Archive for August, 2010

EU Commission to ramp up vanity propaganda effort

The next round of the ongoing battle for supremacy between the EU Commission and the European Council looks about to get underway, as José Manuel Barroso vies for a bigger profile and greater prominence under the guide of a communication ‘revolution’.  Now the unelected and unaccountable Herman Van Rompuy has ‘President’ in his title, the unelected and unaccountable Barroso is desperate not to appear as somehow less important.

Once again Europe is host to self interested power politics being played out against a backdrop of unacceptable democratic deficit and political disenfranchisement.  It is megalomania writ large. The plan is very simple as a source told EuActiv:

The credibility and the success of the EU project “can work only if the Commission is perceived as the EU’s government”. “We can achieve this by centreing our communication on the figure of the president,” the person close to the matter told EurActiv, adding that the new strategy will be geared towards greater “personalisation”.

“If the German government announces a project, it is Merkel’s project. In France, it would be Sarkozy’s plan. We have to do the same in Brussels,” the source continued.

In the past, this has not always been the case. President Barroso has often been sidelined by his commissioners, at the risk of making the Commission’s message less coherent and less understandable to the average citizen.

“For example, Reding was considered to be the commissioner who introduced roaming. When she held a conference together with Barroso on the roaming regulation, the president appeared in just 2% of the press coverage of the event. This has to change,” Commission sources told EurActiv.

Mr 2% is obviously a tad sensitive about not being the centre of attention, so we are about to be hit by a concerted propaganda effort to remind us who really decides how we are governed. And of course, even though we have absolutely no say in how the EU governs us, this mammoth vanity exercise will be funded with our money. Lucky us. Money well wasted, eh.

We simple arms-length observers will have to watch and wait to see what the European Council’s response to this is.  Being an unimaginative lot it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more of Herman in the near future too.

Guardian story cements Cameron’s naked Europhilia

Refreshed from my summer break, I’ve returned to find plenty has been going on that’s worthy of comment, mainly concerning this hypocritical and shallow coalition.  But it’s current observations where we’ll pick up.  Some people think the jury remains out on David Cameron and the Conservatives, but the verdict has already been delivered in the Guardian.

Having made all the right noises to ensure the Conservative party stayed in step during the election campaign to propel him to Number 10, Cameron has revealed his true political stripes, and they are not conservative.  When commentators in the Guardian take time out to praise the Conservative leader for a ‘refreshing pragmatism’ over Europe, in an article titled: “What Labour can learn from Cameron: The party’s next leader must take a more constructive approach to European politics” you know one of two things has happened – either a U-turn of monumental proportions or an artificial facade has crumbled away to reveal the reality beneath.

This is David Cameron we are talking about, a ruthlessly ambitious and fundamentally untrustworthy man, who would do whatever it takes to achieve his personal goals.  So we can discount the U-turn.  He has surrounded himself with Europhile wets from the Tory left, packing them in on the front bench alongside the increasingly out-of-their-depth Lib Dems, while ostracising genuine conservatives who hold a principled position on EU membership and are in step with public opinion.

It defies belief that Conservatives could possibly harbour any optimism that Cameron will suddenly reveal himself to be the Eurosceptic he portrayed himself to be in order to hoodwink the party membership and secure the leadership.  But some do.  Their flaw is that despite being conned they cannot reconcile themselves to accepting they fell for a deception.  And that deception is not confined to EU matters.  On taxation, foreign policy, environmental policy and much more besides, the Cameron agenda bears no relation to the one the Conservatives presented as their electoral platform.

If they could not believe the evidence of their own eyes, perhaps the jubilation of the Guardianista will finally convince them that they have been hustled by Cameron.

UKIP lacks leadership talent but must reject Farage

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a decent man, has done the decent thing.  He has accepted that despite being a well meaning and respectable man, he is a walking disaster as a politician.  It is one thing to be a good business leader, it is a completely different proposition to lead a political party and so he has decided to step down.

Under Lord Pearson UKIP won an increased number of votes at the General Election, but it has gone backwards in terms of its profile and standing as a political force.  It is a regression that UKIP will find pretty much impossible to reverse as it has such a thin and shallow pool of talent from which to fish for a new leader.

