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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Selmayr OUT - VdL squeaks in by 9 votes

Rejoice - Selmayr is OUT. The Telegraph, having the wool pulled over its eyes, reports 
Martin Selmayr, the German controversial secretary general of the commission, announced he would resign in accordance with Brussels tradition that dictates no two people of the same nationality can hold the EU’s executive’s most powerful posts.
It's rubbish of course. No such restriction applies to the head of the EU's 30,000 strong civil service - a permanent job normally awarded through competition - rather than the undemocratic political appointments of the five Presidents, fourteen Vice-Presidents and scores of Commissioners and their assistants.  The truth is that Selmayr's corrupt appointment by Juncker stuck in the craw of even the EU, so mired itself in corruption that such things normally go almost unnoticed. Politico EU has the true story
The procedure by which Selmayr and his boss, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, engineered his transfer from chief of Juncker’s cabinet to head of the entire Commission secretariat was an act of such chicanery and skulduggery that it stains the record of the entire Commission.

That Selmayr is, like von der Leyen, a German Christian Democrat, made the prospect of his continuing in office a provocation to those of other parties whose support she sought. But it was the nature of his ascent and his argument that the post is a political one that made his departure inevitable.
VdL herself was humiliated by the European Parliament, barely scraping in with just a 9 vote majority. Her 383 fell far short of the minimum of 400 that demonstrates the EP's confidence in the senior unelected functionary. Since she scored only 51% of the vote, we should expect the Remain lobby to call for a second vote - but of course this hypocrisy applies only to the Referendum result.

So the EU have lost a ruthless Machiavelli and gained a semi-competent duffer stained with a record of failure and corruption. Can't be bad.

More Corruption

Zero Hedge reports, in relation to the circumstances that have led to the relentless climb of gold (my emphasis)
Ultimately you are witnessing a massive expropriation of wealth from the middle classes to the wealthiest - 40% of the bank of England's money printing programme benefited the top 5%. These flows obfuscate the real demand and supply dynamics of the market - central banks are the baddest of bad actors. Using printed money to bid up the assets of the rich in order to manage outcomes is an utter perversion of capitalism. It blinds us to the opportunity cost of economic participation - real cost of borrowing, real expected returns. Worse still is that the money they use is created by devaluing taxpayers after tax savings - is effectively like a second tax. What happens when the market starts to fall, will these feckless un-elected central bankers be buying falling stocks? How will taxpayers react to their money being printed to buy assets that are falling? How would taxpayers like if they received a statement indicating how much money has been printed and the amount they have personally provided. This is not a victim-less crime.
There you have it. Not only are most of us victims of Globalism that has left median incomes in the UK still worth less than in 2008, a Globalism that benefits only the 1%, but the whole of QE, carried out in our name and at our cost, has acted mainly to the benefit of that same 1% by inflating asset values. A reckoning will come - and they have been the authors of their own destruction.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Will Labour ditch Magic Grandad before the General Election?

As far as Brexit goes, Labour's Magic Grandad is one of the party's few MPs actually standing for both working-class principles and the Party's 2017 manifesto. His commitment to leaving the EU echoes the real (though often misdirected) passion for democracy expressed by the late Tony Benn. As MEPs vote today on Von Der Layen's appointment some fools will call the process democratic. In the video below Benn makes the point that MEPs are not elected in the UK - parties are. Voters have no say on the members returned to Brussels by the parties, and can't vote to get rid of individual MEPs.



Benn's and Magic Grandad's views on the EU - that is it wholly detrimental to the interests of the working class in Britain - are not shared by the new breed of establishment 'progressives' who have adopted the Labour Party for convenience. For most of them it could have been the LibDems or parts of the Conservative Party - the present Parliamentary parties are currently largely homogeneous, Blairite and managerialist in character, opposed to Brexit and determined to frustrate the nation's democratic instruction.

However, these Blairite managerialists are determined to take over the Labour Party, defenestrate Magic Grandad and campaign wholeheartedly on a 'Remain' ticket in the forthcoming General Election. Lady Nugee, with all the bearing and presence of a large garden party marquee (200 seated or 400 standing) said so.

Short of Labour splitting into two parties - a northern, industrial Free Labour Party supporting Brexit and a southern metropolitan Labour House (members only) supporting remain - the managerialists will have to ditch Magic Grandad. And that may prove extraordinarily difficult in the time available. So I guess what we'll end up with is an official Labour front bench that is both on the record as Leave and Remain, depending who is being interviewed. Confused voters will simply desert Labour.

That of course is exacly in favour of the true heirs to Benn's Euroscepticism - The Brexit Party.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Will Farage cook Von der Leyen's goose?

It will not be a good week for the German lady who wants a Euro army, and who has warned the UK that she is just as much of a bully as the rest of them. She's mired already in allegations of corruption and incompetence in Germany; so useless do some folk regard her that they are saying that her departing Merkel's government for the European Commission will mean a marginal improvement in the performance of both. However, her corrupt appointment, alien to all principles of democracy, in which the people of Europe had no say, is subject to the European Parliament.

As Politico EU reports, she needs 374 MEP's votes, a bare majority, to scrape through, but anything less than 400 will look like failure. Juncker the Druncker had 422 with 250 against. So far she has just 286 that she can count on.

And Nigel of course will vote against her. As the Express has it
Writing for Express.co.uk on Sunday, Brexit Party MEP Matthew Patten warned of upset as the European Parliament approves or reject Jean-Claude Juncker’s chosen successor as European Commission President – German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen.

He wrote: "MEPs across Europe feel betrayed that the candidate was just dumped on them.

"Suddenly parliamentary bars are buzzing with talk about what can be done to get some democracy into the place. What would happen if parliament rejected the new president? Would its largest political party, the Brexit Party, help?"
Will the Brexit Party help? I expect so, Matthew, I expect so.
Von der Layen's Bundeswehr has many helicopters. None of them work.
Update - E-scooters
==============
You may recall I wrote about this new phenomenon back in May. Now the MSM are catching up, after a high-profile fatality. And, as predicted, the reaction of Authority is to move police from murder, gang violence, serious crime and the knife plague to pester Hipsters on electric scooters instead. You couldn't make it up.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Leaked Diptels - leaker must be jailed

Diptels are official secrets for a good reason. They allow our ambassadors to write freely, openly and without constraint to our government, informing our complex web of foreign policy and furthering the interests of the United Kingdom. Ambassadors are not hauled before select committees to justify their views, or subjected to deep personal scrutiny by the mainstream media. In return they keep a low profile, don't Tweet, don't snort lines of marching powder at nightclubs and generally act .. diplomatically.

Leaking Diptels is neither in the interests of the nation or even of Brexit. Once you start to make exceptions based on the degree of commitment of a leaker to their cause you open a Pandora's box. A Polaris submariner who opposes nuclear weapons? An SIS field operative who abjures subterfuge? A Home Office staffer who disagrees with telephone taps on Islamists? Exposing illegal State activity is one thing - but leaking perfectly proper, legitimate, lawful Diptels is not whistle blowing. It is a breach both of trust and of the criminal law.

Warning newspapers in advance, as the Met have done, that if they publish more stolen Diptels that they will be guilty of criminal complicity is also right. The MoS is not publishing these from the good of its heart but because it increases sales and profits for its owners. The Mail was quick enough to drop Brexit like a hot coal when their global corporate advertisers put the squeeze on - they are hardly motivated by virtue or altruism.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the press is not the issue here. The system that helps preserve our national security is.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Hormuz security - three suggestions

Here are three suggestions for keeping our tankers safe from Iranian aggression when passing through the Strait of Hormuz;

1. Convoys
Assemble tankers in convoys with RN warship escorts - timing dependent on tides, numbers. Extendable to include other threatened nations who can contribute warships.

