Friday, 21 December 2007
Harman wants to make it an offence to pay women for sex. Let's imagine for a moment that this risible naivity makes it through to a legal draft. Is payment both in cash and in kind to be illegal? Clearly, dinner for two at the Ivy and a show as a prelude to seduction wouldn't count. What about the gift of a piece of jewellry as advanced foreplay? Clearly not.
No, in order to be able to prosecute a man for paying a woman for sex it's clear that she must be recognised as a prostitute. In the bad old days certain women were registered as 'Common Prostitutes' - common not in the sense of vulgar, you understand, but in the sense of public. The police kept lists. Such women could then be easily prosecuted in the police courts for loitering or soliciting. Such registers were dropped because they stigmatised, for example, single mums who'd turn a trick from time to time to pay the gas bill.
The only way Harman's proposal could have legal effect would be to make it an offence to pay a Common Prostitute. Thus the police registers of Common Prostitutes would be reintroduced and be filled with the many women of all classes - students, housewives, mums - who may have recourse to a period of casual prostitution to cope with a financial crisis.
Harman proposes, in other words, for the State to take control of a woman's property in her own body. Whilst I expect nothing less from New Labour, it's hardly a woman-friendly policy, is it?
Thursday, 20 December 2007
As a dog returns to its vomit, Labour ministers can't resist missing an opportunity to have a pop at the English middle classes. In years past, a Prime Minister might encourage us to enjoy Christmas, our families, our friends and gird our loins for the year ahead, which is going to be tough.
Now the entire cabinet, dosed up on Prozac, reassures us that all's well in the garden, but that we should not enjoy ourselves over Winterval, that we should avoid any alcohol in particular, that families are the primary cause of the violence and abuse that only the State can solve by abolishing them, and that any mention of 'loins' is out of the question and probably loinist.
A drearier and more tedious odium of Puritans than this lot would be hard to find.
News this morning that car drivers caught using a mobile phone will face two years in jail because "using a mobile is more dangerous than drunk driving" brings a smile to my face. When Nanny brought in the law requiring us to wear seat belts in the back seats, as a nation we ignored it. Except for strapping in the kids. The police can't be bothered to enforce it.
The same has happened with mobile phone use. We've just carried on using them, perhaps tucking them out of sight if a police cruiser passes. The British people have made their own decision about the risk. Nanny isn't happy.
The reaction of an authoritarian regime in decline is always the same; a spiral of ever more repressive government measures is met by an increasing public determination not to recognise their legitimacy. They're braiding the rope for their own nooses.
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
The 'Standard' has been doing a sterling job over the past week or so in exposing the filth of corruption at the heart of Livingstone's London. The millions in 'lost' public money, the siphoning of public funds by Lee Jasper to Livingstone cronies, and the attempted obstruction and cover-up of a public audit of this squalid malfeasance has been overshadowed by the woes of the New Labour Reich, but this story will run and run.
This blog has further evidence of this dirty trade that will be passed directly to the Standard.
The past week or so have been rather like watching a car crash in slow motion. The government's spin machine continues to weave its web, the ministries continue to churn out new restrictions, the killjoys at the heart of government continue to research what the people of Britain enjoy doing and develop policies to stop them, but somehow the power is not there any more. Statism is not resilient. Statism depends on a massive confidence trick that bewilders and emasculates most of the people most of the time. As Ceausescu found, once the mirror cracks and the smoke clears Statism is about as resilient as a chocolate fireguard.
Yeats got it wrong. "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world". The progressive collapse of Statism, despite what Brown believes, will not lead to anarchy. Instead, the intermediate institutions, the local institutions, communities and families will step forward to fill the gaps left by the retreating State. All have a real resilience and a solid legitimacy that Brown's State could only ever create with smoke and mirrors.
Friday, 14 December 2007
Yep, that's another one dead. Normal blogging will be resumed as soon as I've transferred the stuff on the hard disc and got this one working. Now the TV's playing up, and just before Christmas. Grrr.
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
There is much I agree with in Simon Heffer's piece in today's Telegraph. MPs are no longer implicitly honourable, and thus need to be inspected and regulated like kebab vendors. They are no longer driven by an ethos of public service , but by naked self-interest. Politics is viewed as a 'career' by those with no alternative life experience. They are mostly a bunch of oily, chiselling little opportunists devoid of morals or ethics. All this is patently obvious to just about everyone in the UK.
But, with the 'coarsening' of our society, with the greater prosperity of the past few years, have we merely got what we deserve, as Heffer suggests? Do our MPs merely reflect ourselves?
I don't think so. It was politicians that gave us the 'rights culture', under which tens of thousands of those of barely mediocre ability have been promoted to positions in civil society because they are black, or female, or queer. When our legislators threw away fairness, threw away the notion of meritocracy, they threw away the notion that success should be deserved. They institutionalised unfairness. It's no longer enough to be clever to get into university - young people need to live in a Council house, or be an ethnic minority.
Get rid of the rights culture, enforce a strict meritocracy across all our public services, including education, and you start to win back a social structure and rewards worth striving for. It may even improve the quality of our MPs.
Sunday, 2 December 2007
I am fond of the dear old septics when they do something such as proclaim their rights to kidnap Britons.
Just in case any American bounty-hunters are thinking about it, please remember that any attempt to forcefully remove any one of Her Majesty's subjects from the realm without the Crown's consent may lawfully be met with lethal force. By any citizen.
Please ensure you have insurance in place sufficient to remove your torn and raddled corpses from our British shores.
Saturday, 1 December 2007
On a human level, watching the pain and humiliation on Brown's face as he faced the jeers and taunts in the Commons at question time this week, as blow after blow landed squarely, was not a pleasant experience.
I have little doubt that Brown is personally 'clean' of any funding sleaze. That he is mendacious and disingenuous is par for the course for anyone who has spent their entire life in politics, but for Gordon it doesn't follow that he's also personally corrupt. Unlike Blair, whose obsession with money and with the wealthy made him a figure of satire and ridicule, Brown will leave office with little more than his pension and a dribble of royalties from his sad little books.
Brown has done nothing but eat, sleep and breathe politics since he was 15 years old. He has deluded himself for an entire lifetime that he was fitted for the highest office of state. The agony of realisation must now be crowding in - that he really isn't up to the job, that his intellect isn't first-rate, that his personal flaws make him unfitted for a job at the helm of the ship of state.
