Tuesday, 31 March 2009

It's all in the emphasis

Sky report Sir Tom McKillop's letter to the Treasury Select Committee, thus:
"City Minister Lord Myners did know about both the size and terms of Sir Fred Goodwin's pension, ex-RBS boss Sir Tom McKillop has claimed.


In a letter to the Treasury Select Committee, Sir Tom said there was "no elaborate ruse" by him or other members of the RBS board to pay Sir Fred more than he was contractually entitled to.

Sir Tom said evidence given by Lord Myners to the committee needed "clarification" and insisted the minister was told last October that the pension pot would be increased as a result of Sir Fred's early retirement.

Lord Myners told a committee hearing earlier this month that he did not ask Sir Tom the exact size of Sir Fred's pension during a meeting on October 11.

But Sir Tom said the minister was told in a private meeting that day that the pension would be "the sensitive issue and that it would be 'enormous"'.

He said the following day Mr Robert Scott, an independent RBS director, ran through further details of the arrangement.

"As well as referring to the undiscounted effect, and the consequence of early retirement and deemed service for the amount of the pension, Mr Scott also gave Lord Myners... a range of £15m to £20m as being Mr Scott's best estimate of what the pension liability might be," Sir Tom wrote.

The former RBS chairman said he wrote to the committee because "the circumstances relating to Sir Fred's pension have not been accurately represented".

Tory MP Michael Fallon, a member of the committee, said Lord Myners had misled Parliament and should quit.

"He has completely misled the committee and misled Parliament," he said.

"Misleading Parliament is a serious offence; misleading the public is even worse. The honourable thing to do now would be to resign.""

The BBC take a very much different line, first they give the article a rather duller and less attention grabbing headline than Sky's
"Lord Myners 'Knew About Goodwin Pension' "

The BBC opt for
"McKillop: no RBS pension 'ruse' "
and then proceed to report Sir Tom's letter without mentioning Michael Fallon's accusations and indeed without any emphasis on the claim that Paul Myners may have "misled the committee and misled Parliament .. misleading the people"

Anyone would think that the BBC were trying to protect a Labour Minister, surely that cannot be the case. Mind you at the moment there are a lot of Labour Ministers in need of protection - Tony McNulty, Jacqui Smith, Caroline Flint, Paul Myners and I presume Peter Mandelson must have been up to something, so let's add him to the list; just for starters.

File under dereliction of duty

Caroline Flint the Europe Minister, has admitted not having read the Lisbon Treaty. Here and here are the sources of the relevant parts of the exchange (my emphasis):
"Mr. Francois: With respect, the Minister has not answered the question. [Interruption.] Well, I do not think that she has. I shall put it to her again: is it a mutual defence guarantee? A number of EU countries regard it as one. She simply needs to say yes or no. Which is it?

Caroline Flint: What I have said is that, clearly, we have a right to say what missions we take part in. Therefore, we would not automatically be expected to go to the defence of another country in the way that the hon. Gentleman is suggesting. I am happy to come back to that point with details about the article he refers to later in the debate.

Column number: 12

Mr. Francois: Given that the treaty is integral to the documents we are debating this afternoon, I am a little surprised at the continuing vagueness of the Minister’s answer. This is a really simple question: has the Minister read the elements of the Lisbon treaty that relate to defence?

Caroline Flint: I have read some of it but not all of it.

Mr. Francois: What!

Caroline Flint: I have been briefed on some of it.

Mr. Francois: That is an extraordinary answer. The Minister for Europe has not read all of the Lisbon treaty. That is an absolutely extraordinary revelation. It is a bit like the Irish Prime Minister saying that he had not read it before the referendum. That is an incredible answer. If she is Minister for Europe, why has she not read the treaty?

The Chairman: Order. The Lisbon treaty is not entirely relevant to the documents under debate.

Mr. Francois: With respect, it is mentioned a number of times in the documents.
The Chairman: It is related, but it is not the document under debate this afternoon. I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear that in mind.

Caroline Flint: The Lisbon treaty’s mutual assistance clause, article (1)49, is in accordance with article 51 of the UN charter, which states that countries have
“the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs”, and as such—

Mr. Francois: You are supposed to be Minister for Europe; how can you not have read the treaty?"

How can the Europe Minister admit to not having read the Lisbon Treaty and remain in her job? Surely it is her job to understand the Treaty and its implications for the UK or does she see her job as telling the UK public whatever line she has been given to promulgate on any particular day.

Thanks to Iain Dale for the spot.

The problem is inflation (maybe hyper-inflation) not deflation

I have been explaining for quite some time now that despite the claims of this most discredited Labour government and their propaganda arm, the BBC, deflation is no more than a short-term issue, the real problem is inflation.

Today Guido Fawkes reveals that the Bank of England pension fund which "is managed on behalf of a very select and savvy group of people with access to a lot of market insight - the employees of the central bank" sold of equities entirely at the end of 2006 "cutting a 21.6% holding down to 0.1%, thus avoiding a 35% drop in UK equities since that time." Over the same period the "fund’s holding of Index Linked Gilts has shot up from 25.6% of assets to a 70.7% proportion of assets" As Guido explains "Index Linked Gilts are linked to RPI - the inflation rate - you buy them if you are worried about inflation. They are a hedge against inflation."

Maybe David Cameron, George Osborne etc. could ask the pertinent question which is "if deflation is (as the political elite and the BBC continually claim) the big threat, why is the Bank of England’s pension fund betting 3/5 of the £2.2 billion pot on hedging against inflation?

Liam Halligan has similar views, do read his article.

By the way not a word about the very real prospects for inflation on the BBC, they have a Labour party line to push.

John Redwood versus Derek Draper

Take a listen here but thanks to University of Manchester Conservative Future here's a partial transcript from the Kevin Nolan show:
" Nolan: Derek Draper, the former New Labour spin-doctor, now a psychologist as well as a blogger with us tonight as well. Hello to you Derek.

Draper: Hello

Nolan: Lots of these leaders getting a good kicking today, thankfully not literally, by the critics who are saying “how on earth did they allow this to happen”, with up to 35,000 people on the street protesting against them today. Derek, what signal does that send out to those leaders?

Draper: Well, were the people really protesting against the G20? I don’t think so, I think they were protesting about the fact that the economy isn’t doing well and they want it to do better. The whole point is that that is what the G20 is designed to do. It’s designed to get the global economy moving. What does that matter? Because at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to protect jobs and allow people to keep their homes here in Britain.

Nolan: What a terrible job the G20 have done so far then.

Draper: Well, of course they haven’t done a terrible job so far, because they haven’t started yet. What you’re seeing so far is a series of meetings and negotiations and visits and Gordon flying round the world working like a dog to try and set up the situation where when all these world leaders arrive in Britain this week, they will actually be able to make some progress. There’s no magic wand, there’s no miracle cure. This is about really hard work, trying to get the world economy back on track.

Redwood: Why didn’t they take action earlier to tackle these things? I was calling for interest rate cuts over a year ago, when they might have had some kind of beneficial impact by now, why were they so slow, why were they asleep at the wheel?

Draper: There’s been a series of interest rate cuts…
Redwood: Yes, but far too late.
Draper: …I know, but listen. You’re talking as if we’re still in the old world. The fact is that because of the American banking collapse, especially Lehmann brothers, we have a knock-on effect around the world. And that’s something noone was prepared for…

Redwood: Northern Rock was a British bank lending money to British people under a British regulator and they got it comprehensively wrong. And they were warned by people like me not to get it wrong.

Draper: Yeah, well, the British banks, I’m not saying the British banks were perfect. What I’m saying is that the great shock to the system came from America. Now, what Gordon Brown’s been trying to do is to deal with that. And the British banks that are acting personally, I think that people were losing their deposits, losing their money, their life savings they have in Northern Rock and indeed Lloyds TSB, that didn’t happen…

Redwood: But why did the British government allow these mega mergers, creating these massive banks with these huge bonuses that then lost so much money and came with a begging bowl to the state?

