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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Disappeared


I wrote a post titled 'Oi Sun, You've Nicked My Design' at the time The Sun launched its anti-EU Constitution, pro-Referendum campaign on 26th September 2007. It showed the Sun's campaign logo with EU arrows on maps targeting London - as if inspired by the Dad's Army TV Show. I commented that I had run two similar leaflets, one in 2001 for UKIP's general election campaign, and another in 2004 in which a large rocket badged 'EU Constitution' was flying out of Europe towards London. That post has now disappeared from my Blog.

I've found some of the 2001 leaflets we produced (or rather my mother still had them up in her attic!), and which UKIP adopted for its General Election campaign. The 2005 leaflet I will pick up in March/April, next time I'm in the UK. The Sun's logo bears a striking resemblance to this later version.

It's funny how the story which I wrote in a post on this blog about how these leaflets came about, and what happened to the responses (they disappeared in the mail), has also disappeared - effectively the responses were seized from the post by a government agency under the Enemy Aliens Act from WW1 (it was suggested to me by people who know about these things). Thousands of people just assumed that they had not been acknowledged.

7 mail bags of responses were removed from Shrewsbury Post Office according to one Postman who works there, who we met while playing tennis in a local tennis club.

It is pleasing to see that The Sun has carried on using the idea that I originally found worked well to get the anti-EU concept across. It took many weeks of my primitive efforts at focus group testing in early 2001, to find a graphic concept which worked. It seems that the basic concept I worked out then, has still yet to be bettered.

In 2005 I gave a copy of the 2005 Constitution-version leaflet to an individual who at the time was in Michael Howard's advisory team (Howard was about to use my 2001 UKIP leaflet phrase 'What's Best For Britain' throughout the 2005 General Election campaign). Once Cameron won the leadership, the same individual later ended up in an influential position over Cameron's strategy. I imagine that that is how The Sun acquired the concept.

As I handed the leaflet design over to the 'individual' in 2005, they reacted in a way as if they thought this was material that they would not wish to be associated with. But later on, with the Conservative Party gradually becoming more strongly europolemic by SEptember 2007, maybe they found it in the file and decided to use the idea and passed it to The Sun.

I also wonder who's been hacking into and deleting my blog posts on these issues. Last year someone jammed The Tap completely for some months, so I went to another site in Typepad for a while. The spooks who were active in blocking my mail in 2001 don't seem to have gone away, and are now bothersome jamming/erasing internet communications.

Why don't we wish them all a Happy Christmas - and then hope they go away and work on something that is actually threatening to Britain. Surely they can find something better to do.

Here is another version which cropped up in a blog featuring the demonstration against the EU Constitution in the EU Parliament.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Brown's An Investor's Dream And A Banker's Nightmare


Greetings of the season.

I'm off on a cruise around the Cebu, Dumagete region in the Visayan Islands as from the 27th with girlfriend and baby son of 2.5 months in a 50 footer with 14 others. I don't expect any Wifi or internet access to be available so this might be the last for a while.

Don't worry. I'll be back!

In passing, the Pound Sterling seems to be tumbling out of bed as some predicted it would recently. A few weeks ago it touched $2.12. Now it's $1.975. All the hopelessness of New Labour's economic management is not lost on the world's financial community. The Pound is becoming a Sell.

Maybe we'll see $1.80 before long. Others are saying as low as $1.60.

Gold is strengthening against the dollar in thin trade, but the effect is for gold in sterling is to be trading at UKL412 an ounce (No pound signs on computers where I am). A year ago this was around UKL 310 an ounce. My prediction is for gold to surge now to around UKL 500 an ounce helped by the falling Pound, and the financial shocks coming into view from the world's banking sectors. Gold could spike to around $875 an ounce if its current build keeps going, currently $812.

If the Euro hits trouble from countries like Italy finding they can no longer stay inside, gold could get a lift to even higher levels.

Shares on the other hand will be struggling to hold position, along with the Pound.

My strategy is to run with gold into next year. I will start selling once we are around UKL 500 an ounce. I bought mostly at around UKL 220 an ounce a while back, but the gains so far have been pedestrian and taken years to achieve. If the Pound starts a fall, as well as gold hitting a spike, the price rises could start to come along faster.

After selling out of gold, I might then buy shares when/if the credit crunch has consigned stock markets to the floor. (Give the process about 12-18 months from now)

My strategy is the exact opposite of Gordon Bown's. When he sold off Britain's gold reserves at around $350 an oune that was when I started buying. Gordon's an investor's dream, and a banker's nightmare. He creates financial disasters which are bound to move markets in predictable ways. But by undermining the security of the financial system, he's going to destroy whole swathes of jobs and companies and peoples'savings along the way.

I would prefer to be investing in businesses, but until Gordon Brown has finally left the stage and a Redwoodian Conservative Chancellor is safely in place, I'm afraid it's too damned dangerous, not to mention pointless with tax rates where they now are on dividends and Director's bonuses. Pre-1997 I paid 40% income tax and no Nat Insurance. Since then I've paid no tax at all as I won't bother taking out money from a company at 65% (Income tax and Nat Ins including Employer/employee contribs). In fact I've gone to live abroad while I wait for Britain to return to some kind of sanity as regards rewarding its risk-takers, and managers.

And that's without even mentioning the word Regulation.

It's Gordon Brown Nemesis time. Buy Gold for now. Then be ready for the recovery once he's gone. It will be like ten Christmases all at once the day he falls, and some common sense can be allowed back into the frame of British economic management.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Brown Tries To Bring Murdoch To Heel

For Rupert Murdoch, the Blair years of certainty are over. From 1997 to 2007, Rupert Murdoch kept all his media privileges as regards TV and football by providing Blair with the support he needed to stay in power. The EU Competition Competitioner stayed his hand and did not pressure Murdoch to divest himself of any TV, football rights or newspaper titles.

Even in the last two years of Blair's premiership, Murdoch was able to carry on acquiring further privileges including the TV coverage rights to Test Cricket, paid as a thank you for securing the 2005 general election (and possibly the promise of a job on the Board of News International), and in 2006 Murdoch was able to acquire a vital 17.5% of ITV enabling him to block Virgin Media's attempt to compete with BSKYB using the cable network, offering a combination of media services at lower cost, threatening BSKYB's profits and market share.

Murdoch was able to keep all decisions playing his way by ensuring that Blair was kept in power, and by not seriously threatening the growing power of Brussels to govern the United Kingdom. From 1997 to 2007 Murdoch played EU and Blair ball and profited handsomely.

But Since Gordon Brown took over, Murdoch has allowed the Sun newspaper especially to start fronting an anti-Brussels campaign to promote the promised-and-then-removed Referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty, against the wishes of Gordon Brown, and clearly meeting the disapproval of Brussels. Surely his business interests would be better served by carrying on a similar deal with Brown and Brussels as he played with Blair and Brussels from 1997 until Brown's accession to the Premiership. Murdoch, however now seems to be looking at a different strategy, challenging the power of Brussels, reducing the stature of Gordon Brown, and in doing so, running the substantial risk that he could lose some or all of his UK media privileges.

It is hardly surprising given these new circumstances that Murdoch is already starting to feel political pinch starting to be exerted on him, to try to force him back into line, to give some badly needed support to Gordon Brown and leave the EU alone to carry on its power grab over the UK.

Today the TV Regulator has queried Murdoch's shareholding of ITV which he bought in 2006. Murdoch successfully blocked Virgin Media's takeover in 2006 and barred the attempt to compete with him by buying a crucial 17.5% shareholding with enough voting rights, as the political environment under Blair enabled him to do so. The Regulator has now ruled, somewhat belatedly that this takeover of shares is 'against the public interest'.
The Regulator is presumably basing his decisions on both EU Policy and the EU legal framework, which can be little different now to what is was in 2006 when Murdoch was allowed to buy his ITV shares. It seems that political influences could be having a bearing on the timing and outcome of the Regulator's actions.

