Sunday, 28 August 2011

RIP John McAleese

John McAleese Dies (Source Mail Online)

I don't often do this sort of thing when I don't know them.  I see from the Mail Online article that John McAleese has died of a heart attack.

For those who aren't old enough to remember, here's some video of him in action (at about 25 seconds).

I recall that night as a boy visiting my Grandparents.  No one said much on those visits and we were watching a James Bond movie (how apt).  Back in those days, you knew it was serious when a programme was interrupted for a "newsflash", so when they stopped the James Bond film, everyone in my grandparents front room sat up and paid attention and back in those days, this was seriously dramatic footage.

McAleese and his colleagues became instant heroes to us all and we knew none of them.  There was no clue at the time who these ghosts in black gas masks were and for a while they disappeared as fast as they arrived, with newsreaders and reporters clutching at straws as to who they were and where they had come from.  What was certain they had become the stuff of legend.  It didn't take too long to learn they were SAS and who this regiment were, but it would take even longer to learn exactly how they did what they did at the Iranian embassy.

Part of their magic I think was that we as Britain's were proud of them following that exposure in the public eye.  To me they sent a message to those that wished us harm that we had men that would not back down in impossible circumstances and that in extreme situations we had ghosts that would come and get you.  For me they sent a message that we might still be little (and in many ways getting smaller) but pick a fight with us and you were still going to get knocked out because we had the bogeyman and you should be sacred.

So Mr McAleese sleep well and may you rest in peace because although we never knew you, you gave us glimpse of what heroes look like and reminded us of what we can be.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Donkey Whisperer

h/t sistertoldjah

I really enjoy visiting that fine blog sistertoldjah and was there the other day when I stumbled across this video. Obviously its for a politician and although the comedy is fantastic there is a very serious thread running through it for those wishing to hear and see.  Unfortunately I don't really know that this applies to politicians here.  The more appropriate parallel in this country would be a blogger trying to get their "wake up Britain " message across to the population at large or to politicians steering the boat towards the edge of the waterfall.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

British Tea - Right on the money

H/T Sue @ Muffled Vociferation

I couldn't put this better myself.

I have a suggestion

Slightly off topic for a blog based on the restoration of Britain to a prosperous and democratic nation, but it caught my eye and sent a chill down my spine.

Looking at various news sites, it seems the hunt for the current / former Libyan leader continues apace and our news teams are eating it up.  Tucked away in much of the current reporting are quotes such as this:

UK Defence Minister Liam Fox has confirmed that NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assistance to rebels hunting Col Gaddafi
That sounds like boots on the ground to me because in all the chaos and the carnage I'm not certain what one could pick out from the sky to help find him.  If there are boots on the ground I would rather they go looking for something else.

It would seem that bodies such IAEA, among others have some concerns about the security of materials related to three decades of nuclear research and radioisotope production that could go into the production of a dirty bomb.  Despite the apparent reassurances by our political leaders there have remained persistent questions about precisely who these that we have been helping to arm are. That combined with the chaos leading to porous borders and a flotilla of refugees to mainland Europe, really makes me think that the hunt for the man with as many name variations as his uniforms should be left to others.  Our recon assistance, should really be chasing more scary stuff.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Seeing the wood for the trees

Whilst the PM's recent "cracking skulls" type soundbites might have resonated among those who are angry at what this nation appears to have descended into, there were questions amongst them as to what extent it would stick. It was in many respects knee jerk and I can understand that.  There was lots of finger pointing from either side of the political divide.  My finger still continues to point in a certain direction.

It soon became clear that there were multiple aspects to the violence and the looting.  One of them is the profile of the looters.  As cases continue to be heard, we see that the spectrum of people involved ranged from the anticipated "scrotes" who gorge on taxpayer funded "free sh*t" to lady chatterly types filling time before the ski season starts by mixing it with the nation's bit of rough.

For those who have read the paper on the Broken Windows Theory, there is little surprise here.  The basic premise here is that given permission to do so through the right signals, even so called respectable folk will engage in lawlessness.

I'm not intending to debate the whys and wherefores too much, except to say that it points to an underlying problem across the various systems which run our society.  There are a range of "broken windows" across the whole system, that invite people to take advantage of the mess.  Under the current system it simply isn't possible to seperate those who are beyond hope and redemption from those who simply do because everyone else is and they can get away with it.  For politicians looking to address the problems, they should start here as opposed to pratting about in pointless efforts such as shutting down communication tools.

