Saturday, August 31, 2013

A difficult day - the past week at work

Monday 

A heap of post and about fifty e-mail messages when I got to my desk today.

James B from Head Office was at the Institute to use the reading room.  He came upstairs to tell me how much he liked some of the publications we have done recently.  Not sure how he got to see them as they were on the controlled circulation list.

Tuesday 

The new IT person started today, Martin H - middle-aged, quiet, curly hair and heavy glasses.

Most of the day I worked on a presentation.

Wednesday

Controversy with overseas contacts, so that an initiative has become stalled.

Thursday 

A difficult day, and I had to abandon all my plans for the afternoon.

Friday

The Institute split between short term expressions of loyalty versus longer term commitment to strategic objectives.

24 hour ban on social media, which I thought a bit high-handed.

He has let David Cameron off the hook

Those commentators who are arguing that the United Kingdom could yet join the Obama strike on Syria are misinterpreting what happened on Thursday.

Ed Miliband led his party through the No lobby not in a demonstration of strength but in a demonstration of weakness.  If he had sided with the Coalition his summer-long metamorphosis into Ramsay MacDonald would have been complete, therefore he had to vote No.  This situation has not changed - he cannot join the Coalition without his party tearing itself apart, and the Coalition government cannot join the Obama strike without Labour's support.

And in many ways he has let David Cameron off the hook.  There was an element of humiliation on Thursday for the Prime Minister, but equally there is not going to be any long term involvement in a bloody intractable war.  The Prime Minister retains the moral high ground ("I wanted to help those children, but Labour blocked me"), whereas Ed Miliband is now a hostage to whatever happens in Syria and every atrocity can (unfairly) be portrayed as "Ed's fault", thus providing an on-going narrative for the more unscrupulous newspapers between now and 2015.

"First they crashed the economy, then they trashed our international standing in the world" the narrative will read.
To paraphase Obama, Miliband has given Assad licence to use chemical weapons.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

One could paraphrase the Labour party's position on Syria as:  "a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing".
Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick has resigned as Shadow Minister of State for Transport.

The Syria crisis has the capacity to tear the Labour party apart.

Much will depend on what happens in Syria itself.

A principled and ethical stand on foreign policy?

At last we are beginning to see clear blue water emerging. 

Going into the 2015 election we will be able to say they are pacifist, proto-isolationist, and that they entirely repudiate Blair's foreign policy.

It's probably not possible (at this moment) to call them appeasers, although their former leader did cosy up to Assad, and their current leader is refusing to act against him.

More problematic (because the implications are not entirely clear) is the charge that in a moment of international crisis they refused to stand with the government, thus breaking the convention of consensus over military action.

Are we seeing from the Opposition a principled and ethical stand on foreign policy?  Or has the debate over the past week been a form of regression therapy for the Labour party taking them back to the Iraq debacle and resulting in a form of breakdown in the Labour leadership.  The Shadow Cabinet is not yet a collective whimpering shivering jelly, but there is a risk that they will be portrayed as such.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Shadow Foreign Secretary Danny Alexander looked shocked on Channel 4 News when Cathy Newman told him that the government had agreed to Labour's demands on the House of Commons vote to authorise the Syria strike.

Presumably they had not expected that.

It shows what a master of tactics the Prime Minister is (this is a classic stoop to conquer device).

Now Ed Miliband will be on the receiving end of the Blairite faction's disquiet and will have to justify his stance (which is counter to Britain's European allies and American allies).


Personally I would rate A Case of Knives by Candia McWilliam as the greatest Scotch novel of the twentieth-century.

http://www.scotsman.com/what-s-on/film/comment-choose-trainspotting-as-best-scots-novel-1-3063333

A convulsive rejection of all things Blair

There is a risk for Labour in the Syria debate tomorrow - it risks reopening many painful memories about Iraq when the Labour party was in supine abasement to Tony Blair.

Those MPs who have been haunted by their vote in favour of the Iraq war are likely to vote against Syria not on the merits of the Syrian situation but in an attempt to exorcise their responsibility for what happened in Iraq.

That in turn will reawaken the horror at what Tony Blair was allowed to get away with.

Which in turn will exacerbate the current divide between Blairites and non-Blairites and embolden the non-Blairites to reject Blairite policies out of hand in a convulsive rejection of all things Blair.

On the wrong side of Dr King's ethics

Very impassioned article by Lee Jasper on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous speech:  http://blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/dr-martin-luther-king-what-happens-to.html

If published in America this article would be very powerful.

In the United Kingdom it does not quite ring true.

Dr King's message to the world was that a society built on an injustice cannot endure.

Post-war immigration is an injustice.  It has always been strenuously opposed by the majority, and therefore has no democratic consent.  Retrospective democratic consent could of course be sought, but so far this has not been done.

Therefore Mr Jasper in the United Kingdom you are on the wrong side of Dr King's ethics.

Required reading for everyone who cares about democracy

Very important briefing paper produced by Migration Watch http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/11.29

This must be required reading for everyone who cares about democracy and how it is being manipulated in the United Kingdom by the importing of Commonwealth citizens.

Personally I think these voting rights must be suspended immediately - if someone wants to vote in a British election they should make the effort to acquire British citizenship.

Diane Abbott is making such a soi disant principled stand

I hope I am not being unduly cynical, but is it possible that Diane Abbott is making such a soi disant principled stand over the Syria strike because she thinks she is going to be out of the Shadow Cabinet anyway when it is reshuffled in the next few weeks?

The same thought crossed my mind when she made her pro-immigration speech recently (with UKIP support soaring to 18% in the poll immediately following her speech).

It's almost as if Diane Abbott is saying to Ed Miliband go ahead punk, make my day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From a realpolitik point of view Ed Miliband is unable to support any military intervention in Syria without alienating a large section of Labour's asian block vote (the Bradford West by-election was both a warning and a humiliation).

We are all in the gutter

It is always satisfying when one lefty journalist attacks another lefty journalist, and even more rewarding when the dispute become intractable and without any prospect of reconciliation.

However I was puzzled to read the latest installment of the feud between Owen Jones (Independent) and Nick Cohen (Observer) http://owenjonesramblings.tumblr.com/post/59475329819/the-smears-of-nick-cohen

What is all this about?

I have to confess I am unable to unpick the arguments which are becoming increasingly impenetrable.

The idea that Nick Cohen and James Bloodworth are "ex-left" is bizarre.  What are they if not left-wing?  They certainly do not resemble any right-wing writers I would recognise.

Nor would they last five minutes in the Conservative party (by mutual repulsion).

And Mr Jones should take note of the sayings of Oscar Wilde - we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.

Even when the raw data says the effect is negative, the published report will say it is positive

Evan Davis rather gave the game away this morning on the Today programme.

