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Saturday 13 May 2017

It's time to jail Rupert and Fenella

Back in the early 80s Rupert and Fenella's conspicuous hipness was pretty innocuous; they would open a baked potato stand in the newly renovated Covent Garden or build an accessible recording studio in a disused Methodist Church hall. Imbued with money and a desire to demonstrate their fashionable altruism they would tag these adventures 'community' or 'open' or 'collaborative' and the more astute amongst them would later sagely turn them to sound profitable investments when the reputational kudos was exhausted. 

These days Rupert and Fenella have to go a bit further afield to win youthful cachet. 
"Rupert's bought this old Scottish Trawler, yah, and he's re-purposed it to carry a couple of RIBs and built a mini clinic, all through this charity we've set up - 'Seaguard Rescue International' - we've had some pretty big donations including from you-know-who who's still using the billions he made on Black Wednesday ...yah, it's all terribly tax efficient and registered offshore; well basically Rupert patrols the Med just outside the Libyan territorial limit til he gets a satphone call from a refugee boat, meets it, takes the refugees off and lands them in Lampedusa. 

We've got a Facebook page with live Sat video feed and Rupert looks simply scrumptious and sooo dashing and we've saved hundreds and hundreds of lives yah and Tarquin and Penny Arsetrump are down there too in an old coaster with an onboard dentist - Tarquin's younger bruv, actshy- and they reckon the NGOs - that's what they call us - have landed nearly ten thousand refugees in Italy this year, yah, and we've got the peak season coming ..."

Of course what all the Ruperts and Fenellas and their socially committed financial backers don't realise, but what our government increasingly does, is that they're breaking the law - by knowingly making themselves part of the people smuggling chain facilitating unlawful entry into a EU country, they are quite possibly in breach of s.25 of the Immigration Act 1971 (as amended). Fenella's next phone call might be less hubristic.
"Mummy? Oh God it's awful I'm at Paddington Green police station and Rupert's been seized by the SBS and brought home and charged with people smuggling and they say we could get fourteen years! Oh Mummy please help; the Navy sunk our trawler with gunfire and Tarquin and Penny are on the run in Panama oh it's all such a mess ......" 

Wednesday 10 May 2017

PPERA: The third leg of the stool

Keeping Labour out of power since 2010 has allowed our democracy a chance at correcting the deep corruption of our democratic systems that had crept-in during Labour government. I put it no more strongly than that; under Labour, democratic systems tend to corruption whilst under Tory government some healing and maintenance take place. 

Two legs of the stool - voter registration and the Electoral Quotient - have already undergone or are undergoing substantial correction. The 2022 election will be fought on new mostly equal constituency boundaries with mostly real voters within them. The third leg - party finance - remains a running sore, to mix my metaphors. Quite how Labour, who vaunt such pretence at 'equality, ' could allow such unequal, discriminatory and inequitable errors to pollute our democratic system is beyond my understanding.  

Party finance is a sod. Today's announcement that the CPS will not be proceeding against 14 constituencies in which the cost of the Tory battlebus was not accounted against the candidate's £30k spend limit is probably right. When Soros is deploying millions in a secret, unaccountable campaign in his own interests that undermines the British people the operating costs of an old coach really do seem trivial. I harbour faint hopes that the intelligence services will serve up Soros like a roast turkey when they are ready.

Labour won't cap donations because it would restrict Union funding. Both parties now want to fight campaigns as central, metropolitan advertising campaigns using slick voter targeting and marketing tools. A million unpaid supporters of their own views (including of course we bloggers) pump out words and memes over the social channels at our own cost. Technology and secret money, together with the peerages for loans scandal of the Blair years which Cameron continued without shame, bent commercial and trade deals, promises to the Bruvvers and other corrupting influences all make a nonsense of the PPERA provisions as they stand. Voters roundly (and rightly) reject State funding - the idiotic proposals from both Hayden Phillips and Christopher Kelly would have preserved the wealth of the LibDems but would also have brought UKIP £12m a year whilst Mr Carswell was sitting for the party and Zero when he wasn't. 

