Friday, 30 May 2008

Does Your Labour Party Need You?

In July 2001 the Labour regime announced that the Performance and Innovation Unit, now the Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office, would undertake a review of the legal and regulatory framework governing charities and the voluntary sector.
They did not consult on specific proposals. Instead they published a number of discussion papers and a list of 71 questions on different aspects of law and regulation. Originally expected to report in February 2002, publication of the report was delayed, partly because of the obvious links with the Treasury [Brown meddles again] review of the role of the voluntary sector in public service delivery.

It is a delicious irony that the Labour Party institutional set up is precisely the kind of entity these reviews and proposals, intended to produce greater transparency and certainty, as well as regulation and oversight, are aimed at. As the Times notes, the Labour Party is like an unincorporated association, a set up more suited to the local cricket club. Here 'members . . . are subject to unlimited personal liability in the event of the association’s insolvency'.

Not the officers of the unincorporated association but, arguably, all the members of the association are liable. The 'list of 71 questions on different aspects of law and regulation.', gives an indication of the turmoil surrounding liability in such a fragile institutional structure as the Labour Party and its Rule Book, particularly when carrying debts and liabilities approaching quarter of a £billion.

Are you a member of the Labour Party? Should you be? You thought it safe to buy into the demutualisation of Northern Rock; being a member of the Labour Party could be even more financially worrying.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Dementia Is Us

Here is the dementia check list provided by the Alzheimer Society today, worried that too few are diagnosed at a stage early enough to receive beneficial treatment. Others must sail on a Sea of Tranquility if their answers are not 'Yes, but it all depends'.

'Do you struggle to remember recent events while finding it easy to recall things that happened in the past?'

Memory has been shown to be a very personal production, highly edited, and reinforced by subsequent interpretation - like more general history. Surprisingly rarely do we need accurate recall of the recent or distant past; much of what is needed is organised within routines that trigger appropriate responses regardless of actual recall effectiveness. We 'play' our jobs, and to a lesser degree our lives rather as a musician plays, with a great deal of the detail determined below levels of immediate consciousness. Consciousness is used to enhance and refine not remember, which suggests we're up to almost anything with what we commonly call 'memory' anyway.

'Do you find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV?'

Echoic effects get in the way here; if the correspondence between the attention-level offered, and the conversation/programme is appropriate, and that depends on a lot outside the viewer's control, as well as surrounding inputs from the viewing environment, then following is not hard; but if the pitch of the programme is wrong I will start entertaining myself with almost anything from shouting at the tv (that seems to be a growing habit amongst us all), idly identifying what imagery has been taken from where, both visual and other, phasing in and out as it's a bit slow, and general reflection (a Catholic childhood does a great deal for developing reflection). Nor does it seem reasonable to class conversation as an alternative to a television programme.

'Do you regularly forget the names of friends or everyday objects?'

No, I do not forget the names of friends; to forget a name is a giveaway of the true status of the forgetee. Everyday objects are as different from friends, not least in their being objects, as tv programmes are from conversations. The names of plants and streets often not so much escape me as wilfully substitute themselves for one another. This is because when I think it tends to be in a first level rough and ready manner - that stuff over there, I'll sort it later or if I need anything I've put there, fashion. So Jesus Lane and Trinity Street are as one, or New Street and Corporation Street - they're all in the centre when doing things like shopping or going to the bank. The plant names over-there heap drives Mr HG to distraction; for him they are all highly distinct, all friends in their latin botanic dress. He forgets anniversaries, birthdays - presents and flowers arrive when he thinks of the person, not the date, so happily they arrive much more often and not necessarily when waking on a birthday in a temper (and who wouldn't given this dementia threat).

'Do you find it difficult to recall things heard, seen or read?'

There's always a remnant of a memory and then it can be used to google. It must have been awful to be Mr Casaubon.

'Do you struggle to make decisions?'

Choices yes, decisions, no. Bossy Boots incarnate.

'Do you repeat yourself in conversation or lose the thread of what you are saying?'
Again, why are these paired? Repeating is a rhetorical device of considerable force, cf any worth listening-to speaker of right or left since always. Losing the thread usually comes on after dinner but is often unnoticed as everybody else has too.

Do you have problems thinking and reasoning?

Honestly, who doesn't. Even being able to contemplate an answer to this one is a shining beacon of sense and sensibility. Can I think straight? Up to a point, my lord.

'Do you feel anxious and depressed or angry about forgetfulness?'

No, It's a fascinating topic, forgetfulness; it deserves a long thoughtfulness all to itself, and others' thoughts too.

'Do other people comment on your forgetfulness?'

Yes, since I was very young forgetfulness has been a lively subject of comment, extending across: what is owed to parents, place (in the sense of my), domestic tasks, homework, consideration of (or perhaps for) others, manners, grooming (hands, before eating, hair, brushing properly, shoes, clothes, changing of before ruining school uniform etc.); comment has lessened in adulthood and covers now: promises, failures, successes, awful moments, unwise remarks - the list is as long as a life.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Lower Fuel Taxes.

