Friday, October 30, 2009

Recommended Reading 30-Oct-09

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

Young Americans for Liberty remember Murray Rothbard.

Tory Rascal says that he hears Peter Mandelson is briefing against Gordon Brown.

Rod Liddle wants to start a mass campaign of civil disobedience.
Devils Kitchen takes the Tory policy on immigration to task (with the customary strong language).
And finally, James Kirkup wonders if Gordon Brown was being honest when he told the EU that most British people want Tony Blair as President.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On The Side Of Angels

A false apology or non-apology for wrong-doing is about all that is offered these days, and generally we take these as we are so accustom to no apology at all.  There was a time when people took responsibility for their own actions and the actions of those who work for them.  This has not been the case for some time.

Day after day we wait for apologies, we bemoan these insincere non-apologies. Expressions of "regret" have too become seen as almost the same as an apology. But, they are not.

Today The Chief Rabbi of Poland had issued this statement:
“There is no doubt that Kaminski is a strong friend of the State of Israel. He himself has spoken out against anti-Semitism on several occasions during the past decade. It is a grotesque distortion that people are quoting me to prove that Kaminski is an anti-Semite. Portraying Kaminski as a neo Nazi plays into the painful and false stereotype that all Poles are anti-Semitic. I would also like to clarify that the headline of James Macintyre article of July 29, 2009 entitled: “Jewish Leaders Turn on Cameron’s Tories: Poland’s chief rabbi and others call on Cameron to sever ties with Polish MEP” does not represent what I said to the author. I made no political statement and this headline is misleading and untrue.”
Be honest, when you saw this you knew as well as I do that there will be no apology from Miliband and there will be no apology from Macintyre. Despite the vulgar implications of their words and actions, and the tarnish caused to role of Foreign Secretary their opinions shone through and could not be contained, no matter how false and worng that these opinions were.  They both see it as their role to bash the Tories, and there is no method that is out of bounds. They see themselves as on the side of the Angels, and as such the ends justify the means.  They are aiming for loftier goals, that progressive lurch to the lefties ideal society; there will be no Tories in their utopia.

But that is the problem, with our Government in Westminster, the one in Brussels and with our Media. There is no longer even the pretence that they are there to do anything other than pursue their own agendas.

That sick feeling we all share is the knowledge that there is very little people can do about it. That even when misdeeds are exposed they are not punished as you and I would be, they get to just keep carrying on. Like I say, the bext we expect now is a non-apology and we feel bad when we do not even get that.

That does not mean that we should stop trying though.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Phone Poll - 99% Want Out Of EU

Not well today, am probably dying of the most severe flu & cold combination ever, but braved my way to work, and am just home now.

I wasn't going to blog tonight, but just read over on the Express an article about EU plans in implement direct taxation on the UK population, which has been on the books for a long time now, but something I am not so sure the wider public are too aware of (I may be wrong there though).  But it was something else at the end of the article that caught my eye.

Cut to the end....
"A huge majority of readers backs Britain leaving the EU, the Daily Express phone poll revealed last night. Asked whether the UK should get out, an astonishing 99 per cent said yes.

Of the thousands who voted, just a few readers said the UK ought to stay in."

Perhaps not an accurate cross section of the entire population, but still, 99% is the margin Saddam Hussein proclaimed to be winning elections by; it is crazy that such a widely held opinion is still so completely and absolutely ignored by the party leadership in Westminster.  At what point of resistance and contempt towards the EU must the people reach before we get REPRESENTATION in this country?  If we chucked out every single MP at the next election, would we really get a Parliament that represented us any more fairly?

Now, more than ever we need a real EUsceptic representation in Westminster.  MP's need to be reminded they are there to represent and defend us; not to feather their own nests and do as they please.


Right, off to my bed for some recuperation, I swear my throat is so sore I might wake up dead tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

President Blair Fan Club

So, lets have a quick reminder, thus far these are the people who are on record as supporting the notion of President Blair.

Anyone else?

Recommended Reading

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

John Rentoul says the Tony Blair's NHS revolution is starting to happen with 100,000 patients undertaking private treatment, but paid for by the NHS.

David Charter in The Times suggests President Klaus may offer the Czech Republic a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty before he ratifies.

Dick Puddlecote has an interesting dinner suggestion.

The Tax Payers Alliance have published some research on their look at the semi-autonomous Public Bodies of the UK.

And finally, The Last Ditch quotes a reader of Andrew Neather.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Open Thread

It has been a while but if you have any feedback, comments or suggestions please feel free.  Let me know if there is anything you would like to see more of or anything that you disliked or think I should do less of.

I have stopped putting up so many polls in the last few months as I was getting a bit bored of them, and there was a shortlived Friday music piece which has also been dropped.  I have cut the recommended reading posts to an average of two a week now also - is any of it missed?

Also, brownie points if anyone recognises the bridge in my new header. 

Turkey Shortage?

I intimated in a post yesterday that my guess was that retailers will be looking to keep stock low this year, so as to avoid burning off too much excess festive stock in sales, and this morning I have seen an article that seems to back my point about retailers expecting a quieter Christmas.

It would appear that Supermarkets have ordered much fewer Turkeys during this summer in their preparedness for Christmas; in doing so 30% fewer premium Turkeys were hatched this summer in preparation for this Christmas.

The article states that there are now concerns that there may be a shortage, and that some people will need to switch to an alternate meat for their Christmas dinner.

It will not just have been Turkeys that the big retailers will have slashed orders for; it will be across the whole retail sector.  Turkeys are a good indicator because they are so synonymous with Christmas and because they need time to be hatched and grown, demonstrating retailer confidence for sales ahead of Christmas. And the absence of surplus stocks will mean a reduced need for Pre-Christmas sales, and the absence of sales is not good for the economic forecasting of Mr Brown.

For the record, the Christmas accord of 2005 still stands which guaranteed that my wife and I would alternate Christmases between each of our parents houses also meaning that we shall be at my parents this year, and thus meaning Capon is the bird that will have already been pre-ordered.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Browns Economic Statement

I just have read in the Sunday Times that Gordon Brown has said that the recession will be over by the end of the year. This despite the articles admission that economists in Downing Street were “staggered” by Fridays figures showing that the country is still in the grip of recession.

The article also adds:
Mr Brown was clearly counting on nothing happening in the next three months that will suddenly put the recovery off the rails, but it was unusual for the usually cautious Prime Minister to be so definitive.
I think it is a bold move to make such an assurance, especially considering it seems to be an unprompted remark. It strikes me that this is a big gamble and Brown is pinning perhaps all of his electoral hopes on Christmas spending bringing the UK economy back to growth. Problem is, there is a good chance this might not happen. Yes, confidence is needed but the political outlook for Gordon Brown in 2010 was already looking dire, this could be the final nail for him and the Labour Party.

On the high street retailers will be hopeful for a good Christmas, but I have my doubts that they will be overly stocked after a tough year, so the prospect of attractive cut price sales before the end of the year are not as likely to materialise this year to entice people into the shops.  Last year, many retaillers felt the need to cut early, lessons will have been learned. Furthermore, there is no appetite for taking on additional credit to fund an extravagant Christmas, so sales will largely be funded by disposable income. Many people, including myself have faced a reduction in income in the last 18 months and have faced increases in cost of living thanks to the crunch, leaving less disposable income available. I don’t think I am alone when I say there will be a strict budget applied this Christmas in our house.

