Wednesday, 29 July 2009
After a cabinet meeting, M Sarkozy had a simple explanation for what happened:
''I ran out of petrol. I want to tell the French that my health is good. I am a human being, I got tired. Was it due to dehydration, to heat, to tiredness? I don't know. I've run thousands of times like that without anything at all going wrong. I'm always careful about what I eat, the way I nourish myself and I will continue like that.''
After a 21-hour stay in Val-de-Grâce military hospital, in Paris, where he underwent a series of cardiovascular tests and was given a clean bill of health, he said:
''I simply need to rest.''
He is due to begin a three week holiday with Madame Bruni Sarkozy, at her home on the French Riviera this week.
Just think how lovely it would be to have an elected leader, who publishes his health condition and medication, who goes running in the grounds of Versailles, and holidays on the Riviera, without rebuke or resentment. With the lovely First Lady of France. At their own expense.
Why do we end up with Jimmy Brown, in ill-fitting crumpled cotton trousers, in a rain-washed, chilly landscape, lying about his health and medication, with a prime minister's wife, who hasn't got a home to go to unless we pay for it?
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Global Financial Database. (From: Eichengreen and O’Rourke (2009)
League of Nations Monthly Bulletin of Statistics. (From : Eichengreen and O’Rourke (2009)
"We made a deliberate decision that in a recession you maintain capital spending throughout and spending on infrastructure ... The evidence is that that is seeing results."
"When people see these results and the action has been taken ... Then I think people will see very clearly the choice between the parties."
(The unelected Leader of the Labour party and ex officio Prime Minister of the United Kingdom).
We can see results Gordon. We can see what must be done. We can see the difference between parties and their policies. But can you? Can you see the size of the repeated upswings last century (that really were green shoots, not the miserable hiccups on today's graphs). Can you see the speed, the almost vertical curve of the collapse this century, how much further we are ahead of the equivalent period last century? Despite the $15 trillion fiscal and monetary, national and international, global stimuli you, as saviour of the world, championed and which you tell us is not enough.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
It is a large tree that seemed to cast enough shadow but the shade was dappled and the sun seems to have become fiercer than in other years. Looking at the imprinted dappling effect, another stanza could be added to Manley Hopkins. For 24 hours there was fever and shivering with burning skin, then that strange sensation that the skin is too small, then it all starts to calm down and there is the beginnings of a sun tan and others can be greeted with a hug rather than a distant bow; then it all falls off and underneath is pallida come la luna once more.
It will be nice to return to everyday life and everyday blogging.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Bill Smugs has been told that unless he obtains a certificate from Ed Balls that he is not a child molester he will be Exterminated. Kiki is to be rehomed in Australia in an environmentally friendly parrot centre, away from the corrupt company of Philip, Dinah, Lucy-Ann and Jack, who have been found guilty of treating a parrot as a friend. Anthropomorphism is a thought crime under empowering legislation brought in since 1997 and the New Dawn, recently triggered (or perhaps Triggered).
On Angels' bookshelves are the six Adventure stories - Island, Castle, Valley, Sea, Mountain, and Ship - all signed by Enid Blyton in Welwyn Stores for older siblings. Most with lovingly added-in illustrations (well, first editionyness doesn't have the same force on winter evenings). No, Angels never met her; too small, but others were taken off religiously, books in hand, to meet Miss Blyton.
We really must devise a suitable comeuppance for Labour.
The informal organisation of six month presidencies into groups of three, with a larger member state present in each trio, (ostensibly to lend experience and gravitas to smaller and newer member states and to make the presidency coherent, or at least minimally focused on the same issues over an eighteen month term), led to France attempting to seize power for three times the normal period at the expense of Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Which in turn led to silly behaviour over EU foreign policy and multiple missions in Georgia and elsewhere. Which all illuminates precisely what is at stake. Big member states being in charge, and outrageous bullying and rule breaking when arrangements don't suit big member states.
And apart from all that, there are still four member states refusing to sign up to the Lisbon Treaty in its current form, while Germany has harnessed the Lisbon Treaty also into a permanent German constitutional review before it can come into being at all as far as Germany is concerned.
European giggles about the Foreign Office's front running UK candidate (and just look at who runs the Foreign Office, despised from Washington to Moscow and everywhere in between) for a non existent office are a small price to pay for keeping attention off the substantive issues of Lisbon's ploughing into the sand yet again, and taking the Labour party with it.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
"And you must come in out of the heat now," re-opening the main door and beaming across decades. The next day they came for lunch, driving over from Cortona with the family, where they were staying in the collapsing ruin a daughter had persuaded her father to buy. The ecohouse was looking at its best, blistering glare across the fields outside, layers of insulation and shadowed porticoes keeping us cool and grateful not to be outside rubbing our wingcases against our legs or whatever it is that makes that constant background noise from the woods and olive groves. They took heart; the ruin would transform. The amounts of hard work both on the ruin, and elsewhwere to scrape together the cost, would end in lunch with friends and all the gossip of how the years had gone.
