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?