I am not sure that we will see too much end of year budget burning from the private sector businesses either, as finance directors will be looking to go into 2010 with as much cash in hand as possible so as to be as well positioned as possible after what has generally been a bad year all round.  Public Sector budgets tend to run to end of Q1 so unless ordered to spend, I would not be confident that there will be additional expenditure there either.

All round, the outlook for people and business is that they face even more price rises in 2010, which is easy to point to with the VAT rate scheduled to rise on 1st Jan. I think that in Gordon Browns position he should have aired on the side of caution.

If Browns statement is shown to be wrong, Brown will be punished at the polls if he tries to use his economic record for electoral gain, because it just isn’t as great as he thinks it is. The opposition parties will be able to deride him, even more so than they potentially already can. Even if I am wrong, and there is signs of growth by January that does not mean the voters will give Brown the credit he will feel he deserves. Given that, either I have a very different assessment of where the country is to 10 Downing Street and this is very likely to prove to be ammunition for Cameron & Co or Gordon Brown knows something we don’t.

My verdict.  I think this is an act that shows there is some desperation in Downing Street and that it will come back to haunt him.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Recommended Reading 24-Oct-09

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

Not a Sheep wonders if Gordon Brown is about to take the UK into the EURO.

Quentin Letts thinks that Ken Clarke is a fool who is not trying very hard to provide opposition.

Tarquin thinks we should give 16 year olds the vote.

Sean Gabb publishes his speech to a Conservative Association entitled The Conservative Challange.

The New York Times have the first part of the story from David Rohde who spent 7 months and 10 days in captivity to the Taliban.

And finally, NO2NWO has a full length movie stream called The Obama Deception (4m+ views on You Tube).


Friday, October 23, 2009

The Recession Is Not Over, And I Don't Think It Will Be For Some Time Yet

I see in the news the announcement that the recession is not over. The surprise for me is that there is surprise at this particular announcement.

I am no economist, and every post when I talk anything approaching economics I still feel the need to warn of this, but my analysis and predictions have so far been pretty accurate. My thinking going back to early Q2 that we would not emerge until at least early 2010, and possibly not until Q3 2010. If 6 quarters is the worst recession for 54 years, I do wonder where 9 or 10 qtrs will sit?

Why do I think this? Because the Government and the Bank of England have taken measures to ensure that economic corrections are kept to a minimum. 
Now I can understand the politics of this, and they two-fold.

Firstly, it is one of the biggest dividing lines in the minds of Conservative and Labour voters over aged 30. During the 80’s and the 90’s when the UK went into recession the Conservatives allowed the market to contract before recovery with little or no intervention. This allowed for a quicker recovery (in theory) but meant the economy dipped faster and deeper causing many people to lose houses, their livelihoods, their businesses. The Conservative argument would be that the UK economy leading into the 80’s was in need of modernisation and was still built very much in the image of post-war Britain and overly reliant on dying industries. The crashes took a lot of older businesses out, but in the booms allowed for the creation of future industries which we rely upon today. It is an argument that will never probably be settled in broad public opinion. Labour stuck very much then to the politics they have followed during this recession; that Government(s) should intervene to prevent the recession getting too deep at any one point. The argument again would be that (in theory) this will draw out the recession for longer and also that the necessary “corrections” which our future economy may benefit have not had a chance to come into place. Now, I say this not to advocate either position, but, the current path undertaken was one that was known and one of general intervention rather than of allowing market forces to work unfettered.

The second point is as political as it is economic. It was and is a very big gamble. To my mind the Quantitative Easing programme has been a stealth effort in devaluing sterling, which has had some results, not necessarily completely positive, but not disastrous (yet). Of the big economies only Japan and the EURO zone have not followed with similar measures and China’s decision to fix against the Dollar is looking to have been very profitable. The EURO zone may still need to devalue, as it is hard to see it continuing for long at $1.50 to €1.00. The EU including the UK needs grow its Exports, and with the EURO so strong that is not looking likely. The danger of QE is hyperinflation, and clearly the extra money is not being leant as it was supposed to have been, but the UK seems to have been able to leverage its independence from the EURO to keep Sterling attractive and as exports may not have suffered as much as they could have, and we have an advantage, for now, on the EURO zone countries.

On point two however, I think we have our economic independence to thank, as we have been able to make decisions independent of the EU. It could however very quickly turn to be a disadvantage and I would like to see an end to QE and an immediate cut in Government borrowing. As long as we have QE we risk adding hyperinflation to an increasing unserviceable debt mountain. That would be like the perfect storm of recessions.

I really do not see any long standing positivity until Government and personal debt is slashed. I think individuals have responded and in 2009 are directing income into repaying debt rather than spending. This trend will continue. The Government needs to do the same. Though it will probably not do so and it will fall to an incoming Conservative Government to undo the damage. The sooner it is reigned in the less the UK will need to repay, and the quicker we can head to recovery. Individuals need to start spending, but day to day spending needs to not be linked to personal debt such as credit cards. As the nation’s credit rating improves, sensible borrowing for houses and big items like cars will aid recovery further.

Anyway, that’s my take, and that is what I am basing my personal economic decisions on. Recessions are ugly, and unfortunately I think until we can point to “corrections” all we have is the same struggling economy, the pain will have to be felt a lot more harshly somewhere – and I am not sure where; my guess a year ago was on homeowners, but this looks slightly less likely to be the case now. I am sure there are those of you who will disagree and that’s fine, but if you are rebutting in the comments, please keep it in layman’s terms as much as possible as like I said, I am not an economist. [So, don’t bet your house on my economic predictions!]

No surprises from me that we are still in recession. I still think there is one thing that Gordon Brown can do to bring about confidence in the markets and in the public and that would be to call a General Election.

My very final thought is again political. John Major complained of bringing about a “voteless recovery” and reports from Gordon’s bunker were in the same vein. I wonder what will be his cry if there is no recovery to link his lack of votes to?

QT Last Night

I was going to post my thoughts here on QT last night, but Blogger has been down all morning and I have to start work in the next few minutes.

I would like to hear what people's opinions are on the appearance of Nick Griffin, and also, if anyone saw the early part of This Week on their theory that voters in London being more sophisticated; and thus reject the BNP but those of us not fortunate enough to benefit from living in the capital are ignorant, unfeeling and/or uneducated becuase we can't see what the BNP is really about. [Their arguement, which of course completely failed to acknowledge the BNP presence on the London Assembly.]

Anyway off to work, more later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Northern Ireland Assembly Votes In Favour Of Referendum On Lisbon

Excellent spot and full credit to Fausty

The Northern Ireland assembly has debated and voted on a motion urging whoever wins the next UK General Election hold a referendum on the UK's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, and the motion was approved 47-19.

An extract
"those parties aspiring to form the incoming Government of the United Kingdom to give an unequivocal commitment to hold, within a twelve month period from assuming office in 2010, a binding referendum on the Lisbon Treaty that is unconditional and unrelated to how other member states choose to vote, and the result of which will not be held in abeyance pending a further referendum on the subject."
Excellent news.

I wonder if there are any plans for a similar debate in the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament?

Todays Communications

Blog Posts - 4, including 1 cross-post
Twitters - 6
Emails sent - 20
Emails received - 37

Letters Posted - 0
Letters Received - 0

An fairly ordinary day then.

Random Thoughts #2

Why is it still called Jeff Randall Live when Jeff Randall is not hosting?

