Saturday 31 January 2009

Oh Dave...

Possibly a setup but still quite funny.

Gordon Brown's economic "genius" exposed

BrackenWorld exposes Gordon Brown's economic "genius" for what it is. Much of the article reiterates what I have been saying for a while, here are some extracts:
"Not only has he borrowed, he has taxed the rest of us to penury, so the ability of the private sector to finance all these jobs - for it is the private sector who pays - has been diminished. State spending represents an absurd portion of the economy, and this is unsustainable


The state was active in forcing irresponsible lending - I have pointed out the Community Reinvestment Act before - if this crisis started in the USA, it started with this piece of legislation from 1977 which forced banks to lend to poor credit risks. "innovative products" were aplauded by the regulators, who were instead focussing on investment advisors' dilligence in form filling. "Access" to credit was the byword of banking regulation under Labour in the UK. If bad debts are the problem (and they aren't particularly) then the Reglator is at least as much to blame.

The idea that the banking and financial system was "unregulated" is just ludicrous.


Just as it will be several decades before British Banks return to their pomp of 2007, it will be the work of many years to undo the damage that Brown has wrought on the UK economy. He has overseen a vast bloating of the public sector, which will fight hard to maintain its headcount. Any attempt to reduce the number of Diversity outreach co-ordinators will result in failure, because it suits the Aparatchiks' purpose to fire front line service providors rather than administrators in the long bureaucratic tail. They will do this in order to make the "Tory cuts" charge stick."

Read the rest and then spread the word. Don't let Gordon Brown and the media falsify what happened and who is to blame. Gordon Brown must be made to face up to his many failures and his responsibility for the economic disaster that is yet to fully visit the UK. At some point Gordon Brown must be held to account; could what he has done be classified as treason?

Nokia N96 advert featuring Bruce Lee

If this film footage is for real then I am seriously impressed...

Allegedly this is footage of Bruce Lee playing a very high standard of table tennis using a nunchuk. I am not sure if it is him but whoever it is seems to be playing for real.

And now for some reason the more explicable Bruce Lee lighting matches with a nunchuk

The recession really hits home

Caroline Pemberton says that she may have to let some staff go from Grey Gables unless takings pick up. This is getting serious...

The best passenger complaint letter in the world

The internet is alive with the story of Oliver Beale, a British advertising executive's letter of complaint sent to Virgin's Richard Branson. It is a very funny piece of writing and one that I can identify with having sat on long-haul planes wondering at the food put in front of me.


Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at thehands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it: [see image 1, above].

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

You don’t get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it’s next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That’s got to be the clue hasn’t it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in: [see image 2, above].

I know it looks like a baaji but it’s in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you’ll be fascinated to hear that it wasn't custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. It’s only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what’s on offer.

I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing. That’s how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this: [see image 3, above].

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It’s mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.

By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it’s baffling presentation: [see image 4, above].

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.

Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on: [see image 5, above].

I apologise for the quality of the photo, it’s just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson’s face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel: [see image 6, above].

Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I’d had enough. I was the hungriest I’d been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.

My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations: [see image 7, above].

Yes! It’s another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.

Richard…. What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I’d done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.

So that was that Richard. I didn’t eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can’t imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.

As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It’s just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it’s knees and begging for sustenance.

Yours Sincererly


Apparently Paul Charles, Virgin’s Director of Corporate Communications, has confirmed that Sir Richard Branson had telephoned the author of the letter and had thanked him for his "constructive if tongue-in-cheek" email. Mr Charles said that Virgin was sorry the passenger had not liked the in-flight meals which he said was "award-winning food which is very popular on our Indian routes."

A very good article about the House of Lords and its member's expenses

Letters from a Tory has a must read of article that starts:
"decided that now is a good time to hold the inaugural award ceremony for members of the House of Lords who have also screwed the taxpayer when it comes to taking advantage of the luxuries they receive at our expense. Which of the 753 members are you rooting for? I hope you’re sitting comfortably, here we go…"

Do read it all.

Now that's an interesting use of technology

AIS is
"A group of ShipPlotter enthusiasts bring you live vessel movements from around the Irish Sea (and further!) derived from AIS data. Click on the map to see the individual ships, their statistics and photos."

Take a look at Dover with a 2 minute refresh. You can also click on each ship for details about the ship and its current journey. If you do that you can also link to the History of that ships movements, day by day, and even to a Ship Register.

Very impressive use of technology and a good insight into the importance of shippingh to the UK.

Now if you'll excuse me, I feel the urge to follow ships...

The 'Immortal' jellyfish

The Telegraph reports that:
"An 'immortal' jellyfish is swarming through the world's oceans, according to scientists."
"The Turritopsis Nutricula is able to revert back to a juvenile form once it mates after becoming sexually mature.

Marine biologists say the jellyfish numbers are rocketing because they need not die.

Dr Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute said: "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion."

The jellyfish are originally from the Caribbean but have spread all over the world.

Turritopsis Nutricula is technically known as a hydrozoan and is the only known animal that is capable of reverting completely to its younger self.

It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation.

Scientists believe the cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal.

While most members of the jellyfish family usually die after propagating, the Turritopsis nutricula has developed the unique ability to return to a polyp state.

Having stumbled upon the font of eternal youth, this tiny creature which is just 5mm long is the focus of many intricate studies by marine biologists and geneticists to see exactly how it manages to literally reverse its aging process."

How long before the first model or "celebrity" tries to have a jellyfish implant?

Is the Labour government that short of money

The Mail reports that:
"Millions of self-employed workers could end up paying tax which is not yet due because of a glitch in the HM Revenue & Customs website.

Those filling in an online return are being asked to pay their tax for the last financial year - and make a contribution towards the amount due for this year.

However, although the back tax must be paid by midnight today, half of the so-called 'payment on account' is not due until July.

But HMRC has not publicised the website error because they fear it could cause chaos so near to the annual deadline.

And while it charges an interest rate of three per cent to those who owe it money, it will not pay out any interest on cash which is handed over too early.

More than nine million people will fill in self-assessment forms this year, and two out of every three do so online. Many of those will wait until the last moment to complete their forms.

This means they rely on the Revenue website to calculate the final figure they need to pay by tonight's deadline.

The current problem affects self-employed taxpayers who have a bill of more than £2,000.

These people are asked by the Revenue to contribute towards next year's bill as well as pay their tax for the previous year.

Although half of the 'payment on account' is due today, the other half is not due for another six months.

Despite this, the Revenue website is asking for the full amount.

As a result, many self-employed workers will automatically assume they must pay this amount now. "

Is the Labour government that short of money that the HMRC have to make mistakes and not correct them in time in order to bring forward tax revenues?

Here comes the disingenuous get out:
"A spokesman for the Revenue said: 'Nobody will pay more tax than they need to.

'This issue only affects those customers who make payments on account but we are taking it very seriously and apologise for any inconvenience caused.'"

True they will not pay more tax, but they will pay tax six months early; good cashflow for the Treasury, not so good for the poor taxpayer who pays early due to a HMRC mistake.

Will anyone at the HMRC pay the price for this mistake? In the private sector a mistake like this on such an important website would mean the loss of a job or the IT contract, but in the public sector I presume the only outcome will be a new contract to fix the problem. As Private Eye like to say.... "trebles all round".

Gordon Brown - Liar, fool or knave?

In September 2007 at the Labour Party Conference Gordon Brown made his now infamous promise:
"This is our vision: Britain leading the global economy . . . drawing on the talents of all to create British jobs for British workers."

