Friday, 29 February 2008

"Just campaign rhetoric"

It seems that you can rely on Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton's word when electioneering about as much as you can on Gordon Brown's in a manifesto...

Hilary and Barack

So which do you think is funnier? Funny? What do you mean that Hilary doesn't seem to be a funny lady?

"It'll come back to haunt you"

Remember this electoral campaign?

Harriet Harman - Hilary Clinton, usual women's solidarity reasons

Hilary Benn - Waffle, waffle, waffle - sounding worryingly like his dad

Alan Johnson - Republican candidates look pretty gruesome, would prefer Al Gore

Peter Hain - Hilary Clinton but would prefer a Democrat to a Republican - Doesn't his face colour clash with the purple background

Hazel Blears - Ignored the question and waffled

Jon Cruddas - Barack Obama

If Barack Obama does get the nomination, how will Harriet Harman react? She will probably claim she always wanted him to win.

It's 3am...

For one dreadful moment I thought they were going to show us Hilary and Bill in bed together at 3am, and then I realised that nobody would buy that!

DNA sampling

I read on the BBC News website that "Men using brothels and massage parlours should be made to give DNA samples in an effort to reduce the number of prostitute murders, an MP has said." That MP was ex-Labour minister Denis MacShane.

Now, leaving aside the rights and wrongs of collecting DNA from the general population and indeed the rights and wrongs of men visiting brothels and massage parlours; don't most men that visit such places already leave a deposit of DNA somewhere on the premises during their visit?

Sorry was that too tasteless a gag? Hold on, I could go double entendre nuts at this point, so I think I will end this post.....

Something to watch out for on May 9

On May 9 expect to see the EU flag flying above Number 10 Downing Street. 9 May is Europe Day, the day set-up to commemorate the presentation of the "Schuman declaration" in 1950. Apparently Number 11 applied to Westminster City Council for “consent to fly the European flag on May 9 2006”. Legislation passed in 2007 means that the EU flag now has the same status as the Union flag, the Cross of St George, the Saltire etc. as a "national flag" and as such Gordon Brown will not need to apply for permission to fly the EU flag over Downing Street this year. With the Lisbon Treaty being railroaded through the House of Commons under a three-line whip and time restrictions, the Treaty should have completed its passage to the Royal Assent by May. What finer way to show who are the true rulers of the UK than to fly the EU flag over Downing Street on 9 May.

Transport for London has been nicking ideas from Constable Savage, what next?

"Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing"

I see that TfL have introduced yellow-box style markings at 10 London Underground stations to stop passengers crowding around train doors. Now the boxes are in place, how long before fines are introduced for people standing in these yellow-boxes? These fines will no doubt be enforced via the on-platform CCTV system and I presume fines could be taken by deducting the amount from the perpetrator's Oyster Card balance.

Planning, not the strong point of "a seed"

A heartwarming story on the BBC website about the problems Mark Boyle faced recently during his walk from Bristol to India. It started well, "he was given two free dinners on his first evening away in Glastonbury. Later, he was joined in Dover by two companions, and the three managed to get to Calais." One assume that they didn't walk across the Channel or stowaway but we'll let that pass. Unfortunately for some reason the French thought that Mr Boyle who set out on his journey "with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals (and) hoped to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging." might have been "free-loading or an asylum seeker". I don't think that Mr Boyle was helped by the fact that neither he or his colleagues spoke any French.

Mr Boyle is a member of The Freeconomy Community whose philosophy includes the following "It's about making the transition from a money-based communityless society to a community-based moneyless society.
It's about helping others and providing an opportunity for others to help you.
It's about sharing the skills you have learnt through your life and learning those you haven't.
It's about sharing your tools so you all can have access to all the tools under the sun without it costing the earth.
It's about using any free space you have to either benefit positive, ethical and local projects, or to enable volunteers to keep doing their amazing work for free.
It's about sharing the land you don't need in order to facilitate a local food community."

I particularly enjoyed this piece of magic prose "Right now freeconomies are the minority. This is unimportant. Soon they will be the overwhelming majority. Each one of us is a seed. The regenerative power of one seed cannot be underestimated. A forest can grow from the germination of a single seed, and similarly one simple act of generosity can give life to an infinite number of others."

A world where such "seeds" would be in the majority would scare the hell out of me were it not be for the fact that people this naive are unlikely to achieve world domination.

Mr Boyle has a plan to prevent this from happening on his next attempt; "He now plans to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year."

Who wants to be the first to tell him that France doesn't have a border with India and so he may need to learn some other languages. Maybe Mr Boyle should purchase a map, or obtain one in a Freeconomy approved way, and see what other countries lie on his route from Calais to India. Then maybe he could see what languages they speak in these countries and plan accordingly.

"Lisbon to Karlsruhe: EU Constitution Must Take the German Court Hurdle"

I blogged earlier this month about President Sarkozy's revelation that "In order to convince all our partners to accept this new simplified treaty which we were proposing and which was no longer a constitution we had to promise to ratify it in parliament if we reached an agreement. If the condition had not been fulfilled, no agreement would have been possible." Brussels Journal has a well written piece on how the Germans may come to our rescue over the Lisbon Treaty. It won't happen, of course, as this is a done deal; but one can dream...

Bless them... (Web reaction)

Bishop Hill has some good background information on the BBC links to E-Day. Well worth a read.

Spot what the BBC still don't include in their report

Back in January, I blogged about the BBC's odd reporting of the murder of 16 year old Henry Webster. The accused were found guilty recently and the BBC reported this whilst still managing to miss out the same salient fact that they missed when reporting the trial in January. The Guardian have less reticence in pointing out that the attackers were "a gang of Asian males, from Swindon, (who) travelled to Wroughton for the fight, which had been co-ordinated through a sequence of phone calls and text messages.". The Guardian also inform us that "Khan and Qazi blamed each other for the attacks during more than four weeks' evidence. Khan also claimed that he was under pressure from his local Asian community not to name the teenager responsible."

The BBC's limitless protection of some minority communities will in the end prove to have not been a help to community cohesion in this Country but a barrier. When that time comes, I hope those at the BBC responsible for bowdlerising the news will be held accountable.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Or am I wrong?

Reading the Telegraph sports section today, something jumped out at me. In an article on pages 8 & 9, Lancashire chief executive Jim Cumbes is quoted as saying that "There are already eight Test match grounds and the Rose Bowl has ambitions to be the ninth".

Eight? I make it seven - Lords, The Oval, Old Trafford, Headingly, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and Riverside (Durham's ground). I presume he is not including Bramall Lane, Sheffield which hosted one test match in 1902, so what is his eighth ground?

I wouldn't put it past this Government

From Rachel from North London's blog a worrying story of a possible way this Labour Government might be trying to fix the inquests into the 7/7 London bombings, should the inquests actually ever happen. Nothing would surprise me about the shower that we are ruled by.

Bless them... 9pm update

A rather sad little footnote has appeared at the bottom of the E-Day.

"E-Day did not succeed in cutting the UK's electricity demand. The drop in temperature between Wed 27 Feb and Thurs 28 Feb days probably caused this, as a result of more lights and heating being left on than were originally predicted. The National Grid refined their assessments, based on actual weather data, during Thursday afternoon but I am afraid that E-Day did not achieve the scale of public awareness or participation needed to have a measurable effect. I will do my best to learn the relevant lessons for next time. Thank you to everyone who helped me or left something off specially as their contribution to E-Day, and this Leave It Off experiment. Please enjoy E-Day's solution, video and science sections which all worked well. Warmest regards, Matt"

The BBC seem to have neglected to update their coverage at all.


I have a confession, Mrs NotaSheep is a keen cook and got me into watching MasterChef this year. I am hooked and whilst she is out tonight, I am sitting enthralled. I expect James to win, his technical skills are incredible. Emily is creatively brilliant and visionary, especially as she is just 18. Jonny is a great cook but maybe not as exceptional as the other two. If Jonny won it would be a travesty, I would be pleased if Emily won but I still expect James to walk away with the prize.

If I was setting up a restaurant I would happily hire any of these three. The type of restaurant would decide who I tried to employ but all of these three should have a good career ahead of them.

Not too much of a surprise, James won and well deserved.

Even if you don't like great food or watching cookery programmes I think this final is worth watching on iPlayer.

Bless them... (6pm update)

As we near 6pm, the excitement is almost tangible. Will Dr Prescott prove to be as big a success with E-Day as his namesake was with just about everything? Has Dr Prescott got a better right jab than John? Can he play a better round of croquet?

