Monday, 30 March 2009

The Home Secretary Must Resign

Watching pornographic films on parliamentary expenses leads the French papers.

Once the First Lady of France regretted that she does not attend G20 meetings there is no further interest in it.

The Home Secretary's husband's perversions (and those of whoever else might have been watching the films with him in her 'second' home ) are much more interesting. The French are falling about laughing.

The Prime Minister's reaction is not funny at all.

Asked at a press conference in 10 Downing Street whether he still had confidence in Ms Smith, who is already under investigation for claiming second home expenses on her family house in her Redditch constituency while living as a lodger with her sister in London, (Telegraph) Mr Brown said:

"The Home Secretary is doing a great job and I do not think this issue should be allowed to detract from everything she is doing to ensure we protect the public and keep our neighbourhoods safe. [Women are not safe, Brown, nor are neighbourhoods or 50% of the general public safe, not counting children, when films that degrade and objectivise others as instruments of sexual gratification are being broadcast into the Home Secretary's living room (even that of her taxpayer purchased second house) at taxpayers' expense, as a matter of course.]

"She has done the right thing by taking steps to rectify the mistake that was made as soon as she became aware of it." [This was not a mistake, Brown. Engaging in the exploitation of women is vice, not error. 'Whatever blows your frock up' is a widespread attitude but it does not extend to the vicious cruelties of the sexual exploitation of others for profit.]

Mr Brown continued: "This is very much a personal matter for Jacqui. [No, Brown, this is a public matter of fraudulent use of Parliamentary allowances we all fund for the better working of our democracy, and the condoning of repellent and violent treatment of others that encourages the extension of attitudes and behaviour that threaten women and the very young.] She has made her apology, [What has she aplogised for? Was she there too?] her husband has made clear that he has apologised. [So what? To borrow a phrase.]

"The best thing is that Jacqui Smith gets on with her work, which is what she wants to do." [No, the best thing is that Jacqui Smith recognises the enormity and vulgarity of her actions in both the claims she has made on the public purse: the charging of a back bedroom in south London as if it were a large detatched house in the Midlands, and the enjoyment of perverse and exploitative imagery while pretending to pursue a policy of the protection of all the members of our society.]

The French may think it funny, but they have le cinque a sept or are are surprised in le galante compagnie, not this despicable behaviour.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Hiding from the G20

The hour having gone forward it is time to look at the gardens on the French Mediterranean coast. As it is pouring down I am enjoying the peculiar sensation of sitting before a leaping wood fire while glancing out of the french (oh yes they are) windows, at the sea on one side and the dripping Alpes Maritimes on the other. There is no sign of recession from the confine dello stato to Nice but if it goes on pouring tomorrow I shall watch the news closely (until I can get out into the gardens) and think about the French response to the financial meltdown and economic collapse. Consulting the barometer on the rain for tomorrow tells me very little as I don't understand what it is pointing at. The black hand points at change, the golden one at fair and the muslim one with the crescent on the end points at just past 26. Like the closing prices really.

It has become fashionable for workers to kidnap their employers and hold them until concessions are given on wages and conditions according to chat over dinner. No-one seems to think this a matter for the authorities, which is quite a shock after the arrests just for bad thoughts that go on in England. Differences of opinion seem to be accepted and settled more robustly in France.

It's not the thing to be in London during the shindig in the shed. Everyone is hiding out here.

Focusing on Summit Imagery

“The problem we face is that the official group photo will contain upwards of 30 mainly unrecognisable people,” said one official. “It will not resonate with ordinary people or sum up what this meeting is all about. So we are making sure that we set up the right close-up shots.”

'It is understood that at the main summit meeting, the prime minister will be placed between Obama and China’s president, Hu Jintao. No 10 hopes the resultant pictures of the “big three” will symbolise the idea of Brown - having assumed the role of Europe’s leader - bringing together the two other pillars of the new world order, the United States and China.

Brown is a keen student of the second world war and friends believe he is eager for this week’s London meeting to be compared favourably to the 1945 Yalta summit of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt which determined the postwar order.' (Sunday Times).

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Judgment Day And Denial

The failure to present a Budget to the country is becoming a scandalous dereliction of duty. Instead of informing the country and our Parliament of the state of our finances and our economy with proposals on what is to be done, our Prime Minister and the Secretary for Industry have gone to a seaside resort in Chile for a private conference on 'progressive governance.'

Budget day is one of the key dates in the parliamentary year. (UK Parliament website) The Budget covers both the Government's taxation plans for the coming financial year and its assessment for the economy and public finances over the next few years. The Budget is announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Commons where the Chancellor's speech is then followed by debate in Parliament on the measures which he has announced.