Global has become the get out word. Fuel prices are so high in the United Kingdom - a major oil producer - because of Gordon Brown's taxes. There are other factors affecting prices which Brown cannot affect in any way (despite parking a large chunk of the British army at Basra airport after years of helping cause mayhem in another country).

So stop lying by thought, word, deed, and omission Gordon. Cut the taxes, and let go. Even better, just go.

Jonah Strikes More Widely in UK Black Outs

“Nine generating units have become unavailable throughout Tuesday.” the National Grid admitted.

The collapse of the country into the third world under Jonah Brown and his Band of Brothers continues. 'At midday the Sizewell B nuclear power station, run by British Energy in Suffolk, and the Longanett coal-fired power station, run by Scottish Energy in Fife, went offline within two minutes of each other. Later, “generating units” in power stations in Grain, Kent, and Ratcliffe, Nottinghamshire, and at EDF in Cottam, Nottinghamshire, Centrica in South Humber and International Power in Deeside each suffered cuts.' Not just a flicker of the lights and a dip for a moment, the power went off for hours, from High Wycombe to Scotland.

Eleven years of lack of investment in infrastructure, a complete mismanagement of the energy environment in the UK, constant interference in energy markets by Jonah and his tax attacks in all ignorance of the dynamics of energy has got us rolling power cuts. At least Heath was engaged in what he understood and had our authority to act in - a political showdown with political bullies.

Jonah has been a lightning rod for ill-fortune and disaster for 11 years. In his arrogant, uncomprehending meddling he has made the country poorer and uncomfortable compared to the rest of western Europe, but now it is becoming dangerous and unlivable.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Who Needs Social Workers?

Why is every public sector job turning into a social worker job? - Members of Parliament, vicars, police, prison and probation officers, school teachers, local government officers, doctors and nurses, labour exchange clerks, call centre staff, head of state (though that always had a touch to it).

Can there be enough clients for all this client care? And who is governing the country, representing God, keeping the peace, transmitting the culture, placing staff, sorting out complaints, healing the sick, and insisting on a general election to bring a different zeitgeist before the whole country collapses into a slough of despond?

Monday, 26 May 2008

Angels at the Pictures

'The third place jury prize went to Il Divo, Paolo Sorrentino's portrait of the country's former prime minister, Giulio Andreotti.' reports the BBC. How Mr Andreotti will like that - the discreet third place, but not ineffective or unrewarded.

The only politician alive to hold a candle to Giulio Andreotti is Benedict XVI. They share the complex understanding of power.

Metaphorically power is mercury: some part can be separated from the main body, taken and used for an end, but will remain itself and speed back to the mass, seamlessly reintegrating, the moment its temporary controller lacks the will or skill to use it.

We have a Prime Minister who lacks both, but without the humility to go.

A General Election for a Democratic State

The office of prime minister in the United Kingdom has very large amounts of the executive power ceded in a democracy concentrated within it. In all the scary scenarios that have been sketched since the attack upon Iraq - the loss of power in the West as control of natural resources slips away, the loss of economic strength as work moves to the cheapest labour, the loss of financial dominance as the dollar slips and slides (not to mention the pound sterling) and unregulated and ungovernable financial activity webs the globe exporting poverty and the purchase of social peace in one place to other places, and inflation to the least defended, as the authoritarian model of the state tries to assert itself over small governance and the values of choice and freedom; as lies replace some political and moral belief in answerability to the electorate, we are bereft. But nothing is so scary as to have such a man as Gordon Brown as our champion.

Two armies in the field, under-resourced and undirected, the largest parked by our major ally, the other fighting with technology and equipment from decades ago. And not just the first line of our defence, our armed forces in such conditions, but our government in thrall to economic policies of decades ago, long disproved by economic incompetences and inefficiencies, and fiercely rejected by populations across Europe. The people incredulous of all and any word this government says, seizing every opportunity they have to express their contempt for a gang of self-serving tax spendthrifts who have battened on our country. We are poor and undefended, even by our constitution unless some courage is shown by the Head of State.

A general election is our democratic mode of discussing, choosing and putting in place the best people and options for our country's circumstances. Its wilful denial by a handful of liars and failures threatens to be an indictment of our entire system of governance.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Il Palio and the End of Egalitarianism

Bareback we sit on our frenzied horses, trembling and skittering, backing and bullying, neighbours and enemies, barely holding our caparisoned steeds before la Mossa - the rope stretched across the beaten sand of our life's course, three times round the marbled, monumental, towered way, to the finish. The narrow road between the glories of the city, the tight curves, dangerous abutments, the absolute judgement of the Mossiere that the start was fair, governed first by lot as to our mount and starting place, then by his acceptance of the off as the rope twitches downwards and the horse held furthest back soars through, is all we want. That and the roars of will to victory from our contradaioli, massed in the centre of the Campo as they are in life, whose colours and honour we bear.

