Monday, 22 January 2018

Indirect Fire

I like stories about Russian ingenuity. I know they're probably not true, but they really ought to be. NASA spent five years and forty million dollars, the story goes, developing a biro that would write in space. The Russians used pencils. That sort of thing.

The most recent is about indirect artillery fire - the sort in which the gunners fire hopefully into the air relying on their maths skills to predict where the shell will land. Thankfully the cerebral activity of gunner officers is usually augmented by forward spotters, who can report where the shell lands and instruct corrections. A hundred years ago, frail canvas biplanes would hover above no-man's land, or poor sods would be hoisted in balloons. Today we've spent millions developing highly skilled forward observers, trained special forces, equipped with high frequency burst radios, laser target designators and the like. The Russians use drones from eBay with go-pro cams. 

Modern steels, unworn gun tubes and munitions assembled by sober workers are century old technologies easy to achieve today. Add simple electronic fire calculators and eBay drones and you have - or rather the Russians do - an indirect fire artillery capability that recently destroyed two Ukranian mechanised infantry battalions in the space of fifteen minutes. 

Our generals are worried. Defence development in the UK is like the Great War; we fling another billion of public money into research and advance a few millimetres. Or not at all. Our ships are equipped with fire control systems that can track a cricket ball but not a Russian or Chinese boosted missile. We simply can't seem to produce the bangs for the bucks any more, whereas Russia, with the GDP of Italy, races ahead with advanced weapons and systems. 

Service chiefs naturally call for more money in much the same way as they call for reinforcements. And I agree that more men, more ships and more tanks are better (the army now has more horses than tanks). But will throwing billions more at defence contractors produce results? It hasn't so far. 

So here's a suggestion. For as long as I've known we've resisted Russian and Chinese spying on our miltech and hardware. Now is the time to turn the tables. Now that we want to make exactly the same leaps without doing the research - i.e. by stealing their secrets - we need to invest more in spies, invest more in bribing their scientists and call for the flower of English womanhood to volunteer itself to staff honey traps for Chinese generals. We should send a battalion of plane spotters to Ukraine, mount 'scientific' research expeditions, equip our trawlers with GCHQ spy gear. Any of which, I suspect, would pay greater dividends than throwing cash at the fatcats of our second rate defence companies.  

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Diehard Remoaners will drop to 15%

The polling is becoming consistent. Michael Ashcroft, a businessman from Belize who takes an interest in British politics, has recently carried out his own polls. These reflect the many ongoing polls collated by the ESRC at What Britain Thinks. Both find by a clear margin that we don't want another referendum. And the indications are that a growing number of Brits are now accepting the last one; the Leavers have hardly changed their views, and moderate Remainers are joining us in accepting that Brexit will happen.

There is also a prediction that a rump of diehard Remoaners will continue; currently estimated at twenty something percent, half the referendum total, this rump is predicted to shrink to some 15% or fewer of implacable EUphiles, some of whom will devote every second of their lives and every pound of their fortunes to punishing their fellow citizens for disobeying. 

These are not ordinary people. These are the wealthy, the powerful, the influencers and manipulators who are used to pulling the levers of society. With access to money and media and the support of global finance and government, they remain incandescent and consumed by bile, derision and contempt for we ordinary folk who dared to disobey them. Gina Miller, her face contorted in fury and hate, on live TV becoming a caricature of a bitterly unhinged woman now showing her years. AC Grayling's very public and ongoing meltdown on Twitter. Blair. Campbell. Adonis. All will be part of the 15% that will never let it go.

Gina Miller before and after the Referendum
They will of course destroy their own lives and happiness with this obsession. It will be a ginormous national sulk that will be turned to humour by a British public. That, at least, is something for which to look forward. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The dangers of the media echo chamber

We have moved into an age in which the traditional news media no longer merely report the news but seek to shape it. Newspapers and broadcast media have become political actors, campaigns and even parties. As a consequence, the trust that the public used to invest in establishment entities such as the BBC, or the 'broadsheet' press, has disappeared. They are all guilty of disseminating 'Fake News', and public trust of journalists and journalism is now in the gutter. Alongside that of politicians. 

The consequence of this is that most of us now communicate only in echo chambers, with those who share our views and beliefs, using sources that confirm such opinions. The more pronounced this becomes, the more polarised our nation and society, the greater the mistrust and the more egregious the Fake News. From both sides.  