Let's see how that's gone shall we:

Work permits issued to workers from outside the EU:
2007 - 129,700
2008 - 151,635
That's up by 21,935

Number of workers in UK jobs born outside of the UK:
2007 - 3,548,000
2008 - 3,723,000
That's up by 175,000

Number of workers in UK jobs born in the UK:
2007 - 25,771,000
2008 - 25,725,000
That's down by 46,000

The fact is that Gordon Brown made a promise he couldn't deliver on (yes just like "ending boom and bust"). He did it to show his British credentials and to boost his popularity ahead of a general election (the one he chickened out of). The truth of the matter is that whilst we are in the EU we cannot stop anyone resident in another EU country from coming and working in the UK. I cannot believe that Gordon Brown didn't know that was the case; so either Gordon Brown knew the truth but thought he might get away with another Brownie or he really didn't know, in which case he's even less well informed than I thought and not fit to be Prime Minister.

Global warming rubbish

A small article in The Mail shows the depths to which the Man Made Climate Change brainwashers will stoop to.

An article starts "Global warming could trigger a stand-off between world powers over territory and resources in the Arctic as the ice thaws, Nato's chief warned yesterday." and contains this line that at first glance may seem worryingly conclusive, but is it?
"Some scientists predict that Arctic waters could be ice-free in summer by 2013, meaning that exploration for oil and natural gas will become possible in once inaccessible areas."

"Some scientists" - thousands, hundreds, tens or two...
"could be ice-free in summer by 2013" - could, so could could not be; what odds were given that it "could be"?

World War III starts in Korea?

The Telegraph reports that:
"In a significant escalation of tensions, North Korea cancelled all military and political agreements after accusing Seoul of aggressive posturing.

Pyongyang's decision to nullify all accords increases the prospect of an armed confrontation on the Peninsula, where over a million soldiers face each other across the Demilitarised Zone that divides the two Koreas.

North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea blamed the South for pushing the two countries "to the brink of a war".

Pyongyang said it now regarded the maritime border between the two states as "void". The last time the two countries clashed militarily was at the disputed frontier in the Yellow Sea, when their navies fought a deadly gun battle in June 2002. "

So will World War III start with a war between North Korea and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Israel and Iran or ...?

More murders in Gaza

The Guardian reports that:
"Evidence is emerging of a wave of reprisal attacks and killings inside Gaza that have left dozens dead and more wounded in the wake of Israel's war.

Among the dead are Palestinians suspected of collaborating with the Israeli military. Others include criminals who were among the 600 prisoners to escape from Gaza City's main jail when it was bombed as the war began. Their attackers are thought to be their victims' relatives.

During and after the war, there have also been attacks on security officials from Fatah, the bitter rival of Hamas, the Islamist movement in control of the Gaza Strip. One witness told the Guardian how her brother, a Fatah military intelligence officer, was shot three times in the legs in an apparent punishment attack by gunmen from Hamas's armed wing.


Palestinians in human rights organisations are reluctant to speak publicly about what is a sensitive issue, but one respected human rights worker in Gaza said he believed between 40 and 50 people had been killed in reprisal attacks since the start of the war. But there was not yet enough evidence to suggest this was an organised campaign by Hamas, he said.

"We don't know who's doing the killing," the worker said. "Some are individuals, some might be from Hamas. It's been happening over several days, all across Gaza. It's not all necessarily Hamas actions against Fatah." Another human rights worker put the figure at between 25 and 30 documented cases of reprisal.

A human rights group in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, and funded by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, has protested. "A number of citizens have been extra-judicially killed during and after the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip," the Independent Commission for Human Rights said in a statement.

"Fire was opened on affected citizens at a close distance. In addition, individuals in official uniform or masked persons opened fire on people's legs, severely beat others, imposed house arrests, and threatened to punish citizens along with their families if they would not comply."


One woman from near Zeitoun, south of Gaza City, described how masked men with ID cards showing they were members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas armed wing, shot her brother in the legs. The family had fled the house but returned on 18 January, the first day of the Israeli ceasefire. At 8pm several gunmen appeared at the gate asking for her brother, a 36-year-old Fatah military intelligence officer who had not been working since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007. The men searched the house for weapons, but found none and later left.

Early the next morning they returned. "They started firing in the air," said the 23-year-old sister, who declined to give her name for fear of further attacks.

"They asked him to put his hands up.They fired one shot into his left knee. He fell to the floor and started screaming and saying: 'I didn't do anything.'"

He was then shot in the right leg and again in the left. "They were holding us back and we were watching him bleeding," she said. The victim is now in a Cairo hospital after two operations on his legs.

She said several of his Fatah colleagues had been targeted: "It's a kind of revenge on Fatah. They thought they were responsible for what was going on in Gaza."

Separately, Hamas is believed to have stopped Palestinians reaching an Israeli field hospital on Israel's side of the border at Erez. "We don't care about it," said Hassan Khalaf, Hamas's deputy health minister. "They are just claiming they care about human beings but they don't.""

Not a word of coverage on the BBC because to the BBC, the Palestinians are always innocent victims and anything bad that they do must be seen through the prism of Israeli oppression.

Friday 30 January 2009

Family Guy clip

Peter breast-feeds Stewie

Family Guy is a much underrated comedy.

Bill Frindall RIP

The The Bearded Wonder passed away today and I for one will miss his contributions to Test Match Special. You can read up on Bill's contributions to the world of cricket scoring here and tributes to him here.

Is the Prime Minister losing what remains of his marbles?

Pravda (The BBC) reports that a spokesman said
"I do not see a reason for regret in that the action we have taken has meant that we are now putting in place measures to ensure that British workers can have access to the vacancies that exist in the system."

Is that the best that Gordon Brown's team can come up with?

Who's for hyper-inflation?

FT's Alphaville report that: "Morgan Stanley’s Jocahcim Fels and Spyros Andreopoulos look at the possibility of hyperinflation hitting the western shores of the UK, Europe and the US in their latest note. Their conclusion is a little scary...:
"the risk of hyperinflation cannot be dismissed very easily any longer, in our view."

So all of us who were prudent and saved instead of borrowing to the hilt are about to be well and truly shafted by a bout of hyper-inflation. Thanks Gordon "prudence" Brown, you really are detestable.

"All we want is for Gordon Brown to fulfil his promise. He said British jobs for British workers."

So said a protester called George on Friday from Wilton, on Teesside. Sorry George but Gordon Brown made a promise he couldn't deliver on (yes just like "ending boom and bust"). Whilst we are in the EU we cannot stop anyone resident in another EU country from coming and working here. Either Gordon Brown knew that but thought he might get away with a Brownie or he didn't know, in which case he's even less well informed than I thought.

The wild cat strikes breaking out over Britain might be the start of something bigger, could British workers be about to turn French and take on the Labour government? If they do, could this be the excuse Gordon Brown needs to use the Civil Contingencies Act to quash dissent and rule by decree?

Reduced working weeks, strikes breaking out all over the Country; welcome back to the 1970s. This time maybe the Government won't resign:

"It was us poor bastards took the chop
When the tubes gone up and the buses stopped
The top people still come out on top
The government never resigned
The Carib Club got petrol bombed
The National Front was getting awful strong
They done in Dave and Dagenham Ron
In the winter of '79
When all the gay geezers got put inside
And coloured kids was getting crucified
A few fought back and a few folks died
In the winter of '79"

Photographers are terrorists - official

I have blogged many times before (see here and here) about the way that this most totalitarian Labour government and its police force are trying to stop people from using their cameras under the guise of anti-terrorism law. A few days ago I blogged about new EU legislation that could classify almost anyone as a subversive. Today I read that:
"New laws set to be passed in England and Canada would make it illegal to use bad language or take photographs of police officers, moving us further away from the idea of police as public servants and more towards the notion of cops assuming God-like status.

