Sunday 31 May 2009

Another of Gordon Brown's genius ideas gets the respect it deserves

I read that:
"The Economic Affairs Committee... publishes its report on banking supervision and regulation. The committee has been looking at the role of the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and whether failings in this area contributed to the banking and financial crisis in the Britain.

Although the report will not call for the wholesale reconstruction of the tripartite, it will urge the Government to give key elements of the FSA's current role back to the Bank of England."

Just in case you weren't aware who took power away from the Bank Of England and set-up
the tripartite arrangements, to much applause from himself and the brown-noses in the media, The Telegraph helpfully point out:
"The Bank ceded its role as a financial regulator to the FSA in 1997 when Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, gave it independence over monetary policy.

At the time, the then Governor Eddie George is said to have threatened to resign, warning Mr Brown that the decision could leave the financial system more vulnerable.

Although the Bank has since been authorised to issue warnings on vulnerabilities in the system, it has not had the "teeth" to follow these up.

For instance, in 2006 it warned that banks' increased use of securitisation left them exposed to major risks if the credit markets closed – a warning which, if followed, could have helped prevent Northern Rock's collapse. "

Another great idea of Gordon Brown's that has been finally seen for what it was.

"widely respected"!

The Times article about the claim that Gordon Brown has plans to make Ed Balls the next Chancellor of the Exchequer is a real scream. First of all it has been obvious for years that Gordon Brown wants his close friend Ed Balls to be his Chancellor of the Exchequer. Second Ed Balls is not a popular figure in the Labour party let alone the Country at large.

The Times' story is apparently based on "a top-level leak from Downing Street", now who might that be from? Gordon Brown or one of his aides trying to see how much ire the news generates or maybe one of Ed Balls many enemies trying to provoke a public reaction that makes Ed Balls' promotion remain in Gordon Brown's deranged imagination; who knows?

The funniest line in the article is this one:
"Balls, who is widely respected in the City, could appear a younger, fresher face than Alistair Darling to take on George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, in the run-up to the elections. "
"widely respected"! I can't think of anyone in The City who respects Ed Balls; but then again they have no respect for Alistair Darling or Gordon Brown either.

Sunday catchup

Too many items, too little time:

Gordon Brown's government screws up something else, this time the Queen's invitation to the 65th D-Day celebrations.

The BBC offer an apology for a Question Time panellist upsetting Muslims. Will they be offering any apologies for Tom Paulin's comments on Newsnight Review any time soon.

Hezbollah head for power in Lebanon; Israel may have a serious problem coming.

Michael Savage
"has employed top UK law firm Olswang to sue Ms Smith for libel after she put him on the Home Office’s 16 ‘least wanted’ list."
Apparently he is suing for £100,000. More good news for Gordon Brown, I wonder how the BBC will spin this story.

Well I think grammar is important

More on Spain and Gibraltar

Following on from this last week I read today that:
"They've tried invasion, diplomacy and downright skulduggery to grab a piece of Gibraltar during the past 300 years.

But now the Spanish have played their trump card by laying claim to 20 square miles of sea around the the name of the environment.

And it seems to have worked – for the moment, at least. For the EU has granted Spain legal rights over British waters surrounding Gibraltar.

But the move has sparked protests from Britain and the Gibraltar government and led to a confrontation between Royal Navy and Spanish warships.

The grab for the section of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) came about when Spain convinced the European Commission to include Gibraltar’s waters within a new 69sq mile EU marine conservation area called the Estrecho Oriental, to be maintained by Spain.

However, under EU law, only the member state with sovereignty over the land or sea in question can apply for it to be designated an EU conservation site – meaning the EU has recognised Spain’s possession of British water."

That's Spain making a land (well sea) grab aided by the EU. Don't you just love the EU, such good friends to us...

The next time you hear the Spanish decrying British imperialism in Gibraltar, just remember Ceuta and Melilla - Spain's Imperial territories in North Africa.

Ron speaks

The normally taciturn Ron Mael speaks!

And the opinion polls just get worse for Labour

If Gordon Brown wasn't such an utterly contemptible person, I'd almost feel sorry for him. But as he is a complete and utter, five star piece of excrement on the sole of the UK shoe, I feel nothing but joy at the prospect of him having a really crap time of it tonight.

The latest opinion polls have been published:
ICM's poll for The Telegraph shows:
Conservatives 40%(+1%) Labour 22%(-6%) and LibDems 25% (+5%)
Yes that's Labour in third place, when was the last time that happened in a poll? I am assuming not even in the hey day of the SDP.

ICM's Euro opinion poll for The Telegraph shows:
Conservatives 29% Labour 17% LibDems 20% UKIP 10% Greens 11% and BNP 5%
Labour third again and interestingly the Greens polling higher than UKIP.

Could it get any worse for Labour? Just wait until Thursday...

Saturday 30 May 2009

Fraud - Differentiating by degree?

The Telegraph carry the news that:
"MPs who have used taxpayers’ money to pay for “phantom” mortgages on their expenses should be investigated by the police and prosecuted, David Cameron says in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "

For a while now I have thought that The Telegraph's coverage of the expenses story has been indiscriminate. We need to differentiate between:
1. MPs who have committed fraud - for example by claiming mortgage repayments on a mortgage that had already been repaid
2. MPs who have pushed the boundaries of House of Commons expenses versus tax law to the limits - for example those who have built property portfolios on the back of flipping so as to avoid Capital Gains Tax
3. MPs who have submitted expense claims that seem to have been based on falsehoods - for example every month claiming up to the no receipts required limit
4. MPs who have claimed or tried to claim for ridiculous items that should not be claimed for - for example moat cleaning, £2,000+ televisions etc.
5. MPs who have worked the system and so are guilty of no more than greed
6. MPs who have made only reasonable claims

The MPs who fall into category 1 need to be investigated and charged by the police, prosecuted and tried. All should be made to resign immediately if found guilty and receive no severance pay.
The MPs who fall into category 2 need to named, shamed and if not able to be prosecuted then to have the party whip withdrawn from them.
The MPs who fall into categories 3 and 4 should be made to face reselection by their constituency party ahead of the general election.
The MPs who fall into category 5 should consider themselves fortunate to have no action taken against them.
The MPs who fall into category 6 deserve no praise, they just did what they should have done.

Now to the future for MPs who have to resign or lose their seats. If they fall into categories 1-4 then they should not be considered for elevation to the House of Lords or for paid positions on Quangos or any position in Public "Service". They should find work in the private sector and learn what the real world id all about.

Gordon Brown speaks the truth

Thanks to Cassette Boy, via Kontraband

21st Century Britain

Read this and despair:
"A teenager was tied to a tree and forced to drink petrol before being doused in the liquid and set alight by two love rivals.

Simon Everitt, 17, was bundled into the boot of a car and driven to secluded woodland where he was lynched by Jimi-Lee Stewart, 24, and Jonathan Clarke, 19.

All three men had been sleeping with the same married woman, 19-year-old brunette Fiona Lysaght, who, a court heard, had 'played the boys off against each other'.

During a period of a few months she slept with all three of them, sometimes 'cheating on one with another', causing tensions to boil.

Stewart and Clarke, who are now 25 and 20 respectively, were yesterday convicted of murder.

During the four-week trial, the jury heard the slaying was inspired by the spoof British horror movie Severance, in which a woman is bound to a tree and turned into a human torch.

An accomplice, Maria Chandler, 40, who drove the men to the murder scene in Mautby, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, was also found guilty of murder.
Jimmy-Lee Stewart, found guilty of murdering Simon Everitt who was doused in petrol and set alight
Jonathan Clarke found guilty of murdering Simon Everitt by pouring petrol over him and setting him alight."

The death penalty

When an American is sentenced to death, the BBC like to publish a piece examining the horror of the death penalty and the problems it brings if there was mistaken identity etc. etc. etc. However when the Country doing the judicial killing is Iran then the story is covered somewhat differently.

