Archive for June, 2013

A look back at Nick Clegg’s comments on energy

Whenever the reality of the UK’s dwindling energy generating capacity comes to the fore – as insane government policy on energy and the leftist fetish for wind power instead of coal starts to bite – it’s always worth reminding ourselves of the oh so valuable insight provided by Nick Clegg on this subject some years ago…

The Government has spooked everyone into thinking that we need nuclear by saying there’s going to be a terrible energy gap – the lights are going to go out in the middle of the next decade.

There’s actually no evidence that’s the case at all. They’ve raised the wrong problem in order to push the wrong solution.

The real problem is that our energy mix is not green enough and we’re over-dependent on oil and gas from parts of the world that aren’t very reliable.

So it’s nothing to do with lack of reliable capacity and closure of coal-fired power stations, at a time when Germany is building more coal-fired plant to ensure adequate energy supplies, it’s just we don’t have a green-enough energy mix.  No, really…

Small wonder then that when the leader of the Lib Dems holds such ludicrous views, his party underling, Ed Davey, continues pushing the dash for wind and refuses to acknowledge we need new coal-fired plant alongside gas-fired stations and new generation nuclear capacity for our baseload power needs.

But perhaps it’s because the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are bought in to the eco-fascist sustainability mantra that instead of providing affordable energy and innovating to ensure we can continue to do so, people should instead be forced to pay much more in order to get less – namely reduce their energy consumption and pay ever higher costs for the energy they can use.  The same mantra is used to prevent new reservoirs being built to provide fresh water to homes.

Of common sense, there is no sign.

If you are not talking about the issues, people will drift off elsewhere

The UKIP bubble seems to be deflating.  That’s the impression we can take from a snapshot of YouGov surveys of voting intentions taken over the month of June.

Having started off the month getting support of between 13-16% and remaining consistently ahead of the Lib Dems, UKIP has now dropped back to 10% in the latest poll and fallen back behind the Lib Dems, with the four polls prior to that all showing a steady decline in support to arrive at this point.

From Mike Smithson's  (Political Betting) Twitter

From Mike Smithson’s (Political Betting) Twitter

The declining level of support correlates with Nigel Farage’s disingenuous comments over his Isle of Man based trust fund, and the all too common absence of any substantive comment or agenda setting from UKIP on the major issues that are catching the attention of likely voters.

UKIP can still be expected to do well in next year’s European elections because attention will be focussed on EU matters for a couple of weeks.  But if the party’s broader appeal is already waning after a proportion of voters used May’s county council elections to show their disdain for the main three parties, it suggests UKIP’s hopes of a breakthrough are just a pipe dream.

Leadership, of the paucity of it, is the main driver here.  It is all well and good for Nigel Farage to engage in vanity exercises in the media that pump up his personal profile – even if they make him look like a fool – but it is doing nothing to educate people or advance UKIP’s vision for a UK outside of the EU.  We can learn a great deal about the mindset of the upper echelon of the party when more time and effort goes into attempting to shut down discussion and debate rather than raising awareness of issues and provoking a conversation among voters that gets them talking about UKIP’s goals.  It seems personal agendas take priority in UKIP and ultimately, voters will not stand for that.

While not a popular view among a good number of this blog’s readers, the assertion that Farage is not helping UKIP move ahead but is a limiting factor, seems to already be starting to be borne out by the failure to capitalise on the recent increase in popularity.  The numbers were soft and those people needed to be given a reason to stay with UKIP.  But in the absence of a voice, they are already drifting away to find someone who is speaking.

Farage shows no sign of adjusting his behaviour or approach and UKIP will suffer for it.  The reality is that showing blind loyalty to the captain of the ship may be a jolly decent thing to do, but it doesn’t make any difference to the outcome if the ship is holed below the water line and sinking.  Ultimately the journey for that vessel is over.

Extortion class cashes in after demands for money with menaces

The political class has done its job well.  So brainwashed are the lumpen masses they believe a great victory has been achieved with the news Starbucks has handed over £5m to the Exchequer as a corporation tax payment, with another £5m to follow later in the year – regardless of whether Starbucks makes sufficient profit to incur that liability.

The Daily Wail also does its bit to sow confusion by conflating global earnings with UK tax liability, in a deliberate effort to make Starbucks’ operation here look more profitable than it is so the £5m payment looks much smaller than it should have been.

It is only after eight paragraphs that the detail is shared with readers, some of whom before that had taken to the comment thread to hurl abuse and invective at the coffee chain.  What the detail reveals is that (my emphasis in bold):

This year however the European arm of the company has turned a profit. In its most recent trading update Starbucks said operating profit in Europe was $5.2million (£3.4million) for the three months to 25 April, up $12.2million (£7.9million) on an operating loss of $7million (£4.5million) for the same period a year earlier.

Making a liberal assumption that Starbucks’ European (not UK) sales stay consistent for the remainder of the year, the company would be on course to make a profit across the whole of Europe of £13.6m.  However, the UK Exchequer will be getting £10m from the company following the campaign of demonisation and public opprobrium led by millionaire politicians like Margaret Hodge, who avail themselves of measures to reduce their own taxes without any shame for their hypocritical behaviour.

