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Remote to signify a personal boycott
of the Genocide Games
It beggars belief that the BBC could possibly justify blowing the sort of Taxpayer’s Money that will be required to sustain 437 employees in suitable luxury for several weeks at the Genocide Olympics in August, not least in light of the fact that we shall only be sending 300 people to compete in this tawdry propaganda exercise.
And to what purpose, you may ask?Forget the usual platitudes. This is about projecting China on the world stage and about legitimizing the Chinese Communist Party as its rightful government. This is about sweeping under the carpet China’s shameful participation in the Darfur Genocide. This is about justifying China’s colonization of Tibet and the supplanting of its indigenous people with Chinese settlers. And you, the Taxpayer, are to fund this exercise as far as British broadcasting is concerned when the institutionally leftist BBC takes its battalion of employees to deliver a load of whitewash to our screens.
If you should doubt this, you only have to take a look at the BBC’s series ‘A Year in Tibet’. Last night’s offering featured a selfless apparatchik of the Chinese Communist Party going about lecturing a bunch of feckless monks on their duty. The party official was presented a tireless, dutiful and disciplined fighter against the feudal tendencies of the old Tibet, an stirring example of rectitude to be set against the ill-disciplined monks who could not even look after their own treasures let alone be trusted to run the country or stand in any sort of relationship of authority to the native people of the land. Interspersed were scenes of a young Tibetan reduced to cadging odd jobs from Chinese settlers and eventually being driven to seek employment hundreds of miles from home.Had this been a programme about Britons in Africa the tone would have been one of severe reproof. In the case of China there was no sense of this being an objective look at the reality of Tibet and its subjugation. Instead it was no more than a propaganda puff for China’s occupation.
And that is all we shall get from the four hundred and thirty-seven BBC employees sent to bring us the ‘spectacle’ of the Beijing Games.Meanwhile the likes of Sir Steven Redgrave and Sir Trevor MacDonald will be helping, as they parade the Olympic Torch across the Capital, to underpin this brutish dictatorship and giving aid and comfort to the regime whose hands are drenched in the blood of Darfur’s genocide. They and the BBC are no more and no less than willing and knowing apologists for China’s international crimes. They should be ashamed, of course, but will not be.
believe that its Scottish leader has
no insight into the date of the next
election and that there are
fairies at the bottom of the garden.
The Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, one Wendy Alexander, let slip a probable timetable for the next general election in an interview this week. It comes as no surprise that, with the tide of opinion polls well on the ebb, Labour is planning to hang on to the last minute in the hope that something, anything turns up.
Alexander is not exactly a bad source. She is the brother of Wee Douglas, an intimate of Macavity, who was appointed General Election Co-ordinator by the latter as soon as he took over as Prime Minister and the timetable Ms. Alexander advanced with a confidence which suggested clearly that she was privy to current planning.
It makes sense that she should know: Scotland is a vital source of lobby fodder for Labour and in the present electoral circumstances north of the border there is a serious risk of significant loss both to the SNP and, more modestly, to the Tories. They need every advantage they can get and the timetable she sets out is not exactly surprising. Nationally Labour is now in what may prove to be terminal decline, though it will need a few months yet of the sort of lead indicated by the latest run of polls to suggest that that it is David Cameron’s election to lose.
If those polls hold up in favour of the Tories and Alexander was not fibbing, May 2010 becomes the most likely date for an election, presumably on the same day as Local Elections so that Labour might minimise any further losses in addition to those which they are likely to have sustained in 2008 and 2009, including, one hopes, a Tory seizure of the levers of power in London by Boris Johnson and significant recovery in the north-west and north-east.
In those circumstances the European Elections stand in isolation from national elections on national or local issues and the attention of the electorate may thus be focused on exclusively European matters. Nonetheless it is to be hoped that they coincide with a serious low point in Labour fortunes and that a significant element of voting against Labour will enter into the equation. It thus presents a significant opportunity for Eurosceptics to direct the focus of the electorate onto the issue of the Treaty of Lisbon and the failure of Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’ to honour their promises to hold a referendum on it.
The objective of these elections should thus be to secure as many Conservative and UKIP MEPs as possible, hopefully taking their combined tally well beyond the combined total of 42.8% of the vote recorded in 2004. The principla objective must be to secure for these two parties more than 50% of the popular vote and more than 50% of the seats available at that election (which will see our MEPs drop in number from 78 to 72 as a result of expansion of the EU, another diminution of our voice in Europe which Labour conveniently fails to mention).
Ideally one might hope for UKIP, who came a remarkable third in 2004, should in the process push Labour into third place which would be a resounding message of disapproval from the electorate for their dishonest and dishonourable conduct over the Treaty and amount to an earth-shaking thumping for Labour. In addition there are likely to be perhaps four seats for nationalist parties which have also supported the holding of a referendum so that we might well see a significant majority for pro-referendum parties.
