Posts Tagged 'New Politics'

One political earthquake looks likely to be replaced by another

National polling over the last few days has caused some ripples among political anoraks.

As Political Betting has highlighted, Labour and Conservatives are now level pegging on 34% according to You Gov.  The last time that Labour was that low with the firm was in June 2010 only weeks after the party’s GE2010 defeat.   With four pollsters in two days showing the same broad picture the trend is becoming clearer Labour is down.

Miliband effect kicking in?

It seems no one has quite ‘got’ why this has happened yet. Most people are not political anoraks and therefore take little or no interest in politics until the week before they are going to vote.  Now there is a nationwide election due and we are less than a year from the General Election, so more people are inevitably taking a look at politics, whether they will vote and if so who they will vote for.

This is forcing people to look at Ed Miliband for the first time in a while and consider whether they seem him as this country’s next Prime Minister.  It seems they are concluding that he is not Prime Minster material and slowly turning away from Labour.

Where’s the UKIP bounce?

What is interesting is that there does not seem to be any rise in UKIP support, as the national polling for 2015 still shows the party rooted firmly in the 15% range.  UKIP has made much of its belief that more of its voters in the forthcoming European Elections will stick with the party in May 2015, and that a political earthquake will result.

What this assessment seems to ignore is that only around 30% of the electorate will bother to vote in the Euros, with UKIP mobilising just about all its support.  Most Labour and Tory voters and a good many Lib Dems will stay at home.  In May next year around 65-70% of the electorate will turn out for the personality politics vanity contest.  UKIP’s current vote will be significantly diluted.

Make no mistake, UKIP has the capacity to hurt the Tories next year.  But if  Labour support continues to fall back and the UKIP polling share doesn’t advance then the Tories may mitigate a lot of the damage.  UKIP’s political earthquake would then only have power comparable to a fart on a waterbed as the classic two party squeeze returns.

A lot can change between now and next May.  But as things stand it’s hard to see people’s perception of Miliband changing, particularly as the economy continues to improve.  Similarly it’s hard to see where UKIP will make any new breakthroughs, particularly as its immigration strategy is permanently alienating many more potential supporters than it is attracting.

One earthquake fails to materialise, but another might loom

Cameron could well be on course for a second term in Downing Street.  It’s not a prospect that fills me with joy, but as a result of that the UK would be on course for an in/out EU referendum in 2017.

This could be the best opportunity for the ‘out’ side to secure a Brexit from the EU. That would be an earthquake right at the top end of the political richter scale.

2017 is a date well before a point by which Cameron could ever hope to deliver on his renegotiation pledges.  There is no prospect of treaty change, which Cameron acknowledges some of his pledges require if they are to be delivered.  Four years after promising reforms he would have achieved nothing and would fight a referendum on a platform of promises that he can deliver, eventually.

People would see the reality that repatriation of meaningful powers to nation states just will not be allowed to happen.  Just like that crushing moment when a child discovers Father Christmas is not real, many pro-reformers will finally see their fantasy for what it is and admit at last the only options are in or out.

At least that is what will happen, if UKIP don’t secure enough votes in 2015 to deprive the Conservatives of some seats they currently hold in Parliament.  UKIP supporters face a paradox:

  • fight the Tories and do enough damage to prevent them winning the 2015 election, handing Downing Street to Miliband and thus losing any hope of bringing about a winnable in/out referendum.  Or,
  • don’t fight the Tories in the hope that they win the election and present EUsceptics with the golden opportunity they have craved for decades, to have and fight a winnable referendum and take Britain out of the EU

Welcome to the often soul destroying world of realpolitik.  After more than 20 years of campaigning to get the UK out of the EU, UKIP may find itself in a position where putting party first actually deprives voters of the chance to escape from the control of Brussels.

Tackling the web of delusion

Inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners Lee, is one of this country’s finest exports.  When one considers the huge contribution he has made to the ability of people to share information and knowledge around the globe in seconds, it seems a shame to find cause to criticise him.

But sadly that is the case today.  In fairness, Berners Lee has rightly articulated in the Telegraph a sound assessment that:

One of the most encouraging findings of this year’s Web Index is how the web and social media are increasingly spurring people to organise, take action and try to expose wrongdoing in every region of the world.

But, while that is true to an extent, Berners Lee has fallen into that prison of the mind, a web of delusion, when it comes to understanding what constitutes democracy.  For perhaps understandable reasons, this otherwise extremely intelligent man thinks we actually have democracy, which leads him to argue that:

… a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy. Bold steps are needed now to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online.

Surveillance and censorship of the type we are increasingly seeing are not threats to democracy; they are symptoms of the absence of democracy.

The definition of democracy has been corrupted.  Its definition today as advanced by the political class, has been adulterated to mean nothing more than periodic elections taking place.  Small wonder people are ignorant about what democracy really is and continue to labour under the delusion that we have it.

All this sham ‘democracy’ permits is a change of the colours of the tribe that will execute agendas formulated by unelected and unaccountable people, without consultation with us, or our permission.  The political process is completely detached from the people.  Power has been removed ever further from the people and the only solution is for people to take that power for ourselves – it will not be willingly reliquished by the establishment.

There is a way of taking that power and commencing the journey to democracy, one that will take time and numbers.  The Harrogate Agenda has the sole and unswerving objective of having democracy implemented in this country and has a strategy to achieve it.  A one page (PDF format) explanation of The Harrogate Agenda can be downloaded and shared from the right hand side of this page or by clicking on the PDF graphic below:

The Harrogate Agenda explained

Taking power for the people can be done, peacefully, intelligently and by operating within the law.  Withdrawing our consent to be governed in the way we are can be achieved by frustrating the establishment through a mass refusal to abide by their rules and requirements when it comes to the source of their power – the control of money.

A ‘New Politics’ is emerging that rejects the political class

One key element of the Harrogate Agenda is that the movement does not have a defined ‘leader’ and rejects the idea of morphing itself into a political party.

Part of the thinking is that the focus remains on the aims of the movement, allowing every supporter of those aims to have the autonomy to organise meetings and events and support the campaign in a way that suits them.

In this way internal intrigues are thus diminished and autocrats are prevented from seizing the direction of the movement and diverting the energies of supporters to activities that suit a different agenda. It is a reflection of the dwindling trust in political parties among ordinary people.

This shift has accelerated as politics has become ‘professionalised’ to the extent where future party figures are groomed from a young age in party youth sections, read politics and economics at college and then work in think-tanks and policy institutes before being streamed into party candidate selection. Real world experience and a productive employment history is noticeable by its absence among this political class.

With this in mind we notice that another non-aligned, organic, grassroots movement has similarly rejected the idea of electing a leader or forming a political party, while still recognising the need for a government.

Regardless of the cause this movement is pursuing, this is yet another striking example of the rapidly changing approach to politics and campaigning that deliberately marginalises the political parties and strives to keeps them and their influence at arms length.

We are seeing the advent of a new politics, one that operates in a way that encourages people power instead of seeing that stripped away by the political class which hijacks and plunders each passing bandwagon.

People are increasingly joining such campaigns because they have a great deal more confidence that grassroots movements won’t be saddled with the party political baggage and the selfish motivations of power seekers who use politics as a route to personal enrichment and seek reward from the self selecting establishment they inevitably service.

Times are a changing.

Let the people decide. Let the discussion begin.

Since the Harrogate conference at the Old Swan Hotel, the participants at the meeting have engaged in a great deal of discussion about what is being called The Harrogate Agenda.

Emails have flown back and forth and debate has taken place the forum on Richard North’s EU Referendum blog.  Today is the day that the provisional list of demands has been published.

Provisional because, in a demonstration of the very democratic settlement we are demanding, everyone is being invited to share their views and ideas, and participate in the enhancement and improvement as we draw closer to the adoption of a final charter.  Your thoughts and suggestions are extremely valuable and very welcome – just join in the discussion at the link above.  So here are the draft demands…

The get the old debating juices flowing and get people thinking, below are some challenging thoughts shared in an email round robin between the Harrogate group (which really should have been on the forum) about what the aims of the charter should be and how the movement that has been spawned should approach this endeavour.

First, making the EU the target is doomed to failure. The UK’s destiny can still be mapped within domestic structures – albeit structures that need reform. That should be the target. We need to think strategically. There is no point attacking the opponent’s queen if your opponent is about to checkmate you with his pawns. We need to have our pieces in the right places on the board in order to win and ensure we have a positive and constructive path that people will want to tread.

Second, history has shown political parties are not the route to bringing about change. Movements are the method to drive change as parties will always lose focus and devote attention to their own internal intrigues and rivalries. They develop their own interests and waste energy servicing their own machine.

Having the post constitutional pieces in place is the priority – and before that we need to set aside the illusion of Magna Carta and a Bill of Rights being any use to us. They have been ripped apart with ease by successive Parliaments exposing their weaknesses. We need a modern, watertight constitution that serves the nation’s people, not vested interests, which cannot be by-passed for political expediency or changed without permission of the electorate.

What do you think?  Why not click over to the forum and contribute your thoughts.

Democracy is about power – people power.  The task the attendees at Harrogate set themselves was to define six demands which would bring us closer to controlling our own destinies and governing for ourselves the great nations of which we are part.  With the focus on bringing power to the people, this offering is a start.  It’s now time for others to play their part.

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 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 tactics of the globalist warmists are legion

In the comments to my previous post about the article on melting Arctic sea ice causing colder winters, by Richard ‘Black is White’ of the BBC, is this response from fellow blogger, Dephius, who writes:

AM, if you haven’t noticed it, I sense a paradigm shift in the trend of the BBC’s output. Its not so long ago that a report like this would have rammed the AGW message home loud and clear with several references to it.

Instead we have just one paragraph related to how man made CO2 might skew the natural pattern of global climate cycles.

When natural cycles and the effects of the Sun on global climate are given more emphasis than warmist dogma, I just wonder if we’re seeing the tide finally turning.

I’ve seen more emphasis given to Chinese (no friends of the AGW cult) climate research now too, which is interesting.

And then on another post prior to that, where I invited readers to forget the climate science feeding frenzy and focus instead on the real issue of the globalisation of government, which is using climate change as a justification for its development, commenter Karl Hallowell, contributes these thoughts:

I have to disagree. Not that there are ideologies that move to overthrow the current democratic order, but rather the claim that the strategy for dealing with them are flawed. Coming up with a policy attack -based vehicle for ideological purposes is not a trivial task. It’s not like guessing passwords or trying different keys in a lock. Each attempt takes a great deal of effort, communication, and coordination. And exposes the participants to risk of humiliation, disfranchisement, and even criminal charges, if they go too far.

Dealing with the attacks rather than the ideology has three strengths. First, it builds up a body of policy for when a valid weakness is found. Ultimately, having an established, democratic plan for dealing with valid environmental or societal problems will do more to cut off these attacks than fighting the ideology directly. Democracy by itself has done much to weaken the power of these ideologies, precisely because it provides conduits for debate and action that ideologues can’t bypass.

Second, they lose something every time they fail. The more they cry “wolf” the more they discredit themselves in future assaults. They don’t have infinite resources at their disposal.

Finally, it means that the strategy remains effective, even if the ideology mutates or is replaced. It works as well against would-be theocrats (of any flavor), Marxists, or any new ideologies that haven’t yet had a chance to rear their nasty, little heads.

Both are very good comments and worthy contributions to the debate.  As I was about to write a post replying to these points I spotted a great blog post on Biased BBC by the ever excellent Robin Horbury.  It addresses both points at once.

Firstly is demonstrates the shift in approach by the BBC, explaining the point raised by Delphius.  As, for example, the comments section on Richard Black’s activist page are increasingly pock-marked with spaces where comments have been removed and comments that are allowed to remain that nevertheless pull Black’s warmist position and bias to pieces, the angle of the warmist attack has changed.

It seems the BBC is slowly giving up pushing such an alarmist narrative because it is increasingly rejected and derided by readers those who stop to think about the reality of the situation and provide counter evidence.  Why waste time trying to convert people who refuse to accept the party line?  Far better to seek the adoration of and nodding agreement of those who believe the alarmist argument on climate and stand to benefit financially from the UN mandated wealth redistribution programme under the guise of fighting climate change.

On to Karl Hallowell’s comment, the Biased BBC post shows that going toe-to-toe over the scientific arguments being used by the globalist warmists only serves to drive them down another avenue, while maintaining their direction of travel.  The opportunity to engage and challenge the science is being removed from the sceptics while the globalist agenda is furthered in a different way.

Ultimately our money and resources are still going where the UN wants it to, and we will still pick up the tab for the alarmists’ policies as we are forced to pay for wind turbines that don’t work and CO2 emission measures that make no difference to the environment.  Surely that demonstrates that focusing on holding the line in one theatre of battle is futile as the enemy troops elsewhere isolate you from the rest of the war.

Their tactics are legion.  Until we stop tackling the climate science symptom exclusively and go after the political root cause of this agenda, we will be swamped and lose the war.

Winters are colder because it’s getting warmer

And so the game goes on.  The useful idiots (and hard core activists) of the cult of sustainability continue to create new arguments at public expense to justify a political ‘solution’.

The subtle and blatant distortion of the facts in the article aren’t important, but they will keep opponents of the anti-science global warmists occupied for days or even months. And while they might win another battle against the warmist using proper scientific method, they are unwittingly still losing the war because behind the scenes the real agenda continues its advance.

This claim from Richard ‘Black is White’ is faithfully carried in support of the ’cause’ yet if it is ever falsified by other scientists the new research will be ignored, omitted from the record, buried – instead a new claim requiring the same political solution will rise to take its place in the narrative and the incessant march towards global government on the basis of controlling spending to fix a problem that isn’t really a problem, will continue.

Forget climate change, we must focus on the real issue

Over at Bishop Hill there is a post titled A Study in Groupthink that looks at an exchange of Twitter comments between Maurizio Morabito (@Omnologos) and Bora Zivkovic (@BoraZ), the blogs editor at Scientific American.

The author of the Bishop Hill blog, Andrew Montford, explains in his post that Zivkovic is clearly very much out of the same mould as Peter Gleick, which I take to mean an unswerving true believer, a rigid in his views who sees anyone dissenting from what he chooses to believe in and argue for as ultimately evil or corrupted by vested interests.  Montford’s take is that Zivkovic perhaps views his cause as beleaguered by wicked big business, and opines that reading Zivkovic’s tweets it’s a fascinating study in groupthink.

Strictly speaking, when looking at the cabal of proponents of man-made global warming theory (AGW) and the band of sceptics lined up against them, you can see they are all in fact caught up in a groupthink.  Because both sides act as if the issue at hand is about whether mankind really is causing the planet to warm significantly and therefore endangering the earth.  Which is why I left the following comment on the blog:

Ultimately it is all meaningless. While people like Zivkovic, Gleick, Mann, Trenberth, Briffa, Jones etc try to make this into a scientific argument, because they are funded to churn out hypotheses about the climate and the ecosystem, it is nothing of the sort. It is all about politics.

Sceptics, and scientists who dissent from the ‘consensus’, could falsify, debunk and disprove every element of the AGW narrative and see off every member of the ‘team’ and make a laughing stock of the ’cause’, but we will still come under assault.  For this is all about politics and ideology, even if the prominent actors don’t realise it.

Ultimately if it is not climate change it will be some other vehicle connected to ‘sustainability’ that will be used as a means of controlling the population and redistributing wealth from the industrialised world to the developing world in a way that enriches the corporates.

From the United Nations down, every tier of governance has been tasked with executing the ‘progressive’ agenda, which in reality is regressive for all of us.  It’s not some crackpot conspiracy, it’s just the way those with power and wealth are steering the ship.

This direction of travel will not be defeated by butting heads with a small band of AGW blowhards who are lavishly funded to continue producing ‘findings’ and ‘projections’ that fit in with the actions needed to further the overarching agenda.  Until people start to tackle the root cause of the disease instead of the symptoms, we will continue to go round in circles playing ‘he said, she said’ while our democracy, liberty, wealth and individual rights ebb away.

Expose the distortions, errors, scientific flaws all you like, but don’t lose sight of what is really going on and why.

Politics has changed.  We no longer have a left-right paradigm, even if many who are politically active but unaware of what is going on around them still define themselves in such terms.  Today we have an authoritarian mix of progressive and fascist corporatism (rule by and in the interest of government and corporations) on one side, and mix of classical liberalism and libertarianism (limited government and individual liberty) on the other.

We can see the evidence of the corporatist approach.  It makes me laugh when the global warming fanatics try to undermine opposition to them by arguing the sceptics are in the pay of ‘big oil’.  One of the worst propagandists for spinning this line is Bob Ward, mouthpiece for the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.  Australian Journalist Jo Nova reported that Exxon-Mobil had paid $23 million to sceptical groups over a ten-year period.  Big corporate Exxon-Mobil are therefore considered evil personified by warmists like Ward.

Ward’s employer is named after its benefactor – the uber wealthy fund manager, Jeremy Grantham.  In 2011 Grantham held 11,309,048 shares of Exxon stock.  Why would Grantham fork out to fund an institute researching climate change when he is making a fortune from the very company cited by his minions as evil big oil?  Perhaps because as a corporate animal his only interest is making money, and his hypocritical fence straddling is a means to that end.

Let’s compare Exxon’s oft cited $23m funding of sceptics to money poured into environmental interests.  How about another big corporate, BP?  They were investing $8 billion in biofuels, wind power and solar while building long term options in carbon capture and storage and clean technology. Five billion dollars of that had already been invested by 2011.  That money is funnelled into delivering exactly what the environmentalists want and also supports lobbying and activism.  But they are still considered ‘big oil’.

There are plenty more examples of these kind of inconvenient facts, where the supposed enemy is a friend and supposed ally is an opponent.  The bottom line is these companies will support whatever helps their bottom line.  They are super powerful and influential corporates, and with the subsidies on offer utterly committed to keeping the climate change gravy train on the tracks.  And we, the taxpaying consumers, foot the bill to increase the wealth of these corporations.

To believe the corporates have anything other than a vested interest in the centralisation of power and control that coordinates global action, to erode democracy and liberty which thus enables the transfer of wealth, is to reside in a realm of delusion.  No matter what the ‘science’ reveals and how much it is debunked, there will always be another line of attack from the sustainability playbook to further the political – and dare I say economic corporatist – agenda.  This is where the battle needs to be fought, not in the theatre of carbon dioxide emissions, raw and adjusted data or fractions of a degree of temperature change.

David Cameron on ECHR – A Man for all Soundbites

From the august pages of the Daily Mail comes yet another story of David Cameron relying on the ignorance of the population to give the appearance of taking a tough line on ‘Europe’.

But while the issue bringing this latest piece of Cameron PR bullshit to the fore – the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that Abu Qatada cannot be deported to Jordan, lest evidence obtained under torture is used against him – the story in the Wail shows Cameron is not proposing to do anything about the legal basis for the Court’s decision, thus confirming nothing will change and that his posturing is nothing but meaningless hot air:

David Cameron will this week confront European judges blamed for stopping the deportation of extremist Islamic cleric Abu Qatada and tell them: ‘Stop meddling in  British justice.’

In a hard-hitting speech in Strasbourg, the home of the European Court of Human Rights, the Prime Minister will demand major reforms in the way the court is run.

He will say European judges must be more in touch with public opinion, accept more UK court rulings and let countries protect their own citizens and stop interfering in ‘petty’ cases.

If we use metaphor to explain what Cameron is doing here it demonstrates once again the fatuous nature of his latest intervention…  Cameron has a car that possesses features he does not like.  When the car is used the feature delivers performance he is not happy with.  But rather than focus on the addressing the feature that is affecting the performance, his solution is to demand the driver is changed.  The feature and its performance remain unaffected.

Cameron’s dishonesty is as striking as his lack of principle.  Like it or loathe it, the ECHR is not meddling in British Justice as he puts it.  The UK is signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and this country’s politicians, past and present, have seen to it this country is bound by its articles making it an integral part of ‘British Justice’. In the Abu Qatada case, below are the passages relevant to the judgement that was passed.

Being resolved, as the Governments of European countries which are like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law to take the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration;

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1

The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.

>>>

ARTICLE 6

1.In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly by the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

2.Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3.Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

(b) to have adequate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence;

(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;

(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

This is not ‘meddling in British Justice’, this has been made a cornerstone of our justice system.  And for all his whining, Cameron has no intention of trying to change a single letter of the text.  As for the judgement itself, the ECHR has clearly explained why Qatada (Omar Othman) cannot be returned to Jordan.

The UK’s agencies were stupid enough to grant asylum to Abu Qatada in the first place (as they do to so many foreign criminals, terrorists and ne’er do goods who pitch up here) and now want rid of him.  The Jordanians have provided a way out for the UK.  The UK wants to take it.  But Jordan extracts evidence via torture and mistreatment.  Why should that bother us?  After all, Qatada is believed to be part of Al Qaeda, they engage in terrorism and cold blooded murder and wish us harm, so why should we prevent him from facing Jordanian justice?

My response is grounded in a beautiful piece of dialogue in that great 1960s film, A Man for All Seasons, where Sir Thomas More (Paul Schofield) is arguing with his future son-in-law, William Roper about why he will not arrest Richard Rich and has let him leave the house freely despite his efforts to undermine More:

More: Go he should, if he were the Devil, until he broke the law.

Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?  This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s!  And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?  Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

The same holds for Qatada.  While Article 6 prevents his deportation to Jordan, the same Article also protects the rest of us from extradition on the basis that ‘evidence’ against us obtained under duress is likely not safe.  Abu Qatada may very well be the Devil, but I too will give him the benefit of law for my own safety’s sake! If the UK or Jordan want to put Qatada behind bars for the rest of his life, they should obtain incontrovertible evidence of his guilt in a legal and responsible manner.  If they can’t then they have no justification for doing anything other than protecting his rights and liberty.

Cameron’s naked politicking, deceit and ignorance suggest he either doesn’t get it, or more worryingly is determined to trample over our liberties.  What this country needs is a man for all seasons.  What we have is a man for all soundbites.  Truly the heir to Blair.

The great sleepwalk

The people of this country are in the process of being brainwashed to ask only those questions the political elite will allow and are, at the same time, being programmed to see every political decision as one that is unquestionably correct. This brainwashing, or social engineering, has now reached a stage where it appears that Britons are no longer able to see what is happening to them and their country.

Read the whole thing at the always excellent Witterings from Witney.

To take back power we need to change focus

Why is it so many people look at Parliament, the party conferences and internal power games within the three main political parties and conclude that politics is irrelevant, remote?  Perhaps it is because ordinary people cannot influence politics at the national – or transnational – level.

Many people have asked, via the comments on other posts and via emails, how it is possible to further a democracy agenda and take back power if you reject the party political system.  The answer has unwittingly long been provided by the Conservatives with one of their empty pledges – localism.  Local politics is the real seat of power in this country.  Ordinary people can exert great influence in politics from the local level, but too few realise this and choose to do so.

Local politics is the least scrutinised area of public life.  But it is also the most vulnerable to people power.  The necessary origins of the kind of non-party political movement that is required to drive the change needed in this country are rooted in local government.  That is why it is no coincidence that organisations like Common Purpose have a strategy to build a base of local bureaucrats and civil servants to ‘lead beyond authority’ – or in other words to assume power and, without the awareness or proper scrutiny of the people, further a Marxist agenda that takes advantage of that very lack of local focus and ignorance of where real power resides.

Consider, local Authorities are the most enthusiastic supporters and endorsers of EU policy. Be it the regionalisation agenda, climate change obsession, zealous focus and enforcement of waste disposal and recycling, or health initiatives such as reducing tobacco use, local authorities embrace these issues as a means to increase their power and control.  It is from local authorities that many of the members of unelected and unaccountable regional assemblies and quangos are drawn.  District and County Councillors are appointed to various bodies that have control over vast sums of public money, such as police authorities, health trusts and education authorities.  This enables them to influence and take decisions that affect all of us – and extract ever more money from us to service their pet projects and vested interests.

Control should and supposedly does reside with elected local Councillors.  However it is the Council Officers who pull the strings.  They write the reports, they formulate the recommendations and all too often they seek to neuter any elected members who challenge them.  All too often the Council Officers help the Councillors to feather their nests, thus keeping them compliant and unwilling to rock the boat.

And it is this that needs to be the focus of our attention – the restoration of democratic control, transparency and accountability to stop the Officer tail wagging the Councillor dog.  It can be done, for it is far easier to create a non-party political local campaign, build up support in a ward or wards, and then run independent candidates who can win local elections than it is to get a non aligned candidate into Parliament.  Candidates who will not play the game, and who when elected will wrest control back from the bureaucrats and put it back in the hands of those who are directly accountable to the electorate, are a nightmare scenario for the powers that be.

Such an effort is the natural extension of using Freedom of Information to expose actions by local authorities that are unjust or unlawful, or to highlight bureaucrats over reaching their power.  It is the next logical step to tackling Officers who loot the public purse – steal our money – by writing their own outrageous contracts that see them paid wildly inappropriate six figure salaries and allow them to cash in on hundreds of thousands of pounds of severance payments when voluntarily leaving a post to take up another elsewhere, while also retiring early and getting generous payouts on top of their gold plated pension provisions.

All it takes is having elected people sitting in the Town Hall to say ‘no’. And that is more easily achieved than people imagine.

Of course some Officers will try to cajole elected members into accepting their recommendations.  But Officers have to follow the decisions made by elected members – unless they break the law.  If Officers refuse to carry out the wishes of the elected members, making that fact public would quickly alter things.  It is one thing to attempt to manipulate elected members behind closed doors, but quite another to stand firm in the face of  a public outcry.  A public that is sick and tired of being pickpocketed to fund initiatives they do not support.  A public that is sick and tired of being told what to do by people who are supposed to serve yet seek to control.

While it is good to highlight the anti democratic excesses of the EU – and the incompetence and self interest of politicians in Westminster – if campaigners and bloggers want to see change and make a real difference we need to focus our attention on local government first and foremost.  Pile on the FOI requests, attend council meetings and drag the decsions of Councillors blinking into the sunlight, and write to the local press so they cannot ignore the groundswell of opinion seeking to challenge the status quo.

That is the route to building a genuine powerbase outside the structures of the political parties.  That is the method of converting a grassroots desire for change into a political movement that can take back power.

The fall and fall of Tim Montgomerie

Many bloggers on the right of the blogosphere will remember the time when Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome was considered influential. To see how far Montgomerie has fallen, subsumed into the rent chasing claque in his desperate effort to be a ‘pundit’, just witness his piece in the online version of the Barclay Brother Beano this evening.

Whereas many people once considered Montgomerie to be a free thinker, genuine Eurosceptic and voice of the conservative leaning grassroots, he has sacrificed all in the interests of tribal party loyalty.  The Conservatives are in trouble, so Montgomerie has been drafted to write a distraction piece that poses such heavyweight political questions as ‘Is George Osborne actually running things at Number 10?’ and ‘Will Steve Hilton go?’

And to think CCHQ was once allegedly worried that Montgomerie’s grassroots focus was a threat to the party.  How wrong they were.

For when push came to shove, the Tory membership had accepted the Faustian deal to go along with Cameron’s new social democratic autocracy and, safely inside Downing Street, Cast Iron Dave was tearing up the few conservative principles that still remained, Montgomerie was shown to be nowhere.  Indeed, far from being the siren voice of the centre right determined to keep Cameron honest, Montgomerie is now CCHQ’s useful idiot, running interference to keep people outside the Westminster bubble watching the birdie and focusing attention on matters of little consequence or zero substance.  In return Montgomerie gets a national profile and repeated media opportunities with Downing Street’s blessing.

Thankfully at least one of the early commenters has failed to be taken in and has hit the nail squarely on the head with this incisive observation:

On these matters of substance Montgomerie is all but silent.  It is the best rated comment already, and it may well remain so as those who have not abandoned their convictions rail against those like Montgomerie who have sold out and therefore condemned themselves for a meteoric fall and increasing irrelevance.  When Cameron is finished there will be no way back for Montgomerie.  Having jumped the fence he will find attempts to jump back will be too much even for political editors to stomach.

Will David Laws be prosecuted at last?

The year-long inquiry by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, into David Laws’ deliberate appropriation of taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled, is said by an ‘insider’ to be so ‘damning’ that it could make it impossible for Mr Laws to return to the Cabinet.

If true a ‘damning’ finding would be very welcome .  Laws’ actions were a deliberate effort to defraud the taxpayer because he felt too ashamed to let it be known he was homosexual and living with his partner. It is inexcusable and indefensible. As this blog said in December, David Laws returning to the Cabinet would be a contempt of taxpayers.

The Mail on Sunday piece goes on to say that:

However, friends of Mr Laws last night disputed that, saying they did not expect the Commons sleaze watchdog’s report to be as critical as claimed and suggested it would not block his eventual return to government.

These ‘friends’ are fish from the same Parliamentary pool who are determined to have their man returned to a Cabinet position regardless of his theft. Why do they not expect the report to be as critical as suggested?

It is an open and shut case and Laws admitted his wrongdoing.  The fact is Laws should not even be an MP now.  He has faced no sanction for trousering £40,000 of our money, was allowed to resign rather than be summarily dismissed in disgrace, and is being lined up for a new Ministerial job. All this demonstrates is the ‘new politics’ is no different to the old politics and the political class works in its own interest at the expense of ours.

If John Lyon has been able to establish a pattern of wrongdoing by Laws, we can but hope, then there is no reason not to call in the Metropolitan Police and have Laws join his former Parliamentary colleagues in the dock to answer for his actions before a Jury.

The Census

While I respect those individuals who are determined not to complete the Census, I have no faith that the law would uphold their just objections to this excessive intrusion by the State.  As such I have bowed to the demands of the parasite class and completed my form online.

To those who refuse to complete the very questionnaire – opposed by the Conservatives in opposition, but distributed when they were in government – I wish you every success in avoiding prosecution and criminal records.  I don’t believe anyone should suffer such a sanction for refusing to answer so many searching questions that are utterly irrelevant to central government.

The only satisfaction the Census gave me amid the seething resentment I felt while completing it was being able to tell the government to ‘Mind your own’ on the religion question and identifying myself as English, even though the parasites do not recognise English as a nationality.  No doubt for this triviality I will be recorded on a database somewhere as a non conforming trouble maker or extremist. That would fit in with this story from last year about the EU instruction to build lists of people involved in:

“extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation” groups

This should give us cause to fear the burgeoning surveillance state because we know such lists will include people who simply disagree with that which our supposed servants have forced upon us. As always it is their interests that take primacy, our interests are an irrelevance.  But hopefully, come the day people in this country finally decide to throw off the EU and remove their self serving poodles in Westminster and the civil service, these lists will not matter.

It is not a crime or offence to believe in and desire a strong, independent nation state that serves the interests of its people.  It is not a crime or offence to believe in and desire genuine representative democracy and accountability.  It is not a crime or offence to be committed to bringing about such an outcome.

If such beliefs and desires mark a person out as a radical or extremist then it shows up the political class for what it is – our enemy.

Big Society Bank will plunder English money to fund UK activity

Back in July last year the always enjoyable patriotic Englishman Toque explained for the sake of clarity to his readers that Banque Camoron the Big Society Bank is an England-only scheme as only dormant English bank accounts will be robbed by the government to part capitalise the new gimmick.

In February this year Toque highlighted that in a speech on the subject David Cameron was failing to make clear only English bank accounts would be raided to fund the Big Society Bank.

There has been no explanation as to why dormant accounts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be left untouched by this outrageous and intrusive sequestration of funds.  Like most people, Toque had been labouring under the assumption that only English bank accounts are being plundered because the Big Society Bank will only fund English based projects.  But then he saw a comment made by Francis Maude in the House of Commons saying that:

…money put in by the banks will be for UK purposes, but the money coming into the big society bank in due course from dormant bank accounts will be for England only, unless the devolved Administrations decide to put their share of that money into the big society bank,

However a Parliamentary Written Answer published on Thursday doesn’t say that. In fact despite there being an ample opportunity to give a detailed response the answer gives the impression that as with so many pledges the government might be in the process of moving the goal posts.

When asked by Jonathan Edwards MP what arrangements the Minister for the Cabinet Office plans to put in place to fund the big society bank; and whether he expects there to be any differences in the operation of the bank in each nation or region, the Minister for Civil Society (yes, I know) Nick Hurd MP explained (my emphasis):

The Government have committed to using 100% of dormant accounts funds available for spending in England to set up the big society bank. In addition, four of the UK’s main banks have agreed to support the establishment of the bank with the injection, on a commercial basis, of £200 million of capital over two years, commencing in 2011.

We expect that the independent big society bank will have the ability to operate across the UK.

There is no sign of Maude’s caveat.  Not content with the English taxpayer being ripped off by the Barnett Formula of funding in the other home nations, we could now be seeing the Conservative-Lib Dem government taking money from English bank account holders and using it to fund Big Society initiatives outside of England after all.

No matter what happens, the message to the English from the Con-Lib coalition seems to be the same as the one from the last Labour government, shut up and pay up.

Today Libya, tomorrow Saudi Arabia?

The UN Security Council has voted 10-0 with five abstentions to impose a no fly zone over Libya.

So the obvious question is, if and/or when Bahrain, Yemen or Saudi Arabia’s people decide to oppose their rulers in direct fashion as we have seen in Libya, will we see the United States, UK and France marching into the UN Security Council to demand the imposition of no fly zones over those countries?

Or are such actions only reserved for regimes with whom there are old scores to be settled?

Will we see this newly found principled approach trump the vested and strategic interests of the US and other western nations?  Will we see a surprising appetite for intervention to ‘level the playing field’ in potential civil conflicts between autocrats and the people they dominate?

The words ‘Yeah, right!” spring to mind.

If you read one blog post today, make it this one

We are seeing here structural cuts which remove the UK’s ability to act independently as a nation, and to project our foreign policy. We have moved from independence to a transitional stage where our capabilities have been removed and there is no replacement.  The agenda unfolds.

The EU could make north Africa’s ills worse

A piece in yesterday’s Economist is noteworthy for that magaine’s continuing blinkered assessments of the reach and influence of the European Union.

The Charlemagne column offers us what its author probably thinks is an insightful article titled ‘No time for doubters’, which argues that Europe must do more to support Arab democracy, out of self-respect and self-interest.  As always, whenever there is a crisis the Euroweenies always emerge and declare that ‘Europe’ must do something.  We are told that:

WHEN people took to the streets of Tunis, France offered to help President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s security forces. When they filled the squares of Cairo, Italy praised Hosni Mubarak as the wisest of men. And when they were slaughtered in Tripoli, the Czech Republic said catastrophe would follow the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, Malta defended Libya’s sovereignty and Italy predicted that the protests would lead to an Islamic emirate.

With every new Arab uprising, some European country has placed itself on the wrong side of history. So it is no surprise that the European Union has been slow to tell regimes to listen to demands for democracy and to condemn violent suppression.

Well, what do you expect?  The European Union has as much place lecturing others on democracy as the Taliban has lecturing others on the wonders of Hinduism.

When are people like the author of the Charlemagne column going to get it through their thick heads that the EU is not democratic?  If anything the EU acts in much the same way as Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi, selecting its own leaders and imposing laws and regulations on the people of member states through entities that are unelected and unaccountable.  Too many EU leaders have respected the autocrats of north Africa and have coveted the kind of power they have wielded until now.

So when Charlemagne’s author pens comments such as the one below, it is clear he either doesn’t ‘get it’ or is simply helping to hold the EU’s anti democratic line:

Yet it is hard to avoid the suspicion that too many European countries are still more worried about stability in the Middle East than about democracy.

For sure EU leaders love globe trotting and telling the world about the wonder of democracy. But they sure as hell don’t practice what they preach. Out of all the member states only Ireland held a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty’s package of measures to dramatically increase the power of the EU at the expense of national sovereignty. That’s democratic?  The cosy stitch up by the political class serves no one’s interest but theirs, but they believe their own bullshit and think they are some kind of model democratic structure.

In truth the EU is only a model for a modernised version of the totalitarian autocracy being thrown off by the people in north Africa.  The only difference being the illusion of democracy where in truth none exists.  Which is why comments such as the one below are worthy of such contempt:

A better test of European diplomacy will be whether, in the longer term, the EU can help north African countries establish lasting democracies. Europe has a wealth of experience in helping to reform former totalitarian states.

Reform them into what, precisely?  There is a risk here that if north Africans listen to such garbage they will soon be engaging in yet more violent actions.  The erosion of democracy across the EU member states has been a gradual process, where each night a few extra bricks have quietly been laid on a steadily growing wall separating us from self determination. If the north Africans implemented an EU model as it currently stands, people would soon realise they have been conned. Charlemagne almost gets it right when he writes:

So far the revolts of 2011 have been strikingly free of Islamist, anti-imperial and even anti-Israeli ideology. Such sentiments could yet be stirred if Europe appears to be colluding with hated rulers.

Or if the people realise that the European method simply replaces one set of hated rulers with another outside the reach of democratic accountability.  What then? From the tender shoots of a desire for democracy we will see grow a thorny bush of Islamist fervour as the corruption of democracy becomes all too apparent – and the only available outlet for rebellion is offered by the Islamists, who will say only embracing their godly ways can satisfy the wishes of those who risked their lives to throw off dictatorship.

Indirectly, Europe’s slow burn coup d’etat could in the future have the effect of driving people into the arms of the extremists. Which is a pity, not least because it should be having the effect of making people in the member states rise up and take control back from those who have stolen it.

Escape and evasion

Readers may recall this post on 25th January concerning the report from the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee inquiry of the reviews into the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit’s (CRU) e-mails (Climategate).

It was noted that one of the Committee members, Graham Stringer MP, had proposed an amendment to the report that was rejected by the other three members, excluding the Committee Chairman, who could be bothered to show up.

One of those three members, Stephen Metcalfe MP (pictured), was contacted by a member of the public to find out more.  The story has been posted as a comment on Climate Audit in the screenshot below, and mentioned in a comment thread on the Bishop Hill blog (click to enlarge):

It seems some ‘Honourable’ members from the 2010 intake have been receiving training in escape and evasion techniques that the lads at Credenhill would be proud of.

Public interest 0-1 Vested interest.  Another poor showing for public interest, which remains languishing at the bottom of the UK Establishment League and faces relegation to the Politico Ignore List League.


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