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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Has-beens and infants

Just a couple of pointers today, if you haven't already clocked them. Nigel Jones in the Telegraph comes up with a crisply accurate pen portrait of Tim Farron;
Then there is Tim: na├»ve, earnest, well meaning, Christian, his little boy's face permanently etched with worry about climate change, gender equality in public toilets, the prospects for his once great party, and above all his fears for a future outside the clammy embrace of the EU's tentacles.
And a warning to Blair, Major and the saboteur has-beens from Katie Hopkins in the Mail;
And you know what? We have done with being angry. That feeling of wanting to piss in the water cooler and protest in the foyer has evolved. Something darker is now lurking in our hearts. It’s not despondency. Despondency is safe — it’s giving up, it’s sitting unresponsive in the corner, an old person in a home. This is far more sinister. This is a pressure cooker whose lid is being screwed tighter while the temperature rises. This is an angry animal, forced into a cage and tormented, determined to find itself free....
They say people with nothing to lose are the most dangerous of all. I think the Establishment both here and in the United States may be about to learn the biggest threat to peace and order in their respective countries, will be entirely of their own making.  
And she's right. If the establishment foolishly imagines we'll all just stand by and watch the subversion of democracy by trickery, legal games and weasel words then I beg the establishment to consider that it is most grievously mistaken. 

Has-been Brexit saboteurs - a meme from the campaign

Friday, 25 November 2016

Let's admit it - Turkey is an enemy state

The Greeks of course have never really trusted successive Turkish governments. And with little help from either the EU, which claims to protect Europe but doesn't, or from fellow NATO members, one of the poorest nations in Europe is one of the few to maintain adequate military resources. With a neighbour like Turkey, the Greeks must have felt, you never know. 

How much of the promised €3bn Danegeld have the EU already paid over? What's the UK's share of the losses? The ransom was extorted on the promise that Turkey would hold back a tsunami of economic migrants from Greek shores, but that was before Erdogan revealed himself, post coup, as a modern General Franco.

Already, a score or more of the most senior military officers arrested following the coup attempt have reportedly died in jail in mysterious circumstances. Typhus, no doubt. Or heart attacks. Franco was also very experienced at disappearing thousands of dangerous democrats, people who had won elections and those who stood for the rule of law and democracy. Erdogan's tyranny has been so blatant, so outrageous, that even the purblind fools in Brussels could no longer ignore it; media closed, journalists arrested, courts purged. Erdogan's reaction has been a petulant tantrum; the EU had already stalled on his earlier ultimatum to allow Turks open travel in the Schengen area, now this week they have voted to suspend accession talks.

For the EU, the game is complex. Austria's presidential election on the 4th December may be determined by the status of Turkish visitors; if the EU announce the visa-free measures before the election, it is suggested that Norbert Hofer, who supports an EU membership referendum in Austria, will win. They were hoping to string it out until after 4th December, but now the game has upped the ante. 

This is a far more nuanced matter than the bare facts allow. I know, in London, many fine and upright citizens who are first or second generation Turks, from Cyprus or from the mainland. They run the vast majority of our kebab shops and are the backbone of Uber drivers at the basic level, but also contribute greatly to culture, society, arts, business and trade. Turkey becoming an enemy will leave many fine people dreadfully conflicted - though none I know would support Erdogan's repression. 

However, if Erdogan opens his border, I see few options other than confrontation and potential conflict. If HMS Beyonce can arrange a tow to the Med with her broken engine, and if Iraq can spare our three fighter aircraft with their Unique Tiny Missiles, I recommend we consider sending them to Greece.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

For the EU's unelected officials, it's always someone else's fault

First it was dire warnings about fifth columnists and enemy agents within who were subverting the populace against the glories of the new European Reich via social media. Now RT has been formally classified along with ISIS as a terrorist news-source. It is paranoia beyond imagining - and a dangerous repetition of European history. For everyone who has asked how sensible, cultured, educated Europeans could possibly have been taken in by the dangerous drivel of zealots and demagogues, well, we're watching it live. A 21st century reprise of 20th century mass hysteria. 

The European Parliament demonstrated that rather then being a rational debating floor in the manner of our own Parliament, it is nothing more than a mindless echo chamber for the unelected officials led by Herr Juncker. Unelected officials who honestly believe that their almost universal unpopularity is always someone else's fault and has nothing to do with their management of an antidemocratic organisation about as open as the Chinese National People's Congress. 

And it looks as though the EU is going down the same Internet route as China. We'll have a special version of Google that can be censored by the EU, versions of facebook and twitter developed by the programmers of EU-Gallileo Software GmbH and our Internet access to the outside world will be via monitored EU servers. The ECHR will rubber stamp it all on grounds of exceptional necessary security measures. 