To maximize the Eurosceptic vote will require a certain discipline by both Tories and UKIP. In ordinary circumstances they would be fighting one another for some of the same votes. But this time they each need to temper the attack on one another to focus the attention of the electorate on the issue at hand which is the Treaty and what should now happen about it.
If a majority can be obtained for Eurosceptic parties, then a clear mandate can be demonstrated for the proposition that the people of the United Kingdom support not just a referendum on the Treaty but also a desire for a quite different relationship with the EU from that to which Gordon Brown and Labour has now committed us.
This could be a significant moment in the history of our relationship with Europe but also a significant opportunity for us to register our anger against those parties, Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’ who have so flagrantly ignored the wishes of and, indeed, demonstrated naught but sneering contempt for the British people. If the elections for Europe thus stand in isolation the British people have a risk-free chance to send the message to those arrogant politicians who think they know what’s best that we are not prepared to be brushed off in this way again.
Thus we might remedy a part of the democratic deficit which has been consequent upon the Left’s abjuration of its 2005 manifesto commitments and at the same time make it clear to those parties that if they repeat such an exercise in future, then they risk electoral disaster.
In short, the 2009 European elections provide an unique opportunity to administer an electoral flogging to Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’. So, Brown and Clegg, report to the Head’s study for six of the best.
of a State Visit, Sarkozy forgets who is
truly sovereign and upon whose
consent government depends
It is all very well for M. Sarkozy to call for us to join in such schemes as the Schengen Agreement (which would neuter at a stroke any pretence we might have to control of our own borders), the Euro (which would neuter at a stroke our economy much as the ERM did) and to opt in to a vast array of policies on criminal justice (which would destroy at a stroke a system of law which it has taken us a thousand years of careful evolution to produce), but the reality is that no Government of the United Kingdom has any political or moral authority to do this.
That is a stark consequence of Labour and the Lib ‘Dems’ ratting on their manifesto commitments to subject the Treaty of Lisbon (which they know full well is a Constitution for the EU) to a referendum. Indeed that refusal, which removes any political legitimacy from the Treaty and from any further act of integration hereafter, is likely further to poison our relationship with the EU as any government trying to propel us into such integration will lack the authority of and consent of the British people so to do.
Under the new dispensation the British Government will be called upon day in and day out to subordinate this or that decision-making process to the Brussels Diktat. Each and every time the political and moral legitimacy of that act will be called into question. The laws that emanate from it will be imposed on an increasingly sullen and resentful populace which made clear its desire to have a say on the EU and long thought it would have such, only to have the promise removed for shabby partisan political reasons. The resentment will be ever the greater if the new decree from Brussels is a direct product of the powers so casually thrown away by Gordon Brown and David Miliband this year.
M. Sarkozy said in his address to parliament:
This Parliament has become what it is through the fight for the protection of essential individual freedoms and the principle of the consent to taxation.
He ought to have added that our Parliament had become what it was through development of the fundamental notion of the principle of government by consent. It is a golden thread that runs through our parliamentary history that the right to order our comings and goings and the right to take money from us to run the functions of the State has always been dependent upon an ever-expanding franchise.
From the time when the King alone ruled, then the King and his Barons, then the King, his Barons and the new mercantile classes through to modern times when first the franchise was extended to all men and then to all women government has depended on an ever-widening franchise through which, with universal adult suffrage, we now give our consent to be governed thus.
The failure to seek our consent to the changes brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon is thus a fatal flaw inflicted upon the character of our support for the manner in which we are governed. If the Treaty is ratified and comes into force, it will be wholly without the consent of the people thus governed.
And that, I suggest, is a fundamental problem for every government hereafter. No further progress can be made in or relationship with the EU until this issue is resolved. Without the consent of the people and the legitimacy that that would confer, we are entering a period which we have not known since the time of the Civil War where a large part of the populace can be said to be in a state of dissent from the manner in which we are governed.
It is a problem which must be faced and faced soon. Labour, however, has painted itself into a corner from which it cannot now escape by rail-roading the Treaty through Parliament and reneging on the promise to hold a referendum upon it and as such has lost all authority to proceed. Only a Conservative government can now lance this boil.
Sarkozy Waves goodbye: We wave goodbye to Government by Consent
It is for that reason that the policy of Mr. Cameron and Mr. Hague upon a ratified treaty is so important and why we cannot long be left in ignorance of what is meant by not ‘not leaving matters there’. This is no mere technical detail of footling importance: it goes to the very heart of the legitimacy of the Parliament which for now claims to have authority in this land and as such this matter will not go away.
Finally M. Sarkozy has, in some places, been lauded as a skillful politician. If so, his praise of Gordon Brown for railroading the Treaty of Lisbon through without a referendum in these terms:
I am not the only one in Europe who appreciates what he has done. What he has done was necessary for Europe.
was surely a grave mistake, bearing as it does the clear and unambiguous implication that this has all been done not for our benefit but for the benefit of others. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
cuts a dash at Palace Banquet.