2. Marines
Helo on a squad of Royal Marines with .50cal rail-mounted weapons, shoulder-launched missiles etc to each tanker making passage through danger zone, transfer them to tanker moving in opposite direction for the return leg

3. Jeremy Corbyn
Elect Corbyn as PM so he can ask his Hamas and Revolutionary Guard chums to lay-off UK tankers in return for UK breaking sanctions against Iran


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Labour's shocking Jew-hatred

Last night's shocking Panorama exposed the depth of anti-semitism in the Labour party, a disease that goes to the very top. A shameful litany of crude Nazi tropes, ugly agitprop and a thuggish bullying of Jewish Labour members that would have made an SA man proud. That such evil exists still, when the last few precious holocaust survivors, our living link with that dark chapter in mankind's history, are also leaving us is both harrowing and shameful.

It is not, however, new.

Before WWII the Labour party was enamoured of eugenics and the politics of racial hygiene in much the same way as the Nazi party. I wrote about it in 2012, referencing a Guardian piece by Jonathan Freedland entitled 'Eugenics: the skeleton that rattles loudest in the left's closet' that warned presciently that unless Labour faced its fascist roots, it would not escape the consequences. Today, unusually, I will quote that seven-year old post whole.

18th February 2012
When I have previously catalogued on here the shared ideology between the British left and the Nazi party, an ideology based on racial purity, Eugenics, State control over breeding and marriage and the horror of 'involuntary euthanasia', or State murder, an ideology that persisted in Polly Toynbee's beloved left wing Scandinavian countries into the 1970s with compulsory sterilisation, I'm sure some readers have thought the parallels a little forced. Bernard Shaw wanted to kill the poor with a 'humane lethal gas'; more tellingly he also wanted to rid Britain of Jews, writing to Beatrice Webb he wrote
We ought to tackle the Jewish question by admitting the right of States to make eugenic experiments by weeding out any strains they think undesirable, but insisting they do it as humanely as they can afford to
No doubt also subjecting them to a 'humane lethal gas'. Along with Shaw, the Webbs and HG Wells, even Virginia Woolf was a supporter of State murder; after passing a line of the profoundly mentally ill, she wrote "Imbeciles - every one of them a miserable, ineffective, shuffling, idiotic creature. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed."

After 1945 and the horror of the extermination camps, the Labour Party quickly performed one of those acts of collective amnesia and wiped all memory of their own National Socialist agenda from the record. Just as that loathsome gulag-apologist Nye Bevan has been resurrected as some sort of saint. But no longer am I alone in daring to say these things, it seems.

Jonathan Freedland writes today in the Guardian that it's time the Labour Party and the British left faced up to their poisonous ideological legacy. Until they do, he implies, the worth of each individual human soul will still be subjugated to a left ideology of collective good;
Progressives face a particular challenge, to cast off a mentality that can too easily regard people as means rather than ends. For in this respect a movement is just like a person: it never entirely escapes its roots.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Breaking: Autumn election dates

House of Commons library have just issued guidance on possible general election dates BEFORE Brexit day -

Thursday 19th September or
Thursday 26th September

with a no confidence motion passed before the Summer recess

Thursday 24th October

only possible pre-Brexit date if no confidence motion passed after Summer recess

More tomorrow.

All HERE

In praise of cities

I've long described myself in political shorthand as 'democrat and localist'. With Brexit for the past three years, I haven't found much of a chance to pursue the second of those core values - almost every day having been a battle to preserve the first. However, a serendipitous find in the Evening Standard has prompted this post. Under Osborne the paper has become a sort of lifestyle free adsheet with little bits of news squeezed in between the ads. Its editorials were given over to George's vindictive spleen against May for sacking him, but now she's gone (almost) our man with the look of a furtive Onanist is letting normal content slip past him. Such is a piece by Ben Rogers in the comment section - the first ES piece I think I've linked to since Osborne took over.

Rogers, head of a pro-London think tank, is pursuing an agenda for cities to gain greater local control. It is an area in which the RSA has long advocated multiple initiatives to take advantage of the strengths of cities. It is based on changes that in the developed world can be positive - the growth of world cities, city nation-states. London's population dwarfs that of Ireland, and is equal to the populations of Scotland and Wales combined. European cities, unlike the smog-laden sprawl of US cities, are compact and environmentally sustainable. For thirty years living in Zone 2 I never once owned a car - and consequently was able to spend much of those thirty years with a comfortable level of alcohol coursing through my veins. We build densely, and upwards; we have superlative public transport systems, we have 24/7 economies. For economic growth and vitality, for learning and development, for culture, for innovation, for leisure and pleasure, cities are ace.

I can almost hear your hackles erecting, readers, as you mentally enumerate the downsides of cities - that they avoid being part of our congruent national identity, that they display crime, extremes of wealth and poverty, poor environmental quality, are hotbeds of moral relativism, competing with the national culture and of course are breeding grounds for globalists and remainers. Yes, all these things are true. Yet cities are the engine of development, the powerhouses of renewal.

Boris showed how an effective Mayor could allow London to see its potential. Andy Burnham is no less committed to the North. Both were shackled by a constipated Treasury and power-hungry Whitehall; tax must be devolved as well as spend, city-specific laws and bye-laws should replace the centralisation and State power over law and public order, planning, health, transport, education and economic development - these should all be torn from Whitehall's grasp in an explosion of Localism.

Problems will tend to correct themselves. Cities attract militant and proud sexual deviants in hordes; they will overcome cabals of mediaeval bigots whose instinct is to persecute them. It's already happening. And without the veto of Whitehall, the instincts of city-dwellers of all races and classes is for a firm and determined approach to law enforcement; there are no greater fans of police and prisons than those at greatest risk of being burgled, robbed, stabbed or shot. The Lord Longfords of our age don't live in Peckham or Walthamstowe, and their ultra-liberal pleadings from their Cotswold vicarages can be drowned out.

We will leave the EU. This is the great gift - possibly the last great gift - that we can give our cities. Outside of the EU they will quickly learn to thrive and prosper, driving national growth and international trade and development. Powerful British city-states will dominate a sclerotic Eurozone on the verge of collapse, our buccaneer cities will be Drake to the clumsy Spaniards, Raleigh to the encumbered globalists, heavy and low in the water and ripe for the taking.

So let's hear it for cities, and for Localism!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

A national Memorial for Eco heroes?

I may write to Saint Greta this morning, suggesting a new national memorial to all those who fall in the cause of the planet. Those killed by wind turbine blades or toppling towers, blinded by solar panels, those who succumb to a surfeit of quinoa and those such as the late Mrs Struthers-Gardner killed by metal drinking straws.

Hipsters and Eco warriors risk their lives saving the planet from plastic drinking straws
May they rest in peace. Preferably in hand-woven wicker coffins buried in the woods with a sapling planted over them.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Darroch again ...

There's an intelligent post by Paul Goodman on Conservative Home. I concur wholly that Darroch has done nothing wrong, and that he was just doing what we pay him to do. I would also remind everyone that UK ambassadors to Washington are there to represent British interests, not to promote any one American politician. Such tasks fall to our political Head of Government, who may be more or less successful in cultivating the relationship. That between Thatcher and Reagan was superlative, between Blair and Bush cringemaking and between Cameron and Obama outright hostile. Goodman concludes
Which returns us to Darroch. There is a suspicion that Sedwill, and not Darroch himself, was the real target of the leak. The former is reportedly interested in the Washington post. A new Prime Minister will be in place by the end of the month. Changes at the top of the civil service are expected. The leak looks designed to prepare the way for a replacement for Darroch who is more Trump-friendly than Sedwill. But the disposition of Darroch’s replacement to the President is not the exam question, or shouldn’t be.

