Archive for May, 2011

Taking back power and imposing discipline on our politicians

This is a subject to which I will turn my attention properly in the days to come.  But for now I offer this partial cross-post to remind readers that in order for the people to take back primacy we need to focus our power.  As Richard North has says in his thought provoking post:

To focus our power, we too need to adopt an ideology. In essence, we have one – one which underwrites the supremacy of the individual and positions the State as the servant, not the master. Referism – control over the budget – is a means by which we exercise our power. If there is a better way, I am open to offers.

The next question is: where do we start? The answer is here, on the blogosphere. We have a number of fine, independent blogs, written by independently-minded people. There is now a blog covering these – Independent Political Bloggers.

As if to underline their independence, I don’t always agree with everything that write.  But collectively, between us we reflect the views of our readers. If we did not, we would not have a readership. Now ask, from where does the BBC and the MSM get its power? Why do politicians listen to them, fear them and curry their favours? We are back to the numbers game.

Grow the independent political blogosphere. And if you have a view, start your own blog. We will support you. Want a voice? Either as reader or writer, or both, you have it … your call.

Greens’ idiocy underlined again

A BBC story today about a scheme to allow electric car users to charge their vehicles across London being launched reveals the idiocy of the political class on a number of levels.

But while London Mayor Boris Johnson is shown up for yet another bout of foolishness, pledging to install 1,300 charging points across the capital in the next two years instead of the 7,500 he originally promised in that time frame, it is the Green party that takes the prize for their environmental lunacy. As the story explains:

Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson said: “The mayor never explained how he would fund the ambitious plans for 25,000 charging points which he launched with a big fan-fair in 2009.

“He has also failed to guarantee that the charging points will run on renewable energy, so the environmental gains are far less than they should be.”

Perhaps we should be asking Darren Johnson just how electricity from renewable sources can be segregated from electricity generated by conventional means as it is sent down the lines into London.

Perhaps he could also explain how, assuming electricity could be segregated in such a way, what electric car drivers would do when the wind doesn’t blow and no juice is coming down the wire from the lavishly subsidised wind farms where turbines are barely moving.

There is a certain surreal quality to the kind of utopian world the Greens think we should inhabit. Their lack of realism and their rejection of an industrialised world, where people can travel long distances inexpensively and engage in trade that benefits millions, shows them up for the deluded and damaging ideologues they really are.

In the world of the Greens the lights will regularly go out, transport and industrial production will often be interrupted, the cost of our power will soar ever higher as decades of progress are reversed in the name of environmentalism. Perversely the Greens’ plans would result in far greater pressure on this country’s natural resources and far more harm being done to the environment than is done today.

Met Office losing commercial customers

Earlier this month a report in the Sunday Express (published online late on 7th May) about the forecast for the Royal Wedding made a couple of interesting observations that prompted a blog post here on AM.

Firstly there was confirmation that the Met Office will pay performance-related bonuses this year which will push the total paid to its 1,800 staff in the last six years to almost £15million. Apparently these bonuses are based on profitability and when the Met Office meets its targets on forecasting accuracy.

Secondly there was a reminder that the majority of the Met Office’s £190million annual income comes from public funds by means of contracts to provide services to government departments and that critics say it is time to force it to compete in the open market against other forecasters.

It was these factoids that made me curious about the reality of the Met Office’s forecasting performance.  Do its executives really deserve the bonuses they are going to receive?

While the Met Office might like to aggressively counter stories like that in the Sunday Express, as it did on 9th May by claiming its forecast the day before the Royal Wedding was more accurate than the newspaper claimed, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  Or in weather forecasting terms, seeing how many private customers are sufficiently satisfied with Met Office forecasts to continue buying services from them commercially.  So this blog submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Met Office asking them:

Please will you supply me with full details of:

1. The number of non-Governmental (private) customers purchasing
forecasting services from the Met Office in the years 2008, 2009
and 2010 respectively

2. The total revenue received from non-Governmental (private)
contracts for forecasting services provided by the Met Office in
the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively

Please note I am not requesting details of the individual customers
or specifics of their contract terms.

