Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Yet another student protest in London


Council cut-backs

Predictably, I suppose, the 'usual suspects' have now started to target council meetings, with their banners and placards as usual, protesting about council spending cuts. Students featured heavily, among the masses trying to get what turned out to be around a hundred bods into the meeting.

Actually, some councils make provision for such numbers routinely (I have been checking with my contacts who either are or have been councillors)

Of course all this is politically-motivated, even if some (many?) of the protesters don't realise that they are merely pawns in someone else's game. The two recent Westminster protest rallies were much the same. No matter...

This past evening's such event was at Lewisham council, of all places (a Labour inner London heartland) who are planning to make cuts of some £60 million over the next three years.

That's a lot of cutting back, even at £20 million per year!

Admittedly, the Labour-run London boroughs are among the most profligate areas in the country, and there will be plenty of scope for cutting out waste; but this appears to have been an attempt to use this necessity instead as a stick to beat the coalition national government by cutting actual services, not the waste.

I don't have the details here yet, so cannot be specific; but I might try to get hold of the documents that were being tabled at the Lewisham meeting and make my own evaluation. It depends how tomorrow goes.

Whatever the exact details are for Lewisham, the overarching principle remains: this is an opportunity for councils to eliminate huge amounts of waste that were imposed upon them by the previous Labour government, and revert to the kind of council structure that generally worked so very much better before those thirteen years.

Yes, it will be updated here and there, but such a structure can again become user-focussed rather than remote centralised ideology-driven - e.g. "climate change" and "diversity" sections and staff can go, as can form-fillers for the now-unnecessary central government statistics. There are plenty of others. That's people's money being wasted on such non-jobs (or nonsense jobs, perhaps) and the waste of billions every year needs to stop.

Now, if only these students and other apparent dimwits were to learn how and why things work, perhaps they'd understand enough to let the necessary reforms go ahead as they should. Well, we've been here before, some thirty years ago, so no doubt the current government will handle all this and do the job regardless, just as Mrs Thatcher did in the 1980s.

Monday, 29 November 2010

And now for the good news

Chancellor George Osborne has been able to report some good news on the economic front today, and a little that is not so good. Remember that the economic forecasts are now being produced independently, by the Office of Budget Responsibility, rather than manufactured and manipulated for the convenience of the government of the day - as was notorious when Gordon Brown was first Chancellor and later PM.

First, this year's economic growth is one and a half times that forecast (1.8% as against the expected 1.2%), though the bad news is that the next two years' expected growth has been adjusted slightly downward, from 2.3% to 2.1%.

Further good news is that there is expected to be at least £6 billion budget surplus by 2015. I also read that the number of public sector jobs expected to go is well down from its earlier 490,000 estimate to just 330,000 - a drop of a third. There will also be no double-dip, we are told - not exactly news, and not a hundred percent certain (virtually nothing is) but it is yet another encouraging sign that such a clear-cut statement can be made with confidence.

I think that, on balance, this is broadly good news, and we can trust it as well!

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) is saying that this is inaccurate, but I haven't been able to find any evidence that they might have presented to back up their claim.

Own goal Mk 2

There are always (mainly public sector) Union bosses who get it wrong and shoot themselves and their "cause" in the foot. It happened back in 1978 to 1979 when the infamous Winter of Discontent was probably the largest factor in unseating Labour and assisting the resultant huge swing to Mrs Thatcher and the Conservatives in May 1979.

Of course, we now know (and many of us suspected back then anyway) that they were using their 'heavy mob' tactics to coerce the then Labour government into giving in to their every demand. Indeed, they were problem trying to scare them with that very thought of losing office, both personally (for MPs and especially ministers) and governance of Britain.

History shows that it didn't work and that Jim Callaghan's Labour government was chucked out.

Today, the Unions are more cautious, not wishing to slay their (somewhat tarnished) golden egg. Therefore they have held back on their strikes and other disruptive behaviour until after the General Election. To some extent it worked, as it reduced the tendency of the voting public to switch to the Conservatives - hence our coalition government today.

However the Union bosses (who, though crafty, aren't generally blessed with a great deal of intelligence) still don't understand how things work in the reality outside of their Communist-inspired doctrines, and are making a similar mistake today.

Mark "Crash Bang" Wallace has it broadly sussed out, though I don't think he takes it far enough. He rightly says that Bob Crow's Union (that has the London Underground's staff out on strike again today) is helping the Conservatives - in particular Chancellor George Osborne - by discrediting strikes in general in the eyes of the public. It's yet another 'own goal' by the stupid Commies!

Back in the 'eighties there was a certain degree of sympathy and support for the miners, though that faded when some truths came out about Scargill and other matters, as well as for other reasons caused by striking in general around that time. I was in my early twenties at the time, and was almost taken in myself, at least for a short while. I was certainly wavering regarding which side I thought was right.

That isn't likely to happen this time; and the only support for the strikes, the students' riots demonstrations and all the other things that so closely mirror what happened back then, is coming from the 'usual suspects' of the Unions themselves, Labour politicians, the Mirror and Guardian types of rags, and left-leaning (i.e. Communist or similar) blogs including those by so-called Think Tanks.

The rest of us know better, and many of us have lived through it before. The same methods will no longer work, and they are fooling themselves if they believe otherwise. Stale, outdated negative methods will rightly be perceived for what they are, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with fairness or anything else with even the slightest of noble intentions.

It's all part of a destructive agenda, and this time we're wise to it!


Today's big news story is undoubtedly the WikiLeaks release of a huge number of formerly confidential classified documents, including a lot of communications by (in particular) American embassies.

There is an interesting look at the implications at the America in the World website.

Inevitably the diplomatic communications include a number of short and snappy opinions by embassy staff and others about influential figures including national leaders, and the media coverage so far seems to be concentrating on those. Perhaps the most useful (reasonably comprehensive but not too long to wade through) is in The Express.

Well, of course this sort of opinion is going to feature heavily in cabled and similar communications, especially from diplomatic posts as they need to inform political leaders and senior officials (among others, if less directly) of the natures of those with whom they will be dealing. It isn't exactly surprising that, amongst all that, there will be snippets suitable for media headlines, so perhaps we shouldn't be taken aback at the tone in those headlines and articles, especially where criticism of British governments past and present appears.

The trick is to realise how the world works and treat these particular disclosures as an education in how behind-the-scenes intelligence sometimes needs to operate. Put oneself in the position of a presidential aide rushing from one activity to another, and having to be briefed en route to the next. Short, to the point assessments of how the upcoming task needs to be handled will be essential as part of that preparation.

I can certainly picture all this happening out there in the real world, so am not jumping up and down at the WikiLeaks revelations that have so far entered the public domain (I understand that the leak document itself is encrypted) and intend to calmly watch the bigger story unfold over the days and weeks to come.

As for whether this material should have been leaked in the first place: no, it almost certainly shouldn't have been; and this will now force those whose classified materials have been divulged to significantly change how they operate in future. I can think of several ways that could be done; but ultimately it will result in what history will judge to be a negative outcome as far as the broader public interest is concerned.

Especially with modern technology, especially encryption, but also with "code words" with other meanings within the agencies using them, ways will now be found to avoid a repetition of this potentially harmful (e.g. to in-the-field armed forces) action being possible or of any value to our enemies.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ed in the clouds

The media reception to Ed Miliband's attempted re-launch of Labour is not exactly warm so far, from both left- and right-supporting newspapers.

