Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Governance is Not Monopolisation of Power by the Labour party

Together with the White Paper on the planned referendum on Scottish independence, there is mooted a Scottish Speaker's Conference on what powers the Scottish parliament requires to be transferred from the Westminster parliament to broaden and deepen subsidiarity in the extant devolved parliament. The new European Union constitution embeds the subsidiarity principle - that power should invariably be devolved to the lowest competent authority and that the central authority should deal only with subsidiary matters that lower levels of organisation cannot effectively handle.

The Speaker of the Scottish parliament, presiding officer Alex Fergusson, has indicated his willingness to serve as chairman of the Scottish Speaker's Conference, which the ruling Scottish National Party see as necessary '..to make progress on additional powers for the parliament. The way forward, I believe, and other parties believe this as well, is to have a Scottish version of the Speakers' Conference. This will involve people from all walks of civic life to try and reach agreement on the additional powers..'. The proposal is supported by the Liberal Democrats and by the Conservative party.

In an implicit acknowledgment that while Scotland had been ruled by the Labour party the powers already held by the Scottish parliament had not been used, the Labour party rejected the proposal, and called for currently-held powers to be called into action. The contemptuous dismissal of Scotland's parliament as having no more powers than a parish council by the Labour leadership of the United Kingdom obviously applied when Labour subsumed Scottish governance within its own party structures. It is unable to do so now.

Membership of the European Union requires conformity with its governing principles, and this is the muscle that Scotland is flexing. If a Scottish Speaker's Conference is called into existence, how much more pressing is the need for the Speaker's Conference of the Westminster parliament to discuss and determine both the changing relations between England and Scotland within the United Kingdom, and the rapid implementation of the subsidiarity requirements of the European Union within England itself.

Monday, 30 July 2007


Mrs Olive Beal, who is 108 years old has been told she must join an 18 month waiting list for a digital hearing aid. A spokes'person' for the quango that is Mrs Beal's local health provider said those with no hearing aids at all must come first, sorry.

Perhaps the spokesperson who mouthed this obscene apology might care to consider their way of earning a living.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

"Baroness" Scott Young of Old Scone

Baroness Scott Young of Old Scone is fat and fifty , with a salary of £160,000 plus a year, and another 15% of that on top, awarded this June for 'hitting most of the targets' in the Environment Agency which she heads.

She is Scottish, from Perth, and educated in Scotland, where she gained a degree in Classics at Edinburgh; ( she has a science diploma, whatever that might consist in, from the University of Strathclyde too). She has not been elected to any political office but was appointed to her post and to the House of Lords by the Labour regime.

A leading example of the Labour apparatchik nomenklatura, she has presided over a total failure to organise provision against flooding, or for provision of essential services, such as a clean water and a power supply, should flooding occur, or for the evacuation of areas subjected to flooding. This remarkably ugly character, (her photograph can be seen, stomach protruding, shoulders like a wrestler, sloping shelf of bosom on the National Portrait Gallery website ) has been Chief Executive since 2000 and for 7 disastrous years clearly she hasn't done a lot except trouser up to a million pounds of taxpayers money.

But then the floods are in England.

Choosing the Ground

The European Union is the Labour party's future. Unless the European Constitution can be imposed, Labour is finished. Scotland will opt for a constitutional settlement where it remains on the best of terms with the rest of the United Kingdom, even settles for a commonwealth solution to who should be the head of state, but it will secede and apply for membership of the European Union in its own name.

If Labour can maintain this peculiarly unattractive half in , half out stance with the EU, that provides the imposed bureaucracies, the democratic deficit, the export of sovereignty, the massive immigration from poorer Europe towards the highest social wage on offer in the entire EU, but offers none of the benefits, the rule of law, the freedom of movement, the use of structural and other special funding, the upgrading and unification of transport connections, the economic integration benefits and, above all, the Euro, then it can survive.

The federal United Kingdom must be maintained while the federal United Europe is defeated.

As America's 'special friend' the UK cannot accept the new European Constitution. A European state with a European armed forces and a European foreign policy won't do at all; neither will the commercial, financial and monetary independence of Europe.

But as a federal state threatened with break-up into its constituent parts and the consequent consignment of an authoritarian, democratic centralist, permanent power holder -objective party to history's dustbin, Labour cannot accept withdrawing from the EU, encouraging a bid for independence and going it alone by Scotland.

Something has got to give, but why aren't the Conservatives calling for an English parliament, the reordering of our relations with Scotland, and a reordering of our relations with the European Union? Conservative survival depends on having a redefined relation with Scotland, more equal and more just for the English taxpayers and the English users of state-funded and state- delivered services , and a wholly commercial relationship with the European Union.

Actually, that's what most English people want. An advisory referendum is no where near enough, the Conservatives need to get onto the right battlefield.

A Bloomsbury Education

Between Marylebone and Gray's Inn, the river and the Euston Road, lies some very desirable London. In the west there are the squares of eighteenth century houses, with gardens at their centre, Bedford, Fitzroy, Queen's, Red Lion and, moving east Russell, Brunswick , Coram's Fields, to Gray's Inn. There is the Senate House, still headquarters of the University of London, University College and its hospital - the godless of Gower Street; from the river Bush House and the London School of Economics, Lincoln's Inn, the thriving Marchmont Street offering shops for everyday life , hardware stores, chemists, greengrocers, independent bakers, grocers, to the restored St Pancras standing like a mini houses of parliament, shoulder to surprisingly friendly shoulder with the new British Library. Lambs Conduit Street, Doughty Street, and the undamaged Mecklenburgh Square take to the Gray's Inn Road. There is every kind of housing from council estates to georgian grandeur, every kind of person living in this area - families settled for generations to the students there for their 3 years' at the London colleges, from every kind of background , and every level of income and type of occupation. There are lawyers, publishers, dons, writers, financiers, paupers, old money, new money, Quakers, Anglicans, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, as well as the godless, but all enjoy the very fine religious buildings and are welcome to the help offered by all these groups if they are in need.

