Archive for May, 2012

Guess this makes it official

If the great Stephen Glover of the Daily Wail says so, then it must be so.  Four days after this blog highlighted a low profile and barely noticed story in the finance pages of the Failygraph that referenced the myth of public spending cuts, the Great Glover has weighed in.

Of course it would be churlish to criticise him for being only four days behind, after all he is very important and busy and highly paid and says he has been saying this for months.  So perhaps we should point to the fact this blog, in the slipstream of the excellent Richard North at EU Referendum, was exploding the myth of public spending cuts as far back as October 2010.

It’s nice someone in the media has noticed and used their powerful pulpit to preach the ‘news’.  But it would be better if they were using their time and vast resources to explode these myths first instead of trailing in the wake of the far less important and resource-free blogs.  At least Glover offers some value by reminding his readers to ignore the BBC and Labour.  That is always sound advice.

Without the slightest trace of irony

Is this one of the finest examples of a stunning lack of self awareness?  Here we have a man, writing for pay in the mainstream media, criticising the mainstream media for failing to uncover and report information that was apparently very simple to find.  The irony of course is this man is an ‘expert’, a self professed ‘historian of the United States’.

Now forgive me, but I thought the mark of a historian was the ability to uncover and interpret information.  So what is Dr Tim Stanley’s excuse for not finding this material himself?  Some historian.  Where in the name of all things holy do these people come from?

Panic!

It’s as if there was never a world before the Euro.  It’s as if countries inside the Eurozone never had currency of their own, never had the ability to value and manage their currency as they saw fit, and had political structures where decision making was domestic rather than outsourced to Brussels.

But anyone reading Failygraph and the dire warnings of Robert Chote, head of the Office of Budget Responsibility, could be forgiven for thinking anything prior to the creation of the single currency is pre-history.  The Fail’s interpretation of Chote is designed to further the sense of panic and requirement to fill column inches:

Britain’s economy may suffer “permanent” damage and “never quite get back up” if the euro collapses in a chaotic way, the Government’s chief economic forecaster has said.

Reality is being replaced by theatrics.  It never ceases to amaze me how this country manages to survive with so many defeatist idiots in positions of responsibility.  A break up of the Euro would result in pain, probably for some years.  There are banks that would fail and debts that would not be repaid.  But the planet will continue to spin on its axis and orbit the sun.  Countries would revert to currencies they can control, which would be more beneficial for them than the restrictive and skewed one-size-fits-none political tool that is the Euro.

Economic activity will continue as before.  People will still need to buy food, goods and services and companies will continue to trade to provide those – paying taxes and employing people.  Some economies may look and feel different, but to suggest ‘permanent’ damage could result is nothing short of ridiculous. There will still be the same markets in Europe that we will sell to today.  Remember, if it were not for the same political motives behind the creation of the Euro we would be working in our own national interest to access markets elsewhere around the world and trade freely on our own terms without being constrained by the interests and wishes of other EU member states.  If the Euro goes, so to might the bureaucracy that hamstrings us.

No doubt when the Great Depression took hold there were fearmongers like Chote saying economies would suffer ‘permanent’ damage.  Yet we have seen huge growth and economic transformation since then.  People adapt, people are entrepreneurial and opportunities are created and seized.  The fearmongers are those who have an agenda and see it crumbling before their eyes.  They are the ones who can only see their own vested interests in the intermediate, rather than the big picture in the long term.

Cameron turns nanny state into overbearing Mother State

“I think this whole debate about nanny state is nonsense.

“Parents want help. It is in our interest as a society to help people bring up their children.

“We’re taught to drive a car. We’re taught all sorts of things at school. I think it makes perfect sense to help people with parenting.”

For once, David Cameron is right.  This is not the nanny state at work.  No, this is the modern, intrusive, hectoring and all powerful Mother State in action, desperate to direct the way parents bring up their children – irrespective of whether they need help at all.

The major concern here is that parents who reject the intrusion of the state into the raising of their children could end up listed as presenting a risk to their youngsters for not welcoming agencies in with open arms.

Whenever the organs of the state are held at bay by parents, its agents develop a suspicion of the parents’ motives.  When one considers events that have taken place behind the closed doors of  family courts and the case review meetings of social services departments – and the way in which the state can simply decide to remove children from families on the basis of guesswork or prejeudice – it can only be cause for concern that the tentacles are being given extended reach.