This story concerns
"Three men convicted of bombing an Iranian mosque two days ago have been publicly executed, state media says.... The bombing killed at least 19 people during evening prayers in the south-east city of Zahedan on Thursday. The three men, who were hanged on Saturday morning "
So the bombing was on Thursday and two days later the men have been charged, tried and executed not for carrying out the explosion but for "illegally bringing explosives into Iran and giving them to the main person behind the bombing.".

So does the BBC decry this summary justice? Of course not, they just report
"Authorities said they were tried and had legal representation."

The BBC view is an odd one

The story of Naseebah Bibi's forced imprisonment of her three daughters-in-law and the use of one as her slave for 13 years has received much coverage, even on the BBC, but their coverage is somewhat odd. Their latest piece entitled "Slavery mother-in-law divides town" is a masterpiece of BBC multiculturalist speak. No opinion is more valid than any other, all are equal and moral judgements are bad; here are some examples:
"On the surface Naseebah Bibi did not appear to be an out-of-the-ordinary figure."
Seems fair? Here's the picture of the ordinary Naseebah Bibi
So this is not "out-of-the-ordinary" in BBC land?

"Since the details of the 63-year-old's "enslavement" of the three emerged her actions have been described as "inhumane", "horrific" and "outdated".

But to some women she is held in awe and, instead of anger, they pity her. "
There are two sides to every such story and the BBC will put them in some instances.

"Blackburn, with a population of 105,000 - of which nearly a quarter are Muslim Asian - is greatly divided when it comes to Bibi."
Interesting, so in this city of 25% Asian Muslims and 75% not, who do the BBC quote? There are quotes from four people -
"One woman said: "I feel sorry for the elderly lady [Bibi], she has not been treated well and I think it is a clear case of revenge."

Nas, a local community worker, said: "As a first generation Asian we have experienced these things first hand and I don't think it's enslavement."

Shop owner Jamil, who knows the family, said he was shocked that this could happen to "such a nice family".

Musharrat Zia is the director of Practical Solutions, an organisation which works to challenge stereotypes and negative myths about different cultures. "
Religions and backgrounds are not documented but on the surface the last three would seem to be Muslims so at least 75% of the quoted people are from the 25% minority in Blackburn.

Now the moral equivocation:

1. "Nas, a local community worker, said: "As a first generation Asian we have experienced these things first hand and I don't think it's enslavement.""
That's the sort of community worker we need isn't it? One who thinks imprisoning people and using one as a personal slave is not enslavement; how open-minded, how modern, how multicultural.

2. Shop owner Jamil... condemned Bibi's abusive actions, saying: "It's acceptable to treat women like this in other countries but not in our country, in England no, it's not acceptable.""
Oh marvelous, so enslavement is fine in other countries, just not here. How does this fit in with the BBC's obsession with the UK apologising for slavery over 100 years ago? Slavery in the British past is evil but slavery in the Muslim present is culturally acceptable?

3. "Musharrat Zia is the director of Practical Solutions, an organisation which works to challenge stereotypes and negative myths about different cultures.
... "This practice is quite outmoded, its outdated.... It may have been perceived as the norm in her generation in other countries, but that should make her set a precedent by not doing it."
See above, I really don't see why I should dignify such remarks with anything extra.

Britain in 2009 and slavery makes a comeback - isn't multiculturalism just grand?

Friday 29 May 2009

More Tim Minchin

Do watch the whole video...


10 examples of Fauxtography that you should examine so that you realise that pictures do lie.


From my "Comments board" in response to my recent piece on the news that
"one out of every seven, terrorism suspects formerly held at the U.S. detention site at Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism"

"Anonymous said...
They are terrorism suspects - not proven terrorists. So how can they 'return' to terrorism. Still their experience would be a fine recruiting theme.

Not a sheep said...
If you want to split hairs, they are "enemy combatants" but in reality they are terrorists. You and other useful idiots can spout all you like about "not proven" and how Guantanamo is a "recruiting" agent for terrorists, so pushing the blame onto the US but the facts are somewhat different.

There are many who blame the actions of "the West" (particularly the US, UK and Israel) for causing terrorism but seem to ignore the inconvenient truth. This truth is that there are followers of a branch of Islam who hate the West, want to destroy the West (from without or within) and will use any "provocation" as a reason. Unfortunately there are also a lot of people in "the West" whose main aim is the destruction of capitalism and western culture. These people are either happy to temporarily make alliances with Islamic terrorists in order to fulfil their aims or have a world view that is so distorted that they believe that Islamic terrorists are better people than the existing Countries."

A Satire on 7/7 Conspiracy Theories

Rachel from North London has devised her own Conspiracy Theory/Satire re 7/7, and well worth a read it is too.

Is criminality genetic?

Just wondered...

Thursday 28 May 2009

The police investigation of MPs expenses - The get out

This Is London excitedly report that:
"Detectives examining complaints about MPs' expenses are to seek a meeting in the Commons with officials from the Parliamentary fees office.

Commons officials are to be asked by police for an explanation of the rules governing MPs' expenses. The move is part of an exercise to help Scotland Yard's fraud squad decide on whether to launch a full-scale inquiry. "
But before we start to think that maybe, just maybe, justice will prevail and some of the lying, cheating, fraudsters in the House of Commons might actually get their comeuppance, read this (my emphasis)
"Inquiries have been carried out by a team led by acting commander Nigel Mawer. Police say it is crucial to establish details of the arrangements between the fees office and MPs.

One senior Yard source said: "On the face of it there would appear to be cases of fraud but the difficulty we face is we have to prove a criminal intent and we have to understand the relationship between the fees office and MPs.""
They are all going to get off, aren't they. The Cabinet multi-flippers, the up to the maximum with no required receipts Ministers; all of them will get off on this technicality and then laugh their heads off at those members of the public who actually thought that the police would dare to charge a Labour cabinet minister. Maybe one Labour MP might be considered expendable and of course all Conservative MPs are fair game, but Labour ministers are the bosses and it seems that not only do they consider themselves above the law, the police consider them to be so too.

The thirty ninth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award goes to The Pentagon who report as having discovered that:
"one out of every seven, terrorism suspects formerly held at the U.S. detention site at Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism"
Terrorists return to terrorism - "No shit, Sherlock"

Sharia Law in action

This video is from the Swat area of Pakistan, but rest assured this is what many want to see as our future in the UK. Any comments from Lord Phillips, Rowan Williams or Stephen Hockman?

Racism scandal

News reaches me that a US Supreme Court Judge has been recorded as saying that
"I would hope that a wise white man with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life."
It is believed that Barack Obama is looking into ways of dismissing this Judge as he quite clearly has racist tendencies...

In fact the above is not quite true, but nearly... The real story is that Barack Obama's first appointment to the Supreme Court, Sonia "the court of appeals is where policy is made" Sotomayor is reported in the Wall Street Journal as having said that:
"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
Of course as a non-white woman Sonia Sotomayor is beyond reproach and Barack Obama will take no action. What you have to ask yourself is "is this fair"?

What can we ban drivers from doing next?

The ban drivers from doing anything brigade have a new target - listening to the radio whilst driving. How long before drivers have to sit in a sound proof booth in the car so that they cannot be distracted by anything? More likely though is - how long before private cars are banned and all driving has to be done by licensed state employed drivers of buses or trains? Of course an exception will be made for our betters in the perpetual Labour government who will be allocated suitably qualified chauffeurs.

Is time running out for Gordon Brown?

An almost unbelievable leader article in today's Times. It is headlined "The Choice for Labour" and has the subtitle
"The Labour party is about to suffer a serious electoral defeat. The Cabinet now has a big decision to make - whether or not to act"
Do go and read the whole piece but here are some key extracts:
"A week today the country goes to the polls for European and local elections that will almost certainly result in an historic drubbing for Gordon Brown's Labour Party.

