Thursday, 24 April 2014

US, EU, Russia fan flames of war in Ukraine

It started with Julia Timoshenko's cronies having an opponent gunned down - a vile and unattractive character, to be sure, but nonetheless gunned down like a dog - and now Putin's cronies have kidnapped and killed a local councillor, by all accounts a decent bloke, family man, opponent of corruption. And all the while the 'President' - a weak, chinless apparatchik who mistakenly imagines that a two-day stubble look enhances his unfortunate features - is goaded by US and EU hawks to escalate the violence. Putin and his in-country cronies needs no such goading; he will meet force with force, rocket with rocket, careless of lives but jealous of territory. As Russian despots are, and always have been.

Timoshenko and her fellow oligarchs will look on from the sidelines, playing for power as the people bleed and die. As will the unelected officials from Brussels, and the geriatric fools from Washington, still trying to fight a war that ended in 1989. Putin is safe in the Kremlin, far away. They're not the ones who face being bundled into a car boot, driven to a deserted spot and torn apart by boiling rounds from an assault rifle on full-auto. They reserve that fate for others, ordinary folk, whose lives, families, dreams, hopes and homes they are prepared to destroy for wealth, land and power.

A curse be on all the warmongers fanning the flames of hatred and violence in Ukraine. May they all burn in Hell.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

It's a funny old theology ...

Discrimination in itself isn't a bad thing. We discriminate when each day we pick a tie from the tie-rail, or choose the antique burgundy Chesterfield over the motorised Lay-Z-Boy recliner covered in faux-whale scrotum. Our laws, rightly in my view, prohibit the exercise of such taste discrimination only where this disadvantages actual people, in employment matters for example. So Harland and Wolff can't refuse to employ Catholics, the Grunwick Film Labs can't refuse to employ white men in favour of Asian women and London Transport can't publish ads that say 'We don't employ blacks' as they did for one brief, desperate, time in the 1950s before the critical shortages of native tube drivers and bus conductors opened the way for our Afro-Caribbean citizens to make this sector their own. 

This week, being Easter, is National Christ Week, and has seen Anglican and Catholic leaders both proclaim that Christian faith is alive and well in Britain, and at the heart of our notions of justice and equity. Even Cameron has come out to admit he sort-of believes in a higher ethereal being sort of thing in a vague and wholly non-exclusive sort of way but doesn't entirely dismiss the views of Professor Dawkins.

However, this won't lead to preferential consideration for the Syrian Christians, victims of the rebels' pogroms, where two thousand years of religious tolerance is flowing down the gutters with their blood. Or in Egypt, where the Coptic Christians have endured unbelievable persecution since the 'enlightened' Arab Spring. If we take refugees, we will take all equally; the murderous Islamist rebels will be admitted to the UK as readily as their Christian victims. This is incomprehensible to Muslim nations, whose assistance is biased openly towards their co-religionists, and indeed Islam teaches them to discriminate in favour of their own kind. 

But I guess the UK is just demonstrating a truly Christian theology in its policy - a theology that loves the persecutor, the torturer and the concentration camp guard as much as the persecuted, the victims and the tortured. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

UKIP campaign ads do the job

The reaction of the MSM to UKIP's four campaign ads is interesting. Most news sites feature three of them, but the fourth - the EU bureaucrat lounging in a limo whilst a 'hard working mum' perches on one buttock next to a Cyril Smith large-boned man on a Routemaster - is rarely seen. As an attack on the political class, a major vote-winner for UKIP, it doesn't fit wit the MSM narrative that UKIP is racist. A piece with the headline 'MPs say UKIP ads disrespect LibLabCon' isn't really a reader magnet.

Of course all four ads are a poke at Clegg with a sharp stick, repeating the 'facts' for which Farage came under scorn during the head-to-heads; 26m Romanians (though it doesn't say so), 75% of laws (Reding's figure, which I heard her quote, and unsurprisingly a tad high) and a building worker who appears to have nicked a hi-vis vest and hard hat from his previous employer. And not a black face in sight. 

" ..We're on our way to Calais, on our way to Calais, la la la ..."

Of course one of the benefits of free movement and no borders in Shengen countries is that the tens of thousands of African migrants landing in Italy find few obstacles on their journey to Calais, where they pile up waiting their turn in the back of a lorry to the land of milk and honey. UKIP won't mention this, of course. And won't mention the fake business school scams that allow African 'students', most of whom seem to work as security guards, bring their wives over to have babies on the NHS. UKIP don't have to mention non-EU immigration; those suffering its effects will vote for them anyway. 