That means Starbucks in Europe could end up paying 36.7% of all of its European profits in tax to the UK Exchequer alone.

But reading some of the comments that have been elicited by the Wail’s deliberate effort to obfuscate the facts, it seems that isn’t anywhere near enough!  No doubt that is a view held by the extortionists in Westminster, who remain unchallenged about just why they take so much money in tax from this country’s productive sectors.

That there would be consequences was always a given.  So the extortion class and the brainless morons, who see businesses as a cash cow to subsidise government bribes, waste and inefficiency, can now take responsibility for the actions Starbucks is now taking to mitigate some of the financial costs of paying grossly excessive sums of money that are not even owed, in order to end the witch hunt:

We are also undertaking measures to make Starbucks profitable in the UK, such as relocating unprofitable stores to more cost effective locations, closing them where that is not possible and placing greater reliance on franchised and licensed stores.

Take a bow, hypocritical, political class rent seekers.  Demonising Starbucks will now result in people – typically younger people early in their working lives who already struggle to find employment opportunities – losing their jobs as stores are moved or closed to reduce costs to subsidise this state engineered robbery.  Some of those who work directly for the chain with the benefits that go with working for a large employer, will now find themselves working for franchises that typically offer lesser terms and conditions.

These actions could now see tax take from the affected employees reduce and possibly see benefits required to support those who will lose their jobs.  Where the state has grown too large, too overbearing and too powerful, these are the things that happen.

I will savour the squeals of protest from those myopic comment thread outrage mongers over at the Wail, when the beast they have helped feed starts to take more from them in the not too distant future.  We will doubtless see a very different tune being played when they are on the receiving end of the kleptocracy that refuses to just deliver essential services and infrastructure well, and insists on inserting itself into areas where it has no business, using our money to service its own interests rather than ours.

So Farage wasn’t clear on Isle of Man ‘offshore’ status yesterday?

On Channel 4 News, yesterday, 21 June 2013, Nigel Farage feigned ignorance about whether the Isle of Man is actually offshore, declaring:

Well, it is difficult to define whether it is off-shore or not.

How odd.  It was all so clear to him on 21 May 2013 when he spoke in the European Parliament about legal tax avoidance and how EU employees manage to pay next to no tax at all due to the frauds allowed by the EU.  He made clear the distinction (from around 25 seconds in on the clip below) between the UK and the entities of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands as he spoke of the wedge being driven between them in regard to taxation policies.

Perhaps when he was talking to Michael Crick, Farage was suffering from some form of amnesia.

No doubt he has one of those ‘cheeky chappie’ explanations that will make it all clear.

Farage’s desperate bluster reveals an underlying dishonesty

He has worked as a commodities trader in the City.

His employers have included investment banks and brokerages such as Drexel Burnham Lambert,  Credit Lyonnais Rouse, Refco and Natexis Metals.

As a commodities trader for these investment houses, the sort of work he would have done includes:

  • monitoring international market performance;
  • providing investment advice and market recommendations to clients;
  • trading on behalf of clients;
  • liaising with transport, shipping and insurance companies;
  • devising ‘hedging strategies’;
  • visiting international suppliers;
  • meeting with clients;
  • interpreting market reports;
  • negotiating price, specification and delivery details;
  • investigating new business openings.

Yet tonight on Channel 4 News the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage – while trying to brush off the revelation that despite speaking out against tax avoidance strategies he himself had set up an offshore trust fund to minimise tax liability – tried to give the impression that he did not know the Isle of Man is an offshore jurisdiction by asking if the Isle of Man is offshore.

With his career history, this goes way beyond stretching the bounds of credibility.  Farage may think he is being clever by attempting to play the ignorant simpleton card.  But this isn’t average guy who could be forgiven for not understanding that the Isle of Man is a self governing entity that is only a Crown dependency and therefore in no way part of the UK’s tax jurisdiction.  This is a man who needed to understand investment strategies and tax implications of the deals he was executing as part of his job.  In fact, it is highly likely he had to advise clients about the tax implications of the trades they were making.

Farage has moved beyond hypocrisy for his ‘do as I say not as I do’ stance on perfectly legal and responsible tax avoidance, and on to dishonesty for his pathetic attempt to make it look like he didn’t know what he was signing up to when opening the trust.  It also stretches the bounds of credibility that his financial adviser failed to explain the reason for basing the trust in the Isle of Man was precisely because it is offshore and therefore UK rates of tax would not apply.  Further, if he didn’t think or believe the Isle of Man was an offshore jurisdiction, why his comments earlier today about having ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the trust in the first place?

Without any other revelation of the many that could emerge about Farage, this incident and the dishonest way he has attempted to bluff his way out of it, calls into question his character and integrity.  Farage can certainly no longer set himself apart from the mendacious politicians in this country and portray himself as a breath of fresh air.  He has shown himself to be every bit as slippery and unreliable as the rest of them.  He has now been condemned by his own words.