Nor is it without irony that such graceful comments should come not from a Frenchman of long native lineage, but from the diminutive bantam cock of a son of a Hungarian-born father and Greek Mother of the Jewish faith who contrasts so strikingly with the lofty mien of his recent more haughty predecessors (excepting always Georges Pompidou who never managed to shake off the look of the onion-seller). Whilst remaining deeply suspicious of French motives in all things, we should not fail to appreciate his comments:
France hasn’t forgotten, she will never forget that when she was almost annihilated, Britain was at her side.
She will never forget the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish blood mixed with the French blood in the mud of the trenches.
She will never forget the welcome the British people gave General de Gaulle and Free France.
She will never forget the heroic resistance of the British people without which all would have been lost.
She will never forget the fine young people who came from all over the British Empire and laid down their lives on the Normandy beaches and in the surrounding bocages.
It is notable that Sarkozy also gave the lie to the myth upon which France has constructed a narrative for the last sixty-seven years, a myth which began with Charles de Gaulle’s claim on 18th. June 1940:
La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n’a pas perdu la guerre.
[France has lost a battle, but has not lost the war]
This bold, but ludicrous, assertion was backed by the mantra of many Frenchmen who claimed : “On nous a trahi!” – “We were betrayed!”. Upon such soft sands France has built its alibi for the failings of its politicians and generals for far too long, an alibi that none of its modern executive Presidents has had, until now, the courage to disavow.
De Gaulle peddling the myth that
France was not utterly beaten, June 1940
Now Sarkozy spells it out for all to see: France was close to annihilation and it was Great Britain who remained constant in the cause of restoring her to her place from the first day to the last. The myth has stood obstinately in the way of truth for far too long and one must commend Sarkozy for spelling out the stark reality for once.
But what of the rest of his speech to our Parliament? There are three things which struck me as worthy of note.
In his opening remarks he said of us:
……it is an exceptional honour to address members of both Houses of the British Parliament.
It is indeed here, within these walls, that modern political life was born. Without this Parliament, would parliamentary democracy have ever existed in the world? Hasn’t this parliamentary practice, begun in this place, become the best guarantee against tyranny?
I wonder if he realised quite what he was saying. If we contemplate two facts: (1) that 70-80% of the laws which now enter into force in the United Kingdom every year emanate not from the elected representatives of the British people but from an unelected and wholly unrepresentative coterie of foreign civil servants; and (2) that with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon we shall yield up almost all that remains to us of our sovereignty to that same group who will thus acquire almost unlimited power to impose the Brussels Diktat upon our laws, is it not then right to assert that the ‘best guarantee against tyranny’ of which he spoke has been recklessly and casually thrown away? And has not thus Parliamentary Democracy, so long in the evolution, been in a few short years ruthlessly stifled?
For we should be under no illusion but that what we understand by Parliamentary Democracy, which is indeed a formidable (though not impervious) bulwark against tyranny and which we have now effectively abandoned, has been replaced by a formidable Euro-theocracy. And from them tyranny we shall have, the tyranny of laws to which neither Her Majesty’s Government nor our Parliament has assented as more and more ‘competences’ are given up to the thrall of Qualified Majority Voting.
Of Parliament and the other institutions which have hitherto been the very fabric of our nation Sarkozy observed:
The history of this institution today influences most contemporary political regimes. This Parliament has become what it is through the fight for the protection of essential individual freedoms and the principle of the consent to taxation.
These two fundamental conquests, which this Parliament was the first in the world to achieve, are still today the cornerstones of all our democracies. It is here that parliamentarians have gradually developed what is a party, an electoral programme and finally a majority.
It is through these institutions that the United Kingdom’s greatness has emerged. And I am so honoured to address you precisely because the political heart of the United Kingdom is beating under this roof.
I profoundly believe in the strength of politics. I profoundly believe in the ability of politics to improve the fate of the peoples. This is the whole purpose of politics.
Institutions, however much you upgrade them, exist only to serve the people. The strength of the British people has always been that of a free people who take their own decisions and are ready for the greatest sacrifices to defend their freedom.
It is precisely because we have always been a free people, able to take our own decisions, that we have become what we are. Now that very institution is, for all legal and practical purposes, subordinated to another sovereign power: how then are we to defend the freedoms so hard won and at such price? How then are we to preserve our way of life when others who are not of our kind shall have the whip hand over us? And how ironic that a foreign President should come to praise it at the very moment of its eclipse.
Finally I pick out one specific matter of policy which demonstrates the illusion that Europe is a one-size-fits-all panacea with singular clarity:
The United Kingdom wants a Europe which is capable of controlling immigration. France wants this too. It would be totally illusory to believe that we can still have 27 national immigration policies in the era of the great European market.
France and the European Union are well aware of this since we have developed exemplary bilateral cooperation, which I am proud to have contributed to when I was Interior Minister. And I am particularly well placed to know that, going beyond this bilateral cooperation, a European approach is needed for any effective and long-term solution.
This is why I consider it essential for Europe finally to give itself a common framework: this is the purpose of the European immigration pact which I wish to see adopted under French Presidency.
