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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Belgium's EU Presidency

As Spain bows out Belgium will take over the rotating presidency of the EU on Thursday.  Spain's six-month presidency has neither affected nor effected very much at all and that's a good thing in my eyes - the less these faux democratic institutions do, the better.

Belgium, on the other hand, has grand plans befitting a founding member of the EU and NATO.  For such a small country, cobbled together in 1830, it certainly punches above its weight and any conspiracy theorist could be forgiven for thinking that its raison d'etre is as a vehicle for those two institutions.

Belgium's 'big idea' is to push harder for cross-border economic government and new taxes to support grand ideological projects.

A government 'source' said:

"...we can also explore, for example, the financing of European projects via  new sources of revenue.  Couldn't these new types of income at least in part be channelled  towards major European-level projects?"

Similar ideas -- monies funnelled straight into the bloc's collective budget, or at least indirectly by different member states towards common goals -- have long been advanced, with little success, by the European Commission.

It's going to be a rocky six months for our Coalition government; I look forward to hearing Belgium's plans debated in full in our Parliament, on the BBC (primetime news of course) and other media outlets.

I also think it's high time the European Scrutiny Committee was re-formed - it's the only Select Committee still awaiting members and a chairman.

All select committees have ceased to exist unless or until the House  renominates them following the election.

Full article

UPDATE:  The Telegraph has this now.  "Cameron will back down,"  says senior EU official.

Belgian negotiators are convinced that Mr Cameron's hard line opposition to giving more sovereignty up to the EU, a pledge written into his coalition government's agreement, will be sacrificed in the interests of pragmatism.

The senior source observed that no EU agreements would ever be possible if all European leaders stuck to the "totality" of their election manifestos.  "It is impossible to have compromise with total programmes," he said.

EU officials have warned British diplomats that the Lisbon Treaty means it will have to compromise on sovereignty because Britain does not have veto for either the budget scrutiny or financial market supervision measures.

Belgium is also ready to pick a fight with Britain over plans for new European-wide taxes to directly fund the EU independently of contributions from national treasuries.

That sounds like a red rag to a bull.  Cameron's mettle is going to be tested in the coming months - now we'll see what he's made of.


PMQs: Verdict

I don't think there's much to write home about this week except that it was notable for there being no roll of honour from Cameron.

When Labour was in government it was evident that they didn't listen to any views other than their own; their heads nodded, their mouths said yes but their actions proved them liars and manipulators. It's interesting to see them in Opposition after 13yrs because they're just the same but more vocal and aggressive. They still have their fingers in their ears, they still hear what they want to hear and still think that talking over someone & shouting louder is somehow 'winning' the debate. For Labour it's always about scoring points whilst ignoring the evidence and blaming someone else.

As for the LibServatives, once we've all fully recovered from the shock of hearing a pacey and well-articulated PMQs we can concentrate more on the content. It's not looking good.

The first question today was from Kevin Brennan (Lab, Cardiff West): Is the reason he wants to put fewer criminals in jail to do with cutting crime or cutting budgets?

Cameron: What this govt wants to do is clear up the complete mess of the criminal justice system left by the Labour Party. each prison place today costs £45k yet 40% of prisoners are back in prison within a year. More than half of them are on drugs and around 10% of them are foreign national prisoners who shouldn't be here in the first place.

Nadine Dorries (Con, Mid-Bedfordshire) asked that local people be given a say on the proposal by an American company to build an incinerator 'the size of Wembley' in her constituency.

Harman asked whether the estimated figure of 1.3m job losses as a result of the Budget was produced by Treasury officials.

Cameron: The honourable lady should know [interrupted by Labour heckling, already] ... I will give a surprisingly full answer if they just sit patiently. This morning the OBR produced the full tables for the Budget for employment in the public and private sector. This is something that never happened under a Labour government. As shown in the budget, unemployment is forecast to fall every year under this government but it also does show public sector employment and what's interesting from the tables is you can see the effect of Labour's policy before the budget and you can see the effect of our policy after the budget. What the figures show is that, under Labour's plans, next year there would be 70,000 fewer public sector jobs and the year after that there would be 150,000 fewer public sector jobs. The reason is we've had the courage to have a two-yr pay freeze. I know we've all been watching the football but that's a spectacular own goal.

Harman was having none of this of course. She was sandwiched between a rather self-satisfied Darling and a somewhere-over-the-rainbow Sean Woodward who only raised his chin occasionally to intone 'yeah, yeah, from time to time. Harman persisted in asking why the PM wouldn't publish "hidden" Treasury documents, she spoke of "abject misery"  [to 'hard-working families'] and asked how much extra would be spent on unemployment benefit.

Cameron referred her to the OBR, "independent from the government" and told them to stop "chuntering about it". 

Osborne, who I understand has sinus problems [ahem] hence his unfortunate tendency to look pretty vacant as he catches flies, sprang to life as if in disbelief that anyone could possibly be as thick as the honourable members opposite. The Americans have a word for something that isn't what it appears to be - 'cute' - and that's what Osborne is. I used to have a 'cute' car - it didn't look particularly fast but you know what stripey, go-faster boys can be like when they see a blond in something unusual. They didn't know it was fibre glass and couldn't see what was under the bonnet: it always gave me immense girly pleasure to leave them standing.

Back to poor George - his expression as Cameron explains the OBR to Harman & Co is a picture and I think that's part of the reason I still like him - he hasn't mastered the politician's trick of making a mask of his face.  He's somehow childlike and open in his facial responses when he's off-guard. It doesn't seem to have clicked with him that by sitting to the left of Cameron at PMQs he's on constant show and I'll regret the day that it does.

Clegg wasn't particularly animated in this session, in fact he's been pretty subdued throughout, as if he's missing the limelight of the Leaders' Debates. He allows himself a wry smile from time to time but usually he just looks squashed and glum - the smile never reaches the eyes. I'm surprised because I'd have thought Clegg & the LibDems had more reasons than most to be cheerful. I look at what the Conservatives have watered-down or back-tracked on to date and I think I have more reason than Clegg to wish I was far, far away with a cushy number in Brussels and a haughty disdain for my fellow man.

Harman pointed out that the Treasury had less money coming in and more money going out - she blamed the Budget but that's how it was with Labour before the election, they just haven't had to admit it.  I've never known a politicial party so relieved to lose a General Election and another so reluctant to win an outright majority.

There was quite a bit of banter, exasperation and footballing euphemisms - "from peaceniks to peacepods", Darling's words were thrown back at him, "slotted into the back of the net".   Keep an eye out for what Cameron disdainfully and ingrammatically called, "the stupidest piece of spending", ie  a £2.4m refurbishment of Harriet's own department incl. £72k each on "2-storey meeting pods known as peace-pods".