This is the London that many think of when they think of London, and the power elites want it all. They want to centre a London University there integrating Imperial, UCL, LSE and King's, arguing that such an institution will be a power house of cutting edge research and attracting immense funding and resources; they want expansion from the financial districts to move there; they want Covent Garden's commercial and tourist development spreading in from the west; they want a bigger centre of London and that cannot go west because the palace and the parks are in the way.

So there will never be a secondary school in Holborn and St Pancras, (for shame Frank Dobson, MP for decades) and all the ordinary community services that are in the grasp of the local and national state will never be provided as they should be there. But the rich and powerful are faced by a settled community of ordinary people with coherence and many levels of skills to hand .

Friday, 27 July 2007

The Promised Referendum

First Minister Salmond, Scotland's prime minister, said yesterday, "Our first 100 days' commitment ...includes the publishing of a white paper on independence, which will serve as the basis for a national conversation with the people of Scotland about their constitutional future,".

The White Paper on the form of the independence referendum will be published within the next 14 days. Of course, referendums in the United Kingdom are advisory, not binding; they cannot abrogate laws, or initiate, or set up popular-driven legislation.

Nevertheless, the political force of the Scottish referendum on their withdrawal from the United Kingdom will be immense; the case for a similar referendum being held in England on the break-up of the United Kingdom is powerful but has never been proposed at Westminster. But then England has no parliament and our First Minister, prime minister Brown, sits for a Scottish constituency.

Brown will get a vote on Scotland's secession; the English will not.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Divorce Italian style

Church and State in Italy fought off the possibility of divorce with a unity of purpose, if not means, which underlined the levels of intrusion into personal lives practised there by the authorities.

When our everyday lives become the preoccupation of our moral, legal and political governance we need more than a general election every three or four years to get their noses out of our business.

Italians, like Americans, Germans, Frenchmen, Poles, Russians (I could go on) have highly codified relations between one another and between themselves and the state. In England we were blessed, until half way through the last century, with a very small state and so made do with a general election whenever compromise between parties could not be reached; referendums were outre foreign necessities, inappropriate in a civil, English political world.

We need to rethink this view. Just as Loris Fortuna and the Divorzisti took on the force of settled attitudes to inheritance, legitimacy, the exchange of women and wealth between social groups, personal notions of happiness and propriety, the vulgarity of affairs, the relations between Church and State, and relations between the generations - all of which are central to the cheap incompetent meddling of the Labour government (well, not relations between Church and State, as Church has been wholly vanquished in England), we too need the powers of enforceable popular referendums.

Across party lines and viciously enforced party discipline, across religious edict and thunderous denunciations and threats of excommunication from the pulpit, Italian men and women voted to annul the social, political, religious and legal repression of no divorce.

But they had the means of redress, if they were brave enough to use it - and it took bravery in the villages of the south, the red strongholds of the north, to get the church and state out of their hair.

We do not. We have no means whatsoever even to express our opposition to, let alone alter, what our 'democratic' governance imposes. For a state as enormous, over-arching, intrusive in every detail of our lives as the Labour state, a single vote, when the Executive unrestrained by any kind of constitutional system, cares to call it, is a totalitarian nightmare.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007


One of the largest parts of desirable England is under water. What does that do to house prices?

Another problem is the rot. Wet rot is nasty but dry rot is the black death. Dry rot is caused by a very narrow band of humidity maintained at a fairly narrow band of temperature in buildings that have been soaked. It is prevalent in the central and western parts of England.

The soaking can be due to poor maintenance (usual cause) or flooding. The spores of dry rot are floating about in the air all the time, looking for just that balance between damp and warmth in which to thrive. It grows in wood, but extends itself through mortar, under plaster, across brickwork, and causes structural collapse . It is high on the surveyor's list for any building in the central and western English regions.

It is going to have a field day. To deal with it requires specialised firms who cost the earth and rip out anything within 3 metres, in any direction, of rot evidence - floor boards, plaster, pannelling, windowframes, sashes, ornate plasterwork, structural features....and if there is to be a guarantee against recurrence, then the treatments of what is left require vacating the building for days.

So even when the ruined buildings are dryed out, who would touch them with a bargepole?

Unless great care is taken it gets into the raspberry canes as well.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

State Pensions Due For a Short Back and Sides

The Labour party has bought its votes with money garnered in taxes. It has swathes of people on benefits, almost 6 million of them; it has even larger numbers in 'employment' wholly funded from the tax take. All of these Labour voters have secured themselves pensions many of which are available from the age of 60, and sometimes even earlier. The pensions of those in the non-state sectors of the economy have been ravaged by Gordon Brown.

Do the state-sector workers really believe that the ravaging of the private sector (whose sustainers, whether employees or employers, would not normally vote Labour) is not going to happen in the state sector too? Many have sold their votes for a promise; a promise given by the current, and last 10 years', government regime.

The days when what a government guaranteed, what an emploment contract agreed, could be enforced have long gone; as, indeed, has the rule of law in many areas of UK governance. And when these state-employees' mess of pottage is rescinded what are they going to do about it? Go on strike? That's a riskier undertaking in modern, Labour, England than it was a decade ago.