There is a precedent for sending a non-civil servant to Washington as ambassador: Peter Jay, Jim Callaghan’s son-in-law, was sent to Washington when the latter was Prime Minister. However, the example is not encouraging. Perhaps Prime Minister Johnson should scour the more junior civil service ranks, and send for one of those who, pro-Brexit Ministers tell us, have put in exemplary work preparing for No Deal if necessary, regardless of their own views.
Jay was undeserved nepotism. He was a dreadful ambassador. The point is right - don't reinforce failure. We need an ambassador in Washington independent enough to be free to be critical of US policy where this is against the UK's interests, and with enough delegated authority to now take forward the robust and pragmatic discussions we now need to have with the USA.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

How very convenient

Everyone agrees. When May goes, arch-Remainer Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill cannot stay at Number Ten. Suggestions for his future include separating the three roles he holds - Cabinet Secretary, National Security Adviser and Head of the Civil Service, leaving him with just one, probably civil service boss, and finding him a new office away from Whitehall.

Sedwill himself is said to want the UK Ambassadorship to Washington - a strange option, given that all his previous efforts have been to align the UK with the EU rather than the USA. Perhaps it is just an extension of a blocking role. The problem is, the popular and capable current Ambassador, Kim Darroch, is in no hurry to go. He is well liked over the pond and held in high regard, and importantly is not said to be one of the Remain fifth-column inside the senior ranks of the civil service.

So how convenient - and I suggest no more than that - that carefully selected secret cables from Sir Kim to Number Ten, which certainly passed across Sedwill's desk, should now appear in the Daily Mail, to Darroch's great embarrassment.

There needs to be a leak enquiry, of course, but I'd suggest that Sedwill is not the man to conduct it.


Saturday, 6 July 2019

Hunt starts to self-destruct

Hunt supporters - Hammond, Gaulk, Amber Rudd - really should have told Conservative voters all they needed to know. However, the cherry on the cake has got to be the endorsement of Sir John Major. A TBP member rather cruelly spelt it out on Twitter -


The only people who reckon Hunt still has a chance are the desperate hacks at the BBC, Sky news and fairies-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden fantasists such as LBC's James O'Brien, together with a few sad MSM journos who are watching their Remain hope swirl down the pan.

John Major. Tsch.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Anguilla anguilla and other beasts

For twenty years I enjoyed rough shooting. I claim in my defence that everything I shot went into my own pot - it was all eaten - and I never, ever, took part in a City Boy driven shoot. If you didn't walk five miles of hedge and fall on your arse at least once it wasn't a proper shoot. If it was a good day, I'd come away with a hare or rabbit, a brace of pheasants and a few wood pigeons. Now I'd rather watch wildlife than shoot it. I've come to the conclusion that you lose a tiny bit of your soul every time you kill an animal.

As I also fish, I'm a bit ambivalent on aquarian species. It all depends how easily they die, really. White fish, trout and arthropods all have the decency to die fairly quickly and without fuss. Dogfish are a bugger - I guess a million years of shark evolution have given them a zombie-like longevity. Long after everything else in the boat is decently dead, Scyliorhinus canicula can still bite. Painfully.

Another hard creature to kill is the eel. I once brought home two live eels for our dinner from the Chinese fish shop on Newport Place, and popped them in the sink in some cold water whilst I headed for the shower. By the time I'd dried off, my then girlfriend had christened them Dylan and Hendrix and they were thirty seconds away from becoming pets. I had to send her off to the co-op on an errand before gripping them in a scouring pad to chop off their heads.

And forty years ago before our Anglian coast had become popular with the Farringdon-on-sea crowd, we would, as a group of youngsters, descend on the Butley Oysterage for both hot and cold smoked Anguilla anguilla. It was like a fisherman's cafe in those days, and you had to bring you own beer if you wanted alcohol. Years later I went back with a London gourmand chum who had never been served an entire smoked eel before and who attempted, for about ten minutes, to treat the skin as one would a succulent piece of pork crackling. As it's also used to cover sword handles, he had little success.

Anyway, eels have become something of a favourite of mine. I'm an eel champion. Their journeys from Sargasso Sea to the head of those tiny Suffolk tidal creeks is truly a natural miracle. And cold smoked eel shredded onto fresh scrambled home-laid eggs is truly a dish fit for the Gods.

Anyway, I was gladdened to hear a piece this morning on Farming Today on a project to re-populate west coast waters with the British eel; it is now as endangered, the programme claims, as the Blue Whale. So no Brexit today, dear readers; spare a half second instead committing yourself to the cause of Anguilla anguilla.



Thursday, 4 July 2019

Electoral Commission utterly discredited - again

Back in September last year, when the High Court delivered an excoriating verdict on the Electoral Commission's competency, I wrote
The case was brought by 'Remain' on the grounds that the Electoral Commission had given the Leave campaign duff advice based on an inadequate understanding of the law of which they could also have taken advantage had they been given the same duff advice. You will recall that as a consequence of the Commission's misleading Leave and its general incompetence, it crowed like a cock when it itself judged Leave guilty of breaching the regulations and imposed a fine to equal that levied on the LibDems for their breaches.

Reading the court's judgement one finds a litany of arse-covering, post hoc rationalisation, weasel reasoning and straw-clutching on the part of the Commission.
Well, you won't be surprised to learn that it's happened again. Guido has the story - and a copy of a legal letter that with blistering invective catalogues the EC's omissions, distortions and misrepresentations, from which this is just a small sample -

The EC has whined back at the Met Police that they thought the two unelected bodies had an agreement to keep quiet about the EC's unforgivable failures. The Met itself is not innocent and knows all about hiding evidence - police non-disclosure has led to the collapse of several cases recently.

We cannot go on like this. It is high time that the EC is replaced by a body fit for purpose. My conclusion back in September applies equally to the Electoral Commission's current egregious failings -

A democracy needs an authoritative and trusted arbiter of the probity of democratic actions, an unbiased and expert authority vested with moral and legal trust and confidence. Simply, the present Electoral Commission has failed those criteria on every point. It is, as the court found, not fit for purpose as currently constituted and must be reformed. That means both the professional officers, and the appointed Commissioners - who fail utterly to represent the electorate as a whole.

Booker
======
We must all mourn the departure of a journalist whose life and work has added immeasurably to the quality of our democracy. We need such people. Reading both the Telegraph Obit and Richard North's appreciation provides a rounded apologia.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

EU to impose wartime blockade on Switzerland

After yesterday's round of corrupt appointments to the EU's top crony jobs - including the convicted criminal fraudster Christine Lagarde to the presidency of the ECB - the way is clear for the EU to cast aside its benign disguise of lederhosen and dirndl and assume the breeches and jackboots that have been kept lurking in the closet.

The first victim of the EU's expansionist aggression is to be Switzerland. As AEP reports in the Telegraph, the EU is imposing a blockade of a depth and severity unknown outside wartime. All this because Switzerland refuses to subjugate herself to the EU's corrupt courts and ever-changing laws.

The economic blockade is intended to break the will of the Swiss people. The Swiss globalist political elite is ready to surrender to the EU - much as the UK's political elite were ready to surrender to Hitler in 1939. However, the Swiss system of democracy, which means decisions taken by the elite are subject to popular scrutiny, means the decision will depend on an electorate only 20% of whom back surrender to the EU whilst 67% are ready to fight for Swiss independence. Support for joining the EU has fallen to an all-time low of 13%, reports the Telegraph.

The EU blockade, says AEP, 
.. will become increasingly painful as the pressure ratchets up. The EU is determined to shut down the idiosyncratic “Swiss model”. It aims to bring the country within its legal and regulatory control once and for all under a new framework agreement.

This means suspending 120 bilateral accords one by one as they fall due, progressively shutting the Swiss out of the EU’s economic, transport, and political system until they capitulate. It amounts to a sanctions regime.

Energy too is on the menu and this risks escalation into areas of national security. “Energy access for Switzerland is slowly deteriorating,” said Professor Paul van Baal from Lausanne's Polytechnique Fédérale.
Well, there can be few cretins left in Britain who will doubt the EU's true character now that the gloves are off. They can no longer hide their aggressive and expansionist intentions. It's time for the UK to boost defence spending.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Will the EU's five Presidents become six?

