Harman tries not to look at him and the sixth former on the other side of him, I think, just looks embarrassed.

The other interesting question came from Vincent Cable. Vincent Cable answered a straightforward question about the economy, negative equity and a return to boom and bust. Gordon Brown's answer contained some strange statistics that just did not ring true; I believe that Gordon Brown may have been comparing (as he so often does) apples and oranges.
"Mortgage repossessions are a fifth of what they were over the last few years over the 1990s" - bad English but his choice of periods is of course comparing a period of artificially credit enhanced boom with that of a period coming out of recession.
"Mortgage rates have averaged 5% when they averaged 11% before 1997" Over what period did interest rates average 11% before 1997? What were interest rates in 1995-1997 for example?
"Avoided any quarter of recession over the last 10 years" I wonder how long he will be able to boast of this?

I also heard Gordon Brown resort to his favourite soundbite "Opportunity for all, not just for some", only the once this week.

Gordon Brown did as he likes to do resort to accusing David Cameron of just using rehearsed lines; the words - pot, kettle and black come to mind.

I have just realised that rather like an England batsman trying to pick Shane Warne's "wrong-un", I can now spot when Gordon Brown is lying - it's quite easy - his mouth is open.

The latest on Lee Jasper

An interesting article in the FT which claims that "A growing number of pundits are wondering why the mainstream press aren't writing much - if anything - about Lee Jasper. The London mayor's race adviser has been subjected to a stream of allegations made by Andrew Gilligan, the investigative reporter, in the Evening Standard.

Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, was fuming to me the other day at how the story was being ignored by papers including the FT.

I did write a news story last night but it was spiked at midnight by one of my editors (mainstream media gatekeepers). You may have already read something similar in the Standard but for those readers outside the capital.

"Police officers have carried out searches of premises in south London as investigations get under way into five separate projects that received public funding from the London Development Agency.

Lee Jasper, senior race adviser to Ken Livingstone, mayor, admitted on Monday that £18,000 of public money was diverted to a private company of which he had been director.

Ethnic Mutual, a project that has received more than £1m in public funding, lent the money to African Caribbean Positive Image Foundation, a group that no longer exists.

But Mr Jasper said the loan had been arranged by Emerson Braithwaite, a fellow director, without his knowledge. The loan was subsequently "reassigned" to Mr Braithwaite personally and he had made arrangements to pay it back.

Mr Jasper said he only became aware of the loan after an investigation by the LDA and the Financial Services Authority. "The loan was not agreed by me, nor was I formally or informally consulted or contacted about it as a director of the company [ACPIF]", he said.

The Met confirmed on Monday night that it was carrying out five investigations involving public funding but it refused to comment on the identity of the organisations or individuals.

The claims have threatened to destabilise Mr Livingstone ahead of May's mayoral elections, where he faces a challenge from Boris Johnson of the Conservatives. An internal inquiry has rejected the claims but a cross-party group of London MPs has called for a separate independent inquiry.""

Don't you just love the banana republic feel that UK politics has now.

Something else to worrry about when flying

This is not a reassuring story to follow last week's 777 crash landing at Heathrow comes this story from the Standard - "The co-pilot of a Heathrow-bound plane was dragged kicking and screaming from the cockpit after suffering a mental breakdown while in control of the flight.

He began yelling and "invoking God" as the Air Canada 767 flew at 37,000 feet over the Atlantic. He was held down by other crew members and a passenger, a member of the Canadian armed forces.

The co-pilot then had restraints fastened to his wrists and ankles and was handcuffed to a seat. The flight from Toronto made an emergency landing in Shannon and the co-pilot, who had been crying and screaming according to witnesses, was taken off the plane.

He was taken by ambulance to a psychiatric ward where he is being treated for a suspected nervous breakdown."

Excellent, just what I need to have in the back of my mind the next time I fly.

BBC public service propaganda

Take a read of this article from The Waendel Journal.

BBC pro-Islam bias

A possible explanation that I may have mentioned before is highlighted again today in this Daily Mail report. It concerns the BBC Arabic Service which will cost £20 million a year to run. The expertise employed by that channel will no doubt feed (and feed on) the anti-Israel sentiments that are as standard at the BBC.

More sleaze related to Ken Livingstone's campaign

This time it relates to Fadhil Bakeer Markar who according to Devils Kitchen and others has abused his position as LSE Students' Union General Secretary again, "this time in support of Red Ken. Signing a letter to the Guardian with not just his own name but also that of the LSE Students' Union. This is an abuse of his position and quite possibly a breach of charity law." The original story along with the text of the letter can be seen at Matthew Sinclair's site.

Gordon has a bounce, a skip in his step

Well Jack Straw said so on the Toady programme this morning at around 08:19 so it must be true.

And incredibly the BBC have an article devoted to repeating this claim.

The BBC once again acting as the propaganda arm of the Labour party.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The BBC finally get off their complacent liberal arses and report some news, but not all

I see on the BBC1 10pm news that the BBC have finally got around to reporting that which I reported on on Saturday - the birth rate amongst immigrants (59% in inner London). The BBC even used the word "immigration" in a non totally positive way.

Mind you the next story about the man who is described as a "violent fanatic" and "head of a terrorist cell" who planned to behead (and film the beheading of) a British Muslim soldier. Oddly the BBC did not report that Parviz Khan was a religious Muslim, as were the other defendants. The BBC web does include this information albeit some way down the story. Take a look at the pictures of Parviz Khan, that mark in the centre of his forehead is there from it rubbing and banging on the floor during the five times a day prayer, it is a sign of religious observance of Islam.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

I see that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi will be "gracing" our shores again soon. It seems that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is in need of medical treatment and would rather be treated in a hospital in a decadent Western country than in a hospital in Riyadh or Cairo or Islamabad. I wonder if we can arrange for him to be treated purely by Jews, homosexuals and other infidels, or even better why don't we tell him to get his treatment in France where he has been receiving treatment previously.

Gordon Brown and democracy (a followup)

I blogged yetserday about the upcoming House of Commons vote on whether MPs will be restricted to 12 days debate on the EU Treaty or whether they will be allowed more. You will not be surprised to learn that as there was a three line whip the motion was passed. Thanks to EU Referendum you can see a list of all the MPs who have no respect for democracy and/or who spinelessly fell in line with the Labour party political line and those who do believe in democracy. The Noes include my MP and here is the complete list of those for whom the word traitor is not too strong:

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, rh Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Vaz, rh Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:
Mark Tami and
Steve McCabe

One contribution that may be of interest came from Sir Nicholas Winterton, who declared: "This motion is misguided and is an abuse of the House. I would normally hesitate to say this, but to my mind this sort of tactic would not have been untypical of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Such a tactic is shameful and an abuse of the House."

Did you notice the BBC TV news cover this story? Of course not and if you read this article you may have worked out why...

Environmental fauxtography

Here is a great article about how the famous photo of polar bears on melting ice near the North Pole is not quite what it seems. Yes, another environmental lie.

Low levels of debt?

