Monday, 30 June 2008

Rip-off fees

An interesting article on The Motley Fool about the HSBC's Rate Matcher Mortgage. Simply horrifying fees are being levied:
"The maximum loan available under Rate Matcher is £250,000** and the minimum rate HSBC will match is 4.79%. If you were to borrow this amount at that rate, the booking fee will set you back a staggering £7,699... nd it's not just borrowers wanting the best rate who will be asked to hand over a small fortune. Just last week, a mortgage loan of £145,000 with a rate matched at 5.24% would trigger a fee of only £599. But now, the fee has been stepped up to a whopping £3,199. That's over five times more than its original level."
Read the rest of the article and you will see why the housing market is in free-fall and will continue to be so for quite a while yet.

Star Trek - a jewish conspiracy?

I knew that Leonard Nimoy was Jewish, but was surprised to learn at the weekend that so was William Shatner. Mr Spock and Captain Kirk Does this explain all or nothing? Probably the latter.

Just digging around Wikipedia reveals that Walter Koenig was also Jewish. Curiouser and curiouser, James T. Kirk, Spock and Chekov. Any others?

Ooh Mama

Eddy Grant at Glastonbury, a great set although I would have preferred "Living on the Frontline" to ""Gimme Hope Jo'anna". The only thing that has irritated me about Eddy Grant recently has been his refusal to criticise Robert Mugabe or even express support for the benighted Zimbabwean people.

What caught my eye tonight though were Eddy's backing singers, especially the lady in the yellow top and the lady in the green top - ooh Mama!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The worst food in London

Jeremy Clarkson writes about the sheer vileness of the food served at the food outlets at the BBC Wood Lane Media Centre. I have eaten there I must concur, vile and overpriced.

The importance of hygiene

Thanks to Curly's Corner Shop we can read that:
"I am just about heartily sick and tired of the “nanny state” that we are living in, the regulation, the overbearing health and safety rules, the maternalistic approach to risk, the fear of the compensation claim etc., etc., etc.

I’ve just returned from my local South Shields newsagent aghast, next to the display of sweets and confectionery there was a bottle of hygienic hand wash gel with a notice attached to it advising customers to cleanse their hands before choosing from the merchandise!

* Scared of spreading bugs, diseases, and other nasty things?
* Don’t want to be the source of an outbreak of a stomach disorder in little children?
* Another reason to work hard and remove risk from our daily lives?
* When are these people going to stop “nannying” and start to concentrate on being normal?

Then they go and hand out dirty money in our change which has already passed through countless grubby fingers!"

You can read elsewhere in my blog for some of my recent experiences in NHS hospitals.

"Let’s kill the baby"

No, not the cry of NotaSheep on a long-haul flight but the reality of life in Zimbabwe in 2008. The Times reports that:
"A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.

Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her.

She heard one of them say, “Let’s kill the baby”, before Blessing was hurled on to a bare concrete floor.

Blessing, who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in the run-up to last Friday’s sham presidential election."

And we cancel a cricket tour, wow!

"America's fury as Hamza smuggles hate messages to Bin Laden's No 2... From UK jail cell"

UK security?.

"American counter-terrorism chiefs are demanding a full explanation from Britain of how radical cleric Abu Hamza was able to smuggle murderous messages from his UK prison cell to Al Qaeda's deputy leader... according to senior American intelligence sources, Hamza evaded the extensive security measures surrounding him to send a series of questions to Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man."

Read the rest of the article to see what the questions and answers were. And yet we still haven't had this person extradited to the US.


Andrew MacKinlay has been meeting a Russian "agent" and carried on even after MI5 (via Geoff Hoon) warned him that he was "'being targeted by a Russian spy' and that it 'would not look good if it came out'".

Labour Party Accounts (update)

Further to this and this, I read in The Times that:
"Labour files its annual accounts this week, and is only averting financial collapse because of a written guarantee that at least one union, Unite, will continue to provide significant funding. The party is negotiating with businessmen who lent Labour millions of pounds about extending the repayment period for up to a decade."

So insolvent but continuing to trade with the support of its bankers, rather like the UK...

"Victoria Derbyshire -aargh!"

"Victoria Derbyshire -aargh!" The title of a debate on Digital Spy that "considers" who is the poorest radio presenter.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

The best conspiracy theory I have read so far...

"What do you think about the unified conspiracy theory?

The illuminati (decendants of alien/ human crossbreeding) are responcible for global warming. The attack on the twin towers was just a decoy, the real purpose was to disguise the release of super greenhouse gasses (developed at area 51) mixed in with the smoke cloud from the fire. Mind cantrol devices and clones were heavily used to help perpetrate this fraud. The purpose of heating up the planet is to allow colonization by the great elder race. Almost forgot this group is headquartered in Isreal and is responcible for the death of JFK (who was about to blow the whistle on them. Please let me know if i forgot to add something to please any other group. Crab The other 2 groups you mentioned are varient species (mutants) of the above race. They serve the illuminati in more indirect ways. As to the moon linding that is their best piece of work to date. Not faking it but making people think it was faked to hide the "New Zion" homeland base. FOA Bigfoot is the key player on this list. Bigfoot is really last surviving member of the elder race. As such he is the true ruler of Earth. We will never be completely free while he lives. "

The above theory comes from, wow!

Remi - Very skilful but probably quite irritating as well after a while

Remi - Very skilful but probably quite irritating as well.
"Watch out, Remi's about! Enjoy more crazy antics from France's favourite prankster."

More Sarah Jessica Parker news

This is a Mrs NotaSheep spot, not mine. Paramount Comedy Channel is currently running a trailer for a "Sex in the City" night and near the end of the trailer we see Sarah Jessica Parker fall into a body of water, as Mrs NotaSheep says - "Was that minge?". We don't have Sky+ and so cannot pause the clip, can anyone confirm or otherwise?

Do we have any control over who can stay in this Country?

Apparently not...

"A man alleged to be one of al-Qa'eda's most important operatives in Europe is due to be freed from a British prison next week, it was reported.

After secret negotiations, the prisoner, identified only as U, is expected to be freed on bail from the high-security wing at Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire.

U, a 45-year-old Algerian, is alleged to be a terrorist leader who recruited, trained and facilitated operations. "


"BBC Press Release: Boxtickers

Boxtickers is a highly original six-part series about a dynamic team of BBC programme commissioners, led by Director of Vision Jana Bennett (Jocelyn Jee Esien - Little Miss Jocelyn), and featuring Controller of Fiction Jane Tranter (Freema Agyeman - Doctor Who, Survivors), Head of Series and Serials Kate Harwood (Nikki Amuka-Bird - The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, Survivors), and Controller of Comedy Lucy Lumsden (D.B. Woodside – President Wayne Palmer in 24).

Set in the white-minority country of BBC Britain, each week the team must select cast members for the latest blockbuster TV series. They race against time to find actors and actresses who "tick all the boxes", usually looking no further than a series already in post-production or, failing that, a recent episode of Dr Who. The tension doesn't end there because sometimes an American is needed to help sell a series to the States. Will it be someone from the West Wing, or is there enough money to get an actual film star? It's a high stakes game of international intrigue where careers are safe from harm thanks to the licence fee. Boxtickers - because commissioning programmes has never been so predictable exciting! Coming soon.

Posted by: DB | June 27, 2008 at 12:19"

A great plot idea from a contributor to Conservative Home. Following Samir Shah's allegations that while ethnic minorities were largely absent from the top ranks of the BBC, there was a tokenistic over-representation on screen.

House Price Crash (part 94)

The Telegraph report that:
"The housing market will not return to its pre-credit crunch health for at least six or seven years, an expert adviser to Gordon Brown has warned.

Stephen Nickell has warned that the housing market will not return to its pre-credit crunch health for at least six or seven years

Families must wait until 2015 for the property market to start booming again, according to Stephen Nickell, who heads up the unit which advises the Prime Minister on housing planning.

He also warned that the "severe rationing" of mortgages was preventing first time buyers from taking advantage of falling house prices, preventing affordability from improving.

Prof Nickell, the warden of Nuffield College, Oxford and the chairman of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, said he was extremely worried that the credit crunch would keep first time buyers from getting onto the property ladder."

Another stonking success story for Gordon Brown and his team of economic geniuses; an economy in tatters, the housing market in freefall with no chance of bottoming out for some years now and prices due to fall 40%. Well done Gordon, you have engineered a good old fashioned Labour government economic disaster.