Having put their man Martin Selmayr into one of the EU's top posts, the Germans thought there would be little opposition to giving another, Manfred Weber, one of the EU's five unelected presidencies. Everyone accepts, after all, that Germany really runs the EU so why not cut the pretence and improve efficiency by openly giving all the top jobs to Germans?

"He's just too boring" complained the other EU26 "he even puts his wife to sleep telling her about his day at work. He's an utterly mediocre unknown nobody whom even his own mother doesn't recognise in the street. No."

So far the EU Council have met for three days to allow the Germans to get their own way, but so far without success. The appointment of the EU's presidents is an exercise in gangsters splitting the loot an important decision affecting the lives of hundreds of millions. So its quite appropriate that it should be stitched up in private by horse dealing without the people having a vote on it to ensure that all the right snouts have access to the trough.

The latest proposal being considered, reported by politico.eu, is to put the socialist Timmermans into the Commission presidency job and bumping the dreary Weber over to be president of the EP. However, this would push out the favourite Guy Verhofstadt who covets the EP job as an child covets a Christmas X-box. The suggested solution? Make them both presidents. The EU already has five presidents - people will hardly notice another one.

Edit-update
========
Superb! Opening session of the EP this morning and the Brexit Party turn their backs as the Antidemocracy Anthem is played - hats off! Is that Ann Widdecombe to the left? Video available at  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/plenary/video?date=02-07-2019 (I see the Sommelier is waiting in the gangway - Herr Juncker must be on his way)



Oh yes - just one more thing -

Monday, 1 July 2019

Just Boris

Having written below of the very same reality that Nigel Farage presented to his mass meeting yesterday, I can only claim that some things are so obvious that they need no special powers to discern. And so with Russia. I have written in the past - and still believe - that Russia belongs to the Christian north rather than the non-christian south of the world, and if ever north and south should oppose eachother over food, water, energy or whatever we will need to stand together. That's really not the same as saying I approve in any way of Putin's regime. Boris has the nub of it today;
The country that possesses these essential building blocks of liberalism will succeed; the country without them will – eventually – face disaster. To put it simply, if your property can be arbitrarily confiscated by the wife of the president, or by his son-in-law, then you won’t start a business in that country and you won’t invest. If you can lose a contract unfairly to some politician’s chum, then you won’t bother to put your money there. And if there is no way that politician can be democratically removed, then corruption will increase, and inefficiency will increase, and the people will suffer, and poverty will grow.
I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, Vladimir, but there are some countries where capitalism is believed to be in the hands of oligarchs and cronies, where journalists are shot, and where “liberal values” are derided, and where according to the Russian statistics agency Rosstat, a third of the country cannot afford to buy more than two pairs of shoes per year; where 12 per cent of the population still has to rely on an outdoor toilet, and where real incomes have declined for each of the past five years.
Now many of you will see parallels between the EU and Putin's Russia; the political and economic corruption, the anti-democracy, a per capita GDP substantially lower than the UK's, ailing economy and sclerotic growth. I don't believe the parallels are accidental. A want of democracy coupled with an authoritarian and didactic central State kills growth and innovation and does a disservice to citizens.

Point made.  

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Moving the pieces for battle

The decisive battles of the Brexit war will be fought this year. If we're to win, we need everyone on board, and everyone pulling their weight. This weekend it's becoming clearer that the pieces are being moved on the board to allow a major Brexit offensive, including an autumn general election -

  • Boris is forming a war cabinet to deliver Brexit in 100 days
  • Sedwill is being moved and Robbins is expected to jump
  • Other mandarins out-of-tune with a Brexit government will also disappear
  • Arron banks / Leave EU are continuing to help cull Remainer Tory MPs
  • Farage is selecting PPCs and outlining an initial manifesto
No-one is talking openly yet, but the closer we get to a GE the greater the realisation that the Conservatives need to leave TBP a clear field in the old Labour heartlands outsides London. Some 148 currently Labour constituencies voted Leave - and these must be the first target of TBP where they have a chance of winning. Overall there are some 410 Leave-voting seats to around 240 Remain  constituencies.

Against us we have a Remain establishment and media looking to exploit every vulnerability, every knuckle-dragging social media embarrassment. The Leave side are also now catching up on playing the social-media archaeology game - as the outing of the hapless Maitlis' sock-puppet debate 'guests' demonstrates.

The end is within sight. Do not discount the Brexit Party gaining 30 or 40 seats in the GE from Labour - and being in coalition government with my Party before Christmas.

DO NOT screw it up.

Postscript
========
The most glorious day here - too hot in the Sun, but a chance to clean and tidy the workshop whilst listening to the England innings (216 for 3 at writing) free from BBC geoblocking on the superb  https://www.guerillacricket.com/schedule. Now a few carrots for the horses, who will welcome the rain tomorrow ..


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Liberalism is not dead - it is being reclaimed

President Putin hit a nerve with his deliberately provocative pronouncement at the G20 that liberal democracy was dead. He is wrong. Democracy everywhere in the developing world is strengthening; political engagement is growing, consciousness of the issues is awakening, citizens are becoming defensive of those seeking to rob them of their hard-won democratic rights.

However, what is dying is the illiberal hijacking of Liberalism; a hijacking that has given us and continues to give us moral relativism, multikulti, the erosion of social culture and identity, the growth of 'benign' authoritarianism, the destruction of competitive capitalism by global corporates, rule by unelected functionaries, the abnegation of control to unaccountable supranational bodies including the EU, UN and IMF. What must die is this perversion, this abomination - illiberal authoritarianism.

We must suffocate fake-liberalism's parasite actors - the fake charities, NDPB's answerable to no-one, the Soros funded underminers of our nations and cultures, the destroyers using self-identity to undermine the values of developed nations, a compliant print and broadcast media, a global social media enchained to illiberalism and repression.

Putin is a thug who rules by terror, secret police, political assassination and brutality. He is certainly no champion of our kind of Liberalism - free speech, freedom to associate, freedom from State interference. Putin and the authoritarian Statists of the EU are actually not so far separated; they are united in anti-democracy, in riding roughshod over the people to maintain a corrupt cabal of unrepresentative bigots in power. Tusk made his usual plea for the supremacy of the 'rule of law' as all monsters do - forgetting that it was the 'rule of law' that made quite legal the sending of scores of children to the fallbeil by Roland Freisler. As Lord Sumption has succinctly demonstrated, it is not law that should rule but democracy, not legality that should triumph but justice.

There is little justice either in Putin's Russia or Tusk's EU. But hold onto your arses, gentlemen; we are reclaiming democratic Liberalism from the frauds and shills. We are coming. 

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Beware the 'dynamic' Trojan Horses

Lord Sumption ended this year's Reith lectures - the finest in my memory - with the conclusion that, in the struggle between law and democracy, it was democracy that should take precedence. He was particularly concerned over 'dynamic' arrangements such as the ECHR, which is not a fixed, static agreement but which changes and evolves over time, committing its signatories to compliance with whatever changes are made by the European Court of Human Rights. The scope of law that the ECtHR has permitted itself to enact is not limited or trivial, certainly not limited to the basic rights to which we signed up in the 30 articles of the UDHR in 1948 (the UDHR is not a dynamic treaty); as Sumption said, ECHR competencies now include ".. the legal status of illegitimate children, immigration and deportation, extradition, criminal sentencing, the recording of crime, abortion, artificial insemination, homosexuality and same sex unions, child abduction, the policing of public demonstrations, employment and social security rights, environmental and planning law, noise abatement, eviction for non-payment of rent and a great deal else besides." All of which should be, for the UK, matters for which our Parliament should be legislating, not taking Euro judge-law. 