Draper: Well, because at the time people felt that bigger…might be better. People thought that there was a strong financial system around the world that would keep these banks going, now we now know that there were actually hidden problems with these banks, especially Northern Rock, but it was in America where these banks had done these subprime mortgages, that was where the real flaw in the system was…

Redwood: But we did subprime mortgages over here as well, Derek. Get real, that’s why people are so angry. Labour have been so complacent about this.

Draper: Well let’s not get party political, because it’s not as if the Conservative Party had been standing up and saying let’s have smaller banks and more regulation…
Redwood: It’s exactly what I was saying in my report a couple of years ago Derek, if you bothered to read it.
Draper: …the Conservative party has called for less regulation.

Redwood: We were calling for tighter regulation for cash and capital which were the things that went wrong. You introduced all this petty mortgage regulation which didn’t stop anything…
Draper: The notion that the Conservative Party were in favour of little details here and there…
Redwood: Try reading the report, Derek, it was crystal clear. We said that your broken Bank of England wouldn’t manage to sort things out.

Nolan: Surely if you listened to yourself tonight, Derek, you would thing that Labour weren’t in power while all of this happened? You’ve been in power for a long time and you’re blaming America.

Draper: Look, the fact is, that however much people try to make party political points about it, voters at home can see on their television screens, that this is a problem that is affecting America, Japan, Iceland, Germany, France, all countries around the world. So voters come to the conclusion that actually this is not in any way something that can be laid at Gordon Brown’s door. The fact is that this is a global problem that started in America, and that Gordon Brown has actually been doing a very good job. People accept this all around the world, from President Obama down, it’s not about apportioning blame, it’s about doing something about it and moving forward.

Nolan: So help me understand this about the G20 summit, Derek. What criteria can we use, as members of the public, to determine whether this meeting has been a success or not?

Draper: Well, the criteria will be, have these countries come together, set forward a path to increase the global regulation of banks more effectively, maybe coordinate their economies a little bit better, maybe refocus things a bit more onto those bread and butter issues about homes and jobs that people care about…but that’s a hard thing to do. It’s a bit like herding cats. But I must say that I’m really glad, and this is not just a party political point, I’m really glad that Gordon, the man who has actually got experience of the financial system and who has the contacts and knowledge to make this happen, is in charge of this rather than a bunch of lightweights like David Cameron and George Osborne.

Redwood: But look, this is the man who has presided over the collapse of four major British banks, something that’s never happened in…
Draper: Collapse?
Redwood: …before under any other government.
Draper: This is the man who has presided over the prevention of the collapse of those banks, don’t be so ridiculous.

Redwood: Well he was the chief regulator of them, he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer running a tripartite regulatory system…
Draper: Of course he wasn’t the regulator, the regulation was at arm’s length.
Redwood: ….Derek you have to let me speak occasionally. He was the tripartite head, he put in a new regulatory system, and for the first time in British history five major banks got into serious trouble, because the new regulation didn’t work.

Draper: And you really think that that’s because of the regulatory system, do you?

Redwood: Yes, of course it was. Because they didn’t control the cash and capital…
Draper: Really?
Redwood: …they allowed the banks to borrow and lend…
Draper: You don’t think that perhaps…
Nolan: Hang on, hang on, let him finish!
Redwood: …huge amounts of money in a way in which we didn’t allow them to do.

Draper: We…you didn’t the Conservatives?

Redwood: We kept much tighter control over them in the 80s and 90s and…
Draper: Did you?
Redwood: …and they didn’t go bust on our watch…
Draper: I thought you were in charge of the big bang in the city of London, I thought you were in charge of this massive booming financial system? Look, the rest….
Redwood: We stopped the banks borrowing and lending on the scale they did in the last 10 years…
Draper: You’re interrupting me now. The idea, that the Conservatives were in favour, during this time, of more regulation, of more caution, of less remuneration of the city, is frankly fantastical. It just doesn’t bear a moment’s scrutiny.

Redwood: Well Derek you should read Hansard, you should read the reports we raised…
Nolan: Ok
Draper: Your report said there should be less regulation of the mortgage industry.

Redwood: It said there should be tougher regulation of cash and capital and that the process regulation of mortgages…
Draper: What did it say about mortgages…
Redwood: DEREK LISTEN for a minute, it said that the process regulation of mortgages wouldn’t work, never has there been so much regulation of mortgages, and never has there been such a mess. What we said was that you need to regulate cash and capital which is what would have controlled the banks, which is what we did in the 80s and 90s, which is why they didn’t go bust on our watch.

Draper: Did it say that there should be less or more regulation of the mortgage market?

Redwood: It said there should be less regulation, but that you should regulate the thing that matters, the thing that stops banks going bust. This is a bank going bust problem, Derek, not a mortgage process problem.

Nolan: OK, thanks very much"

Ireland's credit rating cut

Standard & Poor (S&P) have cut Ireland's credit rating from AAA to AA+, how long before the UK is likewise downgraded with the consequent effects?

Monday, 30 March 2009

More restrictions on us

The Government's Environment Agency want to ration water by "banning power showers", having everyone use water meters and raising the price of water during the summer months.

The UK is a very wet set of islands and the shortages are generally because the infrastructure is so leaky and because the population levels have risen so high in certain areas.

I would also like to point out that the use of a power shower is not necessarily wasteful of water, it depends upon how many showers are taken and for how long. I shower under a power shower once a day for maybe 2 minutes at most, surely that uses much less water than running a bath. Mrs NotaSheep showers for much longer and so uses much more water; if she showered for the same amount of time as me, would that be OK with the "powers that be"? If we showered together would that be OK? Would it be acceptable if we videoed our showering together and sent it to Jacqui Smith's husband?

I presume that after banning power showers, the next move will be to ban baths, washing machines and dishwashers; already in the South East we often experience bans on hosepipes, filling paddling pools, washing cars and house windows - but not golf courses...

Maybe we will all be only allowed to flush our toilets once a day or only after number twos - As they say in the Caribbean "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.". Mind you on the Caribbean islands that I have visited, where the water fall is minimal compared to the UK, there are only very rare water shortages.

The Dunfermline Building Society

Two questions:

1. How could the Building Society be broken up and parts sold by the Government without the agreement of the owners - the owners being the depositors as it is a Building Society

2. Why are the clean bits of the Dunfermline Building Society sold off to the Nationwide whilst the poor taxpayer gets landed with the "toxic assets"?

Oink oink little piggies

Read , get angry, feel powerless.

What is rape?

India Knight ponders the matter:
"How a woman who wakes up next to some bloke she was too drunk to remember having sex with is able, in the cold light of day, to compare herself to the victim of a genuine sexual assault is beyond me. It’s repellent – the most grotesque embracing of faux-victimhood. It reminds me of celebrities who blame something that elicits sympathy, such as “exhaustion” or “depression”, for their stay in rehab rather than the fact that they’ve been up all night smoking crack. "
Read it and think about it and then (and only then) pass comment.

Peter Oborne on fine form

Peter Oborner nails it with three top articles - go read them all and learn how Gordon Brown's grand vision was brutally shattered this week, why there may be something odd about the Treasury's 2006 decission to sell "the equities in its portfolio and invested them in index-linked gilts" and finally read about the priorities and areas of expertise of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Jacqui Smith;'s husband - Richard Littlejohn completely misses the point

Richard Littlejohn has a well directed rant about Jacqui Smith, her husband and other Labour .... However he completely misses the point, well two points:
1. Why is Jacqui Smith's husband paying for TV pay-per-view porn, has he never heard of the Internet?
2. Who on earth watches Oceans 13, twice?

No I am not taking this story too seriously, the Labour government is beyond parody and beyond belief - the sooner it goes, the better.

Jacqui Smith has an announcement to make

"Today, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the appointment of a new "Porn Tsar" as part of her crackdown on pornography.

The job will involve viewing films to see if they contain hardcore content and visiting lapdancing clubs to see if there is any lewd behaviour being performed.

In addition to a £40,000 per annum salary, the appointee will receive, he will also be allowed to claim all reasonable expenses that are incurred in his investigations, such as film rental, club membership fees and KY jelly.

The Home Secretary said that she had a short list of suitable candidates and that one in particular might save her from having to resign be ideally qualified for the role."

Thanks to Lakelander for that brilliant thought.

More brainwashing Obama style

Barack Obama and his followers really scare me.