The Telegraph's Simon Heffer believes it will get him only so far, while The People's man in Westminster, Nigel Nelson, was not impressed with Red Ed's vague generalisations. They are both quite short (the latter contains lots of white space so looks longer than it really is) so it's worth spending a couple of minutes reading each.

Heffer thinks that Labour's poll ratings will descend again once Mili-E does say saying something definite (though I am not convinced of this, as there are other factors at play and coming along real soon now); and Nelson opines that Ed's "well-meaning waffle" will negate his positive attributes, saying that "He has the intelligence, the character, the personality and the heart to be a great Prime Minister."

Now that last bit is a debatable view, but I'll let it stand for now!

Chalk and cheese

Let's hear it for Rotherham in Yorkshire!

It is sometimes thought that a place of birth/early life makes you what you are. Indeed, it does have a powerful influence. However what it does not do is to force you to be stupid, inarticulate or a bully.

Take these two "Rotherham lads" (as the one on the left recently referred to them, in connection with the No2AV campaign).

Labour's John Prescott is well known for mangling the English language, often acting or speaking in a stupid manner, and was certainly a bully on several levels during his time within the Labour government. There is no end of anecdotes, often with documents to back it up, that show all of that.

Now take Conservative William Hague, also from Rotherham, who is really just a pussy-cat and would harm no-one, also very intelligent and perceptive, and one of the very best orators in the UK Parliament (and one of the wittiest and most nimble).

Perhaps, in opposing the move to the Alternative Vote electoral system, it will need to be as Prescott has said (and got wrong, grammatically): "Us Rotherham lads should stick together!" but I suggest they don't travel and speak in public together. Prescott might sound more "Yorkshire" than Hague does, but Yorkshire folk must find him acutely embarrassing and the rest of the country would also plump for Hague when hearing the two of them at the same event.

It really is a case of chalk and cheese, or perhaps even chalk and caviar!

Friday, 26 November 2010


"Red" Ed Miliband is rapidly being sussed out as an ineffective Labour party leader with no real ideas or sense of direction, and in reality a pawn of the Unions who put him in his present elevated position.

This is not exactly surprising news, but it is useful to see how short a time it has taken for some truths to emerge, and for Ed-M to look increasingly out of touch and floundering. Quite apart from the problems with (now several) Shadow Cabinet members expressing different views from his own stated policy position, there have been a fair sprinkling of developments in just the past day or so.

Two indicative articles today have been the Telegraph leader article, pointing out very effectively how John Major (of all people) is actually far more up-to-date and "with it" than Red Ed, to the point of what must surely be acute embarrassment for the Labour leader; and even the Labour-supporting Financial Times is heavily critical of Ed-M's definition of and attitude towards the "squeezed middle" (as he terms them: others call it "squeezed muddle").

Both those linked articles are well worth reading, as they will help to see just why the Labour head honcho is more like a poncho - a loosely fitting partial garment that flails around (as the FT would put it) in the political wind and that barely covers the essentials.

Ed has also declared himself to be "a Socialist", with considerable pride, so all of this (along with the Union domination) is of a piece, as Labour retreats to its lefty Communist-style roots. The tearing up of all previous policy is an obvious move in that direction - scrapping all the good parts of New Labour (and there were some!) and un-evolving as a political force, going backward and making themselves unelectable for the foreseeable future.

Oh, how sad!

[By the way, this is my hundredth post]

Thursday, 25 November 2010

PMQs Live Blogs

I usually monitor these, hosted by Guido, and then catch the "highlights" as assembled at Beware of Geeks Bearing GIFs. Unfortunately this week's (i.e. yesterday) highlights post hasn't yet been done, but hopefully the Geek will catch up soon - not that it was a particularly exciting PMQs this week, but for the sake of completeness and all that...

Anyway, I am still wondering whether to participate in one of these myself, but can imagine that it requires a lot of concentration both on what is going on in the House and on what others are writing in the Live Blog (or Chat as it is sometimes called). I'm not sure I am up to that!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Return of the students

Yes, they're back in London - and at a number of other places around England as well (Birmingham and Leeds confirmed so far, though apparently not very many turned up at the latter location).

Although the nasty side of the event has been less severe this time, at least so far, this is probably down to increased policing levels, lessons having been learnt after the first such event a couple of weeks ago. As Guido writes: "There are a lot more coppers this time".

A police van "has been attacked", according to news sources, but that seems to be the extent of the bad stuff at this early stage. There are several hours to go yet...

Of  course, the message is the same as last time, an nothing has changed materially on either side of the dispute over tuition fees. As always, the protesters are in reality merely pawns in the political game that their leaders and organisers are playing - but I've covered this before and it's obvious enough to anyone with a fully functioning brain anyway.

Although I was still fairly young and inexperienced when we saw the same sort of activity a couple of decades ago, my brain worked almost as well back then as it does now and I was never fooled by any of it, not once! It remains a poor advertisement for the university students of this country that they behave in the manner they did at 30 Millbank only recently, and they are so gullible as to protest now, but didn't when the previous government created the situation the nation is in today that necessitates these changes?

Were/are they simply too dim to realise where the problem originates and are so easily led by the nose now that they can't see these protests for what they really are? If that is so (and it looks very much like it) then it doesn't bode well for the future of our country if these are supposed to be the brightest young people we have! The Man in a Shed has it well sussed out as usual.

Meanwhile, the fire extinguisher thrower from last time faces the possibility of being jailed for five years, after pleading guilty to the charge of throwing the extinguisher at police from the roof of 30 Millbank. His sentencing will follow within the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Fifteen of the protesters have been arrested, though as yet I have no details of who or for what specific reasons/charges. It appears that a fire was started near the Cenotaph in Whitehall, and a bus stop near the Strand has also been set on fire (though it could be the same one, as the Cenotaph isn't far from the Strand), so this activity could be at least one of the reasons for the arrests.

Bad teachers

On the Daily Politics today is the inevitable Union (deputy) leader, trying very hard to support the significant proportion of bad teachers and poor schools, particularly the former.

When Andrew Neil challenged the Union bod regarding the low number of teachers removed (fewer than a hundred nationwide during the past fifteen years), he waffled and provided no answer, just the expected lefty propaganda. Lord (Michael) Howard made the valid point that as two-thirds of schools are judged good, that means that a full third are judged to be not good, which is a terrible statistic.

Next came some typical "cheek by Jowell", as Tessa 'motormouth' Jowell tried (in vain) to justify Labour's record, but Neil has been there and done that, even visiting inner-city Comprehensive schools and finding out for himself what really did go on in those places during the Labour years. As Lord Howard said: it's now time to stop making excuses and find a remedy.

Where's yer thinking 'ead, Ed?

Already reported in several places, such as Guido and (in more detail) Cranmer, Ed Balls' claim that the Coalition Government's changes to immigration rules will have little effect, using false statistics, shows that Labour really don't have a clue on this topic (or most others, actually).

