Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A splendidly indignant Peter Hitchens is fulminating about "Dave" doing the talking (telling the military to shut up and do the fighting), while the war dead from Afghanistan are to be sneaked out of the back gate of RAF Brize Norton when it takes over from Lyneham (a few weeks from now) as the arrival point for the fallen.
They will then be routed down side roads to avoid nearby Carterton – a town almost exactly the same size as Wootton Bassett – and make their way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford along A-roads and bypasses. There'll be a small guard of honour near the hospital entrance (there already is) but somehow or other the cortege won't go down any High Streets, thus avoiding what has become a media circus.
All of this, however, has to be viewed in the context of the complete and utter failure of the Afghanistan campaign, typified by the experience of the Kajaki power project in Afghanistan, as narrated by the BBC's Mark Urban on yesterday's Newsnight, and repeated today in a BBC documentary.
He refers to a series of the heroic adventures, starting in 2007 and culminating in August 2008 with thousands of British troops taking part in an operation to escort a 200-ton turbine to the Kajaki Dam on the Helmand River, 100 miles north-west of Kandahar City.
The aim was to improve the hydro-electric scheme there, adding a turbine to the two already installed. This was part of a project that has so far cost more than £29 million, and was (and still is) regarded as an essential part of the hearts and minds campaign in the region.
But, three years after so much blood and treasure has been expended (albeit with the bulk of the cash being shelled out by the Americans), the third turbine lies unassembled – the parts littered about the weed-strewn site, exactly where they were left by the British military.
What makes this so desperately sad is that even the slightest knowledge of the history of the area would confirm that the project was never going to achieve its desired aim, even if it had been technically successful.
Not least of the problems was – as Booker recorded in September 2009 that the power lines and sub-stations which feed the electricity to several towns are controlled by the Taliban, who charge money to customers for allowing the juice to reach them.
So obvious, in fact, were the defects of the scheme that a year before, in September 2008, The Guardian, while acknowledging the "brilliant courage and ingenuity" of the British, dismissed it as a "glorious but dangerous folly".
The Kajaki, it said, has been a 90-metre-high, rock-filled demonstration of foreign good intentions for decades but has never delivered the promised benefits to Afghanistan - a political showpiece and always has been since it was built (but not fully completed) in the 1950s by the US to compete with Soviet projects elsewhere in the country.
Such was the delusional attachment to the scheme, however, that this brought a pained rebuttal from then defence secretary Des Browne. The project was not merely a symbol, he declared. "If it were only that, we would never have sent our people on such a risky mission".
Sense and analytical judgement, however, had been submerged in tales of derring-do, marking the self-declared "successful mission". Typical of the period, we got Lieutenant Colonel Rufus McNeil, Comanding Officer 13 Air Assault Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, declaring of those that had run the hazardous convoy, "Every one of the soldiers did fantastically well."
Well, indeed they did, but it was still a complete waste of time, money, effort – and lives. By December 2009, The Guardian was back on the case with a report headed: "Taliban stalls key hydroelectric turbine project in Afghanistan". The strap read: "Convoy diverted British troops from front but generator may never be used".
The enormous hydroelectric turbine dragged at huge cost by British troops through Taliban heartlands last year, said the paper, may never be installed because NATO has been unable to secure a 30-mile stretch of road leading to an isolated dam in northern Helmand.
To install the turbine needed, amongst other things, 900 tons of cement for new foundations, but security had deteriorated to such an extent that British troops were having to be resupplied by air drop and helicopters. Even the BBC reported the problems.
Now, with additional US troops in the region – but for a short time only – USAid, which is managing the project, remains convinced that the project is worthwhile. US aid officials are now claiming that turbine could be installed in 24 to 30 months.
This is so much moonshine. No more now than in 2003 when then current project was first mooted, is this a feasible project. It remains, as always, a testament to the vain, unrealisable hopes of the coalition forces that they can bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
Returning to Hitchens and his indignation, one recalls an episode during the London Blitz in 1940, when a cash-strapped council in the East End, finding rather fewer houses on its patch requiring collections, redeployed some of its dustcarts – cleaned out and painted a tasteful black – as hearses to collect the war dead.
Given the quite obvious disdain in which Dave holds the military, and the utter futility of the war in Afghanistan, where lives are being thrown away for absolutely no purpose – to say nothing of our hard-earned cash – he might consider following the example of the East End council.
