Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hyperventilating on by-election results

Having had two days occupied by ‘outside interests’, returning home I see that Richard North, EUReferendum, has ‘stolen my thunder’, to a certain extent, with this post.

It is to my continual amazement that so much ‘hype’ is applied by pundits in the media – and also those of the ‘Twitterati’ – about by-elections; and in this respect those writing about – and supporters of – Ukip need to rein in their over-blown and mis-placed enthusiasm for the results of recent by-elections, especially where percentages are concerned – points made by Richard North.

By-elections are renowned for containing two elements: namely, the protest vote and those abstaining – ie, not bothering to vote. Consequently, for the Labour Party to crow that the results of recent by-elections are condemnation of the Coalition; and for Ukip to now attempt to place themselves, in the minds of the public, as the third party in politics, not only stretches incredulity but lays them open to charges of misrepresentation.

If UKIP emulated the LibDem machine of local activism, focusing on community priorities to take seats in local government, they would by now surely have had MPs in the House of Commons. The problem for Ukip is that they don’t think strategically, they only know a ‘grapeshot’ method of fighting – no belay that, Ukip don’t think, period. Ukip have no strategy because they do not have a strategist or anyone who has the slightest idea of strategy.

Tim Congdon, an economist who was once part of the ‘Wise Men’ at the Bank of England and who is now a Ukip member, produces a ‘newsletter’ (receipt of which is free and available by subscribing) and from the latest, one paragraph:

“I have little respect for the politically correct ‘governing class’/’political establishment’ types, such as David Cameron and Nicholas Clegg, who have done so much damage to our country. (Nigel Farage has a nice phrase for them, ‘the rich kid political elite’, as quoted in yesterday’s The Sun.) But – if the ‘rich kids’ want the UK to stay in the EU – I would give them some words of advice. Hold an In/Out referendum on EU membership as soon as possible and – somehow, somehow – win it, despite the opinion polls showing that you will lose. The longer the referendum is postponed, the more likely that the vote will be for withdrawal. Indeed, the longer that the three ‘main parties’ ignore the popular resentment of their country’s betrayal, the more likely that UKIP will over time become the UK’s largest single party and will form a government in its own name.” (Emphasis his)

Tim Congdon may be a respected economist, but strategist he most definitely ain’t – so the message must be: ‘don’t give up the day-job, Tim’……..

Ukip – and those in it  – may well have the best of intentions and are, no doubt, committed people. Unfortunately, until they and the party ‘get a brain’ they are destined to remain where they are – on the fringes of the political scene in this country.

Afterthought: With apologies to those of my readers who are of the opinion that Ukip are the saviour of our country and saviour of democracy in our country.


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Gender quotas

An interesting article has appeared on swissinfo dealing with gender quotas where women on company boards are concerned. While the article is worth reading, so is the information in the righthand side column.

At the time of writing,  the one comment from ‘Digit’ says it all really. There is also the chauvinistic point that needs to be made and that is until someone comes up with the required genetic change twixt men and women, one whereby men can conceive and give birth, women will always remain at a disadvantage in the gender equality stakes and in the workplace.

The point should also be made that, until science progresses further, ones entry into life through the normal process of reproduction is a bit of a lottery when considering which side of the ‘divide’ one ends up; coupled with the fact that, generally, women get a choice of ‘career’: ‘business’ or ‘family’ – and one could argue that the latter is also the former.

Just saying – and in so doing, realizing that the foregoing should manage to upset one or two of my readers……….(grins)

 

 


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Just for once Chris Bryant states the obvious……

……while omitting the other half of what is obvious (why change the habit of a lifetime?).

In an article in the Independent, he writes:

“Watching the prime minister dance around the minor issues in Lord Justice Leveson’s report, so as to avoid the fact that he was trying to reject the central recommendation of the independent inquiry that he had set up, I couldn’t help think that the good judge was absolutely right to worry that MPs have always been part of the problem.  We have an interest.  We are bound at the hip to the national press. We breathe the same air as them and we fear that if we do anything they dislike we shall be deprived of oxygen. We crave their support, we need their column inches, we fear their censure. Our political futures, both as individuals and as political parties are in their gift.” (Emphasis mine)

Are not the press/media within the gift of politicians? Do not the press know, full well, that to write anything adverse against any politician means that they, the journalist, will be ‘cut-off’ from that politician’s ‘confidences? Are not the media and the political elite so inter-dependent that they have become one and the same? Is it not a case that because of that ‘inter-dependance’ the political elite are able to have half-truths and downright lies fed to the public; and that because they appear in the media, the public then accept those half-truths and lies as fact? And are not the media thus guilty of misleading the public and also of spreading propaganda?