One area they should really start with is welfare reform and the underclass it breeds.  The UK welfare system is like a golden tit that gives off a shine which can be seen across the whole planet and draws in the hoardes.  In a country that seems to be sliding down so many international scales, what could it possibly be that is causing people from across the world to beat a path to our door? Why are they forsaking, the allure of all of those other nations they pass through en route to beat a path to dear Old Blightie.  Of course I fully accept that some are genuinely seeking to escape opression, but in an adult conversation we have to accept that there is a huge group of people with only one destination in mind - Britain and when they land they plug straight into the benefits system.

But before anyone thinks this is an anti immigrant posting, I would like to point out that it is far from it.  Its about the signals that our welfare state gives off.  The high inward immigration is just one aspect of it.  The signal it sends among the British born population is one of a system that gives and asks for little or nothing in return.  It has done this to the point that single motherhood became a economically viable career choice.  We have people who are incapable in the realms of responsibility but high fliers in the dependency industry. Some of these are into their second and third generation of welfare addiction.  Some are people perfectly capable of becoming net contributors to the economy and know this but aren't because they know they can get away with it.

We therefore need a willingness  to address the two aspects of welfare. One to break the generational cycle and the other to send the true message of our welfare system.  The truth of the matter is that the golden tit has dried up.  Once we let the world know that, I think we might be amazed how many might seek to gorge at the nipple of another nation and how many might change.

It would at least give us a chance to see the real size of the problem.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Calling them out

Watch the video below and think about how it applies to the riots. As you've probably picked up though, it has nothing to do with the UK but at the same time it has everything to do with the UK (h/t Old Holborn)

I know what the story behind this video is. What really makes this video however is that Michael Nutter is the Mayor of Philadelphia. That's right an elected official stands there and tells it how he sees it. The fact that it contains some "uncomfortable" truths for some is what makes it especially powerful. This has nothing to do with the colour of his skin, or the colour of the skin of those the message is aimed at. It is about the fact that someone in office is willing to stand up and have an adult conversation about the nature of the problems that we face as society, something that our elected elite seems to want to avoid at all costs, reinforcing the notion that our a streak of infantalisation runs right through our elite.

Michael Nutter - you keep telling it like you see it!

British Tea - It really is time

Well what a week or more in which two of our largest chickens have come home to roost.  First we had the riots and now we are seeing another stage in our European financial crisis.  What is worse is we see our politicians responses to them both.  On the riots it seems the big idea is MORE, whether it be more money thrown at the problems of deprivation or more laws and restrictions.  On Europe and the financial crisis, the idea seems to be more as Merkel and Sarkozy seem to want more central control over Europe and pull in those who also sit on the periphery of the Eurozone.  The whole response is akin to trying to hose a fire down with a tanker full of petrol.  Having demonstrated time and time again that these approaches have had no effect other than to destabilise societies, they continue to push for more of it. 

We're heading down the wrong path and it goes to a scary place.  I have no problem with Europe.  It is vital we trade with them, both for our economy and theirs.  For me however there are things which should remain within the control of each individual sovereign nation, powered by their own democracy.  From that base I believe we can create the tools from which each nation, including our own can thrive and the people within it.  I do not believe I am alone in such thinking.  In fact I know I'm not.  I only have to look at the comments under the blog entries on independent bloggers as well as in the comments section on MSM websites, to know that the majority in this country want better.  Better for themselves, their families and their nation.  Yet despite that we continue what appears to be our march into the night.

That march has to stop.  I know when I look at the comments sections, people cry out to Britain to wake up as well as cry that someone should do something.  Although I think he has been a terrible US President, there was one thing that Barack Obama said correctly on his campaign trail when he told the people

"You are the miracle you've been waiting for"

Britain needs renewal on a whole range of fronts.  The first step is to renew our democracy because that is where all the decisions that have surrendered our nation and our sovereignty have taken place, by people who supposedly work for us.  We are being beaten over the head with our own money.  We are being taxed with no representation.  We need to renew our democracy through democratic lawful and legitimate means by holding those to account.  For too long we have shown no interest in politics yet all the time it has taken an interest in us.  The dynamic has been the wrong way round and it can go on no longer. 

In the US the model for this renewal has been ongoing in recent years in the form of the Tea Party movement and it has something we need.  Do not fall for the mainstream categorisation of this movement as full of cranks, racists and extremists as I will explain in future posts because there is much to learn from them as we take our first steps to renewing our country.

But the time is now, not in the future.  The signs are that the future will be too late.  The time is now because there is much to do. 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

So good I read it twice

h/t Wittering Witney (via Twitter).

This should be essential reading for all.  I read it twice (and will probably come back to it again), although it is difficult to read whilst your head is nodding in agreement through tear stained eyes at what our nation has become:

The Australian - British Rioters the spawn of a bankrupt ruling elite

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Straight Talking

(h/t A Tangled Web)

He gets a bit sweary - you've been warned.

