Archive for November, 2011

Something vexes thee, Phil?

From the Climategate 2.0 emails, it is astonishing how hung up Phil Jones (I refuse to use his title, he makes a mockery of that) is on an apparent catch all excuse not to provide information in response to FOI requests.

His get out clause of describing perfectly reasonable FOI requests as vexatious, and seeking justification for applying the ‘vexatious’ tag to other requests clearly demonstrate anti scientific practice.  Some people would draw the conclusion that Jones and his ilk had something to hide (other than a decline), but we already know that is the case.  Worried that his ‘findings’ would be deconstructed under review and scrutiny, Jones and others in his circle simply decided to withhold data and method.

When public money is used to generate ‘findings’ that have huge ramifications for public policy, those findings must be open and accessible to all and tested rigorously, else they must be ignored by government. But as we have seen, government (Department for Energy and Climate Change) is in on this with the spiteful little weasel and his UEA and Penn State chums, pressing the scientists to deliver what the politicians want to hear so they can impose regulations and taxes on us to fit their wider agenda.

That is what is truly vexatious.

Did anyone ask Newcastle council taxpayers what they want?

In Newcastle, the Sunday Sun is reporting that:

Newcastle Council has pledged to hand over the wages it saves as a result of Wednesday’s national strike – potentially up to £100,000 – to good causes.

The Tyneside decision has put the spotlight on other councils who have so far refused to offer any extra help, despite the strike action set to see them save more than £1m.

This underlines the lack of accountability in our town halls.  Lets remind ourselves why we pay tax to councils.  Newcastle City Council‘s website kindly explains:

Every year the council assesses its budget and plans what needs to be spent on the services we provide for you. When that is decided – at the end of February – we calculate how much council tax we need to help us fund the work.

Not all council services are funded by council tax, in fact only around 20% of a council budget comes from council tax. We get money from the Government, from European funds and other grants. When the tax is calculated we send out bills to everyone who has to pay, based on their circumstances at the time.

There is a principle here.  This is yet another example of a small, unaccountable group of people deciding how other peoples’ money should be spent because there is no mechanism that requires councils to refer back to taxpayers.  Some Newcastle residents might feel giving their money away to charity is a good thing, but others might feel that as they pay increasing council tax charges and experience reduced basic services, the money should be kept and taken off council tax charge next year.

Yes, it is only 1/365th of the council tax bill, which for a Band A property in Newcastle works out at £2.47 and for a Band D property equates to £3.71.  But the money was appropriated to provide services, not to be given to charities so some officials can appear virtuous.

The real story about those ‘mad’ town hall bigwigs

Casting an eye over the RightMinds section of the Daily Mail the other day, this blog post by Chris Moncrieff stood out.

The title was right on the money, but the content tells only a fraction of the story.  By focusing on Council Tax payments, it misses the really outrageous behaviours that show just how much residents are at the the mercy of the mini potentates and unaccountable officer corps who work to an anti democratic agenda and take their lead from EU regulations instead of voters.

There is no mention of the explosion of revenue raising activites that now account for nearly 50% of town hall revenue receipts.  There is no mention of councils exceeding their authority by charging more than ‘reasonable costs’ when issuing summonses and liability orders.

There is no mention of the imposition of frequently damaging and increasingly expensive parking controls around shopping areas, designed to take more from our pockets to fund their pet schemes while basic service provision is eroded.  Councils are increasingly out of control and operating above the law.

And there is no mention of the way councils increasingly attempt to withhold information about their actions from the very people they are supposed to be serving and who pay to fund their existance.

Is it any wonder that in frustration and anger, with town halls stuffed with ignorant party hack councillors who have rings run around them by power hungry officers, we see this kind of response from people?  It is a consequence of banana republic ‘democracy’, lack of accountability and the absence of any check on officials acting as overlords, as our interests are treated as an annoying distraction from the business of social engineering and embedding the power of the bureaucrats and technocrats.