Are there any lip-readers out there?  At approx 04.37 in Video 3 when Meacher asks why 'bankers and the super-rich' aren't losing their jobs what does Cameron say to Osborne (my best guess at the moment is 'wtf is this?' ) and what's Osborne's response?

Is your MP here?

Backbench questions included homecoming parades, debt & deficit, unemployment; prison sentences; student visas;  'in-care' children, Sheffield Forgemasters; Afghanistan withdrawal;  care of our AF wounded ;  paediatric care in the NHS;  hospice funding; the importance of international aid; the bank levy;  the UN's Children's Day;  any cuts in Scotland to be brought before the Scotland Committee at Westminster:

Steve Brine (Con, Winchester);  John Cryer (Lab, Leyton & Wanstead); Julian Sturdy (Con, York Outer);  George Howarth (Lab, Knowsley);  Stephen Lloyd (LibDem, Eastbourne); Megg Munn ( Labour Co-op, Sheffield Heeley); Gary Streeter (Con, SW Devon); Caroline Lucas (Green, Brighton Pavilion);  Mark Lancaster (Con, Milton Keynes North);  Kate Green ( Lab Stretford & Urmston); Charlie Elphicke ( Con, Dover) (ruled out of order);  Elizabeth Kendall (Lab, Leicester West);  Robin Walker (Con, Worcester);  Gordon Banks (Lab, Ochil & South Perthshire); Tony Baldry (Con, Banbury); Michael Meacher (Lab, Oldham West & Royton); Annette Brooke (LibDem, Dorset Mid & Poole North); Michael Connarty (Lab, Linlithgow & Falkirk East);  Matthew Hancock (Con, West Suffolk) [one to watch];  Graham Jones (Lab, Hyndburn).

Bercow intervened quite a few times but mainly to tell b/benchers to keep their questions brief.  At the end of PMQs he also ruled that  the Home Secretary had been out of order in releasing key details to the press before they were presented to the House.  Theresa May stood up, "deeply regretted the fact" and apologised to the House.  I don't recollect the previous government doing that.

Other 'points of order' followed which weren't points of order at all - merely a way of bringing attention to a perceived grievance.  Michael Connarty (Lab, Linlithgow & Falkirk East), to his credit, did raise the question of the still non-existent European Scrutiny Committee.  Apparently there are five Labour MPs lined up to sit on the committee.  Bercow is sometimes his own worst enemy - he plays games with words and is then needlessly upset.  He offered no solution beyond saying that all committees were important committees.  I'm again losing the will to live in the face of politics - who knows when the European Scrutiny Committee will be re-convened?

Videos courtesy of the Daily Politics

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Police & Photographers

Some police officers still don't understand that it isn't a criminal offence to take photographs in a public place and they just seem to be making it up as they go along.   The one in this video, when asked to give a reason for detention, just said the first things that came into his head: (eg 'you were acting silly'; 'we don't need a law'; 'causing anxiety').

This incident happened on Saturday at an Armed Forces Day parade.  The photographer was first told it was an offence to photograph a child, then an offence to photograph the military, then an offence to photograph the police and finally that he was a threat under the Terrorism Act.  It culminated him allegedly being pushed down a flight of steps and detained 'for his own safety'.

Met Police guidelines on photography
It would ordinarily be unlawful to use section 58A to arrest people photographing police officers in the course of normal policing activities, including protests, because there would not normally be grounds for suspecting that the photographs were being taken to provide assistance to a terrorist. An arrest would only be lawful if an arresting officer had a reasonable suspicion that the photographs were being taken in order to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

There is nothing preventing officers asking questions of an individual who appears to be taking photographs of someone who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s Forces (HMF), Intelligence Services or a constable so long as this is being done for a lawful purpose and is not being done in a way that prevents, dissuades or inhibits the individual from doing something which is not unlawful.
Jules Mattson, the photographer

Monday, 28 June 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

Tougher budget sanctions to cover all EU funds
Only a closer Union can save the eurozone
Single Crisis Response Centre for Ashton and EU 'embassies' will cost 50% more than at present
Hedegaard throws 'weight' behind EU carbon tax despite admitting they didn't think it through

Keep smiling:


Sunday, 27 June 2010

There's a hole in my bucket

Computing woes:

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Just Saying

Afghanistan mineral wealth worth £2 trillion

Rothschild's Vallar in £600m listing plan

Eurasian Mining Co


Tin foil at the ready
Pipelines & mineral exploration


Friday, 25 June 2010

Lost data and a lost week

Just over a week ago, my hard drive developed a fault, around mid-disk, and wouldn't reboot. (Sympathies, Spidey!)

Fortunately, I had a backup of all my data ... only ...

While going through the motions of trying to salvage my installation (dozens of  fruitless Windows installs (aarrgghh!), CHKDSKs, fixmbrs, fixboots, and the like, I kind of lost the plot.

In a moment of sheer idiocy, I forgot that my backup unit was plugged into my computer during one of those installations and, because the drive is of the same size and format as my hard drive, I formatted my backup.

15 years of data - photos, legal documents, correspondence, scanned school reports of my sons, passwords, half-written books, contact details, work, orders, receipts, course materials, emails, downloaded books, films - gone!

I cannot describe the sense of disbelief I felt on realising what I'd just done. I must've looked a picture!

The good news is that I have a new hard drive up and running, with only a few more weeks of configuring (again) and have found software that will even recover data from a drive that has been formatted!  It has been running for half a day already, and looks like it has another day or so to run - but hey, it has the task of recovering a terrabyte of data, so I'm quite happy to wait!

So far, from what I've seen, the software will recover most of it, although the file names will have been lost (I can't be sure of it yet, but it looks that way).

Just another few days to go, at which point I will be opening files, assigning names to them and re-categorising them.

Many thanks to Goodnight Vienna for keeping the blog going. What a trooper!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The UN, The OIC & Media Censorship

What is it about the world's movers & shakers that everything they do seems counter-intuitive to common sense?

The latest news from the UN is that it believes the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has a “human right” to impose censorship on the media to “promote (Muslim) religious tolerance.”

Despite EU and US opposition the OIC successfully pushed through a resolution that creates a watchdog to monitor how religion is portrayed in the media.  The OIC says it will promote religious tolerance by ensuring that religion is not defamed.

Fox News
Dallas Blog

UPDATE: Here's a video lifted from Wayne's Earth which ties in nicely with the censorship angle and shows how it's already operating:

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

PMQs: The Verdict

Cameron sits on Harman

It was another good one.  This is what PMQs should be; it's what we've missed for so many years and is a sharp contrast to the dirge of Labour.  It was sparky, energetic, confrontational and revealing.  I could go on but I'm in danger of sounding like a PMQs groupie.  The truth is I'm just so delighted at the raised standard of debate, that questions are answered and backbenchers have more time to pose questions.  Everything in this half-hour cruelly highlights the lack of respect the previous government showed to Parliament and to the people in the past thirteen years.

