Monday, June 30, 2014

Unusual that Tom Watson MP does not mention Ed Miliband endorsing The Sun in this condemnation of politicians who inveigle themselves with the press:
Statins are becoming increasingly controversial for a supposedly establishment therapy:

When I was diagnosed with high cholesterol I decided not to take statins but look for an alternative.

I have been taking red rice yeast capsules for five years now and my cholesterol level has been completely under control.

Pinned Tweet

I shouldn't get annoyed about little things, but I find the new fad of "pinned Tweet" unreasonably irritating.

I will decide what notice to take of your Twitter posts thank you very much.

If you want to bring something to my attention either write scintillating content that attracts attention or pay for banner advertising.

The election

I was interested to read this article by Dominic Cummings.

Particularly the assessment (correct in my view) that no-one, not even party members, believe senior politicians when they say they will do something about immigration.

This does however present a unique opportunity to David Cameron.

If he were to order unilateral action by the United Kingdom to stop all inward flow of migrants his credibility among the electorate would shoot up.

Of course there would be a terrible row.  The United Kingdom would be taken to the European Court.  There would be screams of protest from the left and possibly even resignations from within his own government and civil service.

But all that would not have any impact until after the election.

And in the meantime the election (which is being fought on immigration) would be won.
Ten years ago today I started this blog.

Since then I have made 4,860 posts.

I was a different person ten years ago (although in some ways exactly the same).

I think we all recognise that Haribo Giant Strawbs do not constitute a proper breakfast.

Ed Miliband in the Sunday Times

Ed Miliband in the Sunday Times writes:  "...we would tackle undercutting of wages and conditions that drive up low-skill immigration".

This is an arse-about-face way of addressing the problem (if you will excuse the crude expression).

There is a much more simple way of tackling low-skill immigration - stop low-skill immigrants from coming into the United Kingdom.

Oh I forgot, we can't do this while we are in the EU under the present terms and Labour is committed to staying in the EU under the present terms.

Thus we get these meaningless policy announcements that mean nothing (a few gang masters and raptor agencies will be put on trial then it will all go on as before).

Steve Erlanger in the International New York Times

If anyone doubts whether the American establishment hates the United Kingdom they have only to read this article by Steve Erlanger in the International New York Times

These people are not our friends.

There has never been a Special Relationship and never will be.

We need to start seeing the American government for what it is - a monster that is out of control.

Julian Bell reviews the Tate Gallery's current exhibition on British Folk Art

In the London Review of Books Julian Bell reviews the Tate Gallery's current exhibition on British Folk Art (which I have yet to see):

At the end of the review Julian Bell asks the question:  "...whatever happened to British folk art? It belonged to them, it seems, and it belonged to then."

Above:  Steam Threshing - on the wall of our lean-to shed (where Smokie the big stray cat lives).

About two years ago I was at a village fete and went into the village hall for a cup of tea.  On the walls they had paintings by a local farmer who had just died.  His house was being cleared and the paintings were on sale for £3 each (any unsold would go in the skip).

They were naive depictions of rural life in his younger days - I suppose the 1940s.  Ploughmen, farm boys, milk maids.  He was obviously untrained as an artist but he made up for this by the sincerity of his work and the detail of his vision.

I bought one of the paintings, which I keep in a shed (it seems more at home there among the rusty old tools and cobwebs).

But I think this answers Julian Bell's question - folk art has not gone away, you can still see it if you bother to look).

Sunday, June 29, 2014

House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse

Have just finished reading House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse.

A review in the Sunday Telegraph said it was a retelling of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, and with that in mind you can see all sorts of inverted parallels.

The author assumes a sympathy for Oxbridge graduates, which I'm afraid not everyone feels (I certainly don't).  And the male characters are two-dimensional.  Also the "character" of the house (gothic, brooding, conscious) never really manifests itself in a way that is tangible.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the narrator's sense of self-awareness.  At times she behaves appallingly - jealous, lustful (her head is turned when she voyeuristically sees Greg naked), petty, nerdish (the scenes at a provincial newspaper are wonderful), paranoid.  As a character she is absolutely convincing.
On the World This Weekend at lunchtime Matthew Taylor (former head of policy under Tony Blair) described Labour's current safety first strategy - the idea that they can win the next general election without doing anything.
On Sunday Politics earlier today Janan Ganesh (Financial Times) said that the Prince of Wales had interesting views.

Thank goodness someone was challenging New Labour politicans on the environment, architecture and failings in education.

I know these people thought they were above challenge - that their 35% vote in the general election entitled them to behave how they like.

But thank goodness for the Prince of Wales.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sir Richard Body was prophetic.

None of them understand Euroscepticism

The panel on Dateline London made themselves look ridiculous earlier today.

None of them understand Euroscepticism.

Agnes Poirier was wittering on about the importance of considering "the long term".

It is exactly the long-term we are considering.

In the long term, with ever greater political union, the British monarchy goes, the British armed forces go, the British currency goes, the British control over population composition goes, British foreign policy goes, British parliamentary democracy goes.

It will all be "pooled" and "shared" and "harmonised" out of all recognition.

Of course, this will be the same for every country in the EU, they will all lose their national institutions.

But there is a significant difference between countries that were victors in the Second World War (the United Kingdom) and countries that were losers and collaborators (every EU country except Sweden).

Germany does not care about its national identity - indeed would prefer to forget about much of it.  And so in varying degrees every other EU state would prefer to forget about the middle of the last century.  There is no national identity they want to hang on to.

Not so with the United Kingdom.

That is why we are leaving.

In a perfunctory sort of way I worked - the past week at work


Overnight I did not sleep all that well.  The temperature alternative too hot then too cold.  Until I realised that it was not the temperature but myself that was going hot and cold.

I got up feeling terrible.  Aches and pains all over and a complete lack of energy.  Rare meeting with my brother in the outer kitchen (he is usually gone by the time I get up - he just told me I had a cold and I should pull myself together.

In retrospect I suppose I should have taken the day off, but so much to do this week meant I had to go in.

Because of the seminar and dinner on Thursday there were lots of people in the offices attending the planning meeting.  Vijay Singh appeared and we chatted affably although we do not like each other.  He is giving the main address on Thursday, which will be interesting.

Also I worked on an article for a publication - it has to be tediously bland, but has a circulation of 120,000 of the people we need to reach.

Some members of the Council appeared at lunchtime.  So thoroughly has Alec Nussbaum taken over that it is a mild surprise to realise that we are accountable to these elderly gentlemen.  One of them said to me:  "The reorganisation has created a vacuum, and nobody knows what is likely to happen next".