The announcement of the contents of the Budget and the details published in the Financial Statement and Budget Report (the red book) signals the release of a flood of information by the Government. News releases giving further details of the Chancellor's measures are put out by the major government departments. Information, including the Chancellor's Budget speech, news releases and the Financial Statement and Budget Report, is made available on the Internet.

Instead of working conscientiously with the Chancellor and the Cabinet on policies for our economic well being and the financial and tax climate in which our lives are undertaken, the Prime Minister has publicly subjugated such matters to the outcomes of a G20 meeting of the politicians of other states to whom we owe nothing and over whom we have no democratic control.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Posing As An Intellectual: Failing As A Moral Being

"A secular moment in a faith setting' is the stomach-curdling goal of the Leader of New Labour on Tuesday. The Prime Minister has selected St Paul's Cathedral for his last major pre-G20 speech.

His theme will be morality.

Anyone unfortunate enough to be constrained to attend will be offered a warmed-over porridge of Brown's jejeune reflections on Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments. For this will not be the first time the the Saviour of the World has given voice to to his pretension to scholarship, and specifically pretension to learning on the finest liberal economist, Adam Smith. Brown is obsessed with the man.

The University of Edinburgh's Enlightenment Lectures 2002 offer a video of Brown's untrained thoughts on how traditionally the Right has always claimed Adam Smith as a forebear, but that this not a true reflection of his work.

'Does The Wealth of Nations actually place a greater emphasis on public action than many have suggested and does The Theory of Moral Sentiments have more relevance to some of the current concerns of the Centre Left? What is the continuing significance of Adam Smith's work, not just for economics, but for public policy generally? And, (the mind boggles) 'Which way might Adam Smith have cast his vote at the last General Election?' enquires the Fearty from Fife.

Emma Rothschild's authoritative study Economic Sentiments; Adam Smith, Condorcet and the Enlightenment is the standard work on that which Brown would so much like to be able to consider and identify with. To refute Smith's position of champion of liberal economy and society and assert his validation of Brown's grubby statism would be very heaven. Smug in his self-regard, arrogant in narrow certainties, he will be undeterred by his lack of intellectual capacity, professional training, or rigour of thought. He may try to modify that atrocious Scottish accent, or there will be yet one more obstacle to his audience understanding what on Earth he is on about.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Our Political World Turned Upside Down

The Queen consults with the Governor of the Bank of England, consults with advisers and senior state officials; the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Treasury consult with the Governor in drawing up a Budget that recognizes the condition our economy is reduced to. The lateness of the Budget, deliberately delayed until after the G20 meetings, causes further wobbles in confidence because it is known that the delay was to gain political propaganda for further out-of-control government spending masquerading as a respectable and international policy. A State visit to Dubai has been postponed and the Queen remains in London.

Meanwhile, while the Head of State co-ordinates government in our country, the Prime Minister and his consort are away, on their own do-it-yourself state visit - to Europe, to America north and south. Flying the flag for what? In whose name? On whose authority?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Preaching To the Choir

If the Prime Minister wants a united front, 'arguing for agreement on reforms of the global financial system and for the world's major economies to follow America's example and spend their way out of trouble.'(The Times), what is he doing in New York?

Get back here Brown and start convincing the Governor of the Bank of England, the Treasury, and the Queen. After that you might try any member-state of the European Union, beginning with the Czech Republic who hold the Presidency.

An Audience With the Head of the Whole Country

The picture says it all. For the first time in her 57-year reign, as Head of State the Queen has called the Governor of the Bank of England for private discussion. There is no down-playing of the event. 'According to a Palace aide, the audience was one of a regular series of meetings she holds with key officials.' (Times). Well, with respect, no it wasn't, not once in 57 years.

“It is part of a general process designed to keep the Queen abreast of a whole range of issues that are relevant. Economic pressures are dominating our daily lives, so it is something very topical, very relevant. It is not that it was not important in the past, but the circumstances at the moment are unique”. That sounds more like it. The Head of State, in the unique circumstances of the moment, is consulting with key officials of the state.