What must be most worrying for UKIP’s remining members is that Nigel Farage is thinking of tossing his hat into the leadership election.  Farage is charismatic but he just cannot be taken seriously as a politician.  He is straight talking but he cannot connect with voters.  Farage gets attention not for the important messages he should be conveying but for the stunts in which he engages and behaviour that can be likened to that of an upper class twit trying to act like a rebel.  If he stands for election UKIP’s membership must reject him to stand any chance of a final throw of the dice to make a political break through.  If Farage stands and UKIP elects him, it will be the death knell for the party.

But then, perhaps the kindest thing that can be done with UKIP is to close it down.  It started life as a single issue party and despite pledging to widen its focus to include the full range of domestic and international political issues, it has been unable to break free from its caricature of being a refuge for malcontents who just happen to be opposed to EU membership.  It has missed the opportunity to be seen as a mature and viable political entity and despite David Cameron’s long march leftwards UKIP has squandered the chance to make the political centre right its own.

What is needed now is the birth of a new centre right party that stands on the common ground with this country’s disenfranchised voters.  What is needed is a party that talks to all the interests of the British people with honesty and integrity.  Britain needs a party that has not been formed primarily for the purpose of opposing EU membership, but that happens to possess a desire for national sovereignty and self determination among a whole raft of centre right political principles.

Who knows, perhaps Lord Rannoch’s resignation and Nigel Farage’s personal ambitions may have brought that day somewhat closer.

BBC continues its pro EU brainwashing

What is the problem with flying the EU flag in the UK?  That was the question posed by the BBC yesterday.  Just by asking the question, the corporation is continuing its effort to condition viewers into thinking of such matters as a triviality that makes no difference to the UK.  It won’t be long now before they run another piece, asking what’s the big deal about paying taxes directly to the EU.

Perhaps when these reports are commissioned and broadcast in future, the BBC would like to declare its interest in such matters and remind viewers that the corporation takes millions of pounds in loans and grants from the EU – funded of course by taxpayers over and above the licence fee we are forced to pay under pain of fine or imprisonment.

Those ‘invisible’ Lib Dem ministers

The Sunday Telegraph is telling readers that its survey shows Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers are far less likely to be recognised by ordinary voters than their Conservative counterparts. The article goes on to say that “the findings will prompt renewed concern among both party activists and MPs who already fear that playing second fiddle to the Tories could rob the party of its distinct identity and lead to a loss of recognition.”

Big deal.  The real story here is that these ‘invisible’ ministers, such as Vince Cable (have you noticed how the BBC has reverted to calling him Dr Cable?) and Chris Huhne, are nevertheless having a corrosive effect on the country.

Cable wants a graduate tax where people who have worked hard for a degree could end up paying back much more than their degrees cost – just because they can and he thinks the state is entitled to everything we have.  He has ccontinued on a similar theme by loudly calling for greater redistribution of wealth, rather than grasping that people can become better off if they have the incentive of keeping more of what they earn.

Meanwhile Huhne is presiding over the disintegration of our energy generation capability.  He is firmly locked into an other-worldly fantasy where only wind turbines, inefficient and unreliable, are worthy of huge numbers of our tax pounds in subsidy, while proven and fundamentally essential nuclear power gets not one penny.

They may be invisible, but these MPs – hailing from an oddball party that is an electoral joke and was overwhelmingly rejected at the polls  – have a prominent and worrying role in government thanks to David Cameron.  They were needed on side in order for Cameron to achieve his personal ambition of becoming Prime Minister.  Cameron may have realised his goal, but it is we ordinary people who will suffer the consequences of the destructive idiocy of these Lib Dems.

Hey! Judah! Leave them trees alone!

These are some suggested new lyrics for the Lebanon-Israel border version of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’, following what could be considered to be the first eco-shooting in the Middle East.

Reports suggest some Israeli soldiers, (who insist they remained on their own side of the border with Lebanon) entered the buffer zone to cut down a tree that obscured their view of the village of Adaysseh on the Lebanese side.  Lebanese troops on the other side of the border apparently warned the Israelis not to uproot the tree, before opening fire, wounding at least two IDF troops.  The Israelis apparently responded with artillery on those who opened fire, killing up to four people.  It’s clear that cutting down a tree was no threat to the Lebanese soldiers, so one has to wonder why they felt the need to engage.

The situation is confused.  Lebanon claims the tree was on their side of the border and thus the Israeli work was an incursion.  They also say the Israelis opened fire first, although it was the Lebanese issuing warnings.  Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, condemned Israel’s “aggression” and said Lebanese sovereignty had been violated. 

