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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Retail sales & Harpex

It comes as no surprise to me that we are still in recession. Retail sales remain flat and the Harpex continues to bump along the bottom. Those containers of Kubota diesel engines remain on the dock half way round the world. Only one thing will start to restore consumer confidence - an election. Sadly, Brown and his corrupt cabal care nothing for this nation, and will hold on until the very end.

Labour's malice and Griffin's gain

There is a streak of malice and spite in Labour administrations that is largely absent from the centre-right. Few Conservative councils would sell-off council estate football pitches to a golf club to 'teach them a lesson', yet Labour councils do this all the time; show them an articulate right-voting middle-class enclave and their instinct is to impose a prison hostel, a drug rehab unit or an asylum seekers centre on it in a spiteful and malicious attempt to 'teach them a lesson'. It comes as no surprise that they do this on a national as well as a local scale, and that this malice also underlaid Labour's abolition of border controls from 2000 onwards. Andrew Neather, a pivotal figure in New Labour's policy, now admits that Labour engineered mass immigration to 'rub the Right's nose in diversity'.

In a spectacular own-goal, however, it was not 'the Right' that had their noses rubbed in Labour's faecal spite, but their own core voters; as Charles Moore writes in the Telegraph
Ten years ago, a self-employed painter and decorator in, say, Barking might have earned £120 a day, enough to get a reasonable mortgage and sustain a modestly secure family life. Today, after the Government underestimated the number of Eastern Europeans likely to come here by almost 20 times, he would get £70 or £80. If his ailing father pays regular visits to hospital, he may be denied a bed because so many foreign women are giving birth. If his child has special needs, he may find the local school neglects them because it is desperately trying to teach English to children who do not speak it at home. If his brother is a soldier, he may return from risking his life to be insulted on the streets of his country by people who hate it.

The strongest common characteristic of such BNP supporters is pessimism. They feel they are sinking to the bottom of the pile, and that people from other countries are being privileged over them by the public services. If they complain, they are told they are racist. It is not surprising that they say things like "My country is being taken away from me". They are not completely mistaken.

Anyone who has employed inarticulate unskilled white working class labour will be sensitive in avoiding the key provocations; talking down to them, being too clever and above all taking advantage of their inability to frame arguments even when they know they're right. When the carefully designed QT panel and audience did all of this to the clumsy and inarticulate Nick Griffin on Thursday watched by 8m voters they scored another spectacular home goal.

The Telegraph's post-QT poll has some revealing findings, including;

More than half of those questioned said they agreed with the BNP, or thought that it “had a point” in wishing to “speak up for the interests of the indigenous, white British people ... which successive governments have done far too little to protect.”

This included 43 per cent who said that, while they shared some of its concerns, they had “no sympathy for the party itself”.

And there you have it; a substantial voter base who are not racist, who have ethnic minority workmates and family members, generally tolerant and easy-going and who would disagree with the BNP's underlying loathsomeness but for whom Labour's immigration malice and Cameron's smug refusal to get involved have driven to lending a vote to Griffin.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Britain's sinister allies

Harry Phibbs in this morning's Guardian repeats much of Tory Bear's exposé of the sinister friends of Labour in Europe.

Few mainland European parties can escape being tainted by scrutiny. In France the Gaullists were behind atrocities in Algeria, and the pre-war French parties in bed with Darnand and his hated Milice in Jewish deportations, if not outright collaborators with the Nazis. In Spain the parties of the left have the blood of 7,000 vilely murdered and violated Catholic priests and nuns on their hands, and those of the right several hundred thousand victims of Franco's terror. Ten thousand died in Greece's post-war civil war, victims of parties of both left and right that now sit in Brussels. Perhaps only the parties of the UK and paradoxically Germany are free from direct association with the atrocities of the 20th century.

One could sum up all of the European parties that sit in Brussels as 'mostly dodgy'. The question is not whether they're on the left or right, but do we really want to be associated with any of them at all?

It's immigration, stupid

MigrationWatch head Sir Andrew Green in the Mail and Frank Field and Nicholas Soames in the Telegraph all say the same thing this morning - Labour and Cameron's Conservatives have failed to control immigration, the subject is high on the public's agenda, and a million votes went to the BNP at the Euro elections as a result.

I'm all for skilled, educated and talented immigrants filling holes in our economy - and the evidence suggests that those from Western Europe, the US and Canada and the Old Commonwealth who do so also pay high taxes and place few demands on public services. But with the prospect of income tax rising by 7% to pay for Brown's economic incompetence, I sure as Hell don't also want to keep paying for Nigerian village girls to have babies in my NHS hospital, send them to my free nursery and primary schools, house them in welfare housing I've paid to build and have to pay their upkeep as well.

Until the self-absorbed political class open their cloth ears and listen to ordinary, non-racist people with reasonable views on immigration, the BNP's vote will grow.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Now Mervyn King supports Narrow Banking

Mervyn no doubt like many of us can see another bubble bursting in the not too distant future, and is now advocating the Narrow Banking that we have supported for some time.

