Saturday, 29 October 2011

Bystanders in history

One can't help but think Billy Joel should do a new version.  There's plenty of material

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Am I Missing Something

Like Winnie the Pooh I am obviously a bear of very small brain. I come to this conclusion when I get a sense of fear running through our Government at the prospect of a two tier EU made up of those in the Eurozone, making big decisions and those outside the single currency relegated to a second tier role.

If the EU were thriving that might be of some concern, but a lot of the serious thinkers and commentators seem to think the opposite is true.  Aside from a bit of market giddiness on the announcement at 4am (which The Slog sheds some light on), hyped up by the main news bulletins, there is a very dissenting counter opinion to that viewpoint.  The message that is increasingly appearing in news bulletins from people looking hard at the problem is that what we have is smoke and mirrors.  The view is that the Eurozone is in very real trouble and the politicos are playing for time by trying more of what has failed to this point. The result will be the same they feel.

If that is the case, what precisely will we be shut out of?  If the hallmark of that zone will be a financial crisis, surely the results will be felt by anyone living it.  We live in a society which grows based on credit and that includes both business and individual consumers.  If that locks up, precisely who will be doing the buying that we consider a vital aspect of our relationship with Europe? 

So what exactly is the fear here?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Opportunity

I recall that in my school days I was always confused at the connection between the bungled, but successful assassination of Franz Ferdinand and how it led to the Great War.  As I grew older I started to see how many other seemingly isolated and unrelated events start a chain reaction into something much larger.  A more modern day example of this was the self immolation of a member of the public seemingly the precursor of the so called Arab Spring.

I have this in mind as I see the forthcoming debate and referendum vote on our presence in the EU.  Understandably there seems something of a mixed bag of opinion on it.  Daniel Finklestein used the word farce in one of his Tweets yesterday around the same time as the Peoples Pledge congress, although I'm not certain precisely what he was talking about.  There have also been some excellent posts about the debate from Witterings from Witney and a particularly informative one which Autonomous Mind picks up.  In addition Richard North's EU Referendum blog has also weighed in with some food for thought.  All of these posts I would recommend to readers to help crystallise their own thinking as they have done for me.

My personal view is that in many ways the progress of the EU has moved beyond a referendum on in or out because so many of our problems as a nation stem from the structures and edicts from them.  That said it should be put to the people and it is up to people who share my view to make a credible and cogent article around that case and their will abided by.  I also agree with AM that the people of Britain probably aren't in a place where they are clear about what they would be voting for in such a referendum.

All that said, the debate and the vote presents an opportunity that should be capitalised on.  I expect ultimately that the vote will be lost for a number of reasons, but it brings us something we can use and we should work on it.  For me this is one of those seemingly innocuous events I mentioned at the top of this post.  I believe this 'failure' can be turned into an opportunity on many fronts.  For some bizarre reason I find myself agreeing with Kate Hoey who suggested that this might not turn out to be a victory but it presents a first chink in the armour.

What we have seen from the introduction of the debate is a palpable sense of fear in the top table of British politics.  If there's one clever thing Cameron has done, it was bringing the debate forward.  He has turned his metaphorical submarine towards the enemy torpedo in the hope of tackling it before it is able to explode. It is clever because it illustrates that those of us who want a referendum or who want us out of Europe haven't sold it to the electorate in a way that they properly understand and will take action on.  Whilst Cameron's action might seem savvy, it has also exposed him and his ilk as terrified, especially with the introduction of the three line whip. 

Something else that will come to the fore over this is that many so called Eurosceptics, many of whom are in reality Europlastics along with many other MPs will vote the way their parties tell them to.  There will be no recognition of the will of the people.

In short, there will be no referendum offered on Europe but this time it will be glaringly obvious why.  To this point we've seen it dressed up in the language of obfuscation and they're even trying it now as Hague tries to talk up the idea that it will distract efforts to fix the Eurozone economy.

Despite all that, the truth is that you can't have a referendum because they don't want you to have one.