The final decision as to what will happen, is not to be taken by the Regulator, but by John Hutton the Business Secretary, who has no choice but to accept the Regulator's findings as to BSKYB's shareholding being 'against the public interest'. He can however modify the Regulator's suggested remedy, which is that Murdoch should sell the majority of his ITV shareholding, taking it down from around 18% to 7.5%. Hutton could increase the forced sale to the full shareholding, or reduce its impact or cancel it completely.

Will Murdoch now agree to back down and stop fighting against the EU Constitution, as long as Hutton overrules the regulator in Murdoch's favour and allows him to keep his crucial stake in ITV?

BSKY are facing a big loss if forced to sell, let alone the loss of their strategic position to block competition. ITV shares are currently down on the floor, and Murdoch could lose around UKL 200 million if he has to sell before the share price recovers. He is therefore likely to go to appeal if Hutton goes after him, and use lawyers to do all they can to delay the decision.

The next election could be in 2009, and if he can delay the decision long enough, Murdoch might be in a position to negotiate with a Conservative government, which shares his views about resisting the growth of undemocratic Brussels power. He might be able to keep his shares by then, or at least not feel that he is going to be put under a continuing campaign of political duress to force his compliance with Brussels' political requirements.

Playing the decision long might also suit Gordon Brown and the EU. If they go after Murdoch and force him to sell quickly guaranteeing a large loss for BSKYB, this might harden his views against the EU and Gordon Brown still further. If on the other hand, they keep his hopes up of his possibly being allowed to win in the end of the day, they might be able to get his arm twisted up his back far enough and for long enough to force him to stop making political trouble in The Sun, and elsewhere.

Murdoch is no doubt following the UK opinion polls closely and can see that Cameron might be less than two years from winning power. In the US where he has just been able to acquire the Wall Street Journal, his Republican backers are no doubt starting to see that the EU is turning into a very different animal from the one they hoped it would become in the days when Kissinger was advocating the EU as in America's best interests.

Before the Berlin wall came down, support for the EU from the US was near total. While the previous Warsaw Pact countries were being absorbed, the EU was still seen as a good thing Stateside. But since 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the negotiations over Iran and the Middle East, the US has at last taken on board that the EU is turning into a very strange bureaucratic self-serving animal, and not a responsible government capable of running the European sector of the world to advantage.

The US might well be encouraging Murdoch to take a few business casualties short term in London, to seek a better political environment, and one that is more conducive to business success longterm. If he can hold on til Cameron wins power in the UK, and with the EU starting to be rolled back, Murdoch could look forward to a better future all round. The European market which has remained a closed arena for him might finally open up. It might seem a better risk to keep up open resistance against Brussels for now, and start playing to free Europe, than to facilitate its collapse into a totalitarian state in which Murdoch would probably lose all his UK media privileges.

In any case the WSJ prize just won in the US is worth 25 times the potential ITV loss in London, which is all he is facing for now. Money rather than idealistic purity will no doubt be the arbiter of Murdoch's next moves. There will be plenty of cat and mouse play going on, I am sure, and a few behind-the-scenes negotiations as Gordon Brown desperately tries to bring Rupert Murdoch to heel. I doubt they will succeed.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Europol To Rival Stasi and KGB

Vladimir Bukovsky explains what be believes Europe is all about in this speech he gave in Brussels in 2006-

'In 1992 I had unprecedented access to Politburo and Central Committee secret documents which have been classified, and still are even now, for 30 years. These documents show very clearly that the whole idea of turning the European common market into a federal state was agreed between the left-wing parties of Europe and Moscow as a joint project which [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev in 1988-89 called our “common European home.”

The idea was very simple. It first came up in 1985-86, when the Italian Communists visited Gorbachev, followed by the German Social-Democrats. They all complained that the changes in the world, particularly after [British Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher introduced privatisation and economic liberalisation, were threatening to wipe out the achievement (as they called it) of generations of Socialists and Social-Democrats – threatening to reverse it completely. Therefore the only way to withstand this onslaught of wild capitalism (as they called it) was to try to introduce the same socialist goals in all countries at once. Prior to that, the left-wing parties and the Soviet Union had opposed European integration very much because they perceived it as a means to block their socialist goals. From 1985 onwards they completely changed their view. The Soviets came to a conclusion and to an agreement with the left-wing parties that if they worked together they could hijack the whole European project and turn it upside down. Instead of an open market they would turn it into a federal state.

According to the [secret Soviet] documents, 1985-86 is the turning point. I have published most of these documents. You might even find them on the internet. But the conversations they had are really eye opening. For the first time you understand that there is a conspiracy – quite understandable for them, as they were trying to save their political hides. In the East the Soviets needed a change of relations with Europe because they were entering a protracted and very deep structural crisis; in the West the left-wing parties were afraid of being wiped out and losing their influence and prestige. So it was a conspiracy, quite openly made by them, agreed upon, and worked out.

In January of 1989, for example, a delegation of the Trilateral Commission came to see Gorbachev. It included [former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro] Nakasone, [former French President ValĂ©ry] Giscard d’Estaing, [American banker David] Rockefeller and [former US Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger. They had a very nice conversation where they tried to explain to Gorbachev that Soviet Russia had to integrate into the financial institutions of the world, such as Gatt, the IMF and the World Bank.

In the middle of it Giscard d’Estaing suddenly takes the floor and says: “Mr President, I cannot tell you exactly when it will happen – probably within 15 years – but Europe is going to be a federal state and you have to prepare yourself for that. You have to work out with us, and the European leaders, how you would react to that, how would you allow the other Easteuropean countries to interact with it or how to become a part of it, you have to be prepared.”

This was January 1989, at a time when the [1992] Maastricht treaty had not even been drafted. How the hell did Giscard d’Estaing know what was going to happen in 15 years time? And surprise, surprise, how did he become the author of the European constitution [in 2002-03]? A very good question. It does smell of conspiracy, doesn’t it?

Luckily for us the Soviet part of this conspiracy collapsed earlier and it did not reach the point where Moscow could influence the course of events. But the original idea was to have what they called a convergency, whereby the Soviet Union would mellow somewhat and become more social-democratic, while Western Europe would become social-democratic and socialist. Then there will be convergency. The structures have to fit each other. This is why the structures of the European Union were initially built with the purpose of fitting into the Soviet structure. This is why they are so similar in functioning and in structure.

It is no accident that the European Parliament, for example, reminds me of the Supreme Soviet. It looks like the Supreme Soviet because it was designed like it. Similary, when you look at the European Commission it looks like the Politburo. I mean it does so exactly, except for the fact that the Commission now has 25 members and the Politburo usually had 13 or 15 members. Apart from that they are exactly the same, unaccountable to anyone, not directly elected by anyone at all. When you look into all this bizarre activity of the European Union with its 80,000 pages of regulations it looks like Gosplan. We used to have an organisation which was planning everything in the economy, to the last nut and bolt, five years in advance. Exactly the same thing is happening in the EU. When you look at the type of EU corruption, it is exactly the Soviet type of corruption, going from top to bottom rather than going from bottom to top.

If you go through all the structures and features of this emerging European monster you will notice that it more and more resembles the Soviet Union. Of course, it is a milder version of the Soviet Union. Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that it has a Gulag. It has no KGB – not yet – but I am very carefully watching such structures as Europol for example. That really worries me a lot because this organisation will probably have powers bigger than those of the KGB. They will have diplomatic immunity. Can you imagine a KGB with diplomatic immunity? They will have to police us on 32 kinds of crimes – two of which are particularly worrying, one is called racism, another is called xenophobia. No criminal court on earth defines anything like this as a crime [this is not entirely true, as Belgium already does so – pb]. So it is a new crime, and we have already been warned. Someone from the British government told us that those who object to uncontrolled immigration from the Third World will be regarded as racist and those who oppose further European integration will be regarded as xenophobes. I think Patricia Hewitt said this publicly.