Brown will do nothing; he is in the hands of malign advisors working solely in the interests of the megabanks. He is weak, vacillating and without the courage or vision to take any action.

Now is the time for this Rotten Parliament to redeem at least a part of its reputation in its dying months; if MPs demonstrated as much concern for the nation as for their personal wealth they could push the required measures through.

Don't hold your breath.

Classic Liberalism vs. Classic Toryism

Once British socialism gave up the idea of the common public ownership of wealth production it started to die as a political ideology. I've no doubt the next election will see Labour reduced even further, to a regional rump in the NE and NW of the country. Labour has ceased to be relevant in the momentous tectonic shifts now gradually reshaping British politics. Mandelson's Red Conservatism and Cameron's Blue Socialism are nothing more than temporary and transitional central Statist stopgaps; as an erudite commentator pointed out here, we are drifting back to the UK's long-term political bipolarity between Classic Liberalism (Libertarianism) and Classic Toryism.

DK points to a post by Unity on Liberal Conspiracy, but as is also often the case on this blog, the real erudition is in the comments rather than the post that provoked them. Locke, Hulme and Burke get a thorough airing to the general good, Tim Worstall helpfully points out that Libertarianism is a US term for what should properly be called Liberalism in the UK (where liberal does not mean socialist) and there is an iterative recognition in fractional increments of the movement of the tectonic plates of our politics.

As both Labour and Cameron's Conservatives drift ever further towards self-annihilation, with the main parties according to Vernon Bogdanor now having a combined membership well below 1% of the electorate, with the public increasingly distrustful of central Statism, the political class in irrecoverable ordure and our Parliament at the nadir of its long and distinguished history, the national mood for change and reform is creating a political vacuum that this realignment of British politics is starting to fill.

Expect to hear much more on this in the coming weeks and months.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Cameron misunderstands the purpose of Parliament

If ever there was a more crass, ignorant and out-of-touch affirmation that David Cameron is a fully paid-up member of the loathsome political class than today's announcement at the Squeaker's Conference I've yet to hear it; ConHome reports him saying;
... some of those shortlists will indeed be all-women shortlists to help us boost the number of Conservative women MPs and also to recognise the fact that although about 29% of our candidates are women, there are many very very good women on our priority list of candidates who haven't yet been selected and I want to give them the chance to serve in Parliament, so that's my current intention.
You want to give them the chance to serve in Parliament? What grandiose distortion of the democratic process gave you the droit of appointing our MPs? What lunatic vision of the Commons as a job creation programme do you labour under? Our Parliament isn't your fiefdom to appoint second-rate MPs at will - we return MPs there because they're the very best people to represent their constituents. Our Parliament isn't there to provide a shiny happy potato-head professional politician with the opportunity to exercise largesse, or tighten the dying grip of a failed party on the nation's windpipe. What arrogance. What hubris. What self-serving delusion.

Our Parliament and the processes that present us with candidates to return there from our constituencies must be meritocratic or they are nothing.

Go boil your overbred head, man. Go hang your shiny pate in shame. You're no Tory.

MPs' risible attempts to smear Tom Legg

This blog has always been quick to spot a government stooge, and I imagined I'd be rubbishing the probity of the man appointed to head the expenses inquiry in the same way as I've rubbished the fatuous processes of Hayden Phillips or the complicity of Hutton. However, the more I know about Tom Legg the less likely this becomes. He appears to be that rare bird, a public servant with real probity who understands perfectly his duty of stewardship of public funds. So far, he's done very well - the only one in power who has acted in our interests.

It doesn't surprise me that some MPs are now plotting to smear him. They're rotten, corrupt little turds who have been caught thieving from the public purse and this sort of dishonourable behaviour is par for the course. I've equally no doubt that Tom Legg is unsmearable.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Governing London

One of the tenets at the heart of Localism, that collective functions should be performed at the lowest possible efficient level, is gaining increasing attention now that Localism is at least on Cameron's radar. The bigger question remains - setting the boundaries of those levels for a range of collective functions. And the answer for most functions is that the current administrative boundaries are inadequate to implement anything that comes close to Localism.

London's current boundaries were drawn in the early 1960s, when the metropolis had roughly the same population it has now. There were no computers and no photocopiers, however; the typewriter, carbon paper, manuscript forms and dockets and the spirit duplicator's purple smudge ruled the administrators' domain. Car ownership was low, shops were local and local communities had a high degree of self-identity. The Avengers and Coronation Street had just started on a TV network that had two channels. In monochrome. The reasons that supported the amalgamation of 91 'boroughs' into just 33 in London in 1961 don't stack up any more.

Yes, a London of the same population as today had 91 separately elected governing bodies; the modern Westminster borough was made up of three historic boroughs, Paddington, Westminster and St Marylebone. Kensington and Chelsea were separate, as were Hammersmith and Fulham, Deptford, Battersea and Finsbury. Click on the map below to expand. Wikilink.