It was a clear enough request.  However, the Met Office’s reply seemed to be trying to conceal something:

The number of commercial customers purchasing services from the Met Office over the three year period would show us whether the customer base is stable, rising or falling.  The number of commercial customers is a fair reflection of customer confidence in Met Office forecasts.  But the Met Office clearly did not want to deal in specifics.

So a follow up was sent asking that they provide me with the exact number of commercial customers in each of the three years specified as per my request.  Their reply arrived today:

While revenues (for the years where figures are available) have remained fairly constant, we can now see that since 2008-9 the Met Office commercial customer base has shrunk by 17.3%.

We can now see why the figures were not provided in response to the original request.  And this is happening against a backdrop of independent forecasters adding customers to their books.

Customers generally don’t leave specialist service providers that deliver good performance, so it is reasonable to assume that faith in Met Office forecasting is declining due to accuracy failings.  If performance is on the wane the question that must be answered is how can the Met Office’s executives continue to award themselves bonuses year on year?

Without the cushions and comfort blankets provided by guaranteed government contracts funded with our tax pounds one wonders how the Met Office would fare operating exclusively in the private sector.

The volcanic ash cloud story repeats itself

This is a story that needs to be covered properly, and thankfully Dr Richard North at EU Referendum has done so.

One of the many scoops broken by the EU Referendum blog was the story last year when we had the last Icelandic volcano eruption. Uniquely, Richard North identified that the situation had been made inestimably worse by the lack of real time direct ash monitoring, owing to the shortage of aviation assets.

As he recorded last May, the one and only aircraft capable of carrying out the necessary monitoring, a BAE 146 operated by FAAM, was in the hanger with its instrumentation stripped out, about to undergo a paint job.

Now, a year later, the airlines are disputing the severity of the situation, and Ryanair is disagreeing with the CAA about the extent (or presence) of any ash in Scotland. Once again, there is an urgent need to carry out monitoring to find out exactly what is going on, but history is repeating itself.  The FAAM aircraft is currently engaged on a full flying programme and is not available for volcanic ash sampling.

While it is clear Ryanair’s test flight cannot gauge the extent of ash concentration in the air, a strip down and inspection of the engines on the aircraft used would provide much richer information about the risk to aviation.  If the engines have been unaffected by flying through the ash particles the Met Office computer models say are there, then there is no reason to suspend flight operations.

Perhaps that is a point the media should be making, but thus far our intrepid newshounds have failed miserably to do.

Does the BBC refuse FOI requests by default?

From the TV Licensing blog as posted in April this year and indirectly linked to our post earlier today…

BBC Confirm Detector Vans Never Used in Court

Despite being very reluctant the BBC has finally confirmed what we all knew anyway – detector van/portable detector evidence has never been presented in court.

The revealing Freedom of Information Act response came after the BBC u-turned on their earlier decision to withhold the information under the law enforcement exemptions of the 2000 Act.

In their revised response, issued after an internal review found in our favour…

The question is, does the BBC refuse FOI requests by default?  After all, how could the BBC justify refusing that FOI request in the first place? How could they possibly determine their exemptions from the Act applied to this?    Read the whole post here.

How the establishment closes ranks around the BBC

Regular readers may recall a couple of posts back in January where we told the story of an Autonomous Mind reader who complained to the BBC about an edition of Hardtalk.

This is the one in December 2010 where President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives was allowed to state, without challenge, that due to human induced climate change sea levels around the Maldives are rising.  The lack of journalistic rigour and blind acceptance of such a controversial viewpoint as fact led to the complaint being made and the BBC’s two fingered resp0nse in January which included the immortal words:

We’re committed to honest, unbiased reporting and are determined to remain free from influence by outside parties.

Following the response, our reader then filed a Freedom of Information request to the BBC asking for details of:

  • how many complaints/ accusations of bias the BBC received from the public about the BBC’s coverage of climate change
  • how many of the complaints received about climate change were upheld by the BBC, i.e. were accepted
  • brief details / a list of all the complaints upheld, i.e. the details of the upheld complaint and the BBC’s response (excluding details of the person complaining)

In publishing the story in a follow up post we shared the unsurprising news that the response from the BBC to our reader’s request was a refusal to provide the information sought.  Once again the BBC was hiding behind its establishment-given provision to withhold any information the BBC considers to be held for the ‘purposes of journalism, art or literature’.