Families in the UK now owe a record 173% of their incomes in debts

Gordon Brown's sheer incompetent management of the UK's economy over the last 11 years is finally showing up in the figures. Today I learn that:
"Families in the UK now owe a record 173pc of their incomes in debts, official figures have shown. The ratio of debt to income is higher than any other country in the Group of Seven leading industrialised economies, and is sharply higher than the 129pc of incomes it was five years ago...Michael Saunders of Citigroup warned that - at 173pc of household incomes - the debt burden is higher even than Japan's when it peaked in 1990, before more than a decade of deflation. "Not only are we the highest in the G7, we are the highest a G7 country has ever seen," he said."

Meanwhile the same Telegraph report says:
"Market researcher GfK said its consumer confidence barometer dropped five points this month to -34 points - the lowest since 1990, when the worsening economy contributed to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher. GfK warned that the measure is now only a point away from hitting its lowest ebb since comparable records began in 1974.

Economists warned that the combination of data, which also included news of the saving ratio dropping to the lowest level since 1959 and of household disposable incomes falling at the fastest rate since 1999, suggested Britain is heading for a sharper downturn than many had anticipated."

No return to boom and bust, eh Gordon. You always wanted a place in history and you will have one now; the man who fucked the UK economy more than anyone else has ever done, well done Gordon.

1mm, just 1mm

The papers all seem to be covering the story of Tim Down's Kiwi fruit. Just two questions - First, if Tim Down has fruit that other people want to buy why should he be prevented from selling them? Second, IF the fruit are too small to sell as LEGAL Kiwi fruit then why can they not be sold as sub-sized fruit.

Pulping food that people are happy to buy is just plain wrong and I cannot believe that this would happen in France, Spain or Italy.

Friday, 27 June 2008

"Wimbledon - gay pride with a net"

"Wimbledon - gay pride with a net" - thank you Graham Norton and as for his Martina Navratilova gag, I will not repeat.

The Italian Job

Watched The Italian Job last night, as wonderful as ever, and learnt from Wikipedia that a sequel was envisaged:
"...helicopters would be used to save the bus seen teetering on the edge of a cliff at the end of the first film. The grateful gang would soon discover that it is the Mafia that has saved them, and the sequel would have been about stealing the gold bullion from them."

For all you ever wanted to know about The Italian Job, take a trip here.

The BBC and Gordon Brown

The BBC over-promoted Gordon Brown from even before the 1997 election. The BBC told us over and over how intelligent he was, how prudent he would be and how he would manage the economy so well. These lies were pumped out throughout the Blair years and as the BBC lost faith in Tony Blair they put all their eggs into the Gordon will make everything better basket. This relentless promotion of their man, the great clunking fist, ensured that with just a bit of arm-twisting by Jack Straw, Gordon was appointed without an election to become Prime Minister.

The BBC are having to face the fact that they have backed a loser but that is hard for them to do. Hence their increasingly vicious attacks on any Conservative that strays from the straight and narrow whilst they all but ignore the (often more) serious lapses by Labour politicians.

The gap between the BBC line and their paymasters (the public) is getting larger and soon may cause a rupture. The BBC have a "Have Your Say" on the subject of "What's do you think of Gordon Brown's year in office?" and the top "READERS RECOMMENDED" are a treat for the non-brainwashed:

"As predicted, this man is far, far worse than Blair & that's saying something. He has no morals whatsoever & is driven by nothing more than a lust for power for power's sake. He has turned this country into a socially engineered cess pit. Democracy has all but disappeared, the scrounger class has prospered at the expense of the hard working majority. He has thrown away our sovreignty, driven by his hatred for the English. Foreigners take priority over the indigenous population & we're over taxed

Geoff Liberty

An utter disaster. The guy's just not up to the job, which was pattently obvious from the outset.

I pity anyone who has to pick up the pieces after the mess Labour has created this time. No one outside of their inner circle knows the half of it yet, especially the total PFI debt that's been racked up. How can anyone expect the Tories to give hard promises on anything against this backdrop?

There is no point in dragging out this farce a day longer, let alone to full term.

Brown Trousers, UK

An "unmitigated disaster" are not strong enough words!

Blair obviously knew something that we didnt know with his reluctance to name Brown as his successor.

Sandra Smith, Southampton, United Kingdom

Gordon Brown thinks he is the right man for the job. Robert Mugabe also thinks he is right for the job.

The vast majority think otherwise!

Give us ALL a break Brown, call an election!

Gerupta Singh "

Meanwhile the BBC have to resort to mixing up poll-ratings on their news captions (again)...

"man, she is so EXTRA"

Another thought-provoking article from To Miss With Love, as is often the case I found this post really depressed me about the 'youf' of this country.

Henley by-election

Labour lost their deposit and finished behind the Greens and BNP, so the news goes. What is also interesting is that the Labour candidate received only 824 votes more than the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate. Yes Labour are down amongst the minor parties and odd-balls - how appropriate!

# John Howell - Conservatives, 19,796 (56.95%, 3.46% increase on 2005 general election share of vote)
# Stephen Kearney - Liberal Democrats, 9,680 (27.85%, 1.84%)
# Mark Stevenson - Greens, 1,321 (3.80%, 0.54%)
# Timothy Rait - British National Party, 1,243 (3.58%)

# Richard McKenzie - Labour, 1,066 (3.07%, -11.68%)
# Chris Adams, UK Independence Party, 843 (2.43%, -0.07%)
# Bananaman Owen - Monster Raving Loony Party, 242 (0.70%)
# Derek Allpass - English Democrats, 157 (0.45%)
# Amanda Harrington - Independent (Miss Great Britain Party), 128 (0.37%)
# Dick Rodgers - The Common Good, 121 (0.35%)
# Louise Cole - Independent (Miss Great Britain Party), 91 (0.26%)
# Harry Bear - The Fur Play Party, 73 (0.21%)

Oink oink little EU piggies

A German expose of MEP's signing on for their daily allowances.#

Thanks to EU Referendum for the spot.

BBC and opinion polls

The BBC stopped reporting on UK political opinion polls around the time that Labour stopped being ahead or at least within touching distance. However today they have found a poll that is not totally unremitting bad news and so at the end of their article on the Henley by-election they have this:
"Meanwhile, a YouGov opinion poll for the Daily Telegraph suggests Labour has closed the gap on the Tories over the past month.

Labour was up five points on the month at 28% - still 18 points behind the Conservatives who dropped one point to 46%. The Liberal Democrats were down three on 15%.

But 61% of those surveyed thought Gordon Brown was a liability to the party, compared to 21% when he came to power a year ago.

Last year, 62% thought Labour would win the next general election, but that has dropped to 16% while 67% now think that the Conservatives are on course for victory, the poll suggests. "

The phrase "clutching at straws" comes to mind!

Labour - can it get any worse?

Even the BBC cannot avoid reporting the Henley by-election result, although they did their best to downplay it in advance. Today they have to don the black-armbands to tell us that:
"The Conservatives have won the Henley by-election, pushing Labour into fifth place on the day Prime Minister Gordon Brown marks his first year in office...Labour candidate Richard McKenzie lost his deposit as he trailed in behind the Greens and the British National Party.

The turnout was just over 50%, compared with 67.9% in 2005.

Mr Howell took the seat with 19,796 votes to the Lib Dem candidate Stephen Kearney's 9,680.

Labour's Richard McKenzie could only poll 1,066 votes, behind the Green Party's Mark Stevenson on 1,321 and the BNP's Timothy Rait on 1,243.

Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats saw their share of the vote rise compared with the 2005 General Election while Labour's fell by more than 11%. "

BBC and Tory sleaze

The BBC are obsessed with sleaze, so long as it is Tory sleaze, any excuse and off they go. The Caroline Spelman story is the lead on Newsnight again, that's the 10 year old story. Other headline Tory sleaze stories recently have been: Derek Conway and his son, Giles Chichester and the Wintertons. Meanwhile try and spot stories about the far more serious allegations against Ed "Gordon's Brain" Balls and Yvette Cooper, Wendy Alexander or Peter Hain (a much underplayed story). These stories about Labour politicians are always underplayed almost to the point of invisibility, whilst the TORY SLEAZE stories are headline news.

The BBC's pro-Labour bias is so blatant that it is little more than a Gordon Brown propaganda conduit.

Happy anniversary Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown celebrates one year as Prime Minister today, do you think he's enjoying it as much as he had hoped? I know that most of the country is not as enamoured of him as they were a year ago.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Photographer = terrorist or paedophile

Being a keen photographer, I like to carry at least one camera with me at all times and photograph landscapes, buildings, trees, flowers and occasionally people. Recently I have been aware of some worrying articles reporting that amateur photographers like myself were under suspicion. here is one article from The Register about:
"Stephen Carroll is a keen amateur photographer, with an interest in candid portraiture: "street photography", he calls it. In December 2007, he was in the centre of Hull taking photos.