No more level playing fields, no more equal chances imposed long after the dash through life began. No more denial of our contrada or its visceral importance as our sbandieratori fling our flags, looping intricately high in the air, and our culture is passed through the generations to the beat of our drummers and the certainty that hands will catch and hold the plummeting, tightly furled message bearers that unfurled, bedizen our thoughts as well as our churches.

No-one wants imposed and drab equality when we have so much to win and such joy in winning it.

Conflicts of Interest

"4B.2e Procedure in a vacancy (i) When the party is in government and the party leader is prime minister and the party leader, for whatever reason, becomes permanently unavailable, the Cabinet shall, in consultation with the NEC, appoint one of its members to serve as party leader until a ballot under these rules can be carried out."

'These rules' are too time consuming and would take the country too close to the end of the current Parliament to be operable. The only way Brown will not lead the Labour party into the election that should be held between now and 2010 is either: no election is called; or 'for whatever reason, [Brown, as party leader], becomes permanently unavailable'.

It is hard to imagine such a fractious, ambitious and undistinguished Cabinet being able to agree on an appointee. It is clear that any appointee would run in the election for Leader that must take place unless no opposition to confirmation as Leader is offered. And the chances of that, after the disaster resulting from such action in making Brown leader, are negligible. The proposal that Brown should appoint a deputy to be groomed for leadership takeover runs headlong into the Party rules as there is a deputy Leader already, Harman, who would take over the Party until leadership elections could be held should Brown become 'unavailable'. Brown has refused already to make her deputy prime minister - an office of doubtful validity anyway. Furthermore, the Labour party cannot spend its last effective parliamentary term conducting a leadership election which promises to be particularly vicious as it would involve, too, the dismantling or confirmation of the New Labour Project.

If the New Labour Project is to survive, (and its primary purpose is its own permanence in power), Brown must be supported in office; as he is an electoral disaster under our current democratic arrangements, there seems to be a direct conflict between the Project, the Labour party Rules, and the UK's constitutional system that expects a general election at least once every five years.

Meanwhile the country has an utterly incompetent person holding the barely restricted executive powers of a British Prime Minister.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Gardening Leave

The gardens of Liguria and the French coast are beckoning, and should be looking spectacular after such a wet Spring. So Angels will be quiet until Sunday.

The votes on the Fertilisation and Embryo Bill are deeply depressing and demand some thought in any case.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Spinning the Dice of Life

The passing of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is a propaganda exercise undertaken by the worst, propaganda-driven regime in our history. All the 'research' that it pretends to authorise is taking place already, some in our country. It is not at the forefront of scientific endeavour. Rather, so well understood and established are its techniques and objects of enquiry, it is the development of therapeutic availability that is being hindered by widespread cultural and legal prohibition, and lesser hindrances expressed through religious and other ethical institutions and viewpoints.

The objective in this matter is to establish, in a first world advanced capitalist country, state authorisation and public acceptance of a 'grey area' of submerged, half-hidden and wholly unacceptable behaviour by universities, the health industries, funding (both tax- paid funding and private funding),some parts of some governments, and their individual actors in this.

Once the United Kingdom has authorised the use of humans and part humans with other animals to provide genetic material for therapeutic use, destroying the creatures deliberately brought into life for no other purpose than to serve others in the process, then the way is open, such practices justified, for anywhere in the world and any organisation to do the same. It can all come in from the cold.

The deliberate bundling of the measures within the Bill, which will have also enabling powers for activities as yet unspecified for later implementation by administrative act, underlines the true purpose of the Bill as that of cultural and ethical shift - a moral regime change under guise of seeking and destroying the causes of mass suffering. Saviour siblings - such evocative and misleading words; what is under way is the provision of genetic spare material designed for specific recipients, inter- as well as intra-generational, at all and any cost, including the abandonment of attributing full humanity to the providers. The increased life span of the recipients will be purchased with the attenuation of the life span of the helpless donors.

The grounds of argument for the Bill will be as shifting sands, moving from medical, to political, to cultural, to ethical as fast as opponents of this monstrosity build reasoned refutation of any of its diverse parts. There can be only one effective response: vote it down.

Vote it down in its entirety - no deals, no adjustment, no conscience voting where it doesn't matter and Party discipline acceptance when it does. No dissection can separate out any good, or provide an excuse for letting it through. Our representatives must sink their differences and unite. Not against the current government but for our human society.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Early this morning

Czech is an unfamiliar language but the 6.30 am announcement echoing through the rooms was unmistakeable. Then it was repeated in English 'The building is insecure; I repeat the building is insecure. Leave at once. Do not.....'

What happens next is inevitable: first I cannot believe it so sit up considering waiting a bit in case it goes away; then I can't remember the code for the safe; then the flurry of slamming doors becomes complete silence. Off like a hare once everyone else is too, we're all doing the stairs - should I overtake or is that rude? Do I care? Outside sheepish staff explain that steam from the kitchen has upset the building and over-riding its panic takes procedures. We shiver back indoors from the rainy morning and take our revenge on the assembled cereals, order poached eggs (that always takes the chef badly) and eat all the croissants before those who returned to their rooms to tidy up get downstairs again.