Less than a minute to go now...

Well World Clock says it's 6pm but for some reason the E-Day counter keeps running. Maybe the counter is just behind real-time, although was there a delay at 6pm yesterday when it started? Maybe I'm being too scientific, maybe I should learn to feel more than think, my empathy levels must be reduced - probably the fault of "climate change".

The graphs are almost complete, this is very exciting; we could be near the end of the first E-Day.....

The final results:

Normal day - 1,042,714MWh
E-Day - 1,043,324MWh

All that hard work and 0.1% more electricity has been used.

Now how will Dr Prescott and the BBC spin this one?

Take a look at E-Day's thank you page, it quite brings a tear to my eye; all that hard work ending in failure.

Some of those credits were of interest to the BBC observer:
"Jon Plowman
Nothing would have been possible without Jon Plowman's vision, determination and courage. Jon did his best for Planet Relief within the BBC and stuck by me after his baby was cancelled. Thank you Jon!

BBC Comedy
Jon’s team in BBC Comedy, Justin Davies and Julia Cottrell, were also wonderful to work with and made my time with them fantastically productive and enjoyable."

Now I believe Jon Plowman left the BBC last summer, are the other two still employed by the BBC? Are licence payers paying people to work on "son of Planet Relief"?

Other credits that tickled my fancy were:

"Dave Waters
Dave Waters was also the person who suggested that Energy Saving Day should be abbreviated to E-Day"

The man's a genius, wow how did he come up with that abbreviation?

Paul Chambers and Bryony Worthington were extremely helpful and reliable facilitators within the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). In particular, I am grateful for their assistance with accessing so many knowledgable and motivated people within the government's most relevant departments, specialist units and agencies."

If there are "knowledgable and motivated people" working in DEFRA, "we should have them stuffed".
It's just a shame that Dr Prescott knowledge doesn't extend to how to spell "knowledgeable".

and from the list of many many others why am I not surprised to find:

George Monbiot (Campaign Against Climate Change)

Bless them...

Remember the BBC's "Planet Relief" day? I blogged about this planned environmental brainwashing festival summer and then it was cancelled, or was it. It seems that it was re-born as E-Day, a day to show how "the small things in life can make a big difference". E-Day started at yesterday at 6pm and for 24 hours "Starting at 6pm on Wednesday 27 Feb everyone in the UK is being asked:

(a) To leave off electrical items which are not in use, and

(b) To leave these items off for as long as possible.

Items which could be left off for E-Day might include:

- Lights left on in empty rooms or overnight

- Televisions left on standby overnight

- Mobile phone chargers left plugged in or

- Computers or printers left on overnight

Over the following 24 hours, E-Day will endeavour to show how even small energy saving measures can be made to add up, and potentially play a part in tackling climate change. "

Isn't this exciting, especially as "E-Day will finish at 6pm on Thurs 28 Feb.

The total savings of money, energy and carbon associated with E-Day will then be calculated and made available in time of the evening news bulletins."

The "Total savings so far" section is explained thus "Total savings - This meter shows E-Day's total electricity consumption and compares this with the normal 'business as usual' figure. The latest percentage energy saving for E-Day has been calculated."

There appears to be just one slight flaw in the plan, as at 5:43pm with just 17 minutes to go, the total savings made on E-Day are NEGATIVE, yes more energy has been consumed today than on a normal day. It's only a small increase at present but somehow I don't think this will be the lead item on the news.

You may want to show your appreciation for his hard work by emailing Dr Prescott (no relation to John, so far as I can tell) at

Thanks to Mr Eugenides for the spot.

Did she really say that?

Listening to Aasmah Mir on Radio 5Live's Midday News today, I was struck by a beautifully innocent remark. Ms Mir was linking to a news piece about Italian legislation making it illegal for Italian men to touch their "privates" in public, this being something they apparently do for good luck. Did Assmah Mir really mean to say "apparently it is a common good luck gesture, a bit like touching wood in Britain". Do you think someone should explain double-entendres to Aasmah Mir?

You can hear this for yourself from around 24:27 using the listen again feauture. It is worth listening to the rest of the piece for her almost as innocent remarks about doing it in public.

Aasmah Mir's profile page includes the following Q&A:

"Q - What was your worst on-air nightmare?

A - When Ian Payne made me corpse during the news and I just couldn’t recover.
Also, every time I have to say “Peter Hunt was in court”, I panic!"

Sorry Aasmah, but this was even funnier.

Galileo update

I have blogged before about the sheer waste of money that is resulting from the EU's decision to persevere with the Galileo project. Today I see that England Expects 2 has a fine analysis of the story, do take a read.

The Labour line on the EU Constitution is a deliberate deceipt

If have to read one more BBC article explaining that "The EU Reform Treaty, signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other national leaders in Lisbon in December, was designed to replace the constitution. Ministers argue that no referendum is needed as the treaty merely amends the EU's existing constitution, rather than overwriting it - as the failed constitution would have done." I may well do more than just scream.

As I, and others, have pointed out over and over again; the point is that rather than replace all existing treaties with a new Constitution, the EU have devised an amending treaty that has the same result.

The fact that the type of arrangement has changed does not alter the fact that the result is the same. Think of this mathematically, let us call the old treaties T1, T2, T3, T4 etc. and call the Constitution C, we will call the Lisbon Treaty is TL and the minor differences d. We can see that:


According to various European bigwigs T1+T2+T3+...+TL-d=C*0.90 or 0.95 or 0.99

To say that the "constitutional concept" has been abandoned in Brussels and that "This is an amending treaty and not a constitutional treaty." is true but also misleading. The concept that was abandoned was the concept of having a new Constitutional Treaty not having all the trappings of the Constitution.

At least 7 Cabinet Ministers are 'hypocrites'

Only 7? The Conservatives have accused seven cabinet ministers of "hypocrisy" for campaigning to save post offices in their constituencies, despite signing up to a national policy to close 2,500 Post Office branches.

Labour Cabinet Ministers being hypocritical, what an unbelievable claim.

"Incompetent and hopeless"

This could refer to so many aspects of this Labour Government's policies, in fact it could be used to summarise the last close to 11 years of Labour rule.

In fact is is the verdict of Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley responding to the National Audit Office's report on the new GP contract in England. The NAO report that this new GP contract (at the time) so proudly negotiated by the Labour Government has cost the government (I think they mean the taxpayer) £1.76bn more than predicted, in its first three years but productivity has fallen. As Andrew Lansley said, "The government's negotiation of the GP contract was incompetent and hopeless."

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

It's not a cold, it's a "man cold"

Mrs NotaSheep thinks this is funny, I just don't see why!

What's going on?

Sky News and BBC News are both reporting that "A language school in Edinburgh has been sealed off after suspected radioactive packages were found inside.
Emergency services have placed a cordon around the Regent Language Training School after the discovery of three small packages that may contain radioactive material."

"Emergency services placed a cordon around the Regent Language Training School in Chester Street after the discovery of the three small packages. It is believed the packages may contain radioactive material."

Music and politics

I am an irregular reader of Q, Mojo and Word magazines, I find the writing and the music most interesting. The current edition of Q had an article on 50 years of Great British Music, which is why I paid my £3.90 over for it. Being off work with the dreaded flu, I settled down for a nostalgic journey through the last 50 years of British music. The articles on the 1950s and 1960s made for excellent reading. The articles in the 1970s section were even more interesting as that was the start of my period of music history. Then the 1980s section and it all took an ugly turn as the we hate Margaret Thatcher society took session. Unfortunately the interview with Elvis Costello went beyond both the pale and the truth. Elvis Costello was asked about "Shipbuilding" one of Elvis Costello's best known tracks and one of my favourites. I knew it was written about the Falklands War, hence the lines "The boy said dad they're going to take me to task, But I'll be back by Christmas...For saying that people get killed in, The result of this shipbuilding...Diving for dear life, When we could be diving for pearls". A great track and I could forgive the anti-Falklands imagery. Elvis Costello was asked about his vow from 1989's Spike to "dance on Margaret Thatcher's grave" and the lyrics of "Shipbuilding". This is the end of his quoted answer - "I wrote that lyric before the Belgrano, I've been to see the monument, stood and read the names of all the men... well boys who died. Whatever you say about the conduct of war that crime alone will see Thatcher in hell."