Either Balls can't count, even with evidence from the Office of National Statistics upon which to draw, or he is simply spinning (again!) by deliberately and knowingly putting out a false message. Whichever it is, and even acknowledging Balls' undoubted political skills, it just goes to show that even that isn't good enough.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Clegg and the egg

In this case, the egg is the broken Humpty Dumpty of Britain's public finances, and Nick Clegg's long-held view supportive of our country joining the Euro, claiming it would be one of the best ways to "put Humpty Dumpty back together again".

As Iain Martin asks: is Clegg still in favour of our joining the Euro, especially after the news of Ireland's dire troubles from within the Eurozone? Both he and his party have a real question to answer on this, right now!

From what Iain reports, though, it would seem that only fuzzy evasiveness results from trying to find out the answer to that question:
“It is a theoretical question and it is not a decision for now.”
As Ireland is being encouraged to look at the possibility of withdrawing from the Eurozone, one does have to wonder whether there is now any credibility in the idea of the common currency or of anyone still promoting it.

Labour leadership voting

Thinking about my previous post, I have realised how important the Labour party's leadership voting system is, and how badly it needs reform nand, frankly, modernisation.

Their present system gives Union members a third of the vote, and this is separate from any Union members also having a second vote if they are a member of the party.

MPs have their own vote as well, perhaps a third one if they are also members of a Union. There is yet another vote still for a fourth category, though I cannot recall just now precisely what that is - some kind of affiliate, but the details escape me for the moment.

All of this is why David Cameron alluded to the number of votes Harriet Harman and husband Jack Dromey had between them at a Prime Minister's Questions sessions a couple of months ago (they had seven votes between the two of them!) and rightly so.

In practice, the present membership situation is:
  • Labour party - around 177,000 members
  • Trades Unions - approx 2,7000,000 members (Unite alone has around a million)
Guess who dominates! Under a "one member, one vote" scheme, even treating a Union member's vote as identical to a party member rather than in addition to it for those who are members of both, that still gives the Union membership no less than 93% of the vote!

Remember that they currently have only a third of the vote!

?For Labour, giving Unions any power or influence within the party will lead to often-justified claims by their opponents of being in the Unions' back pocket. It was the key ingredient in getting Ed Miliband elected as party leader, after all (not forgetting that there were other influences as well, but this was the biggie).

Yet without the Unions' bankrolling of the Labour party - particularly the public sector unions such as Unite - the party would have gone bankrupt years ago and would no longer exist (many folk would say that would be a good thing, and who am I to argue?) Its current life is built on that shaky and unprofessional foundation alone - Trades Union funding.

Yes, there are still rich donors to the party (far too many of 'em, with no sense or no morals or no something-or-other); but many of their previous backers eventually saw through all the spin and the lies and no longer support Labour financially if in any way at all. Therefore we need to watch what Labour gets up to in regard to their review of internal election policy.

Could, then, this 'review' be why the Unions supported "Red Ed", so that he would prepare the ground for constitutional changes that would soon ensure their virtual total control of the Labour Party?

He's back!

Going 'Ed to 'Ed
Yes, Ed Miliband has returned to political life after his two weeks of paternity leave, looking after the baby son who "looks like me" and is (therefore?) "gorgeous"! Hmm...

Anyway, what has he done so far? Well, an interview in The Guardian today tells us that he is to have a big review of the Labour party's direction as the first step in what he calls "the hard road back to power".

In practice, there is to be a policy review and a look at how the party operates internally.

This is predictable enough stuff, and we generally tend to get a "policy review" whenever a new leader takes over in any of the major political parties. It also fits in with what Andrew Rawnsley wrote in the same paper (Okay, its Sunday version called The Observer) yesterday.

However, policy-wise, we again see Red Ed seemingly clashing with views expressed by his Shadow Cabinet members. Specifically mentioned is Ed's intention to retain the 50p upper income tax rate permanently, whereas his Shadow Chancellor, Alan Johnson, has come out against doing so and believes it should be a temporary measure. Ed says the party needs to "go beyond New Labour", but that is a retrograde step back toward the mire of the Lefty "soak the rich" tax (and, presumably, spend) kind of policy, pre-Blair.

The party isn't using the same hymn sheet, not helped by Johnson referring to his leader as "Red" instead of "Ed" on the BBC today(!) Yes, it was just a slip-up, but a rather telling one. here's the (now available) clip:

All of this is therefore good news for everyone except Labour fans and supporters. That party looks like ripping itself apart, probably doing nowhere near as well at next May's local elections as they really should under the circumstances of the time, and will have to decide about their leadership. They can then either limp on with Ed-M as leader, or they can learn from the Tories and change leader again, even after just a short period.

Not that they have, even now, anyone who would make a good leader, though the other Ed (Balls) is probably, politically, the nearest they currently have. Although I still can't see how Balls won any aspect of The Spectator's annual awards (he was judged the Parliamentarian of the Year, no less), there's no denying his political skills, and that is what the Labour party needs at its top, both internally and in the wider world including a largely Labour-friendly big media sector.

This could actually happen! As Ed-M didn't make Balls his Shadow Chancellor, there is nothing to hold back the ever-ambitious "Big Ed" from scheming for an ejection of "Little Ed" and once again standing for the party leadership. If he'd been Shadow Chancellor, he'd probably have been happy there, but not where he is now!

As always with these things, only time will tell which way events will unfold. The Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election that looks likely to need to be held, and would then be called quite soon now, might be seen as a kind of barometer for Ed-M's leadership, but it's too soon and even parliamentary (as distinct from, say, council) by-elections aren't taken by those in the know as an absolute test of a party or its leader.

No: it will be next May when a large number of elections will be held up and down the country that the Labour party will make a collective judgement on how their party is performing and what if anything needs to be changed. That could well include a change of leader, so Ed Miliband must use this time wisely if he is to stand much chance of remaining in his position at the very top of the Labour party!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Royals are parasites

So claimed the leader of Bury Council's Labour Group , as reported earlier today by a Bury Lib Dem councillor, Tim Pickstone. That blog post indicates that the said leader, one councillor Mike Connolly, has been "trying to cover his tracks" ever since making the statement on Facebook a few days ago. Another Bury Lib Dem councillor, Richard Baum, has the story of what happened.

Okay, this might turn out to be a non-story when one reads what councillor Baum suggests might be what triggered the comment, but it still sounds rather nasty and typical leftie as well (they don't like anyone except themselves in charge of anything, and only they and and their buddies are to be able to take from the public purse). Here is the comment, which refers to Prince William's forthcoming wedding:
"Will these multi-millionaire parasites be paying for their own wedding?"
Feel free to make up your own mind what you think about this!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Phi Wire

Something I have noticed about Politics Home's Phi Wire of links is that a number of Labour contributors aren't colour-coded with a red bar but a grey one, thus making them look as if they are politically neutral (well, at least nominally, such as the media). This hasn't seemed to apply to any others during the weeks I have noticed this trend, though today for the first time I have seen a Lib Dem (MP Tim Farron) entry also "grey-barred".

It's a crafty way to conceal the strong left-bias of the Phi Wire's editor(s) selection method!

Just now, I spotted Fat McFadden (Labour MP) and Alistair Campbell (Labour again) entries, both coloured grey, at the same time. These were in addition to a Mirror journo, a Guardian columnist and the Lib Dem MP I just mentioned. Par for the course, but worth mentioning.