Cameron paid tribute to Marine Paul Warren, 40 Commando Royal Marines, and an un-named soldier from the same unit who both died this week.  I can't find the words - the conflict and the roll of honour seem interminable. It's clear that there is a great deal of concern amongst govt backbenchers about the loss of life, how it's progressing overall and how well-supported our troops are.

The first question was from new Labour b/bencher, Lisa Nandy (Lab, Wigan) who asked about freezing funding to the Coalfield (? sorry, I'm a northerner myself but untangling some of these accents is getting beyond me) Communities Regeneration Programme and referred back to the pit closures in the eighties.  'Is he seeking to close down the coalfields all over again?'  Cameron said what you'd expect him to say plus there's to be some sort of additional announcement next week.

Simon Hart (Con, Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South) asked about the 23,000 TA Reservists who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans in the last six years.  Twenty-two have lost their lives in these ops "and those who survive are twice as likely to get PTSD than their regular counterparts".  He essentially asked what recognition & support the govt would give to employers who allowed them time off.

Cameron: Absolutely right to raise the contribution the TA plays in serving our country.  Standing up for our Armed Forces is "not just a govt responsibility, it's a social responsibility, something we should all do and we should pay tribute to those businesses..." 

Harman, resplendent in toning shades of bronze and copper, with a frisson of grey roots, referred to the govt bringing forward the linking of state pensions to earnings to 2011 rather than 2012 and asked how much money had been set aside to accommodate the increase.

Yvette Cooper (Balls) sat to her right and Rosie Winterton to her left.  Unfortunately, the camera angle meant that Peter Hain, he of the fuchsia tie, blue suit and orange complexion, was always in shot.

Cameron:  'It's more complex than this'.  He spoke of the triple-lock (RPI, CPI and inflation rate) meaning a guaranteed increase of 2.5% and mocked Labour for their 75p increase for pensioners.

The rest of the exchange will be on video so you can see for yourselves how Cameron laid into her (the answer btw is £1bn over the term of the Parliament).  We even have a new word courtesy of this govt: ' Greconomics'.   Harman's an unredeemed remnant of a dying and archaic political system but like the Terminator, they keep renewing themselves.  It's time they were melted down for scrap value once and for all and, since every penny counts, sold off to help pay our debts.

There were a few 'good' jokes - red book/unread book - which cheered the backbenches on all sides but not Yvette Cooper who threw metaphorical daggers at Cameron & Osborne and sat po-faced throughout.  What a miserable life it must be to be a true believer; always envious, always denying human nature's innate desire to achieve and improve, always deriding those who do well for themselves while doing pretty good, thank you very much, for themselves.

There was a wonderful intervention at one point from the govt backbenches - someone, and no doubt the 'culprit' will be outed soon, shouted: "Three-Nil" which amused everyone but the Labour MPs.

I think I feel sorry for Denis Skinner (Lab, Bolsover).  He has retained the reputation of being a firebrand leftie ('the Beast of Bolsover') but no longer deserves it.  It's said that Labour are better in Opposition and, if by 'better' one means more bolshie, that could be true.  When Labour was in govt Skinner was silent, obedient, supine but now they're in Opposition he's constantly on the edge of his seat, thrust forward, one buttock raised and hands resting on knees.  He has the unfortunate appearance of an old man beset by piles.

Q.13 ("What is the military purpose of routine foot & vehicle patrols in Afghanistan?"  Julian Lewis, Con, New Forest East).

Other backbenchers who posed questions:
Topics raised (apart from the usual ones about Labour and the deficit 'legacy) included the EU (2), Sky News, Trident, Sinn Fein, Armed Forces Day, the NHS in Scotland, VAT.

Paul Maynard (Con, Blackpool North & Cleveleys);  Karen Buck (Lab, Westminster North); Chris Pincher (Con, Tamworth);  Chris Evans (Lab Co-op, Islwyn);  John Thurso (LibDCem, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross);   Pamela Nash (Lab, Airdrie & Shotts);  Graham Evans (Con, Weaver Vale);  David Crausby (Lab, Bolton North East);  Andrew Selous (Con; South West Bedfordshire);  Helen Goodman (Lab, Bishop Auckland);  Peter Bone (Con, Wellingborough);   David Cairns (Lab, Inverclyde);  Matthew Hancock (Con, West Suffolk);  Fiona Mactaggart (Lab, Slough);  Julian Huppert (LibDem, Cambridge);   Rev Wm. McCrea (DUP, South Antrim);  Guy Opperman (Con, Hexham); Angus Robertson (SNP Westminster Leader);  Jonathan Evans (Con, Cardiff North);  Anne McGuire (Lab, Stirling).

I'll leave it at that because there's a football match to watch and a curry to stir.

The rest will follow after the football.

Monday, 21 June 2010


WARNING:  "Do not vote Conservative or George Osborne will steal your children and eat them," says ex-Chancellor Darling.

After a few days doing other things (really enjoyable - apart from a film which had my hormones weeping buckets) I was hoping to find something positive to comment on - but there's nothing.  I thought the negativity might be down to my own frame of mind, my perspective, but the world has continued to turn over the weekend and the same sh!t (please excuse my French) has been thrown up yet again.

I'm not going to mention Chris Huhne (oops!) because I've never liked him so anything I write, such as what a hypocritical, bullying and arrogant waste of space he is, will be biased.

I'm not going to blog about how some sections of the media, the unions and political opposition have already judged tomorrow's Budget and decided that it is bad, bad, bad and that George Osborne is going to screw your granddad's pension and then your granny (before she's shipped off to the care home gulag to be fed on thin gruel twice a day, if she's lucky).  Well, they say, we all know this is nothing to do with debt and deficit; it's just because the Tories are ideologically driven to sh@ft anyone who didn't go to Eton, what-ho!  Well done to Sky News for following the Labour line.

I think old Pavlos Joseph is a bit of a numpty - so he would have had much in common with the England Squad and shouldn't have been arrested.  On second thoughts ...

It was Cameron's 'Big Society' and his 'Diamond Dividend' that really got to me.  The Diamond Dividend is a project whereby the Queen is being urged to lend her support to a think-tank project designed to encourage everyone  every wage earner to tithe 1% of their earnings to charity on a regular basis.  This is Cameron's Nudge philosophy courtesy of Res Publica's Phillip Blonde, the 'red Tory' praised by the left-wing Labourite Jon Cruddas.