I have written before that I respect greatly the journalistic integrity of Der Spiegel, an openly left-liberal publication but one that fights the loss of journalistic professionalism in a way that the Guardian would simply not understand. It takes a certain courage for Spiegel to ask 'Is there truth to refugee rape reports?' and then to answer the question in a conditional affirmative. Something I suspect strongly that the Guardian would never do. 

Germans are particularly sensitive to notions of mass rape. Antony Beevor helped lift the lid on the extent of Soviet rape in Berlin - the Downfall, bringing to a popular audience hidden records that both German and Russian authorities would rather have remained hidden. Rape and conquest, rape and invasion, are linked in German historic memory, so sex crimes attributed to migrants are big news. In the German echo chamber, no mainstream news outlet references the website - but Spiegel sought to challenge what it displayed.  

They found that though many of the rape reports were either false or referred to sexual assaults that fall short of rape under German law, many others were based in fact. Now after finding this unwelcome result, a dishonest media outlet would have shelved the result. All credit to Spiegel for publishing. They write;
The classical media find themselves in a quandary here. If we don't write about the issue and about the rumours circulating on the internet, skeptics see that as proof that something is being hidden. Yet if we do write about specific websites like the one covered in this story, we run the risk of enhancing the profile of pages meant to incite hatred online.
So yes, the pandemic of sex assaults carried out by migrants is based on reality. Police statistics back this up. But the real benefit of honest reporting across the echo chambers is to challenge prejudice and preconceptions; migrants commit sex assaults not because they are Muslims or brown, it is suggested, but because they are "more frequently young and male and are more likely to live in a large city, lack education, be unemployed and have no income".

Well, to a point, Lord Copper. I think why they commit such a high level of sex assaults is still open to judgement. But acknowledging that there is a problem is a good start for both polarised sides. And perhaps our UK media, including the BBC, can even learn a lesson that will allow them to raise their own gaze from the gutter. 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

EU to ban stun fishing. For the second time

The EU's identity as a corrupt but inept bureaucracy was confirmed yesterday as French, Belgian, Irish and British MEPs dealt a kick to their Dutch colleagues in requiring the Council to add a new ban on stun fishing to a change in fishing rules. The Dutch fishing minister now faces another kicking from Dutch trawler owners who have spent over £300k per boat converting vessels to electric stun fishing. The vote was 402 to 232 - by no means overwhelming, indicating nations other than the Netherlands have a snout in this eco-destructive trough. 

The story to date is this. First, the EU banned stun fishing in 1998. Then produced a scientific / technical report in 2006 recommending continuing the ban. Despite which, Dutch lobbying, blackmail or string pulling managed to get an exemption for Dutch trawlers - with the effects described in a previous post HERE.  However, British, French, Belgian and Irish fishermen have mounted an effective and concerted campaign to expose the deep harm caused by the Dutch - with the result that MEPs, fearful of the political reaction at home rather than out of principle, I suspect, have acted. 

However, the law will be written by the EU Council. This leaves the Dutch some wriggle room to water down the requirement, delay it or fail to implement what the EP have requested. These delaying and blocking tactics are all part of the wonderfully corrupt way in which the EU works. 

For the UK, one major problem remains. As I wrote in November:-
One current problem is that Dutch boats can fly the red duster and take UK quotas; the previous requirement on UK flagged vessels being owned by Brit nationals was overturned. Our 1988 Merchant Shipping Act was challenged by the European Court of Justice in the Factortame case and overturned - requiring us to register foreign-owned fishing boats.  A single Dutch owned and crewed vessel, the Cornelis Vrolijk, but UK flagged, accounts for almost a quarter of the entire English catch and about 6 per cent of the total UK quota. It lands all catches - some £17m annually - in the Netherlands.
Michael Gove must act now to prepare to reverse the effects of Factortame and to restore the 1988 Merchant Shipping Act to the form in which it was agreed by our sovereign parliament. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Carillion - sub contractors and suppliers

For the construction arm far more than the FM concerns, intelligent journos have started to pick up on the impact of the firm's collapse on other than direct employees. The real pain is likely to be felt by sub contractors and suppliers - with an impact on tens of thousands of people working for smaller firms carrying out specialist works for the fallen behemoth.

Subbies are always the last to be paid anyway, and have the longest wait for their money as main contractors will generally not pay until their own monthly claims have been passed, and even then may pay only a percentage, with their own retention in place. Main contractors who have won work by underbidding will also squeeze subbies already contracted. I know from personal experience how very close to the edge many subbies on big jobs walk.