As this blog said in our commentary on the decision, the BBC seemed to have chosen to interpret the Act in a very loose way by extending it ‘to the sifting and review of praise and criticism from audiences, as well as the seeking of an independent view of criticism in order to undertake this review process.‘  The thrust of the BBC’s response was that complaints are used to inform the creation or improvement of programming.  As a result our commentary concluded:

It would seem obvious that complaints rejected by the BBC are not used to inform the creation or improvement of programmes because they are arguing the complaints are baseless.  So, the only possible reason for withholding details of rejected complaints is to hide the extent of viewer and listener dissatisfaction with an editorial line the BBC is determined to pursue.

Our reader was advised that if he disagreed with the decision he could appeal to the Information Commissioner.  So he did.

We now fast forward to last week when our reader received an incredibly lengthy reply from David McNeil, a Complaints Officer and the Information Commissioner’s Office, which you can read below:

This is quite a staggering communication from the ICO, if again completely unsurprising.  At the heart of it is the assumption or belief that because the BBC says the complaints material informs their editorial direction they should not be bound to reveal how many complaints they receive.

However at no point is the BBC asked to provide evidence that demonstrates, on the basis of complaints received, they have ever adjusted their editorial approach.  We are simply enjoined to accept it without proof.

The only way this can ever be assessed is if the complaints process was made transparent, but they continue to hide behind the Act, with establishment approval, to prevent that happening.  The question of course is ‘what are they hiding and why?’ which takes us back to the Balen Report and Steven Sugar’s attempt to uncover the details of the report.  It is simply that the findings would reveal the bias so many people believe the BBC possesses and that many more people reject the BBC worldview than the corporation is comfortable with revealing?  If we do not know what the report held we cannot assess whether any material change in editoral approach was ever made.  Likewise, when it comes to complaints such as these.

Why should the license fee payer, compelled to pay the fee under pain of fine or imprisonment, be denied information about how many people complain about the BBC’s output and be able to ascertain for themselves whether the views of the public are ever taken into account?

This is just another example of the establishment, of which the BBC is an integral part, protecting its propaganda arm and treating the public who are forced to pay their wages with utter contempt.  On this basis our reader is now considering taking this complaint to the next stage.  Is it worthwhile?  You decide.

See also this post about a rare BBC u-turn after originally turning down a FOI request.

Can’t they just try to get the weather forecast right?

And so the propaganda continues:

The Met Office has teamed up with Rapanui, an eco-fashion company.

The Met Office eco clothing collection is made from organic cotton in an ethical, wind powered factory and features a range of weather related designs inspired by the imagery, science and history of the Met Office.

Mart Drake-Knight co-founder of Rapanui said:
“The Met Office is the international authority on climate change research, as well as being our national weather service that provides weather forecasts that we can trust and rely on.”

Perhaps Mr Drake-Knight should be more mindful of the Trade Descriptions Act when spouting assertions like that in PR puff pieces for the Met Office.  There was once a time when a meteorological office would focus on, you know, just getting the weather forecast right.  But just doing the weather is not so important when thar’s gold to be had in that there climate change activism…

Cameron’s emissions folly will cost us dear

Here we go again, yet another personal intervention by David Cameron.  We can but hope this intervention goes the same way as his previous efforts as this concerns the reduction of evil, poisonous carbon emissions.

BBC climate overlord, Roger ‘the truth is’ Harrabin, reports that:

David Cameron has moved to resolve a Cabinet row over the UK’s climate change targets, with an agreement on emissions to be announced on Tuesday.

This will see drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to 2027 and an overhaul of the way energy is produced.

The upshot of this is that our wallets and purses are going to raided, leaving us impoverished due to a plan to address something that remains unproven as a problem, in order to correct an issue the remains unproven as being of our making.  But it makes the politicians feel better about themselves because they are seen to be ‘doing something’ and it keeps the ‘green extreme’ happy as this represents another step forward in their plan to de-industrialise the western world and reverse centuries of progress.