For the first time I am beginning to feel a genuine pity for the man. However, he will play this one out to the last panzergrenadier; the tanks will almost have reached Horse Guards before he calls it a day. He will be hounded from office rather than leaving with a shred of dignity intact. And the sadness of the thing is that he's got nowhere to go; this was his life, all the seconds of all the hours he's lived since a teenager. He doesn't fish, or farm, or sail, or play cricket. His writing is as gauche and facile as a sixth-former's, and won't earn him a reputation. His legacy will be one of failure; economic, policy and leadership, and his place in British politics will be as an example of self-delusion and the dangers of hubris. Poor Gordon.
Friday, 30 November 2007
On 23rd October AC John Yates QPM appeared before the Commons Public Administration Select Committee. The public was treated to the sight of snortling Bunteresque MPs reacting with incredulity to the suggestion that there was anything really wrong with selling peerages for political donations; they made it clear that MPs have a very different standard of propriety than that which applies to the rest of us. Yates replied
Mr Flynn, when I joined this organisation I took an oath as an officer of the Crown and there are four guiding principles behind that oath. It is fairness, it is integrity, it is diligence and it is impartiality, and that is the touchstone that I used throughout this investigation, those four key issues.It was a lesson the public hasn't forgotten. Mr Flynn was crowing too soon, it now emerges. No one is above the law. Scotland Yard will once again trawl through the sleazy mess of Labour's funding - but this time the public expects to see charges brought and figures in the dock. Perhaps even Brown himself.
Thursday, 29 November 2007
Roy Kennedy was in post as the Labour Party's Director of Finance and Compliance at the time 'dirty money' payments were being knowingly accepted. No doubt Inspector Knacker will have some apposite questions to put to him.
Dromey will no doubt be relying on the fact that as Party Treasurer he had no legal duty in relation to ensuring compliance with the PP,E&R Act - that duty seems to have been down to Watt alone.
And the Labour Party's auditors also make very clear that their job is just to make sure the numbers add up, not any other duty under the PP,E&R Act. I shall be keeping an eye out for anything Kennedy has to say.
Newspapers have, over the years, evolved a useful code that allows the brighter reader to see the way a story is developing. For example, when, next to a column headed 'Unnamed Premiership footballer in rape allegation' they print a photo captioned 'Hans Potato, taking a break from the midfield, opens a supermarket in Glossop yesterday', you can be pretty sure that Herr Potato is the footballer in question.
So when the 'Telegraph' runs a story questioning David Abraham's personal wealth and speculating on whether the 'dirty money' that Labour took came from an outside source, and illustrates it with a picture captioned 'David Abrahams (right) shakes hands with the former Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefeitz at a London party last year', you can be pretty certain of the direction in which the hacks' enquiries are turning.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Hat tip to a couple of eagle-eyed boaters who spotted Harriet Harman's blink rate in her interview with BBC News 24 - VIDEO HERE.
The normal blink rate for a human is about 20 times a minute. I counted Harriet at 126.
Opinion on the meaning of rapid blinking is divided. Some say it signals stress, anxiety or untruthfulness. Others that it signals arrogance; it blocks vision, and says 'I'm so important I don't need to see you'.
Bill Clinton reached 117 during the 1996 televised debate when he was asked about drug use.
Brown may well have hoped his rapid admission of guilt yesterday, combined with the almost supersonic resignation of Peter Watts, would lead to the press forgetting this affair by the weekend. Fat chance.
It now emerges that David Abrahams, who is also known as David Martin, aged either 53 or 63, has something of a history with Labour. He invented a wife and children when he applied for selection as a Labour candidate; he was active in Labour Friends of Israel, but was forced to leave under some sort of cloud. He was, as Stephen Pollard notes on the Spectator site, a pushy and self-aggrandising attender at Labour events, keen to forge links with the party mandarins, and thus well-known to those who are now seeking to distance themselves from contagion. There is also the matter of the curious planning decision, and the source of Mr Abraham's / Martin's wealth.
Keep digging, folks. The Sundays should make a good read this week.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Barely 1.4% of the electorate are members of one of the three main political parties. 98.6% of the electorate have chosen not to join these private clubs; that doesn't mean to say they don't join other private clubs that represent their interests. The last published figure for membership of the Labour party was 182,000 - down almost 20,000 on the year before. When you exclude those more than six months in arrears with their memberships, I doubt the party has more than 150,000 voting members. Compare this to the membership of some of our more popular national clubs:-
National Trust - 3,500,000
Royal Horticultural Society - 370,000
Women's Institute - 215,000
Labour Party - 150,000
Royal Yachting Association - 103,000
RSPCA - 31,000
The whole business of high value donations, those over £50,000, is mired in sleaze. The Trade Unions are dying a death, and will not continue to provide a life-line for Labour. Labour will now be desperate to get their grimy, finger-chewed mitts on tax payers' cash. This must be resisted at all costs.
If the Labour Party has come to the end of its natural life, let it die in peace. The House would be a far better place with a new influx of independent MPs sponsored by the National Trust, the RHS and the RYA.
I've been unable to find an online copy of the iconic image with this post - some of you may recall it was taken at the anti-Vietnam war demonstration outside the US embassy in London in 1968. It appears on the cover of an ancient (well, 1971) book by Margaret-Anne Rooke entitled 'Anarchy and Apathy - Student Unrest 1968-1970'. One of the leaders of the student unrest of the time, of course, was none other than Jack Straw. I wonder if Jack Straw feels that his life is going backwards.
The Labour Party probably has no more than 150,000 voting members today - a tiny, almost insignificant members' club. Jack himself was elected president of the National Union of Students in 1968, with around 400,000 members - and used it to his advantage. On 20th May 1969 Straw claimed that student union presidents, elected by up to 70% of their students, had more right to act in the names of their unions than local councillors elected on a 25% poll had to act in the names of their boroughs and counties. I wonder what he'd say now?
Then, as now, the Paris suburbs erupted in riot and flame and protesters battled around the Oxbridge quads. Then it was Enoch Powell, not David Irving, that the students were attempting to silence. "Mr Powell", Rooke notes, "was protected by 25 rugby players on his way to the debate".
The events of 1968, and the experiences of some of those now in government such as Jack Straw, have undeniably shaped the Britain we have today. Everything comes around, as they say. There are those who scent the fires of '68 in the air for '08. I wonder if they have a point?
Sunday, 25 November 2007
When Mervyn Griffith-Jones, appearing for the Crown in the 1960 'Lady Chatterley' obscenity trial, asked "Is this the kind of book you would wish your wife or servants to read?" it was taken as an example of the degree to which the Establishment was disconnected from the reality of modern British society.