What was supposed to be the servant of the public, controlled by elected members chosen every four years – delivering essential services to the local community at a reasonable cost – has become a voracious parasite feeding off its host, doing us increasing harm and undermining our interests to serve theirs.  The issue is much wider than council tax payments. Moncrieff’s piece is a missed opportunity to connect the dots so more people can see what is being hidden from them in plain sight.

The ignorant and learning impaired BBC

Having the dubious distinction of working in an office that has its TVs constantly tuned to the BBC News channel, it has been impossible to avoid the corporation’s obsessive coverage of proceedings from the Leveson inquiry.

Hugh Grant’s moody features and Steve Coogan’s inability to find a barber have featured heavily.  The BBC line is clear, the press has behaved outrageously by publishing distorted stories, fabrications and smears in order to sell papers. In the past month alone (at the time of writing) a Google search shows the BBC has been thoroughly enjoying itself, publishing no less than 856 stories and references about the Leveson inquiry – while taking a moral high ground that is wholly unjustified.

Unjustified, how?

Well, for all the wall to wall coverage on its news channel and the incessant stream of stories on a number of areas of its website, the BBC has itself been shown to be… publishing distorted stories, fabrications and smears.

The BBC has published no less than 22 articles and references this week about the Conservative and Unionist Society at the University of St Andrews burning an effigy of President Barack Obama.

However, the Tory boys and girls have not taken the thinly veiled insinuations of racism laying down.

What the BBC will not report is that there is more to the story than they are happy for people to know, lest it exposes their scoop as the meaningless piece of spiteful bile it really is.  Instead, for the facts, we need to turn to the blog pages of Biased BBC, where a member of the St Andrews little Tories explains what really happened and why.  The ignorance of the BBC is left on full display.  Their inability to learn the very lessons they are so keen to thrust down the ether and across the airwaves at us, is self evident.

As always with the BBC what you get is half the story all the time – assuming they don’t ignore the story completely because it contradicts one of their sacred shibboleths.  As always with the BBC the story has been made possible because of the unique way they are funded – with our money, despite not being accountable to us.

Has the Guardian published fauxtography?

Sometimes reality is revealed in unintended ways.  Has it been again?  Here’s Rubbisher of the Graun praising the Guardian’s favourite snapper, Murdo Macleod…

Murdo Macleod’s pictures verge on the ridiculous. They seldom fall over the edge, but they often teeter on the brink. Murdo is the gentlest of men, with a soothing, Hebridean lilt that he evidently uses to beguile his sitters to most audacious effect. He charms them into improbable poses or amuses them for long enough to lower their guard. His use of lighting is extraordinary, as is his use of props. You must always expect the unexpected. There is sometimes an element of magic, sometimes a tinge of Dalí.

And as Anthony Watts of the blog Watts Up With That? has discovered, possibly an unhealthy application of Photoshop too.

Did Rubbisher unintentionally hit on something significant when he said Macleod’s pictures verge on the ridiculous, and that there is a Beckett-like sense of absurdity lurking in most of what he photographs?  As focus turns to the Climategate 2.0 emails and people scrutinise the honesty of a number of scientists and journalists, some people are examining everything that has been said and what has been published by the media.

A number of photographs used in climate change and environmental stories seem somewhat odd and have some people asking questions like; have you ever seen black steam coming from a cooling tower?  People should know if image by Murdo Macleod is an example of him falling over the edge from visual representation to gross distortion, in support of a pre-determined editorial line.  The question is this, is it what we are seeing photography or fauxtography?

This image of Eggborough power station (above) by Murdo Macleod appears to have been used exclusively by the Guardian. On WUWT, Anthony Watts shows the output from running the published image through the application to see whether it has been Photoshopped.

This output leads to a suspicion that the Guardian may have commissioned/used an altered image in order to convey a false impression of power station emissions.

AM has written to Mr Macleod to ask if he will be willing to provide the raw, unaltered image for comparison purposes, and to detail what changes were made from the original to arrive at the image above.  Macleod has also been offered a right of reply that is so often denied to subjects by journalists in the mainstream media.