The threat to strike by the swollen state work-force of the Post Office must be so welcome to Brown and his regime; once those 'workers' have taken themselves off home, they need never report for 'work' again.

When did anyone last use the Post Office (except for the payment of benefits)?

We Shall Fight and We Shall Win

"I'm going to be making a statement on security issues on Wednesday and one of the issues in that statement will be winning hearts and minds. This is a big issue and the question for us is how we can separate those extremists from the moderate mainstream majority,' announced the member of parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Labour party leader and prime minister of England yesterday, as the country turned into a giant rice paddy.

Hearts and Minds, now there's a phrase to to conjure up images . No doubt we will soon be hearing of the setting up of Civil Affairs Units, the better to protect this 'moderate mainstream majority' from contamination by ' looters' and 'insurgents'.

No slouch, our imposed Labour leader, he has moved on from that dated, Fascist language usage of New Dawns and Third Ways; we have entered the 1960s of American touchy-feely authoritarianism and, doubtless, dominoes will be threatening to collapse in lines under the pressure of just one ideologically improper thought infecting the mass conciousness.

Herded into our secured settlements, identified, surveilled, inducted into correct thinking by our education and media systems, the overflight of our flooded landscapes by our government's helicopters is just so modish.

Monday, 23 July 2007

If Labour Believed in Global Warming Why are Croydonians Under Water?

Years they have gone on, years and boring years about climate change and leading the way in responding and pointing at global warmers as baddies (like China and India busy overtaking every measure of economic efficiency and growth we could think of).

Tony Blair prides himself on being the pathfinder for responsible and green behaviour; spine chilling warnings issued from his Labour lips for a decade. His mad chancellor issued scottish -accented reproofs about us driving Land Rover Defenders.

Nick Drew says it all - where was their money when they were mouthing-off? Putting in place flood defences? Ensuring a properly funded catastrophe service? Appointing professionals in the Fire Service, rivers authorities, water supply firms, electrical power generation and delivery companies, committing reserve funds to highways and rail links for extreme conditions? Too costly for poor England? Then surely Labour and its nomenklatura-staffed agencies was cleaning out the drains, repairing river banks, providing alternative water courses for flood waters?

After all, this is seventeenth century technology - ask the Dutch, ask Cambridge historians: The Draining of the Fens provides an excellent account of how to cope with flood plains and marshland in rainy weather.

The English don't even have wellington boots.

The Watery End of English Democracy

In Berlin, and Brandenburg generally it's been raining fiercely for most of July. There are news pictures of water pouring along rivers, various other large waterways, culverts, ditches, drains, water being powerfully pumped to drainage areas and away from settlements and off roads, of railway lines being cleared and checked; houses that have flooded basements are pumped dry at once and flood protected. Indeed, flood protection is everywhere, swinging into place with practiced swiftness. Huge tracked vehicles rescue any unfortunates caught in flash floods in spite of all this. People move about in waders and wellies, raincoats and waterproofs. But it's just a wet July.

The news readers and reporters speaking over the extraordinary scenes broadcast from England are simply incredulous; do they intend to just do nothing in the hope the water will go away? they ask. Cameras linger horrified on people barefoot, wading through sewage and oil contaminated flood water, rather as if they are going for a paddle. Whole towns completely cut off are surveyed from the air without a sign of any kind of intervention; occasional, histrionic helicopter lifts are filmed. In solemn voices it is recounted that this town, or village has no fresh water, no power, and no means of getting in or out. The attitude of the flood victims is a source of wonder and put down to the famous English stiff upper lip. Almost no civil disaster operations have been put in place, worse weather is forecast for this weekend. Where will it all end? They may well ask. It has all already ended in a pool of tears.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Plato to NATO and back

Global governance is out of date. Much of its remnant institutional form is delaying or preventing the development of modern systems of international relations. Most of its personnel suffer from deformation professionnelle and work for the maintenance of their positions and salaries rather than the aims these institutions once embraced.

The lofty and emotional language in which those purposes are often cast does not sit well with modern economic, financial and strategic goals, it belongs with the 20th century - in its glories, pities, struggles, horrors, achievements and despairs. Which is not to say that the requirement for institutions for global governance is not even more pressing now than ever.

The United Nations, (and all its offspring), the World Trade Organisation, the Bretton Woods institutions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the outworn 'defence' pacts, the whole shebang of people on international benefits could end now.

The UN, bankrupt (in every aspect of the word), unable to command funds internationally and with the great powers refusing to bankroll unwelcome initiatives however they may fit the ostensible aims of the UN , with a Security Council refighting the last world War, and an Assembly where China and Botswana have one vote each.

The IMF, designed to sustain world demand yet now leading to concerted deflation through the imposition of theoretically unsupported, one size fits all, hyper-liberal policies.

The World Bank, lending an insignificant fraction of emerging countries investment, and lending primarily to countries that have perfectly good access to international financial markets which, on the whole, do not repay their loans; neglecting the environmental implications of investment it finances , not to speak of the internal corruption in an institution that denies finance to what it defines as 'corrupt' governments. All this applies to its sister regional development banks for Latin America, Africa, and for Asia.

The WTO, no more than a debating club; supposed to promote free trade but which sanctions protectionist reprisals against states practising protectionism; and rather than promoting the diffusion of ideas and technology, prevents this through the protection of intellectual property to extremes unrequired by the promotion of research and invention.

The International Labour Office, well meaning but toothless, has failed even to end slavery, never mind child labour, indeed has presided over their expansion; slavery is far more widespread since the end of British imperial administration.

NATO, obsolete since December 2001 .