It’s hard to imagine that uprooting a tree is an act of aggression, unless of course the tree belongs to the Na’vi from the film Avatar.  It certainly sparked a serious military exchange and again underlined the feeble level of response by the United Nations.  The whole thing appears to be a massive over reaction by some men with very itchy trigger fingers.  It could have been a lot worse.  Imagine if instead of a tree it had been an entire row of Leylandii being cut down!

Update: It has since been claimed that the Israelis gave the United Nations notice of their intention to carry out work within their borders, but between the fences.  If true, were the Lebanese told?  Time for answers from the UN, if they can pull themselves away from their spectator sport of watching Hezbollah restock their weapons in breach of UN Resolution 1701.

Will the burqa berks just shut up?

The media is thoroughly enjoying the controversy surrounding Philip Hollobone’s attempt to ban the wearing of the burqa in public places.  A number of MPs and a great many ordinary people think the garment should not be worn in public places, because some argue it reinforces separation within society and is used by some men as a method of subjugating the females in their family.

We’ve had various interventions from people opposing Hollobone’s Private Member’s Bill, such as the lightweight Caroline Spelman, who in classic doublespeak thinks wearing a burqa can be empowering.  We’ve had Damian Green chuntering on about such a ban being intolerant and unBritish because a ban would not be mutually respectful.  We’ve also had Sayeeda Warsi saying it doesn’t prevent women from engaging in everyday life.

But nowhere in these comments is there any sign of the F word or the L word.  No, that isn’t a reference to the television shows, but rather what the burqa debate should be about – freedom and liberty.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like the burqa.  I think donning it is a political statement, an example of intolerance of the society in which these women are living and an attempt to force a cultural difference on people.  Hiding one’s face in our culture evokes suspicion.  It isn’t a cultural norm.  The fact the burqa is worn proportionately more in the UK than in most Islamic countries demonstrates it is a tool for pushing the idea of cultural dominance for political reasons.

However.

I don’t believe it is the place of the State to legislate about the clothing someone chooses to wear.  Hollobone’s Bill might be well meaning, but it’s misguided.  Making it an offence to wear a particular garment, regardless of the motives or rationale for wearing it, is fundamentally wrong.  Where would such law making end?  Such legislation would be another example of an overbearing State that has too much power over the people it should be serving.  As long as no one is causing harm to another person they should be free to wear a garment of their choosing.  The State should uphold their liberty to do so, however much I and others may dislike that garment.

It would have been nice if the politicians who commented on this matter had understood this issue is all about freedom and liberty, rather than tolerance and empowerment.  But then, this is the political class we are talking about and they would rather deal in touchy feely platitudes than make an unambiguous stand against the State erosion of personal freedoms.  As they have so little of substance to say perhaps these burqa berks should just shut up.

When our servants are really our masters

In a comment thread on EU Referendum about the scandal – there is no more fitting word for it – of actions by authorities and social services being kept a legally enforced secret, even if an injustice has been perpetrated, that prevents even parents discussing any aspect of a family case, Dr Richard North drew parallels with his series of posts about the Battle of Britain, saying:

What is fascinating about the Battle of Britain narrative is that it demonstrates, amongst other things, that when officials are given control over information, they always abuse it, primarily to protect themselves from scrutiny.

Rarely has there been a more accurate comment.  Then as now, officials abuse their control of information and knowledge to suit their own interests rather than those of the public they are supposed to serve.  The latest incarnation of this insipid abuse hails from the NHS.

Threats, bribery, recriminations.  Ruined careers and destroyed reputations.  Good people forced from their jobs and even having to relocate overseas in some cases because they have been sullied by their vengeful superiors for speaking out.  And why?  To hide the truth from us and maintain deceptions.

It should be impossible in this day and age for public servants to abuse their control of information.  But the fact is it’s endemic.  It’s as if there is a peculiar mindset corrupting senior leaders in public organisations that necessitates the concealment of facts or effective misrepresentation of them.  Information is power and our servants believe the people must not be allowed access to either.  When they are able to do this they cease to be our servants and assume the role of our masters.

A rocket attack the BBC could not ignore

No apologies here for continuing on the theme of selective reporting by the BBC about the escalation in violence against Israel over the last 10 days.  As this blog has pointed out in recent days, the recent rocket attacks against Israel have been ignored and only referred to when the BBC reports on Israeli retaliation.