As the Telegraph reports, there is now a show-down between the EU and Switzerland. The essential cause is Switzerland's rejecting a 'dynamic' treaty back in the 1990s and the EU's determination that she should now surrender to the EU effectively making Swiss law -
... the EU favours “dynamic alignment”, which means that the Swiss would be forced to accept updates of the EU rules they have aligned with in return for market access. It is a long-standing EU frustration that this wasn’t negotiated in the 1990s. The reason was of course the deep Swiss attachment to democracy and suspicion of agreeing to accede to EU rules that aren’t properly understood.
The EU also wants Switzerland to sign-up to the jurisdiction of the ECJ in disputes - also something that the democracy-loving Swiss have hitherto refused to do.The ECJ is NOT a court of justice as the anglophone world understands the word - it is a court of federal alignment, a political court whose mission is explicitly to further the integrationist political agenda of the EU zealots. Again, as a political court its evolution of the law is 'dynamic' and it overturns, muddles and distorts previous judgements when some new federast opportunity presents itself to the court.

Beware the EU, but at all costs beware the EU's 'dynamic' laws and agreements - we should abnegate not a groat of independence to these jackals, concede not a single EN millimetre without the British parliament having jurisdiction. They are trying to build an antidemocratic empire, and Europe's democracies - with the United Kingdom and Switzerland to the fore - must stand firmly against them.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

GP shortages signal NHS failures

Young people want to live in cities, and young doctors are no different. This is true not only for the UK but for much of Europe - and in Europe the effects of rural depopulation are far more pronounced. It is this metro-centricity that is being blamed for what the Telegraph terms an alarming crisis in rural NHS GP provision. Yet not everywhere that experiences rural depopulation also experiences GP shortages - here in Austria, for example.

A shortage of GPs in rural areas can only be because of two reasons. Either the nation does not have enough GPs, or we have enough overall but imperfections in the GP employment market create surpluses of GPs in the cities and shortages in rural areas. In the UK, both problems can be laid at the feet of NHS mismanagement. It has failed, just like any centrally planned economy. It has failed because the NHS distorts the employment market.

Here in Austria everyone pays into social insurance firms - there are several - that also run hospitals and clinics. GPs are self-employed, and hang their shingle wherever they judge they can earn a living. Some GPs have more than one surgery. Commonly, they work alone - which is not a problem when they're away on holiday (which is frequently) as insured citizens can use any GP; there's no such thing as being registered with just one. Consequently, their skills are offered to the market on very much a commercial basis; If I like Dr Musterman, I can take my business to his ordination, if not I can see young Dr Wächter down the road. An E-card confirms one is insured. For each visit, the GP is paid €18.86 by the social insurance firm and the insured pays a premium of €3.77 on their insurance cost. Of course there are central government subsidies in various forms to the social insurance providers so it is not wholly like the US insured model (for a start, my health insurance is only about €45 a month), but this mix of health by both tax and free market mechanisms works - at least to the extent of ensuring there are plenty of GP surgeries in rural areas.

You see, the reason that UK doctors give to the Telegraph for not wanting to work in rural and coastal practices - the pressure of high numbers of elderly people - is the very reason that Austrian GPs hang their shingle in such places. Old people are good business, if you're paid per consultation.   

Monday, 24 June 2019

"Only Mrs Hunt sees my naked arms!"

"No, I'm not wearing that, sorry. It's ... colourful. And swirly. The pattern is irregular. I always wear a white shirt"

"Jeremy! You're not connecting with people. The feeds say you're too bland. We've got to spice it up a bit. Look, take off the suit coat at least"

"I'm sorry, I don't want to appear on the Television in people's homes as they gather around their cathode ray sets improperly dressed. I always wear my suit coat on the Television. And in the office."

"Ok well let Samantha take it for a quick steam and brush down.

Now roll up your sleeves - we need to take a light meter reading of your arms for the camera"

"Roll up my sleeves? But people will see my naked arms. Only Mrs Hunt ever sees my naked arms. Really? Oh alright"

"... and take the tie off please"

"No! I won't take off my tie for anyone ..."

Floor! One minute to Transmission. Places please.   

"That's fine Jeremy - now just rest your elbows on the chair arms for a reading, please"

Floor! Fifteen seconds

"Where's my suit coat?  Bring me my suit coat please ... can I roll my sleeves down now?"

Three ...two ... one

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Guardian must produce the Boris surveillance files

As the sofa wine stain story broke yesterday, as early as dawn it became clear that the perpetrators - the Guardian newspaper and  hostile left-wing neighbours of Boris Johnson, were deeply compromised. Claiming to be concerned for the couple's welfare, Tom Penn called the police. Fair enough. He claims to have knocked at his neighbours' door - for which there is of course no evidence. Now if Penn were genuinely concerned for the couple's welfare, and his story were true, the police having confirmed that nothing was amiss, the sofa wine stain spat having fizzled out, he would have shut up and that would have been the end of the matter.

However, Penn and his American-born wife Eve Leigh were less concerned with their neighbours' welfare than with damaging them in any way they could. Penn handed over a surveillance recording he had made to the Guardian, which ran the sofa wine stain story.

Boris and Carrie have already been subject of a campaign of harassment and intimidation in their home with flyers (pictured below) plastered around the building and on vehicles outside. It is not known whether Penn and Leigh are responsible for these.

We also don't know how the recording was made. In a statement to the Guardian, Penn claims "I went inside my own home, closed the door, and pressed record on the voice memos app on my phone." If his claims that the recording in which the words of a heated conversation can be heard clearly was made in this way, it is extraordinary. Until we have the audio file to analyse, the veracity of Penn's claim cannot be confirmed. It is possible that the hostile neighbours made the recording using professional mics (they are theatre people, after all) fixed onto/into the party wall or floor - and that the clip heard by the Guardian was just an out-take from a comprehensive series of surveillance recordings. Until we have access to the audio file we simply don't know.

Boris Johnson is a terrorist target and an MP and ex-cabinet minister. The police must surely now determine whether he was being bugged by his hostile neighbours - and crucially, whether Penn and Leigh have breached s.58 of the 2000 Terrorism Act -
Collection of information.

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.
Then there is also the person or persons behind these leaflets - were they printed or made on an employer's colour copier?

Britain is neither in thrall to the Stasi or the Gestapo and their gangs of block and neighbourhood informants. Penn and Leigh committed an unforgivable breach of privacy at the very least, and possible criminal offences at worst. This is not an end to the matter.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Get ready for an election

Barring a disaster, skulduggery or external events, Boris is near certain to be asked by HM to form a government in about four weeks. Parliament is then due to rise, returning on 5th September for about a week before rising again for the conference season. The next session is due to run from 9th October to 7th November - over the time of the expiration of the Art 50 extension. 

As many sage commentors are saying, we cannot deal with Brussels until we have a government with a majority in Parliament. The Lords is also in urgent need of reform to strip it of the political establishment who have 'captured' the house - meaning even if Boris succeeds in establishing a Commons majority, a Brexit solution may still be blocked by the Lords. For this particular problem, only threatening the Lords with creating 400 new Brexit Conservative peers overnight will offer success in the time available (NB I'm available).

Conservative constituencies across the country must decide now whether they need to deselect their sitting MP or not; a new party chairman appointed by Boris will surely work with Local Associations to ensure that every Leave constituency in which we Tories have a good chance is equipped with a Leave PPC.

We must also decide whether we will refrain from running in the mostly northern, Labour constituencies in which the Brexit Party can take best advantage of their Leave majorities - better a Brexit MP in the House than a LibDem by default.

How leaving the EU works in the middle of all this I simply don't know - but with the Commons as it is now tightly deadlocked, only the sharp edge of an election will undo this Gordian knot. In terms of constituencies, we have about 410 leave seats to 240 remain seats - and must ensure the next parliament reflects this.

Then there is the matter of an unbiased Speaker whom members can trust and in whom the voting public can have confidence. We may not be rid of Bercow until a GE. 

Of course given the national emergency looming, Boris may decide to cancel both the MPs Summer holidays and the conference season and engineer the necessary vote of confidence sooner rather than later- having a new Parliament in place before 31st October.

