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Saturday, 21 February 2015

NATO Cyberprop unit sends first Tweet

In an effort to counter Russia's use of social media, the special NATO unit set up to broadcast counter-propaganda through the interweb issued its first Tweet today:-


Maybe they'll improve with time.  

(NB Label - 'whimsy')

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Party Funding from tax on the agenda again

The political class is locked into a Groundhog Day scenario with regard to proposals for the tax funding of political parties; a report is commissioned from members of the political class, the report recommends measures which are agreeable to the political class, but the government in power at the time realises such moves will be unacceptable to voters. Forward to the next cycle. Of course they try to disguise it by calling it 'Public funding' or 'State funding' but as the State has no funds except those raised from taxation or from borrowing - which is future taxation - what they mean is party funding from taxes. 

The two most recent reports, from establishment insiders Hayden Phillips and Christopher Kelly, were shelved not on account of the funding cap measures they proposed but on account of the substitute tax funding proposed. And the reason why both proposals were so monstrously unacceptable is that both started from the same standpoint; that the the established, incumbent political parties should assume a more constitutional role by entrenched funding, which also acted to exclude incomers and new parties, and thereby produced a stable continuum for the existing political class at a time when party membership in the UK has fallen way below 1% of the voting population. To this extent both reports were inherently corrupt; they institutionalised advantage and incumbency in favour of Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

What is more heinous, both reports completely disregarded the belief strongly held  by a very substantial number of voters that these 'private' parties should receive no tax funding at all. They rode roughshod over the clear wishes of voters who want to vote but don't want their vote misused to fill the mouths of metropolitan politicians with tax gold. 

Phillips and Kelly both also wilfully ignored a solution mooted by Helena Kennedy's Power Inquiry - that voters should have the choice, at polling time, to agree in their own name only a tax donation of say £3 a year to a party of their choice, or not, and if so not necessarily to the party for which they were voting. This would allow objectors to tax funding to withhold any tax subvention in their name (on the basis of their vote) and allow tactical voters to fund their party of true allegiance. 

Kelly dismissed the requirement for an additional voting slip as 'too complex'. Compared I suppose to last May's elections in London when we went into the polling booths with three different papers, one a yard long. And managed to get them right. The real reason of course has more to do with the fears of the established parties that voters will choose not to fund them from tax, or choose to fund insurgent parties instead. Well, that's quite possible. It's called democracy. 

The other problem with the Phillips and Kelly proposals is that both would throw a tsunami of cash at the central, metropolitan party Headquarters - the very bodies so alienated from constituency voters and local parties, the HQs responsible for the apparatchiks, blow-ins and family members of their own that have been so unwillingly imposed on constituencies. The schism in Labour between the Scots party and the English party is not healed, and why should it be? So why should not any tax funding be paid to local or regional parties in the first instance and leave it up to the local members to make a subvention for national initiatives to the national party? 

This is the problem. For as long as tax-funding proposals are seen to favour the stale, old, central parties - the ones that voters have grown out-of - they will not be acceptable. For the stale, old, central parties to agree truly democratic tax funding proposals means risking their own existence. So no action. Groundhog Day. 

The Electoral Reform Society are the latest body to give the dog a poke, with the publication today of 'Deal or No Deal - How to put an end to party funding scandals'. Except it avoids the solution. There is wide agreement that existing funding methods are corrupt and that funding caps are needed, and the ERS reinforces that. However, it neatly avoids any discussion of the details of any replacement funding system, and repeats the cardinal error of assuming that we need tax-funded parties on a scale equivalent to other Euro countries - this itself is worth a paper. 

Watch this subject; the price of democratic freedom is always eternal vigilance.  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Failure and corruption all around ...

All my senses of indignation have been strained by a tsunami of failure, corruption and institutional stupidity this week. First, Peter Oborne's principled resignation from the Telegraph after it became clear the dodgy Barclay brothers had been censoring the news content, including the criminal malfeasance of HSBC. The Telegraph is now a comic, the tax-avoiding Guardian is trying to become a private members club and the other one is unreadable. 

Meanwhile, voters must be considering whether it's time to kick the CofE Bishops out of the Lords after the publication of an astonishingly naive and gullible Marxist voting rag; at a time of the Church's most grievous failure to offer any sort of Christian bulwark against the advance of Islamism in Britain. Canterbury gives the impression of being on the verge of converting to Islam himself at times. I recall the pithy judgement of a roofer on seeing a boatload of CofE clerics in full drag on the river a couple of years ago; "Nonces and W*****s".

