Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Greek Fire

How long does it take an ex-EU official to retire? I'm only asking because I thought the new bunch of unelected commissioners had been appointed months ago, yet the old stale ones are still hanging about in the wings. Senor Barolo has even ventured onto the stage to make a few bitter and snipey comments about the UK - more an indicator about the utter failure of the Portuguese economy to start breathing again than anything else, but shouldn't the Maitre D have a hook? Perhaps it's a new tradition - that we have to endure two lots of unelected officials whining at us during the transition period. 
 
Still, no sooner has the new EU 'parliament' declared their new head official to be a crooked, fraudulent tax-bludger than Greece pops up again. As Greece's economy under EU management has now shrunk almost to the size of Luxembourg's, perhaps adopting Juncker's bent tax haven approach is now a realistic prospect? More likely, the fools in the Berlaymont are likely to provoke a violent insurrection in Greece. 

Over Christmas, the first two Greek economic refugees I've seen popped up in the local co-op. After some initial confusion, they grasped the idea of a queue, but starbursts of consonants and hand gestures indicated they were unhappy with something. Cigarettes at £9 a packet may cause their return to Thessaly, or the winter cold. I suspect that leaving Greece is not an option for most; they will soon go through the process of a free and democratic election, the EU will then prevent a new government from delivering its electoral mandate, there will be threats and brinkmanship, and, eventually, if things don't get better for the Greeks, there will be fire. 

It's pointless telling the idiots in Brussels that leaving the Euro is the only sensible option for the Greeks. They don't care about the consequences for the Greeks; the idealogical imperative, the thing that a single currency represents, is far more important to them than the welfare of the people of Europe. And that thing is political federation. Hey ho.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Love for the nation, not hatred for the outsider

As both Der Spiegel and the Telegraph report, the latest of the weekly 'public witness' gatherings in Dresden has grown to over 17,000 people from around 10,000 a few weeks ago. This week they gathered to sing carols, much to the disgust of the State Opera and and the Protestant Church. Germany doesn't quite know how to handle the peaceful convocation against the Islamicisation of German society that draws support from all social classes and which has sprung up in Dresden, a city that actually has a low immigrant population compared with many other cities in Germany. And just so long as they affirm their love of national identity rather than any hatred towards Moslem immigrants they present the German State with an insoluble problem.

Regular readers will know this blog's much repeated caution, that immigration isn't the fault of immigrants. The scale of immigration to the UK is primarily the fault of politicians and the political class, many of whom are no more than well-meaning idiots still blind to the consequences of their actions. As Der Spiegel reports, the governor of Saxony has urged Dresden that Saxons 'should not have walls in their heads and that they should be open and curious about experiencing enrichment'. The Saxon State Opera switched its lights off and displayed the messages 'Open Doors' and 'Human dignity is sacrosanct'. The Protestant bishop of Saxony has accused the carol singers of exploiting Christianity. 

Western liberals have a huge problem with Islam. As Nick Cohen - not normally one of my favoured commentators - writes in Standpoint (Hat Tip Greg Tingey), our liberalism has allowed Birmingham schools to become madrassas and has allowed the mass-abuse of vulnerable teenage girls. Some 'enrichment'. It takes some care and attention to the nuances of creeping Islamicisation to halt its advance. 

If you have fifteen minutes, listen to the first segment of this Woman's Hour podcast. Baroness Cox debates with Sharia law advocate and UK solicitor Aina Khan the principles of applying Sharia law in parallel with UK law. Aina Khan is a sensible, liberal, responsible Muslim trying hard to change UK legal systems to accommodate Islamic practice - under which a widow gets nothing, and male children get everything, when a man dies. She counters by explaining that in Islamic societies this is fair because the son then has the duty of looking after the widowed mother and his sisters. Khan is not evil, not a terrorist, nor is her objective to undermine our traditional society, its laws and way of life - yet that is exactly what she is doing in trying to introduce Sharia to the UK. Liberals who support it seem content to ignore the alien sex discrimination inherent in Sharia.

And this is the debate now in train. Liberals see it as unfair and unjust that Moslems should not be able to re-model European society to reflect their faith - the ordinary people of Germany in convocation on the streets of Dresden, whilst they have no hostility or animus towards Moslems, believe that Islam should not change German national heritage, but adapt to it.   

And as long as love for our nations, and not hatred for the outsider, governs our talk and our writing we can keep this time of change on an even keel. 

With great thanks and appreciation to all readers of Raedwald, I'm now taking a break for a few days. May you all have a very merry Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Hitchins and Booker in tune

Peter Hitchins and I share the same sort of parents; we are the children of those who were very young adults the last time that we were cursed by war; he writes today in the Mail
It seemed fairly clear to me from her experiences that war had in fact been a miserable affair of fear, hunger, threadbare darned clothes, broken windows and insolent officials. And that was a victory, more or less, though my father (who fought in it) was never sure of that.
If anyone really is trying to punish the Russian people for being patriotic, by debauching the rouble, I cannot imagine anything more irresponsible. It was the destruction of the German mark in 1922, and the wipeout of the middle class that resulted, which led directly to Hitler.

Stupid, ill-informed people nowadays like to compare Mr Putin with Hitler. I warn them and you that, if we succeed in overthrowing Mr Putin by unleashing hyper-inflation in Russia, we may find out what a Russian Hitler is really like. And that a war in Europe is anything but fun.
Quite one of the oddest and most frightening stories of the year has been the ludicrous and persistent misrepresentation in the West of the reason for the tragic shambles unfolding over Russia and Ukraine. This has been presented as wholly the fault of the Russian “dictator” Vladimir Putin, compared by Hillary Clinton and the Prince of Wales to Hitler, for his “annexing” of Crimea and for fomenting the armed uprising in eastern Ukraine. Almost entirely blotted out has been the key part played in triggering this crisis by the remorseless urge of the EU to draw the cradle of Russian identity into its own empire.
As Hitchins points out, Russia has lost 700,000 square miles of valuable territory since 1989. He forebears from mentioning that every square yard was paid for with Russian blood, Russian military dead of 12m making British & Commonwealth and US dead in WWII of 387,000 and 407,000 respectively look like the result of dilettante sparring. And they were the uncles of those of Hitchins and mine generation in Russia. 

If there has been one theme in Raedwald in 2014 it is this; we have more to fear from the idiots, fools, crooks and glory seekers on 'our' side than from those that they vilify. The people of Europe are at last waking to the monstrous threat to peace from the EU, egged on by a particular form of transatlantic stupidity that parrots the word 'appeasement' like a stuck CD.  

2014 also marked the 70th and last-commemorated anniversary of Britain's last great act as a world-player; 6th June 1944. This was the last and perhaps the finest British and Commonwealth led victory (the US, despite what Spielberg may depict, being in the minority and the junior party in the invasion itself). After D-Day, the US became ascendant and our retreat from Empire began. As a victory it was a fitting end to the nation's defiance that had seen our island stand alone against Hitler's fury until the Japanese eventually brought the US into the war more than two years in. That my own father commenced active service on Sword beach at dawn on that day is a matter of some pride for me. 