Instead of joining the buffet lunch in the Board Room I took refuge in Deputy Director Marcia Walsh's office and watched BBC2 on her laptop.

Late afternoon an e-mail with the news that David L at Head Office had been made redundant (I worked with him on the exhibitions programme). 

The city where the office is located can be a disturbing place away from the historic centre.  Mostly put up in the 1970s and 1980s it generally appears well kept as you drive along the boulevards.  Then you see see a burnt out car on a roundabout that had not been there in the morning and you realise that there are a lot of social problems.


Alec Nussbaum this morning:  "I have in my mind an over-view of British society and how it is integrated".

I did some research for the media paper I am preparing.  I had been concerned that it would be difficult, but once I began to break it down into sections it was not too bad.  I went out at lunchtime just to get away from it for an hour - going to a cafe in the shopping centre they were playing Diana Ross I'm Still Waiting which seemed to sum up my mood.

When I got home I immediately fell asleep on the sofa for an hour, the dogs not yet fed.


Uncomfortably cold in the office.  Obviously the heating has been turned off for the summer.  I borrowed Marcia Walsh's electric bar heater.

Lots of people still milling about, staying in local hotels ready for Thursday.  They come into the office because I suppose they do not have anywhere else to go.  Mostly they looked bored. 

The financial situation for the Institute does seem to have eased.  Thursday is in many ways a fund-raiser as the Council and members could wipe away our debt easily if they wanted.  They just need convincing that what we are doing is worthwhile.


Although I was in a rush this morning I was sufficiently annoyed at the state of the Morning Glory that I stopped and put some gravel around the base (the leaves are being eaten by slugs!).

In the office everyone was stressed.  An open clash between Marcia Walsh and Office Manager Gladys Y over some tiny mundane item (copying handouts I think).  Then everything was packed into cars and driven to the hotel.

The seminar/AGM went well.  I was so familiar with the content (having seen all the drafts) that I sat quietly at the back and did the live Twitter posts, most of which I had drafted advance.  Still feeling very unwell so that I considered missing the dinner, but actually I was very glad I attended it.


I slept quite soundly, the first time this week.  The hotel room heating was full on, which may have made a difference.  Like everyone else I went straight from the hotel to the office.

Although we were at work, the day had the atmosphere of a holiday.

In a perfunctory sort of way I worked on the media supplement.

I sent 500 words to the in-house magazine - Danielle at Head Office e-mailed me "I laughed so much I got hiccups".

At 4pm everyone left.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why are foreigners interfering in Northern Ireland? :

Mr Biden needs to save his "peacemaking" skills for the mess in Iraq.

The equivalent of America losing California

It was worrying watching Malcolm Rifkind on Newsnight saying that the other EU countries will give in to British demands rather than see the United Kingdom leave.

I suppose it would be the equivalent of America losing California.
Interesting interview by Jackie Long on Channel 4 News talking about Richard Linklater's fascinating film Boyhood (although having him grow up to be an Obama voter rather lacks imagination).

Managing expectations for 2015

This is a very sensible assessment of how Labour is managing expectations for 2015:

Getting back into power after a devastating defeat was always going to be a two-term project.

Like a patient trying to recover from a bad case of 'flu if you try to get up too soon and go back to work you risk a relapse that puts you back to square one (and that is not a prospect you should relish).

One of the most remarkable aspects of Ed Miliband is his complete lack of egotism.  This is rare in a political leader - most of them are divas.  He is working calmly and intelligently not just for the good of the party but for the future of the country - Labour will thank him in time for the preparations he is making now.

It is the likes of Sunder Katwala, Mehdi Hassan and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who must take responsibility

Lefty Ian Birrell points to this article by Scott Anderson on the Smithsonian website and argues that the current mess in Iraq is all our fault ("Iraq’s problems today have their roots in World War I and British intervention):

However the lefties can't have it all their own way.

The British Empire occupied Mesopotamia using largely Indian troops.  Therefore the mess is largely an Indian responsibility (the Indian soldiers were all volunteers, there was no conscription in India, they invaded Mesopotamia because they wanted to fight and kill for British imperial glory).  And if Vron Ware (Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at The Open University) is right in her (currently unproven) assertion that the BME people in the United Kingdom today are the descendants of the BME people who fought "for" Britain in the First World War it is the likes of Sunder Katwala, Mehdi Hassan and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who must take responsibility for the current carnage in Iraq.
This is an interesting project that deserves your financial support:

Vron Ware (Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at the the Open University)

Rather misleading article by Vron Ware (Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at the the Open University) regarding BME participation in the First World War:

"The job at hand is to persuade the British-born descendants of those soldiers drawn from the colonies and dominions that military service belongs to a venerable family tradition, and is therefore part of their heritage." Ms Ware tells us.

Except that I have seen no evidence that the BME people currently in the United Kingdom are descendants of those soldiers drawn from the colonies (and believe me, if there was any evidence the pro-immigration lobby would be shoving it in our face).  Recruitment into the Indian army during the British Raj tended to be from very specific villages and usually from military families that could be trusted to support British rule.  These went on to form the post-Independence Indian army.

Therefore the argument she makes that BME participation in the First World War justifies post-1945 BME immigration (which has occurred without the consent of the majority in the United Kingdom) falls flat.

You are peddling lies Ms Ware - and bringing shame on The Open University.

The BBC is a public service and must not allow advertising

Regarding television news coverage of the so-called Peoples Assembly demo ( ), I think where events have been staged entirely to gain publicity the BBC is justified in not covering them.

The BBC is a public service and must not allow advertising to besmirch its high standards.

That goes for illicit product placement in sports crowds, flash mobbing during news bulletins, and staged demonstrations solely to get onto the cameras.

The greatest British Prime Minister of the 21st century

Sometimes I think most political commentators are blind.

Take this "advice" from Damian McBride to David Cameron on how to get the best from the EU:

The is nothing in David Cameron's record that indicates he wants to get the best from Brussels.

All his actions (not the carefully prepared words mind, his actions) are consistent with someone heading towards the exit.

And with an intransigent Juncker saying "Nein nein nein" in a sinister foreign accent, the scene is now set for him to attempt negotiations, be rebuffed, and recommend a NO vote without splitting the Conservative party.

He is a master of politics and will go down as the greatest British Prime Minister of the 21st century.

We can go our own way

After the dinner last night everyone was light-hearted (or light-headed?) in the office today.

When the news about Juncker came through Alec Nussbaum put on Fleetwood Mac and actually sang "We can go our own way" with jazz hands and Katie from Finance & Fund Raising jumped up and down and we all joined in the chorus.

A surreal but happy moment.