The modern Establishment may know what an iPod is, and may even choose a White Stripes track for Desert Island Discs (as did Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller). They will understand obscure literary allusions, and be passionate in their defence of free speech and open debate in a post-censorship society, proud of having sprung from the struggle by Kenneth Tynan to present the country with full-frontal stage nudity and oust the interference of the Lord Chamberlain from the Thespian arena.
Yet our modern Establishment may be as disconnected from the reality of some sections of society as was the unfortunate Mr Griffith-Jones.
Jade Goody is perhaps not untypical in believing that 'East Angular' is somewhere abroad, or that Saddam Hussein was a boxer. The truly dismal comprehensives, combined with Labour's multicultural apartheid, have produced two whole generations of British-born citizens imbued with a deep ignorance and primitive superstition. Thus polls from time to time tell us that 70% of young British Muslims believe that the destruction of the Twin Towers was the work of the CIA and the Israelis , or that the 7/7 bombings in London were a put-up job by the security services, and other such obvious rubbish. Except of course that they believe these things to be true - in the face of every piece of rational evidence.
Few in the establishment would be so gross as to actually quote Voltaire in their defence of the invitation of the Oxford Union to the BNP, but the phrase will be hanging there in the background, unspoken. It is a perfectly liberal tenet that Holocaust 'deniers' (and I hate the phrase) should be given a platform; after all, who in their right minds could doubt the industrial extermination of so many millions? What's the harm? I myself have strongly opposed, on this blog, the introduction of laws proposed by Angela Merkel to outlaw 'Holocaust denial' across the EU. And will continue to do so.
But we must be aware that amongst the ignorant, the superstitious, the gullible and the poorly educated - a very substantial number in New Labour's Britain - such self-evident truths that readers of this blog will take for granted cannot be assumed to be understood. Unschooled village Imams from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia will use the very fact of the debate to bolster their 'world Jewish conspiracy' message of primitive hatred. The Jade Goodys will glibly mutter 'no smoke without fire - there must be something in it'.
And that, I'm afraid, is the price we must pay for freedom of expression in a 21st century democracy in which New Labour have encouraged a 13th Century population cohort to develop.
Friday, 23 November 2007
I wish I had some record of the private sneer that must have crossed Brown's face during events marking the 25th anniversary of the Falklands. On remembrance Sunday, the only sour and offensive note of the day was Brown laying his wreath, his face oiled with insincerity, resentful that the nation's war dead were the centre of our attention. His contempt for and indifference to the welfare of our armed services is offensive beyond measure.
The reason is clear; Brown wants to destroy all intermediate institutions in British society. The family, community institutions, the services - all have claims to authority that compete with Brown's Central State and its drive to form a direct relationship with every single citizen. They are obstacles that he must destroy.
The lads in the army, of course, are not dumb. They managed to get him to autograph an AFV 'Cyclops' on his pre-bottling publicity stunt trip to Iraq. And with glorious unconcern for Brown's 'Britishness' agenda they cheerfully refer to the Scots as 'porridge wogs', whilst their loyalty and readiness to defend to the death any fellow soldier of whatever British nationality puts Brown's insincere and fatuous nationalism to deep shame.
For five of Britain's most senior war lords - Lords Boyce, Brammel, Inge, Guthrie and Craig - to condemn Brown in such ringing terms for his contempt for the armed forces is completely new territory for British democracy. Brown has broken the conventions, shattered the compact, and must expect these white-haired old warriors to do the same. Fair dos.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
At 9 a.m. this morning the Metropolitan Police Authority will convene an extraordinary meeting to discuss the outcome of the Health and Safety case over the execution of Mr de Menezes. The Press Association have flagged that they expect dissenting members to push for a vote of no confidence in Sir Ian Blair.
How convenient for Sir Ian. My own guess is that if Len Duvall allows such a vote, it will be in the expectation of Sir Ian's supporters winning it; if all 23 members of the MPA attend, my guess is that it would be something like 14-9 in favour.
As Blair is scheduled to appear himself before the Authority a little later, it would be extraordinary indeed if there was any serious expectation of his not receiving a vote of confidence from the MPA.
Perhaps of more interest to Londoners are the other items the MPA will consider this morning; £6m of fraud by Met plods on American Express cards, approval of new Tasers for the lads to wake-up diabetic coma victims with (or kill Polish migrant workers), and a report on the cash for honours
A report on Taser roll-out can be found HERE. Eagle eyed-readers may notice that a new acronym has found its way into the lexicon of Political Correctness. As this blog pointed out some months ago, BAME is the new 'in' term for ethnic minorities, and anyone caught using the old PC term BME will be marked as an antediluvian racist. Now we learn that VEM (Visible Ethnic Minorities) is the new, er, black.
Londoners will be assured that they can now be Tasered by any one of 733.86 plods, no doubt soon to be joined by the rest of the 'service' and gung-ho PCSOs. I'd stay in and get pissed, if I were you.
No-confidence vote result announced: 15 - 7, with 1 abstention. Told ya.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
British bureaucracies had many failings. They were expensive, slow to change, inefficient, slow adopters of new technologies and methods of workings. On the plus side they were stable, professional and had a high degree of probity embedded. Hierarchies were well defined, there were a finite number of evenly-spaced steps between the lowest clerical post and the office of the most senior mandarins. The pay of those at the top was probably not more than four or five times the pay of those at the bottom. A secure pension, and a bit of Royal bling were the accepted rewards for a career of service; MBEs and OBEs for the lower grades, CBEs and KBEs for those at the top.
It was the job of politicians to keep this behemoth under control, and curb its natural tendency to expand indefinitely. Shrinking the State meant a uniform contraction of the entire hierarchies, and a surrender of powers and functions.
But how to implement reform for a government that wanted both to have its cake and eat it? A government that wanted to expand the control and reach of the Central State, but wanted to do it on the cheap?
The adopted solution has been twofold; the growth of scores of quangos 'off the books' that exercise statutory powers but without accountability, and the adoption of the commercial models of the 1980s and 1990s, backed by vast and inefficient Information Technology (IT) systems.
Bureaucratic structures have become Sovietised, with a small number of very highly paid mandarins at the top table, enjoying bonuses and rewards at the same rates of those at the helm of successful plcs, and, beyond a huge rewards gulf, a mass of unmotivated, poorly paid workers who man the call centres, press the buttons and staff the Customer Relationship Management Systems. Contract workers, temporary staff, with no pensions entitlements for new entrants, no career structures. The hierarchies have been demolished. Those at the top table can now earn ten or fifteen times the pay of the lowest workers - and still enjoy multi-million pound pension pots and the ego-stroking of a bit of Royal bling.
With these reforms, the professionalism and the probity that the public expected of its State structures has also disappeared.