According to the British Journal of Photography, the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which is set to become law on February 16, “allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone who takes pictures of officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.” The punishment for this offense is imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine."

This is not the Country that I thought I was living in; I want it back.

Jeff Randall has Gordon Brown bang to rights

Read his article in The Telegraph and wonder when Gordon Brown will face up to what he has done to this Country.

Labour Totalitarianism moves on apace

Yesterday Polly Toynbee tried to justify Labour plans to revoke passports and driving licences from those who dodge child support. Do read her article and then read the comments; here are some:

27 Jan 09, 12:19am

Classic New Stasi thinking and the main reason I won't ever be voting for them again.

I have no truck with parents who won't pay. Lock them up. The penalty already exists.

If you start stripping people of passports and driving licences what do you think the next set of offences the State will use the option for will be? And the next one and the next one?? Until we arrive at unpaid parking fine collection?


27 Jan 09, 12:39am

Sorry Mswoman but this is not a Man's Rights issue, it is a human rights one.

Just consider this as a matter of people, and not gender.

What we have is that the Government can decide, arbitrarily and with a long history of f*cking up, to seize as much of your money as they want, they can then prohibit you from driving and then seize your passport and so prevent you working if you happen to live overseas.

They can do all this without once coming near a Court room. It is a simple arbitrary administrative decision. They can utterly ruin some person's life. The idea that there is a chance of appeal through the Courts hardly changes this does it?

The truth is that this is worse than the detention under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Yes, people ought to pay for their children. Just as they should not be terrorists. But the Government should not be granted such draconian powers. Not even if they were competent, and they are not, they should not be given such powers that are open to such abuse.

And I feel sorry for you if your views on men means you can't see that.

Given that this will not work, I wonder what is next. Roaming Death Squads probably.


27 Jan 09, 9:20am

Polly, 12 months ago you were in favour of Europe and the Lisbon Treaty. Part of that Treaty is ratification that the right to free movement within the EU is a 'fundamental right'. Remember Lisbon, the EU constitution that wasn't, according to NewLabour in order to avoid debate on ratification?

Yet despite having supported that you now approve of taking passports away from certain people whose actions you disapprove of, without due process of law but instead by administrative decision.

So, when you were in favour of the Lisbon Treaty; (a) had you not read what you were in favour of, (b) did you not realise that the point of enshrining such rights as fundamental rights is precisely in order that the state cannot remove them, (c) or have you now changed your mind about Europe and Lisbon?

The whole point of Bills of Rights/Charters of Fundamental Freedoms and Rights and so on is not to limit relations between citizens, they are to limit the power of the state in relation to its citizens - a point you seem never to have grasped.

Do you ever actually bother to think through your position on, and the ramifications of, a political policy before you spout off? Or is it simply that you never think further than knee-jerk, tribal puffing of whatever NewLabour is promoting this week?

Of course, if Brown had not run away from debate on Lisbon, maybe these problems would have been anticipated, or at least argued through in Parliamentary/public debate ... as ever being sleazily authoritarian bites back in the end."

The real Italian Job dilemma

Van ends up balanced on cliff edge in scene resembling The Italian Job.

Come on, all together now...

"This is the Self Preservation Society,
This is the Self Preservation Society,

Go wash your German bands, your boatrace too,
Comb your Barnet Fair; we’ve got a lot to do,
Put on your Dickey Dirt and your Peckham Rye,
‘Cos time’s soon hurrying by…

Get your skates on, mate,
Get your skates on, mate,
No bib around your Gregory Peck today.
Drop your plates of meat
Right upon the seat,

This is the Self Preservation Society,
This is The Self Preservation Society,!.html

Gotta get a bloomin' move on
(Gotta get a bloomin' move on)
Jump in the jam jar. Gotta get straight.
Hurry up mate, gonna be late!
And 'how's your father?'
Tickety-boo, tickety-boo.
Gotta get a bloomin' move on.

This is the Self Preservation Society
The Self Preservation Society

Put on your almond rocks and daisy roots,
Flash your Hampstead Heath; wear your whistle and flute,
Lots of la-di-dahs and cold pigs ear,
Look alive and get out of here.

Get your skates on, mate,
Get your skates on, mate,
No bib around your Gregory Peck today.
Drop your plates of meat
Right upon the seat

This is the Self Preservation Society,
The Self Preservation Society."

The Self Preservation Society (Get A Blooming Move On!)

And because I just love it...

"You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"

Thursday 29 January 2009

Jenin II (update 2)

Further to my pieces, HERE AND here, it now is being reported that:
"Most people remember the headlines: Massacre Of Innocents As UN School Is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens At UN School.

They heralded the tragic news of Jan. 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The news shocked the world and was compared to the 1996 Israeli attack on a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, in which more than 100 people seeking refuge were killed. It was certain to hasten the end of Israel's attack on Gaza, and would undoubtedly lead the list of allegations of war crimes committed by Israel.

There was just one problem: The story, as etched in people's minds, was not quite accurate.

Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.

Stories of one or more shells landing inside the schoolyard were inaccurate.

While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers.

The teacher who was in the compound at the time of the shelling says he heard three loud blasts, one after the other, then a lot of screaming. "I ran in the direction of the screaming [inside the compound]," he said. "I could see some of the people had been injured, cut. I picked up one girl who was bleeding by her eye, and ran out on the street to get help."But when I got outside, it was crazy hell. There were bodies everywhere, people dead, injured, flesh everywhere."

The teacher, who refused to give his name because he said UNRWA had told the staff not to talk to the news media, was adamant: "Inside [the compound] there were 12 injured, but there were no dead."

"Three of my students were killed," he said. "But they were all outside."

Hazem Balousha, who runs an auto-body shop across the road from the UNRWA school, was down the street, just out of range of the shrapnel, when the three shells hit. He showed a reporter where they landed: one to the right of his shop, one to the left, and one right in front.

"There were only three," he said. "They were all out here on the road."

News of the tragedy travelled fast, with aid workers and medical staff quoted as saying the incident happened at the school, the UNRWA facility where people had sought refuge.

Soon it was presented that people in the school compound had been killed. Before long, there was worldwide outrage.

Sensing a public-relations nightmare, Israeli spokespeople quickly asserted that their forces had only returned fire from gunmen inside the school. (They even named two militants.) It was a statement from which they would later retreat, saying there were gunmen in the vicinity of the school.

No witnesses said they saw any gunmen. (If people had seen anyone firing a mortar from the middle of the street outside the school, they likely would not have continued to mill around.)

John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school."

"I told the Israelis that none of the shells landed in the school," he said.

Why would he do that?

"Because they had told everyone they had returned fire from gunmen in the school. That wasn't true."

Mr. Ging blames the Israelis for the confusion over where the victims were killed. "They even came out with a video that purported to show gunmen in the schoolyard. But we had seen it before," he said, "in 2007."

The Israelis are the ones, he said, who got everyone thinking the deaths occurred inside the school.

"Look at my statements," he said. "I never said anyone was killed in the school. Our officials never made any such allegation."

Speaking from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as the bodies were being brought in that night, an emotional Mr. Ging did say: "Those in the school were all families seeking refuge. ... There's nowhere safe in Gaza."

And in its daily bulletin, the World Health Organization reported: "On 6 January, 42 people were killed following an attack on a UNRWA school ..."

The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs got the location right, for a short while. Its daily bulletin cited "early reports" that "three artillery shells landed outside the UNRWA Jabalia Prep. C Girls School ..." However, its more comprehensive weekly report, published three days later, stated that "Israeli shelling directly hit two UNRWA schools ..." including the one at issue.

Such official wording helps explain the widespread news reports of the deaths in the school, but not why the UN agencies allowed the misconception to linger.