To appreciate how surreal you have to know how sober and humourless Alec Nussbaum usually is.
"While the country sleeps we remain vigilant".

Alec Nussbaum, 26th June 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chuka Umuna’s thoughts on “the new urban age”

I have read Chuka Umuna’s thoughts on “the new urban age” (in the New Statesman) twice now and still cannot discern any concrete proposals in it:

Is it possible that it is just a rehash of John Prescott’s regional policy that was so decisively rejected by the electorate?

“…self-reinforcing networks of knowledge, suppliers and support, where people of different backgrounds and disciplines come into contact and discover new ways of doing things.”  I thought the internet was doing this already?  The trend is to get away from business dominated by a culture of physical meetings.

“…cities are the growth machines of the 21st century: they harness specific local strengths and turn them into clusters of expertise and innovation.”  But in the United Kingdom they are no longer centres of manufacturing.  Which is a big difference between British cities and the cities Chuka Umuna is commending to us.

“…we asked Andrew Adonis to carry out an independent review into how to push power down, decentralise and promote better balanced growth across all regions and cities of the UK.”  How is Andrew Adonis independent?  He is a Labour crony.

“Lord Heseltine, the Conservative whose collaboration with Liverpool's Labour council over the years led to him being awarded the Freedom of the City by the Labour administration there in 2012.”  I did not know this fact but I am not surprised.  Heseltine has always been a big state socialist.

“…people are less tribal, do not identify with political parties as strongly as they once did.”  They do not identify with political parties because political leaders are so dishonest.  Try showing some loyalty to the electors and they might show some loyalty to you.

“…highlighting the economic and democratic dynamism of cities put in charge of their own destinies”  Cities running their own affairs is fine.  Urban areas swamping the surrounding region is not.

“The United Kingdom is crying out for decentralisation which is why we will put forward the most radical set of plans to devolve power to English cities and regions in a generation at next year's General Election.”  But as I said, this is just John Prescott Regionalism Mark 2.  I want to see comprehensive safeguards for small communities and individuals who may not want to be incorporated into an urban region.

“…the benefits of decentralisation - particularly to cities and city-regions - are too great to ignore.”  And yet Chuka Umuna does not list any of these benefits.  He points to Chinese and American urban areas and implies we might become like them (as if this is some kind of incentive).

“In April Ed Miliband announced that the next Labour government will hand control of at least £20 billion of funding from Whitehall to city and county regions, in line with the recommendations made by Lord Heseltine in his seminal report No Stone Unturned.”  I cannot think of anything more ghastly than merging Heseltine’s quasi-fascist corporate syndicalism with Labour’s vibrantly diverse urbanist multiculturalism.  To quote Chris Rea:  This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway, Oh no, this is the road to hell.

Mark Mazzetti in the New York Times writing about America's drone activity

Sobering examination by Mark Mazzetti in the New York Times writing about America's drone activity:

We know from the Guardian (perhaps via the Snowden files?) that the United Kingdom has 500 military drones.

What other countries are acquiring drones?

How far away are we from the first robotic war?


Sophie McBain in the New Statesman about Labour's Red Princes

Important article by Sophie McBain in the New Statesman about Labour's Red Princes:

And this pattern of nepotism is not going to change anytime soon given that a "friends and family" culture dominates the selection process:

This creates a disconnect between what Labour is saying and what Labour is doing.

The Condition of Britain report launched a few days ago by Ed Miliband talks about "Instead of the equal distribution of a particular good, we should seek equality in social relations: that is, a society in which people relate to each other as free and equal citizens, and in which unjust social hierarchies of power, esteem and standing are progressively overcome."

Perhaps the Labour party could most effectively overcome unjust social hierarchies of power, esteem and standing simply by abolishing itself.

We are seeing our country taken away from us

The ONS figures released today show that 25% of births are to foreign mothers.

This is extremely alarming.

One cannot avoid the thought that we are seeing our country taken away from us.

David Aaronovitch has not read Robert Musil

Presumably David Aaronovitch has not read Robert Musil's Man Without Qualities

If you want an example of a modern Austria-Hungary look around you. 

We are living in a duel monarchy (with Scotland in the role of Hungary); surrounded by an ambiance of faded imperial grandeur; with all posts in the government administration filled by a hereditary caste (over-privileged public schoolboys); far too ready to fall in with the machinations of a bigger ally (America); insulted by upstart Slav politicians (Radosław Sikorski); and with an overlarge capital city estranged from the country around it and filled with a cosmopolitan diversity that dazzles some and disgusts others.

On the whole I like living in the United Kingdom, and I think I would have liked pre-1914 Austria-Hungary.  But we should not be blind to the dangers of such a society.  Austria-Hungary was extremely unstable and eventually the tensions tore the country apart.

Immigration provoking white flight?

According to Office of National Statistics figures just released the United Kingdom population grew by 400,600 mid-2012 to mid-2013 while at the same time London had highest net outflow of residents to the rest of the country:

Is this evidence of immigration provoking white flight?

Seamus Milne in the Guardian

This article by Seamus Milne in the Guardian is a classic of his style of journalism.  He addresses a political issue, says some good things and counters the ignorant perception of other things.  Then just when you think he has made his case fairly he tacks on a lot of extraneous socialism that has more to do with his private view of society than the issue he is supposed to be discussing:

Some points from the article:

“He's weak. He's a loser. The public think he's weird.”  Conservatives are not saying this (apart from the ghastly Dan Hodges, although he is not officially a Conservative).  Labour insiders are generating this “New Labour whispering campaign”.

“…with Labour's parliamentary boundary advantage and a little help from UKIP, he might actually win”  Winning through these false advantages would not be a win worth having.  Labour would from the outset be seen as an illegitimate administration, alienating more people from the established system.

“Blairite and Brownite diehards”  Who are the Brownites?  Is anyone seriously thinking of bringing Gordon Brown back, either in person or as an ideology?

“From the Independent newspaper and City financiers to New Labour veterans like Lords Myners and Mandelson and shadow cabinet operators such as Ed Balls and Chris Leslie”  Apart from City financiers this is a list of lefties.  It rather proves the view that Ed Miliband is a divisive figure (and divisiveness stems from weakness at the top).

“Miliband's caution and equivocation partly stem from his lack of support in the shadow cabinet and parliament, and a determination to maintain party unity at all costs.”  True union can only come from genuine love.  Ed Miliband does not love the Labour party – his distaste for the people (as opposed to his love of the ideas) is obvious. 

“…he himself is a product of New Labour politics, and has failed to mobilise his own base of support.”  Is this because having gained the Labour leadership he does not know what to do next?  Seamus Milne makes an oblique comparison with Margaret Thatcher – but from the start Margaret Thatcher knew exactly what she wanted to do and planned for it thoroughly.