What shall I do now? it's still only half past seven and I've breakfasted for a week.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Absinthe Drinker

Ever willing to try, Angels stepped into an absinthe den. Head full of 19th century images, Gymnopedie playing in the mind, admiring the translucent green, the glass neared the angelic nose. If Florence Nightingale had been swabbing the floor of the entire Crimea it couldn't have been worse. How could anyone drink absinthe?

A retreat to a courtyard cafe and a small pilsner to take away even the smell was needed.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Cabinets Belong in the Capital and Local Governance in the Town Halls

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears' suggestion that to revive interest in politics and enable cabinet ministers to remain what she called 'grounded' and in touch with the real world, the cabinet should meet in local halls and community centres up and down the country is more than silly, it is quite frightening. It is frightening because it displays the complete abandonment of any accepted idea of the range and function of local government by this Labour regime.

We have town halls in every local government authority area, purpose built for local realities and local politics. We have a democratic electoral system to choose our local representatives. What has been removed from us, and from democratic local governance, is both political power and responsibility, and funding.

Give it back, give it all back. Disband the quangoes, the regional appointed administrations, the centralised meddling in local affairs that comes from London. We neither need nor want ministries to run our local schools, hospitals, housing, sport, parks and leisure facilities, etc. They are nothing to do with cabinet government.

Do your own jobs, make policy that is of national scope, deliver it, according to your Party manifesto, a good start would be a referendum you committed to on the Lisbon Treaty. Foreign policy is what cabinet does, and we have thousands of troops sitting at Basra airport taking missiles and not coming home, also a commitment by your liar of a Leader. Sort the disastrous tax structure out and recover the desperate mess made of pensions. There is a long list of national-level undertakings you are failing in.

Hazel Blears needs to ensure that power is devolved to its lowest level of competent use, and wielded by elected councillors. The rest of the cabinet needs to remember what they are for, which is not micro-managing our lives.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Daft by Name Daft by Nature

Imagining that I had arrived, an angelic visitor to Crewe, sent to vote with only command of the English language and its infinite connexions to guide me. Who would I vote for:

Edward Timpson - or Tamsin Dunwoody.

A no-brainer. Wherever did she get that ridiculous name?

Be Popular, Call a General Election

Ministers admit that the measures Brown is putting forward to raise his popularity have been already proposed and even timetabled-in.

There are two complete, not-getting-it failures here: your popularity, Brown, isn't of the slightest interest to your country, our country, or even your own Party; and most of the people in our country will be parents, are parents, or have been parents of young children, and we all know that it's a hard time (made harder if you only do it when your over 50) but transitory.

Most of the population is struggling with too much tax, too high prices, debt overburdens, shame at Labour's foreign policies, and fear of ignorance, sickness, and old age. As you caused all these problems and have embedded them over the years you were in charge of, but not in touch with, the financial and economic role that government plays in our lives, you will know, or possibly not with your difficulties, how intransigent, nigh on irreversible, they are for a numpty who cannot understand other people. So let us help you with your cognitive response.

Call a general election.

We can hope that someone with a fully functioning brain and normal levels of awareness can be placed in government to help us, not order us about.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

It's About England, not Scotland

The Labour Leader is lying again. Accusing the SNP of a "transparent attempt to manipulate the political system for purely partisan political purposes" would be breath taking from any one other than the politician most responsible for Scotland's enthusiastic departure from the United Kingdom government's miserable control.

It is the Labour party that is being destroyed by Scotland's realisation that none of the horrors of Labour rule apply to Scotland any more. And it is the Labour party that is desperate to oppose the reconvening of the English Parliament. Labour would be consigned not just to permanent Opposition but to oblivion in the English Parliament. Another centre left party would form, there is no lack of centre left views among the English electorate, but the statist, authoritarian, confrontational trade union, high tax, redistribute within the poor party, would disappear into its 20th century grave.

While the reconvening of the English Parliament would require the redrawing of federal relationships with Scotland, and with Wales and Ireland (north and, in a different order, south), it is the removal of that Labour party road block to a proper, progressive, pluralist and democratic party of the centre left that is the prize.

It would bring to an end the vulgar, sub-marxian mind set that expresses itself politically as the Conservatives being the party of Capital and Labour being the party of, well, labour; and bring to an end the patronising, meddling interference in the lives of others practised by the failed intelligentsia that subscribe to and nourish it for their profit.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Unifying the Ministry of Defence and the Scottish Office

The Leader's decision to make Des Browne both Defence and Scotland minister has turned out to have been prescient. It does seem to be taking a toll on the unfortunate minister though - the Afghanistan Front in full fight, the Iraq front hunkered down at the airport (how many months is it now?) but taking a lot of incoming and who can guess their levels of rage at being prevented from fighting by their orders from Messrs Brown and Browne; and the Scottish Front, as yet political and diplomatic but so are the other two, with only the addition of the third ingredient of international dispute, open warfare.


It is not normal to have a society surveilled and registered and hectored like ours.

It is not normal to have a society in devastating indebtedness for assets rapidly declining in value.