I have also noticed that even the most frivolous Labour tweets and suchlike are allowed by the editor, and almost anything from Labourite Ben Mosley, whoever he is, whereas lots of serious, important and significant postings by Conservatives and similar are not, even from obvious and well-known sources. One day, when I have a clear schedule, I shall log every entry in the Phi Wire for a whole day, and list it all here. That'll be each poster's name, allegiance, the time  it is posted at Phi Wire, the colour coding, and a brief description of the linked item's content.

Campaign of the day - 17 Nov 2010

Labour Uncut today launches its campaign to have a Labour politician included in Strictly Come Dancing. After Vince "Twinkle-toes" Cable a while back, and now Ann Widdecombe, perhaps it is time for Labour's Peter Mandelson to return to the dance floor.

After all, not doing so would surely be "unfair" (in Labour's terms) and possibly even "discriminatory" (step forward, Harriet Harman). Unfortunately he has refused to take part in the show's Christmas Special.

I'd like to state my tacit support for the campaign, though, if only to avoid the risk of a 'uman rights or similar case being brought by Labour in the European Courts!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Photo finish

Well, not the photographs by David Cameron's so-called "vanity" photographer and movies by his videographer (though actually these were both recording State matters for posterity) but an end to their being employed within the Civil Service. They will now be paid for by the Conservative party, as they were originally.

Interestingly, this is what David Cameron and his team originally planned, but (it was reported in several places at that time) Civil Service chiefs scuppered that. I do wonder whether those Mandarins were being entirely straight over this or whether they were just trying to create an embarrassing item of news for the Tories...

Anyway, it has now clearly been found possible to return to the original plan after all, as it has today been announced that the duo will in future be employed from CCHQ. Their employment within the Civil Service was expected to result in efficiency savings as it was; and if they can still cover the same range of events in their new employment situation those savings should increase by the cost of their salaries and the other costs of their employment.

Predictably, this news is being reported as a U-turn on the part of Cameron and Co, and it is also being suggested in some quarters that today's royal engagement announcement was somehow devised to coincide with this so that the embarrassment would be minimised.

Fortunately, those with memories longer than that of a goldfish will, once reminded of the background (as above), realise the truth, even if the public message that has been put out is a bit wishy-washy.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Tweet of the day - 15 Nov 2010

This comes from the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg:
"Nick Gibb says govt has asked qualifications authority to look at taking spelling, grammar and punctuation into account in GCSE exams"
Of course, the obvious question that anyone with a clue about real life will ask is: why weren't these already being taken into account? Just about all of life within our complex society, and especially when one is in employment, is based around the need for effective communication, much of it via the written word.

Even allowing for the licence of texting shorthand and the like, this does not mean that there is any excuse for neglecting the essentials of language-based written communication, such as spelling, grammar and punctuation. Our adult life has to be built on a solid foundation, and good written (and, ideally, spoken) English is an essential part of that foundation in this country.

Who could possibly ever have thought that ignoring these important constituent components of that foundation was the right way to go? Oh yes, of course: dumb-it-all-down lefties within the previous Labour government, so that all might have prizes and our exam qualifications ended up significantly devalued!

Facility or mechanism?

At last it looks as though the picture is significantly clearer this morning, regarding the recent uncertainty (by some) whether the UK was or wasn't included in treaty changes within the EU.

It transpires that there are two separate bailout systems:
  • The European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism
  • The European Financial Stabilisation Facility
The first of these was agreed to by the previous (Labour) government, is still binding upon us, and would mean than we'd have to contribute some 12% of any bailout to Ireland if it should become necessary. It would probably amount to somewhere between £6 billion and £10 billion, according to different newspapers' reports. That's the EFS Mechanism.

The EFS Facility, however, applies only to those countries within the Eurozone, so doesn't affect Britain.

Well, I'm glad that's now (hopefully) cleared up!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Hands on

That's Greg Hands on John McDonnell MP's tweet (reproduced below) regarding the student march and resulting vandalism:

He has called upon Harriet Harman to take action against "any comments that can be viewed as condoning violence on the streets of London".

Fat chance! Harman might (or might not) make the appropriate-sounding noises in public, but in reality will almost certainly be supportive of the actions of the students and others involved in the DEMO-LITION, as it was titled by its organisers, the NUS.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


There's a very good programme on Channel 4 (of all places) that is very honestly and bluntly stating the huge level of debt in this country, and what it means for future generations. It also teaches a number of lessons about the public/private sector balance and the dishonesty of those who claim that reducing public expendture takes money out of the economy. It doesn't: quite the opposite, in fact.

The ninety-minute programme (81 minutes without commercial breaks), presented by Martin Durkin and titled Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story, is a must-watch for everyone in Britain.


Not in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets!

Although the Bangladeshi population there is around a third of the total - high but still the minority - the recently-elected mayor and his (inexperienced) cabinet are all Bangladeshis, including the "resources" chief, i.e. the one in control of the huge budget. The ever-watchful Andrew Gilligan has the details, and it really isn't a very good picture that he of necessity paints, especially when one looks at that individual's links to Islamist fundamentalists.

This is a downside of the elected mayor scheme, well-intentioned though it is. It becomes almost too easy for those who are adept at manipulating the electoral system at a local level to take control of a significant area of power, tucked away from the mainstream public eye, especially the national media. If it hadn't been for the Andrew Gilligans, of whom there are far too few, we probably wouldn't be aware of even this much information concerning this single situation.

Of course, whatever systems are in place, there will always be those capable of exploiting them to their own ends and perfectly prepared to do just that. Therefore the elected mayor concept isn't the root cause of the problem and scrapping it wouldn't avoid exploitation of whatever stood in its place. All systems are imperfect.

So, what do we do? I don't have a ready answer; but the first action must be to keep a very close watch on all our elections and those who are elected, especially when they end up with skewed and unrepresentative administrations.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Tweet of the day - 10 Nov 2010

From Guido, on the topic of the fire at CCHQ:
"On the plus side Millbank first floor is the Audit Commission so could be actual bonfire of a quango."

Ed's new baby

The first photograph of the new Miliband boy, now named Samuel Stewart Thornton Miliband, is at Sky News as of a few minutes ago. As it's a public photograph (I believe) rather than their own, I am reproducing it here.

My guess is that his dad's first word to him might have been: "One day, my thun, you might become Prime Minithter of thith great country!"

UPDATE: More pics now at The Mail.

Having a smashing time

That was how today's student demonstration ended up, with what was probably a planned physical attack on Conservative party headquarters at 30 Millbank, which is close to Parliament. Note that this is not "Millbank Tower" as such (as is being incorrectly reported by many) but the low-rise building next door to the tower block. It is a separate address with its own street entrance.

Smashing of several windows and the starting of a fire have been reported and confirmed by multiple witnesses, along with rock-throwing, bringing down a ceiling and throwing more missiles (including a fire extinguisher!) from the now-occupied roof, as shown here:

The office staff have had to be escorted out "under protection" (to quote the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg), and they apparently are not all out yet, as I write this (around 4pm on Wednesday, though I am also adding snippets as news reaches me). In fact, it seems that some are defiantly staying in their offices, as Guido has tweeted:
"Source from inside CCHQ : "We are not evacuating and we will not bow to looney left."
I was only young when such actions as these were actually planned in advance by lefty subversives, camouflaged by and within legitimate protests or rallies; but this looks to be very similar to what was not uncommon during the 1970s and 1980s. Even the wiser heads within Labour, such as Tom Harris MP, have sussed out what is really going on, at least to some extent. As he tweeted just half an hour or so ago:
"A shame that a handful of swivel-eyed Trots have been able to undermine what could have been an effective student demo."
It was almost certainly engineered behind the scenes to be a purely political exercise, using the inexperience of this generation's students to allow them to become mere pawns in these others' game, which are being driven by a hard core who are probably not students themselves but effectively professional agitators and rabble-rousers. Some of the what have been termed as "yobs" have been spotted wearing masks, suggesting that it was infiltrators behind the violence.