Hillary and those like her in north America who today are eager for war are perhaps not so much stupid and ill-informed, as Hitchins would have it, as insulated from any family experience of what living under conditions of warfare was like. The US had it easy in WWII. Their war dead were few for such a large nation, and the war made them all rich. They simply have no idea what war is like - they see through the false eyes of Hollywood, not through the experience of living relatives. 

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Friday, 19 December 2014

It IS possible to loathe Luciana Berger in a PC way

Abused Labour MP Luciana Berger is quite right to complain that she is being vilified for being Jewish. Her faith / ethnic background has nothing at all to do with the real reasons why defenders of democracy should loathe everything she represents - as set out on this blog on 7th June 2013
"Labour blow-in Luciana Berger has been in a spat with one of the local councillors in her Liverpool constituency ("They've found me a safe seat in Liverpool? Where's that? Wasn't that where the Beatles came from?") before she's even been able to remember the major street-names.

Berger of course is the poster-girl for the new breed of political class who are driving voters away from the Labour and Tory parties in droves. Like most of her contemporaries, she was privately educated (Haberdasher Aske's) and from a Labour political dynasty. And no, she's never had a proper job or done a single day's proper work in her life. It was student politics, then a bit of expenses-experience with a health quango before Parliament.

She was screwed into one of  Labour's safe Liverpool seats for the 2010 election by the party's London HQ against local opposition. As Wiki records "In the run-up to the General Election, the Liverpool Echo tested Berger with a four-question quiz on Liverpool life and history. She scored two out of four, not knowing who performed Ferry Cross the Mersey and not recognising the name of former Liverpool F.C. manager, Bill Shankly."

It's Berger and her like that that are worth 10,000 votes each to UKIP and the alternative parties; the sickening and nauseating 'jobs for the boys and girls' nepotism by the dying private clubs of the main parties being truly out of favour with voters."
Care with comments please - anti-semitic slurs will be deleted. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Enlisting against evil

Today I shall call at the Pakistan High Commission somewhere behind Harrods to sign the Book of Condolence. In recent years we have seen so many children dead from our wars that the number of this particular incident fades against those killed in Iraq from car bombs, or in Afghanistan from western drones, or hacked to death as part of the Sudanese oil war. There are two reasons why this latest event is an outrage against civilisation - the first, that the children were the sole targets of the hell-bound spawn rather than merely collateral casualties and secondly that they represent every facet of civilisation so hated by the evil ones. 

Peshawar is a British army garrison town frozen in the 1950s - think Colchester. The pink sandstone church is in the perpendicular style, the golf course is there, as is a garrison swimming pool and athletics track, and an area assigned as officers' quarters. Or colony, as the Pakistan army now has it. And of course a garrison school, its uniform little changed from the days in which scions of Indian Army officers scratched their names in the brick. This is the Pakistan that has custody of the Nukes, that sends its offspring to universities in the UK and its subalterns to Sandhurst. 

The other Pakistan is a place of dirt-poor villages, rape, incestuous marriages, imams who can neither read nor write, where disabled children born from inbreeding are quietly killed, a place of debt and servitude, of grinding poverty, ignorance and hatred, a place in which twelve year-olds can field-strip an AK74. This is the Pakistan of primitive Islam, of superstition and unenlightened bigotry. Any school teaching more than rote-learning of the Koran is haram. No wonder they shot Malala. No wonder they hate and loathe everything that the Peshawar Public School represents. 

There is more than one war embracing the globe. Whilst the Islamic civil war plays out, there is also the war of primitivism against civilisation, typified by those evil spawn of hell in Pakistan, and by Boku Haram in Nigeria. There is no accommodation with such people; they must be destroyed, like smallpox. 

And every name written in the Books of Condolence at Pakistani embassies and high commissions across the world is a warrior in the fight of civilisation against the evil darkness.    

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What defence against dysfunctional Muslim nutters?

The Islamic fantasist now thankfully shot dead by Australian police is from the same mould as the two African Muslim nut jobs who killed Drummer Lee Rigby. They had a history of public frustration, run-ins with the police, mostly as a result of delusions of worth; they thought they were special, the societies about them didn't accord them the status they imagined they deserved, and eventually they caused the death of others. I'm sure every police force in the UK has a list of this type of Muslim nutter. They push the boundaries as far as possible - ranting at beat coppers, sending offensive letters or being prats on Twitter - and of course make no secret of who they are or their perverse, deviant world views. They are a breed of threat, in other words, in clear sight - and now they are being encouraged to rise up and slaughter the Kaffir (that's us).

They should not be confused with 'professional' terrorists, who make every effort to be invisible, not to stand out, to hide in the anonymity of mass populations. The Jihadi nutter is exactly that - more likely than not to be suffering from a mental disorder, commonly delusional fantasists. Which doesn't mean they can't use a gun or edged weapon to cause havoc. And unless we introduce internment - and our experience from Operation Demetrius in Northern Ireland from 1971 - 1974 has demonstrated how pointless and counter-productive that was - we must wait until they act before taking them down.

And yes, taking them down is about the only logical and sensible way of dealing with them. They must be shot down like mad dogs. There is no defence against such people - we will have to accept a low level of attritional casualties until they expose themselves and can be lawfully culled.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Labour's alternative planet

The Telegraph scores a neat coup this morning with the publication of Labour's secret anti-UKIP strategy document. Labour's core electoral strategy on immigration - to pretend it doesn't exist - is on a par with anything ever conceived by Monty Python and no doubt the news media will in due course serve us some farcical fare of Labour candidates talking to constituents without ever hearing points they may make about immigration.

What is really telling however is the arcane and alien language in which the document is written. Labour recognises that working class voters feel "that the party has left them behind in pursuit of better-educated, middle-class, white-collar voters". White collar? The last time I heard the distinction made between white collar and blue collar must have been forty years ago, and it must surely be meaningless to anyone under forty, unless 'white collar workers' is some secret new code for workers in the public sector such as police officers and Council officials who wear white uniform shirts. It takes me back to reporters standing outside Transport House and union capi going into Number Ten and suggests that the author doesn't quite inhabit the same planet as the rest of us. 

The same with 'coalfield communities'. Do they actually mean ex-mining areas? There are some lovely bits of Kent sitting on top of unmined coal deposits, so perhaps they mean constituencies with coal under 'em. Or perhaps the coal seams need to be exposed at the surface for these 'coalfield communities' to rub their faces with coal dust and perform clog dances around a capitalist tied to a head wheel? Whoever wrote this stuff needs to change their medication. 

But then Miliband and his cronies do inhabit a different planet to that of the rest of us, as this document clearly demonstrates. I look forward to further pre-election advice from Labour HQ - perhaps on the wearing of flat caps, or on issuing Party whippets to PPCs. This is going to be fun. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Labour: Party before Democracy

Labour's deeply corrupt fundament is showing again. This is a Party that is quite clear that its priorities are Party first and second, nation and democracy a poor third. Labour's recent sabotage of perfectly fair and reasonable measures to bring the Electoral Quotient within a very broad measure of +/- 5% when just about every developed nation in the world achieves +/- 3% is an utter disgrace, and a reason by itself why no voter who values democracy and freedom should ever again vote for this Party of chiselling, rapacious crooks. There are also some 3m voters on the electoral rolls who shouldn't be, and some 3m missing who should be; the former largely a result of Labour's decision to make voting fraud simpler by introducing a universal postal vote, a measure that benefits the Party greatly, most frauds and crooks in the nation preferring to vote Labour. And they tried hard to stop the introduction of electoral checks that would help prevent impersonation and stolen and false identities, on the grounds that this would deprive the party of votes.