It would be improper to taint the long standing reputation of a man with such a high profile in his profession if he has done nothing wrong.  This is not about getting one over the Guardian, but a simple search for the truth.  There are questions to be answered here and those answers could have far reaching implications, so we await Macleod’s response with interest.

Update: Murdo Macleod has replied to my email.  The email exchange is reproduced in full below:

Dear Mr Macleod,

I write with regard to this photograph you took for the Guardian newspaper.

There is currently speculation that the photograph has been enhanced or altered in some way to achieve a darkening of the cloud emitted from the cooling towers, as Photoshop quantization tables have been found in the image using Before I write about this I wanted to give you the opportunity to respond, as the implications of this could be far reaching.

Would you like to comment about what changes were made to the image? Would you be willing to supply the original raw, unadjusted image for comparison purposes?

Yours sincerely,



Dear xxxxxxx
Perhaps this makes it clearer for you.
Best wishes
Dear Murdo,
While you have kindly sent me a photograph to act as an illustration (which has been manipulated – resized only?), it is not the same one that was published and does not explain what changes were made using Photoshop (or similar) to the original image.
People driving past the Eggborough power station say they have only ever seen white steam coming from the cooling towers. This would sound logical as only water vapour comes from cooling towers. However, your images show darkened emissions. So I am trying to get to the bottom of this.
For the sake of clarity, is this as a result of shadow as the sunlight is coming from the left? Or have you used a particular filter, adjusted the contrast, or otherwise altered the image? Or are the emissions that colour when seen from all angles?
Many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. It is appreciated.
Best wishes,
Dear xxxxxxx

As you can see there is a shadow falling across the steam from the left towers. As you may be aware the Guardian has guidelines on photographs and their various aspects. I comply with those. There is a procedure for any readers who have any concerns about any images published. Nearly all photographs are processed in photoshop and a variety of adjustments are made for aesthetic and technical reasons. This photograph will have been adjusted within those conventions and regulations.
Best wishes
So, Murdo Macleod is clear, the darker area is shadow being cast across the steam.  It is not black smoke.  But as others are saying, his comments are interesting for what he doesn‘t say.
While the Guardian has guidelines concerning photographs that are submitted, it seems they are happy for people to take the impression that dirty, sooty smoke is being emitted from cooling towers, when the reality is the image shows only steam with part of it in shadow.  That is the power of imagery.  Is the Guardian being sly and disingenuous in the use of the photograph?  You decide.

More Daily Mail EU posturing

This is one of the headlines in today’s online edition of the Daily Mail. The article comes complete with boilerplate comment from Nigel Farage, the standard mention of Tony Blair giving up part of the UK’s budget rebate won by Margaret Thatcher and the usual reference to Eurosceptics’ hand supposedly being strengthened.

But what is the point?

What many Mail readers, and others, do not realise is that after October’s failed effort in the House of Commons to secure a Bill presenting the British people with a referendum on EU membership, the Mail published an editorial – ‘The country has had enough of deception. It’s time to close the yawning gap between the ruling and the ruled.’  Anyone who wants the UK to withdraw from the EU and thinks the Daily Mail is on their side should read this comment:

Let the Mail lay all its cards on the table. This paper has no desire for Britain to pull out of Europe — and particularly not at a time like this, when withdrawal would add immeasurably to the uncertainties threatening our recovery and rocking the confidence of the markets.

Remember that.  The Mail pumps out column inches bemoaning the EU, its cost, its power, all appealing to those who want us to leave.  Yet the Daily Mail is Europhile.  Like nearly all the media members of the establishment it is with the EUstices and Heaton-Harris’ of this world, who want to stay firmly in the EU and who believe in the renegotiation fairy at the bottom of the garden.

When you understand the Mail’s editorial position you start to understand their anti EU tirades are all piss and wind designed to humour readers whose views they do not even support.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Wishing all my American readers around the world a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The BBC is by far and away the worst offender

When it comes to cutting and pasting press releases from the Environment Agency to use as ‘news’ pieces, the BBC is in a class of its own.