Reassuring news, I think not.

Further to my recent story reporting that North Korea are planning an ICBM test launch soon. I now read that
"Missile experts from Iran are in North Korea to help Pyongyang prepare for a rocket launch, according to reports.

Amid increasing global concern over the launch, which the US and its allies consider to be illegal, Japan's Sankei Shimbun newspaper claimed today that a 15-strong delegation from Tehran has been in the country advising the North Koreans since the beginning of March.

The experts include senior officials from the Iranian rocket and satellite producer Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, the newspaper said.

The Iranians brought a letter from President Ahmadinejad to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il stressing the importance of co-operating on space technology, it added. "

This does not bode well, especially as any overflight of Japan may force the Japanese into action against the missile. The next week or so looks quite dangerous.

Unsurprising news of the weekend re Lord Myners

The Times's report entitled: "Lord Myners hid his money in tax haven" has not shocked me to the core. Do read the whole piece and wonder what else is going on within this Labour government.

It's "Conspiracy Theory" time

The Times wonder
"Is there any gold inside Fort Knox, the world's most secure vault?"

"For several prominent investors and at least one senior US congressman it is not the security of the facility in Kentucky that is a cause of concern: it is the matter of how much gold remains stored there - and who owns it.

They are worried that no independent auditors appear to have had access to the reported $137 billion (£96 billion) stockpile of brick-shaped gold bars in Fort Knox since the era of President Eisenhower. After the risky trading activities at supposedly safe institutions such as AIG they want to be reassured that the gold reserves are still the exclusive property of the US and have not been used to fund risky transactions.


“It has been several decades since the gold in Fort Knox was independently audited or properly accounted for,” said Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman and former Republican presidential candidate, in an e-mail interview with The Times. “The American people deserve to know the truth.” "
This story could be worth keeping an eye on as the US gold stocks may have had to be reduced in order to keep the price of gold down and the "value" of the US Dollar up.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

How long before the Falklands are handed over to the Argentinians

The news reaches me via The Mail that:
"Gordon Brown today dismissed Argentina's calls for talks over ownership of the Falklands.

The Prime Minister ruled out negotiations over the disputed territory during a 15 minute discussion with President Cristina Kirchner.

The bilateral meeting between the leaders took place at a summit in Chile where the groundwork is being laid for next week's crunch G20 meeting in London.

A British official said: 'The Prime Minister set out the British Government's long standing position on sovereignty in very clear terms. He emphasised the importance of self-determination."

So that's it, the Falklands will be Argentinian any day now. I have a simple rule at the moment - whatever Gordon Brown says will happen, won't.

An odd discussion about Al Quaeda, the Taliban, Afghanistan, Iraq and more

Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie and Mos Def on the Bill Maher show.

Mos Def ruined Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but it looks as though he was more coherent in the film than he is in real life.

ITV Sport

ITV's coverage of Formula 1 motor racing and the Boat Race has been an absolute disaster. Having to show advertisements whilst the race is in progress is a joke, an absolute joke. For that reason I am happy that 2009 is the last year that the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race will be televised by ITV, this is the last year that a piece of British sporting tradition is sullied by having an advertisement in the middle of the race - this year I believe it will be an advertisement for sausages.

Next year the Boat Race returns to the BBC, as Formula 1 did at the start of this season, and I am grateful for that.

Some seriously scary airplane landings

Saturday, 28 March 2009

BBC bias analysed

Biased BBC have a poll that asks "Of the various form of Bias on the BBC, which concerns you most - Bias by omission, Bias by misrepresentation, Bias through prejudice, Bias through manipulation?

Here are my posted thoughts:

Unlike in elections, I would prefer an "all of the above" option in your poll.

The BBC's bias is characterised by all of the four options and they all have their place in the "master plan".

Bias by omission ensures that "the proles" are not informed about certain stories, so as to keep "the narrative" believable - this is how the BBC try to protect Barack Obama by not reporting his addiction to teleprompters, his many stupid mistakes (58 states, insulting the mentally disabled and not knowing who the President of France is). It is also one of the ways that "the proles" are kept following "the narrative" that Man Made Climate Change is decided science, by omitting any coverage of the many climate scientists who do not follow the set line to take.

Bias by misrepresentation is used to create friction within opponents of "the Party" by exaggerating or misreporting the words of Tories so as to bring discord and dispute where there is "harmony". Meanwhile any splits within "the Party" are either not reported (bias by omission) or are represented as other than splits.

Bias through prejudice is widespread and of course completely counter to the BBC's Charter and to what the BBC believe is the case. Their anti-racism agenda means that the BNP view becomes verbotten whilst the view of the extreme left is acceptable and worthy of positive coverage. Their pro-multiculturalism agenda means that they try not to report the misdeeds of "minority groups" because that would be racist, preferring to report the lesser misdeeds of the majority population. Their pro-non-selective education view means that a "failing" grammar school becomes headline news rather than the hundreds of failing Comprehensive schools (or indeed the whole failing UK education system). Their instinctive feeling that as George Bush declared war on terror then Islamic terrorists must be in the right, means that they have no parity in coverage between what Israel is claimed to have done in Gaza and what is happening in Darfur or Sri Lanka.

Bias through manipulation may seem to encompass different strands of the above; maybe that is indeed the "all of the above" option although it could also be the more subtle way that the BBC report the news so that what is important is not the story but how "the proles" feel about the story. This could involve reporting unwelcome news as drily as possible to make it unmemorable, or reporting it with jokey captions or music to make it seem inane, or introducing undesirable views with negative back stories (John Redwood for example). Whilst reporting on message views in a manner more likely to make the views be seen positively, the interviewee be seen as reliable and the story be more memorable.

The BBC's bias is so multi layered and so omnipresent that to even try and separate it into different techniques is both difficult and pointless.

What is important is to recognise, record and report the BBC's bias; maybe that way the bias could be removed (not that that is likely).

Those Taliban!

The Telegraph reports that:
"Miliants in northern Pakistan have triggered a medical emergency by refusing to allow health officials to conduct a polio vaccination campaign.

Taliban militants in the former tourist destination of Swat Valley have obstructed officials from vaccinating over 300,000 children.


Extremist clerics have used mosque loudspeakers and illegal radio stations to spread the idea that the vaccinations cause infertility and are part of a US-sponsored anti-Muslim plot.

Dr Abid said that militants have not allowed polio vaccinations to take place at a critical time.

“Polio vaccination is effective in first three months of the year when virus transmission is lowest and so there is no interference with the vaccine virus,” said Dr Abid.

Militants had reportedly agreed to allow the vaccination program to take place as part of the peace agreements.

However, the militants had reneged on their word and despite assiduous efforts made by the increasingly irrelevant local administration, no vaccinations have taken place.

“It’s a US tool to cut the population of the Muslims. It is against Islam that you take a medicine before the disease”, said, Muslim Khan, Swat’s Taliban spokesman, speaking by telephone. "

The Taliban and their associates are terrorists with a medieval mindset, but do we hear a peep of protest from "the left" in "the West"? Of course not, they are too busy protesting about Man Made Climate Change, Israel, Guantanamo Bay etc.

Any news of this on the BBC? Somehow I doubt it.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Another Barack Obama "slip" and not a word on the BBC

The list of Barack Obama slip-ups increases by the day. The latest one to come to my attention is this:
"Barack Obama wrote a letter to Jacques Chirac to tell him about his desire to "work with him" for the next four years !
In a letter described by Chirac as "very nice," Obama wrote, "I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world."
The use of the word "peace" was taken to be an indirect reference to Chirac's stance against the US intervention in Iraq, which Obama had also opposed.

This revelation was made by the online edition of the daily Le Figaro on Thursday."

Just one small snag, Jacques Chirac is no longer the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President in 2007.

Now if George Bush had made such an error it would have been headline news and referred to on topical news shows but as this is the Obamamessiah... nothing, nada, tumbleweed!

Use every inch of the runway

Boeing 747-400 useding almost all of the runway

Chinese Airlines Boeing 737-800 with speedometer problems using almost every last inch of the runway at Saga airport

Colin Duffy update

I read that:
"A republican was charged last night with the murders of two soldiers shot dead by the Real IRA in Northern Ireland.