I can but repeat an oft-quoted question of mine; namely, in whose pocket is who where the relationship of politician and media are concerned? Is that question not the sole reason for this debate about press regulation being held?

As ever, just asking…………………….


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Now there’s an idea (or two)……

A correspondent has sent me a copy of a letter that appeared in his local press:

(click to enlarge)

Now, just who would pay for all this training and what the total cost would be is a matter which has probably not crossed Oliver Steward’s mind. Neither has it probably crossed his mind that if we weren’t the first port of call for most of the EU there wouldn’t be the ‘call’ on our existing emergency services. Nor that had we had a decent education system we probably would not have so many apparently unemployable neets.

Another item to which my correspondent pointed appeared in the Norwich Evening News and related to a visit from David Miliband. This Labour politician is one who obviously believes in presenting a balanced talk:

“Let’s teach about politics and the Labour Party and talk to people about big ideas.“It’s teaching young people so they can make their own minds up.”

Er, no Mr, Miliband, teaching children about politics and the Labour Party is political indoctrination – no more no less – which makes it rather difficult for young people to ‘make their minds up’ when only one viewpoint is presented.

Readers will also see that Miliband was accompanied by Jessica Asato, the Labour Party Candidate at the next general election – nothing like a little electioneering, is there? On the basis that it is a requirement for any educational establishment to present a balanced view, where the subject of politics is concerned, it would be interesting to know which other politicians had been asked to give a similar talk – if at all.

Another point of concern is that Miliband believes the low number of Labour MPs in the South-East was ‘dangerous’. Why and how so? Is Miliband suggesting that people should not be able to elect who they wish and that if they make the ‘wrong choice’ they should have someone from another party imposed on them?

Christ on a crutch, these bastards have ‘rigged’ democracy in this country in their favour already – and now they want to ‘tighten the screw’ even further? What would be even more interesting is the question of how many letters this particular article generated and the content of such. Not that many would be my guess, which says a great deal about Norfolk sheep who, no doubt, are no different to the sheep from any other town or county.


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2012
11/28

Category:
David's Musings

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COMMENTS:
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Moulding the mind

It appears that a new opinion poll has just become available from ComRes:

From Andrew Hawkins of Com/Res, on Twitter:

“ComRes/ITV News: 66% don’t trust media in wake of hacking scandal (down from 80% in July 2011) http://ht.ly/fEM35

Anyone ever wondered why the findings of certain opinion polls appear when they do – coupled with the fact that, today, regulation of the press is now the ‘debate du jour’ with MPs?

Are we not considered ‘sheep’?

Just a thought for consideration………..

 

 

 


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And the USA is the ‘Land of the Free’?

The word “Democracy” cannot be found in the American Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, or the Constitution of any of the States – so I am told.

Whether it appears in the documents of Magna Carta and, the Bills of Right – documents so beloved of those with the proverbial ‘bee in their bonnet’ about ‘matters constitution’, I know not.

Does anyone know?

If it doesn’t then in any constitution drawn up, when the Harrogate Agenda becomes ‘mainstream’, it damn well should.

Just saying………………….


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Wednesday 28th November: Pot Pourri

Following my post yesterday it is now confirmed that the Government are to legislate for a minimum alcohol price per unit. Needless to say there will be another ‘faux-consultation’ exercise in order that the political elite can refer to justification for a policy that was not in their manifestos. Reliance is made on the findings of a computer modelling programme, which is a tad odd when you consider that such are supposed to test assumptions, not provide evidence for them. This computer modelling is ‘disected’ here by John Duffy who has had over 60 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and Christopher Snowden of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The subject ‘du jour’ for tomorrow will without a doubt be the publication of the Leveson Report on press regulation. The first question – patsy,natch – at PMQs came from Henry Smith, Conservative, in response to which the start of Cameron’s reply initially had me thinking he was talking about the reasons for the introduction of the Harrogate Agenda: “The status quo, I would argue, does not just need updating. The status quo is unacceptable and needs to change.” – but I digress. The problem with state regulation of the press, as I see it, is that once politicians begin to control something they never let go and use that start as a means for yet further control; and they never, ever, then release their control – shades of the EU’s ‘Aquis Communitaire’ philosophy – but again I digress. In France, where the press has been subject to state regulation since late 19th centrury, such a situation can best be summed up in the words of a former editor of Paris Match who said: “French politicians can sleep in peace. And with whoever they please”. It also lays the political elite open to the charge that they could then ‘influence’, even more than they do today, what the press can publish.

