Archive for June, 2011

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. HauntingTheLibrary on UK MPs to Poor Countries – No More Power For You

2. Adventures in Time Travel on Change of PACE

3. Your Freedom and Ours on Here We Go Again

4. Old Holborn on Learn to Thrive in Spite of the State

5. Tim Worstall on Johann Hari and the Robin Hood Tax

Amusing diversion

How do you tell the difference between a British Police Officer, an Australian Police Officer and an American Police Officer?  The Filthy Engineer has the answer over on his blog…  Humour, but all too realistic!

Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre

The Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre is a key role.  The man at the top is Dr Chris Gordon.

Just last month he was appearing at the Chinese Institute of Atmospheric Physics after leading a team of Met Office Hadley Centre scientists delivering lectures to academics and students there.

So it is of some interest that despite the absence of any news release from the Met Office or story in the media that I can find, Dr Gordon’s role is currently being advertised – boasting an £80,000 salary, benefits package, the all important bonus irrespective of performance and a tidy Civil Service Pension…

A call to the Met Office press office was met with a surprisingly defensive response from Helen Chivers to my request to be directed to the announcement that Chris Gordon is leaving his role.  The reason being one does not exist.  All they would say was Dr Gordon was moving to another role in the Met Office’s ‘Science’ area, but would not/could not say what role he will be taking.

As far as the Met Office is concerned the Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre leaving his position and someone else being recruited is not newsworthy, despite Dr Gordon being listed as one of the publicly funded Met Office’s seven most senior scientists.

Where he turns up at the Met Office will be of interest.  Also of interest will be the next holder of the Hadley Centre Director role.  This will be a key appointment by the Met Office and it will be of significant public interest to see who takes on the role and what their background and approach is.

Their continuing ignorance and a very interesting conversation

Another day, another story of the UK political class moaning about the consequences of EU membership.  This time the Daily Mail reports the ‘news’ that:

The European Commission yesterday revealed budget demands which would cost UK taxpayers £10billion.

Well, that is what governments do, they create taxes when they want to raise more money.  And the face is the EU is our government, despite the people of this country never being asked to give a mandate for it. This blog picked up on comments preparing the way for the EU’s new taxation approach over six months ago being discussed right out there in plain sight.  But what is telling about this EU taxation story is the Mail’s observation that:

In what Treasury officials viewed as one of the most outrageous power grabs in recent memory, they demanded the right to raise a Europe-wide sales tax.

What a load of utter crap.  It is not a power grab.  The EU has been given the power to do this by the quisling politicians sent to Westminster over the last three decades by the voters of this country.

Of course no EU story is complete without Downing Street spokesmen and women rushing forth with comments indicating the supposed frustration and/or outrage of the Cameron-run coagulation.  But what will cast-iron Dave actually do about it?  The answer to that is the sum total of diddly squat.

If Cameron truly wanted this country to be independent once again and run its own affairs he need only call a binding referendum asking the British people if they wish the UK to remain bound by the anti democratic EU.  But as Cameron made clear in November last year, he is keeping that firmly off the table:

I do not believe in an in-out referendum for many reasons. I think we are better off in the European Union—we have to fight our corner very hard—but I would grant a referendum if there were any proposed transfer of powers from Westminster to Brussels.

At least the first part of that sentence was honest. The second part was a lie, as demonstrated so clearly by East Midlands Tory MEP Roger Helmer, who last week in ConservativeHome reminded people that the Conservative-LibDem cobbleition are transferring new powers to the EU faster than the previous Labour administration did. Did any of you spot a passing referendum asking for your permission?

The timing of this is rather amusing as it follows a week after AM had a long chat with a member of the Conservative Party Board.  The board member wanted to know, over two years on, why AM had walked away from the Conservative Party.  They were familiar with the arguments, after all they have heard them time and again as a third of the membership has deserted since Cameron become party leader.