The eldest son a film maker, which was a surprise. The friend explained that his application had been refused - excellent interview, unbeatable results, appropriate languages and post degree plans, but 'No'. Afterwards there had been great disappointment until after our friend had been telephoned by one of the interviewers.
He was very sorry. There was no way they could have accepted him. He was a candidate of just the sort that was wanted, and who could exploit to the full all that was on offer; who could use the learning and skills given to him to the enormous advantage of those he wanted to work with, and for, afterwards. But he is our friend's son. And that ruled him out.
Our friend explained that they were not well to do, that the boy had studied in Greece and Spain, as well as in his home country before they had settled in England again for the two A-level years at Sixth Form College. He had command of all the languages he would need, including mandarin (not that it's called mandarin any more), and other Asian languages.
That wasn't the point.
But his grandfather, from whom our friend had been estranged for so long, would guarantee any fees and could not understand what the boy had done wrong.
Grandfather was a problem too, and his father before him. They did not dare, literally, to take the candidate and the flack that would hit them from all sides. Privileged access. Nods and winks. Old boys. Connexion. The place would go to someone unexceptionable to the new politics.
Someone less qualified, someone quite unable to use what had been commandeered on their behalf. Someone whose education could not have been less privileged than that of a boy attending local schools as his parents lived the hippy values and dreams that had caused their ejection from the world of responsibility and duty their family stood for. Our friend was not inconsolable as his father and been. But all of us were well aware of the waste of resources and possibilities in the name of some silly egalitarianism that had no relevance where the boy would have worked and served.
Some institutions of 'religion, learning and research' are not just parts of universities; they are international and intergenerational in their reach, they are alternative routes to understanding, and to resolving intransigencies and even wars. They are not closed, caste-like systems but are open to the best of those who can use their rare resources to the limit. And to treat them as if they should conform to job qualification providers is to destroy capacities of which few enough remain to the country as it is. We cannot wish to start each generation afresh, as if nothing of what has gone before has any value, surely? And we cannot be so unfair as to deny what has been earned fair and square, because of our relations.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
But au fond I like gold to be, well, golden. So what colour is it, what's left in the Bank of England after Gordon's Folly? And what colour is what is down in the bank at the bottom of the hill after we decided we'd better have a bit of the real thing tucked away for peace of mind.
Friday, 10 July 2009
If your mother hasn't given you any of her jewels, and your father hasn't given you so much as a gold chain then you're reliant on your husband to present you with rings and pearls, brooches glowing discreetly on the severest of lapels, bracelets to slide beneath silken cuffs.
A jeweller who will break up and remake jewels that are no longer wearable, and reset them more fashionably or suitably for the latest wearer, or combine gold and stones from different pieces for new uses, is essential. Ear rings, the most personal expressions of the taste of the wearer, are the jewels most likey to be made up and remade.
Necklaces are always pearls or gold, or both. Pearls are particularly fine in very long strings, as in ropes of. Then they can be casually tied in a loose knot on the collarbone with the diamond clasp resting on the opposite side of the throat; they are particularly fine if wound together with a golden chain and the whole tied-off together. Of course for wearing with day clothes then a short, barely graduated necklace fastened at the back of the neck with a plain gold clasp is what you need. Or just a short, worked gold chain which you needn't take off ever. The ropes and intertwines are for bare skin or velvet.
Brooches can be of gold or silver, depending on the stones and setting. Think of them as paintings and your lapel, indeed your whole dress, as the wall on which they rest. Husbands are the people to choose brooches and give them on your birthday - concentrated expressions of complex understanding and feeling, just as are paintings.
Bracelets are best silent, of precious metals, and intricately worked and inlaid; They should slide easily under a sleeve and give off a small peek of richness to the cloth (or the arm in summer).
Rings are often the most intrinsically valuable of jewels, carrying stones set within landscapes of stones; they often come from earlier generations, as do the pearls, and carry family histories and celebrations with them. Apart from your wedding ring, which is worn always, rings are worn to display both wealth and affiliation, as well as to display the beauty of the hand that wears them.