The Soviet model is not confined to the civil service. The NHS and local government have already adopted it. Chief executives of health trusts and local councils now trouser £200k a year or more, with all the perks and bonuses that go with it, whilst unmotivated contract workers on minimum wage man the switchboards, empty the bins or drag a filthy mop across a filthy ward.
The merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise is a textbook case. Some lowly paid data geek in the outer doughnut screwed up, whilst those at the top table, completely isolated from the working of their department, totted up the performance targets they've met this year and the size of their bonuses.
For this government to distance itself from responsibility for this failure is disingenuous. New Labour has been responsible more than any other other administration for this Sovietisation of British public services, and Gordon Brown, a Central Statist control freak of the most utter ruthlessness, has driven this for more than ten years.
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Hain's risible plans to 'reform' incapacity benefit carry all the hallmarks of an ineffective government in terminal decline. This holy grail of welfare dependency, the target of every long-term claimant, will remain utterly unchanged. The 50,000 plonkies on the roll will continue to claim £85m a year to keep them in booze, the 2,000 fat bastards on the register will continue to claim their £4.4m to keep them in lard, sugar and trans-fats and the skiving sod with a fungal infection of the fingernails will continue to shed unwashed body flakes in return for my tax.
About the only ones with a real incapacity are the Minister and his civil servants - they're utterly, terminally useless and unfit even to flip burgers for the fat bastards.
When prime ministers realise they're failing at every major policy objective they set themselves, they hunger for just one small success. With John Major it was motorway cones. Brown, having failed in health, in education, in immigration, in welfare reform, in constitutional probity, in foreign affairs, in defence, in Europe and in crime is now in a state of desperation to find just one, tiny, easy policy area in which he can succeed. He's chosen plastic bags.
Ten years on the sidelines and we finally know what Brown's Big Vision is; it is the people of Britain carrying little string shopping bags around.
Friday, 16 November 2007
The news that Tony Blair's furniture has launched its own website - http://tonyblairoffice.org/ - comes as little surprise to anyone who already considers the man to be as mad as a bucket of eels. Either that or Cherie's persuaded him to start 419-scamming to boost the family finances (From the Office of Mr Barrister Blair: When I was ejected from office, my policies led to a deposit of £24bn in the Bank of Northern Wreck ...)
How appropriate, though, that the 'Tony Blair Sports Foundation' is to sponsor, er, indoor rowing. This involves much grunting, sweat and expenditure of energy but you don't actually get anywhere. A metaphor for Blair's record if ever there was one.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Brown's inane proposals to introduce security screening at large mainline train stations have quite rightly been dismissed as wholly ineffective by security experts. Packed suburban commuter trains into London offer a far more attractive target to Islamic suicide bombers than a half-empty Virgin intercity. And why pay several hundred quid for an intercity ticket when Livingstone's Oyster card will get you on a suburban service for chips? And of course no screening for tubes and buses where the bombs have actually gone off. No, Brown's proposals are nothing more than a ratcheting-up of the apparatus of State Security disguised as an anti-terrorist measure - his real intention is to get us all used to the hostile stares of gun-toting thugs and State Security Forces demanding our papers.
I recently listened to the views of a very stupid police officer on how to deal with the 'problem' of groups of youths on the street. High fences and razor-wire erected everywhere were this idiot's preferred remedies, combined with Mosquito sonic repellents erected on lamp posts every 30 metres. He saw nothing wrong in turning the streets into something akin to the Warsaw Ghetto - his sole concern was the convenience with which teenagers could be coralled into barbed-wire pens by response cars to make the job of police officers easier.
Unfortunately, when the government takes the advice on a grand scale of 'security professionals' as deluded and as intellectually ill-equipped as this, you get proposals such as Brown's.
The time is long overdue to bring our Police Forces back under local control, to silence the fatuous blitherings of slow-minded plods who imagine they are expert at anything, and send them back out walking their beats.
Let's also devolve the administration of Welfare payments to local level - and get some of our 5.3m economically inactive (including a very substantial proportion of Pakistani, Somali and Bangladeshi young men) doing something useful - cleaning hospitals, or doing 12-hour shifts in McDonalds - that keeps them away from the illiterate and unschooled village Imams and the internet bomb-making manuals.
The answer to our security lies not in the power of the State, but in our own control of our neighbourhoods and communities.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Tell me, if the Prime Minister announced that the threat of being stabbed on Britain's streets was now so great that he advised the public not to venture out without donning stab-vests and body armour, would you not ask why he was failing rather to address the source of the threat?
Yet he is expected to announce today that the correct response to the threat of terrorism is to spend many billions of pounds on protecting buildings against car bombers.
Let's be clear. The threat, on the basis of convictions obtained so far, is from Islamic terrorists, and in particular those from the Pakistani and Somali communities that Labour, in a naive zeal of multicultutalism, have allowed to develop separately from the rest of the population into festering ghettoes of overcrowding, poverty, ignorance, disease and hostility.
If the threat is real, and cogent, and compelling, then we must deal with the source of the threat, without any mealy-mouthed prevarication.
If the threat is not real, but merely cynical opportunism on the part of Gordon Brown to reinforce centralist State control over the lives of all citizens by crude threat propaganda, then he is playing with fire.
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Earlier this year the government brought forward new measures to deal with those who employ illegal immigrants. The Home Office website warns:
In 2008, new measures to help tackle illegal migrant working will come into force. These measures, contained in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (‘the 2006 Act’), include:I trust the news that Jacqui Smith and her mandarins knew months ago that thousands of illegal immigrants were being employed by Whitehall as security guards will now result in several criminal prosecutions - including that of the Home Secretary. Or will it be another case of one law for us, and another law for them?
- a system of civil financial penalties for employers who, through negligence, employ illegal migrant workers;
- a new criminal offence for employers who knowingly use illegal migrant labour, carrying a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine;
- and,a continuing responsibility for employers of migrant workers with limited leave to enter or remain in the UK to check their ongoing entitlement to work in the UK.
The more Gordon Brown speaks in public, the more I am convinced that his reputed intellect is a hollow pot. His speech to the City was embarrassingly poor.
Take his proposals for a global ban on the sale of small arms. Does he honestly believe that depriving the African tribes of AK47s will cause them to take up reading Sidney Webb and form bead-making co-operatives? Has he considered the reality that they'll just go back to slaughtering each other with rusty spears and pangas instead?