With the election exactly a month away, few Brits will be able to distinguish a Romanian voice from a Lithuanian, Latvian or Ukrainian one; all east Europeans tend to be classed as 'Polish' anyway. However, most people can distinguish Roma gypsies and their, erm, ambivalent attitude to property ownership rights and it's the Roma and their activities that will turn the tide - but not before May. The MSM and  LibLabCon are in an invidious position; they can hardly defend uncontrolled immigration, and defending a political oligarchy and the pillage of the corporates won't get them votes. Their only option is to do what Clegg tried to do - attack UKIP. And being British, champions of the bullied and enemy of bullies everywhere, the more they combine to attack Farage the more popular support he'll get. 

So all in all job done I think.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Austrian army scraps transport, issues travelcards

This is really not an April 1st post. The Austrian army is to scrap much of its transport fleet of Pinzgauer carriers before the next major maintenance cycle to save money. The rugged all-terrain vehicles made by Steyr-Puch, the historic Austrian vehicle-makers, cost too much to maintain and consume too much fuel - quoted as 20-30 litres per 100km. Other utility vehicles including the Puch G - a clone of the Merc G - and the Steyr 12M18 truck will be disposed of on an ad-hoc basis as repairs become due. 

The army will instead rely on public transport - buses and trains.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Jellyfish stung by politician

It is reported that a jellyfish has been stung by a passing politician in the sea at Lanzarote. The Jellyfish was feeding close to the shore when it came into contact with the spineless creature (invertibrata politici) and is said to have suffered loss of self-respect and a feeling of contamination. It also lost its breakfast.

A spokesman for the Spanish tourism ministry said yesterday "Swimming politicians are a hazard here during the Summer months, and local wildlife is usually clever enough to keep out of the way."

The jellyfish was not available for comment. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tip: Construction will be up

It's happened pretty suddenly, but it looks as though construction has not only turned the corner but may be in danger of overheating. Subbies are getting booked out and can start to pick and choose their contracts, the multi-consultancy firms are packing extra desks into their down-sized offices and even site labourers are getting several texts a day from their agencies for 'immediate start' jobs. No-one wants a repeat of the boom of the 80s, when construction cost inflation was so great that price escalation clauses were needed even on short contracts and you could often get through three site managers in the course of a job, as they jumped from site to site for an extra £100 a week each time. 

It may be a London thing, but I suspect the next set of economic stats out in a month or so will show the construction upturn. Anyway, it means I'm busier than usual, which isn't entirely welcome. Ho hum. I wonder what Ukrainian brickies are like? 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Salmond's new Scots Army

With the real costs of maintaining independent armed forces being made clear, Alex Salmond's dreams of a Scots army are looking increasingly unrealistic. Instead of an army equivalent to that of Norway or Sweden, it's looking more like Scotland can only afford one to rival Luxembourg. Still, Luxembourg uses it's contribution of an infantry company to claim a place at the table of both NATO and the Eurocorps command, and though having no air force, offers 'Amazon' registration to NATO's 18 AWACS aircraft. 

The new battalion-sized Scots army could include an artillery company with two or three old field guns for firing ceremonial salutes as well as preserving the identity of the historic Scots regiments at platoon or section level; The Cameronians could be reconstituted as ten men under the command of a corporal from Perth, wearing the distinctive Douglas tartan and so forth. A parade of the full battalion would therefore be a festive occasion, a multiplicity of colourful tartans, and even the guns could be painted in a clan-neutral Burberry check. 

Historic Scots uniform could be revived
The Royal Company of Archers, a subscription club that currently forms the sovereign's bodyguard in Scotland, could be placed on an operational footing to add to military capacity. In return for membership fees, every officer in the corps currently ranks as a general, and every private as a colonel. This may cause some minor problems with NATO integration, but modern military commanders will no doubt come to value a sturdy body of middle-aged accountants with stout yew bows and arrows on their flank when facing a schwerpunkt of Russian armour. The suggestion that the historic uniform of the Royal Company (illustrated) could be adopted as the No 1 full dress of the new Scots army also has much to commend it. All in all, I think Salmond's onto a winner here.