Discussing the report Non-Native Speakers Of English In The Classroom: What Are The Effects On Pupil Performance? by Charlotte Geay, Sandra McNally and Shqiponja Telhaj he said "the raw data is negative but the report says the effects are positive.

Of course the report will say the effects are positive.

Under the Equalities Act there is a statutory duty for every person and every organisation in receipt of public money to promote a positive image of diversity.

So even when the raw data says the effect is negative, the published report will say it is positive.

Lies upon lies upon lies.

http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp137.pdf

Monday, August 26, 2013

The desolation of the dunes
















To the coast.  Brooding fortification commanding the desolation of the dunes.  Had the Germans been foolish enough to invade the county they would have been thrown back into the sea.















The dunes were formed by a tremendous medieval storm that threw sand over a low range of hills.  The sandy paths through them are like a maze, with towering masses of sea buckthorn.  No-one about apart from once I was passed by two lovers on horses, dogs following behind.















Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) on the sea buckthorn.  The heat and humidity were intense.  The air seemed to press down heavily on me so that it was an effort to move, an effect accentuated by the experience of walking on sand.















The end of the dunes and the start of the beach, and far out (perhaps a quarter mile in the distance) you can see the North Sea.  Rushing warm wind, humid and not at all refreshing.  I am sure if I had entered the sea it would have been cold but I did not have the energy to walk so far.















Returning to the village I looked at the hall from the road.  Parade of roses leading up to the manor house, the view romantically satisfying.  The house is sixteenth-century, the lack of defensive architecture so close to the coast an indication of how peaceful this area of the county has been, for centuries.



















The nearby church dates from Norman times and is grade 1 listed.  Attractive combination of greenstone repaired with mellow red brick on the fourteenth-century tower.  You can see running up the corner of the tower the slit windows of the internal staircase.














The church is no longer used.  Inside I could hear the squeaking of bats, and bat droppings were everywhere.  Looking towards the east, you can see the rood screen in the middle with either side the wooden box structures which are chapels enclosed by parclose screens.















The chancel is notable for these early eighteenth-century communion rails.  Four graves waiting for the end of days.  On the right you can see part of the Norman sedelia.















The chapel on the south side of the church.  An enclosure of this kind was probably a chantry set up by a bequest paying for a chantry priest to offer daily prayers on behalf of the deceased.  This screen dates from the Marian restoration of catholicism, but may well replace more ancient screens removed at the closure of the chantries.



















On the floor of the chapel is this brass memorial to a knight, dated 1424.  Image of martial masculinity - lion at his feet, enormous sword on his belt, narrow waist and the v-shaped physique of an athlete.  His name was John - I wonder if his remains are still beneath this stone slab.



















His arms are unusual - a lion and a cross.  Does this indicate he was a crusader?  Not sure if this is meant to be an African or an Asiatic lion.



















Also in the south chapel is a medieval stone altar and this rare medieval reredos surround (most were destroyed at the Reformation).  Probably an ornate alabaster plaque fitted into the frame.  Possibly it was buried at the time of the Reformation and may yet be uncovered.















The parclose screen around the chapel on the north side of the church.  Again the woodwork is mid-1550s, but perhaps recreating what might have been destroyed in the 1530s.  As well as chantries and family mausoleums, chapels of this kind would also have been used by guilds - semi-religious bodies that served a particular saintly cult, operated as mutual self-help charities for different professions, and raised money for specific purposes.















I was very struck by the carving above the entry to the north chapel which shows the Head of John the Baptist on a plate with two heads either side (perhaps Herod Antipas and Salome).  Veneration of John the Baptist is associated with crusaders.  Is it possible that this chapel was the focus of a guild that raised money for the crusades?
















And in one of those strange coincidences that happen so many times, driving through the next village I noticed that the pub was called the Turks Head.  The present building dates from 1821, but may well be a rebuilding of a previous inn going back to medieval times.  Was an actual Turks Head brought back from a crusade as proof that they money raised by the John the Baptist Guild had been spent as purposed? (Guilds would have rituals and services in the chapel and feasts in a local inn).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

If there is to be a strike against Syria can we at least know what the objectives are so that we can evaluate afterwards whether they have been achieved?

What exactly is going to happen, how is it going to happen, and what is the desired result?

Toxic atmosphere
















Labour "grandee" (grandeza?) Tessa Jowell complains about the toxic atmosphere created by "party elders" in publicly criticising Ed Miliband.

Not sure who wrote the sub-heading "Party elders should have known better" but whoever it was needs to be advised that it is not just elders who are unhappy with the dithering inactivity of the Labour front bench.

Younger Labour activists are also publicly complaining as well as Labour students, gay socialists, trade unionists and women of color (Bonnie Greer actually wrote "wake the fuck up").

And the reason they are speaking in public instead of going through the "usual channels" is that their messages are not getting through the usual channels.

Hypocrites

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell draws attention to:

"A PEACEFUL PROTEST AGAINST THE BRUTAL MURDER OF JAMAICAN TRANSGENDER DWAYNE JONES IN JAMAICA AND FOR LGBTI RIGHTS IN JAMAICA. THE PROTEST WILL TAKE PLACE ON 28/ AUGUST 2013 STARTING AT 4:30 PM VENUE JAMAICAN EMBASSY IN LONDON 1-2 PRINCE CONSORT ROAD LONDON SW7 2BZ, NEAREST UNDERGROUND SOUTH KENSINGTON STATION CIRCLE AND PICCADILLY LINES DISTRICT
BUSES: NUMBER'S 9, 10, 52, 14, 49 and 74 .
THEREAFTER A VIGIL WILL BE HELD FOR DWAYNE JONES AT 6 PM ORGANISED BY JUSTICE FOR DWAYNE JONES."


Can we expect to see Diane Abbott MP and newly ennobled Doreen Lawrence giving their support to this vigil?

Will Shami Chakrabarti CBE and Liberty be supporting it?

Will Lee Jasper be carrying one of his placards up and down Prince Consort Road?

Thought not.

Hypocrites all of them.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Brisk work

Monday

A lot of my time at the moment is taken up with preparing Conference material, including a series of factsheets.

A Swedish person arrived to meet Director Callum Smith, and I was asked into part of the meeting to discuss joint initiatives.  It was quite time-consuming, especially as Callum Smith left me alone with him for over an hour.  Relief when I could pass him on to someone else.

Almost all the afternoon spent developing a narrative and testing it by asking people to find fault with the reasoning.  I was able to finish it easily and began to send it out with the other briefs.  Callum Smith came to my desk to chat, in a very civilised way, about my work.

Tuesday

When I arrived at my desk and opened up my e-mail I found a long message from Head Office that took a long time to reply to.

Then some brisk work - booking space at an exhibition; ordering reprints of a publication; commissioning some photography.

I am aware that the departure of Vijay Singh has caused some tensions in the office as power has shifted and some old scores are settled.  Happily I am not involved myself.  My policy is to keep out of office politics.