Katabasis, the blogger who contributed to the exposure of the Met Office winter 2010 forecast scandal, has undertaken a labour of love to uncover the extent of ‘churnalism’ exhibited by our lavishly funded public service broadcaster and its legion of highly trained churnalists journalists when it comes to environment and climate change stories.

Reading the whole piece on the Katabasis blog is absolutely recommended!

One wonders…

… how long comment 4 will remain on Richard Black’s latest piece on Climategate on the BBC before the moderators censor it?

Climategate 2.0 and a Mann with a cause…

So, thousands more emails leaked from the servers of the University of East Anglia (there is still no evidence of hacking despite two years of police investigation) have been released into the public domain.

It is being described on Watts Up With That? as Climategate 2.0.

Interestingly, even before they have had a chance to see what has been released and what is being focused upon by AGW sceptics, UEA and Michael Mann have already declared that extracts of the emails are being taken out of context.  As Jeff Id of the Air Vent puts it:

Out of context before we put them in context.  I suppose that if you aren’t a certified UEA climatologist, you can’t read.

One wonders what alternative context this quote could possibly be in:

What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably

Several Climategate 2.0 emails that stand out were sent by Mann and are note worthy for refering to the his efforts to push the man made global warming narrative as a cause.

It seems strange because I was led to believe that it was about science.  No wonder Michael Mann is so desperate to prevent other emails of his falling into public hands.  There is also more evidence in the leaked emails of Phil Jones encouraging people to delete emails in order to evade scrutiny through Freedom of Information requests, which possibly accounts for the ‘missing’ data he is unable to produce.

There are also some interesting Climategate 2.0 emails on the Air Vent originating from those chaps at our old friend, the Met Office.  These include:

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others.

And there’s:

My most immediate concern is to whether to leave this statement [“probably the warmest of the last millennium”] in or whether I should remove it in the anticipation that by the time of the 4th Assessment Report we’ll have withdrawn this statement

Is this a ‘temporary warming’ phenomenon we have not been told about?  There’s also:

would you agree that there is no convincing evidence for kilimanjaro glacier melt being due to recent warming (let alone man-made warming)?

This ‘evidence’ lark seems to be a real pain, especially when it torpedoes some of the most frequently used anecdotes, such as Kilimanjaro’s icecap melting due to human activity.  And another warmist shibboleth, the supposedly irrelevant Urban Heat Island effect  gets a kicking with this observation:

By coincidence I also got recently a paper from Rob which says “London’s UHI has indeed become more intense since the 1960s esp during spring and summer.

There is much more besides.  It is worth a few minutes of your time to sit down and read the selection of emails.  Some of the responses are eye opening.  Enjoy!

The penny is dropping in Ireland

… so to speak.  Of course now it is not the penny, it is the Euro.

No matter.  This previously fiercely independent nation, one that fought so hard to throw off British rule yet handed power to the EU mandarins in Brussels, seems to be rediscovering its appetite for self determination and is refusing to accept the anti democratic settlement foisted upon it.

In September this blog posted about Eamon Keane of the Irish Independent encouraging the Irish people to forge a parliament of their own to replace the impotent imposter that is presiding over the dismantling of democracy.

Two months on, Richard North at EU Referendum posts about Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times railing against the setting aside of collective decision-making by the Government acting as a whole.  The comments left in reply to O’Toole’s piece demonstrate an incisive understanding of the situation, rightly identifying how democracy has been hijacked and that Ireland is operating in an unspoken federalist fashion.

Op-eds such as these in the Irish media will only serve to energise the people and stoke their resentment of the political class.  If that boils over, history bears testament to how far the famously rebellious Irish will go to restore their independence.

Phone hacking, the Met Police, corrupt sources and the Guardian’s DPP angel

Think back to September when the media went into full screech mode because the Metropolitan Police threatened to use the Official Secrets Act to force the Guardian’s Amelia Hill to reveal the police source leaking stories to her about the phone hacking investigation, Operation Weeting.