“Miliband succeeds when he's bold… that means bringing to heel the briefers and rivals who would take Labour backwards and turning the tables on his media tormentors.”  And how would he bring to heel these people?  Sackings?  Denunciations?  Expulsions?  This would mean hurting people, and this is one thing that Ed Miliband seems unable to do (for all the extravagant talk of fratricide - which in any case was probably a mistake and not the outcome he intended).
America vs Germany at Arena Pernambuco today.

As it starts at 5pm there is no possibility of watching it, thus there is no quandary over who to support.

The imposition of Jean-Claude Juncker

The Today programme discussed the imposition of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission president:

This is happening because Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown arbitrarily (without a referendum) signed the Treaty of Nice (2001) and the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) giving up the British veto in this area and allowing appointment of the European Commission president by qualified majority voting.

As the choice of the European Commission president has an important constitutional impact upon the United Kingdom, and as the system of appointment was changed without the democratic consent of the British people, I think we are justified in abrogating the Nice and Lisbon treaties.


From inside the shrines at Karbalā'

Interesting report on Channel 4 News yesterday from inside the shrines at Karbalā' in Iraq:

However I would have liked to have seen more of the building rather than just the perfunctory background shots as Lindsey Hilsum delivered her report.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

George Eaton interviews Jon Cruddas for the New Statesman

George Eaton interviews Jon Cruddas for the New Statesman and is given an alarming view of how the Labour party machine operates:

(George Eaton) "Cruddas told me that he was not certain that his policy vision would survive contact with Labour's political machine, speaking of 'tripwires', 'cross-currents' and 'tensions'.  He identified the 'essential conservatism' of organisations and the party’s 'centralised' and even 'authoritarian' tendencies as the main obstacles to change."

What exactly is Jon Cruddas saying to George Eaton here?

It seems fairly clear that his policy vision has been torn to shreds by Labour's political machine, and he is hopping mad about it. 

Tripwires means that they laid traps for him.  Cross-currents means that he was getting caught up in internal feuds.  Tensions means... well what would the Labour party be without tensions and simmering hatreds and screaming hate-filled tirades? 

And look at the name-calling Jon Cruddas is indulging in!  His foes are "essential conservatives", "centralists", and "authoritarians".  He could be describing the Politbureau of 1922.
Bonnie Greer is using Twitter to say that David Cameron's apology yesterday might have caused a mis-trial. 

And yet she, along with hundreds of other lefties were calling for an apology yesterday.

The hypocrisy of the left would be amazing if it were not so predictable.

If David Cameron is guilty of contempt of court then surely those who incited him are equally to blame and should be in the dock with him (or at least some high profile examples such as Bonnie Greer and George Eaton).

Chris Clarke on Left Foot Forward

This article by Chris Clarke on Left Foot Forward has some interesting ideas:

But the question should not be why UKIP has grown at an exponential rate so quickly.

The question is why the Liberals got away with their masquerade as a credible "protest party" for so long (decades).

Reneging on the tuition fees solemn promise cracked their façade and revealed them as charlatans, deceivers, mountebanks of an high order. 

Now everyone can see how ridiculous their "protest" pose has been.  They were always establishment conformists.  Probably the most anti-establishment they ever got was when Jeremy Thorpe opted to wear a trilby rather than a bowler.

With the Liberal party exposed as a protest paper tiger, room has been created for a true centre-right insurgency party to arise.

Without the Liberals crowding the field UKIP may well have emerged in 1968 following the Rivers of Blood speech - and Ted would have been challenged from the right on many of his extremist acts (the Local Government Act, recreational inflation, joining the EEC etc).
I would love to go to this seminar: 

London Seminar - The Archaeology and Archives of Amarna Saturday 30th August 2014, 10:00-16:00, click here for details and tickets

But I can't do everything.

Drone technology

Does Iran have a military drone fleet?:

This is news (to me at least).

What if they put weapons of mass destruction on these drones?

They then don't have any need of ballistic missiles presumably.

They could target anywhere - Toledo in Castile, Clermont Ferrand in l'Auvergne, even Lincoln in Nebraska.

What efforts are being made internationally on controlling drone technology?

Unusually high awards

These seem to be unusually high awards for what are relatively small villages - Algarkirk and New Bolingbroke:

The manor house at Algarkirk was left (fully furnished) in perpetuity for the use of the local vicar.  As the Church of England did not spend any money on updates it became a time-capsule of a late Victorian country house filled with rare books and 18th century antiques.  Then in the 1950s it was demolished and the wonderful bequest was lost.

Perhaps the grant is to rebuild it?

Their troubles seem likely to continue

Ian Leslie convincingly dissects the Labour elite in this article for the New Statesman:

And their troubles seem likely to continue well into the future given the insider bias the party has towards selecting candidates.

" a typical career path might include a degree from Cambridge, perhaps taking in a year at Harvard, then a job at a think tank, writing fiendishly complex papers on welfare reform and advising the government of Latvia on transport policy."

Article by Jeremy Page and Ned Levin in the Wall Street Journal

I was interested in the article by Jeremy Page and Ned Levin in the Wall Street Journal that Islamic extremists are targeting Muslim areas in China:

In the Second World War it was the United Kingdom that confronted and held back the evil Germans.  And they were helped in this by the (very late) arrival in the war of the United States.  But it was Soviet Russia that eventually defeated Nazi Germany - at a dreadful cost to both the Russians and the Germans.

Therefore with this precedent in mind can we see al-Qaeda's (or its equivalent) declaration of war against China to be similar to the German drang nach osten of 22nd June 1941?

That China will prevail against the Islamic extremists because they are willing to adopt those measures the West will not adopt.

That the War on Terror will be won by China (although written up in the history books as a Western victory).

That most sacred of left-wing sacred cows

The obvious implication of Sunny Hundal's article for LabourList is that Ed Miliband should follow the example of Tony Blair and David Cameron and slay one of his own party's sacred cows:;postID=8067925642171946408

This, according to Sunny Hundal, would demonstrate to the electorate that Mr Miliband was a tough finisher-completer who would not hesitate to take difficult decisions and bulldoze opposition to get things done.

But what sacred cows does Labour have left to slay?  Militant has been defeated and expelled.  Clause 4 has been repealed.  Free market capitalism has been adopted uncritically.  The war against Unite was a damp squib that ended in a messy truce at Falkirk.  The young feckless NEETs have already been ferociously kicked (most recently by Rachel Reeves).

There is of course always that most sacred of left-wing sacred cows - immigration.