"I know no one was killed in the school," Mr. Ging said. "But 41 innocent people were killed in the street outside the school. Many of those people had taken refuge in the school and wandered out onto the street.

"The state of Israel still has to answer for that. What did they know and what care did they take?" "

Will we see a correction form the BBC etc., somehow I doubt it.

Word of the week - Zaftig

Zaftig - (US, colloquial) Of a woman, having a plump and sexually attractive figure; voluptuous, well-proportioned.

And thanks to Google I find that Leonard Nimoy has been photographing some .

Labour MPs in West London have just added another nail to their political coffins (Stephen Pound update)

Further to my piece yesterday about the Heathrow third runway debate and my . I have discovered at The Public Whip that Stephen Pound was very bravely "absent" for this vote. Was he ill, was he unavoidably away from the House on that day? It would seem not as he managed to vote, on the same day, with the Labour Government on the Deferred Division — section 5 of the european communities (amendment) act 1993.

I presume that when campaigning in Ealing North at the next General Election he will just say that he abstained on the vote regarding the Third Runway. I trust that that will not be enough to satisfy his electors and that another lickspittle Labour MP will lose his seat.

Of the other West of London MPs:
Alan Keen MP, Feltham & Heston - LAB - For third runway
Ann Keen MP, Brentford & Isleworth - LAB - For third runway
Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough - LAB - For third runway
Vincent Cable MP, Twickenham - LD - Against third runway
Susan Kramer MP, Richmond Park - LD - Against third runway
Greg Hands MP, Hammersmith & Fulham - CON - Against third runway

I trust that local electors will note how their Labour MP voted on this issue and vote them out of office in 2009/10. Maybe the next Parliament will have no Labour MPs for West London and the west of London; here's hoping.

Heathrow third runway update

Today one can add emotional blackmail to the list of odd Gordon Brown traits:
"Labour MPs claim a "tearful and dewy eyed" Prime Minister called the Labour waverers into his Commons office one by one and pleaded with them to back the Government. "If we lose this vote it will de-stabilise the Government and de-stabilise the markets," said the embattled Prime Minister, according to one MP who voted with the Tories despite the emotional appeal."

Who is a subversive?

According to a recent EU Council decision many of us could be labelled as "subversives" with worrying consequences. Amongst the "crimes" that could lead to one being labelled a subversive are (my emphasis) (my comments):
* Offences related to waste - overfilling a rubbish bin?
* Unintentional environmental offences - spilling some suntan oil on a beach?
* Insult of the State, Nation or State symbols
* Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority - calling Gordon Brown an idiot or the EU totalitarian?
* Public order offences, breach of the public peace
* Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy - Telling people what a friend did on New Year's Day?
* Unintentional damage or destruction of property - Mrs NotaSheep had a shower head problem this morning, resulting in a very wet bathroon, does that make her a subversive?
* Offences against migration law - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
* Offences against military obligations - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
* Unauthorised entry or residence
* Other offences an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
* Prohibition from frequenting some places
* Prohibition from entry to a mass event - I was once refused entry to a gig until I had got rid of my camera, does that make me a subversive?
* Placement under electronic surveillance ("fixed or mobile" - eg: home, car, mobile phone etc)
* Withdrawal of a hunting / fishing license
* Prohibition to play certain games/sports
* Prohibition from national territory
* Personal obligation - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
* "Fine" - all fines. inc minor non-criminal offences - Does this include parking tickets?

Welcome to the EUSSR, we are all subversives and once labelled as such, how long before the first re-education camps begin operating? How about forced labour camps, where people can repay their debts to society? And then the concentration camps to rid the EU of economic terrorists, subversives and undesirables?

I know I shouldn't give Gordon Brown ideas but...

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recalls that in 1933 Franklin Roosevelt "closed the US banking system – invoking the Trading with Enemies Act – and ordered the confiscation of private gold."

Come on Gordon, deny you have been thinking about confiscating private gold. After all it does seem that you believe all we have must be given up in tribute to our great and glorious leader.

Barack Obama's door trouble - shhh

Do you remember the footage of George W. Bush trying to open the wrong door, a locked one? I'm sure you do as Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week and every other "topical news quiz" could hardly go a week without showing it and chortling over the imbecility of the US President.

News reaches me today of Barack Obama doing a very similar thing "On the way back to the Oval Office Tuesday, the President approached a paned window, instead of the actual door -- located a few feet to his right."

Somehow I doubt that this equally amusing picture will find its way onto any "topical" news quizzes as it doesn't fit "the narrative" of stupid Bush and the Obamamessiah.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

The con that is recycling as a way of fighting "Global Warming"

I did chuckle when I read today that Stephen Jones, a "key government advisor on waste management, has said that
"It might be that the global warming impact of putting material through an incinerator five miles down the road is actually less than recycling it 3,000 miles away"

When will people realise that the mania for recycling and indeed much of the environmentalist agenda is not about saving the planet; our puny efforts will have little affect anyway. It is all about control and the upcoming imposition of more transgression taxes.

Labour MPs in West London have just added another nail to their political coffins

The Labour Government have managed to push their plans for a third runway at Heathrow through a vote called by the Conservatives on an opposition day. Gordon Brown of course didn't want to allow a vote on this matter; he doesn't really like democracy as we know from the way his team ensured there would be no vote when he succeeded Tony Blair as Prime Minister, his cowardly backing down from an Autumn election in 2007 and of course his refusal to allow the British people a vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

Anyway by a majority of 19 the third runway squeaked through the House of Commons, around 25 Labour MPs rebelled including Ealing Southall's Virendra Sharma who represents a constituency that will particularly hard hit by the extra noise and building work. Other West of London Labour MPs that I believed rebelled include Ealing Acton and Shepherd's Bush's Andrew Slaughter and Reading West's Martin Salter. I wonder how Ealing North's Stephen Pound voted, he is a real Labour government toady so Did he vote for his constituents' interests or his Government's? I will check in Hansard in the morning.

So how many Labour MPs in West London and beyond will keep their seats when the electorate see the choice, on this one issue, as being between a Labour party devoted to imposing the third runway on London and a Conservative party committed to cancelling the project. Bye bye Labour MPs, hello happy West London constituents rid of their Labour lickspittles.

A history lesson for Gordon Brown

In yesterday's PMQs Gordon Brown came this exchange:
"Q10. [251635] Andrew Selous (South-West Bedfordshire) (Con): If all our problems come from America and the rest of the world, why is the pound falling so sharply against the dollar and the euro?

The Prime Minister: If I could just say—[Hon. Members: “Answer!”] The experience of targeting the pound and the exchange rate has not been particularly beneficial for this country. Targeting the Deutschmark and the exchange rate mechanism, and then membership of the ERM, did not work. So we are not targeting the pound, but inflation. That is the Bank of England’s role, and I believe that it is best way to bring about a recovery in the economy. I caution the hon. Gentleman and his party against any policies that would target sterling."

I may be wrong but I seem to remember that in 1992 Gordon Brown was in favour of the UK entering the ERM. In fact I seem to remember him wanting to be in the narrower 2.5% band. Now whether he supported this position because he truly believed in it, or because he was backing up his party leader, John Smith, or because it was a way of exposing Conservative party splits on Europe, I do not know. Maybe someone could ask Gordon Brown to explain his position in 1992 on the ERM and what he would have done differently so as to avoid having to exit the ERM.

I get so fed-up with Gordon Brown spewing out Brownies without any fact-checking from opposition MPs, commentators or journalists.

The Balen Report

I have blogged many times before about the Balen Report and how the BBC are so keen to keep it secret. You can read more about this report here.