Thus, for as long as Dave and his cronies continue to throw away lives for no purpose, he might as well do the honest thing and hire in a dustcart, instead of wasting money on expensive hearses that the public now will not be seeing. The symbolism would be entirely appropriate and serve merely to underline what our masters are doing with our money and soldiers' lives out in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Hari's pronouncements on climate have always been inane to the point of ridicule and like Al Gore, Charlie Windsor and Chris Huhne, he wasted no effort or jet fuel in visiting the Arctic, the Maldives and Tuvalu to tell us - without a hint of self-knowledge or irony - that jetting off to far-off lands for our pathetic, self-indulgent holidays was destroying Mother Earth.
His articles could have been written by the gullible wee work-experience lass interning at Greenpeace that particular week. In view of the information that came out of yesterday's Twitterstorm, perhaps they were.
And given his capacity for fiction and imagination, perhaps he never went to those places whose climate miseries he described so eloquently? His source material could well have come from the PR machines at the WWF, FoE and Greenpeace - and, as Dan Hannan has recently reported, Greenpeace are liars.
Private Eye accused Hari of placing fictional content into factual pieces as long ago as 2003: it looks as though little has changed since then.
In the circumstances, it would be interesting to know which qualities have so impressed the Independent and the BBC since Hari was a mere 23 and whether they are the same qualities that have resulted in him being voted one of the twenty most influential gay people in the world.
We can only hope (but not too hard) that he hasn't embarrassed all those literary prize-givers whom he has fooled into showering him with glory over his illustrious career.
Time Traveller blogs at Adventures in Time Travel.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
If Carlsberg did a defence blog, this would be it ... currently narrating the latest in the tale of the Nimrod MR4, and how the slow, greasy Fox is lying through his rotting teeth. As one of his commenter puts it: "Here we have prima facia evidence that the biggest threat to the security of this country is our own Government and the MoD".
In my opening epigram in Ministry of Defeat, I use the apocryphal tale of the officer walking down Whitehall and asking for directions to the MoD. He knows roughly where it is, so when he hails a passer-by, he simply asks: "Which side is the Ministry of Defence on?" The reply comes: "Ours, I hope".
In the book, I remark that, in southern Iraq in 2003, that hope was not fulfilled. But it would have been surprising is it was ... or ever was. We win wars and defend our territories in spite of, and not because of, the politico-military establishment represented by the MoD.
But it is not so much that they are on the "other" side, as their own. This sub-set of the wider "establishment" is primarily on its own side ... its primary concern being Selznik's famous beast, "self maintenance". And, as the Friedmans once observed, you would be foolish to expect anything else.
But we see that reality, naked in tooth and claw when another commenter observes that, "if every word spoken about Nimrod by the government was complete horse crap, then so what?" At worst for the government, he says, this (the Nimrod debacle) would end up as a ten minute segment on Newsnight. He concludes: "The general public doesn't care, and has been largely unaware of Nimrod in any form - no electoral damage, no problem".
Therein lies our problem. The ideal constitutional settlement would comprise a system where the institutional self-maintenance needs of the government would coincide with those of its electorate. Thus, in order to survive, it would have to respond its needs. Where – as is the case – there is a divergence – the needs (and concerns) of the electorate must be ignored.
In the days to come, perhaps – whimsically, the Nimrod MR4 might become a symbol of the UK resistance movement, the one that is taking its first, faltering steps towards emergence.
It will have to join the queue though. I have in my possession a tie, embroidered on which is the silhouette of a Sunderland – another maritime surveillance aircraft (pictured). Representing the home town of the Metric Martyrs, wearing that tie is a small, subtle gesture of defiance. And that is where the road to freedom starts – one small step ...
Saturday, June 18, 2011
As a Private Members Bill, the proposed legislation is unlikely to see the light of day but it is probably surplus to requirements anyway: the bill's primary focus is on establishing the primacy of British law over the creeping influence of Sharia and should be dealt with in parliament by amending or revoking the legislation that enables the existence of a parallel system of law.
Having quietly permitted the EU to conquer us, it would seem that our politicians and media are conspiring to allow Islam to do the same. Don't expect the BBC or the press to tell you about the revolution. Fortunately, you can find out a little more from the American media here.
Time Traveller blogs at Adventures in Time Travel.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The point about Greece, of course, is that it is not a faraway country of which we know little, but a member of the European Union.
Its ruling élites are part of our supreme government and, although the UK is not a member of the single currency, we are part of the same international financial system, and responsible – through the IMF and other institutions – for maintaining the financial integrity of the nation.
Thus, when the Greek government is on the brink of collapse, its economy in tatters, with pitched battles on its streets and world stocks tumbling as EU leaders squabbled over whether and how to launch a second bailout, this is actually news – important news.