What a lot of nonsense this is. Our economy is, to put it mildly, utterly unlike that of any other EU member state and thus has a requirement for immigrant labour quite unlike any other. How can one possibly devise a common immigration policy that matches at one moment the disparate economic needs of all 27 member states? It is an absurd idea and one that is doomed to failure. But it is a measure of the ambition of the EU that it thinks it can impose such a policy upon us and a warning to us of how the EU will try, try and try again to force us into the strait-jacket of policies that are designed to reduce us all to the level of the lowest common denominator, however damaging economically and socially.
But perhaps we Eurosceptics should encourage this process.
After all immigration is a matter which all parties know is of considerable importance to the indigenous peoples of these islands, though some try to shout down anyone who has the temerity to think of restricting it let alone publicly advocate it.
There are few things which inflame the populace more than unrestricted and inappropriate immigration (just ask the ghastly Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, who has the BNP nipping at her heels because of this very issue) and if effective control of our borders (I speak of the theory, rather than the practice, for under Labour control of our borders has long been abandoned) is removed from British Ministers and handed to unelected Eurocrats, the flood-tide of immigrants which will follow upon such a move will harden the hearts of the people against those responsible for it.
Though it is a risky course, perhaps we should be carefully paying out as much rope as we can to the EU the more easily to hang it with. And at all times we must not allow Ministers to get away with evading (as is their wont) the true responsibility for and cause of all those things which are inflicted upon us not by those we elect but by those we don’t.
boycott Beijing 2008 or acquiesce in
Chinese Communist oppression
As a convinced member of The Grumpy Party, I had long ago taken the decision to boycott the Olympics. It matters not where they are held, mind you, but it is the mere fact of them to which I object. From toe-curling ‘opening ceremony’ to equally toe-curling ‘closing ceremony’, the Olympic Games are a tedious intrusion into the consciousness.
Their principal sports, athletics field and track, are so routinely and utterly sullied by the curse of the performance-enhancing drug takers that one has little faith in the integrity of any result you care to mention. Usually it is those who seek the gratification of personal glory as well as the sound of the cash register who pump themselves full of this or that chemical, preferably one hitherto unknown to science so that the authorities, who religiously trot out the psittacine mantra that this is the most drug-free Olympics ever, are left flat-footed in their wake.
The rest of it is all deeply excruciating. The false enthusiasm of the BBC commentator as he or, more often in these politically correct days, she, works himself/herself into a frenzy of excitement concerning the wondrous X who has come from absolutely nowhere to win a gold medal in a sport of which we have never heard (well, just how often do you sit down and watch greco-roman wrestling on the box?) leaves one quite cold. It is, in short, a deeply repellent exercise from which, thankfully, cricket and rugby have managed to be excluded all these years.
This year, however, the decision is all the easier. China hosts the Games and China will try to milk them for all they are worth for the greater glory of The Chinese Communist Party and the evil creed of communism as it is practiced there. Already the Chinese have been creeping up the medal tables in recent years as athlete after athlete emerges from the shadows to seize a medal and world record until, last time, they came second to the USA by a short head. Who would bet against them topping the table this time and claiming it as a triumph of the Party?
The reality is that, even before we contemplate the brutal and illegal colonization of Tibet, the regime which hosts the games this year is a brutal, undemocratic oligarchic gerontocracy which maintains a vast oppressive Gulag for those who dare to challenge the established order. It plans to use these games quite ruthlessly as a propaganda tool to help underpin its dictatorial rule and advance its Imperialist cause in the underdeveloped world. In this it will make Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games look positively modest in its aims.
Meanwhile it will continue its criminal activities in Tibet, a colony in which it is deliberately trying to change the demographics in its favour, a circumstance which is, undoubtedly, an international crime for which the Israelis are routinely excoriated but which will be ignored, providing always that the dictatorship you run is inclined to the left. Elsewhere, in pursuit of the oil it so desperately needs to ride the tiger of unbridled economic growth, it will give aid and comfort to the genocidaires of Darfur, all the while smiling politely. A few raped and murdered Africans will matter not a whit to them.
Whilst all of this is going on, the nabobs of the Olympic ‘Movement’ will seek to persuade us that by awarding the games to this cruel despotism they will enable us to ‘engage’ with China and that this exercise, supposedly to be conducted by the sports journalists of the world, will bring the whole edifice crashing to the ground. Presumably then, it was the International Olympic Committee that won the Cold War and not, as we all so fondly believed, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Such self-delusion would be funny were it not so wicked.
As we look forward to the joys, nay the rapturous Onanistic bliss that is the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, let us also contemplate its reaction to the fact that the oppressed people of Tibet have spontaneously risen up against their cruel oppressors. Whilst calling upon China to desist from using force against peaceful protestors, it also called upon Tibetans to stop using violence.
Tibetans have nothing else in their armoury. They have tried all the usual means of democratic persuasion but the response of their oppressors has been to ratchet up the level of oppression at every turn. Violence is all they have left.