Unfortunately for him, his actions were spotted by two local policemen. They stopped him in the middle of Boots and asked him to accompany them outside. There they told him that he had been taking photographs of "sensitive buildings". One said: "I am taking your film".

Mr Carroll requested an explanation. He asked whether he was "obligated" to hand over the film. In vain! Every time he asked, back came the same response: "I am taking your film". Robocop is alive and well and apparently working in Humberside.

When he eventually handed over his film, he was asked to turn out his pockets and to show what other films he had on him."

You can read about other instances of photographers being detained etc. here including this re Austin Mitchell MP:
"Austin Mitchell MP has tabled a motion in the Commons that has drawn on cross-party support from 150 other MPs, calling on the Home Office and the police to educate officers about photographers' rights.

Mr Mitchell, himself a keen photographer, was challenged twice, once by a lock-keeper while photographing a barge on the Leeds to Liverpool canal and once on the beach at Cleethorpes.

"There's a general alarm about terrorism and about paedophiles, two heady cocktails, and police and PCSOs [police community support officers] and wardens and authorities generally seem to be worried about this."

Photographers have every right to take photos in a public place, he says, and it's crazy for officials to challenge them when there are so many security cameras around and so many people now have cameras on phones. But it's usually inexperienced officers responsible.

"If a decision is made to crack down on photographers, it should be made at the top. It's a general officiousness and a desire to interfere with people going about their legitimate business.""

Here is Austin Mitchell's EDM and the signatories to it.

Here is a BBC piece from the PM blog that shows the Metroplitan Police advertising poster that has worried many and where this comment was posted:
"I have been stopped twice when I have been using my camera in public. The first time was in 2005 when Iwas attempting to photograph a rather stunning sunrise from my seat on the train between Basingstoke and Waterloo. The conductor ran down the carriage and ordered me to stop, then told me he was confiscating my camera as it was illegal to take photographs from trains. I refused to give him my camera and asked exactly which part of the law stated that. He could not answer this, but became physically aggressive and tried to grab my camera. At this point two men in the carriage told him he was being an unreasonable idiot and to leave me alone. There was a very unpleasant argument and he finally left, threatening me with arrest by the British Transport police at Waterloo (this did not happen) as I was apparently a 'risk' to national security.

The second was last year in the city of London, where I was approached by someone who claimed to be a security guard from a building that I had just photographed. This man was not in uniform and had no identification to confirm his claim. He attempted to confiscate my camera as well. I explained that I had been photographing an architecturally interesting building and made it very clear that I knew the law and my rights, and if he attempted to touch me that would be a physical assault and taking my camera would be theft. He lfinally walked away muttering 'well don't do it again without asking my permission first'.

Anecdotal I know, but all true."

Here are some stories of professional photographers being mistreated by the police, some of the stories are quite frankly scary - this is Britain not a totalitarian police state, or are the two becoming synonymous?

Here are the ACPO Police-Media Guidelines.

Here are the details of Marc Vallee's assault and subsequent case.

Here is "A short guide to photographers rights in the UK."

and finally here is a spoof that my soon be rather too close to the truth.

Are you concerned about "popcorning"?

Maybe you should be...

The New Scientist report that:
"YOU might think nuclear weapons have been carefully designed not to go off by accident. Yet more than 1700 of them have design flaws that could conceivably cause multiple warheads to explode one after another - an effect known as "popcorning" - according to a UK Ministry of Defence safety manual.

A typical Trident nuclear missile contains from three to six warheads, and a US submarine might carry up to 24 missiles. Weapons builders aim to prevent accidental explosions of warheads by designing them to be "single-point safe". This means that a sudden knock at a single point - say if it were dropped from a crane while being unloaded from a submarine - should not detonate the plutonium core.

However, a nuclear-weapons safety manual drawn up by the MoD's internal nuclear-weapons regulator argues that this standard single-point design might not be enough to prevent popcorning. The document was declassified last month.

The manual says that warheads should be capable of resisting multiple simultaneous impacts. This "would contribute to the prevention of popcorning and should be a design objective".

It also recommends replacing the highly sensitive explosive that surrounds the warheads' plutonium cores. A single knock may not detonate the core, but could set off this explosive. Less-sensitive explosives are available, but they are heavier and bulkier than those currently in use, so the warheads would have to be redesigned.

The effects of a popcorning accident would be dire. According to the manual, in the worst-case scenario, people a kilometre away would receive a radiation dose of 100 sieverts - that's 16 times the lethal dose. The seriousness of the accident would depend on the pattern of warhead explosions, though."

Read the rest and start worrying, or not!

Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein EU

The EU have launched a programme of small business reforms to try and make the EU less big business centric. You can read about all of these proposals in the business pages but one in particular struck me (quotation from The Daily Telegraph):
"the creation of a European Private Company legal status to enable businesses trading across Europe to do so without having to incorporate subsidiaries locally"

A forerunner to a European wide corporate legal system?

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused." That was what West Middlesex University Hospital said after it refused treatment to an ex-Gurkha soldier and holder of the Victoria Cross (from 1944). Andy Finlay, the hospital's "income generation manager", apparently demanded to see Mr Pun's passport and said his visa showed he had indefinite leave to enter Britain, not indefinite leave to remain and was thus ineligible for NHS treatment. He allegedly then threatened Mr Pun, who does not speak English and had a friend acting as interpreter, with a bill for past treatment. Mr Pun's lawyer said: "(Mr Finlay) then made the serious allegation that Mr Pun had "misled" the hospital previously in relation to his immigration status...Mr Finlay told Mr Pun he would have to pay back the NHS. He was shocked and extremely upset."

Tul Bahadur Pun has now returned all of his medals to 10 Downing Street. Presumably Gordon "Courage" Brown hid under his desk until the nasty man had gone away.

Googling (update 11)

One more interesting Google search term that has lead someone to my site recently:

enoch powell jaffa cakes - For which this blog comes 1st, but why would anyone search for Enoch Powell and Jaffa Cakes?

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper under investigation by Parliament's standards watchdog - shhh the BBC don't want to tell you

Bloomberg are reporting that:
"Two of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's closest allies in the U.K. Cabinet are under investigation by Parliament's standards watchdog after a complaint they abused allowances available to lawmakers to pay for their London home.

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon's office confirmed that it has been investigating Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper since February.

Balls and Cooper, who a year ago became the first husband and wife to serve together in a British Cabinet, claim the cost of the mortgage on their London home from taxpayer funds, arguing that their main residence is in Yorkshire, northern England, where the pair represents adjoining electoral districts.

``The rules on which is a member of Parliament's main home are actually quite clear,'' Liberal Democrat lawmaker Nick Harvey told reporters in London today. ``It must be based on where they spend their time.''

As ministers, both Balls and Cooper have full-time jobs in London, and commute between their two homes. Between them, they claimed a total 31,974 pounds ($63,000) in the year through March 2007 under an allowance designed to cover the cost of living away from home, according to the House of Commons. The most an individual lawmaker can claim is just over 22,000 pounds."

Oddly the BBC have decided that whilst the Caroline Spelman story was hugely important and worthy of a Newsnight special report, a story about two current cabinet ministers is not even worth mentioning.

As I have said before in the BBC's eyes Tory sleaze is a major story and the person implicated must go. In contrast, Labour sleaze is just not possible and if proved is just inconvenient and any resignation must be accompanied by expressions of regret.

The BBC are nore reporting the story here as the last of the "Other Top Stories" on the Politics page. Contrast that with the HEADLINE news that was the Caroline Spelman story.

Is Gordon Brown turning into Frankie Howerd?

Call a general election once made Prime Minister or call a referendum on the EU Treaty - "Nay, nay and thrice nay"

The latest opinion polls are not good news - "Woe, woe and thrice woe!"

The latest opinion poll

An ICM poll for today's Guardian gives no good news for Gordon Brown at all, it reports that:
"Gordon Brown faces a damning verdict from voters ahead of his first anniversary in power, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll. It suggests that his prime ministership has been a disappointment: 74% of those questioned say that he has been a change for the worse compared with Tony Blair, and only 24% think Labour has a chance of winning the next election while he remains leader.

The poll also gives the Conservatives a record 20-point lead over Labour, six points up on last month. Labour support has fallen two points to 25%, the lowest recorded in the ICM polls, which began in 1984.