Whichever way it goes, I cannot see us moving without an election. So get your stout knocking shoes re-soled, all, and be ready for anything.  

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Rhetorical question I guess ...

For whom, dear readers, should I vote?

EU woes upon woes

Comments to the post below that affirm Germany's effective management of the EU are all quite correct - as we have written here many times before. Yet it is the shackling of Germany to France that is at the heart of the EU dynamic - and that dynamic is currently undergoing one of its periodic stress tests. Comments doubting Germany's ability to rearm are also, I suspect, correct - based on my own experience of many German young people, albeit Bavarians, men and women who eschew militarism in any form. But of whom few would not support Germany's using her economic clout to achieve continental dominance. However even that is seriously in doubt - as AEP, who terms the Eurozone the 'global .. chief parasite" writes in the Telegraph. -

For anyone not up to speed on the shenanigans in Brussels, it's time for turn and turn about amongst the EU's unelected officials. The various presidents are up for appointment by their chums. For Juncker's job, the Germans want an utterly mediocre, unimaginative compliant nobody who will do as their other German, Martin Selmayr, requires. The French want their own man in the job. Or rather the bullish Dane, Margrethe Vestager, who shares Macron's agenda. However, her getting one president's job may not happen if another president's job is given to Verhofstadt. Clear?

With the downturn already biting at the EU, and no tools left for the ECB to use, and with the Donald ready to deliver a few well-placed kicks in terms of car tariffs and exchange rate action, with a potential oil-price crisis on the horizon, potential global sanctions against Nordstream II, Italy on the verge of launching a parallel currency and an irritated Visegrad group, the EU may find itself lumbered with a dreary and mediocre bunch of compromise candidates in the top officials' jobs at a time when authoritative leadership is needed to survive.

Mark Rutte has today warned the UK that Brexit will give us problems. Not a fraction of those that are about to descend on you, chum. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

EU hubris will reap destruction after Brexit

There was a reminder from Malcolm Rifkind of all people on Politico EU of all platforms of a risk of Brexit I had hitherto not clocked -
France and Germany know that for Europe to implement effective policies with maximum impact regarding Russia, China and other regions, the bloc will have to work closely with the U.K. — even after it is no longer part of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council and loses its power to veto EU initiatives.
In much of the foolishness, the idiocy, the recklessness born of hubris to which the EU is so susceptible - an army, a foreign ministry, their own seat at the UN, the panoply of a State - it has been the bulwark of UK common sense that has counselled against the grossest stupidities. Now of course they can act like kids in a sweet shop.

Juncker has been whining that he had no official presidential palace in which to host visiting dignitaries and neck cognac served by liveried flunkies. He has, quite rightly, been accommodated in a hotel when in Brussels. It's clear what he wants his legacy to be.

And without the UK veto, they are liable to mess up again in the Balkans, reignite the war they fomented in Ukraine and earn the vicious spite of Erdogan. They will send gobbets of EU army (four men, three flags and an EU plaque) where they are calculated to cause most resentment, and create mayhem as an 'enhanced' observer at the UN.

I predict that without the restraining hand of the UK, the little men from little nations playing with a power they cannot comprehend will reap their own destruction. Puff, hubris and braggadocio will bring them down. As it has always done. 

Will the EU try to get the Egmont Palace, currently used for event hire by the Belgians?

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Peterborough - Labour voting fraud

It seems increasingly certain that electoral fraud won Labour its tainted Peterborough seat. An authoritative report in the Sunday Times which has been repeated in other sections of the serious media has started the discovery of widespread evidence of vote rigging and postal vote abuse. There is also clear evidence, as Conservative Home writes
In it, whilst he conceded the importance of tackling in-person impersonation and voter intimidation, Jackson focused on the challenges posed by postal vote fraud, as well as the evidence behind the Electoral Commission’s belief that it appears more prevalent "in areas which are largely or predominately populated by… those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh"
The Electoral Commission's 'target list' of constituencies subject to enhanced scrutiny are largely those which have substantial Pakistani / Bangladeshi populations.

Whichever Conservative candidate wins through to Number Ten, they MUST push through reforms needed to regain for our electoral system the probity that an advanced democracy needs. This means not only radical reform of Blair's postal vote free for all, but the correction of our Electoral Quotient to the +/- 5% level essential for Western democracies, if not the +/- 3% adopted by advanced democracies such as New Zealand.

I'm aware of the deep anger and heat on this matter - so to ensure comments remain within the framework, I'm switching to comment mod for this post. Apologies in advance.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Just more of the same

I avoided last night's Oxford Union debate in which four undergraduates and a brown lad from the local grammar school debated wheelie bins or something. There's only so much one can take of these people. I'm desperate for a terrier puppy at the moment and have been spending time watching videos of dog tumbles, straining to discern minute differences between half a dozen wriggling pups in a litter. Pointless, of course.

More usefully, the Conservative Party's funders are reported to be reaching out a hand to the Brexit Party - if only to establish with whom they need to talk. It's far, far too early for anything else. If there is an electoral pact it will be born of need and desperation when a GE is imminent - and subject to the agreement of a Leaver PM and Cabinet. The best thing our big party funders can do right now is follow the grass roots membership and withhold any finance until we have the leader we need.

Meanwhile Mrs May is reported to be trying to commit billions of tax spending to try to rescue a legacy for herself in an act of such outrageous self-interest that she should be imprisoned for it. Let me tell the Prime Minister straight - you have been sacked. Put your personal stuff in an archive box, return your pass and your work mobile, and leave the building. Do not use your email account. Do not sign off on anything. If you delay, we will have Security escort you out of the building, which will be embarrassing.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Are mandarins plotting a coup to put Puppet Stewart in Number 10?

Sedwill has broken cover to reassure the public directly that he is cuddly and harmless - which worries me greatly. This is not a proper thing for the Cabinet Secretary to do at any time - but bang in the middle of a Conservative leadership election, it is downright suspicious.

And now even the Telegraph is pushing weird no-hoper Stewart as a potential PM - but the latest meretricious column, by Bryony Gordon, is heavily censored with all comments forbidden. They know how their readers will respond.

The Deep State may not be willing to accept the nation's democratic processes. The son of a senior spook, no matter how disturbed, who can be manipulated and the leadership election sabotaged to put him in power as a puppet of the grey men sounds absurd, tinfoil hat stuff, but these are incredible times.

Not one non-establishment online opinion favours Stewart - but he's come out of nowhere and is being bigged-up by the establishment media. Not one Leaver MP is backing him. He shouldn't even be in this contest. Something is going on, and it smells as rotten as week old mackerel.

Telegraph reader comments on the final encomium to the weird puppet for which they were allowed are below -

Britain - the world's champion of freedom and democracy

Today I offer only an observation, but one that stirs within me the embers of pride and a certain feeling of rightness. It is this. Despite having endured decades here at home of historical revisionism in which our nation's history is mis-portrayed as a uninterrupted reign of oppression and conquest, the freedom and democracy protesters in Hong Kong are unified behind a single symbol of freedom - the British flag.

I can only hope that this catches on - and after Brexit, campaigners everywhere across the globe for freedom, democracy and justice will adopt our national flag as an enduring symbol of those fundamental rights.

That's all.




Friday, 14 June 2019

Is it fair for this man to be in politics?

From time to time matters of real concern enter the robust and challenging world of politics. Today, having watched Rory Stewart's  performance and pronouncements I am more concerned than ever for the lad's mental heath. Those close to him should advise him to withdraw, rest and repair what can be repaired. It is simply not fair to allow a personality this vulnerable to be in politics. 
So far he has threatened a coup in the event of a no-deal Brexit, setting up his own vanity parliament somewhere near to the Palace of Westminster. Elsewhere he has made it clear he is an illiberal and authoritarian Statist. Stewart is quite simply wholly unsuited to democratic politics; he is a vain popinjay imbued with an immense sense of entitlement, a privileged scion of the patrician class, capable of displaying an alarming petulance when he doesn't get his own way.