Now of course they are attempting to sabotage Home Rule adjustments for England to place our nation on parity with Scotland, and they are trying to block the moves purely for Party interest, because they would lose Scots Labour votes in the Commons. Shame on Labour, shame on Miliband - that this creepy little fraud puts his nasty corrupt party before the interests of 38,597,137 English voters.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Getting at the Truth

So, the CIA and the republican right

1. Have not told and are not telling the truth
2. Believe that torture is an effective way of getting at the truth

There is an inescapable conclusion - that the Senate should have Dick Cheney's rectum forcibly stuffed with pureed hotdog whilst wrapping his head in a sopping wet towel. He will then tell the whole truth about what went on under his watch. Or maybe not - but, heck, he deserves it anyway. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bunny boiler Bolter bags Bird

I don't know why alarm bells weren't going off in Roger Bird's head when the weird and obsessive tone of texts from Natasha Bolter became clear, but suspect that the usual male Achilles' heels of vanity and pride at bedding a trophy were to blame. Anyway, what should have been and should have remained a very private little affair is now the gift that goes on giving - in this case, wry amusement to the nation.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Is there a need for State-sanctioned torture?

US Embassies around the world are braced for a backlash following the publication of a report into CIA torture. The great strength of the USA is that such a report is being published - the UK would prevaricate endlessly until the geriatric judge heading the enquiry died of natural causes and then start over, the Kremlin would ban all publication and post officials to the Russian far east and the Chinese would simply announce that some wrongdoers had been shot. So well done, America. 

However, I'm not so sure that this is proof of Churchill's adage that "America always does the right thing. Eventually". You see, we've been here before - with both the CIA's attempts to assassinate democratically elected leaders, and the CIA's creation and support of death squads / terrorist gangs in other nations. In both cases there was a lot of noise and light, democratic intervention, a lot of public hand-wringing and, eventually, the legalisation of such activities with appropriate democratic oversight. It's OK for the CIA to kill people so long as Congress are openly looking over their shoulder. From past performance, the next stage following publication of the torture report is the presentation of evidence that torture is absolutely necessary to ensure America's security, and then the creation of a framework and mechanism that permits official State torture under appropriate democratic oversight. 

And this is possible because the US is not a signatory to any of the international treaties that would prevent it from doing so. The question is this;

Whilst the EU enjoys the moral luxury of acting without responsibility, the US cannot do so. If there is a genuine need for State sanctioned torture, then the US will do it. And EU nations tempted to sniff about this should consider just how much they actually benefit from the USA taking such responsibility. 

The question really is, is there a need for torture? If it's absolutely necessary for our own security, can moral scruples ever outweigh such necessity?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

HDTV for £12.48 (techy post)

I suppose I'm what the trade terms a 'slow adopter' for new technology; the TV in the sitting room is a not overlarge CRT and I'm very happy with the top-grade CRT computer monitor I bought back in 2007 - still working perfectly. I've been waiting for the new fangled LED things to come down in price, you see. 

However, from time to time I flirt with cheap bits of kit; my latest is a Freeview receiver for the PC costing £12.48 from eBay that consists of a USB stick and an aerial the size and shape of a biro ink-tube. Frankly, I'm astonished - HD reception is perfect for all the Crystal Palace channels, even SD is better than the TV and the CRT monitor renders colours and blacks beautifully. Wow. It will even record onto the HD and manage 8-speaker surround sound.

Why didn't I know about this before? No wonder the licence fee is a lost cause for the BBC.

Welby: Giving the man a daily fish

Back in the 1970s a Christian Aid poster stated unequivocally "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life". That I remember it clearly after more than forty years suggests it's a message I have taken to heart; but not it seems the Archbishop of Canterbury. Either he never saw it, or he's a firm believer on ideological grounds of daily fish distribution being undertaken by a benevolent central State, keeping the fisheaters all the while in the serfdom of ignorance and dependency.

I agree wholly that 'More should be done for hungry UK' as the Mail puts it; and the answer I think is threefold. First, encourage family life and inter-generational skill sharing; grandparents and great grandparents who learned to live on rationed food or cook with unavailable ingredients can pass on key skills. Most families will experience lean times, and kitchen coping strategies can run through the generations. Give me two potatoes, a couple of pounds of stale bread, four ounces of bacon and an onion and I will put a dish of knödel with kartoffelsauce dressing on the table that will fill six hungry mouths.

Secondly, teach cooking and nutrition at school to all but for the particular benefit of  kids of fractured families, of disfunctional single parents or those (an increasing number) who have had no parents except State child-custody institutions. A child of fourteen who cannot make something for the oven from a bowl of flour, some fat and some raw vegetables does not have a good chance of flourishing as an adult.

Thirdly, encourage, through the churches and other social institutions, co-operative and buying clubs, bulk buying at wholesale prices for all those ingredients where this offers significant price advantage over the supermarkets. Fill the vestries with sacks of flour, beans and potatoes.

The answer to hunger, I think, lies in the application of traditional Christian tenets - the family, the community, the little platoons, rather than in the Marxist slavery of food seizure and forced redistribution by a powerful central State. But far be it for me to seek to advise the Archbishop which course he should advocate. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Aggressive Breast Feeding

Breast is best; breast is good. I don't find the act of mammalian breast-feeding in the least offensive - whether a cow suckling her calf or a cat suckling her kitts, it's an natural as Sunlight. I was brought up on the sight of bare-breasted African native girls suckling their picaninnies - and in one case, thanks to Armand Denis, suckling an orphaned gorilla. And on occasion, when baby absolutely won't wait, I've been in the same room / train / north sea ferry as an unknown European woman discreetly feeding her infant as everyone helpfully averted their gaze. I have no problems with any of it. 

What I do have a problem with is women using their babies in public places as aggressive tools with which to seek to shame or embarrass other persons present in a jejune and rather silly political gesture. It's not a matter of feminism - it's a matter of coarseness, foul manners and vulgarity. Such women should be treated as what they plainly are - lewd, coarse, vulgar and, for their child-abuse, beneath contempt.   

Rome is Rotten

It is not hard to feel superior to the Italians. Transparency International has just graded the country as corrupt as large parts of north Africa, having little in common with standards of public probity that prevail in north west Europe. Membership of the EU suits Italy down to the ground; where better to disguise endemic corruption than within an institution itself so fundamentally dishonest, so unaccountable and so riddled with fraud that even expert auditors fail in despair? That Italians still enjoy a reasonable standard of living - they're not exactly begging cigarettes from tourists - suggests a popular complicity with official corruption in a way that maintains the status quo

And as with the Italian State, so with the Italian church. It now has a Pope who has not only taken perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Jesuit but who has taken the name of Francis of Assisi to set the tone of his papacy. I must declare a personal liking for Franciscans; the friars have been my priests since I reached my teens. When first I knew them they lived walled from the world in a magnificent friary at East Bergholt, the heart of Constable country, a stone's throw from Randolph Churchill's old home. When they left it to relocate to a large Council house on the Chantry estate in Ipswich to serve an undistinguished modern community church I thought at the time that they were diminished. Of course the opposite was true. It took age to realise it.