From early yesterday, when the players were just warming up, George Papandreou, the prime minister – who likes to be called a socialist – seems to have offered to dissolve his government and form a national unity coalition.
However, even in this endeavour he has so far failed, not having managed to persuade the opposition conservatives to join him. Thus, battle recommences today, with Papandreou setting out form a new government and ask for a vote of confidence.
The opposition, however, is calling for Papandreou's resignation and a renegotiation of the bailout terms with the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund as the price for its assent to a national coalition.
And all that is against the background of riot police smacking into tens of thousands of demonstrators in the capital who are protesting against the radical austerity measures being imposed in an attempt to convince the "colleagues" that they should throw more money down the drain.
What is extremely heartening to hear from The Guardian is that a "sense of siege" has descended on Brussels as the Greek drama appeared to be heading towards a denouement. The ECB warned that a Greek default could spark "contagion" across Europe, causing Greek banks to implode and inflicting major damage on the big banks in France and Germany.
"It looks like a week of chaos," said a European official in Brussels. The bailout experiment for Greece has failed. Ireland and Portugal have since also needed to be rescued from national insolvency.
"The euro area faces a very challenging situation that comes mostly from the interconnection of the sovereign debt crisis and the situation of the banking sector", the ECB says. "Greece could have a contagion effect," adds Vitor Constancio, an ECB vice-president.
The whole thing now has perhaps a month to run, before the Greek economy implodes, and the euro starts to slide inexorably into the abyss – although the parallel is perhaps more like a black hole. Once you are in the gravity field, there is no escape.
As the crisis pans out, there is not going to be a single person in Europe unaffected by it, with the distinct possibility that it precipitates a depression as bad as, or worse than the 1920-30s, triggering multiple government collapses and dangerous instability. And we all know where that led.
This, therefore, is a story that is going to run and run, and if there was a residue of adult news values in the MSM, this would be an issue, as in the day's Guardian, that would rarely be off the front pages.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
To prevent Greek depositors from rioting on the streets, Argentina-2002-style (when the Argentinian president had to flee by helicopter from the roof of the presidential palace to evade a mob of such depositors), the Greek government will declare a curfew, perhaps even general martial law.
Greece will redenominate all its debts into "New Drachmas" or whatever it calls the new currency (this is a classic ploy of countries defaulting). The New Drachma will devalue by some 30-70 percent (probably around 50 per cent, though perhaps more), effectively defaulting on 50 percent or more of all Greek euro-denominated debts. The Irish will, within a few days, walk away from the debts of its banking system.
The Portuguese government will wait to see whether there is chaos in Greece before deciding whether to default in turn. A number of French and German banks will make sufficient losses that they no longer meet regulatory capital adequacy requirements. The European Central Bank will become insolvent, given its very high exposure to Greek government debt, and to Greek banking sector and Irish banking sector debt.
The French and German governments will meet to decide whether (a) to recapitalise the ECB, or (b) to allow the ECB to print money to restore its solvency. (Because the ECB has relatively little foreign currency-denominated exposure, it could in principle print its way out, but this is forbidden by its founding charter.
On the other hand, the EU Treaty explicitly, and in terms, forbids the form of bailouts used for Greece, Portugal and Ireland, but a little thing like their being blatantly illegal hasn't prevented that from happening, so it's not intrinsically obvious that it being illegal for the ECB to print its way out will prove much of a hurdle.)
They will recapitalise, and recapitalise their own banks, but declare an end to all bailouts. There will be carnage in the market for Spanish banking sector bonds, as bondholders anticipate imposed debt-equity swaps. This assumption will prove justified, as the Spaniards choose to over-ride the structure of current bond contracts in the Spanish banking sector, recapitalising a number of banks via debt-equity swaps.
Bondholders will take the Spanish Banking Sector to the European Court of Human Rights (and probably other courts, also), claiming violations of property rights. These cases won’t be heard for years. By the time they are finally heard, no-one will care. Attention will turn to the British banks. Then we shall see.
I just hope that they don't do this before I go on holiday.
Monday, June 13, 2011
It being another dull and wet Monday morning in my drought-ridden, globally-warmed neck of the woods (no snow here in June – that shows you just how dangerous that carbon dioxide stuff is), I thought I needed a little excitement.
Duly inspired, I donned my tin hat and ventured into Guardian territory - only to be met by the remarkable headline above. For once, I managed to read an entire Guardian article without feeling the need to hurl abuse at my monitor screen.
