No more opt-outs. Either the United Kingdom should be in the European Union and within the eurozone, or it should not be in the European Union at all.
Prime Minister of Denmark Rasmussen is to give Danes a say 'in joining the euro and ending Denmark’s opt-outs from Brussels', because staying outside the single currency and retaining opt-outs on defence, justice and home affairs are damaging Denmark's relationship with the European Union.
The Danish referendum will be 'the sixth time that the country has held a popular vote on an EU issue since Denmark joined in 1973. Although Britain joined the same year, the British Government has held only one referendum, in 1975.', notes today's Sunday Times.
"It is the Government’s view that the people in this parliamentary term should have the opportunity to take a stance on the Danish EU opt-outs. We have always said that the Danish exemptions are a hindrance for Denmark. It is the right time to take a decision.” Mr Rasmussen said.
And well said, as we are bundled, hurly burly, into accepting the new European Union constitution; it is simply silly to go on pretending that there exists a whole-hearted support for the UK's membership of the European Union or, as a fallback, that UK reserve can be met by 'opt-outs' that suit the control freakery of the Labour Leader and his regime for micro-managing the United Kingdom in their own interest. And, insofar as referendums are only ever advisory under our dying constitution, an election is needed on the issue.
Scotland's prime minister may yet put this whole mess to the Scottish people, and there is no foregone conclusion; Scotland has excellent economic and institutional reasons to reject continued EU membership and adopt a Norwegian relationship with the EU.
That would be one in the eye for England's Scottish prime minister.
Australian forces will be leaving Iraq as a priority of the new Australian government. As each government that committed troops to the invasion is defeated, with that commitment a large part of the reasons for their defeat, the disgraced 'coalition of the willing' falls apart.
Except in England; not because the pulling down of the elected Prime Minister was not justified, by the usurpers of power, on the grounds of Blair's support for the United States' Iraq war, for it was a major part of their claim that they represented the true Labour majority. But because, despite these claims, their Leader has lost the courage, and the opportunity, to withdraw Britain's army.
Over 5000 British troops encamped outside Basra airport have been doing nothing in recent months but be ready to defend themselves from attack. Southern Iraq is not just wholly beyond their control, it is wholly out of bounds. After politically imposed, dangerous delay for weeks, under US order, the British troops besieged in the city of Basra were allowed to join the main force at the airport.
The improper accession to power by Brown and his regime was not accompanied by the decision to withdraw the army; it was accompanied by a dishonest pretence that troops who had already left Iraq would be leaving in time for Christmas, and that further numbers would be withdrawn who were never there at all.
No courage; not the courage to risk US disapproval fully faced up to by Mr Zapatero and Mr Prodi as they were democratically chosen for office to replace Aznar and Berlusconi; not the courage of Poland's prime minister, Mr Tusk, as he orders the return of the Polish soldiers and rejects missiles on Polish soil. Not the courage of the Danish government, and certainly not the courage of the French and the German governments who refused to invade at all.
And yet, for all the falsity of the flags under which Brown seized power, for all the pretence that he was doing something to meet the demands of Labour voters who had abandoned their party because of Iraq, for all the fearful refusal to withdraw British troops or even allow the relocation of those 500 in such terrible exposure when he had the political strength and opportunity to do so at the beginning of the summer, any of which is utterly distasteful, the Leader is on worse terms with America than are Spain, Italy, Poland, and Denmark, than are France, Germany and, doubtless, Australia.
Brown's persistent and consistent contempt and underfunding for the armed forces of the United Kingdom over the decade of his Chancellorship has not just been exposed in these last days, but has been exposed as having led directly to the detriment of the armed forces' effectiveness in Iraq and Afghanistan; which has led, in turn, to the public deriding of Britain's role in southern Iraq by American generals.
And the speeches, remarks and displayed attitudes offered by Douglas Alexander and 'Lord' Malloch-Brown towards the United Kingdom's major ally have grossly disturbed the UK's relations with the US.
The new Australian government will withdraw its troops safely, and safeguard its relations with the United States. The United Kingdom's troops remain transfixed outside of Basra, and relations with the United States are at an abysmal low.