I think most people give what they can already; the British people are amongst the most generous in terms of donations and voluntary work.  Cameron says that we don't give as much as the US - perhaps that's because they're a low taxation nation and so have more disposable income.  We're taxed up to the hilt and then some so, sorry Cammers, it's a bit rich to take half our yearly earnings in tax, cut back public services and then expect us to also donate more to charities to fill that gap.  It's a non-runner.

In 'the age of austerity' (his phrase, not mine) he'd do well to remember two old-fashioned phrases:  (1) look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves, and (2) charity begins at home.  There is another phrase that we might all need this time next year: please sir, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, may we have some more?  And, I don't mean advisers and quangos.

On to another wtf-f-f moment: this is something Cameron really must sort out without delay to remove this insult to everything British from the streets and into jail (or, Heaven forbid, a few deportation orders):

It's no good blaming the EDL and arresting them while leaving the violent jihadists shouting hatred on the streets.  Cameron must also look to the 166 Deobandi schools in England - they're moulding the future leaders, according to newspaper articles.  The fact that these 'future leaders' believe in Sha'ria law must be a cause for concern to us all.

That the UAF (btw, love that chant guys, but it will never catch on in Britain), the Muslims against the Crusades, the EDL and a tolerant Muslim organisation (ex-Muslim?) are coming together more frequently is a sure sign that something has gone very wrong with the country.  That members of the EDL were the only ones to be arrested is even worse and it will only attract more supporters.

As for the strapline on the video: "Islamic demo for Sharia law in UK sparks nationalist counter-protest", I'd have thought that was a given reaction.  The police said the EDL protest didn't have permission and wasn't 'licensed' - well, Mr Met Police, the English don't 'need' a licence or permission to demonstrate so ** :-)  We'll demonstrate how and where we want and in whatever way we see fit.


Friday, 18 June 2010

Gulf Oil spills: Déjà vu 2

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Open Europe Briefing

The excellent Open Europe has published a new report detailing steps being taken towards an EU economic government.

The rise of the EU's economic government: Proposals on the table and what has already been achieved

It's a 20-page .pdf file which, amongst other topics, analyses the Greek bailout, the effects of the Stability & Growth pact, the monitoring of all 27 national budgets and possible cracks in the Franco-German axis.

Here are the keypoints followed by a few quotes from some of the euro-elite:
  • The eurozone is now a de facto debt union, with its members taking on the liabilities of each others' sovereign debts and with the European Central Bank financing states through its purchases of government bonds.
  • The legality of the eurozone rescue packages, agreed in the spring, is dubious since they are inconsistent with the 'no bailout' clauses in the EU Treaties. The €60 billion stabilisation fund, for which British taxpayers are liable for around €8 billion, is particularly questionable on legal grounds - and would most likely not survive a test in a non-politicised court. Crucially, it transfers both powers and potentially more taxpayers' money to the EU - both of which the UK Coalition Government has said it opposes.
  • At the summit, EU leaders will discuss a proposal requiring member states to submit their national budgets to the Commission and other finance ministers before sending them to national parliaments. The UK Government opposes this, but according to the Commission has no veto over the proposal.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and now French President Nicolas Sarkozy, have said that a change to the EU Treaties might be necessary to achieve stronger economic governance, including tougher sanctions for member states that violate the bloc's budget rules. A Treaty change is likely to come up against resistance but is not off the cards if Angela Merkel spends the political capital needed to push it through.
  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will veto any Treaty change that transfers more powers from Westminster to Brussels. However, rather than being on the defensive, Cameron could work with Angela Merkel and other partners to achieve Treaty changes – but ask for substantial EU reforms in return, including the repatriation of powers back to the UK.
  • The nature of the negotiations is likely to depend on the contrasting Franco-German visions of how to deal with the current economic problems.
  • France, on the one hand, hopes to move a step closer to its long-held desire for economic government of the eurozone, including the greater harmonisation of all economic policy across its 16 members.
  • Germany, on the other hand, is pushing for much tougher budgetary rules for the eurozone, backed by sanctions, but fears the politicisation of economic policy. It therefore wants to water down the French plans for economic government by more loosely applying aspects of them to the entire 27 member states rather than focussing them more tightly on the eurozone members.

“We are clearly confronted with a tension within the system, the ill-famous dilemma of being a monetary union and not a full-fledged economic and political union. This tension has been there since the single currency was created. However, the general public was not really made aware of it” - European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, 25 May 2010
“I am sure the euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments. It is politically impossible to propose that now. But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created”- Then European Commission President, Romano Prodi, 2001
“The single currency is the greatest abandonment of sovereignty since the foundation of the European Community… the decision is of an essentially political nature" - Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González, 1998
“The introduction of the Euro is probably the most important integrating step since the beginning of the unification process. It is certain that the times of individual national efforts regarding employment policies, social and tax policies are definitely over. This will require  finally burying some erroneous ideas of national sovereignty”- Then German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, 1999
“The process of monetary union goes hand in hand with political integration and ultimately political union. EMU is, and was always meant to be, a stepping stone on the way to a united Europe”- Then President of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, 2001.
“The European currency will lead to member nations transferring their sovereignty over financial and wage policies as well as monetary affairs. It is an illusion to think that states can hold on to their autonomy over taxation policies”- Former President of the German Bundesbank, Prof. Hans Tietmeyer.
"There is no example in history of a lasting monetary union that was not linked to one state" - Member of the ECB Executive Board, Otmar Issing, 1991

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Nigel Farage: the Euro isn't working

I love that man!  Go, Nigel!

PMQs: Verdict

Cameron began by paying tribute to the Royal Marine, 40 Commando, who died of his wounds in Birmingham on Monday and the two soldiers from 1st Btn, Duke of Lancaster's Regt who died yesterday.  He praised "the exceptional work" of our Armed Forces in Afghanistan and highlighted the important role played by the medics who work alongside them.

The first question fell to Philip Davies (Con, Shipley) who asked whether the PM accepted that those who voted Conservative at the election didn't do so in order to see criminals released early from prison or given softer sentences [wails from the Labour benches].  "If he really wants to reduce the budget of the Prison Service can I suggest that he takes away Sky tv from the 4000 prisoners who enjoy that luxury in their cells."
Cameron said he shared his views and the last govt had left no money so failures in the system had to be addressed: drugs, more than one in ten a foreign national and 40% commit further crime within one year of release.  Glaring at the Opposition front bench he said it's "a record of failure we've got to reform."

This week's session between Cameron & Harman was a gloves-off affair.  Cameron was indignant, sometimes impatient, and Harman was strident, snappy and repetitive (some things are incapable of change).