But the board member implored me to understand that Cameron is a man with a plan.  The plan apparently is to pick a fight with the EU next year and use that to justify a referendum he apparently wants, although he will make it appear to his EU friends that he is doing this with all reluctance.  When it was pointed out to the board member that the Cameron led administration has granted more power to the EU in the last year more quickly than Labour managed, AM was told to wait and see.

The notion of Cameron being a strategic genius who will throw off his cloak of Europhilia and reveal his inner democratic nationalist is laughable given the catalogue of pro EU actions to date.  So it seems the ignorance is all pervasive and the effort to make us buy into it is being reinforced at every opportunity.  The gullible constituency where this idea is being swallowed is obvious to all who look – the British media.

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. The Hockey Schtick on The IPCC and Greenpeace: Renewable Outrage

2. All Seeing Eye on The UK is Screwed (Teaching Sector Edition)

3. Inspector Gadget on Sally Forth You Rotter

4. Old Rightie on Ve Hav Vays Offf Making You Pay!

5. Tim Worstall on The Murphmeister!

Hiding away the consequences to spare their own shame

It is easy to feel contempt for the political class and the establishment. It is also quite understandable to feel dislike for such people who do things to suit themselves and disregard the wishes and interests of the general population.

But when reading the comments of the Under Secretary of State for Defence, Andrew Robathan, a former British Army Officer in the Coldstream Guards and the SAS, one can be excused for feeling a simmering hatred.  Formerly the Queen’s man, Robathan has sold out to the political pygmies in return for a career in Parliament.

This has been demonstrated by the words Robathan used to explain why the repatriation of British soldiers, slaughtered in Afghanistan for reasons passing understanding, will be hidden away from the general public when the inbound flights cease to land at RAF Lyneham and instead land at RAF Brize Norton. When our dead soldiers land at Brize the Sunday Fail explains that they will be driven through the back gate and then down side roads, neatly avoiding the nearby town of Carterton, as they make their way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Robathan said:

The side gate was seen by the Ministry of Defence and the police as the most appropriate way to take out future corteges.

I am not sure taking coffins in hearses past schools, past families, past married quarters is necessarily the thing that everybody would wish to see … the focus must be on the families of the dead service personnel. They are the people who care most. That is where our focus is.

No, instead Robathan and his ilk would prefer to keep the human impact of their completely mismanaged adventurism in Afghanistan a dirty little secret.

They know that news broadcasts informing the public of yet more young men who have been sacrificed needlessly to prop up a sick illusion do not have a fraction of the psychological impact of seeing coffins containing the remains of those poor lads being driven to Oxford.  Why should the reality of the consequences of the politicians sending these young men to their deaths be hidden away from the people they stepped up to serve?

This isn’t about looking out for emotional wellbeing of the families of servicemen.  This is about the MoD and the politicians not wanting to feel the pressure of public opinion weighing down on them as the bodies of young men whose lives have been snuffed out fighting to defend a corrupt, untrustworthy and backward regime that is incapable of securing the support of its own people.

When Robathan spins the line he did he erases the respect he earned through his previous service. All the good that went before is cancelled out. But most importantly he lets down those who have followed him into the armed forces and who should only been sent into harm’s way with very good reason.

Afghanistan is nothing like a good reason and Robathan is now nothing more than a self serving turncoat. He is a coward for toeing the party line in this way.

Compare and contrast

It is often said the BBC’s favourite news subject is itself.  The same is true of Conservative politicians and their bag men. The love being the centre of attention because it takes the focus away from their multitude of broken promises and their rank incompetence.

This weekend we have no less than two articles online that put the 2010 intake of new Tory MPs front and centre.  While the articles hail from different viewpoints, both underline the self referential Westminster bubble’s desire to talk about issues of fascination to itself rather than subjects that matter to the long suffering British public.

First up we have Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome, taking time out from ‘running interference’ for David Cameron in the Sunday Fail, to try and convince readers that he and the Conservative Party are still right of centre, by arguing that the new intake of (supposedly centre right) Tory MPs are pushing David Cameron towards a more robust, more appealing Conservatism.