It should come as no surprise that joining our husky-hugging multi millionaire Prime Minister in this grand plan is the sopping wet hand wringer Oliver Letwin.  But the stand out part of the article concerns born again Eurofanatic, William Hague, described by Harrabin thus:

Meanwhile Foreign Secretary William Hague put the case for strong carbon targets to keep up with countries like China in the move towards low-carbon energy, and to retain the UK’s international moral leadership on the issue.

If only we were trying to keep up with China, which is building a new coal fired power stations at an incredible rate and apparently deploying carbon capture technology, while here we suffer from the folly of wind farms producing barely 19% of installed capacity potential.

We need more power that is reliable, which the Chinese are finally delivering for their own people. But instead we are scaling back reliable power generation to appease green extremism.  The cost to this country of the flawed policy agenda, built upon vested interests, will dwarf anything that has gone before.

But the political class presses ahead with their fingers in their ears, knowing that at least they can afford to pay the bills even if many of the rest of us consider turning off the heating when it is cold because of their inability to pay the rapidly rising prices – driven up by lunatic political decisions rather than the cost of the energy itself.

Lies, damned lies and statistics

The Guardian seems rather pleased that its broadcast arm, the BBC, appears to have increased its radio audience.  It prompted a news story in that paper that has been picked up by our friends at EU Referendum and used to draw a comparison between radio listening and newspaper sales.

Dr Richard North’s piece opens with the part of the story we want to focus upon:

According to The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 has just recorded its biggest-ever audience of nearly 11 million listeners in the first three months of 2011. The station had an average weekly audience of 10.83 million listeners between January and March, up eight percent on the same period in 2010. Radio 4’s Today programme also had a record audience of 7.03 million listeners, 600,000 up on the previous year.

As is so often the case, things are not what they seem.  These figures are pretty much meaningless. Radio listening audiences are collected by asking people to keep diaries of their listening habits for one week.  Helpfully, the BBC describes the process on its website.

An organisation called the Radio Joint Audience Research Limited (RAJAR) is responsible for going out to households across the country, and asking people to keep a diary of listening for seven days. Approximately 130,000 diaries a year are completed. Respondents are asked to record which stations they listened to at what times, and also where they were listening.

So from 130,000 diaries RAJAR concludes that the Today programme now has a ‘record audience’ of over 7 million listeners. But then this begs the question, who are RAJAR?

Would it suprise you to learn that the company is part owned by the BBC?  What we have here is a BBC company compiling listening figures that suggest the BBC audience is rising to record levels.  But even then, setting aside the haphazard diary methodology, the ‘official’ figures that are being headlined do not add up, as North points out:

However, we must nevertheless look at the BBC Today Programme figures with a pinch of salt. For the last three months of 2008, it was applauding an average weekly audience of 6.6 million. This was supposedly up nearly half a million on the previous three months and its largest audience since the final three months of 2001.

In August 2010, it was then rejoicing in “a record 6.98 million weekly listeners”, which is now 7.03 million listeners, “600,000 up on the previous year”. But when you think that, at the start of 2004, it was claiming 6.2 million listeners, and in 3 August 2006 the audience was reported as falling from 6.12 million the previous quarter to 5.87 million (against an all-time low of 5.6 million), these figures are looking like Soviet tractor production statistics.

Either RAJAR statisticians are innumerate or someone is spinning us another pile of bullshit. Scratch beneath the surface of a mainstream media piece and figures issued to the public that cannot in any way be considered impartial, and we inevitably find cause to distrust what we are being told. Tractor production statistics seems almost too kind a description.