Hence, we have now been warned. Meanwhile they are introducing more and more ideology. The Soviet Union used to be a state run by ideology. Today’s ideology of the European Union is social-democratic, statist, and a big part of it is also political correctness. I watch very carefully how political correctness spreads and becomes an oppressive ideology, not to mention the fact that they forbid smoking almost everywhere now. Look at this persecution of people like the Swedish pastor who was persecuted for several months because he said that the Bible does not approve homosexuality. France passed the same law of hate speech concerning gays. Britain is passing hate speech laws concerning race relations and now religious speech, and so on and so forth. What you observe, taken into perspective, is a systematic introduction of ideology which could later be enforced with oppressive measures. Apparently that is the whole purpose of Europol. Otherwise why do we need it? To me Europol looks very suspicious. I watch very carefully who is persecuted for what and what is happening, because that is one field in which I am an expert. I know how Gulags spring up.

It looks like we are living in a period of rapid, systematic and very consistent dismantlement of democracy. Look at this Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. It makes ministers into legislators who can introduce new laws without bothering to tell Parliament or anyone. My immediate reaction is why do we need it? Britain survived two world wars, the war with Napoleon, the Spanish Armada, not to mention the Cold War, when we were told at any moment we might have a nuclear world war, without any need for introducing this kind legislation, without the need for suspending our civil liberaties and introducing emergency powers. Why do we need it right now? This can make a dictatorship out of your country in no time.

Today’s situation is really grim. Major political parties have been completely taken in by the new EU project. None of them really opposes it. They have become very corrupt. Who is going to defend our freedoms? It looks like we are heading towards some kind of collapse, some kind of crisis. The most likely outcome is that there will be an economic collapse in Europe, which in due time is bound to happen with this growth of expenses and taxes. The inability to create a competitive environment, the overregulation of the economy, the bureaucratisation, it is going to lead to economic collapse. Particularly the introduction of the euro was a crazy idea. Currency is not supposed to be political.

I have no doubt about it. There will be a collapse of the European Union pretty much like the Soviet Union collapsed. But do not forget that when these things collapse they leave such devastation that it takes a generation to recover. Just think what will happen if it comes to an economic crisis. The recrimination between nations will be huge. It might come to blows. Look to the huge number of immigrants from Third World countries now living in Europe. This was promoted by the European Union. What will happen with them if there is an economic collapse? We will probably have, like in the Soviet Union at the end, so much ethnic strife that the mind boggles. In no other country were there such ethnic tensions as in the Soviet Union, except probably in Yugoslavia. So that is exactly what will happen here, too. We have to be prepared for that. This huge edifice of bureaucracy is going to collapse on our heads.

This is why, and I am very frank about it, the sooner we finish with the EU the better. The sooner it collapses the less damage it will have done to us and to other countries. But we have to be quick because the Eurocrats are moving very fast. It will be difficult to defeat them. Today it is still simple. If one million people march on Brussels today these guys will run away to the Bahamas. If tomorrow half of the British population refuses to pay its taxes, nothing will happen and no-one will go to jail. Today you can still do that. But I do not know what the situation will be tomorrow with a fully fledged Europol staffed by former Stasi or Securitate officers. Anything may happen.

We are losing time. We have to defeat them. We have to sit and think, work out a strategy in the shortest possible way to achieve maximum effect. Otherwise it will be too late. So what should I say? My conclusion is not optimistic. So far, despite the fact that we do have some anti-EU forces in almost every country, it is not enough. We are losing and we are wasting time.'

My Comment - Litvinenko was revealing facts about Russia's penetration of european governments, for example that Romani Prodi was the KGB's top agent in Italy. Sure he was killed by Russians but maybe the EU was just as keen he be eliminated. Scaramella who had made a video revealing all that Litvinenko knew, has been neutralised in Italian jails after initially being accused of Litvinenko's murder. The EU story is trying to come out, and it seems that Russians have a lot more to tell us yet.

Helen Szamuely of EUreferendum and The Bruges Group was not impressed by Bukovsky. In her post on EU Ref, Bukovsky Ought To Know Better, she wrote

Finally, what of the Gulag? Given Bukovsky’s experiences, that should figure strongly in his analysis.

He is rightly worried about Europol and about the European Arrest Warrant, though he does not refer to it by name. But even he has to admit that this is not yet the KGB. So, in the end, there is only one thing: people are being persecuted for not saying the politically correct things. That is, of course, outrageous. But a man who has been through Soviet prisons, labour camps and psychiatric hospitals should be careful with his comparisons.

The trouble with all this and the subsequent rather vague warnings against this, that and the other is that there is a kernel of truth in it and one needs to see the dangers of the European Union. But we are engaged in a war of ideas and the first thing we must do is to understand the enemy. I am afraid Mr Bukovsky, much as one admires him in other ways, is no help in that


Bukovsky might not have many of the credentials of a historian, and he seems to be fitting his facts to suit his theories. But his intuitive idea that Europol could in time become an instrument of oppression, and eliminate political enemies of the EU through one method or another, is not impossible to follow. Power is being centralised. Who knows who will find a way to manipulate it, and if those people will ignore what are currently regarded as decent standards. The way Roger Helmer MEP describes the heavies trying to suppress political demonstrations in Brussels could only be the start, or in Strasbourg. See his blog post DUFFED UP.

Power was ever thus.

Christopher Booker wrote - Helen, like you I hugely admire (and have met) Vladimir Bukovsky - and have more than once quoted in books his resonant comment in 1980 that 'the lack of bitter experience of people in the West makes them incapable of imagining tragedy'. But you are absolutely right in your superb and measured analysis. On this one - his attempt to trace the genesis of the EU in the USSR - Bukovsky has hared off in completely the wrong direction. You are right too in diagnosing that his real problem is that he is remarkably ignorant about the history and nature of the EU, so that he is trying to force some kind of parallel between a construct of which he knows little and one about which he knows very much more than most. Comparing the 'European construction' with 'constructing Socialism', one is tempted, somewhat frivolously, to quote Marx: 'history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce'. Except that the EU is itself another tragedy, albeit of a very,very different kind.

Let's hope Booker's right. But maybe Bukovsky's intuitive understanding of how bad things can get, despite his obvious inaccuracies, is better informed than all the historical analysts quoted here believe. Regimes don't, as a rule win power by brutality. But once they have acquired power, history shows that their standards can quickly slip. Europol might be starting off with more subtle forms of brutality, but brutality cannot remain subtle for long. Bukovsky could well be right to fear a degradation of standards from the EU, and should not be so firmly dismissed as regards his fears for a future train of events.

I imagine that if the EU has been substantially penetrated by the KGB as Litvinenko was alleging before his assassination in London in 2007, the Americans will have been informed. This could be behind much of the change of attitude towards the EU starting to be visible in Washington this year. It could explain why Gordon Brown is receiving the 'treatment' from Murdoch's media, and be another reason why Murdoch has been recruited to fight against the EU Constitution in The Sun.

See also Fear The Silence

And read Dan Hannan on how trials in absentia will now be followed by compulsory extradition to Europe for British citizens. The European State has all the powers it needs to destroy British freedoms.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Tale Of Two Buses


The London Mayor elections are turning into a battle between buses.

The one is the result of a Ken Livingstone fantasy - created in 2004 that London's Transport would be powered by hydrogen. This dream was not allowed to remain of the pipe variety but spawned a hydrogen bureaucracy, fully equipped with sub-committees and a 'steering committee' to oversee Ken's creation. He procured members of the academic elite to sit in on them, no doubt handsomely paid for coming and gestating Ken's Big Plan. A lot of sitting and a lot of talking has been the result, with a lot of money spent.