As the world gets closer to a global economy through international trade, migration, and delocalisation of production activities, global governance lags behind; there are more commercial blocs (200) than there are members of the WTO (150); the only country that does not belong to a commercial bloc is Mongolia.

These blocs are countries' attempts to govern their economic integration which cannot be done yet on a world scale, not least because of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of so-called international institutions.

Power is being brokered directly, bloc to bloc, state to state, face to face decisions being taken by government leaders. Increasingly global governance is conducted by summits of these government leaders, from the G24 to the G 8, (marginally a progress from the United States dream of a G 1.) We are back to the form of international relations in the ancient world.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


Political leaders run the risk of being killed. This is as true today as it has been always.

There are deaths in battle (that is rather rare these days), executions after due process, executions after false and very doubtful process, executions after ad hoc process, executions, and assassination.

Assassination attracts the most attention, and the most intricate and longest-lived of cause -of- death and hinterland scenarios; death in battle the least.

The death of Benito Mussolini has it all, in every category. Who shot him? Only the partigiano wartime aliases of those in the vicinity are known; why was he shot after some days when he was supposed to be in transfer to Allied forces (in that sector, the Americans), the theories fill books; why was Clara Petacci shot too - she was hardly Elena Ceauşescu and shooting non combatants might be frequent in civil wars but there was no heat of the moment in these killings.

On 28 April 1945 they were put to death; and later scenes that humiliated more those who carried them out than the corpses they despoiled contine to horrify. Guido Mussolini, the Duce's grandson, is asking a higher court to overturn a ruling that there can be no revelation of the true identities of the executioners, and no process against them; it was thought to be too long ago. The 1946 Togliatti Amnesty is ruled to have expunged any crime (or at least any punishment).

In their dreams it is too long ago.

Guido Mussolini has appealed on the simple ground that the truth knows no limit of time; and the circumstances surrounding those deaths are known in their entirety. He wishes to know the real names of those who killed his grandfather. If such time has passed that all of those events are history, then why not? And if it is still important, then why not?

Monday, 16 July 2007

The Disgraceful Nomination of Livingstone by Labour for Mayor of London

Livingstone was chosen to stand as Labour candidate for mayor of London last May. His nomination was said to have been decided after the Party had consulted Labour party members across London. What form this consultation took is not reported.

That there should have been an enormous residual resentment at the closing down of the GLC, and even the selling off of its iconic building opposite Parliament, is not unreasonable or even surprising. Skylon should never have been pulled down either, that too was an act of petty political spite not delivered to the intended target but to an electorate who saw both these things as symbols of aspiration not party politics.

Livingstone's first victory, against established Labour and Conservative candidates, was a victory rooted in popular outcry against corruption on the right, and betrayal on the left. The campaign team was so small that when the Observer turned up to interview all six of them in their three tiny rooms, the journalists sneered.

To nominate Livingstone now, as the official Labour candidate, is an extraordinarily revealing disgrace. The Labour party will do anything to retain power wherever and whenever it takes it.

In London they have chosen to nominate a man who accused a reporter, interviewing him outside of the Mayor's office about who had been present at the party just held, of being equivalent to a concentration camp guard, and this after repeatedly abusing the reporter who on informing Livingstone that he is Jewish in the face of the first unacceptable onslaught, was the target of the millenial insult.

Whoever, Labour voter, Labour party member, Labour activist, campaigns for , or even votes for this man, is as disgraced as their candidate.

Whatever form of 'consultation' took place, it failed to reach, or listen to, the decent Labour voters and Party members ; they should be doing something about this nomination. Are they ?

Sunday, 15 July 2007

You May Turn Over Your Paper and Begin

Why are there no balance of payment problems between England and Wales?

(Extra marks will be available to candidates noting the implications of their answer for the case in favour of the United Kingdom joining the Euro.)

Economics Tripos old chestnut (suddenly wholly relevant).

Update. Those candidates wishing to discuss additionally balance of payments problems between England and Scotland may do so.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Suffrage For Little Children

Ageing populations are skewing democratic options towards providing pensions and other welfare services for the old. As there are limits on what can be provided the young, with much less democratic voice, are being squeezed.

There has been a proposal that universal suffrage should be extended (yes, it's not universal but it has gone from men with a certain level of property, to men without, to men, and women above a certain age, to men and women over 21, to men and women over 18 and it's always called universal suffrage) to all citizens, regardless of age.

Those citizens under the age of 18 (or 16) would have their votes exercised by a parent or guardian acting on their behalf. This would correct the inappropriate democratic weighting in favour of the old; who, in all fairness, have had their whole lives to get ahead, and provide for their retirement anyway.

Otherwise, to correct this old age weighting, their could be suffrage death at, say, 70. But that seems rather hard and loses all the good sense that older and wiser heads can bring.

What is there against having votes really for all, and the young represented by their parents?
Parents already vote taking their children's interests into account most carefully, so why not give them the vote?

Sleeping Dogs

No-one who, as a Catholic child, learned their catechism could be surprised by Benedict XVI's straightforward restatement of the Catholic belief on the status of the Catholic church.

Then why has he spoken? First to end any hesitations in Catholic minds on the extent of inter-faith advance engendered since Vatican II. Second, so that other Catholic stances that have been eroded by inter-faith dialogue should be clear cut once again. Third to rally the Faithful.

The assertion that the personal is political has sown the wind, and reaped some of the least attractive intrusions into our lives by the state; equally, the state is now vulnerable to an individual moral digging in of heels, and a reassertion of religious leadership that threatens the secular state.