What we will get is a no vote in which MPs will put self interest above the will of the people.  They will maintain the status quo, hiding behind the illusion of a power base that is Westminster.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, they hide there because the place they do not want the argument to take place where true balance of power lies - the local constituency.  It his here that the illusion of their power is shattered because this is where they must seek your consent.

What I think we're presented with here is an opportunity and a starting point to lay the foundations of local voting blocs.  This is where our MP's feel the real power in democracy, but that only exists where the people gather to exercise that power.  Local is where it is at. We can call the MPs all we like for not being representative but it is us that have let them off their leads and it is us who must put them back on it. I believe this debate gives an opportunity for such a move to gain some traction.



No more "someone should do something" - go on and exercise your rights in a lawful and honest manner.  Britain needs you, now more than ever.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Weapons grade pillockery

Drop your trousers people and bend over as it seems the politicians are coming back for more:

Five days to save the economy

I'm sure the boy is not alone in what is clearly a massed display of weapons grade pillockery by a group of people who on past evidence couldn't run a bath.

As I read through the article, the first "You what?" point came with this quote from the Mail article.

Mr Cameron is set to agree to new rules affecting the banking sector at this weekend's summit, which will require those exposed to the debts of stricken states such as Greece to hold more cash to shield themselves against potential defaults.
Banks are expected to be given a deadline by which they must amass at least £70billion - though some put the figure as high as £110billion - from the markets.

Now to me, finance is complicated, but even I have picked up from bloggers such as The Slog, Golem and Zerohedge, that the real problem with our banks is based on liquidity problems, a virtual cessation in interbank lending and the folly of painting debts as assets.

In other words - they've got no money.  
 
The money has gone.  Much of what was there was only pretend money; notional numbers on computer screens brought about by rules that allowed banks to trumpet debt owed to them as assets regardless of the likelihood of getting it back.  The banks haven't got the money, that's the problem.  Only a modern politician can think that solving this is as easy as saying you've got to get some more money.  I think the banks already know that.  
 
But if this is crisis of liquidity, the banks don't have the money as they're all in the mire and trying to solve their own problem.  Non existent growth from the private sector cannot provide the money
.
So the question comes back to where is the money likely to come from?  Ah here it is.

If they fail to meet the deadline, public sector bailouts will be ordered

That's right folks, the weapons grade pillocks have the answer.  You and I must stump up for it again.  Well in truth it won't be you and I.  The politicos have already hocked all current living generations up to the eyeballs when they ran this approach before and both they and the bankers have already p*ssed that money up against a wall.  They're now being free and easy with whatever money might be squeezed out of generations yet to walk the planet (assuming those parents to be can still afford to have those children).

The mind boggles. It really does.  If the Monty Python team had written sketches on finance and economics it wouldn't be half as surreal as this.  This isn't any form of threat to the banks to get their house in order.

Of course I've referred to this as stupidity and it is but in many ways they know what they're doing.  We're dealing with chancers who have all the depth of a car park puddle.  The only thing that matters to them is their political survival and so what they are obsessing over is not how to solve the crisis but how to maintain the illusion that they can solve this.  That's what this next step is about - how they can kick the can a little further down the road.  The structure is riddled with rust and in their heart of hearts they know it, but they either don't know how to solve it or are not willing to.  
 
So they will do what modern politicians do.  They attend swanky summits in nice venues, fine wines, rich food and hopefully a photo call, before returning home to dip their hands in the pockets of the people.

Unfortunately they have become so detached from their people that they have failed to notice that people are getting really angry at this and are unlikely to stand by passively for much longer making this a very dangerous game.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

More Hoodwinking

24 hours after we had the press and the government engaging in a lovely little obfuscation exercise around energy prices, Richard North picks up on George Osborne's effort to pander to the crowd by pinning the whole thing on Labour. 

There's one problem.

The Tories voted for the Climate Change act in droves so as the sign says in some shops - You break it you own it.

