January 2008

Ireland may delay EU vote

Archived Stop Press article

Please say NOPlease say NO

Ireland may delay its vote on whether or not to ratify the Lisbon Treaty/Constitution. The referendum may be postponed until the Autumn. The reason for the postponement is that Toaiseach Bertie Ahern is embroiled in a series of enquiries into payments made to him in the 1990s. 54% of the population do not believe his evidence and Europhiles feel that this could influence the vote. Some of the EU heavies such as Angela Merkel are coming to help and it has been suggested that the YES side has been trying to get Monsieur Le Pen to come over to put off NO voters. Libertas are helping the NO campaign and are intending to deliver a leaflet to every household in Ireland to counter the massive propaganda and spin from the YES side.

Islam lite

Could humour bring an Islamic Enlightenment?

Iraqis are posting dozens of YouTube 'blooper' videos. My favourite is that of Moqtada al-Sadr as the chief penguin in the film Little Feet, dancing to music from Mahdi army rallies. The Danish National Library is also helping to lighten the Islamic mood by stating that it intends to archive the Danish cartoons as they are of historic value and several museums wish to host exhibitions. Amazingly the Muslim spokesman who led the campaign against the cartoons, which resulted in 100 deaths worldwide, now says the 'provocation' would be ignored. Humour and common sense could save the world.( However the spokesman's friends have now been rioting for six days after a cartoon was reprinted so perhaps not.)

Safe as houses - part 2

They think its all over

The sign of the times? The sign of the times?

As articles are published in date order part 1 appears below

Some brave souls tried to find reasons for the mess, alas the old joke that 'if you need three opinions on the economy, then ask two economists' came back in force, for complicated it was, with statistics aplenty. We were told that 8% of UK mortgages could be termed sub-prime, that the US has lower dollar reserves than India, Singapore and Brazil and also the world's largest trade deficit, while the UK has the third largest deficit. However, the cynic in me raised a smile when the news came that UK banks would no longer lend money to each other. Now that was funny, as the banks, by contrast, have lent so much money to the nation's credit card holders. In looking for a culprit for the sub-prime mess, first criticising, then blaming hedge funds became the preferred option; even if one hardly had a clue as to what they did for a living. Only knowing that in the past, hedge funds had been given a hard time by trade unions and a Parliamentary Select Committee alike.

BBC bias revealed

Archived Stop Press article

debatabledebatable

The BBC always claims to be independent and unbiased yet it has received more than £157 million in loans from The European Investment Bank (EIB) since 2002. As the Huntsman blog points out the mission statement for the EIB is:
to further the objectives of the European Union by making long-term finance available for sound investment...We are at the service of the Union.
The EIB aims
To finance viable capital projects which further EU objectives..and finances capital investment furthering EU integration

BBC spokesman denied any pro-Brussels bias: “There were no editorial obligations whatsoever attached to the three EIB loans. The BBC’s commercial businesses go to the European Investment Bank as opposed to any other commercial bank for purely commercial reasons.”So, there is absolutely no conflict of interest.
However, it is strange that even Tony Blair in yet another new job, this time for the Swiss financial giant Zurich isn't allowed to lobby his former government colleagues for one year. His other job is with JP Morgan and they have been chosen to run the new trade Bank of Iraq. Perhaps he'll be able to lobby the EU instead?

Inserting videos

To insert a video from YouTube, click on the video icon: insert video One click will 'open' the video tag in the text box: [video: then you can paste in a YouTube URL, eg http://youtube.com/watch?v=Q2pYgfQ2BLI. Then click the video button again to 'close' the tag (by automatically entering a ']' character). You should see: [video:http://youtube.com/watch?v=Q2pYgfQ2BLI] This will embed a YouTube video with player, paused until one clicks the play icon. Videos are best inserted in between paragraphs.

EU helps destruction of rainforest

Archived Stop Press article

Car fuelCar fuel

The EU target of 10% biofuel by 2020 is helping to destroy the Brazilian rainforest. After a decrease in cutting over the past several years it has shown a marked increase since Summer 2007. This is to farm cattle and grow soya, see Al Jazeera, to help the West save the planet.

Safe as houses - part 1

In the beginning

Safe in their hands? Safe in their hands?

Introduction - At the start of what we now call the credit crunch I sensed that this was to be no ordinary event. As an avid reader of any business and economics news I developed a near morbid interest in this subject, so kept a diary. On a personal level, I once had a Northern Rock deposit account and own some bank shares.

In 2007, when some families in the UK were coping with the damage to their homes caused by the floods, another disaster was gathering pace. Unlike the floods, which at the time went straight to the top of the nation's concerns, the sub-prime crisis of the USA began at first as a mere trickle in the the depths of reporting. Not at all photogenic, this event took a long time to get the attention it deserved. Eventually we saw the Northern Rock (NR) investors form into queues to get their money back, the outcome from this event will, in time, be seen as a force equal to the UK floods, and reaching far beyond any flood plain or barrier. So how to describe the sub-prime crisis? An act of pure folly, or merely a market correction?

Janet Devers metric martyr

Archived Stop Press article

The late Steve ThobornThe late Steve Thoborn

Our greatest campaigner Neil Herron tells the story of Janet Devers, the latest Metric Martyr, and why we should all support her against the forces of pique. Read the story and donate to Janet's legal fees at www.metricmartyrs.co.uk

Public benefit or private gain?

Tax relief for sharia?

Iranian adulteressIranian adulteress

Dr.Suhaib Hasan is a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain on issues of sharia law. He would like to introduce sharia law into Britain and feels that :" If sharia law is implemented, then you can turn this country into a haven of peace because once a thief's hand is cut off nobody is going to steal" and "Once, just once, if an adulterer is stoned nobody is going to commit this crime at all." Now, he is stating his mad opinion and he is entitled to do so as we still have a semblance of free speech in Britain. However, the Muslim Council of Britain is a registered charity and, as such, gets tax relief. Should be be promoting such views in this way?

Anyone in charge?

Blair as President?Blair as President?

The best section of the EU debate came from William Hague and here is his nightmare vision of an EU President Tony Blair meeting his old pal Gordon.

We can all picture the scene at a European Council sometime next year. Picture the face of our poor Prime Minister as the name “Blair” is nominated by one President and Prime Minister after another: the look of utter gloom on his face at the nauseating, glutinous praise oozing from every Head of Government, the rapid revelation of a majority view, agreed behind closed doors when he, as usual, was excluded. Never would he more regret no longer being in possession of a veto: the famous dropped jaw almost hitting the table, as he realises there is no option but to join in. And then the awful moment when the motorcade of the President of Europe sweeps into Downing street. The gritted teeth and bitten nails: the Prime Minister emerges from his door with a smile of intolerable anguish; the choking sensation as the words, “Mr President”, are forced from his mouth. And then, once in the Cabinet room, the melodrama of, “When will you hand over to me?” all over again.