At the Guardian there was outrage.  Editor Alan Rusbridger started the wagon circling, declaring: “We shall resist this extraordinary demand to the utmost”.  His brother-in-law and the Guardian’s own self confessed exponent of phone hacking, David Leigh, also leapt into print to rail against the “unprecedented legal attack on journalists’ sources,” while carefully trying to distract people from the fact the source was a police officer whose actions broke the law.

As always when the Guardianista comrades find themselves in the legal mire, their celebrated barrister and proxy in the assault on the Murdochs, Geoffrey Robertson QC, waded in to bemoan that it was an “attempt to get at the Guardian’s sources is not only a blatant breach of the Human Rights Act and article 10 of the convention, but it appears to involve a misapplication of the Official Secrets Act”.

The Met Police backed down shortly after.  A ‘victory for press freedom’ was the way the media reported the Met’s sudden climbdown.  Of course, if any of them uncovered a police officer breaking the law by leaking information from an enquiry on which he was working, they would report it gleefully as an example of disgraceful police behaviour that risked perverting the course of justice.  But it seems as long as the copper’s actions are benefiting a hack, he is treated as an untouchable source to be protected at all costs.

Writing in the Daily Mail, cor blimey merchant Richard Littlejohn explained:

I’m told the Yard only backed down after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, had a serious word in their shell-like and made it plain they would receive no backing from the CPS.

The intervention of Keir Starmer and its timing is something the media, in its own vested interest, warmly welcomed as it breathed a collective sigh of relief.  Had the media not been so self serving it might have chosen to look into Starmer’s links to the Guardian, and examine if his intervention was truly impartial, or influenced by something other than a legal standpoint.

Starmer had a history of left wing political and legal activism prior to becoming Director of Public Prosecutions.  When he was younger he was the editor of a magazine called Socialist Alternatives.  Almost a year after becoming DPP he defended himself against this history and the wider charge of being political when interviewed by the BBC’s Martha Kearney, declaring:

These are things of 25, 30 years ago now. They’re not relevant to the work I do now. I hope that since I’ve been in office I’ve made it absolutely clear that every single decision is made absolutely independently.

So just how independent is he?  This post will show Starmer was being very economical with the truth about his political activity and as such cannot be trusted to be independent.  His intervention on behalf of the Guardian against the Met Police needs to be put into proper context, and the media’s bias by omission exposed.

Starmer was not only a member, but Secretary, of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers which supports a variety of hard left causes and actively opposes anything considered right of centre.  That is in no way a thing of 25, 30 years ago.  Starmer’s left wing activism is long standing and has never gone away.  His first interview as DPP was given to, surprise surprise, the Guardian.  In it Stephen Moss explained of Starmer that: “[H]he has generally been seen as a Labour supporter and doesn’t demur when I mention that perception.”  Starmer was also kind enough to tell Moss that:

My background is not typical of a lawyer or a DPP.  My dad was a toolmaker before he retired, so he worked in a factory all his life. My mum was a nurse, and she’s been physically disabled for years. We didn’t have much money, and they were Guardian-reading, Labour-leaning parents. That inevitably created an atmosphere where my thinking developed.

How very cosy.  That same interview even saw Starmer reveal the fawning, high esteem in which he holds the Guardian, ironically on the subject of the phone hacking investigation:

Starmer also decided not to reopen the News of the World phone-tapping case following allegations made in this paper that its illegal surveillance operations went beyond its disgraced royal editor Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for plotting to intercept phone messages from members of the royal family. “I did get a review off the ground,” he says. “We looked at it and we formed the view that what was done at the time was the appropriate thing, and that it wouldn’t now be the right course to prosecute anybody.” But he does not rule out a case being brought at some point. “I keep an open mind. It might move on and develop if Guardian journalists or anybody else show us other stuff. What I don’t want to do is say, ‘We looked at that, we’re not going to look at it again.'”

Earlier in his career as a barrister, Keir Starmer had joined Doughty Street Chambers, founded and headed by one Geoffrey Robertson QC – the same chap who has doggedly pursued the Murdochs through his pieces in the Guardian, acted as counsel for the Guardian in the Neil Hamilton/Ian Greer libel case, and howled in protest against the Met’s proposed legal action to get the name of Amelia Hill’s police source.  Over time Robertson promoted Starmer to be joint head of chambers at Doughty Street.