Wednesday

A  day off work (I can't take a whole week because there is so much on - this summer has been very busy).

The great wide landscape that at first sight is empty, but to practised eyes is filled with interest and romance - like an enchantment that hides with a bleak veil the delights of another world.

Thursday

Back at work I drank coffee and dealt with e-mails.  Also a lot of post to deal with.  The office quiet.

Deputy Director Marcia Walsh came to sit opposite me to chat (an unusual occurrence - presumably she now thinks I am worth cultivating).  She talked about Callum Smith getting the Director's job.  There is no doubt that the departure of Vijay Singh has left her isolated.

Friday

Confidential meetings all day - meetings so confidential that I have been threatened if...

Friday, August 23, 2013

I can't see why Ben Affleck should be so admired.

Wooden actor.

One facial expression (perpetual bewilderment).

The multi-cultural experiment has failed?

David Wearing (New Left Project) referring to new Ipsos MORI polling, tells us: "Race relations/immigration seen as bigger issue than unemployment & NHS. Not good for those of us who don't fit in."

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3247/EconomistIpsos-MORI-August-2013-Issues-Index.aspx

Why don't you fit in Mr Waring?

What possible justification can you have for making such a statement?

If, after decades of multiculturalism, someone such as yourself should confess to not fitting in should we not conclude that the multi-cultural experiment has failed?

Under-investment in the railway network

Airily Alastair Darling on the Today programme this morning blamed under-investment in the railway network on the period "following railway privatisation in the 1980s".

Railway privatisation occurred on 1st January 1994.  The period after this date is comprised of three years Conservative government and thirteen years Labour government (a Labour government of lies, incompetence and financial squandering).  Therefore Mr Darling and his Labour colleagues must accept responsibility for the under-investment.

This was strategic under-investment - Labour wanted to undermine the financial viability of the railway companies so that they would falter and become an easy target for state control.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj9z

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The stuff is coming from within the Labour party

Celebrity Bonnie Greer writes in the Huffington Post an 804 word article entitled Ed Miliband Polls: We're Being Played.

However 284 words of the 804 word article are an entirely irrelevant meandering account of American politics.  Why has this been tacked onto the front of a piece supposedly about Ed Miliband?  Is it just ballast to make up the word count?

The rest of the article does at least discuss British politics, but with hardly any relevance to Ed Miliband.  Instead Ms Greer just talks about how the Conservatives are in "deep trouble" (this is at a time when we have a Conservative Prime Minister, the economy is recovering, and one can hardly hear oneself think for the howls of lefties seeing their state-funded satrapies cut down to scale).  We are led to believe, against all the evidence of previous general elections, that the six point lead Labour have in the polls will remain firm as the election campaign gets under way and Labour is forced to present their policies to the electorate.

"So why is all this 'play the man not the ball' stuff rolling out from Tory HQ?" asks Bonnie Greer.

The "stuff" is not rolling out from Tory HQ Ms Greer.  The stuff is coming from within the Labour party - from the hard left, from the Blairite right, from the bemused activist foot-soldiers, from the Unite union, from old-timers like Blunkett and Prescott, even from celebrity lefty dilettantes such as yourself.  Indeed, did you not write on your Twitter microsite "wake the fuck up" with reference to Mr Miliband and the Labour front bench?

It seems you want to run with the fox and hunt with the hounds Ms Greer - and that is not an honourable position for you to be in, nor one that is going to win you any respect from your Labour friends.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/bonnie-greer/ed-miliband-polls_b_3790605.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003 

How much diversity is good?

Article on the Vox website (Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists) on diversity and immigration in which the authors (Alberto Alesina, Johann Harnoss, Hillel Rapoport) ask the question:  How much diversity is good?


The answer is of course:  exactly the amount of diversity that has the democratic consent of the majority.

If it doesn't have democratic consent then don't even think of forcing it through as it will all have to be reversed, with much pain all round.

It is possible that Alberto Alesina, Johann Harnoss, Hillel Rapoport (and Jonathan Portes) don't actually believe in democracy.  It's possible they believe in rule by a benign technocratic elite, perhaps with a little democratic dressing to bamboozle the lumpen proletariat.  However all regimes that have subscribed to this belief have eventually come to grief (and dragged a lot of other people into grief along with them, as elite technocrat President Assad is currently demonstrating).

http://www.voxeu.org/article/immigration-diversity-and-economic-prosperity

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Impressive pronounication of the word "Ypres" by Victoria Derbyshire.

This "election" was made irrefutable law

In this critique by David Aaronovitch of an article by David Freedland he makes the statement "when the Christian churches wanted to modernise, they stopped holding their services in Latin" ( http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/110333/learning-hebrew-just-a-minor-lamentation ).

This is a misreading of history.

The English Reformation was not an attempt at 1960s-style modernisation but the realisation that England was an elect nation - the elect nation.

As I understand it the Anglican narrative goes:

God called Abraham out of the city of Ur to found his chosen elect people.

Over the millenia the chosen people grew in numbers, encompassing other nations (the Jebusites etc), experiencing purgations and purifications.

The Temple was built, the trials and exiles were endured, the prophets spoke.

The Messiah arrived fulfilling all the prophecies.

At this point the chosen people became those who accepted the Messiah ("I am the way, the truth and the life, except through me none can enter the kingdom of Heaven").

Once again the chosen people grew in numbers, encompassing other nations (the Armenians, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons etc), experiencing purgations and purifications.

The Early Fathers interpreted the scriptures, the patriarchs governed the church, the Apostles confirmed their successors - an unbroken Apostolic line of successors bishop to bishop leading to the confirmation of the bench of bishops that sits in the House of Lords to this day.

The One Holy Catholick and Apostolick Church encountered snares and fell into error, requiring the catharsis known as the Reformation.

From the Reformation the Anglican church emerged (in the eyes of English people) as the true elect nation - purged of error, anointing monarchs, maintaining intact the Apostolic Succession.

This "election" was made irrefutable law in the Thirty-Nine Articles.

At this point a new language was necessary for the elect nation to speak to God, and hence the King James Version and the Book of Common Prayer.  Even at the time of composition these writings were regarded as holy (holy meaning set apart) and consecrated in the sacraments ("This is the word of the Lord, thanks be to God").  That is why David Aaronovitch is mistaken in describing the Anglican holy books as modernised - no modernisation can be possible in a linguistic election that was intended from before the beginning of time.

Of course, you either believe this or you don't.

And if you don't believe it you are welcome to your own beliefs - there is complete religious toleration in the United Kingdom (although toleration is as far as it goes).

You are welcome to interpret your own religion Mr Aaronovitch, but what you are not entitled to do is interpret someone else's religion for them.