UKIP needs to remove this man before his taint spreads to envelope and damage the party and the prospects of the wider Eurosceptic movement.

Farage’s prospects facing death by a thousand column inches

It gives us no pleasure to see Nigel Farage courting the kind of controversy this blog has long warned was just waiting to be dropped into the public domain.  The media have been waiting for the opportunity to inflict the most damage possible on the Eurosceptic movement, and see the leader of UKIP as being a fulcrum in the movement.  It’s not rocket science.

The issue this blog has had has never been about UKIP or its supporters.  There are many decent people in that party with the wisdom to understand the interests of the British people and the United Kingdom will be best served with our nation outside of the EU.  The problem has always been Farage.  As we have noted for a long time, Farage doesn’t do serious and he doesn’t do detail.  This undermines UKIP and weakens the Eurosceptic campaign as a whole.

Witness the complete absence of a formal UKIP response to the political class’ efforts to hijack the narrative on trade to push the EUphile agenda during the G8 conference at Loch Erne. With the need to throw off the constraints of political union within the EU, the sight of Barroso and Van Rompuy pitching up at the G8 and addressing the media should have had Farage on the air, providing the media with balancing comments and rebuttal.  In fact he should have been briefing the media in advance of the meeting, but that’s a discussion for some other time.

Instead he was playing out a humiliating and self inflicted tragi-comedy, running from venue to venue around Aberdeen under police protection trying to dodge left wing protesters.  If potential UKIP supporters were watching and weighing up whether to throw their support behind the party, this episode – so close on the heels of another abortive Scottish visit – may have put many off.

If Farage did detail and listened to people who know things, he would have learned from the experience of the other parties how to conduct business north of the border.  There the parties are Scottish with their own leaders, not run out of Westminster.  The party leaders down in London do not cross Hadrian’s Wall unless they have an invite from the Scottish party leader and Scottish party supporters lined up to attend speeches and events.  Rightly or wrongly, the Scots do not like the Sassenachs mincing north from the capital and delivering what is seen as an English vision in their country.  It is seen as imperialist and an exhibition of bad manners.

Compounding this strategy of doing things his way to appear like a plucky outsider thumbing his nose at the very political elite he aspires to be part of, is Farage’s questionable character.

Sure, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.  But Farage doesn’t just break eggs, he burns down the chicken shed, kills the chickens, flattens the surrounding farm and hurls insults at the onlookers.  This is why there are so many ex-senior UKIP  members.

Away from the camera – although we’ve seen glimpses of his true nature at times – Farage is a psychological bully who believes he is the party.  But it’s not just his lack of interpersonal or leadership skills that is the problem.  It is his behaviour in other areas of his life, both professional and personal, that have left a trail of scandals and incidents with unsavoury outcomes which have largely gone barely reported due to UKIP’s previous lower profile.  But you can be assured the media has been digging into these and adding more detail, ready to drop damaging stories into the public domain at moments that best serve the interests of those who are trying to keep the UK firmly under EU control.

UKIP will be tainted by the assault on Farage and exposure of incidents and issues that he thought had been airbrushed out of public discourse.  UKIP doesn’t deserve to suffer this and neither does the wider Eurosceptic movement.

While it’s Farage’s prospects that are being dragged to the edge of the cliff ahead of rapid acceleration followed by deceleration trauma, the real issue is the collateral damage to those near him.  This was always the concern of those who have not supported Farage yet want to see UKIP do well. It now appears to be coming to pass.

Misconduct in Public Office

Cynthia Bower, former Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and her former deputy, Jill Finney, stand accused along with media manager Anna Jefferson of being involved, to varying degress, in the decision to cover-up of failures over deaths of babies at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.

There can be no doubt that, as a regulator of the National Health Service, the CQC is a public body.  These charges are of a particularly grave nature and far more serious than police officers selling titbits of information to the media.  As we have seen police officers being prosecuted for Misconduct in Public Office and imprisoned when found guilty, it stands to reason that Bower, Finney and Jefferson should stand before a court to answer the accusations.

Our public services are infested with people who have no interest in serving anything other than their own financial and career interests.  It is obscene that Bower was allowed to leave the CQC with a pension pot of around £1.5million with her appalling track record.  The absence of accountability seems to be the most common characteristic of those who reach the higher echelons of these lavishly funded organisations that produce very little, consume a vast amount and, as the Furness scandal, the Mid Staffordshire scandal and numerous other scandals already exposed and in the pipeline for exposure show, hold the public that funds them in sickening contempt.

These people have blood on their hands.  It is the most serious failure or wilful misconduct that anyone in public service can be accused of.  Nothing less than prosecution to the full extent of the law, accompanied by complete transparency about everything that has happened with no censorship, and crucially full details of what outside organisations – such as Common Purpose – they and those who hired them are members of and have spent public money to participate in, should be accepted.

The political class has facilitated the development of the parasite class, which is consistently failing the people they are supposed to serve while feeding off us like leeches.  Enough is enough.  It’s time to take them on.

What’s in a name? BBC Northern Ireland conducts cringeworthy contortion

The city of Londonderry in Northern Ireland was given its official and legal name by Royal Charter in 1662.