I have blogged before about the Belgrano myths and the facts that seem to be ignored by the left-wing whingers; such as:

Hector Bonzo, admitted that the Belgrano's decision to sail away from the Task Force on the morning of 2 May was only a temporary manoeuvre. "Our mission ... wasn't just to cruise around on patrol but to attack,"

Though the ship was heading away from the Falkland Islands, it had been moving towards the task force all the previous day, and had only turned around because an air attack on the task force was cancelled due to lack of wind to launch planes from the aircraft carrier operating to the north of the Falklands.

Belgrano had in fact been ordered back towards the coast to wait for more favourable conditions for an attack. Her captain, Hector Bonzo, said "We were heading towards the mainland but not going to the mainland; we were going to a position to await further orders"

Argentine Rear-Admiral Allara who was in charge of the task force that the Belgrano was part of said, "After that message of 23 April, the entire South Atlantic was an operational theatre for both sides. We, as professionals, said it was just too bad that we lost the Belgrano".

In 1994 the Argentine government conceded that the sinking of the Belgrano was "a legal act of war"

Yes the sinking of the Belgrano resulted in the deaths of 323 sailors and that is a horrible truth but IT WAS WAR. I note that anti-war commentators rarely criticised the Argentinians for invading the Falklands in the first place, a group of islands whose population are 100% in favour of being British. Nor do I remember them criticising a really right wing fascist government from invading the Falklands but were happy to attack Thatcher for freeing them. I don't remember the left attacking the Argentinians for killing UK armed forces personnel such as when they attacked HMS Sheffield (not an attack craft but there to provide a long-range radar and medium-high altitude missile "picket" far from the British carriers) resulting in the death of 20 sailors.

I also note that the left wing commentators tend not to comment on how defeat in the Falklands War led to ever-larger protests against the military regime in Argentina and is credited with giving the final push to drive out the military government that had overthrown Isabel Perón in 1976 and participated in the crimes of the Dirty War. Galtieri was forced to resign and elections were held on 30 October 1983 and Raúl Alfonsín, the Radical Civic Union (UCR) party candidate, took office on 10 December 1983.

I wonder if Elvis Costello has criticised Castro's regime or just the American government?

Elvis Costello - "Peace, Love and Understanding" but only for South American fascist governments, certainly not for a British government headed by Mrs Thatcher.

The paintballers

The BBC report the conviction of Mohammed Hamid, who was found guilty of training men in secret camps in the Lake District and New Forest to prepare them to fight abroad. They also report heavily the views of two men (Mousa Brown and Musa Ahmet) who were aquitted in the same trials; Mousa Brown's claim that "he also believed he had been prosecuted for being a Muslim who "unfortunately enjoyed paintballing with friends"." Is allowed to go unanswered.

Back in December I blogged about this case and the culpability of the BBC and in particular Nasreen Suleaman in so far as they knew that Mohammed Hamid knew the 21/7 attempted bombers who were on the run - "Nasreen Suleaman, a researcher on the programme, told the court that Mr Hamid, 50, contacted her after the July 2005 attack and told her of his association with the bombers. But she said that she felt no obligation to contact the police with this information. Ms Suleaman said that she informed senior BBC managers but was not told to contact the police."

I also wrote a little about the producer of "Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic", Phil Rees. Thanks to Biased BBC and others, more information about this delightful chap has come to light. Here is a review of Phil Rees' book "Dining with terrorists" that includes some key insights into the mind of Phil Rees - basically it is all the USA's fault.

Do read around this subject, there are some very dangerous people in this country who want to kill as many "kufr" as they can and it seems as though people like Phil Rees are happy to be their PR agents.

EU fraud

Further to my blog about EU payments fraud amongst MEPs I now read that "Senior MEPs have declared that a secret report finding "massive suspicion of fraud" in European Parliament funding worth £100 million a year will never see the light of day...Herbert Bösch, chairman of the parliament's budgetary control committee, refused a demand from 11 of his colleagues for the report to be published.

"I made it available to members of this committee. I did my job," he said. "It is in the hands of the bureau to publish this."

Mr Bösch defended the parliament's culture of secrecy surrounding public money paid to MEPs for generous staff and travel allowances.

"I will refuse any demands to have a look at my journeys and trips," he said. "Some things should not be published."

José Javier Pomes Ruiz, a senior Spanish centre-right MEP, attacked Chris Davies, his British Liberal Democrat colleague, for talking to the press about the report.

"The aim is to get press coverage and to bring the parliament down. MEPs have the democratic right to manage their funds whichever way they want," he said."

Does the phrase "secretive scum" cover my views?

More Sharia law in action

From The Telegraph comes news that "A married university professor has been sentenced to 180 lashes and eight months in prison for having coffee with a female student.

The professor of psychology at Umm al-Qra University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was caught in a "honey trap" operation after angering members of the religious police during a training course, his lawyer said.

The academic is said to have received a call from a supposed student, who asked to discuss a problem in person; he agreed, provided she brought along a brother as a chaperone.

When the man arrived at the meeting place, the girl was alone, and he was arrested for being in a state of khulwa - seclusion - with an unrelated female."

Our friends the Saudis once again showing us what life is like under Sharia law.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Nick Clegg shows consistency of views

Conservative Home report that:

"Over at The Guardian's Comment is free Open Europe's Neil O'Brien has unearthed a great quote from Nick Clegg from before the last General Election:

"The real reason, of course, why the government does not want to hold a referendum is the fear that it may lose ... Nothing will do more damage to the pro-European movement than giving room to the suspicion that we have something to hide, that we do not have the 'cojones' to carry out our argument to the people."

In Neil's must-read article he also dismisses Mr Clegg's argument for an in-out referendum:

"Most people in Britain don't want to see further centralisation of power in the EU - but at the same time they want to reform the EU, not leave it. Only offering people a polarising "in or out" referendum would be a dishonest attempt to push people into positions they don't hold.""

The Lib Dems as two faced as ever.

It's getting ugly

Of course none of this matters because Barack Obama is "the change", whatever that is...

Thanks to Last of The Few for the spot.

Freedom of speech, Labour style.

From the BBC:

"Lib Dem frontbencher Edward Davey has been ordered out of the Commons, after angry protests to the deputy speaker.
Mr Davey was annoyed at the decision not to allow MPs to debate and vote on a Lib Dem call for a referendum to be held on the UK's membership of the EU.

Deputy Speaker Sir Michael Lord acted after Mr Davey defied warnings. Fellow Lib Dems then walked out in support.

The Lib Dems support the EU treaty and the membership of the EU. They oppose a referendum on the treaty itself."

Of course it is those last two sentences that are key here. The Lib Dems have renaged on their promise to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution/Treaty and are now muddying the waters further by demanding a referendum on membership instead.

Real music

Dexys Midnight Runners at their best...

I want a referendum

"I Want a Referendum is organising a mass lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 27 February 2008, from 11am to 6pm. This is an opportunity for you to come to Westminster and tell your MP in person why you think there should be a national referendum on the revised EU Constitution.

Anyone can lobby their MP – you do not have to be an expert. You just need to be willing to ask your MP a few questions, and to tell them why you think there should be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Past experience has shown that a mass lobby is one of the most effective ways of getting a message across to MPs."

Read the rest at I Want a Referendum and go lobby your MP, alhough if they are anything like mine then logic, reason and fairness will not influence him or her.

The Candyman is no more

The Candyman is no more, he is now The Dame. Will the world be the same again?

What has Ken done this time? (update)

I note that the detailed IPSOS/MORI data has still not been released. What is going on?

Barack Obama has another unpleasant supporter

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has said of Barack Obama that “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better".

Louis Farrakhan is an odd figure in US political life, he is often accused of being anti-semitic amongst other thought-crimes:

He has called Judaism a “gutter religion”, referred to New York as "Hymietown", praised Hitler "Hitler was a very great man. He wasn't great for me as a Black man but he was a great German and he rose Germany up from the ashes of her defeat by the united force of all of Europe and America after the First World War. Yet Hitler took Germany from the ashes and rose her up and made her the greatest fighting machine of the twentieth century, brothers and sisters, and even though Europe and America had deciphered the code that Hitler was using to speak to his chiefs of staff, they still had trouble defeating Hitler even after knowing his plans in advance. Now I'm not proud of Hitler's evil toward Jewish people, but that's a matter of record. He rose Germany up from nothing. Well, in a sense you could say there is a similarity in that we are rising our people up from nothing, but don't compare me with your wicked killers", he also said "White people are potential humans — they haven't evolved yet" and he has suggested that crack cocaine might have been a CIA plot to enslave blacks.