Any independently minded observer reading Montgomerie’s piece would either be reduced to tears of laughter at the notion of the autocratic Cameron being forced into any position he doesn’t want to adopt, or moved to hurling invective at their screen in response to the sheer vacuous idiocy of his claim.

Which brings us smoothly on to the second piece about the aggressively self serving Tory newbies…  for in the Mail on Sunday we have an anonymous piece, written by a person who indicates they are a longer serving Conservative MP, which explains that while he/she thought the new intake of Tories would clean up politics, the cruel hounding of Mark Pritchard shows they were wrong.

As this anonymous person reminds those who had forgotten the origin of these Parliamentary candidates before they were elected, top of the list were the friends or former schoolmates of Cameron and George Osborne, or those who moved in the same social circle. The candidates lists in many constituencies were cynically manipulated to ensure those who Cameron and Osborne could rely upon to be ‘on message’ were the ones who were selected. Alongside these, the anonymous writer reminds us:

were the ambitious sycophants and plain old careerists who would sell their own grandmother for a pat on the back or a wink from a whip

So how does this insight square with Montgomerie’s article, which one could argue is nothing more than another Cameron-protecting puff piece designed to keep the angered Tory grass roots from turning their back on the left sliding party for good?  How does Montgomerie’s piece square with his own support of the ‘Better Off Out’ campaign to see Britain leave the EU, when he witters on about this new intake, amounting to two thirds of Tory backbenchers, supposedly pulling Cameron towards more Thatcherite positions, and the old Right towards greater pragmatism?

Perhaps Montgomerie’s stomach for principle has now completely evaporated, easily pleased at seeing nothing more a Conservative in name only in Downing Street due to his tribal party loyalty, to be replaced by the coward’s approach – consensus politics and so called pragmatism which maintains the anti democratic nature of politics in this country – which prevents the change we so desperately need.

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. The Anger of a Quiet Man on Equality or Ability?

2. Max Farquar on ACPO Will Love This

3. Warning Signs on Spending Insanely While the Economy Collapses

4. Klein Verzet on A Failure of the Community

5. Roy Spencer Ph.D on More Evidence That Global Warming Is a False Alarm…

BBC: Nation shall speak peace spin unto nation

The State propaganda organ has continued to indulge itself in ludicrous spin over the last two days in Northern Ireland.

For it is from there the BBC has been reporting in detail about the opening of the so called ‘Peace Bridge’ in Londonderry.

So it is we have had BBC Ireland correspondant Mark Simpson uttering comments such as this yesterday:

At a cost of £14.6m, the new ‘peace bridge’ in Londonderry/Derry is the latest attempt to bring Protestants and Catholics closer together.

At the moment, most Protestants live on the east bank of the River Foyle, most Catholics live on the west bank. Some are reluctant to cross to the other side.

The idea is to try to bridge the gap.

going on to add that:

In Londonderry/Derry – sometimes referred to as stroke city – the level of sectarianism is not as bad as it used to be.

The hope is that the new bridge will help to improve relations even further among its 100,000 residents.

Improve relations among Londonderry’s 100,000 residents?  What Simpson has deliberately omitted from his meandering waffle is that thanks to murders, beatings and sectarian intimidation at the hands of republicans/nationalists, thousands of unionist protestants have fled their homes in the city.  In fact in Londonderry there are now less than 500 protestants left.  To put this into context the city used to be home to more than 15,000 protestants when the Troubles started. But now there is hardly any protestant community left with which to improve relations.  The message as always is ‘all is well, there’s nothing to see here’.  The reality as always is something rather different.

What compounds this bias by omission – and likely goes some way to explaining it given the origin of some funding the BBC receives – is the confirmation that the dead hand of the EU is all over this exercise in delusion, metaphoric and literal bridge building initiative:

Funding came from the EU’s Peace III programme under the Shared Space initiative which supports projects that bring together communities that have been formerly divided.

