Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Shamelessly Christmassy

Good morning everyone. It's Christmas Eve morning as I write this.  I've done the last few bits of shopping already and pleased to say, there was a lovely sense of calm out there which is just how it should be.  I hope that today you all have a pleasant Christmas Eve and that there is certainly time for your family somewhere in there.

Today I'm going to be shamelessly Christmassy.  It starts with me wishing everyone (and I mean everyone) a very Happy Christmas. I didn't always like Christmas but I have grown to love it.  We've got beyond the competition of who can outdo who in the gift stakes and have got to the point beyond that where we enjoy family time and get a sense of charity about us.  I've come to like Christmas and its story because it has a message of hope.  No matter how bad it might seem, there's still hope and while we're breathing there will always be hope.

As I started the day I went back to some of my childhood memories.  One of my favourites was walking through a cold city centre, all wrapped up seeing the lights.  What rounded that off was a Salvation Army band standing outside M&S, playing songs.  There's something about beautifully played brass that reaches into your bones and really helps you feel it.  It used to really evoke something in me that has stayed to this day.  I found a video to share with you.  The music is lovely but there's something else as well.  Look at at the end and the lads adding a bit to pot. On any other day you might have made a different judgement.  But right there at the end is proof of hope.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

This is what they're scared of

At the bottom of this post is a video.  A wonderful video, that I've put up a couple of  times on this  blog usually because I think it's a thing of beauty for all manner of reasons which I'll explain shortly.  However this year it takes on a new resonance because it helps spell out something that I've been struggling to articulate for some time now.

There are a number of posts around a few blogs, that help set the scene.  First there's Julia's entry over at Orphans of Liberty which is basically about the twisting the perceptions of Christmas with it's "Mother Christmas" and then there's this one by James at Nourishing Obscurity.

It's so easy to look at these, throw your hands up in the air and say something like, "It's political correctness gone mad" or "the bloody loony left are at it again".  You'd be right but at the same time you do them a disservice because you would be underestimating them.

As I mentioned earlier, crackers as it might seem what's happening is an ongoing relentless effort to break you by breaking your culture.  We can talk about politics all we like, but right here you're seeing an effort to break your culture.  The aim is to separate you from one another.

Take Julia's story.  Mother Christmas?  What on earth is that about?  It makes no sense in the sphere of what we've come to associate with Christmas over hundreds of years.  Of course it doesn't.  It's not meant to make sense to you.  It's meant to leave you confuse, befuddled and bewildered, because when you're all of things, the people pushing this can take advantage and advance what they want.

Then there's James' story.  As a seasoned watcher of Duck Dynasty I know just how popular a show this is.  Phil Robertson has his views on all kinds of things and you see many of them on the show.  He largely doesn't agree with the direction America and the world is going in on all sorts of levels.  Now it seems he has made a comment about his view on homosexuality, in a magazine but not on the show.  In fact I've never heard him utter such things on all the episodes I've ever seen.  In writing this however, I too am beginning to make the mistake I'm cautioning against.

Now before I go any further, if you're thinking about about using the comment section below to accuse me of homophobia - don't! Bore off and go somewhere else.  I'm not interested in your game of ad hominem.  This post isn't about an anti gay agenda and I am none of those labels you will try to project on me and no amount of your politically motivated name calling will make it so.  I'm making a point about the manipulation of messages and groups to further other political ends which means I've seen through your little game and if you can't work that out then you're not smart enough to get into a debate on this.

You see, to me, this isn't about Phil Robertson's views on gay people.  Phil Robertson seems by and large a traditional man.  His family all pretty much seem happy and stable and able to take care of themselves. they are self reliant and  they provide for themselves and they share what they see as their blessing with others.  They go to church, they give people jobs and they've clearly extended the warmth of human kindness by adopting a child, incidentally one from a mixed race background.

Alongside the comedy somewhere in the region of 11-14 million US viewers who tune in each week to watch the show, making it one of the most successful shows on US TV, never mind its global following. You see, Phil and his family are a thriving example of living successfully in a western culture still bound to the traditional totems that have helped it thrive for so long. Within that lies the nub of this issue for cultural Marxists. It's not about his views on gays. despite all the noise, that just happens to be a convenient weapon with which to beat him (something I'll explain more on in another post).

So for that reason, Phil Robertson must be silenced.  He must be denounced and he must become a non-person and be convicted of thought crimes.  It's being reported over at Townhall, that A&E Insiders are suggesting that even an apology won't do.  In effect he has to go.

Now why would he need to go.  Why is there an thought that even an apology wont suffice.  Its simple really and its the grubby little secret that underpins the whole agitprop movement. It's why Saul Alinsky wrote that you should appear bigger than you are.

To break a nation, you have to detach it from its culture.  That's what this is about.  Strike at the shepherd to scatter the sheep.  His comments, no matter what you might think of them are just weapon of choice.  If he is successfully denounced and made to disappear, so does the signal his family sends.  Then all those who identify with that culture are on the receiving end of a message that they are alone.

They have to do that because they know the power of the culture and that those trying to smash it are really few in number.  They must appear bigger than they are.  they have to create the illusion of power and dominance and make you back away from asking awkward questions. The only way they can do that is to make you feel alone and think that there is nobody else who thinks like you think.  If you're alone you feel helpless, fearful and the perception that there is no hope becomes all pervasive.

And so we come back to the video I mentioned at the top, because it shows what they  are afraid of.  Watch the video in two ways.  Enjoy the fine voices, but watch the crowd.  There are all kinds in there.  All social classes and all levels of education I'm certain.  But watch what happens to them as the signal once again begins to get out.  Look at the tears The joy, the wonder and the tradition relights something in them all.  Hope comes back.

That's what they're scared of.  Once it breaks out in numbers, they can't contain it.  Bliss.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Wrong thinking (again)

Earlier this week Ed Miliband made another of his announcements in which he single-handedly will save the people of Britain, particularly the impoverished ones.  This weeks announcement made it clear he is looking to tackle the payday loans companies that so many people are struggling with, particularly their interest rates. The gist of his announcement is that he will impose a tax on them to raise funds for the growth of credit unions.

This all sounds very noble and it would be except it's more a demonstration in one dimensional thinking from the party who purportedly wish to change the lives of the working classes, yet have left them in the same position for decades.

If we want to understand part of the problem with his idea we have to look at credit unions. If we simply go back to May this year, we see that even the Guardian reported that all is not rosy for the credit union market.  Whilst the article reports on an overall growth, it also reports the that, on average the market is also losing one credit union a month. Within that article the most telling observation is that by Paul Brindley from Midland Business Recovery in which he suggests:

..many are being deprived of much-needed cash because of a combination of factors. They can't lend enough money to enough people who are willing, and able, to repay because of their rules on responsible lending. Meanwhile, when debtors get into trouble, they will often repay the payday loans with high interest rates first, and leave the credit unions until last for payment. And the courts are "taking a lenient stance", often allowing people to pay off their debts at perhaps just £5 a week.

Its there that we see the true nature of the problem.  It's not the interest rates they are charging that is the core problem (although it is a disgrace).  The true problem is that a market exists in which payday loans companies can thrive on the terms that they do.  Taxing the loan firms will not solve that.  All that will happen there is that the tax burden will simply get passed to the consumer as it always does, compounding the problem further.

One of the big problems of these consumers is their credit risk profile.  Many of them take on payday loans because they can no longer source funds from the main high street lenders, who after years of free and easy credit availability have tightened up their rules.  Credit unions will often be no different.  As "ethical" businesses, they have responsible lending woven in to their business model, so many of their potential customers will still find payday loans companies are the only option.

As I say the problem is that a market for them exists and this is where Miliband has missed the point. He has come up with a simplistic plan that's as thin as the only place it looks good in - the newspapers.  He has to realise this.  If he doesn't you've got to question his ability.  If he does understand it, then he needs criticising for his cynical play for cheap headlines. 

What is really needed is a culture and policy in which there is no market for payday lenders.  If he truly aspired to help, he would think seriously about how to collapse the market by raising the education of its population who can raise funds in a way they can manage without spiralling into deep debt and lift themselves out of poverty.  Part of the way to that is to have government that gets out of the way, stops taxing everything that breathes and creates conditions in which British industry thrives, grows and has a reservoir of highly educated and talented people to fuel it.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Are you still happy......