Both items of news only reinforce two points; namely that politicians, when they see what they perceive as a problem, know only one method to correct it and this is yet more legislation. The second point that needs to be made is that politicians once again demonstrate the belief that they – and only they – have the right to decide matters on behalf of those who they are elected to represent and who pay their wages. When the political elite consult, they do so amongst what are termed ‘interested parties’ – government funded quangos, ngos, advisory bodies – yet they never seem to consult we, the people. Are not we, the people, ‘interested parties’ – especially as what politicians ‘decide’ affect us? I also notice that during PMQs Philip Davis, Conservative, reminded David Cameron that: “A free press is an essential part of a free democracy” – to which I would counter it matters not arguing about the pros and cons of a ‘free’ press when we most certainly do not have a ‘free’ democracy. If we had a ‘free’ democracy, the the 6 Demands of the Harrogate Agenda would have been implemented long ago.


Just some brief thoughts on two items of today’s ‘news’……….


 


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Pot, Kettle?

So we hear that Nadine Dorries is to remain ‘whipless’ until she is able to demonstrate that she has rebuilt trust with her colleagues and her constituents.

This decision is made by another politician whose expenses have risen by circa £10,000 for the year 2010-2011 compared to2009-2010. Oh, but it is once again acceptable because all that additional money was claimed within the rules.

George Young is the MP for Northwest Hampshire, nearest rail station being Basingstoke which is but a 15/20 minute drive from his main home, yet he claim for the mortgage interest on a second home in the City of Westminster.

This MP, it should be recalled, as Minister for Housing in 1992 when asked during parliamentary discussions of the Armley Asbestos Disaster in Armley for financial assistance in surveying local housing in the Armley area for residual asbestos responded that the government would not provide financial assistance to the home owners or the council to pay for decontamination, as this “would not be a justifiable use of public funds.” He is also the MP who, while Minister for Housing, caused controversy by saying “The homeless are what you step over when you come out of the opera.” (Wikipedia).

No doubt this MP, along with a few others, believes that a commute of about an hour – one which plenty of the public make- necessitates a second home for which the public should contribute and that that is a justifiable use of public funds.

And the political class wonder why they are so reviled by we milch cows………


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2012
11/27

Category:
David's Musings

COMMENTS:
3 Comments »

Kissing the frog

Dave Brown (b. 1961) is a British cartoonist. After beginning with the Sunday Times and various other publications, he joined The Independent in 1996, where he still works. In 2003 he received the Political Cartoon of the Year Award for a controversial drawing of Ariel Sharon

Acl: Presseurop.


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Alcohol Price ‘Fixing’

One ‘doyen’ from the world of journalism, James Kirkup of the Daily Telegraph, writes that under David Cameron’s wish to set a minimum price for alcohol, ‘deals’ such as that from Marks & Spencer’s of a meal and a bottle of wine for £10 could be under threat.

One interesting point emerges of the political mindset of our political class comes with the news that Cameron’s move has caused concern for some in his party whereby they were worried about the impact of a discount ban on many of the party’s natural supporters. In other words, forget the fact that Cameron’s plans are an infringement on people’s liberty to choose how and on what they spend what money they have left after the government has forcibly extracted their pound of flesh in the form of taxation, both direct and indirect; those Conservative MPs querying the wisdom of Cameron’s intentions were more concerned about their respective majorities – and were probably those MPs whose majority is in double figures.

There is also the question of whether Cameron’s plans infringe EU law,which is something of a moot point where the rules on competition and public health is concerned. Article 101 – 1(a) (page 326/89) of the Lisbon Treaty specifically states that the fixing of selling or purchase prices are prohibited; yet Article 168 – 5 (page 326/123) states that the European Parliament and the Council may adopt incentive measures designed to protect and improve human health, especially measures which have as their direct objective the protection of public health regarding tobacco and alcohol abuse.

It would seem therefore that a setting of the minimum price for alcohol will be permitted, although it will no doubt create a potential goldmine for the legal profession where challenges are filed by breweries and distilleries.

It is of course understandable that neither Kirkup, Cameron, politicians in general, nor the EU consider, in their musings, Demands #4 and #5 of the Harrogate Agenda.


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