The likelihood is that Labour will end up at best as loser and at worst as a laughing stock... The vital choice lies with his Cabinet colleagues. This, if they choose to seize it, is their moment.

The likes of John Denham and Jack Straw, David Miliband and James Purnell, John Hutton and Hazel Blears, Geoff Hoon and Alistair Darling must spend the next week asking themselves what they will do in the event of a shattering defeat. Mr Denham has grown tired of being promised funds that never materialise. Mr Miliband and Mr Purnell are exasperated at being regular victims of the self-harming tendencies of Downing Street briefings. Ms Blears has not been the only member of the Cabinet to have something to say about the Prime Minister's performance on YouTube. Mr Darling has made his frustration plain, in private at least, about being made to sell plans handed to him by his next-door neighbour. It is open to them to translate these private frustrations into public action. The fact is that Cabinet members have the power and, within a few days, the opportunity to change Labour's course and they now has to decide.

They could choose action. This would involve a Cabinet minister (or ministers) resigning, voicing in public the frustration with Mr Brown's leadership that is common currency among them. Senior resignations would trigger a leadership contest that, with the slightly mysterious emergence of Alan Johnson as the likely winner, would lead in short order to a general election.

The disadvantage of this course is that the electorate may punish a party that changed its leader for a second time in the course of a single Parliament. It may be that every potential assassin fears the charge of disloyalty. But the advantages suddenly look very marked...

Of course, Cabinet members may choose not to act. This would involve closing ranks around Mr Brown on the ground that economic recovery will provide a political dividend...

The question is now whether any of them is prepared to act. For a long while they have steadfastly maintained, at least in public, that the cost of removing the Prime Minister from office was greater than the benefit. Perhaps the verdict of the electorate will steel one or more of them to speak the truth about power. But doing nothing is itself a choice. Either way, Labour's future is not just Mr Brown's but the Cabinet's collective responsibility. "

I am not sure what the Cabinet will do after the EU and local elections. The result will be dire for Labour; they will almost certainly finish with less of the popular vote than the Lib Dems. Rumours that UKIP might overtake Labour are widespread but in my view unlikely, although if that was the result then Gordon Brown's Labour party would be humiliated and all hell could be let loose within the Labour party.

Let us assume for a moment that Labour finish a poor third, maybe with less than 18% of the popular vote, what then? Could Gordon Brown fight back with just a reshuffle? If bringing back David Blunkett is the answer then what is the question? Would any of the current Cabinet have the courage to openly challenge the Great Clunking Fist? Would Jack Straw and Peter Mandelson wield their knives in private and persuade Gordon Brown that time is up? Would a "big beast" no longer in the Cabinet have to stand as a stalking horse? Is Charles Clarke a "big beast" or just big? Would Jack Straw stand as a temporary "safe pair of hands" candidate? Would he do that just for the ex-Prime Minister extra pension? Would Alan Johnston stand in a leadership election after saying he wasn't up to the job? Does David Miliband really think he could be Prime Minister? Is Ed Balls so deluded that he thinks the British public could imagine him as Prime Minister? Does Harriet Harman really think? If Gordon Brown does get replaced by a new man/woman/Ed Balls how long could they realistically delay calling a general election? Does the new leader really want to go into history as the man/woman/Ed Balls who lead Labour to their worst ever election defeat? Who really wants to be portrayed as a bigger electoral liability than Michael Foot?

Many, many questions all of which may be answered over the next few months; it will be interesting?

More selective reporting by the BBC

I see that the BBC are "going big" on the story of Sir John Butterfill's expenses whilst showing not an iota of interest in the news that so far
"Just five of the 40 ministers who have been reimbursed for the cost of employing private accountants have explicitly confirmed paying tax on the amounts they received."
Why the difference in coverage? Is one backbencher more newsworthy that 35 Labour Ministers? Or does the fact that the backbencher is a Conservative mean that coverage of this story might help Gordon Brown's Labour party to avoid total annihilation in the upcoming EU and local elections?

Wednesday 27 May 2009


This Is London report that:
"Major shopping centres such as Westfield in White City are to get “cyber courts” to hand out instant justice to petty offenders such as shoplifters.

Police are in talks about setting up “virtual” courtrooms where offenders will be sentenced via video links to magistrates. The plan was revealed today as Justice Secretary Jack Straw opened London's first such scheme at Camberwell Green magistrates' court.

Mr Straw said: “Virtual courts have the potential to transform how the justice system deals with crimes.”

The Camberwell court is linked to Charing Cross police station and has already dealt with two drink-driving cases while the system was being tested last week. One driver pleaded guilty at a police station and was sentenced less than four hours after he was caught.

Eventually the scheme is designed to save £10 million a year in courtroom administration and prison transport costs. Over the summer 14 police stations across London will be linked to the system, handling an estimated 15,000 cases a year.

For anyone accused of an offence, taking part in the pilot scheme is voluntary. Defendants could also be bailed or remanded in custody at the courts if they are suspected of a more serious offence.

Senior police sources say they are examining the possibility of extending the scheme to shopping centres which deal with a high volume of petty offenders. Critics of the plan say it could limit the ability of defence lawyers to put together a strong case and undermine the gravitas of the judicial process by making it appear like a reality TV game.

But Mr Straw said the courts “are vital in the Government's drive to deliver swift justice — resolving cases faster, freeing up police time and improving the service given to victims, witnesses and defendants”.

He added: “Although at an early stage, this pilot helps the courts, police, prosecutors, defence lawyers and the judiciary work better together to deliver quicker and more effective justice without any loss of quality.

“The faster we get justice done, the more we improve public confidence in the criminal justice system as whole.”

If successful, the London pilot could save £2.2 million a year. Other police stations taking part include Brixton, Kennington, Streatham, Peckham, Walworth, Lewisham, Plumstead, Bromley, Croydon, South Norwood, Sutton, Paddington Green, Belgravia and Bexleyheath."

15 years ago if somebody had told you this was going to happen you'd have laughed wouldn't you? Now do you see what 12 years of Labour misrule have done to this Country?

HMRC step in

The Labour Ministers who claimed the cost of their accountancy/taxation advice on expenses may have a problem. It seems that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have declared that:
"It’s a general principle of tax law that accountancy fees incurred in connection with the completion of a personal tax return are not deductible.


This is because the costs of complying with the law are not an allowable expense against tax. This rule applies across the board."

Quite clear but maybe MPs thought they had an exemption? Nice try but HMRC issued a guide to all MPs in 2005 "MPs, Ministers and tax" which gave specific guidance to MPs and Ministers and prohibited such tax- free claims, which accountants say constitute a "benefit in kind" and should be taxed. The booklet states very clearly that: "accountancy fees incurred in the preparation of the self assessment tax return or related expense claims... not allowed" as tax expenses.

It is rumoured that HMRC are looking to launch investigations into the tax affairs of some Labour Ministers.

As an aside; when I awoke this morning to hear nothing on the Today programme about the Telegraph's expenses story I assumed that today must be a bad day for Labour. I was right... In fact it seems that I missed the whole three minutes the Today programme allocated to the story at 07:12
"Revenue officials are investigating whether MPs have broken the law by not paying tax after claiming personal accounting costs on expenses, the BBC understands. David Gardner, a former assistant general secretary of the Labour Party, discusses a Labour committee set up to look into the expenses scandal. "
Slightly less emphasis than the Today programme have used on moats etc.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Sonia Sotomayor misspeaks

"the court of appeals is where policy is made"

Can Barack Obama not make one just one decent appointment?

"The central deceit behind Budget 2009"

Fraser Nelson explodes the deceit at the heart of Alistair Darling/Gordon Brown's 2009 budget:
"The central deceit behind Budget 2009 – Alistair Darling’s trampoline recovery theory – is steadily crumbling. CoffeeHousers will remember the scam. He pretends that Britain will, from April 2011, enjoy three years of turbo-charged growth averaging 3.5 per cent a year, hence justifying his pre-election splurge. It was, in my view, an extraordinary moment – where the Treasury didn’t even pretend to be operating within the parameters of the possible."
Do read the rest of Fraser Nelson's piece and the transcript of the Treasury briefing.