.....to sit on your hands?

The reason for my question comes after this weeks PMQs.  Although I didn't hear all of it, I caught a summary in which Cameron & Miliband were going head to head over the utility prices row thats raging on at the moment.  Miliband has been posturing by calling the whole thing an outrage, something he will do something about when in power as though none of what is now happening was anything to do with him.  Cameron struck at this posing for the media by pointing out that Miliband very much had something to do with this as he was the Climate Change Secretary who proposed the law that loaded your utility bills with costs that are causing them to bite hard now.

Miliband struck back.  His argument broadly, was that Cameron was in no position to be so sanctimonious, as this was the same piece of legislation that when it was travelling through Parliament, Cameron acknowledged his support for.  Touche.  To finish it Miliband went with a little soundbite for the media - "he's gone from hug a husky to gas a badger".  Almost irrelevant, but very telling in itself.

Something like this tells you quite a lot and I don't really know where to start, especially with Miliband.  For both of them however this was not a good moment.  Despite the severity of the price rises and the price that will be paid in the homes of the elderly up and down the country, there was no agreement to look at this with anything tangible.  No one asked and no one said that they were going to go back to revisiting the law and look at the green taxes that are playing a big part in your utility bills.  It didn't enter their heads. No! They have to stay, so we're reduced to the circus, lobbing media friendly custard pies across the despatch box.  In other words these taxes will remain and therefore so will price increases.

The other point goes back to that time when this law was still going back through Parliament. Both of them and by extension, both of the key parties, backed these laws. This stuff has consequences.  They may not be immediate but somewhere along the way, this bill once it became law set in motion a train of events that sees your utility bills going through the roof.  It set in motion a train of future events that will see old people who have served this nation well, left forced to make decisions about what to spend their meagre savings on. Some of these people we will know as our friends and neighbours.

The impact of that bill on utility prices was predictable even back then.  It wasn't an unknown.  In fact it was part of the plan (but that's for a different post on a different day) and this brings me to my main point. 

Stuff like this has consequences.  Consequences for us as individuals and our lives.  We're largely disinterested in those who create these consequences.  We think they're at Westminster playing a boring game.  In some ways they are.  The result is this whole thing disinterests us.  Many of us whine and moan, but nothing really happens.  We prefer to sit on our hands rather than kick up a fuss.  We don't hold our politicians to account. It's just not the British way you see. 

Well there are consequences for that.  We'll see the price of our indifference this winter and the next and in future winters.  In fact we'll see it in future summers too as we pay ever rising prices even when when the heating is off.  Until we get interested in sufficient numbers in reminding them they are public servants, their games and their rubber stamping of their self regarded bright ideas will continue.  They will do what they choose to do, knowing that we will either simply watch it happen and or grumble in fashion that is ulitmately benign.

This week we are proof positive of the adage that if you do not take an interest in politics, politics may well take an interest in you.

So now comes the time to ask if you're still content to sit on your hands, or would you like to play a part in turning this nation back on the path to a brighter, different future?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Just a game?

Richard North over at EUReferendum wrote yesterday on the Federal Shutdown and whilst he wrote about it from a democracy in action perspective something else struck me when he wrote at the start:

The barricade in picture seems largely for show. When elderly veterans piled off the chartered buses in front of the World War II Memorial, some in wheelchairs, metal barricades and signs announcing a closure due to the shutdown of the federal government awaited them.

But, said Republican Congressman Steven M. Palazzo, "the barricades just seemed to part. A US Park Police officer, who declined to give his name, observed: "I'm not going to enforce the 'no stopping or standing' sign for a group of 90 World War II veterans", adding, "I'm a veteran myself".

What struck me were those barriers.  Granted its not the main news over here but its been on the TV quite a bit and the barriers have featured each time along with the notices pointing out that parks and places generally aren't open due to the Federal Government SHUTDOWN.

Now I might be wrong but there's just something about this whole thing that's a little odd.  Why the barriers?  Do those barriers go up every single night and time that those parks and buildings have to close?  Or are they something new?  Those notices as well, all nicely designed and printed.  

I mean, don't they just look a little - erm, well, slick?

I saw the barriers again on the TV news with a quick shot from New York at what looked like a view from some kind of pier which had another sign on it saying it wasn't possible to visit Ellis Island due to the SHUTDOWN and as I said earlier, more barriers.

What struck me as odd about the New York imagery was that immediately beyond the barriers was the small remaining bit of pier and then water.  In short, there's no need for the barriers there.

In fact from what I can gather, the memorial mentioned in Richard North's post is regularly accessible even when it's "closed" and no guards are present

In other words, this whole thing looks like political theatre and there's even more evidence to suggest that it is with stories beginning to circulate of people being paid to protest the Republican leader at one of the closed sites.

The barriers will have cost money to place there and to remain there.  The notices will have cost money to produce and place there.  The guards will have cost money to place there.  It seems for a government with no money, there's money left for politicking.

Propaganda doesn't have to be the overt in your face propaganda we've witnessed in despotic regimes in history.  It can be the in the little signs and signals that reach your mind and create an images.  Those buildings, memorials and parks could simply be closed like they do each day.  But nothing says "closed" quite like an imposing barrier does it.  Also nothing says closed for political reasons quite like notices that capitalise the word "SHUTDOWN".

My point is that this looks like a game which is a sad indictment for whomever organised this.  These are serious times, that need serious people to act like grown ups and have serious conversations about what is right for the future of the nation they're supposed to be running.

The whole thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Fast Views

It's been a long week and there's a lot of things that have crossed my mind. Rather than be overwhelmed I've decided to put down some quick thoughts on events that have crossed my mind

That Speech

I know I'm a bit late to the party as everyone has probably talked that speech of Milliband's to death.  My take?  You've got to admire the power of the bloke.  He only has to open his mouth and the markets move.  Shame it's downwards.  On a more serious note a few things struck me.  If he's on the side of the working family (or whatever marketable phrase he's using these day) what will he do when the pension get hit by dwindling returns because utility companies are no longer a sound reliable investment?  Also, having listened to him on Radio 4's Today programme (yesterday's edition) I was fascinated to hear him say how he would do it when he's passed the legislation.  Strange that.  No mention of introducing a bill.  No mentioning of debating it in Parliament or voting on it.  Just passing it.  Nice to be so assured of it's progress. 

One other thing.  On the same show he was asked about lowering VAT and he said he wasn't going to do that.  Now correct me if I'm wrong but I think he can't lower VAT without permission from the EU.  Now if that's true surely he knew that - in which case he lied.  If he didn't know it - he certainly isn't of PM calibre. 

That (Other) Speech

The one by the Iranian president (plus his other comments).  I don't quite get all the fawning by the media over his "conciliatory" tone.  Why?  Well all I seem to be hearing in terms of their words and actions is something along the lines of "you all put your guns down first and then I'll think about putting mine down afterwards." Very little has changed really other than the tone of voice and they've only come to the table because they want something i.e. the sanctions lifting.

A couple of things spring to mind here.  When the Wikileaks cables all were released there was one little gem that didn't get a lot of airtime.  It was advice from the British to someone else about negotiating with the Iranians.  It basically said, the Iranian's really only understand  and respect strength .  It further went on to suggest that anyone should beware of negotiating with them as they play games in negotiations in which they want concession after concession and basically twist their negotiation partners in knots.  So. Watch this space.

The other thing that springs to mind is that if everyone plays in good faith as they are being exhorted to and we learn that Iran hasn't been playing a straight bat, you can't just roll back time for the situation the world could find itself in.  Of course I hope they're serious about peace but right now I'd insist they show their cards first and then double check they still haven't loaded the deck.


Another horrible, horrible situation.  I wonder about this "white widow" Samantha Lewthwaite.  There's a red notice issued although Kenya is saying she wasn't in shopping mall and they aren't obviously connecting her with the events.  So who's the "other" white western woman, who appears to have joined the terrorist ranks?  I'm wondering if it is Lewthwaite but suggesting it isn't means you don't have to answer how a building can be surrounded by security forces and she still escapes.