Harman opened with the unemployment figures which, despite showing a fall, were "still too high ...  Can he promise that none of the policies that he will put in his budget will put more people out of work."
Cameron:  Any rise in unemployment is a tragedy.  The figures gave a mixed picture - the claimant count is down but jobless figures are up 23,000.  "We will bring in our Work Programme which is going to be the biggest, boldest scheme for getting people back to work as soon as we can and everything that will be..."

He was heckled by Labour b/benchers at this point and, as he fixed them with a stern eye, he carried on: "Honourable members should remember why we've had record unemployment in this country, which is the record of failure we inherited...  What I can tell her is that everything we do in the forthcoming budget will be about giving this country a strong economy with sustainable public finances and clearing up the mess left by the person sitting next to her."   It has to be said that Alistair Darling didn't look too thrilled to have attention drawn to him in this way.

And so it carried on.  It's worth watching at least this exchange in full on video and you'll see what I mean about the attitudes and the high level of energy in the Chamber.  PMQs is certainly a changed landscape since Brown's departure and you won't be surprised to hear that it's much better in that the pace is faster and questions are answered.

Cameron doesn't dismiss questions from Opposition backbenchers out of hand  - he listens and if they're sensible rather than party political point-scoring he does them the  courtesy of providing decent answers.  The mood is also noticeably lighter with more impromptu humour (see John Bercow, red-faced and  rocking with laughter in his chair at a Cameron joke).

Cameron's 'speech' of the day in response to Harman accusing him of talking down the economy: "What the Rt Hon lady and members opposite have to remember - never mind talking the economy down, they *did* the economy down.  They left this country with £155bn deficit, the biggest deficit in our peace-time history.  They're the ones who let the banks go rip, who told us they'd abolished boom and bust but gave us the biggest boom and the biggest bust.  They were the ones who told us they were going to lead the world out of recession.  Our recession was longer and deeper than others.  They haven't told us one single penny of the £50m that they were going to cut - not one penny - and do you know where they ought to start?  They ought to start with an apology."

That certainly got the backbenchers cheering enthusiastically and they also enjoyed his line about the Labour leadership contenders looking like a Star Trek convention.  PMQs is much more enjoyable all round.

Sir Alan Haselhurst (Con, Saffron Walden) was on the backbenches after serving as Deputy Speaker for as long as I can remember and he asked about the uncertainty surrounding the second runway at Stansted airport.
Andrew Miller (Lab, Ellesmere Port & Neston) questioned Ken Clarke's alleged remarks about government aid & the Vauxhall plant.  Clarke was clearly seen shaking his head and mouthing, "No, I didn't".  Miller asked for "properly constructed agreements" not for only Vauxhall but other hard-hit firms as well.
Stuart Andrew (Con, Pudsey) asked a specific question relating to one of his constituents whose son had been stabbed and murdered but one of the murderers was seeking to have his sentence reduced and the other had fled the country.
John Woodcock (Lab Co-op, Barrow & Furness ) asked whether the govt would honour the defence contract for Astute-class submarines signed in March this year and which would bring employment to his constituency & across the UK.  During Cameron's response we were treated to a shot of Bollox Bob Ainsworth scratching his armpits.
David Evennett (Con, Bexleyheath & Crayford)  About waste in the Regional Development Agencies.
Cameron:  Cited examples of waste: East Midlands Development Agency - over £300,000 for offices in N. America; North West Dev Agcy - shared an office in Newport beach; 1NorthEast had offices in China, Japan, Korea, Australia; South East Dev Agcy chairman spent £51,000 on taxis and 'executive' cars in one year alone
Margaret Hodge (Lab, Barking) raised a question regarding a constituent who is being refused cancer treatment drugs by NICE.
Douglas Carswell (Con, Clacton) asked why the govt is offering a  referendum on Alternative Voting, which was in no Party's election  manifesto, but still no referendum on EU integration. 
Jim Dobbin (Lab Co-op, Heywood & Middleton) asked about "involuntary tranquilliser addiction" and cost effective, long term, withdrawal treatment programmes.
Sir Alan Beith (LibDem, Berwick-Upon-Tweed) asked for a response to the Rural Communities Commission's Uplands Inquiry which detailed the suffering of hill farmers and the farming environment.
Elfyn Llwyd (Westminster Leader, Plaid) said that £7.2m a day could be saved by bringing the troops home from Afghanistan.
Anne McIntosh (Con, Thirsk & Malton) asked about the too-early release of patients from hospital necessitating their re-admittance and also the "post-code lottery" of NHS healthcare.
Stephen Hepburn (Labour, Jarrow) about Siemens closing in his constituency and transferring production to France and Germany despite "a full order book and healthy profits".
Adam Holloway (Con, Gravesham) asked for the per household level of debt.
Barry Gardiner (Lab, Brent North) about funding for school children in poorer constituencies.
Graham Brady (Con, Altrincham & Sale West) about next week's budget supporting savers.
Luciana Berger (Lab Co-op, Liverpool Wavertree) about the cancellation of courses at the local uni.
Harriet Baldwin (Con, West Worcestershire) praised the PM (drawing cheers and jeers) and invited him to the opening of a new community hospital.  This is the question which elicted the joke from Cameron and gales of laughter from Bercow.
David Lammy (Lab, Tottenham) invited Cameron to walk with him from Seven Sisters Rd up to White Hart Lane to see all the betting shops.  Better wear a stab vest.

And that was it.  I won't be doing the full list of backbenchers' questions next week - I only did it to show how many questions are actually asked in this new and speedy PMQs as opposed to under the ponderous, time-wasting Brown.  There is one thing I'd like to know but the cameras aren't allowed to show it - who is the Labour fishwife who interrupted and heckled three times?  There's always one and she seems to be it at the moment.

Part 2
Part 3
With thanks to Swiss Bob at the Daily Politics for the videos.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Conflicting Press Reports

Every day there are a few articles across all the papers about what's happening in the EU and every day brings a contradiction on policy.

Yesterday it was reported that Germany had bowed to France's demand that there be no treaty changes to allow for the eurozone bail-outs and new economic "governance" but  today's articles report Sarkozy has said that treaty changes will be necessary after all and that progress towards economic government of all the 27 eurostates should be strengthened.

Ms. Merkel agreed that Europe needs more integrated "economic government"—a French phrase that Germany has long resisted—while Mr. Sarkozy accepted that such coordination should take place mainly at the level of the 27-country European Union, and not, as France has insisted up to now, among the smaller circle of 16 countries that share the euro.

The rumours about a Spanish bailout persist:

In the meantime, Spain admitted that the European financial crisis is taking a toll on the country's banks, with foreign banks refusing to lend to some.  Spanish Treasury Secretary Carlos Ocana admitted  officially for the first time that some Spanish banks faced a liquidity  freeze in the interbank market and said the government was working to restore confidence.

