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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Drinks from bankrupts, and some good sense

Reading the online Guardian these days feels a bit like accepting a drink from someone you know is on the road to bankruptcy; behind the jovial bonhomie and the devil-may-care cameraderie lies a mess of red ink and unpaid bills. You wonder if you're doing better going along with it, to maintain morale, or whether you should icily decline with some pious words about frugality. The new censorship that has earned the paper so much opprobrium is, I'm sure, part of it; even the cost of employing comment moderators is bleeding the loss-making concern to death. Soon the paper's few remaining columnists will have to moderate their own comments. 

The Mail on the other hand is going from strength to strength. Dominic Sandbrook's lengthy and considered piece this morning on the absurdity of Federast aspirations parks the paper's tanks firmly on the Telegraph's lawn. If the Telegraph is still paying Boris £250k a year for his columns, someone needs to tell them they're not getting much bang for their bucks. He's become like those castrated new Chinese fireworks that meet the noise regulations, offering a sort of muffled 'pop' instead of the air-splitting crack and blast you were hoping for.

The Guardian's headline piece supporting Assange, 'Sweet victory soured by British and Swedish rejection' declares that Assange is being 'arbitrarily detained' and offers the Guardian's full support for his position. The editors have hidden a far more sensible piece by legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg deep in the opinion section; Rozenberg says the British and Swedish are quite right, that Assange has imprisoned himself. Some 1,600 comments support him. It's actually something of a miracle that his piece, headed 'How did the UN get it so wrong?' appears at all under the new censorious book-burning regime. I bet it's not there for long.

Now I wonder if the Mail's A&R men aren't already making discreet approaches to Rozenberg, and to Heffer also for that matter, with a view to improving the pedigree bloodstock even further ...

Friday, 5 February 2016

'Ignore your constituents; think only of your Ministerial career'

Dave's message to parliamentary waverers - 'Ignore your constituents, think only of your Ministerial career path' - could not have been uglier or more crass. I heartily hope today that all those who have so foolishly advocated that politics should be a 'profession' will see how misguided they were. And will remember that great Tory parliamentarian Sir Patrick Cormack (Baron Cormack from 2011) who made clear it was 'Country, Constituency, Party. In that order.'

Make no mistake. Although he cannot openly impose a three-line whip on Conservative MPs, the threat of deselection and of time in parliament being spent in a Siberia of back bench anonymity is very much present.

And if the 'Leave' campaign is disorganised, what of the 'Stay' campaign, whose sole positive campaign point is that the global multinationals support it, much as they support TTIP and everything else that disadvantages SMEs and locally focused domestic firms. 

Still. a great deal can happen over the next seventeen or eighteen weeks. The FT runs a story after someone diligently followed the AIS tracks of merchant ships to find unexplained stops and rendezvous that could have been used to load migrants, arms or even dirty bombs. We should not forget that the reason the AWE is in Aldermaston and not in the Woolwich Arsenal  is that the War Office was alive to the potential of a Soviet nuke carried on a merchant vessel - and decreed that all critical weapons sites be distant from UK ports. And the last time I met the PLA's harbourmaster, he was still obsessed with banning leisure users from the river in favour of maintaining commercial traffic as far into London as possible. Just remember how much global shipping is under the control of Islamist owners. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

It's pretty bloody awful, isn't it?

You can't accuse Cameron of not having front. Anyone else faced with presenting a failed deal that will achieve the square root of damn-all, leaves us at the mercy of unelected bureaucrats who despise democracy and will open our borders to millions of migrants from Africa and Asia Minor while costing us each at least £3,000 a year may have shown some reluctance in their offer. But not Cameron. He rolled up his sleeves and was soon spreading Turtle wax on that turd, polishing cloth in hand. 

And no, despite now living in an EU country other than the UK, I'll be voting 'Leave' without much fear. If it succeeds there's not going to be any great mass movements of the 800,000 Poles living in the UK or the 800 Brits living in Poland or the 300,000 Kermits living in London. Not that I have any great confidence that 'Leave' will win; closer to June we'll have a lot of scaremongering of the 'Vote Leave and you'll never be allowed to have another holiday in Spain' variety. The Evening Standard will splash a 'Wine to double in price if Brexit' headline on the front page and the BBC will run a whole season of 'Panorama' with images of impoverished Brits scraping the gutter for potato peelings whilst Johnny Kermit lights his dinner table candles with a used fiver. Big business is not about to see its consumer-proles exercise any sort of democratic control.   

So welcome to slavery, folk. The only reasonable option now is to make one's personal slavery as painless as possible.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

UK prolonging war in Syria, Turkey pouring petrol on the fire

In a comment of unbelievable stupidity that nonetheless reflects the failure of Cameron's governments in foreign affairs, his foreign secretary Philip Hammond has blamed Russia for prolonging the war by supporting Assad. It is of course equally true to claim that the UK is prolonging the war by failing to support Assad. And meanwhile in Brussels Europe's most senior unelected official, JC Juncker, leads a bunch of unelected headless chickens who seemingly cannot make the connection between their part in the prolongation of the Syrian civil war and the tsunami of migrants and refugees on Europe's shores. One despairs. 

Meanwhile, as the Independent reports, Turkey is headed for an invasion of the Kurdish-held parts of Syria, that would put it in direct conflict with Russia. It is now accepted that a Turkish jet lurked at low level specifically to ambush the Russian aircraft that clipped Turkish airspace. Now the de facto co-operation between Russia and the Kurdish YPG forces means that Syria's border with Turkey has almost been closed to Daesh / ISIS, cutting Erdogan off from millions in earnings from illegal oil imports and cutting Daesh / ISIS off from resupply of weapons, munitions and fighters. Whether NATO can succeed in preventing Erdogan acting rashly - and illegally - is doubtful. So far he has swallowed the EU's €3bn without halting a single migrant. 

Indeed, as Spiegel reports, Erdogan has halted Syrian migrants at Turkey's border (except the Daesh / ISIS ones, I suspect) but the Turkish state airline is filled to capacity on scheduled flights from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia with young men who need no visa to enter Turkey - and it is these migrants who are now forming the bulk of the lucrative smuggled traffic to Greece. Bribes paid to local Turkish police and customs officials of €3,000 a pop, according to Spiegel, are guaranteeing that the traffic continues. 

And no doubt both Saint Angela and Senior Official JC Juncker (Unelected) shake their heads in wonder and bafflement at so many rough and priapic Maghrebi thugs now in their midst and wonder how it all happened when they meant so well.