The climate alarmists have long lost the debate amongst free-thinking adults and the last hope for their religious cult was to greenwash our children. If this proposal comes to pass, we really could be witnessing the beginning of the end of the current and regressive anthropogenic climate change hysteria.
Which is not to say that it will not be rapidly replaced by another exercise in global panic, of course...
At my own blog over the weekend, I referred to another couple of small stories that further reinforce the suggestion of a shift in the politics of climate change. The scam - and the useful idiots promoting it - may well have run their course but it remains to be seen whether the resultant apparatus - carbon trading, feed-in tariffs for renewables, renewables obligation certificates et al - will be given up too readily. However, judging by Huhne's inane (panicked?) response to the Scottish Power announcement of a 19% increase in energy prices, the financial and political costs of the Climate Change Act may finally be registering with our dozy politicians.
Returning to the Guardian article, what made it so enjoyable, especially for we Bob Ward watchers, were these two paragraphs:
But Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, warned that Oates' ideas might not be in pupils' best interests and could make science less interesting for children.
"An emphasis on climate change in the curriculum connects the core scientific concepts to topical issues," he said. "Certain politicians feel that they don't like the concept of climate change. I hope this isn't a sign of a political agenda being exercised."
That last line made me chuckle.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
It is that the people of The UK, or even Europe and The USA as well, have a "public" day off. Everybody decides, on a chosen day, to not work, (emergency services only, excused) not travel or spend one penny of money. Not a National strike but a people day off! It is probably a daft idea but it does appeal to my ageing sense of frustration. Just imagine if it did take off. Say, out of the air, the 29nth of September. On that day WE decide to have a day off. No money, fuel, work absolutely zilch.
Once one day happened, WE could seek to CHOOSE the next one! Demands might ensue whereby THEY would be forced to LISTEN. We could then label days off. Bankers' protest day, Climate change protest day, EU referendum protest day even "we want an election" day! Whatever the protest it would only work if it captured majority approval so potentially self-regulating. The more people took the day off the greater the "petition".
Naturally many people might well like the idea of extra days off, anyway! Such fun!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Or, The State We’re In.
Our current condition throws up some examples of how power crazed bureacurats are falsely charging themselves with the power to stamp on individuals who rightly stand up against bureaucracy and public service failings and challenge unaccountable and unsanctioned decision making. Two cases make the papers today that should be spread far and wide. But as always there is little or no ‘follow through’ by the journalists to connect the dots and display the bigger picture for people, so we have to rely on the blogosphere to do that.
Firstly we have the case of Jacqui Thompson, author of ‘Camarthenshire Planning Problems and More’. She tells the story of how she was arrested for allegedly breaching the peace this week for daring to film part of a County Council meeting from the public gallery to bring events to a wider audience.
Ms Thompson then goes on in a follow up blog post to describe her treatment after her arrest and presents readers with an evident example of the law being abused by Councillors and the police to suit the ends of the establishment. A polite refusal to acquiesce to an unreasonable demand – namely to stop filming when filming is not banned by the Council’s own standing orders – is not a breach of the peace.
A legal action for false arrest seems justified as to deny this woman her liberty for wishing to highlight failings in the supposedly democratic process is an abuse under the law. There was no need for the Council to suspend proceedings and no grounds to instructing her to leave the public gallery. The police were not only heavy handed, they were resorting to stereotype number one, that the establishment is in need of protection and the ordinary taxpaying member of the public is the aggressor.
Secondly we have the case of Daniel Sencier, author of ‘Prostate Cancer – My Journey!’ and a former cancer patient at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. He tells the story of how North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust are bullying him using threats of legal action for daring to speak out about the experience of newly diagnosed Prostate Cancer patients at his local hospital in Carlisle.
The Trust is giving the impression of having more power than it actually possesses, as once you read the content of their solicitor’s letter to Mr Sencier you can see how little they can do to prevent a protest they believed Mr Sencier was planning. But the abuse becomes evident when you see the Trust’s threat against Mr Sencier if his blog contains what they consider to be:
…unsubstantiated criticism of the care you received at the Trust the Trust will have no hesitation in considering taking legal action against you
Criticism is subjective and if Mr Sencier considers the care he received was substandard then he has the right to say so. It is his opinion and there should not be any need for his opinion to be substantiated by anything. At any rate, as if to underline the blowhard position the Trust is only saying they won’t hesitate to consider taking legal action. They know they will almost certainly have no grounds for doing so, but that doesn’t stop them trying to intimidate a dissatisfied member of the public into silence.