Did Alistair Darling just say on the BBC Radio 4 Toady programme - "we have low levels of debt". Strange how that staggering claim wasn't challenged picked up by the BBC interviewer.

"Rather too much off Balance Sheet"

Alastair Darling criticised the big banks for having rather too much debt off balance sheet. Can you think of another body that has a lot of debt off balance sheet?

Tricky question? A clue, think PFI...

Monday, 28 January 2008

Konnie Huq (again)

It appears that I am not alone in posting about the fragrant Ms Huq. Stumbling and Mumbling has written an excellent piece explaining "the adverse effect she's had upon the British economy." It is his contention that "Anything that makes being out of work more pleasant encourages people to linger on benefits. And the sight of Ms Huq on daytime TV has just this effect. Why bother going out to work when you can stay home and look at her?"

Do read the whole post, and the readers' comments are well worth perusing as well - I think a lot of people still remember their Economics A-level.

Gordon Brown and democracy

Tonight at around 10pm the House of Commons will vote on whether MPs will be restricted to 12 days debate on the EU Treaty or whether they will be allowed more. I have blogged before about the sheer lack of respect for democracy that Gordon Brown is showing over this matter "Having reneged on his promise of a referendum, Gordon Brown then promised us that Parliament would have ample time to debate the Treaty so making a referendum unnecessary; 20-25 days was the period that was being promised by the Government. Then we discover that although MPs will be able to debate the Treaty they will be unable to amend even one word of it, not that they were given the Treaty to read before the debate started. Then we learned that the Labour MPs would be under a three line whip to support the Government position, so only the very brave would vote against the Government."

The UK is being sold down the river over this matter and the BBC just ignore it as they see the EU as the good guys as opposed to the US bad boys.

Weird story of the day

The Telegraph's headline "Zoologist's hippo disguise to infiltrate herd" says it all but the pictures at the online page are a real treat. Here's one...

More on Northern Ireland

Two articles that I found most moving were on A Tangled Web recently - take a read of The La Mon atrocity remembered and An insult to the innocent. The first relates the story of "On the 17th February 1978, the IRA set off a bomb at the La Mon House Hotel, near Belfast. On that fateful evening members of the Irish Collie Dog club were holding a dinner dance function at the hotel. The IRA bomb was designed to cause carnage and it succeeded beyond the terrorists wildest dreams. It created a nightmare. A firestorm was created in the small hotel, incinerating 12 people. Those who were not incinerated were shredded with glass and brick."

The second informs us that the Irish Times reports that "Northern Ireland is to have four victims commissioners after the Rev Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness ditched a plan to appoint just one, it was disclosed today. It is understood the sister of an IRA man shot dead by the SAS and the widow of a policeman gunned down in Belfast have been offered posts on a panel which will represent families who lost relatives during 35 years of bloodshed." The sister mentioned is Patricia McBride, the sister of Tony McBride who was shot dead by the SAS in 1982 whilst he was on an active terrorist mission.

A story that received no discernable coverage in the UK

From The Irish News via A Tangled Web comes the news that "Legislation that allows paramilitary groups to decommission weapons without fear of prosecution is to be extended for another year to encourage loyalists to disarm.

Under the Arms Decommissioning Act, weapons, ammunition and explosives can be handed in with impunity until February 20, but the British government is seeking to extend the amnesty period until February 14 next year.

The proposal was debated in the House of Commons yesterday after the House of Lords approved the extension on Tuesday."

Sandmonkey writes

Sandmonkey is worth a regular read, his blog's "about me" runs "Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off."

His piece dated 26 January may be of interest. It is entitled "Gaza lessons and facts".

Here is the beginning of the article, but do go and read the whole article:

"Rules of modern Invasion: In order to effectively invade a country (what do you call the blowing up of borders and the forced entry of hundreds of thousands of foreigners if not an invasion), what you need to do is put the women and children in the front. This way, the people on the border you are trying to get over would be forced to shoot at women and children in order to stop you. And if you are Egyptian considering this as some sort of exaggeration of the situation, one has to wonder what your reaction would've been if the people blowing up our borders and storming in were Israelis: would it still be ok in your books? There is a silver-lining to all of this though: it gives us the blueprint to do what we want and get away with murder. I say we should gather up all of Egypt's poor and march them towards the Saudi borders, cause, u know, they are our arab borthers and their living conditions are better than ours. We will send women and children first, and have them swim over, which the media will give some fancy name for, some Red Sea-Moses-let-my-people-go analogy, "crossing the divide" or " Channeling People Power" or some bullshit like that, and then we can effectively take over Saudi, or at least Jeddah. Yeah, that should work. LIBERATE MECCA!
This was all premeditated: Hamas has been cutting the wall for a month now, preparing for it to come down on the eve of the Palestinian factions conference hosted by Hamas in Syria. This was done in order to maximize the media attention to Khaled Mesh3el and his gang of Syrian-Iranian-backed cronies, thus giving them more of the spotlight than they would've ever received. This is a PR stunt, a Hamas PR stunt to be exact, and as always, the Palestinian people are being used as props and tools, but not only them. The Egyptian Left was used as well. The Muslim Brotherhood had arranged far too quickly a demonstration in downtown Cairo, which they of course invited the leftists over, because, you know, Islamists and socialist Marxists are like two peas in the same ideological pod, right? Right. The MB knew about this, and they were very quick to support Hamas, not because the Palestinians are suffering, but because they really want the Hamas project to work out, you know, them being the first Muslim Brotherhood government in the region. Good on you leftists, you are being used, once again, for the advancements of the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood. Were you always such stupid political whores, or is this just the case of really wanting to matter once again? I am curious. Let me know.
The Palestinians are the Gods of the PR game: No one, and I mean no one, have the ability to manipulate the media like the Palestinian authorities. I mean seriously, mucho respect to y'all. I mean, did you see that picture of Haneiyah having a cabinet meeting lit by candle-light? Or the way the women and children looked like, as they crossed the border as the wall fell down? Or the "People Power" branding they gave the entire thing? Yes, cause I am sure the Palestinian government did not store enough fuel for itself in cases of emergency, or that the fact that the words "People Power" showed up in every fuckin
blog post and news item covering this debacle was merely a telepathic coincidence amongst all the writers the world over. I love it. Gives me the warm fuzzies all over, you know?
The people aren't as hungry or suffering as you all claim: A Palestinian-american friend of mine just came back from visiting his grandparents in Gaza ( just jumped over the fence and back he said, no one is controlling the borders apparently), and he was telling me how the entire "they are hungry people looking for food" headline story is a crock of shit. He laughingly told me that they are buying motorcycles, mattresses and TV's and other such basic survival needs (the media is confirming it if you think I am lying you big morons), and how some of his family members after going to Al Areesh-on the first day of the "people power" event-for vacation mind you, were like "This is Areesh? This sucks! Gaza is better!" and then went back the next day. He also told me that the price of the AK 47 in Gaza has now dropped to a measly 400 JD's. There is apparently too much supply to the demand. Yay for Open Borders!"