Although the republican council in the city changed its own identity to Derry City Council in 1984, as a symbol of its rejection of the union with the United Kingdom and desire for unification with the Republic of Ireland, the High Court confirmed in a 2007 decision that the name of the city remained unchanged.  There is no confusion here, even of locals prefer to call the city ‘Derry’ its offical and legal name is Londonderry.

So a certain amount of teeth grinding was provoked today when I heard news presenters and continuity announcers on BBC Northern Ireland – the state’s public service broadcaster – constantly referring to the city as ‘Derry Londonderry’ in a crass attempt to sit on the fence over the city’s name.

Neither the UK government nor the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont have changed the name of Londonderry.  So why is the state’s publicly funded broadcaster being allowed to distort the official identity of Londonderry in this ludicrous manner?

It has long been asserted that BBC NI and Ulster Television (UTV) are reservoirs of republican support and sympathies.  This editorial decision by the BBC does nothing to disprove that assertion.  The default position of the self loathers and socialist broadcast activists at the Continuity BBC to place a premium on any stance that undermines anything British, but surely this sop to those who reject and oppose Northern Ireland’s British identity has no place on the state broadcaster.  This contortion over the city’s name is only being carried out to appease the sensitivities of republicans in Londonderry.

Should the day come that the majority in Northern Ireland choose democratically to leave the union and subsume themselves into the Republic of Ireland, and Londonderry is renamed legally, will the BBC still refer to it as ‘Derry Londonderry’ to acknowledge the sensitivities of the unionists living in the city who wish to remain part of the UK and have so far resisited the republican cultural cleansing that has been taking place to drive protestant unionists out?  Not bloody likely.

The BBC is still the United Kingdom’s fifth column, it remains the enemy within.  This is just another example of it.

We could be in the grip of a decade of wet summers say scientists at Met Office climate summit…

… reports the Daily Wail in the latest big global warming, climate change, extreme weather story.

This is yet another thing that was never predicted by those wonderful, high certainty, government policy-influencing computer models.  No doubt this warrants another round of fat bonuses at the Met Office this year!

Sure Ken, leaving this lot would really damage the UK

Leaving the EU would damage the UK according to EUphile fanatic, Ken Clarke.  Apparently, leaving the EU would result in fewer jobs and higher prices.

Well, it might if the EU was the same as the single market, but the two are very different beasts.  Clarke is demonstrating hubris born of him being wedded to the advent of a single political entity based in Brussels, with member states assimilated into one body politic and in control of nothing of consequence.  To realise his dream, Clarke is making deliberately deceitful and misleading threats such as the one above concerning trade.

But when it comes to letting the EU determine for us what trade agreements we sign up to and what conditions we have imposed on us, all is not as rosy as Clarke would have us imagine it to be.

News filtering out from Canada reveals that the trade agreement currently being negotiated between Ottawa and Brussels – the biggest deal for Canada since its agreement with the US – is in trouble.  Canada’s Globe and Mail explains that:

Canadian trade negotiators are running up against bureaucratic infighting among European Union officials, who are backing away from earlier commitments in talks for a Canada-EU trade deal – increasing the chances Stephen Harper will return home empty-handed after a week-long trip to the region.

One of the Canadian negotiators has gone on to reveal that:

The EU side seems increasingly incapable of getting its act together to close a deal.  The various competing directorates within the EU are fighting each other, which is leading to erratic moves such as backing away from earlier commitments – actions that are on the verge of bad faith. The EU has to demonstrate it’s serious about cutting a deal.

While the EU exhibits bad faith with the Canadians, the UK is powerless to hammer out a deal independently with the Canadians because we are not at that Top Table, so beloved of David Cameron, and do not have the right to agree anything outside the EU’s common position.  This is British influence in the EU laid bare.

It is against this backdrop that, according to Cameron, Clarke and the rest of the pro-EU incompetents, the UK would be harmed by extracting itself from the EU’s political structures.  Yeah, it will be really painful leaving behind a grouping that can’t get its act together on anything other than how to afford itself ever more control over us.

Open letter to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Dear Lord Archbishop,

I read with great interest the report of your comments to the BBC on the subject of tax avoidance in the context of morality.

In your interview you said of tax avoidance that, ‘It is sinful, simply because Jesus was very clear; pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’  Perhaps, My Lord, you would care to give consideration to the fact that much of our wealth belongs to us and does not belong to today’s Caesar at all?  To accuse individuals and companies of being sinful for finding ways to ensure they only pay the tax for which they are legally liable, is frankly nonsense.

But there is an additional concern here, which is the notion you raise that by only paying the tax for which individuals and corporations are legally liable, they are  ‘not only robbing the poor of what they could be getting, they are actually robbing God, because God says “bring into my store house all the tithes”‘.