Once upon a time European leftists, of the sort who were ever ready to enter the lists on behalf of the murderous Viet Cong, Castro, The IRA, Zapatistas, the ANC of South Africa or whoever the totem of the left was at any given moment, would have designated these courageous resisters ‘freedom fighters’ and their organization a ‘liberation movement’. But this time the oppressor is one of them, a nominally Socialist outfit. Thus there is a squirming reluctance to condemn and the resistance must, perforce, be tarred with the same brush as the thugs of the riot police. Therefore any comment against the authorities must be tempered with a balancing criticism of those who have deployed the only means available to them. Thus are the righteous smeared with the tar brush of the oppressor.
Meanwhile the Olympic Torch, in another ludicrous piece of faux pageantry, is to be paraded across London next month, held aloft by a series of ‘celebrities’. They are naught but ‘useful idiots’, every last one of them, who thoughtlessly give aid and comfort to the elderly gentlemen of the Chinese leadership who give the orders to kill, imprison and torture those who would be free. They plainly have no shame at their actions which help legitimize despotism. Instead they will smile for the cameras and justify their conduct on the grounds that to do otherwise will redound on London’s own holding of the games in 2012.
If that means the torture chambers keep operating, so be it. After all The London Olympic Games are far more important than the freedom of a load of wacko Buddhists. Aren’t they?
So, employ the time wisely with Proust’s somewhat impenetrable ‘A La Recherche du Temps Perdu‘, all seven volumes of it. It will be a far more memorable experience than anything the ephemeron of a steroid-fuelled 100 metre dash can offer.
or the home of guardians of the pork barrel?
The political élite of this country as every bit as obdurate as the most secretive of Communist régimes when it comes to protecting their own grubby self-interest from the prying eyes of the οἱ πολλοί. Thus the decision to mount a rearguard action to conceal details of the housing allowances of MPs comes as no surprise.
Plainly Mr. Speaker Martin and the House of Commons Chumocracy still does not get it. They utterly fail to understand that the Taxpayer, who foots the bill for MPs to enrich themselves by tarting up what they are pleased to claim are necessary second homes, strongly suspects that this privilege is being roundly abused. With the publication of the so-called ‘John Lewis’ list which details the extraordinary largesse which will be doled out annually to MPs if they ask nicely, the Taxpayer’s instincts are shown to be roundly justified.
The excuse now being peddled is that MPs do not want their addresses publishing for security reasons. How convenient! The whole point about knowing where they live is that one can make proper enquiry of the Land Registry and elsewhere to see exactly who owns what.
After all, one way for an MP to present himself as whiter than white is for him to rent the property. If one has the address, however, one can check who the real owner is. It would not be hard for an MP to set up a property company to own the house with him and his wife as shareholders and for the House of Commons to pay the rent, little knowing that the real beneficiaries are the MP and his family in any event. If the address is concealed, this form of enrichment would remain concealed for ever and a day.
This security business is a lot of nonsense, of course. Most MPs these days maintain a home in their constituency and one doubts if its location is a great secret. The reality is that MPs know only too well what a powder keg this information will be if the long-suffering taxpayer realises just how MPs have been feathering their own nest – after all, not only will the House of Commons foot the bill for the mortgage but also the business of maintaining the property in prime condition so that it can later be sold on when the MP retires or, woe of woes, is ejected by an ungrateful electorate. Hence they are determined to have their cake and eat it, year after year after year.
Meanwhile Guido Fawkes has started probing at the nature of the expenses of BBC journalists such as Nick Robinson. I say no more at this stage than this: the fat lunch that Robinson has to extract indiscretions from this or that MP or civil servant comes from that sum of money that the Taxpayer has to pay by way of the euphemistically named ‘licence fee’ for owning a television, a tax by any other name. There is no real difference between Nick Robinson and Derek Conway: they spend our money and must expect to have to show that our money is spent properly.
so why would she govern skilfully?
Our own political mariners seeming stuck in the doldrums of late, spare a thought for our American cousins on the storm-tossed seas (I have been waiting nigh on a year to get that one in!) of a keenly fought Presidential election. As the Democratic contest gets down deep and dirty, the woman who would be President has simply lost it as far as her predilection for whoppers is concerned.
Hillary Clinton, who always strikes me as a veritable Rinkhals of a politician, has already been found out in a series of bare-faced lies over her various claims to ‘experience’ when it comes to foreign affairs. Whilst that record is coming under scrutiny, it is becoming ever plainer that she did at least learn one thing from standing by her man, which is an ability to lie through her teeth without so much as a moment’s hesitation. Her promiscuous husband, of course, demonstrated his facility for the bare-faced lie over the Lewinsky girl and he famously got away with it.
Now Mrs. Clinton, whom I reckon has been the most ambition-driven politician of the early twenty-first century and, as such, the most willing to stoop into the gutter, often with her philandering husband giving her a shove at her elbow, is having her claims to experience picked over by the crows. Already her assertion that she was ‘instrumental’ in the Northern Ireland peace process has been shown up as a thumping big lie. Now she has had her claims about being on the front line in Tuzla, Bosnia in 1996 shattered.