But we know that Labour is addicted to immigration, and is unable to act sensibly on the issue.

Registered to vote

1,656,149 EU nationals are registered to vote in the United Kingdom.

Which constituencies are these people concentrated in?

What influence are they likely to have on elections?

Is any political party offering them bribes in return for votes?

John Terry

If John Terry had not been hounded out of the England team as a result of a politically correct witchhunt is not likely that England would have done better in the World Cup?

His International record speaks for itself.

Article by Alasdair Palmer in the Daily Telegraph

I am not at all happy about this article by Alasdair Palmer in the Daily Telegraph

“it is likely that more than 65,000 people are here because they cheated on their English test”.  Then suspend the student visa scheme until the Home Office can get on top of this issue.  If necessary put a stop to all foreign students - the college places they are going to can be taken up by our own NEETs (and if that means sending NEETs to Oxford so be it, the dons can earn their money for a change).

“The Home Office does not know, for instance, how many people who come to Britain on short-term visas do not return home after they have expired. When officials sampled a portion of those who had entered Britain on such visas, they found that half had not departed by the date required.”  Why?  Why do we STILL not know who is coming in and who is going out of the country – if there is a terrorist incident as a result of this negligence these civil servants need to go to gaol.

“Officials privately insist that it is impossible to make our borders impenetrable, and that the attempt to do so is doomed to failure. The necessary manpower does not exist, and providing it would be prohibitively expensive.”  Use the army (rather than employ them on senseless invasions of Third World countries).  Or if there is doubt over the amount of resources that should be allocated to border control then ask the people in a referendum – you will find they will be ready to approve any level of expenditure that will stop immigration.

“The Government urgently needs to find a way to restore the electorate’s faith in its competence on this issue. Otherwise, it will pay dearly for its failure at the election.”  Absolutely right.  I will not campaign for or vote for a party that is going soft on immigration. 
On the Today programme this morning the political editor Nick Robinson referred to Danny Finkelstein as a "Conservative peer".

What is Conservative about this person?

He is a former member of the SDP, and an unbridled libertarian - and being editor of The Times he is probably also a republican (small r) as that is the preferred Murdoch policy.

Election manifestos should be independently audited

I agree with Ed Balls (on the Today programme this morning) that election manifestos should be independently audited and costed but I would go further and propose that they become legally-binding documents - "contracts" that can be reviewed by the courts with penalties for non-implementation, exceeding authority and lying.

And with hung parliaments, any coalition agreement to be subjected clause by clause to referendum.

Prime Minister's Questions today

In Prime Minister's Questions today I hope a significant number of Conservative MPs (and perhaps one or two Labour) are supplied with copies of the infamous image of Ed Miliband holding up The Sun.

These can then be waved at strategic moments for the benefit of the cameras and would help to subsequently steer the media coverage.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If someone as iniquitous as Damian McBride can sail through the vetting procedure...

There are times when I think only someone with the abilities of the poet Milton could adequately describe the awfulness of Damian McBride, most brazen of all the brazen bulls used by Gordon Brown to torment his opponents.

Anyway, Mr McBride judges the appointment Andy Coulson in this post on his blog:

"When I was employed by Gordon Brown as his head of communications at the Treasury, it was on the back of an unimpeachable and pretty successful seven years working as a civil servant. There was no reason at all for concern about how I was going to do that job, hence Gus O’Donnell interviewing and recommending me for the role" he says.

But does this not prove how pathetically inadequate the vetting system is?

If someone as iniquitous as Damian McBride can sail through the vetting procedure and come through smelling of attar how on earth could anyone expect the officials to have picked up Andy Coulson?

Damian McBride entirely undermines his own argument!

Matthew Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo in the Guardian

Important article by Matthew Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo in the Guardian:

"a wake-up call for those who refused to believe that Ukip could inflict mass damage in Labour territory"

"While Labour took too long to acknowledge Ukip's potential, it is now failing to understand its appeal."

"Foremost, it is immigration and European integration that dominate the minds of voters who switched from Labour to UKIP at the European elections".

Trust, forgiveness, innocence - these are good things are they not?

"If I have been lied to, that would be the moment for profound apology" said David Cameron in July 2011 referring to Andy Coulson.

Apologise profoundly that he has been too trusting?

That he gave someone a second chance?

That he held fast to the principle of innocent until proven guilty?

What is wrong with all those lefties demanding their pound of flesh?

Trust, forgiveness, innocence - these are good things are they not?

Take your pound of flesh lefties, but you are not entitled to one drop of Christian blood.

Reflections on the concept of pre-distribution

Perhaps a rather too serious account of the Young Fabians encounter with "Socialism, Capitalism and One Nation Labour" by Callum Totten:

“ socialism was in the (perhaps uncomfortable) position of being to a significant extent reliant on capitalism to achieve many of its goals.”  In other words Conservative governments make money which Labour governments spend.  Fine when Tory and Labour governments alternative, fine when we have several Tory governments one after the other, but not so fine when Labour has a run of electoral success - inevitably the money runs out.

"One Nation Labour entails a… much greater concern towards issues of inequality and the distribution of goods and rewards in the economy."  This obsession with "equality" does not sound good and Labour needs to argue more coherently why equality is desirable for its own sake.  The temptation in the past (1960s and 1970s) was to level down (an equality of misery) as this was much easier to achieve than levelling up (which Labour was hopeless at).

"A number of broad policy areas were discussed at the launch. These included the renaissance of nationalisation as a model for public utilities, greater state intervention to develop an active industrial policy, the role the left can play in championing consumer issues, innovative ideas about how to build a more popular and democratic capitalism, and reflections on the concept of pre-distribution."

Reflections on the concept of pre-distribution!  My goodness, these Young Fabians know how to have a good time.  Did they form circles and hold hands and meditate on pre-distribution as a way of achieving serenity and enlightenment, all the time doing the om-chant and lighting joss sticks before a portrait of Ed Miliband? 

Loyalty has not gone out of fashion

With admirable self-awareness John Harris talks about the Labour party and says “if the party's poll rating is currently in the early- to mid-30s that may be as good as it gets”

He also draws attention to “…the resulting disappearance of the kind of voter who goes to the polling station feeling a compelling sense of party loyalty.”

Curiously he does not ask why.

Loyalty has not gone out of fashion you know.  It is perfectly possible to inspire loyalty, even political loyalty.  You only have to look at the way brand managers successfully inspire brand loyalty, even for such mundane products and services as Super Dry clothing, Andrex toilet tissue and the BBC (obviously the BBC is not mundane).

All you have to do is make ordinary people feel that your organisation is part of their lives. 

That you are part of the way they self-identify themselves.