So you can see, quite literally, a great deal in the jewels a woman wears. While costume jewellery can be amusing and fun to play with when dressing informally or in private circumstances, when stepping into the public gaze it is inappropriate; and if you are so unloved that costume jewellery is all you have, then wear no jewels at all.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Northfield Labour MP Not Even in the House When the Delay in Publishing the MG Rover Inquiry is Announced
The Labour Member for Northfield, Richard Burden, failed to be present in the Commons when the Minister of State, who has to serve for the inadequate answerability to the Commons resulting from the Secretary of State sitting unelected in the Lords, was told by the MP for Egbaston that the Member representing the constituency which includes Longbridge was in a traffic jam.. He was, in fact, on his way to Heathrow for a trip abroad, though possibly he was indeed in a traffic jam. It is difficult to believe that the Labour Member for Northfield could have been unaware that this matter might come up in the House; and in any case, why wasn't he in the Commons where we pay a very large wage for him to be present a very few weeks of the year?
One's family needs members of every political persuasion, as well as the genuine interest, warmly expressed and coupled with absolute courtesy, that high office held in every European state demands.
(Is there any means by which the Browns could be prevented from displaying inappropriate behaviour? Central Rome on an official visit is not for the wearing of red, teeteringly high-heeled, peep-toed slingbacks, on trotters topped by a dress in red white and blue. Rome is not Birmingham.
It is appropriate in Italian cities to wear flat, or slightly-heeled, closed shoes; no open shoe may ever be worn with stockings. This applies to women and men. (The only exception to stockings or socks with sandals was for Roman soldiers in northern European climes, and look what happened to them in the end).
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
All efforts under FOI legislation to prise information from the government about the sudden withdrawal of the bridging loan have been resisted at all costs by New Labour's regime.
Bi-lateral exchanges between China and the United States are extensive, intensive and at the highest levels, as they are with Russia. It's all very well the media saying the unrest in Urumqi caused the President's return, but it doesn't ring true. It's not that much of a protest. What was left for him to do but be part of a photo opportunity in an earthquake zone, and he has the t-shirt for such occasions. Obviously after the G20 fiasco in Docklands serious people aren't going to put up with any more Brownian swaggering about to establish his self awarded rightful status and membership of a peer group. After all, they don't need to.
President Obama will pop in but he has other people to see and talk to in Italy, an important geopolitical locus for the US, which makes it worth his while. For the rest, move along, nothing to see or talk about for you here.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
It is not for a minister to determine what the SFO does, or what should be denied for our consideration as well. This is public knowledge gathered together for public consumption, part of that public being the SFO.
Just what comes out in its 800 plus pages so much to the detriment of the Labour party that this attempt at bamboozlement had been made? And how many gags does Mandelson believe he has at his disposal?
The Chinese, who arrived with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners in their entourage, have been given a terrfic welcome in the capital, met President Napolitano, honour guards, palaces, no doubt the Roman chefs (who famously will cook and eat anything that doesn't take them by the throat first) will have done them proud. President Sarkozy can stay in the most beautiful building in the world, Michelangiolo's French Embassy palazzo Farnesi, but for the rest?
They will be praying for after shocks and emergency evacuation plans to be put into operation. That'll teach Brown to hold a G anything in the East London marshes.
Monday, 6 July 2009
The MP for Birmingham Northfield, Richard Burden, whose constituency includes almost all of the former MG Rover site, last month expressed frustration at the length of time taken over the report and its cost and called for immediate publication of the results. He stated:
"Like everybody else in the area I have found it incredibly frustrating that we have had to wait so long for this report. The escalating cost of the inquiry has also been a matter of real concern to so many people, including me."
Of even more concern for workers who have had to face massive unemployment and, at best, poor quality, short term poorly paid contract work, there is also the denial of the compensation that they so desperately need in the conditions they have been placed while these macabre manoeuvres to save the Labour regime's face right back to the early 2000s go on.
The inquiry was set up under the Companies Act by then Trade and Industry secretary Alan Johnson. He said at the time that an investigation covering the two years leading up to the causes of the collapse was in the public interest.
If it was in the public interest then it is so now, even more so now when we would all like to look at New Labour's economic mismanagement in as much detail as possible. But Alan Johnson, the great white hope of post Brown Labour worthiness and guiltlessness, won't be calling for an instant publication. Having kicked the shambles at the heart of the West Midlands economy into the long grass then, why should he not keep quiet while it's kicked again into a sub judice swamp by the current faction of New Labour's unelected at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, what Mandelson boasts of as his alternative Treasury. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer might be moved to comment on a matter that cost the taxpayer so much over so long.
The Birmingham Post continues the story of MG Rover. The lengthening of the delay in the publication of a report already nearly five years past the events it investigates looks worse and worse.