As the Catholic Herald reports, change is afoot within the Vatican. I still can't walk the Embankment under Blackfriars Bridge without recalling the reporting of Roberto Calvi's corpse hanging over the water. Roman corruption is a squid with long tentacles. Vaticanologists are clear; once Francis has cracked the curia, he will turn his attention to the bishops. And where better to start than Germany and Austria?

Catholics in the UK will not believe the stupendous wealth of the Germanic church, funded by a State-supported Church Tax that ranges from 1.1% of income in Austria to 8% - 9% of Income tax in parts of Germany. It has allowed for instance the idiot Bishop of Limburg to spend €31m on his palace without anyone noticing, and no doubt scores of other incidents of corruption, financial abuse and self-service that are well hidden from public gaze. Francis' next move against the bishops will be the hardest of his papacy; as the Herald reports,
Pope Leo XIII sent an apostolic visitor to Ireland to report on the Catholic Church there,” he writes. “On his return, the Holy Father’s first question was: ‘How did you find the Irish bishops?’ The visitor replied that he could not find any bishops, but only 25 popes.
There will be those (indeed including regular readers) who will criticise not only Francis' conservatism but the validity of his faith. Myself, I welcome and support him with all my heart; his crook is not only a hook for errant sheep but a weapon that can kill a wolf. If he turns the gaze of his stewardship towards the EU and the Italian State, he needs to have cleared his own garden first. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Letter from Loamchester

Dear Fubbs,

Lovely to see you again at the recent Party dinner at the Stag's Head; I realised it must be fifteen years since we closed the old Conservative Club, and I must say Weatherspoons have done a decent job with the conversion, though the name 'The Slime and Bucket' may not be to everyone's taste. Of course, with only fifty members or so left in the constituency these days we simply can't afford anything more than the room that Mr Khan kindly rents us above his shop. 

Still, it's good to see that our Party leaders in London haven't entirely forgotten us. I thought the new candidate that they sent us for next year's election made a rather good speech for someone of twenty-three, though as she's been working in Parliament since she came down from Oxford she should have picked up quite a bit of experience. My only qualm is that some of the voters may have some trouble getting their tongues around her forename; there are not many Pashtoon speakers in the constituency, Colonel Maurice aside, and since he's thrown in his lot with UKIP we have not a-one in the local Party.

For a marginal, we stand a pretty good chance next year. The threefold announcement today that the Loamshire by-pass is to be upgraded to a motorway for the whole of its four mile length - splendid news! - plus a quarter of a billion for flood defences for Spittle Creek (you remember how we used to try to jump it when it was in full flood) and to cap it all, reduced price beer for pensioners from Osborne's Brewery for the whole of next year are a triple whammy (if you'll pardon the expression) that will put the party in good stead. And that chap from the Treasury made it quite clear that this is all due to our fantastic economic recovery, and nothing to do with the election at all. Let Labour try to cap that, eh? 

Right, must sign off now as Tadusz is here to do the garden and as the Poles simply don't understand herbacious perennials I must provide direction.

All my love

Bunty

Monday, 1 December 2014

Is Cherie trying to find a heartbeat?

You know, sometimes I'm half convinced that bloody Blair is already in the realm of the undead; the rictus oral contortion as he attempts a smile, and Cherie's desperate attempt to find a heartbeat, on their joint 2014 Christmas card, only tend to confirm my suspicions.

Mind you, actually being on the Blairs' Christmas card list must be only marginally preferable to being diagnosed with ebola.


Poles to pay for Stonehenge tunnel?

The area around Stonehenge is one of the most important ancient ritual landscapes in Europe, as important to our shared ancestry as Ayers Rock is to the Australian aborginals. It is surely right that modern intrusions such as the A303 should be removed from the visible landscape, however expensive this may be. An area stripped clean of road, visitor centre, car parks, ice cream vans and druid teepees will surely appeal to those like me who like their heritage pure. 

And to pay for it, Poles will just have to work a bit harder, after Cameron announced that £500m a year in UK benefits that currently goes to families in Poland is to be liberated, apparently without breaching EU law. They can take comfort that in return they will be free to share in the much improved vista of the great stones, and feel that their minor sacrifice will not have been in vain.

Friday, 28 November 2014

You'd need a heart of stone ...

It continues to baffle me why otherwise sane, risk-averse persons should choose to gamble their entire wealth by going to law. It has long been established that the only winners from legal actions for libel or slander - defamation as it seems to be termed these days - are the lawyers. There must come some point at which vanity, hubris and the faint hope of victory overcome common sense - but beware it, for that is the point at which all your life's wealth is lost. 

In the construction business we've long learned not to have intractable disputes. Or if we insist on having them, to have recourse in the first instance to tribunal processes such as adjudication, faster and simpler than an action in the Construction Court. Relatively. £600 an hour is fairly cheap by city solicitor standards and even a simple adjudication can cost £30k.

I suppose politicians fall into the same category of fuddle-headed moron as pop stars and glamour models as far as defending their 'reputation' goes and so one need not over sympathise will any ill fortune in the law courts. In Andrew Mitchell's case, it would take a heart of stone not to chuckle.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Glory of Science

I suppose there must have been a moment in the post-war world in which the thermionic valve was King when a scientist playing with silicon crystals caught a glimpse of the future. Airships powered by silicon engines, perhaps, or wrist-televisions with silicon crystal screens. I doubt that anyone would have predicted that when paired with the transistor these silicon chips would become so ubiquitous as to be found even in posh birthday cards. My first wireless as a boy was a Phillips with clunky piano-key buttons and a proper tiller-wheel tuner with little ropes behind the illuminated spectrum dial; the joy was watching the half-dozen valves warm up, glow orange and then produce the most gloriously mellow and warm tones from the small 4W speaker. Quality of sound apart, the job can now be done by something the size of a shirt stud.

The Indie's lead piece on Graphene today must echo the wildest of the speculations about Silicon in the early days. We know that the eventual applications will be miles removed from those we imagine, and that it may need a second, complementary development to realise the material's potential. Yet this story remains a small beacon of light in the November gloom - the glory of pure science, open, transparent, friendly as a Labrador and filled with hope. If there is a positive reason for thanksgiving today, this is it. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Blair cronies give the bloody butcher a bung

Whether the bloody butcher of Baghdad called in a favour from his cronies Jonathan Powell and Justin Forsyth, his former Chief of Staff and Advisor, now respectively Save the Children board member and Chief Executive, or whether they acted out of altruistic gratitude at Blair's greatness is not known. What is more certain is that they decided to award Blair a risibly inappropriate 'global legacy award' in New York without the knowledge of the organisation's management tier - two hundred of whom have now protested indignantly at the outrage.

Blair has indeed had a lasting effect on the lives of many thousands of children. He ended them. For most Chief Executives of charities dedicated to saving them, this would prove something of a bar to sycophantic rewards, but Justin Forsyth clearly has no such difficulty. 