Just some thoughts.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Black Arts & Buffoonery

He's only gone and done it again hasn't he?  It seems Godfrey Bloom never seems to miss an opportunity to shoot UKIP in the foot.  He stands accused of referring to women in the room of a fringe meeting he addressed as being "sluts".  Based on the available footage of an "interview" afterwards he doesn't appear to deny the accusation, but merely puts it down to being a joke and apparently one that all the women in the room laughed at. I don't even want to comment on his casual use of the word slut and the assumption he made that the women in the audience would see the funny side of it.

Last time Bloom fired off his mouth with controversial comments, Richard North and Autonomous Mind and others pointed to this kind of behaviour as doing serious damage to their efforts to be seen as credible.  The result of their observations where that prompted a lot of discussion.  AM in particular drew comments that drove him to the point of ceasing to blog any further.  Much of the logic defending Bloom was that somehow he had promoted debate, albeit in an awkward fashion but nothing more.

For me however, today's events shows why they correct to write what they did.  Right there at the UKIP conference when they appear to be promoting their message that they intend to be a major force, Bloom plays right into the hands of their critics.

In pure politics terms, it's stupidity of the highest order.  For those who have seen the clip of him being interviewed it doesn't take long to observe there is something about the interview to suggest he's being played.  Politely challenged at first he then gets hit with the question about why all the candidates are white and he seals the deal with a display of pantomime outrage and cries of racism towards the interviewer.

I'm all for freedom of speech.  I'm all for adult debate about issues but Bloom is, well, words just fail me.  We've already learned (as if we didn't already suspect) that playing on the big stage of politics is a dark game as laid bare by Damian McBride.  The result is, if you have serious ambitions of power as a party the one thing you have to have is campaign discipline.

You have to understand that no matter how honest and altruistic your message, there will be people out there looking to bring you down. It's bad enough holding unpalatable points of view but it's another to let them out.  In short you keep your mouth shut.  The reality would seem to be that nobody is your friend and comments like those Bloom used today are either used as currency later on when someone else wants a favour or they're sharpened to stab you in the back when the lust for power takes over someone you might even consider a friend.

Campaign discipline is about only the message you choose as a party, gets out that day.  That's why New Labour had their famous "Grid" for communicating.  It was that discipline that was key to them winning the election in 1997.  Today for UKIP the message that made it on to the news was those points Farage was trying to make about the EU coursing through almost all aspects of life in Britain and yet Bloom's actions saw to it that Farage was left to try and rescue that message in between answering for his colleagues indiscretions.

For what its worth, I thought Farage did a good job of that and credit where it's due, UKIP have (finally) moved quickly to demonstrate Bloom was out of order.  Furthermore, having heard some of his comments today, I thought Farage did a reasonable job of getting that message of the EU everywhere in British life as well as hitting home on the farce of the wind farm agenda.  The trouble was that was in a live interview. I expect that his robust promotion of his message will be disappear in the edited versions as Bloom will once again become the main news that British public will be presented with.

Saturday, 31 August 2013


They really did say it themselves:

debating war "one of the most solemn duties that this House possesses"

For once, Milliband was right.  There was no getting away from it.  They really did have to sit and debate it and it should have been one of the most solemn duties.  Everyone had a duty to take it seriously.  One way or another they were debating our entry into a catastrophe and whether they wanted this nation in or out they had a duty to take it seriously and to stand by their conscience.

But look at what we got .  We had a opposition leader who having sought lots of conditions and got them all decided that it was a good opportunity for political shenanigans ordering his troops to renege on the agreement.  Then he was followed by his MPs who went along with the game.

Then we had the coalition.  You've decided as a government you think you should send your military to "do something" and you agree to bring it to the House and this is what you reportedly end up with:

  • A Loss by 13 votes
  • 8 Ministers who miss the vote
  • 2 Whips miss the vote
  • 2 Ministerial aides miss the vote
  • Plus the rest who were told to stay on holiday
Within that we also had a "The dog ate my homework" type excuse in that two of them claim not to have heard the division bell.

That was probably one of the biggest motions and biggest votes they are likely to be involved in certainly in this year and it was certainly the biggest vote of the day.  So if it was so bloody solemn a duty how did we end up with that farce?

Where was the organising discipline?  How did the whips fail to stay on top of the whereabouts of these clowns? As to the clowns themselves, what was so occupying their minds as to miss that vote.

I suspect it wasn't ineptitude at all on the part of the missing but more like they were hiding.  This makes matters worse.  These pillocks set out as supposedly bright young things with dreams to rule the world.  What happens when that moment of responsibility comes?  They go and hide.  Oh good - copy the behaviour of a five year old whose broken a plate. They didn't even have the backbone to vote according to their conscience. My worry is not that they lost the vote - far from it.  In my mind this is impossible to get right - it was the lack of gravity in the thinking and organisation I'm railing against.  I've seen chimps at the zoo have better run sh*t fights.

I've got little more to say that won't involve copious amounts of foul language.  That however is how they approach the most solemn of duties. . That's the level of thought they've put in to this adventure. That's the mindset of both the ayes and the noes.  Virtually nobody treated in with any form of solemnity. Wow just wow.

Why I'm worried is I feel we will be in action in Syria.  I suspect another outrage will occur and someone will make a case that sees them decide to go in.  When we get there that same level of thinking will be meddling in the campaign and making decisions as events spiral out of control.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Devil's Symphony

Having been away on business for a few days, I've managed to catch the odd snippet here and there regarding the situation in Syria.  Having said that, you don't need to be any sort of political analyst to work out that this could be the perfect storm in the making - a black hole that could drag us all in.

The latest escalation is a purported chemical weapons attack seemingly resulting in the death of innocent civilians and one carried out by President Assad.  Readers may note my use of the words "purported" and "seemingly".  I use these words quite deliberately because truth and facts appear to have been amongst the first casualties of this conflict.  Confusion reigns where the truth is concerned. We aren't really clear who the real bad guy is as those who go beyond the mainstream media to add a richer understanding of what is going on will have heard of barbarism by both sides. They will also have heard that there may be more to these rebels, than simply angry Syrians revolting.  There's every indication they are fighters from a patchwork of conflicts, many of whom have also fought against our troops and our allies troops.

Although the main allegation is that the chemical attack was by Assad's forces, there are counter claims that the rebels have done it in order to draw further involvement from the west. Such a claim is not beyond the realm of possibility as we have heard stories of their own savage acts on the people of Syria.  Once again a straight answer on who is doing what eludes. It's simply a mess that is almost beyond human understanding, but what is clear is that men women and children who wanted nothing more than a life free from harm are pawns in a nihilistic game.

Regardless of who did it, it has effectively created a situation for the western governments who have been generally siding with the rebels.  Identifying the use of chemical weapons has taken us across the red line, a phrase they used in their rhetoric.  In fact the western involvement angle appears to have amped up recently, with reports suggesting preparation activity in terms of American troop deployment and command structures within the area.  We 've also had the French making noises and also our own politicians with William Hague reputedly not ruling out the use of British forces.  Once again therefore we seem to see our leaders looking to commit us to further conflict having done so on a continuous basis since 2001. 

This however is nothing like those previous conflicts.  This is Syria.  I do not claim to be a military analyst, much less a middle eastern one, but there's a very clear notion in all reports that fighting this nation will not be a walkover.  There is clearly something that gives nations who fall out with Syria pause for thought and a preference to purse diplomatic channels.

Maybe one of those reasons is Russia. Russia, a nation we have been told with a military capability suffering a terminal case of the rust supply a lot of hardware to Syria and are rumoured to have provided the S300 missile system, described by many as a game changer.  This provision is in response to the west's involvement. It has also been suggested that Russian involvement could possibly be efforts to protect the west's reliance on Russian supplied energy to Europe

So here we find ourselves potentially looking to enter a conflict fighting alongside those who have committed acts against us and facing opposition from those we have recently come to regard as allies in certain situations.  Our leaders may have a plan, or at least think they do.  However, as Mike Tyson once said - everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.  In this instance there are way too many variables for the execution of a simple plan, especially when being handled by modern political leaders.  We have seen time and time again, their stumbling and mishandling of even the simplest of issues because of their shallowness and obsession with short term headlines and approval ratings, which in turn translates into paucity of thinking.  Events have a habit of overtaking these people and they are ill cut out to respond appropriately.  The worrying fact is many of these events could be predicted by anyone with half a brain.