Robertson as the boss had influence over Starmer and helped to advance his career.  Robertson as the joint head of chambers with Starmer arguably had an even closer bond with him.

Within days of Robertson popping up to defend the Guardian within its pages, imagine our surprise that Starmer stepped in to put an end to the Met’s idea of using the Official Secrets Act to use Hill’s notes to root out the law breaking police officer.  Was this a case of Starmer listening to his former boss, mentor and colleague and following his demands to the letter, rather than letting the police test the law in court in an effort to nail a bad apple?  If so it justifies the Guardian’s adoration of comrade Keir.

That would be enough to convince some people Starmer has too close an association with the Guardian to be an honest broker.  But looking back there’s more.  Not many people realise that in 2002 Starmer was himself paid counsel for the Guardian alongside Robertson.  Starmer even wrote for the Guardian, cementing his link with the paper.  If this was a couple of Bullingdon Club boys rather than Guardianista, you can imagine the howls of outrage that would have been flowing from Alan Rusbridger’s office.  As the Guardian will no doubt privately attest, the socialist strategy of getting fellow travellers into the top echelons of the state is paying off.

Alan Rusbridger, speaking after the Met Police dropped its action, described their attempt to confirm Hill’s source as “sinister”.  What is really sinister though is how one newspaper possibly enjoys special protection under the law as one of their favourite sons holds the senior criminal prosecutorial role in the land – and that the media turns a blind eye to a potentially serious conflict of interest, because it suits their own.

Family matters

There has been so much juicy content to get stuck into in recent days; from David Cameron’s ‘We sceptics’ speech to the revelation the BBC has been taking sponsorship to broadcast environmentalist propaganda masquerading as current affairs programming.  It’s frustrating not to have been around to blog about it.

But all attention at Mind Towers has been focused on family matters.  Although it is still early days and there have been a few worries, Mrs Mind and I are expecting an addition to the family.  Mrs M is doing a grand job of keeping ‘Developing Mind’ warm and today’s scan suggests things are now going much better.  Fingers crossed they will continue that way.

Hopefully I will now be able to ease back into the blogging saddle.  Thoughts of the future that awaits Developing Mind in this country means the battle to wake people from their slumber continues with greater urgency.

Cameron’s lies are the nails in the Tory coffin

As this blog regularly reminds readers, don’t judge politicians by their words, judge them by their actions.

Actions such as these that follow meaningless pledges to the contrary.

It is not just the left lining up against Cameron.  As one would expect, his Conservative colours make him the target of the tribalists who back Labour and the Lib Dems.

But his control freakery, deceit, waste of our money on overseas spending as vulnerable Britons go without, broken pledges and pandering to a social democrat agenda is now making him the target of classical liberals and those who want a smaller state that keeps out of people’s lives.

It will be just desserts for such an unprincipled opportunist and the tribal Tory idiots who continue to prop up and support the unconservative agenda he is pursuing.

Another EU Referendum petition

A reader has tipped me to yet another e-petition demanding a referendum on EU membership.

Normally I ignore requests to publicise such petitions because more often than not they are a waste of time or duplicate other petitions on the e-petition site.  However the email about this e-petition amused me:

We must play the politicians at their own game!

When the French, Dutch and Irish voted No to the EU constitutional and Lisbon Treaties, they were asked to vote again. We must force our MPs to do the same. There are loads of other petitions but they are too similar to the one that was granted a debate so therefore will be rejected by the committee responsible. We have spoken to the petiton office!

Our new petition, it is worded differently so the EU can be re-debated due to a clause in the programme for Government, that the people will be able to table their own bill. Like what happened in other European Counties let’s keep having them vote until we get the ”right” result!! We have spoken to the petiton office and they have indicated that they would allow ours!

Somehow I cannot see the Parliamentary Committee giving this the time of the day, given that  it focuses on Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty instead of offering the Europhiles’ faux option of ‘renegotiation’.  But it will be fun to see what happens if this tops 100,000 signatures and forces the Committee to consider it.