Conservative support, at 45%, is at a 20-year high. That would give David Cameron a landslide victory as big as Labour's win in 1997, with some 400 seats. Labour might be reduced to well under 200 MPs, with many ministers losing their seats. The Tories would retain Crewe and Nantwich, won in a byelection last month, while Labour would lose previously safe seats such as Wakefield.

Conservative support has increased four points since last month's Guardian/ICM poll, and three points since another more recent ICM poll. Labour support has dropped two points since the last Guardian survey.

Liberal Democrat support, at 20%, is two points down but remains only five points behind Labour, the narrowest gap on record. Backing for other parties, at 10%, is up one on last month, partly because of the strong nationalist performance in Scotland.

The figures record the dramatic decline in Labour fortunes since Brown took over as leader. A year ago, Labour had a four-point lead over the Tories in the June Guardian/ICM poll. Support for the party, at 39%, was 14 points higher than today.

Voters also think Brown has failed personally as prime minister. Asked to rate his performance on a scale of one to 10, voters give Brown only 3.94 on average. Almost a quarter, 23%, give him a one.

Even people who remain loyal to Labour are unconvinced by the prime minister's performance: only 4% give him full marks. Among people who voted Labour in 2005, many of whom now back other parties, 54% give him five out of 10 or less.

Attitudes are much the same among all socio-economic groups, all parts of the country and between men and women.

A majority of people who backed Labour at the last election, 57%, also say that they do not think the party can win again with Brown as leader. Even among current Labour supporters, 38% think Brown cannot win.

Labour is shedding support to both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats: 17% of people who backed the party in 2005 are thinking of backing the Tories instead while 7% may vote Lib Dem.

The government has struggled to retain even its core supporters over the last year. Among people who voted Labour in 2005, only 3% of voters say that their impression of the prime minister and his party has gone up, while 46% say that it has gone down.

The government is also suffering from the economic downturn. Only 13% agree with ministerial claims that Britain's problems are the result of global difficulties. Most feel that the government should take some, or most, responsibility: 86% think that government decisions have played a part, and 40% think the government is mainly or wholly to blame. Even among people who backed Labour in 2005, 74% think that the government is at least partly at fault.

• ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone between June 20 and 22 2008. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules."

Unremitting bad news for Gordon Brown, I suddenly feel so much more cheerful!

Happy, Jack?

Last year Jack Straw was probably the main man who ensured that Gordon Brown got enough nominees to stop anybody else getting on the Labour Party leadership ballot, I wonder if he is regretting that action now?

BBC incredulous at any Tory policy

The BBC report entitled "How radical are the Tory NHS plans? " begins:
"When you consider that Labour has trebled spending on the NHS since the party came to power, it is quite remarkable in many ways that the Tories believe there is much to gain from knocking their record."

It is wonderful how the BBC in the person this time of Nick Triggle, Health reporter, BBC News, just cannot conceive of why tripling spending on the NHS might not guarantee an un-knockable record.

The BBC, spending public money is always good.

BBC Have Your Say

I haven't commented on a BBC Have Your Say for a while but the one entitled
"Should council snooping powers be changed? - Councils in England have been urged to review the way they use surveillance powers to investigate suspected crime. Should their powers be curbed?"

As ever the "Readers Recommended" is well worth a perusal:
"Sorry? Access to phone and email records by my council? What? You mean arbitrary access at will without judge’s permission? When did this happen?

Backdoor legislation introduced by a backdoor ‘government’; why does this have echoes of the old East Germany?

Don’t worry though, sheeple, there is nothing to worry about; they are here to protect us, aren’t they? All of their intentions are honourable. We have nothing to fear!

I am bereft of further comment; what have THEY done to this country?

Steve B, Wilts, United Kingdom

This is an astonishing example of how powers brought in to deal with terrorism can be extended to cover the most mundane aspects of daily life. It should serve as a check against any complacency on ID cards. The Government says that the vast amount of information the ID card database will make available will be used to counter terrorism, but do not recognise that any future government may take a different view of things and put hte information to more intrusive uses.

David, Bristol

They brought thes laws in to deal with terrorism, but they seem to have been used to spy on dog-walkers.

Then they wonder why so many people object to 42 days

David Potts, Grayswood, United Kingdom

I work for a large engineering company - we are out on the road all day in single occupancy vans - no passengers allowed. A colleague of mine stopped to have lunch in his vehicle at a layby in a torrential downpour, after eating he lit up a ciggie.

Surprise, Surprise next day he is called into managers office as the local council have sent in a photograph taken on a telescopic lens capturing the "offence".

This country is a joke - terrorists walk free.

Brendan Olear

What would be more beneficial is for tax-payers to set up CCTV to spy on councilors to see where our council tax is being used!

Some councils cannot be bothered to collect rubbish once a week - do the Government honestly expect them to fight Terrorism!

[Star-boy], Somewhere between boredom and sexual frustration, United Kingdom

It is a pity they don't use the powers to snoop on potholes in the road and get them fixed.

Unbelievable, that this amount of power be put in the hands of petty minded town hall officials. Leave the defence of the realm to the police and the forces, and switch this ridiculous law off.

[InTheNameofSanity], London, United Kingdom

Too late. Nulabour are already turning this country into a police state.

If you don't like being spied on, this is about the last country on Earth you should be living in. Nulabour see everything you earn as being theirs, and feel they should know everything you do.

Get used to it.

Steve Butler, Basingstoke, United Kingdom

I think this is an extremely dangerous situation. Council officials should not be granted such obscene powers to spy upon people.
I am concerned that they have been so casually awarded the rights to access phone and email records. They are as fallible as anyone with such awesome power and it seems there are no proper checks in place. We have less freedom to even breathe unobserved in the UK than under any of the old communist regimes. Bar codes on our foreheads next?

[sharpshooter1], Sandhurst, United Kingdom "

As ever the BBC viewers have a better grasp on "liberty" than the BBC.

Hold on, I just remembered something

Boris Johnson has had to lose his political advisor James McGrath due to his saying "Let them go if they don't like it here", see this for the all important context.

It just struck me that much less fuss was made when Ken Livingstone told two Jewish businessmen, who were born in India to parents of Iraqi-Jewish heritage, to "go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs".

The EU project explained

"Europe's nations should be guided towards the superstate without their peoples understanding what is happening... This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation."
Jean Monnet (One of the founding fathers of the EU) in a letter to a friend on 30 April 1952.

"Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly... All the earlier proposals will be in a new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way...What was [already] difficult to understand will become utterly incomprehensible, but the substance has been retained."
Giscard D'Estaing, President of the Convention on the Future of Europe which drafted the EU Constitution.

"The time for individual nations [in Europe] having their own tax, employment and social policies is definitely over. We must finally bury the erroneous ideas of nations having sovereignty over foreign and defence policies. National sovereignty will soon prove itself to be a product of the imagination,"
Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of Germany, January 1999.

"In ten years 80% of laws on the economy and social policy will be passed at the European and not the national level. We are not going to manage to take all the decisions needed between now and 1995 unless we see the beginnings of a European Government"
– Jacques Delors Commission President 1988.

"We want European Union, the United States of Europe"
– Helmut Kohl, German Chancellor 1989.

"Creating a single European state bound by one European Constitution is the decisive task of our time"
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, The Daily Telegraph, 27 December 1998.

"This Constitution is, in spite of all justified calls for further regulations, a milestone. Yes, it is more than that. The EU Constitution is the birth certificate of the United States of Europe. The Constitution is not the end point of integration, but the framework for - as it says in the preamble - an ever closer union,"
Hans Martin Bury, the German Minister for Europe, debate in the Bundestag, Die Welt, 25 February 2005.

"For the first time, Europe has a shared Constitution. This pact is the point of no return. Europe is becoming an irreversible project, irrevocable after the ratification of this treaty. It is a new era for Europe, a new geography, a new history"
French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Le Metro, 7th October 2004.

"The Constitution is the capstone of a European Federal State."
Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Financial Times, 21st June 2004.

"Our constitution cannot be reduced to a mere treaty for co-operation between governments. Anyone who has not yet grasped this fact deserves to wear the dunce's cap"
- Valéry Giscard, President of the EU Convention, speech in Aachen accepting the Charlemagne Prize for European integration, 29th May 2003.

"Anyone in Britain who claims the constitution will not change things is trying to sweeten the pill for those who don't want to see a bigger role for Europe. The constitution is not just an intellectual exercise. It will quickly change people's lives,"
former Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, The Sunday Telegraph, 1st June 2003.