The objective clearly stated was to have 70 public service vehicles powered by hydrogen working for London by 2010/2011, safely beyond the date of the forthcoming election tussle with Boris. Ten of these 70 vehicles are to be buses, and ten have indeed been ordered from an American supplier and are soon due for delivery creating much excitement and expectation amongst Londoners that the pollution from buses can soon be a thing of the past.

There are one or two problems however. For a start there are no commercial supplies of hydrogen available. On the London Transport Hydrogen website, a rather forlorn sentence gives the picture. 'We hope to locate suppliers of hydrogen by early 2008', which slightly gives the game away. There is no hydrogen as yet.

I suppose if the price is high enough, someone will work out a way to deliver a dribble of hydrogen to get the buses going, but setting up the necessary infrastructure to deliver hydrogen commercially around London will no doubt cost far more than the US$20 million paid for the buses.

Ken insists that his hydrogen buses have the same capability as the diesel ones they are to replace, and focuses on the high cost of the vehicles as the only relevant problem. Funny then that, at the latest symposium on hydrogen buses in America, the enthisastic spiel from the conference left on their website, ends with the following words -

range and
durability are the
remaining problems to
be solved.


Assuming Ken can find some hydrogen, and he obviously hasn't done so after four years of searching so far, how much hydrogen will it be possible to store inside the hydrogen pressurised tanks on board his buses? And what will be their range between refills? I don't think that reality is being faced yet. And how long will the fuel cells costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each, last? Ken just wants an exciting publicity stunt, but at what cost to the taxpayer, not to mention the soon-to-be disappointed expectations of his electors? So far, as usual in the media, he is getting away with making out this is a viable project. When will the media penny drop? That is the question.

The fact is that hydrogen technology is not ready for commercial operation yet, and spending tens of millions of tax payers money on it is barmy.

If Ken had ordered maybe a total of not seventy but three vehicles to put on test and contribute to development, I would find that acceptable, but Ken is ordering 70 vehicles and is expecting the Police and emergency services to get involved as well as transport services, making people dependent on a new technology not yet proven, or near ready for front line services to be dependent upon it. I wonder who will be the first casualty of a non-arrival of an emergency services vehicle because of hydrogen, or the first passengers stranded by the non-arrival of a daily commuter's bus.

Boris' bus, on the other hand, is based entirely on proven technology, using a conventional engine, able to run on bio-fuels at a continuous rate to recharge batteries located at the wheels, creating an electrically powered silent bus. The vehicle has no transmission or gears and so can be lowered to pathement level to receive and delivery wheel chairs and baby-strollers with ease. There is no surge of noxious exhausts as the vehicle pulls away. There can be a dramatic lessening of the pollution spewed into the lungs of other road users and pedestrians as of now, achievable using current proven technology. It is an intelligent next technological step for bus transportation, leaving fuel cell technology the time it needs to get up to a level where public services can responsibly made reliant upon it and at viable cost.

If the way Boris and Ken go about buses is to symbolise their ability to take sensible decisions, and not waste taxpayers' money, then Boris is the hands-down winner. It will indeed be a Greater London with Boris as its Mayor, and a considerably wealthier one to boot.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Boris Knows Which Part Is The Joke. Ken Doesn't.

There is nothing about Ken Livingstone which is without controversy. Let alone the new allegations coming out in the Evening Standard about suspicious payments and cronyism, Ken has never been on the money. Look beyond his speech-making and focus on his record. It is shocking.

London has the most expensive public transport in the world.

The Congestion Charge has increased congestion and pollution right round its edge on roads not designed to carry high volumes of traffic, and is nowhere near the financial success it was meant to be.

Ken's crazy about Cuba where tens of thousands have been tortured and murdered by an oppressive regime. He has a fascination and seeming affection for corrupt violent oppressive regimes and other users of political violence such as terrorists...except, of course those who rained on his own Olympic Parade, those who carried out the London bombings.

To those he made a speech saying that, no matter how many more they kill, people will keep coming to London. Even that doesn't sound quite right, somehow, when you think about it.

You track back over his career and nothing adds up. It's all front and bravura, wasted money on an industrial scale, botched projects, - probably the biggest, most unproductive and most expensive ego trip in London's history (and maybe Britain's history too, second only to Brown and Blair) - carried out in all seriousness and doubtless, with good intent, but hopeless in its results.

Commentators have had their say about Livingstone. melanie phillips on how he embraces the cause of gays and Jews, and then the next minute, hosts and praises those who issue blood-curdling threats against them. When challenged on this double standard, he issues his own Islamist-quality blood-curdling threats, abuse and insults.

ADDED 25.1.08
He's been likened to a tin-pot dictator.

kirchick comments that campaigning against homophobia and then embracing gay-slaughtering terrorists as if there were nothing inconsistent about it, and says 'Given his remarkable obtuseness, one cannot help but conclude that the irony of this situation is lost on Livingstone.'

And that to my mind sums up Livingstone best of all. He just doesn't know which part the joke is, and which part is the serious reality.

He muddles it all up together into a non-sensical mishmash.

Mary O'Grady in wall street journal lists Castro's victims. Cuba is a place where Livingstone loves to holiday, and spend time - and he invites Cubans along with highly undemocratic President Chavez to London to celebrate the Cuban Revolution, and grandstand. He cannot tell where good and evil start and finish. It's as if he has a mental blank.

He too quickly forgets the victims who are already buried, in his desire to be enthusiastic for his strangely chosen friends. I found some articles on the net in Spanish from Cubans who are less than pleased at the kudos he has given to Castro. But such thoughts wouldn't connect with Ken. He's disconnected from any realities. He lives for any impression he can make, to shock, to create theatre.

He doesn't know where reality and fantasy begin and end, or where humour fits in.

That's what you can say about Boris Johnson. He does knows which bit the joke is, and which bit is the issue. He wrote with wit in the columns of The Spectator, while at the same time running it as a successful business. Livingstone just lumps it all in together and hopes somehow the mess will unravel itself along the way. It doesn't. It needs a precise mind to do that, and he clearly doesn't possess one.




THIS CLIP from Trigger Happy TV sums him up beautifully. In what is obviously just a spoof, he carries on as if in a world of his own and keeps going with the interview in all seriousness. He must have realised it was set-up but it's just like everything else he does, all muddled up. Great TV, but in all seriousness, he's disconnected from what's actually going on around him - professorial on occasions like in the video and relaxed in a kind of dreamworld, but also prepared to get nasty when it all goes wrong, as it inevitably will.

Just look at the results he achieves.

HE PROMISED CHEAP TRANSPORT AND ENDED UP WITH THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN THE WORLD

(from Wikipedia)

Livingstone's greatest challenge as Mayor of London has been dealing with the city's ageing transportation infrastructure. Despite conflict over appropriate funding schemes and engineering challenges to modernizing both the London Underground and the city's bus system, an Association of London Government survey, conducted by MORI towards the end of Livingstone's first term in 2004, suggested growing public satisfaction with public transport, with buses in particular being seen as more frequent and reliable.[14]

In accordance with his pre-election pledge, bus fares were frozen for four years, but then the standard single cash fare on buses more than doubled. Further, and contrary to his election pledge, Livingstone removed the famous Routemaster buses from routine service on 9 December 2005, claiming it was because the new buses were wheelchair-accessible, although several of the old buses are used on shortened "heritage routes."[15].

As of 1 January 2007, London's public transport is the most expensive in the world, with a single-stop tube journey in zone 1 now costing £4 when paid in cash, more than twice the cost of the second-most expensive transport system in Tokyo.