There's more trouble ahead for Greece as another ratings agency, Moody's, followed S&P's lead last month and downgraded their sovereign debt to junk level.  No wonder the EU is talking about creating their own credit ratings agency!

Almost three-quarters of investors recently polled by Bloomberg News  said they believed Greece would default on its debt payments. Greece's  budget cuts and ailing economy are unlikely to generate enough wealth to  meet interest payments, investors say.  The Greek prime minister  George Papandreou also faces internal turmoil, as civil servants and  public sector benefit holders radically oppose the fiscal tightening.

Since he hasn't had his name in the papers for, ooh, at least 24hrs, Barroso has grabbed some more headlines by saying that some countries in Europe could be headed for "military coups" .  Who better to rescue them from themselves than the incredibly open and democratic EU?  At least any popular uprisings will give EuroGendFor a chance to test its strengths.

Mr Barroso’s warning lays bare the concern at the highest level in Brussels that the economic crisis could lead to the collapse of not only the beleaguered euro, but the EU itself, along with a string of fragile democracies.

And this farcical Franco-German political, economic and military construct is what Cameron & Co want to ally us with.


Corbett Report: UK promotes frankenfood while Zimbabwe rejects it!

James Corbett covers Spelman's GMO policy - Spelman, who has many long tentacles in the GMO lobbying field, wants this government to be the most pro-GM government, ever.

She should go. Have she and Cameron not learned that we are sick and tired of politicians who serve masters other than the people? Have they not learned that we are sick and tired of lobby groups derailing our government? Have they not learned that we do not want GM foods?

Hell, even Zimbabwe and Haiti turned down an offer of GM foods!

A Zimbabwean spokesman said: "Just because we are hungry does not make us accept food which we do not like".

Corbett goes on to interview Gerald Celente on the subject of our impending war with Iran.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

B*gger Labour

As the LibServatives make themselves at home in Westminster they're digging deeper into the spending by the previous government.  Try these for size:
  • For 13yrs the Department of Health was given/took £8 of fruit a day.
  • Schools hired 8x more administrators than teachers.
  • Jobs for NHS Managers grew 3x more than nurses.
  • 80% rise in the number of civil servants.
  • Public sector press officers doubled, at an extra cost of £126m.
  • Marketing & Sales Managers increased from 10,000 to 23,000.
You can't tell me that frontline services have to be cut or that taxes must rise, not until the coalition sorts out the unholy, troughing, taxpayer-funded mess that Labour has left behind and addresses the ongoing issues surrounding MPs' expenses and their taxpayer-subsidised restaurants, cafes and bars.


See also B*gger Brown

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The real story behind the Gulf Oil/BP disaster

David Hawkins, forensic economist, challenges the media's take on the Gulf Oil fiasco:

If you can't get the above MP3 players to play, visit:


What does "progressive" mean?

ConservativeHome asks what the term "progressive" means.

It seems to me that the word "progressive" serves two masters:

  1. Favourable, feel-good label: "Progress" is seen as a 'good thing'. One progresses through school, life, as a parent and in one's job. Who can want to be anything but progressive, right?
  2. Dog whistle to Fabians: Progressive, in the the spooky world of Fabians means inching towards their socialist totalitarianism - i.e., making progress along that path by stealth.

The left won't define the term for you because they don't want you to know what they really mean by the word. They want to bamboozle you into thinking it's a 'good thing', by association.

Fabians are master craftsmen at media hype.

Friday, 11 June 2010

B*gger Brown

My anger at what Brown, Blair and the rest of them did over the last thirteen years hasn't lessened - in fact it's being maintained at simmering point by ongoing revelations about their profligacy, deceit and the effects of their policies which will be felt for years to come.

Time and again the Labour Party has brought the country to its knees yet it's still voted back in by a trusting electorate (I'm Smiley Tony, a pretty straight kinda guy) (I'm Dour Gordon, here's my moral compass) so I'm glad that we can expect more to be uncovered as the months go by.  Here are some of the latest figures, gathered from the recently released COINS database, showing a fraction of what was spent since 2008 when Britain was in recession and the economy was spiralling down the pan:

£1.6 billion on aid, to be distributed via the EU, separate from aid distributed via the DfID
£1.3 billion on aid to Asia (DfID)
£2.5 billion on aid to sub-saharan Africa (DfID)
£14 billion on the pensions of senior civil servants
£267.3 million on pensions for senior judges
£178 million on MPs' pay and perks
£38.4 million to set up gypsy encampments
£80 million to refurbish the offices of the NAO
£442 million to the quango Natural England which disburses the funds further to other schemes
£148.7 million to something called the National Measurements Office to make us all go metric
£48 million to one of Blair's pet quangos, the Electoral Commission
£135,000 for 28 French 'designer' sofas for the Dept of Communities & Local Government

And why are we still paying for  Miliband D to drive around in a ministerial Jaguar, surrounded by protection officers?  It's time we stopped paying £6m pa for Blair's protection too as he swans around the globe playing at peace-maker and all round money-magnet.

Daily Mail
Daily Telegraph

James Delingpole on Alex Jones: Obama's BP-bashing

James Delingpole talks to Alex Jones about Obama's disgraceful attack on Britain, via BP (which he calls British Petroleum), to bolster his flagging poll ratings.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The chaos of the BP oil spill

Guest post by Claire Smyth

Having overcome a national disaster, capping the Oil leak, BP are set for many years of heart ache before trust is installed into the British company. We take a look at the timeline of the 2010 oil leak.

Back in April, the Gulf of Mexico faced a crisis which had the potential to become a world crisis. It began with an explosion after the unexpected release of oil, and then progressed to sink within 36 hours. Eleven workers lost their lives, out of the 115 evacuated, while 15 were injured – three of them critically.

Originally predicted to leak 1,000 barrels of oil a day – this was quickly replaced by the prediction of 5,000 barrels – threatening the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida, prompting Barrack Obama to call it a national crisis.

BP made it their number one priority to fight the leak, spending up to $7 million a day to ensure the budding world disaster was fixed. As the leakage expanded daily – pictures showing the horror of outcome became evident – with sea life fighting the oil to live, pictures of birds completely covered in the mess became a regular occurrence. Twenty dead turtles were washed ashore; putting the Gulf’s fishing industry to a standstill. We all rely on the Gulf for up to 1/3 of the sea food we consume, meaning that not only are those whose lifestyle’s have been put on hold because of the disaster – those whose livelihood is fishing, but it also means the price of seafood is likely to rise.

By the 30th April – the oil reached the shoreline of Louisiana, with the sky high pictures showing the full extent of the size and danger the oil leak risked inflicting at a great 4,000 square miles. The disaster had a total of 2,200 workers attempting to rectify the spill by May 2010, with the fear of the size expanding from 5,000 barrels a day to ten times that amount (thus making it a world crisis in the making).