As the Labour regime and its under-governance is exposed in the North East of England, the true nature of Gordon Brown’s grasp upon the office of Prime Minister and the executive powers conferred by achieving that office, is revealed by his former mouth, in this morning’s Telegraph.
“Gordon will also know that his real friends remain steadfastly loyal. I don't just mean Labour MPs. [no, that would be unwise, the PLP had no chance to vote on the Leader, a condition they share with all other sections of the Labour party electoral college, the Constituency Labour Parties and the individual, mass membership], I am talking about the trade unions. This group of nearly seven million people is much-maligned and often derided, but its support for full employment, the minimum wage and parental rights has benefited the whole country... They are not about to give up on their party and see their members and their families suffer under a Tory government.
Actually there are almost 6 million people of working age living on various forms of state benefit, and millions more in work relying on state support as their wages are so low, under the Labour regime . And with the exposure of every family in the country to the theft of their identity and the raiding of their bank accounts we are looking at a social, no longer just a political, meltdown .
With the exposure of the nation’s children on the mountainside of the Labour regime's politically degraded civil service, we are facing danger from organized criminality entering any home in the United Kingdom.
He carries on, “These are also the people who, together with Gordon Brown, supported democratic change in the Labour Party;” Well, some might think they sought to maintain their own power structures against trotskyite splinter group entryists. This is not ‘supporting democracy’ as it is commonly understood in pluralist democratic societies in advanced capitalist countries. This is the repressive behaviour of the Party in large authoritarian states.
Gordon’s ‘real friends’ in the public sector trades unions and the few, so very few that remain in the once representative manufacturing and heavy industry unions, in all their ‘steadfast loyalty’ , pretending to the role, the reputation, and the honour of long -dead working people, deserve Matthew’s bitter denunciation:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
The border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom lies within the island of Ireland. The Labour regime has redrawn it to extend to the whole island.
Those travelling between the mainland UK and Northern Ireland (reports the Mail) will be treated as if they are coming and going to a foreign country. A Statutory Instrument under general, non-specific empowering legislation will make its so, without discussion in Parliament.
Travel between the six counties of Ulster that make up Northern Ireland and the rest of Ulster and the Republic of Ireland will require no such formalities.
So it's not just Scotland that will be leaving the Union.
By Christmas the weekly family food bill will have risen by as much as a quarter.
In the meantime Northern Rock 'borrowed' another £2 thousand million from the Bank of England in the past week alone.
The Labour regime's Lending Front to the Loyal Heartlands financing from the Bank of England has risen dramatically from 'only' £500 million last week. Northern Rock has grabbed close to £25 thousand million since it first got the chance on September 14.
The estimate is based on the "other assets" category in the Bank of England's weekly accounts, which quantifies the central bank's lender of last resort support.
Lowering fuel taxes instead of directing such a grotesquely high level of tax payers' money at such an undeserving object would reduce food-price rises and spread tax-funded largesse to the whole country rather than nationalizing the northeast in its entirety, never mind just its Labour bank.
Read Beppe Grillo ( linked on Angels) as he reports on his address today at the European Union. What is said here applies just as much to Brown's regime. This is just a lightly edited extract - read it all.
We top Europe. First in football. First in fraud. Italy is fraudulent in agricultural funding. It is fraudulent in structural funds for the development of areas that are getting left behind. And I’m just referring to fraud that has been proved. Billions of Euros arrive every year from the European Community to Italy. Where do they end up? Italian citizens don’t know. To get information they can only turn to the magistrates. But the magistrates, when they take action, are always blocked by the Government, by the Parties. ... The financing from the European Community is our money at the end of the day. Italy participates with other countries to create the common fund that is then redistributed. Money goes out and then comes back. Rather like uncontrolled laundering of dirty money. Our taxes are financing European funding whose use the Italian citizens know nothing about. If it is useful, if it is not useful, what benefits it brings, when it ends. The Vice President of the Community, Frattini,and the Minister of Community Policies, Bonino are very private people. They did not tell Prodi that Barroso had put up 275 million Euro for the integration of the Roma community. Spain got 52 million, Poland got 8.5 million. Poland? Have the Roma people gone to Poland as well? I thought they were all in Italy. For once when we could have used the funding for a good purpose we haven’t asked for it. And that's strange. Because even our Regions have opened luxurious community offices in Brussels, that we pay for, to get to the funding. They have more office workers than all the other member -states. The billions of Euro that come into Italy are devoted to useless works: roundabouts, theme supermarkets, the TAV tunnel in Val di Susa and Mediapolis in Piedmont. They finance projects that never serve any useful purpose, like alternative energy. They ended up in the pockets of that grey governance that connects the parties to the companies to criminal groupings. It is better for Italy to contribute no longer to the common European Fund and in return receive no funding. Then the contributions money can be used by our government in other ways. To reduce our Public Debt, the biggest in Europe, one of the most impressive in the world. A debt that risks taking us under. The money could be used to reduce taxes. To give incentives to companies to invest in Italy instead of encouraging Italian companies to transfer abroad. ...