This is a disgraceful and outrageous assertion, My Lord.  Government policy throughout the world is far and away a greater cause of poor people being deprived than any other factor.  Your assertions seeks to position government as an absolute force for good, while ignoring the fact so much poverty in the world is caused by government spending decisions.  To lay the blame for poverty and hunger at the door of those people and businesses that do not wish to see the money they have earned squandered on electoral bribes, gerrymandering, servicing vested interests (including at local government level), and feathering the nests of powerful supporters, rather than directed at essential public services and infrastructure, is an appalling inversion of what should be considered as moral.

Where do you see government being ‘just’ or ‘walking humbly’ as it uses taxation as a tool of coercion and takes more than it needs?  Surely, by coveting their neighbour’s goods and taking what they are not owed, it is the government robbing God, the world and my neighbour.  Government has a duty to take only that which is needed, but it refuses to be bound by that covenant and abuses its power.  Why should taxpayers tolerate such abuses at the expense of them and the well-being of their families for who they have responsibility?

The Anglican Church, more than most other institutions, has good reason to doubt the moral credentials of the government, which increasingly interferes in matters of conscience and spirituality and undermines the practice of one’s faith in the pursuit of secular orthodoxy.  It would serve you well to remember that before presenting government as a moral authority only held back from good works because taxpayers strive to retain what is lawfully theirs.

For an educated and intelligent man, your comments point to a naivety and childish simplicity that while it may be touching for some, is profoundly disturbing and results in an articulated ignorance that does more harm than good.

Yours sincerely,

AM

The real reason for the Met Office ‘extreme weather’ meeting

And the hype continues…  This is all part of the ongoing effort to create FUD in support of the political climate change agenda that services a lavish money train.  The Daily Wail is happy to play its part spreading the propaganda.

Have you noticed how until fairly recently weather forecasts just predicted the weather that was expected (to the usual mediocre standard).  But now it is a more common sight to see the weather forecaster standing in front of a split screen with the map on the left and large ‘weather warning’ triangles on the right.  But the weather warnings are seldom extreme events, they are the same kind of conditions we have long been used to on a sporadic basis, but now instead as simply being accepted as the varying nature of our weather they are presented in a way that deliberately suggests the conditions are somehow extreme, out of the ordinary and cause for concern.

I can think back to a May in the late 1980s where I was on my way to the coast and we had snow in southern England.  I can think of numerous occasions where heavy rain resulted in serious floods that covered playing local fields and football pitches.  Even ditches became small rivers and we kids built makeshift rafts to sail along them and try to sink each other.  I can think of several rotten summers where school holidays were characterised by rain, lack of sun and cooler than usual conditions that made a day jumping in the local river and larking about on the riverbank in our swimming trunks less than balmy.  What we are seeing now is not exceptional at all, and I doubt previous generations going back centuries would find them exceptional either.

The issue here is not that the weather has suddenly got very bad, it is that the weather is failing to conform with the Met Office’s predictions for a global warming thermaggedon.

The real reason for this hyped up meeting it that, having had to quietly and reluctantly dial down the rhetoric on ‘global warming’ in the face of observed events, the Met Office is seeking to reinforce its push of the ‘climate change’ narrative, where even conditions that run contrary to the Met Office’s previous predictions (not warmer, not drier, and not less snowy after all)  just happen to have the same human induced carbon root cause requiring the same politically driven taxpayer funded ‘solutions’.  There is nothing new under the sun here, apart for the desperate and cobbled together justifications for ‘action’ being presented to us.

Anyone being taken in by these hyperbolemongers deserves to be taken for fools.  The Met Office remains a poorly performing laughing stock devoted to hype in service of their and the government’s vested financial interests.

The great wind power rip-off revisited

In the Telegraph today is a piece about the ‘true cost of Britain’s wind farm industry’ which underlines the extent of direct (let alone the indirect) consumer-funded subsidy deployed to propping up one of the most unreliable and inefficient forms of energy generation available.

The piece opens:

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.

The disclosure is potentially embarrassing for the wind industry, which claims it is an economically dynamic sector that creates jobs. It was described by critics as proof the sector was not economically viable, with one calling it evidence of “soft jobs” that depended on the taxpayer.

It’s an interesting take, to focus on the extent of subsidy paid to wind farms against the number of wind farm jobs that exist.  But that doesn’t take into other subsidy that pours into the industry from other taxpayer funded sources.  Also it encompass jobs that were focussed on building and installing the subsidy farms in the first place, so the piece undermines itself.  When that happens it doesn’t do any favours to those of us opposed to the government’s insane and utterly disastrous reliance on wind farms for baseload power, for such pieces leave us open to attack for inaccuracy.

What the piece should do is remind people that creating jobs which are reliant on public subsidy does nothing to boost the productive sector of the economy.  It is simply another government mandated burden on the consumer/taxpayer.  That is because the roles that have been created at these subsidy farms would not have been without legislation designed to skew the energy market to underpin uneconomic wind farm development, and without rules put in place to confiscate extra money from us to service their upkeep we would not be paying so much for our energy.  The energy market would not have opted for wind if left without interference to develop the most cost effective and reliable energy solutions that would be delivered at less cost to the companies and their customers.