[16][17][18] Livingstone has been a strong proponent of the Oystercard smartcard ticketing system for London's public transport network introduced in 2003. In late 2005, Livingstone proposed large fare increases for on-the-spot tickets across the Tube and bus network to encourage regular travellers to use the automated Oyster system to reduce queuing at Underground stations and avoid delays in conductorless buses as drivers issue tickets.

The plans, although ratified by the GLA and introduced in January 2006 were condemned by those who argued that the increases would increase the cost of travelling in London to tourists and others who do not travel regularly.

Civil liberties groups have expressed concern over the way in which Transport for London is able to track the movements of passengers using the Oystercard system.[19] Livingstone moved to make all bus journeys free for passengers under the age of 18 enrolled in full-time education who travel with an Oystercard[20] and introduced initiatives to enable visitors to buy an Oyster card before arriving in London.

One of the key points of conflict between Livingstone and the Labour Party had been the proposed 'Public-Private Partnership' for the London Underground. Livingstone had run in 2000 on a policy of financing the improvements to Tube infrastructure by a public bond issue, which had been done in the case of the New York City Subway. However the Mayor did not have power in this area at the time as the Underground operated independently of Transport for London. The PPP deal went ahead in July 2002, but it did not diminish Livingstone's desire to re-join Labour.

Metronet, one of the winners of the contract for PPP, subsequently went into administration in July 2007.

CONGESTION CHARGE - HE PROMISED LOWER POLLUTION

Livingstone introduced the London congestion charge with the stated purpose of reducing traffic congestion in central London. Since being introduced the charge has proved to be controversial, though transport for london, chaired by Livingstone, maintains that traffic has fallen by 20% within the charge zone since the scheme began. [21]

One reason for the controversy is that whilst the scheme has been lucrative for its private-sector operators, Capita, it has failed to raise the promised levels of funding for public transport .

It is claimed that were it not for revenue raised via late-payment fines (which would be alleviated by a fairer or more efficient collection system), the scheme would actually run at a loss.

Meanwhile, congestion and pollution levels on already-inadequate roads outside the zone have increased dramatically.

WHERE ARE THE 70 PROMISED HYDROGEN BUSES?

The Mayor has agreed to support the five-year transport programme developed by the London Hydrogen Partnership. This programme involves the operation of 70 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles by 2010/11 including 10 buses, working with Transport for London, London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority and the Metropolitan Police.

Are we straying into the realm of fantasy here? Full marks for trying, but how much has this unlikely target cost London, and with what result if any?

CRONYISM'S NOTHING NEW FOR KEN

In March 2002, while still independent, Livingstone was accused of "cronyism" by some Labour party members in the London Assembly after he had appointed six officials as special advisers at a salary level which seemed to them excessive, and a manoeuvre to help his chances of being re-elected. Livingstone denied the allegations and stated the appointments were a "necessary efficiency drive."

And now we have all the revelations coming out in the Evening Standard written by Andrew Giligan. It will be interesting to see if Livingstone realises things are serious this time. Or maybe he thinks corruption is behond his control like everything else he's responsible for.

Boris could stand on an anti-corruption anti-muddle ticket.

Is transport expensive? yes.

Are Ken's favoured oppressive regimes lethal to many? yes.

Are Ken's friends homophobic and racist? yes.

Has Ken helped pollution? No

Has he lost billions? Yes.

Is he corrupt, or just hopeless or both?

Whichever it is, London needs a change of Mayor. And this time one who doesn't muddle humour up with seriousness, good with evil, and competence with incompetence. Ken's inappropriateness costs too much and hurts too many.

Boris' sharp mind will keep taxes down and boost services. That should raise a smile, without the sense of uneasiness, and the list of victims that accompanies everything Livingstone touches.

Peace of mind for London, at last.

His slogan will have to be "Ken's No Joke".

UPDATE (same day) - The London Mayoral contest is turning into the Battle of The Buses. I like Boris' slogan - "Back Boris - For A Greater London".

Monday, December 17, 2007

Portillo's A Victim Of Murdoch's New Strategy

Iain Dale asks today (I'm 8 hours ahead) whether Portillo's been sacked by Murdoch, as his column in the Sunday Times has only appeared once since September. He's still listed as a Times columnist, it appears. Iain Dale says Portillo knows how to write well enough, but leaves it open to interpretation as to what might be going on here.

In truth this merely follows a trend within the Murdoch empire, since Blair left Downing Street.

From before the moment Blair arrived in 1997, he seemed assured of receiving support from Murdoch media. John Major had handed over all of satellite broadcasting to Murdoch, clearly hoping for some loyalty in return, but Murdoch saw that his media empire interests would be better served by forming instead an alliance with Blair.

Murdoch at that time had great hopes of penetrating the EU TV and media market, and while Blair was in Downing St, he seemed for a while to be making progress. See HERE.

Extract from link - John Major, the former British prime minister, is said once to have told his French counterpart; "Don't let him [Murdoch] in. He's destroyed our newspapers, he's destroyed our television, and now he's destroying me. He'll do the same to you". The signs are that the French took Mr Major at his word.

The early promise of a European media empire gradually petered out, as French and German governments in turn chose not to play ball. Murdoch's loyalty to Blair which had initially been based on his European ambitions, then found a second wind over the Iraq war.

In the USA, Murdoch had achieved all he could have dreamed of through Fox TV by playing loyal to those in power, and especially to the Bush family. When Blair committed Britain to backing Bush in Iraq in 2003 over the heads of his own party, he was immediately assured of the 100% backing of Murdoch through the next election which took place in 2005. While securing Murdoch's support, Blair and Campbell also took the sensible action of bringing the BBC to heel over the Andrew Gilligan/David Kelly episode, ensuring their control of the media became near-total.

Had Iraq been a success, Blair would have been unassailable. Instead it was the beginning of his downfall.

Prior to the Iraq deal between Murdoch and Blair, evidenced further by the key part played by Irwin Stelzer in trying to silence David Kelly before his elimination, Murdoch's key focus had been loyalty to the EU and ensuring Blair's political survival. Lance Price, who wrote his memoirs of his time in Downing St 'A Spin Doctor's Diary' was told that Labour could not alter their European Policies without getting clearance from Rupert Murdoch first, no mention of which appears in Alastair Campbell's Diaries.

But what of Portillo?

Alastair Campbell's Diaries do reveal things which relate here. For some reason unexplained and reported by Campbell as if he were also curious as to why, he says that Blair was enthusiastic to 'build up' Michael Portillo, right from the beginning. To my mind there seems little doubt that Portillo's role was to act as a fifth column within the Conservatives to undermine them and prevent them from winning power, and ensure that Blair remained supreme. If Portillo had won the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2001, it is quite possible he would have enabled Blair to push Britain into the Euro.

Portillo's disloyalty to Major was blatant. His disloyalty to IDS, on the other hand, who won the Party leadership from under his nose, was far more than that. He led the media assault in 2003 which began in February and finally succeeded in October in unseating IDS. IDS was getting too high in the opinion polls for comfort (35%) and was attacking Blair for dishonesty with great success 'Mr Blair, no one believes a single word you say' etc. IDS was also articulating a new vision for Britain's relationship with Europe based on free-trading democratic independent nations. None of this suited Murdoch's objectives of currying favour with the EU, and assisting Bush in Iraq. IDS was fed to the wolves.

At this stage Portillo was extremely useful to Murdoch and Blair. He was given his Sunday Times column and his place on THIS WEEK in Politics on the BBC, along with soft TV exposure such as living for a week as the stand-in parent for a single mother in Liverpool.

Today though, Portillo's out of vogue. He is another creature who cannot adapt to the end of the Blair era. Murdoch's no longer trying to form an alliance with EU countries and play along with the EU for favours, and keep the Conservatives on the back foot. He's changed tack. He is 'letting' The Sun lead the attack on the Referendum broken promise by Labour on the EU Constitution. He similarly allowed Cameron to attack the Human Rights Act in The Sun over the inability to deport convicted EU rapists and violent offenders.