Ideally, if the job is to be finished, the subcontractors will be novated to the new main contractor on the same terms - but even this takes time, and when it is likely that Carillion haven't paid them for three months (and they may end up with nothing) the prospect of waiting another three for a payment from a new principal contractor will force many to the wall. 

Clients will only find main contractors to replace Carillion on cost-plus terms if continuity is to be maintained; there is simply no time to cost and negotiate new contracts. And rescue firms will know they must secure rock solid fee agreements now, up front; clients happy to agree crash costs at times of crisis will always backtrack once the hiatus of the rescue is over; getting it sewn up tight whilst you have the advantage is the only way. 

And make no mistake, it's the clients that will pay. As long as the crash costs now are equal to or less than costs of demobilising the schemes, mothballing, re-tendering and re-mobilising, with all the substantial costs of delayed delivery, they will pay. And that means us - taxpayers - in many cases. There really is no alternative. The least-cost options will still cost us a fortune.

Monday, 15 January 2018

When construction pigeons come home to roost

Balfour Beatty must be breathing a sigh of relief this morning that Carillion's recent takeover bid was not successful. BB was lined up to follow Mowlem, McAlpine and Eaga to boost Carillion's sales and potential profits in a process that only works so long as there are more companies with which to merge or take-over; once the music stops, the whole thing generally collapses. 

Carillion was overburdened with debt and major construction contracts were simply not providing the profits to service them. This was disguised for a while by accounting for 'other receivables' i.e. money expected to be released from construction contracts, but never materialising. And this is a tale that is common throughout the construction industry. 

I once let a large contract to a subsidiary of a well known mega firm. It was a newish subsidiary run by set of very confident managers, but with no great track record. Still, their bids were excellent value and they were underwritten by their parent. Shortly after my contract started, rumours came in of heavy time over-runs on another job. They moved key contract management staff from my job to the problem job, and as a result they fell behind on my job. Their solution was to bid low for yet another job; the ever-growing order book made the risk of losses look unimportant. They failed to perform adequately on the third job, too. All the while they were reporting expected contract out turn as close to budget - even when they were into LADs for late completion. A few weeks after my job finished and the final account on their first job became clear, they submitted requests for additional payments of several millions. All the while they were still reporting to their board high levels of profitability - the cost claim was 'income' and contrived to maintain the fiction for as long as possible. 

Well, we demolished their silly claims without breaking sweat, but that took time. By the time their major losses on all three jobs became clear, the parent company decided to close down the subsidiary. The very confident managers became ex-managers. The fact is that they were able to continue forecasting profitability long after the point when it was blindingly obvious they'd cocked up hugely.

In effect, the head company shareholders subsidised my scheme by their cocky managers underbidding and hoping to make up the profits from changes, additions and variations. The form of contract I used didn't allow very much scope for that. 

Well, I'm sorry for all the good folk at Carillion including those I know and have enjoyed working with. But that's mega construction firms for you.  

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Brexit - FAQs

Given that Project Fear is achieving peak risible on social media, now may be an appropriate moment to answer a few Remoaner points;

Brexit will mean Brits are banned from travelling in Europe
Brits will be able to travel in Europe visa-free but with passports, just as we have been since 1947, with stays of up to 3 months. No change.

British people will never be allowed to live abroad
Brits can live wherever they like in the world, and do. Generally one needs a source of income, health care arrangements and the consent of the country in which one wants to live. There has NEVER been an absolute, unconditional right to live in another EU country. Nor is there is a single  EU wide standard, and individual national standards are likely to remain as they are now. No change. 

Our children will be barred from the ERASMUS programme
UK access to ERASMUS will continue unconditionally until 2020. After that, the British Council, which funds and runs the UK programme, is committed to facilitating reciprocal access to Europe and the Commonwealth for young Brits. 

Our children's access to EU universities will be restricted
This is probably a good thing if it happens but is sadly unlikely. EU universities are utterly second rate and rank way below the UK's HE sector. The EU27 don't have a single university in the international Top Ten; the UK has four. However, if young Tarquin is so irredeemably stupid that he can't even get a place on the media studies course at Steeple Bumstead, I'm sure that the University of Ibiza will still give him a place on the English degree course. For a fee. 