An unpleasant man and his support for Barack Obama whether or not Barack Obama wants the support is not going to improve Barack Obama's image.

More "Weird Al"

A fine parody of Green Day's American Idiot, a great song on a seriously average album...

The palindrome king

That was "Weird Al" Yankovic doing a great parody of Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues which you can see here ...

Star Wars blues

"As usual the Left is utterly wrong. This isn't about class, but simple corruption"

Read Tom Bowter in today's Times for a fine analysis of the mindset of many on the left in this country.

More trouble for Ken

The Times report that "A close aide of Ken Livingstone, suspended from his job after allegations of cronyism, failed to declare his chairmanship of a race-equality organisation that received thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

Lee Jasper, Mr Livingstone’s adviser on police and equalities, became the head of Equanomics UK in September after Mr Livingstone requested that it receive £15,000 in taxpayers’ cash.

Documents obtained by The Times show that Mr Jasper failed to declare his position. Mr Livingstone’s allies concede privately that he broke the rules, as the Mayor of London seeks to distance himself from the race chief."

I almost feel sorry for Ken as it all unravels around him. Actually I don't feel even a tiny amount of sympathy for Ken Livingstone, the man is a complete and utter **** and the sooner London is rid of him and his cronies, the better.

Hilary can't become President

It would appear that the US Constitution may prevent a woman from becoming President.

"The language and syntax of the 19th Amendment merely removed the barriers that prevented women from voting. It did not identify women to be qualified to become elected president.

The language is clear. The 19th Amendment says: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

We cannot read into the amendment something that is not there. Now, had the amendment said, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote or hold public office shall not be denied," it would have accomplished what the feminists think took place.

The Susan B. Anthony Amendment (as it was then known, because the words were actually drafted by the suffragist in 1875) passed in the House by a vote of 304 to 89. The Senate then passed it, 56 to 25. The text of both the House and Senate deliberately avoided any language that would allow or permit women the right to seek the highest office in the land! It was the considered opinion of senators on both sides of the aisle that if language de-genderized the presidency, the amendment's ratification by the necessary 36 states would be in great doubt."

What fun...

Monday, 25 February 2008

This is a discriminatory piece of technology

The BBC report that:

"A new road camera that counts car occupants by detecting blood and water content on skin is being tested. How does it work? ...

But a solution could be provided by a new camera that counts humans by detecting the unique "signature" provided by the blood-water content of human skin...

"We wanted to be able to spot humans, as opposed to inflatable dolls and mannequins. We thought 'What is humanness?'

"We couldn't go on skin pigment, but infra-red rays see all skin in the same colour."

Blood and water is one of the things that determines we are human, he says, so he developed a system that detects human skin."

Can you spot the blatant discrimination? What if the front seat passenger in the car is a Muslim woman wearing a burka? Would that not be enough skin to be detected by these devices? If not then I forsee legal problems ahead...

Does Obama Have Terrorist Connections?

Not with today's Muslim terrorists but with US domestic terrorists, is the claim gaining currency around the web. Obviously the Main Stream Media will not cover such a story as it is irrelevant to the main story which is that Obama = change.

You can read one take on Obama's friendship with two members of The Weathermen, here at the Bay Ridge Blog.

Is the story true? Hard to say, it does seem that it might be. However the MSM will not cover this story, preferring to concentrate on the John McCain/Vicki Iseman story, which is obviously far more relevant as it puts the Republican front-runner in a bad light.

Democracy Cuban style

The BBC breathlessly report that "Raul Castro has been unanimously selected to succeed his brother Fidel as leader by Cuba's National Assembly."

Most impressive; "unanimously selected", he must be really popular if all of the National Assembly voted for him. What an amazing democratic result.

Hold on though, what the BBC don't see fit to tell the public is that Cuba has only one legal political party - the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). At the recent elections there was a grand total of one candidate for each seat in the National Assembly, all obviously from the PCC.

The BBC proud to support Communist dictators.

Victoria Derbyshire grows a backbone

Victoria Derbyshire actually dared to ask a couple of relatively tough questions to a Labour Peer friend of Speaker Michael Martin. For her pains, she was accused of being part of the Metropolitan elite with an agenda against the Speaker. The Labour Peer wriggled away in true New Labour style.

Government Robbery

Take a read of this from The Telegraph and despair for the principle of "innocent until proven guilty". This legislation means that the state will be able to confiscate assets from suspected criminals and not have to give them back if the accused is found not guilty. This is all part of the Labour Government's desire to move us to a situation where the citizens only own what the Labour Government deem appropriate for us to own. The end game is near 100% taxation and a system of benefits for us to claim if we want any money of our own; after all who knows better than Gordon Brown how much each of us needs to live on?

Shock horror, Ken Livingstone caught out misleading the public at the weeekend

Phil Taylor has the details regarding the Ealing Leaf building project.

Interesting choice of people defending Michael Martin

David Blunkett and Margaret Beckett... Both paragons of virtue with no history of fiddled expenses, financial incompetence or similar. This Labour Government and its cheerleaders at the BBC have no shame.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Democracy, Labour style...

Please read John Redwood's thoughts on the Government's indecent rushing of the Northern Rock nationalisation through the House of Commons.

"The Conservative government used timetable motions sparingly. We did so if the Opposition had spent many hours on the first clause or amendment to a Bill, and showed every sign of wishing to delay and prevaricate as much as possible. Most Bills went through with time unlimited, so the Opposition could choose what they wished to talk about, how many of them wished to speak, and for how long. It was a much more democratic way, and ensured that all important amendments and clauses were debated. The government benefited from this, because there are times when Parliament – and those who brief us – made important points that led to a modification or improvement of a measure.

Thursday’s performance reminded me just how much Parliament has lost by ruthless timetabling. There were good issues to discuss. Some of us had things to say. The government had not made its case satisfactorily on why we were to be denied access to information on Northern Rock, and why we were buying it without a proper audit report on what we were buying. The lack of time to discuss it was unreasonable."

The BBC coverage of the Speaker Martin sleaze story

BBC Radio 5Live are reporting the Speaker Martin story almost entirely in terms of the Labour MPs insinuating that the whole thing is a got up story. Even the BBC website can't cope:

"Labour's Mrs Beckett said: "What I don't understand is why there have been a whole string of nasty little stories about Mr Martin. Somebody is out to get him."

Former home secretary David Blunkett told Sky News the Speaker had done a "pretty reasonable job" and described stories about him as a "witch-hunt". He called for MPs agitating for a resignation to "stand up and be counted".

Someone was quoted as saying something along the lines that it was all the fault of a witch hunt by the London press who couldn't forgive a working class man from Glasgow for becoming Speaker. Just as Ken Livingstone's default defence against any attacks on Lee Jasper is to cry "racism", so the Left love to blame any criticism of their people on "right wing snobbery". It is so easy for the Left isn't it? They are always in the right and anyone who criticises them must be guilty of a hatred.

Shock horror, Michelle Obama is not the little black girl from Chicago who overcame the odds to change the face of American politics.

I can't say I was surprised to learn that Michelle Obama is not what she seems to be. Her refrain has for some time been "I was raised in a working-class family on the south Side of Chicago. That's how I identify myself, a working-class girl,". It appears that she has been a little disengenuous, The Daily Mail reveals that "When The Mail on Sunday went back to the gritty district of Chicago where Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was raised, we found a rather different picture from the one so single-mindedly promoted by Camp Obama.

Instead of the one-room tenement that now appears in most accounts of her upbringing, we found a well-kept neighbourhood of red-brick Arts and Craft-style houses which have long been home to respectable black families.

"Michelle was from a middle-class family," confirmed one of her long-time friends, Angela Acree.

"She came from a regular family. They had a nice home. It wasn't a mansion, but it was just fine. It was a decent neighbourhood."

The Robinsons grew up on the upper floor of a house built in the Twenties. Number 7436 South Euclid Avenue - a classical reference to the Greek mathematician which found an appropriate echo in Michelle's subsequent respect for traditional learning - even has a small garden, shaded by a large elm tree, and an ornate stone bench.

The South Side of Chicago has long had its share of gang-infested housing 'projects' but with the University of Chicago hospital close by, there were plenty of white professionals in the area as well as hard-working families in the Robinsons' own image."

Go read the rest...

Is this being an accessory after the fact?