About what? It is hardly necessary to have a tutorial in financial affairs from the Governor of the Bank of England - fine academic and teacher though he is. We know that the Bank and the Treasury are aghast at what is happening to the United Kingdom's finances, and in the economy. There are rumours that the Chancellor is shaken by what he has found inside the Treasury, the eleven years of Brown's hidden agenda effected by the obsessive micro-management and interference in every aspect of government that has helped create this disaster. The pressing on with policies derived from economic theory (itself severely questioned in the field) without reference to other understandings, other political and state priorities, as well as established and lawful governance practice, the realities of real life and the use of power, illuminates the kind of mindset that the Prime Minister possesses. The unrefined emotional spectrum, the damaging singleness of purpose, the conviction springing from ill-founded belief in intellectual grasp. The desperate defence of a narrow understanding against the evidence of a terrifyingly complex world.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was taken apart in the European Parliament yesterday. He is on his way to New York and then to the countries of Latin America to reiterate his eviscerated 'vision' while the Governor of the Bank of England and the Treasury plainly argue that even if his 'vision' were correct there are no means to implement it in the United Kingdom. Other countries have rejected his ideology and analysis and his calls for action they regard as wrong.

The Prime Minister enjoys no confidence. He enjoys no confidence from his Party, from the offices of state, no confidence from this country, no confidence abroad. If Parliament cannot do its duty and pass the formal vote then less familiar but equally valid pressures to obtain his resignation will be used.

His 'summit', in its bizarre to the point of discourtesy venue, calling on others to do what he cannot do himself, must be his last hurrah.

A Further Thought

That is a lovely room. It looks like my morning room. Much, much grander of course, but the fireplace, and the lamps, the very English full-of-pretty-objects-ishness of it. The paintings there will be glorious too, and the carpet is delicious; but all the same, despite its size and richness, that room can be found in many English houses. I'm glad she doesn't have to spend all her time in a gilded barn. And even though that is an official photograph of an official meeting, it gives off an air of liking and pleasure in the company of the other between the two of them.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Czech Republic Guided by President Vaclav Klaus

The Czech Republic government fell today throwing into doubt Czech acceptance of the Lisbon Treaty. The consideration of the siting of radar facilities for the United States had already been withdrawn from the Parliament before a vote.

President Vaclav Klaus, whose views on the democratic deficits of the Lisbon treaty were made clear in a recent address to the European parliament, now invites those he thinks able to form an administration to do so. Should this measure fail, after three attempts, there will be an early general election.

If You Go Down In The Woods Today, You'd Better Not Go Alone

Daniel Hannan's speech to the European parliament is beyond price. The finest, clearest denunciation of the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer, let alone Prime Minister, EVER.

And with pictures of Brown smirking in his seat as he writhes under the lash. Guido has the whole thing.

Text of Hannan's speech (courtesy of Jammy Dodger) as whenever I look again in delight at the Youtube version it keeps breaking up.

Daniel Hannan MEP:

Prime Minister, I see you’ve already mastered the essential craft of the European politician: namely the ability to say one thing in this chamber and a very different thing to your home electorate. You’ve spoken here about free trade – and amen to that. Who would have guessed, listening to you just now, that you were the author of the phrase ‘British jobs for British workers’ and that you have subsidised, where you have not nationalised outright, swathes of our economy, including the car industry and many of the banks?

Perhaps you would have more moral authority in this House if your actions matched your words? Perhaps you would have more legitimacy in the councils of the world if the United Kingdom were not going into this recession in the worst condition of any G20 country? The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money. The country as a whole is now in negative equity. Every British child is born owing around £20,000. Servicing the interest on that debt is going to cost more than educating the child.

Now, once again today you try to spread the blame around; you spoke about an international recession, international crisis. Well, it is true that we are all sailing together into the squalls. But not every vessel in the convoy is in the same dilapidated condition. Other ships used the good years to caulk their hulls and clear their rigging; in other words – to pay off debt. But you used the good years to raise borrowing yet further. As a consequence, under your captaincy, our hull is pressed deep into the water line under the accumulated weight of your debt. We are now running a deficit that touches 10% of GDP, an almost unbelievable figure. More than Pakistan, more than Hungary; countries where the IMF have already been called in. Now, it’s not that you’re not apologising; like everyone else I have long accepted that you’re pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for these things. It’s that you’re carrying on, wilfully worsening our situation, wantonly spending what little we have left.

Last year - in the last twelve months – a hundred thousand private sector jobs have been lost and yet you created thirty thousand public sector jobs. Prime Minister, you cannot carry on for ever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.

And when you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we’re ‘well-placed to weather the storm’, I have to tell you that you sound like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line. You know, and we know, and you know that we know that it’s nonsense! Everyone knows that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times. The IMF has said so; the European Commission has said so; the markets have said so – which is why our currency has devalued by thirty percent. And soon the voters too will get their chance to say so. They can see what the markets have already seen:

that you are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government.