So what we have is not a local issue.  Although it's in Syria, the situation sees the west looking to meddle and the Russians not liking our meddling one bit and responding in kind. This, is in the context of a middle east that is coming increasingly unstable.  It's an area of high tension with everyone turning on each other. This whole thing has the possibility of descending into the Abyss.  There are lots interplays here with power players in the area who could decide to utilise any conflict to advance their own agenda and plans.  It wouldn't take much.  It's a tinderbox and our history shows us previous major world conflicts often start with just such a combination of seemingly unrelated events in numbers that world leaders just can't keep a lid on.

Then there is the rest of the world. The financial markets will be watching this.  These markets aren't renowned for having a sober view of things.  Market shift on silly rumours with only short term impacts.  They're prone to pointless overreaction so something like this could really give them the jitters. Take that into consideration in the context of a world financial crisis. Prices could go all over the place, especially the price of oil, something we are highly reliant on.  With prices all over the place, that will be felt at the pumps and possibly in our domestic energy prices.  Our domestic energy security is already compromised and unstable thanks to our politician's obsession with the "green" agenda which could add further destabilisation. Each time we keep coming back to the absence of capable leaders and their mishandling of serious events in serious times.

Suddenly a crisis in a far away country starts to land at our doorstep.  Look at our ability as a people to handle a crisis on our doorstep. To do so one really only has to go back to when there was the mere suggestion of a strike by fuel tanker drivers.  It wasn't even a real plan, just a notion that floated its way into the public consciousness.  Yet it sparked a panic at the pumps because too many of us wanted the everyday convenience we have come to expect to continue without interruption.  We almost caused our own crisis because we had taken leave of our senses.  We lack resilience and cool calm heads in a situation.  We want what we want, when we want it and it does not take much for that to spill into violence.  You have to ask yourself how cut out we are for a serious crisis? How cut out are we for serious times?  Look back at the Tottenham riots and how they spread.  The breakdown in both of these situations showed the almost hair trigger society is living on.  Imagine that in a real crisis and one as we head into winter.  That's just one more thing for our leaders to need to keep make an effort to keep a lid on.  That unrest could happen not only in this country but certainly across Europe and across the globe.  We have already seen such foundations laid in nations like Greece and Spain. 

We run the risk of violence everywhere. Friend against friend. Neighbour against neighbour. 

This is a dark scenario and one I hope and pray we avoid, but we have to recognise it is possible in equal measure.  I just hope our politicians have because if not, once again events will overtake their plan and we're back to Mike Tyson observation about how plans collapse when someone gets punched in the mouth.

This has the potential to be the Devil's Symphony

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Ground Game - Part one

Yesterday I saw  this post over at EUReferendum, which appeared to be the culmination of several days of comment and shall we say vibrant discussion across various blogs around the referendum and the roles of the various players, more specifically around those purporting to be pushing for an out vote.  I sensed within it all a fear that we might not receive an open and honest debate and that we might get a poor imitation of one.

Of course this might all be likely only if we follow the expected path and we sit and watch these players dominate the agenda.  If we want to be of genuine service to Britain and its people, then surely something like this is too important to sit idly by.  I said in my post on the British Interest that it needed us all to pull on the rope and I feel we have an opportunity to begin pulling and to set ourselves on a path towards a more open and prosperous future for everyone.

I believe the out campaign should not be left in the hands of the political parties, but should tread an alternative path.  If done correctly not only could we have an honest campaign but one that stays outside the whims of the political class and ill informed media.  It's something I've been thinking about as I've been reading the various blog posts.

I believe we need to develop what is often referred to as a Ground Game.

Could it work? Yes it could - its worked before as illustrated in this post from Witterings from Witney.  Of course its different in that something like this is new for us and will need input.  I believe, however that a good "ground game" has shown to work in so many other campaigns partly because it brings politics back to the local and to the people on the ground, so many of whom have become disillusioned and switched off.  a ground game would give them a chance to reengage with democracy. I not only think this bottom

So here are some of my thoughts. I think as more comes to me, I'll write more in future posts.

  • The idea is centred on a simple premise.  A grassroots strategy to engage people in an open honest and legal way to maximise the chances of getting an "out" vote in the forthcoming referendum.  I believe that there is a majority for this no vote out there if we can just engage them.  That is the hub of this plan - engaging people to reinvest in the future of this nation through the presentation of clear, understandable information that not only informs but rebuts any half truths or outright lies.

  • As a ground game, the movement should effectively go "door to door" by engaging one person at a time and getting each of those one people to engage with others right where they live.

  • Nobody really owns it, other than the people down on the ground in that particular area.  There will be similarities in the information sources and the methods used, but at the end of the day it belongs to the people in that area. That way, if one part cannot continue for any reason, everything else remains unaffected.

Again, I believe that simplicity should be the key to this campaign. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.  one presumes at this stage that any vote would be organised along existing voting lines and it makes sense to mimic that. Therefore my suggestion is that the main local division is along the lines of the current parliamentary constituencies.  That does not have to be the only level.  I think it prudent to have subdivisions along the lines of the various electoral wards or the subdivisions found in other parts of Britain.  If the vote will be along these lines, the campaign to win it should reflect that.  It also helps to break down the challenge of getting the numbers involved.  At approximately 68175 people per constituency that may presents the perception of too large a challenge.  Smaller areas (and maybe even smaller areas too) may be more manageable and easier to communicate with.

The way I currently see things (but again its just a viewpoint and open to better ones, but ultimately decided by the local groups) is that the serious thinkers with serious blogs and others groups with serious, pertinent and persuasive observations become the go to source for that information that the groups can use to support their campaign.

An important part of that messaging is that somehow it needs to strike a balance of being honest, serious and possessing gravity whilst at the same time doing it in a way that can be passed on to the man and women in the street.  Remember we have a disengaged electorate.  Politics and EU politics in particular appears complicated and boring and has become synonymous with lies and broken promises which has caused a big switch off.  Any such campaign would need to overcome that.

In Closing

I'm going to bring this to a close at this point - deliberately.  I've got further work to do on this (and chores around the house), but I wanted to leave the notion out there for people to mull over.  A lot of the comments I saw on the various posts recently (and have in the past) seem to reflect a presumption that it must all be left to the "professionals".  To me that means people need time to consider that there might be an alternative way and to believe it's possible.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Food for thought

Firstly can I say thank you for those who visited my previous post.  More importantly can I say thank you to Old Rightie and to Nourishing Obscurity for showing them the way to my little outpourings.  It was a welcome boost to something I threw in the bin a few short months ago.

Moving on from that it got me thinking, what next and a quick trip round other blogs came me a slightly diversionary idea which I've started working on, but I do want to keep on with some of the theme that I mentioned in that previous post.

Because I'm a little short of time right now, I want to hand the show over to someone who is always good value in the form of Bill Whittle and a speech he gave last November.  Some may say that I always seem to pick American videos and that's true.  There's something about them that shows something I haven't seen in British grassroots politics (not to say that it doesn't exist).  It points to high production values which says something in its own right.  It just looks a little more organised and both of those things help the message resonate more with an audience.  Bill has some interesting things to say in this hour that have parallels with this country.

Of course what you think of it is up to you.  I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The British Interest

A trip round the blogs can be a somewhat depressing experience.  You could be forgiven for thinking they're the work of eternal pessimists creating a world of endless melancholy. This is wrong, that's wrong, this person is a light, an imbecile, a buffoon, we're kicking the can down the road and so on and so forth.  It's not depressing because they're depressives.  It's depressing because they are bang on the nail.  In short they're right.

They're right because it's all going wrong.  It's bad everywhere.  We have problems created by malign intent hubris and ineptitude.  What's worse is that we keep going to the same idiots, both malign and "useful" to try and solve them. I honestly can't list all the different types of lunatic running the asylum.  The reality is, it's just a big stinking mess.  Even worse than that, it's not just here, it's everywhere.  The same class of person has risen to influential roles in too many countries across the planet.  The downside to that last observation is that it leaves us in avery precarious situation for a reason I'll explain shortly.