Today I read in the Standard that:
"Somewhere deep in the bowels of the BBC is a top secret document that could explain a great deal about the corporation's decision to boycott the aid appeal for Gaza. It is called the Balen Report and has been seen only by a small number of individuals at the very top of the BBC. They commissioned Malcolm Balen, a senior editorial adviser, to investigate allegations that the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was biased.

Balen examined hundreds of hours of broadcast material, television and radio, and analysed the content in minute detail, often scrutinising journalists' individual phrases and choice of words. He then put his conclusions in a 20,000-word report. If BBC executives had hoped for a clean bill of health they were to be disappointed. Balen's findings, given highly restricted circulation at the end of 2004, were frightening.

Although they were kept secret, elements leaked out, including Balen's conclusion that the BBC's Middle East coverage had been biased against Israel.


According to sources inside the corporation tensions over Israeli-Palestinian coverage have induced a state of near psychosis among BBC executives and policy-makers. One insider told the Standard: "They are in a complete white funk. To describe them as like headless chickens running all over the place would be to convey an impression of too much order and cohesion. They are cowering in corners. The fear is palpable."


A sense that BBC journalists favoured the Palestinian side was reinforced by a number of famous incidents with which the corporation had to grapple. In 2004, just as Balen was becoming the orthodoxy among editorial managers, Barbara Plett, an experienced journalist who worked as a BBC correspondent in Jerusalem, took part in a From Our Own Correspondent broadcast.

Plett, who had covered the siege of Yasser Arafat's compound on the West Bank, talked about seeing Arafat being taken to hospital by helicopter towards the end of his life. She said: "When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound I started to cry ..."

Her remarks prompted outrage in some quarters, especially among Israelis and Jews who remembered Arafat as an enemy, unworthy of sympathy. Complaints poured in, but the BBC rejected them - at first. The pressure grew and almost a year after the broadcast the governors' complaints committee decided Plett's words had breached "the requirements of due impartiality".


The Plett affair came just after the Israeli government complained to the BBC that its Middle East correspondent, Orla Guerin, was guilty of "verging on anti-Semitism" in a report about a would-be suicide bomber. Guerin had long been an irritant for the Israelis. The Irish correspondent turned to journalism after failing to win an election for Labour in Dublin in 1994 and she joined the BBC after a promising career with RTE, the Irish broadcaster.

In 2002, Guerin claimed she had been targeted by Israeli soldiers who, she said, deliberately shot at her during a demonstration in Bethlehem. A year later Israel boycotted the BBC after accusing her of "deep-seated bias" in her reports. Then, in 2006, during the war in Lebanon she was accused of misreporting when she claimed a town near the Israel border had been "wiped out" by Israeli forces. "I haven't seen a single building that isn't damaged in some way," she said.

But Alex Thomson, filing for Channel 4 from the same town, Bint Jbeil, on the same day, presented a different perspective. He reported that the suburbs of the town "are pretty much untouched by the Israeli attack".

To the disinterested, the differences between these two versions may seem minor. But in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the passions it arouses a minor discrepancy almost always prompts an accusation of siding with one faction or the other."

Do read the whole article but ask yourself this; if the Balen report agreed with the BBC's claims of them having no bias against Israel then would not the BBC publish it, as they refuse to publish it I think we can draw our own conclusions.

"Britain is best placed to weather the global crisis"

"Britain is best placed to weather the global crisis", so Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling repeatedly claimed until not long ago. So the news that the International Monetary Fund declared today that the UK's recession will be deeper than that of the US, Italy, France and others and that the British economy will contract by 2.8 per cent this year - the worst of any Western country - must come as a huge surprise to the dynamic duo. Alistair Darling has not yet said that his forecast that the UK economy will be growing again by the second half of this year is in need of major correction.

Meanwhile the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has reported that Britons are facing a £20billion a year "double whammy" of tax rises and spending cuts to get the public finances back into balance. The IFS also predicted that it would take until at least 2029 for government debt to return to levels seen before the current crisis. Tax increases and spending cuts were inevitable after the next election, regardless of who wins it. The IFS also said that the Treasury was over-optimistic about the pace at which Britain would bounce back from the recession, hold on I think I just covered that above...

So Gordon and Alistair, do you still think that "Britain is best placed to weather the global crisis"? Did you ever really believe it?

The UK's box-ticking culture

The BBC report that:
"Two pensioners from Essex were left stunned when they were asked to show photo identification to buy a bottle of wine.

Jennifer Rogers went to her local One Stop convenience store with a 70-year-old friend.

But a staff member refused the sale saying she needed photographic identification to prove her age.

A spokesperson for the store said: "We take the sale of alcohol to underage people extremely seriously."

Those two last lines illustrate so much of what has gone wrong with this Country over the last 12 years of Labour misrule; box-ticking rules and common sense has to take a back seat.

Two pensioners are refused permission to buy alcohol because they cannot prove that they are over the age of 18. That's two pensioners, who are quite clearly over the age of 18, being refused permisson to buy alcohol because they have no ID to prove that they are over the age of 18.

And what's the response of the store? Was is "Oh sorry, our member of staff made a mistake, we have spoken to them and have made sure that they realise when they need to ask for ID and when they don't." No; in Labour, box-ticking, Britain the response is a po-faced "We take the sale of alcohol to underage people extremely seriously."

I despair of this Country, I really do.

It's Al Arabiya again

I blogged last week about
"Al Arabiya-TV Reporter Hannan al-Masri Learning of a Hamas Missile being Fired from (or near) the Ground Floor of the Building housing the Alarabiya Studio. She doesn't seem too shocked and certainly not disgusted, does she?"
Go and look at the video.

Today I learned that Barack Obama gave his first interview since his inauguration to the same Al Arabiya TV network; the same Arab satellite network that regularly broadcasts support for jihad and militant Islam. What message does this choice of interviewer send?

One year down, four more to go before the North Pole ice caps disappear in the summer months

One year ago it was reported that:
in "a January 24 Agence France Press news story out of the Davos meeting of business and political elite. Gore asserted that, “the North Pole ice caps may disappear entirely during summer months within five years…”"

How did the North Pole ice caps fare last summer?

I have read that:
"Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979"
Alaska experienced "a net increase or advance in glaciers"
"Sea Ice Growing at Fastest Pace on Record"
"Antarctica Ice Cap Growth Reaches Record High Levels "
"The Disappearing Arctic Ice Is Back And It's Thick"
"Record cold wave blasts Mumbai"
"China Suffers Coldest Winter in 100 Years"
But those are facts and we know that the Man Made Climate Change industry hate facts.

Just like most, if not all, of the environmentalist lobby's predictions, this one will slip away or be revised back a few years. The reality is of no importance, what matters is fear and using that fear to gain control.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Does Hillary Clinton know?

Ali Campoverdi in Maxim

Ali Campoverdi at Barack Obama's inauguration party

Apparently Barack Obama's 27-year-old speechwriter, Jon Favreau, is dating a former Maxim model and actress, Ali Campoverdi and she is working with him at the White House. Has anyone told Hillary Clinton? Because Bill really needs to be kept away from that office.

Ali Campoverdi in Maxim

The FTSE and the economic genius that is Gordon Brown

FTSE 100 1979 to date.
Notice the long, pretty consistent, Conservative boom in share prices followed by a Labour bust, a Labour boom back to the level of the previous boom and then another Labour bust. Gordon Brown's economic genius has taken share prices back to 1996/97 levels; it's almost as though the last 12 years of Labour misrule had never happened, if only that was the case...

Thanks to Guido Fawkes for the graph.

Truth will out

Maybe Shakespeare was correct when he wrote "murder cannot be hid long; a man's son
may, but at the length truth will out".

I see that:
"Ministers have been ordered to release minutes of the cabinet meetings which discussed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Information Tribunal upheld a decision by the Information Commissioner that details of the March 13 and 17 sessions should be disclosed.