More Palestinian fakery

Watch the video here and wonder at the lengths the Palestinian propaganda departments will go to to blacken Israel. The short segment from 6 minutes 50 to 7 minutes 23 may be of interest as it is a story that I was not aware of.

"The most beautiful camel in the world"

From The Arab News comes this story "Fans Condole With Owner Over Celebrity Camel’s Death" - It would appear that "People don’t usually receive condolence messages for the death of animals. But Abdullah ibn Fahaad Al-Fasam Al-Dossari, owner of the most beautiful camel in the world, Mashoufan, received many such messages from camel lovers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries after his camel died last week following a disease.

Mashoufan, which had won first prizes in camel beauty contests for a number of years, was valued at more than SR17 million before its death. Its progeny include 60 male and 40 female camels.

The most beautiful among them include Mashoufa, Zalban, Masruban and Mazaal. Mashoufa won second place in a contest and is likely to get the title of the most beautiful female camel in the world, according to Al-Madinah daily."

More EU related worries

According to Open Europe via EU Referendum "Britain has signed 'blank cheque' to EU as 31 powers under treaty are yet to be negotiated"."

Read the whole story and get depressed...

Another day, another Ken Livingstone linked sleaze story

Apparently "Lee Jasper has admitted that £18,000 of City Hall money was improperly diverted to bail out a private company of which he is a director.

But Ken Livingstone's senior race adviser insisted he had known nothing of the payment. A Scotland Yard inquiry has now begun to determine whether Mr Jasper's denial is true.

The inquiry, into a project known as Ethnic Mutual, is the fifth separate police investigation to be launched into a City Hall project in as many weeks, but is the most dangerous so far for Mr Jasper."

Do read the whole story. Is time running out for Lee Jasper? Perhaps a new prison will need to be opened just to house, Lee Jasper, Peter Hain, Wendy Alexander, Harriet Harman and any other Labour "bigwigs" who will fall foul of the authorities in the next six months.

Even more on EU "democracy"

I blogged yesterday about how "Hans-Gerd Pöttering, the parliament's German president, has complained to the "constitutional affairs committee" that the protesters were clearly intent on "obstructing the procedures of the House". He proposed that he should be able to ban anyone who, in his opinion, was indulging in such "practices", even if they were within the rules. The committee has agreed that he should be given this arbitrary power to suppress dissent..."

Daniel Hannan has written a fine piece in the Telegraph and I would like you to go and read it in full.

Here are some extracts (my emphasis):

"I thought that, after eight years in the European Parliament, nothing could shock me any more. I was wrong.

Yesterday, the President of the Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, asked for, and was granted, arbitrary powers to suspend the rules of the institution in order to disadvantage the tiny number of MEPs who want a referendum on the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty.

I have come to expect hypersensitivity to criticism, flouting of rules, intolerance of dissent, authoritarianism. But nothing had prepared me for such blatancy.

Hans-Gert openly admitted that the behaviour of his Euro-sceptic opponents was within the rules. And he wasn’t asking to change those rules – a procedure that would take time. No, he simply wanted permission to disregard them. Permission was duly granted, by 20 committee votes to 3."

Daniel Hannan continues "The whole business is outrageous. I am almost tempted to compare it to the Nazi Ermächtigungsgesetz – the Enabling Act of 1933 which allowed Hitler to override parliament and the constitution. But I won’t because a) it would be disproportionate and b) it would be terrifically rude to Hans-Gert, who lost his father in the war and who, for all that he is behaving appallingly on this occasion, is a decent man and a democrat."

I am not sure it is disproportionate, this is an affront to democracy and now the precedent has been set, what else could be "verboten" in future? Maybe criticism of the CAP should not be allowed, or comments on the EU accounts not being signed off again, or maybe criticism of the EU's policy on Glbal Warming should not be allowed. Once you start down this road, you cannot control where you end up. The EU is an autocratic system, where the law is subject to the ideology of the ruling faction. No lawbreaking deters them: unaudited budgets, rigged referendums, asymmetrical applications of the rules - everything is justified provided it advances the cause of European integration.

Daniel Hannan continues "Blinded by their resentment of “anti-Europeans”, which is in turn a surrogate for the fear and contempt they feel for their own electorates, they have abandoned any pretence at legality in order to prevent us making our point in the chamber. The very sound of someone calling for a referendum is offensive to their guilty ears...What they really hate, my federalist colleagues, is being reminded of the fact that they all supported referendums until it became clear they would lose them. We are their bad consciences, the ghosts at their feast. To prolong the Macbeth reference a little, the shocking thing about their behaviour is not that they are trying to silence their critics, nor even that they are breaking the rules – after all, they are doing so on a much grander scale by reviving the constitution following two “No” votes. No, the breath-taking aspect of the whole business is that they haven’t troubled to hide the illegality of what they’re doing. They’ve happily put it all on paper...It is now clear that the constitution has no legitimacy. It is becoming clear, too that the European Parliament has lost whatever shreds of legitimacy it might once have had."

I am disgusted at the actions of Hans-Gerd Pöttering and the EU. I am also disgusted, but not surprised, that the BBC has completely ignored this story; I wonder if the money the BBC are receiving from the EU might affect the BBC's reporting of this story.

BBC redress the bias

I have commented previously about the way that the BBC fill their UK Politics home page with pro- Labour stories and ignore the Conservative party as much as possible. I see that today they have a story about the Conservative party as their lead story, you will not be surprised to learn that this story is a negative one "Tory MP Conway faces suspension - A complaint about MP Derek Conway's payments to his son is upheld by the standards committee of MPs.".

Strange how when the story is about a Conservative MP the story is the findings of the supervisory body but when the story concerns a Labour minister then the story is "Johnson denies donor laws broken" or "Hain quits jobs 'to clear name'".

Most peculiar, one could almost believe that the BBC was biased in favour of the Labour party and against the Conservative party.

Deep Cleaning the NHS

A progress report from Dr Rant.

"Quite simply, the ‘deep clean’ team is simply a collection of migrant floor-cleaners, who are mopping hospital floors rather that the local McDonalds. They are not highly trained infection control workers. They are not using state of the art cleaning equipment (Dr Rant does not consider a mop to be ‘state of the art’). And they do not appear to be doing anything more than a routine hospital cleaner would be doing.

Except for the bright yellow tee-shirt, of course.

The problems with hospital acquired infections is that NHS hospitals require far more than a simple mop and bucket. Washing a layer of dirt of a twenty year-old Skoda car will not hide the fact that it has a crap engine...

Telling doctors to remove their ties and watches will make fuck-all difference when patients are practically shitting on each other because of ward over-crowding. Four hour A+E waits force patients onto wards that have not yet been cleaned. And existing cleaners are neither motivated nor encouraged."

Do read the rest of the article.

BBC on Islamism

Andrew Marr's Start the Week covers some interesting territory this morning - the first three might be of most interest:

"The novelist MARTIN AMIS has been the focus of much controversy over his journalism in the aftermath of 9/11. He is not, he declares, Islamophobic, but is instead "Islamismophobic" or anti-Islamist. He explains his views and argues that Western liberals have given in to ‘moral equivalence’ on the issue of terrorism. The Second Plane: September 11: 2001-2007, a collection of essays and short stories, is published by Jonathan Cape.