The more I think about it the more I think that my comment from November 2007 that
"This government and its advisers are rapidly losing the plot, maybe they realise that their time in power is coming to an end and they are now pursuing a scorched earth policy."
might be rather accurate. It seems that Gordon Brown and his cabal are quite prepared to drive the UK economy and society into dust so as to make the Conservatives' job as hard as possible, in the hope of re-election in 2015.

In July 2008 Fraser Nelson wrote that:
"The Scorched Earth policy has begun... In the vernacular, Brown has realised that if the Tories win the next election the he is now spending with Cameron’s Gold Card – every by-election bribe, every union sellout will be funded by borrowing with the bill sent to D. Cameron Esq. Cameron will have to tax us to pay for what Brown is today spending.


My take is that Brown doesn’t care, not any more. Like a retreating army, he doesn’t want the advancing Cameroons to have any advantage at all.


Brown, however, is on a mission to raise state spending - and, right now, it looks likely to be a Tory government that pays tomorrow for the money he borrows today. It is impossible to understand Gordon Brown without understanding his approach to debt. It is his weapon of choice, and if he loses the next election he can right now start turning that weapon on the Tories. So he will have to feast on humble pie, and his own words, as he tears up his rules and lets debt soar above 40%. Yes, he may lose the election. But he has realised one upside to this inevitability: he can start spending David Cameron's budget now."

At the time I commented that:
"...when times are tough, any sensible person looks at their income and spending and adjusts them until there is a small surplus or at least balance. The alternative is to run up short term debt which is not a sensible long term solution. The trouble is that Gordon Brown now realises that one way or another he isn't going to be around in the political long term. So why not spend, spend, spend and let those two "toffs" David Cameron and George Osborne take the flak for having to cut public spending and increase taxation. It's a cynical strategy but then Gordon Brown is a deeply cynical politician. Gordon Brown's whole political career since the death of John Smith has been about what is best for Gordon Brown, he doesn't really care about the United Kingdom except as that links up to his future. Gordon was prudent only for a short time, but long enough to persuade the easily suggestible in Fleet Street and the rest of the media that he was "prudence" incarnate. Gordon Brown then went on a spending spree that has probably screwed the economy for the foreseeable future; however thanks to his friends at the BBC, blame for the necessary rises in taxation and cuts in public spending will be laid at the feet of the 2010-2014 Conservative government. If the policy wasn't quite so cynically deceitful you might even grudgingly admire it.

In a fair world Gordon Brown would be made to pay for his deception and destruction, but this is not a fair world. Gordon Brown will retire on his fat publicly funded pension to live a life of some luxury whilst we, the poor shmucks who funded his wastefulness, will suffer the economic consequences of his cynical decisions.

There has been much press about the opposition to a state funeral being given to Lady Margaret Thatcher. However I think it fair to say that there will no support for a state funeral for Gordon Brown when he dies. I for one hope that when he does die; it is painful, humiliating and public. "

I sense that the UK population may be nearing the point where they fling open their windows and shout "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more" More on that tomorrow... In the meantime here's that extract:

Our rulers

Peter Oborne from 2007 on the people that rule over us. A great read, I think it should be made compulsory reading...

The rise of the UK's very own Stasi State

The news that:
"A growing army of private security guards and town hall snoopers with sweeping police-style powers is being quietly established, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Under a Home Office-run scheme, people such as park wardens, dog wardens, car park attendants and shopping centre guards receive the powers if they undergo training, and pay a small fee to their local police force.

Their powers include issuing £60 fines for truancy and dropping litter, and being able to demand a person's name and address on the street.

Under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, the number of civilians wearing a special badge, and a uniform approved by the local chief constable, has rocketed by almost 30 per cent in a year and there are now 1,406.

Critics claim Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is quietly seeking to create a third-tier within the 'policing family', with even less training and accountability than the controversial Police Community Support Officers. "
What is Labour's end game? A CCTV camera in every room of every house? Each citizen implanted with a GPS tracking device? Checkpoints every few hundred yard metres where citizens' ID can be checked and DNA samples taken? This Labour government really scare me, I think they are capable of almost anything as they try to keep their hands on power. The idea that a UK Government might postpone a General Election would have seemed incredible 10 years ago, now it is common currency.

Could this be the useful wrinkle for the Conservatives on the Lisbon Treaty referendum

There has been some discussion as to how David Cameron's Conservatives will be able to call a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if the Irish vote for the Treaty in their October re-vote. So it was with some interest that I read this BBC article. The article is mostly full of the usual EU nonsense, "18 virtual MPs" etc. but then I read this
"The Lisbon Treaty's progress is further complicated by the fact that legal "guarantees" for Ireland, covering sovereignty, neutrality and some social issues such as abortion, are being bolted onto the treaty. This extra text then also has to be ratified by all member states. "
Does that mean that every EU "member state" has to re-ratify the Treaty and if so could that be the reason to give the UK electorate the referendum that Labour promised but failed to deliver?

Richard Littlejohn on the real expenses scandal

Richard Littlejohn has Alistair Darling in his sights...
"We're talking here about the Chancellor of the Exchequer not just claiming back his stamp duty but charging the taxpayer for an accountant to advise him how to avoid paying tax on his ill-gotten gains.

If this story had come out in isolation, Darling would not only have been forced to resign, the Old Bill would be beating a path to his door.

Think about it for a moment. The man responsible for hiking taxes is using public money to buy the best advice on how not to pay those very same taxes himself.

He has also lied about where he lives to claim the maximum amount in expenses. Darling flipped his address not just once, but four times. One of the flats in question was passed like a tray of biscuits from Gordon Brown to Darling via a dodgy peer called Moonie, last seen being investigated as part of the cash-for-influence scandal. "

We are all guilty, it's up to the Labour Government to decide when to arrest us

The news that Jacqui Smith will push through Parliament without a vote the new legislation on keeping innocent people's details on the DNA database, does not surprise me. This Labour government has shown time and time again that its instincts are totalitarian and anti-freedom. What shocks me is the lack of complaint from the opposition.

Monday 25 May 2009

Multiculturalism as social isolationism

A comment to my piece entitled "The joy of multi-culturalism" has annoyed me somewhat. For my peace of mind here's the comment followed by my reply:
"Such social isolationism was commonplace in Britain while it was still Britain.
ou only spoke to people you had been introduced to.
Yet society back then held together."

"... We are around the same age but I observed adult interaction in the late 1960s/early 1970s and of course watched many English films from the 1930s and 1940s and whilst people wouldn't jump into intimate conversation with a stranger without very good reason, they would be polite to a stranger. A doffed hat, a cheery good morning, all would be offered and reciprocated with politeness and good cheer. To compare the world of Britain gone by with the self-imposed social exclusion of today is just plain wrong."

Ed Balls

If today's Telegraph story that Ed Balls claimed for two Remembrance Day wreaths on expenses then I am disgusted, not overly surprised but still disgusted.

I wonder if the BBC will highlight Ed Balls' claim for Remembrance Day wreaths as they did with James Gray. Of course the two cases are completely different; one relates to a sleazy Tory MP who is easily attackable and one to a close friend of the Prime Minister who must be seen as beyond reproach.

Here's Ed Balls defence:
"The claim for a wreath was submitted in error by a staff member, as part of reimbursement for the up front costs she paid for organising two veterans badge presentation ceremonies for constituents, including for room hire at Parkside Methodist Church and Wrenthorpe Village Hall. Ed paid for wreaths every year – in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 - and this claim should never have been submitted in 2007. As soon as it was brought to Ed’s attention by the Fees Office he immediately reimbursed the staff member personally as he has done every other year. No erroneous payment was made by the Fees Office."
Can you spot what's missing?