It is not normal to have 6 million people of working age on various kinds of benefit.

It is not normal for hospital patients to die of dirt.

It is not normal for 40% of primary school leavers to be unable to read and write or perform simple calculation.

It is not normal for more than a million people to arrive yet make no provision for their reception.

It is not normal for financial monitoring and good practice to be wilfully incompetent or wholly ignored.

It is not normal to attack other countries and kill thousands of their citizens.

It is not normal for policemen to shoot people or for children to kill one another.

It is not normal to drug the old, abort the unborn 5-6 months from conception, to create cross-species half human embryos.

It is not normal to tax the poor and enable the rich.

It is not normal to do what is wrong and not what is right.

Friday, 9 May 2008

A National Conversation on Reconvening the English Parliament

When Andrew Mackinlay, MP for the Essex seat of Thurrock , complains that the constitutional debate is not including England and English MPs and dresses his complaint in the words "It's my UK," he exemplifies the difficulty in there being no forum in which the reconvening of the English Parliament is being argued.

The Irish Parliament could well invite an Ulster representation of Ulster's people, for just as Ulster's MPs sit in the House of Commons as part of the United Kingdom, they might like a representation to sit in the Irish Parliament too, as part of Ireland; as well as having their own Assembly. The Scottish representation sits in the UK Parliament as part of the United Kingdom, as well as having their own Parliament.

The English sit only in the UK Parliament, their own Parliament submerged and voiceless, worse off than the Faroes or the Isle of Man, as England is divided into supranational regions, its reality denied by the United Kingdom Government and the European Union - a lost country that is close to being flooded ever more deeply inside the European Union.

It isn't your UK, Mr Mackinlay. The United Kingdom is a flawed, and lately severely damaged, constitutional reality that is sustained by other countries with other plans and interests, as well as some concern in common advantage.

It is your England, Mr Mackinlay, and you need a Parliament in which to represent it and more specifically, the electors of Thurrock.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

What is Brown For?

First Labour loses Scotland to the SNP. Then Labour loses London to the Conservatives. So the UK's main natural resources area is no longer under Labour control and the UK's main wealth producing area is no longer under Labour control. In Scotland the Scottish government is preparing for a referendum on extending devolution and planning for independence. In London forensic accountants have just been appointed to investigate London Government's expenditures back to 2004.

Just what is the unelected Prime Minister Leader of and prime minister of, any longer?

We Need a Scorpio Murtlock for our Widmerpool

Concentrating executive power in the hands of the prime minister has the enormous drawback of requiring a greater concentration on an individual than modern political and historical analytic best practice might prefer. It's also rather dull, particularly when the inappropriate object is Gordon Brown.

This idiot savant, impervious among his spreadsheets and statistics, his Party deals and rule-governed micro managing, presents further and personalised difficulties in the resistance to his removal than do most prime ministers who often prefer a little longer in office. In Brown's case we have lost half the leverage to apply to his removal - there is nowhere for him to go.

International institutions that might have been pressed into service have turned him down already - the World Bank specifically, others by various exclusions that in Brown's case would be vigorously applied: the IMF - he's not American; the European Union - he's kept the UK out of the euro and been grossly ill-mannered and hectoring to more EU power brokers than he (or regrettably the United Kingdom) can afford; the financial world - draw a veil over their reaction to the introduction of the ultimately unclubbable into their company; the United Nations - disrespecting the President of the United States who, regardless of party is identified with the American people by the American people, is not a parole-able offence; and so the no noes go on.

It's so much harder to winkle them out without a pin of enticement.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


In 1999 the British government was unwise enough to open Pandora's box. New Labour's Leader and British Prime Minister Blair answered the serious misgivings of politicians and many with far better constitutional and historical understanding than he, with the assurance that there was no need for concern, the Scottish Parliament had no more powers than a parish council. Other, more prescient, words, uttered when Ewing was sworn in as the first Member of the Scottish Parliament for 292 years, 'prompted loud applause from colleagues and political opponents alike.'

"The Scottish Parliament, adjourned on the 25th of March 1707 is hereby reconvened."

The Treaties of Union came into effect on 1 May 1707, having been ratified first by the Scottish Parliament and then by the English Parliament, and the British Parliament met for the first time on 23 October. The Scottish representation was forty-five MPs and sixteen representative peers.

'After the ratifying act, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation concerning the representation of Scotland in the Parliament at Westminster. This Act was also made part of the Treaty. They decided to elect members of the first Parliament of Great Britain from the membership of the Scottish Parliament, avoiding an election during which Scotland's small electorate would probably express strong dislike of the Union.'

Both the Scottish and the English Parliaments were subsumed into the Parliament of Great Britain, (later Ireland was to be added, in the Parliament of the United Kingdom) but, beneath the constitutional surface, the three parliaments, of England Scotland and Ireland rested, and two have now risen again after centuries of quiescence. Only the English Parliament has not, because of its identity of interest and power with that of United Kingdom Parliament. That identity of interest is gone. The need for the English Parliament is argued widely.