Instead of being useful with his bitterness against the Conservative Party that failed to reward him with the leadership in 2001 after Hague resigned, and helpful in that he was an admirer and supporter of Blair, he now stands in the way of Cameron. Cameron fits in with Murdoch's new strategy of playing tough with the EU, while building a more mature and balanced alliance of the free world against Islamic terror.

Murdoch's got all he's likely to get in the UK, snatching Test Cricket in the latter stages of Blair to add to all the rest he possessed. All Cameron has to do is not threaten Murdoch's accumulated favours. His euroscepticism fits well with Murdoch's next business objectives. Murdoch obviously believes he can do better (like most people do) once the EU is consigned to history, and he can work without the stultifying effects of powerful self-serving bureaucracy frustrating his every move.

After being the EU's greatest supporter in the UK throughout the period of the Blair/Murdoch alliance (1995-2007), he has now swung the other way.

He is making great strides in the US recently landing the Wall Street Journal. As the world's economy surges ahead elsewhere, Europe's becoming a political side-show.

Portillo just doesn't fit any more, and his star is waning. Unable to do what is now required, that is, express enthusiasm for David Cameron and give backing to Conservative Party members who rejected him, he is now left stranded by the tide on a lonely windswept sand bar. Like Gordon Brown, he was only 'someone', while he was useful to Blair and Murdoch. That moment has gone. Blair's gone. Murdoch though lives on in supervision over British politics, as if some kind of behind-the-scenes monarch.

Last time I wrote a similar assessment to this, my blog was jammed up for months by hackers. That was before Blair went. Let's hope that Murdoch's hackers are not sent into action again this time. I'm writing on their side this time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Newsnight's Lost It

The Newsnight BBC journalistic elite has lost it.

On a few occasions recently, they've seemed totally unable to keep level heads, and just do their job. The first moment they seemed to be losing it was the day John Redwood appeared in their studios to present the Conservative Policy Review on Economic Competitiveness. Panic-stricken at the reappearance of the Vulcan who they believed had been frozen into a cube of ice, and consigned to the outer reaches of the known universe, they seized on any device they could find to stop him, accusing him of a 'lurch to the right' before he'd even stated what the review was all about, and then headlining their reports with the Labour reaction without giving Redwood's review any prominence. It was so unbalanced, and idiotic. It was laughable.

Now we have another manifestation of BBC loss of sanity. Charles Moore's description of the Newsnight - or should I say - the BBC's tactics to undermine Policy Exchange's credibility.

Despite all the evidence that the BBC has become an untrustworthy organisation, with its admitted fiddling of information on game shows, falsifying the sequence of events in the programme on the Queen, and numerous other shocking biases too numerous to mention, it was still possible just about to ascribe the failure of the BBC to accurately reflect events to some knd of unintended human failure - to naivety, or the hopelessness of that class of people who cannot do much successfully in the real world, but find that they can get by by trying to explain to others what they cannot really understand themselves. Andrew Marr, for example might be a genius when sitting down with a keyboard, but if you left him in charge of a whelk stall for a day, I wonder if he'd make enough to buy his own supper. The professorial class was ever thus.

People want to believe in the BBC, and most have an affection for it - or at least they used to have one.

Cameron is showing good judgement by picking this moment to open up on the Beeb, suggesting that the licence fee which is exclusively the BBC's should be split up and given out on a more competitive basis. Why not?

Newsnight for example, have made themselves look complete idiots by refusing to give Policy Exchange any chance to reply to the allegations being made against them, or even to know what the allegations were, prior to going live on TV, and being made to reply in front of the nation - allegations which would need an hour or two's work to be sure of disproving - getting hold of the people involved, cross-questioning them and satisfying yourself of your ground before replying.

The allegations are almost certainly false, and Newsnight should have done what any responsible journalistsic body would normally do, that is ask the people accused of wrongdoing what they had to say about it first. They should not be broadcasting serious allegations without checking them out fully, in case the whole thing was put up bunkum - which it now appears to be. Fraud is a hard thing to prove. It can also be a hard thing to disprove - especially if you don't even know which fraud you are being accused of.

Newsnight's behaviour is particularly despicable as they have also allowed people's indentities to be revealed, people, who bravely entered Mosques and Islamist organisations to find out what is going on there and provide evidence, This latest revelation of bias and falsification within the BBC is far more serious than previous game show fiddles, and pathetic attempts to undermine the monarchy. This time they are putting lives at risk.

And what is it that seems to be behind this latest desperate attempt by the BBC to undermine another organisation - Policy Exchange - which most people have never even heard of?

It is of course the think tank which is favoured by David Cameron. It produced the booklet Compassionate Conservatism cowritten by Jesse Norman - a male (picture) as many newspapers still don't seel to realise! and more recently formed the Conservative Cooperative Movement. Policy Exchange is one of a number of organisations such as Direct Democracy which is driving the localist agenda, advocating the break-up and reduction of the massive state bureaucracies that have been the hallmark of the New Labour era.

This time BBC bias and falsification (funny falsification is what they are so keen to pin on Policy Exchange) seems to have stepped up to another level.

The way Newsnight behaved was not a casual bit of professorial incompetence or naivety, of the kind we are used to seeing every day from bookish journalists who have rarely met the real world, still nurturing the idealistic left wing views that fitted nicely into their university quadrangles. This was a deliberate, heavy-handed, nasty, thoughtless, gutless manoevre by a powerful organisation that thinks it can bully democracy out of the studio, and retain itself in the power it believes it has achieved under the lying, corrupt and noxious Labour regime that spat out Tony Blair, and then relaced him with the hopelessly incompetent and corrupt Gordon Brown.

Brown too is playing the falsification game. He has to pretend he's not really signing away British independence in Lisbon, as he would not be able to defend it if he admitted what he was doing. He and Newsnight are operating like students that have never grown up, or held real responsibility for anything. Policy Exchange is confronting them with the reality of what their years in power have created, and that is why Newsnight is trying hard to discredit Policy Exchange. They and maybe Gordon Brown too are feeling threatened.

The effect of their so obvious attempts to discredit, are of course, having the opposite effect to the one intended. People are wondering why Policy Exchange, which is only a Think Tank discussing ideas, represents such a threat to Newsnight journalists. Desperate for something new to come into British politics, they are becoming curious.

Newsnight journalists will no doubt feel they are justified in their action with their hopelessly warped way of thinking. I don't hold out any hope there, I'm afraid. Since Blair left, they've been floundering, unable to make the world fit. The supreme fantasist has left the stage, and with the defensive Gordon Brown now the champion of their cause, struggle as they may to prevent it, reality is starting to creep in. Drumming up false accusatons against Policy Exchange isn't going to help.

UPDATE - Redwood - Bali Nonsense. The BBC Just Loves EU Spin

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fear The Silence

Today's the day. Everyone's (North, Helmer, Redwood, Farage, Hannan) writing their own version of how sick they are all feeling, and what has caused things to come to such a pass that the British government can lie and break promises, and that few seem to care. The nation's existence is being terminated, finally, once and for all, and most people apparently couldn't give a half of one fig.

My take on these events is equally to feel sickened. To describe my feelings for Gordon Brown as hatred would be to err on the cautious side. I despise him totally. His fate should be appropriate to the treachery he has committed against his own country.

Writing to the readers of today seems a waste of time, given all the words that have already been expressed in defence of freedom by others more knowledgeable, all to no effect. I want to write instead to my infant son so he can understand why I left the UK to live elsewhere in the world, to a place where human life has yet to be crushed by bureaucracy. I want him to understand in twenty years time why he has been born into a different world to the one I decided to leave.