Would you really want this disturbed little Nero anywhere near our nuclear codes?

Thursday, 13 June 2019

It's the 19th Century again

I've drawn parallels here before between the political convulsions the developed world is undergoing and similar convulsions in the mid decades of the 19th century I do so with a degree of confidence that, just as we avoided 1848 in the UK, we will do so again. Serfdom didn't end in Austria until 1864 - around 350 years later than England - and its traces linger discernibly in the sparse alpine area in which I live. That's another post. This is about imprisonment. 

There came a point in the 18th century when we cut down quite noticeably the number of people that were hanged for trivial offences. The idea of prisons hadn't really taken off, so at first we sent the minor offenders as convicts to America, but that nation's independence put an end to it from 1776. Then, between 1788 and 1868, we sent them to Australia instead. Or rather we didn't. The following is from Mayhew and Binney's Criminal Prisons of London (!.pdf)- available online and I recommend it to anyone interested in penal policy.

Not only was the river wall packed thick with the corpses of convicts but so too was the land within the Arsenal - they filled that first, before they ventured out onto the marshes. The first burial ground, later the site of the Armstrong Gun factory now converted to extremely expensive luxury flats, was packed so full of deliquescent convicts that the stench sickened the arms workers.

We sent 164,000 convicts to Australia. But between 1776 and 1868, for 92 years, somewhere between 500 and 1,000 a year died on the Woolwich hulks alone - so nationally I am quite sure that many more convicts died awaiting transportation than were ever delivered to Australia. Disease, starvation and overwork killed them just as certainly as the hemp rope, but left the public with a warm feeling of virtue.

Today we have as many people in prison as we had in the late 1970s. Our population now is somewhat greater, so one could argue that we have made some advance. But for 50 years, not much. 'Porridge' may have reflected life inside in the 1970s but does not do so now. Drugs, Islamism, violence, suicide, privatisation and the utter disdain of the Uber and Netflix generation (even the Guardian can't really be arsed) for the welfare of the prisoner have made our prisons as offensive as were the Hulks to reformist Victorians.

When the Inspector of Prisons has to instruct the Secretary of State for Justice to take action at a prison in which 10% of inmates are at risk of self-murder we have reached a low point. Gaulk may be more concerned at his imminent deselection for the betrayal of his party's election manifesto, but even he must now take action.

And we must all be concerned. And we must not forget our obligations in the Corporal Works of Mercy - to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to give shelter to travellers, to visit the sick, to comfort the imprisoned, and to bury the dead.

The 'tump' at the upper left is marked by the twin masts in the engraving above 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Drugs? Pass the spliffy, Doris

I have a confession to make. Up to the age of about 35. I smoked a fair bit of whacky baccy. Yes, I did inhale - as deeply as I could. It started with Radio Caroline - from the circles of the oceans to the centre of your mind I think the jingle went - actually a leaky trawler somewhere off Clacton, but the 'pirate radio' thing plus hours of pure stoner programming plus natural teenage rebellion did it for me. Leb Red, Roccy, Afghan black, crumbly blonde - we were aficionados, hashish snobs. Between listening in intent rapture to vinyl on the hifi (those album covers came in very handy) and laughing to the point of actual pain, we put the world to rights. This blog I think is a legacy of the latter memories. No, I didn't touch class As. Ever. It was a matter of principal. After my mid thirties, hashish just put me to sleep quite quickly. Buying a sixteenth  therefore became something of a wasted investment; settle down, roll a spliff, open a beer, put a Steely Dan album on and Zonk - wake up three hours later with sofa-neck.

I suspect many of my age cohort, we 'gammon' Brexiteers, have a common experience. We really don't give a toss about drug use. It's the hypocrisy we can't stand; Gove, a cocaine-snorter (a tedious breed whom I avoid and will not befriend) who banned teachers for life for doing the same. No wonder Govey babbles so rapidly - it's his coke muscle memory. Shame he didn't learn either morality or honour from his Scottish foster parents. He was and is a shit.

Adultery we can also accept, if not condone. Even - whether from John Gielgud or George Michael - cottaging in public lavatories induces no more than a slight pursing of the lips and half shake of the head in puzzlement. Likewise porn. What we can't accept is kiddie-fiddling, dishonesty and hypocrisy - bad news for professional politicians for whom the latter two have become almost qualifying traits.

So Govey, your campaign is dead. Not for being a dreary unimaginative coke-tooting ponce, but for your two-faced hypocrisy and the fact you were forced to admit it before the Sundays splashed the story.

Monday, 10 June 2019

BBC Licence fee Referendum - pensioners vote to end concession

"It's no good, Tarquin, we can't sustain our levels of Executive Remuneration Packages for the thousands of skilled managers we need here at the BBC if we give licence discounts to the over-75s. We have to end it"

"Damn. That means inviting public responses - every charity will oppose it, as will MPs and politicians and of course the old buggers themselves. We won't get it through."

"We can, Tarquin - if we hold a Referendum!"

"Are you mad, Tony? If we ask 'Should we end free licences for the over 75s - Yes or No?' you know damn well what the answer will be"

"Ah, but we can finesse it. Ask several questions. Use first and second preference. I know some clever people who can design the thing for us so it looks fair, but will give us the 'End it' answer we want. It also has the advantage of nullifying all the 'Change' petitions and submissions from the charities - a referendum outranks everything else"

"Tony you're a genius! You deserve every hundred thou you get!"

=======================================================
BBC Consultation - We will do what you decide

Should we-

(a) Keep free licences
(b) Abolish free licences
(c) Change free licences by (i) giving over-75s a 50% discount OR (ii) raising the age to 80 OR (iii) means testing the free licence? 

Results - 84,761 responses were received

1. Keeping free licences was most commonly ranked 1st (48%) followed by Changing (37%) and Abolishing (15%)
2. Changing was most commonly ranked 2nd (55%) followed by Abolishing (25%) and Keeping (20%)
3. Abolishing was most commonly ranked 3rd (47%) followed by Keeping (30%) and Changing (23%)

When combining first and second preferences -

4. Changing was the winner with the greatest number of first and second preferences (44%) 
5. Keeping the discount had the second highest total of 37% whilst Abolishing had the third highest total at 19%

It is quite clear therefore that we now have an unassailable mandate to apply means testing of free licences for the over 75s. The old folk themselves have decided.
==========================================================

"Tony! There's a case of Lanson on its way to you. You're a bloody miracle! Any chance these people of yours can do us a second Brexit referendum?"

(NB the central section was taken almost literatim from the BBC's reporting of its consultation outcome at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/reports/consultation/age/traverse.pdf)   

Boris promises to bribe the public sector

There is one part of the nation's demographic lost to the Conservative Party - the public sector. Home to agile, graduate, socially liberal Remainers, our schools, universities, hospitals, councils and every body or NDPB funded by tax are now solid Labour or LibDem territory. Not at the bottom, of course - not the young constables, cleaners, cooks and clerks - but the professional and executive ranks, say from £40k upwards, and all teachers and clinical practitioners.

These are the cohorts of our society least affected by globalism, most adapted to take advantage of AI changes, and who have suffered least from 'austerity' - which has meant closing libraries and school kitchens, not making managers redundant. They are not users of food banks, not customers of payday loan sharks, not precariously balancing food, heat or clothing against each other. These are the young, privileged new elite of Britain; the Netflix and Uber generation, with car leases and new apartments in Peckham who take one main and two weekend breaks abroad each year, visit restaurants and have surplus cash for entertainment.