Mr Cameron has aligned the Conservative group in Europe with parties that espouse the model of a Europe with powerful national parliaments reviewing the national effects of European co-ordination and with reponsibility for member-state issues remaining with member- states. There is to be no more rubber stamping of European legislation brought about by emptying national parliaments' power into cross border regions' administrations, nor of refusing either responsibility for, or willingness to act upon, adverse results from Europe-wide legislation, by national parliaments. Not for Germany and if not for Germany then why for any other member-state?
The UK media New Labour propagandists harp on the urgency of Lisbon, the concern that it should be operating by the end of this year, the irrelevance of the lingering pockets of opposition, the small formalities that remain to be completed, the uniqueness of the Lisbon constitutional solution to European problems of identity, of its taking its place in the world. It all sounds a bit like wanting a federal Europe to embrace an old-fashioned warmongering attitude to the rest of the world. Europe, New Labour's apologists argue, must be able to respond under one command to terrorist problems and to threats to our interests. Europe must respond as one to climate change. Europe needs more permanence in its leadership to tackle recession with co-ordinated measures. Well, no actually.
All this guff is so last century. A vainglorious rebuilding of the various empires that have held Europe together by the use of force for the benefit of a particular power elite, usually geographically based, since imperial Rome. Only last century we fought ourselves to a standstill, the dead counted in hundreds of millions, the destruction of wealth and culture a horror we can barely comprehend and certainly don't want to look at often, as elites tried to establish a new European state. What we have now works well. Works well, that is, where the people of the various member-states have the means to express their views to the highest level, and means to seek and obtain redress when the Executive oversteps its powers, or attempts to claim powers without obvious ownership. In most European countries the line of control encloses power and its use very clearly. But not in ours with an Executive determined on abuse. We know the current Europe works well (even if not for the United Kingdom, but it was never designed for us anyway and we paid an enormous fee to enter at all) because in 2005 half of Europe voted for the status quo and threw out the precursor of the Lisbon Treaty.
Romano Prodi, leader of the progressive governance Italian coalition, and Europeanista to the core, had Giuliano Amato, constitutional lawyer, political scientist, socialist, il Dottor' Sottile, recast the rejected treaty, and we were denied any further, direct rejecting vote on the resulting rehash. Since then there has been a steady voting, nationally, to the right, the use of democratic power before it is lost to us all, to get rid of national governments that seek permanent power through a particular European restructuring. Affirmation of the rejection of post democratic progressive governance (the Project) is found in Spain where Aznar, who led the party of the openly corporatist but, in Spain's case, of the right, and was seeking a European permanent administration for Spain, was defeated. The Italian-inspired elites vision of a new Rome is excusable in them but wholly rejected by Italian voters who infinitely prefer Berlusconi and the chance to make a fortune, and throw out those who were stopping them. The cost of the grand coalition to Angela Merkel was the driving through of Amato's Lisbon Treaty. As the prospect of a homogeneous government of the right blossoms for September, Germany withdraws from the Social Democratic and socialist nightmare of excluding conservatives from power for ever using the European Union - a Project as ambitious as it is deluded and disgraceful.
The lie that Europe is desperate for Lisbon is, in the UK, a New Labour Project lie. A centre right, peaceful, wealthy Europe, assertive of its various cultures and freedoms, assertive while open and co-operative towards Russia, America, and the Asian powers is proving to be a popular way of being among European voters. Of course it's a disaster for centre left authoritarians, for global governance, for the shepherds and their flocks view of how to run the world.
Mandelson and Brown are actually trying to bully Europe into saving their skins. We knew that they are big-headed, deluded, addicted to power and status, but in that condition they are patsies for Sarkozy and the funding of the cleaning up of the French nuclear mess, for Merkel and the funding of the European car industry and maintenance of industrial peace and manufacturing capacity in central Europe, for any member-state that likes to have lots of state-raised cash diverted to green issues, which should be translated as maintaining beautiful but expensive countryside and its owners. The list of uses for the UK within the EU, with the UK under such a regime of fools, can be extended by most of us.
Lisbon was socialism and state planning's last chance. Now national European leaders are taking everything there is to be got from a desperate United Kingdom regime whose demise, or democratic disgrace, without Lisbon is a certainty
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Short of launching World War III, (and it isn't as if they and their 'global' allies have been unwilling to give it a go, even now the Near and Middle East is a theatre of war contained only by Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), there is no collapse in our country that New Labour has not brought about. From personal corruption and impropriety in public office, to instituting grotesque levels of socioeconomic inequality while covering the allocation of resources to the rich by permitting insufferable levels of debt to the poor, New Labour are it.