It is patently untrue that the Scottish Parliament has only the powers of a parish council. The British Parliament may have listed areas of reserved powers, and the Scottish representation, as servile in its New Labour guise as ever it was centuries ago, may have voted as told; but no parliament can bind its successors, and history is not so much littered with, as made up of, the rejection of imposed and unjust treaties.

The Scottish Parliament is just that, as unbound by its predecessors or their capitulations as is the Irish Parliament, although it has not yet asserted or availed itself of all its powers. This is in part because the Scottish government is consulting the Scottish people on their wishes, (unlike their predecessors so long ago), as they were elected to do.

England's Parliament too must be restored and a new federation of the British Isles worked out before we are reduced to being provinces of northern France and Denmark.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Who Chooses the Timing of a General Election?

Wendy Alexander has been in London consulting senior Labour party politicians, including Gordon Brown, before calling for an immediate referendum on the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom.

More interestingly still her spokesman said: “A tipping point has been reached and it is now clear that the General Election [in the United Kingdom as a whole, Ed.] will not take place for some time."

While it is normally the case that the Prime Minister chooses the time to recommend a dissolution of Parliament and general election to the Head of State, this is only true when the prime minister has a firm grasp upon the governing party, and the confidence of the constitutional (what remnants still function), political, and financial establishment, as well as the trust and respect of the electorate.

Gordon Brown enjoys none of these. While it is certainly not for Ms Alexander to indicate the timing of a general election, nor is it any longer a choice for the United Kingdom Prime Minister.

Scottish Labour Leaders Locked in Folie a Deux

SNP deputy leader and deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, accused the Scottish parliament Labour leader, Wendy Alexander, of "erratic behaviour".

"It's only a few weeks ago she said she was implacably opposed to a referendum, she's just set up a constitutional commission that expressly excludes the option of independence."

Gordon Brown, the Scottish Leader of the UK Labour party is now reported to have supported a referendum in Scotland on membership of the Union (Union of the United Kingdom, that is). Brown is widely accused of 'erratic behaviour', so that makes two of them. It is equally widely recognised that when it comes to referendums on membership of Unions and Federations in Europe, Brown is a liar, so it is reasonable to assume that he is lying about a Scottish independence referendum, and so is Wendy Alexander.

Certainly they are both unstable.

Taking a Holiday is Different from Taking a Risk

Travelling with infants is not easy. Even short distances within England, when we got in the car at the front door at one end and got out of the car at my parents' front door at the other, presented their moments. Memorable was the evening when the lupin plants in the boot yielded their cargo of large, black garden spiders that swarmed over the back seat onto the shrieking, strapped in, small HGs, half way along the M6. Not a lot of stopping places on the motorway. Never was a service area so welcome; I hope the spiders are thriving in the curiously suburban lupin patch at the field's edge.

Tuscany was an expeditionary force affair, and the stay was for all summer. At the other end was house, community, perfect linguistic communications, cars, doctors, the village, and all the rooms and toys that lived there, from last time. Still we would sink exhausted into familiarity and shadowed respite from the brilliant sunlit world. Even then, things went wrong. Arriving at the airport without passport (classic) in those days it was possible to leave with a stern warning that it might be tricky getting back in. At Rome the control officer gave up on my Italian, turned to the seething Italian families beyond the barriers and yelled "who owns this Signora and babies?". Mr HG (who had driven previously with the baggage train) stepped smartly forward "Mine!" So off we went. Not like that now.

What ever are people thinking of, going without support, without language, without child care, for a few days to places at the ends of the earth? The Earth ends where there is no connexion, no infrastructure, no permanence. Go to some of these holiday villages in the winter and then the isolation, the desolation can be understood. There is a reason why these places were undeveloped or abandoned until very recently. As well, during the summer vacation it isn't just the schools that shut from early June to early September - all services close down because everyone is on the beach or up a mountain. The sight of the halt, the lame and the sick caring for one another in a summer ward in hospital is for those lucky enough to get to a hospital and be admitted at all, in case of need.

Adults can cope, and it's their choice. Infants should be denied exit visas so great are the risks to which they are exposed on so-called holidays.

Labour in Scotland Offers the Referendum on Independence Now

If Wendy Alexander, unelected leader of the parliamentary Labour party in Scotland (what is it about Labour and election avoidance?) wants a referendum on Scottish independence she has a straightforward route to it. Put it to the Scottish Parliament. Chances are it would be accepted.

A simple 'yes' or 'no' vote would be fine despite recent polling suggesting only 19% would vote for outright independence now. Because, of course, the poll was asking rather more sophisticated questions, and the respondents were applying sophisticated understanding of the notion of independence and federal relations within the United Kingdom. Being a numpty, Alexander would not have grasped that and thinks she's onto a winner, in playground bully style - 'Go on, I dare you.'

People have been engaged in a National Conversation about their hopes and plans for Scotland for almost a year. There was to to have been a referendum 18 months from now, on what Scotland needs to realise those hopes and plans - further devolution to include fiscal autonomy, future relations with the rest of the United Kingdom, with the European Union, with the Scottish diaspora. It seems the Scottish Labour parliamentary leader hasn't been part of it.