Harold MacMillan's advice that morality should be left to the bishops went unheeded . The Bishop of Rome is gathering his forces to reclaim the ground lost to the state on morality in social and individual relations.

Plum Brandy

The apricots are finished, they have all been drunk. The peach trees have got curl - and no, I don't know why or how, or even what it is except the leaves roll up and the fruit fails. I've had to take Tuscan T's advice on the onions and get those from Lidl. Local farming standards have gone soft with all these agricultural subsidies.

The plums are looking good, though I brought those trees from the garden in England. Ha!

(Gardens are another reason why leaving is not a solution; it takes years of dithering while plants are dug up, roots wrapped in wet cotton wool and silver paper, and then driven across Europe. The final great escape, complete with a botanical gardens in the back of the Saab, drugged cats snoozing under the plants, and a Lizzy Eustace moment, still makes the co-driver go vacant-eyed).

Friday, 13 July 2007


The European Union negotiating round on fish and allocations of fishing grounds exemplifies Labour's problems with the botched devolution and general debauchery wreaked on the constitution of the United Kingdom in the last ten years of misrule. Previously such extensive undermining and incompetence, expressing itself from the 'war on terror' to the white fish industry could be found only in novels.

While unable to match Toodles, "whose erudition on the subject of the fishing industry was fresh and, in comparison with his ignorance of all other industrial matters, immense.", a commenter in today's Herald, who can, sums up:

'1. Scottish waters are the biggest waters in Europe. 11% of Europe's waters are Scottish the biggest of any member country.

2. The Scots don't want the right to speak FOR the UK in the EU, the Scots want to LEAD the talks on BEHALF of the UK including the other delegates from the other countries that make up the UK (we wont make them sit outside, well hopefully they will just once to see how they like it)

3. As 70% of the whole UK catch is Scottish we have the most to gain or lose from successful or unsuccessful bartering and negotiation and so are the logical choice to stand more firm than those whose economies are not as greatly affected.

4. The UK fishing industry as a whole and especially Scotland's industry has been consistently sold down the river by Westminster led negotiations, I am sure that all fisherman from all 4 countries would prefer a Scots delegate who would not give up fishing rights in order to have a better parking space in Brussels*, or to be able to expand army bases, etc . '
*(unconfirmed but probably true)

Labour in Westminster and Labour in Scotland is united in condemning and disdaining this wholly reasonable viewpoint for it deals two devastating blows to Labour and its unelected Leader.

First, it conforms wholly to the European Union of the nations and the regions ideology - Flanders leads negotiations for Belgium in the same round of talks, for instance; second, Scotland will place the interests of the fishing industry a great deal higher and more appropriately on the agenda of the United Kingdom's concerns (Cornwall's fishermen would be better served by Scotland, as would the fishermen of the eastern coasts of England and those off the Irish coast).

When Scotland brings back a decent deal for the United Kingdom's fishing industry, should Scotland's prime minister, First Minister Salmond prevail in Scotland's bid to represent their and the other nations and regions of Britain's interests, Labour at Westminster will be displayed publically, yet again, in all their Party -before -country decade of disingenuousness and disgrace .

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Sterling Values

Labour Leader and interregnum Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown has a problem. Not the publically recognised difficulties of being well along the spectrum towards non neuro-typical, rather the structural problems associated with the ill-thought out devolution in the United Kingom ten years ago.

The voting into power of a Scottish Government no longer subservient to the Labour party, coupled with the Leader being unelected by his Party and unelected by an English constituency while Scotland has its own government, has led to great Labour and Leader emphasis on 'Britishness' and 'the Britain of the Nations and the Regions.'

This last is, of course, Euro-speak writ small; the Europe of the Nations and the Regions is a primary driving force in the dismantling of the nation state within Europe and its federalisation as a single United Europe.

The promised referendum on the powers ceded by the ousted Labour leader in Berlin has to be denied because Labour has every intention of ratifying the European Union Constitutional Treaty.

The grasping of EU economic policy by Sarkozy, with the major financial and banking institutions headed by Frenchmen and the IMF nominee the French socialist Strauss-Kahn leaves Labour wholly out of the EU economic loop, even the presidency of the committee of ministers for the IMF passes from Brown to Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Italian minister of Finance in Prodi's centre-left government. And the UK is not in the eurozone.

For a Labour leader for whom cumannari è megghiu ca futtiri, the solution to devolution difficulties, and the access of power and real entry into the EU economic magic circles, is entry into the Euro after the year or so needed to formally qualify by meeting EMS requirements; the former Chancellor of the Exchequer has made very sure they can be met.

Silly Billy

Ousted Labour former prime minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair's plans to set up the Blair Foundation, a charitable organisation devoted to promoting inter-faith dialogue, received a set back with the confirmation of the document Dominus Jesus. Benedict XVI must have been even less accommodating than was reported when Blair was given an audience by the pope in Rome, shortly after signing the European Union Constitution accords in Berlin.

Benedict is immovable on the line taken when he was cardinal Ratzinger - there is one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, all the rest except for the 'wounded' Orthodox churches - are not even considered to be Churches.

Blair has a harder row to hoe than he ever imagined in his woolly fantasies of intervening (again) in what he doesn't understand - inter-faith relations and dialogue are not for him; he had to be told sharply too, by the United States, that he has no role in mediating between Israel and anybody at all, he may try only to help set up administrative structures for Palestinians.

Blair is an embarrassment; which is an improvement on when he was in office - then he was a menace as well.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Shaking the Tree

Apricots were drawing the tortoises to abandonment of their usual summer interest. Jaws snapping they pushed - well, apricot-coloured - fruit along till it hit border hedging of box or trimmed lavender where, cornered, it would offer itself to them until they were delirious.