This is the reality of Britain in the 21st Century. We supposedly boast the mother of all Parliaments and the finest model for legal systems that has been much duplicated around the world. But what we see here is not only examples of the corruption of our democracy but the extent of the assault on our liberty and individual rights by the State in service of its own interests against ours.
For how much longer will the public stay silent on matters such as these and shy away from taking back from the establishment the power that is ours by right? It cannot continue. We need to make a stand.
(Given the importance of these issues this has been cross posted from the Autonomous Mind blog).
Friday, June 10, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I’ve owned a 40-foot narrow boat for over ten years, seven of which I lived on the canal.
This type of domicile is a legal grey area, and I had a small piece published on the subject in Standpoint last year. In a nutshell, boaters are the greenest people outside of eco-fanatics living like self-righteous Hobbits in solar-powered bunkers. The sound of applause and encouragement from the public sector, though, is far from deafening.
Now, a group of boaters in and around London's Lea Valley are being actively threatened with the type of social cleansing which will soon spread to other canals if successful there. Included in the target area are boaters who are raising families afloat. British Waterways [BW], who administer the canals but think they own them, are answerable to DEFRA, which should give you an idea of the level of competence at play here. BW is one of the high-profile logs on the so-called "bonfire of the quangos", and is seeking to escape the flames by taking on charitable status. Before it suffers this indignity, however, it wants to settle some old scores.
Under cover of the Olympics and the desire to rid the area of brothels, squats and other socially undesirable dwellings, BW is seeking new powers to remove the right of boaters to live as they choose on the waterways. Though this should not be seen as one of the Evil Tory Cuts™, it has to be said that boaters tend to have a very left-wing default position, and it won’t stop them doing just that. A blog which flagged up the plight of the Lea Valley boaters, for example, was criticised for displaying a "No to AV" button despite the help it was offering. But this attempt to rid the canals of everyone but families on expensive hire-boat holidays and weekend boaters with shiny brass chimneys and yachting club caps goes right back to the glory days of the Blairocracy, although it's accelerating under the current coalition.
Boaters, though, are a resourceful bunch, and are fighting back with meetings, press coverage, legal consultations, alternative plans for waterways development and a general attitude that they are not going to take it. Canal dwellers probably do as much for the upkeep of the towpath as BW, and my boat licence pays BW to do their work. I've seen boaters moor up and immediately clean the rubbish off the towpath, something I've done myself. You get the occasional headbanger who attempts to turn the canalside into a cross between a car-boot sale in Albania and a Gdansk shipyard, but generally boaters are attentive to their local environment and, as mentioned, the lifestyle is so green you could play snooker on it.
Governments of our modern, third-way, neosocialist, trickle-up variety hate this kind of autonomy. All those people with no addresses. How can they be fined for putting the wrong recycling in the wrong bin? What are they doing growing their own vegetables and producing their own heat? What if they evade the census, on which I have not appeared since I was a small boy. How is the nanny state supposed to function, intrude and hector if the children are learning to walk by themselves?
So, three cheers for the big society. Just don’t be foolish enough to actually try it.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The Failygraph tried it some time back, offering readers their own blogs, but now The Guardian is trying a different approach - but with the same objective, to dominate the blogosphere.
It is interesting to see quite how much the independent blogosphere worries the MSM, with even The Guardian acknowledging that there are "many bloggers out there who are often just as good as Guardian journalists – if not better – at spotting stories and responding quickly and imaginatively to them".
Unable to up its game and thus to compete, it is adopting the usual corporate trick of trying to corral the bloggers into a pen, where they can be housetrained and controlled.
But, of course, such is the poverty of corporate thinking, that it ends up recruiting the dross, unable – as always – to deal with the real independents. They will continue to provide the real thinking, and the best content, while the MSM continues its steady decline to obscurity.
Just as with the banking collapse we are being forced to face penury, cold and hunger not through "climate change", carbon emissions or other natural phenomenon but through the business created in carbon trading and fossil fuel price inflation. Every ignorant, pig headed plonker from Ghastly Gore to Hoon of Huhnes, via Bliar, Brown, Cameron et al, should be forced to read and then eat and swallow the first linked article.
That article gives us scarce relief from the endless diatribe of fear politics, so typically shown in the second link. Savour the contrast while you can. Dissent will be squashed, mark my words.
Monday, June 6, 2011
It started with a frank discussion with my eldest daughter about the money she owed to credit card companies and banks. I endeavoured to attempt to help her as best as I could. After a bit of research I found an internet forum that purported to have a formula to regain the high charges that were being levied on her. However that forum was infested with Moderators that knew best, even when they were proved wrong so I left that forum when I was invited to join a new forum made up of those dissatisfied with the forum I'd left.