This comment at Guido, posted at 5.37pm, seems to confirm that assertion, if it can be corroborated:
"There is more to this than is being reported. A campaigner I believe she was named as Amanda Parks said she was a worker for a campaign group NOT a student. Campaign group paying her salary which one? There will be more to come but this was orchestrated by a small and then is is the case it gets fueled and then grows."
The NUS president is in fact trying to distance itself and the students themselves from these actions, though undoubtedly a number of students have been involved as well, once they saw what was going on and treating it as a green light to join in. That same NUS president turns out to be a Labour party politician who graduated over 4 years ago, and he was also on television only a week ago using extreme language, so has little if any credibility in regard to his claims today.

The verbal and visual obscenities on the placards don't exactly help their case as being entirely innocent. Guido also has pictures from the scene, from which one can make one's own judgement about behaviour, and I have this evening posted (at right) an image showing some of the milder placards.

Also, a number of the students had brought paint spray cans with them, which hardly suggests a peaceful and non-destructive style of protest.

Liberal Democrat party HQ in Cowley Street has been protected by police, now acting a bit belatedly, in case the demonstrators move over to there. As this is effect an anti-Coalition demonstration, that might have been expected - at least if it was genuine (which is admittedly hard to judge).

It is because each new generation is so malleable and fails to learn the lessons of history in time that we get these cycles, which also include periods of Labour in national government - another failure of people to understand the reality. Then everyone learns, grows up, broadens out intellectually and experience-wise, and this kind of event ceases to be viable again for typically fifteen to twenty years. Then the next wave of suckers is ready to be conned.

Thus the next cycle begins, and the old Toxteth riots and other such scenarios from decades past become real again in today's Britain. This will surely turn out to be just the first of a wave of increasingly violent and harmful events of similar nature, all designed in pursuance of a corrupt agenda by those manipulators who are always active, such as Common Purpose and any, some or all of the other outfits associated with them who could well have been behind what happened today, though not necessarily.

As a country, we never seem to learn; but today's event will, in this fast media age, actually do some good, I think, in getting the people of Britain a bit more concerned about and alert to what is really going on here. They'll also realise that it is only the violent few with vested interests that oppose the Coalition Government's policies - and that will be useful to have embedded in people's minds ready for what are bound to be far worse events from next year when the so-called 'cuts' start to bite.

It isn't just the BBC (who are included in the Common Purpose mind-map to which I linked above, note!) steering public perception nowadays, so this is an ideal opportunity for the rest of us to make sure that as many people as possible realise a.s.a.p. the truth behind what happened today and what it really means.

Perhaps the sharper-minded students, at least, will in future keep away from any more events like today's, reducing the scope for manipulation of them by the subversives, who undoubtedly include some "swivel-eyed Trots" among their number but also far more dangerous individuals besides!

P.S. Benedict Brogan has a modest-length but very clear item on this; and Janet Daley has a very interesting, quite short, piece that's also worth a read.

UPDATES on 11 Nov: The letter Tory Bear has today posted shows how tenuous is NUS president Aaron Porter's position after yesterday's fiasco, and Guido has what looks like a whole batch of fairly compelling evidence showing that the riot and break-in to 30 Millbank were intentional and planned by the NUS chiefs, which would include their president - yes, it's that Aaron Porter again. This at Liberal Conspiracy also seems fairly conclusive that it wasn't just "outsiders" causing the trouble.

Simon Emmett has some more photos, this time of the march itself, clearly showing the nature of the placard messages and the fact that at least some of them were nothing to do with the tuition fees issue and were purely politically motivated, for example the message "Fight the cuts" and several Trade Union logos clearly showing.

Some really high quality photos start here (use the right arrow on the page to move to each of the others).

Now some statistics:
  • 5,000 (approx) demonstrators were originally expected, uprated to 15,000 on Tuesday evening
  • 24,000 (approx) had been estimated by visual assessment during the event
  • The true number was possibly much higher than that, perhaps 40,000 or even 50,000 it has been suggested.
Also, 51 people were arrested, eleven taken to hospital to treat their injuries, and 41 police officers were injured - thankfully none (narrowly!) by the falling fire extinguisher.

The debate in the Commons:

Policing Minister Nick Herbert played a very straight bat in the House earlier this afternoon, very factual and as non-political as he was able to make it, despite the efforts of a few Labour MPs to make political points and to defend the NUS. Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans chaired the debate in the way one has come to expect of the better Speakers, and in so doing has (inadvertently) shown up the relatively poor standard of John Bercow!

The extinguisher thrower:

Guido (yes, him again) has been trying to ascertain the identity of that individual, or those individuals (there seem to have been two of them), and now (as at 3.30pm on 11 Nov) thinks he has a name, and is passing that and the evidence to the police.

Okay, here's my take on this: personally, I have been wondering overnight if the purpose of the break-in was (a) to disrupt CCHQ's operation, not just at the time but by smashing up their offices (which might have been part of the plan) it could be for weeks; and (b) to steal valuable information from their computers and filing cabinets. It's a possibility, isn't it? Remember, this was almost certainly Labour/lefty inspired and planned with a "mission agenda" consistent with that. Students have always been easy fodder for this kind of activity, and especially for the political left; and it seems that little has changed over the years.

Evidence is now coming to light (Thursday evening) that all of this was planned by the event's organisers, and boasts by high-ranking NUS members also backs up the contention that NUS president Aaron Porter's claims are untrue, as mentioned by such as Mark Wallace. Friday 12 November brings further evidence of this, such as this spotted by Newmania. Also, there has been an arrest in connection with the fire extinguisher incident.

The Brown stuff

So, Gordon Brown was back in Parliament again yesterday (Tuesday). Making up for lost time, presumably!

Simon Hoggart's sketch suggests that Brown is "out of power but back in touch" and relating to people's lives. Quoting statistics (his usual modus operandi) on matters designed to show his apparent awareness of and compassion for people living in places such as Sierra Leone might have worked well if we didn't already know what really drives him - self-serving ambition, first and foremost.

We have years of rock-solid history that shows almost entirely that his mind works within that one dimension only, and this event shows that he hasn't changed. The subject of International Aid obviously allowed him an opportunity to quote all this stuff (previously obtained by his advisers and others and supplied as briefing, without a doubt) but Brown has no credibility any more and few will be fooled into thinking he actually cares about the people of whom he spoke.

No, Gordon: we all know you far too well by now to be taken in, so you might as well give it up. Your friends in The Guardian might be prepared to give you an easy ride and slant even their sketches to suggest that you aren't really all that bad after all, but it just ain't working!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Woolas - chapter two

I wrote about this business on Saturday, and am grateful to The Coventrian for his/her comment that clarified the Ken Livingstone aspect (though the video clip here shows that it isn't quite as clear-cut as that comment suggests)..