This story is most peculiar, "The British tax authorities have paid an informant for the bank details of scores of wealthy Britons. The records were stolen from one of the world’s most secretive tax havens.

HM Revenue & Customs paid £100,000 for data that it is using to launch investigations of up to 100 British citizens who have accounts at Liechtenstein’s biggest bank.

British authorities regard it as a coup to have penetrated accounts that have been beyond their reach for decades."

Am I alone in thinking that HMRC by paying money to someone who has been "sacked and convicted of fraud" are guilty of handling stolen goods and being an accessory to theft?

BBC love a Right wing politician with video problems

The BBC are loving drawing attention to the video of French President Nicolas Sarkozy swearing at a member of the crowd at the annual farming fair in Paris. Radio 5Live are including in every news bulletin and here is the web page devoted to this story. Apparently "The video clip, which has been posted on the internet, shows a man at the Salon International de l'Agriculture refusing to shake the president's hand.

When offered Mr Sarkozy's hand, the man draws back and says: "Oh no, don't touch me, you'll dirty me."

Mr Sarkozy snaps: "Get lost then you bloody idiot, just get lost!"...

The opposition Socialist leader, Francois Hollande, claimed this latest episode showed Mr Sarkozy's behaviour was not fitting for a president."

Now I don't remember the BBC drawing quite so much attention, or indeed any, to the amusing video of Gordon Brown picking his nose. Now why would that be the case? Just in case the BBC don't have the video to hand but want to refer to it, here it is...

Patricia Hewitt

Last weekend I blogged about how Patricia Hewitt is on course to become Britain's first woman Commissioner in Brussels. If you want to read more about this vile and patronising woman, then do take a trip to The Huntsman 2007 who has a fine article.

Michael Martin nears the end of his reign

Speaker Michael Martin has beena disaster, I have blogged many times about his lack of impartiality, his chip on the shoulder and his free and easy ways with the taxpayers' money. I read in today's Mail that his office has been caught out lieing to the Mail on Sunday about his wife's expenses.

"Pressure on Mr Martin to step down grew following the sudden resignation yesterday of his £2,000-a-day official spokesman, respected former Whitehall mandarin Mike Granatt.

Mr Granatt quit after admitting that the Speaker's office had not told the truth about £4,000 worth of taxpayer-funded taxi rides Mr Martin's wife Mary took to go shopping.

The Speaker's office claimed she had been accompanied by an official to get food for receptions hosted by the Speaker.

In fact, the "official" was Mrs Martin's cleaner, Gloria Hawkes, a friend. And the shopping was not for receptions but for informal occasions.

After confirming The Mail on Sunday's accurate version of events yesterday afternoon, Mr Granatt, hired from the private sector by the House of Commons Commission, which is chaired by Mr Martin, vented his fury with the Speaker, apologised to this newspaper – and resigned.

And he issued a devastating statement saying he and his company refused to be associated with the lack of ethics in the Speaker's department.

"I have found it no longer possible to work as the media adviser to the House of Commons Commission, and I have informed Mr Speaker that I am stepping down immediately," he said.

"It is core to the ethical code by which I and my company operate that I tell the truth, and that I am given the truth to tell.

"However, I learned on Friday that I had been led to mislead journalists over material facts in a story concerning the Speaker's household and the use of taxis.

"I have expressed my regrets to the [Mail on Sunday] journalist who brought this to my attention, and I offer them to anyone else who was similarly misled. I want to make it clear this arose through no fault of the Speaker.

"In the statement I gave to journalists, the obvious implication was that Mrs Martin was accompanied by an administrative official.

"It was in fact the housekeeper who provides domestic support to Speaker's House.

"The statement was approved by people who knew the facts. No one brought this discrepancy to my attention.""

This would be bad enough for Speaker Martin, but the Mail has more revelations;

"this newspaper established that he and his wife have been using a secret limousine service to ferry them around in London and their home town, Glasgow – also at taxpayers' expense.

The Martins use £50,000 S-class Mercedes and Jaguar cars.

Further pressure was heaped on Mr Martin as it emerged that he claimed a second-homes allowance on his constituency house in Glasgow – even though he has no mortgage on it.

It was reported the Speaker, whose London home is his lavish grace-and-favour apartment in the Commons, has claimed more than £75,000 from the Additional Costs Allowance over the past six years.

This usually goes towards mortgages or rent, but can be used for other expenses such as maintenance."

Do read the rest of the article and then you may wonder if there is any way that Speaker Martin could stay on. Of course there is, this Labour Government have no shame and love the power and the trappings of power. I feel that we are overdue a cleaning of the Augean stables.

They just can't help it

This Labour Government just cannot help covering up their mistakes, today I read in the Telegraph that "Tens of thousands of householders could have been paying too much council tax for years in a "scandal" that ministers attempted to cover up...Ministers and officials have known since at least 2005 that many homes were placed in the wrong tax bands, with householders paying more than they should. It is claimed that the miscalculations could have affected up to 400,000 homes - and it is still not known how far back the over-payments go.

Although the errors were relatively simple and could have been corrected painlessly, ministers chose to keep the matter secret.

Whitehall documents show that the Government concealed the mistakes, concerned that local authorities would have to make huge rebate payments and fearful of the "adverse press coverage" the controversy would generate."

For more about the incompetence way that the cover-up was handled, read the Telegraph article. "Within the past few days, ministers finally published a report of a key Whitehall meeting of the Council Tax Revaluation Board in November 2005, shortly after the decision to postpone the revaluation had been taken. The report was published with key sections blacked out, but, in an embarrassing blunder, the supposedly secret sections of text were still legible.

One key passage, which ministers tried to hide, shows that homes were found to be in the wrong band but that officials were too worried to admit the mistake."

This Labour Government has got to go before their incompetence and lieing move even further out of control.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

11 years of Labour government

In 1997 this country was brainwashed by a power hungry Labour party and its media friends, especially those in the BBC, that the Conservatives were downright evil and that the only solution to the ails of the country was to elect shiny New Labour under its handsome young leader Tony Blair and his financial strong man assistant Gordon Brown. 11 years on and the majority of the UK might just be beginning to realise that the barbarians who came to power in 1997 have comprehensively screwed this country up; the economy is on its last legs, the borders have been deliberately openned so Labour has been able to import cheap labour and potential Labour voters, the Country's moral base has been eroded, the education system comprehensively reduced in effectiveness and the integrity of the political system all but destroyed.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Your Subprime Primer

Thanks to Burning Our Money for the spot.

Do you find this worrying?

"Tips for fingerprinting children
Make sure hands are clean Make sure children are calm.
If children are tense the thumbprint often does not register correctly. Make sure the 'ball' of the thumb is pressed to make the print and not the end of the thumb.
The thumb needs to cover as much of the scanner as possible
You may need to guide the thumb to the scanner"

The original was part of Dudley Council's disgraceful "Tips For Fingerprinting Children" article, which you can see here.

More information here.

Jack Straw caught out lieing?

Not exactly a shock is it, but if you want to read the story then Bruno Waterfield has the full story here and unsurprisingly it relates to broken promises over a Referendum on the EU Constitution/Treaty.

An interesting letter re EU fraud

"As a member of the European Parliament's Budget Control Committee I was this morning permitted to read a copy of Internal Audit Report 06/02 on the parliamentary assistance allowance paid to MEPs for the employment of their staff.

I write to request that you immediately provide the Director-General of OLAF with a copy of this report.OLAF was established to uphold the principle that the European Institutions have a duty to guarantee, with regard to the taxpayer, the best use of their money and in particular to fight as effectively as possible against fraud and any other illegal activity harmful to the financial interests of the Community.

In my view the findings of the Parliament's internal auditors most definitely fall within OLAF's terms of reference. They are so serious that it should be assumed that criminal proceedings may follow. I believe that the parliamentary authorities have a duty immediately to open the entire matter to independent scutiny by those experienced in judging what is and what is not fraudulent activity.

In view of the seriousness of this matter I request that receipt of this letter be acknowledged.

Yours sincerely

Chris Davies MEP"

And the response from the EU...

"The European Parliament's competent bodies were informed this week of a report drawn up by its internal auditor on the efficacy of the system of payments to MEPs' assistants. The report was a systems analysis and looked at a sample of 167 payments and their supporting documents from 2004 and 2005. It did not look into individual MEPs' transactions and did not reveal cases of fraud.