I thoroughly enjoyed being a member there, and with the exchange of experience I managed to claw back a large amount of money for my daughter (Bye the way Santander, you’re quite useless. You didn’t actually need to reimburse my daughter twice!). I also helped claw money back for others caught in the same predicament.
After eighteen months there, with many online friends, they opened an internal blogspot. This is where I found I could let my thoughts expand and run riot. Eventually I realised that I was only writing to a narrow audience that didn't understand my passion for writing about other than bank penalty charges. Not their fault at all. They were wonderful people doing a sterling job. But I had to move on.
Somehow I came across Blogger, and with great trepidation wrote my first post. This of course, was a heap of manure, but it is was my first foray into the Blogosphere. And have I learnt so much, in so little time. I've had to learn to add hyperlinks, imbed video and pictures, make up a blogroll, try and answer comments in polite and erudite way, and so much more.
Luckily I found out most of these from other bloggers who have been keen to help new bloggers. I'd like to pay a little tribute to those bloggers that have opened my eyes to the sheer delusion that politicians are here to serve us, the climate change scam, that there are fake charities, useless bloodsucking quangos, the EU and its money stealing devices, and numerous other issues of which the general public seem unaware.
I can never match the top bloggers, but I'll do my best to improve and stay the course. And you and I know it. The Blogosphere is grinding the MSM into the dust in a slow but inexorable way.
I've had my doubts about Tim Montgomerie and his "Uncle Tom" website Conservative Home. But those doubts are now fully supported as we see his blog join The Guardian as a "content partner" – alongside "feminists" and the neo Marxist Left Foot Forwards.
And, to consummate the nuptials, we have a vomit-inducing piece from the self-same Tim Montgomerie, headed "Cameron must start worrying about Europe" - sitting on the Guardian website. It tells us that "David Cameron already has the NHS and crime on his list of challenges. But his Eurosceptic credentials are widely doubted".
This is straight out of the muppet school of politics, the fare of the fool Oborne, and an insult to the intelligence of any reader who can muster more brain cells than Montgomerie has fingers. All together now: Euroslime Dave has no Eurosceptic credentials. He is a rabid Europhile.
However, the main news of this particular post is the marriage of The Guardian and Conservative Home. Had anyone had ventured that this might happen, even a year ago, they would have been dismissed as a blathering madman. But now, impossible things come to pass ... proving once again that the political classes are all partaking in joint micturition exercises, mostly on the rest of us.
As another one sells out, though - corrupting the word "independent" - we need our own voices, more than ever. At least not being on the ConHome blogroll is now a badge of honour.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
In the comments to The Filthy Engineer's post, “Lies, lies, and those manifestos” Richard asked for views regarding his original vision for Independent Political Bloggers which was to establish:
“a site about independent political bloggers and blogging, to promote the genre - a sort of noticeboard combined with "chat room"”.
If I remember correctly (I haven't found the original, so I may have dreamt it), Richard wanted to promote the disparate independent bloggers as a strong and credible, journalistic alternative to the churnalistic MSM.
If that's what he said, I think it's a great objective. If he didn't say it and I just made it up, I still think it's a great objective.
I believe there's a hunger for Richard's proposal. Unfortunately though, the actual business of blogging is pretty dull and once we've provided the bios that Richard suggested, there's probably not a great deal more to say. With nothing to say, our readers will desert and blogs without readers have absolutely no hope of influencing opinion. And so on balance, while I think the bios are a good idea and should be retained, my guess is that IPB can only survive on a diet of regular political comment.
The other difficulties that IPB faces are (i) that we are unlikely to give up our individual blogs and will want to reserve our best material for them and (ii) that there is already an excellent 'super-blog' in the shape of Orphans of Liberty.
With all that in mind, these are my own suggestions for a possible way forward. Hopefully, they will stimulate a discussion and more suggestions from other bloggers:
we need to make up our minds over the objective(s) of IPB. Given that the concept of opposition has all but disappeared from Parliament, I favour developing a coherent bloggers' opposition as a genuine focus of dissent for all of those who feel disenfranchised by the current political model;
to this end, our blogroll should feature all bloggers and MSM journalists whose writing is sympathetic to our objectives;
to get the ball rolling, encourage all sympathetic bloggers to follow OldRightie's example and produce a ranked 'manifesto' listing the top 10 policies they would most like to see changed/scrapped/introduced. Based on the results, we could produce an overall top 10 on which IPB blogs would concentrate;
For material, we all guarantee one original blog per week or use IPB as a 'best-of' site. In addition, we could – on a pre-moderated basis - include ad-hoc contributions from non-bloggers;
the narrower focus and objective should prevent us from replicating the effort at the Orphans of Liberty site;
as Richard has already suggested, we should avoid ranking the individual blogs but we do need to stimulate and record site approvals;
we all actively 'market' the site on our own blogs.