The media bullshit continues

Since the incident in Abbottabad where we are told Osama Bin Laden was shot and killed by US Navy SEALs various news (sic) outlets have, for whatever reason, repeatedly spun the line that Bin Laden’s compound was virtually next door to the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA).  It has happened again today in the Mail on Sunday. Click to enlarge:

Perhaps by suggesting that the compound was ‘just 100 yards’ from the PMA the ‘journalists’ want to exaggerate the Pakistani failure to sniff out Bin Laden right under their noses, or maybe they want to make the US raid sound even more daring because it must have happened within sight of a significant contingent of Pakistani soldiers. Either way it is bullshit. If they are happy to report such basic falsehoods in this way, how can we believe anything they have put in that article?

The web is awash with satellite pictures of the Bin Laden compound, and tools such as Google Maps Distance Calculator make it easy to plot the distance from the compound to the PMA as the crow (or US military helicopter) flies.  Indeed, many bloggers have done that since the incident, so any journo would have no problem checking and reporting the exact distance. But it is clear that Mr or Ms ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ is not interested in accuracy or facts and instead would prefer to spin utter bollocks to their poor readers.

For the record the distance from the Bin Laden compound to the PMA in Abbottabad is not 100 yards as some in the media keep deliberately lying, it is 1,455 metres, or just under one mile.  This of course puts a very different gloss on things.  You can see it from clicking on the image below:

For those poor souls who take their ‘news’ from that rag their belief will be that the compound was just 100 yards away from the academy. And that is how the narrative is made. No matter what we are told by the media we must always take time to establish the facts for ourselves because what we are told is all too often the fruit of spin and deceit.

There now follows a propaganda broadcast for the Met Office

Although it took place at around 8.20am this morning, this should not be allowed to pass without comment and I’ve been itching to get online to do just that.

The venue was BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (listen again), the interviewing host was Sarah Montague and the guest was the Met Office’s government services director, Phil Evans. The subject was the Commons Transport Select Committee’s recommendation of investing £10m more in the Met Office to improve its seasonal weather forecasting.  Or so it thinks.

The Met Office’s money grubbing for millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to pay for more supercomputing power is something this blog has covered before.  But the Transport Committee has swallowed hook, line and sinker the distraction techniques employed by the Met Office over the failure to forecast the extremely cold early winter and played into the Met Office’s hands by endorsing their ‘if only we had more money’ plea.

As the post title suggests, this wasn’t an interview, it was a naked PR exercise.  Montague was worse than useless.  There was no challenge about the 70% average or cooler versus 60% average or warmer ‘forecast’, which the Met Office has previously said proved they had seen the harsh cold snap coming and told the government.   There was no probing to test the claim that longer range forecasting could be improved by buying more computing power.  There was no answer given to the comparison question about whether this was something other countries have that results in more accurate forecasts.  And when asked what the new investment would do, Evans’ answer was meaningless waffle about running models to get more details about the atmosphere and so give the Met Office a sounder footing about understanding the risk of severe weather.

Why was no one like Piers Corbyn from WeatherAction asked for comment? Or someone from Positive Weather Solutions to examine whether (supposed lack of) supercomputing capability is the reason Met Office forecasts of anything more than a couple of days hence are so unreliable? Why was no effort made to track down Bryan Leyland, whose own forecasts outperformed the Met Office although he used nothing more technical than Microsoft Excel?

This was nothing more than the uncritical and disgracefully biased BBC giving a free pass to their climate change campaigning friends at the Met Office to broadcast a partial viewpoint, without challenge or scrutiny, that might result in yet more taxpayers’ money being poured down the drain.  It was yet another example of BBC propaganda at its worst and the listening public being presented with wildly distorted opinion masquerading as fact.

A political philosophy

Referism is a political philosophy which states that, in the relationship between the British people and their governments, the people should be in control. The state is the servant not the master. Control is primarily achieved  by controlling the money governments have to spend, through the mechanism of an annual referendum to approve the State budget. Governments are thereby forced to refer to the people to obtain the funding they need, hence the term “referism”.

If you’ve not read about Referism on EU Referendum yet, I heartily recommend you find out more about it. It is a philosophy that would put democratic control back where it belongs, in the hands of the people.

The Europhile’s Prayer

Over at EU Referendum, Dr Richard North brings us John Drennan’s level headed critique of EU rule over Ireland.  Along with Drennan, Booker and Synon, I get it too.