Ostensibly within eleven months there is to be a general election in the United Kingdom. It is a reliable assumption that Labour members of Parliament will not be returned as our representatives. Scotland will also return Nationalist MPs to Westminster for the last time. Whatever form Scottish independence takes - devolution developed to mere cooperation with England and Wales when and if it suits, to outright retaking of sovereignty, Scottish Labour will only recover when it is no longer vote fodder for Westminster and takes its place in an independent Scotland. Wales will not be voting to provide Westminster Labour with fodder either, although the MPs returned from the Welsh seats will be more heterogeneously 'other'.
As for England, apart from scarce London returns and Northern Rockland's client state vote, it's into the blue for Labour. Not deepest blue, there are some Liberal Democrats, Greens and UKIPers, as well as antisleazers who may be elected in particularly depraved former Labour seats. But whatever happens there will never again be a monolithic Labour government. The best that could be hoped for is a Labour rump buttressed by immensely expensive coalitions with disruptive special interests. The Conservative coalition though, welded together by the prospect of power, stands a very good chance of unitary rule.
This was never supposed to happen. Europe was to deliver a social democratic future with jobs and careers for the boys, the United Kingdom of the Countries and the Regions under permanent SD administration, and the electorate safely ruled with the introduction of power by appointment and, at worst, election by a divisive voting system. But first France and Holland then, at the second go-round, Germany, the Czech and Polish Republics, and Ireland which has not even begun to run yet, moved Heaven's gates ever further from New Labour sinner's grasping hands. Now Heaven itself is to be re-ordered and redesigned by order of the Reich. Doubtless Poland and the Czechs have noted Germany's alternative model to the Maastricht blueprint for a federalised Europe and will prefer it for their own so recently regained sovereignty. Frankly, from a European perspective Ireland can do as it chooses, it's been decided to ignore it, and the UK is signed up, if it wants to back out it can, it has nothing further to say that is of disruptive importance to the drive towards a single Europe. It is Germany's alternative vision of Europe and its example to centrally important parts of the landmass like Poland that matter.
So what is New Labour going to do? They've shot their European bolt, the country is threatening to come to bits, the standard of living is falling fast and the submersion of the whole mess in a European Lisbon unity is increasingly likely either to not arrive in time or not arrive at all. Post democratic governance has been delayed and the United Kingdom is regarded as an economic and political basket case with an unelected, incompetent authoritarian posing as its leader. The Head of State is demanding more money for continued acquiescence in this public disgrace and economic shambles while a medal is offered not for valour but for loss.
All that is left is refusal to leave, lies, and brute forcing of their continued regime control over most of us. Until the eleven months are up no one will want to accept the bitter future they plan, but our chance of living in a democracy rests now in the hands of other European countries, as theirs once rested in ours.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
youtube - you're so vain - carly simon (hq audio).flv
The German Constitutional court has provided a blueprint for the United Kingdom under its new government (coming shortly) to reconsider the terms which Brown's regime ratified and deposited as the UK's assent to the Lisbon Treaty.
'The German parliament had given their 'chancellor and their ministers "too much freedom" in handing over competencies to Brussels and in passing new laws. In the future it won't be as easy as it often has been up until now for representatives of the 27 EU member states in Brussels to fiddle around and push through important decisions on a wide range of topics including personal or social security, cultural and legal questions or even military deployments involving German soldiers.
Before such decisions can be made, Germany's two legislative bodies, the Bundestag and the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, will have to give their approval. That might make the EU's work a little bit more cumbersome, but it will also be more democratic.' writes Der Spiegel.
It seems that while the Lisbon Treaty as a whole does not conflict with the German Basic Law, every important piece of legislation the EU tries to enact under the Treaty must be considered by the German Parliament, and against Germany's sovereign Constitution.
If one of the 27 signatories has such provisions there can be no objection to all signatories retaining such nation state parliamentary controls over the European Union, particularly when they are held, perpetually, as reserve powers by the most important and powerful state in the EU. Otherwise it could be argued most reasonably that member states were treated unequally.
The United Kingom's ratification and depositing of the Treaty cannot be viewed as closed business within the United kingdom either, just as the changing terms on which other member states are ratifying and depositing make the UK's acceptance no longer closed business externally. An unelected Executive using Crown powers is not people and Parliament after referendum and Parliamentary vote agreeing the Treaty.
And if we have neither Constitution nor Constitutional Court, as do the other member states of the European Union, then matters will have to wait until the incoming government has provided us with them. Too many member states of the European Union have pressing and centrally important domestic reasons to delay this Treaty until all have satisfied their electorates, from which all power is derived, that the balance of devolution of powers and democratic control is correct.