That you are on their side. 

There is of course a downside to this.

Loyalty depends upon reciprocity.  Loyalty depends upon integrity (literally integrating into your policies the concerns of your supporters).  If you are not loyal to them they will not be loyal to you.

And unfortunately for liberal-minded internationalist Labour candidates it means taking note of what people are saying to you on the doorstep and committing yourselves to act on those concerns even though privately you might want to run shrieking back to the constituency office to comfort yourself with sal volatile and the latest copy of the New Humanist.

Labour did a Bad Thing when it was in office 1997 to 2010. 

This Bad Thing is coming up repeatedly on the doorstep despite all the attempts to change the subject, rationalise it out of existence or indeed counter-argue that the Bad Thing was in fact a very good thing that people ought to be grateful for.

To regain loyalty and trust Labour must address the Bad Thing they did and say what they are going to do to put it right (put right the past mistake please note, not just make vague promises about avoiding the same mistake in the future).

Unfortunately the IPPR report The Condition of Britain does not even address directly the Bad Thing that comes up on the doorstep (they say they have put all that into a separate IPPR report).

So in terms of reviving loyalty it looks like Labour is going nowhere.

Has Lenny Henry thought through the implications

Has Lenny Henry thought through the implications of what he is suggesting?

Increasing the number of black and Asian faces on television by ten or fifteen per cent is likely to boost support for UKIP by the same number of percentage points as the feeling grows that immigration is out of control again.

Luke Akehurst points the finger at the Shadow Cabinet

Ever so diplomatically Luke Akehurst points the finger at the Shadow Cabinet for not supporting Ed Miliband:

“…we need to see them coming forward, making the big announcements, making the big speeches, socking it to the Government in the Commons in a way that will convince them that Labour is ready to govern.”

So presumably the Shadow Cabinet are not coming forward with big announcements?  They are not making big speeches?  They are not convincing people that Labour is ready to govern?

Really, this is not helping Mr Akehurst.

“We need to stop worrying about what the worst case might be in May 2015 and start ensuring that everything we say and do between now and then contributes to the best case happening.”

And what if the best case is Labour falling short of a majority?  Of not even getting a majority of the popular vote?  Of not even being able to join with the LibDems in a fudged compromise coalition with Tristram Hunt as Prime Minister?

The stakes are high Mr Akehurst.

People ARE worrying about the worst case scenario.

Changing leader now may not be enough to secure a Labour majority but it could make Labour sufficiently LibDem friendly so as to revive a significant number of Labour careers post-2015 in the wheeling and dealing that is widely expected to follow a hung parliament.

If you are going to lose in the general election you might as well start planning for it now.  And that is why we are seeing suggestions that it is time to junk Mr Miliband (who is toast anyway after a 2015 defeat).  And we are seeing very subtle indications that the time is right to bring in a right-wing neo-Blair liberal who can command respect among the LibDems.

None of the usual raised voice hectoring

Listening to the Jeremy Hunt interview on the Today programme this morning I was struck by how civilised the exchange was.  There seemed to be no hidden agenda items (except at the end when he was asked a surprise question about the potty-mouthed Polish Foreign Minister).  Interviewer and interviewee listened politely to each other, questions were actually answered, and there was none of the usual raised voice hectoring (from either side).

Monday, June 23, 2014

It does not say much for Ed Miliband's chances

Oh dear oh dear, not much in the way of positive thinking in this LabourList article by Sunny Hundal about Ed Miliband:

He rather gives himself away in this Freudian slip: "...he has united the party around a direction that may survive even if he doesn’t."

When even the likes of Sunny Hundal are contemplating your demise it does not say much for Ed Miliband's chances.
I have just listened to The Special Relationship on Radio 4.

It is a documentary by Peter Hitchens looking at Anglo-American relations.

It confirmed my opinion that the American government is not our friend and we need to look elsewhere for allies.

The programme revealed that the EEC (now the EU) was originally funded by the CIA - that was new information!

The Polish Foreign Minister

Do we really care what the Polish Foreign Minister thinks?

Their population is running away from Poland in their millions, which must imply they view their homeland as a failed state.

And they are running towards David Cameron's United Kingdom (not that we want them here).

Therefore which government is the more incompetent?

Fear and dread

LabourList article by Mark Ferguson:

"The days in which the mood can be changed and momentum restored are dwindling. And what’s required is passion and an ability to explain coherently why Labour matters – and why we are the answer to what makes people angry about politics, society and the economy".

What is the one thing that is making people angry about politics in general and the Labour party in particular?

Do you not know what this is?

What is the one subject brought up on the doorstep time after time?

Or perhaps you don't want to answer that question because it is going to be too painful.

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

 Sooner or later the monster Labour created is going to catch up with the party and devour it.

Unless you slay the minotaur-child you created.

The people can vote either yes or no

I have just listened to Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Committee, advocating a presidential system of government on the PM programme (BBC Radio 4).

This is, I'm afraid, a non-starter.

However, with the advent of computerised voting I do not see why all registered voters should not be able to vote on legislation before the House of Commons.  The MPs can prepare the laws, the Cabinet fine tune them.  And then the people can vote either yes or no.

That would be true democracy.

"The entire Labour leadership is comprised of lightweights"

Scathing comment by Stephen Pollard in the Times that "the entire Labour leadership is comprised of lightweights".

A majority of people in the United Kingdom implacably opposed to GM crops

In today's Times Matt Ridley says that "countries such as France and Austria, who are implacably opposed to GM crops, and Britain, which is not".

I think if Mr Ridley bothered to test public opinion he would find a majority of people in the United Kingdom implacably opposed to GM crops.

Or perhaps he thinks that the countryside is the personal fifedom of Owen Paterson and his "L'État, c'est moi" assumptions when it comes to deciding policy.

Stuffed with the over-privileged

The Front Court of Kings College Cambridge.

The statue is of King Henry VI who founded the college at the same time as he founded Eton College and endowed both institutions with a complicated grant of lands recorded in the Rotuli Parliamentorum.

The duel foundation represents a sophisticated educational project aimed at "poor scholars" although now both colleges are stuffed with the over-privileged.

Free movement is no longer tenable

Nick Cohen in yesterday's Observer drew attention to an important point - many non-EU people are gaining entry to the United Kingdom by obtaining citizenship in countries that have lax requirements (obviously the United Kingdom had a lax regime under Labour's open-door immigration policy).

This is clearly an abuse of the free movement principle and in the forthcoming negotiations this should be submitted as one of the (many) reasons why free movement is no longer tenable.