So yesterday I picked the trees clean before the fruit plunged to tortoise-levels of consumption.

Heavy-bottomed pan, splendours of heaped fruit, spoons of honey, tightest-fitting lid, low flame. The question is: should I add brandy, grand marnier, calvados, marc de champagne, or leave the compote to its own devices to develop that alcoholic whoomf the tortoises have been enjoying from the windfalls?

Update: The idea of adding a spoon of compote to a glass of any of the above has been greeted with acclaim.

Set and Match

The French have: the European Central Bank (Jean Claude Trichet); the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Jean Lamierre); the World Trade Organisation (Pascal Lamy); can Dominique Strauss-Kahn complete the set at the International Monetary Fund? And will Sarkozy's economic view win the match?

The visceral revulsion any normal person experiences when forced to consider Labour and its Leader has a cerebral counterpart in the European Union's determined opposition to any of the economic nonsense on stilts vaunted by the UK interregnum government.

Pragmatism, commitment to growth, good faith, give and take - all those conservative virtues, have crossed the Channel leaving England and its disaffected once constituent nations to power-seeking, to profit-taking, to rent-seeking in conditions of no competition benefit dependents, to undemocratic appointed governance, and to exploitation.

Summer Holiday

51% of Italians have declared that they are not going on holiday this year. They were interviewed on beaches, in large and small boats rocking gently on turquoise Mediterranean waters, (here? oh, no, we pop along for the week end as we have a house here), pausing for a coffee in Roman piazzas, stepping briskly round hot , bored groups of tourists on their way to interesting appointments in renaissance palaces, buying heaps of freshest greenery and armsful of flowers in stone-paved markets, driving red Lamborghini tractors in Tuscan vinyards with flights of cypresses waving from golden corn-covered hillsides, eating lunch at the local, white-clothed, waited-on, fixed at 10 euros three course restaurant, scootering homewards for a little lie down in the afternoon. Then a freshening shower, clean clothes, and off for another couple of hours work and the evening yet to plan - light dinner with family or call round to enjoy whatever mamma has cooked just in case, then an ice cream at Vivoli, cinema al aperto, a drink with friends - indeed a procession through the Corso of greetings , smiles, gossip catchings-up, promises for Saturdays and Sundays, outings to exhibitions, collections - there's George Grosz on in Rome, the Absolute and the Relative under discussion in Milan with all the brains in the world contributing, magic and rituals of the Etruscans at Sovana, parties for First Communions, weddings, anniversaries ....

Of course they aren't going on holiday - they're there already, all the time.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Pigs in Office

Poland's national populist government (they who mentioned the war recently) are swaying on the edge of the abyss. The leader of a government coalition member-party has been sacked for sexual molestation of young female employees in his office.

The BBC doesn't mention this in its report, citing only corrupt land deal accusations ( the sacked minister leads the Peasants Party). Perhaps the BBC didn't want to waken nasty memories of sexual molestation of junior female employees in the Labour government.

At least Jarowslaw Kaczynski sacked the pig.

Loose Cannon

Ten foreign ministers of the Mediterranean countries of the European Union (those of Italy, France, Spain , Portugual, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia) have published an open letter to Blair in his capacity as envoy for the Quartet to the Middle East.

The letter speaks of their appreciation of his 'imagination', but of their understanding of the near insuperable difficulties. It tells 'caro Tony' that while he has been allowed the extraordinary privilege to help make possible a peace for Israel and Palestine, every day of his mission he should know that he can can count on their support.

Their support is offered after an extensive review of policy choices and recommended undertakings. It tells Blair plainly that the era of the Road Map is over; and it asserts the importance of the role of Saudi Arabia, Jordan , Syria, Egypt, and the Emirates, as well as that of the European Union. The whole text is in yesterday's Repubblica.

The first fruits of the Berlin agreements and the unity generated by ill -thought out Labour 'oppositionism' are here. It would be better were Blair still safely ensconced in Downing Street not loosed upon what is none of his business so that Brown and Labour can enjoy their interregnum.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Without Reservations

England is displaying aspects of a colonial Reservation with London as the Trading Post. Huge amounts of tax income raised on the sale of alcohol; the indigenous population enclosed in a tax regime that is of no matter to the High Net Worth Individuals outside of it, working in the London Trading Post ;(the redistributive aspects of Labour practice being only redistribution among the poor).

Proposals for casino-led wealth generation spotted about in the more distant Reserves.

Missionary treatment centres paid for by taxing their cause.

Mr Cameron has stopped the missionary; stopping Labour colonialists requires that he can rely on us for our support.

What is Conservatism?

Yesterday, puzzled by the constant expressions of dissatisfaction with the current Conservative leadership both in the press and, even more, on major Conservative blogs, I asked that most articulate of Conservatives to explain:

'When you have a moment would you say what it is that Conservatives want? You might miss out the bit about the 11 plus, but what is the wingeing about Mr Cameron? And why is the media so anti too?

What status quo is he disturbing?'

Newmania said...

'Conservative Party members do you mean? They want immigration controlled , distance from the EU. lower taxes , reformed public services and benefits especially, and less state interference; less red tape , more prisons and harsher sentences, a special position for the family , parliament to be parliament. No regional government , English votes ( but not the break up of the Union usually ). Sub themes are support for small and local business , conservation generally of art , cultural memory , continuity ( eg history properly taught in schools) Parks. Buildings and the fabric of the country in innumerable ways [conserved]. The de-politicisation of the Police and its urgent reform ( possibly by a local accountable sherrif).
The return of [an] individual being responsible for his actions in a variety of ways. On foreign policy there is far less distinctive [positioning?] than say the Liberals who define themselves abroad( and are full of it .... few of them turned up at Hull with their bum bags to help). Its not coherent in the way Marxism is and the picture changes . In the Party Cameron is widely adored , the vocal minority and especially bloggers are misrepresentative. The Party as a whole is more (c)onservative and less libertarian.