With the prospect of Chilcot's report appearing before the 2015 election again receding, Blair will remain at large and beyond justice for the moment. 

There's a petition asking save the Children to withdraw the award HERE

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ukraine: Being the buffer IS Poland's job

Der Spiegel carries an interesting piece this morning a year after the anti-Russian mobs took over the Maidan in Kiev. The amateurish and manipulative tactics of the EU's unelected Commissioners, the early miscalculations by Moscow and the corrupt and wibbly oscillation of Yanukovich are detailed. Intriguingly, there are telling details that beg further questions; that the EU only provided Ukraine with an English language version of the complex Association Agreement, and Moscow had to provide a Russian translation to the Ukrainians, and most critically a hint of Poland's intransigence and absolutism. 
The Poles in particular insisted that the issue (Tymoshenko) could not be allowed to torpedo the association agreement. Behind closed doors, President Bronisaw Komorowski said: "Never again do we want to have a common border with Russia."
And there I think you have it; the EU's position was driven by Poland's desire not to the be the buffer between Western Europe and Russia, and an attempt to shift this role to Ukraine. It is, to be sure, an issue of concern to the Poles and Germans, the Czechs and Slovacs. But do the Spanish or the Italians really care whether Poland or Ukraine is the buffer? And are they consciously willing to pay the estimated €3bn to €12bn a year cost of shifting the buffer zone? The whole Ukraine dispute has the smell of a German-Polish initiative that was allowed to get out of hand - Ukrainian accession is by no means in the best interest of the EU as a whole. 

And from the UK's rather more objective view, it IS Poland's job to be the buffer; that is what Poland is there for. Putin's game is by no means played out yet, and this winter will tell how firmly rooted is the the resolve of both the EU and Russia. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Can there be democracy without politicians?

Dan Ware like Gillian Duffy is destined for long memory. Of all the hundreds of yesterday's column inches devoted to how Labour / the Tories / UKIP were fighting for Dan's vote, only one column actually got it right. Dan doesn't vote. He was ignoring the election. Dan is part of the majority of the UK electorate who decline to participate in returning politicians to Westminster or elsewhere, on the grounds that "It doesn't matter who you vote for, the same buggers always get in". 

Janet Daley in the Telegraph has a pretty good understanding of it all. The Dans of this world - many millions of people in the UK -  work, deal in cash a lot, look after themselves and their families and are resentful of Labour's forced equality, Tory toff privilege and the wastrels of the LibDems. And they really don't like politicians. All the party election material that drops through their letter boxes goes straight into the recycling bin, unread. They don't know who their MP is (unless, rarely, he's a 'good bloke' ) and really don't care.

Politicians are creatures of such narcissism and vanity that it is taking them an inordinate amount of time to admit that most people don't want them. They used to ascribe the non-voting of 65% of their constituents as 'apathy' before mobile phones, the internet and social media made it quite clear that people weren't at all apathetic. Now they admit coyly that 'there is a worldwide dissatisfaction with politics' without actually facing the truth that there is actually a deep global rejection of politicians.

We are clearly in transition and our old democratic systems are liable to change. The most fundamental question at the head of the agenda is can we have democracy without politicians? Or, like gut bacteria, are politicians a mildly unpleasant but necessary part of our democratic health? I don't know the answer, but I suspect as we inch towards 2015 that the question won't go away.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Emily's Knocker

When the Sun took white van man Dan Ware to call on Emily Thornberry in North London, one tiny incident captured my attention. As he was filmed knocking on the door of her townhouse, the improperly fixed lion-head knocker slid down to hang on a single fixing, exposing the original dark paint behind Emily's sunny new Primrose yellow front door. Dan gave it a half second look that suggested that his instinct was to nip back to the van for his tools, before recalling it was a Sun prop van, filled with nothing more useful than journalists. 


I'd love to offer this as a metaphor for something meaningful about Oborne's political class - the bodged, amateur paint job failing to hide the darkness beneath, or the British lion not being safe with Labour. But I won't. And since those antique knockers sell for hundreds, the chances of it still being there today are probably slim.

I have a certain sympathy with both Emily Thornberry and Dan Ware. Emily is one of few MPs who though not from a working class background has experienced real hardship and poverty in her life - as a child, following the break-up of her parents' marriage. Her actions and career since suggest to me she grew to fear and loathe poverty and financial insecurity, and I believe her snap of Dan's home was a reaction to something that for her represented everything that scarred her. 

And for those of you who don't know Medway, Dan's home in Strood is relatively up-market. You can walk from Strood (and I have done, more than once) across the Medway, through Dickensian Rochester and into Chatham, and thence into Gillingham. Chatham is rough. I mean really rough - even the women have neck tattoos, and the babies have ear rings and are clothed in Burberry check babygrows from the market. On Friday nights, the gutters run with piss. On Saturday morning the footways are spotted with blood. Chatham isn't so much working class as underclass. It's a long way from leafy North London - about 150 years away. 

And that's the real challenge for all politicians - including UKIP ones. How can the lives of people in places like Chatham be improved without actually just throwing money at them?   

Friday, 21 November 2014

Congratulations, Mr Reckless

There's really nothing more to be said except well done to all at UKIP, and congratulations to Mr Reckless. The new political world seems to be panning out:-

Party Members / supporters
Labour Party The public sector (excluding HM Armed Forces), ordained persons and persons in religious orders
Conservative Party Big corporates, global business, the seriously rich, International white trash, senior civil servants and military who don't support Labour
Liberal Democrat Party People who want to legalise marriage with animals, Vegans
United Kingdom Independence Party Everyone else, ordinary people

Mrs Miliband bans England flag

Scene: Around the oiled Swedish antique pine breakfast table at Dartmouth Park, North London, over the morning Muesli ...
"Ed - Go and take that bloody flag down! That's the fifth call I've had this morning from the neighbours!"

"Justine, please ... I've just told all our MPs that they must all have England flags flying on their houses by the weekend - how can I opt out?"

"I don't care - this is bloody Dartmouth Park; it's bad enough that the two mill price tag round here had just brought all the neighbours within the bloody Mansion tax band; I mean, I can't show my face at the Montessori nursery without eyebrows being raised, and someone actually tutted at me in the Croissant queue yesterday, and now you want to devalue the neighbourhood with ... that ....tacky ....rag!"

"Well, if it takes the value under two mill just by flying a flag, they shouldn't complain, should they?"

"Ed! Go and take it down! Now!"

"Justine, you know you're always saying how the Prius isn't big enough for us anymore? How would you feel about something larger? With room for a Biedermeier commode in the back? In white?"

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Emerging media meme: Women are the enemies of Freedom

There's an emerging theme about, or perhaps, as they say, just a random concatenation of stories, that when deconstructed is suggesting that women are the enemies of free speech. Tim Stanley reports in the Telegraph how the foetal-killing rights movements shut down an Oxford debate on abortion; the Guardian itself has reported on women's use of social media to launch burning brands and pitchforks against targets such as convicted rapist Ched Evans and ESA Loud Shirt Scientist - the tone suggesting millions of frazzled pre-menstrual women poised in fury over their keyboards for the next victim to appear - including women. The Standard reports how Tory councillor Susan Hall has been bitched online for calling TOWIE contestant Gemma Collins, an obese woman of no great intelligence, 'stupid and fat', the story being the vicious backlash rather than a politician's review of some dross TV. And of course a rather vulgar chap called Julien Blanc, sounding rather like the vegetable constituent of a French dish, has been banned after an online fury for having sex with lots of women. Many of them, no doubt, fat and stupid.