Narking for New Labour's Regime

An updated surveillance strategy will focus on individuals and groups who challenge and undermine the United Kingdom's "shared values" - even if they are not breaking the law. The Minister of the Interior (Home Secretary Jacqui Smith) said Whitehall [ie. the permanent state apparatus, ed.] needed "to enlist the widest possible range of support", as she spoke to a new Regime strategy. The plans include training 60,000 workers in vigilance over their fellows and neighbours. Gordon Brown, Leader of New Labour added:

"Tens of thousands of men and women throughout Britain - from security guards to store managers - have now been trained and equipped" in how to look out for suspicious behaviour in crowded places and to react..."to know what to watch for as people go about their daily business in... places such as stations, airports, shopping centres and sports grounds. ....Today, not only the police and security and intelligence officers and our armed forces, but also the emergency services, local councils, businesses and community groups are involved in state-of-the-art contingency planning." (Note that he states that the Armed Forces have already been called into service in support of the civil power).

The Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter - civilian collaborators - is quite a mouthful, even for a language used to incorporating useful and accurate terms from other languages. We don't have a word for people like this but then we've never been here before.

Snoops - State Narks and Other OPperatives - would do.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Private Lives and the Predatory State

A modest state income is regarded as a right by millions in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately it is paid for out of the modest private incomes of most of the rest of the working population. Large corporations and the very rich do not suffer the severe effects of the forcible transfer of wealth (all of it earned but some of it classified as unearned because it comes from invested savings and inheritance) suffered by families on modest private incomes. Remove more than 40% from a modest private income and the family supported by it will stagger under the burden as their standard of living is degraded.

None would refuse to assist those in temporary need. For many of all our cultures it is a moral or religious obligation. But enshrining a right to access the wealth of others regardless of effort, and regardless of effect on the donors, is not a logical extension of that concession at all. Our society is now polarized between those who are being forced to pay and those who assert a right to support. The lines are clearly drawn.

The protection of the modest private incomes of most of us against this assault upon our standards of living, our families and our choices of life style (in, at the least, education, health, housing, and provision against misfortune) must be the priority. This means ending inheritance tax for ordinary families; reducing income tax for ordinary wage-earners; cutting back national insurance payments; cutting duties on fuel and house transactions; removing VAT from building and repair works...

Certainly this will mean the lowering of levels of social provision: a greater emphasis on public health and on the basic health services most widely required; a schools system that is just that, not a costly provision of care that is within the remit of the family; a concentration of local authority provision on services required by the whole community, not services concentrated on client groups... The lists can be extended, the roll-back of state intrusion a longterm, complex task.

And paying down the terrifying levels of public debt New Labour has created in its dozen years of looting will have to be undertaken by everyone, not just those of modest private means, working in the private sector.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Cancelling the G20

A day out to the Isle of Dogs doesn't seem worth it. Worth risking violence, confrontation, possibly death and certainly disruption. What ever is the Queen thinking of acceding to the propaganda purposes of New Labour and the New World Order. Does she want to encourage the use of London as a battleground?

Cancelled invitations to the reception reported to have been organised at Buckingham palace would curtail New Labour's disgraceful provocation in the midst of economic hardship for millions, and lead the way for other heads of state to downgrade their countries' representation at what is ostensibly a photoshoot for Gordon Brown.

Nothing can come of this meeting that is not agreed already. Its further purpose must be understood.

Is this what they want?

and this?

and this

Aren't the beaten and the dead of Genoa enough? Must we accept London reduced to a violated backdrop for self aggrandizement and the celebration of obsession and control?

Friday, 20 March 2009


Most women will have passed some time considering what should be done with such a person. Women are always at risk of being considered objects and still, in many cultures, are treated as objects of exchange between men. In Christian cultures women within certain degrees of consanguinity are protected by the fiercest of prohibitions, and some degrees of affinity are protected from predatory males within a kinship group, though more by rule than by taboo.

The fragility of the protection offered by social norms and arrangements could not have been more cruelly demonstrated. It is quite literally at our peril that we are unwilling to accept that some cultures are inferior to others. Or that we can make ad hoc adjustment to the organising principles of our society, and such a basic organising principle as the kinship system at that, without this kind of horror surfacing and claiming itself to be consensually acceptable or merely a psychological aberration (as has already been claimed by this perpetrator).

Now we read that should an annual assessment of his mental condition deem him to be within the norms, sentence will be served in an ordinary prison with automatic consideration for parole after 14 years. That he will be in his late 80s in 14 years is irrelevant. The point is that his sentence - for what he has done to his immediate victims, for what he has done to the rest of us in our understanding of our own world and its safety, and to condemn him utterly - should put him away for ever. Irreversibly, no successful pleading.