Oh.  and George was one of them

On the money

The Daily Mail online addition is running a story today that suggests that Cameron is pandering to lobbyists as evidenced by the numbers of associates who are working in the sector.

The story however is not the best bit.  The best bit lies in the comments section in which a certain Neil Rogers from Wales writes:

Contemporary Politicians have have no political convictions or philosophy. They are public relations executives who treat politics as just another consumer product that they push onto the public like they would do with soap or used cars. Occasionally the product has to repackaged and backed by slicker advertising but that's all it is to them because their experience in politics is essential to fill out their CVs and contact list so they can grease the tracks into the corporate tyranny that is destroying all of us. Damn them. Damn them all to hell.

I simply cannot better that sentiment or his words.  I hope he repeats that to every man and woman he meets.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Pay attention people

When the MSM deals up articles like Brogan's piece in the Telegraph, it should surprise no one that the mainstream media attracts the fire of bloggers such as Wittering Witney, EU Referendum and Autonomous Mind among many others who have a particularly watchful eye for their failures.  When you read the MSM's work, you sometimes wonder what their fingers are touching when they mistake what they find as the pulse of a nation's viewpoint.

The article however should be admired for the way it has spectacularly missed the point. In it Brogan seems to spot a talent in Cameron when he suggests

Mr Cameron has the leadership knack to know that the opinion of the voters matters more than the grumble of MPs.

Really?  He does? So explain to me the somewhat curious abandonment of manifesto pledges especially on a referendum on Europe, with his weasel words on the matter.

Brogan also gives us this

Tomorrow the backbench business committee is expected to confirm that the House will debate a referendum on EU membership in coming weeks. The vote is not binding but Mr Cameron will want to avoid at all costs a Commons vote in favour of a referendum he does not want to hold. So he will whip his MPs against.

The suggestion here is that a referendum on the EU is something that only vexes a pocket of his MPs and is of no concern to the electorate.

So, if this were to be true, Cameron could not wear the crown of genius placed upon him by Brogan, otherwise why would a referendum have appeared as a manifesto pledge and why do the faux Tories witter on about renegotiation of our relationship with Brussels?

Such behaviour suggests that Conservative high command, are aware of what this means to the British people and the mumblings of a debate and a vote (albeit non binding) suggests that the a lot of the 650 know this too which brings us to the telling aspect of Brogan's piece.

Brogan suggests that Cameron intends to avoid an outcome that will make him look bad and so will bring in the whips.  Well firstly this tells you all you need to know about the leadership - they're not interested in any referendum vote, even a pretend one or a protest one.  They don't want to hear even the merest hint of anger on Europe, beyond the top table's faux posturing for headlines to be consumed by "gullible" voters.

But it tells you something else.  It tells you to keep an eye on the future because we will see what this debate and vote comes to.  If it comes to nothing, it will tell us where the so called rebels are in their relationship to the party whips and the electorate.  If the debate and the vote collapses we will see that the people matter little compared to the whips and that what many of us suspect of our so called democracy will be further underscored.

I'm not sure what to be more worried about - that a journalist cannot see this or that Mme Defarge was seen buying industrial quantities of wool from the local craft shop this weekend.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Hierachy - Chancers

Within Christianity, there have been several attempts to formalise a hierarchy of the demonic world.  As well as names I understand these demons are also gathered into group classifications of Empyreal, Aerial, Subterranean, Lucifugi, Aqueous and Terrene.

I have in my head in much more informal classification built around the observation by all round Roman clever guy, Cicero that a nation can withstand it's fools and external enemies, but not those who collapse a society from within.  The result is a hierarchy of types that move the levers of state who, whether by malign intent, ignorance, vanity or self preservation are creating a situation in which our nation will collapse in on itself.

One such group are those I call Chancers.

I have over the years been fortunate to work in various roles both in the public and private sector and it is only through doing so that I stumbled upon the Chancer.  I did not spot them as a grouping at first but once seen and recognised they are easy to spot.

