Saturday, 4 January 2014

You'd need a heart of stone ...

You'd need a heart of stone not to enjoy a laugh at the plight of Chris Turney, visiting professor of bovine flatus at the University of Luton Parkside. Turvey had hired a survey ship at vast expense to go and look at the way in which climate change had shrunk the Antarctic ice fields. Unfortunately, the ice fields have grown rather spectacularly rather than melted - trapping Turvey on his hired vessel in the ice that he says shouldn't be there.

The Chinese, with new global interests and investments ranging from vast copper mines in Africa to car plants in Europe, have developed a marine support infrastructure to match, both military and civil. Looking at a 1978 IMO directory of tugs, salvage vessels, oil spill tenders and SAR co-ordination resources available to mariners across the globe, China figures nowhere. Now of course she's caught-up and has such vessels placed strategically across the oceans. What irony then that Turvey should have arranged his abandonment of the frozen Shokalskiy by using a new Chinese icebreaker. 

Oil-burning ships are of course the new target of the MMG warmists; they would eschew global maritime trade in favour of hand-knitted yoghurt cardigans from Wiltshire and diseased vegetables. Astonishing, then, that Turvey should have chosen a motor ship for his high-carbon jaunt in the first place - or is wind and solar power really only suitable for gullible fools on land?

Friday, 3 January 2014

The cost of murder?

Back in the great days of Iain Dale's blog, an axe murderer freed from prison used to hang around online like a very unpleasant and particularly unwelcome bladder infection. Everyone hated him and he was subject to suitably offensive comments. However, given that one of the reasons he bludgeoned his landlady to death in the first place was because he craved attention, I'm not sure how successful the strategy was. The consensus seemed to be that he should never have been released. 

Europe doesn't like our whole-life sentences for the most heinous of murders; the sentencing of Lee Rigby's killers, prime candidates for whole-life terms, is on hold pending a resolution of the issue. Officially, we just have one sentence for murder - life - but this is modified with a recommendation defining what 'life' should mean. In some cases it means seven years. 

We have neither evolved different 'degrees' of murder as distinct criminal charges nor jail terms in excess of a hundred years, as have been long used in the US. Europe believes all murderers are redeemable, though I suspect that few EU Commissioners or ECHR judges would be happy to live next to one. They want to see even Lee Rigby's killers enjoying the prospect of release. We mostly disagree. 

As the matter must be resolved before Rigby's killers are disposed of - postponing sentencing too long will undoubtedly violate their European Rights - this will be a good test of Cameron's true resolve.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Maybe we should have hanged more Japs

Cruel, buck-toothed little men with pebble glasses yelling 'Banzai!' were all the stuff of the comic books of my youth - Victor and the like. Smirking brutes with samurai swords would inevitably get their come-uppance at the end of a solid British fist after inflicting their dreadful brutalities. In reality, it may be that far too few got their come-uppance. Maybe we should have hanged lots more Japs. Perhaps we should have hanged their Emperor.

Unlike the Germans, whose breast-beating and self-incrimination over the NS period has now gone far too far, the Japanese nation have never even come close to admitting the truth about their barbarity during those years. School history books have been censored to remove all references to slaughter, enforced prostitution, bio-warfare experimentation on prisoners and the casual cruelties of invaders who regarded their captives, particularly the Chinese, as sub-human. It says something when, during the rape of Nanking, the atrocities were so bad that even the Nazis in the city gave shelter and protection to the native Chinese. Guttentag's 'Nanking' is due for DVD release here on 24th February. It will end up being seen by every nation on earth except one - Japan.

This is dangerous. Just as the myth of the 'stab in the back' in 1918 allowed the rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s, Japan's institutional refusal to come to terms with the reality of the Tojo years is allowing a dangerous militaristic resurgence. The US is as mistaken in not only permitting but encouraging Jap militarism now as they were after 1946 by the softness of their occupation policy. Of course, Japan is not solely responsible for the rise of tensions in the Pacific. In becoming a global power with interests from African copper mines to European car plants China has discovered she needs a naval fleet to match. With Chinese carriers on the way, Japan already has HMS Ocean-sized carriers in service - and bigger ones planned.

The truth is that until the characteristic and dangerous pit-bull like aggression has been bred-out of the Japanese race they remain a threat to peace. The plea in today's Telegraph by the Chinese Ambassador is of course one-sided, but he's asking a question that the UK may soon have to ask itself - which side will we be on?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

And so to 2014 ...

If ever there was a year that holds so much promise of change, this is it. A hundred years since the end of the nineteenth century and the start of the 1914 - 1945 war I'm still not sure when exactly the twentieth century ended and the twenty-first began. And if the military lesson they'd failed to learn in 1914 was Omdurman, will ours be the invincibility of the Taliban? Are unmanned drones the future of warfare, assembled in fleets of thousands, piloted from industrial warehouses in the Midlands?

In 1914 of course they had no idea what was coming. Until 1914 land artillery had been a fairly lightweight affair; all the Anglo-Belgian guns at Waterloo, which was practically all of them, could barely fire a weight of broadside equivalent to a single 36-gun frigate, of which the Navy had some 112 (5th & 6th rate). I think the world will see plenty of warfare in 2014, and not only of the irregular kind. Unfortunately IDS' complete cock-up of welfare reform (replacing one top-down centralist system with another just as complex and costly) will fail to free-up any tax money for defence, so the UK will find itself as always undermanned and under-equipped to meet the coming threats.

2014 will be a watershed year for things European. Perhaps we genuine lovers of Europe, we who love Europe's diversity and multiplicity of culture, will wrest the term Europhile from the rancid grasp of those with no love at all for our continent, more correctly termed Euphiles, who would sacrifice the peoples and nations of Europe to the goals of power and homogenised Federast corporatism.

The big corporates are already warning that our trade will suffer if we vote UKIP in May; one presumes they're saying the same thing to every country in Europe set to vote heavily for Eurosceptic parties, which seems to be most of them. For Monsanto, Lafarge, Bayer, Vodafone and all the rest, 2014 may be the year in which the gloves come off, when they openly exercise economic power in defence of a federal Europe, placing them in opposition to Europe's people. 

And for our own Parliament I see signs of democratic life. With the burden of a poison dwarf in the Chair, a government corrupt to the core in subservience to Europe and Christopher Kelly's deeply confused and malfunctioning committee, against a background of institutionalised greed and assumed privilege, you may think all is lost. Not so. Backbenchers, particularly from the 2010 intake and above all Select Committees are proving the heroes of 2013. We have seen a parade of the pompous, the mendacious, the wealthy and powerful, the avaricious, the incompetent, the corrupt and the criminally negligent savaged on live TV by a new breed of select committee under elected chairmanships of MPs who choose probity over sycophancy and the promise of government rewards for compliance. Long may they continue. 

And 2014 will also be a watershed year for me personally and a time to move on the next phases of this life. However, I've grown so used to penning 400-odd words each dawn as a daily brain-sharpener that this is set to continue; for all those of you who bear with the dross and enjoy the occasional gem, my heartfelt thanks. Your comments - hostile, critical and argumentative as well as supportive or additive - really do make it all worthwhile. May you all enjoy a year of positive and remarkable change.