An Observation

The nation is in frenzy. Not since England’s last appearance at a summer tournament (coming on for 4 years ago) can I recall so many people all talking about the same thing.

As peoples focus is on politics today, it might be a good idea if the mainstream parties took full advantage and talk about how mass engagement in politics is a good thing.

I feel a little like I am in bizarro world today. For the first time ever I don't want Jack Straw or Chris Huhne to be on the end of a resounding spanking on QT. Let's hope for a good debate, and some talk from the big parties on getting people back to work immigration and yes, Europe.

BNP On Question Time

I am a supporter of Freedom of Speech, and I happen to think that it is essential to a free society that people be allowed to express themselves freely.  With curbs at law allowing compensation for such things as slander, on the whole we, in principle at least, have a reasonable and decent set up.  Yes, the walls have been closing in quite a bit in the last few years, but I think this has been broadly acknowledged, and as soon as this particular Government is ousted I believe on this issue under the Conservatives we can return to a normal debate and square some of those issues away.

As Newton pointed out, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Though this is a law of physics, it can sometimes be applied to situations in our lives.  To allow for Freedom of Speech there is a cost or in this analogy opposite reaction, which is that we don't just then hear what we want to hear.  We have to allow for the fact that people are going to have opinions vastly different to yours and mine and that those opinions may well cause offence.

The equal reaction is that The BNP, and in this case Nick Griffin is also subject to this and he will have to hear what those of us who do not support the BNP have to say.  I think it is right that the BNP have their say, as much as I disagree with them it is the price of free speech and one I am glad to pay.  And on this score the BBC are right to have allowed Mr Griffin onto their flagship politics show.

If you cannot allow for this, even broadly, then I do not think you can really be a advocate for free speech.

I hope that the fellow panel members take the full opportunity to debate Griffin on TV.  Over one million people voted BNP at the EU elections, and I wonder how many of them have actually heard Nick Griffin speak on TV or Radio?  I would wager not that many; certainly a low percentage considering he is a party political leader.  The concerns expressed by those who do not want the BNP on TV are that he will be "recruiting" - as if National Socialism and Racism were some unstoppable irresistible force that must not be allowed into people's ears.  I just do not understand this rationale.  Informed debate and giving people ALL of the facts is what is needed, and the mainstream political parties need to get better at doing that, even if it means we learn more about them than they don't like.  Let people hear what he has to say, it may turn out that instead of recruiting new people those that did vote BNP may now not do so again in the future.

I know Jack Straw and Chris Huhne are due to appear, and they will need to up their game for this.  I am not sure who the other two panellists will be*, I hope someone from the conservatives and someone from the centre-right press.  Question Time does tend to swing four lefties to one centre-right panellist many weeks, so tonight may well be no different on that score.

I happen to think that if the panel spend an hour screeming "raaaacist!" in Nick Griffins direction, they will themselves not come off too well.  In my opinion, they should try to draw out some opinions and policies that go beyond what will have been rehearsed off screen prior to an apperance, and then look for an opportunity to explain how poor those policies and opinions are, and how they would adversly affect the country and the people that live here if widely implemented.

I also just want to say that despite my absence from the B-BBC live blog in recent weeks (due to the unseemly time I have to get up these days, QT is on when I am usually in bed) and though I will be annoying the wife, I am going to make the extra effort to be there tonight so we can deliver our own collectively unique commentary on events.  I would urge others who would like to join to be there early, as the unmoderated slots will go quickly.

*If you know who these panellists are, can you let me know in the comments, I did look on the QT webpage but it is not listed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gordon Brown Just Does Not Get Anything

In a year when political stories and scandals have peaked and have tested the absolute patience and understanding of the general public, it should really be no surprise whatsoever that Gordon’s Grand Plan for sorting out the expenses saga is to give MP’s a pay rise to compensate them for loss of earnings from the inevitable cull in expenses that is likely to be recommended by Sir Christopher Kelly.

MPs are on notice, they are facing an election next year and where some are standing down, many will not be getting the chance to return as they are thrown out of their jobs by an angry electorate. So, why exactly does any MP deserve a pay rise in the last seven or eight months of a Parliament?

Let me be clear here, my feelings and my reading of public opinion is staunchly that £64,766 for MP’s who are not in the cabinet is more than enough and that given the betrayal of trust that has been exposed there are plenty of people who are willing to stand for Parliament who agree that £64,766 is enough. If there is any pay rise corresponding to the withdrawal of MP expenses then it should only be for those who are able to face their constituencies and secure a new mandate to be in Parliament AFTER a General Election.

It is becoming increasingly clear that as Labour get closer to the election and the nearer they get to slipping from power, possibly forever, they are becoming more and more prepared to go against public opinion to do what they like, and what suits them. On the score of MP’s expenses and salary there are a lot of Labour MP’s heading for the exits, why would people without principle act in with principle by doing what is best for their constituents, or for their country. To whom do these constituents look to? Whatever did happen to the notion of honourable gentlemen? (and honourable ladies, of course)?

Brown is acting from fear (again), and senses there will be wide spread rebellion in the coming months if he cannot buy of Labour MP’s to keep them in line; if he can’t keep them in line Parliament cannot function and an election would be necessary.

We need EDM 2090, or something like it so that constituents can select their candidates and we need a General Election. This Parliament is dead, and all the news and all the initiative that come in the following months will be accompanied by a decaying stench that will be ever-present to whatever it is attached.

Recommended Reading 20-Oct-09

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

John Ward takes on Labour over the Estuary Airport.

Doug Carswell with an observation on democracy quangocracy.
Andrew Hough says the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee admits that he made a mistake.
The Salted Slug tells us about the problems with Libertarians.

And finally, Leg_Iron on Frank field.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sarkozy And Barroso Endorse Moves For Global Government In EU Parliament

Hattip: Calling England

Government Legitimacy

Gordon Brown on BBC News tonight:
“It is vital that the new Afghanistan government has legitimacy in the eyes of the people”
Said the unelcted PM about the elected President, seeking re-election.

Is this really what the world has come to?

EDM 2090 - Parliamentary Elections (Recall And Primaries) Bill

Please write to, email, twitter or generally harass your MP in the most appropriate form to sign up to this EDM from Doug Carswell MP.



Carswell, Douglas

That this House is deeply concerned about the lack of public engagement in political and democratic affairs and the cynicism and distrust of the political system felt by many voters; notes that the recent Power Inquiry found that this is all too often borne out of a sense of disempowerment; believes that new measures are required to enable voters to participate more fully in the political system; welcomes the provisions of the Parliamentary Elections (Recall and Primaries) Bill tabled by a cross-party group of hon. Members that would permit voters to recall their hon. Member in certain specified circumstances and also require a returning officer to hold primary elections if requested to do so by any local political party with the support of at least 1,000 voters; further notes that the leaders of the three largest political parties have expressed support for the need for new initiatives to engage the public; and hopes that this Bill will become law expeditiously, believing that it will help restore faith in the political process.


Monday, October 19, 2009

On The Ropes

It has not been a good few weeks to be a EUsceptic.

Crash - Lisbon accepted by the voters of Ireland in referendum.

Bang - Tony Blair favourite to become EU President.

Smash - Poland's President Kaczynski signs Lisbon Treaty.

Wallop - Czech President Klaus indicates he will sign Lisbon soon.

Knockout blow? - UKIP ordered to pay back over £350k.