But while we are on the subject, let’s take a quick look at the contribution being made to our power needs by all those grotesquely expensive wind turbines pitting the countryside up and down our nation, within the last hour…

 
1.4% is a disgraceful return for the huge sums of money that have been taken from us to service the government’s unjustified and pressure group driven decarbonisation agenda.  Hanging would be too good for these people as punishment for the wholesale theft we have suffered at their hands and their justification for it on the strength of an unproven hypothesis.

They should count themselves fortunate that most people have, as intended, been distracted from real issues affecting all our lives by mind numbing TV programmes and glitzy trivia.

Is this what the UK government is pinning its energy generation hopes on?

For those who do not watch the American TV series ‘Revolution’ on Sky, the image above won’t mean much (*see bottom of this post for a brief explanation – no spoiler).  But those who do will understand this dismissal of the UK government’s increasingly unhinged energy policy and wishful thinking for keeping the lights on.

In an ICM survey of more than 2,000 people carried out in the UK for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 64% of respondents said they were worried about the prospect of power cuts, and 93 percent said they are concerned about higher gas and electricity bills.  Their concerns are entirely justified.

But what is both striking and disturbing is the language used by a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change when asked to comments on the findings.  They are reported as saying:

The U.K. energy system is, by international standards, extremely resilient.  We are confident that the reforms we’re introducing, the cross-party support they enjoy, and the interest we’re seeing in the market, will mean the lights stay on for the long term.

The official response of the responsible government department only claims they are ‘confident’ the lights will stay on, not that ‘the lights will stay on’.  That should set alarm bells ringing – assuming there is sufficient power for them.

As for being resilient by international standards, perhaps when compared to Tanzania and Nepal it is today.  But thanks to the insane environmentalist-driven policy agenda being pursued by the government, which is shutting down reliable energy generating capacity and only replacing it with vague ambitions, hopes, platitudes and unreliable wind turbines, in years to come there will be less of a distinction.

There is also a reference in the Bloomberg story to government plans for new generators and grid upgrades, which leads us into a whole other dimension, the flaws about which have been rehearsed elsewhere in months gone by.  But in the context of the current focus the issues and possible solutions are worthy of revisiting, which we will do here later.

* I won’t spoil the plot for those who might decide to buy the Revolution box set in the future, but the plot line is that in a single event, all electrical power across the world has been turned off, but mysteriously when in close proximity to one of the pendants the any item with electrical circuitry works again.

Syria intervention – have we learned nothing?

This blog has deliberately avoided any focus on the civil war in Syria.  But that blind eye to the conflict cannot be kept closed any longer because of the likelihood of some kind of formal western involvement in the war.

After weeks of ‘Concrete Willy’ Hague yapping at the door of the White House like a deranged Pomeranian, begging the Americans to support the ‘Free Syrian Army’ with materiel support, the US government has now decided that its ‘red line gamechanger’ on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime has been crossed and that it will directly aid the rebels.

There is no way this ends pretty.  It is clear that the west has failed to learn a damn thing from previous ill-judged interventions and the needless fighting of proxy wars.

It’s bad enough there is a desire to provide arms, training and assistance to the Free Syrian Army (short of sending battalions to actually engage the Syrian forces and their allies).  The rebel side is badly fragmented with ineffective command and control and finds itself in bed with the very worst Sunni Islamist extremist elements, who hate the west with a passion and want to turn Syria into another Yemen before constructing a hardline Islamic state that would make what is quietly happening in Libya and Egypt look like amateur hour.  Weaponry sent to Bashar al-Assad’s opponents will inevitably fall into the hands of those who will gleefully turn them on the west, or Israel, at the first opportunity.

But making it that much worse is the small matter of US, British and French involvement inviting a violent response by Iranian backed Shi’ite terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, which support Assad and are currently pushing the rebels back out of areas previously captured from Assad’s military.  It also sets us on collision course to a proxy war with Putin’s Russia, which is keen to re-assert itself as a major world power and sees proxies as the route to redeveloping its global influence in lieu of a re-strengthened military machine.

It won’t be the politicians who suffer the known consequences and known unknowns of involvement in a conflict that does not directly threaten us, but ordinary people who comprise the soft targets these terrorists prefer to target.

We don’t have any skin in this game and there is no need for us, the French or the Americans to get insert ourselves into the Syrian conflict.  It is insanity to hand over weapons to people who are already motivated to turn them on us, and it is insanity to provoke a possible hornet’s nest of terrorist activity directed against us and our interests by groups that currently leave us alone.

When the matter comes before the House of Commons, MPs must vote down the government’s request for permission to arm the rebels at the expense of British taxpayers, some of whom could end up victims of retaliation for our involvement.  We have no place in Syria’s conflict and should stay the hell out.

Oborne’s unrequited love for Cameron sends him over the edge

One can almost feel the vibrations of Peter Oborne sobbing into his keyboard as tries lovingly in the Telegraph to defend his beloved political idol from criticism.

Oborne postulates that most people believed social media, in various forms, would be a very good thing for political debate and that it would make public life more open and democratic.  He declares that while there is some evidence that this is the case, there is also a great deal of evidence that the reverse is also true, going on to say:

Take the example of Twitter. Certainly it is a way of getting information into the public domain very quickly. But there is no room at all, within the constraints of just 140 characters, to make complex or thoughtful arguments.