If we cannot devise some means of delivering such a sentence other than execution, then he opens even more routes for evil to enter our lives.

Giving Credit Where It's Due

The New Labour deep complicity in the reckless lending, pillaging and fraud that accompanied the collapse of the country's financial system (and interconnected financial systems outside the United Kingdom as well) is known. What was less clear was the determination with which this form of redistribution was persisted in even after Northern Rock had led the inevitable collapse.

Months after the north-east's flagship Labour front organisation had to be held together publicly with tax payers' cash and guarantees, liar loans of 125% were being handed out to clients, and Third Sector 'foundations' and 'charities' dependent on the Northern Rock redistributive structure guaranteed their continued support. Other financial institutions that had not failed so spectacularly as to provoke retail bank runs pressed on handing out the proceeds of the looting of savings and pensions and, eventually, the sovereign wealth of the state itself, perpetrated by the New Labour regime.

As James K. Galbraith explains of the crisis more generally, in his interview published in Der Spiegel:

'There was clearly a systemic failure. But that does not mean there was no criminal energy around. The language one uses to describe these things is very important. I tend to stay away from neutral terms like "systemic failure" or "bubble," because these terms imply the innocence of the people involved -- and I can't see that.
The reality of the financial crisis is that it was caused by a culture of complicity. That makes it so difficult for people to come to grips with it, especially for people who were involved, who were denying it themselves and who were partially aware of the extent of the damage. Probably many of them thought they would get away with it and now they realize that they have created an enormous slump.'

The culture and language of complicity may mask but does not alter the ideological and tactically driven policy choices of New Labour and its post-democratic Project. Certainly there was private profiteering and institution pillaging, once financial regulation had been lifted, once 'light touch' had been instigated and relentlessly pursued by the Brown-led Treasury. More importantly,the enabling of an unprecedented transfer of credit and financial resources to those excluded by the market as without the resources to meet undertakings and obligations, was ideologically satisfying and technically justifiable by the economic growth that rising consumption and 'inclusion' would generate.

Now they are lying their hind legs off pretending the universal collapse they have generated is reversible with just a bit of tinkering, a touch more global deficit financing and an underlying moral righteousness that turns the stomach. If they can just make us stand still while they loot us, ensure there is nowhere to get ourselves and our wealth away from their jurisdiction, and do it on a global scale, it would work. And it would be fair. We all want a fairer world don't we? Don't we?

Or would we prefer to be consulted in an election now so that we can choose among the ways to sort this out.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Craig's Evidence on Torture to be Heard

From Craig Murray's blog:

March 19, 2009
Justice Secretary Jack Straw to be Accused on Torture in Parliamentary Inquiry

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has agreed to hear my evidence on torture on Tuesday 28 April at 1.45pm. Many thanks to everyone who helped lobby for this.

I am delighted, as I have been trying for over four years to lay the truth about British torture policy before Parliament. I will testify that as British Ambassador I was told there is a very definite policy to accept intelligence from torture abroad, and that the policy was instituted and approved by Jack Straw when Foreign Secretary. I will tell them that as Ambassador I protested formally three times in writing to Jack Straw, and that the Foreign Office told me in reply to my protests that this was perfectly legal.

I will prove my evidence with documentation.

Here is the written evidence I will speak to

There is now a wealth of evidence from individual cases to support my testimony that such an underlying secret policy exists.

It is likely that I will face hostile questioning from government supporters and from "War on Terror" hawks. In the past the government has accused me of corruption, sexual blackmail, and alcoholism (all completely untrue) and hinted that I am insane, in an effort to deflect attention from the cold facts of my testimony. The hearing will be open to the public, so if anyone can make it along, some friendly faces in the gallery would be extremely welcome.

I will also see if I can discover if anything usefully can be done by way of lobbying to ensure that the Parliament channel films it for broadcast.'

The emails that were marked as deleted unread had been read, then deleted with unread status (as Caronte had suggested might be happening and had happened to his email requesting Craig be given a hearing). Further emails elicited the extraordinary view that signalling 'deleted unread' was a technical matter not a discourtesy.
If I write to someone who answers 'I've thrown away your letter without looking at it. Well, actually I did look at it but I'm replying to you indicating that I didn't', I would think that not just discourteous but dishonest and a bit mad.

Controlling the Curriculum and Fixing History for Progressive New Labour

Set books have been with long-suffering school students always. Doubtless any of you can produce a high-pitched sustained note signalling brain distress over almost any work that was required study in the years you were going through the mill. Never, and then again, will I open Corneille. Any Corneille.