I'm always amused by our elected officials dancing around issues with clever words that they believe is straight talking.  Their particular favourite lead in at the moment is "let me be clear" before twisting themselves in knots.

Lord knows who this guy is but this is what straight talking on economics looks like:

Everything we need to know

One of the emerging pieces of news over the weekend is that having flown in to save his nation, our Dave is to go one step further by hiring former New York and Los Angeles police commissioner, William Bratton as an adviser.

As someone who has done a bit more than the usual cursory reading of Bratton I am something of a fan of what was achieved under his leadership.  I should therefore welcome his appointment but I have real reservations about this one as I am fearful that his appointment is pure window dressing on the part of Cameron.  Cameron at the moment is posturing as tough talking politician looking to grab the problem by the scruff of the neck and asking Bratton to be an adviser would underscore that to those who don't spend any time scratching the surface on their news.  Here's a few reasons why I think this might not go anywhere.

Cameron isn't exactly without form on window dressing politics.  It doesn't take me to list all the times he has made out he will take a tough line on something only to water it down.  Bratton will have some tough uncompromising views that is going to attract attacks from a liberal press who say anything they don't agree with as extreme.  Cameron is not one to stand and make an argument when challenged on things.  He has been prone to the odd volte face when he comes up against a bit of resistance from those areas of the press that would still criticise him if he did everything they ever asked. I expect Bratton to be on a tight lead and to have much of what he says watered down.  I would not be surprised if he quits the role quite soon when he finds that Cameron has little appetite to implement his recommendations.

Another reason I believe that Cameron is engaging in pure window dressing  is that what Bratton advocates is not rocket science.  His ideas are well published and the background to his thinking can be found anywhere.  Much of it is probably already known to most coppers and many of them may well agree with his approach.  You don't actually need Bratton to come and advise you, any level headed British Officer could well do that and I recall they once had one in Ray Mallon (although I'm not sure where he ended up).

What it really needs is a willingness to follow through on his thinking and suggestions.  That would take an act of political will.  If his ideas were already well documented and were apparently so well thought of by Cameron it is a fair question to ask where the hell are they?  Why aren't they already being employed? The problems we saw come to a head over the last week have been coming for a long time, they were as obvious as the day is long.  It was a question of when, not if this would come to a head.  In fact many commentators pointed to employing Bratton's tactics over the past few years to solve the problem.  So if they didn't want them then, what makes us think we'll get them now.

The final problem is one that many have already alluded to in looking back at the riots.  The issues surrounding the lawlessness are many but one often overlooked issue is the system.  To have an impact you have to have executive control over the system.  Bratton's success was due in part to the fact that he had control over one aspect of the system.  If he ordered it, it happened because he had executive powers in his role. Here he has no such powers having been ruled out of applying for the top job at the Met.  The result is that the role is likely to go to a careerist and won't be what often gets referred to as a Copper's Copper.  In this respect, Bratton's chances of influence have been cut off at both knees and have had both arms tied behind their backs.

I hope I'm wrong on this.  I hope to swallow my words along with some humble pie but I doubt I will.

I suspect Cameron knows all of these points that I have raised and by going down this line in the full knowledge of them will demonstrate this is all about window dressing for his own sake.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Now we'll see won't we?

(h/t Old Holborn)

It looks like we're about to see whether our politicians meant what they said in their grand preening exercise yesterday when they talked about serious action for those who had been involved in the riots.  Particularly on the spot over this one is our PM.  One of  the items mentioned yesterday was the removal of benefits for those found to be involved in the looting.

It looks like the first test of this piece of rhetoric has arrived in the form of Wandsworth Council apparently issuing an eviction notice to the family whose offspring was involved in the events of the last few days.  Unfortunately it is something of a no win situation for a politician.

The process now involves the order application going through the courts to be assessed by a judge who will rule on the decision.  We are about to see if the judge will grant it.  If it is not granted, the outcry will join the other criticisms around the tough talk such as the light sentences being meted out contrary to what was suggested.  If the judgement is to evict them, whilst politicians might use this as the basis for reflected glory, another question will be lurking in the wings.  If no new powers have been designed, such a decision will be based on existing laws.  The question will be one of where was the deployment of these available laws in days and years gone by when people were crying out for help and protection.  The idea that they were hamstrung by other laws will be shown to be an opportune falsehood for some strange reason being used to maintain the status quo.

Whichever light you look at it in, it doesn't look good does it?


Yesterday I was over at Inspector Gadget looking at the video below and reading the comments (which given their number, took an age):

Now to be honest I know nothing of the bloke and don't really know if he had a legitimate gripe with the police or not. This isn't a post about that.

What I was looking at during this guys rant, was the crowd around him and the police's reaction to him. Whilst the police stood there and essentially didn't react, I looked at the crowd around them, smirking, smiling and laughing whilst the officers just stood there and took it.