The meetings considered the issue of whether the invasion was allowed under international law.

The government failed in its bid to block a Freedom of Information request asking for the release of the minutes.

The Cabinet Office now has 28 days to decide whether to appeal to the High Court against the ruling.

A Downing Street spokesman said they were "considering our response".

Cabinet minutes are not normally released until at least 30 years after the event - but the Tribunal stressed that disclosure of the Iraq material would not necessarily set a precedent."

Whether these documents are eventually released I doubt, as an excuse will be found not to release them. Which is a shame as I would have enjoyed seeing what Lord Goldsmith said and how much Gordon Brown was implicated in the decision-making process.

The BBC piece on this news story is currently quite aggressive towards the Labour government line, as you would expect from an organisation that was so against the Iraq invasion. I have no doubt that they will eventually succumb to pressure to reign back their coverage, so I have reproduced below the whole page as it is at 17:20 - the page claims to have been last updated at 16:52:

"Iraq minutes 'must be released'

Ministers have been ordered to release minutes of the cabinet meetings which discussed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Information Tribunal upheld a decision by the Information Commissioner that details of the March 13 and 17 sessions should be disclosed.

The meetings considered the issue of whether the invasion was allowed under international law.

The government failed in its bid to block a Freedom of Information request asking for the release of the minutes.

The Cabinet Office now has 28 days to decide whether to appeal to the High Court against the ruling.

A Downing Street spokesman said they were "considering our response".

Cabinet minutes are not normally released until at least 30 years after the event - but the Tribunal stressed that disclosure of the Iraq material would not necessarily set a precedent.

'Public interest'

The Tribunal said: "The decision to commit the nation's armed forces to the invasion of another country is momentous in its own right, and ... its seriousness is increased by the criticisms that have been made (particularly in the Butler Report) of the general decision-making processes in the Cabinet at the time.

"There has also been criticism of the Attorney General's legal advice and of the particular way in which the March 17 opinion was made available to the Cabinet only at the last moment and the March 7 opinion was not disclosed to it at all."

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said he was "pleased" the Tribunal had upheld the decision he made in February last year that "the public interest in disclosing the official Cabinet minutes in this particular case outweighs the public interest in withholding the information".

He added: "Disclosing the minutes will allow the public to more fully understand this particular decision."


Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey welcomed the tribunal's ruling saying it could be "critical" to how the decision to go to war is viewed by history.

He denied releasing documents before the normal 30 year time limit risked damaging the effective running of government, arguing that many people were still "angry" about the Iraq war.

"The people who took these decisions, which were incredibly controversial, should be held to account," he told the BBC News channel.

"And unfortunately the Labour government has put up a wall of secrecy, in the years since 2003, and prevented the full facts from coming out."

He repeated the Lib Dems' call for a full inquiry into the Iraq war, something the government has agreed to in principle without setting a date for it.

Legal questions

The release of the cabinet minutes would reopen controversy over the then attorney general Lord Goldsmith's legal advice on the war.

On the eve of war, 17 March, Lord Goldsmith's opinion unequivocally saying military action was legal was presented to cabinet, MPs and the military and published.

However, after long-running reports that he had changed his mind as the planned invasion approached, his initial lengthy advice given to Tony Blair on 7 March was leaked and then published in 2005.

This advice raised a number of questions and concerns about the possible legality of military action against Iraq without a second UN resolution and was never shown to the cabinet.

The then prime minister Tony Blair defended his decision not to show the cabinet the full advice, saying that Lord Goldsmith had attended the cabinet in person and was able to answer any legal questions and explain his view."

Who is Stig

Stig is eight people!

The man, the legend, the Stig.

The stupidity of youth (update 2)

I am shocked, further to this post the winners of the Channel 4 / Orange Unsigned Acts show were not Hip Parade but the angst ridden Tommy Reilly, a shame. I am happy though that Scarlet Harlots did not win, they make good music but I found their lead singer's ill-informed political bleating irritating in the extreme.

Lord Taylor and Jack Straw

The Mail reports a financial link between Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Jack Straw. I have seen more scurrilous stories on the web but wouldn't want to reprint them here. Nice to see the next Leader of the Labour party keeping such company.

Bonus culture

There have been many attacks by Labour ministers and others on the Banks paying their chiefs large bonuses. Less publicity has been given to the bonuses being paid to leading civil servants. The Mail reports that:
"Cabinet Office mandarins were given almost £1 million in bonuses last year, it has emerged.

A total of 105 payouts totalling £972,500 were given to senior civil servants in 2008 - an average bonus of almost £9,300.

That compared to 123 payments worth £895,000 spent on bonuses in 2007."

Why so much money given as bonuses to Cabinet Office chiefs? Here may lie the explanation (my emphasis):
"According to the Cabinet Office website, the department has "an overarching purpose of making government work better" by supporting the Prime Minister, supporting the Cabinet and strengthening the civil service.

The average salary of a civil servant is £40,000 but permanent secretaries can earn anything up to £200,000.

A spokesperson for the Taxpayers' Alliances said: 'It defies belief that while the economy falters and tens of thousands of people in the private sector have been losing their jobs, the big bonus culture continues as normal in Whitehall.'"

Ah so might they be getting bonuses for supporting Gordon Brown and his Cabinet?

Following Digby Jones' recent comments, I wonder which half of these senior officials should be sacked?

Here comes communism?

"Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be nationalized, and the State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism."

Karl Marx, Das Kapital, his doctrine of the theory of surplus value

It appears that I have been spoofed, this is not a Karl Marx quotation; oops.

Thanks(?) to Theo Spark for the spot.

Baby elephant aah time


Good boy Crick, good boy

Most of the media are full of the allegations about four Labour peers agreeing to take money to try and change laws. Meanwhile the BBC are trying to spin the story into one about House of Lords regulation and reform. And I note that Michael Crick has popped up with a reminder of the "Tory sleaze" story of last year - the Caroline Spelman Nannygate affair. Well done Michael; Gordon, Peter and Alastair will be pleased with you.

Free speech in the "Mother of Parliaments"

Archbishop Cranmer brings news of a worrying affront to freedom of speech.
"It appears that a member of the House of Lords had invited the Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, to a private meeting in the Palace of Westminster. She had intended to invite her colleagues in the Lords to a private viewing of his ‘documentary’ Fitna, followed by discussion and debate in true parliamentary fashion. This is, after all, a liberal democracy, and their lordships enjoy the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association, not to mention certain parliamentary privileges for the protection of their function in the legislature.

But no sooner had the unsuspecting baroness sent out her invitations, Lord Ahmed raised hell. It is reported that he ‘threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr Wilders from entering the House and threatened to take the colleague who was organising the event to court’.

And so Fitna has been cancelled: it shall not now be screened in the House of Lords on 29th January.

The Pakistani Press is jubliant, and Lord Ahmed is praising Allah for delivering ‘a victory for the Muslim community’."

Since the BBC will not be reporting this story or any background I suppose I shall
have to.

This is the same Lord Ahmed who in February 2005 hosted a book-launch for a known anti-Semite in the House of Lords. The Times report of the time includes the following:
"On February 23, Lord Ahmed hosted a book launch in the House of Lords for a man going by the name of Israel Shamir. “Israel Shamir” is, in fact, a Swedish-domiciled anti-Semite also known as Jöran Jermas.