Transferring the choice of set books from the control of examination boards to the control of the secretary of state for Education, (Balls at the moment, but calling himself by another name), gives pause.

Deep within the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning (sic) [or do you mean sick? ed.] bill lies a clause that gives the secretary of state control of basic qualifications content. 'Guidance published alongside the bill says it could be used to specify "which authors' works needed to be studied for someone to gain a GCSE in English"... Ministers insist the power would be exercised only as a last resort, to preserve the teaching of Shakespeare, for example, if there was a suggestion it should be scrapped from the curriculum.' (Guardian)

The bill will establish too a Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency that will determine 'qualification design.' So it will cover the content of textbooks as well - hardly the same undertaking as insisting on the teaching of Shakespeare. Announcing the plan for the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency last year, Balls said it would protect the examination system from political interference, being independent of ministers rather than answerable to them. Being answerable to ministers tends to stop bucks. It is not specified to whom this new quango will be answerable - the Progressive Post-democracy New Labour Executive is a good candidate.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

We're going on a Brown Hunt....

We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day.
We're not scared.

Grass, lots of wavy grass: drugs and alcohol keeping the people quiet. We can't go over it, we can't go under it - we'll have to go through it and prevaricate on the harm they do. Swishy swashy, swishy swashy...

A river, a big, wide river: of people being counted out and counted in. We can't go over it, we can't go under it (not even from St Pancras without being counted), we'll have to go through it. Splish splash, splish splash Splosh.

Mud, thick oozy mud: corruption at every level of government and state administration. Troughing from Parliament to Penzance (and John o'Groats, never forget the Scottish Labour party). We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we'll have to go through it. Squelch, Squelch, SQUELCH.

A forest, a big dark forest: where we mustn't even think the wrong thing, or say we don't want to go here, or speak the truth. We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we'll have to go through it, and hope to reach the day again. Stumble-trip, stumble-trip, stumble-trip.

A snowstorm, a swirling whirling snowstorm: where we're unemployed, losing our homes, credit cards cancelled. We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we'll have to go through it. Hoooo, woooo, whoooo youoo.

A cave, a narrow, gloomy cave: with just the flickering shadow of democracy cast upon the wall. We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we'll have to go through it. Tip-toe, tip-toe, tip-toe. What's there? Dribbling bogey nose, big googly eye, it's a Brown!

Quick - back through the cave - tip-toe, tip-toe, back through the snow storm - hooo wooo, back through the dark forest - stumble trip, stumble trip, back through the mud - squelch squerch, back through the - river splish splosh, back through the grass - swish swash, into the House, up the stairs oh no we left the door open back down the stairs shut the door up the stairs, into bed, under the covers.

We should never go on a Brown hunt again.

Global Regulation Denies Democracy: There Must Be Safe Havens

Much of the discussion of tax is concerned with how to extract it from the taxpayer. Reasonable. After all, once it is agreed that the state should exist and levy its citizens for its support, then evading obligations has to be confronted. Except:

Our state, the one we were born into and which we sustain by continuous acquiescence to its laws, has been suborned. A government elected under our pluralist democratic system has evolved into a junta attempting to identify itself with the state rather than our government on democratic lease, and using the wealth and resources of the state to make its power permanent.

Ideological choices and the means to their implementation are being defined as part of our consent to membership of a civil society. And accepted means to challenge all of this by peaceful protest have been criminalised, even while electoral challenge is denied.

The purpose of law is to be changed from meaning what it says to meaning what is intended, while intention remains undefined until actions are regulated retrospectively as illegal. The appointment of prosecutors and judges has been removed from civic and Parliamentary jurisdiction and taken by the Executive.

The answer to distaste and rejection of all this might be 'If you know of a better hole then go to it' And we did. And now the cry is 'global regulation, no safe haven'.

First they are coming for our wealth, later they will come for us.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Open Society and Its Enemies

The in-your-face authoritarianism of the New Labour regime cranks up week by week as further powers taken in legislation steam-rollered through Parliament or, more shamefully, passed on the nod, is activated by the Executive. Leaving the United Kingdom will shortly require an exit permission to be obtained on line at least 24 hours before travel. To attach a £5000 penalty to failing to supply the personal data required before departure is a blind; you will not leave at all without compliance, not least because transport companies are liable as well as the individual traveller.