Given the EU’s track record of waste it is no surprise it thought spending £15m of our money on such propaganda was a good thing to do.  If the EU wants to bring together communities that were formerly divided it will need to build a bridge that starts at the Foyle and goes a considerable number of miles to where the protestants who have fled Londonderry now reside.

This is not a peace bridge, it is a monument to the successful ethnic cleansing of the vast majority of the unionist population from Londonderry’s Cityside.  One wonders how the BBC would be covering this story if it was Catholics and republicans who had been expelled from the city rather than the protestants BBC editors think of as an eccentric oddity who are of little consequence.

Met Office’s pathetic self justification and lack of attention to detail

This morning the ‘Met Office News Blog‘ published a post of self congratulation titled ‘A year in the life of the Met Office’ in a tame attempt to justify the ‘news’ (something already examined and trailed by this blog in early May) that its staff will benefit from £1.5m worth of bonus payments.

We learn from the Met Office’s blog post that their Annual Report and Accounts for this year have now been published and are available to view on their website.  However as of 12.30pm today all attempts to locate the said information have thus far failed. Accuracy is clearly not something synonymous with the Met Office so this is no great surprise. Nor is attention to detail given the latest news page was apparently last updated on 4 May 2011 even though it holds news releases as recent as 24 June.

We are also told via the blog though that commercial revenues are up £2.9m on last year to £32.2m for FY 2010/11. Interestingly we are also told that for the second year running, the Met Office has exceeded all of its Business Performance Measures, including its weather forecasting targets and business profitability.

One can only assume that the number of commercial customers who have contracts with the Met Office is not a factor in those business performance measures.  For this blog learned a month ago through a FOI request that the number of customers purchasing services from the Met Office fell from 1257 last year to 1178 in the year being reported in the accounts.  In fact, since 2008-9 the Met Office commercial customer base has shrunk by 17.3%.

While the Met Office is at pains to tell us their range of products and services has increased along with their forecasting quality (dubious doesn’t come close to describing that claim) the fact is the trend in confidence in the department is downward.  If their forecasting quality had improved why is it senior Met Office personnel have spent time in the media excusing their performance and saying they need yet more public money to increase their supercomputing capability?

And while the Met Office claims to have ‘accurately forecast 12 of the 13 big weather patterns that blasted the UK last winter and 80% of people surveyed said they were aware of the warnings we put out and 95% of those found the warnings useful‘ it is difficult to have confidence in such assertions when the Met Office’s claim that the public did not want seasonal forecasts was based on a sample of just 16 people – and its claim that it no longer does seasonal forecasts was shown by Met Office Board meeting minutes to be a lie.

When considering this last year in the life of the Met Office perhaps people will do well to take into account the reality rather than the spin emanating from Exeter, designed to head off questions about bonus payments – subsidised by the hard pressed and poorly served taxpayer – that are wholly unjustified.

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. Adam Smith Institute on The Accepted Wisdom on Greece

2. Jo Nova on Clean energy “investments” just a tiny $243 Billion in 2010

3. Charles Crawford on The EU: Too Complex to Work, To Complex to Reform!

4. UKK41 on Democracy – Bribes or Principle

5. Harry’s Place on Wilders: Liberty If It Means Anything…

Step aside Lil Lou, Bonnie is the new Queen of Telegraph envirobull

Two months ago this blog covered the story of llamas being used to transport a population of tiny fish – the vendace – in the Lake District to safety because:

‘the Environment Agency said the species needed to be protected from the warming effects of climate change and its impact on rivers and lakes’

It seems this aquatic armageddon template has now been adopted in Australia.  For just two months on we learn from the credibility-devoid pages of the Barclay Brother Beano that the Duck-billed platypus is supposedly at risk from climate change:

‘As a result of global warming, researchers have found that the cool rivers and ponds that platypus love to swim in could become too warm for them to survive.’

But rather than this story being shoved down the ether from the tofu and University of East Anglia press release covered desk of the arch enviropropagandist, little Louise Gray, this little piece of vacuous, mind bending, unquestioning, cut and paste idiocy has originated from The Fail’s correspondent for Australia and the Pacific, Bonnie Malkin.