On the media you mean the BBC ?, well there is good book out called "Can we trust the BBC" by Robin Aitken and it charts the shift of policy towards Independent style editorialising.

Put simply the BBC is a highly conservative and elitist organisation that defaults to the orthodoxies of the 60s and 70s.The vast majority of its perspective Oxbridge intake are of a certain political complexion . They are quick to report such systematic bias in the Police but , of course , blind to their own equally damaging Liberal agenda. Its subtle , to do with choice handling and presentation but enveloping nonetheless ( Europe is the fault line)

On the status quo he is disturbing, another time.'

This very social response, it might be understood as attitude of mind and the centrality of individual response and responsibility in political interaction , rather than the aggressively authoritarian social and economic policing offered by Labour, is light years away from the caricatures of conservatism offered, indeed, by the BBC.
To many who are not members of any political party, it is intensely attractive in seeking the private enjoyment of everyday life in a serene environment. The low-key , united vision of domestic and foreign policies reflects this aim of being on good terms with everyone but of having an established and, for us, culturally satisfying ways of conducting public affairs.

Riding hobby horses so furiously that the very conservative approach of pulling together to not just achieve a goal, but enact a way of living, is a betrayal of conservatism itself.

So who's applecart does this view of political conduct upset (apart from Labour?)

Friday, 6 July 2007


Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread, - behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it - he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! Nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.

Just say No! to fundamentalism - of any religion.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


The Leader has refused to countenance constitutional reforms lifting formal and very real disabilities from members of the Catholic faith in England, presumably because "it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this protestant kingdom to be governed by a papist prince" .

Though he does seem to want to replace the rest of the Bill of Rights of 1689 and precursor of the Constitution of the United States with his very own Bill of Rights and Duties. Perhaps he means to make a continuity and renewal claim by keeping in the bits about keeping out the Catholics.

The Real Thing and What It Is

Vaunting the intention to shift the powers of the Crown from the prime minister to the Executive and even to Parliament is an empty gesture. In the last 10 years we have watched a power shift from adversarial electoral democracy to party hegemony over all political process and many ostensibly non-political institutions.

No-one has elected the member of parliament for a Scottish constituency to the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and in this interregnum between the exit of an elected prime minister (and yes we do elect our prime ministers, since the complete installation of the whipped party system post 1945 ) and another general election, we see this foreign leader of the governing party installing his power base, the Labour party, in permanent control of our country.

England divided into nine regions determined more than anything by their lack of historical, or cultural, or economic homogeneity now has not just nine appointed regional councils, but nine appointed Labour party ministers for them to answer to; and for all nine a Labour party appointed nomenklatura determines the disposal of tax-sourced expenditures, controlling development, employment opportunities, access to all and any state resources, and grossly affecting the deployment of non-state, private activity.

And where is the English Parliament? Not needed, there are regional councils, regional ministers, committees of specialist skills to deal with England ; the Union must not be undermined.

The Union is already gone. Scotland has voted out the Labour party when it had the chance and while there was still time. There is a perfect model for what Scotland's relations with the rest of the once United Kingdom are, indeed it was used in drafting the 'concordats' between the two governments in Edinburgh and in London (although Labour never thought to lose Scotland and their coming into effective use, as they have done ), the model is the relations between former colonial territories and Westminster; and, even more powerful in its imagery, the Two Crowns relationship of Scotland to England that subsisted for more than a century before Scotland's subjugation.

Wales nearly made it out, but was betrayed by the Liberal Democrat party - that excuse for Labour -with -a - conscience that besmirches the word liberal.

Ireland? Ulster has its own agenda and, apart from the cash from Westminster, is properly thankless in its pursuit of what is its interest.

The European Union is not the root of all evil. The draining of our control or even influence over our own lives is not coming from there. But our membership of that Union is so conditioned by the Labour party that what it has to offer is denied us, and what it consists in otherwise, damages our individual interests severely. In the last ten Labour years it was centrally Labour policy to gain admission to the European Union for the former socialist states of the east and centre of Europe. Only the UK has not limited migration here from those states.

It is well known that neophytes are usually the strictest fundamentalists and the embrace of hyper liberal economic and social policies by these socialist 'transition' states was far stronger than ever practised in the rest of the European Union - the European social model is alive and well throughout the Union other than in the 'transition' states, even if it takes different continental, mediterranean and nordic guises; and the United Kingdom is easily recognised as a fully paid up member of the continental european social model (no matter what garbage the Labour party may spout, check the bottom lines).

If hyper-liberalism is shock -practised by a member-state, its people, used to over half a century of the highest redistributive, social wage societies in Europe, will migrate to the nearest eqivalent - us. Three quarters of a million so far and rising; massive exports of wealth back to parent countries (after all, social housing, free health care, education, no road tolls, welfare cash in all its shapes and forms for all the generations of the incoming family, it's like a time machine that frees up so much cash for personal use).

England's taxpayers are not just supporting services in Scotland, Wales and the north of Ireland - Poland, the Czech Republic, Rumania, Bulgaria and, to a lesser extent, the Baltic states, and the partakers of the mediterranean social model (which concentrates welfare accurately on the old and the sick and educating the young), Italy, Greece , Cyprus, Malta etc., are grateful for our support and the provision of what they have abolished or never provided. Not for nothing is Labour a fully paid up member of the Socialist international.