Colin Duffy, 41, will appear at Larne Magistrates’ Court today in connection with the murders of Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, outside the Massereene barracks in Antrim on March 7. Shortly after the shootings the Real IRA claimed responsibility.

Mr Duffy has also been charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life. "

Here is some background on Colin Duffy that I found quite easily a week or so ago, but that the BBC seemed unable to find.

Compare and contrast

The BBC are still refusing to show the Daniel Hannan attack on Gordon Brown but are more than happy to show a minute or so of the Labour video which ridicules Conservatives John Redwood and Nick Bourne, and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones.

What's the difference, apart from one being a video seen by over a million people on You Tube and the other one being doomed to disappear the main difference is that one is a Labour video and ridicules John Redwood (a Labour and BBC bogeyman), whilst the other ridicules Gordon Brown (the Labour leader and BBC pin-up).

Since the BBC won't show the Daniel Hannan video, I will...

and here is Gordon Brown showing that he can listen to a speech without grinning like an imbecile...

Mind you it seems he can only do this if he picks his nose in public

Ed Balls is a funny, funny guy

The BBC report with a straight face and in accord with the wishes of "the Party" that:
"Ed Balls had said he would "love" to be chancellor one day but stressed he is happy in his current job and pledged his full support for Alistair Darling.

The schools secretary, a former chief economic adviser to Gordon Brown, told the New Statesman he would be keen on the role of chancellor "in the future".

But he said he backed the current chancellor "100%".

Mr Balls, married to Cabinet minister Yvette Cooper, also said Labour would be led by a woman "in his lifetime".

In an interview with the magazine, Mr Balls said it would be "silly" to say he would not want to lead Labour himself one day.

But he said he was not positioning himself for a future leadership contest.

Mr Balls said the work he was now doing was only "half done" and he did not want to change job.

But he added: "Would I like to be chancellor at some point in the future? Of course I would. I'd love it."

He went on to describe Mr Darling as "brave and far-sighted".

"I think we are rightly both getting on with the jobs we've got," he said.

"Alistair and I go back a long way... I only have respect and 100% support for him." "

Ah that has cheered me up, the thought of Ed Balls as Labour leader is only beaten by the thought of Harriet Harman for sheer amusement value.

But the funniest line is that Ed Balls sees "Mr Darling as "brave and far-sighted", now that is hysterically funny.

Spot the link between these two stories...

Yesterday I blogged that the Queen had invited Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, to have a private audience with her about the true state of the UK economy. Today the BBC report that
" Gordon Brown and Buckingham Palace have discussed plans to change the rules of succession to the throne, including giving royal women equal rights.

Downing Street said the scrapping of the ban on heirs to the throne marrying Roman Catholics was also discussed. "

Nobody, not even the Queen, can ever be allowed to forget who is the Guvnor, and that is Gordon "deluded" Brown.

The free market has failed

Thaddeus George McCotter, Republican House of Representatives, speaking last year.

Well worth a listen whilst people like him are still allowed the right to free speech in the new dawn of change Barack Obama'd USA.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Well look at what's been found in Iraq

Britannia Radio report that:
An "Iraqi jet, an advanced Russian MiG-25 Foxbat, was found buried in the sand after an informant tipped off U.S . troops.

The MiG was dug out of a massive sand dune near the Al Taqqadum airfield by U.S. Air Force recovery
teams. The MiG was reportedly one of over two dozen Iraqi jets buried in the sand, like hidden treasure,
waiting to be recovered at a later date. Contrary to what some in the major media have reported, not all the jets found were from the Gulf War era.
The Russian-made MiG-25 Foxbat being recovered by U.S. Air Force troops in the photos is an advanced reconnaissance version never before seen in the West and is equipped with sophisticated electronic warfare devices.

U.S. Air Force recovery teams had to use large earth-moving equipment to uncover the MiG, which is over 70 feet long and weighs nearly 25 tons.

The Foxbat is known to be one of Iraq's top jet fighters. The advanced electronic reconnaissance version found by the U.S. Air Force is currently in service with the Russian air force. The MiG is capable of flying at speeds of over 2,000 miles an hour, or three times the speed of sound , and at altitudes of over 75,000 feet.

The recovery of the advanced MiG fighter is considered to be an intelligence coup by the U.S. Air Force.. The Foxbat may also be equipped with advanced Russian- and French-made electronics that were sold to Iraq during the 1990s in violation of a U..N. ban on arms sales to Baghdad.

The buried aircraft at Al Taqqadum were covered in camouflage netting, sealed and, in many cases, had their wings removed before being buried more than 10 feet beneath the Iraqi desert.

The discovery of the buried Iraqi jet fighters illustrates the problem faced by ! U.S. inspection teams searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is larger in size than California, and the massive deserts south and west of Baghdad were used by Saddam Hussein to hide weapons during the first Gulf war.

U.S. intelligence sources have already uncovered several mass grave burial sites in the open deserts with an estimated 10,000 dead hidden there. In addition, Iraq previously hid SCUD missiles, chemical weapons and biological warheads by burying them under the desert sand.

U.N. inspection teams found the weapons in the early 1990s after detailed information of the exact locations was obtained.

Top U.S. weapons inspector Dr. David Kay is known to favor human intelligence as the primary means to
find Iraq's hidden treasure trove of weapons and secrets.

While there are rumors of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons being shipped to nearby Syria, the weapons may very well still remain inside Iraq buried under the vast desert wastelands.

Some critics of the Bush administration have claimed that the inability of U.S.. forces to uncover weapons of mass destruction is proof that the president misled the nation into the war with Iraq.

However, in recent days the critics have fallen silent as word quietly leaked from Iraq that major discoveries have already been made and are now being documented completely. Bush administration officials are keeping any such discoveries secret for the moment. "

Somehow I doubt that the BBC will be reporting this find as it would contradict their agreed "narrative" about the Iraq war.

I wonder if any smaller items are still to be discovered, items of a WMD nature...

Then what would the BBC do?

Matthew Norman with a fine turn of phrase

"If Gordon, ever-more remotely marooned on his fantasy island of vast global influence and unfettered domestic command, backs down and muffles the stimulus hunting cry next week, it will leave him looking, to borrow from the resignation of yet another embittered former Chancellor, in office but not in power. If he doesn't – if he ploughs on with the demand for even more colossal spending and debt – he will be at war with the Bank of England, and at DefCon Two with his next-door neighbour.

There is no obvious way out of this one. He has been on his electoral death bed for ages, of course, ever since that definitive week in October 2007 when he cluck-cluck-clucked his way out of going to the country. But this may well be seen as the week he ran out of appeals for clemency, because the only quantative easing available to him now appears to involve the child-proof lid on that bottle of Downing Street strychnine."

Matthew Norman in The Independent with a Matthew Parris like turn of phrase.

The thirty-sixth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award and more

A bit soon after the thirty-fifth but it's a good one.

Ian King in The Times:
"Politicians are to blame for whipping up public hatred

So, John Prescott, Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and others, I hope you are proud of yourselves. Even as the Prime Minister was lecturing Wall Street on morality, the clean-up was beginning at the home of Sir Fred Goodwin, where windows had been smashed by vandals.

Well done, everyone. Well done on whipping up public hatred. Well done on ensuring that his children have been picked on at school. On ensuring that the man’s life is now so miserable that he may have to go and live overseas. You may not have lobbed a brick through Sir Fred’s plate-glass window yourselves but, in inciting public anger over his pension, you might as well have done. "

"No shit, Sherlock"

Of course the real truth is that attacks on Fred Goodwin and the threats against the City and its workers for 1 April are exactly what the Labour cabal want and need. The more blame they can lay on the bankers and the more hatred they can whip up against the bankers, the more attention is diverted from their rank incompetence, brazen lies and total mismanagement of the Country. And of course if the April protests turn into riots or worse then Gordon Brown, Jack Straw and Jacqui Smith have the Civil Contingencies Act ready and waiting to implement and turn the most hated government for many a year into a permanent government.

Do I sound scared? You bet I am.