And his proposals for the UN Security Council, that nations such as Japan, India, Brazil, Germany and 'an African country' should have a seat at the top table. Perhaps the Boy Milliband is unaware that the United Nations was the term given to the military alliance that fought the Axis, that those at the top table are the nations with serious nuclear capability. Pakistan would never agree to India having a seat, and given the propensity of all African nations for massive corruption, how would one be selected for this bonanza, this rich prize - the potential for receiving bribes on a global scale by the lucky winner is immense, and competition would be fierce for the Security Council veto to be sold to the highest bidder.
The rest is a jejune mish-mash of nostrums, platitudes and bromides that would earn any keen young socialist sixth former a B+, but from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is an appalling public admission of a rudderless and purblind foreign policy.
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
The London Assembly attempted to prize Sir Ian Blair's fingers from their grip on the front doors of New Scotland Yard, but the man who thought he deserved a £25,000 bonus this year isn't budging.
Could it be that our snuffling little porker is awaiting the decision of the de Menezes family as to whether they will bring a civil action against him? If he clings to office, will he expect the London taxpayer to fund his defence? I think we should be told.
And perhaps some enterprising lawyer may wish to investigate an action to prohibit the public purse from funding Blair's legal costs.
The current 28 day detention limit in the UK for suspected terrorists is, according to Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, the longest of any democracy in the world. Labour want to extend this to 56 days despite there being no evidence whatsover that this has ever been needed.
Yet the UK is also one of the few democracies in which intercept evidence is not admissible in court, and that's the way the 'spooks' want to keep it. In other words, they know the score because they have all the emails / phone transcripts from the suspects in front of them, but need longer detention periods in order to find alternative ways of assembling the evidence.
Everyone knows that the security services, the septics and Uncle Tom Cobley and all intercept phone and internet traffic. What's the big secret?
First let's admit intercept evidence in court. And then, after a few years, let's look at whether longer detention periods are needed. They won't be.
English liberty is not to be traded for the convenience of our spies.
A touch of the winter blues, a deep and weary frustration with the state of politics, or just the end of decent sea weather have dried up my indignation over the past few days.
Friday, 2 November 2007
Sir Ian Blair might perhaps learn something from the experience of his namesake in clinging on to public office long past the point when the public, the media, colleagues and staff have all decided you should go.
Londoners in particular are heartily sick of their Commissioner. Executing one of our overseas visitors didn't improve his standing.
But Sir Ian is New Labour to his bones and will cling to office as grimly as Blunkett, Byers, Mandelson, Prescott or any of the roll call of Labour sleazeballs over the past few years.
His tenacious and obstinate stance will undoubtedly lead to voices calling more loudly for the Met Commissioner to report to London's Mayor and not to the Home Secretary; if Boris were in post with such authority, Sir Ian would be marched smartly up to the Mayor's desk, stood at attention with his cap under his arm, and be summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. About turn. Bugger off.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
The comments of a few non-political acquaintances yesterday evening on the news that a top cop has been caught speeding are revealing. Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of Yorkshire and a committed proponent of speed cameras, was caught doing 90 in a 60 zone, and already has six points on his licence. Speculating on whether the case would be prosecuted, and whether Hughes would lose his licence if convicted, it is clear that deep cynicism reigns.
"It will have been a 'training drive'. Just 'honing his skills'. He won't get done."
I find it deeply disturbing that the ordinary public's expectations of the behaviour of those in positions of authority are that lying, distortion, avarice, misrepresentation and omission are wholly unexceptional and are indeed the norm.
From Sir Ian Blair's oafish, porcine cupidity to the snortling indifference of Tony Wright MP to suggestions that there was anything wrong in selling honours, to give just two examples from the past week, the public has reason enough for this view.
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
If you haven't done so already, I urge you to read Michael Gove's speech to the Bow group on Gordon Brown. It strips the dour one bare down to his centralist Statist bones.
This is a real intellectual tour de force. Brown's 'Liberty' speech, like his 'Courage' book, was nothing more than an incoherent jumble of jejune borrowings.
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Brown's recent speech on Liberty is applauded in today's papers as an intellectual tour de force; it is nothing of the sort. I would urge anyone tempted to believe this nonsense to read it. It seems the one philosopher closest to Brown's dark heart, that rogue Rousseau, is the only one he fails to accord a gratuitous mention. Rousseau it was who so believed in the supremacy of the State over the individual that he wanted to remove children from their fathers lest the authority of the family challenge that of the State; Rousseau it was who proposed that each individual should have a direct and immediate relationship with the State, without any intervening institutions. This is still the core of Brown's corrupt and dangerous philosophy - and it emerges in this speech.
It was only in the second half of the twentieth century that Parliament took action to combat discrimination against women and ethnic minorities and there is still much work to do in these areas and against discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, disability and religion.
Ah yes; this is Brown's belief that the British people can't be trusted not to be bigots without the State making it illegal. Only the State can be trusted to get it right.
.. freedom could only be fully realised when society was prepared to overcome the barriers that prevented people from realising their true potential. Hobson put it as a question when he asked: 'is a man free who has not equal opportunity with his fellows of such access to all material and moral means of personal development and work as shall contribute to his own welfare and that of his society?'.
And Brown mistakes the lesson here; he believes it is the duty of the State to take from those that have and give to those that have not to achieve this. The fallacy that only the power of the State can level the playing field is entrenched in his belief.
Yet all too often on the political right, liberty has been reduced to a simplistic libertarianism in which freedom and licence assumed a rough equivalence, and the absence of government from public life seen as essential to maximise liberty
And here is his defence of Big Government - only a strong, centralising and powerful State can free the people. What specious nonsense.
This will only be possible if we face up to the hard choices that have to be made in government. Precious as it is, liberty is not the only value we prize and not the only priority for government ... to ignore the duty of government to protect its people - and to be unwilling to face up to hard choices - is the politics of gesture and irresponsibility.
The truth comes out, doesn't it? Arrest and detention, the 'Security of the State', repressive laws are all 'the duty of the government to protect its people'. You witless ass; the people don't belong to the State - the State belongs to the people.
Alongside this it is important, as the Government has made clear, that charities are guaranteed the independence and the right to have their voice heard and to campaign on the issues that matter to them
Ah, and this is the get-out clause for Brown's Sith Institute to use its funds to campaign for the Labour Party. Guido will be chuffed.
No one wants to see criminals profiting from publishing books about their crimes.
So that's Blair's autobiography banned, then.
At the same time, a great prize of the information age is that by sharing information across the public sector - responsibly, transparently but also swiftly - we can now deliver personalised services for millions of people
Ah, pure Rousseau - that IT can deliver the authoritarian dream of a direct relationship between the State and the individual.