I do therefore look forward to a vigorous debate amongst those that care on how we may best reform this third leg of our democratic stool.  

Sunday 7 May 2017

Austria and why EU members are running scared

It starts with the bees. And human greed. This part of Austria is home to the Carniolan bee, and government legislation prohibits the introduction of foreign bee varieties. In this, it is strongly supported by the region's amateur beekeepers (of whom I hope to be one later this year) who work hard to keep alive traditional apiculture in the valleys and heights. Indeed, Wald Honig or honey made 'in the forest' sells at a premium and is quite delicious. So far, the purity of our unique bee sub-species is being maintained in a sustainable and committed way. 

The villains are the 'professional' bee keepers. Like many Austrians, they've become used over the past twenty years to high incomes for little work. So they keep more hives than they can manage, don't have time for the hour a week hygiene routine that each hive needs, and the Varroa parasite loads on their colonies (or 'bee people' in the local lingo) are through the roof. Their answer to high Varroa mortality is to keep even more bees and factor the loss of up to 20% of hives, like Great War generals throwing whole divisions into the slaughter. Secondly, they're too greedy for the valuable honey, and don't leave the bees enough of their own to get through the harsh -20deg winters, substituting with cheap sucrose the healthy gold they overharvest. Thirdly, they want to introduce the higher yielding Buckfast bee to force out the Carniolan natives. All to help maintain their income. I'm pleased to say they've been seen off for now, but we're all watching like hawks as no-one trusts them an inch.   

The fruit growers are the same. They've introduced foreign heavier cropping varieties that bud and flower much earlier in the season than the native plants, which have learnt over several thousand years all about late frosts. The consequence is inevitable; a late frost decimates their foreign fruit crops and they whine for compensation. It's greed. It's just happened again.

This is macho country, where a man needs to be a man and must drive a 4 x 4 resembling a Humvee and weighing two tonnes to prove it. They all lie that of course they've bought them for cash, but most know that they're all purchased under the universal 5 year leases that keep the motor industry afloat. More debt.

This is a protectionist economy where no-one has to work too hard. Estate agent fees are fixed by law at 3%, so they don't even have to pretend to be competitive and the product is dire. Property adverts on the web are often little more than a couple of blurred and wonky cellphone pictures and a couple of lines of text - why should they bother? 

The generation at fault is the boomers, roughly my own age cohort. Their parents proudly owned without debt their own homes, many of them small hobby farms, frequently with enough land for the son or daughter to build their own home on when they married, but always fully owned. Then came the pre-2008 financial tsunami with the crooked, now bust, Alpe Adria bank lending absurd huge sums for junk security. And boy did the younger Austrians load up on debt. The end result is most of that previously debt-free real estate is now heavily mortgaged. One generation has squandered the wealth of all its forebears, and now has nothing but debt and liability to pass on. A jerk in interest rates, a shock to the shaky debt structure and the whole lot will come tumbling down.

Austria is a country that's quite good at forgetting. In this case, they want to forget that the country was actually quite poor until the last generation; my cousins here used a horse until the 1980s for farm muscle, and their mother lived her life in a wooden blockhouse with an outside lavvy and the cowshed connected by passage to the kitchen. However, their reluctance to admit the recent past (even more than the more distant past) is mistaken - it's not the past rural poverty that's shameful, but the current debt and greed. They're unwilling to work for competitive rates, and rely on protectionist measures including the Finance Police raiding firms using cheaper Slovenian workers, but such measures are doomed to failure.

There's an article in the Telegraph by Peter Foster that I commend. And yes, I blame the EU for the coming earthquake; they bought the silence of Europe's people with crooked bribes and false wealth. They have destroyed whole countries and communities in their lust for power, and the bill is still to pay. No wonder they're terrified by Brexit into drunken braggadocio. 

The horse was called Lottie. Shamed that I can't readily recall my cousin's name