BBC news priorities

Yesterday the blogosphere and much of the UK press (and indeed the US media) started to run the video of Daniel Hannan MEP telling Gordon Brown some home truths. The BBC decided not cover this story then and even today are only mentioning it in passing. Can anyone doubt that if this had been a UK MEP speaking out against Margaret Thatcher or John Major (in the past, or David Cameron in the future) it would have been on heavy TV and radio rotation and prominently displayed on the website?

The BBC instead prefer to concentrate on stories such as this about an Essex Conservative council leader who has quit his party and joined Labour. This article gives the BBC the opportunity to repeat the claim that "I cannot justify David Cameron's decision to make his number one priority in a recession a tax cut, which would give hundreds of thousands of pounds to millionaires".

The BBC decided to cover the Daniel Hannan story only by mentioning it on The Daily Politics and spinning it as being of minor interest to all except obsessives.

Can we now say that the BBC is actively campaigning for a Labour general election victory?

Here's Daniel Hannan's speech and do watch out for Gordon Brown's imbecilic smile at 2:55

Derek Draper promises a lot but can't deliver

On the Daily Politics Derek Draper says that Daniel Hannan's speech was wrong and that if we go to Labour List we can see line by line why it was wrong. So I held my nose and visited Labour List whose design seems a bit better than on my last visit and found article by Sunder Katwala on the Daniel Hannan speech. Unsurprisingly there was not a line by line refutation of Daniel Hannan's speech, how could there be when it was true; instead there was repetition of comments made by Daniel Hannan in the past and insults aimed at the right in the UK and the USA.

So Derek Draper's website prints an ad hominem attack on Daniel Hannan rather than the promised line by line refutation of Daniel Hannan's speech. As is so often the case, Derek Draper promises a lot but fails to deliver.

Is this man serious - Tom Harris, MP

Tom Harris is a Labour blogger who I have little time for at the best of times but his piece on Daniel Hannan today cannot be left uncommented upon.

Here's the offending passage, can you spot the hypocrisy?
"What was truly repugnant about his speech was the total absence of any sense of patriotism. Some Tories on the extreme right of the party share the problem of some Republicans in the States: they don’t regard the head of government to be the nation’s leader unless he or she is also a member of their little party.

Gordon Brown isn’t just Labour’s prime minister; he’s Britain’s prime minister, and for any UK politician to launch such a disgraceful, personal attack on his country’s leader — in a foreign country — is nothing short of disgraceful."

Just remind me how much respect the Labour party gave to Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister. It's odd how the "left" expect the "right" to just "suck it up" when events go against them but are less happy when the boot is on the other foot (apologies for the very mixed metaphors there).

Where should Daniel Hannan have made this attack? Surely making it on the floor of the European Parliament is showing how EU democracy works.

Does Tom Harris believe that Gordon Brown should be protected from any criticism at all times. After all Gordon Brown's team successfully cleared his path of any opposition to ensure a smooth, unopposed succession to the position of Prime Minister and have mostly ensured that media criticism has (until recently) been muted.

Would Tom Harris prefer it if it was illegal to criticise Prime Minister Gordon Brown or to vote for anyone other than Gordon Brown within the Labour party. Would Tom Harris prefer it if it was illegal to vote for any party other than the Labour party.

"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" - Would Tom Harris see that type of "system" as preferable to free speech?

And now a serious subject for debate

Times Online have an article entitled "The 50 greatest Leeds United players". I have issues with some of their selections but will keep my powder dry for a while...

The world's most beautiful female politicians

Luciana Leon, 30, Peru's youngest ever congresswoman and apparently the world's most beautiful female politician

Mara Carfagna is Italy's Minister for Equal Opportunities and came at no 4 in the poll

Alina Kabaeva, 26, is a former gymnast for Russia who is now a politician and came 12th in the poll

Yuri Fujikawa, 27, is known in Japan for her glamour and her youthful political success. She caused a stir by posing in her bikini to attract tourism to Hachinohe City and came 5th in the poll

The Daily Mail has gone into one of its pulchritudinous moods as it has not one but two pages devoted to a poll revealing "The world's most beautiful female politicians". This page has the full list from 1 to 54(?) and some rather pleasant pictures of Peruvian lawyer Luciana Leon who was voted the world's most beautiful female politician followed by fellow countrywoman Mercedes Araoz, as well as U.S vice president elect Sarah Palin who was voted 24th sexiest female politician and Former French presidential candidate Segolene Royal ranked 36th. There are also pictures of U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was the oldest woman on the list (but I would run many miles to avoid) and Afghan Malalai Joya who came in at 54th place. I must warn you that there are also photos of Jaqui Smith and Ruth Kelly who unsurprisingly failed to even get a mention in the online poll.

The Mail's second page devoted to this important story has more photos and is worth a perusal, although I must warn you that there are also pictures of Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman.

I can hear feminists shrieking that looks shouldn't be important it should be the competence of the female politician that should count. Well I respectfully draw your attention to Jacqui Smith, Ruth Kelly, Tessa Jowell, Patricia Hewitt, Harriet Harman and most of all Margaret Beckett - competence? beauty? No and No.

Intelligent, highly competent women can be sexy but there aren't any in the Labour government (no Caroline Flint and Yvette Cooper are not sexy, they are just marginally better looking than the rest of a very poor bunch); mind you competent and/or sexy male Labour Ministers are also noticeable by their absence...

Courtesy of The Mail here's the full list:
The most beautiful female politicians are:

1 - Luciana Leon, 30, Peru

2 - Mercedes Ar?oz 47, Peru

3 - Sara Latife Ruiz Chavez, 32, Mexico

4 - Mara Carfagna, 32, Italy

5 - Yuri Fujikawa, 27, Japan

6 - Anna-Maria Galojan, 26, Estonia

7 - Toireasa Ferris, 29, Ireland

8 - Yuliya Tymoshenko, 48, Ukraine

9 - Eunice Olsen, 31, Singapore

10 - Cayetana ?lvarez, 34, Spain

11 - Vera Lischka, 31, Austria

12 - Alina Kabaev, 26, Russia

13 - Gabriela Cueva, 29, Mexico

14 - Orly Levy, 35, Israel

15 - Cristina Dia, 50, Mexico

16 - Tsepeli Nikolet, 28, Greece

17 - Marianne Thiem, 36, The Netherlands

18 - Carme Chac?, 37, Spain

19 - Pnina Rosenblum, 53, Israel

20 - Bibiana A?d, 31, Spain

21 - Tanja Karpel, 38, Finland

22 - Julia Anastasia Bon, 23, Germany

23 - Ruhama Avraha, 44, Israel

24 - Sarah Palin, 44, United States

25 - Stefania Prestigiacom, 43, Italy

26 - Sofia Larse, 36, Sweden

27 - Angelina Sondak, 32, Indonesia

28 - Cristina Fern?ndez de Kirchne, 56, Argentina

29 - Katr?n Gunnarsd?tti, 43, Iceland

30 - Soraya S?en, 37, Spain

31 - Anastasia Michael, 33, Israel

32 - Stephanie Herseth, 38, United States

33 - M?nica Lorente Ram?, 38, Spain

34 - Hillary Clinton, 61, United States

35 - Melissa Park, 42, Australia

36 - S?gol?ne Roya, 55, France

37 - Jiang Y, 44, China

38 - Freya Van den Bossch, 34, Belgium

39 - Nebahat Albayra, 40, The Netherlands

40 - Kirsten Gillibran, 43, United States

41 - Eva Glawischni, 39, Austria

42 - Sabine Herol, 27, France

43 - Hillevi Larsso, 34, Sweden

44 - Hillevi Larsso, 46, Iceland

45 - Piia-Noora Kaupp, 33, Finland

46 - Sabine B?tzin, 34, German

47 - Isabel dos Santo, Angola

48 - Penny Won, 40, Australia

49 - Kate Elli, 32, Australia

50 - Melissa Lee, New Zealand

51 - Marcela Guerra Castill, Mexico

52 - Delsa Sol?rzano, Venezuela

53 - Natalie Rickl, 33, Sweden

54 - Malalai Joy, 31, Afghanistan

He went to see the Queen!