Although the hallmarks of a Chancer are many one of the simplest to spot is the concept that the only basis for their activity is themselves.  Like a fly that can sniff out a bloated corpse for no other reason than a source of food and a place to lay its eggs, Chancers, are acutely attuned to similar bloated bodies to gorge on money, power and prestige.  Such bodies can be found by them in public and private sector and it matters not to them which they land on as long as it can serve their needs.

One of their most deceitful tricks is that they hide in plain site.  They often arrive at an organisation appearing to those who see them as fresh faced idiots who seem to bear none of the scars shared by their cohorts.  Any new arrival in an organisation is sized up for its threat capability to those already there and is soon presumed to be little if any threat.  Some people spot them immediately. In a previous role, a colleague and friend once said of one such new arrival:

"In a couple of years he will be boss of us all".

At the time, we laughed but it did not take long for him to be proven inexplicably right.  This is part of their secret.  They begin to thrive as soon as nobody spots them and stops them.  Believing them to be harmless and incapable (only the latter trait is true), those who do spot them are often ridiculed by colleagues.  Many have a early sign by which you will know them and it lies in their arrival and how they got their job.  Very rarely do they get there by their own efforts.  Stories soon emerge of a connection between the higher ups in an organisation and someone close to the Chancer.  Often a rumour, there is some form of introduction, although there is no fanfare when they arrive, but a low key entrance that disguises what you are about to see.

It is at this point the madness sets as they weave their spell.  Their talent is unremarkable.  They do not appear particularly quick to grasp the detail of the role they have landed in an are often seen as bumbling. Not only do they not seem to grasp the requirements of the job, but it does not outwardly worry them. Very few of their peers see them achieving any degree of success.  So what follows next is more inexplicable.

They start to rise.  Despite their lack of talent and interest, people begin to promote them.  At first the utterances only take place among the group they have just risen above.  These utterances are usually along the lines of "how the hell did that happen".  They are usually kept low because nobody who has been close to the Chancer at work can fathom what it was that those with the power of patronage in an organisation saw as readiness for promotion.  As such they remain quiet, doubting their own lying eyes.

Chancers start to unfurl their demonic wings further at this point.  If they lacked talent before, their lack of skill appears even more challenged at the next level.  They begin to make more obvious mistakes and appear even more ordinary.  Mistakes seem to be inexplicably overlooked or culpability lands on the laps of others around the Chancer.  The sense of insanity increases among those who cannot believe that those with the power to stop this can not see the Chancer is incompetent.  People begin to become more vocal but are often taken to one side and warned about what is now being classed as a vendetta born out of petty motivations and jealousy, compounding the madness even further.

The Chancer appears everly outwardly graceful.  They begin to wear the trappings of their promotions well.  They sit at key places in meetings and begin to move in ever bigger circles.  The vain begin to become beguiled by their spell and as a result, usher them further into the gilded circles.  They say the right things to the right people.  Even the powerful who initially show disdain are soon won over for some inexplicable reason and amazingly begin to view them as talented. They are soon beyond the gravity that could have stopped them in their tracks.



There are many more facets to the Chancer and their pathway, too numerous to mention here.  I ask however, if with the relatively short description I have given if you now see them anywhere.  Personally I do and am startled at their prevalence.  If you're still unsure, look around at the major problems that are currently on our doorstep such as the riots, show pony politics and the global financial crisis amongst other things and look at their handling and the responses of the so called great and the good.  Most of us recognise we are in the midst of serious times, but ask yourself if we have seen a serious response.  I say not.  I see trivial responses and the continuation of previous failed methods.  I see people lacking the capability to make decisions, preferring instead to hang on to their gilded life.  I see people in power trying to shuffle blame to anywhere but themselves.  I see a general population screaming at the lunacy of it all and seeing responses that serve only to convince them that they are indeed the crazy ones.