I recently got to thinking this way after reading a series of posts.  What it got me to thinking was our role in the general population in this downfall.  We've been making mistakes and our mistakes have been twofold.  Firstly we have been presuming the cavalry is out there ready to rescue us from this disaster and secondly we have presumed that to be the same faces we keep getting presented with in influential postions.

The reality is, that right now, there is no cavalry.  We are in serious times yet there would appear to be no serious people right now in the top roles, making the big decisions or at least not in sufficient numbers.  There is (not only here) but across the world a pervasive presence of people not cut out to deal with what is all around us, immediately before us and also down the road we are currently travelling along.  We have for the most part a breed of politician, for the most part, in it for themselves.  This is reflected in their short term decisions that have worse consequences further down the line.  This is reflected in their lies about the truth of a situation just to prevent them looking bad.

Then there are the malign people.  I've written about them before.  Those who wish for bad things to happen to this country because they believe it will bring about a socialist utopia.  They're not a myth, they're real and their writings exist to prove their plan (but they're for another post). Unfortunately their utopia will not come about, because it simply isn't a utopia.  History has proven that time and time again.  Usually somewhere along the way their end point sees the rise of a dictatorship, followed by some of the darkest points in human history.  Why people want to take us there I will never know. These  people right now are engineering their game or playing the role of useful idiot.  What makes this a problem is the influencial cretinocracy are mixng this group's work into their cocktail of lunacy that they call policy making, either out of fear of the pressure they will bring, short term interest or the stupidity in their thinking.

So we have imbeciles and we have malign people who want to crash this nation running the show.  Bad enough you might think, but you may recall I mentioned the internation dimension I mentioned earlier.  I give you two stories I saw earlier this week that started to give me some of my foundation thoughts for this post.  Firstly there was this post over at Autonomous Mind about one rule for them and another for us and then this one over at The Slog about changes to EU financial rules about how banking rules could be changed.  Although not directly related, they got me thinking back to something Dr Richard North said many months ago on his blog about events. Events affect us personally and international events often impact on us back here in Britain. This international dimension brings additional problems for us to deal with.  Our domestic problems often come about either solely because of this international aspect such as our presence in the EU or they magnify our domestic issues.

We're in a dark place and heading to a darker one, with the tools and the thinking we currently employ. Given the interdependence of it all, the international issues are not good for Britain and our issues are not good for the world.  We need to change and we need a plan.

To many, that plan is we need to get out of the EU.  The trouble is, for many that is where the plan ends.  Leave and all will be happy.  I couldn't agree more with the leaving bit but I'm certainly not of the view that simply by leaving, all will be happy.  The plan can not end there.  It has to be a stage in a grander plan.  You have to have a plan for what next. You cannot leave and then go "now what?" You have to know what the next step is before you even embark on that journey and right now we don't really have one.

Apart from a few, too many of us are looking in the wrong place for our plan.  We're looking at the existing political parties UKIP included to get us out of the hole.  They not the people we need to rely on.  They haven't really shown any grasp of what next.  If they had any seriousness about getting out, we would see them setting the foundations now and we have nothing.  Yes they're making big blustery noises but you have to ask yourself what has really changed?  If you were truly honest you would have to say very, very little has changed.

I'm at risk of going off on a tangent here becuase this has been occupying my mind a lot recently and there are lots of threads to it.  As a result I'm going to try and bring it back to my key point for this post.

It is simply this.  A change must begin and begin now.  It must be a plan that is about the British Interest.  Britain needs to set itself back on path based on its own wellbeing.  It needs to become influential and prosperous once again. It needs to be focussed on its own concerns, its own prosperity and its own strength and most importantly, that of its people.  Do this and we will start to establish the foundations for what happens after an EU exit.  Do this and we will start to become stong and prosperous again.  Do this and we will be much more likely to steady the ship.  If we can steady our ship, international events of all kinds will be felt less keenly at home.  In our interdependent world, if we're steady, it reduces the chance of additional turmoil elsewhere.  In other words - a stable Britain is good for the wider world.

To realise that is the easy part.  Getting on with it is another thing.  I partly say that because as is clear from this post that is not what we currently have that will get us there.  As I mentioned ealrier, if you're looking there, you're looking in the wrong place.  Most of them aren't currently up to that job and more importantly given the size of the change required, there aren't enough of them.  To find who is required, you simply need to look in the mirror.  It's going to need every single one of us.  There's lots to do and it needs us all pulling on the rope.  It needs numbers.  We can't run and hide because it's simply not an option.  The place we're heading to is not prosperity but poverty and if we don't play a part in the turnaround, we too will get caught up it.  We can't put our hands over our eyes and ears going "lalalalalala" hoping it will go away. It won't. We're too far gone for that.

It's time to plant that flag again Britain and declare you believe in your country once again.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Starting the Fire

Well good morning folks.  It's clear I've been away for some time, even going as far as to temporarily delete the blog.  There were reasons for that and equally there are reasons for coming back, which I may go on to explain at some point.  So if you're an old friend / previous visitor - thank you for taking the time to come back.  I hope I write something worth reading, every now and again. Although we're called Restoring Britain, today's post is going to take a jump across to different countries.

As well as being away from my blog I've largely stayed away from political blogs and videos in general, although recently I had a quick whizz around some of my old haunts and stopped by to watch Pat Condell have a couple of pops at a world where reasoning and truth is turned on its head.  In one recent  video he refers to an incident involving a Danish political activist, Lars Heddergard, recently at the wrong end of an assassination attempt at his own home- Lars Heddergard.  It seemed Mr Heddergard (who was attempting a house move - presumably as a safety precaution) was attemptedly followed by a journalist and photographer in what appears to have been an attempt to report his new location.  Stupid in the extreme is the most conservative assessment I can give this effort by these supposed journalists.

I mention that because I see that in the US the trial of George Zimmerman has resulted in a not guilty verdict for Zimmerman.  What I wanted to say in this post has eluded me for days and I've twisted myself in knots on how I wished to word it.  The principle reason was that I wasn't so much wanting to concentrate on the what happened, but on the press coverage.  I think at the end of the day there are probably only two people who know what really happened and they are the two people involved.  So I struggled.  Bill Whittle probably summed it up best and in fact I learned something new about the case about the cocktail known as "Lean", despite it being a speculative aspect of Bill's video.  I'll let Bill say most of it for me:

I wanted to avoid going over the evidence but in fact it's required to understand the wider point that Bill touches upon and that I really wanted my post to be about.

Martin's death and Zimmerman's acquittal have sparked a controversy and a backlash.  I think that backlash has in part been sparked by the actions  and reporting of the press, including those of the BBC here in Britain.  By and large, we have seen this story told of a young black man out buying skittles and a drink, shot and killed simply because white man Zimmerman presumed he was up to no good in a gated community.  Within that have been lots of commentary about America tearing itself up over a resurgence of its racist history.

The problem is we have learned much of what we have from the press.  That narrative I've just described above has come about because of the way the story has been told in the press.  Of course it doesn't take much digging around (as Bill Whittle did) to find there are lots of holes in that story.  In fact most of that knowledge was available from the outset, hence the police feeling that they had nothing to charge Zimmerman with and initial advice from prosecutors.

So the evidence was there which has to call into question why it failed to make it into the press.  Now it was one of two things.  It was either sloppy journalism or it was deliberate design.  I can partly believe in sloppy journalism as with all manner of stories, it seems to thrive mostly on a diet of low hanging fruit.  Except in this instance, there were clearly pieces of low hanging fruit that they chose to ignore - pieces that effectively left the established narrative on shaky ground.

So if it's not sloppy journalism, that pretty much leaves us with deliberate design.  We've already seen pieces that didn't make it in to the early stories. As well as that though there is the recording of the 911 call made by Zimmerman.  This is the call that news outlets originally presented as including the following phrase:

  Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

When in actual fact the actual recording went like this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about. 