A newly independent UK may escape the authoritarian media censorship but will not get away Scot free. The government has announced a ban of 'unnatural sex videos'. Given that the tabloids have recently uncovered a novel national interest in anal penetration I can only presume that the government are moved to act against bottom-sex and get the nation back to more conventional sexual activity. Good luck with that. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

They simply can't resist having an Euarmy

The stern and sensible British wagged an admonitory finger at the EU. "Now do you finally accept there's no purpose in an EU army except hubris, that it will weaken NATO and make Europe more insecure?" Britain asked "Are you now sorry for your foolishness?"

`No!' the EU said, a little sullenly, but stoutly; `I'm not sorry. And it isn't folly at all! It is simply glorious!'

Anyone unfamiliar with Kenneth Grahame's classic will not know Toad's obsession with squandering his wealth on foolish self-indulgence:
They reached the carriage-drive of Toad Hall to find, as the Badger had anticipated, a shiny new motor-car, of great size, painted a bright red (Toad's favourite colour), standing in front of the house. As they neared the door it was flung open, and Mr. Toad, arrayed in goggles, cap, gaiters, and enormous overcoat, came swaggering down the steps, drawing on his gauntleted gloves.
I get the same feeling with Brussels. Britain turns its back for an instant and lo, the EP have voted for an EU army. Even now, some talentless little unelected functionary in the Berlaymont is already designing the ceremonial uniforms, glorious kitsch costumes replete with yards of gold braid so that Herr Juncker and the other unelected officials can play at being the Emperor Bokassa. 

All the while their foolish hubristic self-indulgence is eroding the real security of Europe maintained by NATO. They're still hiding behind weasel words, obfuscation and deceit, but there's no doubt as to the direction of travel or of the aspiration.

Foolish, lunatic little dags.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

There's still plenty of fat on the NHS

Although the NHS has had a gastric band fitted, it is still morbidly obese. It's daily money intake is still too great - and the risks of diabetic scleroticism, enervation and the gangrenous loss of unmanaged outlying parts is great. Without further weight loss, the prognosis is not good. 

I have written before about how my local south London hospital's maternity unit became dominated by Nigerian mothers. They were, I was told, the partners of the Nigerian fathers here on student visas on courses at the commercial universities. A very high proportion of Nigerian business studies students are married, it seems, and take advantage of being allowed to bring spouses to the UK. The hospital should have charged for all this maternity care but in practice didn't recover a penny; a culture in the NHS of free treatment for all, and a misplaced sense by NHS staff that they own the health service rather than are employed by it has always killed any effort at cost recovery. 

The suggestion made to MPs yesterday by a senior Department of Health mandarin that hospitals should check ID before treatment is nothing new. The statutory duty of hospitals to check eligibility of patients already exists - it is simply ignored by NHS staff. I received the following from my local hospital in response to an FOI request;

In fact they were collecting bugger-all revenue from overseas patients. In the few instances where invoices were raised, no action was taken to secure payment. Unpaid bills were written off after three years as bad debts. So how will yesterday's announcement change anything?

Not at all. Staff are entrenched in non-co-operation and will simply continue to ignore whatever instructions come from the DoH. The only way to secure change is to withhold a part of the budget equivalent to the estimated amount each hospital should be recovering in charges - and to pay it out only on evidence of income secured on a pound for pound basis. 

Sometimes you really need the stick as well as the carrot. 

Update: Professor J Meirion Thomas explains why ID won't stop our Nigerian maternity bed blockers, on R4 Today - 2:10 to 2:12 

Note: Where a story is carried by more than one broadsheet I will generally offer a link to the Guardian. This is to encourage the maximun use of that newspaper's bandwidth at the greatest cost by as many people as possible. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

We MUST get UK Muslim women into work

As a piece in the Guardian today demonstrates, the government's squeeze on welfare is proving astoundingly successful in 'nudging' the unemployed back into work. The UK's unemployment rate is half that in the rest of the EU, and our labour market is ever hungry for basic-skilled service workers. However, this overall success hides a shocking statistic - the work participation rate of Muslim women

Overall Female unemployment rate                            5.1%
Asian Female unemployment rate                               9.8%
Pakistani/Bangladesh F unemployment rate              24.0%*

That Muslim women have an unemployment rate five times that of white women is unacceptable. The impact on their health, welfare, attainment and particularly the educational level of their children, family nutrition and health and participation in wider British society is substantial. Imprisoned in their own homes and unable to interact openly with men and women of all races and ages in our open society, their mental health is also severely endangered.

Politicians of all parties must now do all they can to get these Muslim women out of the prisons of their homes and into the tens of thousands of service job vacancies - local drop delivery drivers, supermarket cashiers and shelf stackers, school dinner ladies, fast food catering counter staff, cleaning, catering and hospitality work. With the new living wage and the IDS welfare reforms such a drive will only do them good - however reluctant they may be to leave their prisons.

We MUST get tens of thousands of Muslim women into productive work.

* Labour market stats from (1) House of Commons briefing paper 6385, 2016 (2)ONS Labour market status of females in GB by ethnic group