My thinking soon drifted to wonderment of what would happen to the crowd if they had to stand there and have someone tell them a few own truths. Would they be able just to stand there and not react or would they just "gob off" as they do to try and deflect any criticism of themselves.

How would they handle someone railing at them with someone not really holding back. How about having Pat have a dig at them like this (assuming they could understand the big words):

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Answers on a postage stamp please

We've been fortunate to have a relatively quiet night and hopefully it is more than a lull in the proceedings.  Of course some might have some questions about some of the things we have seen and a little bit of "what next?".  So here are a few of mine:

I see the courts are handing out sentences (albeit paltry) for virtually every crime related to the riots.  What's changed?  What I mean by that is for years now the British public as been crying out for action on crime and all the time we've been given short shrift.  Politicians have pointed to all sorts of reasons why it couldn't happen while we despaired and our criminal element grew stronger.  Suddenly, Dave and the other cronies have had some bad press and all that has changed.  I don't think the MP's have been rewriting the law from the various villas around the world so these powers are not new and yet suddenly we can apply them. Hmmm, would it be evidence that there has been deliberate application of brakes on magistrates from nipping this kind of thing in the bud.

I understand all police leave has been cancelled.  Aside from questions about how sustainable this is over the longer term, I wonder what it says to the public when politicians are asking them to do more with less, when it turns out they will get paid for having their  holidays interrupted to return and talk this subject to death for their own political ends.  There are several appeals going on across the Internet to raise funds for the mugged student and Aaron Biber, the barber in his 80's who got turned over.  How many of those MP's will redirect their pay for today to such causes to show they really mean those platitudes each of them will utter when they stand up in Parliament today?

What exactly does water cannon deployed on 24 hours notice mean?  Does it mean asking the rioters to come back to the same place the next night so you that they can get hosed down.  Is this what the Home Secretary meant by policing by consent?  The oddity of this is that it gives the impression that tough talk was for show, in which the PM can sound tough making promises that he is never really going to have to deliver on.

My final question is what now?  Yes it has gone quiet and I hope it remains that way but in reality nothing has changed.  All that has happened is the perpetrators of this have retreated to sleep off their indulgence and to rest their shoulders from the huge chip on them they've been carrying around.  Their attitudes remain the same.  The structures that permit them to feel the way they do and thrive still remain.  The consequences that are currently being wheeled out (a short term PR measure) are not sustainable for too long.  There is still a system creaking from social woodworm and nothing will changed until this is fixed. 

I'm sure I have more but as I don't expect to receive answers to these, I'll reserve my energy and leave it there for the sake of my health.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Copying Tommy

There's understandably a lot of examination as to the background of the recent rioting and looting in the UK.  Whilst certain people on the left are looking to make political capital out of it by blaming it on government cuts, others are looking at what is increasingly being termed the feral nature of the rioters.  Whilst both sides seem to share the notion of an underclass they hold differing views of what is in the petrie dish in which this virus thrives.

To be honest my view is that the causes are multi faceted.  For me some of it is boundaries and holding to account, some of it is about education and some is about an over generous welfare state.  Many on the left will tell you it is all about government spending and programmes and will try to seize the moral high ground as they offer this mantra as the path to raising the life standards of these poor disenfranchised.  they've sold this message very well over the years as they pretty much dominate the electoral picture in these areas.  They run the councils, represent them as MP's and many who share their thinking have key roles in aligned roles such as social services.

Isn't it then curious how these people remain trapped in poverty?  As I mentioned in a previous post it is almost as if paradise is always over the next hill, if the population will continue to vote for them.  I remain suspicious of this, because it would seem that lifting such people from the poverty trap would mean that they would no longer be eligible for welfare programmes and massive influxes of public spending, nor would they need it.  They would thrive on their own, but of course I'm sure they would ultimately prefer that - wouldn't they?  I know that people who share my political views would certainly like to see these people turned around not only for their own sakes but for those of a thriving Britain.

So maybe we should look for a new solution to the problem compared to the one that has been repeatedly implemented in this country to no effect for some years now.

Maybe we need to look over at the work of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.  For those who don't know who he is, he was elected Governor of Wisconsin and was around at the same time as Bill Clinton.  When he came to office, Wisconsin was a wreck as a state, to the point that they became the butt of jokes and campaigns from other states.  I believe that it was the state of Illinois, that put up signs, tempting businesses to relocate there from Wisconsin with ads such as "will the last  business to leave Wisconsin please turn out the lights".  Worse still Wisconsin had a massively expensive welfare bill.