Well that was a waste of money

In amongst The Telegraph's expenses revelations today is the news that Harriet Harman charged over £10,000 for media training. £10,000 and she still comes across as a hectoring harpie with less electoral appeal than John Prescott - money well spent I am sure you agree.

MPs expenses

I have deliberately not commented on every twist and turn of the MPs expenses scandal as I don't have the time and I would have run out of bile some time ago but the news today that nine Labour Cabinet Ministers have claimed for accountancy advice on their expenses is worthy of comment. Leaving aside the specifics for the moment, it seems to me that many MPS saw their salary as "theirs" and all "expenses" as reclaimable. In the real world a person is paid a salary and has to live on that salary, spending taxed income on travelling to and from work, on housing costs, on utility bills, on food and cleaning etc. etc. etc. In the world of many MPs it seems that everything was claimable and that was just plain wrong.

On this specific case, it seems that nine Labour Ministers claimed for accountancy advice on preparing their tax returns. This really hits home when you read that as well as Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, David Miliband, James Purnell, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Hoon and Hilary Benn and one unnamed Minister the same claim was put forward by Alistair Darling (the pretend Chancellor). When the front-man/fall-guy for Gordon Brown's economic failures is "allowed" to claim for taxation advice then you know the people using the expenses system have no shame. Gordon Brown and his minions have spent 12 years making the UK tax system more and more complicated, compliance more onerous and the penalties for making a mistake more and more serious and yet the people who enthusiastically called Gordon Brown an economic genius were able to claim as expenses for the tax advice they received.

Many MPs seem to have no shame but when you have a Cabinet that seems united only by greed and the fear of the electorate's response, what hope is there of an election to cleanse Parliament?

The Evil Empire

The Times reports that:
"A Victorian historian said that Britain “conquered... half the world in a fit of absence of mind”.

Chinese Communist Party leaders are not normally associated with absentmindedness, but rather with cool, calculated, long-term strategic thinking. Yet China might well now be building a mixture of influence and obligation - the modern version of an empire- in quite a British way, and one that promises to cause increasing tension with its giant neighbour and regional rival, India.

Events in Sri Lanka, as that nation finally brings an end to a quarter-century-long civil war, are the latest example of China's growing overseas reach. The victory of the Sri Lankan Government was assisted by the supply of arms from China, especially fighter jets, as The Times revealed on May 2, while the Chinese are also building a spanking new port on the southern coast of the country, which the Chinese Navy will be able to use for refuelling and repairs.

This is part of a broad move by China into the Indian Ocean, which India has traditionally considered its sphere of influence. Chinese engineers are building another port at Gwadar in Pakistan; roads are being cut or improved through Burma to help trade routes between Yunnan province in China and the Indian Ocean; ties are being improved with island nations such as the Seychelles; surveillance stations are being sited or upgraded on Burmese islands. "
Somehow I do not expect the usual protesters who protested at everything the USA did under George Bush to say a word.

Does the 9/11 Flight 93 memorial deliberately point to Mecca?

I know I have covered this before but I see that the story continues.

Sunday 24 May 2009

Gratuitous nudity time - NSFW

Starship Troopers Shower Scene

Oh come on...

The Times's reveals that
"ANDY BURNHAM, the culture secretary, has apparently avoided thousands of pounds in capital gains tax by channelling a £16,600 property windfall through the parliamentary expenses system.

Burnham was given the money by a property developer to persuade him to move out of a flat he rented in Dolphin Square, a desirable apartment block near the Palace of Westminster. Tax experts say he would normally have been liable for a tax bill of up to £6,665 on the windfall.

The Commons authorities instead agreed to bend their own rules, and added the windfall to his second home allowance, which is exempt from tax. The special deal meant he was able to claim more than £32,000 on his second home allowance for a single year - far beyond the maximum £21,643 then permitted under the Commons rules. It is believed to be the highest amount ever claimed. "
So will Gordon Brown use his famed moral compass to dismiss Any Burnham or will he continue to protect his favourites like Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Geoff Hoon and Andy Burnham? Will the BBC report this sleaze story or will they prefer to concentrate on Conservative MPs?

The report continues
"Burnham was also given permission to claim expenses for the Dolphin Square apartment and a new flat in Lambeth at the same time.

Parliamentary rules state an MP can claim against only one property, but the arrangement was approved by the fees office. Burnham’s Dutch wife, Marie-France van Heel, handled most of the claims.

Other MPs refused to accept the money when they moved out. Tom Harris, the former Labour transport minister, was offered £10,000 by Dolphin Square but turned it down.

However, Tony Wright, chairman of the public administration select committee, accepted a £10,000 payout to surrender his tenancy agreement. He opted to remain at Dolphin Square, paying a higher rent. The disclosures raise Continued fresh questions about the apparent double standards operated by Gordon Brown, who last week refused to censure James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, and Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, for their failure to pay capital gains tax. He previously said a similar move by Hazel Blears was “totally unacceptable”."

What is it with Spanish speaking countries and British territories?

Recently I have reported about the Argentinians rattling their sabres again at the Falklands. Today I read that the Spanish are trying their hand at threatening Gibraltar again. Once again I have to ask if a Gordon Brown lead Labour government with David Miliband as a Foreign Minister is in any state to protect our territories.

It's the reduction of the punishment that most annoys me about this story

The Times report on the true scale of the damage wreaked on the UK and Nato by the notorious cold war traitor Geoffrey Prime, who was a former GCHQ spy who went on to sell secrets to the KGB revealing that Britain and America had cracked high-grade Soviet military codes. The crimes were huge and in my book amounted to treason but in any case in the early 1980s he was sentenced to 35 years in jail for spying with an additional three years for indecent assaults on young girls.

Of course in New Labour Britain such a sentence means nothing and so Geoffrey Prime was released early in 2001 and of course in upside down Britain was given a new identity to keep him safe from reprisal attacks. The sheer stupidity of our Labour rulers and the probation system never cease to amaze me.

What a disturbing thought

Margaret Beckett is fingered by The Telegraph...

Mark Steyn on Multiculturalism

Watch especially from 5:00...

Global Warming - Whwre's the evidence? reports the "inconvenient truth":
"They drift along in the worlds' oceans at a depth of 2,000 metres -- more than a mile down -- constantly monitoring the temperature, salinity, pressure and velocity of the upper oceans.

Then, about once every 10 days, a bladder on the outside of these buoys inflates and raises them slowly to the surface, gathering data about each strata of seawater they pass through.

After an upward journey of nearly six hours, the Argo monitors bob on the waves while an onboard transmitter sends their information to a satellite that in turn retransmits it to several land-based research computers where it may be accessed by anyone who wishes to see it.

These 3,000 yellow sentinels -- about the size and shape of a large fencepost -- free-float the world's oceans, season in and season out, surfacing between 30 and 40 times a year, disgorging their findings, then submerging again for another fact-finding voyage.


When they were first deployed in 2003, the Argos were hailed for their ability to collect information on ocean conditions more precisely, at more places and greater depths and in more conditions than ever before.

No longer would scientists have to rely on measurements mostly at the surface from older scientific buoys or inconsistent shipboard monitors.

So why are some scientists now beginning to question the buoys' findings? Because in five years the little blighters have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously. They are not proving the predetermined conclusions of their human masters. Therefore they, and not their masters' hypotheses, must be wrong.

In fact, "there has been a very slight cooling," according to a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist who keeps close watch on the Argo findings.

Willis insisted the temperature drop was "not anything really significant." And I trust he's right. But can anyone imagine NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the UN's climate experts -- shrugging off even a "very slight" warming.

A slight drop in the oceans' temperature over a period of five or six years probably is insignificant, just as a warming over such a short period would be. Yet if there had been a rise of any kind, even of the same slightness, rest assured this would be broadcast far and wide as yet another log on the global warming fire.

Just look how tenaciously some scientists are prepared to cling to the climate change dogma. "It may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming," Willis told NPR.