It is well worth reading on; he speaks for England too.
"Spending on flood and coastal erosion risk management has nearly doubled in cash terms, from £307 million in 1996-97 to an estimated £600 million in 2007-08. The Government will further increase spending to £800 million in 2010-11." DEFRA.
The government has thrown £24 billion - 24 thousand million pounds sterling - at a demutualised north -eastern building society posing as a responsible bank over the last two months.
Presumably the people of Norfolk and Suffolk are not "ours"; nor the land, settlements, infrastructure, culture, history, nor 'entitlement'.
The well to do's insistence on joining the rich in the hedge fund bonanza has led to the subprime difficulties. Modelling counter-intuitive and ostensibly but not necessarily high risk/high return investment for the few has ended in the running of really high risk for the many. The gaderene rush of the middle classes to desirable positions has, as usual, ruined the place and created a bridge to the masses. A little bit of subpriming and smearing of the indigent and feckless over the financial good behaviour of the rest of us is profitable. Do it on a scale sufficient to satisfy the new hedgers and we're all in the ditch.
Those subprime losses need to be recovered : where to turn? A low dollar invariably means high oil prices, and high other- commodity prices too. So now there is a rock bottom dollar exporting inflation to the world, resulting high oil and commodity prices, and the transmission of wealth-seeking in financial markets to rising prices in basic household goods and the disruption of the budgets of us all.
As the distinguished banker and academic Marcello de Cecco states in a complex and detailed argument in La Repubblica, there is no more evidence of demand in India and China, problems in the Gulf of Mexico, or the war in Iraq and threats further afield in the Middle East, causing these high prices than there is for a driven low dollar /high oil and commodity prices scenario.
But while that is nasty for our people, it is the difference between life and death when it comes to kerosene for cooking, bread, and enough warmth to stay alive for the poorest of the earth.
In all the drivelled words from the Leader about Africa and our responsibility to the dispossessed, nothing has been heard on how those who have been beyond accountability must now be held to account.
$100 dollars a barrel is as nothing to what you will have to pay for a litre of organic first pressing oil.
The mosca olearia has struck and Al Quaida pales into insignificance beside The Fly. Not being able to drive your car is much more bearable than not being able to dress your food.
Don't buy cheap olive oil this year, you won't like what has been pressed into it. Buy walnut.
It couldn't be worse. The olives lie, like heaps of hail, beneath their trees, melting into the ground , skidding beneath boots. Nothing. There will be no work for all the pickers, no work for the mills, for the commercial distributers and for the farming outlets.
So it was duck stuffed with fennel and roasted with all the kitchen garden had to offer; it was wine from Mr HG's father's cellar, red-brown and tasting of violets (though how do they know the taste of violets? Perhaps something is being lost in inner translation here) and, reminded by Elby's delicious menus, apple crumble with quinces from the garden, though we couldn't match the cream.
And then it felt much better and there is to be a bounteous harvest next year, we feel it in our bones.
'May you live in exciting times', is supposed to be a Chinese malediction but current times are so interesting it's hard not to read goodwill into the words.
The downgrading of the Bank of England's powers in 1997 under the guise of making it independent, so long sung as a paean to the Leader's financial savvy, is at the bottom of the simmering , smelly mess that is polluting the United Kingdom's reputation in financial and banking competence and regulation.