Richard then goes on to offer up an amusing adaptation of the Lord’s Prayer to fit in with the required worship of the EU.

As I quite enjoy changing the lyrics to songs, I’ve decided to join in the fun and produce my own version – the Europhile’s Prayer:

Our Masters, who art in Brussels,
hallowed be thy rule.
Thy diktat come,
thy laws be done,
from Greece all the way to Ireland.
Give us this day our directive.
And deny us democracy,
as you deny those who crave independence.
And lead us out of nation statehood,
and deliver bureaucracy.
For thine is the EU, the power and the glory, until we’re defeated.

No doubt some quisling politicians will think this is all rather appropriate and it will soon appear on the walls at Conservative Central Office, Labour’s Victoria Street HQ and the Limp Dim bunker in Cowley Street.

The media really don’t ‘get’ the internet

Consider this from today’s Sunday Barclay Brother Beano. Richard Eden, for it is he, writes:

Mandrake hears that the Duchess of Cambridge’s family have taken action after embarrassing photographs of James and Pippa in various states of undress appeared on the internet in America. […]

[…] The family believe that the pictures, which are understood to have been taken by friends of the pair, were sold for substantial sums to photographic agencies. They have now succeeded in having them withdrawn from circulation after allegedly putting pressure on the photographers who own the copyright.

But we are talking about the internet here and, as anyone outside the media bubble will understand, once photos are on the web they are going to remain in circulation.  A couple of quick Google searches for ‘pippa middleton bra’ and ‘james middleton nude’ bring up the photographs in question in seconds, showing this non-story up for what it is.

So the Telegraph story, like so many others in that organ and elsewhere in the mainstream media, is nothing more than a vacuous space filler – or just the latest example of journalists simply not understanding what they are writing about.

All too often the fearless hacks of the MSM file copy, with their thumbs up their bums and their brains in neutral, giving no pause for consideration or questioning as demonstrated with usual clarity by EU Referendum in this analysis of the media’s reporting of the Abbottabad raid where we are enjoined to accept that Osama Bin Laden was killed last week.

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.

Met Office covers itself in more bonuses

We rather hope that some media hack who is vaguely displaying signs of consciousness will seek out Met Office Chief Executive John Hirst and take the opportunity to ask this richly remunerated, teflon coated individual his definition of a performance related bonus.

For it seems that when it comes to the Met Office, performance related bonuses do not require performance to be good or even adequate.

It is utterly incredible, and defies both logic and reason, that after the manifest failures of the Met Office over its winter forecast those in senior positions will be awarded payments over and above their salaries.  The Met Office claimed it forecasted the bitterly cold early winter only didn’t tell the public, yet Freedom of Information requests by this blog and fellow blogger Katabasis drew out the forecast provided to the Government which proved to be statistically meaningless.

Thereafter this blog then exposed of the Met Office’s subsequent efforts to deceive the public and distort information sought by MPs in Parliament over that forecast.  We also discovered that the Met Office’s seasonal forecasts were only renamed and relocated rather than discontinued, as evidenced by its own Board Minutes.  Taken together these issues demonstrated it is an organisation beset by poor standards that is more concerned with pursuing agendas and absorbing public money than its core activity – forecasting the weather.

The Sunday Express, whose sister title the Daily Express was handed the Met Office story and supporting documentary evidence on a plate but failed to run with it, highlights that the plan to pay bonuses comes just days after the departments latest high profile forecasting failure.  This concerns the day of the Royal Wedding and in the story our friend Piers Corbyn gets a positive mention for his accuracy once again.

Right up to 29th April the Met Office was forecasting heavy showers that would dampen the day and affect thousands of street parties.  Many people who ventured to London took wet weather gear with them while many more planned indoor celebrations due to the forecast. Those who ignored the threat of rain were treated to a mild day with plenty of sunshine, as observed by a television audience of hundreds of millions around the world.

While the Met Office compounds its failure to cover itself in glory when it comes to weather forecasting it seems to have no problem covering itself in unjustifiable bonuses and telling porkies.  Just like last year

The UK’s quisling-in-chief

Anyone who has gritted their teeth and listened to the many statements of Conservative Foreign Secretary William Hague in recent weeks on the Libyan uprising may have noticed Hague has never failed to act as if he were the official spokesman for the EU.

