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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


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.  

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Britain's future is over the oceans

When they tell us that we are now in a multi-polar world, I think what they really mean is bi-polar. Or as our resident pedant may instruct me in the comments, simply polar. Sure, there are a number of aspirants in a runner-up class - India, Brazil, Russia, the EU27 - but the N and S are unequivocally the US and China. And we must all pick a side. It will never, I hope and pray, come to a 'hot' war, but economically, culturally, morally we are in conflict. What has emerged quite clearly since the Referendum is the extent to which support for the EU depends on a visceral hatred for the US; you've read it on here, in the comments.

This EU27 hatred for the US is by no means universal - Poland and Italy are fans, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany are not. However, it's what is driving their wriggling to escape NATO whilst continuing to enjoy US and UK military and intelligence protection for free. Nick Clegg's hollow claim that the EU has no interest in an army has been proved vacuous if not mendacious, as supranationalist ranting zealot Verhofstadt has been crowing with joy at its formation. And joining the extremists of the EU27 are our domestic extremists - Corbyn's followers. Their leader is not even a man himself who can be entrusted with intelligence secrets because of his close and enduring links to terrorist organisations.

The current State visit by the US President is a clear demonstration of where our preference should take us; away from the EU27, pro-China in its alignment and deeply compromised by Chinese penetration of every single one of their piddling accomplishments - including Galileo, which Beijing can shut down at will with the click of a mouse.

Our own future is not just across the Atlantic but over the oceans - as it has been since the 16th century. The past forty years was a blip, a wrong turn taken by political pygmies. The events of this week will do more than anything else to demonstrate that.

Sunday 2 June 2019

Minor earthquake in SW1

There's really only one story this weekend and it's not about politicians but about the British people. The latest Opinum poll for the Observer gives the following;

The paper reports that Electoral Calculus estimate that this vote in a GE would give TBP 306 seats - short of an overall majority - and the Conservatives 26. This Thursday's bye-election in Peterborough may give Farage his first MP and send shock waves throughout Europe. Without detracting from Nigel's accomplishments - which are momentous - these figures are less about Farage than about the British people, and the direction in which the country is headed. Politicians are either acutely sensitive and adjust their policies to the path the voters are following, or they are history.

And here I have a message for my Parliamentary Party. Sweeties, you're away with the fairies. You're buggering about playing games with the Leadership contest, with Florence of Belgravia and every other hopeless idiot using it as an aid to self-love and a marker for aspiration to future ministerial preferment. You're all on the verge of being swept away by a Teal tsunami. I hope you've got other careers on which to fall back (Florence can walk back to Afghanistan for all I care). 

Meanwhile dear Mr Trump is worth listening to; if you have a sensitive ear you will have detected a minor shift in tone. When speaking ad hoc and off piste, Donald is increasingly channelling his senior White House advisors. What we are hearing are the headlines lodged in his memory from secret Presidential briefings. Despite SW1 still trying desperately to pretend Nigel Farage doesn't exist and everything's still the same, the possibility that he may be the UK's next PM but one is clearly one of the US government's planned scenarios.