The internal auditor, whose role within the European Parliament is entirely independent, confirmed existing concerns that the system of staff employment for MEPs has become far too complicated, with three different methods of contracting staff and 27 different national taxation, social security and administrative systems involved. Some MEPs' assistants work in Brussels and others work in the Member State of their MEP. The complexity of the contracting and payment system has made it extremely difficult to manage, both for MEPs and for Parliament's administration.

As the internal auditor's report has not revealed any individual cases of fraud, he has not recommended referring his findings to the EU anti-fraud agency OLAF. Had the auditor made such a recommendation, the Secretary General would, of course, have acted upon it. It is standard procedure for internal audit reports to be treated as confidential."

As Bruno Waterfield comments on his blog - "This text is a classic example of EU institutional stupidity. Bad news does not exist. And, anybody who says so is a liar (that’s you Chris). Eursoc also explores the mindset. Anyway it is terribly complicated accountancy thing – too complicated for you and definitely, definitely not fraud. Moreover, this actually a technical thing, a “systems analysis”, it is not a political thing.

Anybody who says it is a political thing is being critical. People who are critical are worse than the bad news (that doesn’t exist anyway), see England Expects for another example. To stop criticism, and the possibility people might confuse something technical (above their heads and not their business, i.e. confidential) it must be kept secret."

The EU is profoundly anti-democratic and it is only the power hungryness of this Labour Government and the blind adherence to the pro-EU agenda of the BBC that prevents more of the UK public from realising this. I fear it is all too late now, the Lisbon Treaty will be approved and we will be ushered into the arms of a EU superstate.

The House of Lords backed down

The Northern Rock nationalisation has gone through as the Labour Government wanted with none of the safeguards that the House of Lords originally voted before. Northern Rock nationalisation will now continue protected by a degree of secrecy and lack of independent scrutiny, it's the Labour way.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Northern Rock - Thank heavens for the House of Lords - update

Further to my earlier blog the House of Commons has indeed voted to throw out the House of Lords' ammendments. The bill now return to to House of Lords.

A battle will ensue, a battle the BBC will no doubt ignore as much as possible. The main story on the BBC 10 o'clock news is the Steve Wright verdict story. Far, far more important than the UK economy being royally screwed by this Government. Apparently the jury saw through the lies of Steve Wright; despite the BBC's best efforts, many of us have seen through the lies of this Government.

More on Northern Rock - the Granite connection

First, Richard Murphy explains why Granite is part of Northern Rock and why Alistair Darling is a hypocrite - "I am not impressed. Ethics count for all in my book. And I’m left asking if Alastair Darling has any, at all, because what he is doing is dishonest (he is nationalising Granite in truth), unaccountable (he’ll live behind an unknown, unaccountable trust facade) and ultimately just an accounting con-trick. He knows he’s accountable for the Granite debt, and is denying it. It doesn’t get much lower than that."

Second, Burning Our Money has another excellent post on this matter - "Granite is an excellent example of financial sleight of hand. By bundling its highest quality most secure mortgages off its main balance sheet, and adding in a fat collateral cushion, Crock was able to borrow at lower rates in the international wholesale market. But its existing onshore lenders and depositors (in particular Mr and Mrs Joe Public) were left lending to an entity that was correspondingly much less secure. Of course, they had no idea what was going on and imagined NR was just the same old safe-as-houses High St presence it had always been. What a shame we didn't have a financial regulator full of bright savvy people, poring over the books and blowing the whistle before things got out of hand. But all we had was Brown's hopeless FSA."

Immigration update

From Burning Our Money comes one of their well researched articles, including this extract:

"As we blogged here, the independent and authoritative National Institute for Social and Economic Research has dredged through rafts of official stats and came up with the following conclusions (based on the Labour Force Survey for Q1 2007):

4.6% of the British population arrived here in the last decade- an extraordinary 2.7m people
Only 20% of arrivals were working in high skill jobs ("professional, managerial, and associate professional occupations")
1.3m were not working at all- ie roughly half of all arrivals
0.5m were not even of working age- ie roughly one-fifth of arrivals were children and old people
So nearly half of all arrivals are not contributing directly to GDP, but they are most certainly consuming public services. Not just schools, hospitals, and social housing, but also our criminal justice system: as we blogged here, foreigners are now responsible for more than half the murders in London, immigrant crime is costing us somewhere in the range £3- £10bn pa, and foreign prisoners are occupying 14.3% of our jail places (end 2006)."

Do read the rest...

Childrens database will not be secure

Not a massive surprise but still good to read that Deloitte and Touche have understood and identified the problems inherent to the ContactPoint database. Of course this Labour Government have decided to accept the report's call for "further controls" but will proceed anyway as according to Children's minister Kevin Brennan "The ContactPoint project will undertake a rapid impact assessment to determine the most effective approach in our specific context, and will build this into the deployment plan."

It would be good to read the detail in this report but of course we can't, because the government refused to publish the Deloitte Touche report in full, releasing only a five-page summary. Shadow Families Minister Maria Miller said: "The government did not say that the Deloitte report would be confidential when it was announced in November last year and it is unacceptable for (schools secretary) Ed Balls to decide to withhold the findings now.

This Labour Government is profoundly anti-democratic and anti-Freedom of Information and I fear they will become increasingly so over the next year or so.

Muslim schools in the UK

Back in August 2007, I blogged about the King Fahd Academy in Acton, an Islamic school in West London, who admitted that the school uses textbooks which describe Jews as "apes" and Christians as "pigs". The school agreed to destroy these books howver it appears from today's Daily Mail that "Under public pressure the Academy eventually agreed to destroy 2,000 books but photocopied them first for future use, he told the tribunal."

Do read the whole article and remember that whilst this school is currently subject to Ofsted inspection, as of March 2007 the Telegraph was reporting that "More than half of private Muslim schools have not been inspected for five years, while some have not received a full inspection for a decade. An analysis of the 114 independent Islamic schools in England registered with the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has found that Ofsted reports are available for only 53. Most of these involve recent visits, but two reports are for the 1997-98 academic year. Most of the other 61 schools, and their 6,000 pupils, were inspected five or more years ago but, because of a gap in the law, their reports have never been made public. The law has now been changed, but is not retrospective."

The report ended "An Ofsted official said: "Since the introduction of the Education Regulations 2003, there has been a cycle for the inspection of all -independent schools who are not members of the Independent Schools Council and covered by their inspectorate. "Ofsted has not yet completed the first full cycle of reported inspections, but it will be completed by the end of March 2008." If a school had no published report it had not yet had a full reported inspection, but would have one in the next year."

Of course this will not now be the case as this Labour Government announced this month that Muslim private schools would no longer be subject to Ofsted inspections but would instead be inspected by the Bridge Schools' Inspectorate which would be more "sensitive" in its inspections of Muslim schools.

This situation is not going to end well for this country.

Saudi justice

On 7 February I blogged about Yara, the "37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three (who) is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh"

I now read in the Arab News that "The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice yesterday defended its action against the Jeddah-based businesswoman Yara earlier this month, saying she violated Saudi regulations and Islamic law.

“The Ministry of Labor does not approve mixing of men and women at work places. So it’s both a violation of the country’s law and the Shariah,” the commission said in a statement carried by Internet portal...

The commission also accused columnists Al-Alami of Al-Watan and Abdullah Abou Alsamh of Okaz of supporting illegal and anti-Islamic activities. Both Al-Alami and Abou Alsamh had in their columns questioned the way Yara was treated.

There was public outcry in the Kingdom and around the globe at the highhandedness of the commission members, who took Yara for detention and did not allow her to contact her husband by phone. Following the incident, messages of support and sympathies had poured in for Yara from all over the world.

Arab News tried to contact officials of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) to get its reaction to the commission’s statement, but Bandar Al-Hajjar, president of the organization and his deputy Mufleh Al-Qahtani were not responding."

Our friends the Saudis...

Some proper music

"There are no available factual programmes on BBC News"

It's official...

Thanks to Last of the Few for the spot.