And as what is possible changes, so the protections we afford to individuals must change, and we must respond to the need for a more secure way of establishing and protecting people's identity; to the new opportunities to use biometrics to identify false passports or DNA to solve crime; to the need to deny terrorists and criminals financial freedom and the ability to move across borders; to the pressure to provide more personalised public services.
And here is the justification for compulsory ID, compulsory DNA and biometrics sampling - only Slavery to the State can bring freedom. That Brown actually believes this is chilling.
So we must always ensure that there is - as we have legislated on ID cards - proper accountability to Parliament.
Making the State 'accountable to Parliament' - now that's a novelty. And there was me thinking it was something that was established in the 17th century.
At all times in our history we have had to debate how the need for strong and effective government can be combined with the pursuit and preservation of liberty. Such debates are both inevitable and desirable.
No, No, No. What is debatable is the extent to which we need 'strong and effective government'; it is the very role of the centralist State, and not how long we can be held in concentration camps, that needs to be discussed.
Don't be fooled. This man is not only intellectually bankrupt, he is a danger to freedom and liberty.
Friday, 26 October 2007
HT to Iain Dale for spotting this Grauniad report on a sleazy 'cash for access' scandal involving Labour peer Lord Hoyle, who had links to disgraced sleazebucket Ian Greer. Hoyle 'sold' access to his chum Lord Drayson, who's in charge of the nation's defence cashbox.
The rotten stench of Labour's corruption outstinks the mephitic miasma of the charnel house.
Gordon and the Brownies' misjudgement in playing with a potential election recently is reported to have cost Labour over £1m. Their desperation to get their snouts into the public trough - and with Cameron's unwillingness to play - is evidenced by this Commons exchange on Wednesday 24th October:
Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) (Con): Most people will be astonished by the front of Labour Ministers, such as the Government Chief Whip, who call for controls on party donations but want to exempt unions from those controls. We have called for a comprehensive cap on all donations so that individuals, companies and trade unions are treated equally. Is it not obvious why the Government have rejected this? They do not want to give up the £17 million of funding they received from the unions last year. In exercising his responsibility for policy on party funding, will the Lord Chancellor be acting in the interests of the public or the interests of his party?
Mr. Straw: I am tempted to descend to the level that the Conservatives have now reached on this issue. However, I live in hope that the constructive, consensual approach that they were taking under the Leader of the Opposition only a few months ago will continue. The hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert) has not been party to the all-party talks. Those of us who have know well that each party has had to accept significant compromises to reach a consensus. That remains my hope and desire, but it can be achieved only if the spirit in which we entered into the talks, and which continued until July, goes on. I greatly regret that, for reasons that remain unexplained, the Conservatives cancelled the next meeting of those all-party talks, which was due on the 3 September, and that they have had the most extraordinary difficulty in finding a date to suit them since then.
Nick Herbert: The Lord Chancellor conspicuously failed to answer the question. There is no possibility of achieving consensus while union barons control affiliation fees. By not counting £8 million of donations, he drives a coach and horses through the principle of capping donations. Is it not clear from his answer that the Government have not the slightest interest in securing a level playing field for party funding? Is it not also clear that their only interest in the conduct of elections is exactly what the Electoral Commission’s report described yesterday—partisan interest above the public interest?Lib Dem MP Paul Holmes was in danger of misleading the House himself during the same questions session by asking Straw "An opinion poll commissioned earlier this year by Unlock Democracy showed that 76 per cent. of the public support cross-party talks on party funding.". Either Mr Holmes cannot read very well or he was being deliberately misleading; the question asked by Unlock Democracy wasn't about party funding at all. It was
"Political parties should try and agree on proposals for constitutional reform before those proposals are voted on by Parliament" - and 76% agreed with this sensible proposal on constitutional reform.
Read the Unlock Democracy poll results HERE.
In fact, what the public really think is well reflected in the poll question "Political Parties should be allowed to raise and spend money as they wish as long as it is transparent" - with 57% agreeing and only 36% disagreeing.
And I'll bet the public doesn't reckon Labour's sleazy sale of honours comes under 'transparent' either.
Hayden Phillips was perhaps being unrealistic in expecting a conclusion to State funding talks by mid-October (see HERE). If Cameron has got his finger on the nation's pulse, he will reject any further extension of State funding.
Some petty whingeing from the socialists about Ld Ashcroft's small cash injections to marginal Labour constituencies is vastly overshadowed by the release today of MPs expense claims - expenses that now include an extra £10k a year to help sitting MPs retain their seats. Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury, tops the expenses table, having snuffled over £185k of taxpayers' dosh in the past year. In fact the top 4 places are all Comrades.
Meanwhile, the watchdog for MPs' misconduct Sir John Bourn, no mean expenses snaffler himself, has called it a day after pocketing £392k over 3 years for 'travel and sustenance' including first-class trips to Mauritius and Venice and lavish meals at The Connaught and The Ritz.
MPs will also be celebrating the Lord Protector's tax break that has more than halved their capital gains tax liability on their second, third and fourth homes. The fact that it has doubled the tax for the small businesses that actually fund the profits they will now trouser seems to have escaped their concern.
The only snout out of joint this week is Sir Ian Blair's. He stoutly maintained that as the only officer in the Met who had no idea that an innocent electrician had been executed on the tube, he was quite entitled to a £25k bonus for ignorance above and beyond the call of duty. Sir Ian may now be pushing his candidacy for Sir John Bourn's old job - his booze-quaffing qualifications are not in doubt.
Sir Ian will also be counting his pension-pot provided at the public expense; Sir Richard Mottram, an undistinguished pen-pusher of no great worth to the nation, has set a high bar in scooping a £2.7m pot. Will Sir Ian manage to beat this?
And the Billy Bunteresque snortling of the MPs who called Yates of the Yard in for questioning the other day at the idea that the public, represented by Yates, should have the temerity to investigate the sale of honours, which everyone knew was as well entrenched as lying and deception in government, will perhaps not have escaped the public's attention.
Even the poor old Grauniad is now waking up to Labour's monumental sleaze - HT to Guthrum for highlighting this comment piece.
No doubt this will all be welcome news to middle England, and to those on salaries of £34k - £40k, who have had low single-figure pay increases this year, and who from April face one of Gordon's stealth tax increases in NI that will see many of them taking home less than they are now. Well, someone's got to pay for all this largesse ....
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
And that will be followed by the requirement for a licence to purchase alcohol - these health fascist numpties are so up their own arses they forget the capacity of the British people to quietly band together to subvert this sort of nonsense.
IF you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by.
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don't you shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again - and they'll be gone next day !
If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining's wet and warm - don't you ask no more !
If you meet King Gordon's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you " pretty maid," and chuck you 'neath the chin,
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been !