If nothing else it would again demonstrate the overwhelming majority of MPs put their own interests before their duty to fulfill the wishes of the people they supposedly represent.  It would also sort out the Eurosceptics from the Europlastics.

Where there is UEA there is climate change propaganda

One thing that is striking about the University of East Anglia is the influence it wields in Norfolk’s local press and local schools and colleges.  UEA’s reputation among the MMGW community sees the media and other educational establishments positively fawning over the college.

Which is why locals in the area are regularly given a dose of unchallenged puff pieces masquerading as news in an attempt to convince them mankind is heating the planet and devastation will ensue.  One such example can be seen below, kindly captured from the Norwich Advertiser by regular AM contributor, Dave Ward:

(click to enlarge)

As Dave points out the devastation must be beyond imagination if the highly praised mock up images reflect the future reality.  After all, in the image on the left we can see water flooding an underpass and lapping over the top of it, having ascended the steps in the middle and not risen at the sides.  Clearly man made global warming must be heralding the advent of intelligent water.

And the image on the right shows Norwich Castle with a new global warming induced moat.  This image is just as disturbing given the area covered by water is one of the highest points of the city and sits approximately 25 metres above sea level.

As the ‘story’ points out, the film made up of images such as these is being supported by the Low Carbon Innovation Centre at the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Carbon Reduction Trust (NCRT).

Dave did a little digging into the NCRT and learned that it refers to itself as a charity, yet there was not any mention of the actual charity number on their website: .  So he searched the Charity Commission website site and found them under charity number 1131601.  They haven’t filed any accounts for the last financial year as they are below the current £10k threshold.  So it would be interesting to see how much support they gave to the ‘on message’ City College envirokids to ensure the film of their poorly thought out and cringeworthy photoshop efforts can be shown at The Forum.

We will remember them

Over to you

Due to the pressure of work I don’t have the time to give these people the ‘good news’.  So, dear reader, please do read the email below and go forth to tell the burghers of Debating Europe what you think!

Do feel free to comment here about the debate and the comments you find over there.  The floor is yours.



Dear Autonomous Mind,

I would like to draw your attention to a debate on the role of the European Central Bank in the Eurozone crisis, which is currently starting on Debating Europe, a platform for discussion supported by the European Parliament. We interviewed Peter Praet, a member of the six-person Executive Board of the ECB, and asked him what he thought about the ECB buying up government bonds in Italy: is it overstepping its mandate or does it have no choice?

We would very much like you to participate in the debate, and have your opinion on the topic. Please do not hesitate to contribute your thoughts (there is a “reply” button just after people’s comments), and share the following link amongst your network:

Best regards,


Alessandra Baldissin

Debating Europe
Bibliothèque Solvay, Parc Léopold
rue Belliard 137, B – 1040 Brussels

Europlastics? A explanation through analogy

Over on his blog The Boiling Frog, in response to yet another tribal Tory appeal for genuine Eurosceptics to support the pro-EU Conservatives, uses a great football analogy to explain why the Tory ‘Eurosceptics’ are nothing of the sort:

I have supported my team for over 25 years, in that time I’ve criticised players, managers and the board but every year I still renew my season ticket. That makes me a supporter not a sceptic. And the same is true of Tories, despite the criticism of some aspects of the EU, when that EU season ticket renewal comes up they gleefully renew. They are supporters not sceptics.

It is a superb explanation of the Europlastics.  Anyone who declares that genuine Eurosceptics – those people who want the UK to leave the EU – have a home in the Conservative party is either deluded or plain dishonest.

Ignore the sensationalism, understand the real issue

A senior EU official has caused outrage by appearing to suggest that the national flags of member states should be dropped in favour of the EU design of a circle of stars on a blue background, the Mail on Sunday informs readers.  The MoS thinks there’s a story here, but being part of the mainstream media it manages to spectacularly miss the real issue and instead focus on a tiny element of a much wider and more significant problem.