Reading Oborne’s piece it’s evident that some people still struggle to make complex or thoughtful arguments even when afforded 1,213 words in a national broadsheet.  But anyway, I digress.

The sum of Oborne’s delicate rant about Lord Ashcroft is this commandment:

Thou shalt hide, ignore or at the very least play down any information or story that in any way demonstrates David Cameron is not as wise/popular/capable/hunky* as Oborne imagines him to be and wants everyone to believe him to be; any reference to any story that embarrasses the Conservatives when they behave badly; any focus on the strategist whose only concern is electoral victory irrespective of what it means for the British people.

There is a certain desperation as political ‘pundit’ Oborne is calling for any dissent or criticism of Cameron to be eradicated.  It is unhealthy and dangerous to demand that a person should be held as beyond scrutiny and criticism, and that people should self censor facts about that individual and his performance in case it undermines the exalted position Oborne feels he should be afforded.

What we are seeing is Oborne tilting to the cult of personality, irrespective of Cameron’s ability or performance.  Oborne has finally gone over the edge and if any proof were needed that he cannot be relied upon to provide objective comment, this is it.  It is certainly impossible to miss the welling-up of cult-like adoration that Oborne feels for Cameron as he rounds off his piece thus:

So here is a word of well-meant advice for Lord Ashcroft: it’s time to quit the Tory party. You are no longer happy in it, and it has never felt entirely comfortable with you. The time when rich men, especially those with a record of (legally) avoiding British tax, could buy a political party has gone. If you want to make persistent, childish and personal criticisms of a Conservative prime minister, it is much better that they should be made from the perspective of a private citizen.

And here is a word of advice for the Prime Minister. If Lord Ashcroft carries on using this treacherous and disloyal language, stop pretending not to notice. Strip him of the Conservative whip, kick him out of the party, and set an example.

This is what passes for political reporting these days.  This is how Oborne thinks he is serving his readership.  My God, how far the fourth estate has fallen.

This witch hunt distraction is getting taxing

Margaret Hodge was welcomed back to her regular and unscrutinised place on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning, to continue the tax avoidance witch hunt with an attack Google for having the temerity to structure its business in such a way as to minimise its tax liabilities.

The tired old line that HMRC should investigate Google, for doing something Hodge accepts is within the law, was trotted out by the tired old hypocrite as red meat for the spittle flecked trade unionists, those who expect to be kept by the productive part of the economy and some smaller businesses that due to their domestic nature are unable to benefit from transfer pricing and structuring their activities across different jurisdictions.

It is increasingly annoying to see individuals and companies being demonised for taking legally compliant steps to keep as much of their money as they possibly can rather than fork it over to the government, as various politicians and talking heads are rolled out to declare this has ‘cost’ the ‘country’ money, often suggesting that others will have to make up the shortfall or ‘services’ will need to be cut.

Hodge did it again today declaring Google’s actions ‘cost’ the country money and that they are not paying their ‘fair share’.  Firstly, it is not the country’s money to begin with and secondly, Google’s actions have not incurred a single penny of state expenditure so there is no cost.  The only ‘cost’ to the taxpayer will be any ministry activity stemming from demands for waste-of-time ‘investigations’ into activity that  is legal under EU law.  However, should the companies feel pressured into paying more tax than they are required to do under the law, there is likely to be a cost to customers of those businesses which would probably increase prices to preserve its margins to satisfy returns for entrepreneurial owners and investors.

But what is most annoying is the unchallenged platform afforded to idiots like Hodge which sees her given a free pass to make her ridiculous assertions.

Not once has a single interviewer on national TV or radio, speaking to these people of prestige, ask them to qualify their claims that money not taken from people is a ‘cost’, much less justify why exactly the government needs all this money to begin with and detail what it is spent on.

Not once have they challenged them to explain why the amount taken from us keeps increasing but the scope and delivery of services is continually reducing.

Not once have they demanded an answer about why discretionary spend on non-essential bribes and whims seems to continue unimpeded and only the essential services government should be focussing on are affected by downward changes in spending allocation. Make no mistake, spending by the government is still rising, fuelled by increased taxes from a growing workforce and dangerously irresponsible levels of borrowing.  This witch hunt is a deliberate ploy to distract us from the government’s abuse of our hard earned money.

Taxation is necessary to fund essential infrastructure and services.  Taxation laws should be clear and simple.  The amount of tax taken from individuals and companies should be kept the the minimum necessary to provide only  essential infrastructure and those services that safeguard the vulnerable in our society and those in need of a hand up.

But taxation is abused by the government, which gets involved at great cost in matters that should be none of the government’s business.  Government abuses taxation to bribe voters and further vaguely ideological ends by confiscating our money and redistributing it in a deliberate effort to make people dependent on the state while restricting our power and ability to choose for ourselves the most beneficial ways the money can be spent to support our families. Dressing up this witch hunt as being in the interest of the British people is disgraceful.