Brexit will mean food prices will rise
The EU is deeply protectionist and maintains high food prices to ensure good incomes for EU farmers; imports to the EU are therefore heavily taxed. After Brexit it's entirely up to the UK whether to maintain these trade barriers or not - though there are implications for UK farm incomes if we scrap them. Whatever, the UK government will have its hands on the levers that determine retail food prices - and you can be reasonably certain that they will ensure no overall price rise, though the mix and origin of the nation's shopping basket may change. 

The NHS will collapse after Brexit without EU staff
Simply, Bollocks. See the NHS' own breakdown of staff origin. Many EU staff who have gone home since 2016 - a small part of a small part of total staff - have done so because the £ used to buy €1.40 but now only buys €1.12. That's quite a drop in incentive for a Polish nurse working in the SE and also having to pay rent. EU churn will be compensated for by additional worldwide recruitment.

Right. I'm fed up with this now. The remoaners talk so much bollocks one could continue indefinitely.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Winning back the seas

For a nation with links to the sea as strong as the UK, nothing raises such visceral protectiveness as our territorial waters and fish. Oh sure we can get a little bit excited about the economic benefits of passporting for the City, but it simply doesn't raise the blood to battle as does the prospect of a Dutch trawler stealing our cod. Gaining economic sovereignty (I won't say regaining) of our 200 mile commercial limit in 2019 is therefore a big deal.

For UK fishing fleets to take up the catches currently taken from our waters by the EU27 will take time. Boats must be built, crews must be trained, shore facilities must be expanded - and most importantly, vessels to patrol and police our waters from foreign poachers must be built and crewed. If new keels are not laid this month, we simply won't have the last capacity in March 2019.   

I'm not surprised that the EU27 want to hold onto their right to take British fish during the 2-year transition period, nor that the government seem prepared to concede this. If not the CFP then some form of licencing would realistically have been needed to allow continental fleets to wind-down their operations. However, our lost licence fee income from these two years must be deducted from the financial settlement - after 2019 they'll be taking our fish, not a common EU fish stock. 

And one measure we can take, one piece of legislation we can prepare, is to reverse the judgement in Factortame.  Requiring red duster flagged vessels to have a majority of UK national owners would at least halt the despoliation of stun fishing, and ensure that within reasonable time the full economic benefits would return to the United Kingdom.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Impress and Ipso

This is a story in which there are no heroes, only villains. Press 'regulation' does absolutely nothing to eliminate fake news, bias, distortion, omission or misrepresentation in our national press; such things are accepted as part and parcel of newspapers. Some editors, such as Piers Morgan, unashamedly even faked photos and printed fiction when the real thing was scarce. For anyone of any sense, the best approach to newspaper reporters is to shun them utterly; anyone stupid or naive enough to believe that a newspaper will tell their story the way they describe it deserves the monstering they will undoubtedly earn.

So who exactly do the competing regulators Impress and Ipso protect? Well, the establishment for a start - politicians, fixers, political dags, the wealthy, the powerful, and then of course luvvies - actors, musicians and the like, those who seek to use the press for their own publicity. Them. Not us. Press regulators do absolutely nothing for you and I; absolutely nothing. 

So the Press are heroes then, fighting the rich and powerful on our behalf? Uhm, no. The papers are owned or directed by the same rich and powerful. Their aim is to stay rich by printing stuff that people want to read - and what people want to read about are other people, if not the establishment and the rich and famous then at least those endowed with enormous buttocks. Private Eye used to push the boundaries a bit but under Hislop has become flaccid and toothless, a sort of downmarket Punch with dirty print.

One of these pointless regulators was actually founded by Max Mosley who has spent much time and effort ridding the internet of images of himself naked and undergoing a sexually perverted act with a number of prostitutes. As a wealthy man who can afford to indulge his perversions, Mosley asserts his right to do so without fear of exposure. It's not an argument with which I care to engage. 

So there you have it. Impress and Ipso. Utterly pointless and nothing to worry about.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Tax funding for political parties ... again

Yep you guessed. The political establishment is gearing up to have another go at getting tax funding of the established parties onto the statute books - or rather, enhancing the tax funding provisions that already apply. This time around the Conservatives, down to a rumoured 70,000 members, are listening. 