"Through the consolidation of basic production and the institution of a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and the other countries that join, this proposal represents the first concrete step towards a European federation, imperative for the preservation of peace."
Robert Schuman May wrote in 1950

"We need a European defence, a European army, not just on paper but a force genuinely capable of operating in the field, including beyond the European borders… I am advocating a more powerful Europe… In short I am advocating a United States of Europe".
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt - speech at London School of Economics, March 21, 2006

"Most people don't know what has been decided,we continue step by step until there is no turning back".
Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, The Economist, September 24, 2004

"The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content."
Giscard D'Estaing, The Independent (London) October 30, 2007.

"The point of the exercise was to achieve the same changes to the EU that the rejected EU constitution proposed, but to do this by way of a new treaty amending previous treaties and in ways that only a few legal eagles could possibly understand."
Vincent Browne, The Irish Times, March 5, 2008

"The agenda must and will continue. Globalization is not something China imposed on us, but something we have done ourselves. People must be told that globalization is our policy. . . I see a clear danger when people are saying less Europe is better. More integration is not the problem, it is the solution."
- EU Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, International Herald Tribune, 8 June 2005

"We know that nine out of 10 people will not have read the Constitution and will vote on the basis of what politicians and journalists say. More than that, if the answer is No, the vote will probably have to be done again, because it absolutely has to be Yes."
- Jean-Luc Dehaene, Former Belgian Prime Minister and Vice-President of the EU Convention, Irish Times, 2 June 2004

"It (the introduction of the euro) is not economic at all. It is a completely political step - The historical significance of the euro is to constuct a bipolar economy in the world. The two poles are the dollar and the euro. This is the political meaning of the single European currency. It is a step beyond which there will be others. The euro is just an antipasto."
- Commission President Romano Prodi, interview on CNN, 1 January 2002

"Federalism might make eurosceptics laugh but, with the creation of the euro,the halfway stage would be reached. Four key organisms would have a federal or quasi-federal status: the Central Bank, the Court of Justice, the Commission and the Parliament. Only one institution is missing: a federal government."
- M.Jacques Lang, Foreign Affairs Spokesman, French National Assembly, The Guardian, London, 22 July 1997

"The fusion (of economic functions) would compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European State."
- Jean Monnet, founder of the European Movement, 3 April 1952
Your thoughts?

Thanks to Speak Out, No 2 Lisbon, Free Europe and others for the quotations.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

How to talk to an Obama supporter

How to talk to an Obama supporter/cultist (part 1)

What can you say on TV?

George Carlin in 1978, a severe language warning applies.

George Carlin has just died so this is in his memory and to show you how unoriginal some modern comedians are.

Barack Obama's accomplishments

Barack Obama's accomplishments, or otherwise, have been the subject of much debate. Back in February I posted this and this on this very subject. So I was interested to see this video...

About 46 seconds into the video when Barack Obama is listing the laws that he has passed and includes that a law that "extended healthcare for wounded troops who’d been neglected". In the usual manner of these American political commercials there is a reference at the bottom; the reference is "Public Law 110-181 1/28/08". Most interesting but some digging reveals that:
"Public Law 110-181 was the 2008 defense authorization bill. It passed the Senate by 91 to 3 in January, with six Senators not voting. Among those six absentees was Barack Obama. So he cites a bill he didn’t even vote for. Did he contribute to it in some way that might be reasonably referred to as extending healthcare for wounded troops who’d been neglected? It certainly doesn’t seem that way, as even Obama supporters at the Daily Kos discovered when they tried to answer some of the bloggers who pointed to Obama’s citation of the bill. They found that Obama had tried to insert an amendment that had to do with screenings for service members returning from deployments, and one that would ease the discharge of service members found to have personality disorders, but neither amendment passed. Another part of the bill, calling for inspector general reports about hospital facilities, had come from a different bill Obama had sponsored."

Still quite light on accomplishments isn't he?

Police priorities

Ladbroke Grove on a Saturday lunchtime and I passed six police in three groups of two on both sides of the road at the bottom of the hill near the junction with Holland Park Avenue. "Something big must be happening" I commented to Mrs NotaSheep; I was wrong. In fact the reason for all this activity became clear about 100 yards up the hill when I spotted the policeman with the radar gun. Yes on a busy Saturday afternoon only a mile from Notting Hill's vibrant street market the boys in blue decided that their top priority was to book any drivers whose speed managed to creep above 30mph. Meanwhile in the afore-mentioned market, I wonder how many people had their pockets picked or their bags snatched.

Why in Spain?

Saudi Arabia and Spain have agreed to hold an interfaith dialogue of Muslims, Christians and Jews in Madrid in July. Now why do you think this is being held in Spain not Saudi Arabia?

Here are some possible problems with holding such a "dialogue" in Saudi Arabia:

1) No symbols of any faith other than Islam are allowed into Saudi Arabia and the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited.

2) Only Muslims are allowed into Mecca & Medina, the street signs are really quite shocking when you see them.

3) The Saudi government does not permit non-Muslim clergy to enter the country for the purpose of conducting religious services.

4) According Saudi policy for tourists, it is not permissible to bring Christian or Jewish religious symbols and books into the kingdom and they are subject to confiscation

5) Until March 1, 2004, the official government website stated that Jews were forbidden from entering the country - the situation now is less clear

Maybe best to hold it in Spain then... I wonder if the Islamic claim on large parts of Spain will be mentioned during the "dialogue"? For once a piece of land has belonged to Islam it can never belong to any other religion or people; this is why although churches have become mosques, a mosque can never become a church.

The UK is officially a joke

"Muslim extremist Abu Qatada to receive £8,000 incapacity benefits a year - for his bad back".

Zimbabwe the end of democracy

The news that Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn from the Presidential run-off filled me with anger and despair in equal measure. Anger that yet another African dictator has got away with stealing an election and sadness that we in the West are doing nothing. Then I read that
"The decision of Zimbabwe's opposition party to pull out of the Presidential election and effectively hand victory to Robert Mugabe has been described as "deeply distressing" by Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary General."
Well hoo-bloody-rah" Ban Ki-Moon the head of the United Nations is distressed, will he do anything about it? Of course not. Apparently
"The UN Security Council is due to meet today to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis."
Now who is the current chairman of the Security Council? Oh yes Thabo Mbeki, so that rules out any South African intervention.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Oh Boris, grow a spine

Further to the the James McGrath resignation story, here is Boris Johnson's "considered" statement:
"It is with great regret this evening that I have accepted the resignation of my political adviser, James McGrath. James has been a loyal, committed and highly professional colleague. I will always be grateful to him for his skills, advice and support in helping elect me as Mayor of London. Unfortunately, his remarks in a conversation with an Internet journalist, published this weekend, made it impossible for him to continue in that role. James is not a racist. I know that. He shares my passionate belief that racism is vile, repulsive and has no place in modern Britain. But his response to a silly and hostile suggestion put to him by Marc Wadsworth, allowed doubts to be raised about that commitment. London is blessed with a rich ethnic and cultural diversity. It is one of the main reasons why I regard it as the greatest city on earth, and I am determined, as Mayor, to serve each and every community with equal passion and commitment. James's remark was taken out of context and distorted, but he recognises the need for crystal clarity on a vital issue like this. We both agree that he could not stay on as my political adviser without providing ammunition for those who wish to deliberately misrepresent our clear and unambiguous opposition to any racist tendencies. I wish James well in the future, thank him for his contribution and urge everyone not to misrepresent his view or misinterpret his intentions any further".

Big mistake Boris you've made yourself a hostage to fortune. We voted for you to end the ridiculous obsession with political correctness and kowtowing to any party who considers themselves insulted.

"Is Britain on the slippery slope to dictatorship?"

A very worrying and thought provoking piece by Phil Hill in The Guardian regarding the restrictions on individual liberty. Do read the whole piece but here is an extract, including Phil Hill's tests:
"there is also evidence around us that the British government is engaging in repression. And not just in Iraq or Afghanistan, but here in Britain. Perhaps those of us who have lived for a time under dictatorships can spot some of the warning signs:

• Inconvenient elections are avoided in the name of getting on with the job.
• Leaders of the opposition are character-assassinated by the state media.
• Institutions like the legislature begin to lose their independence and traditional role.
• Citizens are increasingly afraid to speak openly on certain issues.
• Citizens are observed and monitored on cameras and the government can tap into their conversations at will.
• Governments can snatch anyone from their homes or off the street and detain them without trial on charges of treason or terrorism.
• Ethnic and religious minorities are persecuted and are made into scapegoats.
• The state increasingly intervenes in family and community life in an attempt to control citizens' behaviour.
• The focus of discussion moves away from the issues and into a narrative of political rivalries and gossip spreads.
• Governments use bread and circuses to shut people up and distract attention away from their increasing political impotence.
• Public spaces for demonstrations are closed down and restricted.
• Large and ridiculous monuments are built to impress the citizens.
• Individuals have to carry ID with them at all times and the government holds large amounts of information on every citizen...