The big problem with the Argo findings is that all the major climate computer models postulate that as much as 80-90 per cent of global warming will result from the oceans warming rapidly then releasing their heat into the atmosphere.

But if the oceans aren't warming, then (please whisper) perhaps the models are wrong."

So the world's oceans aren't warming they are cooling, that's odd I don't remember the BBC reporting this - maybe it escaped their attention...

The report continues:
"The supercomputer models also can't explain the interaction of clouds and climate. They have no idea whether clouds warm the world more by trapping heat in or cool it by reflecting heat back into space.

Modellers are also perplexed by the findings of NASA's eight weather satellites that take more than 300,000 temperature readings daily over the entire surface of the Earth, versus approximately 7,000 random readings from Earth stations.

In nearly 30 years of operation, the satellites have discovered a warming trend of just 0.14 C per decade, less than the models and well within the natural range of temperature variation."

Hold on but the BBC say that Global Warming is no longer even open to debate, it's established fact - maybe that's why the BBC ignore such inconvenient truths...

The report concludes:
"I'm not saying for sure the models are wrong and the Argos and satellites are right, only that in a debate as critical as the one on climate it would be nice to hear some alternatives to the alarmist theory."

I take a slightly different view - I am saying the models are wrong, most computer models of the real world are in some way wrong, and I am asking why the debate has been shut down?

Odd AOL search term

Question 1: Who why would someone search for - man pound sheep pussy?

Question 2: Why is my blog the number one returned site?

Eco-warriors or vandals?

The Mail reports that:
"Environmental activists have carried out a spate of attacks on 4x4s under cover of darkness.

Tyres have been let down or slashed, with notes left on motorists' windscreens accusing them of contributing to climate change.

More than 100 so-called Chelsea Tractors have been targeted in recent weeks in wellheeled suburbs of South Manchester. "
Eco-warriors or just plain vandals? You decide...

The joy of multi-culturalism

From The National Post comes a story to warm the hearts of all committed multi-culturalists:
"When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbour had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I've had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offence.

It turns out, it wasn't a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighbourly and -- to me -- entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief "good morning" as I passed my neighbours on the way to work.

Still, it was enough of an affront for the man -- once a doctor somewhere in the Middle East, my landlady clarified -- to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death.

I expect the battle will wage on, as we appear to be stuck at an impasse.

His Muslim upbringing has ingrained in him a sense of entitlement to demand I not speak directly to his wife; and my prairie upbringing has ingrained in me a duty to strive for polite cohesion with my neighbours.

My landlady, who has handled the complaint with tittering trepidation, hasn't helped dispel the friction. She has told me to adhere to the demands because the man "could be dangerous," directing me to literally turn my back to the couple as they pass, never make eye contact and never hold the elevator for them, no matter what.

Life among neighbours has become increasingly complicated by multiculturalism, in this case making even the most affable salutation or good Samaritan gesture a practice in walking on eggshells. But in trying to adapt to a patchwork of often conflicting cultures, has civility become the casualty of accommodation?

I grew up in Manitoba, where it was an affront to your neighbour not to be cordial. If you didn't greet them by name you could be talked about in hushed voices and risked being labelled standoffish. Community amongst neighbours was not something to consider, it was a way of life. Call it prairie law.

Since moving to Toronto, I have lived in condos where asking your neighbour for the proverbial cup of sugar is greeted by skeptical, confused faces and closed doors.

But the majority have been open to the time-passing chats that break down barriers.

My midtown apartment building is home mostly to young professionals and is the definition of nondescript. I frequently hold doors for people carrying packages and say "you're welcome" if they show gratitude. I have run errands for unfamiliar neighbours because I was heading out into the rain anyway and there was no point in us both getting wet. I chat like a fool while waiting in the laundry room.

Of course, denying me the right to greet a woman in our shared hallway fails to measure up to reported conflicts that have caused a culture clash, such as Canada's reaction to a recent Afghan law allowing some husbands to withhold food until their wives agree to sex, or the case of a Toronto-area father and son accused of killing a daughter who refused to wear a hijab at school.

I discussed my situation with the head of a prominent Muslim women's rights organization, who was understandably more concerned with the living conditions of the woman in question. She described the segregation of sexes as one of the worst examples of fundamentalist Islamic misinterpretation and dismissed the idea that my greeting could be construed as an offence.

Keep smiling, keep saying hello, she advised. The successful cohesion of cultures requires concessions from both sides. Offence or not, I have continued to greet those I share a building with, although the couple next door continue living in reclusion.

The alternative to this is to live amongst strangers in an icy standoff, fearful that the slightest attempt at community might be viewed as an affront. The alternative is to abandon prairie law, turn your back and close your eyes. And that sounds terrible."
Such joy, such happiness has been introduced into our lives.

BSE, Climate Change and Science Journalism

David Whitehouse on the BBC's approach to reporting Science.

Saturday 23 May 2009

In the Name of Love

Thompson Twins - "In the Name of Love"

I loved this song when it came out and played the 12" single over and over and over again. So when I saw the video for the far inferior "Hold on Now" on MTV 42 (or whatever) I just had to put this up.

Watching us all the time

Did you know this was going to happen? Oh come on it was obvious, this Labour government and its state police force just want to know everything about what we are doing, where we are going and who we are talking to - and if we complain "what have we got to hide?".

The latest story concerns this:
"A national network of cameras and computers automatically logging car number plates will be in place within months, the BBC has learned.

Thousands of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras are already operating on Britain's roads.

Police forces across England, Wales and Scotland will soon be able to share the information on one central computer.

Officers say it is a useful tool in fighting crime, but critics say the network is secretive and unregulated. "
But this is just to be used against criminals, right? Wrong!
"John Catt found himself on the wrong side of the ANPR system. He regularly attends anti-war demonstrations outside a factory in Brighton, his home town.

It was at one of these protests that Sussex police put a "marker" on his car. That meant he was added to a "hotlist".

This is a system meant for criminals but John Catt has not been convicted of anything and on a trip to London, the pensioner found himself pulled over by an anti-terror unit.

"I was threatened under the Terrorist Act. I had to answer every question they put to me, and if there were any questions I would refuse to answer, I would be arrested. I thought to myself, what kind of world are we living in?"

Sussex police would not talk about the case. "

Anti-Semitism update

Two stories from the UK and one from France to show how Jews are under increasing attack in Western Europe, while Governments and the media worry about Islamophobia.

A local London paper reports that:
" Security around Jewish schools remains on high alert after specific threats were made towards children during the height of the conflict in the Middle East.

Parents are continuing to pay for private security firms to guard schools amidst fears they may be targeted by extremists as a reaction to the tensions in Gaza.

From January 1 to March 9 this year, there were 36 anti-semitic attacks reported to Barnet Police, compared to just 11 during the same period last year, which included pro-Palestinian groups daubing graffiti and targeting Jewish businesses across the borough.


A security guard outside another Jewish school in Hendon, who did not want to be named, said the wall outside had been painted with the words “The black man rules now” in recent weeks and claimed he had been told to remain on “high alert”.

He said: “It is a shame, but in the current environment, there is a need for the security to be in place.”

“We provide a physical presence to stop something going on. If someone was hanging around thinking about doing something, they may think twice. "

The Liverpool Echo reports that:
"LIVERPOOL’S Jewish schools have drafted in extra security guards over fears pupils could be targeted.

The move at King David high school and neighbouring King David primary in Childwall comes after Hamas said Jewish children were now “legitimate targets” as part of the conflict with Israel.

Today both schools – who have around 1,000 pupils between them – confirmed they had each drafted in an extra security guard.

Since last week the guards’ brief has included accompanying children into school at the start of the day and following them out at home time.

The guards are also keeping an eye on visitors to the school, patrolling the schools’ perimeters and even monitoring traffic."