She is so out of it she hasn't noted either that the Leader of the United Kingdom Labour party is averse to referendums. So that's another source of derogatory, even derisive comparison, between Scotland's enjoyment of democratic and responsive governance with that delivered to England, to put together with the health, education, care of the very young and elderly, housing plans, council tax, environmental and energy advantages already enjoyed in Scotland.

Now, if Labour in the Scottish parliament are to be believed, the Scottish people are to have a referendum on their independence that will extend, of course, to their relations with the European Union.

Lucky them.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Lorenzo de' Medici on the Brain

For Angels' Italian readership, to leave you all with this singing through your heads for the rest of the day:

Quant'è bella giovinezza
che si fugge tuttavia!
Chi vuol essere lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Quest'è Bacco e Arianna,
belli, e l'un dell'altro ardenti:
perché 'l tempo fugge e inganna,
sempre insieme stan contenti.
Queste ninfe ed altre genti
sono allegre tuttavia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Questi lieti satiretti,
delle ninfe innamorati,
per caverne e per boschetti
han lor posto cento agguati;
or da Bacco riscaldati,
ballon, salton tuttavia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Queste ninfe anche hanno caro
da lor esser ingannate:
ora insieme mescolate
suonon, canton tuttavia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Questa soma, che vien drieto
sopra l'asino, è Sileno:
così vecchio è ebbro e lieto,
già di carne e d'anni pieno;
se non può star ritto, almeno
ride e gode tuttavia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Mida vien drieto a costoro:
ciò che tocca, oro diventa.
E che giova aver tesoro,
s'altri poi non si accontenta?
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
del doman non c'è certezza.

Ciascun apra ben gli orecchi,
di doman nessun si paschi;
oggi sian, giovani e vecchi,
lieti ognun, femmine e maschi;
ogni tristo pensier caschi:
facciam festa tuttavia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Donne e giovinetti amanti,
viva Bacco e viva Amore!
Ciascun suoni, balli e canti!
Arda di dolcezza il core!
Non fatica, non dolore!
Ciò c'ha esser, convien sia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'è certezza.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Suffer the Little Children to Sing Up the Airy Mountain, Down the Rushy Glen

The cultural imperialists have struck again. The idea of a National Songbook of 30 songs all primary school children could sing from has been abandoned. You may be unsurprised - after all, thirty songs is very few for an eleven year old to know and sing, but that is not the reason. No agreement could be reached because there is no agreement on our culture of song.

There is no agreement on our literary culture either, so no body of poems and prose writing is offered as a secure base for enjoying and understanding English culture. English history? Well, no, not that either. Particularly not that.

These are small children who need to make sense of the world immediately around them; and they are in England. To deny them the keys to English culture is to exclude them, deprive them, impoverish their development and life chances. That is true for all the children not just those with other cultures and other countries upon which they draw for part of their identity. No-one denies the importance of the language and culture of a family's country of origin. I expended years and continental shifts in ensuring the children acquired fully the cultures into which they are born. As do many, many Anglo-something families.

Undeniably there are culture clashes. The First World War viewed through Italian eyes is not a blood and mud bath in Flanders, and its consequences were wholly different from its English consequences. But these are clashes that occur after primary years, when young students begin to realise the complexities of learning and knowing.

It should be acceptable for little ones in schools to sing the local songs - plus Waltzing Matilda and Kumbaya of course.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Ramsay MacDonald, the Other Scottish Prime Minister

It is time to stop this constant harping on John Major and the parallels with New Labour's wipe-out. The true comparison is with Ramsay MacDonald.

"On August 24, 1931 MacDonald submitted his resignation and then agreed to form a National Government including the Conservatives and Liberals. MacDonald, Snowden and Thomas were expelled from the Labour Party and subsequently formed a new National Labour Party, but this had little support in the country or the unions.
Great anger in the labour movement greeted MacDonald's move. Mass riots by unemployed people took place in protest in Glasgow and Manchester...

MacDonald did not want an immediate election, but the Conservatives forced him to agree to one in October 1931. The National Government won 554 seats, comprising 470 Conservatives, 13 National Labour, 68 Liberals (Liberal National and Liberal) and various others, while Labour won only 52 and the Lloyd George Liberals four. This was the largest mandate ever won by a British Prime Minister at a democratic election, but it left MacDonald at the beck-and-call of the Conservatives. Neville Chamberlain became Chancellor of the Exchequer while Baldwin held the real power in the government as Lord President.
Effectively powerless at home, MacDonald involved himself heavily in foreign policy, and attended in two conferences in 1932; the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the Lausanne Conference, which was concerned with German reparations...' (Wiki, and anywhere else you care to consult).

Go on, look it all up. Here we go again.

Coup d'Etat

The people have spoken. The unelected Leader never had legitimacy, his Party has just had the dregs of the last elected prime minister's popular democratic support drained away.

The Junta are all at Chequers planning an announcement on 'major constitutional change'.