Time Traveller's website is at Adventures in Time Travel
One of the key differences between websites of diverse character and blogs is, perhaps, the latter comprises a community – especially the political blogs – known loosely as the "blogosphere".
In fact, there is not one community, but several, rendering the blogosphere a highly fragmented entity, with little cross-over. The left and the right, for instance, occupy their own spaces, and there are specialist communities, such as the climate change fraternity, again split between the "deniers" and the "believers".
What makes the community are two things. The first is a commonality of interest. But the second is linkage, through dynamic links in the text of posts, and in the blogrolls – the list of preferred blogs, to which the individual blogger draws attention. These links, more than anything else, pull the blogosphere together.
Within the political blogging "set", though, there is another division, between the givers and the takers – the feeders and the parasites. Broadly, this amounts to the links offered, and their nature. Some blogs are generous with their links, picking up other sites across a wide spectrum, with a comprehensive blogroll.
Here, there is an informal convention on reciprocation. If a blog links to another on its blogroll, the recipient returns the favour and does likewise. Textual links are a different matter, but one tries to offer links to sites that have something to say, and are toiling in the same vineyard.
Those are the givers, as opposed to the takers, the parasites – usually those with a high profile which receive multiple references from other blogs, but do reciprocate and favour only a very limited number of blogs on their blogrolls and with textual links.
The classic offender here is the Guido Fawkes blog, which has a very small blogroll and rarely links to other sites. It builds its circulation on the back of other blogs, but puts very little back – sharing a parasitic existence with the likes of Conservative Home and some others, who form their own exclusive, self-referential claque.
But a particularly malignant sub-set comprises the "clogs". As is the blog, a composite word - built from "weB LOG" – so is the "clog", built from "Corporate bLOG". Mainly media sites, these are the true parasites, who rarely link to others outside their own corporate domains, yet benefit hugely from inwards links.
This refusal to link is quite often a matter of deliberate policy. Journalists who generously include links to independent bloggers, find the links removed by editors, following their business policy. Between them, the corporates – who see the independents as a threat – are making a bid ownership of the blogosphere. Rather like their supermarket cousins, they are attempting to freeze out the independents.
Inexplicably, though, the independents often help the corporates out, linking freely to their parasitic clogs – who will never reciprocate – and ignoring their fellow independents. Thus does some fine writing in the independent blogosphere struggle for an audience, while the clogs prosper.
In what is a battle for survival, therefore, independents can help each other out, by favouring other independents in their links, and being extremely sparing in their links to the clogs, the claque and other parasites. Basically, the convention of reciprocation should be a guide, leaving the parasites to feed their own.
In short, do not feed the clogs.
This from 2006, not today but as ever the reality is ignored. Family life and dare I say marriage, has been traduced to a less than common estate. Acres of print, political pamphlets and the myriad of manifesto lies, have all combined to bring us to an unhealthy state. Meddling by Government, politicos massaging the big corporate chains and advertising executives are the problem. Not you or I.
Meanwhile the grip in high places of inadequate males and their predilections, there are too many like this to ignore, is slowly taking us to paedo marches for equal rights every bit as a much a bandwagon as "Gay" rights.
My generation kicked off the "sexual revolution" but those of us able to spot the selfishness and exploitative nature of this hedonistic short termism in morality have, I venture to suggest, done better than those who pursued eternal youth and who now are very ridiculous, burnt out plonkers. These same individuals however went into power. I rest my case.
Friday, June 3, 2011
We learnt a little something of their benefits yesterday.
- ..... It's Been A While
- The Cost Of Democracy
- It's Time Dave Sorted This Out
- Reasons To Persecute The Motorist
- Dry Yer Eyes Jody And Keep Your Fingers Crossed
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Why do we bother to vote? Because we are promised that a political party can better our lot in life.
In the past we would have elections, and before they were carried out, the political parties would lay out their aspirations in their Manifesto. In the distant past, that manifesto was treated as a document that, we the people, could depend on to a large extent to judge the parties on their commitment to policies. It was easy in those days. You chose the manifesto that you agreed to, and voted accordingly. Bye and large it worked. Politicians of that bygone age, in the whole, usually tried to deliver those policies. That was the day of honest politics.