Clearly the Barclay Boys have found s0meone whose capacity for publishing completely unscientific drivel – elegantly ripped to shreds by a few of the people who could suppress their laughter long enough to leave comments beneath that press release masquerading as news – exceeds even the desperate excesses of La Gray.  And that really takes some doing.

One thing is for sure. When it comes to envirobull the Telegraph really is a world leader. Perhaps if Bonnie Malkin wants to tell stories about threats to the platypus she could take a few moments to see what the genuine risks are.

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. The Boiling Frog on Census Data Hacked?

2. No Frakking Consensus on Pachauri’s Cause

3. Your Freedom and Ours on Irwin Stelzer sees only darkness at the end of the tunnel

4. England Expects on Look What the EU Has In Store For You This Week

5. Cranmer on BBC Apologises to The Freedom Association: Some TV Licence-Payers Are More Equal Than Others

You do the fighting, I’ll do the talking

Every time he opens his mouth David Cameron reveals a little bit more of the idiocy within.

His latest comment, an attempt to stem criticism from senior members of the armed forces, underlines Cameron’s stupidity.  How exactly does Cameron expect the military to do the fighting when the size of the armed forces is being pared back, equipment that is essential for independent operations is being decommissioned at break neck speed and certain personnel have little time for training and recovery between deployment to theatre?

Yes, the Ministry of Defence has squandered billions on ludicrous procurement decisions. Yes, the Defence Chiefs have failed their commands by setting their hearts on equipment designed for use in conventional warfare while all our operations since the Falklands have been asymmetric. But this has been allowed to happen by the utter failure of the politicians to control that for which they are responsible.

In a way Cameron is being honest when he says he will do the talking.  Talk is all he is good for.  Cheap talk and empty rhetoric.  But he is fundamentally dishonest when he tells the armed forces to get on with the fighting because the defence policy of his band of traitorous quislings is eviscerating the British military and neutering its ability to function independently. It is not even an accident, it is being done by design as part of a bigger European plan to create an EU army that leaves member states reliant on interdependency.

Perhaps the Defence Chiefs could restore some semblence of honour if they admit they have been wrong to go along with the EU’s grand plan, discovered their backbones and oaths to defend this country’s interests and told Cameron what he can do with his words.

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. Calling England on Never You Tell ’em a Lie

2. A Place To Stand on ‘Catastrophic Global Warming’ Still Falling Apart

3. Prodicus on Hellas, hélas

4. Tim Worstall on Blind Idiocy Over Carbon Permits

5. I Blog, Therefore I Am on Baby P is Turning in His Grave

Of carrots and sticks

Over 100 years ago Teddy Roosevelt referred to what he described as an old adage, namely ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’. The meaning was clear. Where possible use diplomacy to resolve a dispute and do not rush to confrontation. But ensure you have the ability and willingness to use force if those diplomatic and peaceful methods fail.

Over the years that stick has too often been replaced with something else. The adage today, if modern diplomacy is anything to go by, could read ‘Speak softly and carry a big carrot’.  One man who has often referred to this is the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, the always forthright and entertaining John Bolton.

With that in mind it was interesting to read this thought provoking piece by another Ambassador, this time the former British Ambassador Charles Crawford.  In his post (designed to plug his consulting services) Crawford outlines the complexity inherent in negotiations and how problematic the stick and carrot approach can be.  He then factors in the psychological side of negotiation for good measure.  It offers a fascinating dip into the world of diplomacy and is well worth a read.

5 Star Blogging

A selection of five great posts by independent bloggers recommended to you for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing…

1. Nourishing Obscurity on Constitutional Games

2. Jennifer Marohasy on Carbon Tax as a Failed European Policy

3. Raedwald on Not ‘Realists’ But ‘Statists’

4. PanScourer! on IPCC Caught Out Again

5. Subrosa on The IMF’s Second Biggest Problem After the Greek Bailout

‘The Eurosceptic Steve Hilton’ or ‘Agendas in action’

So the man who is a parody of himself, Cameron adviser Steve Hilton, has let it be leaked in the media that he is said to have swung behind moves for the UK to go it alone after being shocked to discover how much sovereignty has switched from Westminster to Brussels.

