September 2008

For or against?

The end of the line for banking as we know it

Banking stops here?Banking stops here?
All this is being written very late on Sunday night the 28th September. This is 'Meltdown Weekend', or so they say. And I see a pattern here with our old foe the European Union.

On the subject of the European Union the debate is really simple, for or against. There are, it would seem very few 'don't knows'. The simple polar approach now applies to the financial crisis in general and the banks in particular, bail them out or let them sink. There are a few genuine don't knows and a few who don't care and are not interested either. The latter can sit with the philistines who only see the EU in terms of cheap cigarettes, booze and holidays!

Rich and poor alike

I say unto thee shut up

Prophet and profit Prophet and profit
The Church of England has had vast wealth for ages and those of us with long memories can recall when the Church of England had money troubles; not on the same scale as some banks have now, but there was trouble. The CofE also has a property portfolio, begun sometime after the Ark ran aground and of immense value and size. In fact at one time the CofE was the largest land holder in the UK.

40 years on

Archived Stop Press article

Paris 1968 Paris 1968

In 1968 Danny Cohn-Bendit and friends wished to destroy the capitalist system and allow girls into male university dormitories. Mao and his little red book, Marxism and Ho Chi Minh were good and the quite valid anti-Vietnam movement lent credibility to some of the madness.
Open Europe reports that the conspiracy theories being spun against the Irish NO vote involve the CIA. The president of the EU parliament Herr Pöttering and good old Red Danny are at the heart of the misinformation.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the CIA were against the Lisbon Treaty Constitution. We need all the help we can get.

Clapped out?

Entertaining, up to a point

Our Leader Our Leader
So its all over, the Nulabour fest is over for another year. I have posted before on the madness of the political party conference. It appeals only to the party faithful and the MSM the ordinary voter is not the target audience here. So, you may ask, why bother? Sheer indulgence I say.

Having plenty to do the day of Gordon's big speech I ducked out of listening direct to it on BBC Radio 4. This task fell to my partner who had the radio on in the next room. So all I could hear was the hammy and theatrical droning of the great man but, due to the distance, not the words. There was also the audiences applause. It was the latter that almost dominated the sound from afar and to my reckoning was at least 40% of the air-time. And again due to the distance sounded not like clapping but rain on a tin roof! There was one particular feature of this event that broke my concentration of my task in hand more than any other. It was the choice of key words trotted out mantra-style by the PM.

Why do we put up with it?

A quiet week?

Lake Wobegon Lake Wobegon
In 'Lake Wobegon Days' the author Garrison Keillor always began an observation with: "it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon". Well it was a quiet week beginning 8th September 2008, very quiet, in fact we didn't notice a thing. I refer to the great non-news story of that week when the cabinet meeting was held right here in Birmingham and, for the first time in, well ages, so they say. Just what was the point of this, why did they do that? Personally it was a quiet day and I was working in the garden but I'm sure, in the fullness of time, my life will be the better for this Birmingham meeting. No, only kidding. But I think if Gordon Brown and his cabinet keep this sort of thing up then we will all start to feel sorry for them. Hang on, was that the reason? Then again we all deride the EU for shuffling back and forwards between Brussels and Strasbourg, we can only hope there is not too much gypsy in Gordon Brown otherwise we are stuck with this expensive and futile stunt as a regular feature.

Perhaps at the Birmingham meeting the details of how we can build an extension to our homes without planning permission, see HERE.

This has been promoted as a great help to us all in the depths of the credit crisis and the downturn in the property market.

Lib Dem conundrum

Archived Stop Press article

more than £30 pwmore than £30 pw
The Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference backed bold proposals to remove children from the DNA database and to reduce the amount of personal data kept by the Government.

The Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference passed plans to safeguard personal liberty and privacy in the face of unprecedented collection of personal data by central Government, and a number of large-scale failures of data protection.

BUT the Lib Dem MEPs voted for fast track extradition and trials in absentia in the European parliament.

Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing and do they care?

Emissions trading scam

Archived Stop Press article

neat graphics thoughneat graphics though

Amazingly the Guardian has just cottoned on to the appalling Emissions Trading scheme and how, rather than helping reduce CO2 emissions it is funnelling taxpayers money to large companies, see here. It tells us that:
A flagship European scheme designed to fight global warming is set to hand hundreds of millions of pounds to some of Britain's most polluting companies, with little or no benefit to the environment.

Hurrah, at last a broadsheet has discovered something that many people have long known.

Paying for mediocrity

Heading in the wrong direction

Denis MacShaneDenis MacShane
"I wouldn't start out from here" is, so we are told, a typical Irishism. The term may have been heard once a long time ago deep in rural Ireland spoken by a native to a lost visitor, or might not and instead be wholly fabricated. So it is a matter of speculation what destination Denis MacShane had in mind when he set out on his journey, the one in an article in the New Statesman, see HERE.

Gurkhas have strong ties to the UK

The Home Office on trial for callousness

strong tiesstrong ties

Gyanendra Rai, see here, is leading a claim against the Home Office's refusal to grant settlement to Gurkha veterans who served Britain but retired from the regiment before July 1997 because they "failed to demonstrate strong ties to the United Kingdom". Next Tuesday, the case of 15 former Gurkhas and Gurkha widows - representing more than 2,000 of their former colleagues - will return to the high court in London.

A team of human rights lawyers is challenging the lawfulness of the decisions to refuse these men entry visas to the UK. It wants equal rights for those who retired before the regiment's headquarters moved from Hong Kong to the UK following the 1997 handover of the colony to China.

Almost 1,000 Gurkha veterans - many with more than two decades of exemplary service - have been refused visa clearance by British embassies in Kathmandu, Hong Kong and Macau on the grounds that they do not have strong enough ties with the UK. The government argues that since they never lived in the UK, they have no real links with the country. It is estimated that between 7,000 and 10,000 more Gurkha veterans would settle in Britain should they win the case. They would be most welcome.

Niger has smoking ban

Archived Stop Press article

Niger slaveNiger slave

One of the poorest countries in the world, Niger suffers drought, hunger, disease, unrest, illiteracy and slavery. Slavery was officially banned in 2003 but tens of thousands remain slaves.

Now the government has imposed a smoking ban in public places. The law provides for fines ranging from 5,000 CFA ($11, £6) to 1,000,000 CFA ($2,170, £1,240), as well as prison terms for those who violate the ban. See here.

Now, do you think the people of Niger see this as a health initiative or as an easy way for government officials to earn a little extra money. Do you think the ban is imposed in the Niger parliament or do you think that there are exemptions for politicians?

Our politicians can smoke in the Palace of Westminster in the Strangers' Room because this is designated a royal palace and the officials and politicians in Brussels and Strasbourg can smoke simply because no-one can stop them. Healthy living or else seems only to apply to the public and not the legislators.