For a man who is a supposed Eurosceptic Hague seems to have been holding a very large candle for Brussels, never failing to mention the EU as a solution to every problem, even though it is NATO that is carrying out air strikes against the Gadaffi regime.  This pro Brussels sycophancy is completely at odds with the carefully cultivated image of a man who will not rest until Britain controls her own affairs.

However Hague has taken his forbidden love of the EU into new ground tonight. In a speech delivered at the Mansion House on the Arab Spring and democratic reform in Middle Eastern countries, Hague has once again advanced the EU as the answer – this time as the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict:

The EU already has the tools and the resources for the task.  What it has lacked is the will to use them well. We should use the EU’s economic magnetism to encourage and support real political and economic reform. That means a new partnership with the southern neighbourhood with a simple proposal at its heart: that the EU will share its prosperity and open up markets in return for real progress on political and economic reform.

The EU should offer broad and deep economic integration, leading to a free-trade area and eventually a customs union, progressively covering goods, agriculture and services, as well as the improvement of conditions for investment. All of this must should be accompanied by our partners achieving clear and sustainable political and economic reform.

It is stomach churning to see how devalued the role of Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has become.  There is no mention of the role Britain could play, just a fawning fanaticism to cheerlead for a bureaucracy that talks big and delivers nothing. Move over Baroness Catherine Ashton and behold the EU’s true Foreign Affairs spokesman.

No doubt once he has been ejected/departed from office we will see this overhyped money grubbing climber slide into a cosy, well remunerated EU placement. As Hague likes wearing baseball caps, perhaps the one above will serve as a goodbye and don’t come back gift from people who would rather we had a Foreign Secretary representing this country instead of Brussels.

Mandates and hypocrisy

Anyone who has listened to Ed Miliband (why, oh why…) in recent weeks, as he witters on about tomorrow’s voting system referendum, will have noticed the line to take that has been adopted by his PRs and spin doctors – that of electoral mandate.

Repeatedly, including this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme, Miliband has stated that the ‘Conservative led coalition’ is undertaking cuts and other actions for which they ‘do not have a mandate’.

It seems strange of Miliband to complain about this.  After all, was it not Labour who allowed millions of migrants into the country without a mandate to do so? Was it not Labour who signed the Lisbon Treaty without a mandate to do so? And where was Miliband’s righteous indignation about Labour’s lack of mandate when doing what it wanted, irrespective of the wishes of the public?

To emphasise the hypocrisy of it all, where was Miliband when a lawyer representing the Labour government argued in court that people had no reasonable entitlement to expect that a political party will carry out its manifesto pledges? Did he resign in noble anguish? Did he hell.

This brings us back to the reality of our situation today. We are merely pawns in the self serving power games of the rival factions of the political class. They spend all their time fighting like rats in a sack about trivialities because when it comes to matters of substance they are in agreement.

The voting reform referendum is just another triviality. Another contrived battle of ‘principle’ helpfully played out as a major issue by the dumbed down mainstream media. As this blog has asked before and does again now, what is the point deciding how we vote when our votes do nothing to determine which people wield power?

All AV would do is further cement consensus politics in this country.  It will permanently shore up the elective position of the political class and further distance people from decison making power. First past the post is a lesser evil, but elections are now irrelevant anyway as laws are handed down from the EU for our toy politicians to burnish, embellish and implement without hesitation.

The vote we should have, about whether this country should fully govern its own affairs through its own democratic structures, or accept rule from overseas by bureaucrats in Brussels and accept the EU’s alien anti democratic structures, is not on offer to us. We are denied that choice.

None from the Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats want the people of this country to decide for themselves and make that fundamental decision about how this country is governed. So why should we play their game and take time to vote about which system best suits the narrow political interests of those insipid groups of power seeking climbers, liars and charlatans?

A plague on all their houses.