After the Governor's explanation of Northern Rock's descent into not one but, effectively, two runs - the first more discreetly in August when its borrowings were not renewed, the second on the public street - it is clear that none of this specifically nor systemically would have happened but for Gordon Brown trying to cleave power to his horrid bosom.
And still there is no legislation in place, as there is all over Europe, to protect retail depositors, nor a proper reconciliation of the control structures and the reinstatement of a unitary authority where bucks might stop, to deal with the further unrolling of bad risk pricing.
It isn't just Northern Rock, and rockalike other banks; it is to be hoped they are just iffy mortgages. We're onwards and upwards to municipal bonds and their insurance. Mr Draghi, more properly and correctly empowered than Mr King, has acted against those banks he doesn't care to leave to their own devices in these matters - but then he has supervisory powers over the behaviour of financial institutions, and unlike the FSA, arms' length relations with the Treasury.
And if municipal bonds and their insurance don't seem particularly important in the UK context, consider that troubles reported in the US (Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph) 'could force pension funds, mutual funds, and institutions to liquidate holdings on a vast scale, causing the credit crisis to spread into areas that have remained unscathed until now.'
Gordon Brown to launch house-building boom - headline in the Telegraph.
Here is the financial world in crisis because of people with poor credit records, low wages, difficulties various - the subprime mortgage market clientele to whom the woes of the world are being attributed - failing to keep up with their mortgage payments; here we are with falling house prices, just to add to the hurt.
And the Leader announces his vision: building 3 million houses for people with low wages (probably made even lower by his confiscatory tax regimes), difficulties various, possibly damaged credit records . Where is the funding coming from then? If he has an idea perhaps he'd like to whisper it to Northern Rock.
Lowering transaction costs and imposts on the current housing stock would do more, faster and less environmentally damagingly, to meet housing demand; and ending death taxes on main homes passing between family generations.
"I think most people expect that we have several more months to get through before the banks have revealed all the losses that have occurred, and we have taken measures to finance their obligations that result from that, but we are going in the right direction." Yes, indeed, but no thanks to the behaviour of the Labour regime.
As lender of last resort any central bank provides liquidity at a penal interest rate to commercial banks against good quality collateral; doubtless the Bank of England, under its estimable Governor, is doing just that right now.
The Bank of England does not lend on commercial terms for commercial purposes, in the kind of operation typical of a soviet-type banking system, where the regime requires the Central Bank, the mono bank, (as was the case with Northern Quicksands as no other bank would go anywhere near it), to lend to undercapitalised enterprises; and even then, loans to those enterprises would be to state enterprises, not to a quasi-fiscal Treasury asset of dubious value.
That Mervyn King had to explain, "I said to the Chancellor, ''This is not something which a central bank can do ... They don't normally finance takeovers by one company for another, let alone to the tune of £30 billion, which is rather a large amount of money.", means either the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer need to repeat Economics 101, or they have mistaken their country and their century.
The Governor praised the Chancellor, saying, "And I don't think it took the Chancellor very long to recognise that not only was this something which central banks don't do, it's also something that governments don't do."
"The DNA database has become a national disgrace, stuffed with innocent children and a disproportionate number of black people.
"It is time it was limited to those who are guilty or under investigation for sexual or violent crime." (Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty)
'There are now 150,000 children aged 16 or under on the system, with another 334,000 aged between 16 and 18. In one case, the DNA of a seven-month-old girl was added. Children can be added to the register only with their parents' agreement' writes the Daily Mail; but only if the child is under ten is written consent needed. Some 50 under-tens are on the database.
Once a DNA profile has been uploaded onto the data base there are difficult and narrow routes to achieving its removal. It is expected that 10 million profiles will have been uploaded by 2011. Unpleasant and unethical experiments, without the DNA profile owners' permission having even been sought, are being carried out to determine the 'ethnic profile' of any particular DNA donor.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics demand that only the profiles of convicted criminals be retained has got nowhere.
There was a saying, not heard today so often as formerly . .
"What do they know of England who only England know?"