Very little leaks out of Westminster in this way unless someone has an ulterior motive.  That motive could be to show up Hilton for the vacuous fool he is, it could be an attempt to soothe the ruffled feathers of the Tory grassroots that a man with Cameron’s ear is a Eurosceptic to arrest sliding membership numbers, or it could be an internal power play by someone who would benefit from Hilton’s removal. Whatever, there is more to this than meets the eye.

What the article does do is draw attention to the lack of understanding among senior government figures about how this country is run and by whom, and the sheer dumb ignorance of those who profess to be in leadership positions. There is nothing more to add about this ‘story’ that has not been analysed by Dr Richard North at EU Referendum. His post on the matter is worthy of your time.

The last unauthorised protester, Brian Haw, dies

The death yesterday of Parliament Square protester, Brian Haw, signals the end of last unauthorised protest within one mile of Parliament.

While I did not agree with all that Brian Haw believed in and stood for, he was an excellent example of how ordinary members of the public can thumb their nose at the political class which seeks to marginalise and silence people when they choose to dissent and campaign about something they strongly believe in.

The people of this country should be entitled to protest against the decisions of the political class directly outside the Palace of Westminster as they see fit.  But since 2005 the parasites have sought to insultate themselves from protest and opposition by the people who pay their wages and make their legislative agenda possible via taxation.  This underlines the fact that Britain in 2011 is not a democracy and ordinary voters are an inferior class to those who form the establishment.

If enough people choose to do so, they have the power to reject this segregation and make a mockery of the insulation law passed by Parliament by carrying their protest right to the heart of this nation’s supposed seat of democracy without having to seek permission from the police. It is those who have seats in Parliament who should be answerable to us, not the other way around.

Brian Haw tried in his own way to make that point and whether you agree with his cause or not, he deserves recgonition for standing against the establishment in the way he did.

The Foreign Office story the Belfast Telegraph should have told

Today we have yet another example of the media missing a serious point of public interest in order to focus on triviality and matters of little consequence.  It demonstrates further proof that the media is not fit for purpose and the public are ill served by it.

According to the Belfast Telegraph:

The Foreign Office has been left red-faced after it inadvertently published a confidential briefing which suggests European Union foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton was not experienced enough for her job.

The story explains how the briefing document in question contained sensitive material that appeared to be blacked out but could in fact be read by anyone using a computer to copy and paste it into another file, before going on to point out that the Foreign Office memo reveals that the UK Government felt only a former foreign minister, prime minister or head of state would have “enough authority” to become the EU’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

This is no big deal in the scheme of things.  What would have made the story a heavyweight piece and added value to readers was if it had focused on the information that followed:

The document calls for a “strong, effective” High Representative who could help build a “credible” European diplomatic corps, known as the External Action Service (EAS), and “represent EU foreign policy in the wider world”.

While it is no secret, there would be a great deal of value drawing the attention of readers to this.  For here we see the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, funded by British taxpayers, was (and still is) actively encouraging and supporting the EAS and the projection of ‘EU foreign policy’. The UK is demonstrably and evidently nothing close to independent. Not that one would see that from the absence of any mention of the EU on the FO’s home page.

The Foreign Office is stuffed to the gills with Europhile officials and is seen here to be working in its own interest rather than that of the people of the United Kingdom.  There has been much discussion about how the EU diplomatic missions have the capacity to supplant the work of British embassies around the world, thus making it clear how Brussels policy overrides UK policy.

Many citizens who have missed this creeping Eurofication of Britain’s place in the world could benefit from having the reality of our situation writ large and examined in detail for them. But the media is watching the birdie and devoting its energies to triviality rather than substance. Is it any wonder why so many people do not think the EU is a pressing political issue?  But then, that is what the political class wants and its media toadies are helping them to hold the line.

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