Interesting.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

FIFA behind IOC on points at top of Premier Corruption League

FIFA scorned a penalty yesterday, but captain Sepp Blatter's move to stall a corruption enquiry by calling in Gendarme Louis Ginois from the Swiss alpine canton to investigate a shortfall in the tea fund put the IOC ahead on points at the top of the league. The IOC got off to a cracking start at their first fixture, when the old joys of Lithuanian tarts, Columbian marching powder, stretched limos and bulging goody bags from Gulf Sheikhs gave them a gift of a win. 

Despite Blatter's star African wingers each pocketing over €1m in bribes, their game never really took off. EU sanctions have hit dodgy Russian money hard, and the oligarchs are out of the game this season. Blatter must surely now be looking ahead at the transfer window and at his chances of winning a good defender or two from the IOC squad to regain FIFA's place at the top of the league.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

MP explains how he works 120 hours a week

The Indie has a go this morning at MP Geoffrey Cox for his earnings as a commercial QC whilst sitting as an MP. To be frank, having an MP with a real job or a farm to run is always better than having some jumped-up teenage mutant researcher with a 2:1 PPE who has never done a stroke of real work in their lives, so here's Raedwald's rebuttal of the Indie's allegations that Mr Cox can't himself make

In total he has spent the equivalent of more than 100 10-hour days on legal work during recess but also when Parliament was sitting, earning as much as £1,333 per hour to make a total of £452,545
"This shows that you really don't understand the basis on which barristers charge. For example, I have a minimum charge threshold of 15 minutes - so even if I only speak with my instructing solicitor on the phone for 20 seconds to acknowledge receipt of a document, this is recorded as 15 minutes. 
Then there is reading time. This is calculated at the traditional rate of ten hours per pound avoirdupois of documents for all papers received, whether I read them or not. In a complex commercial case when several boxes of papers are delivered on a sack-barrow, this can be recorded as hundreds of hours. 

Then there are my refreshers, hourly charges for refreshing my memory on the contents of documents that I may or may not have read. On top of these, you must allow for case review charges, a standard charge of fifty hours, which comes into effect every time your papers find themselves on top of the pile of briefs on my desk. And meetings with instructing solicitors sometimes extend to three courses, with stickies several hours. 

So you see, for every hundred hours charged for my legal time, it's unlikely I actually spend more than an hour of 'real world' time away from my Parliamentary duties. I hope that this is now the end of the matter."

Monday, 17 November 2014

My search for an all-year poppy

Walking about in a high-immigrant area of south London last week proudly sporting my poppy - something I have done every November since a schoolboy without thought - I did something I've never done, which is to assess how many others around me were doing similarly. The answer is far fewer than I would have thought. Very few young people, very few women and very, very few immigrants - the notable exceptions being a pair of wizened little Nepalese fellows, almost certainly ex-Gurkhas. And yes, I was aware, but not at all concerned, that should some deluded Jihadist with a breadknife be on the prowl, I'd make a prime target.

I'm of an age and background that views outward displays of partisanship as rather vulgar and capable of causing unintended offence; union flag enamel lapel pins, a crucifix or suchlike are therefore out. And none of my clothes are permitted to display the tailor's name except discreetly on a patch in the lining. The poppy is the one symbol, worn for one brief week, that says so much; respect for those who have lost their lives, a belief in the causes for which they fell and a quiet and dignified statement of national solidarity. 

My search is on for something that communicates in the quiet, respectful, tolerant way as does the poppy those values which I and many more hold dear. A Help for Heroes wristband comes closer than a union flag badge but still doesn't quite hit the right note. 

Any ideas?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Luxembourg - A Euro Parasite

A parasitic worm lives in the guts of Europe. The rest of the continent does the hard job of catching and eating food, but digestion is shared with a parasite embedded deep in the gut of Europe - Luxembourg. From time to time the eggs of the parasitic worm turn up as unelected Euro officials to ensure that the continent goes easy on the vermicide - and Viviane Reding and Jean Claude Juncker are a couple of A grade double yolkers.

For sheer greed and hypocrisy, nothing beats the parasite or its egregious eggs. In return for giving the lazy burghers one of the richest lifestyles in Europe, global firms are offered cut-price tax deals that allow them to take full legal advantage of the single market. And what really grates is that the Luxembourg parasitic worm can't stand competition - when Ireland started to go down the same road there were howls of outrage from the eggs. It's not the fault of the firms who take advantage of the tax regime; that after all is what firms do, what they're supposed to do. No, the fault is solely parasite Luxembourg's - and most is the doing of the Walt that the EU have just appointed as their most senior unelected official, Jean Claude Juncker.

Friday, 14 November 2014

So sue me, Mister Rahman

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, is a chiselling crook, a bent and fraudulent opportunist who has perverted the voting process and conspired to steal public funds. I feel quite safe in writing this - Rahman is under investigation by the Met, who would probably already have sufficient evidence to charge most folk, but are making sure they have a cast-iron, waterproof case before taking him down. Andrew Gilligan has also been doing Sterling service in the Telegraph's pages in exposing Rahman's bent and crooked dealings. 

Whilst Rahman's short criminal reign in Tower Hamlets can be quoted as evidence that Localism doesn't work I would offer the countervailing analysis - his fate has proven that it does. His bent deals will be unwound, illegally sold property will be restored, and some assets recovered from the Muslim groups that benefited from Rahman's corruption. 

Moreover, having let him run-on before taking him down provides perfect, racist-free justification for tightening voting and accountability rules - to the public good. And it's proven to Rahman's cohort of supporters that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in England. 

So all good, as far as I can see.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

History again and Mr Farage

I have long been fascinated by one focus of Europe's history - the collapse of Germany in 1918, the Paris conference and the resultant short lived Weimar Republic. Colonel House's collected letters reveal the progressive breakdown between him and his most trusting master, President Wilson; House was close to the murderous taste for revenge of the French after the UK and US had won the war for them. Who knows whether Hitler would have arisen had not Wilson's intentions been perverted and Germany's humiliation been so complete?; as a footnote, the US almost repeated this vicious humiliation in 1945 until good judgement ditched the evil of the Morgenthau Plan for the beneficent Marshall Plan. 

The Novels of Alfred Döblin - particularly November 1918 and Tales of a Long Night rather than Berlin Alexanderplatz - give a truly authentic insight into the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of Germans during those times, and Youtube has (in two parts) the 3-hour Die Legende vom Dolchstoß und der Vertrag von Versailles by Bernd Fischerauer which I cannot commend too highly.

The counterpart argument for the causes that fuelled Nazism to that of Versailles being too vindictive is that of Germany's military defeat being unfulfilled. Nigel Farage put the case during the annual Tom Olsen lecture at St Bride's, reported by the Guardian. 