The previous crooked proposals from Christopher Kelly, building on earlier crooked proposals from Hayden Phillips, would have given all parties with at least one sitting MP about £3 a year from taxpayers for each vote the party got in the previous general election. Protests that this entrenched incumbent parties, discouraged tactical voting, discouraged all voting, inhibited political change and gave Labour, LibDems and Conservatives a sort of quasi-constitutional status beloved of establishment mandarins such as Kelly and Phillips fell on deaf ears. In the end it was Labour's refusal to accept a cap of £50k on individual donations - hobbling Union cash - that froze the scheme. 

Back in 2014 I wrote of my dislike for Carswell at the time of his defection - and was admonished by UKIP readers. I called him caddish, I think. However, had the Kelly / Phillips tax funding proposals gone through, he could have earned UKIP some £12m a year in party funding. Without him, 4m votes would get UKIP exactly nothing. Still a turd, perhaps, but possibly a gold plated one. 

Now of course wealthy individual LEAVE funders are being hit for 20% inheritance tax on their donations - donations tax free for global corporates and their UK incorporated dags, for trade unions or if made to (you've guessed it) political parties with at least one sitting MP. HMRC may be applying the law, but it is a dubious law that has the effect of implementing crooked and underhand tax funding of some points of view, wholly against the will of the public on tax funding in general. It's bent, it's corrupt and we didn't vote for it. It's the introduction of tax funding by the back door - and the lever that the establishment will use to move to the next stage. 

The political landscape never remains static. When I started writing this blog, the Conservatives had some 250k paying members, Labour was suffering and down to about 160k and the LibDems scraped some 60k. The 2010 coalition brought chauffeured jags for the LibDem top dogs but a massive hole in party funding from the loss of opposition Short money. Party membership in the UK had reached a nadir with just 1% of an electorate of 45m being party members. 

In 2018 we face a Conservative party with fewer than a third of the members it had ten years ago, a LibDem party on the verge of extinction, with only the disproportionate number of LD peers giving them any parliamentary presence at all, but a reinvigorated Labour party replete with individual memberships and backed with big union money from the TUs that would dearly love a Marxist in the Treasury. 

Party funding is in desperate need of a complete rethink; social media in particular makes a joke of much of the existing framework. But no more Kelly and no more Phillips - no more establishment mandarins, crooked civil servants, bent globalists or Blairite managerialists. 

Who would you nominate to chair a new, fair enquiry into party funding? My own nominees are both from the left; Simon Jenkins, who ran a membership organisation with over 4m paying members, and Helena Kennedy, whose seminal Power inquiry was squashed by the very establishment it sought to reform. 

Friday, 5 January 2018

Raw Water

I never fail to get a chuckle here when I describe my old drinking water supply in London; through a series of sewage treatment works and reservoirs from Oxford to Heathrow, down the Thames Valley to the Great Wen. "They say" I usually conclude "that London tap water is very pure, having been filtered through the kidneys of seven people before one drinks it". Not only pre-owned, London's drinking water also bears the traces of nitrate fertilizers, and of the Oestrogens used as cattle growth promoters as well as the ubiquitous Flouride. Many folk are suspicious of Flouride, including a very sane econometrist of my acquaintance. 

Well, in the US the public revolt against the chemical soup of urban tap water has lead to a craze for 'Raw Water' - and with all the attendant health industry shouting crazed warnings that everyone will die of Cholera

Well, to a point, Lord Copper. Here water and sewerage are managed by the local council. We have our own little sewage treatment plant that deals with the output of some 2,500 souls and our water comes from the 'moss slopes' collected in two small concrete tanks with sand filters half way up the mountain. No further treatment. It comes out of the taps at about 9 bar with no pumping. It is pure Raw Water, absorbed from winter snowfall by the moss layers and slowly released. 

However, things get even better. Our valley is a geological anomaly. On the south side, where the water comes from, are acidic schists, giving the wonderfully soft 'gemeindewasser' excellent for washing and brewing. On the north side, where we live in the Sun, is magnesian limestone, giving me hard water from the two sources or quellen on my land which is better for watering plants and fine for livestock. This can also be drunk raw, as it runs from the earth pipe. So not only do I have running Raw Water, but a choice of hard or soft. Knowing that septics are paying €6 a litre for it makes me feel all the luckier. 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Lamont: Blair's argument "completely fraudulent"

Pilots will correct me, but I think the speed / runway distance during an aircraft's take off at which it is no longer possible to abort is termed 'V1' - once reached, the only possible course of action is to continue the ascent, even if an emergency landing is made immediately afterwards. The question facing us all is whether Brexit has reached 'V1'.  