The paper tells readers that:

Christine Roger, the communications director of the European Council, the EU’s governing body, made her comments in a speech to 650 ‘spin doctors’ from local authorities across Europe, including the UK.   She called for a new, dedicated public-relations budget to help ‘sell’ the EU as a ‘brand’ to its increasingly disenchanted citizens.

Before going on to add:

In her speech, a copy of which has been seen by The Mail on Sunday, Ms Roger – a veteran Brussels apparatchik – posed a series of leading questions, including how Europe should be defined. ‘Are we talking about a state-to-be? About a federation?’ she asked.

For good measure the MoS then trotted off to get some quotes from Nigel Farage, who duly obliged by prattling on about flags, the trampling of national identities and the waste of taxpayers’ money, suggesting he clearly only a faint idea what had been discussed and what the real concern is.  Once again the MSM has failed the public and the blogosphere has to step up to spell things out.

It is time to put the witless sensationalism into proper context, then hopefully get some people to sit up and understand the real story here.

Context first…  The ‘speech’ was actually nothing more than one part of a workshop presentation (Workshop I on page 15) delivered as part of EuroPCom 2011, which is organised by the Committee of the Regions.  The workshop was running at the same time as three others, the titles of which are altogether more concerning: ‘Citizen Journalism, opportunity or threat’; ‘Connecting with young people through social networks’; and ‘Outside the Brussels bubble: Europe going local’.

Also, the only thing the MoS would have seen of Ms Roger’s ‘speech’ was a PDF document of slides she used in her presentation.  It’s not just the MoS which has access to a copy, anyone can see it by clicking on the appropriate link.

Now the real story…  EuroPCom 2011, like its forerunner, EuroPCom 2010, is a concerted effort to spread EU propaganda via the national and local media in member states, using public servants on the government and local government payroll to wage a spin campaign from withing government departments, City Halls and Town Halls.  The attendance of many of the participants has been made possible only because our money has been spent to send them to the two day conference.

A measure of how deeply rooted the EU propagandists are in our public bodies can be gained by looking at some of the UK based speakers at the event, who included Nick Jones, the Head of Digital for the Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office; Geoff Meade, Europe Editor of the Press Association; Gyorgy Szondi, Senior Lecturer in Public Relations at the Leeds Business School; Tony Halmos, Director of Public Relations at the City of London; Carl Holloway, Senior Communications Officer at Preston City Council (pictured).

While the Committee of the Regions spins that the total cost of putting on EuroPCom 2011 was around €50,000 (£43,000) for  a two-day event bringing together 75 speakers and 650 participants, that does not tell us how much public money might have been spent by participants on the registration fee, travel, accomodation and subsistence in order to attend.

The aim of EuroPCom is to push a positive vision of the EU at local level in member states.  The real targets are local authorities and regional public entities, the so called decentralised bodies, which send out their free (taxpayer funded) newspapers and issue press releases to local papers.  With that in mind, one wonders how many Councillors will know if Council staff from their authority have attended and if public funds have been used, and how many residents in cities and local boroughs would feel happy with their Council Tax pounds being used for such a purpose.

The real issue is what EuroPCom symbolises.  It is not just the naked propaganda effort and talk of replacing national flags with the EU dishcloth, but the lack of democratic oversight and direct accountability in our boroughs.  That is the point missed by the Mail on Sunday and Nigel Farage.  That is the point that needs to be understood by residents in towns and cities across this country.

So once again blogs like this one will have to do for free the work the MSM journalists are so lavishly paid for, but consistently fail to do. While EuroPCom speakers have considered how social media can be used to advance the European project, so we EU opponents can make use of social media to expose once again how taxpayers across Europe are being compelled to fund their own brainwashing.

A Freedom of Information request has been submitted in an effort to identify which UK local authorities and public bodies had employees at EuroPCom 2011.  From there we will attempt to discover whether public funds have been used to register and send participants to Brussels for the workshops, and if so, how much.  Then where applicable we will try to find out who took the decision to authorise that spending on enhancing local EU propaganda and see which of those people are accountable to the public they are supposed to serve.

It will take some weeks, but watch this space.

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