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

So he didn't offer it up, he was responding to a question

Eventually, when this editing was exposed the news station who manipulated the recording was forced to apologise and is being sued by Zimmerman for depicting him as  racist.  But that still hasn't stopped news organisations repeating this, including the BBC.  Although they had previously reported Zimmerman's legal action against NBC, they still ran this article in June in which they appear to do a similar thing to NBC.

So what's my point?

Well my point is this - the media are playing a naive, malign and dangerous game.  The angle we have consistently seen from the press around this case has from the outset been based on the omission of salient and readily available facts. Their omission points to someone wanting the story told this way and this way only.  In other words someone wants you to have viewpoint that they approve of. They only want a viewpoint that fits their narrative because if you have that viewpoint, you are more likely to repeat it as though it were fact.

What makes it naive, malign and dangerous is that there are (and have already been) consequences for this manipulation.  It doesn't just exist in a bubble.  They can't just say these things and it not provoke a reaction.  People have relied on the press to give them the facts and most probably presume what they have seen to be the facts.  People cite such "facts" to justify their reaction.  There have been protests, there has been violence.  There has been talk of retribution.  I could understand all of this had the narrative been true.  Heck if I were part of the African American community and this had been true, I'd be filled with anger too.   So that's why it's dangerous.  Lives have been ruined and lives will be changed and ruined in the future.

But that's not some insight available only to me.  It would have been available to the press to.  I can only draw the conclusion they wanted to start the fire with their reporting and watch it burn.   They've treated it like its entertainment, which for me makes its disgraceful. A young man is dead and another man has become marked for death by people who seek revenge.  Anything that happens from here on in, the media which manipulated the story have a hand in it.  If there is blood, some of it will be on their hands.  It's almost like they wanted their version of events to be true so they can cause a riot and violence.  They've also given the race hustlers who pretend to speak to for America's black community ammunition to spout their own self serving bile.

The trouble is they're not only malign but they're naive about the consequences as they are genuinely incapable of seeing their hand in the subsequent reaction.  They're like someone who goes into a packed theatre, yelling "fire" for a joke and then when people get killed in the stampede, refuse to believe that it had anything to do with them. This section of the media, like to pretend they're advancing the civil rights cause.

They're doing nothing of the sort.  They're setting such a cause back.  They're manipulating a section of America for their own ends, treating them like their own plaything.

They're just starting a fire and watching it burn.  A young man is dead - it is not a time for games.

End Note

An addition for any trolls who are thinking about commenting on this.  Simply don't bother wasting your time, I won't respond or debate with you on this.  Why?  A few reasons really.  Firstly, because no amount of clunky efforts to paint me as racist will actually make it true.  You are of course entitled to your opinion but if you knew me, you could not actually honestly draw such a conclusion so you're left with name calling.  Secondly it's not a debate you're looking for.  You're not interested in it.  What you will really have come here for is to shout down any debate.  I've read and am familiar with Saul Alinsky and his playbook and I know about trolling.  So save your energy and take it elsewhere.  Thank you.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Last Handbagging

When leader of the British Government, Margaret Thatcher was famed for her handbaggings.  These were not literal handbaggings, but occasions in which she put the vain, shallow, irresolute, faithless and power thirsty in their place.

Having watched her funeral today I wonder if even in death she took a metaphorical swing at that same group (albeit much larger).  Before our very eyes we saw those sellouts of this nation who understand nothing of service, called to heel to sing praise to a to a nation they have sold out for their own lust for power.

I hope that in that house of The Lord, they felt the chill that comes with having your mendacity laid bare before your maker.

Monday, 8 April 2013


It is not news for me to report that Baroness Thatcher has passed away, nor will I be considered the person who makes the landmark comment about her life, her years as our nation's leader, nor her passing.  That will come from a lot more informed people than me (and more than a fair share of those more ignorant than me).

As someone in their early 40's I have a somewhat cloudy recognition of the time.  Like most young people I suspect, mucking around with my friends was something that took up most of my time.  That said I have recollections of Britain in the 70's and it had a jaded and stagnant feel to it.  I recall seeing the news with union leaders standing on large platforms "balloting" workers for strike action.  Even as a boy, I always questioned how those leaders could tell the majority were up for it on such a rough and ready show of hands.  It all looked a bit contrived and pre determined.  I also recall seeing the Green Goddess fire engines flying past the end of our street during that strike too and I also remember endless images of men standing around oil drums with a fire on the go in them.  Britain generally felt a bit on its knees even to my young and uninformed eyes.

So I am going to find the next few days and possibly weeks amusing as those young bucks who weren't even a twinkle in their father's eyes during her premiership, pouring forth on Margaret Thatcher as though they were right there.  They'll even probably refer to her as "Fatcher" with the accompanying flecks of spit in the corner of their mouths.

Baroness Thatcher certainly provokes a range of reactions and it is the same when assessing her legacy.  For my own view, like most politicians there was probably both good and bad policy decisions.  That said, she was a leader and probably one of the last of her kind.  Whilst not everyone got what they wanted when Margaret Thatcher came to power, they certainly got what they needed.  They got someone with enough steel to attempt to drag Britain from it's knees who was willing to get in the faces of self absorbed demagogues who took the country on strike at the drop of a hat. 

Whatever you think of him, Jeremy Clarkson was right when he suggested that during the 70's the only thing the British car industry was any good at was a fire in an oil drum.

Margaret That also provokes repeated mantras, particularly from her opponents.  They say she destroyed British manufacturing.  Maybe there where things she did and decisions she made that had a hand in it, but I can't help but think some of her most vociferous opponents, played their own significant role in such a demise. 

They also like to say she ushered in the me, me, me generation and it's here I would probably like to draw it to a close. 

Their evidence is her famous quote of "there's no such thing as society".  Next time you here someone come out with it as evidence, ask them if they can give the full quote.  I suspect many of them can't because it's been deliberately framed as being nothing more than that.  It is in fact, quite different and forms part of a wider interview she gave to Woman's Own magazine in 1987 and it goes like this:

"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."

Doesn't look much like someone ushering in a me, me me society.  Looks more like someone trying to put an end to a me, me, me society that was enabled by something or someone that had taken that earned by working people to give to others that thought they were owed.

Let's take another look:

It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.

All I ask is that if you hear the pared down version of the quote, you politely correct the person involved and ask them what they could find offensive in standing up for the working man as the quote so clearly does. 

You might enlighten some, but I suspect that most are so wedded to their hatred of her that it will change nothing. 

Still you will have some fun listening to them spluttering some right old cobblers as they try to prove you wrong.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Rats eating rats

In a previous (somewhat rhetorical) post I was expressing my concern about the Cyprus depositor levy and how once out of the bag the concept, would probably fester in the minds of those who think everything is theirs because they will it to be so and that's all there is to it.

Fortunately there are better writers on hand to write more informatively than me, namely Autonomous Mind and The Slog  who have been having a look at how the idea has infected the minds of others and what was once not a template, now looks like it could become a template.

The problem for me is that many of its proponents and enablers are operating under an illusion.  As well as trying to prop up a political project, what we are in reality witnessing are people trying to keep their vast amounts of wealth however gained.  To some that means shafting others in this zero sum game. They are all trying to protect their bit in what is a collapsing system.

Our money system is illusory, in that the wealth of these investments and financial instruments is only "real" whilst they are numbers on computer screens.  It's not real money.  They couldn't all call on their wealth if they tried to cash it out. The problem we have right now is that leaves them with two options - the first being to maintain the illusion.

Unfortunately  we starting to see (although no thanks to mainstream media) that the illusion is starting to crumble.  It just will not play ball for them and it has become unstable.  What we're staring to see is option two come into play.  Option two basically involves making sure in a scramble for the really small pot of wealth that actually exists, you're not the one who loses out.  This is the Cyprus template. A lot of people have facilitated this and I presume in doing so they think it will protect their place at the trough.

If that is they're thinking, I think they've made a mistake.  I think many of them will in time to come learn a very harsh lesson.  The "elite" as we think we see them, looks like a single homogeneous entity.  I think it is a mistake that many on the inside of it, facilitating games like we have seen in Cyprus, think it is also a homogeneous group.  The truth is, it is nothing of the sort.  Even within this "elite" club there will be a pecking order.