In the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the lawyer, campaigner and UN Special Rapporteur, ASMA JAHANGIR, warns of the attacks on these rights by nations using the pretext of the 'war against terror.' Recently released from house arrest in Pakistan, she argues that targeting Muslims in anti-terrorism measures is counter-productive and that intolerance cannot be wiped out by intolerant behaviour by governments. Asma Jahangir will be giving an Oxford Amnesty Lecture on Wednesday 30 January and a talk on the subject of human rights at the University of York on Thursday 31 January.

While Europe was stagnating in the Dark Ages, Arabic science experienced a remarkable golden age, particularly during the reign of the Abbasids of Baghdad between the 8th and 11th centuries AD. Physicist JIM AL-KHALILI tells the story of Baghdad’s ‘House of Wisdom’ and the scientific geniuses the academy spawned, who took the philosophy and science of the ancient Greeks and turned it into modern scientific method 800 years before the dawn of the European Renaissance. Professor Jim Al-Khalili is delivering the Michael Faraday Prize Lecture on The House of Wisdom and the Legacy of Arabic Science at the Royal Society on Wednesday 30 January.

400 years after he was born, John Milton would be horrified that we still have a monarchy and a government with arbitrary powers to declare war. Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, QUENTIN SKINNER, re-examines Milton’s theories of human freedom that mark his lesser known republican prose as well as his major poetry. Quentin Skinner is delivering a lecture, John Milton as a Theorist of Liberty, at Christ’s College, Cambridge on Wednesday 30 January. It is part of a series of lectures at Christ’s to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Milton on 9 December 1608."

The BBC and their love for Alex James

How many times a week does "former Blur bass player" Alex James appear on BBC programmes? Is he there to show that the BBC are "hip to the youf"? He's not that articulate and not that good a presenter, so a good fit for the BBC.

A possible explanation of BBC bias on the EU

Take a read of this from EU Referendum, it seems that "The BBC last night faced accusations of pro-Brussels bias as it was revealed that the corporation had taken out £141m in "soft" loans from the European Union." We then get to learn that, "The broadcaster has taken out three separate low interest loans from the EU-backed European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund the expansion of its growing commercial empire. It also emerged that the BBC has received grants from the EU worth £1.4m over the past five years.""

"The EIB has described itself as "an autonomous body set up to finance capital investment furthering European integration by promoting EU policies".

Bob Spink then says he would be putting down a Commons motion condemning the BBC for accepting the cash: "I am concerned that the independence and objectivity of the BBC may have been improperly influenced by funding from the EU," he says.

Needless to say, the BBC denies that it is in any way influenced by the huge amount of cash coming its way, which is about as plausible as those who say Gordon Brown is a Eurosceptic."

Incredible, but it does explain a lot.

Mark Steyn: First, they came for Piglet

Mark Steyn on fine form.

Educational standards

First the Labour government made the GCSE exams easier. Then they made HNDs equivalent to multiple GCSEs so that they could include HND results in the GCSE figures without any explanation of the equivalence. Then they lowered the GCSE pass marks even further. Meanwhile the A'level exams were made easier, so easy that an A grade pass became the norm in many schools. Now this Labour government are to announce that private companies will be allowed to award A'level equivalent exam qualifications. The first three companies are McDonalds, FlyBe and Network Rail. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said that all three firms had been given awarding body status to Level 3 - which is equivalent to A Levels or the specialised diploma and FlyBe has won accreditation to offer qualifications that could theoretically form part of degree - Level 4.

I have many thoughts about the sense in allowing this to happen and what it will do to educational standards in this country. My prime thought this morning was over the way the story was covered by the BBC. The formal announcement will be made later today but Gordon Brown so the coverage was quietly factual and repeated government claims about the reasoning behind it. I was struck by the thought that it would all have been so different if this had been a policy to be announced by Mrs Thatcher back in 1990; then the BBC attack machine would have swung into action.

So the enxt time you go to McDonalds, and I never do, be ready to hear "Would you like 'A' levels with that?"

Power cuts necessitate candles

The Palestinians and the Arab countries are the masters of the power of propaganda, just take a look at the following links for some historical context - here, here and here.

Now you can see that the latest "power cuts" in Gaza have been manipulated. Did you see the photos from Reuters described as being of "Palestinian lawmakers attend a parliament session in candlelight during a power cut in Gaza January 22, 2008. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem". This is one of those photos -

Do you notice something odd about this photo? I'll give you a clue, why are they using candles? Presumably because there is no electricity to power the lights. Now look at the curtains, they are drawn but it is still daylight outside, so why do they need the candles? The answer is they don't, it is just a put up job. You can see more on this matter here.

You can also read about it at The Jerusalem Post in a piece entitled "Palestinian journalists: Hamas staged blackouts" written by "KHALED ABU TOAMEH" that would be a Muslim working as a journalist for an Israeli newspaper, I wonder how many Jews are employed as journalists by newspapers in Muslim countries.

It is rumoured that The Arab News had the same story but I have been unable to find it there.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Gordon "Britishness" Brown

Today I read that Gordon "Britishness" Brown's "campaign to promote British values has been exposed as a sham after it was revealed he personally approved a decision to remove Britannia from the 50p coin.

The patriotic symbol - based on a Roman goddess - will no longer be on any British coin for the first time in more than 300 years, as part of a redesign by the Royal Mint.

An overhaul of all coinage in April, being billed as the most significant change to the currency since decimalisation, will see it replaced with a representation of modern Britain...

When The Mail on Sunday first contacted the Government yesterday to confirm the reform, surprised officials doubted it could have been approved at the top levels of the Treasury.

But after extensive behind-the-scenes consultations, they confirmed that it had indeed been sanctioned - by Gordon Brown as Chancellor, shortly before he entered Downing Street last June."

I do so admire Gordon Brown's for the steadfast way that he has followed Tony Blair's policy of destroying as much of what makes us British as possible.

US primaries coverage

Tonight's BBC 1 news had around 4 minutes on the Democrats - Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton and actually managed as much as 15 seconds on the Republicans - that's balance!

Political cartoons

If you like political cartoons then you might want to take a look here.

I particularly like numbers 40, 34, 33, 32, especially 29, 19, 9, 7, 2 and 1.

EU plans to see our economy blown away

Christopher Booker in today's Sunday Telegraph has an article entitled "EU plans to see our economy blown away". It links two of Christopher Booker's major themes - the EU and the sheer stupidity of relying on wind power.

"It was appropriate that, just as our MPs were voting last week to hand over yet more of the power to run this country in the EU treaty, the EU itself should be unveiling easily the most ambitious example yet of how it uses the powers we have already given away. The proposals for "fighting climate change" announced on Wednesday by an array of EU commissioners make Stalin's Five-Year Plans look like a model of practical politics.

Few might guess, from the two-dimensional reporting of these plans in the media, just what a gamble with Europe's future we are undertaking - spending trillions of pounds for a highly dubious return, at a devastating cost to all our economies.