It is a saying which dates. It has a period aroma, like Kipling's "Recessional" or the state rooms at Osborne. That phase is ended, so plainly ended, that even the generation born at its zenith, for whom the realisation is the hardest, no longer deceive themselves as to the fact. That power and that glory have vanished, as surely, if not as tracelessly, as the imperial fleet from the waters of Spithead.
And yet England is not as Nineveh and Tyre, nor as Rome, nor as Spain. Herodotus relates how the Athenians, returning to their city after it had been sacked and burnt by Xerxes and the Persian army, were astonished to find, alive and flourishing in the blackened ruins, the sacred olive tree, the native symbol of their country.
So we today, at the heart of a vanished empire, amid the fragments of demolished glory, seem to find, like one of her own oak trees, standing and growing, the sap still rising from her ancient roots to meet the spring, England herself.
Perhaps, after all, we know most of England "who only England know".
So the continuity of her existence was unbroken when the looser connections which had linked her with distant continents and strange races fell away. Thus our generation is one which comes home again from years of distant wandering. We discover affinities with earlier generations of English who felt no country but this to be their own. We discover affinities with earlier generations of English who felt there was this deep this providential difference between our empire and those others, that the nationhood of the mother country remained unaltered through it all, almost unconscious of the strange fantastic structure built around her - in modern parlance "uninvolved".
Backward travels our gaze, beyond the grenadiers and the philosophers of the 18th century, beyond the pikemen and the preachers of the 17th, back through the brash adventurous days of the first Elizabeth and the hard materialism of the Tudors and there at last we find them, or seem to find them, in many a village church, beneath the tall tracery of a perpendicular East window and the coffered ceiling of the chantry chapel.
From brass and stone, from line and effigy, their eyes look out at us, and we gaze into them, as if we would win some answer from their silence."Tell us what it is that binds us together; show us the clue that leads through a thousand years; whisper to us the secret of this charmed life of England, that we in our time may know how to hold it fast.
"What would they say"?
They would speak to us in our own English tongue, the tongue made for telling truth in, tuned already to songs that haunt the hearer like the sadness of spring. They would tell us of that marvellous land, so sweetly mixed of opposites in climate that all the seasons of the year appear there in their greatest perfection; of the fields amid which they built their halls, their cottages, their churches, and where the same blackthorn showered its petals upon them as upon us; they would tell us, surely of the rivers the hills and of the island coasts of England.
One thing above all they assuredly would not forget; Lancastrian or Yorkist, squire or lord, priest or layman; they would point to the kingship of England, and its emblems everywhere visible.
They would tell us too of a palace near the great city which the Romans built at a ford of the River Thames, to which men resorted out of all England to speak on behalf of their fellows, a thing called 'Parliament'; and from that hall went out their fellows with fur trimmed gowns and strange caps on their heads, to judge the same judgments, and dispense the same justice, to all the people of England.
Symbol, yet source of power; person of flesh and blood, yet incarnation of an idea; the kingship would have seemed to them, as it seems to us, to express the qualities that are peculiarly England's: the unity of England, effortless and unconstrained, which accepts the unlimited supremacy of Crown in Parliament so naturally as not to be aware of it; the homogeneity of England, so profound and embracing that the counties and the regions make it a hobby to discover their differences and assert their peculiarities; the continuity of England, which has brought this unity and this homogeneity about by the slow alchemy of centuries.
For the unbroken life of the English nation over a thousand years and more is a phenomenon unique in history, the product of a specific set of circumstances like those which in biology are supposed to start by chance a new line of evolution. Institutions which elsewhere are recent and artificial creations appear in England almost as works of nature, spontaneous and unquestioned.
From this continuous life of a united people in its island home spring, as from the soil of England, all that is peculiar in the gifts and the achievements of the English nation. All its impact on the outer world in earlier colonies, in the later Pax Britannica, in government and lawgiving, in commerce and in thought has flowed from impulses generated here. And this continuing life of England is symbolised and expressed, as by nothing else, by the English kingship. English it is, for all the leeks and thistles grafted upon it here and elsewhere. The stock that received all these grafts is English, the sap that rises through it to the extremities rises from roots in English earth, the earth of England's history.