Knocks and footsteps round the house - whistles after dark -
You've no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty's here, and Pincher's here, and see how dumb they lie
They don't fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by !
'If You do as you've been told, 'likely there's a chance,
You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood -
A present from the Gentlemen, along 'o being good !
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark -
Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie -
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by !
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
A recent study by University College London has tracked a growing epidemic of bed bug infestations in London's East End to a clear transmission route - public transport in a corridor between Aldgate East and Stratford.
When asked by John Humphries on R4's 'Today' whether he would sit down on public transport in the area, the academic in charge of the study replied "I wouldn't even use public transport in this area."
Ignorance and poor hygiene standards, overcrowding and frequent travel from their home nations where these beasties are endemic have created a real public health problem amongst the immigrant population, with a large Pakistani and Bangladeshi component, in this part of East London. Labour have simply surrendered in the war that Beveridge declared on 'Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness'.
Today comes news that the Olympic site in the Lee Valley will be completely car-free except for the competing teams and the media, with the audiences for the events being forced to use public transport.
I foresee a range of T shirts going on sale, bearing the image of a gorged London bed bug, and the legend 'My dad took me to the Olympics, and all I got was this
Labour's dismal failure to create an escape from Welfare Slavery for our fellow citizens should surprise no-one; Brown's stupidity in introducing tax credits rather than following Frank Field's 'tough love' proposals have created a new serfdom under which 5m people of working age are economically inactive, and non-pension Welfare payments cost us around £80bn a year.
The most pernicious of these is Incapacity Benefit. Shockingly, once claimants have this holy grail of the Welfare system they stand more chance of dying than of returning to work. One and a quarter million Incapacity benefit recipients have now been out of work for more than five years.
Labour's Statism is largely to blame. For half the cost we could have a Welfare system that really worked - but Labour would have to allow local decision making and devolve Welfare budgets to local office level, with local discretion on payment levels according to need. This was one of Field's recommendations.
For many truly disabled people, the standard IB rates are not nearly sufficient, yet the pressure on GPs to support IB claims from the fat, the depressed or those with bad backs or sore feet means that those with truly life-limiting disabilities are getting a raw deal by being lumped in with those long-term unemployed who are merely, and understandably, manipulating the welfare system.
Labour's central Statism helps no-one. Work brings dignity, self-respect, a longer life and a better and fairer society; Clinton knew this, and his five-year limit on non-disabled welfare payments restored it to what it should be - a safety net, not a lifestyle.
Labour's blindness is condemning millions to ill health, an abysmal quality of life and an early death. Brown's policies are fatally flawed, not the 'vision' of an intelligent statesman but the vote-fiddling of a third-rate sleazy political manipulator. There is a better way for the British people.
Sunday, 21 October 2007
For Guy Fawkes night this year, the pub committee decided unanimously today to burn an effigy of the Prime Minister, but we have a problem. We can't find a Gordon Brown mask anywhere - tried all the obvious online shops. Surely there must be a container of them en route from Shanghai to save the day? We don't want to have to burn bloody Blair again.
If anyone knows a source, please please leave a comment ....
News today that MPs have rejected a security fingerprint-scanning entry system for the Commons, on the grounds that terrorists might cut their ickle piggies off to gain entry. But it's good enough for the rest of us, who will have our prints recorded on our passports for security scanning. Some fingers are worth more than others, it seems.
So to our brave MPs, who are so squeamish about losing a digit, I suggest we all offer them one of ours.
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Brown's increasingly authoritarian crushing of English dissent is, I am convinced, rooted in his atavistic Scots fear of the dominant nation to the south. Like all fundamentally weak and morally uncertain men, he over-reacts with oppressive and exacting force. Using the twin weapons of taxing the English to the point of pain, and crushing dissent with draconian curtailments of English freedom, this 'Hammer of the English' betrays the fact that deep down he's scared.
There is something particularly repugnant about New Labour puritanism; the US constitution may include 'the pursuit of happiness' as a most laudable aim, but this concept is an alien one indeed to this cabal of joyless sociopaths. They surely regard happiness as a frivolity that has no place in a dour and serious New Labour Britain. Thus we have a zealous crusade to treat smokers like lepers, make singing and playing a guitar in pubs without a government licence a crime, and recently they have declared war on alcohol. Like cultists everywhere, they are so overcome with pious righteousness that they have become convinced that any means justify their ends - even distorting, omitting, misrepresenting and inventing the 'evidence' to back their crusade. It's the dodgy dossier all over again.
So the evidence in the Times today that government safe drinking limits are a pure invention comes as no surprise. The evidence, says the Times, is "that men drinking between 21 and 30 units of alcohol a week had the lowest mortality rate in Britain. Another concluded that a man would have to drink 63 units a week, or a bottle of wine a day, to face the same risk of death as a teetotaller."
So two fingers to the New Labour puritans, gentlemen, and look to your corkscrews for a long and happy life.
Thursday, 18 October 2007
When Richard J Herrnstein and Charles Murray published 'The Bell Curve' in 1994 it caused a storm of controversy across the world. Their key findings, that individual economic and social success was more highly correlated to intelligence than any other factor, by itself would have surprised few people. What ignited the controversy was that they found that the average intelligence of the black test population was about one standard deviation lower than the average intelligence of the white test population. Shown graphically below. They then proposed that intelligence was genetic - i.e. that black people were inherently less intelligent than white people. Now bear with me here.
The American Psychological Association Task Force went over the research findings with a fine-toothed comb. They supported the results but not the conclusions, finding:
There is certainly no such support for a genetic interpretation... . It is sometimes suggested that the Black/ White differential in psychometric intelligence is partly due to genetic differences (Jensen, 1972). There is not much direct evidence on this point, but what little there is fails to support the genetic hypothesis. The differential between the mean intelligence test scores of Blacks and Whites (about one standard deviation, although it may be diminishing) does not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socio-economic status. Explanations based on factors of caste and culture may be appropriate, but so far have little direct empirical support. At present, no one knows what causes this differential.If Dr James Watson had spoken publicly in the debate on the factors that caused this differential, within the constraints of scientific empiricism, the Science Museum would have little reason to cancel his lecture. What he said in an interview with the Sunday Times on 14th October was:
He says that he is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really," and I know that this "hot potato" is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because "there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level."Now, the Science Museum says that the above is 'beyond the limits of acceptable debate'. I disagree. It's beyond the limits of acceptable scientific debate, without doubt. Dr Watson has leapt to conclusions unsupported by the evidence - a real scientific no-no. And his final quote suggests that he believes that all black people are less intelligent than all white people - which is such palpable nonsense that any 'A' level stats student could demolish it in an instant.