When the dust settles and we are locked in we will only have ourselves to blame.  We talk of the freedoms and protections that our fathers and our grandfathers spilt blood for but what have we really done?  When faced with an enemy dressed in suits and wielding laws and promises instead of swords and guns we have let down our guard and allowed the trade of the very fundamental gifts that has kept people on our earth free to live life and enjoy liberty.   When men and women spoke in their hushed tones about making our lives easier and better if only we would relinquish just a little more control.  At what point did looking the other way become a national trait?

Our lives become gloomier by the week as the squeeze of statist-socialism destroys our country a little more by every passing week.  There will be no Hollywood rescue, no last minute respite, we elected them and put them in their position and paid for their lifestyles.  They did what we should have known they were going to do!  We became blind and we have been betrayed.  At what point will this Island awaken from it's interminable slumber?

This is the Endgame. Rise up Britain; speak now or forever hold your peace.


There are a few petitions out there that are in need of some support, I have linked to most of these before but here are some fresh links and hopefully some fresh impetus.

1.  Steve Green has started a 10 Downing Street petition HERE after seeing an advert of television.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop wasting taxpayer's money on climate change propaganda designed to frighten our children.
2. I started the Daniel Hannan petition over on Voice Of The Resistance looking for support to urge Daniel Hannan to stand for the Westminster Parliament.
"We the people who leave our name in the comments field do so as to indicate that we share this same opinion. It is our wish to encourage Daniel Hannan in the strongest and most emphatic means available to us to stand for Election to the UK Parliament at the next General Election so as to join his "The Plan" co-author Doug Carswell in leading and influencing the next Government and the UK towards the ideas espoused in "The Plan" and from on his blog"

3.  There is also a pan-EU petition against nominating Tony Blair as President of the EU, which is proving popular but needs all the signatures possible.
We, European citizens of all origins and of all political persuasions, wish to express our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council.
4.  Inspired by Ron Paul I wrote this piece about the need to have an audit of the Federal Reserve, and linked to this PETITION on Downing Street which is sorely in need of some support.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Openly and Publically Insist That The United States Government Conduct The First Ever Public Audit Of The Federal Reserve.
Please sign these today if you have not already done so, and let me know in the comments if I have missed any that need attention.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Fight

In the red corner this week A ha with Take On Me...

Versus in the blue corner, Limp Bizkit with Take A Look Around.


Recommended Reading

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

The All Seeing Eye says Labour has done away with cigarette vending machines.

Steve Green on The Daily Referendum looks at why the BNP are doing so well in his home town of Barnsley.

Tory Politico with a pressing issue for Parliament.
Ed West takes on Jo Brand over her assertion that you can't be racist to white people.
The Times now agrees with the rest of the country, the only way confidence in Parliament can be restored is to have an election.
And finally, are you having a bad day at work?  Just be glad you don't work for France Telecom... CBS News indicates things seem to be very, very bad there.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Repeal The Smoking Ban

I haven't said it here before, but I agree with the calls to repeal the smoking ban.  Both my parents are and have always been smokers, the wife is a smoker, most people I know are smokers.

I myself am a reformed man; I gave up the cigarettes about 2 years back, though if I am having a drink I now have a cigar or two.  It is enjoyable.  I work hard, I pay my taxes, I want to smoke when I have a drink.  People have voted with their feet and are abandoning pubs.  We are targeting our own heritage and local businesses with cruel draconian laws. 

I have something of a proposal.  Firstly repeal the ban; secondly, food areas should probably return to being non-smoking areas.  Thirdly, should publicans and customers wish, have smoking and non-smoking areas; legislation not required here.  Finally, allow publicans should they wish for it the ability to apply for, and pay for a non-smoking licence.  Pubs can only apply if there is a pub that allows smoking within 1 mile of it.

Non-smoking licences renewable yearly, money to local council, etc...etc...etc.


R.I.P. Captain Lou

Technology Quiz

Imagine you are suddenly transported back to a time before technology... Could you, with the benefit of being a person from the future kick-start any technological revolutions?

Whilst over at Danny's I saw this LINK and had a go (takes 2 mins).  Pretty revealing.

For the record, a respectable (I think) 6 out of 10 for moi.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting Story, Or Not...

I have been reading, or not reading what Carter Ruck is, or is not up to in relation to the Guardian, Parliament and potential questions that may, or may not be asked.  Seems while I was asleep last night this all brewed up and the blogosphere found a few juicy questions that may, or may not have been cause for censor.  Seems that looking through the order book has revealed that there is still much to pay attention to.  A number of different solid theories have been advanced and there may, or may not, or may be supporting documents on Wikileaks, perhaps.

I had a look myself this morning, and I am a little surprised, or not, that nobody thought that this might be the offending enquiry.  Though not seriously, perhaps, maybe.

Perhaps only because this would be more exciting, and movie-esque, or not. I guess we all hit a question we thought it might be... Still I would like to know the answers to these.

Recommended Reading

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

Ed West interviews Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian woman and founder of Arabs for Israel.

Fraser Nelson says the gap between the Bank of England base rate and the average mortgage rate is at a high.
Daniel Finkelstein wonders why the Guardians published list of Nobel winners was missing 3 names.
Stephanie Gutmann tells us about some ignored heroes.
And finally, Wikileaks has details of the EU's social networking spy system (INDECT4) that is monitoring all of us on the internet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Appeal For Support To Audit The US Federal Reserve

Did you know that the Federal Reserve is not a part of the US Federal Government?

Did you know that it is in fact a Private Company?

Did you know that The US Government has little domestic oversight of the US Fed?

Did you know that the US Fed can enter into negotiations with “Foreign” central banks without Federal oversight?

Did you know that the Federal Reserve has never been audited?

The US Government does not own and it does not control the US Fed. Yet the Fed controls the monetary policy of the biggest economy on the planet and has a direct line to the US Treasury Department. The Fed board’s influence extends to and beyond the US Government and as such the Fed has a very big say in the economic health of the Western World. It is in fact the single most powerful organisation influencing world markets. But where are the checks and balances? There are none.

Ron Paul, everybody’s favourite Republican (outside of the US) introduced House Resolution Bill 1207 The Federal Reserve Transparancy Act to the US House of Representatives in February this year urging the Federal Government to bring the Fed under real scrutiny starting with a full public audit of the bank, to be completed before the end of 2010. This is earth shattering stuff, seeing as nobody is even sure who owns the Fed.

Here is the speech Ron Paul gave when he introduced the bill.

Madame Speaker,

I rise to introduce the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy. How long will we as a Congress stand idly by while hard-working Americans see their savings eaten away by inflation? Only big-spending politicians and politically favored bankers benefit from inflation.

Serious discussion of proposals to oversee the Federal Reserve is long overdue. I have been a longtime proponent of more effective oversight and auditing of the Fed, but I was far from the first Congressman to advocate these types of proposals. Esteemed former members of the Banking Committee such as Chairmen Wright Patman and Henry B. Gonzales were outspoken critics of the Fed and its lack of transparency.

Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has always operated in the shadows, without sufficient scrutiny or oversight of its operations. While the conventional excuse is that this is intended to reduce the Fed’s susceptibility to political pressures, the reality is that the Fed acts as a foil for the government. Whenever you question the Fed about the strength of the dollar, they will refer you to the Treasury, and vice versa. The Federal Reserve has, on the one hand, many of the privileges of government agencies, while retaining benefits of private organizations, such as being insulated from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Federal Reserve can enter into agreements with foreign central banks and foreign governments, and the GAO is prohibited from auditing or even seeing these agreements. Why should a government-established agency, whose police force has federal law enforcement powers, and whose notes have legal tender status in this country, be allowed to enter into agreements with foreign powers and foreign banking institutions with no oversight? Particularly when hundreds of billions of dollars of currency swaps have been announced and implemented, the Fed’s negotiations with the European Central Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, and other institutions should face increased scrutiny, most especially because of their significant effect on foreign policy. If the State Department were able to do this, it would be characterized as a rogue agency and brought to heel, and if a private individual did this he might face prosecution under the Logan Act, yet the Fed avoids both fates.

More importantly, the Fed’s funding facilities and its agreements with the Treasury should be reviewed. The Treasury’s supplementary financing accounts that fund Fed facilities allow the Treasury to funnel money to Wall Street without GAO or Congressional oversight. Additional funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility and the Term Securities Lending Facility, allow the Fed to keep financial asset prices artificially inflated and subsidize poorly performing financial firms.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would eliminate restrictions on GAO audits of the Federal Reserve and open Fed operations to enhanced scrutiny. We hear officials constantly lauding the benefits of transparency and especially bemoaning the opacity of the Fed, its monetary policy, and its funding facilities. By opening all Fed operations to a GAO audit and calling for such an audit to be completed by the end of 2010, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act would achieve much-needed transparency of the Federal Reserve. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

The Bill is gaining momentum and people in the US are taking notice and an interest and there are some public campaigns aimed at applying pressure on US Congressmen and Senators to back this Bill.

It is important because the US Fed makes decisions that affect us all, it is directing traffic and nobody is really sure how strong or weak it really is. If Ron Pauls bid succeeds, other central banks would come under pressure to also come under open scrutiny.

So, if you are a reader from the US, please lend your support to 1207 and urge your representatives to do the same. If you are in the UK please sign THIS PETITION on the 10 Downing Street website urging our Prime Minister to publically lend his support to the existing calls for the US Fed to be audited. Please advertise the link on your blogs and social networks and let’s see if we can help Ron Paul and the US Congress open the books on the Fed. Maybe then we can really get a handle on the Global Economic downturn.

This video is of Ron Paul explaining why this is an important bill. He explains it much better than I can.

A Very Modern Coup d'etat

According to The Times, the French and the Germans have applied the pressure on the Czech Government which is now meeting to discuss ways to circumvent President Klaus and adopt the Lisbon Treaty.  It is claimed that Impeachment of President Klaus is one of the options being looked at.

The Czech Constitutional Court is reviewing the Lisbon Treaty again, and President Klaus is also looking for some opt-outs similar to those negotiated by Britain.  It would appear the notion of President Klaus seeking to hold off ratification for long enough for a British referendum is as suspected fantasy.  With the attentions of the entire EU now on the Czech Republic it is certain that the EU will find a way to force this through, or it may even threaten the Czech republic with expulsion from the EU if it does not sign.

If all the existing nations did not sign it would likely mean that a new ratification would be required, but each Government would surely take the existing ratifications and use that as authority to sign quickly.  Alternatively, the existing treaty will be signed and the EU will simp0ly ignore that The Czechs are not a part of it.  Thanks to Brown and Cleggs betrayal of their Party Manifesto Pledges, we are now tied into the tyranical EU.

It should come as no surprise that when the politics of your nation differ from that of the EU elite, they have no qualms in getting involved.  We are no longer a continent of individual nations we are a part of a supra-national bloc.  Your government is in Brussels now.  I hate it, but that is a fact.  Lisbon is just the icing on the cake.  You will now longer have representation in the manner we in the UK are comforted by, only the voices of the lobbyists and the corporations is big enough to be heard in the EU Capital.

I want out, but to get out we need whomever controls the next Westminster Parliament to be in favour of withdrawal.  And as that looks to be the Conservatives, it may just mean that it is time to relocate abroad.  Perhaps a rapid swing to THIS PARTY is our only chance now?

Update: The Boiling Frog points me, and all of us to THIS article from Bruno - Seems President Klaus is not backing down!

Beyond Angry

I am too mad for words to put anything down about Jacqui Smith so I am going to go and find somewhere quiet and shaded and have a lie down.

Meanwhile, show some support now, for someone who may be a national hero come next May or June, go visit Karen Lumley's website.  She is running against the criminal Smith in Redditch.  Her ConservativeHome diary is HERE.

I can not wait until election night, when this corrupt regime is finally ousted.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Expense Reclaim

Tomorrow, MP's are going to return to Parliament and according to some reports as many as half of them will face questions over their Expenses claims. MP's will be instructed to repay bad claims and some of the worst offenders may face criminal charges. Sky News puts the number at 325 but The Sunday Times puts the figure around 100.

It is a positive move that some expenses have been examined and that those who have bent the rules pay back what they have stolen. However, my feeling is that by focusing on three areas of claims only, as this investigation has, we will not really get to the bottom of who has misclaimed and the full extent of the abuse. I fear we run the risk that other infringements be viewed as acceptable because it did not feature in this particular investigation. Let's get it straight; what MPs should and should not be allowed to claim must be encoded into cast iron rules. Taxpayers should not be subsidising a lavish lifestyle. It is a job of public service, if a generous salary and the meeting of the costs incurred of such work is not enough then MP's should not stand for election again. This is what must follow from these investigations, so with an election looming we need this sooner rather than later.

The three areas said to be focused on in this investigation are:

1. Mortgages. The rules state that MP's can claim the interest payments against their second homes, whereas some MP's have been claiming for the repayments as well. There are a lot of MP's who have made questionable designations to their "second house" and MP's and the new speaker have been slow to clarify the vague rules. Married and coupled MPs may have been double claiming.

2. Gardening. The rules are clear that maintenance of the garden of a second home is permitted, but landscaping and improvements are not. Some MPs were charging for potted plants and landscaping.

3. Cleaners. Certain cleaning items in a second home are permitted, such as carpets. But full time cleaners have been hired and not always (it would seem) on the second homes. The Green Book is vague on what is and is not allowed. Gordon Brown is likely to be implicated for payments to his brother for a shared cleaner. He has failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety and may be asked to pay back the money himself.

Again, I feel it is a positive step but it does not come close to the levels necessary. All expenses should be openly published without the excessive redaction that has taken place. Over a period of a few months I have been looking into my own MP’s expenses claims, and it is very hard in some cases to know if something is proper, or if it is an unfair claim because the redaction hides certain information. If these were available to be reviewed by the public and we could see more of the information people can police and highlight irregularities.

The rules need to be a lot clearer about what can and cannot be claimed for, and these decisions should not be taken out of the public spotlight. Basic claims are fine; we do not want to hinder people from doing their jobs. But if MP’s want to act like children, they will be treated like children by the public. Likewise, if they act like crooks, they should spare us the sanctimony when the public treats them like crooks. We also should not be paying for things like hotel gratuities, room service and newspapers which I have seen included in claims.

Moving forward, there are hundreds of checks and limits that could and should be in place. I suspect next year’s green book will be very widely read, and it needs to be a lot clearer that previous editions. Those stepping outside these guidelines can have no excuses in the future, they need to be investigated and the fees office needs to do its job and reject claims that are outside the spirit of the rules.