The Guardian is suppressing the story

Steven Erlanger, writing in the New York Times, tells us:  "Alan Rusbridger, the mop-haired, soft-spoken editor of The Guardian newspaper, finds himself in a shadowy battle with the British government over purloined secrets..."

Mr Erlanger should be advised that the battle is only shadowy because the Guardian is suppressing the story.

The smashing of the computers occurred in July, but was only reported yesterday.  The involvement of the Cabinet Secretary (one of the most important people in the United Kingdom) has only been reported today.  What else is the Guardian sitting on?

In terms of dramatic incident and compelling narrative the story would normally be very valuable to a national newspaper - the Luddite smashing of machines; the menacing presence of secret agents holding hammers; the elusive involvement of the Cabinet Secretary; the global movement of foreigners (homosexual BME foreigners!) allegedly stealing "our" secrets;  the use of oblique legal powers to apprehend the courier of the enemy cabal;  the threats of retaliation against the United Kingdom by the mouthpiece of an American traitor (traitor to the Americans that is) based in Russia and beholden to the Russian government...

As a story this is worthy of Le Carre.

And yet the Guardian is coy about reporting it - and in a slow news season!

What on earth is the Guardian up to?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/world/europe/british-news-organization-has-advantages-in-secrets-battle-with-government.html?hp&_r=0

Suppressing the news

And now we learn that the Cabinet Secretary was involved in the attempt to make the Guardian give up the illicit files it was holding - and yet the Guardian did not see fit to report this exchange.

Why?

When a national newspaper that claims to be a fearless reporter of the truth starts suppressing the news one has to wonder what is going on.

But it's in the Independent:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-told-cabinet-secretary-to-get-guardian-to-hand-over-edward-snowden-documents-8777216.html

Giving her evils

Was Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umuna ambushed on Newsnight last night?

Was he inveigled onto the programme on the pretext of talking about zero hours contracts and then subjected to a slew of questions on the state of the Labour party?

During the interview with Kirsty Wark he went deep red, his replies became increasingly terse, and at the end when Kirsty Wark said "thank you" he said nothing in reply but just gave her a look ("giving her evils" is I believe the colloquial expression for looks of this kind).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b038xr2s/Newsnight_20_08_2013/

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Answer that question Mr Prashar

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ashish-prashar/immigration-let-them-in_b_3783570.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

However he rather undermines his argument by telling us that his grandparents were Kenyans. 

Why were the asians obliged to leave Kenya Mr Prashar?  If immigration and diversity and all its supposed economic benefits are so obvious why did the Kenyans tell your grandparents to go?  What was it about the way asians behaved towards the indigenous people of Kenya that led to their expulsion? (an expulsion that was wildly popular, despite the economic ruin that followed).

Answer that question Mr Prashar and you will understand the reticence of British people towards the communities that have arrived here against the democratic will of the majority.

Alan Rusbridger is not telling us

Having watched Alan Rusbridger interviewed on Channel 4 News, I must say that there appears to be some questions (questions that were not asked by Jackie Long).

Apparently back in July, in scenes reminiscent of the House of Special Purpose in Ekaterinburg, Alan Rusbridger was escorted by British secret security services down into the cellars of the Guardian building where he was forced to witness the destruction of the Guardian's computers with hammers (presumably sledge hammers).

Not only was he forced to witness this, he was also (we are led to believe) intimidated into "authorising" the destruction himself.

Mr Rusbridger is a news editor, and yet he kept silent on what appears to have been a sensational and dramatic newsworthy incident.

Why?

Doesn't make sense does it.

You would think it would be on the front page of the Guardian during July, and also on pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Which suggests there are aspects of this story that Alan Rusbridger is not telling us.

What is he not telling us, and why is he not telling?
Presumably the Guardian newspaper is bound by standing DA notices?

DA-Notice 03: Ciphers and Secure Communications.


DA-Notice 04: Sensitive Installations and Home Addresses.

DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Special Services.

David Miranda and his tete-a-tete

Still perplexed by all the fuss over David Miranda and his tete a tete with Her Majesty's security services at Heathrow at the weekend.

It was only for nine hours and was hardly an arduous interview.  Normally extroverts like David Miranda would jump at the chance to talk about "my whole life".  In any case, you can easily be obliged to wait for nine hours at an international airport for a whole range of reasons.  Did they not offer Mr Miranda a cup of tea?  Had they run out of digestive biscuits?  Were they not respectful enough of Mr Miranda's position as boyfriend to a celebrity journalist? 

Pah, Mr Miranda - if you don't like our laws don't come here, I'm sure no-one's going to miss you.

And Glenn Greenwald could you not have behaved with a bit more dignity when welcoming back your friend?  He was only detained for nine hours - that's the equivalent of a compulsory speed awareness course in the United Kingdom.  It hardly warrants your red face and trembling lower lip and air of almost-not-blubbing as you made those bitter denunciations against the United Kingdom.

And did I detect an element of threat in the way you said (about the United Kingdom):  "I think they will be sorry for what they did". 

That sounds like a declaration of war to me.

If this is a war situation I would want and expect our security forces to fight back.

Faint praise

David Blunkett (former Home Secretary under Tony Blair) damned Ed Miliband with faint praise on the Today programme this morning.

He argued that Clement Attlee had a dull-as-ditchwater personality and yet made a great prime minister.

Therefore, his argument goes, a dud like Ed Miliband must be in with a chance.

Oh how galling it must be for former panjandrums such as David Blunkett and John Prescott to see former bag-carrier Ed Miliband in the leadership role they coveted for themselves.

The meek shall inherit the earth Mr Blunkett, not the womanising big-mouths who can't accept it's all over.

The implication is terrifying

Chris McQuiggin (Contributing Editor for the Labour Party at Speaker's Chair) writes about the Labour Party and immigration on the LabourList website:  http://labourlist.org/2013/08/we-must-not-pander-on-immigration/

It is a rather vacuous article, and gives no reasons why the Labour party should encourage immigration.

However among the cod-philosophy and appeals to internationalism he does use the rather telling phrase:  "one of societies most powerful, misguided and damaging neuroses; the fear of strangers."

This statement is only half true.

One could rewrite it more accurately as:  "one of societies most powerful, prudent and well-advised concerns, the fear of undemocratic behaviour by an elite we have trusted."

Let's leave on one side all the nonsense about "vibrant diversity" and its supposed benefits.

Let's just focus on the fact that since 1945, in the era of universal suffrage, a massive social change has occurred against the wishes of the majority.

Does that not bother the left at all?

Even those who consider themselves true socialists and citizens of the world, are they not worried that this can happen?

Because the implication is terrifying - we do not live in a democracy, it is all a sham, anything can be done to us and we are unable to stop it.

That is why we (all of us) cannot let the issue of post-war immigration drop.

It must either be made legitimate (and there are several ways of doing this).

Or it must be reversed (and there are several ways of doing this too).