There was something extremely familiar to me about this week's events. The way they closed down the whole of Whitehall for George Bush's visit reminded me of how, in Havana, they close the main highway every time Fidel Castro crosses from one side of town to the other.

There was also something unpleasant about the way many in the BBC turned the discussion away from the loss of civil liberties in Britain and instead began to present David Davis as an egotistical oddball, pulling a clever stunt simply to spite the leader of his party. Soviet TV attacked dissidents in the same way. This kind of media character assassination is even more reprehensible because once you destroy a politician's reputation, you might as well put him down - like a racehorse with a broken leg.

And then, while Labour berates African nations for not adopting Tony Blair's gold standard for liberal interventionism, Labour itself avoids holding the referendum on Europe it promised.

One gets the feeling that the current crop of neo-monetarist technocrats in power in Britain regard see the whole democratic processes as an irritating stunt, not just David Davis's upcoming by-election. Certainly Labour politicians show very little respect for the electorate. Any appeal over their heads to the willful and ignorant population probably feels like insufferable interference to them."

An excellent piece and all the more worrying as most of the points are unarguable. You may also want to peruse the comments.

Social engineering

Apparently a plan is being put to Gordon Brown for universities to give entrance preference to students with results above the average for their poorly performing schools, this would reduce the number of pupils from better performing schools going to University and so increase fairness. Bollocks it will, it is just another attempt at social engineering and Ed Balls and Gordon Brown are quite blinkered enough to fall for it.

Is the Labour party insolvent?

Further to my piece When is a loan not a loan? and others, I now read in The Guardian that (my emphasis):
"AFTER A year of Gordon Brown's leadership the Labour Party is in financial crisis, it emerged last night amid warnings of cutbacks that seriously threaten Labour's ability to fight the next general election.

Loyalists including the venture capitalist Sir Ronnie Cohen and the millionaire former science minister Lord Sainsbury are understood to have bailed the party out temporarily in the past few weeks - its accountants had been threatening not to sign off the accounts at the end of this month, which could have ultimately tipped the party into insolvency. Cohen is understood to have donated £100,000 while Sainsbury has pledged to underwrite certain future staff salaries.

However, Labour's new general secretary, Ray Collins, has admitted its finances remain in a 'parlous' state. The party is up to £24m in the red, with donors reluctant to give, thanks to Brown's collapse in the polls and a series of police investigations into party funding. The party is locked in what one source described as 'tortuous' attempts to defer a series of multi-million pound loans due to be repaid soon.

Insiders said that Labour now hoped to be able to cover its immediate costs, but only by leaving 'not a penny' in the bank for a general election campaign. It is relying on volunteers on the ground because it cannot afford paid staff, leaving parliamentary candidates hopelessly outgunned by Tory opponents, while party staff fear redundancies if new donors are not found...

...Party sources say one reason Labour did not field a candidate in David Davis's by-election is because it could not spare the £70,000 needed for a campaign."

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. It seems a sort of justice for Gordon Brown's party to suffer, as the rest of the country has, from his incompetence and lack of frugality.

As I said last month:
"Some thoughts come to mind:
Can the Labour Party meet it's debts as and when they fall due? If not, does that mean they are trading whilst insolvent?

How many times can a "loan" be rolled over before it is a donation not a loan?

The "loans" were claimed to have been made on commercial terms, have the terms been made public on any of these "loans"?

Now look out for the Labour Party suggesting that the state funding of political parties is the best solution to the "democratic deficit" in this country. They could use their large majority to get this into place before the next election and will choose to base the calculations for the funding on an average of the votes received at the last three elections so as to avoid the full impact of the coming election."

"Let them go if they don't like it here."

Is "Let them go if they don't like it here" a racist statement? You're right this needs context; so here is the context. Voice columnist, and some might say "race hustler", Darcus Howe said in the Voice that the election of "Boris Johnson, a right-wing Conservative, might just trigger off a mass exodus of older Caribbean migrants back to our homelands". A journalist, Marc Wadsworth, pointed these derogatory remarks about Boris Johnson to Boris's political advisor, James McGrath, who replied "Well let them go if they don't like it here." and described Marcus Howe as "shrill". James McGrath then wrote a comment on the Voice website in reply:
"The columnist suggested that older people from the Caribbean might migrant back to their homelands if Boris Johnson became Mayor... I felt that this suggestion was ridiculous and intended as a slur and responded by saying with words to effect of 'let people go if they don't like it here'... To imply that I meant that all black people who didn't support Boris Johnson should leave the country is utterly absurd and incorrect. And I would ask please that this insinuation is immediately retracted."

Of course what has happened is that James McGrath has lost his job, Boris Johnson apparently feeling that he had no choice to avoid more libellous claims that he was a racist.

That's 21st century Britain, there is no greater crime than racism and an allegation of racism is enough to lose someone their job.

Melanie Phillips has a great article on this story.

Googling (update 10)

One more interesting Google search term that has lead someone to my site recently:

"the thing that people do not recognise is that Margaret Thatcher is not in terms of belief a conservatory" - Oddly enough that search returns no results so Google suggests instead:

"the thing that people do not recognise is that Margaret Thatcher is not in terms of belief a conservatory" - For which this blog comes 2nd.

My query is, has anyone ever claimed that Margaret Thatcher is a "Conservatory"? Something to do with not throwing stones in glasshouses maybe?

Another snout in the trough?

Another snout in the trough?.

Is there any end to this?

The latest opinion poll

As not seen on the BBC, but in The Mail.

"A BPIX survey for the Mail on Sunday suggested the Conservatives are on course for a landslide election victory, leading Labour by 49 per cent to 26 per cent with the LibDems on 14 per cent.

His (Gordon Brown's) standing is so low that most people have written off his chances of winning the Election and 44 per cent say he should resign now."

Do I hear the phrase agent-provocateur?

The Mail have an interesting article about the recent anti-Bush demonstrations.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

The EU project explained

Prodicus explains the EU project in terms that may scare you:
"Arrange that the transferred powers remain in your hands and those of your peers in The Club: other heads of government and a claque of appointed officials. Make the first duty of those officials the preservation and extension of the powers of the Club.

In this way, your charmed life can continue, far away from the critical gaze of the little people whose freedoms you may now abuse with impunity, and who must live by a massive rule-book whose million rubrics would put even those of Charlemagne and Ramses in the shade. You will have removed their right of criticism and of redress. They will now have to accept whatever you give them, complain as they may."

It is an accurate assessment of the EU and therefore one that will probably be made illegal to make within five years.

A most worrying rumour

I am most concerned as word has reached me that Maria Sharapova is planning on playing Wimbledon this year... in shorts. The summer is already rumoured to be a wet and depressing one, so a glimmer of glamour is required.

Pam Ann in full flow

"...I'm not going to Stanstead..."

What's the German for blow-job?

Mrs NotaSheep says that a translation would be blasen, looking around the blogosphere "Oralverkehr" seems to be a polite word, whereas Französisch or Munspiel are more colloquial.

Thanks to Theo Spark for the spot.

Learn to speak Democrat

The British version, "learn to speak liberal-left" can be construed...

Is this video real or staged?

I think the latter...

More "rights" rubbish

Apparently "Toddlers are to be taught about human rights and respecting different cultures in a scheme condemned as an "absurd" waste of time. "

Read the whole article and despair at the way that brainwashing of "our children" is moving at such a pace. Secondary school pupils have long been brainwashed re the evils of imperialism and the guilt we should carry for slavery and poverty in Africa. The brainwashing about "Man Made Climate Change" spread into Primary schools and now toddlers must learn about human rights. The "left" have control over so much of the educational system in this country that I wonder if we have a future at all.

Another piece of heath and safety rubbish

The Mail and others report that:
"Under draft safety guidelines drawn up by the British Standards Institution, every tree in the country would have to be inspected by a 'trained person' every three years and by an 'expert' every five years to make sure they do not pose a danger to passers by. Owners would also have to inspect every tree on their land at least once a year, the BSI said....The recommendations come despite the low risk of injuries from trees....Tree surgeons rarely charge to inspect a tree. However, if call outs became routine, they are likely to charge around £70 a visit."

More costs for the home-owner but the most worrying part is this "Around six people are killed every year by falling trees while some 640 people die each year from falling down stairs".