But, there are clearly other steps that could and should be taken, and should follow on from these latest actions that we will all know more about in the coming days. These are just some of my suggestions, others who have looked at different aspects of these expenses may have others – I would be happy to publish others idea’s here if anyone is prepared to offer some. It is a shame the released documents are so heavily redacted, because the public should be allowed access to details of what they are paying for. My review has cast more doubt than provided assurance, but in my mind I find it hard to be clear if this is because of wrongdoing that is concretely proven through the receipts, or because doubts are cast because of the hidden details. Nonetheless here are my suggestions based on what I have seen, [and to be clear, I still have much to review before I am will have completed my review].

Firstly, MPs have had the facility to claim “petty cash” of up to £250 per month in their incidental expenses. It is bewildering that such amounts be freely available given the ease to charge back even the most basic items for office use. Tomorrow, every MP and Peer should be asked to produce their individual Petty Cash registers and over the next few weeks they should tally up with an investigator their receipts versus the amounts drawn. It is not a stretch to see that to allow £250 per month with no checks could allow this to be abused and for regular claims to be put in as supplement to income, rather than to fund constituency offices.

All an MP has to do is write "Petty Cash" and the desired amount on a C2 form and they get it. That's it.

From the records, Cheryl Gillan MP (my MP) has withdrawn the following sums, none of which required any receipts or evidence for use.

2004/05 - £250

2005/06 - £1,450

2006/07 - £2,400

2007/08 - £2,600

A total over four years of £6,700.

Again, having looked through Cheryl Gillans expense claims, there are many receipts for all sorts of stationery some redacted, some not. It is clear that Banner provided all kinds of stationery needs from Printers & shredders to staples and flush folders. Why the need for so much in Petty Cash? I have no idea, but I would like to see the petty cash books and £6,700 in receipts to justify these claims. If 646 MP’s claimed the same sums, we would be talking about £4.3m if we took £6,700 as the average. This would be before we look at the Lords. This is for one line of a single type of expense, the amounts could be much higher.

An MP in this period collecting the full amount of “petty cash” could have potentially drawn £12,000 without any checks or follow up. This as far as I can see would have been an easy supplement of £3,000 per year for those who would have taken advantage.

It would be relatively simple for an investigatory team to total these sums and then put it to MP’s to provide their own back up. Petty Cash withdrawals should also be immediately stopped, if the existing suppliers can provide breakdowns there is no need to have a system where blank withdrawals can be made… there, that’s £1m+ a year of tax payers money saved.

Next, each office should have an inventory built based on the expenses receipts. Cheryl Gillan has made a number of Computers, Printer, Fax and general IT purchases. I am certain she would not have been the only one do have done so. It is impossible for me to accurately produce an inventory because a number of Banner statements are completely redacted so as to hide the details of what has been purchased. From my review, I find it hard to fathom why so much of this equipment and numerous computers are required. Certainly given that it would appear one secretary and her Husband are the only people on the payroll. Additionally there is a £1,600 annual invoice for the lease of two more computers. IT costs consistently seem excessive and I am not convinced if this is a wide trend that taxpayers funds are being protected.

The fee’s office or the investigators should (and could) build an inventory of all things purchased and audit all constituency offices to ensure that the big ticket items such as computers, laptops, mobile phones, printers, faxes, designer desks, and fancy chairs are being used as per their expense claims. I do not think it would have been impossible given all of the revelations that have been exposed that MP’s could have been doing some Christmas and Birthday shopping at the tax payers expense, or even a little home shopping.

Additionally, one could in Cheryl Gillans case question why four BT bills are being covered each month under the costs of the constituency office? One is the Secretary’s home phone, what are the other 3 for? In one particular slip, the people doing the redaction let the name slip….

Why would an MP’s spouses name be on a constituency office phone bill?

Again, it is the redaction that does not help. I have doubts about the validity of these, but how can I know?

I will not go into the details on the mobile bills, but again, the redaction makes it hard to understand if the multiple bills pertain directly to my MP or if others are getting their bills covered at our expense. I am not sure why an MP needs more than one mobile phone through different providers to execute their roles as our representatives.

My third suggestion to the current investigation team would be for staff costs to be checked. I think it is right and fair that people be employed to help MPs do their jobs. I am not sure that we have in place the best or easiest system to execute this. I think where family members are being employed, there is a need to ensure that work is actually being done and it is not a case of a family member being put on the payroll for token work. I am not against the employment of family members; but if a system of checking that value for money is not available and adhered to, then I think it would be against the public interest for such arrangements to continue, and in which case we should look to end such arrangements.

There is I am sure some relatively easy checks that can be done on the claims already made and I hope that some time and resources are afforded to these. Focus on the big costs like mortgages is right, but the smaller loop holes need to be checked too.

Moving forwards, I think me and the rest of the blogosphere and media could come up with many common sense limits and checks that could be implemented to save everyone from this embarrassment in the future. Yes the rules and the fees office were lapsed, but MPs took a lot of money, and spent a lot of time trying to thwart the Freedom Of Information attempts. They have been exposed, but not through their own initiatives, but through the efforts of a whistle blower and a National Newspapers’ campaign. There is much still to be exposed, and it is right that those who have abused the public face criminal charges. MPs are not above the law. If those of us lucky enough to still be in jobs did the same to our employers there would be no question of whether criminal actions would follow.

I hope we keep this in the public eye, because sunlight is the best disinfectant and also the best only way to seek a new mandate. The public must be allowed to wade through the muck and make their observations, as well as have their opinions and objections heard. We must come through this with all the faults exposed, and with all the culprits held to open account. If this does not happen, and if the public are not afforded the opportunity to act as the jury the integrity of politicians in general will never be afforded a position of respect and trust in the public mindset; and that is crucial to any government’s ability to function effectively.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Daniel1979 Welcomes Everybody Here

I have tried since I started this blog to reach out to as broad an audience as possible, I know not everyone will agree with me and that is fine.   But I just had to welcome, individually, whomever this is/was in particular...  Hope you enjoy the blog, and find something you like!

Not sure how you found me, but I really do welcome ALL links!  On November 1st, we may have an interesting "October Referrals" post if this keeps up.

Recommended Reading

Here is my latest recommended reading list.

Please note, I do not necessarily agree with these posts and articles, however I found them sufficiently interesting to warrant a recommendation:

Derek Bennett thinks we should invoke clause 61 of the Magna Carta.

Bruno Waterfield says the EU is planning to make a presence on the world stage as a global player as soon as The Lisbon Treaty is ratified.

Watts Up With That says that the a UN report recently confused the Arctic and Antarctica.

Delwar Hussain says that war crime charges are long overdue in Bangladesh.

And finally, Dara O Briain has some funny observations on the English and England in the Guardian (ahead of the publication of his book on the subject).


Why Is The Government Playing With The TA?

The Associated Press has reported that the UK Territorial Army has been told to stop training for six months in an effort to save £20m.

This is like a flash scene in a montage of some disaster movie; what the hell does Gordon Brown and the idiot Ainsworth think they are doing?? Yet another glorious Labour Government WTF moment.

The TA perform a vital role and are a crucial pillar in our defence structure. Volunteers have been giving their time and their lives for hundreds of years for the purpose of defending the British Isles and supporting the regular armed forces. It is nothing short of dangerous to pull training and money from the TA.

Read from their own website how the TA was affected by the 1998 The Strategic Defence Review:

In 1998 the Labour Government announced what it called the 'Strategic Defence Review', which would make the Army more relevant and effective in meeting the demands of the post-Cold War era and the 21st century.The Territorial Army was the hardest-hit and within it, the infantry suffered most with 87 companies in 33 battalions reducing to 67 companies in 15 battalions. While the measures allowed for at least one company from each of the 33 battalions to survive to continue their regiments' identities, the result was that thousands of experienced and loyal personnel had their service terminated.