The targets Britain will be legally committed to reach within 12 years fall under three main headings. Firstly, that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources such as wind (currently 1 per cent). Secondly, that 10 per cent of our transport fuel should be biofuels. Thirdly, that we accept a more draconian version of the "emissions trading scheme" that is already adding up to 12 per cent to our electricity bills.

The most prominent proposal is that which will require Britain to build up to 20,000 more wind turbines, including the 7,000 offshore giants announced by the Government before Christmas. To build two turbines a day, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, is inconceivable. What is also never explained is their astronomic cost.

At £2 million per megawatt of "capacity" (according to the Carbon Trust), the bill for the Government's 33 gigawatts (Gw) would be £66 billion (and even that, as was admitted in a recent parliamentary answer, doesn't include an extra £10 billion needed to connect the turbines to the grid). But the actual output of these turbines, because of the wind's unreliability, would be barely a third of their capacity. The resulting 11Gw could be produced by just seven new "carbon-free" nuclear power stations, at a quarter of the cost.

The EU's plans for "renewables" do not include nuclear energy. Worse, they take no account of the back-up needed for when the wind is not blowing - which would require Britain to have 33Gw of capacity constantly available from conventional power stations.

The same drawbacks apply to the huge increase in onshore turbines, covering thousands of square miles of countryside. They are only made viable by the vast hidden subsidies that wind energy receives, through our electricity bills. These make power from turbines (including the cost of back-up) between two and three times more expensive than that from conventional sources.

This is crazy enough, but the EU's policy on biofuels is even more so. The costs - up to £50 billion by 2020 - would, as the EU's own scientific experts have just advised, "outweigh the benefits". To grow the crops needed to meet the target would require all the farmland the EU currently uses to grow food, at a time when world food prices are soaring. Even Friends of the Earth have called on the EU to abandon its obsession with biofuels. Yet the Commission presses on regardless.

As for the "emissions trading scheme" (a system originating with the Kyoto Protocol, whereby businesses can buy or sell "carbon credits", supposedly to allow market forces to ensure that targets are met), the Commission last week predicted that by 2020 this could be raising £38 billion a year from electricity users. Of this, £6.5 billion a year would be paid by the UK, equating to £260 for every household in the country.

The Commission itself predicts, in recently leaked documents, that this will have major consequences for the EU's economy, and that heavy industries, such as steel, aluminium, chemicals and cement, will have to raise their prices substantially, some by as much as 48 per cent. Yet when it was pointed out that this will put EU industries at a competitive disadvantage, the Commission's only response was to suggest tariffs on imports from countries such as China or America that are not signed up to Kyoto.

It looks like the most expensive economic suicide note in history. But just as alarming is how little this madness has been exposed to informed analysis. It seems, finally, that the price we pay for membership of the EU and the price of our obsession with global warming are about to become very painfully synonymous. And no one seems to have noticed."

I grow weary of the EU but wonder if there is any way to stop it from ruining our lives.

More on EU democracy

From todays Sunday Telegraph comes Christopher Booker's report on the latest way that the EU is clamping down of free speech. "Anyone drawing attention to the lack of democracy in the EU system of government is told that the democracy is vested in the European Parliament. The snag is that the "toy parliament" has no opposition. But on one issue a kind of opposition has lately emerged, in those 50-odd MEPs of various parties who are protesting at how the EU treaty is being railroaded through without referendums.

After last month's demonstration, in which these MEPs held up placards saying "Referendum" in the chamber, they have continued their campaign by various tactics, all within the rules, such as calling for electronic votes rather than a show of hands. This so enrages the authorities that 13 MEPs are now threatened with substantial fines.

Furthermore Hans-Gerd Pöttering, the parliament's German president, has complained to the "constitutional affairs committee" that the protesters were clearly intent on "obstructing the procedures of the House". He proposed that he should be able to ban anyone who, in his opinion, was indulging in such "practices", even if they were within the rules.

The committee has agreed that he should be given this arbitrary power to suppress dissent, supported by Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the Tory MEPs (although seven of his Tory colleagues were among the protesters). It seems any vestiges of parliamentary opposition can now be silenced out of hand. We thus live, as I have said before, in what is in effect a one-party state."

The EU's resemblance to the old USSR is becoming closer by the day, who will fight for our freedoms?

News from The Lebanon

From Yahoo News "BEIRUT, Lebanon - A car bomb Friday killed one of Lebanon's top terrorism investigators who was probing assassinations of prominent anti-Syrian figures and a series of other attacks in recent years. Capt. Wissam Eid, 31, worked for the police intelligence agency which is closely tied to the Western-backed government and had survived two previous assassination attempts. The attack also killed his bodyguard and three passers-by and wounded 37 people, police said."

I wonder who might have wanted Captain Eid dead?

The Politics Show on affirmative action funding in London

A short piece near the end of The Politics Show that followed another piece on affirmative action of Police and Fire recruitment. The presenter asked a question along the lines of "Should we make an allowance for their reporting problems because of their staffing issues?" What? Is that really a good idea? One rule for some, one rule for others?

Also Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wants to target the poor not racial groups. She's on the BBC wavelength "migrants" not "immigrants". She was shocked at the malevolence shown towards Ken Livingstone at a public meeting, she should get out more and meet non-Guardian reading Londoners.

Another day, another piece of Ken Livingstone sleaze

Today's accusation of sleaze comes from The Times who report that "KEN LIVINGSTONE is facing an official investigation for alleged misuse of public funds after giving left-wing campaigners free use of London’s City Hall at a cost of £50,000 to taxpayers.

The London mayor waived the normal hire charges for the building to enable the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) to stage two weekend conferences. He is himself a member of the antinuclear group.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats said this weekend they would be lodging official complaints with the district auditor for misuse of public funds and a “shocking” conflict of interest...

Details of the CND events, billed as the group’s annual meetings, have revived memories of Livingstone’s management of the Greater London Council, which during the 1980s was famed for it links with CND and championed the capital as a “nuclear-free city”.

In a two-day conference last October up to 200 CND delegates took part in plenary sessions in the assembly chamber and enjoyed “live music and drink” in the London Living Room - the building’s top-floor venue which costs £6,268 to hire for a Saturday night.

According to its agenda, the event opened with a “welcome from the mayor”.

Taxpayers funded a similar conference in 2004 set up by Redmond O’Neill, the mayor’s policy director who is also a CND member.

Livingstone has given his permission for antinuclear activists to hold a third two-day event for CND’s 50th birthday next month.

The Sunday Times, however, a spokeswoman for Livingstone said CND would be charged an undisclosed amount.

She would only explain the change by saying it was an “international event”.

Financial records placed on the mayor’s website show that each of the earlier two-day conferences cost the taxpayer £25,000 in weekend opening costs and lost income...

The financial statement shows Livingstone personally “waived” standard hire fees to CND for weekend use of City Hall in September 2004 and October last year.