To the keen "health and safety" mind this does not mean that there is no need to inspect trees annually but that stairs need even more careful inspection. I would imagine the requirement should be a monthly inspection of all staircases, if they are carpeted, more often if bare boards. DANGER signs prominently positioned at the top and bottom of stairs, fluorescent tape to mark the leading edge of each step so as to minimise night time falls and maybe a traffic light system to ensure that no more than 1 person is on any set of stairs at any one time.

Word of the week

According to Wikipedia Diegesis:

"Diegesis is

1. the (fictional) world in which the situations and events narrated occur; and
2. telling, recounting, as opposed to showing, enacting.[1]

In diegesis the narrator tells the story. The narrator presents to the audience or the implied readers the actions, and perhaps thoughts, of the characters."

In context, whilst watching "Hot Fuzz" again last night, I looked the film up on Wikipedia and read this passage:
"At times the music is diagetic in nature. For example when Timothy Dalton's character Skinner drives by the fatal collision scene of Blower and Draper (who had appeared on stage the previous evening as Romeo and Juliet), the Dire Straits song "Romeo and Juliet" is heard on Skinner's radio. In another scene, involving the burning of George Merchant, Skinner drives by with his radio playing "Fire" by Arthur Brown."

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Gus Hiddink

Gus Hiddink has just taken his Russian team into the European Championships semi-finals, his team beating his native Dutch team. Maybe the FA should have appointed Hiddink rather than Steve McLaren back in 2006, although the BBC at the time disagreed.

Another Sparks fan writes...

Ned Raggett also seems to be a Sparks fan and a good writer as well.

Families of troops killed in Snatch Land Rovers to sue MoD

The way that this Labour government has underfunded the armed forces at the same time as sending them to fight more and more battles has been nothing more than shameful. So the news that some families of soldiers who have died in "Snatch Land Rovers" in Iraq are lining up to sue the Ministry of Defence under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act which guarantees the "right to life" has left me feeling more positive than I would have expected about a story relating to human rights legislation.

The first case to be brought concerns Privte Phillip Hewett and will be served on the Ministry of Defence within weeks, others are in the pipeline.

If you Google - snatch landrovers inadequate - you will get all the background that you need to judge this lamentable government and its hopeless MOD.

Ambidextrous sportsman

Ambidextrousness (if there is such a word) in sport received much publicity last week with Kevin Petersen swapping stance during the 20/20 match against New Zealand, see here...

If you wonder where this could end up, take a look of what happened when both the batter and pitcher could play either handed...

Lap dancing

There has been much coverage in the press of Labour's plans to rectify yet another legislation cock-up, this time the 2003 Licensing Act. The best quotation I have seen about this was in The Mail and came from Peter Strigfellow:

"'The current licensing is fair if enforced properly,' he said. 'To try to rename lap-dancing venues as sex-encounter establishments is ridiculous. If they do that, nightclubs will have to be classed as drug encounter discos and Government buildings will be "fraud encounter establishments".'"


Might the Israelis be practising for an upcoming attack on the Iranian nuclear programme? The New York Times reports that:
" Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said.

Israeli officials declined to discuss the details of the exercise. A spokesman for the Israeli military would say only that the country’s air force “regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel.”

But the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”

Several American officials said they did not believe that the Israeli government had concluded that it must attack Iran and did not think that such a strike was imminent.

Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister who is now a deputy prime minister, warned in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Israel might have no choice but to attack. “If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack,” Mr. Mofaz said in the interview published on June 6, the day after the unpublicized exercise ended. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.”"

Israel's government feels that Israel cannot afford to let Iran become a nuclear power; a nuclear Muslim power would be very likely to try and evaporate Israelis just as Hamas want to drive Israelis into the Mediterranean sea. Remember that the Israelis destroyed the Iraqi's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 (less than a year after the less well known attack by Iranian F4 planes shortly after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War). Also remember Israel's destruction of the Syrian "facility" last year (you can read my take on that story here, here and here.

Brown's plan to resign

"Brown's plan to resign" was the headline I saw on Telegraph news web fromt page, wow, how exciting, when? Will my bet on Jack Straw for next PM come in soon? The actual story is less immediately sensational but actually revealing one that:
"Gordon Brown has told close allies that the next general election will be his last as Labour leader."

I would say that once Labour has been trounced in the 2009/2010 election Gordon Brown will, as they say, be "toast". Someone else will have to lead the rump of remaining Labour MPs.

As I read the rest of the article I had to check that it wasn't April Fools Day:

"The Prime Minister has pledged that he will step down at "some point" during the next parliament should he beat the Conservatives in two years.

Mr Brown has let a few senior Cabinet colleagues know that he intends to quit in time to allow his successor at least a year to fight the election after next, a move designed to stop speculation about his leadership.

If he pulls off a remarkable comeback and wins in 2010 he will quit well before the country goes to the polls. However, by setting out a timetable for his future departure Mr Brown may find that some question whether he should leave sooner. "

This is one of the most blatant example of not learning from previous mistakes that I have ever seen. Tony Blair made a very similar promise before the last general election and his power started draining away almost immediately. In the end Tony Blair had to break his promise not serve a "full term" and left within two years. Gordon Brown has promised to serve less than four years as a way of stopping leadership speculation. Is he even more stupid than I thought? This statement will have the leadership speculation increasing in intensity sooner rather than later.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Indeed she does

Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a horse.

Obama mispoke yet again

"And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated."

Quite right, who could argue? Well there is just one tiny flaw in Barack Obama's argument; the 1993 World Trade Center bomb-builder was one Abdul Rahman Yasin and he fled the United States after the bombing, to live as Saddam Hussein's guest in Baghdad, Iraq. He disappeared during the US lead invasion and is still at large and very much wanted by the FBI.

So did the US arrest those responsible for the 1993 attack? NO
Did the US put them on trial? No
Are they in US prisons, incapacitated? No

He's dynamite with facts this Barack Obama isn't he?

Can we expect any UK media coverage of this? Not on the BBC that's for sure.

Special extra winner of a "No shit, Sherlock" award

A special award must be made to the National Audit Office who according to The Telegraph have reported that (my emphasis):

"The National Audit Office (NAO) says security costs, the uncertainty over the financing of the Olympic Village and a lack of a coherent plan for the legacy of the Olympic venues all threaten to destabilise the financial plan.

Its report has prompted warnings that the official budget for the games could ultimately be "blown out of the water".

"No shit, Sherlock"

The "Impotent fury of spurned EU-federalists"

Ah bless their angry little souls. Daniel Hannan MEP has written a nice piece which you can read here , but here is an extract:

"MEPs meeting in Strasbourg yesterday were furious. They fumed and shouted. They hopped about. They jabbed accusing fingers at the handful of Eurosceptic MEPs. We were 'populists', they said. We were 'dishonest'. We were 'a right-wing rabble'. Worst of all, many of us were 'British', who had never before shown the slightest interest in Irish democracy.

What had we done to provoke this ire? We had turned up wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan 'Respect the Irish Vote'. This seemed to madden the federalist majority, who, only two months ago, voted not to respect Ireland's vote. True to their word, they have since demanded that ratification proceed in the other 26 states and, in the meantime, they are implementing the contents of the Lisbon treaty as if there had been a 'Yes'.

'We respect the Irish 'No', but...' said speaker after speaker. Yeah, right. If they truly respected Ireland's 'No', they would undo the bits of the Lisbon treaty that have been implemented in anticipation of a 'Yes' vote, including the EU's diplomatic corps, common policies on immigration and a binding Charter of Fundamental Rights."

Of course we all know that the key parts of the Lisbon Treaty will be implemented one way or another over the next couple of years, some have already been implemented before the Treaty has even come into effect. The move to full EU integration is not optional, the views of the peoples of Europe are of no consequence to our putative masters.

MEP's expenses

There is a lot of fuss being made over the "dodgy" expenses of Conservative MEPs that have been revealed recently, and rightly so as the antics of Giles Chichester and others are reprehensible. However I have read little on the BBC about how this information has come into the open and why we are unlikely to learn of any "naughtiness" that has been undertaken by Labour or Liberal Democrat MEPS.

Open Europe, the European focussed think tank, asked all British MEPs who handled their staff allowances, and whether they employed family members. Only 25 out of 79 UK MEPs were prepared to provide full answers. 12 MEPs replied, but gave only partial answers, while 41 simply refused to answer the questions. Most Conservative MEPs replied, as did almost all UKIP members and both Greens. But 15 out of 19 Labour MEPs and eight out of 11 Lib Dems have kept quiet.