But for more a more hardcore incident Haaretz reports that:
"Jewish teen tortured in French town where Ilan Halimi was killed

The incident of brutal abuse began at 10 A.M. on February 22. Mathieu Roumi, 19, whose father is Jewish, was strolling through his neighborhood in the Paris suburb of Bagneux, which has been the site of violent riots by immigrants in the past two years. The suburb became notorious as the scene of Ilan Halimi's 2006 murder, which horrified France.

Roumi ran into two youths he knew. They discussed a sum of money that he supposedly owed them. An argument ensued, after which they beat him and, with the help of a third friend, dragged him to a dark basement. The three assailants were joined by three other youths, all neighborhood residents and neighbors of Roumi.

For two hours the attackers tortured the young man. One shoved cigarette butts into his mouth, another took issue with Roumi's Jewish origin, grabbed correction fluid and scrawled "dirty Jew" on his forehead. The six men proceeded to scream at him and threaten that he would die the way Halimi did.

They identified themselves as members of the "Barbarians," the same gang that kidnapped Halimi from his store, demanded ransom for his release, and when that was not forthcoming, tortured the 23-year-old over the course of three weeks. Moments after he was dumped on the street, Halimi died.

Roumi told police investigators that throughout his ordeal, his assailants employed measures with sexual and sadistic connotations. When the issue of his sexual orientation arose, one of them placed a condom on the tip of a stick and shoved it in Roumi's mouth.

"We admire Youssouf Fofana!" they shouted at him, referring to the leader of the gang that murdered Halimi. Fofana and 29 other suspects are on trial for abduction, torture and murder. If convicted, they can expect a life sentence.

Roumi's life was spared because one of the assailants, who owned the basement space, had to leave and take the key with him. Roumi was set free and returned home, battered and broken. When he got to his parent's home, they sent him immediately for a medical examination.

The next day Roumi went to the police. In a matter of hours, the six assailants were arrested. Most are in their 20s, two come from Muslim homes, two are "fully" French, and another two are African and Portuguese immigrants. They told interrogators that they had not meant to hurt Roumi.

Sami Gozlan, a former police investigator appointed by the Jewish community to monitor anti-Semitic incidents, visited the Roumi family the day after the incident.

"The family was in a terrible state," he told Haaretz Wednesday. "The father was weeping like a baby and couldn't believe that such a thing could happen to his son in France. The mother was also deeply upset. They told me that their younger children were forced to stay with relatives outside the neighborhood. Mathieu himself is still in shock."

"Sadly the lesson of Halimi's murder has not been learned," Gozlan added. "The fact that angry immigrant youth can kidnap a Jew in broad daylight and abuse him proves that the lesson has yet to be learned."

Jewish organizations condemned the attack and urged the authorities to increase police vigilance in mixed immigrant neighborhoods, where fear of attacks against Jews runs especially high. "

Remember these stories the next time you see demonstrators, faces contorted by hatred, screaming "We are all Hamas now". Remember it...

A Very British Dude at the hands of the NHS

A Very British Dude suffers at the hands of the NHS...

"And that, ladies and Gentlemen is why the NHS is useless. Nurses can't do what nurses do. Doctors ' time is wasted. The Bureaucracy, 'elf & Safety and petty credentialism mean that only certain types of nurse are qualified to do the simple running repairs that the majority of walking wounded in A&E needed for their sprianed ankles, cuts and bruises. No-one took responsibility, and no-one cared that the majority of people were enduring quite unessesary waits. Doctors' valuable time was being wasted too.

And as the patients grumbled away in the waiting room. I couldn't help comparing the A&E systems I've seen in France, Austria, Germany and Canada where the minor wounds are patched up and sent home with no fuss and little bureaucracy by whoever is nearest without having to wait the government mandated four hours. It's no longer money. We spend what others spend on healthcare. It is about the organisation, the culture. The NHS is the world's third largest employer with over a million people (after the PLA and the Indian Railroad). No organisation that big works. The public sector producer interest was visible in force: nothing in the waiting room worked, it was stuffy, uncomfortable an and no effort was made to indicate how long you would be waiting. Queue up and take your stalinist service. Be thankful for what you get. Don't criticise the sainted nurses 'n doctors. It's your health service."

French pop muisc isn't all bad

There's something about this that I quite like...

"Baby Baby Baby"

Some Saturday morning Beyonce

Beyonce - "Ego"

Another verbal slip from Barack Obama and not a word on the BBC

Yet again Barack Obama misspeaks and the BBC choose not to ruin the image of their hero. Breitbart report that Barack Obama doesn't seem to know that his Secretary of Defence is Robert Gates, whilst the founder of Microsoft is Bill Gates. Easy to mistak one Gates for another, let's hope Barack Obama knows the difference between Iraq and Iran.

It's always the fault of Israel or the Jews!

A Guardian "Comment is Free" article by Gideon Spiro explains why
"Obama needs to spell it out to the Israeli government: your weapons of mass destruction are just as dangerous as Iran's"
Do read the whole piece and the comments that follow it, there are some seriously out of touch with reality people out there...

Another "Comment is Free piece explaining why: a book in Greece should be banned.
"Jews – The Whole Truth is an extremely lengthy book (1,400 pages) written by Greek author Kostas Plevris. Plevris's plain declaration that he is "a Nazi and a fascist, racist, anti-democratic and an antisemite" sets the tone of the book, but he goes further. While justifying the actions of Hitler and the Nazis, Plevris claims that "ridding Europe of the Jews is necessary because Judaism poses a threat to the freedom of nation". To this he adds, "the history of humankind will hold Adolf Hitler responsible for the following: he did not rid Europe of the Jews while he could"."
Do read the whole piece to see what levels of anti-Semitism exist in Greece.

It is, as I have said before, no time to be a Jew in Europe.

Make Government Poverty History

Thanks to Beau Bo D'Or for the video and Guido Fawkes for the spot.

Friday 22 May 2009

Happy Birthday Morrissey

The song is of course The Smiths' most excellent "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"

"Why do I give valuable time to people who don't care if I live or die?"
Damn good question and one that I ask myself quite regularly...

The Smiths' almost as excellent "This Charming Man"

And finally some birthday advice to for the Pope of Mope from the Mael Brothers (Sparks)- "Lighten Up Morrissey"

Why is the Treasury being so secretive?

I read that:
" May 22 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. refused to release the results of stress tests conducted on British banks, two weeks after the Federal Reserve said similar reviews showed 10 U.S. lenders needed to raise a total of $74.6 billion.

Publishing the information may increase instability and force the government to take further action to shore up the U.K. financial system, the Treasury said in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Bloomberg News that sought the test results and criteria used to evaluate banks. U.S regulators said publishing their findings would ease concerns about lenders. "
So I think we can assume that the stress testing did not result in good news... Read the rest of the Bloomberg article and debate whether panicking is the correct response...

A difference in reporting

When the BBC report that Israel had been omitted from an airline map the story is told briefly and with no emotion. However when the story concerns a map of Israel without the Palestinian Territories correctly denoted... then the key phrases are all there:
"Hugh Lanning of the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign said the adverts were a "disingenuous attempt to remove the Palestinians from the public mind, and create a false impression about what constitutes Israel".

The posters were "selling a lie" by suggesting tourists could visit Gaza when the Hamas-run strip is subject to a strict Israeli blockade under which even some doctors and humanitarian workers have been denied entry, PSC said.

The map shows Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in the same striking yellow colour; the faintest of white lines mark out the Palestinian territories - though not the Syrian one which Israel annexed in 1981.

Israel occupied the three Arab territories, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 war. It has since cemented its hold by settling hundreds of thousands of its citizens there."
The BBC ever ready to "remind" readers of Israel's "crimes".

Stephen Pound watch

Part of an occasional series keeping an eye on the antics of one of the most unpleasant of the current Labour MPs.

Phil Taylor reports on Stephen Pound's excusing of Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.

Howard Denton reports on Stephen Pound's "rubbishing of the blogs"

The Lone Voice reports on Stephen Pound's fun and games in the Commons chamber.