I also think the illusion still has a long way to fall.  I am no financial expert but it is no secret that I am increasingly of the opinion that the whole thing could well smash itself on the rocks where it gets really desperate as we experience a financial collapse or as the understated language likes to classify it "a significant correction".  What they're talking about is serious, serious hardship and poverty.

It is said that rats will turn to eat each other in a starvation situation.  I suspect we may well start to see that in a financial sense, amongst those who have lived in a world very different from ours.  Why it concerns me, is the illusion needs confidence, even it is crumbling.  All it will take is a few of those who think they are in the elite club to be ejected and start to share their scorn, to hasten the lack of confidence in the system, thereby accelerating its downward spiral.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Events, events, events

My next post was going to involve expansions to the Be That Person post and was going to include the comments by Witterings from Witney, regarding things Harrogate and the observations by James over at Nourishing Obscurity / OoL.

All that said, my intention to do so has been somewhat turned on its end following this post over at John Ward's place.  The general gist as I've understood the Cyprus bailout is that the level of cash in its banks was regarded with suspicion as to the means with which it was earned.  Many considered it to be of nefarious provenance and as such it was felt fair by the scheme's designers to extract a levy on it in order to facilitate a bailout agreement.  If I read John's post correctly and some of the comments, there are rumours emerging that the big and allegedly questionable money is taking flight from Cyprus and that the capital controls are only really affecting the everyday folk, in effect saddling them with the bill.  In addition, this potentially means there will be a shortfall in the overall take that is raked in and one wonders where that leaves the people of Cyprus.

There is something else that worries me though.  We now seem to have a precedent set in which everyday people can have their hard earned cash locked down and plundered by others to fund political hubris / financial speculation gone wrong.  At the same time (if the above post is true) parallel arrangements exist (which those with access to extremely smart financial advice) to act as a back door for the big powerful money.  It seems to be another tool by which a group, privatise the wins and socialise the losses.

Why it worries me, is that this tool exists at all and that having thought it up, Pandora's box has been opened.  If it were a one off, my concern might be slightly less.  Having been designed and seen across the world, I am concerned that the government financial institutions might begin to turn their lusty eyes to this tool to access pots of money, never before available to them as part of what has become an unquenchable thirst for money that belongs to others.

Now such a tool exists, you cannot unimagine it and once such covetous ideas exist they tend to grow and become widely adopted.  In fact I see that already, one politician has already commented that this could be a model going forward to solve similar issues.  With Cyprus having rolled over for the scheme. some governments might feel emboldened to look at such tools for their nation.  It's not like they don't have form for raiding investments pots such as pensions.  I also find myself worried if it does become implemented more widely, that hybrid tools will be developed as creative ways to access even more money which will saddle the everyday person with even more debt.

But what is it that's really worrying me.  It's worrying me because as just an everyday person, events are overtaking not only me, but many others.  Its worrying me because as an everyday person, there are ever increasing ways in which I can be put in fiscal headlock and my pockets picked and then tossed to one side whilst my muggers warn me, they'll probably be back for more.  Governments and politicians have an appetite for cash that makes Monsieur Creosote look like he's at a finger buffet. What worries me, is whilst all this is happening I'm making an inconsequential noise out in cyberspace where no one is hearing me scream.  As a result I just find myself wondering what I'm really doing here, whether it's all just too big for me an whether its time I got about my own business as events toss us about like wood on an ocean wave.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The soft underbelly

I see from news reports that Abu Qatada has been arrested for allegedly breaching the conditions of his bail.

Obviously news is a little sketchy at the moment but below are the bail conditions set when the judge in his deportation case decided that he didn't like the Jordanian Government's promises and saddled the UK taxpayer with keeping him here:

The full conditions, published by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, are as follows:
  • Electronic tagging and reporting to a monitoring company
  • Fixed address
  • 22-hour curfew, with permission to leave home for a maximum of one hour twice a day
  • Police and others permitted to enter and search his home
  • No travel ticket or papers
  • Ban on leaving a small area in his neighbourhood, set out on a map that he has been given
  • Banned from attending a mosque
  • Banned from leading prayers, other than those in his own family
  • He must not publish any statement
  • Nobody can enter home other than family, his lawyers and Home Office officials or children under 14
  • Any other visitor must be vetted by the Home Office
  • He cannot make any arrangements to meet anyone outside the home without permission
  • If he meets an acquaintance by chance, he must make his excuses and leave
  • No meeting with 27 named individuals, some of whom are in prison
  • No meeting with anyone who is held on the new form of control orders known as TPims (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures)
  • No mobile phone
  • No internet connection
  • No computer kit that can be connected to the net
  • Visitors may not use a mobile in his home
  • He may only have one bank account
  • He may not hold any bank or credit card not connected to that account
  • He may not transfer money out of the UK
  • He may not help others buy, sell or obtain computer equipment
  • Any educational course or training must be approved by the home secretary
  • Any job must be similarly approved

Looking at the news report comment that a search has been taking place over numerous hours and across numerous properties across London, I am curious which of those bail conditions have been brokenthat would require searches of that nature to take place and at the same time fearful of what he's been up to.

I just hope that the judge's overriding concern for Mr Qatada's human rights have not permitted him the time and space to set events in motion, that we will pay a dear price for.

Imagine trying to explain that one away to the British people.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Be that person - part one.

Well, well well.  What a week.  Everything has been on view this week hasn't it and mostly that By-Election that quite frankly finished with comedy.  The result was a comedy in that the comments from the parties justifying their respective finishing positions were frankly farcical. That's where the comedy ended.  The real story of what it really says of our democracy, our politics and our politicians has been more ably commented on at other places and it is a sad one, in the history of a once great nation.

Whilst the mainstream media prattle on about what it means for the parties in their commentary, the blogs are setting the pace with questions about what we do about it.  It's a very fair question given what we've seen this week in Italy with the emergence of the 5 Star movement.  The first I saw on what's next for Britain came in Witterings from Witney.  Clearly that post had prompted some comments about Harrogate and so did Richard North's posts on the subject.  Rather interestingly there was a theme emerging about what do people do not intimately involved in Harrogate - good question.

The heart of the Italy situation is that it is a movement.  A rejection of the circus comprising modern politician ill equipped to lead their respective nations away from the problems they face.  It didn't succeed just because of the idea.  It succeeded because the people did something about it.  It is an action based movement i.e. people stop bleating and lift their backsides off their seats and push the movement forward.  They're not waiting for someone to do it for them, they carried their bit and so did everyone else.  That's important stuff and critical to any movement.  Movements die when people simply sit around and expect the idea to propel itself.  I don't know where 5 Star is going long term, because it's going to have to get serious about solving Italy's problems at some point otherwise it too will lose the goodwill of the people and will wither.

This takes me back to this post, which I have previously commented on and namely two particular sections that I think ring true:

What is needed is a new settlement.  What is needed is a constructive blueprint for the future that empowers people and makes them want to support it for positive reasons.  What is needed is something that is borne from the grassroots and evolves and grows, rather than something imposed from on high.


The seed might have been sown. But it will only germinate and take root if people who care are prepared to help nurture it and play a part in tending it to maturity and strength.  The time for complaining is over.  The time for positive and constructive action is at hand.

The 5 Star movement is not Beppe Grillo.  The movement is its constituents, the ones that move it along.  They all start with one everyday person who has had enough who will take the first step.  There's one of those in every locality.  I know that, because they come here and they go to other blogs, some of which I get to read.  Every movement that grows always start with a collection of one single person in lots of areas across the country.

All I ask (and maybe many others do) is that you be that person that gets the ball rolling where you live.  I ask that you start to take it forward. I ask that you be the one that gets out of the chair and starts something.  Every movement starts with just one person, that no one ever heard of, starting to spread the message and helping it thrive. If you hope for a better Britain, I'm asking will you be the person that helps build it.

I'm not asking for anything illegal or subversive here. Far from. I'm asking for clean, open and honest engagement in democracy and a restoration of the culture with opportunity for all, honesty, integrity, decency and one that will catch those who fall (and I mean fall) and will protect its elderly in a dignified and decent way. I also want a Briatin whose institutions work for the good of the people they were built to serve and in the genuine best interests of the natiion. 