The details of her exposure as a hustling snake oil salesperson may be found here on the Washington Post’s FactChecker pages. In essence she claimed to have landed at Tuzla ‘under sniper fire’, had to forego the usual welcoming party and then run hell for leather for the safety of the airport buildings so as to avoid the attentions of the Serb marksmen who were still active in the hills around the town.
As will be seen from this clip on CBS, this is one to file under ‘fiction’:
Quite why she told a lie which was always going to unravel is a bit of a puzzle. I have represented plenty of people over the years who, by the time they marched into the witness box at their trial, had convinced themselves that the explanation of events they were peddling was a sound, rational and credible explanation for the facts, an illusion the Jury saw through in half an hour of deliberations and coffee. She, I imagine, has made that same speech over and over to her mirror in anticipation of using it to boost her claims to be the candidate of her party that she now actually believes it to be literally true, the evidence notwithstanding.
It is all the more surprising in a politician who has been adept at using the record to undermine her opponents that she herself should neglect the existence in the modern era of a vast archive of film and tape that has the capacity to sink anyone who is minded to engage in hucksterism of this sort. The recent trashing of Obama’s spiritual mentor ought to have been a timely reminder of that, but she, I guess, has long since forgotten what is truth and what is lies, hence her being caught out thus.
I cannot abide this woman who I reckon is nowhere near the politician her husband was and, indeed, is and who will be disastrous for the USA if they ever should make the mistake of allowing her to get her hands on the levers of power. Hopefully this unpicking of her bluster will prove a significant nail in her coffin. In addition, this cautionary tale is a further reminder of how this story is rippling out over the internet for all to see. The web is truly becoming a place to avoid for Emperors with No Clothes.
Whilst I thus have considerable sympathy for 99% of the denizens of Shipston-on-Stour who have been confronted over the weekend by the ingress of a band of what are euphemistically called ‘travellers’, I have none whatsoever for Tessa Jowell and her fatcat husband David Mills, who have suddenly found themselves with a burgeoning set of new neightbours-from-hell.
They, of course, are now separated as a result of Ms. Jowell being, if you will believe it, kept in ignorance of huge sums of money that seemed to be sloshing around in the family piggy bank and which are not unconnected with Mr. Mills having a date with the Italian Criminal Justice system. But, it is said, Ms. Jowell still visits the house in Warwickshire which is but two fields away from the field which, over the weekend, was turned from a piece of grazing land into a housing estate inhabited by the so-called ‘travellers’ (who by their very efforts in putting down roots deny the sobriquet) who are even now cocking a snook at the local citizenry and the local authority.
Quite apart from the notion that this may, in part, be pay-back time for La Jowell who, as minister responsible for the 2012 chemistry extravaganza known as the Olympic Games, has presided over the eviction of gypsies from sites earmarked for games-related development, it is also excellent that the political elite should, for once, be confronted by the sort of problem which afflicts long-suffering country folk on a daily basis up and down the land.
The disaffection of the public from the political classes is caused, in part, because they are perceived as being detached from and immune to many of the problems with which we simple folk have to wrestle on a daily basis.
They are driven hither and thither in large motor cars for the passage of which traffic signals are automatically set fair: the government picks up the bill for the maintenance of the car and for the fuel which over the course of Labour’s occupation of Whitehall has doubled in price. The State picks up the tab for their champagne life-styles to the tune of £400 per month in groceries so they will have had little reason to notice that which the rest of us have only too keenly noticed which is the inexorable rise in prices over the last eighteen months or so, carefully detailed by the Conservative party. Not the prices which make up the goods underlying the Consumer Prices Index, but the prices for the everyday staples of living – not just food and fuel, but the price of getting to work in the first place, taxes at every turn and yet new and more elaborate ways of being squeezed by a relentless and remorseless Socialist State.
The sullenly hostile response to the Budget did not happen overnight. No one woke up the morning after saying that they had suddenly realized they were gloomy about their lot in life. No, the Budget was merely the confirmation they were looking for that, yet again, Labour has blown all our money on the clients of the corporatist state and that hard times are not merely coming but have been here for months.
Which takes me back to Ms. Jowell’s own private tribulations with her new gypsy chums. They can now pop in to borrow a cup of sugar from their new neighbour and she can discuss with them the benefits to modern Britain of multiculturalism, the suppression of discrimination, the great leap forward that is the incorporation into English Law of the European Convention on Human Rights, the rising cost of getting to the nearest rural urban post office, the rising class sizes in the nearest village town school, the problem of rural policing, the sudden rise in incidences of poaching, the need for all rural properties to have their drives tarmaced and their rooves fixed and, generally, how wonderful a Prime Minister Gordon Brown is.