Secured within the confines of the country the population is required to conform not to just the laws but to the ideologies and attitudes embodied in the regulation of society. Regulation is enforced by regime officials employed throughout our lives in regime agencies; it is enforced by extensive surveillance of many aspects of social behaviour at work, in consumption, in education, in health, in communication, and in measurement of conformity to social norms.

Avoidance of interaction with regime agencies and provision triggers enquiry and investigation - higher levels of surveillance.

Overt protest leads to formal criminalisation and punishment.

People in England think that soon, not now but by this time next year at latest, they will be permitted to remove these permanent regime structures. What they will be permitted to do may include entering a polling booth and choosing another set of highly rewarded administrators, and this will pacify many and their sense of unease.

Others know that much more is needed and asked of most of us.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Apparatchik Looters Deny G20 Failure

Jose Manuel Barroso is a civil servant. He is not the President of the European Union and he is the leader of nothing whatsoever. Gordon Brown is the unelected leader of the British Labour Party (as they style themselves) and it is our democratic misfortune that he is thus ex officio the unelected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

This pair of poseurs have improperly used Downing Street as an unofficial backdrop to misrepresent and recast the failure of last week's G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bankers that had been intended by New Labour to establish the G20 as global governance in embryo, and lay the ground for a triumphant declaration of global responses to a global crisis when in truth what is at stake is Brown's wasteland United Kingdom economy.

It is noteworthy that while the President of the European Union
The President of the European Union Professor Vaclav Klaus

warns in an Address to the European Parliament, that current EU practices smack of communist times when the Soviet Union controlled much of eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic and when dissent or even discussions were not tolerated,

“Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition,” said President Klaus. “We learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom.”

the senior apparatchik of the EU and the senior apparatchik of the Labour party are denying the opposition by all and every member of the G20 to the imposition of reckless deficit financing and inadequate controls of financial regulation that enables the looting of the state by undemocratic rogue administrations.

Dr Crippen Will Never Get So Far Again With New Labour's E-Borders. But Do We Care?

Membership of the European Union is not popular in the United Kingdom. Its one saving-grace was the ease with which Europeans (including us) could move about their half continent; holiday, spend more of their time here and there, settle elsewhere, return home. Most of us are fond of our former Roman Empire fellow citizens. We have a lot in common. But because England Won the War and the rest, by definition, lost it, subjecting national decision-taking on foreign relations, political forms, cultural norms, (and a generalised bolshiness in the face of central authority), meant we only wanted to be on good terms not employee relations terms, with the European Union.

That saving grace has just been wiped away. Try to get off the British Isles and we are required to register 24 hours in advance our name, address, age, gender, civil status, destination, travelling companions, credit card details, length of absence, and Angels cannot begin to imagine what else.

This is not happening in Schengen - the core of the European Union. Florence airport is a bus stop, without oyster cards tracking where Angels fly. If we cannot travel freely and anonymously round Europe; if the Roman Empire runs, but not for us, what is the point of European Union membership at all?

What is the point of Bloomsbury if the Stasi sit in St Pancras?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Should Mr Wen Be the Only Finance Minister Asking About the Safety of Assets?

The United Kingdom government is a large holder of US public debt and there should be increasing signs of concern that the sharp increase in US government spending will lead eventually to inflation and a collapse in the dollar.

Perhaps we ought to be hearing something on these lines from the Chancellor of the Exchequer:

“We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States...

“Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am a little bit worried. I request the US to maintain its good credit, to honour its promises and to guarantee the safety of the United Kingdom's assets.”

Larry Summers, US President Barack Obama’s senior economic adviser, will respond by trying to quell fears over the burgeoning mountain of US debt, saying that boosting the economy would help reduce debt in the future.

“If you don’t prime the pump . . . it’s much more costly to do it later,” he said in response to a question about comments.

The US was committed to long-term fiscal stability, he said, but it was more responsible to US debt holders to ensure that the economy recovered rapidly from recession.

Babysitting Gordon

The sensation that the Prime Minister is under supervision by the Great Powers is very strong. This period of time is Germany's responsibility; the Germans have taken over from the United States, who had him handed on by the French.

Each Power is permitted to recoup some of the personal distaste and public insult involved in the effort by a gain for their national interest. France obtained nuclear power industry commitments and contracts that provide both disposal facilities for their nuclear waste and opportunities for their nuclear plant construction sector. The United States wrung further and public commitment to fiscal indebtedness, the continued unquestioning holding of US Treasury Bonds, plus massive taxpayer funding leaking to US banks. Germany has, at a guess, obtained funding for the car industry that can so help the current German government's election prospects. Nothing like a subsidy from Mandelson towards your next new motor, particularly German-built motor. A Schadenfreude aspect to policy cannot be dismissed either.