That comment is also consistent with public opinion in saying that Woolas should indeed have been ejected from his parliamentary seat (though preferably a lot sooner!) as an opinion poll has today shown. As UK Polling Report details, summarised in brief:
  • The Court was right to expel Woolas - 71%
  • The Court was wrong to expel Woolas - 7%
    • The law is right - 74%
    • The law is wrong - 9% 
    These are rather conclusive public opinions - there's really no scope for interpreting them any other way, or in saying "it's only one poll and doesn't mean anything" as can (and does) occur with the currently much closer voting intention poll results. The so-called margin of error is only plus-or-minus 3% anyway.

    Meanwhile, since I first wrote on this issue, Mr Woolas has failed to get his initial attempt at an appeal allowed but has further options open to him. As a consequence, the Speaker of the House of Commons, one John Bercow, has (presumably on legal advice from Speaker's Counsel) decided to defer the parliamentary writ that would trigger a by-election for the now-vacant Oldham East and Saddleworth seat.

    This has met with mixed reactions, and is certainly far from ideal as it leaves constituents there without an MP, but there was no "correct" decision on the writ question and this is probably the better option than going for the writ before the appeal process has been fully explored. One can only hope that, if any kind of appeal (Judicial Review or whatever) is allowed, it doesn't end up taking months, thus leaving the people of Oldham East and Saddleworth without parliamentary representation for a protracted period. That would be wrong!

    Therefore any such appeal would need to be handled swiftly.

    We are also informed that Labour won't put forward a candidate for such a by-election until the legal processes have been completed.

    There is something of a split within the Parliamentary Labour Party (i.e. Labour MPs) as the party leadership's handling of the affair, as Woolas is apparently very popular with backbenchers who don't like the way Harriet Harman (in particular) has effectively dumped their good buddy, as Paul Waugh explains. Their support of Mr Woolas, though, could be read by the public as those MPs' support of the very nasty campaigning that got him ejected from his seat. That will go down like a lead balloon!

    Looking forward, there are a number of possible scenarios that could develop on the legal front (an appeal might be permitted to go ahead in one or another form - or not); he could win such an appeal or lose it; on the parliamentary Labour front (what springs from this backbench near-revolt); and within his constituency (sooner or later a by-election will need to be held, and that could now probably go almost any way).

    Whichever way it all goes, this is likely to be judged by historians to have been one of the biggest political stories of 2010 - and, if it drags on, possibly of 2011 as well!

    Monday, 8 November 2010

    Mili Mini

    So, Ed Miliband's new baby has now arrived in the world! It's his second son; and already blog threads are speculating on what name(s) he might be given.

    Waiting for the happy event could explain why Ed-M hasn't been around and participating in political life these last few days; but it seems that no official announcement to that effect was ever made, so we all assumed he was still on duty. Sloppy organisation!

    Anyway, he is now taking a couple of weeks off, I understand, for paternity leave. That's fair enough, and at least the country won't particularly miss him, so he doesn't need to worry or feel guilty. He can concentrate on doing whatever it is that parents do in the first couple of weeks of a baby's arrival these days. Probably much the same as we did, but we didn't have on-line shopping and the like when my sprog was born so it won't be quite the same..

    Sunday, 7 November 2010

    Tweet of the day - 7 Nov 2010

    The Independent on Sunday's John Rentoul, on the Archbishop of Canterbury's take on the welfare and related reforms outlined by Iain Duncan Smith (a.k.a. IDS), which complained of a 'spiral of despair' resulting from the reforms. Rentoul tweeted:
    "Archbishop of Canterbury attacks IDS work plans http://bit.ly/bcf1qf >> Now we know IDS is on the right lines"
    Well, the beards-and-sandals liberal brigade never really did "get it", though at least it can be said that the Liberal Democrat party isn't all like that, despite what some claim, and is nowadays actually more sensible and world-wise than the Archbishop!

    Even dafter is the fact that what he is criticising was already part of Labour's New Deal plan anyway.

    Saturday, 6 November 2010

    By George, he's got it!

    George Osborne, that is.

    Once upon a time, the media and others tried to portray Osborne as a toff, as a novice, a Bullingdon Boy and all manner of other attempted slights, insults and put-downs. As usual they were playing the man and not the ball.

    However, apart from going onto a Russian's boat a couple of years ago, he hasn't really put a foot wrong and has grown in stature over the years he has been more publicly known.

    Now, as the Mail's Quentin Letts reports, he is the "senior partner" at the Treasury, even alongside the very experienced Permanent Secretary (i.e. the civil service boss at the Treasury). The Letts article is remarkable in what it spells out in sufficient detail to drive several points home. It's worth reading through, and isn't over-long.

    It is also interesting to read (towards the end) about how Labour's purported rising star Chuka Umunna fared. I have encountered him a few times before, in the media and elsewhere (I live not far from his constituency) and have never been impressed. His main claim to fame seems to be his ego, and that has not gone unnoticed by Mr Letts, I spotted in his piece(!)

    Being in government genuinely suits the likes of Cameron and Osborne, and it is starting to show more than I can recall seeing in any UK government ministers of any party for a very long time. For all their imperfections, they have certainly "got it" far better than anyone they and their Cabinet colleagues succeeded in May!

    Diversionary tactics

    In an attempt to wipe the Woolas story off the front pages, the old story of Andy Coulson and the News of the World phone-tapping business has replaced it in the left/Labour-favouring parts of the media. For example it has remained up in pole position at Politics Home (PHI) ever since the new bit of the story came out this morning.

    It is now gone 8.30 pm, and it is rare for the same story to remain in that position at PHI for so long. When that happens, as it does occasionally, it usually means it is covering-up something they don't want to highlight. UPDATE at 2350: the story has been re-jigged a little and the headline changed, but it's still there in prime position.

    I know I am not the only reader to have noticed how the positioning of various stories at PHI and their duration in those positions is very obviously politically motivated and skewed to favour the political left especially Labour. As I have mentioned before, even their choice of "hand picked" Phi Wire links are very strongly slanted.
    Here's the permanent link to their item regarding Coulson's voluntary attendance at a meeting at a solicitor's office and his subsequent interview by police - two days ago! Nothing has happened since, apparently, so why did this suddenly pop up today? Ah yes, of course: the toxic Woolas story...

    Even more interesting is Harriet Harman's assertion that his (continuing) presence in Downing Street "casts serious doubt over David Cameron's judgement". Now place that next to Ed Miliband's judgement in making Phil Woolas his shadow immigration minister, and one can see just how obviously this is a diversionary tactic. Note that Red Ed himself didn't dare make such a comment and has remained silent, and for the second time in as many days it was Harman who made the statement to the media.

    As always, the clues to the motivation behind such media-based stories are there for anyone who looks with just a little extra attention!

    Back with Woolas for a moment: it is notable how differently he has been treated by Ed Miliband and other senior Labour party people, as a Miliband shadow cabinet appointee, compared to how they have dealt with Ken Livingstone who has broken the party's rules by supporting a non-Labour candidate in the recent Tower Hamlets mayoral election.

    According to those rules, he should have been expelled from the Labour Party; but Labour has no credible alternative to put up against Boris for the London mayoral election in 2012. Therefore they have again made it "one rule for some, another for others" as they have done before, e.g. selecting Jack Dromey (Harriet Harman's other half) for a seat that was to be selected from an all-female short list.