There is a concerted remainer media offensive this week; AC Grayling continues his painful public meltdown and so is deemed unfit to face the camera or microphones, but Andrew Adonis has already delivered a rather hysterical and disconnected plea on the 'Today' programme to abandon Article 50, and today on R4 the Great Dissembler, Blair himself, did his utmost to advance the several specious arguments that remainers use to justify reversing the referendum result. Not only did Humphrys do a reasonable job of taking these apart, but Norman Lamont, the poor badger in the Treasury when Soros mounted his financial assault on Sterling, demolished as fatuous and risible Blair's arguments, concluding that his reasoning was 'completely fraudulent'

When I read what remainers want to reverse and return to it is the EU as it was before 23rd June 2016. This was eighteen months ago; if a week is a long time in politics, a year is an eternity. The past is a different country. Even if Article 50 were reversed, it is simply not possible to go back to 2016. The EU has already moved ahead; the EU army that remainers poopooed is in formation via PESCO, sweeping presidential powers are in preparation, an integrated Finance Ministry is gradually winning German acceptance, Macron of France and Schulz, likely soon to be in coalition government in Germany, agree that a United States of Europe should be the goal within eight years. If we seek to return now, not only will we lose the budget rebate but Brussels will demand that we adopt the Euro. It is simply not possible to go back to the way things were in 2016. 

All of which suggest to me that we have already reached V1. There is no longer a 'remain' option - only an option to join anew a completely different EU.


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The right to insult

In 2008 when visiting an agricultural show, the then President of the Fifth Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, was refused a handshake by a French farmer. Rather than just shrugging inwardly and passing on, the foul-mouthed little head of State snarled back "Casse toi, pauv’ con". I wish my quadrilingual nephew were here to check my translation - the closest I can suggest is something like "Fuck you, dickhead".

It might have ended there had not M Herve Eon, some six months later, held up a placard bearing these same words on the route of a presidential procession in Laval. Eon was arrested by plain clothes police and charged and convicted of insulting the president, under a French law of 1881 that also criminalises insulting hordes of other establishment members, including foreign heads of state. After refusing to apologise to Sarkozy to reduce his penalty, Eon managed to get this appealed at the ECHR - and though the ECHR would doubtless have dearly loved to have upheld such penalties against lèse-majesté, the court felt obliged to avoid international ridicule by declaring that M.Eon's declaration had been satirical, and was therefore permitted.

In France it takes a whole bench of judges to tell the difference between an insult and satire. And satire itself is seemingly only protected when it not too vicious or biting; cartoon or distorted images of protected fat cats can all too easily be termed insulting.

France of course is seeking only to implement fully the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), effective from 1976. Luckily it already has an earlier 1881 law that does so. The ICCPR is an appalling piece of treaty-making; as is often the way with such things, it authorises suppression of free speech to a greater degree than it protects freedom of expression. In particular article 19 (3);
The exercise of the [right to freedom of expression] carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
And there you have it. Governments may freely introduce laws to protect the reputations of others from insult. And you can be sure that the 'others' that many governments will have in mind are not us ordinary folk but those for whom reputation is vital - such as ministers, politicians and members of the establishment.  

The EU has taken the lead in seeking to implement across the EU its own interpretation of the international convention, to which all 27 are signatories. Many EU nations can already lock their citizens up for insulting politicians - but thank God the UK is not amongst them:-

M. Herve Eon was also fortunate in that France only fines those that insult its establishment figures, rather than locks them up. The fines, though, can be up to €45,000 - on a scale greater than anything the UK's summary courts can impose for a whole host of serious criminal acts. In Austria one also has to be careful what one writes and says - 

Now one can begin to understand the sort of legal changes that Yvette Cooper and others of her parliamentary cohort are seeking, and why they are so keen to adopt the EU standards on the criminalisation of insult. We must all fight this with every fibre of fortitude; British politics has always been a robust and forthright process, where political insults are freely traded and politicians expected to have thick skins. 

Provided that my frequent reminders to Mz Cooper of her pledge to house a migrant - a pledge that neither she, Lily Allen nor any of the fatuous virtue signallers have fulfilled - can remain as satire, provided that I never descend into encouraging violence, harassment or intimidation (which I absolutely counsel and extort against - whether directed at politicians, migrants or any persons). So here again is that clip from the Telegraph on the 'flipping' of Mz Cooper's two homes, either of which is doubtless capacious enough to accommodate a migrant or two -