And the marvellous thing is that she can now have this wonderful opportunity for something like the next eight years which is, astoundingly, how long the soi-disant travellers reckon they can, with the help of a supine local council and the Human Rights Act, spin out the process of eviction which will now presumably follow.
Ms. Jowell may no longer live in their £1m country pad, but the arrival of the gypsy cantonment a few hundred yards away will probably have shaved off 30-50% of its value overnight, which is serious money, even to a family which seemed not to have noticed the ingress, progress and egress of £350,000 to the family finances which Italian Prosecutors reckon was a bung from Silvio Berlusconi. If there is to be a divorce, then that is a serious dollop of moolah which will no longer feature in the matrimonial finance settlement and which will, therefore, touch La Jowell where it hurts most politicians most: in their wallet.
We, on the other hand, should bury our natural instincts (which would be to bulldoze the didicoy encampment forthwith) and revel as this ineffably superior representative of the UK Nomenklatura has to grapple with the impingement of the real world on hers. As the tide of fly-tipped materials creeps ever closer to her rural idyll, she might care to reflect on the less-than-benign neglect of rural life that has characterised the attitude of the government she supports. It is too late for the likes of her to make amends, so we shall merely have to take a grandstand seat as she squirms her way through this one.
Still, a couple of years from now she may, hopefully, have a bit more time on her hands to tackle this unseemly intrusion into her backyard when she and her rotten fellow-travellers have been ejected from office by the people. Then, too, she will have time to reflect on the wisdom or otherwise of Labour’s neglect of the rural voters of England. And to wonder to whom those lurchers, which seem to come daily into the land at the back of the Jowell-Mills farm and clean out all those lovely fluffy bunnies, actually belong.
Over the years I have had a fair bit to do with Scots drinking habits, having dealt with criminal cases emanating from that little piece of Scotland in England which is Corby. Many of its denizens are either descendants of Scots immigrants or are themselves immigrants, mostly, but not exclusively, from Glasgow. They have been binge-drinking for donkey’s years.
I once travelled on South African Airways in the days when international sanctions forced it to detour round the west coast of Africa which involved a refuelling stop at a singularly dreary place called Ihla do Sal in the Cape Verde Islands which was then the sort of place Ken Livingstone or Arthur Scargill might have made a bee-line for when choosing where to spend their holidays. It was run by a nasty bunch of Marxists who had, with help from Ken’s chums in Cuba, established a little corner of Commie Heaven.
Notwithstanding that the majority of its inhabitants were generally of dusky hue and its political masters theoretically implacably hostile to South Africa, those same politicians had so swiftly beggared the nation after independence with its pursuit of unbridled socialism that it quickly succumbed to the lure of the Rands and Dollars which landing fees and the profits from refuelling SAA’s Boeing 747s generated in prodigious quantities.
The duty-free shop at the airport was always quite empty as they could not afford to stock it and staff it but there was a bar where, if the stopover was longer than usual, one could get a basic range of drinks, mostly a local beer. On one occasion we stopped for an hour and I found myself next to a gentleman who proceeded very methodically to drink himself as fast as he could to a state of oblivion. Before he did so he confided that he was from Corby where, as he so delicately put it, ‘we Scots know how to drink you Sassenachs under the table’. He then proceeded to drink a prodigious amount of lager and announced just as we reboarded: “I’m steamin’”. Quite how he got up the steps to the aircraft remains a mystery.
It must be just this sort of drinking culture at which the suggestion of raising the age at which one might buy alcohol in Scotland is to be directed.
We shall see if it gets beyond the stage of suggestion and becomes law. In the meantime one might observe that it would be a provision doomed to failure.
In the first place one wonders how they would plan to enforce it upon those who, having already reached the age of eighteen but not twenty-one, are already lawfully buying alcohol. One foresees the Scottish Executive getting bogged down in some interesting Human Rights Act cases if they are to have such a right taken away from them.
Secondly, in the South at least, there will be a devastating effect on licensed premises that lie within any sort of distance of the English Border as young men drive South in order to drink themselves silly – incidentally increasing the drink-driving rate at the same time. English landlords of hostelries will just love the sound of their cash registers ringing in these lovely Scottish £20 notes as Scotland’s youth transfers its wealth to the English Beerage.
Thirdly there is the old chestnut: if young Scottish men can volunteer for the Army and are of an age to go into combat – an all to frequent circumstance these days – and die, are we really going to tell them that they can join up with that possibility in mind but that when they get home on leave they may not imbibe so much as a shandy?
Fourthly, the law is already being broken with a degree of impunity by those under eighteen. Why should that change?
Short of a massive increase in police, such a law would be largely unenforceable and a law that is unenforceable garners nothing but contempt. It would, in short, be self-defeating.
Lastly, but not least (and I suspect others may think of yet more sound reasons why this is a daft idea), it is likely to have a depressing effect on Scots universities that have a large intake of English students every year. The latter are unlikely to view party-free St. Andrew’s or Edinburgh with any enthusiasm whatsoever and will quickly abandon such centres of excellence for more bibulous seats of learning in England.