Today however the BBC rushed to report about a rocket attack on the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat.  Not because of any shift in editorial approach, but because the terrorists who launched the attack managed to hit the Jordanian port of Aqaba, injuring civilians thereby making it newsworthy.  Most likely it would have otherwise been ignored like the attacks further north.

Rockets and mortars are being launched at Israel indiscriminately from Gaza and now from the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.  These are not just of the homemade variety casually dismissed as trivial by the media, but military munitions such as the Grad.  As you can see from the damage it causes in the image above, the Grad is not to be taken lightly.

As if these attacks did not demonstrate with sufficient impact that Israel continues to suffer from murderous violence from outwith its borders, the terrorist group Islamic Jihad has now announced it is to renew suicide bombings inside Israel, attacks that are being planned in the West Bank.

Perhaps if the BBC was more willing to present the full picture of the violence being waged against Israel, people would understand the actions Israeli carries out in response.  While painted as an aggressor, the Israelis are just doing what any free state would do to neutralise the architects of the attacks and deny them materials and operating bases from which to launch their terror.

Huhne’s disturbing energy doublespeak

He is sceptical about the economics of nuclear power, yet has unswerving faith in fantastically expensive and unreliable renewables.

He says there will be no public subsidy for nuclear because it is an old technology and that “The market will decide which low-carbon technologies will be used”; but pours our tax pounds into new wind turbines that produce only 20-25% of their capacity and stands by rules that force power companies to buy all electricity produced by wind turbines regardless of the cost.

He believes there are investors who will be investing in new nuclear, but can only find investors who will invest in renewables by throwing public money at them to subsidise to huge cost.

This is the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne.  This is the man whose vision of future electricity generation in this country is so divorced from reality even sci-fi fans would laugh it off as too far fetched.  If you’re not worried about how the lights will be kept on in years to come, you should be.  The stakes could not be higher.

Some people understand the nature of Huhne’s problem.  However we are powerless to stop the elected dictatorships in this country from doing what they want and playing politics with our energy supplies.  We are at the mercy of a dangerously out of touch ideologue who ignores evidence in the pursuit of realising his fantasy.

BBC ignores another rocket attack on Israel

Just to reinforce the point made in the last posting here.  Another night in Ashkelon, another rocket attack launched by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, another story of terrorist aggression against Israel that is ignored by the BBC.  The largest news gathering organisation in the world has decided this isn’t news, so we have to rely on local sources to find out what’s really going on.

Many people demand that Israel turn the other cheek.  They say that retaliating against such attacks only escalates the violence.  The problem is a failure to strike back tells the terrorists that they can act with impunity and without consequence.  Hamas will not act against those perpetrating the rocket attacks – it actually encourages them.

What of the international community?  The United Nations is utterly useless, a point rammed home by the fact Hezbollah in southern Lebanon has not only rearmed after its last conflict with Israel, under UN supervision and against UN resolutions, it now has a larger and more lethal arsenal than it had before. Predictions of an Israeli spring offensive this year, faithfully trotted out by the media as part of the Israel aggression narrative, proved to be false.  Incidentally, the piece also reminds us why Israeli troops boarded ships heading for Gaza, after previous inspections turned up weapons caches en route to the terrorists.

As a backdrop to all this, Iran continues to develop a nuclear weapons capability and issues threats that it will raze Tel Aviv to the ground if Israel acts to stop the nuclear proliferation.  The UN Security Council which said it would stop Iran developing such a weapons capability talks, talks then talks some more while the centrifuges continue to spin.

Then there is Syria, once again engaging in a customary round of sabre rattling where the talk is of war, not peace.  Its President, Bashar Assad, also tries to stop the facts about the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister being revealed by threatening to side with Hezbollah if they are found to be responsible. The absence of this kind of context keeps people in ignorance about Israel’s side of the story.

We may very well ask the BBC why it makes such partial editorial decisions, but we will not be furnished with an explanation.  We will just continue to be told to fork out £142.50 per annum to be informed, educated and entertained in the manner the BBC sees fit – and take their word for it that they are impartial, even though they use our money to fight in court to suppress publication of the Balen Report we paid for, into their Middle East coverage that has been called into question for bias against Israel.  Go figure.


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