One part of the Mervyn King fiscal stimulus warning story that needs amplification is that it came at the same time that the Queen did something she had never done before; she held an audience with the Governor of the Bank of England, at Buckingham Palace. For half an hour she and Mervyn King were in a room alone as they discussed the state of the economy. No one else was there: no advisers, no officials, no one to take notes of what was said. And no one — not unless Mr King lets indiscretion get the better of him when he comes to write his memoirs — will ever know what they said to each other.

Maybe, let me dream for a minute, the Queen wanted a serious impartial assessment of the economy. Now she knows just how bad the situation is, maybe she is considering using one of her few remaining executive powers and forcing Gordon Brown to call a general election.

Yes I do get the joke of a King visiting a Queen, but prefer the implicit humour whenever Peter Mandelson meets the Queen.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Brainwashing the children Obama style

This video is courtesy of Tory Bear has some scary video of children singing that they are going to "change it, and re-arrange it". Change what, rearrange what? Apparently "Obama's gonna change it, Obama's gonna lead us". Anyone else feel even the slightest bit uneasy?

As Tory Bear says:
"It has all the hallmarks of a good old school, Fuhrer loving, propaganda sing song. There they are, the children of the nation, standing in front of an emblem that is quite clearly not the flag of the country, but instead a logo that has been created to represent one particular style of overbearing politics. The symbol is worshiped and respected, remind you of anything else yet?"

Tory Bear sees precedent in this

What do you think?

Some collapsing economy articles to ruin your evening - I think the subtext is along the lines of "we are screwed"

1. UK House Bubble's "A tale of two auctions" has an interesting take on the labour government's failure to sell 100% of the gilts it put up for sale today.
"This was the first time since 1995 that the UK gilts auction failed to cover the announced offering. More worrying for the Treasury, offered yields increased. The "tail", which measures the difference between the highest accepted yield and the average yield doubled.

In early March, the national debt office conducted a similar auction for £2,250 million. That auction received bids 1.4 times the offered amount, emphasizing the significance of today's demand shortfall."

I think the subtext is along the lines of "we are screwed"

2. City Unslicker explains why "Deflation talk is a cover for the Government to rob you":
"In the final stages of a Ponzi scheme things get stressfull for those in charge. Money ceases to come in at a rate fast enough to cover the interest payments to those already on board. The system starts to unravel and it is time to flee or hand yourself into the Police.

In the UK, we face an economic disaster and the Labour Government are determined to make it worse. They will have the Socialist redistribution of wealth by making us all much, much poorer. They will end their Ponzi scheme by laying waste to everything.

The Labour Government spent too much money from 1997 -2009 and allowed the property bubble to go too far. We now have a bust, the likes of which have not been seen in a century.

The response to this is more Government spending and a fingers-in-the-ears approach to all criticism. Worse, there IS a new plan. The Government and the banks know that they cannot repay the debt they have saddled the future British taxpayers with. So the only solution is to ignite inflation which will quickly whittle away the value of the debt, and it will quickly whittle away the value of everything you own too."

I think the subtext is along the lines of "we are screwed"

3. UK House Bubble explains why there are "Ten reasons why inflation will accelerate" It's a must read article for anyone who wonders why the Labour government, and its propaganda arm the BBC, are pushing the idea that deflation and only deflation is the problem. Maybe Robert Peston and Evan Davies should have a read as well.

I think the subtext is along the lines of "we are screwed"

4. Market Ticker has a rather technical article entitled "The End Game Approaches" that should scare you to pieces. It's US centric but translates quite well to the UK situation. Here's a few extracts but do read the whole piece:
"The underlying problem is not the stock market. It is the credit (bond) market - that is, the underlying reality that there is too much debt out there in relationship to GDP, it cannot all be serviced, and as the economy contracts it feeds a vicious spiral where a default produces unemployment which drops both spendable income (and thus income available debt service) AND tax revenues, giving it to the credit market in all orifices. This is "deflationary destruction" and it is inevitable when government pushes off the normal cyclical cleaning out that recessions do, as our government has.

President Obama thinks he can spend $3.6 trillion this coming fiscal year (an increase of some $600 billion dollars!) while tax revenues are collapsing. Available reports are showing anywhere from 15-25% decreases in tax revenues, depending on exactly where and what you're looking at, and the available Federal data is deteriorating rapidly.

If the bond market sells into Ben's bid for the long end then rates will immediately start to climb once Ben finishes performing his "operations".

This will force him to do it again, and again, and again, until he owns ALL of the long Treasuries.

Don't think for a minute he will let that "printed" money out into the economy. He can't, because if the market detects that it will ramp Treasury yields (and all other yields) even harder, making his "buying" of Treasuries a self-defeating act. Instead he will force those "excess reserves" to go where the rest have gone - into The Fed vault.

The problem with this is that once he owns all the long-term Treasuries he can't sell them without collapsing the price, and now the solvency of our government rests with the ability to roll over short-end debt. See, that which The Fed buys and Treasury sells is a funding circle-jerk, effectively removed from the float and thus the government's funding base.

Anyone care to take the bet on whether the selling pressure will move down the curve?

If it happens, we're done - and neither Bernanke or Obama has the ability to prevent it.


Here's a dose of reality for you folks.

I am confident, in the 90th percentile, that none of this is going to work.

All of these clowns still believe you can treat a drunk with a case of whiskey.

We still have trillions of credit in the system that has to be defaulted or cleaned, The Fed can't print out of that without destroying the bond and currency markets and they know it, and even if they did, its the same as defaulting the debt in that the valuation hit is identical.

That is, even if they were willing to destroy the only thing they have to sell (and they're not) printing to that degree would do the same thing as defaulting the debt in terms of the actual purchasing power impact for the banks and government. This is a default by another name, and does the same thing to the people holding the debt who get paid in trashed dollars as does defaulting on them.


What I believe we will see instead is similar to what we got after 1929; there was a short-lived rebound in the economy and markets, and it looked like we were going to come out of it with "just" a recession.

But the debt hadn't been cleaned from the system as they tried to prevent people from having to take the loss, and as a consequence able borrowers and able expansion of credit dried up, along with able providers. The "second leg down" was the real bone-crusher, and it will be this time as well.

I believe we will not see "666" again on the SPX this month or next, and while there will be ups and downs in the market, the general direction will be positive for the next month or so.

But by the summer into the fall, when employment hasn't materially turned around and both spending and tax receipts have continued to fall, reality will set in.

Congress is increasingly becoming aware that all of these "fixes" thus far since the summer of 2007 have been nothing more than a scam and a fraud - a ripoff of the Taxpayer and Treasury in a vain and vile attempt to keep those who committed willful blindness or even fraud from having to bear the pain of their sins. The American people are becoming increasingly aware as well.

Come summer and fall there will be no political capital available to play games, either in the American public or the Congress. If Congress tries to appease the Wall Street pressure groups again, they will run the risk of having the Capitol put under siege by angry citizens demanding 535 immediate resignations - or worse.

I further believe the American Public is getting damn close to the breaking point. The tone among people I interact with daily and among what I see online and off is shifting from hope and faith to anger with each passing day, and each revelation of another 10 billion here or there that get funneled through some conduit to an offshore bank just raises the pressure another notch. The people now want blood, and I believe the minimum they will accept are thousands of indictments, prosecutions and prison sentences along with forfeiture of these men and women's fortunes. Madoff didn't satisfy, it further enraged.

The government is running a very real risk, as I have noted in the past, of being declared by the people as "the felon" instead of "the cop", and if that happens I don't want to be anywhere near the angry mob that makes that decision.

So for now, enjoy the general upward to sideways trend in the market, but prepare. While the spring may bring hope and summer one of discontent, I believe there is a very high probability that come fall, the peak of Hurricane Season, a very ill wind will be blowing both in New York and Washington DC."

I think the subtext is along the lines of "we are screwed"

Compare and contrast Captain Chesley Sullenberger and Captain Chafik Gharby

Captain Sullenberger's story:
"The pilot told investigators yesterday that in the few minutes he had to decide where to set down the plane on Thursday afternoon, he felt it was "too low, too slow" and near too many buildings to go anywhere other than the river, according to an account of his testimony to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).