Or we must accept that democracy has failed and we must begin again the long long struggle of defining what social system we want to live under, who gets to decide things, what happens to those who don't conform etc.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Really weird front page of The Scotsman newspaper (courtesy of Nick Sutton):  https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/369545849631567873/photo/1

Four stories, and all of them (in one way or another) about English people.

Are Scottish people obsessed with England?

They should be advised that English people hardly give them a second thought.
Very weak interview of hotelier Olga Polizzi by Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News.

Ms Polizzi made all sorts of unsubstantiated statements about the local employment situation in that part of Cornwall.

Cathy Newman hardly challenged her.

Why should local people not want the jobs if they are, as the hotelier says, well paid?

Very weak.

Perhaps Cathy Newman had the sun in her eyes and could not concentrate properly.
It's rather ironic to see Stuart Hall lauded as the "most articulate voice of multiculturalism" when we see on 24 hour news the implosion in scenes of bloody violence of the multicultural societies in Syria and Egypt.

Or perhaps Tim Adams is of the opinion that white multi-cultural societies do not implode?

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/18/professor-stuart-hall-multiculturalism-film

More evidence of Labour's civil war, with socialist Ken Livingstone attacking Blairite John Prescott (I hope I am getting these labels right - it's difficult to keep up with all the factions, perhaps the Guardian should do one of its charts):  http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/you-screwed-it-up-ken-livingstone-hits-back-at-john-prescott-over-his-attack-on-ed-miliband-8774318.html

Open fighting of this kind implies weak leadership at the top and poor discipline throughout the party.

Presumably the reshuffle mentioned will be an attempt to appease the Unite faction prior to the conference next year on the Labour party's links with the unions.
Discussing on the Today programme this morning the detention of David Miranda at Heathrow Keith Vaz MP Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee said he was surprised that anti-terrorist legislation was used ("I will write to the police for an explanation of why anti-terrorism legislation was used").

Did Keith Vaz protest when Gordon Brown used anti-terrorist legislation to prevent the movement of Icelandic money?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Glenn Greenwald is complaining about security checks at Heathrow

Why all this fuss over Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda being detained for nine hours at Heathrow?

Personally I am glad that the security forces are taking their job seriously and checking people they feel are suspect.

And he was just obliged to wait for nine hours - it's hardly extraordinary rendition into the invisible gulag.

In the last week or so Emily Bell has complained about slow service at Costa Coffee and Michael Crick has complained about tardy train services out of Cardiff Central.

Now Glenn Greenwald is complaining about security checks at Heathrow.

These people are journalists, not royalty.

Mr Greenwald, if the security staff want to question your partner that's fine by me.

Get over yourself.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow?CMP=twt_gu

This sharpening of knives

Dr Éoin Clarke (of the lefty Green Benches website) says:  "The point we are all making is that there is bags of talent on the backbenches. Too many complacent MPs on the front benches".

The noble Lord Prescott says in the Sunday Mirror:  "If Shadow Cabinet members aren’t pulling their weight, give them the hairdryer treatment and kick ’em out" http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/john-prescott-ed-miliband-labours-2181006



















It is against this sharpening of knives that we must read Caroline Flint's article in today's Observer.

In the previous New Labour regime Caroline Flint was associated with a series of outrageously punitive policies directed at the so-called feckless underclass including the suggestion that unemployed council tenants should 'actively seek work' as a condition of their occupancy.

Presumably Ms Flint is afraid that in the civil war between Ed Miliband and Unite she will be thrown to the union wolves as an appetiser.

Hence her excessive professions of loyalty to Mr Miliband.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/17/caroline-flint-ed-miliband-labour-energy-bills

Former Labour activist Dan Hodges writes:  http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100231544/its-time-for-a-new-labour-guru-coco-chanel/

The Foreign Office has become increasingly concerned













Rather misleading article by Daniel Boffey in today's Observer about the "crisis" (sic) in foreign language teaching in the United Kingdom. 

Daniel Boffey writes:  "The Foreign Office has become increasingly concerned about the future of its diplomatic corps, with senior figures voicing urgent concerns about the standard of its graduate recruits".

Can this statement be true?

The one thing we know about the Foreign Office is that it is a snooty organisation that almost exclusively recruits privately educated Oxbridge graduates.

It would be interesting to use Freedom of Information requests to assess where Foreign Office personnel were educated.

How many ambassadors come from bog-standard comprehensives in Hull or Peterborough?

Anyway, what has happened to the dazzling education standards we are supposed to have seen in inner London?  Presumably it's not so dazzling when it comes to languages.  Or perhaps it is not dazzling at all, but has been artificially manipulated to favourably endorse the ideology of diversity and multiculturalism.

I suspect that we will see the Foreign Office continue to recruit public school Oxbridge types, with a few high-profile "diverse" appointments to provide the necessary inclusive window dressing.

Whatever the truth of the matter, Daniel Boffey is not a reliable source of information on this subject.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

All of the day a strong warmish wind has been blowing from the south.

"Give in to me or the Labour Party gets it"













Front page, the whole of page 34, and sections of pages 35 and 36 of today's Guardian taken up by Tom Watson MP's disloyal undermining of Ed Miliband, dressed up as oh-so-loyal more in sadness than anger sober assessment of what he subtly condemns as the "pinkish shadow of the Coalition".

In the Editorial of the Guardian mention is made of the special conference called for next spring to debate the links between the Labour party and the unions.

Are we seeing the Labour party entering a phase of civil war?

And is it wise to hold such a sensitive conference barely a year before the general election?

Both sides seem to expect the other to back down.  "Give in to me or the Labour Party gets it" Len McClusky and Ed Miliband seem to be saying to each other.  It's a battle the Unite union cannot win.

Increasingly the Unite contest with Ed Miliband reminds me of the episode in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur meets the Black Knight and cuts off his arms and legs and the Black Knight still wants to keep scrapping:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eMkth8FWno

"None shall pass" indeed.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/16/tom-watson-accuses-labour-injustice-falkirk

Michael Crick (Channel 4 News) and Ian Austin MP (Labour) sneering











Not very pleasant sight of Michael Crick (Channel 4 News) and Ian Austin MP (Labour) sneering about the proles they think are not "serving" them well enough on the railways.

Has it occurred to you Mr Crick that the staff at Cardiff Central are not telling you about delayed trains because they don't know?

Train services into an important junction like Cardiff Central are complicated.  Just one delayed train will cause hundreds of knock-on effects, not all of which are easily calculated.  The operations staff who should be informing the booking office staff are probably frantically trying to sort the problems out - and all of them are going to be under a lot of stress.

The last thing any of them want is some over-important media news star berating them in public and calling them useless.

And has it not occurred to you Mr Crick that a large number of people regard you as useless?