I firmly believe that there's no right answer to this and no one viewpoint has the truth of it - but that all informed debate on history is good, and it's right that fixed opinions on all sides are ever open to challenge. And Good on Mr Farage for contributing to the debate.  

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Smug Luxembourgers get Bitch Slapped

We have commented before on the irony of two Luxembourgers - Viviane Reding, from the last bunch of unelected EU officials, and Jean Claude Juncker, capo di capi of the current bunch - lecturing Ireland on tax breaks for corporates. 'Walt' Juncker in particular built his career as head of the Parish Council that is the laughable 'government' of this micro nation in stitching up tax breaks for the global corporates. This has all been well known for a very long time and every single Euphile has been happily ignoring it (as they do with every inconvenient fact) and pretending that the down and dirty JPJ - actually sacked from the Parish Council for corruption - was the ideal unelected official to lead the Commission.

Why then has the social democratic Euphile left suddenly turned on him? Der Spiegal is calling for Juncker to be put 'in the hot seat' and as the Telegraph reports, Bloomberg are devoting huge chunks of editorial space to demand his resignation. Not only that, the French, Dutch and German finance ministers have condemned the fraud and corruption inherent in some of Luxembourg's dodgy tax deals - exposed last Wednesday in a release from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Well, it's too late, lads. You manoeuvred to get the bent little walt the job and now you're stuck with him. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

US Arms industry needs a new enemy

The kings of global corporatism, the US arms industry, is desperate in its need for a new bogeymen enemy. Islam just doesn't cut it; you can't justify a $50bn development programme for stealth ramjet drones on the basis that they're needed to take out Toyota Landcruisers carrying large calibre machine guns designed in the 1950s. And while China and Russia are both big players, their kit is largely old fashioned stuff turned out by metal bashers rather than by silicon savants. Besides, domestic feeling in the US is now strongly against foreign adventuring - meaning the US now only needs main battle tanks to defend itself from invasions from Mexico or Canada. And there's little justification for expensive fleets of warships and transports. Unless, of course, they're needed in Yewp*

The US arms industry always rediscovers NATO and SEATO when times are lean. And if real threats don't exist, they'll do their doggone best to create them. So I expect we'll be back this winter to low level attritional conflict in Ukraine to prove that Russia is a bogeymen and some action in the Pacific to boost the Chinese badddies. And given the pork-barrel relationship between the arms industry and politics in the US, each dead Ukranian means another job saved in a missile plant in New Mexico and a dozen saved votes for their congressman.

*'as in 'Newkyular' when they mean nuclear.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Free Europe

It was in a hotel bar in Salzburg on Wednesday night of all places where I got chatting to a couple of lads from Walthamstow. Their company fleeces and work trousers indicated they were there on business rather than to endure the ubiquitous Mozart schmaltz that has polluted this otherwise attractive 17th century town. They were service engineers - skilled technicians who flew around Europe staying in 3-star hotels and maintaining bits of building kit. They were quite at home amongst the Turkish cab drivers, Halal fast food joints and Roma beggars on the footways. Their iPhones - frequently accessed - kept them anchored in Walthamstow. As a lesson in labour mobility, it was admirable. Austrian labour protectionism, which I imagine insists that a photocopier technician has served a seven-year apprenticeship and is a paid-up member of the Kopiererwartungverband before they are allowed to clear a paper jam, has had to give way to the free market - in this case Walthamstow workers who can read Japanese service manuals written in cod-English. 

I must say I'm actually in agreement with Cameron's opponents in Europe who argue that free movement of workers is inviolable. Brits are actually well-suited to take advantage of these economic freedoms. The problem isn't free movement of (European) workers, it's that welfare rules, particularly in the UK, haven't caught up with the new reality. Hence we pay millions in child benefit to kids in Poland and English dole to idle Slovakian alcoholics in Slough. 

It's African and Pakistani immigration rather than European workers that have caused real damage to England. UKIP is just scared to say so.   

 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Politicians don't know how to re-connect

Janet Daley sums-up the position well in this morning's Telegraph; the world over, professional politicians have lost contact with voters. They know this - and would give anything to gain advantage by being able to re-connect to the voters now flocking to the anti-politics parties, but they simply don't know how to do it. And they don't know how to do it because they are trying to find a campaigning technique rather than trying to find voters' concerns.

Like abusers trapped in a cycle of self-destruction, everything they do just makes things worse, drags them further down that terminal spiral. Unless something changes radically, it can only end when the present political class shatters into a million shards of mendacity. 

And on that cheerful note I must apologise in advance for any hiatus in posting for the next few days.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

This is what an exploitative hypocrite looks like

This is what an exploitative hypocrite looks like

To be fair, the three of 'em are so out of touch with ordinary life that they probably imagine the £45 per tee charged on behalf of the Fawcett Society is the going price in somewhere such as Matalan and therefore quite reasonable, and their only quibble with the revelation of the 62p per hour wage paid to the 16-to-a-room workers who make them in the MOS this morning is self-pity at the bad publicity rather than any real concern at labour conditions. 

And Miliband has reason to be smug; 62p is, after all, 60p more than the charity he bestowed on a Roma beggar in the street, and everyone knows that poor people can make money stretch.

God's Blood these people make me sick. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Rochester Sweeps

Back when, in less egalitarian days, when a corrupt copper and a bent squire could make the life of a working man not only miserable but deadly, there were few outlets for anonymous social protest that would allow dissenters to reveal wrongs or highlight hypocrisy and corruption without making themselves targets for retribution.

In Parts of southern Austria the safety valve was (and is) Perchtennacht; men dress as anonymous goat-headed demons and leap and roar at bystanders and smash oak staves loudly on the paving. Sometimes a watcher is hit hard by an oak stave. Or three. Or kicked in the balls. The 'accidental' victim is always either unpopular or guilty of some infraction against village ethics and the anonymous injuries are a message to either change behaviour or leave town. Not being present on the processional route (unless you're one of the Perchten) is an admission of guilt and of cowardice. It's rough, but effective. 

In England the favoured disguise for anonymous action was always a top hat or head-dress to distort height, a fractured costume to disguise body shape and of course soot to blacken the face. Then like the Perchten the Blacks could leap, roar and smash their Morris staves on the cobbles frighteningly strongly. As an exhibition of raw, furious, testosterone driven male aggression it is startlingly effective - and an unambiguous warning to those in authority that they rule only by popular consent.

The Rochester Sweeps are the modern bowdlerised incarnation of the Blacks. I'm only astonished that some dim-witted, ignorant, naive or stupid hack hasn't yet interpreted Rochester's historic tradition as 'racist'; but no doubt they would also condemn the Austrian Perchten as 'goatist'. 

Rochester Sweeps try not to be scary
Althofen Perchten - terrifying the kids and the guilty

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Dealing with economic migrants the African way

Back in the days of my direct acquaintance with West Africa, before Nigerian oil, when life was little more civilised, Ghana and Nigeria enjoyed a sort of see-saw economic cycle. When one was doing well, the other was doing poorly, and vice-versa. Accra is separated from Lagos by a skinny strip of land that gives mini-nations Togo and Benin access to the Gulf of Guinea - generally migrants drive straight across it unhindered. And so with economic boom and bust a horde of migrants moved back and forth between the two cities.