This is not an overly inflated Government bureaucracy that has been swollen by the excesses of socialist rule. The TA has already been heavily scaled down.  These are the people who live regular lives next to you and me but keep aside time to keep themselves trained and to be ready at little notice to throw themselves into the firing line.  Look at how heavily drawn upon the TA has been already in the Iraq war and in Afghanistan.  It is nothing short of disgraceful that they be told not to train to save money; it is an admission of failure from Labour.

If Labour cannot manage the Public Purse responsibly they should call the election NOW.


Why has it been announced today? It's a Saturday so was this shifted out in the weekend news whilst commentators recover from three weeks of political conference hopping? I do hope this makes it to wider attention.

There is a memorial service taking place in Leeds today to remember those who have died in the Iraq war. I find it exceptionally distasteful to make military reduction announcements on the same day as remembrance.

Was this debated in Parliament? I would wager it hasn't. And why not? Who reading this thinks that this is a decision that should be made in isolation from our elected representatives?

Will the training be re-instated? The failure to debate this has left me and others with simple press statements that do not address what is obviously an admission that the Government does not have enough money to support our armed forces. Our Military answers to Civilian Government, who have we elected that was a part of this decision and who is safe guarding our defences?

Why is there no provision under our laws to prevent a Government that is likely to be an out-going one to weaken our defence structure in it's last months of governing? This is something we should think about as we have been dragged into the era of supranational world governance.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Friday Fight

In the blue corner, the best contestant to have ever appeared on the X Factor, Ben Mills with Live & Let Die...

Versus in the red corner Fat Boy Slim with Praise You...


Danish Legal Challenge To Lisbon



Copenhagen, 28th of September 2009

To the People of Ireland,

Many media claim that in a very short while the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified by all the EU member states – as if this ratification process was simple and unproblematic. But Poland, The Czech Republic and Germany have not yet finished their ratification. This is mainly due to law suits, documenting the profound consequences that accession to the Treaty will have for the member countries.

We, a group of citizens who have brought an action against the Danish Government, charging it with breaking the Danish Constitution, take the liberty to draw the attention of the Irish People to these pending law suits and to the serious political effects of the Lisbon Treaty that they demonstrate. The Treaty confers almost unlimited powers on the EU, thus undermining the Constitutions and the living Democracy in the member countries. It threatens the possibility of the peoples of Europe to have a decisive influence on their own societies and living conditions.

In the pending case we demonstrate that leading Danish politicians in agreement with European Heads of Government have committed an offence against the Danish Constitution. First and foremost they have hidden or explained away the real content of the Lisbon Treaty which is of so radical a character that the Treaty, according to the Danish Constitution, can only be ratified if it is approved in a referendum. This law suit is part of our fight for Democracy.

In Denmark, unfortunately, a law suit does not imply that the ratification is postponed until the Supreme Court has pronounced its judgement. In Germany however the recent judgement of the Constitutional Court means that the Treaty can not be finally ratified unless German laws are passed that will guard German Democracy. This is remarkable and clearly shows that Democracy is undermined if no clear limits are fixed to the extension of the powers of the EU. And already new cases have been brought before the German Constitutional Court, this time questioning whether the new hastily adapted laws give the required guarantees for German Democracy. The final German ratification of the Lisbon Treaty therefore is not yet certain.

A majority of you voted no to the Lisbon Treaty, and consequently the correct procedure would have been to abandon it. But this did not happen, and since then nothing has been altered in the Treaty. It is both undemocratic and inconsistent with the rules of the EU itself that you now have to vote about the same Treaty again – a scandalous way of forcing through a Treaty that the majority of European citizens are against.

It is disquieting that we in Europe have come to a point where Heads of State and Governments decide to carry out so extensive changes ignoring not only the political and legal rules of the EU but even the Constitutions and democratic practices of the individual member states.

We are worried about Democracy at both the National and the European level, and we ask the People of Ireland to bear this in mind when you vote on the 2nd of October.

On behalf of The Plaintiffs in the law suit against the Danish Government,

Helge Rørtoft-Madsen

phone number 0045-55980644 and 0045-26825562

roertoft (at)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It Looks To Be All Over For Royal Mail

It looks like Royal Mail has lost one of their biggest contracts as Amazon are pulling out of using them due to the threat of strikes.

According to the Guardian, Amazon pulled an £8m second class delivery contract two years ago during industrial disputes and will now pull their larger £25m contract.

The loss of such a major contract can only hurt Royal Mail, and with tensions high it looks like the first national strike for 2 years is going to be called soon.

I personally posted an A4 envelope last Tuesday (29th September) for work and received an email yesterday questioning whether I had posted it.  The week or more delay is going to cost the company I work for money.  Royal Mail staff are on to a lose if they think strike action will win the sympathies of the nation, it will not.  A Royal Mail strike will have knock on effects that will hurt everyday people, costing us money and jobs.  There is no appetite for public sector pay rises, especially as lower end private sector workers [like me] have been on freezes or have endured cuts in the last couple years. 

Small businesses be warned, get your invoices and crucial post out via a different carrier [that does not rely on Royal Mail] otherwise your cash collections approaching end of year and Christmas will be affected.

It is probably overdue that a radical shake up of the postal delivery service takes place, there are a number of decent competitors for business mail already... Like many others, I think the Royal Mail has had its day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Writing Strategy For Dave... Not!

Are you sitting down?

I do hope so.  Best not to be eating or drinking while reading this as you may choke with disbelief, or spew forth a spray of beverage in a fit of laughter.  Best to play it safe, health & safety and all that.

Here we go...

There is something David Cameron could promise that would win back the EU sceptics, make the Conservatives electable in areas where they would not have been for decades, if ever, which would address not one but two of the BIG issues that will face them.

He should promise a referendum to the UK.

Yes, he should offer a referendum on Lisbon and the UK’s position within the EU be it pre or post ratification, but that is not what I am talking about.

He could offer the whole of the UK a referendum on whether we want to remain as the UK.

Stick with me for a minute, I will keep this brief.

A year ago I was very much a man of the Union (our one, not the European one), I still am.  However it is clear there is a good number of people north of the wall that would like to move away from London rule. Likewise, there are many people of a similar mind in Wales. England has not really been consulted on such matters yet, but I know would like a chance to debate and vote on the matter. Northern Ireland, well that is of course an entirely different situation all together, and not one I can do justice to in a short post. Suffice to say, I recognise this would be a divisive and aggravating topic, and I do not pretend to have the answers to all the concerns that might be raised there. I recognise this would not be universally popular, easy or without a lot of negotiation.

Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland have all entered the UK under different circumstances, at different times and in different ways. Each would need a different legal manner for parting, and each would have different needs to be addressed. For example the judiciary of Wales is tied to England in a way that the Scottish courts are not; there are many more examples. I will not go too far into the details as they are too numerous. As much as I respect that Scotland would want to not be ruled from London, I would rather everyone in this Union had a say in a vote rather than to allow Scotland to succeed… we should all be allowed to debate and work through this together.  In a way we would all be voting on a different process.