Children are the responsibility of their families.  The state has no business routinely muscling in on the upbringing of those children.  Where families are dysfunctional and their children are genuinely neglected or at risk, then there are already measures in place to provide support to them – although time and again we see stories of abuse and neglect of youngsters who are ‘in care’ yet are allowed to fall into a nightmare of drug addiction, sexual exploitation and criminality.

The parents who are unable to cope are nearly always known to the various departments and agencies due to their existing problems.  Surely those people can be offered guidance in how to feed, bathe and care for their offspring as part of their existing contact with the agencies, without a nationwide programme being introduced at huge cost that effectively positions the government as surrogate parents.

Far from working towards a smaller state and affording people greater privacy and personal freedom, this latest government wheeze flies in the face of all three pledges.  It is the real face of the control freak autocrat who occupies Number 10.

The debt crisis Osborne says has been dealt with

It’s high time that this mendacity was exposed for what it is. Government has done very little about its spending, has appropriated three-quarters of all gains in economic output for its own use, has carried on piling up debt – and has tried to pass all this off as ‘responsible austerity’.

Those are the words of Dr Tim Morgan, the global head of research at financial traders Tullett Prebon, as reported in the finance section of the Failygraph. While the UK media prattles on in inane fashion about the ‘cuts’ – and retail the government line that they are addressing the structural deficit – the reality is that public spending is higher than it was when the coagulation formed this God-awful managerialist administration.

Don’t take my word for it, the official figures from the Treasury show the facts:

This is what Ministers have insisted is public spending being cut at a rate not seen since the Second World War.  But the total managed expediture has risen year on year, funded by ever higher taxation and, crucially, continued borrowing increasing the national debt.  This is the fact of the matter. All that has changed is how the money is being spent.

Yet against the backdrop of this reality we see the utter delusion of the political class, as exemplified by George Osborne on the day Britain announced a £10bn guarantee to the International Monetary Fund on 20 April 2012.

Dealt with the debt crisis?

Spending is up. Debt is increasing. Taxes are rising. Borrowing is continuing. Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells the British public that the government has dealt with the debt crisis. This is not even parody, this is a claim that warrants Osborne receiving urgent psychiatric attention.

There was hardly any analysis in the media to get under the veneer of Osborne’s comment and tell the public the facts.  This leaves us with lies compounded by stupidity resulting in mass ignorance.  And it takes a bond trader to speak out before the media will take notice and run a small piece that is barely noticeable compared to commentary about the outfits worn to various events by celebrities.

They treat us with contempt. We should treat them altogether worse.

Tory Party faced with new rift as MPs prepare to mount coup

So reads a headline in the Independent.  But this isn’t another instalment in the recent string of stories planted in the media to convince voters that backbench Tory MPs will rein in David Cameron and protect the right flank of the party from UKIP.

No, this story is different from the fayre trotted out in the pages of the Failygraph as it marks the increasing confidence of the Cameroons and a concerted effort they have undertaken to eject members of the so called ‘awkward squad’ from official positions on the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee.  And it will come as no surprise to regular readers that at the heart of this operation to protect the ‘instinctively Eurosceptic’ Cameron is supposed critic and prominent Judas goat, George EUstice – his former press secretary.

Cameron, with an ever watchful eye focused on crushing any dissent of his autocratic control of the party, has seen to it that parliamentary private secretaries – MPs who are ministerial aides and therefore are expected to toe the leadership’s line – are now able to vote in the election. This means the backbench group, which is supposed to hold the leadership (and by definition any Conservative government) to account could now have its executive and direction influenced by the leadership.  It is the political equivalent of castration – or at least it would be if there were any more than a tiny handful of Tory MPs with balls.

It is classic Cameron.  If anyone opposes his direction he changes the rules enabling his minions to be dispatched to initiate a hostile takeover.  They keep the opponents’ organisation structures intact and wear their clothes, but change the language and corrupt definitions to mean the opposite of what they did.  He has already done this by adopting the mantle of Eurosceptic despite his words and actions being entirely Europhile.

If successful, this putsch against the 1922 will still see the committee describing itself as holding Cameron to account and putting pressure on him to be ‘more conservative’, yet it will be entirely supportive of Cameron’s actions and utter all the sycophantic words of endorsement he wants to hear.  And no doubt the Failygraph will continue to publish op-eds from various talking heads earnestly telling readers that Cameron will soon show his conservative credentials, that there is real pressure for change inside the party which will win the day and there’s no need to support UKIP.

Only a simpleton could believe it.