You probably peaked when you were following Michael Howard around asking nonsense questions like some upmarket version of the Portillo chicken.

And does this little exchange not reveal how much lefty intellectuals despise the working class?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today is my birthday and so there will be no blogging today, and I am not going to even look at Twitter.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Maze Prison needs to be entirely eradicated - perhaps put an industrial estate on the site.

No good will come from fetishising relics that spew poison into the community.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/15/northern-reland-coalition-maze-divided-prison?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Sarcastically Sunny Hundal (Editor of the Liberal Conspiracy website) tells us:  "I think people aren't writing enough articles with advice for Ed Miliband. The media needs more of those. People are crying out for them."

If you bothered to consider the matter seriously Mr Hundal you would realise that the plethora of advice articles is a symptom of the problem.  The articles exist because huge numbers of Labour supporters are of the opinion that Ed Miliband needs advice.  But of course you prefer to shoot the messengers.

Labour's problem

"Labour’s problem is its lack of political artistry" says Steve Richards, writing in the Financial Times.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/c7b512ae-032f-11e3-9a46-00144feab7de,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Fc7b512ae-032f-11e3-9a46-00144feab7de.html&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FOQ7E71251Q#axzz2c1wzqp27

Labour's problem is actually a lack of socialism.

Political artistry, or style over substance, was used by New Labour as a gloss to cover the divides between what is a fractured political movement unsure about its identity.  As a tactic it is now redundant - the gloss has cracked and fallen away.  No-one is going to be fooled by a reapplication of gloss.

The mistake made by Labour was in assuming that because they failed to win on a socialist manifesto in 1983 they would fail to win with a socialist programme in subsequent elections.

Therefore no-one wasted any time developing modern and attractive socialist policies.  The choice offered is between the Blairite version of socialism lite and an old-fashioned dinosaur version espoused by the likes of Ken Livingstone and Dennis Skinner.  Not very attractive is it!

The Labour leadership would do well looking at the article by Labour student activist Tom King (Studying Politics at SOAS, Secretary of SOAS Labour and Student CND):  http://socialistandthecity.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/a-promising-idea.html  which lists ten ideas they could adopt for their manifesto.

Of course, it is not for me as a Conservative to "help" the Labour party.  And my motives are going to be suspected anyway.  But as a Conservative I do care about institutions, including the institution that is the Labour party.  We all lose when democracy does not function properly.  The Labour party needs to get up off its knees, and put forward a full-blooded socialist programme.  Then we can move on from this phony war where we all pretend we are more or less the same.

Bulgarians entering the United Kingdom

Big surge in the numbers of Bulgarians entering the United Kingdom:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23707274

Andrew Green from Migration Watch was interviewed on the Today programme, and he seems to be the only person commenting on immigration in a sober way based on evidence.

Disappointing that the media do not seem to be covering the recent riots and unrest (including self-immolations) in Bulgaria - arguably much more relevant to the United Kingdom than what is happening in Egypt.  If Bulgaria is imploding we would expect to see an increase in the numbers leaving the country.  And quelle surprise, during the period of unrest we have seen a surge of Bulgarians entering the United Kingdom. 

Tory membership figure

Labour student activist Tom King says:  "If you read the details the 59k Tory membership figure is actually numbers declared to Electoral Commision by 134 associations out of 600+".

59,000 ÷ 134 = 440


440 x 600 = 264,000

Which sounds about right to me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Perhaps it was my imagination, but in a discussion about feminism on Channel 4 News (chaired by Cathy Newman) Bonnie Greer looked seriously fed up when Helen Lewis (New Statesman) said class was more important than race.

The last wishes of Miss Edwards have been overturned as a result of media bullying

I am concerned that the last wishes of Miss Edwards have been overturned as a result of media bullying.

Indeed it is unclear whether the bequest can be passed onto the Treasury in such a casual way - it was left to the political party of the day, and if this is refused it must be returned to Miss Edwards's estate and reallocated according to the established legal formula.

And I would like the bullies who have been so active on Twitter and elsewhere in the media to be recorded and brought to account.  Perhaps the Leveson Inquiry should be reconvened and ask Michael Crick and Polly Toynbee and Tom Watson to give evidence.  What they have done to the memory of the late Miss Edwards is despicable - she should be cherished as a wise and kindly benefactor not traduced as some kind of old biddy (spinster indeed!) who has lost her marbles.

Perhaps in her later years she was an avid watcher of Prime Minister's Questions (there are such people) and in a rush of sympathy decided that the poor besieged premier of the day (whoever he or she might be) should have some small monetary consolation for the impudent barbs they have to endure.

A bit more humility please Mr Akehurst

Alternately whinging and hectoring Labour activist Luke Akehurst berates his fellow Labour party members for getting the jitters:  http://labourlist.org/2013/08/labours-chatterati-need-to-get-a-grip/?utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer40f0a

He also scorns outsiders who stir up trouble.

Fair point, one might say.  It's their party.  Who are we to intrude if the Labour membership gets the heebie jeebies and shadow cabinet members run around in headless chicken mode.

However I do take exception with his comment "doing what the whole of the rest of the population of Europe do during August – having a well-earned rest".

Excuse me Mr Akehurst, but only la-di-da professional politicos like yourself can afford to loaf around during August.  Most people are still working.  After the way Labour trashed the economy most working people cannot afford a holiday.

A bit more humility please Mr Akehurst.

YOU are part of the team that promised us "no more boom and bust" then landed us in the biggest bust of all time.

On the beach indeed.  Abroad indeed.  Watching the test match or the athletics.

You lazy Blairite good for nothing.

The bequest by Miss Edwards

Apropos the bequest by Miss Edwards (£500,000) Dan Hodges muses:

"Bit of common sense? Is it more likely elderly pensioner wanted money a) To go to random parties to print leaflets attacking each other... or b) Go to the government of the day to help schools and hospitals."

Presumably Mr Hodges is aware that to be valid the will would have been drawn up by lawyers, gone through a lawyer-supervised probate, and then been executed by lawyers.

There should be no room for any doubt over who the bequest is intended for.

Indeed, if the money has been paid to the wrong people the lawyers could be prosecuted for professional incompetence and professional misconduct.

And if the lawyers tell someone they have been left a bequest they must either accept it or refuse it - and if they refuse then the money goes to the next person named in the will (not to schools or hospitals).

So you can keep your finger out of this pie Mr Hodges.

The Labour front line is crumbling

Bad tempered discussion on the Today programme (at one point Jim Naughtie said "shut up both of you") between Sunny Hundal and Jenni Russell discussing the malaise that has come upon the Labour party - becalmed in a sea of bewilderment and fatalism.

The Shadow cabinet is seen as bunkered-up remote from real life, commanding non-existent armies of supporters, and seemingly uncomprehending of the advances of the enemy.