With both engines out, flight attendants described complete silence in the cabin, "like being in a library", Higgins said. A smoky haze and the odour of burning metal or electronics filled the plane.


Sullenberger told investigators he immediately took over flying from his co-pilot and made a series of command decisions: returning to LaGuardia was out, as was aiming for the nearby Teterboro airport, as it would mean taking the jet over densely populated northern New Jersey.

"We can't do it," he told air traffic controllers. "We're gonna be in the Hudson."

The co-pilot kept trying to restart the engines, while checking off emergency landing procedures that the crew normally begins at 35,000 feet, rather than their altitude of 3,000ft (900 metres).

After guiding the gliding jet over the George Washington Bridge, Sullenberger picked a stretch of water near Manhattan's commuter ferry terminals to land. Rescuers were able to arrive within minutes."

Captain Gharby's story:
"Captain Chafik Gharby was at the controls of a plane belonging to the Tunisian charter airline Tuninter that crashed in the sea off the coast of Sicily four years ago. The 23 survivors were left swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of the fuselage that stayed afloat after the turbo-prop aircraft broke up on impact.

Gharby was at first hailed as a hero for having saved the lives of most of the passengers. But after an investigation, he, his co-pilot, and several Tuninter executives and technicians were charged with a range of offences including manslaughter.

The court in Palermo agreed with prosecutors that the chain of events that led to the crash began when a wrong part was installed in the ill-fated plane, a Franco-Italian ATR 72. A mechanic accidentally fitted an outwardly identical fuel gauge intended for the smaller ATR 42.

The plane took off from Bari, bound for the Tunisian island of Djerba, on 6 August 2005. As it flew over Sicily, its engines slowed to a halt, even though the instrument panel showed the aircraft had enough fuel left for the flight.

The judges accepted the prosecution case that the pilots, instead of making a crash landing on the sea, should have been able to glide the plane to Palermo airport. Instead, Gharby was said to have panicked. In cockpit recordings entered as evidence he was heard calling for the help of "Allah and Muhammad his prophet"."

Compare and contrast.

"BRITAIN has run out of money, the man who prints it said last night."

The Daily Mash reports that:
"BRITAIN has run out of money, the man who prints it said last night.

Bank of England governor Mervyn King urged everyone to take his word for it and that if they didn't believe him he could show them the big room where he keeps it all.

Mr King's comments have put him on a collision course with prime minister Gordon Brown who last night insisted the Great Money Forest of Hampshire would soon be in bloom, promising a bumper harvest of ripe, crisp tenners.


A Downing Street spokesman said: "Everyone in the world agrees with the prime minister that we need to keep spending loads more money - except the Conservatives. And the Bank of England. And the CBI. And the French and the Germans and the European Central bank. Look just fuck off, alright?""

The problem with the US rescue package.

The always readable Alex Masterley has a masterful analysis of the US rescue package, do read it.

The BBC and its reporting of the recent Gaza conflict

Back in January I blogged about the way the BBC (and other media) concentrate on the Israel/Palestinian conflict to the near exclusion of other more deadly conflicts. I asked:
"What are these numbers?

5.4 million





Any ideas?

5.4 million is the number of people killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo since a 1998 civil war began. That war continues today despite numerous peace treaties.

400,000 is the number of people killed in the Darfur region of the Sudan since a 2003 outbreak of violence between the government-backed Janjaweed militias and the secular "rebels" of the region. Approximately 100 additional people were killed there a few of weeks ago. Fighting continues in Darfur today.

65,000 is the number of Sri Lankans killed since the late 1980s, most of which have been civilians. During the war in Gaza, the Sri Lankan government forces overran the last stronghold of the Tamil Tigers -- a group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government -- at the expense of dozens of civilians. Approximately 50,000 government troops are currently advancing through the jungle, taking aim at the rebels.

3,400 is a conservative estimate of the number of Palestinians killed by the Jordanian government in the span of 11 days during the Black September Jordanian civil war of 1970. Palestinian estimates claimed more than 20,000 dead.

1,000 is the number of Palestinians killed as of Jan. 15 in Israel's current war of self-defense against Hamas, the vast majority of which have been terrorists.

Yet it is Israel that is condemned by the U.N., the Vatican, and the rest of the world. It is Jews that are attacked all over Europe."

Today I read an analysis article on Honest Reporting that expands upon this point, here's the set-up:
"Comparison With Conflict in Sri Lanka

It is extremely appropriate to highlight the BBC's coverage of the Middle East considering the importance that the BBC attaches to the region. During the conflict, the BBC published, on average, 4.5 articles every day dealing with the fighting. In contrast, BBC coverage of the Sri Lankan government's campaign against the Tamil Tigers group -- a conflict that resulted in an estimated 2,000 civilian deaths in January of 2009 -- produced barely one article a day.

According to human rights organizations, the conflict in Sri Lanka includes intentional attacks by both sides on civilians, attacks on hospitals (twenty attacks from December through February alone), and the use of human shields. Yet the BBC gives this conflict, estimated to have resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, less than one quarter the average daily coverage of the Gaza conflict. If the BBC is going to focus this much on Gaza, it must expect scrutiny of that coverage."

And here are their conclusions:
"The BBC's coverage of the Gaza conflict painted a picture of an Israeli attack that intentionally targeted civilians and may have included war crimes. Specifically:

The BBC relied upon Palestinians who were given the opportunity to make dubious accusations without any supporting evidence.
The BBC published image after image of Palestinians suffering under Israeli attacks while giving readers few views of the impact that the conflict was having on Israeli civilians living under a constant and daily rocket barrage.
The most damning Palestinian statements about the Israeli operations were highlighted on the side of the articles, while Israeli statements were almost never treated in the same way.

We have said before that as one of the world's top news sources, the BBC has a tremendous responsibility to report accurately and fairly. While the BBC claims to be impartial, it has done everything possible to deflect scrutiny of its work from being made public. Right now, a pending lawsuit in the House of Lords seeks to compel the BBC to make public an internal review that allegedly found that its Middle East reporting was biased against Israel. "

Do read the whole Honest Reporting article and pass it on. The BBC's bias against Israel is real and dangerous; it needs exposing.

The BBC's almost daily demonisation of Israel

A few days ago the BBC were pushing the story that:
"An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers' accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza."

Today the BBC is reporting that:
"Israeli officials have described as "tasteless" and inconsistent with army values a popular military pastime of printing violent cartoons on T-shirts.

An investigation in Haaretz daily says the customised shirts are often ordered when troops finish training courses.

One example shows a pregnant Arab women in the cross-hairs of a sniper's sight with the legend "1 shot 2 kills".

Another design shows a child being similarly targeted with the slogan "the smaller they are, the harder it is".

In both images the people being targeted appear to be carrying weapons. A third T-shirt design shows a dead Palestinian baby and the words "Better use Durex" (condoms). "

I note that the BBC has not reported the continual anti-Jewish bile spewed out by the Palestinian television stations especially their children's TV programmes. There are some examples of this here.

Nor have the BBC reported on the video of Hamas terrorists carrying children as human shields...

Nor have the BBC reported the brainwashing of Palestinian children into hating "Zionists" and denying the existence of Israel.

The BBC seem to hold Israel to account for everything and anything, but excuse the Palestinians. If the BBC is so sure that it is unbiased then they could release Malcolm Balen's report.

London issues

1. "London's £10 billion pensions timebomb"

"A PENSION funding shortfall of £10billion threatens local government services in London, the Evening Standard reveals today.

A detailed investigation of council finances shows for the first time how all 33 local authorities now have deficits in their staff pension funds.

But while the funds have shrunk, the retirement benefits due to be paid to local government's highest paid workers have never been more generous. At least seven current chief executives are heading for final salary pensions of at least £100,000 a year.

Experts warn that the scale of the underfunding, equivalent to more than £3,000 for every council tax paying household in the capital, makes sharp increases in council tax or cuts in services all but inevitable."

2. "Day of the long knives at City Hall as Boris axes 120 jobs"

"CITY Hall staff today told of a "climate of fear" as up to 120 positions were cut as a result of Boris Johnson's restructuring plans.

The Mayor wants to save about £7.5million from an £80million budget by the cuts, many of them middle managers earning about £40,000.