A man devoid of any principle

I am sceptical of those who claim to draw the answer to every problem from a loud ideology,

It must have been incredibly easy for Cameron to write those words for the Failygraph given he lacks any ideology and is driven only by the desire to attain office for its own sake.

It is the clamour among the likes of Cameron in the political class to plant their flags in the mythical ‘centre ground’ of politics – to dispense with the challenge of adversarial politics in search of the easy comfort of unprincipled consensus, and construct a uniform and hubristic front that holds the line against the wishes of the electorate – that is accelerating the rejection of politics and the political process.

Because of his arrogance Cameron believes he knows better than everyone else, which is why he professes to know the message people are sending through the election results.  Apparently the people are telling him to focus on what matters, deliver what you promise and prove yourself in the process.  ‘I get it,’ he declares.  He draws this conclusion because it is the one he wants to be able to draw, irrespective of reality.

Cameron doesn’t want to acknowledge or accept the fact that the issue is elected representatives failing to represent the wishes of the people.

Once elected, councillors and MPs become the tools of the party whips and agenda riddled civil service, putting party and bureaucratic agenda before the issues that matter to the electorate.  Their interests are not the same as our interests.  Cameron’s message of delusion and deception makes clear he intends to continue to thumbing his nose at the country – and the fools in the Conservative party who have propped him up as he has systematically stripped its policies of anything approaching conservative values.

If Cameron’s piece in the Barclay Boys’ Beano is valuable for anything, it is that Cameron has signalled his intent to continue treating the public with contempt.  And he will do it with the help of the rest of the political class notwithstanding the trivial differences between them, because he is a man devoid of any principle.

Met Office forecasting produces another epic failure

Regular readers will remember the intense period of blogging activity during the 2010/11 winter about the Met Office’s weather forecast failures and our work in exposing their fraudulent attempt to conceal the reality of their seasonal forecasting activity.

After handing the information and evidence on a plate to the Daily Mail and the Daily Express who then ignored the story – and being told by three MPs they would investigate the evidence but true to form did not keep their promise – this blog has largely left the Met Office alone.  It seemed pointless devoting time and effort pulling back the curtains to show the Met Office in its true light because the establishment has a vested interest in protecting the Met Office due to its high profile role and profitable role in the climate change industry.

But perhaps there is still some value in drawing attention to the rank failures of the Met Office in the hope more people ask questions about why the department gets its weather forecasting so wrong so often, and ask why its executives are lavishly rewarded each year with substantial performance related bonuses and are protected from scrutiny and criticism despite demonstrably false statements.  So it is we offer our thanks to Paul Homewood – writing on Watts Up With That? – who draws global attention to the Met Office’s seasonal forecast for UK for the period including April.

It is another epic failure by the Met Office characterised by a forecast of drier and forecast of warmer weather being more likely (as always, in line with their global warming orthodoxy and warming bias of their computer models) in the UK during April.  No doubt the Met Office will issue its now standard retort that people do not understand ‘probability’ and excuse that these forecasts must be used in conjunction with 30-day, 15-day and 1-to-5-day forecasts.

The observed reality makes a mockery of the Met Office precipitation and temperature forecasts once again.  This month just gone was the wettest April since records began in 1910, and the coldest since 1989, at some 0.65C below than the 1971-2000 average.

As always, there will be no investigation.  The media will happily mock the contrast between the drought in force in southern and central England, but will steer well clear of serving the public interest by focusing on why these forecasts are so badly wrong.  Attention will be diverted by all parties to other subjects, particularly efforts to fight climate change.  The performance bonuses will continue to flow to the Met Office’s executives as surely as night follows day.

It’s always helpful to connect the dots.  The Chairman of the Met Office is Robert Napier.  Not only is he a Non-Executive Director of Anglian Water, which has a drought order in place, he is also the former Chief Executive of WWF-UK, the UK arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature.  That is the same WWF exposed as being engaged in systematic fraud in the developing world and which supplies the International Panel on Climate Change with material to prop up the climate change industry.

All too predictable

Gordon Brown was renowned for his rehashing and re-release of announcements to make existing commitments or actions already underway appear as new initiatives.  It seems David Cameron is taking a leaf out of Brown’s book.

In an all-too-predictable piece in the Barclay Brother Beano today by Patrick Hennessy, readers are told that Cameron:

… will produce a series of measures that he hopes will give “red meat” to Conservative backbenchers, who are calling for action to appeal to their core voters after poor local election results.