The gist of Shamir/Jermas’s speech at the meeting can be gleaned from its title, “Jews and the Empire”. It included observations such as: “All the [political] parties are Zionist-infiltrated.” “Your newspapers belong to Zionists . . . Jews indeed own, control and edit a big share of mass media, this mainstay of Imperial thinking.” “In the Middle East we have just one reason for wars, terror and trouble — and that is Jewish supremacy drive . . . in Iraq, the US and its British dependency continue the same old fight for ensuring Jewish supremacy in the Middle East.” “The Jews like an Empire . . . This love of Empire explains the easiness Jews change their allegiance . . . Simple minds call it ‘treacherous behaviour’, but it is actually love of Empire per se.” “Now, there is a large and thriving Muslim community in England . . . they are now on the side of freedom, against the Empire, and they are not afraid of enforcers of Judaic values, Jewish or Gentile. This community is very important in order to turn the tide.”

Why would Lord Ahmed have hosted such a man in the Lords? It is, of course, possible that Lord Ahmed had no idea that Shamir/Jermas was a rabid anti-Semite. Yet it takes only a quick Google to discover his views and background. He has worked for Zavtra, Russia’s most anti-Semitic publication, and is allied with the Vanguard News Network, set up by an American, Alex Linder — a man so extreme that he was even ostracised by the US neo-Nazi National Alliance.

Indeed, Shamir/Jermas’s own website proudly reprints his views: “Jews asked God to kill, destroy, humiliate, exterminate, defame, starve, impale Christians, to usher in Divine Vengeance and to cover God’s mantle with blood of goyim . . . ” “The Ashkenazi Jews believed that spilled Jewish blood has a magic effect of calling down Divine Vengeance on the heads of the Gentiles . . . The picture of Jews slaughtering children for cultic reasons exerted huge impact on the Christian peoples of Europe.” On and on it goes. "

And how did Lord Ahmed respond to questions about Shamir/Jermas? -
"On learning of its contents, I wrote to Lord Ahmed, asking him two questions. Did he consider the invitation to have been a mistake? Did he condemn the remarks? He did not reply.

Yesterday, I phoned him. When I told him that I planned to write a piece drawing attention to his actions in hosting Shamir/Jermas and that I wanted to give him every opportunity to respond, he replied: “I am not even going to speak with you.” He then put the phone down. "

Maybe Lord Ahmed could explain why it is acceptable for him to host a book launch for a known anti-Semite but not for a Baroness to host a Dutch MP, show his film 'Fitna' and hold a discussion.

In case you were wondering, I believe that this is the same Lord Ahmed that in November last year was "to be prosecuted for dangerous driving after someone allegedly sent a text message from his mobile phone shortly before a fatal motorway crash.". Another story about a Labour politician that the BBC saw fit to only minimally cover.

If you want to see Fitna, then Wikileaks currently have it available to view.

Are the BBC going easy on Labour

The answer is clearly yes and it has been the case for a long while. Here's an article from the Mail via Prison Planet from September 2008:
"The BBC was at the centre of a political bias row last night over claims a senior executive told reporters to ‘go easy’ on the Labour Government now it is lagging behind the Tories in the polls.

According to a well-placed source, the man in charge of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today In Parliament told his staff that it was right to be ‘aggressive’ when things were going well for the Government but not when it was in trouble.

Some of those present were outraged by the comments attributed to Peter Knowles, editor of the BBC’s parliamentary programmes, at an ‘away day’ gathering in London.

‘He appeared to be saying the BBC should lay off Gordon Brown because Labour was in trouble,’ said a source.

‘It was appalling. The BBC should be rigorous and fair at all times. To suggest anything else – especially when a General Election is not far off – is extraordinary. It did not hold back when John Major’s Government was in trouble.’

BBC management strongly denied Mr Knowles had made the comments and said it was ‘absurd’ to claim orders had gone out to ‘go easy’ on Labour.

A spokesman confirmed Mr Knowles, 46, discussed political impartiality at the away day for staff on Radio 4’s Today In Parliament and Yesterday In Parliament. But he insisted the purpose was to stress the importance of avoiding political bias. ‘We do not discuss private team meetings,’ said the spokesman. ‘But any talks about the impartiality of BBC News are aimed at ensuring complete impartiality for all political parties, not the reverse.’" "

For the BBC to call itself impartial is a sick joke, their political bias is clear and obvious and I am sure that I (and others) could list their built-in prejudices with ease.

Monday 26 January 2009

Here comes another "run" on a bank

The Mail reports that:
"The Post Office has written to 500,000 account holders telling them their money is no longer covered by the UK savings protection scheme. Instead, they will have to put their trust in the Irish version. But with banks there in as bad a state as our own - and the economy probably worse - is it time to bring your money home?

Two Dublin-based banks - Anglo Irish and Bank of Ireland - have attracted hundreds of thousands of UK depositors in recent years.

At various times, Anglo Irish has offered best-buy fixed-rate bonds. And Bank of Ireland, through its joint venture with the Post Office, has hundreds of thousands of UK account holders, with more than £6billion in cash Isas, bonds and easy-access accounts.

The systems to safeguard these deposits are complex and have changed in recent months. Protection for savers with those two banks now depends solely on the strength of the Irish economy, which is being questioned more than ever before.


The problem for savers locked into fixed-rate deals with the Post Office or Anglo Irish is especially acute. They must weigh up any risk of losing their money against the higher returns they may enjoy and which they would lose if they pulled out their money and put it into a UK bank. But what would happen to small savers if the Irish government failed to keep its banks afloat?

The scary answer is that nobody knows.

The FSCS and the Financial Services Authority say that legally they can take no responsibility in cases where banks are not part of the UK scheme. Commentators say it is possible - though by no means certain - that the European Central Bank would help because Ireland is in the eurozone.

But that would not necessarily mean UK deposits were secure. Equally, the UK Government might decide to step in and assist UK depositors, as it did partially in the case of Icelandic banks, but there is no guarantee of that."

Could this lead to a "run" on one of these banks?

The answer is probably not, but it is yet another nail in the coffin of confidence in the World banking system.

Israel and its new gas reserves

Are these two news stories connected? "Israel finds huge natural gas reserve" and "Will Bible lead to oil reserve under Israel? - Company using verses to map out drill sites in Holy Land"?

In the past it often struck me as unfair that Israel had no real oil or gas reserves whilst many of its neighbours were awash with the stuff. That was one of the reasons that I was impressed when Israel gave back the Sinai desert including its oil wells back to Egypt in return for peace. I have my fears that Israel will be destroyed from without and within over the next 10 years, maybe this gas find will help delay this.

Another story that the BBC won't be covering, preferring instead to cover Israel's wickedness

Reuters report that:
"A bomb attack by Sudanese government planes on a town in southern Darfur killed and wounded civilians, peacekeepers said on Sunday in the first independent verification of civilian fatalities.

The joint U.N./African Union UNAMID force said it did not know how many were killed when the jet fighter dropped at least two bombs on rebel-held Muhajiriya on Saturday.

Sudan's armed forces were not available for comment.

Air attacks in Darfur are forbidden under a 2006 peace deal and U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The raid followed more than a week of clashes and air attacks in and around the south Darfur town that have amounted to some of the worst violence in a year, said analysts."

So why would the BBC ignore a story about an African government's armed forces bombing a town and killing civilians in contravention of a peace deal and UN Security Council resolutions? What is so special about the Israel/Palestinian conflict that the BBC have to report every story about it whilst ignoring the more serious conflicts in Africa?

"I believe there were no gas chambers"

Pope Benedict XVI has rescinded the ex-communication of Bishop Richard Williamson who has publicly denied the murder of six million Jews during World War II. You can see a video of "Bishop" Richard Williamson explaining his views in the video below, the title quotation can be heard 0:53-0:55.

"‘Soviet’ Britain swells amid the recession"

True but very worrying article.

Laying myself open to ridicule

Political Betting have published "The PB100 predictions for 2009". I am in the competition, this could get embarrassing. Oh well so long as I beat Iain Dale, interestingly I am at position 28 to Iain's 30.