Relying on the Irish to vote "NO" may not be viable

England Expects reports that "Amendment 32 of the Corbett Report on the Lisbon Treaty that "-2a. Undertakes to respect the outcome of the referendum in Ireland." was DEFEATED...129 in favour, 499 Against, 33 Abstentions" And as they say in the Eurovision Song Contest, these are the votes of the British jury (of MEPs) -


Batten, Farage, Knapman, Nattrass, Titford, Deva


Attwooll, Davies, Duff, Hall, Ludford, Lynne, Newton Dunn, Wallis, Watson, Atkins, Beazley, Nicholson, Purvis, Cashman, Corbett, Corbey, Ford, Honeyball, Howitt, Hughes, Hutchinson , Kinnock, McAvan, , Martin David, Moraes, Morgan, Simpson, Sinner, Stihler, Titley, Willmott,


Ashworth, Bowis, Bradbourn, Bushill-Matthews, Callanan, Chichester, Dover, Evans Jonathan, Harbour, Jackson, Kirkhope, McMillan-Scott, Parish, Stevenson, Sturdy, Sumberg, Tannock, Van Orden, Hannan, Helmer, Wise."

That's six in favour of democracy - five UKIP MEPs and Nirj Deva of the Conservatives.

All Labour and LibDem MEPs voted against democracy in this instance, whilst most of the Conservative MEPs abstained - Christopher Beazley, John Purvis and Sir Robert Atkins would appear to be Conservative MEPs who voted to ignore the will of the only people to be given a vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

If you hear any of these MEPs - Attwooll, Davies, Duff, Hall, Ludford, Lynne, Newton Dunn, Wallis, Watson, Atkins, Beazley, Nicholson, Purvis, Cashman, Corbett, Corbey, Ford, Honeyball, Howitt, Hughes, Hutchinson , Kinnock, McAvan, , Martin David, Moraes, Morgan, Simpson, Sinner, Stihler, Titley, Willmott - talking about democracy, tell them where they can go...

This is disgusting but not really a surprise, the EU project will go forward whatever happens; the people showed they cannot be trusted in the last set of referenda and so refernda will not be allowed for the majority of countries and if any country does hold a referendum it will be ignored. The EU - "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein stimme" (One people, one empire, one vote).

Northern Rock - Thank heavens for the House of Lords

The Northern Rock privatisation is a joke, the Government won't tell the public (who are funding the purchase) what the current figures are, they want to exempt the Northern Rock from the Freedom of Information Act so as to keep hidden the costs of nationalisation and to prevent the new owners of the bank (us) from examining the books too closely. Thankfully, whilst Gordon Brown and his minions can push any legislation they like through the House of Commons using the votes of their supine and yet strangely spineless backbenchers, the House of Lords is a more naon-partisan body.

It is reported that "The government has suffered defeats in the House of Lords over parts of its plans to nationalise Northern Rock. Peers have voted for an independent audit of the bank's books within three months, followed by annual checks. They also voted against plans to exempt the bank from Freedom of Information laws and to have regular assessments from the Office of Fair Trading."

Of course the Labour Government will almost certainly reject the peers' ammendments and return the bill to the Hosue of Lords. This could be an interesting battle of wills between Labour Government and House of Lords and you can expect the phrases "unelected chamber" and the "elected chamber must have primacy" to be brought out by Labour Ministers. However unlike when Tony Blair was Prime Minister I don't think Gordon Brown has the bottle for a fight with the upeer house; he will bluster and threaten but he is above all a bottler.

As ever the comments on the BBC's "Have Your Say" thread are at odds with the Government line and the spin that the BBC want to put on this...

Here are a couple:

"More evidence that Gordon Brown's economic competence is as credible as his crime and inflation figures. He was responsible for the new regulatory set-up consisting of the FSA/Treasury/Bank of England, that allowed Northern Rock to over borrow against assets (he could hardly object as he was doing likewise).

'Temporary public ownership'? More soundbites, more spin, or, as we call it in the real world, LIES.

Lord Wreath, Offwhite City,"

"Absolutely inevitable - Branson and co might have saved their efforts. This has been mishandled at every level from the start and Brown should sack his Chancellor forthwith and come to think of it he should sack himself as well, since he is First Lord of the Treasury. Utter incompetence from a totally discredited government. And there is not the remotest chance of either the investors or we taxpayers ever getting our money back, despite soothing assurances to the contrary.


Game Over - 177,800

Once a day is my ration...See here.

A worrying thought

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed"

Who said that? Adolph Hitler, a man who knew what it meant to take control over a people. Think on...

"Matters of alleged misconduct that are not supported by evidence of criminal wrongdoing are not a matter for the police."

So said the Metropolitan Police as they knocked back Ken Livingstone's attempt to kick the Less Jasper affair into the long grass. If the police had agreed to investigate then Ken Livingstone would have said he couldn't comment on the matter as it was the subject of a police investigation and he did not want to prejudice the investigation. I assume that he will now try and say that the police didn't investigate because there was no criminal wrongdoing. If he does try this defence, then I hope that he is reminded that Lee Jasper's "alleged offences are not criminal. They are offences of misconduct in public office" - so says Andrew Gilligan in his latest piece on this matter, go and read it here.

Are you confused by the Northern Rock nationalisation and wondering what Granite is?

Me too and until I can persuade Mrs NotaSheep to explain it all to me, I am having to rely upon the web. This article from September last year may be of interest, as might this article from House Price Crash.

Read these and worry.

The Times has a decent online article that explains that:

"Shortly before midnight in the Commons chamber, it emerged that the legislation to nationalise the stricken bank excluded the offshore company, Granite, which controls £40 billion of the bank's mortgages. Opposition parties say these are some of the bank's most secure assets. This has allowed Vince Cable to say that Northern Rock has been left with "rubbish" assets and he is now threatening to withdraw his support for the bill pending further clarifications from the Treasury."

Name one accomplishment by Obama (reprise)

I blogged on 6 February about how some Barack Obama Democrats were finding it hard to name any accomplishments of Barack Obama. Now I see that the problem has not gone away...

Thanks to A Tangled Web for the spot.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Understatement of the year

"I have to wonder if financial management is being taken as seriously as it should be," said Edward Leigh, the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, which oversees the work of the NAO.

This was with regard to the revelations that accordong to the National Audit Office:

1) Fewer than half of all departments - 40 per cent - "invariably" provided ministers and senior officials with a full analysis of the financial implications of their policy proposals

2) that not one permanent secretary - the senior civil servants in charge of Whitehall departments - had a professional finance qualification

3) Six government bodies did not have even a professionally qualified finance director on their main board, despite a Treasury department requirement to do

And you wonder why we are in the mess we are?

BBC 10 o'clock news coverage of the US Presidential nominations race

Pathetic in the extreme, pathetic almost beyond belief. The Justin Webb report had lots about Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton obviously and the only reference to the Republican party was re them starting to take Barack Obama seriously as they attacked his wife for (what the BBC perceive was) a slip of the tongue.

In the early stages of the Primaries, defenders of the BBC's coverage said that the BBC were concentrating on the Democrats because that was a two horse race whilst the Republican contest was too confused to cover. Now I presume the excuse for all but ignoring the Republican contest will be that it is now too settled. Is there any level of contest within the Republican party that the BBC would deem suitable of covering? The answer of course is no; the BBC is not interested in reporting and analysing the news it is interested in getting a Democrat elected President.

Addictive game

I fear that I may have a new addiction and my blogging will suffer, let alone my work and my home life. The problem is this game.

I have only played it once so far - 164,000 with two targets left on last screen - destroying missiles in silos whilst open was fine but the helicopters on the last screens eek... Is that a good score?

Thanks to Last of the Few for this spot.

Compare and contrast

The government might charge immigrants an extra £20 each to enter the UK, meanwhile Londoners will be charged £25 to enter London if they drive a mid range car. Odd isn't it?

Barack Obama

I have just realised who Barack Obama reminds me of when he is full rhetorical flow, and that is Gil Scott Heron.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A piece of news the BBC seem to have missed

The BBC hate George W. Bush, I think that is not a controversial statement. So it is no surprise that their coverage of his visit seems to have omitted this comment by one of their favourite experts on Africa, Bob Geldof; the Washington Times reports that:

"Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.

Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, "has done more than any other president so far."

"This is the triumph of American policy really," he said. "It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion."

"What's in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing," Mr. Geldof said.

Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed "to articulate this to Americans" but said he is also "pissed off" at the press for their failure to report on this good news story."

Now why would the BBC ignore this aspect of George Bush's visit?

"You guys didn't pay attention," Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers.

Mohamed Al Fayed at the Diana inquest

Unbelieveable claims in court from a man who in my view is so blinded by grief and a probable feeling of culpability in the death of his son and his son's girlfriend, that he is lashing out at those who he chooses to blame instead of himself.