Potentially a UK council could be retained to address all the matters that just cannot be split out in the short term, and gradually be wound down as each issue became addressed over time. For example, the UK armed forces could not be split up over night, nor would a passport office and system spring up over night. Though an amicable split could be achieved, we are very closely tied to each other, and some things would need the benefit of time to devolve properly, fairly and economically.

This all would be exceptionally controversial, and luckily this blog does not really have the range to need to worry too much about this actually being seriously considered by anyone with any real political or legal power.  I can occasionally afford myself the luxury of putting up some random musings, like this one - but it is worth a thought. Even in the hypothetical.

David Cameron’s Conservatives cannot ignore the West Lothian question if they come to power; I am not convinced they have a working solution that will sit well with all of the UK. I have not yet heard what they plan to do should they get the opportunity to govern.

However, as intimated above, this would also address another BIG subject. That of EU membership. If the Union were dissolved the UK Parliament would no longer be. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland would all be separate nations, none of which could be bound, should they not wish to be by membership of the EU. I would need a lawyer to be sure on this, which I cannot afford, but self rule would allow the establishment of self governance and from that point each country could pick what laws they like to follow at the point of the split, and which treaties they wish to observe, and possibly sign up to immediately after. If each country wished to, they could potentially re-negotiate their way into a post Lisbon EU.

As such we have a policy that could be pursued over a period of time that would allow a radical shake up of how the UK functions, or ceases to function and allows open debate on the benefits and pitfalls of EU membership.  Best of all, if put to a referendum it really does put power in the hands of the people.

Did I fall on my head? Am I tapping away drunk? Did Daniel1979’s blogger sign in leak to the Internet? Have I gone stark raving bonkers (well, more so)….. No.

Am I serious?


I am not accustomed to floating the idea of the break-up of a nation, let alone my own. But, I have been thinking about the dwindling ways I could become free of the EU without moving, and the options are all limited and now all seem like “nuclear options”. Reading many Scottish blogs over the last year I am also of the mind that perhaps England too would be happier if we all went back to self rule.

Don’t panic though, there is no way Dave Cameron would dream of entertaining such thoughts, and I would eat my dogs regurgitated dinner before you will hear a Conservative leader propose the break up (or is it break down?) of the UK. The Conservatives are of course proudly the party of the Union (both, in their case). Labour too knows that they would never again get elected to the London Parliament without Scottish and Welsh support. It is probably a good thing by all that I sit and write from home rather than join and cajole a political party.


Update 9th Oct: Outlander had beaten me to it.

School Budget Problems

A reader (Robertr123) emailed me this morning with a link to an article which places Irish school pupils on par with British soldiers on tours of duty.

So it seems Ireland is so poor now that pupils in Cork now need to bring their own toilet roll to school.  The poor picked-on kid in the corner will not only be going hungry when the school bully nicks his lunch, he is also going to have to develop an iron clad anal sphincter.  (Perhaps the absence of lunch will offer a cruel irony.)

Seems Ireland is all over the news again.

Criminal Complaints Made In Ireland Over LT2 Vote

Team Europe is saying that a criminal complaint has been lodged in Ireland against the returning officers, Jose Barroso, The European Commission, Brian Cowen and other subsequent persons involved in the Lisbon Treaty campaign.

I reproduce their content from Alan Keenan below:


The facts outlined below will prove that the Lisbon Treaty Referendum of 2/10/09 is Null and Void under Irish and European law. I present two separate points that shall subsequently be proven:

I. The Irish Government, alongside the European Commission ran a fraudulent and illegal campaign for the Lisbon Treaty Referendum.

II. Numerous violations of Irish Referendum law and discrepancies that call into question the security and validity of the votes themselves, default the Irish vote to the result of the last Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

1) The intervention of the European Commission, entailing massive expenditure of money to influence Irish opinion towards a Yes, the running of a web-site and the issuing of statements that sought to counter No-side arguments, and the advocacy of a Yes vote by Commission President Barroso and other Commissioners and their staffs during visits to Ireland. This is unlawful under European law, as the Commission has no function in relation to the ratification of new Treaties, something that is exclusively a matter for the Member States under their own constitutional procedures;

2) The part funding of the posters and press advertising of most of Ireland’s Yes-side political parties by their sister parties in the European Parliament, even though it is illegal under Irish law to receive donations from sources outside the country in a referendum and even though, under European law, money provided by the European Parliament to cross-national political parties is supposed to be confined to informational-type material and to avoid partisan advocacy;

3) The Irish Government’s unlawful use of public funds in circulating to voters a postcard with details of the so-called “assurances” of the European Council, followed by a brochure some time later containing a tendentious summary of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, as well as other material - steps that were in breach of the 1995 Irish Supreme Court judgment in McKenna that it is unconstitutional of the Government to use public funds to seek to obtain a particular result in a referendum;

4) The failure of the country’s statutory Referendum Commission to carry out its function under the Referendum Act that established it of explaining to citizens how the proposed constitutional amendment and its text would affect the Irish Constitution. Instead the Commission’s Chairman, Judge Frank Clarke, turned the Commission into an arm of Government propaganda, while the judge indulged himself in various “solo-runs” on radio and in the newspapers, giving several erroneous explanations of provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, even though this was quite beyond his powers under the Act;

5) Huge expenditure of money by private companies such as Intel and Ryanair to advocate a Yes vote, without any statutory limit, in possible breach of Irish company and tax law, and undoubtedly constituting a major democratic abuse.

6) Breaches by the Irish broadcast media of their obligation under the Broadcasting Acts to be fair to all interests concerned in their coverage of issues of public controversy and debate. Newstalk 106, owned by Mr Denis O’Brien, a committed supporter of the Yes side, was quite shameless in its partisanship on its current affairs programmes.


Under Irish law, ballot boxes are required to be delivered by members of the Gardai to the polling stations at 7:00 am on the date the election takes place.

This legal requirement applies to ALL polling in Ireland, whether elections or referendums.

On this occasion, however, the ballot boxes were delivered to the private residences of the polling/Returning Officers, 48 hours prior to the Referendum.

A number of honest Returning Officers formally objected to this BREACH OF PROCEDURE, and to the concomitant prospective breach of security, let alone of the electoral legislation.

We understand that such objections were officially dismissed out of hand on the spurious and diversionary grounds that the ballot boxes possessed no commercial value, so it would be in nobody’s commercial interest to steal them.

The central issue – that since the Irish ballot boxes were delivered 48 hours early they could be ‘stuffed’ with YES votes by returning officers, as routinely happens in places like the former Soviet Republic of Georgia – was of course not addressed.

The Irish voters were given pencils to make their mark on the ballot, even though all Irish electoral ballots are supposed to be filled with black pen.

Almost nobody was asked for any form of ID or information at the polling stations.

The ballot boxes were left unattended and moved about by many people without question.

At least one box in Cork was removed from the count centre by an unknown individual as shown in the attached picture and video link.

Many foreign nationals and others who were not legally entitled to vote voted in this Referendum. Irish Times articleGardai to investigate suspected vote fraud”, shows seven voters registered to an empty house.


The post also links to a petition which has been signed by nearly 1,000 people already. If you believe that there are question marks over the conduct of the Irish referendum, and if you agree with some or all of the above then please take one minute to sign THIS PETITION. If you support Lisbon, you should also sign this petition. The Irish vote is the only one which will involve popular consultation, if ratification and implementation across Europe is based on a the tarnished reputation of the Irish vote, Lisbon will never, ever have any legitimacy. All sides need to know if this was a fair and honest vote.