All of these reasons ought to sink this idea without trace. Sadly, given the quality of politicians in the Scottish Parliament, we shall doubtless see it made law before you can say: ‘Mine’s a double!’.
At which point it might well be worth buying a pub as close to the border as possible.
In the meantime the government of the United Kingdom, which still exists despite the best efforts of Labour and the EU, might care to take a lead on all this. When I first went to the Bar, driving with excess alcohol was still an offence triable before a Jury. Lots of juries were disinclined to convict but almost overnight this changed and drink driving became socially unacceptable. Just at that moment the government made drink driving triable only summarily. The point is that by judicious use of the criminal law (principally a zero-tolerance approach) and a consistent publicity campaign, drink driving was made socially unacceptable. Though offences are still committed today, it is largely under control.
Thus it should be with public drunkenness. Enforcing the law in a way that meant loss of liberty and consequent loss of jobs would cure this problem within five years. At present, however, young people can go out and get plastered with absolute impunity. So also with those responsible for licensed premises. Those who run pubs should also find themselves subject to zero-tolerance if they continue serving drunken customers.
Under the present government such measures are probably impossible to secure. Labour wanted to appeal to the youth vote and thus opened the doors to a twenty-four hours drinking culture rather than the genteel continental café culture which is not going to happen until we have a lot more climate change. Having done so it knows only too well that unpicking this new dispensation will amount to a serious error in its original judgement and to the accusation that much of the present binge-drinking culture is its fault.
Banning eighteen year olds from drinking will not work: they will always find a way to get smashed if they want. Rather let there be freedom to drink with serious consequences if the right is abused. Rights and responsibilities may be an old-fashioned notion, but it served us well enough once
I wrote in December of Senator Obama and the sense that he was an atypical black candidate for office in that he had thus far managed to prosper in his appeal to the wider electorate and had managed to rise above the issue of race. At the outset his opponents seemed to avoid the whole issue of race for fear that it would rebound upon them in a toxic way. But as his chances of being the first black candidate for President for one of the two big parties grew it was perhaps inevitable that the issue of race would come up. Thus the recordings of the pastor of the Church where Obama has worshipped for nigh on twenty years inveighing in deeply unpleasant terms against the USA had an air of inevitability about them.
The images of this priestly invective will be seen time and time again by the electorate and will be accessible for all to see at any time. No longer do we have to depend on a partial MSM putting their own spin on the material but we can see them for ourselves and make up our own mind what we think of them and what it tells us about the candidate. And one is also able, usually, to view at leisure the whole clip so that one can avoid the politician’s usual means of weaseling his way out of trouble by bleating ‘out of context’. Broadcasters inevitably edit their material to fit their schedules and thus one gets just the ‘soundbite’. Now if one has a mind to, you can often watch the whole interview and thus judge the context for yourself.
In that way the issue of race has been thrust with a rapier at the heart of Obama’s campaign. He has compounded it by this unpleasant remark about the ‘typical white person’ which is rightly being condemned for it is just the sort of stereotyping remark of which black people are so quick to complain when the boot is on the other foot.
He had once seemed the perfect ‘black’ candidate in that he had appeared to rise without having to carry with him the baggage of race. Thus he had appeal for the electorate as a whole, enabling him to come within striking distance of the candidacy in a way that the likes of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, both of whom were firmly of the demagogue persuasion, never managed. Now the relentless dissemination of images have opened the Pandora’s Tinderbox that is race in American politics which may see the unraveling of his candidacy. Certainly there is some evidence that white voters have seen a side of Mr. Obama for which they do not care in the least and may well be about to abandon him.
His chances apparently now lie in the hands of the so-called ‘super-delegates’ who can chop and change their support at will. If these perceive that he has managed through his association with this troublesome priest to alienate a swathe of white voters, then they may drop him like a hot potato. But that in itself may not stop this bare-knuckle fight from going on right up to the Democratic Convention, a circumstance in which the only real winner will be John McCain, their Republican opponent.
McCain now has the luxury of going about and being ‘presidential’ whilst his Democrat opponents chop lumps off one another. His trip to Europe to see the likes of Gordon Brown and David Cameron thus distances him from the unseemly fray in the Democratic camp. Seeing the latter is an astute move for him, since it has the double advantage of continuing a relationship which saw McCain speak to the Tory Conference in 2006 (which, if McCain wins this year, will be seen as a stroke of good fortune for the Tories) and of demonstrating that McCain is thinking further ahead than November’s election to a time when Cameron might be Prime Minister. Cameron is also a beneficiary, since it helps give him credibility by being taken seriously by the man who may be US President in January.
If Obama’s Priest and his casual jibe at white people deny him the candidacy, it will say much about the way in which information is now gathered and disseminated. Though the material may be originated by mainstream broadcaster, it is increasingly the case that the real motor of distribution and comment is the internet. This US election will surely see more examples of this and demonstrate the increasing role and power of the blogosphere.
Here is another sample of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright strutting his obnoxious stuff: