Archive for June, 2010

Very taxing

Apologies once again for the paucity of posts here.  It’s been an incredibly busy week at work, and frustratingly the weekend is bringing more of the same.

Taxation has been one of the major discussion points of the week, since George Osborne’s Emergency Budget.  With the increase in VAT to 20% and other changes to allowances and tax rates that will leave many people worse off, it’s surprising that no one I’ve read has yet made critical comment about the attitude of government to taxation.

It can’t be just me who feels annoyance at the thinking that sits at the very heart of taxation today – a state of mind that seems to be casually accepted by too many of this country’s taxpayers.  For every time taxation is discussed I am struck by the sense of entitlement to our money that Ministers and some talking heads possess.

The overall tax burden continues to rise, not fall.  The percentage of our income sequestrated by the State is shockingly huge.  Before we spend a single pound of our income over 30% of what we earn is stripped from us.  Then we have Council Tax imposed on us to supposedly fund local services.  Of what remains, on the majority of purchases (excluding energy, food, books, etc) 17.5% is added to the true cost of goods and services.  But even on energy we pay hidden government imposed levies (thanks to the religion of global warming) before the 5% VAT is tacked on.  Then on essential items like petrol and diesel, around 65% of the cost of every litre we buy is duty and VAT that goes straight to the government.  These are just the very basic examples.  And do not forget the huge cost of funding the ever expanding machinery of government that administers this financial three-ringed circus.

The prevailing attitude is one of ‘you have money so we are taking it’.  There is no sense of regret or apology for doing so.  Quite the opposite.  Such behaviour is ludicrously described as ‘progressive’ and ‘fair’.  It is nothing of the sort.

The idea of taxation is to provide basic public necessities, to ensure the Realm was defended and that provisions were in place for people in desperate need, temporary or permanent.  But the bankrupt thinking that leads some people to believe that government can solve any problem and just needs funding in order to do so, has seen the state balloon in size and soak up our money like a sponge.  It is the clearest demonstration of wasteful, lazy and overbearing governance.  Of authoritarian, paternalist, control freakery that sees our money taken then used to bribe us so politicians can achieve and wield power.

Where is the outrage?  Where is the deeper thought that leads people to question why we have allowed government-by-consent to be transformed into electoral dictatorship?  Where are the people who are standing up and demanding that government only takes what is needed to fund the essentials and nothing more?  The failure to do this has allowed government to absorb our money and fritter it away on wheezes and trivialities.  It is insanity that the government gives money to groups to fund their ability to campaign for the government to spend our money on their special interests.  It is disgraceful that we indirectly fund charities and associations, that we may choose not to support, through government grants and hand outs.

Just think how much better off we would be if we kept more of our own money and decided for ourselves how and where to spend it.  Think how much better the goods and services offered to us by companies and sole traders would be.  Think how many more jobs would be created to service the needs of a wealthier population, in turn reducing the need for state help and therefore the need to tax us so much.  Consider, given our natural generosity, how much more money worthy charities would collect if we could better afford to contribute.  Consider how much more free we would be with a smaller and less intrusive government, and how much happier we could be if we were able to make more decisions for ourselves.

Having thought about that, now ask yourself, why do we tolerate the status quo?  Why do we not take back power and decision making for ourselves, rather than leave it in the hands of incompetent and self serving fools?  Fools who, despite having billions and billions of pounds of our money to hand in recent years have managed to spend it all with little to show for it, borrow billions more on top that have been also been squandered, and who have contrived to leave this country deep in debt, supposedly necessitating the picking of our pockets to harvest yet more of our meagre incomes to repair the damage.

I describe them as fools.  But in reality, who are the real fools in all this?

Budget Day propaganda from the BBC

Different day, same old nonsense from our public service broadcaster.  Watching a segment of BBC Breakfast on BBC1 during prime time this morning (7.30am-8.30am) was like listening to the Labour Party’s election campaign key messages.

The chief offender was the programme’s business reporter and Gordon Brown doppelganger, Simon Jack.  Watching him is like looking at a young Gordon Brown in the Thatcher era.  Listening to him does nothing to correct the mistaken identity.  Not once, but twice during that period of the programme, he told viewers that spending cuts and tax rises:

‘suck money out of the economy’

Those of us who hoped the end of the General Election campaign and demise of the Labour government would have signalled an end to such economic illiteracy on the airwaves are left disappointed by the propaganda effort continuing courtesy of Simon Jack and his fellow BBC activist broadcasters.

To push the BBC’s ‘big government tax and spend’ agenda along, viewers of that prime slot were then treated to a short clip of a member of the public, a Mr Wingham, expressing his hopes for a ‘wealth tax’ being created in the Budget, followed by his concerns about public service cuts.

It seems Mr Wingham shares Labour’s and the BBC’s worldview that if you have money the state is somehow entitled, nae obligated, to take it from you.  His example of unacceptable wealth was highly paid footballers.  Never mind that they pay in tax in a week more than I earn in a month, the Mr Wingham’s of this world believe they are not paying their fair share.

Perhaps there was a counterbalance to Mr Wingham in the form of a more considered and realistic member of the public recognising that the bloated state sector cannot continue being funded through borrowing, but if there was it was either much earlier in the morning or after I had left for work.  The BBC’s work was done.  In its own inimitable fashion it has educated and informed the public of what they should think.  It has drawn its line in the sand and prepared its positions for the inevitable criticism that will flood in George Osborne’s direction once the Budget has been delivered.

This BBC coverage be fine if I was not compelled, under pain of fines or imprisonment, to fund such biased and slanted output and accept it as impartial.  Over the last 13 years government has grown, infesting areas it has no business being involved in.  To achieve this it has taken more of our money and recklessly borrowed billions on top.  Instead of trimming its remit back to essential services only, it has swelled to harmful and unsustainable proportions. 

The BBC demonstrated once again this morning that it applauds such incompetence and wants it viewers and listeners to do likewise.  It’s time to get this monkey off our back and get its sticky fingers off our wallets.

Martin McGuinness faces civil court action

A civil action against Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, on account of his historical leadership in the IRA is to be progressed in the High Court, according to reports in the News Letter.

The same paper reported in March claims by Willie Frazer that he had served a writ on Mr McGuinness in the Stormont Parliament Buildings for damages relating to the murder of his father by the IRA in 1975.  Mr Frazer said Sinn Fein’s reaction to the findings of the Saville Report had prompted him to progress the case, which will be progressed on Monday.

While the story itself is moderately interesting, the most notable aspect concerns a quote in the piece from Sinn Fein’s spokesman about this man whose father was murdered by IRA terrorists:

“Willie Frazer is irrelevant and a serial failed political figure. His views have been rejected by the people in the Westminster election and Sinn Fein has better things to worry about.”

As words go, callous doesn’t seem remotely strong enough an adjective.  The contempt shown for this tragic man, who had his father snatched away from him by vicious IRA murderers, is sickening.  In seeking to turn this into a matter of electoral politics, rather than a matter of accountability, McGuinness’ Sinn Fien/IRA mouthpieces demonstrate the simmering hatred they retain for those who oppose them.

Given that IRA cowards refused to give evidence to the Saville Inquiry perhaps this is the only way of getting Martin McGuinness into a court room to account for his terrorism.  Romanticised by many in the media, it sometimes takes actions like this to strip away the faux veneer of respectability around McGuinness and reveal the brutality within.

Is man made global warming belief a state of mind?

Daniel Hannan, writing on his Telegraph blog, offers us his insight into ‘Why Lefties will always assume that Eurosceptics are bigots, regardless of the evidence’.  Hannan explains that in his book, The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker quotes a number of studies that suggest that the imputation of base motives is a function of biology. Apparently our brains are designed in a way that when someone disagrees with us, we automatically assume that he isn’t being honest in his arguments. As Hannan concludes:

Exactly as Pinker would suggest, Guardian readers – or at least a great many Guardian readers – assume that my stated motives can’t be my real ones, since all Tories are known to be wicked bigots. As one Guardianista put it in reply to my last CiF piece:

“I mistrust the proposals because I don’t trust Tories. I’m looking for what they are really aiming for.”

This attitude might explain why some Euro-enthusiasts are, literally, beyond argument. However regressive the EU becomes, however undemocratic, however corrupt, they will never criticise it. Because this, for them, isn’t really about Europe. It’s about showing themselves to be better than all those small-minded Blimps with whom they have peopled their imaginations.

I think Pinker’s is a weak excuse.  When I disagree with people it’s not because I assume their arguments are dishonest.  But perhaps it is the case for lefties with their quasi-religious certainties fuelling their shrill and often ignorant rants.

Of course, there is another issue where people are similarly beyond argument, incapable of critical analysis, strive to demonstrate their virtue and show themselves as better than those they consider to be small-minded – climate change.  You know, that tissue of assertions impervious to evidence.

Small wonder then that many of the authoritarian, pro-European drones described in Hannan’s piece above are also the fiercest advocates of the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming – and single minded in their determination to slur and misrepresent those who disagree with them.  It’s clearly a state of mind.

Huhne affair signals end of Lib Dem moral superiority

Little more than five weeks since the formation of the coalition government a second Cabinet Minister is about to have his private life trawled over in the media as a result of his actions.

The political editor at the Sunday People is trailing tomorrow’s edition’s main headline, that the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, has left his wife for another woman.  That other woman seems to be Lib Dem Publicity Consultant, Carina Trimingham given that Huhne has been quoted by Nigel Nelson as saying:

“I am in a serious relationship with Carina Trimingham”

It wasn’t fast work, as the People will reveal Chris Huhne has been cheating on his wife, Vicky, for over a year.

The news is certainly going to attract some publicity, so maybe it’s job done for Ms Trimingham, but it’s probably not the kind of publicity the morally superior Lib Dems would have wanted – especially after the David Laws affair.  It is probably not the kind of publicity Ms Trimingham’s other employers, Amnesty International and the Electoral Reform Society, want either.  That probably explains why her Twitter page (where in her few contributions she mainly retweeted Chris Huhne’s tweets) has been deleted and her Facebook page has been deactivated.

The emerging story has already been briefly picked over by ConservativeHome, with its co-editor Tim Montgomerie publishing an editorial seeking to tell readers how a grown up society should react to such events.  Tim refers readers back to a two-year-old editorial on his site that asked and answered the following questions:

Does a politician’s private life matter? Yes.

Should a questionable private life prevent a politician from achieving high office? No.

We agree on question one.  But there are obvious circumstances when a questionable private life should prevent a politician from achieving high office – and Chris Huhne’s apparent extramarital affair is an example of one.  Behaviour in politician’s private life that suggests he or she has a questionable character or a propensity to deceit or deception should preclude them from high office.  If the public cannot rely upon the politician to be honourable and truthful then that person has no place in government.

I have every sympathy for anyone whose relationship has broken down.  We are only human after all and sometimes things and people change.  But I have no sympathy for someone who remains in their relationship and establishes one with another person behind the back of their partner.  That is deceit, a lie, a betrayal of trust.  When a politician has the capacity to do that to the person closest to them they clearly have the capacity to be equally deceitful to an electorate of strangers.  Huhne has broken a trust and cannot be relied upon to be honest or honourable.  In short, he has no place in government.

The only surprise for some people is that in a government comprising Conservative and Lib Dem ministers, the dishonest and sleazy exposés  that have twice undermined it have concerned the minority Lib Dem partners.  Given the moral superiority frequently displayed by the Lib Dems, having two of their five cabinet members dragged over the coals for sleaze in the first six weeks of the administration’s life points to existence of hypocrisy of the highest order.

Perhaps now the Lib Dems have made it into the greenhouse they will stop throwing stones and portraying themselves as somehow more reliable than their political rivals.  As for Huhne, he should resign.  A man who casually lies and cheats in his personal life is more than capable of doing the same in his professional one.  This country deserves better.  After all the talk of a new politics let’s see it made real with the removal of an untrustworthy man from office.

Update: This might seem a minor story when set against issues such as Afghanistan, the economy and numerous other major topics.  But if this country is ever to move beyond political pygmies and to enjoy honest and responsible government, liars and cheats like Huhne need to be weeded out of positions of responsibility.

It’s Groundhog Day in Washington, again

The Washington Teleprompter King stoked up the drama of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill accident last night across US TV networks in a live address from the Oval Office. 

After comparing the oil spill to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 several days ago, Barack Obama has now described the effects of the spill as being like an ‘epidemic’.  He also went on to say that:

“We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused,”

I’m sure we’ve heard that line somewhere before…  it must be Groundhog Day!  Boy, making BP pay will be really tough considering BP – as long ago as 3rd May – proactively assumed responsibility for the clean up operation and promised it would pay compensation to those affected by the spill, without needing to be told.

But despite this, the snippy lightweight in the Oval Office feels the need to talk tough and give the impression he is telling BP what to do.  Yet again there was no mention of fully American companies, Transocean (whose employees ran the Deepwater Horizon rig using their own processes) or Halliburton, and their involvement in the accident.  This ‘broken record’ act by Obama is a feeble piece of posturing from a political pygmy, whose only interest is trying to prevent a melt down in Democrat support ahead of the November mid-term elections.

Obama’s continuing attempts to deflect blame onto a largely foreign company (BP) need to be seen for what they are, protectionist hypocrisy.  But Obama will be allowed to get away with it as long as our spineless fool in 10 Downing Street coos at him like a lovestruck teenager and fails to stand up against the blatant smear operation against BP and the UK in general.

Perhaps we should run a sweepstake on the blog to guess how many more times Obama will pledge to make BP do what it’s already said it would.  Any offers?

Saville Report triggers IRA apologist revisionism

One did not have to be a genius to realise that the release of the Saville Report into the events of ‘Bloody Sunday’ – 12 years in the making at a cost of over £190 million – would trigger a wave of republican and pro-IRA revisionism.  Indeed today, 30th January 1972 has become year zero in the republican version of the history of what was vicious civil conflict in Northern Ireland.

Listening to Northern Irish republicans and their fellow travellers in the media today as they take advantage of the findings for their own ends, the less well informed in our society could be forgiven for thinking that Bloody Sunday was the start of the ‘Troubles’.  People could be excused for believing that the IRA spontaneously emerged in response to a deadly and unprovoked assault on civil rights marchers In Londonderry by members of the Parachute Regiment, that left 13 dead and over 20 wounded.  People could be forgiven for thinking that if only the Parachute Regiment soldiers had not opened fire in the tense and intimidating atmosphere of the growing Bogside riot, the violence of the subsequent 26 years would not have happened.  It’s enough to make one sick.

Of course this distortion of history and lack of context of the nature of things in Northern Ireland in 1972 suits the republicans.  It enables them to feed off the ignorance of others, fuel their own sense of injustice despite their own actions, play down the atrocities committed by the IRA and its splinter groups and seek to create what Lisburn Councillor, Ronnie Crawford, recently described as a hierarchy of victims.  It is gut wrenching stuff that seeks to capitalise on the deaths of innocent people.  The fact is, despite the wrongs committed by the Paras, there was a riot in progress and armed IRA terrorists were present, stirring violence out of what was supposed to be a peaceful civil rights march.

Let’s put Bloody Sunday into greater context.  Three days before that fateful Sunday two young RUC policemen, Peter Gilgunn and David Montgomery, had been ambushed and shot dead in their patrol car on the Creggan Road by the Londonderry IRA – an attack almost certainly sanctioned by Martin McGuinness.  A day later in Belfast a young off duty RUC officer, Raymond Carroll, was shot dead at a petrol station by the IRA.  On Bloody Sunday itself, a British soldier who had been shot in Londonderry’s Bogside four months earlier by an IRA sniper during a riot, Maj. Robin Alers-Hankey, died of his injuries.

It was in this environment that the Paras arrived on the Bogside to man barricades during a lawful civil rights march, but then came under attack by rioters.  Saville tells us that the Paras opened fire on the crowd, an action that was unjustified and unjustifiable.  If Saville’s findings reflect reality, and there is no reason to suppose otherwise, there is no defence for the actions of some of the Paras on that day and I say that as someone who has served in uniform.  There is no excuse for any deliberate killing of an unarmed civilian, but it is not hard to understand how the killings took place in light of the murderous actions that took place in the days leading up to Bloody Sunday and the violence on the day itself.

Bloody Sunday was not the start of the Troubles.  It is a mere bookmark in their history.  From the start of the Troubles in 1969, no less than 226 civilians, terrorists, policemen and soldiers had died in shootings, bombings and by their own evil hand in the commission of terrorism before Bloody Sunday.

30th January 1972 is not year zero.  IRA terrorists and enablers such as Bernadette Devlin McAliskey should not be allowed to get away with such a cynical misrepresentation in their efforts to rewrite history to castigate the security forces, while airbrushing their own sickening catalogue of terror from the annals. It is beneath contempt for someone like her to call for Britain to be put in the dock for a handful of soldiers losing control on one terrifying afternoon, while acting as if her friends who waged a brutal reign of terrorism, racketeering and criminality resulting in the deaths of thousands over the course of three more decades, are saintly innocents.

As many commentators have reminded us, thousands died in Northern Ireland and across the UK and Europe as a result of republican and loyalist terrorism and the fight against it.  The families of other innocent victims will not enjoy 12 year inquiries funded by millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to give them closure or exhonerate their dead.  The apologists for terror should not be allowed to hijack Saville for their own ends and construct a revisionist version of history, but sadly this inquiry has handed them the opportunity on a plate and it seems no one has the courage or the will to stop them.  It is not just opportunistic, it is the ultimate insult.

It is also worth noting the media bias and lack of objectivity particularly prominent in the Guardian.  There is no hint of impartiality when it comes to Northern Ireland in the Guardian’s editorial creed.  The republicans are the object of sympathy, the security forces are portrayed as brutal oppressors.  As for the unionist majority that wishes Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, they are an oddity treated with disdain.  This explains Paul Owen’s live updates earlier today where he had an exchange with Guardian’s man on the spot in 1972.  As he explained:

Simon Winchester, who reported on Bloody Sunday for the Guardian in 1972 and has returned to write about the report today, has just been speaking to me on the phone from outside the Guildhall in Derry.

For the clearest example of the Guardian’s bias and lack of context, consider one of the questions Owen poses to Winchester at 3.01pm about the scenes in Londonderry today as the crowds gathered to hear the outome of the Saville inquiry:

The question is something of an insult to unionists.  Anyone journalist worth his salt would know and faithfully report that these days there are not many protestants to be found in Londonderry – population over 85,000.  An estimated 97% of Protestants have fled Londonderry during and since the Troubles, leaving only around 500 in the city, mainly in the Fountain area.  Given that thousands of unionists have fled their homes in the city after suffering murders, beatings and sectarian intimidation at the hands of republican thugs, to ask if they are visible during a mass republican march to the Guildhall is either extreme idiocy or plain spiteful.

ITV1 HD go to adverts and miss England goal

The idea of someone losing their job should be a matter of the deepest regret. However, one hopes ITV Sport will identify the utter moron who flicked the switch in ITV1 HD’s production gallery to start a Hyundai advert during World Cup coverage of England v USA, ensuring viewers missed the opening goal in the fourth minute, and kick his or her arse to the kerb.

Coverage of sport on ITV has declined over the years and is now akin to an amateur station. To miss England’s first goal of the tournament because of someone’s incompetence is absolutely unforgiveable. The commentators have not even offered an apology. Presumably no one in the production team has had the guts to tell them coverage was interrupted at the vital moment.

ITV’s live online streaming of World Cup games is already drawing criticism for seizing up meaning many online viewers cannot watch the games. ITV describes the service as ‘experimental’. A bit like the team pressing the ‘go to advert’ button just three minutes into the game tonight. Useless.

Update: Adrian Chiles provides the company’s mealy mouthed apology at half time to HD viewers.  He understands there was some interruption to coverage.  Not a word about viewers missing the goal.  Pathetic.


Apologies to regular readers for the paucity of posts here recently.  Losing a family member is always a difficult time.  There’s the understandable desire to support other family members emotionally, help with the funeral arrangements, assist with putting the family member’s affairs in order and start clearing their property of personal effects – many of which rekindle memories of happier times.  As such, blogging has been the least of my concerns.  Sorry I’ve not been able to publish anything worthy of reading but normal service will soon be resumed.

Obama should grow up and shut up

The Washington Teleprompter King is a desperate man.  As has been covered in the media on both sides of the Atlantic, President Barack Obama is incapable of opening his mouth about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill tragedy without parroting his blame-game narrative.

From his determination to deliberately mis-name BP as British Petroleum – akin to calling British Airways by the name BOAC – Obama has moved on to saying he would sack BP Chief Executive, Tony Hayward.  Big words.  Just like his retaliatory comment about his ineffective involvement in the oil spill, where, under pressure from the media he said:

“I was down there a month ago before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf,”

“I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers – so I know whose ass to kick,”

Obama can kid himself as much as he likes that he is kicking ass, but short of taking a deep breath and swimming a mile to the bottom of the ocean and plugging the pipe with his bare hands, nothing he says or does is going to make an iota of difference.  The only people who can make a difference are the BP engineers who are trying to divise a way of stopping a leak the likes of which no one has ever experienced.

While Obama seems unable to stop the name ‘British Petroleum’ dripping from his tongue, his vocabulary seems distinctly limited given that the names of American companies Halliburton and Transocean seem notably absent from his rants.  Halliburton was conducting work to cement the pipework of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the rig itself is owned by Transocean.  BP were merely leasing the rig, but as the only non-American company involved in the accident, make a convenient scapegoat for Obama to attack.  If this were an American company rather than a rival, Obama’s comments would be nothing more than soft soap rhetoric.  After all, it was only a few weeks before the accident that Obama wanted to give the green light for an expansion in oil exploration.

BP has stepped up and taken responsibility and Obama has taken full advantage of the fact to act in a thinly veiled xenophobic fashion.  Obama’s judgement has been tested and he has been found wanting.  He is still running for President rather than acting like one.  Many people refused to be taken in by the spin and deification of Obama, an academic, unseasoned and untested political climber who played on ethnicity and meaningless soundbites to sweep people into a frenzy.  When the going has got tough the mind numbing chant of ‘Yes we can’ has been shown to mean ‘No I can’t’.

Since arriving in the White House, people have come to realise that Obama is just another Washington Windbag, a Political Puppet whose strings are pulled by special interests and left wing self loathers who are undermining the United States.  He has nothing of value to add to the effort to cap the Deepwater Horizon pipe.  His outbursts are just a self serving effort to maintain his own popularity amid the exposure that sitting in the Oval Office doesn’t amount to anything when he doesn’t control the people who will eventually develop and execute a solution to stop the oil leak.  Obama should do us all a favour, grow up and shut up.

Family matters

Apologies for the lack of posts in recent days.  A close family member is gravely ill and it is just a matter of time until the inevitable.  As you can understand, at times like this blogging is a long way down the list of priorities.  Thanks for your understanding.  I hope you will visit again soon.

Egypt shows Hamas is the problem in Gaza

It is all very well Britain, the EU and the United Nations demanding an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza.  But which of these entities will step up and ensure Hamas does not use any lifting of the blockade to smuggle yet more weapons into Gaza with which Hamas terrorists attack Israel indiscriminately?

The UN has demonstrated again its utter uselessness as it has stood by while Hezbollah re-arms in southern Lebanon, bringing in weapons and ammunition from Syria and Iran.  If Israel does not restrict the flow of materials, Hamas will re-arm just as quickly in Gaza.  Why should Israel be condemned for taking actions to prevent the attacks we all know will be launched?

While the international community and the world’s media focuses attention on Israel’s attempts to maintain the blockade following the fatal actions on the high seas, there seems to be an absence of comment about Egypt’s blockade of Gaza.  Having publicity about an Islamic nation also blockading the Hamas administration doesn’t seem to suit the anti-Israel campaigners.  But surely it is telling that a country that is effectively an enemy of Israel shares concerns about Hamas’ intentions.  Egypt proves the issue in Gaza is not Israel, but Hamas.  Since its bloody takeover, Gaza has been converted into a militarised zone where the powerbrokers are bent on the destruction of the Israeli state.

Few people seem to ask why the people of Gaza experience shortages, yet Hamas with its myriad of tunnels and smuggling routes, seems well capable of importing weaponary and ammunition.  There also seems to be no shortage of mobile phones and other mod cons in Gaza, which seems rather curious for a territory that struggles to acquire life’s basics.  Why don’t the protesters raise this and demand Hamas explain why its priority is obtaining weapons rather than acquiring much needed aid?  Perhaps because of the uncomfortable truth that Hamas is responsible for more deaths in Gaza than Israel.  Its civil war with Fatah has brought about many of the problems and its continuing aggression against Israel has resulted in restrictions of what can be imported.

It is terrible that lives have been lost as some well meaning people, manipulated and egged on by extremists, have blindly attempted to break the blockade.  It is no surprise to see appeased terrorists such as Martin McGuinness and the usual suspects from places like Northern Ireland at the forefront of the effort to prop up a violent faction that rules Gaza by fear.  But then, these important facts that put the thing into context are not helpful in winning over an ill-informed global public.

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