I have never met Mohamed Al Fayed but from what I have heard from people who have worked for him, I do not think I would like him. I have not shopped in Harrods since he took over the store, I found Private Eye's coverage of his financial affairs at the time quite disconcerting.

If you want to see his take on the news then he has his own blog or you can of course read the Daily Express.

Here's Ken Livingstone showing just why he is unfit to continue as London Mayor

Do you know what his ranting reminds me of, Mohamed Al Fayed rant at the BBC reporter Peter Hunt who he accused of working for MI6 - I like the way Michael Cole tries to drag him away during his little tirade - the question and answer are form 1:12 to 1:38.

"Arms length"?

Alistair Darling has been at pains to insist that Northern Rock would be run at arms length from Whitehall. I thought this was unlikely and felt justified when I heard that Gordon Brown's ex-chief of staff and principal private secretary, Tom Scholar, was to be appointed to the Board of Directors. Now I learn that there's more: Philip Remnant, who was made non-executive chairman of the Shareholder Executive by Alistair Darling in June and Stephen Hester the Chief Executive of British Land Company Ltd, of which a subsidiary donated £1500 to the Scottish Labour Party last April. This is all in addition to Ron Sandler himself who was appointed by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor to run a review into Medium and Long-Term Savings in 2002. £90,000 a month for Ron Sandler, is this the sort of excessive payments to directors that this Labour government was railing against only a week ago?

Northern Rock - "No cost to the taxpayer"

So says Yvette Cooper, I can do no more than point you at Burning Our Money's coverage. As a bonus they have the incomparable Tommy Cooper's "bottle, glass, glass, bottle" magic trick.

House crash prediction?

Read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explain that "Britons cling to a comforting notion that overpopulated islands with a shortage of land can never suffer a sharp fall in house prices. Such illusions are often at the root of the most extreme asset bubbles...Some of the most spectacular property crashes over the last 60 years occurred in the Pacific rim islands during the 1990s. Tokyo land prices fell 80pc in Japan's deflation."

Quite scary stuff...

Monday, 18 February 2008

One of my favourite areoplanes

Thanks Last of the Few for the spot.

Lee Jasper playing the race card again

From The Guardian I see that Lee Jasper "said today that he will not be "hounded out of his job because of racist lies and smears".

I also read that he has also been "forced tonight to resign from a second role. He confirmed he was standing aside as chairman of the Trident Independent Advisory Group, which advises Scotland Yard on how it tackles gun crime in the black community."

The most interesting part were these contrasting sections:

First, "Many of the accusations against Jasper have emerged in the London Evening Standard, and yesterday he accused the newspaper of running a racist campaign. "This is a systematic attack on black London. People should not be fooled. A white-owned newspaper with mostly white staff has sought to target a broad range of African Caribbean and Asian organisations and individuals with falsehoods. "That constitutes a racist campaign in my book. What about white organisations that have failed? Aren't there any... Is failure and corruption strictly limited to the black community?"

So Lee Jasper claims that it is racist for the Evening Standard to question his motives, because they are "white-owned" with "mostly white staff". I presume that he believes that only a "black owned paper" could investigate his work or if a "white owned" newspaper wanted to do so then they must only spend time investigating black organisations in proportion to the make-up of the population.

Second, "Jasper...says he will concentrate on helping persuade black Londoners to vote on May 1 while he is suspended"

It is however fine in his eyes for Lee Jasper to only campaign only for black Londoners to vote. I am a white Londoner, why does Lee Jasper see fit to ignore my vote?

Barack Obama = Joe Biden

Do you remember Joe Biden? He was the Democratic candidate running for Presidential nomination back in 1987, his campaign foundered when his popular rousing speech was found to be almost identical to one made by Neil Kinnock.

Has Barack Obama been caught out doing something similar? It seems as though his recent "Words matter" speech is rather similar to one made by Deval Patrick, the current Democratic governor of Massachusetts, in October 2006.

You can compare the two speeches...

Thanks to Big Head DC for the spot.

Selling a house query

Purely subjectively, I would say that the number of houses with For Sale boards outside them in my local area is about double the usual level. Where can I find out if this is true for the whole country? I am not interested in sales, just properties being marketed?

Worrying if true

From ConservativeHome's live blog of David Cameron and George Osborne's press conference.

"Osborne: Labour are not proposing a simple bill to nationalise Northern Rock but to take on powers that will allow ministers to nationalise any financial institution into public ownership at any time in the next year by ministerial dictat."

It wouldn't surprise me if this was true, it would amaze me if the BBC covered this angle.

Internecene warfare breaks out at TalkSport Radio

It would seem that George Galloway and Jon Gaunt, two "shock jocks" from TalkSport might be heading for fistycuffs. According to George Galloway's Daily Record column:

"GUTTERSNIPE columnist and speak your weight machine shock jock ("OI Gaunty one at a time please") Jon Gaunt has taken, on national radio, to calling Barack Obama, Barack O'Bomber in the fashion of the hate machine that is the American right...

More immediately dangerous was batrachian squeak Gaunt's promise to "give Galloway a good slapping" (repeated thrice) in the boxing ring for charity. Five minutes later a big yellow streak appeared on his brown shirt when he realised I was listening to his radio show and had heard his boasts.

Well it's too late now, Mr Gauleiter Gaunt. The gauntlet's been accepted and the countdown has begun. Gaunt will fight me one way or another.

We could fill the Royal Albert Hall and raise a fortune for his favourite "Charidee". Or I will have to gather the media outside Talksport Towers where we both work and stand there with a pot of honey and a net like Clay baiting Liston until I snare the little fat bear.

Come on Gaunty, bigot of the year, what you frightened of? It couldn't be that all that bluster hides a stinking little coward; could it?"

A fight between Gorgeous George Galloway, one of the few people I find more detestable than Ken Livingstone or Gordon Brown, and Jon "Big Boy" Gaunt a phone-in presenter who has less abilty than he thinks he has; now that would be worth watching.

The contrast between George Galloway's political views and those of the other TalkSport presenters, especially Jon Gaunt, has been jarring for a while and I did wonder if they ever sat down for a chat about Islamic terrorism over a cup of coffee and a Kit kat, I suppose we now know that they don't.

Who would I be supporting? Jon Gaunt. Who do I think would win the fight? George Galloway.

The TalkSport puff piece for George Galloway's show runs "'Gorgeous’ George has shared company with some of the world’s most colourful figures like former president of Iraq, Suddam Hussein, and Cuban chief, Fidel Castro and now he wants to share his time with you. Tackle him if you dare."

Colourful! Well that's one way of describing Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro...

The Brown Broadcasting Corporation are in fine form

What is this puff piece doing on the BBC web site?

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown has praised the role of his favourite football club in helping youngsters acquire skills for employment. Raith Rovers is one of several Scottish clubs taking part in programmes aiming to help the unemployed develop skills."

This is the sort of thing that an MP might put on his own blog as a piece of self-promotion; oh hold on, yes that explains it!

What has Ken done this time?

I see at Political Betting that the British Polling Council is establishing a formal panel to look at the Ipsos-MORI December 18 poll that Ken Livingstone stated showed "that two thirds of Londoners support proposals to charge cars with the highest greenhouse gas emissions £25 a day to drive in the Central London congestion charge zone and introduce a zero charge for the lowest emitting vehicles." You can see the press release here...

As Political Betting explain, "In the normal course of events within two days the pollster, Ipsos-MORI, would have published full data from the survey on its website as part of the transparency arrangements that all members of the British Polling Council adhere to. That hasn’t happened and now, nearly two months later with the detailed data still being unavailable my understanding is that the British Polling Council is establishing a formal panel to look at the situation. This is the first time that this process has ever been applied since the Council was established in 2004."

I wonder why the detailed data was not been produced within a couple of days of the poll headline figures being announced. Could it be an issue at Ipsos-MORI or could there be another explanation.

As Political Betting remind us, "A good example of why seeing the full data matters came during Labour’s Deputy Leadership election. A YouGov survey found that 15% of voters said they would be “more likely” to support Labour if Harriet Harman was Gordon’s deputy leader and her campaign made great play of this finding. The poll had in fact been funded by the Harman campaign and when the full data became available a very different picture emerged - for an equal proportion, 15% - said they would be LESS LIKELY to vote Labour with these two in the jobs. No wonder the last part was suppressed. "


Oddly it appears that Phil Taylor, the Ealing councillor not the darts player, has got hold of the whole report and has some details on his blog. It all gets more interesting by the minute...