It would be a very small, self-contained operation to take them all away to safe-keeping, they've already rounded themselves up.

And it is a Bank Holiday weekend. It could all be done and dusted by Tuesday morning.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Time For a General Election

The unelected Leader is required to face his first election and is blown away in the expressions of loathing for his government and his vision. It is not just Brown who is unacceptable. Because there is much less distinction between the state and governance in the United Kingdom than in other advanced countries, the state itself is suffering unacceptable blows to its authority and cohesion as a result of New Labour policies and their failure.

Every devolved part of the United Kingdom has rejected New Labour. Worse, the Westminster prime minister is singularly ill-favoured and ill-adapted to dealing with countries and regions that are run by other administrations, even within the United Kingdom, never mind his appalling foreign relations blunders and ineptitudes.

The Scottish government has enjoyed the highest esteem and satisfaction from its electors in the year it has been in office, delivering much of the political and social policies people want on health, education, care of the elderly and very young, ecological issues and cutting back the quango nomenklatura. Wales has just voted widely against New Labour and its enormous, centralising state. Elected representatives at various levels of local governance in Wales can expect the same kind of obstructive, childish response from the New Labour Executive as the Scots have been suffering and coping with.

Now London, the third devolved realm, is facing these recalcitrant, deluded, ideological control freaks, led by a man without intellectual capacity or empathy, whose emotions move from rage to fawning acceptance with no intervening stage of concerned comprehension.

The absence of a properly constituted state, with a head of state, and constitutional courts to defend it, exacerbates the situation. Italy has elected Berlusconi, Fini and Bossi, but Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, or Sicily, or the Veneto will all remain in a wholly stable relationship with the state of Italy and its President and its constitution; they will be on affable and politically balanced terms with the central government and with one another too.

Demonstrably this is not true of the United Kingdom. The British Constitution has been too damaged by the New Labour Project perverting the spirit, even more than the letter of the law, of an organic structure and uncodified practice. The visceral commitment of its ideologues, expressed through the BBC and other supported media, tax-diverted funded think tanks, and academia of the Left, will not permit reasonable dealings with parts of the country that have voted to get out from under their patronizing, interfering, social and political experimentation, and tax and imposts to pay for it all, including their elevated living standards. In Italy there is a sanction to overstepping the line into the people's lives, families, and culture paid by politicians and busybodies. And there is the film and the photographs and the writings of the horror to show, if needed.

That, thanks to the bravery of many and our good fortune, has not been the experience in England, and so a horrible regime has installed itself. The people are looking about for means to defend themselves. This vote has done a great deal. There should be another one, a general election, before those films and photographs become part of our heritage too.

Hatfield Results

The election count was completed at 3.58am

The new make up of Welwyn Hatfield Council is:

Conservative 40

Labour 5

Lib Dems 3

Thursday, 1 May 2008

New Labour's Purpose Explained

"Whether the Labour Government has two or seven years left in office, its strategic goal must be to embed and Tory-proof a progressive Labour legacy against future political change," said Sunder Katwala, the Fabian Society's general secretary.

There we have the core vision of New Labour. Not the provision of government in keeping with long-settled and agreed constitutional practices; not delivery of manifesto promises to reduce poverty, improve education, assist the people as the global economy asserts itself to cope with changing economic opportunity and protect the country from adverse effects. Not opening choices and chances in life to all of us. It turned out to be the few, not the many who benefitted from 10 years of Brown's chancellorship. Never has inequality been so marked and increased so fast, since the watershed of 1945, as it has in this last decade. We are indebted, impoverished, and have done nothing to reconstitute a manufacturing and industrial base to replace the aging, collapsed industries and infrastructures that failed in the 70s and 80's. Where are our new coal, ship building, steel, processing industries? Where are our machine tool, vehicle production, new textiles industries, our advanced research and design-based technological development sectors?

Other countries in Europe have them all. It isn't true that China and India are the workshops of the world. New Labour have created a vast tax haven and its concomitant services, and an equally vast welfare-dependent bureaucracy and workless underclass client voter-base.

They would, wouldn't they? Their purpose is to embed Labour against future political change - to end democracy itself in our country and turn us into an administered province of the European Union, with their nomenklatura running this sector.

This is one of the last, unreformed, votes in our country. It may be local, limited in its scope, but it is also occurring across the country, and is as concerned with the vaunting of democratic practice as it is with electing particular candidates.

Angels voted.

Vote to Stop Prisoners' Hostels in Your Community

Mr Brown is planning to unveil a draft Queen’s Speech at the end of this month. It is expected to include measures on involving the community in tackling crime, reports this morning's Times. The outrage and real fear expressed at the opening of bail hostels for remand and early release prisoners, without consultation with residents or local councils, in residential areas of towns and cities across England, is not going to stop him. We don't like it? We think it will seed criminality and danger in every community? Gordon Brown is going to legislate to do just that; no doubt he thinks it is right.

Vote. Today should be a plebiscite against everything New Labour has ruined already, and its destructive intentions.