“The total standard hire charges for the chamber and conference rooms on the 11 and 12 of September [2004] will be £17,860,” one statement reads. “This income will be forgone.” A slightly larger amount was waived in 2007.

The documents also show that the £11,060 joint costs of opening City Hall for the two weekends in 2004 and 2007 were paid for by the mayor’s “international events” budget. The mayor has allowed charities, including the NSPCC and Shelter, to use facilities for receptions without charge. CND is not a registered charity.

According to current rates on the website, commercial users are charged £6,052 to hire just the chamber on a Saturday."

I wonder what tomorrow's story will be?

Is the Lisbon Treaty selling the UK down the river

From a BBC Question Time last year when a heavily outnumbered Peter Hitchens tried to tell it like it is and got some support from Boris Johnson but the usual waffle from Shirley Williams and one of the NuLab droids Peter McNulty.

Tony McNulty and Shirley Williams spew disinformation at an impressive rate. Boris from around 4 minutes makes some excellent predictions that all came true.

How the Soviet Union took over countries - Do you see the EU paralels?

A fascinating interview with ex-KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov in the 1980s explaining how the Soviet Union took over foreign countries other than by force. The YouTube link also has links to the original interview that you may want to watch when you have an hour or so to spare.

The four stages interested me hugely:
Demoralisation takes 15-20 years - enough to educate one generation of the home country

Destabilisation takes 2-5 years - essentials economy, foreign relations and defence

Crisis takes 6 weeks

Period of normalisation may last for ever

Do you see the parallels with the EU here?

First winner of the weekly NotaSheep "No shit, Sherlock" award

From Saturday's Telegraph, in an article entitled "Obama attacks Hillary over Iraq war vote" I spotted this sentence:

"Internal polling conducted by the Obama campaign, however, shows that Mrs Clinton and her husband are vulnerable on questions of honesty."

No shit, Sherlock!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

True or false?

From Disinterring Bad News comes the story that whilst our elected MPs did indeed vote to accept just a 1.9% salary increase; they also voted for "£12 million per year to be pumped into their gold-plated pensions" and for "A clampdown on expenses without receipts being blocked"

Is this true? If so, kudos to the spinning power of our MPs.

It's Saturday night conspiracy theory time

True or a hoax? - Here's the source.

Link this with this report.

(by Chiara De Felice) (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, JANUARY 25 - The immigration from southern Mediterranean countries is growing and in the next ten years it is destined to double: from Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Turkey, between 20 million and 30 million people will migrate, with the authorisation of their countries of origin which consider the exodus abroad an investment, as well as a way to reduce unemployment. This is the warning launched by the EuroMediterranean Centre for Research on Immigration, Carim, financed by the European Commission, which in its latest report focuses on the migratory movements of the southern Mediterranean coast. It is not easy to measure the flow of emigrants, because the data from the countries of origin and from the hosting countries are often very different. In general, the hosting countries do not take into account the temporary immigrants and the illegal ones, who are instead registered by their consulates abroad in order to have a minimum of protection. According to the data gathered in 2007 by the southern Mediterranean countries, there are between 12 and 15 million first generation emigrants coming from the Arab countries, equally divided between Europe and Gulf countries and Libya. Only 10% of the emigrants from Arab countries go up to Northern America and Australia and in general they are those who have at least a university degree, unlike those who move to Europe, who have in average a very low education level. This is due to the different migration policies on the two coasts of the Atlantic Ocean: America tries to attract qualified workers, while Europe tries to limit the flows. The country from where most people emigrate is Morocco, which in 2005 had more then 3 million Moroccan citizens registered at the Moroccan consulates abroad. Egypt, Algeria and Lebanon follow, all of them countries which registered a rapid increase in departures in the past ten years. According to the report, it is easy to forecast that the migratory phenomenon will increase in the next few years, considering that the demand for labour in the Gulf countries and Europe, which needs workers to keep the number of its active population at the same level, remains unchanged. Carim also explains that the attitude of the governments of the southern Mediterranean countries towards the migratory phenomenon has not changed during the years: it keeps being considered an investment, just like exports, to be encouraged for the benefit of the state budget. The emigrants' remittances are in fact one of the main sources of income for many southern countries. But because, according to estimates, remittances are profitable only in the first years when the emigrants are settling down, in order to have a constant income it is needed to ensure an equally constant flow of emigrants. Because of this, countries like Morocco encourage the exodus, despite the fact that, as Carim explains, European governments have been progressively closing the doors to foreign workers. In the picture taken by Carim, Turkey, which has 3 million emigrants, does not fit in and, according to the estimates of the European study, is going to become a country for which emigration will be just a memory. (ANSAmed)."

Who knows what is really going on? One thing I do know, this government will not necessarily tell us the truth.

A story that seems not to be being told...

Apparently there is an "Urgent Manhunt Across Europe for Terror Plotters - Spanish AG: 3 Cell Members May Be on a Mission to Attack Outside of Spain" The story continues "ABC News has learned that the manhunt that began in Spain for suspected terror cell members has now extended to France and other European Union countries. The attorney general in Spain said today that there are three cell members they are urgently searching for and that the missing members could be suicidal terrorists with a mission to attack somewhere outside of Spain.

Investigative sources tell ABC News the cell members are Spanish residents, including both nationals and foreigners. They are believed to have recently traveled to Spain from Waziristan, Pakistan, an area known as a hotbed for al Qaeda training and Taliban resurgence.

The 14 suspected terrorists arrested last weekend in Spain were in the final stages of preparing a suicide attack using multiple bombs, according to sources close to the investigation being conducted by Spanish Central Intelligence (CNI) and the Guardia Civil Islamic Counterterrorist Unit.

The men were of Pakistani, Indian and other ethnic backgrounds. Many appear to be legal residents of Spain, but some of the suspects' legal statuses are still unknown. One of the men arrested, Maroof Ahmaed Mirza, is described as an Imam, a legal resident of Spain and a Pakistani national.

The raids capped what was known as Operation Cantata and took place in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona after authorities established the readiness of the group based on intercepts and informant information, sources told

Seven searches were conducted, including searches of two mosques, according to police reports. Investigators seized four timers, described as "mechanical clocks without numbered spheres," various empty pyrotechnic cartridges, multi-colored wires, latex gloves, kitchen gloves, severe batteries of varying voltages, cables used for detonators and other various materials, according to an inventory of the searches."

Oh whoopy do...

What no tribute?

I see that The founder of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), George Habash, has died, so far there is no Have Your Say "tribute" on the BBC, but the night is young...

BBC at it again...

Once again I have been looking at the BBC's Politics home page and once again the bias is obvious.

The top story is: "No more resignations, says Browne - No more senior Labour figures will quit over the donations row, according to Defence Secretary Des Browne."

That's covering a Labour sleaze story by spinning it to a story that that is reporting an end to the resignations - how convenient for Harriet Harman.

Story two is: "FSA 'failed over Northern Rock' - The Financial Services Authority failed in its duty over the Northern Rock crisis, a key committee of MPs says."

That's covering a news story with negative links to Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling by covering jus the report by the Labour dominated Treasury Committee.