I'm not advocating a blind reversion to the past, merely pointing out that administrative boundaries must be open to being periodically re-drawn to accommodate the democratic needs of the time.

But of course not all functions are efficiently performed at the same level. Welfare might be best administered by 90 autonomous welfare offices, each with a budget and discretion in how to apply it; indeed, London currently has around 93 jobcentres and social security offices, which indicates this sort of scale of devolution. Planning, on the other hand, may require an intra-London regional approach - eight areas based on the first alpha part of the postcode, say:

And yet other functions may be best performed at London-wide level, or some down at ward level. What we need is a London Government Commission, to look at the range of collective functions not reserved for national administration - and including perhaps arts and tourism, cemeteries, education, waste, welfare, police and fire, health services, licencing, planning, traffic and transport, social services - to determine the best level to run them at, and then to re-draw London's democratic boundaries to suit.

Two factors to bear in mind. We have a massive democratic deficit; our lowest tier of government in the UK has around 120,000 voters, whilst in the US and Italy it's 7,000, in Spain and Germany 5,000 and in France 1,500. All the indicators suggest we need more, and smaller, units of government rather than fewer and larger. Secondly, localism needs a radical reform of how we pay for collective services; I believe all taxes should be collected locally, with a precept based on local GDP going to central government to pay for defence, air traffic control and the like. The balance between property tax, income tax and taxes on consumption should be decided locally, as should levels of service and standards and quality. You've got to trust people.

Now is the time for Cameron's team to refine a series of Commission briefs to report within five years, with a view to a manifesto commitment to implementing a national localist re-organisation in his second term. He's got to take this seriously; if he isn't announcing a series of major commissions to tackle these issues, you can bet he isn't serious about Localism.

BBC Question Time may backfire

There are very many ordinary people in the country who are concerned at levels of immigration, concerned at the social effects of Islam and concerned at the threat that multiculturalism poses to their traditional way of life. The main parties have largely ignored these concerns, and as a result a million voters have cast their ballot for the BNP.

The BBC is setting up Question Time to offer Nick Griffin a mass public show of distaste; from both the panel and the audience, he faces belittlement, bullying, undermining and hostility. This is probably calculated to demonstrate the distaste for the BNP's racism that most people have, and calculated to show the TV audience how mistaken they would be to vote for the BNP.

However, the BBC needs to be very careful this doesn't backfire; ordinary people who have had their own concerns - any everyone imagines their own concerns are reasonable - pooh-poohed by the political class will watch not a fascist bully-boy getting his come-uppance but themselves getting a kicking.

It will make for must-watch TV, anyhow.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The luxury of a streaming cold

I don't often give myself a reason to malinger from my iron schedule, but this weekend a streaming cold has given me an excuse for utter blokeish self-indulgence. The central heating stays on beyond its usual half hour at dawn, a pot of home-made chicken soup simmers on the hob and I'm ready to snuggle up on the sofa beneath a goose-down duvet with an unread Bernard Cornwell, a roll of bum-wipe and 'Withnail' on video, occasionally dosing myself with experimental mixtures of ardent spirits, honey, lemon juice, boiling water and aspirin. Sheer luxury.

The Dude gets it in one

A Very British Dude hit the nail squarely with his take on the Bracknell open primary. Dr Phillip Lee for Bracknell, Dr Sarah Woolaston to succeed Anthony Steen at Totnes (soon to be 'Disgraced Former MP Anthony Steen'), and even Teresa Pearce, an accountant with PwC, as Labour's PPC for Erith and Thamesmead all add up to one thing - voters are sick to the back teeth of the political class. Given the chance they will pick local candidates grounded in the community with achievements other than politician or political organiser and who are likely to be more independently minded that the blow-ins and apparatchiks favoured by central party HQ.

I am encouraged by this trend, if trend it is. If the 2005 intake, the Rotten Parliament, becomes known as the nadir of our Parliamentary democracy then the only way is up - and ending the reign of the loathsome metropolitan political class and all their associated party and media hacks and dags is the first sign of the recovering health of our democracy.

Crowding the golf club after-dinner speech circuit

I recall a speaker introducing his eulogy at Ralph Harris' memorial service with the self-deprecating words 'Well, that's the first time I haven't been introduced as Disgraced Former MP Neil Hamilton'

Conservative homers are also being a bit prickly over Tim Montgomerie's post on the winner of the Bracknell open primary 'to succeed disgraced Andrew Mackay'. They need to get used to it. From next year a couple of hundred or so sacked politicians will be competing to earn a few hundred quid from giving after-dinner speeches at golf clubs and company dinners, all billed as 'Disgraced former MP ...'

It has a rather special rendolence. Disgraced former MP Jacqui Smith. Disgraced former MP Derek Conway. Disgraced former MP Jonathan Aitken. Disgraced former MP David Wilshire. Disgraced former MP Shahid Malik. Disgraced former MP Hazel Blears. Disgraced former MP Ben Bradshaw. And a hundred and few score more. The competition for those golf club speaking slots will be intense.