    Martin Bright has spotted the Woolas/Livingstone anomaly; and now we can also see just how inappropriate it is for Ms Harman to be making such statements as this one about Cameron's judgement. Tory Bear has noted Labour's Tom Watson's attempts to associate smearing with the current Downing Street set-up, responding with this tweet:
    "To hear @tom_watson talk about smears and No10 is like asking [Harold] Shipman about care for the old. Bare faced lie when he said it wasn't political"
    Tom Watson is of course known to have been associated with the Derek Draper/Damian McBride/Ed Balls/Kevin Maguire "smear unit" that was such a scandal a year or so ago, as well as doing very well from "Smeargate" financially.

    It's a cracker!

    Well, certainly a firecracker, as Richard Littlejohn writes in his usual uncompromising style column about the "nasty little country" that Britain became during the Labour years, the main story relating to a 2004 Act of Parliament concerning fireworks.

    The tale of a "ratting-on-your-neighbours hotline", what looks like it could well have been a neighbour with whom the victim had already had a dispute, and police who were perfectly prepared to spend time and effort on a trivial matter while real criminals go uncaught, is so characteristic of many I have read about all over the on-line community.

    Traditional media, bloggers, social networking, the bloke in the pub - you name it, I've probably had at least one real-life experience recounted that is in the same general category as the Littlejohn-reported fireworks one.

    It will take a long, long time to unravel all the bad stuff that Labour built into our nation's legislature and procedures, and the police are almost certainly as riddled with Common Purpose and other such subversives as the rest of the public sector has become, so I don't expect to be able to trust the police again for many years to come.

    Until that time, and even beyond, we need the Littlejohns of this world to keep reporting such incidents and reminding us of what is still going on in this "nasty little country" as he puts it - Labour's legacy Britain.

    Friday, 5 November 2010

    Farage back in the garage

    It is no particular surprise that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has re-elected Nigel Farage to be its new leader.

    He has now parked himself back in his earlier 'home' as UKIP leader, fitting there as comfortably as any politician in recent decades has ever done. He was made for the part!

    Of course, UKIP remains a fringe party that gets occasionally disproportionate "protest vote" levels, most notably at elections for the European Parliament, but they tend to be their own worst enemies as a small party that likes to attack everyone else. That way they can achieve little at best, and probably nothing of substance in practice.

    Even their previous leader, Lord Pearson, for all his faults did at least grasp the concept that it was better to work alongside those of similar political outlook (i.e. the right wing) rather than being a small fish in isolation that is perceived by many potential UKIP voters as nothing more than an "anti-everyone (else)" background noise.

    That showed intelligence and understanding by Lord Pearson!

    Now they'll probably end up in as stagnant a position as ever, as Farage (for all his plus points) can never be the voice of coalition, of balance and of pragmatism. It is a shame in some ways it is necessary to be so in order to achieve actual results, but that is the real world. Those who fail to understand that will remain more or less in the wilderness for the foreseeable future. They'll make a lot of noise, and have no noteworthy effect.

    What a silly (Wool)ass!

    So, we have today been officially informed that Phil Woolas is no longer an MP.

    The news came out earlier, and has been subject to the need for clarification for several, but has now been confirmed: Labour MP Woolas's re-election is void.

    This has happened as a court has now come to the scarcely avoidable conclusion (considering the unambiguous evidence) that his re-election campaign contravened electoral law by making false claims about his (Liberal Democrat) opponent. I have a copy of the offending literature as proof, by the way

    Though Mr Woolas is going to apply for a Judicial Review of the case, this doesn't affect his personal status as an ex-MP in the meantime. He has also been suspended from the Labour party, according to a statement from Harriet Harman.

    There could now be a by-election in the "Oldham East and Saddleworth"constituency, depending on the House's decision on whether to wait for the outcome of the Judicial Review. That decision is expected to be announced, by the Speaker, to the House on Monday 8 November. It needs to be borne in mind that it probably needs a court injunction to prevent an immediate by-election, and even that isn't certain to be legally enforceable.

    It is noteworthy that, although the judgement came to public notice at 1127 this morning, the Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, has yet to make any comment, nearly seven hours later. Not that Gordon Brown was noted for reacting swiftly to events, but even he might have been faster at reacting to this somewhat notable news for his party!

    Update at 8 pm: Ed-M has now commented, some seven and  half hours later, saying that the court ruling against Phil Woolas was a salutary reminder to all politicians about the need to play fair in electoral politics.

    This is not only a bit late, and doesn't hold water anyway as Labour were hardly being straight with the electorate during the May election anyway, as is well documented elsewhere (especially Gordon Brown's own activities). It is also a bad reflection on Ed-M's decision to appoint Mr Woolas to his shadow cabinet while the case was pending. That was just plain daft. Ollie Cromwell isn't impressed!

    One curious twist is that this news broke on the day the BBC's presenters (especially those at Radio 4) went out on strike, so it actually got fair and even-handed coverage from the substitutes at the Beeb. On any other day, of course, it would have been hugely different!

    UPDATE 7 Nov: There is a very interesting piece on this business by Reading councillor Richard Willis, including some interesting quotes from Labour people. So many questions are raised by the manner of Labour's responses!

    Thursday, 4 November 2010

    Barack on the rack

    It isn't going well for US president Barack Obama at the moment.

    What goes on State-side is of at least passing interest to us here in Blighty, and the United States' mid-term elections have been going the expected way, which is to pass overall control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans while the Democrats retain control of the Senate.

    The TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party has also been doing well. The Americans are generally against high taxes to pay for excessive public spending, by nature, so this is a hardly surprising shift.

    To be fair to Obama, he did inherit some bad stuff from the Bush years, where even that Republican-led administration had been spending far too much, indulging in excessive warring overseas, and largely acting as if they had been the lefty Democrats themselves. Despite that, after almost two years,

    President Obama could by now have made a positive change in the USA's economic and other fortunes, but has failed to live up to the promises made during the presidential election campaign back in 2008. He deserves to lose ground and the American people needed to wake up anyway. Perhaps they won't make the same mistake at the next presidential election.

    As it happens, our own Conservatives have shown the way by inheriting a far worse situation, with lots of deliberately-planted stings in the tail, yet within just months have put in place the mechanisms that will turn Britain around on a very wide range of policy areas. So, it can be done! The so-called "Obamacons" - Conservatives who supported Obama - have also woken up and no longer do so. Notable names such as Daniel Hannan appear in this list: there are plenty more, and I could embarrass a lot of Tories but listing them or linking to the full list, but will be kind: Dan has been honest enough to admit to his error in public.

    In the meantime, we learn that Obama's planned visit to Mumbai in India will cost some $200 million per day(!) That is hardly the kind of public spending message to have made possible to come out at such a time as this, surely!

    The next two years will be critical for Barack Obama. There is every chance he will be facing a Sarah Palin-endorsed Republican candidate next time around, and Palin's instincts have been shown in these mid-term elections to have been the strongest of any, though imperfect. I don't fancy his chances in such a contest unless he can pull some really big rabbits out of the hat during the next eighteen months or so.