Story three is: "Straw in talks over bail murder - Justice Secretary Jack Straw is meeting the family of Garry Newlove, murdered by a youth who was out on bail."

A nice positive story about a Labour minister.

Let's look at the "OTHER TOP STORIES":
"'Double standard' on data safety" - An article critical of HM Revenue and Customs (see my article for comment

"Cut the soundbites, Cameron told" - An article repeating criticism of David Cameron made by Ken Clarke

"Number 10 rejects Karzai claims" - An article repudiating criticism or British troops

"Brown global bank reform call" - A pro Gordon Brown article

"Teachers to ballot on pay strike" - A story about a public sector union fighting government pay controls

"MP Malik on wedding countdown" - "Britain's first Muslim minister has announced he is to marry the "woman of his dreams" on 10 February. Shahid Malik, 40, and his bride-to-be - a 24-year-old trainee solicitor - will marry in a Muslim ceremony in London in front of around 500 guests." - Is this really the ninth most important UK political story? Or is it there because it is pro a Muslim Labour MP?

The only mention of Peter Hain is "PETER HAIN RESIGNS - Peter Hain profile" - No criticism just a profile.

Then come the minor stories:
"Lib Dem fears on Murphy's return" - Finally an anti-Labour story, but it is about Wales so who outside of Wales will read it?

"Full text: Hain and Brown letters" - Just the text, no comment

"Reaction: Peter Hain resignation" - Carefully balanced, can't have too much criticism of Peter Hain and certainly not of Gordon Brown

"Murphy back as Welsh Secretary" - Positive story about new Labour minister

"Purnell heads reshuffle changes" - Positive story about new Labour minister

"Timeline: Hain funding row" - Finally some of the Hain case facts

I should go on and analyse the "MORE FROM POLITICS" section, but Mrs NotaSheep is calling me and I think the stories speak for themselves:

"MPs choose sub-inflation pay rise

Darling revises capital gains tax

Terror detention plans unveiled

Livingstone defends mayor power

Salmond pledges job loss support

PR rejected for general elections

Galloway plans Assembly bid

Mayor Livingstone defends staff

Council tax 'set to rise by 4%'

WMD dossier 'should be public'

Millions lost in NHS private fees

Brown appoints new chief of staff

Expenses details 'to be published'

Champion free trade - Cameron

Point-by-point: Question time

Labels 'key to tackling obesity'"

The BBC bias shines through as always.

Ken Livingstone - "Does he care about you"

From 18 Doughty Street last year...

Thanks Iain Dale for the reminder.

Why do the "left" have the best music?

Why do the "left" have the best music? This is a question that I have been pondering again recently as I have started re-listening to my Gil Scott Heron CDs. I doubt that many of you know of the great man, so here are a few videos that may explain my admiration of the man.

The track that got me into Gil Scott Heron was B-Movie which I heard way back in 1981/1982, I can't find the version that I love, but here is a slightly rambling version

and here are the original version's lyrics from the Reflections album:

"Well, the first thing I want to say is…”Mandate my ass!”

Because it seems as though we've been convinced that 26% of the registered voters, not even 26% of the American people, but 26% of the registered voters form a mandate – or a landslide. 21% voted for Skippy and 3, 4% voted for somebody else who might have been running.

But, oh yeah, I remember. In this year that we have now declared the year from Shogun to Reagan, I remember what I said about Reagan…meant it. Acted like an actor…Hollyweird. Acted like a liberal. Acted like General Franco when he acted like governor of California, then he acted like a republican. Then he acted like somebody was going to vote for him for president. And now we act like 26% of the registered voters is actually a mandate. We're all actors in this I suppose.

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune…the consumer has got to dance. That's the way it is. We used to be a producer – very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources we'll control your world. This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now. They don't know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan. They don't know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy - of nuclear nightmare diplomacy. John Foster Dulles ain't nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can – even if it's only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse - or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B” movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a “B” movie.

Come with us back to those inglorious days when heroes weren't zeros. Before fair was square. When the cavalry came straight away and all-American men were like Hemingway to the days of the wondrous “B” movie. The producer underwritten by all the millionaires necessary will be Casper “The Defensive” Weinberger – no more animated choice is available. The director will be Attila the Haig, running around frantically declaring himself in control and in charge. The ultimate realization of the inmates taking over at the asylum. The screenplay will be adapted from the book called “Voodoo Economics” by George “Papa Doc” Bush. Music by the “Village People” the very military "Macho Man."

“Macho, macho man!”
“ Two-three-four.”
“ He likes to be – well, you get the point.”
“Huuut! Your left! Your left! Your left…right, left, right, left, right…!”

A theme song for saber-rallying and selling wars door-to-door. Remember, we're looking for the closest thing we can find to John Wayne. Clichés abound like kangaroos – courtesy of some spaced out Marlin Perkins, a Reagan contemporary. Clichés like, “itchy trigger finger” and “tall in the saddle” and “riding off or on into the sunset.” Clichés like, “Get off of my planet by sundown!” More so than clichés like, “he died with his boots on.” Marine tough the man is. Bogart tough the man is. Cagney tough the man is. Hollywood tough the man is. Cheap stick tough. And Bonzo's substantial. The ultimate in synthetic selling: A Madison Avenue masterpiece – a miracle – a cotton-candy politician…Presto! Macho!

“Macho, macho man!”

Put your orders in America. And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the nukes - cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia - remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget. All of a sudden, the man who called for a blood bath on our college campuses is supposed to be Dudley “God-damn” Do-Right?

“You go give them liberals hell Ronnie.” That was the mandate. To the new “Captain Bly” on the new ship of fools. It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past - as a liberal democrat – as the head of the Studio Actor's Guild. When other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy – Ron stood tall. It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly. From liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol…born again. Civil rights, women's rights, gay rights…it's all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it…first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that's what we want…the good ol' days…when we gave'em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white – and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press. And were reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was – Crow.

Lon Chaney, our man of a thousand faces - no match for Ron. Doug Henning does the make-up - special effects from Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue. Transportation furnished by the David Rockefeller of Remote Control Company. Their slogan is, “Why wait for 1984? You can panic now...and avoid the rush.”

So much for the good news…

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here's a look at the closing numbers – racism's up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot - the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce – and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we're starring in a “B” movie. And we would rather had John Wayne…we would rather had John Wayne.

"You don't need to be in no hurry.
You ain't never really got to worry.
And you don't need to check on how you feel.
Just keep repeating that none of this is real.
And if you're sensing, that something's wrong,
Well just remember, that it won't be too long
Before the director cuts the scene…yea."

“This ain't really your life,
Ain't really your life,
Ain't really ain't nothing but a movie.”

[Refrain repeated about 25 times or more in an apocalyptic crescendo with a military cadence.]

“This ain't really your life,
Ain't really your life,
Ain't really ain't nothing but a movie.” "

Here are a couple more of Gil Scott Heron's best tracks:

"The Revolution will not be televised"

"Lady Day & John Coltrane"

Now I was a huge fan of the Apollo space programme but I do like this track - "Whitey on the moon"

"The Bottle"

"Bluesology" and more...