What Thompson did however was turn around the problems in Wisconsin to such an extent that the then President Clinton took his ideas for implementation elsewhere.  Many commenters try to give Clinton the credit for welfare reform, but the ideas were really Thompson's.  Oddly enough and counter to the common narrative from the left, what we have here is a conservative politician wanting to improve the condition of the poor.

Personally I think some of his ideas would be very current if you take a viewpoint on some of the underlying problems with our rioters around welfare dependency, fatherless children and lack of education.

Among some of the key things Thompson did was to tie welfare payments to educational attendance.  Parents receiving welfare had the funds aligned to ensuring their child attended school in an effort to break the cycle of poverty that passed from one generation to another.  If your child attended 100% of the time you received your full welfare cheque.  If they missed any number of days your check was revised down by the proportion of time your child had failed to attend school.  Although there was some squealing at first drop out rates declined.

Another thing Thompson did was go after what he referred to as deadbeat dads - those who fathered children and simply disappeared paying not interest or upkeep in their offspring.  Thompson decided to take that on.  You paid up or you went to jail.  Typically in court they would be given an opportunity to avoid jail by making their payments.  Many would try to choose this and avoid it at the same time by claiming that they didn't have a job.  In those cases they were given jobs such as sweeping leaves, litter picking etc.  Oddly enough, they soon found more meaningful work not long after.  This programme moved them to the top two in terms of gathering child support payments.  There were other programmes as well and you can read about them at the Heritage Institute

As to be expected, there were howls of outrage and criticism from certain groups and other poverty enablers.  There is always a reason for such people why reform is wrong, even if it turns things around.  As they often say though, you know you must be near the target when you start taking flak.

Of course we could keep doing what we've always done, but we shouldn't be surprised when we get what we always got.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Right where they wanted them

Theresa May was on Sky News in what I have to say was a poor response by her to the questions put by Eamon Holmes.  The basic thread of the questions was:

  • Where were the police?
  • When will water cannon be used?
  • Will you get the army out?
To be honest I felt it was in the main knee jerk populist stuff. The problem was that May wasn't really able to stand up and make an argument against any of the water cannon / army arguments.  What we got was a repeated mantra of "I'm going to meet with the police today to make sure they have the things they need".  She was totally lost when Eamon Holmes asked what she would do if the police response to that question was water cannon.

I suspect two things were happening here.  The first was that she was heading to a meeting with the PM before meeting with COBRA.  There has been much criticism of our Dave remaining on holiday whilst all this has been going off and he has finally had to come home because it has all got right out of hand.  Dave doesn't like looking bad on the news and doesn't take criticism well.  The Home Secretary knows this and is probably trying to work out how she is going to get stitched up over this.  The second thing is that I suspect she has no idea what to do next.  By not answering the question of what other options are open to them, she has effectively declared that they have nothing more probably because Dave wouldn't countenance such things because it wouldn't make him look good on the TV to his most vociferous critics.

But there is an emerging theme here about the riots identified by people on the ground and by those who seem to be watching the news.  There does appear to be a distinct absence of police and activity.  Granted it is from the somewhat limited view of a TV camera, but the police lines look very thin.  What's more is that there's no obvious efforts to clamp down on the looting and the burning.  Common themes among the reporting are that police vans are driving past looters, burdened with their booty.

Its not just coming from the press side of things either.  Over at Inspector Gadget this morning he has mentioned being on duty and how the orders seem to be to stand there.  IG gives us this observation:

At the briefing, many of my officers wanted cast-iron guarantees from Silver Command that no individual officers would be suspended and prosecuted if we use force and a rioter became seriously injured.
This was not forthcoming. There are at least 12 County forces here now, ‘Remember Tomlinson’ was being whispered everywhere at the FCP.
Many people are becoming very angry that we refuse to move our lines and baton charge the rioters. I have run around like a blue arsed fly trying to understand why we are being ordered to stay static; the only explanation I can find is that Gold Command are concerned about the sensitivity of the target group.

In effect the police have been kettled as an organisation and as an extension over period of time have become paralysed in situations like this.  Some of the factors that have led to this are possibly of their own making as they have made some significant errors over the year but show me any institution that is without error and in any case such errors should not tarnish a whole force, nor should any error be considered the definition of normal for them

Having said that, the police have become hamstrung by a process and an attack over the years that comes right out of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, a manual favoured by the left for many years.  One of the rules within the book is to make your opponents live up to their own rules.  What this effectively translates to is that you use any argument that fits the aim of beating your opponent into a corner and paralyses them.  Combine this with a senior leadership whose main thought is progression up the greasy pole, which involves having no controversy stapled to your CV and you have the perfect brew for the static policing approach witnessed by many.

This has been happening to the police over a number of years and leaves them in a position of damned if they do and damned if they don't.