The main cuts are expected to be among administration staff. Short-term contracts will not be renewed. "

The result of incitement?

The BBC report that:
"The Edinburgh home of former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin has been attacked by vandals overnight.

Windows were smashed and a Mercedes S600 car parked in the driveway was vandalised. "

The BBC then issue a partial explanation:
"There has been widespread public and political anger over a pension payout worth about £700,000 a year to the 50-year-old former chief executive."

So far as I am concerned, the BBC's taking of the Labour party line that it is all the fault of the bankers and not the government has contributed to this attack.

"Weakest demand in 10 years hits gilts auction"

Harriett Harman said that this story was of no significance (I'll put the exact quotation up tomorrow), I am not so sure. The FT report says that:
"A UK government bond auction saw the weakest demand from investors in more than 10 years on Thursday, emphasising the continuing difficulties of debt managers as they attempt to raise money in a stressed financial climate.

The disappointing auction comes a day after the UK Debt Management Office overhauled the way it issues bonds to tackle the problems of weak demand in a market overwhelmed by record amounts of supply.

Mihail Bozinov, fixed income strategist at UBS, said: “This is the worst auction for more than 10 years in terms of demand.”

He said the weak demand was because the bond fell slightly outside the maturity range the Bank of England had pledged to buy in gilts during the next three months, as part of its quantitative easing programme.

The Bank said it would buy up to £75bn in conventional gilts of maturities between five and 25 years.

But Thursday’s bond, which matures on March 7 2014, is shorter than the five-year minimum.

Gilt yields, which have an inverse relationship with prices, had also been dragged lower by the US Federal Reserve’s announcement it intends to buy $300bn in US Treasuries.

That may have made the bond too expensive for some investors.

The five-year auction followed poor demand for an auction of 30-year bonds at the month’s beginning.

However, shorter duration bonds, such as Thursday’s, are typically more liquid and tend to attract higher demand.

Robert Stheeman, chief executive of the DMO, has warned auctions may suffer because of record issuance. "

And so the UK heads closer and closer to bankruptcy, what is the UK's credit rating now? Have the ratings agencies marked the UK down yet?

PMQs 25 March 2009

I have just realised that Gordon Brown is going to miss yet another PMQs, for a man who allegedly wrote a book on "Courage" he really doesn't like facing his opponents.

I would prefer David Cameron not to stand down today but to highlight Gordon Brown's absence.

Nigel Farage tells Gordon Brown some truths

Nigel Farage yesterday, I note that Gordon Brown seems to find throwing away £10 billion over the sale of much of the UK gold reserves something that is worthy of his trademark smirk. Maybe the next time he does that, the person speaking could comment on the imbecilic smirk...

As a reminder, here's Daniel Hannan's earlier speech

"Have some respect. How dare you."

The title of this post forms part of the comments reported to have been made by assistant government whip Dawn Butler who has claimed £37,245 in taxpayers' cash in two years to pay for a second property despite already having a property in London.

The second property allowance is a "snouts in the trough" scheme but it is the attitude of MPs like Dawn Butler that annoy me the most.
"I totally resent you coming to my private home. Have some respect. How dare you."
I wondered how the freedom loving Dawn Butler has voted in the past on related issues so I looked her up on They Work For You and see that she "Hardly ever rebels against their party in this parliament.", what a surprise. She Voted very strongly for introducing a smoking ban. Voted strongly for introducing ID cards. Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws. Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war. The Guardian record her voting on some more key "freedom" issues:
"Details of key votes

Counter-terrorism bill - 11.6.2008
Power to detain terror suspects without charge for 42 days For
MPs voted on a government proposal to extend the maximum period for police detention of a terrorist suspect without charge to 90 days. The government was defeated, with 49 Labour MPs rebelling. For
Terror bill 'intent' amendment - 2.11.2005
ID cards bill (3rd reading) - 18.10.2005
A government bill to introduce identity cards. 25 Labour MPs opposed the bill's third reading, and others voted for opposition amendments. For
ID cards bill (second reading) - 28.6.2005
MPs voted to give the ID cards bill a second reading, 20 Labour rebels voted against the government. For "

I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

"the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government"

Fantastic speech by Daniel Hannan watched by Gordon Brown who seems to be grinning like an imbecile.

Thanks to Guido Fawkes for the spot.

Pravda has of course seen fit not to mention Dan Hannan's speech, I wonder why...

"Christian" the lion

Last year I blogged the story of John Rendall and Ace Berg and the lion that they raised in Chelsea - Christian - returned to the wild and were reunited with some four years later.

Here's the video of the reunion

I was reminded of this story by the Channel 5 programme tonight - The Lion Cub from Harrods - Do watch it, it is real "feel good TV".

Alternatively you could watch Born Free and/or read Christian's story

Here's Christian as a cub with John Rendall and Ace Berg

European solidarity or Blackmail?

Nigel Farage gives his opinion.

Thanks to Trixy for the spot.

Freedom of Speech - South Africa style

CNN report that:
"South Africa has refused the Dalai Lama a visa to attend an international peace conference in Johannesburg this week, a presidential spokesman said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Laureate did not receive a visa because it was not in South Africa's interest for him to attend, said Thabo Masebe.

South Africa thinks that, if the Dalai Lama attended the conference, the focus would shift away from the 2010 World Cup -- the global soccer championship it will host next year.

"We cannot allow focus to shift to China and Tibet," Masebe said, adding that South Africa has gained much from its trading relationship with China."

So another Country puts trade with China ahead of respect for human rights, and am I surprised?

Unpleasant image of the day

Alex Masterley has made me feel rather unwell:
"Funny comment from the markets analyst at the FT:

"If the Treasury’s plan works, we may have seen the market’s bottom"

So watch out because if you can see the market's bottom it may be just about to dump on you..."

What a lovely turn of phrase...

Bye bye US Dollar?

I learn that China's Central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, has called for a new global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund to replace the US dollar. Whilst his speech did not explicitly mention the dollar, he did say that the crisis showed the dangers of relying on one currency. With the world's largest currency reserves of $2tn, China is the biggest holder of dollar assets.

Could we see the return to the days of USD2 to the GBP?

Shh some things are better kept secret

That friend of Freedom of Information, Jack Straw, has got his way as the Hosue of Commons has backed government plans to hold inquests in private and without a jury in some sensitive cases, such as those involving national security, the relationship between the UK and another country or the prevention or detection of crime.

Are we one step closer to a totalitarian state where the Government can lock someone up without charge, report an accidental death and have no outside investigation?

Gordon Brown's flagship policy still crap

I see that:
"The overpayment of tax credits is still continuing at a "dismaying" level, says a report from a committee of MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee says overpayments, which are then clawed back from claimants, are still running at £1bn a year.

The MPs said the overpayments were a burden on hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people in society.

Overpayments amounted to £7.3bn between 2003 and 2007 with nearly £3bn likely to be written off as unrecoverable. "

Well done Gordon Brown, the man who designed and introduced this overly bureaucratic inflexible and ill-conceived system. Well done indeed... You can read more about Tax Credits here.

"Grammar school fails inspection"

This story doesn't smell right, what is behind it?

"Stretford Grammar scored 92% in the proportion of pupils reaching the benchmark of five good GCSEs including English and maths - almost double the national average of 47%."

"The school is in the constituency of Children's Minister Beverley Hughes, who said it was "the first grammar school in the country to go into special measures". "

There is more to this story than we are being told... I smell a rat, a possible Tory split story and the hands of Ed Balls - more as and when...

Deflation is the worry, deflation is the worry, deflation is the worry

The BBC continue to push the idea that all we have to fear is deflation whilst their Labour friends stoke up the real threat of hyper-inflation by starting on the process of quantitative easing. Today the BBC report that
"One of the measures of UK inflation is expected to fall below zero - a sign of falling prices - when figures are released later.

Economists expect the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which includes housing costs, to have declined for the first time in 49 years. "
Strange how when inflation is "the problem" the Government and the BBC push the CPI which excludes housing costs and so understated inflation over the recent period of house price inflation, but now that deflation is "the problem" and house prices and borrowing costs have reduced the measure used is the RPI which includes housing costs - very strange...