A frenzied, febrile and foetid collection of rotten little sneaks

On Daily Politics this lunchtime Michael Meacher MP said there was a Blairite plot to bring down Ed Miliband ("the rats are coming out of the sewer" Jo Coburn quoted him as saying).

According to Mr Meacher the attack is coming from two directions - frustrated careerists in the Labour party who never wanted Ed in the first place; and "the Establishment" who see an Ed Miliband government as inimical to their interests (given the nature of Blairite infiltration of the civil service and other institutions of government this could also be classified as part of the Blairite plot).

Toby Helm in yesterday's Observer talked of "camps within camps, and wheels within wheels".  It would appear that a frenzied, febrile and foetid collection of rotten little sneaks are ever-ready to run to the press with every possible criticism of Ed Miliband they can flush out.  Disillusioned young activists, disunity over policy and tactics, lack of a narrative...

"I want you to look through this and tell me what you think - no pressure, but it would be useful to have a synopsis by Friday."
I watched the first half of Portugal vs America last night and was dazzled by Christiano Ronaldo.

The libertarian free market in labour advocated by Kevin Rawlinson

Inane question from Kevin Rawlinson (Journalist for Guardian, Channel 4 News, BBC) asking 'why aren't English players in demand abroad'?:

For the same reason English NEETs are not in demand in Poland - they are too expensive and it is cheaper to take local youngsters and train them up rather than import them from abroad.

Only when the wages and salaries in all countries around the world are similar will the libertarian free market in labour advocated by Kevin Rawlinson be able to work.

By the time that arrives the United Kingdom will be experiencing third world levels of salaries and benefits.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

England's Under-17s won the European Championship only a couple of weeks ago

Ian Birrell writing in the Independent has denied that foreign players at the top of the English Premier League are responsible for crowding out young English players and thus causing England's ejection from the World Cup:

Ian Birrell is of course committed to immigration as a transformative social force.

However Owen Gibson in the Observer points out that England's Under-17s won the European Championship only a couple of weeks ago:

English players do well until the age of 17 or 18 and then they reach a brick wall.

Foreign players fill 75% of all the openings available, and this number is increasing.

"Globalisation has not worked for lots of communities"

On World At One (BBC Radio 4) this lunchtime Andy Burnham (Shadow Education Secretary) said:  "It takes time for an opposition to rebuild".  Was this a dampening of expectations for 2015?  Does he expect Labour to lose, at which point he will offer his own services as leader (he is only 44).

Mr Burnham also said "globalisation has not worked for lots of communities".

Which party will be the first to drop an ideological commitment to libertarianism? 

You could argue that the Conservatives have been first with their curbs on non-EU immigration. 

The uniform swing mechanism will break down

On Sunday Politics Peter Kellner said that the uniform swing mechanism will break down in next year's general election.

This seems obvious once one starts to think about it.

In the old three-party model the incumbent party would hemorrhage the support of the non-aligned voters - hemorrhage to the Opposition and hemorrhage to the Liberal Democrats until a tipping point was reached and power would shift from one main party to the other.

Now the non-aligned voters have their own party (UKIP).  They do not need an ideologically complex protest vehicle like the Liberal Democrats.  UKIP is a simple and easy party to understand.

And it is the non-aligned UKIP that is soaking up the disillusioned from all three parties.

Therefore 2015 is going to be largely unpredictable.
In a druken haze late last night (or was it early this morning?) in one of those moments when you just watch anything that happens to be on TV, I found myself presented with an episode of Top of the Pops from 1979.

And ever since I have been totally captivated by Gerry Rafferty and Night Owl: 

I have been playing it ever since (when I have been awake of course).

The "sophomore" effect

Mention by Nicholas Watt on Sunday Politics of the "sophomore effect" whereby the newly elected MPs from 2010 are likely to do well in the 2015 general election.

This seems to me to be common sense.  Newly elected MPs tend to be motivated and work their constituencies.  It's only when they have been in for two terms that they get blasé and think others are going to do the canvassing for them (I can think of one seat I helped out at where the only canvasser was an 85-year-old lady who was absolutely indefatigable and covered huge areas including council estates while the candidate swanned around in a car making loud speaker announcements).

Labour has taken its traditional supporters for granted

Very interesting Sunday Politics on BBC1 this morning.

Andrew Neil expertly interviewed Rachel Reeves (Shadow Business Secretary) who said that Labour has taken its traditional supporters for granted.

But she didn't say who these traditional supporters are and what steps would be taken to win them back.
I have a summer 'flu.

At first I thought it was just a mild cold but all of yesterday in the heat I was shivering and all of today I just want to sleep.

Not sure if I will be up to watch Portugal this evening.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

It seems that the Polish community is fighting with the BME community in Tottenham this evening.

This inter-communal violence appears to be exactly as Enoch Powell predicted.

I thought London was 40% BME ?

I'm afraid it is very noticable that these striking firefighters in central London are all white.

I thought London was 40% BME ?

Or does this unionised workforce discriminate against BME people?

Or are BME people entirely uninterested in public service? (they do tend to take rather than give).

Picture came via:  Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union


In an article for today's Guardian Deborah Orr addresses the breakdown of consensus in politics over the welfare state:

She blames "Thatcherism" for this breakdown, but does not ask why the Conservatives became so disillusioned with the welfare state.

To understand this she needs to look at the previous two decades and the experience of mass immigration in which assets belonging to the community were allocated to new arrivals on the basis of "need" not on the basis of the contribution they had made via the National Insurance system.

Who on earth is going to pay higher taxes to provide Bangladeshis and Jamaicans with social housing and welfare payments?  To provide health care and education for the larger-than-average families of East African asians?  To give translation services to eastern Europeans?

No-one is keen on paying for the rollercoaster social revolution of mass immigration.

There is a paradox for Labour in all this

Prospect article by Peter Kellner looking at the unpopularity of Ed Miliband:

There is a paradox for Labour in all this.

All the time the electorate do not feel the recession is over they are likely to blame Labour for that recession.

If the electorate feels the recession is finally over they are likely to credit the Conservatives with that recovery (the Conservatives, not the Liberal Democrats).

Only when the economy has recovered and the electorate has become jejune over that recovery will Labour get a hearing.

Therefore it is unlikely that Labour will be able to come back until 2020.

Less than 25% of Premier League players are English

Owen Gibson in today's Guardian looks at reasons why England failed to make progress in the World Cup tournament:

Less than 25% of Premier League players are English.

This situation needs to be addressed - through the visa system if necessary.

And is not what is happening in football a microcosm of what is happening in wider society?

Young people are being crowded out by incomers.

The de-imperialisation of China

Interesting article by Ian Jack arguing that the United Kingdom might experience reverse colonialism from China:

However I am not convinced that China will rise to be an invincible and irrisistible world power.