As the Science Museum is a forum for scientific debate, and not a forum for uninformed personal opinions, they were in my view right to cancel the lecture. That doesn't mean that Dr Watson's personal opinions should be censored; by all means let him engage in non-scientific debate to defend his views.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Ah yes, I keep forgetting to mention the dear boat. Well, she's earning her keep; she's had an engine rebuild, new pumps and hoses, new sea toilet and seacocks, I've rewired her completely and installed new switch panels, and even scoured and repainted her bilges. Off Beachy Head recently she bucked and rolled in the rough stuff as happily as a Labrador in a cow pat. Now a decent winter assaulting the Channel's fish stocks to come with a bit of luck ...
The trite and inane little dig from the health numpties yesterday, that England's middle classes were at greater risk from binge drinking than herds of inner-city chavs has been well and truly fisked by An Englishman's Castle. If these middle class areas drink more, they also live a lot longer. Red wine, olive oil, fresh vegetables, seafood and unpasteurised cheese sell well in the longest lived areas, and biscuits containing 70% of sugar and trans-fats, sweetly flavoured grain alcohol, frozen pizzas, industrial yellow-fat spreads, and processed meats sell well in the lowest lived areas. Some clue, there, surely? Oh, and here's another thing - look at how these areas vote (using Tim's table):-
Runnymede 26.4 - 78.7 - CON
Harrogate 26.4 - 78.6 - NOC
Surrey Heath 26.0 - 79.1 - CON
Guildford 25.5 - 79.4 - CON
Mid Sussex 25.5 - 78.6 - CON
Mole Valley 25.5 - 79.5 - CON
Leeds 25.3 - 76.2 - NOC
Elmbridge 25.3 - 79.7 - NOC
Waverley 25.2 - 78.9 - CON
Woking 25.0 - 79.2 - CON
Wolverhampton 16.2 - 75.1 - LAB
Barking and Dagenham 16.1 - 75.3 - LAB
Boston 16.0 - 75.7 - IND
Lewisham 16.0 - 75.1 - NOC
Tower Hamlets 15.9 - 74.9 - LAB
Hackney 15.7 - 75.1 - LAB
Redbridge 15.3 - 77.5 - CON
Waltham Forest 15.3 - 75.4 - NOC
Newham 14.1 - 74.9 - LAB
So there you go. Vote Labour and you not only die younger but you don't even have the solace of getting squiffy from time to time.
Monday, 15 October 2007
Interesting interview in today's Media Guardian with Irwin Stelzer HERE. I posted some time ago that although Murdoch had let the 'Sun' have its head over the EU Constitution, it had yet refrained from plunging the knife into Brown.
I suspect Murdoch will wait until next year before making any move.
On 21st October Switzerland goes to the polls, with an expectation of significant gains for the anti-statist and nationalist SVP, which polled nearly 27% of the vote in 2003. The party has become well-known throughout Europe for a poster entitled 'bringing safety' that the party insists is not racist.
The Swiss have long enjoyed both powerful localism through the cantons and direct democracy through popular referenda; both have been eroded in recent years under central Statist governments. The SVP's policies seek a return to greater local control; on citizenship, rather than the State making the decision, they propose that only those who have lived legally in the country for 12 years and have a clean criminal record may apply. And that the decision is taken not by the State but by the applicant's local community, by vote. Immigrants who don't integrate, and don't cultivate the goodwill of their neighbours, would never gain citizenship. Such common sense proposals will strike chords across Europe.
The SVP would also ban minarets rising above the shingle rooflines of their communities - UnSwiss, an alien and divisive symbol, they say. Again, this will find echoes across Europe.
And the sheep poster, illustrating a policy of deporting foreigners who commit criminal offences, has already found fertile ground in Europe's heartlands.
If the SVP do well in the election, and put these policies into effect, the waves will ripple from Warsaw to Galway.
Sunday, 14 October 2007
There is now overwhelming evidence that the culture of NHS performance targets driven by Patricia Hewitt is a major factor in the avoidable deaths of many thousands of elderly people from MRSA and C.Diff. The failure of Labour's perverse culture of performance targets across every aspect of government is palpable; crime and justice, health, education and local government.
Frankly, I'm astonished that our front-line troops have so far managed to escape this Labour micro-management, or perhaps there is a Labour target for the number of small arms rounds expended per enemy casualty, or the number of mortar rounds that fall within 20m of their target. Maybe platoon commanders do crouch in their foxholes filling in performance returns. Anyway, I digress.
Two years ago I needed a minor operation of a kind normally performed under general anaesthetic with a 48 hour stay in hospital. Even then the risk of dying of MRSA contracted from a filthy NHS hospital was the greatest risk I foresaw. I negotiated with my consultant and surgeon for the procedure to be done under local anaesthetic as day surgery, convincing them I was well-informed enough to be aware of any post-operative complications and sensible enough to care for a newly stitched wound for 24 hours.
I was in at 9 a.m. and out by 11.30 a.m., walking the one mile home whilst enjoying a couple of relaxing ciggies - but not allowing my fingers to touch my lips in case I'd picked up hospital bacteria on them. Once home I carefully swabbed the entire area around the wound with isopropyl alcohol, then carefully and scrupulously showered to minimise the risk of stray infectious guests picked up in the hospital. I'm glad to tell you that I healed as healthily and quickly as an old dog, without a trace of infection.
And this anecdote leads me to imagine the kind of choice I'd like to see in the NHS. Suppose I ever need a planned medical procedure that requires a stay in hospital. I'd want to be able to discuss with my GP the best hospital for this to be done; I'd want to see their success rates at this procedure, know the reputations of the surgical / medical / nursing team, and of course the MRSA and C.Diff infection rates of the various hospitals. I'd want to choose where I went. I'd want to be able to choose a private hospital as well as a general hospital or teaching hospital; if operative risk was high, I'd want to be able to choose a hospital back home in East Anglia to allow my family to be near. In other words, I'd want to apply the efficiencies of the market to my healthcare.
And surely if we re-focused the responsibility for the health outcomes back onto GPs and PCTs, they would soon 'blacklist' the worst hospitals, funding for filthy or incompetent hospitals would dry up, and they would fall by the wayside. Or change their management, their doctors and nurses and their cleaners.
But let's not forget Hewitt. If she was the boss of a construction firm that killed 4,000 of its workers in the past few years she'd rightly be serving a long prison term. Her obsession with micromanagement and performance targets in the face of explicit advice that this course of action was killing people makes her personally liable for these deaths. Hewitt belongs behind bars.