By the 8th May, BP’s first attempt to stop the leak failed, with the insertion of a dome proving unsuccessful. Crystals formed by the gas and water began to clog up the chamber. With the oil leak reaching a rapid increase, BP chiefs and America were in a state of utter emergency. By the 14th May, BP suffered yet another failed attempt to halt the flow of oil through a mile long pipe.

Although success was on the cards by the 17th May, as BP began to capture 1,000 barrels of oil, quickly moving up to 2,000 a day, through the help of a suctioning tube (inserted by underwater robots); although the size of the leak was still expanding (for every 5,000 barrels leaking a day – between 1,000 and 2,000 was being captured). The leak swiftly progressed to a scary 19,000 barrels a day, which saw the size of the oil in the Gulf leap to 30,000 square miles – able to cover Hawaii three times.

Positivity however moved quickly, through to the 4th June, whereby BP eventually began to funnel off the leaking – saving 1,000 barrels a day. By the 6th, the number being captured reached 10,000 barrels a day (saving more than half of the daily leakage).

In total, 38 million gallons of oil was leaked into the Mexican Gulf, which seems catastrophic – however compared to the 1991 deliberate oil leak from Iraqi oil tankers – spilling 520 million gallons into the sea – 2010’s leak in comparison is a small pin prick.

The effect on BP as a company may last a lot longer, wiping a total of the equivalent of $72 billion of its value. As well as a further effect on the world’s travel companies, particularly those willing to invest in Cruise Deals.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Fraser Nelson: Can you be conservative and support UKIP?

Hat tip: The inimitable Avril King



While Fausty revs up her engine, here's another take on life and the influences upon us:
Everyone sings from the same hymn sheet, except Eeyore.

Today's PMQs began with a one-minute silence in memory of the victims in Cumbria last week.

Cameron also paid tribute to this week's fallen in Afghanistan: Marine Anthony Hotine, Lance-Corporal Alan Corcoran, Corporal Terry Webster, and an as yet unnamed soldier from 3rd Regt Royal Horse Artillery who was killed this morning. Perhaps every PMQs should in future begin with a one-minute silence; it will give MPs time to reflect on the issues they support with their votes, influenced as they are by partisan politics and a gung-ho attitude towards the lives of others. (See this and this).

PMQs, as always, revealed little apart from the political leanings of the participants.  In many respects it isn't a forum for intelligent debate but a chance to be seen and heard, to pose a question which will bring an ambitious MP to the eye of the leadership and mark him/her as one to watch.

Videos will follow so I won't bother writing out verbatim the Q&As but here are a few, very personal, observations:

Devolution and Assembly sharks are circling the coalition and smacking their lips.  Albert Owen (Lab, Ynys Mon) asked about Welsh devolution and pressed Cameron to be transparent in his intentions towards greater powers.  This really gets my goat because no-one ever mentions England in all of this horse-trading.  We've already been traded off to Brussels but people don't realise it yet.  The reason England fell first is because, for a long time, the rest of the world referred to us all as 'England' - no wonder the Scots, Welsh and N. Irish got upset.  England fell first, through ignorance, so should be the first to fight back.  It's time for St George to fight the dragon again.

Cameron did say that "the people of Wales" will have a referendum on the issue (as will the Scots).  I think any referendum on such an important issue as the breaking up of the UK should be put to the English as well, but then what do I know?  I'm not a politician.

One point was made many times in response to Labour whining:  if it was so important to you why didn't you do something about it in the past thirteen years?  The Labour Party:  so desperate for power, so desperate to cling to power, that they dare not challenge their own leadership.  Rank, stinking hypocrites the lot of them.

It fell to Dear Hattie, as Deputy Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (that's a joke - cf Dennis Skinner and pals), to set the pace and tone of the session.  At first I thought she'd brought her mother along today but then I did a double-take and realised it was Tessa Jowell sitting beside her.  Their copper-tinted haircuts and 'furnishings-by-Sanderson' suits were interchangeable.

Harman's first question concerned the regulation of guns following the shootings in Cumbria.  She's still talking about 'learning lessons'.  The lesson I took from this is that you can't legislate for nutters and that, contrary to quango opinion, if law-abiding citizens were allowed guns, crime would shoot down (bad pun, sorry).

Cameron said there would be a review (hooray for the change from Labour) and that ACPO (why is this unelected private limited company still in existence?)  had also been asked to carry out "a peer review", but not to leap to conclusions.  Don't forget about the UN's proposed gunlaw which I posted about ages ago (anyone interested in seeing the video will find it tagged under UN or USA).

Harman's second question was about the Electoral Commission and the number of people who are eligible to vote but not on the electoral register.  She asked that changes to electoral boundaries weren't made until all these non-voters were on the register and what is the govt going to do about it?  If Labour were still in office I think we'd be seeing compulsory voting legislation on the horizon - in fact it may still come.

Apparently it's "half of all young people", a "third of all black people" and "half of all private sector tenants" that concern Hattie most.  So, no presumed vested interest there then.

Kelvin Hopkins (Lab, Luton North) asked about  unsustainable fish stocks and whether Cameron would renegotiate the terms of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.

Some  musings:
  • Cameron has the beginnings of a wide parting.
  • Purple ties are out of fashion on all benches and sprawling bellies are out of fashion on the Conservative benches.
  • Clegg still looks like little boy lost in a man's world although he did manage to raise a few half-hearted "yeahs" and "hear-hears" to support his Leader.
  • Planted questions aren't a thing of the past.
John Woodcock (Lab, Barrow & Furness) asked about changes to gun law and whether sportsmen should be allowed to keep guns at home.  He seems like a nice, earnest young chap but placing the onus on sports' clubs and shooting ranges isn't the answer.  If he can develop his own ideas and not follow the knee-jerk crowd he could do well.

Cameron responded that "there is a huge number of guns in society we need to get rid of".  I suggest he doesn't follow Labour policy of targeting nutters and the law-abiding and look to our open borders and the criminals instead.  I'm really coming round to the idea of law-abiding people in the UK being licensed to own guns.

It was good to see so many new faces: Pauline Latham (Cons, Mid-Derbyshire) and Claire Perry (Con, Devizes) have an honourable mention, as does Nadhim Zahawi (Con, Stratford-On Avon) for eliciting the response from Cameron that the flag of England will fly over Downing St for the duration of the World Cup.  It's a small sop to the regions previously known as England but I'll take what I can get.

To be honest, and I mean this most sincerely folks, I'm really not interested in the whining and accusatory questions of the Labour Party; they should sit down, shut up, and f/ck off.   I have no interest in what the likes of Caroline Flint, Harman or Straw have to say.  They had thirteen years to do what was right and all they did was ruin the country.  It annoys me that they're still there in Opposition: something went very wrong with the last election.