    Wednesday, 3 November 2010

    Down the Tubes

    I am so pleased that I no longer commute via the London Underground. I used to drive to Brixton and take the 'tube' from there, but no more!

    Therefore I am unaffected by the strikes that are now afflicting that otherwise generally quite good facility. Okay, it has never been perfect, but it has tended to be good on the whole and certainly better than the equivalents in a number of other cities around the world.

    Long ago, when I were but a lad, strikes were usually for genuine reasons (at least as far as I could tell), and then they became mainly political. This seems to have been something that really came into its own during the 1960s and (in some sectors) the 1970s, and has been almost entirely that way ever since, especially in the public sector where near-enough all strikes are in reality political.

    Yes, there are pretences that they are being called for other reasons; but these all tend to follow the same pattern in any particular period, giving away the vital clue that the excuse given is just that - an excuse that has been found to work. Iain Dale has this well sussed; and it's fairly obvious anyway!

    Of course, the tube strike fits in very neatly with Ken Livingstone's recently-launched bid to be re-elected as London's Mayor, which is why his tweets now come from "Ken4London", such as this anti-Boris tweet that clearly relates to the current wave of tube worker strikes. That message becomes even clearer in this tweet-linked "Livingstone Team" blog-post.

    It's all of a piece, carefully orchestrated to facilitate the desired message. Of course, the Red Ken/Union connection is easy enough to see, as tweeted from Tory Press HQ, so we can take all of that with a suitably large pinch of salt:
    "Thought for the day: Ken Livingstone's campaign offices are based in the HQ of tube striking union the TSSA "
    The equally Communistic Greens are tweeting (and otherwise communicating) a similar view to Livingstone, one Jenny Jones calling Boris a "rubbish mayor" via a hashtag, even though he has been vastly better than his predecessor.

    Perhaps the word of a regular user who also happens to be a Tory might usefully sum it all up, if one spots the underlying message in this Tweet from one Amy Jackson (no, I'd never heard of her either):
    "I could rant about how selfish lazy idiotic ridiculous striking tube workers are, but what's the point? I'd only have to do it all again next week."
    Well, I'll give the lady her due: that is the kind of sentiment that will ring most true with the millions of regular commuting users of the London Underground service. What can they do? It'll only keep on happening, week in and week out, because in reality it is an anti-Boris pro-Ken political programme intended to get the Unions' Trotskyite man back into City Hall as Mayor.

    This is only the start of a two-year campaign, and it will get worse (and far more political, though I expect that only the more astute will spot this) from now on, no doubt culminating in a staged really severe disruption of public services prior to the London Olympics and a personal "intervention" by Red Ken that magically solves it all, making him the hero of the Olympics' salvation.

    Remember: you read it here first...

    Monday, 1 November 2010

    Islam and Christianity

    This is a joint article written with some input from John Ward, my blogging mentor. For the record, I have never been particularly religious, though of course I have realised that the universe was created and didn't just come into being spontaneously. It is far too well structured for that to be possible! More recently I have been learning more, and coming around more to the Christian way of thinking, though I still haven't formally adopted any specific belief system.

    There has been an interesting article and comments thread running on Conservative Home today concerned Islam and how we perhaps ought to look upon it.

    A large part of both the article itself, and in particular the comments that have been posted to it, has got itself wrapped up in what was done by some in the past, purportedly in the name of Christianity, and used this as a way to more-or-less accept the equally violent aspects of today's Islam. It doesn't say so in as many words, but the meaning of what has been written is clear enough.

    What has resulted is an inward-looking and unproductive debate about nothing of value for the twenty-first century, only a condemnation of men's evil in century gone by. Note that the evil has been done by men, those not heeding God's own word and probably (in most if not all cases) having been influenced by the devil.

    One way or another, they were doing Satan's work, and obviously so!

    It is plain to anyone with a functioning brain that the universe wasn't created so that some of God's creations would be appointed to harm others. It is in the bestial nature of man's biological origins that we act so if unchecked by God's own Word; and he realised this himself and provided an outlet by allowing us to hunt animals for food once it was safe for us to eat their flesh. All very pragmatic...

    Therefore we know that that any purported faith that seeks in any way to commit any kind of sin against God's other human creations is not, and never can be, God's will. It is an absolute. Islam apparently teaches that it is okay to lie to the kuffar and even to kill them, so this is clearly not the Word of God! It's obvious, really; and the lesson of history is that sub-dividing humanity in order to provide the framework for conflict is also not God's will.

    On occasions where biblical records show that there has been conflict (probably unavoidable, one way or another), God has always sought the lesser harm and the longer-term solution when advising his people on how to act. He always provided a unique solution, whether by plague, parting of a sea, or stamping around the walls of a city. Never was there a generic permission to go around killing others, and he was careful to ensure that we have no plausible excuse for misinterpreting these historic events to suit the agendas of evil men.

    When the Jews separated themselves from everyone else whom they called Gentiles, God worked with this and sent two messengers out to preach the Gospel (i.e. "good news") to the world – St Peter to the Jews and St Paul to the Gentiles. Interestingly, it was the Gentiles who listened to God, and the Jews who refused to accept Jesus Christ despite all their own recorded prophecies. Instead they decided to remain B.C. and work with just five books of the Holy Bible. There are sixty-six books in the Bible, not counting the Apocrypha!

    Well, that's their choice of course, and at least it isn't harmful to the rest of us.

    Islam, on the other hand, is rapidly becoming predominantly a hate-filled and violent agent of Satan, couched in the form of a religion that might once have been genuine (though not necessarily: historically it doesn't fit in with God's method of communicating with a number of unconnected people, for a start).

    Instead of dwelling on our own nation's past, we should be facing up to the absolutes of God's own code of behaviour that he has provided to us on various occasions, and especially in his New Covenant. He has never distinguished between peoples to a greater extent than having his chosen people have their own nation. If it's an either/or, he has tended to favour them, but even then tecahing lessons where necessary.

    It is never for men, under any guise, to set themselves above any others. God would do that himself if he ever felt so inclined, and it is completely against his nature to appoint any of us to make or further any such distinction and to harm those others for any reason.

    Of course, the Islamists' agenda is to hide the real nature of God from their followers, so that they can pursue their own corrupt ends on behalf of their true master, Satan. In this they are ably aided and abetted by the political Left, whose entire existence nowadays is predicated on an anti-Christian non-morality, which is why all the Left are (whatever their individual claims) effectively Satanic in nature, as has now surely become obvious via the hugely-slanted legislation that operates in Britain today as a result of Labour's years in government.

    It's all very well documented in various places, and doesn't need us to list and reference (it would make this post far too long!) though one of us might do so as a separate exercise one of these days, just for the record...

    Ultimately, if human society is to survive and thrive in any recognisable form, rather than becoming completely subsumed into the dictatorial and violently repressive anti-God sham that the Islamists and their equally nasty collaborators within the political Left seek, then we need to concentrate on the principles of a good and moral society.

    That can never be achieved while Islamists and their excusers (and that includes Bilderbergers, Fabians, Common Purpose and the rest of the corrupt power-brokers) have any influence and gain any kind of foothold, as they have already done. Instead, they must all be taken out of the field of power and influence, and society permanently protect itself from such malign organistaions and individuals in future.

    That would be the right conclusion for Paul Goodman's article and comment thread at ConHome, but it looks like it probably won't be...