As Chinese society becomes wealthier they will spend more money on the education of their children.  As their children become more educated they will learn critical powers (this is inevitable, otherwise they will not become fully educated and China will not advance as an economy).  These critical powers must eventually be used against the Chinese state with a consequent social revolution every bit as profound as the revolutions of the 1940s and 1970s.

The result will be the de-imperialisation of China (it is already an empire, both internally and externally).

Therefore I think it will be some time before China will be bothering us - if ever. 

You can forget all those assertions that the Chinese Communist Party has developed a new paradigm.

They are quite possibly already at their peak as unified power.

Support for paying the BBC licence fee is likely to evaporate

Rather muddled thinking in the Guardian today with an article by Tara Conlan reporting on BBC intentions to fast-track "diversity" and Homa Khaleeli interviewing angry BME campaigner Lenny Henry (I cannot call him a comedian, he is entirely unfunny).

The BBC has existed for over ninety years, and over that time the contribution of BME licence-payers in building up the assets of the institution has been very limited.  Therefore it seems unjust that the BME bloc (they seem to be arguing as a bloc) should receive positive discrimination to take up 15% of the BBC's employment opportunities.  Especially as this claim is based on the BME bloc as a percentage of the general population - BME numbers were artificially boosted by Labour's open-door immigration policies (without the consent of the majority).

The BBC needs to be careful here.  The payment of the licence fee is based on the willingness and consent of the general population to pay that fee.  If a widespread feeling develops that the BBC is being hi-jacked by sectional interests support for paying the BBC licence fee is likely to evaporate.

There is a political dimension that also needs to be watched.  If the BBC intends to boost the number of BME people of television the effect will be to convince people that the numbers of BME people in the country are shooting up and reaching alarming proportions.  The result could be an increase in the numbers of voters turning to UKIP in the 2020 election.

Three categories

Music videos seem to fall into three categories.

Above:  there are the art films, such as Foxes Holding onto Heaven - a palimpsest manichean film directed by Henry Schofield

Above:  there are straightforward "show the product" films like Rob+Rob's video for George Ezra and Budapest

Above:  and there are films that are technically competent, but you know the band have had too much creative input - such as the Janoskians and Real Girls Eat Cake directed by Marc Klasfield and Steve Jocz

Façadism as an ideology.

The way in which political parties become hollowed out so that there is no substance behind the façade which continues to present a familiar appearance.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Michael Fabricant's quip

When Nancy Astor (MP for Plymouth Sutton) said to Winston Churchill across the floor of the House of Commons that she would put poison in his tea was this taken seriously?

Was she subjected to prissy self-righteous lectures about political correctness by the 1930s equivalent of Dan Hodges?

Was the Nancy Aster quip any different to Michael Fabricant's quip earlier today?

The article by Tim Montgomerie was worth reading more than once

I have just got round to reading yesterday's Times.

The article by Tim Montgomerie was worth reading more than once (and there are few Times articles you can say that about).

In particular I liked the way in which he reminded us that Margaret Thatcher was not ideologically-driven.  Her policies were always integrated into a vision, but this was her vision not that of an external philosopher.  Like many Conservatives I am offended by the way in which Thatcherism has been hi-jacked by libertarians - the two are very different.

In this article for the Daily Mirror the Fleet Street Fox has got things wrong

I don't like Susie Boniface (the Fleet Street Fox) - she's far too glib.

And it is a characteristic of Ms Boniface that she only kicks people when they are down.

And in this article for the Daily Mirror the Fleet Street Fox has got things wrong:

In my opinion, Ed Miliband is actually doing quite well, just not by the standards that others are setting.

Winning is not everything.  It would have been much better for John Major to have lost in 1992 and the Conservatives to have come back with a decent leader and comprehensive set of new policies in 2001.  And it will be much better for Labour to expect to lose in 2015 and concentrate on 2020 (which I half-suspect Ed Miliband is doing).

Anyway, some thoughts:

“It's just depressing to realise that the reason your side is doing so badly is simply because they're rubbish.”  Rubbish by your terms Ms Boniface.  I can assure you the Conservatives do not think the Labour team are rubbish.

“Ed Miliband blithely says he can win in 2015 and he will ‘relish the next 10 months’.”  Relishing is a good emotion to have is it not?  It makes me think of someone enjoying a leafy salad lunch with mayonnaise (rather than hungry slavering Blair whom I visualise eating his meat raw with the blood dribbling down his chin)

“…convince 20million people he's not a spod.”  What is a spod?  Or do you mean Spad? (and is it possible you are using terminology you do not understand?).

“What's he doing? Waiting for the other side to destroy themselves, while pootling around…” 
I quite like people who pootle.  It’s a nice image for a politician to have.

“He plays up his Jewish ancestry then makes a mess of eating a bacon sandwich.” 
You do not have to be Orthodox to be Jewish Ms Boniface.  And it is possible that your own eating habits were they to be observed might cause comment – few people can eat in public with any degree of elegance.

England lose to Uruguay

In the World Cup there is not a huge amount of difference in the various teams.

The team that eventually wins the trophy might be five per cent better than the teams that get bundled out at the first round (Spain, and possibly... ).

But those few percentage points are all-important.

They make the difference between winning and losing.

Therefore I come back to the question I asked on Sunday:  did England lose to Uruguay yesterday because not enough English players are making it to the top teams in the League?

The English Premier League is a machine for producing elite football players.

Why is this machine producing foreign players and not English ones?  

(it's a rhetorical question since we know that importing foreign raw players are cheaper than developing young English ones).

"British jihadists"

On Daily Politics this lunchtime the opinion was once again aired that "British jihadists" (a contradiction in terms surely) were likely to return from Iraq and Syria and "there is nothing we can do about it".

The Prime Minister has said that returning "jihadists" represent the most serious threat to our security.

Assuming all this is true one would expect to see government ministers applying to The Queen for an Order In Council enabling emergency powers to be used.

Then everyone who matches the jihadist profile must be detained upon entry into the United Kingdom and held until their innocence is proved beyond all reasonable doubt.  Held in civilised conditions of course.  But held until they prove they are not a jihadist or they decide to leave the United Kingdom and go somewhere else.

Please don't tell me the numbers are too large to do this.

If there is any doubt about public willingness to allocate the resources then hold a referendum on the issue - I am confident what view the electorate will take.

In any case, the cost will be a fraction of the thirteen-year-long wars we have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and which were supposed to have sorted this problem out.

What is intolerable is for politicians to tell us we face a serious threat to our security and then say "there is nothing we can do about it".