It looks as though I may never get the chance to see Gil Scott Heron live in concert in London as he has spent the last few years in and out of American jail.

Democracy Gordon Brown style

Gordon Brown is as fundamentally dishonest as Tony Blair was and his behaviour over the EU Treaty is nothing short of disgusting. Gordon Brown was part of the team that wrote the last Labour manifesto, you remember the one that promised a referendum on the EU Constitution. Yes I do realise that that was only promised to draw any advantage that might accrue to the Conservatives if they promised a referendum. Then Gordon Brown reneged on this promise by claiming that the Treaty was not the same as the Constitution. He and other Labour politicians love to quote Angela Merkel when she said that the Constitutional process had been abandoned. It has, but that does not matter a bean as all that was abandoned was the process of rep;lacing all the existing European Treaties with a new Constitution. This process has been replaced with a new amending treaty that moves us to the same place as we would have been with the Constitution but by amending the existing treaties instead. As Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the abandoned European Constitution, admitted
"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 made clear that the purpose of the rewritten Treaty was to make people think the new version did not merit being put to the people in referendums. "Above all, it is to avoid having referendums thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed," he added. An Angela Merkel quote that the Labour liars refer to less often comes from her speech in June 2007 to the European Parliament and runs "The substance of the Constitution is preserved, that is a fact".

I previously blogged that I found myself in agreement with Tony Benn over the matter of Parliament having no right to relinquish the powers of the country to an external unelected and unaccountable power. Now I find myself in agreement with Tony Benn as he expresses them in this video...

What I find interesting in this video is quite how smug and self-assured Ed Miliband is, he makes David Miliabnd look almost human. It is also quite clear that Ed Miliband has not read the Lisbon Treaty. Hilary Benn states that "... it was very different in character... it was, that's my view and we live in a democracy. OK" Sunday lunch at the Benn family house must be fun.

Having reneged on his promise of a referendum, Gordon Brown then promised us that Parliament would have ample time to debate the Treaty so making a referendum unnecessary; 20-25 days was the period that was being promised by the Government. Then we discover that although MPs will be able to debate the Treaty they will be unable to amend even one word of it, not that they were given the Treaty to read before the debate started. Then we learned that the Labour MPs would be under a three line whip to support the Government postiion, so only the very brave would vote against the Government. Now we learn that "Gordon Brown has caused anger among MPs by trying to cut in half the amount of time Parliament will have to debate the EU Reform Treaty...they have caused more dissent by telling MPs to expect just 12 days of Commons time for detailed discussion. Equally controversial is a decision to give a specific theme to each day's debate, with the topics chosen by ministers. Labour MPs said this was an attempt to "swerve" round sensitive issues....The Bill to ratify the treaty was granted a second reading on Monday after Speaker Michael Martin refused to call a rebel Labour amendment demanding a referendum. Despite this, 19 Labour MPs still voted against. To vote against a Bill at second reading is described by the whips as a "hanging offence". An official close to talks on the Bill said ministers had at no time promised any set number of days for debate. He said ministers were being "very generous".

Ed Miliband's promise of a "vigorous debate" looks like bullshit to me.

Is the word "traitor" too strong to be applied to Gordon Brown, David Miliband et al?

One rule for us...

It would appear that whilst us mere mortals are encouraged to file our tax returns on-line this year and indeed for the tax year 2007/2008 must do so or face a fine; "Thousands of "high profile" people have been secretly barred from using the online tax return system amid concerns that their confidential details would be put at risk.". So whilst the Labour Government will continue to treat the general public's personal data with the casual disregard that has become so clear in recent months, "high profile people" such as celebrities and MPs will be treated rather more carefully.

HM Revenue and Customs explained the situation thus "HMRC online services are designed with security as an integral part of the service. We use leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard data and operate strict security standards. A tiny minority of individuals' records, including MPs, have extra security measures over and above the very high standards of confidentiality with which HMRC treats all taxpayers' data. The separate arrangements mean they are unable to use the online service." So MPs' records are given a higher degree of security protection than us mere voters. This country's descent into banana republic status continues apace. How long before there are separate car lanes for the politicians? Actually they will probably just convert the Olympic lanes into Peoples Parliament lanes after the 2012 Olympics.

Why the repetition BBC?

A strange piece on the BBC Radio 4 1pm news today. The item on the latest Northern Rock developments had a curious emphasis, at least three times The Treasury committee was described as an all party committee. Why the emphasis? Does the BBC think we wouldn't trust a report by their government? My bet is that they want to insinuate that the view is an all party view in equal proportions, of course this is not the case. The Treasury committee currently has seven Labour MPs on it (including the ever competent Sion Simon), four Conservative MPs and two Liberal Democrats - so a built in Labour majority. I await any minority opinion to emerge.

No comment just facts

From National Statistics - Review of the Registrar General on births and patterns of family building in England and Wales, 2006 comes many interesting facts. This one is on pages 48 to 50 and concerns the percentage of live births to mothers from outside of the United Kingdom. Whilst the average for England and Wales is 22% of live births to mothers born outside of the UK, the average in Manchester is 38%, Leiscester 41%, Birmingham 36%, Luton 48%, Cambridge 41%, Watford 36%, Forest Heath 50%, London as a whole 53% - split 59% for inner London and 48% for outer London, Reading 36%, Slough 53%, Oxford 42% and Crawley 31% These cities and towns are in the geographical order used in the report and I have only picked out the ones with an average of more than 30%. Looking at London in more detail, then the following boroughs have a live birth percentage to mothers born outside of the UK of More than 50% - Camden 62%, City of London 57%, Hackney 56%,HAmmersmith and Fulham 55%, Harringey 61%, Kensington and Chelsea 68%, Newham 74%, Tower Hamlets 68%, City of Westminster 70%, Brent 71%, EAling 63% and Harrow 61%.

Friday, 25 January 2008

The man is a geek... but he has good maths!

This story from Reuters entitled "It's official: mail is slow as snails" amused me today. Apparently "WARSAW (Reuters) - It's official. Postal delivery is as slow as snails, at least in Poland.

An IT worker, after receiving a letter on January 3 that was sent on December 20 as priority mail, calculated that a snail would have made it even faster to his home than the letter.

Daily Gazeta Wyborcza said Michal Szybalski calculated that it took 294 hours for the letter to arrive at his home. He also said the distance between his home and the sender was 11.1 kilometers.

Given the distance and the time, the speed of the letter was 0.03775 kilometers per hour. Szybalski calculated that a garden snail travels at around 0.048 kilometers per hour."

Nicely calculated Mr Szbalski...

Israel and Palestine

Watch this clip and as well as thinking about what Azzam Al-Tamimi says about Hamas and Israel, also think on this - if Azzam Al-Tamimi says that "Where did your father come from? ... Never, I will never recognize that you have a right..." how is that different from racists in the UK who say (or rather can no longer say) things along the line of "you may live here, you may have been born here but where did your parents come from? They were foreign, so you are foreign, go home foreigner"?