Now, sadly we have no men of honour inhabiting the Mother of all parliaments. We have career politicians who have never served in any competitive private sector environment and are just after power for power's sake.
What is the point of these manifestos? If they can be torn up immediately after an election, why bother drawing them up in the first place? I would like to see them as a legal document and any deviation challenged in the courts. Of course there would be some problems left behind by a previous governments policies that would have to stay in place for a short while.
If you went into a shop and saw a TV and the blurb stated that it could do all manner of wonderful things, you would buy it, in the belief that you had bought a product that would suit your need. However if your TV failed to do those most wondrous of things that you’d been promised, you would be entitled to a refund or replacement under Sale of Goods and services act. And most certainly wouldn’t wait five years before returning it.
If you saw an advert that intimated that ingesting cyanide would give you eternal life, what would your relatives do after burying you? (In my case. A paupers grave. But that’s another story). They would very quickly (I hope) contact the Advertising Standards Authority to have that advert removed.
So why do we have to put up with governments who promise the earth, but don't deliver?
So my point is, can we have an act that would allow us to return the government from whence they came, namely opposition?
"The repeal of Governments and useless hangers on Act" maybe.
Or can we just hang all 650 of them? (I have more than enough piano wire in the garage.).
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
In the circles in which I move, I find that few people are prepared to discuss overtly political issues – on the rare occasions that friends and colleagues take a position, it is usually a view of the world predetermined by an ingrained political allegiance, the only modifications permitted being those scripted by the BBC and/or their daily newspaper of choice.
The emergence of the political blog proved to be a revelation, especially with the commenting facility providing an opportunity to weigh and exchange views. Having our own ingrained views persuasively challenged is enlightening. Having others put into words what we have been feeling is liberating: self-doubt may not entirely disappear but at least we know that we are not alone when holding an opinion that runs counter to the prevailing MSM orthodoxies.
After a long period of deliberation, I began publishing my own blog, Adventures in Time Travel, in March this year. It deals with general political matters affecting the UK in what I hope is a way that contributes to unsettling some of the constructs by which others seek to control us. My blog won't change the world but in conjunction with others, I'd like to think it could eventually play its part.
I write from no particular political perspective - although I'm regularly mistaken for a conservative. I usually start from a position that our entire political system favours interests other than those of the electorate: we desperately need an opposition. I loath political correctness because it is divisive and antithetical to freedom of speech. I'm pro-Europe but anti-EU. I am pro-sanctuary but anti-unfettered immigration. I become especially exercised by injustice, the suppression of our freedoms and the climate scam.
I try to publish at least once a day although weekends and commitments elsewhere may occasionally interfere. And every now and again - usually when Johann Hari writes about climate change - I may suffer a blinding rage that will temporarily inhibit my ability to form a coherent sentence. Comments and conversations are always welcome – so please do drop in when you can.
- Adventures in time travel
- All Seeing Eye
- Ampers Rants
- Barking Spider
- Barnacle Bill
- BBC Institutional Bias
- Bishop Hill
- Calling England
- Captain Ranty
- Constantly furious
- Derek Bennett
- Dick Puddlecote
- Disenfranchised of Buckingham
- England's freedome
- European disunion
- Frank Davis
- Gallimaufry and Chips
- Going Faster, Getting Nowhere
- Groompy Tom
- Harry's Place
- Head Rambles
- Infinite Unknown
- It's All Kicking Off
- Jim Greenhalf
- Junius on UKIP
- Max Farquar
- Mick Hartley
- Muffled Vociferation
- Nanny Knows Best
- Orphans Of Liberty
- Patently Rubbish
- Quizzical gaze
- The Cynical Tendency
- The Angry Exile
- The Fairfacts Media Show
- The Lakelander's View
- The Moose
- The Raft Journal
- The Ranting Penguin
- UK Commentators
- Wasps Nest
- Adventures in time travel
- Barnacle Bill
- Constantly furious
- Derek Bennett England's freedome
- European disunion
- Frank Davis
- Harry's Place
- Patently Rubbish
- Quizzical gaze
- UK Commentators
More authors are welcome. Just drop your e-mail in the comments.
- Globalisation stopped.
- Food distribution as aid, without cash
- Western democracies start from scratch.
- A total withdrawal of Western military from everywhere but their own countries.
- The dismantlement of the EU.
- Same for The UN.
- Same for NATO.
- Corruption made a capital offence
- Murder and paedophilia the same.
- No politician to hold high office for more than 5 years and NO fat job afterwards, only before.