My rant against Amazon on 27th January for trying (but not succeeding) to fool me into signing up to its £79 a year 'Prime' service has found an echo in Giles Coren's far greater anger at actually having been ripped-off by these scoundrels. In my case it was Amazon's crooked use of what was designed to look like a button rejecting Prime in favour of normal delivery, but was in fact part of a larger button accepting Prime. In Coren's case he didn't read the small print and was foolish enough to accept their 'free' trial. 

Then there's Ed Balls still desperately striving against hope that the country won't view him as not only economically incompetent but a real risk to our welfare and prosperity, now driven to lying (demonstrably) in trying to claim the moral high ground on tax avoidance. To lie about something so easily caught-out on is just more evidence of Mr Ball's stupidity and unfitness for office.

And of course there's the revival of the behemoth of tax funding for dead parties after more bent and crooked party donors come to light. The answer, you dags, isn't to rob our taxes to keep your dying private clubs alive but to give each voter the individual choice of whether to donate a limited amount of his own tax to a named party; anything else - which is every scheme you or your crooked apparatchiks have come up with - is criminal corruption and we won't stand for it. 

And now I need a lie-down. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

TV luvvies sneer at the rest of us

The past week has seen our screens used by two quite separate pieces of political agitprop, neither of sufficient quality to have made it to the national schedule had we not been in a pre-election period. It's the metropolitan luvvies trying desperately to swing the vote for the dying incumbent parties, but managing only to sneer at the rest of us in the process.

The production of J.K.Rowling's The Casual Vacancy had all the high production values of Midsomer Murders - using the glories of the rural home counties in Summer as the star that supports the storyline. TV luvvies always set anything in the country in July. It preserves the Guardianista view of the country as a golden idyll polluted only by industrial farmers growing two-headed cows in factory sheds. This was easy on the eye and easier on the brain; a competent, simple morality tale for fourteen year-olds with two dimensional characterisation and every cultural stereotype in the book. It did a decent job of sneering at everyone who isn't a member of the metropolitan political class; Council tenants were thieves and skagheads, white van man was a thug, the middle classes were grovellingly aspirational and the upper classes predatory bottom feeders. 
Sneer factor:  ***

UKIP: The first 100 days by contrast was almost comedic; there were moments that had me laughing at the sheer, blatant ineptitude of the editing of a collage of old news clips with low-budget filler. At first I thought it was a Brass Eye type self-parody at the output of a not-terribly-capable production team, but then realised it was in reality the best output that a not-terribly-capable production team* could produce. The storyline was risible, the characterisation clumsy and parodic, with little depth and zero quality. It was the sort of thing that at any time other than a pre-election would make it no further than a 3pm slot on Dave. 
Sneer factor:  *****

*Channel 4 is coy on this - saying only it was produced by the same people as Cyberbully. Raw TV was the production company behind Cyberbully - a production house whose output is usually low-grade digital channel fodder on aliens, yeti and 'natural mysteries', with some karaoke tapes thrown in. Raw TV IMDB entry.

Monday, 16 February 2015

We must all be prepared to kill 'lone wolf' Jihadis

I have posted previously that there is no defence, no warning, against the beserker attacks of lone-wolf Jihadis. The police and security services are rightly working to intercept and prevent the sort of organised terrorist attacks that targets an aircraft or a transport hub full of innocents. Our only defences against the sick scum of ad-hoc Islamists are police on the street, our own vigilance and our willingness to kill these mad dogs in self-defence as soon as their lethal intentions are made clear. 

As they lie choking in their own blood in the gutter like this nobody from Denmark, and even if they manage to kill one or two of us first, they will all end their sad, pointless lives as failures, losers and trash on the street to be cleared away. Our nation and our society will go on in Freedom and Right.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Five reasons to welcome driverless cars

  • Being able to visit country pubs again and get bladdered; for the trip home, just lay back and turn up the volume on REM

  • Collecting and delivering the Mother-In-Law on Christmas Day; on December 25th the roads will be crowded with little old ladies in DCs heading for their turkey

  • Collecting your 16 year old daughter from her rave at 3am on a wet and cold winter morning. Stay in bed.

  • An ageing population with deteriorating eyesight but from a generation used to motoring independence; imagine Clarkson at 85. DCs would allow them to stay on the road, albeit at a fraction of their former speed

  • Sending the dog to the vets. With the prospect of your Patterdale terrier overtaking a prune-wrinkled and half blind Jeremy Clarkson on the south circular.