March 2008

The circumlocution world

Euphemism or obfuscation?

Phillipe FossierPhillipe Fossier

The modern world is a muddle. Names of things: organisations, ministries, concepts and organisations are always changing. The DTI is now the Department of BERR and the poor are no longer with us but have become the socially excluded. You find yourself thinking What's that? Only to find a word or term that you had used for a while had been replaced. Then there are all the buzz words you need to use to be part of this world such as: "best practice", "diversity", "gender", "sustainability", "community", "ethnicity", "governance", "delivery", "targeting", "orientation", "timelines", "resources", "empowerment", "renewables", "compliance" and "strategies."

The wrong kind of science?

The funcs begin their work

The original Husband design The original Husband design

I'm lazy, but at least I'm honest and own up. I had always had it in mind to visit Jodrell Bank and the desire stretched back years. I can, just, remember the role Jodrell Bank played in the tracking of the 1957 Sputnik launched by the Russians much to the chagrin of the USA. I was not wholly aware of the significance of this tracking work but, at my local cinema, Pathé News said it was a first for Russia and implied that we here in the UK had done jolly well too, so that was good enough for me.

None of the above

Empty Commons.Empty Commons.
There is to be no referendum. Our politicians have spoken. They know best and simply do not care that they do not represent the people. Apart from some honourable exceptions see list.

They patronise them and largely keep them in ignorance. The Tories haven't really put their heart and soul into the referendum campaign and refuse to say what they would do if they gained power because they feel that this might hamper their chances of election. The Liberal Democrat leadership is just plain silly. There is a chance that the House of Lords could save the day so it is still worth writing to them. Otherwise there is no party that truly represents the people.

Attention deficit?

Not paying attention Not paying attention

They, our politicians, simply don't get it, perhaps they are not paying attention. Our loyal readers may have thought we are going off the boil and noticed a slowing down in the rate of posting recently, well we are not tiring, we have been campaigning, contacting the House of Commons and the Lords. The outcome has been illuminating to say the least. Not all MPs are easy to contact, some do not reply, others seemed to fail to grasp the substance of our question. By contrast a few have been good enough to send lengthy replies, perhaps sensing that the demand for a referendum is not simply a party political matter but goes further; and in years to come will be seen a pivotal point about which the whole quality of UK politics revolved.

At last! A reason to contact your MEP.

Ayaan Hirsi AliAyaan Hirsi Ali

Please contact the MEPs in your EU region and urge them to sign a petition asking for funding to provide security for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other people who require protection from Islamic criminals because they have criticised Islam.See our article called 'Free speech is relative' here and more about the petition here. Evidently, if half the EU parliament sign the petition then funding would be considered. So, at last we see a use for an MEP.

EU observer tells us, 4th March, that Franco Frattini ( your Justice Capo) says that she will be protected, by the country concerned. All a bit vague but we hope it'll be all right.

Catch 22 revisited

mass lobbymass lobby

We have just returned from the mass lobby demanding that MPs keep their promise regarding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty/Constitution. You can see the photos on the I want a referendum website but that's about it. We did expect about 30 seconds exposure from the BBC but didn't even get that. The newspapers, and TV, largely ignored it, finding the Heathrow Airport expansion rooftop protest and the mini-earthquake more exciting. After the long day queuing at the House of Commons there were speeches which told us what we, and no doubt you, already know but there don't seem any campaign ideas beyond the (wildly successful) mini-referenda organised by I want a referendum. We wish to help, so we're writing to some Peers.

Tammany Halls?

Archived Stop Press article

Lee JasperLee Jasper

The mayor of London's senior aide Lee Jasper has resigned.The allegations, made by the
Evening Standard,
concern money paid by the London Development Agency (LDA), the mayor's business arm, to a number of black organisations. Perhaps now that this issue is, at long last, being investigated, we may see some light shone on other egregious funding scandals such as SRB6 in Birmingham.

Save our bacon

A rural idyll

Winnie the pig
veteran activist
Winnie the pig veteran activist

As pig farmers march on parliament the talk is of high grain prices and the trouble competing with cheap imports of pork reared to lower welfare standards. The answer is clear.

Imagine a Britain which has a vibrant rural society with a complex, mixed economy with a liberal approach to planning and regulation. The countryside repopulated and containing: village schools, shops, pubs, buses, post offices, farm shops, small abattoirs and food processors, affordable housing, employment opportunities for the young, entertainment, wildlife and a welfare friendly farm management system. Imagine a beautiful countryside supporting tourism, entertainment and recreation

Bird death Malta

Archived Stop Press article

killing fields Maltakilling fields Malta

You can help prevent the annual slaughter of thousands of migrating birds in Malta. The EU's Bird Directive of 1979 has not been implemented by Malta and the killing fields continue as before despite its having been a member of the EU since 2004 . Birds migrating from Africa to Europe are killed as they pass over or stop in Malta. Thousands of others, such as finches, are taken by trappers. The EU is taking Malta to the European court over this but it could take some time.

Malta's own bird conservation movement Birdlife Malta is taking action. It is setting up a Spring Watch Conservation camp from 12th till 29th April. Volunteers are expected from all over the world to monitor the carnage and bring it more to the attention of the world.
live decoylive decoy
In his book, Fatal Flight: The Maltese Obsession with Killing Birds which chronicles the history of Maltese hunting, Natalino Fenech described the annual death toll of three million finches, more than half a million thrushes, 500,000 swallows, 80,000 golden orioles, 18,000 shearwaters and 50,000 birds of prey.

Anyone who wants to take part in the Spring Watch Malta camp can go to the Birdlife Malta website or phone Jane Devitt at the RSPB on 01767 680551.

Volunteers need to be interested in birds and reasonably fit.

A tale of two democracies?

Dmitri MedvedevDmitri MedvedevThe unelected president of the European Union, Jose Manuel Barroso, represents the EU at the G8 and has immense power. He assigns jobs to the unelected Commissioners and can sack them. He is proposed by the European Council. The European Parliament then approves the Council's proposed candidate.

This is an open, fair and democratic process representing the finest traditions of our European Union and at the last elections for the European Parliament the turnout was a solid 45%.

On the other hand we have President of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev who won 70% of the votes from a turnout of 68%. He was proposed by former President Putin and the Russian people voted for him.