There was one moment of hope, when Britain might have been saved from the mind-numbing traumas it is about to go through. In 2003 there was a leader of a major political party in Britain who despite all media being ranged against him, and much else besides, had the courage to stand up and attack the propaganda and lies being disseminated by the Blair regime, backed as it was all along by Brussels. The 'quiet man' articulated a new relationship with Europe, one of independent democracies trading freely with each other. He stood alone against a media totally given over to naivety and corruption, working hand in hand to bring him down, the last serious resistance to what is now about to happen.

Into such a controlled and corrupt environment truth had little chance of being spoken, let alone heard. Lies about Iraq's weapons were propagated by Alastair Campbell and Blair. Kelly who tried to stop them by exposing the lies was eliminated, and Blair's lies to the subsequent enquiry were skipped over by a compliant and submissive media.

Even then, despite the evil being witnessed by a shocked nation, there was a chance. Iain Duncan Smith was able to cut through all the panoply of lies and media control to deliver a simple message to ordinary people, who instinctively trusted him. But when the media attacked him, encouraged by Portillo and a traiterous faction within his own party, the majority of his own MPs would not stand firm and show the lying and corrupt edifice ranged against freedom and democracy, that the bullying tactics of the corrupt would not be allowed to win. They failed to back him at the critical moment.

When IDS fell, Britain's last moment of hope was gone. If only 8 Conservative MPs had seen fit to stand firm, it might have been enough to shake out the rats that have infested Britain's democracy, and sabotaged it from the inside. Since that moment, bureaucracies have reigned unchallenged and supreme. It will now be a generation before a human voice, a single mind can take on the massed ranks of self-serving bureaucrats who are descending on Britain and the rest of Europe to extract their satisfaction.

Every spoken word will be controlled. Every child will be a statistic and no one will be able to walk unafraid of bureaucratic power, now unopposed across a continent of 400 million people. The human spirit will be progressively crushed until it is finally in silence screaming for release. Tragically there will be casualties in Europe's inevitable fightback, which will ultimately come once it has sunk into totalitarianism.

The lesson for future generations is that while politicians are jostling for power amongst themselves, and attacking each other, it might not make a pretty sight, but it is a sign that things are OK. You are safe. But once they have found a way all to agree with each other, and appear unanimous and orderly, it is time to not only be afraid but to get out and move away while you still can. Only trouble and big trouble can be the result, once power is concentrated into a few pairs of hands, with no way for voters to kick out the government, and all opposition cowering in silence.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Brown's Slimy Attack Against The Vulnerable Must Be Stopped

The sending home of a few thousand care-givers by Gordon Brown in his efforts to look tough on immigration is going to backfire. The details of the story are well described yesterday by Richard North on the main EU Referendum Blog HERE.

As North says, Britain cannot do anything about the millions of EU immigrants coming to our shores, including many who have come into the EU from other parts of the world such as Brazilians who easily gain access via Portugal, or Columbians via Spain. Under EU rules neither are we able to repatriate seriously violent criminals, even when they have convictions in Britain, which prompted Cameron to promise the repeal of the Human Rights Act.

While keen to sign away all control over British affairs to Brussels under the new Constitution, and lose all ability to decide who will and who will not live in the UK, , Brown still needs to appear resolute against immigration, as he knows that popular opinion is concerned by the influx of so many immigrants, overwhelming our education, health, police and criminal justice systems. Always in search of a good headline, and especially now while stories of corruption and lies are becoming a normal daily event for Gordon Brown's regime (none of it anything to do with him you understand), Brown has found some suitable victims to fit his political requirements.

By making it illegal to pay care-givers from countries ike the Philippines a competitive rate, which has 2000 care-givers in Britain affected by this and about to lose their jobs, Brown has found a slimy way to push a small number of politically and economically vulnerable people out of the UK, to satisfy his own political requirements.

The damage his is doing to Britain's reputation round the poorer countries of the world does not seem to bother him, even though President Arroyo of the Philippines has just completed her visit to Britain, where she raised this issue with the Queen.

David Cameron must surely see that this is another area in which Brown's stealthy and slimy approach to managing our society is totally inappropriate, and it should be strongly and forcefully opposed. These people came to Britain in good faith to perform tasks they were asked to do for a set period of time. In the middle of their contracts, Brown wants to alter the rules so they are forced out of a job and have to go home. It is simply wrong to treat people like that.

If Brown wants to develop a proper immigration policy, and not sign away our ability to control immigration to the EU, then he should do so. He should not make victims out of couple of thousand Philippino care workers purely to get a good headline for himself. It makes you feel ashamed to be British.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Money - The Final Nail In Brown's Coffin

Just when people might be hoping that Brown's troubled premiership couldn't possibly be driven down any lower, an expert opinion from Bloomberg's London correspondent Matthew Lynn will send a shudder down Bitish spines.

It's not only bloggers and journalists who notice when governments look incompetent. So too do investors. Blair might have been less than competent at many things but he gave the impression to anyone who had doubts about Britain's economy, that all was well under control, and that sterling would be a safe haven for international investors who might prefer to hold it, as against the recently stricken US Dollar, or the uncertain Euro.

With Blair's departure, and Brown's clunking fist at the helm, it's not only Labour MPs doing their sums. (Current opinion poll levels would drive 100 Labour MPs from their seats - YouGov giving Cameron an 11% lead). Money people too, eyeing Britain's ballooning deficits, - (both trade and fiscal pro rata are bigger than those of the US) - its incompetent interest rate regime and the errors in handling the Northern Rock fiasco, are getting jumpy.

When money people get jumpy they don't reach for their laptops and blog about it, they just do what comes naturally. They sell. Sterling against the dollar has swung from $2.11 two weeks ago to $2.02 this morning. Have they started doing just that, one wonders?
Lynn writes as follows -
But what if sterling started to fall - not dramatically, but to a more realistic level $1.60 to $1.70?

If that happened, the United Kingdom would be stoking inflation:Britain relies on imports, which would become more expensive, if sterling fell. The Bank of England would be forced to keep interest rates on hold. It might even have to boost them to defend the currency. That would have a ruinous effect on the housing market and consumer confidence. It could tip the economy into a recession...


The effects of a falling currency could work in the longer term to many business' advantage of course, making British produced goods cheaper against the Euro - but short term there is one thing for sure. Brown's reputation for financial competence would be finally shot through.

In his current weakened state, Labour MPs might feel that enough was enough, and it was time to undo the error they made by allowing Gordon Brown to squeeze his way into the leadership unchallenged.

The Northern Rock fiasco will have a far heavier price tag than the UKL 30 billion ($60 billion) it has cost the governemt so far. Britain's reputation as the world premier financial services location will be damaged, let down by an incompetent government. Hopefully the architect of the mess will be done for at the same time.

Money is not politics. It waits for no one. If confidence in Brown is slipping away, and it is, the result will be savage. Matthew Lynn's article might have given a week's notice on what is now likely to follow. A falling currency will surely be the end of hope, and the final humiliation for Gordon Brown and the New labour era of falseness and spin.

UPDATE - Redwood says Brown must get a grip of public spending to get the economy back into balance.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Brown Hamlet? Oedipus More Like.

In 2003 Abrahams the central character of Donorgate, previously known as David Martin, got his lawyer to set up covenants to give money directly to Labour via money mules, who had been selected to transfer money to Labour as if the money were theirs.

In 2003, you probably recall that Labour were at the pinnacle of their power. It was the time that Campbell published dodgy dossiers, when Kelly was murdered and the media covered it up, as did the Hutton enquiry.

IDS was hardly able to lay a scratch on Blair despite his obvious tendency to bypass uncomfortable truths, and was later 'assassinated' in October of 2003 by a media assault, encouraged, if not actually coordinated by Alastair Campbell. Gilligan and the BBC tried to get the truth out about Iraq but were sent packing. Labour were untouchable at that time, and to all intents and purposes were above the law.