My beliefs are in a restored Britain, one which has been in the vision of great men and women from years gone by.  That Britain was fought and died for because people held that notion dear.  Many of those that held that vision dear lie in graves across the world, never to return to the nation they loved.  Some lie in marked graves in manicured cemeteries and some lie under ignominious  piles of soil and will be forever hidden and walked past by people with no idea of the sacrifice made just yards from their feet.

Britain has gone wrong in ways too numerous to list here and the work must start soon.  The size of the challenge means everyone has to grab a metaphorical shovel and start the clean up.  If we all stay sat on our chairs expecting someone else to do, I do not believe I can articulate the disaster we will face as a result.  If people start and spread the message, others will find them.  Movement attracts attention. From them, hope will grow. I'm not talking about the mirage of Hope that was peddled over in the US for electoral gain.  I'm talking about genuine hope.

So my question is - will you be that person that starts it moving where you are?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Gift Horse for UKIP

My frustration at UKIPs ability to miss opportunities right in front of them will not have escaped readers attention.  I'm not an out and out UKIP advocate - far from it.  What I'm lamenting is that everything is ripe for them to harvest and wake up the  three party inertia that grips this country and they're missing it each and every time.

One of their mistakes (in my humble opinion) is they're trying to make a big noise nationally which they're really going to struggle with that for all sorts of reasons.  Their best chance is local.  They need to wake up and organise their local network and presence - and quickly.  It doesn't have to be about politics in the classical sense.  They have to start by getting in the hearts and minds of local people by getting involved in their everyday lives and struggles.

Right now there's an advantage just waiting for them to pounce on.  It's actually there for anyone who wants it but as UKIP seem to be missing obvious sitters I'm going to make the suggestion to them, here on this page.  It's not rocket science.  In fact it's really small beer, but it's a start.

So here it is.

The horse meat scandal has taken on a life of it's own.  To the average man and woman in the street the detail is of little importance right now. Precisely who has done it they're not much bothered about, especially with (as Richard North is pointing out) the mainstream media is playing chase on this and reporting off the cuff thoughts as though they were fact.  

What's bothering the average man and woman right now is that they just don't know who they can trust to sell them beef that has no other meat but beef in it.  The effect is that some people are foregoing supermarket beef and looking more locally to places like the butchers (if they still have one).

Maybe it might help them to establish their local credentials if local UKIP representatives mounted campaigns in their local towns and villages to promote the local butchers.  They can come up with poster slogans for butchers to put in their windows extolling the virtues of buying local beef.  They could be clever and find ways to make a political angle out of it.  Maybe something along the lines of "there's a downturn on and whilst they're fighting for the own careers and interests, where here fighting for your food security and your community businesses".  I'm sure there's a big letter campaign somewhere in there too.  I'm sure the local news media might also be interested somehow.  They're always looking to get the national and international news hooked to the local agenda and this is a damn sight more relevant than the type of stories about broken fences that the council haven't fixed for a decade. I'm sure some wag can even think of some very clever link between 100% beef and politics.

Sometimes it's the little things that can make the difference.

Of course they could always look a gift horse in the mouth.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

So turn on them

The Telegraph is carrying a story (at least on its website) about how much grassroots Tories feel betrayed by Cameron with their focus on gay marriage.  I understand they have composed an angry letter which has been handed in to Number 10.  In particular I noted this comment:

One said grassroots members had been left “angry, disillusioned and deeply puzzled” over the “sudden” introduction of the proposals, as another said life-long supporters no longer felt “at home” in the Conservative Party. 

This post isn't about gay marriage but about the general dysfunctional relationship those in Westminster have with their grassroots "supporters".

Might I suggest to those grassroots Tories that Cameron and his ilk could not give a toss about your angry letter.  One only has to visit, my blogging friend over at Witterings from Witney to note how disinterested they are in viewpoints from their constituents and constituencies.  A letter is something they can simply ignore.  If they genuinely want a change in that relationship they have to deliver a message that cannot be ignored, one with real consequences.  What those grassroots conservatives might not have realised though is that they do have their fingers on a number of pressure points with regards to the MPs they have supported.

It all rests in the fact that local constituency is the place where the power shifts from the MP to the electorate and that the MP needs to crawl to the local voters in however a disingenuous fashion they do it in order to be returned to the trough.

I would say that rather than deliver a letter which will be filed under B1N, the local grassroots conservatives could consider delivering a metaphorical kick in the nuts to the party, their MP and his or her agent if they wanted to put on a show of power.

They could if they chose, write to the MPs PA and their agent and inform them, that because of their consistent failure to  fulfil their election promises, their standpoint on a number of issues that run counter to grassroots Conservatives and their wilful refusal to take on board those who have supported them, they will refuse to support all promotional activity within the local constituency, until such time that as MPs they recognise the MPs responsibility to the local party and the electorate.  Personally I would prefer the electorate only but it's a start.

They could offer the MP one final opportunity to fulfil the promises they made or face the consequences of such a refusal.

In coming up with these suggestions I'm minded of how an absent friend of mine who was once a prospective Labour candidate was not supported by the national party because the seat he was campaigning for was not a target seat.  I'm also minded of his tales of how they also tried to cut the sitting MP in another constituency off at the knees because he wouldn't submit to the party line on a number of issues by starving him of support activity at election time.  The approach is to effectively starve them of support activity.  Any MP who makes it to Parliament only really does so with an army of volunteers, publicity and money which turns into promotional activity within the constituency.  Those that get little or no support, effectively have no voice, and those that have no voice, get no votes

Suggestions could include:

  • A letter campaign to the local newspaper informing the public of their opposition to the local MPs position that includes their credentials as a grass roots conservative.  This could also include other PR activity.  I can imagine that a mainstream media looking to stick it to the Tories are more likely to cover such a rebellion than not.
  • All support activity for the local MP surgery will cease.  This could even be as petty as refusing to unlock the office on the day in question and turning the heating or the lighting on.  No printing will be done, no photocopying will be done, no lists of who who the MP is due will be printed and no one from the local team will man reception.  In fact - sod it - let it be a free for all.  let the PA in Westminster sort it or the agent.
  • Refusing to photocopy or deliver any leaflets within the local constituency and a promise that come the election campaign the MP will find no support whatsoever for campaign activity.  There will be no leaflets delivered, no doors will be knocked on, no leaflets or posted printed or displayed to say the least.
  • Writing to all known funders of the MP confirming all of the above and ask said funders to consider their funding position given that there will be no local support from the local party returning the MP to Parliament whilst they hold the positions they do.
  • Confirmation that they will turn up to local hustings for those that still engage in this and ask the MP uncomfortable questions in full public view letting the audience know of their connections to the local Tory party.
  • Confirmation that where an opposition candidate declares a willingness to support key policies that they agree with, they will write in support of those and declaring their previous party affiliations.
To be honest there are probably more and these are just a few possible activities that could be employed to let the hogs in Westminster know they are no longer willing to be abused by those who have nothing but self interest coursing through their veins.  Whilst I have used the Tories as an example, grassroots supporters of any party could implement such a strategy in order to fire a shot across the bows of those who they have helped. 

A concerted effort of such a nature would likely hit the national news which would have its own effects.  Funders back winners and also avoid negative publicity.  If they felt their money was likely to head down the drain, I suspect they would give serious consideration to keeping their money tucked away elsewhere.

Of course such a strategy is risky because those activists will have to face up to some real questions of what matters the most - the principles of democracy or outdated tribal loyalty.  Many I suspect will stick to tribal loyalty because the consequences to them are too painful.  This is notwithstanding the fact that their loyalty exists in something that has parallels with abusive relationships where one party does all the giving and the other party repeatedly betrays their partner. 

It might or it might not have the desired effect, but I suspect some MPs would come to heel when they work out the potential risk to their place at the trough, especially those whose majority at the last election was, shall we say, less than robust.  Some might fall because of their intransigence.

Better still it might give an independent promising to be a genuine representative of the electorate more of a level playing field.

As David would say - "just asking"