I suspect certain people have got them right where they wanted them.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Poverty Enablers

Although it comes from the US, once again we see we have parallels with them in the problems they face.  After we have our riots, we have an emerging narrative where key players with vested political interests decide to start harping on about cuts that only exist in political rhetoric.  These people  have touted themselves as the answer to their prayers if only they would vote for them.

Unfortunately such groups have been voting for them for as long as they can remember.  The result?  Well in short, nothing ever changes and that's just the way those vested political interests like it.  For them the promised land is always just over the next hill and a vote for them will get the oppressed there - until such time as they get over that hill and it then moves to just over the next hill.

In reality these people are poverty enablers.

I'll leave Bill Whittle to explain it.

42 Inch Survival Tools

Having stayed away from the news for a few days, you can imagine my surprise when I heard about the riots in North London.  By the time I got to it, the death of Mark Duggan had become lost to the more widespread rioting and the open looting of stores.  I then watched how the fight had spread to other areas.  A quick search of Twitter showed some of these fools openly posing with their swag.

Odd that this should come so shortly after my recent post in which I pondered various questions about the outcomes of the economic downturn that seems to have taken hold of the western world.  For those who haven't read it, my observation was that various bloggers were alluding to quite a significant outcome without actually going into detail about what it might mean for society.  There were some tentative observations that this might lead to some kind of collapse, but like many they had stopped themselves from suggesting that it would lead to a total collapse and quite rightly so because it isn't clear.

This weekends events worry me though.  Unfortunately it didn't take much to get us to the events in North London (and no I don't mean that the shooting of a young man is nothing).  Time will tell what really happened but on the face of it we have gone from what appears to have been a relatively small protest outside of a police station to a full on riot shortly afterwards, which in turn morphed into looting.  This in turn sparked copycat rioting in areas totally unconnected to the initial incident.

Then there seems to be the looting itself.  According to the reports I've been able to see it seems that the must have items in a societal breakdown are lifestyle items, such as mobile phones, 42 inch flatscreen TVs, expensive trainers, bodyshop stuff and blue ray DVDs.

I can't be the only one who thinks that the looting isn't scavenging out of necessity to feed starving relatives, but an act naked greed by people who think they are entitled to take what they want.  This isn't about the outrage at the shooting of a young man.  It is about as far removed from that as it is possible to get.  It is about individuals who think that somehow they are owed a certain level of comfort and lifestyle, not from the fruits of their labour but from the ability to go out and take it.  They've used the shooting as an excuse, not as a reason, to follow their base desires.  They weren't desperate - just riddled with a sense of entitlement

All it took was an event that in reality they weren't connected to and didn't impact them to bring this streak out.  That for me is worrying.


Well coming back to our economic problem, I see that the Asian markets are expressing their first reactions to the US downgrade and it isn't positive.  Where this will ultimately go it seems is unclear to everyone but much of the direction of travel at the moment is downhill and in reality everyone seems to be clutching at straws to try and arrest the slide towards an economic collapse.

Should a collapse come, the impact of what it will do to a society is not totally clear.  In all likelihood though some things we take for granted will be interrupted to a certain degree, be it money, food prices, fuel prices, interest payments, delivery schedules of essentials or availability of certain things if private enterprises in related industries go bust.

The impact of those problems on our society will in part depend on our ability to remain civil and maintain those invisible bonds that hold the fabric of our society together through the unwritten contract in which we all (or at least the majority) rightly agree to abide by the law and to live our life according to both rights and responsibilities.  In hard times of yesteryear, the vast majority seemed to possess an unwritten code of conduct in which they tried to whether the storm through a combination of self reliance, cutting back and for the most part staying within the bounds of acceptable behaviour.  It was this that would have prevented a descent into mass lawlessness.

Were we to have a similar significant downturn, would the same code of conduct be applicable?  Well it would certainly be necessary but the weekends events demonstrate some worrying signs.  I worry that the events of the weekend suggest that society is more easily triggered towards lawlessness than in depressions of years gone by, partly because what it considers hardship is now measured in the size of your flatscreen TV or how many DVD players you own. How small an economic downturn will it take before these people decide their entitlement to a perfect life isn't being met?  Once they decide, how many (and how quickly) will others take the behaviour of these people as their trigger to follow suit.

I also worry that the weekends events suggest that in any form of collapse, that people will not look within themselves to ride out the downturn but will simply look to those who are and decide (through their sense of entitlement) that it is up to others to provide for them and simply take from them.

And if that happens, we'll be in totally uncharted territory.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

British Tea - Tea Time in Britain?

Apologies - this may turn into a slightly long one.