So here is a list of the MEPs who have not answered the questions at all (per Open Europe):

Conservative - 11:
Sir Robert Atkins, Christopher Beazely, John Bowis, Den Dover, James Elles, Malcolm Harbour, Caroline Jackson, Timothy Kirkhope, John Purvis, Struan Stevenson, Robert Sturdy

Labour - 13:
Michael Cashman, Richard Corbett, Neena Gill, Richard Howitt, Stephen Hughes, Glenys Kinnock, Linda MacAvan, Eluned Morgan, Brian Simpson, Peter Skinner, Catherine Stihler, Gary Titley, Glenis Willmot

Liberal Democrat - 8:
Elspeth Attwooll, Andrew Duff, Fiona Hall, Sarah Ludford, Liz Lynne, Bill Newton-Dunn, Emma Nicholson, Diana Wallis

Non attached and Nationalist parties - 6:
Robert Kilroy-Silk, Jill Evans, Bairbre de Brun, Ian Hudghton, Alan Smith, Jim Nicholson

UKIP - 3:
Graham Booth, Roger Knapman, Mike Natrass

Maybe Michael Crick could get off his Caroline Spelman hobby horse and investigate some of these people. The only problem is that he would only look at the Conservative MEPs listed as Tory sleaze is an acceptable BBC story, whilst Labour sleaze is not.

Ratiftying the EU Treaty

I have just learnt that the High Court has issued an interim judgement on the case that Stuart Wheeler has brought to force a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Lord Justice Richards has invited ministers to "stay their hand" until his ruling has been made, apparently he has also said that he is "very surprised" that ministers are pushing ahead with ratifying the EU Treaty.

I think that Lord Justice Richards may not realise the political imperative to get the EU deal sewn up as soon as possible before the people realise what is happening.

Abu Hamza has lost the latest round of his battle to avoid extradition

Abu Hamza has lost the latest round of his battle to avoid extradition, he now just has the option of appealing to the House of Lords left to him. If he does not appeal within the next 14 days then extradition to the US would have to follow within a further 28 days.

NotaSheep's reaction is fairly predictable: the sooner Abu Hamza is out of the UK the happier I will be. If we can then get rid of Abu Qatada and the rest of the preachers (both religious and otherwise) of hate, then I will be even happier.

Jack "gerrymandering" Straw

The Telegraph report that:
"This week, Justice Secretary Jack Straw pledged to commit the biggest act of gerrymandering since Caligula made his horse a senator, yet it received scant attention.

Straw wants to prevent prospective Conservative candidates in marginal seats from spending money in advance of an election campaign. More precisely, he wants to prevent candidates spending Lord Ashcroft's money. Before I go on, I must declare an interest. I was a Conservative candidate at the last election and received a small amount of funding from Lord Ashcroft's target seat campaign. He is also an investor in my new political magazine, Total Politics.

Being a candidate in a marginal seat rates second only to being Boris Johnson's diary secretary as the most nightmarish job in politics. It has a potentially enormous long-term reward, but party workers have wild expectations: they demand you buy a house locally, that you generate acres of media coverage, that you spend every waking hour door-knocking and that you single-handedly raise all the money to finance your campaign - or pay for it yourself.

A myth has developed that all Tory marginal seat candidates are financed by the Ashcroft millions. Nobody mentions Lord Sainsbury's donations of far more money to Labour, which is presumably channelled into its own marginal seats.

Most candidates don't receive a penny from Central Office. If they want to tell the electorate their views or achievements, they have to pay for a leaflet. Even those receiving money through the target seat campaign, which Lord Ashcroft partially funds, have to find at least 90 per cent of the spending themselves.

Labour wishes to silence candidates in advance of an election, but if they are not allowed to spend money, how can they communicate with electors? Many local newspaper editors refuse to cover candidates before an election, partly because they don't wish to upset the MP, with whom they usually want to foster good relations. So without finance to pay for leaflets a candidate is rendered mute.

Incumbents will become ever more powerful. MPs have a "communications allowance" of £10,000 a year to tell the electorate how wonderful they are. Straw's plans would make it impossible for new candidates to compete. This will inhibit political dialogue."

As the next Labour Prime Minister he will want his MPs to have every advantage in the forthcoming election.

Home-made rockets

The media call the missiles fired at Israel by Hamas "home-made" as if that makes them less dangerous. Whilst Israel is criticised for any civilian deaths they cause regardless of the care they try to take to avoid such deaths, no such criticism is laid on Hamas although they launch rockets with no care as to where they land.

Here is some video of Hamas launching some rockets at Israel.

"The horrors of being a white farmer in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe"

Another dreadful story about life in Zimbabwe in The Telegraph, do read it and the earlier pieces that I have blogged about here.

What is happening in Zimbabwe is a terrible crime and we are just watching it happen. As for South Africa's lack of action, words all but fail me, Thabo Mbeki is complicit in every beating, every torture, every murder in Zimbabwe.

Censorship in Zimbabwe

This is the MDC's Party Political Broadcast that has been banned by the ever more dictatorial Robert Mugagbe. The broadcast is a creditable 30+ seconds long, if only UK PPBs were as short. I am a trifle worried by the number of different typefaces used in the on screen slogan - multiple sizes and colours in just nine words...

Michael Crick now attacking David Cameron via Caroline Spelman

Michael Crick is nowattacking David Cameron via Caroline Spelman, this time in his BBC blog. There is no sign of an investigation of any Labour cabinet ministers from the "impartial" Mr Crick.

"Hindu man set on fire in East London 'for dating Muslim girl'"

The London Paper report that:
" Police were appealing for witnesses today following the attempted murder of a man who was doused in petrol and set on fire in east London.

The 20-year-old, who is fighting for his life in hospital, was torched as he sat in his car in Forest Gate.

It is believed the Hindi victim, who suffered 65 per cent burns in the attack, was targeted because he was dating a Muslim girlfriend.

He had just parked his car, a green Honda Prelude, in St George’s Road when he was approached by the suspect or suspects and had petrol poured over him before being set alight.

He managed to get out of the vehicle and was discovered nearby before being taken to hospital and transferred to a specialist burns unit where he remains in a critical condition."

What next?

More BBC Global Warming rubbish

David Shukman, BBC environment correspondent, Barcelona reported on 13 May that:
"Climb down the stony banks of the massive Sau reservoir in the mountains above Barcelona and you get a real sense of why this famous city is so short of water that it's resorted to bringing in emergency supplies - by ship.

Nestling in a deep valley of stunning cliffs and forests, this vital source of water has sunk so low it's exposed the eerie sight of a medieval village that was flooded when the reservoir was opened in the 1960s.

The huddle of ancient stone buildings, including a church with its spire, has now re-emerged into the light and stands as a potent symbol of the severity of this water crisis.

In a year that so far ranks as Spain's driest since records began 60 years ago, the reservoir is currently holding as little as 18% of its capacity - at a time of year when winter rains would usually have provided an essential boost by now.

Rainfall figures show a consistent series of shortfalls in recent years - just as Barcelona's population has expanded to more than five million and the region's booming agribusinesses demand ever more irrigation."

You can probably guess the rest... On 7 June The Guardian reports in a piece entitled "Expo2008: Rain in Spain causes Zaragoza to complain" that:

"After months of the worst drought for 60 years, Spain has experienced the wettest May since 1971; it rained on 18 days of the month. Heavy rains have continued into June, which is rare during the Spanish summer.

In the Basque country, villagers had to be evacuated after rivers burst their banks. In Catalonia, the worst affected area, reservoirs whose levels had been reduced to only 20% are now nearly half full. Last month, Barcelona suffered the embarrassment of having to ship in water from France and other parts of Spain at a cost of €66m (£53m).


Angel Rivera, of the Spanish national meteorological institute, said the drought was caused by exceptionally low rainfall between November and April, "but May has been the wettest since 1971"."

This reminds me of my post last August that the Guardian was so definite in the Summer of 2006 that:

"scientists know a lot about how events will unfold...which means that whatever we do, our climate destiny is fixed for the next few decades...Rainfall will decline in the summer and the increased deluges in winter will struggle to replenish thirsty reservoirs because much of the water will run off the baked ground."

Only for the Times to report in August 2007:
"Britain is facing a flooding timebomb this autumn and winter, with huge amounts of underground water stored up by incessant summer rain ready to burst out as floods the next time heavy rains return." and "The Environment Agency is giving warning of “an enhanced flood risk” for England and Wales, although where and when any flooding strikes will depend on the weather patterns. Forecasters are predicting a wet autumn across much of Britain."