Sunny Hundal told us this morning that all was well, all Labour supporters needed to do was to keep the faith, that the Labour leadership had a whole succession of vengeance weapons that they would let loose right at the last minute ensuring a dramatic and astounding victory.

And all the time the Labour front line is crumbling, support is ebbing away, members of the Labour high command are surreptitiously planning their escape routes (refuge in the House of Lords; a new identity as a director in industry; exile in Europe etc).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Just because HRH The Prince of Wales has meetings with ministers does not mean he is seeking to influence policy.

The monarch and heir to the throne have important constitutional roles that require them to advise, to counsel and to warn.

Who else is holding government ministers (both Labour and Coalition governments) to account?

Certainly not the backbenchers, they are powerless.

Certainly not the political parties as they have become hollowed out and empty.

Certainly not the media which has become largely corrupt and biased.
Having read this article by Peter Wilby http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/12/benefit-immigration-cuts-wont-make-us-better-off I am forced to conclude that he is a materialist who thinks the general population is motivated entirely by money considerations.

This is the sort of selfishness-first argument Ayn Rand would have put forward.

This is why the left does not understand immigration - the lefties think that humanity is just made up of economic units that have no value as individuals (with feelings and opinions and democratic choices) but just exist in some kind of collective mass that is assessed entirely socio-economic terms.

What a bleak view of the world.

Immigration is a ponzi scheme

More pro-immigration nonsense, this time from Miles Kimball (the article endorsed by Jonathan Portes on his Twitter site):  http://qz.com/114098/benjamin-franklins-strategy-to-make-the-us-an-economic-superpower-worked-once-why-not-use-it-again/

If the argument that immigration leads to stupendous economic growth was true we would expect to see the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (migrant population approximately 50%) ushered into the ranks of the G8 instead of being one of the poorest countries in the Middle East (and please don't say it has 4% annual growth - 4% of less than nothing is still less than nothing).

Immigration is a ponzi scheme - it relies on endlessly recruiting newcomers by promising them the same resources that have already been allocated to someone else.

We do not have a crisis of housing

Evan Davies on the Today programme this morning presented a piece about housing ("we are not building enough houses") without once mentioning the causes of demand.

The Office for National Statistics tells us annual house price increases in England were driven by London (8.1%), the West Midlands (3.1%) and the South East (2.9%).

Is it not the case that the price rises are driven by shortage of supply, and that the shortage of supply is partly caused by excessive immigration?  Of course individuals such as Jonathan Portes will immediately "prove" that immigration has no effect on the supply of housing.  But the fact remains that you cannot have four million extra people (almost all adults) coming into the United Kingdom without requiring an extra four million housing units for them to live in.

We do not have a crisis of housing, as Jack Dromey is saying this morning.

We have a crisis of immigration.

That is why the taxation system needs to reflect the true cost of employing migrants.

For instance, if we assume that a migrant will work for thirty years, and that they will require a housing unit costing £150,000 (today's prices) the various employers over that thirty years need to pay the cost of the extra housing required (and also the extra water capacity, extra road capacity, extra education capacity etc).

Therefore £150k over 30 years means a National Insurance surcharge of £5,000 paid every time an employer employs someone born outside the United Kingdom, adjusted for inflation.

Who was Sir Isaac Newton less intelligent than?

The arrogance and absurdity of this article in the Independent is astonishing:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/religious-people-are-less-intelligent-than-atheists-analysis-of-over-63-scientific-studies-stretching-back-over-decades-concludes-8758046.html

Telling us that "religious people" are less intelligent than atheists, the article (written by someone called Rob Williams) entirely fails to explain Sir Isaac Newton.

Who was Sir Isaac Newton less intelligent than?  Please explain that point Mr Williams.  What individual in all the history of mankind was more intelligent than Sir Isaac Newton?

And yet he was a devout and sincere Christian all his life.

Of course, the scriptures advise us:  the fool in his heart has said there is no God.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The return of Peter Mandelson

Such is the sense of despondency in the Labour party that there have even been calls to bring back Peter Mandelson:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bring-back-peter-mandelson-former-whip-graham-stringer-urges-ed-miliband-8756526.html




















As you can see from this article by Patrick Wintour (July 2010) Lord Mandelson has criticised Ed Miliband for having "no clue in the leadership election campaign as to what he positively represented" - exactly what Labour supporters are saying today.

Lord Mandelson also is of the opinion:  "I was struck by the fact that he had given no strong clue during the campaign as to what alternative to New Labour he envisaged".

The return of Peter Mandelson will be a public admission that Ed Miliband's leadership has failed.

The awfulness of a trendy lefty vicar

This article in the Independent rather flounders when trying to explain why there is an increase in attendance at cathedral services http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/attendance-boom-seen-at-cathedrals-as-worshippers-seek-anonymity-8757652.html

Adam Sherwin needs to be advised that the reason is not "anonymity" but the traditional form of worship to be found at cathedrals.

Anyone who has experienced the awfulness of a trendy lefty vicar getting down with the kids and twanging guitars and ripping out the pews and letting the choir lapse and making everyone sing 1970s doggerel and insisting on an "accessible" Bible - anyone who has experienced this at parish level will understand the flight to traditional cathedrals.

He had the gall to say that Labour were getting their message across!

The Chris Bryant interview on the Today programme this morning was hilarious.  He was all over the place, denying interpretations of assertions that were yet unspoken, apologising for things he had not said, correcting statements that had not yet been made.  And at the end he had the gall to say that Labour were getting their message across!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23662668

Immediately lefties began criticising him (Sunder Katwala of British Future saying Labour is very muddled; David Wearing of the New Left Project complaining that second generation immigrant Labour MPs were "colluding" in the Chris Bryant message; Owen Jones of Unite / Class / People's Assembly saying the Chris Bryant interview made him want to curl up into the foetal position).

Presumably these lefties are unaware of the haemorrhaging of support from Labour to UKIP.  Even more intriguing is the idea that the stream of traditional working class support away from Labour is a consequence of Labour's increasing identification as a pro-immigration party.  Chris Bryant's cack-handed attempt to sound tough on immigration is no doubt part of a move to distance Labour from the pro-immigration lobby.

Of course, it is only a matter of time before the hard left start screaming "racist" at Chris Bryant.

And all this on the day when the pro-immigration claque is claiming that immigrant communities hold the balance of power in hundreds of marginal constituencies.  There is no consolation to Labour that they gain the votes of ethnic minorities if they are going to lose a greater number of votes to UKIP.  It is a pyrrhic recruitment drive that may well cost them the 2015 general election.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Shadow Crime Prevention Minister?












Did you know Stella Creasy is Shadow Crime Prevention Minister?

Campaigner on pay day loans - yes.

Indefatigable constituency MP for Walthamstow - yes.

Witty and entertaining user of social media - yes.

But Shadow Crime Prevention Minister?