The Bin Laden story is changing already

And some people wonder why on earth we would ever doubt ‘the official line’…

Yesterday the story was clear.  It was repeated around the world by every major news organisation because an American official stated clearly that Osama Bin Laden was killed after he had used his wife as a human shield and fired a weapon.  In the absence of photographic evidence and eye witness accounts the narrative was transmitted as a given truth.  Because it came from ‘official sources’, no less grand than the Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan.

Today however it is a different story that is emerging from yet more ‘official sources’, as reports:

The White House backed away Monday evening from key details in its narrative about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, including claims by senior U.S. officials that the Al Qaeda leader had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces.

Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid and that bin Laden was using her as a human shield before she was shot by U.S. forces.

It turns out (apparently) the woman killed was not Bin Laden’s wife at all (‘A different guy’s wife was killed’ according to yet more sources) and Bin Laden himself was not armed when he was killed, yet they maintain he was offering ‘resistance’. Perhaps he was throwing Qur’ans at the SEAL team?  The question now is can we believe this revision?  Will this story change in the future?

Update: It didn’t take long.  Within moments of posting this yet another version of events has surfaced via MSNBC.

The most amusing part of all this will be the reaction of those people who wrongly assert I am now an ‘OBL denier’ or ‘conspiracy theorist’ for doubting some of the details we have been told. I haven’t said Bin Laden hasn’t been killed, I merely question the ‘facts’ that have been presented to us by ‘official sources’ because they don’t all add up.  All I wanted to do is reserve judgement until I have seen reliable evidence.  And within hours that reluctance to accept everything we have been told as gospel truth has been vindicated.

Like the t-shirt above the truth is black and white.  So, what else will change in the coming days, weeks and months?

Meanwhile away from the Osamafest

As the international media became moist with excitement about the Osama Bin Laden story yesterday, the world continued to turn and events closer to home possessing a far greater impact on millions of people continued to develop.

For while Osama Bin Laden went down fighting, AK-47 blazing away in his hand as he hid behind his wife, Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, was busy confirming that country’s timid capitulation to the EU and running up a fresh, crisp white flag as she announced a special Europe Day would be held in the Dail.

Incredibly this is despite the Irish economy being slowly torn to shreds from the inside by the EU and IMF’s repayment terms and austerity conditions for the Irish bailout.  Writing in the Daily Mail’s Irish edition (reproduced in the UK) Mary Ellen Synon observed how the Europhiles in Dublin’s new government plan to hold a day that:

will begin a journey towards greater co-operation between the Government, the Oireachtas and the European institutions and will mark Ireland’s arrival back in the centre of European political and cultural life.

I wasn’t aware Ireland had ever departed given its slavish adherence to all things EU.  Synon goes on to add:

How bizarre is that? As the EU institutions dismember the independence of this State, Fine Gael’s Junior Cheerleader for Europe is planning an appreciation day for the occupying forces. I’m not sure to whom she thinks she is sucking up, but from what I can see in Brussels, nobody has noticed yet that Miss Creighton is making ‘a statement of intent’ to ‘re-launch Ireland’s involvement and active participation in Europe.’

Nail, hit, head.  Synon’s piece is a must read.  While the Irish people voted for change in their recent general election they got what we get here in Britain, more of the same.  The faces and voices are different, but the hymn sheet is unchanged and the obeisance to Brussels remains.

The political class may be made up of various political parties but their direction of travel is uniform.  If you are part of a political group that seeks to restore independence then you’ve no chance.  The wagons are duly circled and all the Europhiles direct their most bitter attacks and smears at you.

In Ireland as in Britain, the political class is made up of interchangeable clones who put their career interests and the wishes of Brussels before the interests and wishes of the people who elect them to be representatives.

Perhaps now those many Irish people who voted for Fine Gael because of the empty promise to renegotiate the vast loans that the European Central Bank has forced Ireland to accept, will come to understand that no matter who they vote for while they remain part of the EU, they are stuck with their true rulers in Brussels.  Only be extracting themselves from the EU will the Irish people enjoy self determination and genuine democracy.  That is something far bigger and far more important for people than the execution of an Islamist homocidal maniac in Pakistan.

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