One of the few mentioned is this:

* clamp down on crime with a new “British FBI”, tougher anti-social behaviour measures and community sentences;

A new British FBI?  Apparently Cameron:

… hopes that other items in the Queen’s speech – including the creation of the new National Crime Agency, which is seen as a British FBI; more “intensive” community punishments and moves to seize credit cards, passports and driving licences from criminals – will satisfy critics.

The inclusion in the Queen’s Speech of the creation of the National Crime Agency is a mere formality and is not the signal of a change in direction to appease pissed off Tories.  Its creation is old news.  It was offically announced in June 2011 by Theresa May, who hailed its creation as:

… a landmark moment in British law enforcement.

We were told nearly fully one year ago that the NCA will come fully into being in 2013, with some key elements becoming operational sooner. Its new head was announced in October 2011.  The timetable for it to be formally brought into being was included in the Home Office publication from which May’s comment was taken:

And as per the timetable, the work of putting the pieces into place has already happened.

So given all this, how is it that the Tories are being allowed to spin the widely trailed creation of the National Crime Agency as one of a series of measures that Cameron hopes will give “red meat” to Conservative backbenchers, who are calling for action to appeal to their core voters after poor local election results?  Why is the lamentable Telegraph conning its readers by pushing this matter as a reaction to poor local election results?  If this is what the battle plan to avert a Tory civil war looks like, they are probably be using Wellington’s plan at Waterloo as a template for the defence of the Falkland Islands.

If the NCA is something that is supposed to appeal to core Conservative voters – circa 9.3% of the electorate on Thursday – one wonders how many of them will be pleased when they discover down the line that this is a big enabling step on the patient journey to a cross-border EU policing agency, which carefully maintains the promise not to integrate existing police forces while achieving what Brussels wants.

Update: A subsequent tour of my blogroll shows that the always excellent The Boiling Frog was on to this last night when the Failygraph article was published.  It is well worth reading.  TBF shows that several other Queen’s Speech inclusions mentioned in the Fail are also rehashes.  This is not so much ‘red meat’ for Tories as undercooked Groundhog for the rest of us.

The real London Mayoral election result

The people in London, who are actually registered to vote, had their say on Thursday about who they wanted to be Mayor.  Below is the official result, including the second preference votes where a choice was indicated.

The vote doesn’t take into account those people who had a mountain of opportunity to support a candidate but who decided not to vote for anyone.  When you include that number, the election result looks rather different (percentages rounded).

This is the state of politics today.  38.1% of those with the franchise saw anything worth voting for and went through the motions of supporting a candidate under the illusion the outcome would matter.

However at least 3,588,047 of London’s registered voters exercised their democratic right not to engage or select any of those on offer.  There will be a multitude of reasons why they chose not to.  But turnout in London was down 6.7% from four years ago, the last time the Mayoral election was fought.

The political process is failing people and increasing numbers are turning away as they recognise the fact that nothing they do will effect any kind of change.  They do not want anything to do with those who purport to represent them and claim a mandate to lead them.

It is time to stop looking at the percentage of the vote candidates secure, and instead look at the percentage of registered voters who actually engage in the process.  It is far more informative.  61.9% in an election is considered to be a landslide.  In this case, it is a landslide against the political class and politics in general.  Those in office do not have real legitimacy.  In years gone by an electorate excluded people based on class, title and gender.  The only difference now is those not having a say are self selecting.  They have disenfranchised themselves because they have no power.  We just need people to see that they can take power back.  It is within their gift.  It is their responsibility to do so.

The excitement and drama of election night

In years gone by elections used to matter.

Election night was a time for sitting in front of the TV and radio as results streamed in from around the country.  The people who were elected and the platform they stood on would have an effect on the way services were delivered and the spending priorities of authorities and central government.  The notion of a politician being rejected at the polls and therefore seeing their manifesto discarded was a powerful influence.

But for a long time now elections have ceased to be relevant.  When all that is on offer is the same product in a different coloured wrapping there is frankly no point going out and making use of the electoral franchise.  For the main three parties it doesn’t really matter who is returned by the voters, because the same agenda will be ruthlessly pursued and the wishes of the people won’t be allowed to get in the way.  Which is why local political campaigning on real issues is all but dead in more and more localities and paper candidates are increasingly the norm.

The result of this should be a rejection of the political class by the electorate, characterised by a refusal to go out and vote.  But there has always been a hard core of people who wish to use their vote.  However even that number seems to be experiencing a dramatic decline.  (Update: As Richard at EU Referendum puts it, ‘The indifferents have it’).  Bearing witness to this implosion is BBC News Online’s live text coverage.  Just a few of the comments lay bare the accelerating rejection of the political class:

… In Kingston-upon-Hull, reports turnout about to be declared at 18.7%.