So Boris is proposing to give away £10bn in tax benefits to them by raising the tax threshold from £50k to £80k. And it's quite clear who he's promising to bribe - as the Telegraph reports
Those who found themselves paying the higher rate included teachers, senior police officers and some nurses. The Conservatives subsequently increased the threshold from £41,900 to £50,000 in response to the concerns of Tory MPs. Mr Johnson's plans, however, go significantly further.
Personally I no longer have a stake in this - my post-retirement income is under the higher tax threshold. But I do care deeply for our nation, and for the welfare of all our people. The shittiest part of this public sector bribe is that the lowest-paid will fund it; the £10bn "cost of the move will be funded partly by increasing employee national insurance payments .." reports the Telegraph. Boris. you dickhead, take a look at this ONS chart -

Since 2008, the value of earnings of those on median pay (£28,400 in 2018 according to the ONS) has actually fallen.

This is not 'One Nation' Conservatism. This is naked, calculated subversion of public funds to bribe those who have electorally deserted the Conservative Party. I could not, this morning, cast my vote for Boris Johnson. For now, my vote is with Raab.

Update
=====
I've just split the effect by region (GOR) from the ONS tables. Below.
There was a news comment earlier that puts the gross cost at £20bn - net cost £9.6bn. Boris claims this money would go back into the economy; hmm. I suspect at this level a lot of it will go into savings, pensions and investments rather than into the tills of High Street shops, so perhaps a limited benefit for the country as a whole. And bugger all good if you're in the North East though your NHS GP (~ £100k) may look happier.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Reith lectures - ECHR

The third of five Reith lectures this year by Lord Sumption is a corker. For any of you willing to invest half an hour this weekend I commend most strongly listening to the podcast - a transcript is also available. Both are slightly marred by the lightweight inanities of Anita Anand (who she?)

Rarely do we get the chance to hear from either non-politicians or non-social media polemicists on matters of urgent threat to democracy. Here we have one of Britains most senior judges setting out with impeccable reasoning the threat posed by judges to what we have understood hitherto to be the preserve of democratic processes and decisions.

He also exposes the most fundamental difference between the supranational globalists ever seeking to expand the powers of unelected authority and those of us stalwart in our defence of democratic rights;
For those who believe that fundamental rights should exist independently of democratic choice, dynamic treaties have an obvious attraction. They create a source of law which is independent of democratic political choices. The European Convention on Human Rights is a classic dynamic treaty.
For a heavyweight case for the UK's withdrawal from the ECHR and the ECtHR - not Lord Sumption's first choice - here are all the arguments. Anand's irritating vacuous twittering is only a very minor impairment. Don't bother with the Q&A segment at the end. 

The first two lectures are also well worth hearing - challenging tangentially the moral certainties behind both Remain and Leave - and not always comfortable. There are two more to come - the next with a US (Washington, I think) audience on the subject of written vs. unwritten constitutions .

I haven't paid the TV Tax since 2015, but here at least is some of my money back.

Friday, 7 June 2019

May - good riddance

I can't wallow, I'm afraid, in the sort of political class hypocrisy that today will heap May with faint praise. Today she goes as Party leader, and good riddance to bad rubbish. There is, in all honesty, not one single positive thing she's achieved. Everything she touched turned to shit. A woman of no talent, no real ability, uninspired, mediocre and without charisma, it seems she got as far as she did on a mixture of raw cunning, ruthlessness and deluded self-love. She has been Britain's worst PM since Lord North. We are better off without her. Sadly she remains in Number Ten like a bad smell until we have replaced her.

Meanwhile the shock of Peterborough should be a reminder of what will happen to Britain if May's abject failure to Brexit is continued by her successor. If we're not out by 1st November - in time for the most glorious firework displays since the millennium - the Conservative Party is finished.

Don't waste a breath of sympathy on May. She's cost this nation scores of billions, created schism and disharmony, prolonged the uncertainty and has split families and workplaces. If she truly loved this nation she would have gone after her disastrous 2017 election. No, there is only one thing that May loves - herself.

Now she's gone, there are two more destructive narcissistic liggers we must bring into our sights -

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Reprise

My late father was amongst those men whose real war started on the Normandy beaches on this day 75 years go. His battalion landed on Sword at 10am - their objective Caen. However, the Germans, as we know, mounted a vigorous defence and they took many casualties. My father was wounded by mortar shrapnel in the battle for the little village of Cambes on the 9th, and missed the taking of Caen. He was back however for the liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands and the fierce battles for the Rhine approaches and for the crossing itself - then onward, finishing the war on 4th May, nearly eleven months later, with the battle to take Bremen. A light infantryman to his boot soles, he must have appreciated Lord Wavell's words
The Infantry man always bears the brunt. His casualties are heavier, and he suffers greater extremes of discomfort and fatigue than the other arms ... So let us write Infantry with a Capital I; and think of them with the deep admiration they deserve. And let us Infantrymen wear our battledress like our rue, with a difference, and throw a chest in it, for we are the men who win battles and war.
Other service arms are available, as they say.

Father's gongs - familiar ribbons that will be on display today
 And following yesterday's post I can't resist quoting AEP in the Telegraph today -
Does it worry me that US companies might gain access to NHS contracts? Of course not. Matt Hancock’s disqualified himself from the Tory leadership with his tub-thumping warning that "the NHS is not for sale".  Mr Hancock, the NHS already is for sale. Private firms secure 70pc of NHS clinical contracts. They run hospitals. European companies bid under EU procurement law - which recently forced an Oxford NHS trust to farm out its PET-CT imaging for cancer to a sub-contractor against the vehement protest of doctors. Europe’s 'big pharma' are not exactly pussy cats.

What is the ground - other than visceral anti-Americanism - for preventing US companies from also bidding for work, and bringing world-class competition? It does not undermine the NHS as a social welfare institution to put this tendering process on the table - which is what Donald Trump surely meant after correcting himself - any more than it is already being undermined. The Government can still regulate prices and the quality of service as it does now.

Chlorinated chickens do not bother me either, perhaps because I ate so many during a large stretch of my life in the US. The EU’s food safety regulator EFSA says there are “no safety concerns” at relevant doses. I happily eat Spanish salad leaves from supermarkets soaked in the same "pathogen reduction" rinsing.
Oh, and I understand there's some event in Peterborough today in which the Conservative Party does not seem to be involved. So hardly worth mentioning, then. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

NHS? The EU has already put it up for grabs

Two grunts have been emerging from the ill-educated Remain sector over the past few days - 'NHS' and 'Chlorinated chicken'. I guess like most silly Remain prejudices, these fears are born of ignorance and the mendacity of those who know better stirring up the pot.

Firstly, every supply, service or works contract for the NHS above a threshold value must currently, under EU law, be offered to every eligible firm in Europe. Threshold values are currently £181k for all supplies and services and £4.5m for works contracts. Search the OJEU database as I have just done, for NHS tenders, and it will return 514 pages of results, 34 contracts on offer from just yesterday alone, including the vasectomy service in Bristol and the pathology service in Worcester;


Now if a medical firm from Romania can bid to snip the testicles of Bristol's men, why not one from Boston or LA? If a Hungarian path lab operator can bid to analyse oncology samples in Worcester, why not one from Virginia or New England?

There's no rule that says contracts have to be awarded out of the UK - only that the bid evaluation process is open, fair and transparent (until you get to stuff over £20m or so - which is where EU corrupt practices, kickbacks, EU organised crime involvement and so on kick in) and Bristol's vas deferens could easily end up being severed under hands that have travelled no further than a few miles from the Avon.

Nor is there any rule that medical services performed in-house by the NHS' 106,000 doctors, 286,000 nurses or 22,000 midwives in commissioning groups, trusts and GP practices should be up for grabs - and no UK/US trade agreement will act to involuntarily privatise the NHS - God knows, the EU have been trying to do this for years without success. Just that instead of / in addition to EU firms bidding for contracted-out sevices and the supply of materials and equipment, US firms can also do so.

As for chlorinated chicken, well, if you've bought a ready-to-eat salad pack from your local supermarket in the past few days, you will have eaten chlorinated lettuce, in many cases using  chlorine wash stronger than that used to rinse Septic chickens.

So the Remainers can carry on grunting - hollow pots and so on.