It is folly, and Labour propaganda, to think we can alter or deter the European Union's plans for a federal state. Already the core of Europe is shedding those who do not want this, and we are finding ourselves with their nationals but losing benefits that accrue to the real Europeans.

Labour's boast that we are at the heart of Europe is covering the horrible truth that we are the sump for Europe's failed socialist states. Just as they emerge from the nightmare of socialist Party authoritarian rule, we enter it. Power now is administered and allocated within the Labour party, not within the institutions and constitution of the country . The constitutional proposed reforms are a sham that belongs to a political system there is no intention of using further.

Wherever and whenever the chance occurs to vote, those who vote Labour or for their satraps, or who disdain to vote for the Conservative coalition because they want a local grammar school or free musem entrance, are fiddling while Rome burns.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

All Change

Democratic centralism in modern dress touched my conciousness while reading the statement on what is to be done? by the Leader. The senior cadres of the Party will consult widely with the lower sections of the Party, and with the people too.

The example to us all of countrywide consultation by the Leader before assuming power , and the promise of a review of voting practices, confirms his intentions for a unified, strong national governance.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Always With Us

My grandmother-in-law used to carry the keys tied around her waist under her skirt (long, black, ankle- length). I keep them in the dresser drawer owing to inadequate quantities of material. At first I kept unoccupied parts of the house locked but my strategy now is to leave all internal doors openable; I need to get in there quickly to catch what's on the other side.

What do you do about ghosts? They're here, undeniably, and I didn't believe in ghosts. Feelings have begun to run high now I'm here all the time. Mine, incredulity followed by fear, and theirs, unknown, have resulted in a stand off - I'll not be intimidated, they were here first.

Preparing lunch, noon, sunlit kitchen tra la tra la, and the main door slams. Footsteps, male, heavy, mount the stairs, accompanied by the undertones of serious male discussion. I'm fooled no longer; this is not someone coming in for lunch, it's them. Continue with the battuta, listen to them heading up to the next floor, and good luck to them, they're always doing that one.

During an after dinner game of scala quaranta a perfectly decent hand has to be abandoned as gigantic thumps and crashes cause fears that the roof is coming in at the piazza end. We hustle outside and survey a silent square, street, townhall, church, and shuttered, sleeping neighbours. Upstairs dust covers rooms undisturbed and closed.

Local people murmur of clanks and chains, dug up suits of armour with buried ladies resting their feet on them, and blessings administered; visitors ask who is hurrying through the room near the church end, face averted with baby in her arms, ignoring them as they lie in bed amazed.

'What is la ronda?' I ask. It's sort of sentry duty; that'll be the heavy pacing after nightfall but what is going on at midday? Last weekend I came back from Florence to find that things were settling into a live and let live mode. Sounds from the gallery turned into a cinema had suggested a making themselves comfy in the armchairs, adjusting of the furniture activity; noise levels are falling and furniture merely being rearranged rather than hurled.

'None of us were here for a long time, but they wouldn't hurt us; they are our past.' remarks Mr HG.

'Am I one of us?' I ask. Mrs Thatcher would be proud of me.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

How Many Divisions Has Benedict XVI ?

England doesn't have the pope on the main evening news each evening. He tends to make a yearly appearance in Lewes, he might make it onto the screens at Easter, but otherwise he he hasn't made much of an impact since the Reformation (well the Irish protestants take another view, agreed).

Temporal power has always been the pope's objective. There is no other kind of power, after all - spiritual power is but an aspect of how to gain the first and only kind.

It is a shock to watch him as he is watched where his writ runs so publically. He speaks wielding all the authority acceding to him from moral certainty universally recognized, and wields moral power in his political interest with the sophistication of millenia of existence and acquired understanding. If a measure of importance is who tries to know you, then the world and his wife come seeking audience with Benedict.

In Poland's failure to grasp the European ideal and its political leaders' attempt to speak not to the modern world but the primitive politics of nation state low-grade popularism, which was met by discreet indications that their european goals should conform to those of their bishops (or Bishop's), we see some of this; although in comparison with John Paul II's interventions in the east of Europe, nudging them into line was a bagatelle. It is noteworthy as well that the giant step in European Union consolidation took place under a German Chancellor and a German Pope; the Holy Roman Empire is a powerful image that lives in European conciousness, particularly when there is unwise fanning of the flames of external cultural threat.

Now that there has been such glorious success in the overthrow of the state socialist regimes, where might what are now Benedict's Divisions be seen next? Socialism's passing has left a space where ideas of the right and the good are no longer anchored in the secular and anticlerical. And scientific advance in understanding and tecnical means for the observation of our world are undermining, too, many of the socialist secular positions that were, as much as anything, defined by opposition to any political power drawing, for its strength, upon moral religious stance.

Until now arguments on the ordering of kinship groups and their generation of society, social hierarchies and intergenerational relations, the nature of conciousness and its claims on social as well as personal determination of its defence, have been cast in the crude and primitive emotionalism of fundamentalism and horror show propaganda.

Benedict's Divisions are immensely more powerful in their intellectual and technical skills, and will take the dispute of power in its moral or spiritual guise, and its control, far into the political elites regardless of political frontiers.

When Gordon Brown was granted his audience with the Pope he delivered into Benedict's hands a copy of his father's sermons, especially printed and bound up for that purpose. If we are to believe the English press in their adulation for the 'son of the manse' moral imprinting the leader of the Labour party's interregnum enjoyed, he delivered the blueprint to his soul.