The George Orwell Prize

The George Orwell Prize is worth following.

Matthew Parris has some really bad news for us

Matthew Parris has some really bad news for us - "There's no new motor to drive the economy". Do read the whole article and then sleep well...

Ken Clarke seems to at least partially agree.

As does Peter Oborne.

Sleep might be getting even trickier than normal tonight.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Is the UK economy really that screwed

Fraser Nelson reports that:
"CitiGroup is now forecasting a 3.3% contraction of the economy this year – last month it was forecasting a 2.5% drop. It says in the note “Apologies for the frequent updates, but the economy is in freefall”. So is Britain well placed to handle the downturn?, I hand over to Michael Saunders from Citi when discussing the 3.3% GDP drop he now expects for this year:
“To put that in context, no G7 country has recorded a GDP decline of more than 3% in any year during the last 50 years. And it may be even worse. If GDP continues to fall by 1.5% QoQ during 2009, then GDP will fall by about 5% in 2009 as a whole. To put that in context, this would be similar to the worst year of the 1930s slump (1931),which saw UK GDP plunge 5.5%.... From here, a recession that lasts for only a year or two would qualify as a relatively good outcome.”

I believe a 10% drop in GDP constitutes a depression, looks like we are heading for a depression.

Although if you want to think positive, Chris Giles and Andrew Bounds in the FT think differently:
"So rather than a sudden bust, recourse to the IMF and a collapse in sterling, the most plausible outlook in these highly uncertain times is that a deep and nasty recession eventually ends and a new economy emerges for the next decade.

But that will feel like no new dawn. The overhang of debt is likely, in contrast to the past decade, to result in lower growth, persistently higher unemployment, lower house prices, extremely tight public expenditure, higher taxes, higher borrowing costs and a slower rise in prosperity. It is not much to look forward to."

We have come a long way when the above sentence can be described as a positive view...

Do read the whole of Chris Giles and Andrew Bounds' piece, I found it strangely reassuring. I would like to believe their premise that the UK is not on the edge of a precipice with nothing but poverty and despair to come, I really would. Should I believe them with their positive reports of Moody’s Investors Service view that:
"Britain was not about to be downgraded, saying “the UK has enough vitality as an economy to rebound” and “the government has enough room to cut spending when the crisis abates and, even more, to raise taxes to keep debt dynamics under control over time”."
and that:
"Investors agree. Yields on government bonds remain at historic lows – even if the spread between gilts and German bunds has risen a touch in recent weeks. There have yet been no problems in financing the government in recent bond auctions – unlike Germany – and the fall in sterling makes the values more attractive to many foreign investors.

Most UK economists have also been irritated by Mr Rogers’ suggestion that rats should be leaving Britain’s sinking ship. Ross Walker, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, was so riled he joined a colleague in writing an open letter to Mr Rogers accusing him of lacking rigour. “As with most developed economies, manufacturing is shrinking as a share of [gross domestic product] but – even in the UK – is still larger than the financial intermediation sector,” he wrote. Britain remains the world’s sixth largest manufacturing power."
or should I believe the alternative and more popular (!) opinion that we are economically screwed.

Barack Obama's choice as Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner

Timothy Geithner has problems...
"Timothy Geithner apologized to Congress Wednesday for what he called "careless mistakes" in failing to pay $34,000 in taxes and moved closer to confirmation as treasury secretary and the Obama administration's point man in reviving the economy."
Read the rest, business as usual in the Chicago political machine man's camp.

1929 parallels

Back in December 2007 I first blogged about the parallels between now and 1929. In fact I have been linking our economic prospects with that of 1929 for around four years. Up until two weeks ago I was being derided for this opinion but now colleagues are a bit more worried.

"How Gorbals Mick used our money to pulp guide to MPs' expenses"

The Mail has the details:
"Commons Speaker Michael Martin was accused last night of a ‘disgraceful waste of money’ after pulping a new guide on MPs’ expenses over fears it would reignite the row over his own travel claims.

The Speaker ordered officials to scrap a report outlining a new regime for MPs’ expenses just hours before it was due to be published when he discovered it referred to travel claims between Westminster and his home city of Glasgow.

To the astonishment of MPs and officials, the 57-page document was withdrawn at public expense and two references to Glasgow were replaced by Edinburgh – just to spare Mr Martin’s blushes.

Mr Martin sparked protests last year when it emerged that he had used air miles earned on official business – including flights to and from his Glasgow constituency – to fly members of his family from Scotland to London.

And the former sheet metal worker also came under fire over a £24,000 bill for flying his wife Mary to and from Glasgow – all paid by the taxpayer."

Michael Martin what an adornment to the Country he is.

Protecting the party (update 2)

News Sniffer reveals the first version of the story that I reported upon here and then here as being somewhat less protective of the Labour party. Here is the original headline of version 0: "Peer denies cash for law changes" and the opening sentences:
"The former Energy Minister, Lord Truscott, has denied offering to put down amendments to legislation in the House of Lords in return for money.

A Sunday Times investigation claimed an undercover reporter had discussed fees of up to �72,000 with the peer. And it said three other Labour peers were prepared to help get legislation amended in return for cash. Lord Truscott told the BBC that "to suggest I would offer to put down amendments for money is a lie". The peer did admit to having had "discussions" with the reporter."

What is the BBC up to? The latest BBC news article tells us that the BBC cannot keep this story quiet, apparently:
"The Liberal Democrats have called for a police inquiry into allegations that four Labour peers were prepared to accept money to change proposed laws.

Home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said if the claims, made in the Sunday Times newspaper, were true a criminal offence would have been committed.

The four are said to have offered to amend laws in return for up to £120,000 - claims that they all deny.

The Leader of the House of Lords has promised a full investigation.

Lady Royall said she had spoken to the men concerned and would be "pursuing the matter with utmost vigour", while a Lords committee is expected to undertake an inquiry soon. "

This one could run and run, I suggest keeping an eye on Guido Fawkes site this week.

UN secrecy

Read this story and wonder why we bother with the pretence that the UN is a force for good.

"A television production crew was expelled Thursday from a United Nations meeting discussing freedom of expression and defamation of religions.

Two journalists from the French-German cultural channel ARTE were asked to leave a meeting room at the UN's European headquarters during a public session of a human rights body preparing for a racism conference in South Africa later this year.

The journalists were working on a documentary on how the issue of human rights is debated at the United Nations.

According to a diplomatic source, the expulsion announced by the chairman of the session, Russian representative Yuri Boychenko, was requested by the Organisation of Islamic Conference and by the African group of states."

Protecting the party (update)

Further to my post this morning it seems that the BBC have changed their coverage of this story. The relevant page now reads:
"Allegations that four peers were prepared to accept money to change laws will be fully investigated, the leader of the House of Lords has said.

The Sunday Times alleges they offered to help amend proposed legislation in return for up to £120,000, claims which all four of them have denied.

Lady Royall said she had spoken to the men concerned and would be "pursuing the matter with utmost vigour".

She also said House of Lords members must "abide by its high standards." "

Remember this morning the page started: ""'Concern' over peers cash claims - The leader of the House of Lords says she is "deeply concerned" over allegations four peers were prepared to accept money to put down amendments.

The Sunday Times claims they offered to help make amendments to legislation in return for up to £120,000.

Lady Royall told the BBC she had spoken to the four Labour peers concerned and would be "pursuing the matter with utmost vigour". ""

So the BBC have reacted to complaints about their tardiness in covering this story and their hiding of the Labour party links by removing the Labour party links from the beginning of their coverage.

Do the BBC realise quite how biased they are? Do they care? Are they so tied up with Labour that they just don't care any more?