While government continues to use taxation as a tool of coercion and to further its own interests at the expense of ours, every single legal loophole that enables an individual or a company to reduce the amount of tax for which we are liable is not just appropriate, it is imperative.

Asking people to make a decision without giving them all the options to choose from generates meaningless results

But it doesn’t stop the media from portraying the result as a clear expression of people’s wishes.

In recent surveys held by the British Chambers of Commerce, and now by the SME networking business, BNI, business owners have been asked if they want the UK to remain in the EU and continue to import and export with our neighbours, or to leave.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a substantial majority of business owners, given this false choice, will opt to stay in the EU in order to preserve their overseas trade.  Why is it a false choice?  Because in none of these surveys have the business respondants been asked if staying in the EU would matter to them if the UK left the EU but remained part of the single market and trade continued as freely with EU states as it does today.

These surveys are inherently dishonest, therefore their results are completely meaningless.  Reporting the results in the way the Telegraph has today, while making no mention of this fundamental, deliberate and persistent flaw in the questioning, means what we are reading is nothing less than blatant propaganda produced by people who restrict the options to choose from for a reason.

What kind of dunces are they turning out of Eton?

This in today from the BBC

Doesn’t Cast Iron Dave realise that the UK is not at the top table of a number of international institutions because British governments have handed our place over to the European Union to ‘speak for us’ as one of 27 nations with often conflicting interests and needs?  For an ‘instinctive Eurosceptic’ he does seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time parroting the EU’s line and encouraging us to be fully assimilated, paid up members of it.

Perhaps it’s because our glorious media prefers not to remind people about the independence this country has given away, and certainly doesn’t want to shine a light on inconvenient facts such as those that show countries like Norway and Switzerland have seats at the top tables of more international institutions than the UK, as members in their own right, speaking for themselves with confidence on the world stage.

It will only be a matter of time until there is an attempt to replace UK and French membership of the UN Security Council as permanent members with an EU seat instead.  What then for Cameron’s drivel about the UK’s place at the top table?

Cameron claims that Eurosceptics are in ‘denial’ when we claim that the UK could go-it-alone and succeed in the global economy.  The fact is Cameron is not only in denial when he claims that the UK cannot, he is deliberately and knowingly lying.  There is absolutely no need for the UK or any other nation to surrender control of itself when everything EU membership supposedly delivers can be achieved through simple cooperation between neighbours.

Actually, perhaps it’s not dunces that Eton and Oxford are turning out, but rather deceitful Europlastic quislings who argue that Britain is not sufficiently capable of speaking for itself on the world stage and not strong enough to manage its own laws, trade relationships or control its own borders when other smaller and less well resourced countries manage perfectly well.  Yes, that sums up Cameron to a tee.

Is the British media useless, or simply complicit?

For those people who explore the media wider afield than these shores for stories with an international dimension, the expression ‘everywhere except the British press’ is an all-too-common descriptor of the reach of certain important developments.  It has merited another outing today over on EU Referendum.

‘Bias by omission’ is the phrase that generally explains these instances where the British public is kept in ignorance about developments they would be very interested in if the media deigned to report on them.

It is bias by omission that we are witnessing today as the British media – working in concert to keep their readers in the dark – turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the important story about the decision of the Swiss people, via a democratic referendum, to tighten up Switzerland’s asylum rules. You can read the story and coverage of the implications of the Swiss vote over on Richard’s blog.

This omission is noteworthy as the subject is one which provokes substantial debate in this country and focuses attention on the inability of the UK, as part of the EU, to control its own borders or asylum and immigration policies.  Perhaps it is this, more than anything else, that the establishment and its media poodles want to deflect attention from.  Any debate that shines a light on the negative and often harmful consequences of EU membership must not be aired, in case it prompts people to hanker for the UK to once again manage its own affairs.  Further, any example of real (if imperfect) democracy in action, compared to the system of elected dictatorship that operates in this country, might have British serfs making demands to determine matters for themselves in a similar fashion.  That of course would never do.

Following the howls of protests from the media about proposals for regulation of their ‘industry’ underpinned by statute threatening the so called freedom of the press, this example of propaganda through silence is as deafening as it is contemptible.  Perhaps the only freedom that matters to the press is the ability to remain part of the establishment and act as its outrider, set apart from the people and operating against their interests, and occasionally throwing a bit of inconsequential red meat to the masses to give the impression of challenging the prevailing orthodoxy.

Politicians often butter up the media by repeating the mantra that we have the best and most effective press in the world, which challenges, probes and investigates before reporting fearlessly.  The evidence, such as this today, shows what utter bollocks that idiotic claim is.  Perhaps what they really mean is that the British press is the most craven and compliant.

Either way, this latest example of bias reinforces that the British people cannot trust the British media to be fair and impartial.  It is not anything of the sort, not even remotely.  Our press is not of the people for the people, it is the political class’ bulwark against the people.  The British media is not being useless when its collectively fails to report important stories in this way, it is simply being complicit in furthering the agenda of the political class by working to keep people in ignorance and maintaining the establishment’s grip on us.  It is on their side, not ours.


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