I see the worlds problems being handled by intellects with less depth than a car park puddle.  In other words I see Chancers everywhere.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Read it ...or weep

 Over the past month or so, David at Witterings from Witney has spent a considerable amount of time putting together his thoughts on possible models in a post EU democracy in Britain.  His thoughts are laid out across five separate posts.  I would urge readers to go along and take a look at the posts which I've linked to below.

Constitution One

Constitution Two

Constitution Three 

Constitution Four 

Constitution Five

The effort in putting together such thoughts is not without its challenges and I would urge readers to contribute to the discussion on what might help shape a stronger nation in which its people are truly represented.  It would be oh so easy to flick through the posts and move on to other blog posts.  I understand that.  I would however, say that events we are seeing point to something happening both here and in the wider world that what we have cannot handle and to some degree may well smash itself into the rocks.  Even if the desperate scenario does not manifest itself, what we have is clearly broken and need to give our minds to what should come next.

Although I have more reading to do on it (especially the backing reading on Switzerland), I agree with David's observation that what we have is broken and that we are in desperate need of reform both in our structures and our representation.  Government has become addicted to our money and use words like billions and trillions like they were peanuts as well as devising policy that serves themselves and Europeans before it serves us (if it does at all).  Like WfW's posts I share the view Government should be smaller.  Its size and interference is holding the country back by turning its people into the human equivalent of veal calves by causing them to lack self reliance, innovation, self or national pride.  If the purpose of a state apparatus is to ensure its success and perpetuity, I need someone to explain me how that is achieved by crippling the effort of the very people who can bring that about - its citizens.  One only has to look to Hong Kong and how it prospered under John Cowperthwaite under his approach of staying out the lives of the people with minimal interference.

As I alluded to earlier.  We are in serious times and whether we want to or not, we need to start doing some serious thinking and it will be better to do it now before we find we have run out of road.  For if we run out road we will no longer be able to say "someone should do something", because then as now, we are that someone.

So head over to those links, read, think and contribute. 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Inception

Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever - Lenin

There was once a psycohology / sociology experiment involving three chimps in a cage.  The cage contained a bunch of bananas at the top and a rope to reach the bananas.  Upon climbing the rope to reach the bananas, each chimp is repelled with a burst of water from a hose, also in the cage.  The chimps soon abandon attempts to get the bananas. 

The next phase of the experiment involves swapping out one of the original chimps for a new one with no experience of the water.  As it makes its first foray for the bananas, the two original chimps, pull the new chimp down.  The swapping out is repeated with a second and third chimp and a similar process occurs.  Eventually there are three chimps within the cage with no experience of the hose and despite that, none of them will attempt to climb the rope.

The experiment illustrates what Lenin knew all those years ago.  Lenin knew that with the right message and education environment he could place a thought of his design (in his case Bolshevism)  into the mind  of someone else and have them believe it, repeat it and live by it. 

The potency for this rested with the genius of the human mind.  In an effort to enable the human mind to manage the multiple stimuli it receives each day, it has developed a process of filtering and simplification and generalisation.  In other words, when the mind sees or experiences something it first looks inside itself for a previous similar experience and should it find one, brings along all the thoughts, feelings and reactions that the previous experience generated. The aim is to speed things up and keep us safe.

Examples of this are door handles and boiling water.  We encounter door handles most days.  Regardless of whether we have seen a door handle like that before, we recognise it and know what it does.  We do not need to relearn.  If we see a pan of boiling water, we know to stay clear without having to retest the idea it is dangerous.  This comes from deep in the subconscious.

There is however a flip side to this as Lenin understood and the chimps demonstrated.  A person does not need to have tested something or direct experience of something to believe it.  In the right environment an entire frame of reference can be planted in a person's head by something or someone external.  Done right it can be a pervading thought and the person holding it will truly believe that they formed that thought themselves. 

One example of this all pervading thought system is often evidenced with the man made global warming narrative and the mechanism is present in the education system.

Evidence of this came this morning as one of RB's offspring was doing some homework around an end of topic assessment on atmospheric gases.  In the first question we see a comparison of earth's present atmosphere gas composition with Mars and the notion that earth once had a similar atmospheric make up to Mars today, with all that Carbon Dioxide. The next question is one on earthquakes and tectonic plates (odd one that for a chemistry paper).