… Reports that polling station in Ealing & Hillingdon, west London, had reported hardly anyone voting until parents started collecting children from school. Turnout was remarkably low even then.

… BBC Radio Derby’s Chris Doidge reports candidates in Derby say turnout is well down on last year. Official says postal vote returns down around 5%, indicating it is not just the weather.

… Early indications point to a record low turnout amongst Scotland’s four million voters. Councils will begin counting ballot papers tomorow morning with the battle for control of the country’s biggest cities expected to command most attention. 

… Alan Johnson, Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, tells the BBC that he is “very disappointed by the turnout”.

… BBC Nottingham’s Steve Beech reports that turnout in Nottingham’s mayoral referendum was just 10.89% in one ward.

The impact of this?  It is likely there will be an increasing awareness among ordinary people that politicians who are imposing decisions on us are doing so with ever less legitimacy.  Especially given that despite what appears to be a much improved showing for UKIP where they are standing candidates, they are still not taking seats from the main three parties against the backdrop of a sharply reduced turnout.

… Andrew Sinclair Political Correspondent, BBC East reports that UKIP have come within 40 votes of taking a seat from the Conservatives in Great Yarmouth.

… Darren in Liverpool emails: Some excellent results for UKIP so far, a good number of second places they seem to be making good progress in local elections in recent years, despite a lack of coverage.

While many people may remain blind or ignorant to the fact most of our laws and regulations already lack legitimacy because they originate in the EU – imposed by people we have not elected or accepted and who are beyond democratic accountability – people are more likely to notice and take issue with the lack of legitimacy in their own towns and cities.  This is dangerous territory for the political class and the current ‘democratic process’.

Things cannot continue as they are.  Change is overdue and the refusal of the electorate to engage in the current process via the ballot box suggests the time may soon be ripe for a new settlement.  That really could provide a mix of excitement and drama – and not in the way the political class might hope for.  And with that, it’s off to bed to leave the BBC reporters around the country sharing the election news with an ever less interested and rapidly shrinking audience.

378 words

Writing in the Barclay Brother Beano, Rev Dr Peter Mullen uses 378 words to support his assertion that this Conservative Party is more socialist than any government he has seen in his lifetime.  While Rev Mullen is right in what he says, 378 words barely scratches the surface of the story.

In relative terms his is a throwaway comment that actually provides little if any value to the discussion.  Nowhere in those 378 words is there any mention of the chasm that is the democratic deficit in this country.  Nowhere in those 378 words is there any acknowledgement of who actually governs this country.  Nowhere in those 378 words is there any reference to the manner in which the interests of a select few are pursued at the expense and detriment of the many.  Nowhere in those 378 words is there any consideration of alternatives that might empower the people who are treated with barely disguised contempt by the political class.

Long before millions of people trudged to the polls to cast their ballot at the general election – a futile exercise cynically passed off as proof that we live in a ‘democracy’ – David Cameron had already shown himself for what he is.  Enough people had spotted Cameron’s rapid reverse away from previous attention grabbing pledges, delivered with his face contorted in that trademark sham sincerity, to back away from the Conservatives and deny him what would pass for an election victory.

Not that it mattered.  Whether it was the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems or a coagulation of any two of them getting their hands on levers of power that they and their ilk have willingly disconnected from everything that is remotely capable of controlling anything, we were always going to end up with the same outcome.

For too long politics in this country has been characterised by creeping progression down a path that is rejected by voters time and again.  The political class continues to be unaccountable to the people they are supposed to represent.  Their supposedly bitter political battles are nothing more than shallow theatrics designed to obfuscate and conceal the reality that on all the major issues they share a common agenda.  What the people want never comes to pass because the people have allowed power to be taken from them and have not taken it back.

What is needed is not another mini op-ed from the likes of Peter Mullen, who are angry not because of the direction this country is being taken, but because they fell for the partisan party charade in the first place.  Their value is negligible.  What is needed is a new settlement.  What is needed is a constructive blueprint for the future that empowers people and makes them want to support it for positive reasons.  What is needed is something that is borne from the grassroots and evolves and grows, rather than something imposed from on high.

The seed might have been sown.  But it will only germinate and take root if people who care are prepared to help nurture it and play a part in tending it to maturity and strength.  The time for complaining is over.  The time for positive and constuctive action is at hand.


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