And when some diplomatic spat or financial disagreement caused the two governments to fall out, the consequences were felt by the migrants. They were simply expelled en masse; rounded up by the police and army where necessary, and sent packing. I remember seeing two pieces of news footage; one was of Ghanaians trekking westwards, a long walking column of chaps carrying washing machines on their heads, women bowed under the weight of huge blanket-wrapped bundles on their backs as they walked home. The second was of Nigerians expelled from Ghana walking eastwards, a long column of men with fridges on their heads and women dragging cloth-wrapped bundles on makeshift sleds.  

They're quite used to this sort of solution, you see. The hundreds of thousands now illegally in the UK would not be at all surprised and only slightly put-out to be marched onto a fleet of ferries moored at Southampton to take them home. It's the African way.

Monday, 27 October 2014

European Commission tries soft approach to get UK dosh

I see the EC is trying the soft approach to get Cameron to part with 2.1 bn€ of our tax money:-


Would Tony Benn have joined UKIP?

The answer of course is no - on the basis that Benn's belief in a benign all-powerful central State exercising national command from the centre is a core tenet of Labour, Conservative and FlibDim policies but not UKIP's. Still, there's a certain meeting of minds as expounded by Steve Richards in the Guardian; Steve actually wonders if many Tories aren't closet Bennites whilst scrupulously avoiding the point that UKIP is undeniably Bennite in terms of a shared stance on the EU; Benn was against it on democratic grounds. Sure, he wanted a centralist dictatorship in the UK - but he wanted people to vote for it first. 

Bennite praise also comes to Mr Carswell
The former Tory MP and Ukip defector, Douglas Carswell, was typical in praising Benn in his Guardian interview last week: “Benn said the key questions were: who has power, who gave it to them, on whose behalf do they wield it, and are they accountable? I remember thinking this guy is spot on.” Separately, the founder of the ConservativeHome website, Tim Montgomerie, told me at a public event that he was a “Bennite on Europe”. He would advocate withdrawal whatever Cameron says or does, on the grounds that the EU can never be accountable to voters here or elsewhere. On another front, Benn started a campaign after the 1979 election to make Labour’s leadership and MPs more accountable to party members, supporting the right of local parties to deselect MPs. Benn’s crusade then has become, in a different form, the unrelenting mission of some Tory MPs now, or former Tory MPs. Carswell defected above all over the right of constituents to remove errant MPs – the project led by his former Conservative colleague, Zac Goldsmith. The Tory Bennites’ proposal, the right of recall, is a different measure to Benn’s, but the principle is similar. Constituents should hold MPs to account and not the national leadership.
There must be a few creased brows and paused spoons of organic Goji Berry yoghurt at the breakfast tables of Guardianistas this morning. 

Friday, 24 October 2014

EU demands an extra £79.87 from each UK taxpayer

The EU peremptory demand for an extra £1.7bn works out at £57.05 from each of the UK's 29.8m income tax payers; most of the money will go to prop up the broke Kermits. The French strategy is based on not enacting any savings measures in its own economy at all, but to make up the shortfall by charging everyone else in Europe for the failure of Flanby's bankrupt socialist system.

On top of this, the Berlaymont wastrels want an extra £22.82 from each UK income taxpayer this year to pay for their above-inflation pay and pension increases and to fund dodgy Mafia schemes in Europe's slumholes.

So come on all you Euphiles, get yer chequebooks out and write one for Herr Juncker for £79.87 - after all, it's our European duty to fund the waste and corruption of others ...

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Juncker is right. And oh so wrong.

Austria requires hairdressers to undergo four years of technical college training and apprenticeship before being allowed to style hair commercially. In the UK, a school leaver fresh out of uniform can set up as a hairdresser. Result? Austrian women have the most unattractive and unflattering hair in all Europe, including Bulgaria, whilst for fifty years British hairstyling has thrilled and inspired women across the world. It's a neat and visible lesson in the effects of over-regulation in stifling creativity and innovation - qualities essential for economic success in a global economy. And just as mediaeval builders who moved for work from Saint Denis to Kent brought England's first ever gothic arches, English Ironmasters taught northern Germany the art of Industry. Free movement of skill, innovation and knowledge throughout Europe has for centuries been the secret of European competitive advantage - and this means allowing free movement of skilled workers. 

Even economic migrants or refugees from pogroms and persecution have enriched England; Hugueneots with glassworking  and mechanical craft skills, the anonymous German potter who brought the secret of salt-glazed stoneware to London, and not least the poor Russian Jews whose offspring would later found the IEA. And many more, many enriching, enabling and inspiring our own development. 

So free movement of people in Europe is always a good thing? To a point, Lord Copper. Try telling that to a Fenlands town where a third of the population are eastern European field labour, strong-backed peasants who can stand all day in the Winter mud and pluck mangel-worzels from the sticky clay. Making food cheap for Tesco, but killing local cultural heritage and cultural identity.

And this is the dichotomy we face; open interchange of skills, ideas and innovation helps us all, but free movement without any restriction whatsoever can destroy a traditional way of life, swamp historic communities and dilute national congruence. And you can't really tell which is which; Ralph Harris' father was a poor Jewish shoemaker, a penniless refugee, who wouldn't have made it past a points system.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Europe - An irresistible magnet

I defy any reader not to be moved deeply by the tragic tale told in Der Spiegel of an ill-fated attempt by a group of Africans to reach the Nirvana of Europe. I have written many times that one cannot blame immigrants for immigration; the fact that immigrants are here in such numbers is both a failure of border controls and a sustained campaign of anti-British spite and national self-hatred by the Labour Party. But primarily they are here because of our wealth; our economy and well-being are an irresistible magnet for the poor and aspirational.
Abdou, born into poverty in 1940, remained poor, even by Nigerien standards. He owned a few gourds as drinking vessels, and his three robes hung from a hook in his hut. He had sold his only cow for 98,000 CFA francs to pay for the trip north. Samani was squatting on the bed of the large truck, on the left side behind the driver's cab. He had an 18-liter water canister behind him and was holding a bag filled with three shirts and three pairs of pants. He had paid 30,000 CFA francs, the equivalent of about €46 ($59), for a space on the truck -- the traffickers had waived a portion of the fare, because it was all the money he had. He had also bought some underwear with a zippered pouch in front so he could hide his travel money. Acquaintances had assured Samani that clothing was free in Europe. A friend who had made it to Spain told Samani that Europeans happily hand out sweaters and jackets against the cold. Europeans replace their household goods every year, says Samani, placing whatever they no longer need on the kerb. Even the taxi drivers drive Mercedes in Europe, he says.
Clothing free in Europe? True. People can even buy a complete brand-new outfit for the value of an hour's cleaning work. Unwanted goods left on the kerb? Certainly true in my road, where children's toys and clothing, surplus novels, old speakers and bathroom shelves are left on the front garden walls for any passer-by who wants to take them. And Merc taxis? True also, but unlikely to be new Mercs. Still, it's astonishing that such simple tokens of affluence that we take for granted have grown to legend status amongst the poor, the hungry, the unclothed and the owners of just a goat or two and a few gourds to whom such things are beyond dreams of avarice.