And even before she has made a name for herself in serious policy-making she is being talked about for promotion.






"Wake the fuck up" is Bonnie Greer's inelegant message for the Labour top table.

Labour's biggest problem among ethnic minorities

This article by Vikram Dodd and Rajeev Syal does not mention the support UKIP is taking from Labour:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/11/ethnic-minority-votes-decisive-general-election?CMP=twt_gu

But if they want to be complacent about their block votes who am I to complain.

And Labour's biggest problem among ethnic minorities (obviously Muslims, but also other groups) is the legacy of the Iraq war.

How many of the Shadow Cabinet voted in favour of Tony Blair's war?

These things take a long time to get over.

Has Labour apologised for the war yet?
When even timid spear-carriers like Andy Burnham are defying the leadership you begin to suspect the game might be up.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/aug/09/labour-risks-defeat-coalition-warns-andy-burnham

Is no-one speaking out for Ed Miliband?

It's like that moment in Quo Vadis when the emperor (Peter Ustinov) calls for the guards and nothing happens, there's just an eerie silence and the sound of the approaching mob.

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6BJJe9JV_A

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunny Hunday (on Twitter):  "Like Republicans, Tories face long-term demographic problems. Most UK population growth in south/SE & driven by minorities (Labour-leaning)".

This is why immigration needs to be brought down to zero, and the tax system used to encourage economic migrants to move on.

Otherwise, as Mr Hundal points out, the socialists are going to end up with an in-built majority that cannot be shifted (and please don't say we should try to win them over - we could only win them over by offering bigger bribes than the Labour party).

I decided it was a day to file old papers - the past week at work

Monday

Former Campaign Manager Callum Smith arrived this morning and walked into the Director's office, effectively taking possession as Director.  He called a brief meeting of the managers to say that nothing would change.  The rest of the day he was interviewing for new staff. 

I spent most of the morning working on a new campaign (which will involve a lot of house to house work).  This involved talking to Carol Reynolds who is part of the Institute but works at Head Office.  We discussed the reorganisation and she hinted that one of her team was going to be axed.

Lunchtime I went with Tim Watts to a cafe in the big shopping mall.  We discussed infighting in ...  He emphasised the importance of persistence - persistence brings benefits.

During the afternoon I went through all the projects I am working on and removed anything that was related to Vijay Singh, knowing that he would not be referred to again.

Tuesday

All the morning I worked on databases.

In the afternoon a meeting with new Senior Campaign Manager Simon C.  We talked about a small targeted mailshot he wants to do.  We talked carefully to each other - the last time we had met he had been very critical of his boss Callum Smith and I suppose he is now hoping all that disloyalty will be forgotten (he needn't worry, I have no intention of saying anything).

Late afternoon Vijay Singh appeared, I suppose to collect more of his stuff.  I made sure I was on the 'phone when he walked back through the office chatting to people.  When asked what he was going to do next he said he had lots of things on.

Wednesday

The office very quiet today and I could tell that the Admin staff (who sit near me) were becoming bored.  Also noticeable is the reduction in e-mail traffic - I used to get hundreds.  Obviously it will take time for Callum Smith to assert himself and start to generate activity.

I decided it was a day to file old papers.  I also threw loads away, confident that many of the Vijay Singh schemes are now dead.  Down in the Reading Room I talked to Gary and Matthew - they have no idea what is going to happen to the Library and no Librarian is likely to be appointed in the near future (I would want the job myself if I could be sure it was not moving back to London).

I wrote an article for an in-house magazine published by Head Office.

Thursday

Callum Smith chaired a meeting this morning to discuss our Conference event and the exhibitions programme to the end of the year.  David L from Head Office attended this meeting as well as Surveys Manager Abi Reed.  I took the minutes at this meeting and circulated them widely by e-mail, wanting people to know that the Institute was still in business.

In the afternoon I wrote a factsheet - three hours to research it, less than an hour to write.

Later a meeting with Callum Smith to discuss future marketing communications.  He seemed young and vulnerable and I suspect his "rough shaven" appearance is an attempt to make himself look older.  He told me he had not wanted to be Director but Alec Nussbaum had persuaded him.

I told him he could count on my support (an exact echo of the same promise I had made to Vijay Singh).

As soon as five o'clock arrived I packed away my papers and went home - I think I was the first to leave the building.

Friday

How civilised the Institute now feels with Callum Smith in charge.

Deputy Director Marcia Walsh hovered by my desk speculating on how Callum Smith had got the top job. 

"You know how things are done" I told her.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Dinnergate

It is not exactly clear where the media is going with the Jacob Rees-Mogg dinnergate story. 

It was a weak feature on Newsnight yesterday and an even weaker one on the Today programme this morning.

An example of the hollowness of the story can be seen in an article by Nigel Morris in the Independent:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jacob-reesmoggs-afterdinner-speech-to-group-calling-on-doreen-lawrence-to-go-home-8752995.html

Let us try to unpick this story:

An organisation called Traditional Britain asked a Conservative MP to talk to them about Conservative policy.  The speech appears to have been an entirely orthodox view of current Conservatism.  Nothing else seems to have been discussed at this dinner.

Subsequently the Traditional Britain group (which apparently espouses an old-fashioned fundamentalist view of British exceptionalism) makes provocative statements on various on-line sites.  Radical left-wing organisations which monitor groups such as Traditional Britain seize on these comments and present them in such a way that it appears as if they have been endorsed by Jacob Rees-Mogg.  Upon further questioning the left-wing monitors are unable to prove any connection between the speaker and the audience and the story effectively collapses.

What are we left with?

That some people find the British exceptionalism of Traditional Britain objectionable is obvious.  But is it any different from say the Jamaican exceptionalism we have seen voiced over the last week by individuals such as Diane Abbott MP and Lee Jasper (Lee Jasper claiming that the global culture of the world was now Jamaican).  It might perhaps be preferable to live in a world without loud expressions of cultural aggrandizement but the fact is we don't.

That some people find the idea of repatriation of BME people obnoxious is beyond doubt.  But is it any more obnoxious than the arrival here without democratic permission of millions of post-war immigrants (BME people and others, including Australians such as Trenton Oldfield)?  Is not the whole issue of immigration and the failed policy of multiculturalism a poisonous quagmire that needs sorting out?

That Doreen Lawrence, recently ennobled to the House of Lords, should be beyond criticism is not practical or desirable.  Lady Lawrence is a party politician, and when she takes her seat in the House of Lords will be part of the legislature and paid allowances and expenses drawn from the public purse.  That such a person should be scrutinised and where necessary criticised is axiomatic (although it is possible that her political career will be beyond criticism - I am looking forward to Lady Lawrence using her position to advance equal rights for Jamaican gay people in the Jamaican diaspora in the United Kingdom, and indeed in Jamaica itself, widely regarded as the most homophobic nation on earth).