Planet Jamie issues a challenge to Stephen Pound - take a read.

Stephen Pound, not worth what he is paid as an MP but then with a bit of luck he will be out of that job within just over a year.

Wind power

Wind power (in the UK) is a waste of time, the wind isn't reliable enough so we will still need the ability to generate 100% of our power needs from more tangible power sources, they despoil the countryside, expend more CO2 in building than they save in use and now I discover THEY KILL GOATS.
"Late-night noise from spinning wind turbines on an outlying island of Taiwan may have killed 400 goats over the past three years by depriving them of sleep, an agricultural inspection official said on Thursday. "
Is there no end to the suffering my brethren around the world must suffer?

Denis MacShane

I have been doing a little bit of research on some of the Labour MPs who trot around the media doing their best to shore up Gordon Brown's government and attack the opposition or bloggers or whoever dares to oppose the Great Clunking Twit. Two of these MPs are Denis MacShane and Stephen Pound; I will return to Stephen Pound in due course but here wish to just say one thing about Denis MacShane. One of Denis MacShane's favourite tricks is the ad-hominem attack, ignore the policy go for the man, so in tribute here's something to remember the next time Denis MacShane attacks the man and not the policy (it's from Wikipiedia -
"After the 2005 general election, he was dropped from the government. MacShane's failure to remain in government is believed by some to have been his falling between the two stools of being neither overtly a Blairite nor a Brownite, and thus, in his own words, having "no hand to push [him] up the greasy pole". However, his position was considered to be untenable after comments he made to a meeting of Durham Labour Students [6] in which he described Gordon Brown's five economic tests as, "a bit of a giant red herring." When contacted by The Scotsman newspaper about whether or not he made the comments he responded: "Jesus Christ, no. I mean, ‘red herring’ is not one of my favourite metaphors. If you think any Labour MP saying the Prime Minister’s most important policy is a red herring, then they would not survive long in the job." However, he had been recorded on a dictaphone, with the tape played on both the Today Programme and BBC News 24. MacShane himself wrote in Tribune "I have no idea why I was removed as a minister and it does not worry me in the slightest." [7]"

Jon Stewart and the Daily Show's view of 'Scamalot'

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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An odd example of dhimmitude

I am a voracious reader and generally have several books on the go at any one time. One I started to read today is Churchill's Wizard's - The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945 which covers a subject area that I find fascinating. I started to read the Preface and was surprised by this passage of prose:
"The hadith or proverb - 'al-harb khuda', attributed to the Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him - also means 'war is deception'."
I was struck by the use of two phrases. The first was calling Muhammad/Mohammed/Muhammed "The Prophet" not "the Islamic Prophet" or "the Muslim Prophet" or "the person Muslims consider to be the Prophet" but "The Prophet" - as if there could be no doubt. The second was the use of the phrase "peace be upon him", this is the phrase that practising Muslims often say after saying (or hearing) the name of a prophet of Islam, most usually Muhammed (1). Why is a non-Muslim using such a phrase, I wondered, would he similarly describe Jesus as "The Messiah"? Somehow I doubted that Nicholas Rankin would (but I will report back when I finish his book should he mention Jesus at all).

Maybe part of the explanation for this curious choice of wording can be gleaned from the start of Nicholas Rankin's potted biography at the start of the book:
"Nicholas Rankin spent twenty years broadcasting and feature-making for the BBC World Service, where he was Chief Producer and won two UN awards."

(1) Wikipedia informs me that:
"* (Arabic: عليه السلام ʿAlayhis salaam - A.S.) "Peace be upon him": This expression follows after naming any prophet other than Muhammed, or one of the noble Angels (i.e. Jibreel, Mikaeel, etc.)

* (Arabic: صلى الله عليه وسلم ṣall Allahu ʿalayhi wa sallam - S.A.W. or SAAW) "May Allah bless him and grant him peace." : This expression follows specifically after saying the name of the last prophet of Islam, Muhammed."

which is interesting and not previously known to me.

George Best

George Best would have been 63 today.

George Best's goal for Manchester United in the 1968 European Cup Final

George Best's goal in the NASL for the San Jose Earthquakes in 1981

The best goal that never was - George Best Disallowed Goal v Gordon Banks

If it's about Israel then no story is too small to be used to denigrate that Country

The BBC are pleased to report that:
"The Edinburgh International Film Festival has returned a £300 grant to the Israeli government after Ken Loach called for the event to be boycotted.

The money was to be used to fund an Israeli film maker's travel expenses to Scotland to exhibit her short film.

Loach said the grant was "unacceptable" and urged pro-Palestinian supporters to "stay away" from the festival. "
Remember this the next time Ken Loach bangs on about freedom of speech or a film festival showcases films from such freedom loving countries as China.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Gordon Brown and the flying mobile telephones

The stories of Gordon Brown throwing mobile telephones around the Number 10 bunker have become legion, but today I read some proof in The Register:
"Back in February, Tory Grandee Francis Maude asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many mobile phones had been replaced.

At the time, Kevin Brennan replied: "The Cabinet Office has recorded that of the mobile phones procured for official use under the Vodafone contracts, 11 have been reported lost, two stolen and 14 damaged during the past 18 months."

An innocent enough question, surely; but one that became more interesting when Bloomberg reported the Prime Minister's alleged propensity for taking out his frustration at the deepening economic crisis on office equipment, with cowering Downing St aides warning new recruits to watch out for "flying Nokias".

Cue another question from Francis Maude, who asked:

* (1) whether any of the 14 damaged mobile telephones had been allocated to individuals who work in 10 Downing Street; [269953]
* (2) what the cost to the public purse was of replacing the 14 damaged mobile telephones; [270170]
* (3) what the (a) make and (b) model of each of the 14 damaged mobile telephones was. [270171]

Yesterday, it was Tom Watson who had to step up, and reveal that the toll included two Sony Ericssons, one Motorola RAZR, four BlackBerrys and yes, six Nokias.

But, he added, none of the 14 phones was actually issued to "individuals who work in Downing Street". And just in case anyone was wondering how much the taxpayer was having to shell out to keep government workers in shiny new mobes, the answer is nothing at all.


Of course, the fact that none of the borked handsets were issued to Downing Street staffers doesn't mean a thing. After all, no one said that it was the PM throwing his own phones. "
Go on Gordon throw a Nokia, it doesn't cost the taxpayer a thing and may even keep your blood pressure down.

UK is downgraded (update)

I note that Standard & Poor's say that in the past, revised outlooks lead to downgrades in around 37% of cases. A 37% chance of the UK's credit rating being downgraded - should you sell Sterling, I have...

UK is downgraded

Standard and Poors have just revised their outlook rating of the UK. The UK is now had its outlook revised from stable to negative:
"-- The 'AAA' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term sovereign credit ratings were
-- The outlook revision is based on our view that, even factoring in further
fiscal tightening, the U.K.'s net general government debt burden may approach
100% of GDP and remain near that level in the medium term.
The only aspect that I take issue with is the 100% of GDP figure; if you include all of the off balance sheet elements it is much much higher than that.

The UK's "rating" has not been lowered but Standard and Poors point out that:
""The rating could be lowered if we conclude that, following the election, the next government's fiscal consolidation plans are unlikely to put the U.K. debt burden on a secure downward trajectory over the medium term," Mr. Beers
said. "Conversely, the outlook could be revised back to stable if comprehensive measures are implemented to place the public finances on a sustainable footing, or if fiscal outturns are more benign than we currently anticipate.""

Sterling looks remarkably stable after the expected initial shock, but will that last once the dealers have had a chance to really think about the real level of debt?

And here is Gordon's explanation of UK Debt levels from last year, looks well doesn't he?

Thanks to Guido Fawkes for reminding me of that video.

An odd blogging experience this one, I spotted the S&P outllok change whilst working and blogged it before seeing that I was not by any means the first... Oh well.