I've been mulling this one over for a some time now and keep alluding to it in my blog, but I haven't really developed the idea too far until now.  Thanks to Wittering Witney I was prompted into this by a post he placed up a few days ago.  It got me thinking and fortunately a couple of other articles that appeared at a similar point in time stregthened them and started to bring it together and was compounded by the recent news of the problems with the US debt ceiling vote which was capped off with the downgrade by S&P yesterday.

In the post over at Wittering Witney, David has begun work to identify what a democracy in this country should look like.  He has made it something of an open forum to examine other ideas because like many of us, he feels the current one is broke in a large number of ways.  I started to give some thought to it but was struggling to a point which only served to illustrate David's point of how little serious thought that we had given it.  If you have any ideas, I recommend you head over there and add your contribution for discussion.

My contribution to the process comes at it from a slightly different angle but in support of it  For such an idea to succeed and grow, I think needs a body of people to get us to the point where such ideas could become possible.  The present people and pervading culture apparently running has reduced asking the people what they want and acting to a pretence.   Politicans of all hues make a big song and dance about democracy in this country, all the time dangling tantalising gifts in front of our eyes, whilst simultaneously working out complex ways to deny us any of them.

As examples of this, I give you our so called EU referendum lock in which contains a strange array of hoops to jump through before it gets to the people.  In addition I give you the so called e-petitions that are currently being touted as putting democracy back in your hands.  Have you spotted the common theme of both of them?  In reality there is a stage at which the closed shop of Parliament gets to look at them and go "erm.... No". 

And then we have this little gem from a few days back in the Telegraph.  There is a bill in Parliament ready to take a second reading in which we will discuss our own debt ceiling.  It was this that really brought it home for me.  On the face of it it sounds like a good idea and sounds like a real set of checks and balances.  I think it would be if there were real checks and balances to it, but take a look at it again.  The whole thing takes place in parliament which is similar to how it was in the US.  But lets have a look back over the pond shall we?  The reality there was that it became in effect, a rubber stamping exercise.  There was probably a bit of jockeying but ultimately it often passed because it was run by politicians whose first thought was their own election and reelection to secure their place at a trough.  Of course as everywhere they may have been some politicians of principle but clearly the overriding preference was to keep spending and kick the proverbial can down the road.

We have increasing evidence that something similar is taking place here.  Back at Wittering Witney, David has put up a post about the new intake's primary interest being their own self advancement.  So we have to ask ourselves what any of these mechanisms will be worth if the majority of the new or old guard in Parliament's overriding thought is to serve their own ends and not ours.

Going back to the debt ceiling debate in the US, the only thing that changed anything was the growth and influence of the Tea Party Movement.  Unfortunately if you've been subject to coverage of this using only UK media, the chances are you've received a very different picture of the debate and the Tea Party.  Despite the coverage of, for example, the BBC, the Tea Party aren't the ones who brought the US government and economy to the brink by attempting to stop the President's attempts to fix the deficit.  For a relatively quick summary you can look at threads over at Biased BBC such as this one.

What in reality happened is that through their efforts they achieved a seat at the debating table.  How has have they achieved that?  Well they have made it clear that a politicians place at the trough depends on them.  Those that challenged this found themselves out of office.

And so I come back to Britain.

To influence democracy and the restoration of Britain, we need to get our seat back at the table.  Doing that needs a body of people to bring that about, who wish to see a return to smaller government following a responsible fiscal strategy of lower government spending who create an environment in which individual enterprise and personal and national excellence flourish.

I believe that like the US we need a Tea Party movement here in the UK.

For me it is an idea whose time has come here in Britain.  For those who aren't aware, the Tea Party aren't a party as such despite the name.  The Tea Party is a movement comprised of people who in the main share the ideas of the restoration of their country.  Common to pretty much all of them is a common core of principles of small government etc.What particularly resonates with me are the mantras of Taxed Enough Already and No Tax Without Representation

For me a Tea Party answers the problem we have of party allegiance in Britain.  The view of many is that you can no longer tell parties apart any more.  There are other failures of the party system in representing people in recent times leading to the idea that holding to one part alone serves no purpose as all of them seem to have been hijacked by people with little or no interest in us or the country and are managed by a whip system which currently has the hand on the voting and speaking habits of our MP's.

Regulars may be aware of my view that the only reason whips and parties hold the leash on our MPs is that we have handed it to them and that our MPs also behave as they do because we have allowed them to by disengaging.  However the reality is that at present we hold the real power to their place at the trough and in the face of our power to remove them and replace them at the trough with someone who was willing to follow our principles, such behaviour might change and the power balance might change.  That has been the key to the influence of the Tea Party in the US and is something that can follow here with a public following.

