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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Jail for corrupt Lobbyist

Not alas the UK, whose pin-striped crims are immune from any action by Cameron's crookedly complicit administration, but little Austria again. Political lobbyist Peter Hochenegger was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, ex BZÖ party deputy Klaus Wittnauer to 24 months plus 4 suspended, recruiter Kurt S. got five months in prison, plus 25 months probation, and the former spokesman of Gastinger, Christoph Pöchinger, will serve eight months plus 16 month suspended.

At the heart of the scandal was EU funding paid to Bulgaria; Hochegger and his crew helped Bulgarian politicians from both the Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP and the centre-right ruling GERB party cream off some €1.5m of EU funds in contracts, €960k of which was then paid in bribes to the Austrian BZÖ.

The Bulgarians have yet to put their politicians on trial. 

Hochegger will be in good company in Austria's grim prison system; the place is filling up with bent bankers and members of the political class. In UK prisons, the lags learn new ways to break into cars; perhaps in Austria the equivalent skill will be off-shore money laundering.

NO to 'State' funding

With the party conferences kicking off, surely only the BBC will be devoting more than a mobile cam crew and a local correspondent on their doings (mobile in case a better story involving a donkey or an amusing cat breaks while they're in the area). The Speccie comments "The website ConservativeHome (which now stages its own conferences) last month surveyed Conservative constituency associations which do return membership figures. It ads up to just under 60,000 paid-up members. This suggests total membership is unlikely to exceed 100,000 — less than half of the 253,600 when Cameron was elected leader."

If this is the case the total membership of the big three may not be the 1% of the electorate of 45m that I have been quoting - but a devastatingly irrelevant 0.5%. 

But of course the BBC and the other channels will continue to give these non-events of the most minority of small-membership organisations in the country undue coverage. Their future depends on the continuance of a central metropolitan political class divorced from the people they govern. And now it really won't be long before we have to subsidise them even further from our taxes as their membership flatlines - unless, as with me, this is one line that I draw in the sand. The answer remains NO.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A history lesson for Snr. Barroso

So Mr Barroso thinks that a Europe of sovereign, independent nations is a continent poised on the brink of repeating the Great War. Only the Empire, the EU, the European Federation can guarantee peace it seems. Perhaps it's a perspective distorted by the growing hostility towards the EU from the peoples of Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary. Increasingly, the nations of Europe are interested in training their artillery on only a single target - the Berlaymont in Brussels. 

Ninety-nine years and eleven months ago the unwilling subject of a land held within an unwieldy Federation of nation states with different languages, cultures and peoples protested against the European Union (an alliance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany) by shooting one of its bosses. The 1914 EU was headed by the equivalent of Mr Barroso and Mr Rumpoy, a German emperor whose ignorance was hidden by bluff and bluster and a weak Austrian emperor who dithered. The 1914 EU, like the 2013 one, saw the domination of the European land-mass as a legitimate objective 'to secure peace and prosperity', even if it meant suffocating a historic diversity of national and cultural identities. And in 2013 just as in 1914 the evil of the European Empire has the potential to be a cause of war - not its preventative. If Serbia had been free and independent, Franz Ferdinand would not have had a reason to be in Sarajevo and Gavrilo Princip would not have shot him. 

Snr Barroso                                       Kaiser Wilhelm II

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Self-serving gobshites get kicking

Yesterday was quite a good day to see some of the most loathsome self-serving gobshites in public life getting a kicking. First off was 45684 Huhne, fresh from 'B' Wing, who had sold the Guardian a story that he was wholly innocent and all his crimes are the fault of others. Although the Guardian believed it (it is always characteristic of congenital liars that they are praeternaturally gullible) Huhne was torn to shreds by both the Telegraph and the Mail for 'a self-serving and often self-pitying 900-word article'.

The best however was the Commons PAC under the formidable chairmanship of Comrade Margaret Hoxha. Lined up in front of her like delinquent schoolboys before the head, or a row of billiard balls ready for potting, were the smuggest and fattest of the BBC's Golden Triangle. Patten demonstrated how a man of his experience avoids a three-year stretch by gentle patrician condescension; he barely managed to avoid congratulating Hoxha for doing quite a good job for a young woman. For the rest, it was a public spectacle of Itchy and Scratchy mutual denunciation and veiled recrimination as claws slashed and fur flew, encouraged from time to time by Hoxha's Senate members. The Leader's own particular spite was reserved for Lucy Adams, erstwhile head of 'HR', sporting an attitude and a silver thumb-ring more suited to an argumentative teen than a public executive. Last time Adams had denied knowledge of a document that she actually helped author; at the first hint of a repetition the Leader snapped 'I'm not having any more lies this afternoon'

But Lucy Adams hadn't quite done with lying; perhaps it was her BBC training. 'Did you refer to these excessive payments as 'sweeteners'? asked the Senate. 'I have absolutely no recollection of that at all; it's not a word I would use' lied the egregious Ms Adams fluently. Unfortunately, it turned out a Senate member had a leaked email from an Adams subordinate in which she had employed precisely that word. Chairman Hoxha commented to the effect that Adams was only distantly acquainted with the concept of truthfulness to which I swear I heard a teenage girl respond ' That is sooooo unfair!' 

Overall, job done. The BBC's bosses came across as fat, greasy, manipulative squanderers and spendthrifts grown sclerotic on long lunches and unaccountability; their purple faces, bluster, finger jabbing and insincerities condemned them just as certainly as confessions from water-boarding.    

Monday, 9 September 2013

Germany's UKIP hopes tactics will win votes

Germany's version of UKIP, the AfD or Alternative for Germany party, has reached the same understanding as our domestic party as to the best way to electoral success. Former members of the right-wing parties are banned; former National Democrats absolutely, former Republican Party members subject to a test of their xenophobia. The policy of keeping party images free of skinheads with face-tattoos is allied to the party showing off its academics; Der Spiegel reports that the party is able to find resonance in liberal, middle-class and conservative circles. "Sympathizing with the AfD isn't frowned upon." 

Der Spiegel reports the campaign ads 'are as threatening as a commercial for the local optician. It features outraged, but pleasant-seeming citizens -- a father and his daughter, a newspaper-reading businesswoman and a cyclist -- looking thoughful while asking questions. "Why is all our money going to Greece, instead of being invested in damaged streets and bridges?", one person asks. "Why are pensioners left with an ever-smaller amount of money in their wallets? Who is paying for the debt that our politicians are accruing?", asks another.'

Coming from nowhere, the party now has 10,000 members - and the outside chance of a seat in the Bundestag by the end of the month.