There were no bloggers to start asking inconvenient questions or rally opinion. There was a compliant media carrying Alastair Campbell's narratives, unable or too under the thumb to set about creating any alternative explanations as to what was going on.

Property prices continued to soar. Interest rates stayed low. The consumer economy boomed.

In such an atmosphere Labour Party officials would have felt it was quite safe to pass laws and immediately set up systems to circumvent them, legally, or illegally - who cared? Who was going to challenge anything they did? That's how it was then. The good times rolled. Until Britain got bogged down in Iraq, Blair and Labour were untouchable. Truth was not required, or seen as a necessary part of the equation.

Hubris as we know from Greek tragedies, is always followed by nemesis. Arrogance (hubris) causes a person's own self destruction (nemesis). Mrs Thatcher, for example, was accused of possessing an element of hubris prior to her downfall - when she began talking with the Royal 'we'.

Gordon Brown is now being called a tragic character, but let's get this right. He's a Greek tragic creation, being cast down by his own arrogance, following on from Blair whose arrogance has already caused his nemesis, not a Shakespearian tragic figure as Jonathan Powell predicted he would become. Brown does not possess the noble qualities of a Hamlet. Shakespeare liked to afford his tragic victims some redeeming qualities.

As in all classical Greek tragedies, Brown is unable to see why his nemesis is occurring, where the forces of his destruction are coming from. They are coming from himself, as the audience/public are starting to see quite clearly.

Brown in his final act of hubris, has promised change, following on from all his previous ones as Chancellor, for example claiming to be prudent and in favour of low tax, while secretly and stealthily removing peoples' wealth and opportunities. He also recently promised an end to spin, a reestablishment of standards and to democratic accountability.

He has no intention of carrying out any of these latest promises, any more than he did his earlier ones about the economy when he was Chancellor. The Fates were kind to him for ten years allowing the economy to prosper despite his interventions, not because of them. In such circumstances his arrogance has become complete, so that he believes lying is what he must do to continue 'succeeding', making his nemesis inevitable.

To witness a fully functioning Greek tragedy in the modern age is rare. Normally such human folly gets cut down to size well before it brings its protagonist into a state of semi-madness. In the age of instant media, and communications, people can usually see a problem and stop it before it gets out of hand. Gordon Brown, though is the ultimate measure of how communication and morality had become perverted with Labour possessing so much unchallenged power in 2003.

They feared their enemies so little that they wasted their energies on fighting an internal war for supremacy within the government. Iraq was just a sideshow to the real battle of egos between Blair and Brown. The whole country was left adrift while these two demi-Gods slugged it out, jostling for immortality - the prize they both coveted.

Only now with the internet is a kind of truth starting to come out every day in the blogs, which government power cannot edit or control. But Brown's tragic fall is already in process. It is far too late to help him now. Brown wouldn't recognise the truth even if it jumped out and bit him. The truth is his enemy. He will fight it with every ounce of strength in his body, before collapsing exhausted and crashing from an unequal contest, his nemesis inevitable.

COMMENTED ON IAIN DALE -

Collapsing leaders hidden in bunkers have a habit of demanding huge sacrifices from everyone else while they struggle to save their skins. Until neutralised, they're dangerous. While Bin Laden's at large, Al Quaeda lives on.

So too is society still threatened while former big beast Brown remains as the Ghost Of New Labour in Number 10. His shadow can be seen scurrying around desperately trying to stem the leaks, and arrest the rot, wondering why ill fortune assaults him at every turn.

It is all theatre now, as the Brown tragedy descends to claim its inevitable victim.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Running A Government Is Like Running A Brothel

The flurry of excitement from bloggers writing about the events of the last few months is starting to dry up. There is a dullness descending on events. There is no dramatic tension, no sense of possibility, only the sure sickening knowledge that it could take a long time before Britain is freed from the slide into corruption and hopelessness that the Brown regime signifies. The only flurries of excitement come from news which means the Brown regime might end quicker.

Brown's flawed. He's not an actor, a showman, who gives out energy. He's a sponge who absorbs all the juices out of the people around him, as he neutralises initiative. He's a black hole. No one is allowed to shine bright lights which would immediately expose his dullness and slowness of thinking. He is there, not to give out to people, but to receive, to take in credit for the successes of others, and to deny responsibility for his own failures. He's the total opposite of a leader.

His understanding of people is non-existent. He thinks in money. He understands the language of donors giving and getting value. He thinks that public services can be treated the same way. Give them cash, and they will give service.

His understanding of business and enterprise is also flawed. He imagines the minds of people running businesses as calculating machines determined to produce the highest figure in profit that they can. He has a one-dimensional view of the society he is responsible for. He sees only cash.

People do not look only at money. They have other needs, emotional needs that are powerfully motivational - the need to give of what they have, to feel that their lives are worth something, to belong, to have an identity and a purpose, to feel secure and safe, to be able to relax, to take risks when there is a feeling of possibility, a prospect of creating something better than what has come before. To Gordon Brown, none of these emotions exists.

That is why he cannot manage. He doesn't understand that you look at the total picture, that before people need money, they need confidence to keep functioning, to keep borrowing, lending and building.

The Northern Rock is where Brownite philosophy declares its incompetence most loudly. First Brown and Darling allowed the markets to cease functioning, by not reacting to events, which killed confidence. Then they they intervened in a way that was guaranteed to bring crisis. And then they had no options available other than pumping in all the money needed to prevent collapse. Had they nurtured the confidence of the marketplace, of all the people involved, the catastrophy would never have happened. Now it's a UKL30 billion black hole which gets larger every week.

Brown is a tragedy for Britain. That's why Donorgate is biting so hard on the public's imagination. If people felt happy with how the country was being run, they wouldn't care much about the sleazy practices that Brown likes to engage in - as with the Smith Institute, and the maintenance of a few favoured cronies. After all Blair was little different in his deceitful fund-raising, but Blair, for all his faults gave out an aura of confidence, and enabled others he never met to ride on the tide.

It's because Brown's not giving people what they need emotionally, the confidence, the feeling of possibility, the feeling that someone cares about them up top (whether leaders ever do is a moot point, but some are able to make people think they care), and into this emotional void, the creepers and leapers see their moment to advance. They only have to do something to please the oversensitive Brown ego, and their advance and promotion is assured.

People feel the moral vacuum. They see the government milking good news as if they are the only issue of the day. This is why people will listen to anti-Brown news, while anti-Blair news never got very far. In all his years Brown has never learned how to seduce and that the customer has to come first. This commentatorthinks that electors need a new focus. There is an urgent need for leadership to define the new age, and give people better quality in their lives. Brown is not meeting these needs.

UPDATE - more confidence loss expected -by John Redwood

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Did Voters Really Re-elect New Labour?

Labour MPs are checking out who will lead them should Brown fail. Why the 'should Brown fail'? Failure's the only thing he can guarantee.

If Labour revert to pre-New Labour or 'Old' Labour, eurosceptic, left-wing, pro-union, at least they will be an honest party worthy of respect who would enforce the criminal law and not leave society defenceless against immigration, crime, failing schools, hospitals Police and so on.

They should dump all New labour material like Jack Straw, Milliband, Johnson and start again. Not sure about John McDonnell but at least he'd be seen as a genuine person, and not a creator of falseness designed only to make it difficult for the Conservatives to hold power.

That's the measure of how bad things have become. I'm as right wing as they come - a businessman, a believer in low tax and small state, but even I'd trade Old Labour for the current lot, who are a disaster unparallelled in British political history. Why it's taken the public 10 years to notice how bad New Labour have been for Britain, I've no idea...unless postal voting fraud had a bigger role to play in 2005 than we think.

Postal voting was particularly heavy in marginal constituencies.