Then we start to make the jumps.

The next question comes back to earth atmospheric composition.  The introduction starts to suggest that life on earth would not be possible without the atmosphere.  Billions of years ago, the composition of the atmosphere was very different from the composition today, following which we get a pie chart showing a composition of 98% Co2 from billions of years ago.

Part one of that question asks the student to complete the blank pie chart with the current composition of earth's atmospheric gases.  The second part of the question then makes the leap:

There is evidence that the composition of the earth's atmosphere is changing.  One possible reason is that many power stations generate electricity by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas.  Sulfur dioxide So2 is produced when coal burns in air.

From that we go on to ask:

  • What environmental problem does sulfur dioxide cause?
  • How could this environmental problem be reduced in coal fired power stations
  • Excess carbon dioxide should be prevented from entering the atmosphere.  Explain why.
It is clear from one of young RB's answers that his lessons contain use of the words greenhouse gases,  and the notion that greenhouse gasses are to be avoided because they trap heat in the atmosphere.

What we have here in this paper is a battle for a child's mind.  This paper on atmospheric composition spends the vast majority of its content concentrating on Co2 and is riddled with more metaphors and imagery than one might find in a Tolkien novel.  We start with Mars, a planet that everyone knows to be dead and barren and just happens to have a majority composition of Co2 and the suggestion that we were once in a similar position.  For some reason we throw in something about earthquakes (natural disaster image anyone?) and then we start to get to the idea of the ability of the earth's atmosphere to change from its current composition to another, following which we complete the circle with the image of power station pumping "filthy" greenhouse gases into the air.  The narrative - our power stations and other forms of producing Co2 will turn earth into lifeless Mars.

In some ways, the paper is subtle.  It asks a question about the current composition of earth's atmosphere acknowledging the nitrogen and oxygen content but yet for these majority gases, no questions are asked. All the questions are about Co2, and its role in damaging the chances of life on earth.  Then there is fact.  Take for example:

Excess carbon dioxide should be prevented from entering the atmosphere.  Explain why.
 
There we go - carbon dioxide is bad and we have an excess of it and we need to stop before we become Mars.  There are no questions about what role Carbon dioxide plays in Earth's atmosphere.  Whilst we've had a question on the process of burning methane & air, where is the question of what happens to Co2 when it meets plant life. The questions take the student down a very specific path and draw a very specific conclusion.  
There are no questions about the other theories, nor are there any suggestions as to what they might contain.  There is no opportunity to compare those theories or answer a question on comparing the merits of the different theories.  In other words the student is being told what to think as opposed to how to think.  There is no opportunity to undertake the age old scientific process of testing whether a theory stands up to scrutiny or not and therein lies the problem.  
 
Look at that "Excess carbon dioxide" question above.  Although it seems an open ended question  it is simply not possible to answer that question by suggesting that Co2 should be allowed because alternate schools of thought on the subject find the research into the correlation highly flawed.  It's not possible because the answer has already been decided within the question.  They do not want an answer on the other theories, just an answer on why this theory is right. End of debate.  So in order to get the marks for the "correct" answer, RB junior needs to parrot the AGW narrative because their life chances are tied to it.  I think this is something that Autonomous Mind may also have experienced in a past blog post (but I'm unable to locate it).

RB junior is not alone.  He, along with his fellow students are considered the bright ones at science and may well pass into science related roles, yet this is what they are being taught as the fight for their minds continues.  If they receive no challenge to this orthodoxy, this frame of reference will drift into their subconscious.  They will start to use this notion in what they perceive to be their own original thought.  They won't recall how such an idea took hold in their heads nor will they even be able to recognise that it may have come in via an external source.  Their work and ideas will flow from it.  The concept of Inception will have been achieved.

So if you have children or grandchildren, take an interest in what they are thinking.