The key to this is local action and here is another similarity with the Tea Party.  The Tea Party gathers its strength as a movement by acting as local chapters.  They aren't a party, they are a series of local chapters that network nationally.  It isn't top down and subject to hijack from a central command.  Their central command are core principles.  Yes there are leading lights who speak nationally and share some of the common thinking and move the debate along, but the local chapter set up is the predominant model.  In Britain, I think that could work for us as our power base is locally, where our MP must come to answer to us and is where we decide if he or she returns to Parliament or not.

I think it is time and will use this blog to help those also interested in the concept to grow and develop their local chapters through searching for tools that will help them grow their chapters.  I will also continue to blog about other things.  Those will be my actions, but as I say, such an idea and the development of the ideas Wittering Witney is working takes a body of people.  The question will be, will those body of people come?  I cannot say, but without them we will deserve the downfall we will get. 

It is now up to you.  Related blog entries will start with the phrase British Tea and on Twitter, related subjects will have the hashtag #BritishTea

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Doorbell

Apparently this is going viral in the US.

I think it is something that equally applies to us.  Feel free to help it on its journey by sending it to friends.  Too many haven't woken up to what is happening and this brings the problem into sharp relief:

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Once again for some time my blogging has become non existent.  Not because there's nothing to talk about.  In fact the opposite has been quite true.  To be frank though, the sheer volume of things to take issue with became a combination of overwhelming and seriously depressing.  In many respects I had no appetite to comment on what seemed to be an endless vista of decay in what was once a great nation. What compounded this was that I had serious questions about what I and maybe other bloggers were actually achieving.  We're screaming from the rooftops about the issues, we're commenting on each others blogs.  But some things just continue as they did.  Many in the MSM either fail to report, miss the point altogether or run a counter narrative so that the demoralisation process continues at an unrelenting pace.  Politicians continue to make the same mistakes that will take us to a point where the whole thing goes bang purely because their overriding obsession seems to be themselves and incapable of leadership in what look to be truly serious times.

But worst of all at the moment seem to be the people.  For all the warnings, the people seem to continue to proceed in some sort of coma.  Every so often, one will raise their head and say someone should do something and then return to their powerless lives.

I have seriously questioned what the point is of what I and others do on blogs because I wonder what appetite the nation has to save itself.  To a point I understand it.  They have become in effect veal calves, incapable of standing because their muscles and capability is so tender and weak.  But obviously it leaves me wondering if I am wasting my time and whether my efforts should be focused on other things.  In fact my time away has been spent thinking about potential outcomes of the path we find ourselves on and what actions I should be taking in order to prepare for the various scenarios.  Sometimes I am truly terrified of what might be lying on the road ahead.

Many of us have talked about the farcical handling of the crisis in the Euro and the debts.  We've often used the terms such as Day of reckoning, hang on to your hats , bumpy ride and other such things.  How many of us have seriously sat down and thought what that might mean.  One of the few things we're not hearing about is that the crisis in Greece hasn't just resulted into a dust up on the streets of Athens, there are other aspects.  There has been a rise in in demand on soup kitchens as the bite really takes hold.  There are probably other things as well.  The gist of it all however is that people are unable to cope and are looking to someone else to solve their problem for them because they don't see where they should compromise their expectation of life or because they have no self reliance.

I believe the claims of our government that the crisis will not affect us is laughable.  Like their European counterparts they keep suggesting they have things contained, but I see two things that run counter to this.  The first is that what we seem to have these days are infantile politicians.  Every industry and sector has its chancers - people skilled at sticking a large bore needle in the artery of money that their sector generates, draining it for their own ends.  They posture like leaders, but leadership is not in their skill set.  Such things take work and that is precisely what they wish to avoid.  Their mantra is Money Through Shortcuts.  For me, that is where modern politics is across pretty much the whole spectrum and defines the repeated actions we currently see in their efforts to handle the crisis.  The other thing that runs counter to this, lies outside the mainstream media and is in the view of people such as Golem XIV are comments that the current approaches are laughable and suggestions that we may have passed a point to be able to stop this and that something is coming.  With each phase of the crisis, bloggers have pointed to the potential next stage only to have the so called great and the good tell the world not to be silly.  Yet each of those next phases have gone on to come true as Italy and Spain start to spiral out of control.

It may well affect us all, but what in reality is IT?  How far will it really go?  How deep will it really bite?  What will it really mean for us in our everyday lives?  I take no pleasure in an I told you so attitude. Anytime I spoke of it it was really in the hope that it might wake people up. But I have no certainty that I could achieve that.  So I am left to ponder what might really happen if this thing really does go bang in a world where people have no concept of a major adjustment to their lifestyles.  Will the collapse of the house of cards mean a small adjustment such as a little cutting back on how much we might spend on a meal out? 

Or will it mean something altogether more significant?

And if it does, what will we see in a nation ever more reliant on others to solve our problems if the things we take for granted stop.

And so I keep on wondering where this will really leave us