Videos, as aye, courtesy of Swiss Bob at The Daily Politics:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Blogging break

Like so many other bloggers, these days, I'm not annoyed enough at the political world to blog every day. Rather, I'm enjoying this glorious summer and want to reunite with my artistic side - and paint. :)

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to contribute to this blog.

Thanks to my readers for following me thus far.

Laters ...

PS: I might add a newsfeed, to keep this blog going during my dry spell.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Tolerance inequality: Islam, Judaism, Christianity

Gulf Oil spills: Déjà vu

We've been here before. Back then, the same techniques being employed today, didn't work. And they're not working now.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” - Albert Einstein

Are we to believe that BP and the White House do not have access to information on the handling Gulf Oil spill in the '70s? Are we to believe that if they do, they are unable to see the folly of their current actions?

Oh, and if we had invested in alternative fuel decades ago, when it was first mooted, we wouldn't've had this oil spill. We wouldn't've had the Iraq war.

Who's to blame?

Swine flu: British Medical Journal investigates Big Pharma

The Deborah Cohen and Philip Carter, of the British Medical Journal, have been investigating the swine flu 'pandemic', which enriched Big Pharma at the expense of taxpayers around the world. They ask the questions which should have been asked last year, during the height of the media feeding frenzy on the non-existent 'problem'.
"Key scientists advising the World Health Organization on planning for an influenza pandemic had done paid work for pharmaceutical firms that stood to gain from the guidance they were preparing. These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, and WHO has dismissed inquiries into its handling of the A/H1N1 pandemic as "conspiracy theories.""
A joint investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that raises troubling questions about how WHO managed conflicts of interest among the scientists who advised its pandemic planning, and about the transparency of the science underlying its advice to governments. Was it appropriate for WHO to take advice from experts who had declarable financial and research ties with pharmaceutical companies producing antivirals and influenza vaccines? Why was key WHO guidance authored by an influenza expert who had received payment for other work from Roche, manufacturers of oseltamivir, and GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of zanamivir? And why does the composition of the emergency committee from which Chan sought guidance remain a secret known only to those within WHO? We are left wondering whether major public health organisations are able to effectively manage the conflicts of interest that are inherent in medical science.
Better late than never, I guess - although I doubt the culprits will suffer more than a slapped wrist, as usual.

Attack on alternative media, MSM to be bailed out by government

According to the Washington Times:
"The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking ways to "reinvent" journalism, and that's a cause for concern. According to a May 24 draft proposal, the agency thinks government should be at the center of a media overhaul. The bureaucracy sees it as a problem that the Internet has introduced a wealth of information options to consumers, forcing media companies to adapt and experiment to meet changing market needs. FTC's policy staff fears this new reality.
"The ideas being batted around to save the industry share a common theme: They are designed to empower bureaucrats, not consumers. For instance, one proposal would, "Allow news organizations to agree jointly on a mechanism to require news aggregators and others to pay for the use of online content, perhaps through the use of copyright licenses.""

"In other words, government policy would encourage a tax on websites like the Drudge Report, a must-read source for the news links of the day, so that the agency can redistribute the funds collected to various newspapers."

The report also discusses the possibility of offering tax exemptions to news organizations, establishing an AmeriCorps for reporters and creating a national fund for local news organizations. The money for those benefits would come from a suite of new taxes. A 5 percent tax on consumer electronic devices such as iPads, Kindles and laptops that let consumers read the news could be used to encourage people to keep reading the dead-tree version of the news. Other taxes might be levied on the radio and television spectrum, advertising and cell phones.
Were the MSM to investigate stories instead of tamely accepting the drivel dished out by governments, were the MSM to report facts honestly, people might want to read their papers and watch their broadcasts. Instead, they dish out propaganda and outright lies, and altogether fail to report on important issues, such as the Lisbon Treaty, pre-ratification.

Now, we are to be taxed to link to the MSM, taxed to read it and we bloggers would be taxed to write, while the MSM are subsidised with tax breaks.

Evidently, the powers that be:
  • are short of money
  • are panicking that their brainwashing mechanisms are being ignored
  • want to shut down the alternative media.
Read the FTC's draft report

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Pat Condell on Ground Zero Mosque (opens on 9/11 anniversary)

Pat Condell on the mosque that is to be built on "ground zero" - the site of the Twin Towers - which opens its doors exactly 10 years (to the day) after 9/11 (how insensitive is that?):


Geert Wilders set to double or triple MPs in Parliament

Geert Wilders believes the PVV could double or triple in representation in parliament next month, after the general election.

Voters are too frightened to admit to pollsters that they support the PVV, because they are branded as racist - when in fact, Wilders has stated plainly that he welcomes Muslims - just not the facist, Islamic ideology, which is infesting the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders needs your help in his fight against creeping Islamification across the globe. Given the cowardice of our politicians in tackling this issue, he fights for all of us.

While his vote is set to increase, he can do far more if he wins a majority.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Obama's BP-bashing

Iain Dale is cheesed off with Obama's "Shameless Populism" over the Oil spill, which has him sticking the boot into BP, and over-emphasising it's "British" origins.

Whatever we think of Obama, it is clear that he is carrying out Dubya's agenda - or rather the agenda of their political masters. The trajectory is not difficult to discern.

Obama's stance seems to be several-fold:

  • Dosh - Get BP to pay for clean-up/restoration of states affected, given the US's and its states' finance black holes;
  • Populism - appearing to bash corporations;
  • Environmentalism - excuse to clamp down on oil usage;
  • Sop to stock market - effort to create synthetic scarcity of oil and thus, boost oil prices significantly;
  • Environmentalism - effort to ban all off-shore drilling;
  • Socialism - move towards nationalising oil companies.

The man is a socialist/corporatist, who is deeply unpopular and who faces a hiding in the November elections. He has a packed agenda to fulfil, before he is packed off to work for one of his donor corporations after his electoral armageddon.

Domestic 'extremists' are you and I

America is in a dark place.

Anyone who is not pro-government is deemed to be a 'domestic extremist' which, according to various incarnations of the MIAC report, defines them as 'terrorist' threats.  That, of course, means that the Patriot Act applies to them.

Before you heave a sigh of relief that you don't live in America or don't visit it, consider that you don't have to, to fall foul of the Patriot Act. Remember, the extradition treaty is still in place.

America is in the process of criminalising anyone who sells vitamins, claiming that it promotes health. No. The Americans, under Codex Alimentarius, do not like that. Should you sell these products on the Internet, and should Americans buy them, and should Obama decide that such products are a 'threat' to homeland security, you can fall foul of the Patriot Act.

Far fetched?

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