We in our day ought well to guard, as highly to honour, the parent stem of England, and its royal talisman; for we know not what branches yet that wonderful tree will have the power to put forth.
The danger is not always violence and force; them we have withstood before and can again.
The peril can also be indifference and humbug, which might squander the accumulated wealth of tradition and devalue our sacred symbolism to achieve some cheap compromise or some evanescent purpose.
"We must recognise that we have a great inheritance in our possession, which represents the prolonged achievement of the centuries; that there is not one of our simple uncounted rights today for which better men than we are have not died on the scaffold or the battlefield. We have not only a great treasure; we have a great cause. Are we taking every measure within our power to defend that cause?" (Winston Churchill Paris September 1936).
Poetry invariably has the upper hand in laying meaning and feeling bare; here is Nick Drew on the Leader's most recent public display.
Between the Lines of Gordon Brown’s Liberty
I want to talk today of liberty (just as I talk of courage, in the hope that, by association, I’ll be thought to be their perfect representative)
We are all citizens of our country With shared and common history, destiny (unless we’re not ... but let’s not dwell on that. So - “British jobs for British workers”, eh ?)
It’s not just tolerance; liberty means Due process against arbitrary power (which means, in turn, review by a commission - the Great and Good. Appointed by Myself)
Freedom is only fully realized When barriers are by society O’ercome, that stop men being what they may (and for society, read Gordon Brown: I’ll be the arbiter of barriers, and smash all in My path that holds Me back)
But liberty is not the only prize. The test for any government will be How it makes choices, weighs priorities (and I’ve decided ID cards for all)
Now five times fifty are the powers We hold To enter homes upon authorities’ whim So We shall bring together all these powers, For clarity, into a single code (the better to coordinate Our raids)
The great prize of the information age Is sharing data ’cross the public sphere And using biometrics to new ends Thus We deliver personalized services (and other ‘personal’ schemes I have in mind)
Clear trends in recent terrorism show That 28 days may not be enough (what am I bid? fifty? sixty? yet more? one hundred ? that sounds round and fair to Me)
To each new generation falls the task Of redefining British liberty (and you can safely leave this task to Me. Yes, safely sleep, and leave this task to Me.)
There must be a presumption that Northern Rock's gross assets are worth less than £24 billion, and certainly less than the £30 billion or even £40 billion some reports are wondering if the Bank of England might print for them.
So why are the shares of Northern Rock trading at a positive, though much reduced, price?
Either the Bank of England (that's you, the taxpayer) will not be repaid in full for the liquidity it has provided; or Northern Rock shareholders are cartoon characters paddling air long after the cliff edge. Tertium non datur.
Who are these shareholders to command such allegiance from the Labour regime?
I write as an immigrant. The country I choose to live in cannot keep me out, nor deny me all the welfare resources paid for by indigenous taxpayers. I pay tax here, of course I do, but nothing like on the scale needed to meet the costs I might, though fortunately don't, impose. Off-setting my appearance here is the appearance of nationals from this country in England. So when the costs of immigrants are counted there should be an allowance for citizen exchange. But that would imply some notion of like for like: well-educated; speaking the language; self-supporting; employed;bringing wealth to invest; of working age, is very different from destitute, unskilled, unemployable, dependent, and determinedly unassimilable.
In seeking a high level of welfare benefit, immigrants have been shown, in various academic and research studies, to be extremely selective of their destination. Where benefits for maternity care, general, (but particularly chronic and old-age), healthcare, education sevices, lack -of- economic -activity benefits, subsidized or even free housing, and poor fraudulent -claims controls coupled with transferability of benefits to country of origin - such as child welfare benefits - are high, these destinations attract the highest immigrant numbers. As is apparent in the United Kingdom.
James Meade, Nobel Prize-winning economist, offered the simplest and most elegant of solutions to all of this: make available to any would -be immigrant the same level of welfare benefits as would be offered to the target country's citizens in the immigrant's country of origin.
If that would not be enough to provide a living then refuse entry.
No admittance merely to enjoy the often high and universally available social wage. And here lies the crux of the immigration problem. Highly developed, advanced capitalist countries have a better standard of living, even without targetted benefits, than many ex-socialist sinks.