September 2009

Celebs and their thoughts on ID cards

Misunderstanding the the British psyche, Nulabour style

Anthony Horowitz Anthony Horowitz
Polite society, to which obviously we all aspire, is full of little acts of ceremony, exchanging comments about the weather is typical, this is safe ground on which to begin a conversation with a stranger. However, time moves on and now data loss by government, the idiocy of the ID card system and national databases have become accepted ice-breakers, try it sometime!

The proof of this attitude change comes in off-hand references to these things in out-of-the-way places. The author Anthony Horowitz is screenwriter for the ITV drama about life in the UK during the Second World War called, 'Foyle's War'. In a newspaper article about his research for this programme, he gave some interesting background detail. Between 1939 and 1945, 178,000 new indictable offences were created, Horowitz quotes 'The People's War' by Angus Calder as his source for this.

Good on you Declan Ganley

Libertas posterLibertas poster Declan Ganley writes an excellent article in the Irish Times. He says:

Sixteen months ago, Ireland was the most popular nation in Europe. As news of our No vote spread, we were cheered across the continent. Bouquets of flowers were handed in to startled receptionists in our embassies. Crowds waved “Thank you Ireland” placards. Europeans felt that we had cast proxy ballots for them. We had voted as they would have voted......

There’s the transfer of decision-making power to Brussels in more than 60 key areas of sovereignty. The creation of the unelected European president who will speak on behalf of us all as newly minted union citizens. There’s the establishment of a common foreign, security and defence policy, complete with embassies, diplomatic staff and an EU foreign and security minister.......

Then, there is a mechanism known as the “ passerelle ” or “passageway” that allows the EU to annex new areas of policy by a simple decision of the Council of Ministers, with no need to refer back to the national parliaments or get a treaty change – let alone call a new referendum. That’s why we christened it the “self-amending treaty”......

Brown, Hesford and Scotland

The law of the land?

Two dumpsters together Two dumpsters together
The MP Stephen Hesford has resigned, and who's Stephen Hesford? He's a very junior part of Nulabour, but that's not the problem; so what is? Well he has resigned over the Baroness Scotland case and even that's just a part of the problem. For the real problem here is Gordon (bottler) Brown, again. The PM is quite happy for his employees, like Scotland, to introduce reams of poor quality legislation that will trap the unwary as much as the guilty, so he is responsible.

Some thoughtful people have said there is little point in a witch hunt aimed at Scotland, that's true enough, but it serves the purpose of getting back at Nulabour. It vents years of frustration built up by this sort of legislation being dropped on small businesses all over the UK. Scotland failed in a procedure to check that a worker had a legal right to be here. Now simple minded folk may recall when the UK controlled its own borders; perhaps the legal right to enter and work in the UK should be decided by people better qualified than an employer.

Ignore the people

..The Telegraph reports that a YouGov poll for the paper has found that 57 (now 70) percent of voters think a Conservative government should hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty even if it is already ratified when it is elected, 15 percent say they shouldn't, and 23 percent are not sure. When asked how they would vote in a referendum, 36 percent said they would vote No, 13 percent said they would vote Yes, and 51 percent said they didn't know.

When asked if it was a choice between accepting the Treaty as it is, or leaving the EU altogether, 26 percent said they would accept the Treaty, 43 percent said leave the EU, and 31 percent said they were not sure.

Pots and kettles

as does the EUas does the EU

The Liberal Democrat shadow Home Secretary, David Howarth, tries to claim the high ground regarding civil liberties. He says the Lib Dems will, like the Tories cancel: the NIR, ID cards and ContactPoint. Similarly they will also remove the innocent from the DNA database and roll back some of the RIPA powers. He mentions the unfair extradition treaty under which Gary Mackinnon is being extradited to the USA, which the Tories also oppose.

However, he castigates the Conservatives for not believing in major aspects of civil liberties, see here.

Political fix history

Car factory repair and public money

Linwood, the dawn Linwood, the dawn
When Northern Rock wobbled, Nulabour rushed in to stabilize things. That the Rock was not shaken by some unforeseen seismic event but was the victim of its own stupidity counted for very little. What shook Nulabour into life was the location of the Rock headquarters, the North East of England. Geordie Land is like a stick of seaside rock with Nulabour all the way through; both Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson had safe seats up there it had to be saved, it was a political fix.

It was irrational and counterproductive, the Rock should have been allowed to go broke. So an opportunity to send a sharp lesson to the UK banking sector was missed. Thus UK banks carried on and on doing the same old tricks. For some bankers the last year or so has only been a bit of a problem, for the UK taxpayer who is now picking up the tab it's going to be a nightmare. This sort of thing has happened before.

Harold Macmillan's government had put immense pressure on the Rootes' Group to build the Linwood factory in Scotland knowing that the local authority for Ryton in Warwickshire had refused planning permission to extend the existing works. Rootes had a grant for Linwood but in reality it was never going to be enough.

The factory opened in 1963 and soon became famous for all the wrong reasons, the cars had niggling faults and production was hindered by strikes.

Experts in corruption at work in Afghanistan.

Help for a corrupt country?

better than a burka?better than a burka?

Der Spiegel has an interesting article on the German bombing of the two tankers and the aftermath. In the article there is this amazing statement:

The Italians were responsible for judicial reform. Credible prosecutors and courts are a rarity. The formula for justice in Afghanistan is simple: Anyone who can afford it can act with complete impunity. Drug barons, mafia kingpins, landlords and business people can all buy court rulings.

You don't say, whereas in Italy drug barons, mafia kingpins, landlords and business people never subvert the impartial administration of the law.

Sorry for what?

The pardon game

sorry about what? sorry about what?

Maths is a funny old subject, it has many enemies, usually this anti feeling starts at school and continues into adult life. There is the joke: “if I try to do mental arithmetic it makes my brain bleed”. But many people do excel at this subject, Alan Turing was exceptional. His progress through school and beyond was in fact hampered by this ability as it drew unfavourable comment from the masters. It also stood in the way of him getting a place at his first choice of college at Cambridge.

However, soon this very same ability allowed him to study in the USA and in the summer of 1938 he obtained his PhD from Princeton. Turing began work at Bletchley Park upon the outbreak of war and was involved with their work, but not always at Bletchley, until the war was over.

Nulabour nu leader?

Or just another maverick?

Change? Perhaps not!Change? Perhaps not!
Jon Cruddas, (see right) now he's a bit of a laugh. It seems after umpteen years' membership of Nulabour he's spotted there's a bit of a problem, where's he been these last few years and what has he been doing to have missed the obvious? Cruddas was elected to parliament in 2001 and being the sort of chap he is, was no doubt a party member even in the days when his bike had stabilisers. His whole life and that of his family have been dominated by Nulabour, perhaps for him there is no life outside the bubble.

He is the man who does not want, so he says, to be the leader of his party. To underline this he keeps on saying it. And when he's not saying it directly he sort of drops hints about it. Cruddas is like so many of the Nulabour folk who do not want to make waves,

Lifting people out of IT poverty?

Biometrics destabilise Somaliland

Somaliland flag.Somaliland flag.

If you think we've got it bad, then consider Somaliland. Private Eye printed a letter from Hargeisa (the capital):

Somaliland is the only place in the Horn of Africa that is democratic, stable and tolerant ... our record of closely contested polls compares pretty well with our neighbours. Our friends faraway nevertheless thought that what we really needed was a state of the art biometric finger printing and facial recognition system to compile a voter's roll ...

Alas, this model of donor co-operation has somewhat underperformed. Presidential elections have been postponed four times now and are 18 months late, and now we have the prospect of civil war as our politicians cannot agree on a way forward.