Brown's compliance, avid assistance in, the looting of the United Kingdom is unrivalled behaviour in an advanced capitalist country. The peculiar combination of personal stupidity and hubris, an authoritarian Party with old-style socialist redistributive and social control tendencies posturing as universal morality, the sophisticated apparatus of a modern state, and gross levels of corruption for personal gain in the political elites, is a first time occurrence. Losing any of these factors will turn the tap off in the looting of one of the richest countries on Earth.

Gordon has a lot of people willing to put up with him.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


'The German Chancellor had been "subjected to" a traditional English breakfast, he joked.' (Telegraph).

Germans do not joke about breakfast, Brown. Egg, bacon and sausage, with fried tomato and fried bread is not funny.

Torture Commission Deletes En Masse and Unread EMails Requesting Craig Murray Be Heard

From Craig's blog:

Emails sent by members of the public to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights were deleted by the committee without even being read. Two people who happened to have enabled tracking sent me the following two automated replies they received:

Your message

To: Joint Committee On Human Rights
Subject: Craig Murray:
Sent: Fri, 6 Mar 2009 20:51:41 -0000

was deleted without being read on Fri, 13 Mar 2009 10:46:42 -0000


Your message

To: Joint Committee On Human Rights
Cc: craig murray
Subject: Torture evidence on 10 March
Sent: Thu, 5 Mar 2009 14:47:36 -0000

was deleted without being read on Fri, 13 Mar 2009 10:46:42 -0000

Note the identical time of deletion. Evidently people's emails were not even deleted individually but selected as a group and deleted en masse.

This is a shame because there was no template and people made some very telling individual points. Plainly people put time and thought into attempting to participate actively in a key part of a supposedly democratic process. It is a disgrace that these emails were deleted unread. Is the UK really a democracy now?

Poland Joins Germany, France in Rejecting Deficit-Fuelled Financing Policies of US and UK

The disaster of Brown's show boating as saviour of the world engulfed yet another carefully constructed political alliance as Poland was forced to refuse publicly to back United States debt-driven fiscal policies. The last thing Poland wants is to be seen opposing any US position.

Yet Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski intends that Poland rely on monetary policy, a neo-liberal, austere monetary policy, to deal with the recession, and 'plans to keep its fiscal deficit at below 3% of gross domestic product.' (WSJ)

Outing the profound disagreements in the economic sphere between countries that would prefer to emphasize their agreement and unity of purpose in other major policy areas is not a pernicious side effect of this London summit: it is its principal achievement.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Australia a Tier 2 Nation, As Are Canada, Russia and Mexico According to the Foreign Office

The United Kingdom Foreign Office has circulated a confidential paper relegating Australia, Canada, and Russia, [how much of the world's landmass is that, 50%? Natural resources, 60%? ed.] to second division status countries at the G20 summit.

Issued to some PR agencies, it says that the UK should focus lobbying efforts on 11 “high-priority states” such as the US, France, China, India and Saudia Arabia. (Evening Standard)

Some of the world's biggest economies are given a “Tier 2” status although a Foreign Office spokesman insisted the list was “absolutely not a firm hierarchy of the most important states for our political relations”. [which is fortunate as we now have no political relations with them at all, and we can add Mexico to the list, ed.]

“High priority” nations had been targeted for lobbying on the basis of the health of their media, civil society, non-governmental organisations and sovereign wealth funds. [well, yes, both Saudi Arabia and China have, how shall we put this?, distinctive media and civil societies, though the word 'health' is not the first to arise in any free association, ed.]

William Hague stated : “The downgrading of some participants before they have even set foot in London sends completely the wrong message.” [under-egging the pudding there Bill, ed.]


The Herald reports that Turkey is on the B-list as well. [Does the Foreign Office have maps? ed.]

Iraq and Lying About Lying

The newly released e mails on the confection of the dossier justifying the Iraq war presented to Parliament by the Leader of the Labour party and prime minister, Blair, serve more than one purpose. Certainly they demonstrate that the dossier offered as justification for war is a tissue of lies.

As a commenter, spagan, notes in today's Herald, however:

'The spies had doubts.
The SNP had doubts.
The Liberals had doubts.
Obama had doubts.
The Pope had doubts.
Nelson Mandela had doubts.
The UK population had doubts.
The Forces had doubts.
Our European allies had doubts.
The UN had doubts.
Virtually every thinking human on the planet had doubts.'

So why did such widespread doubts not occur to members of Parliament who make up that long roll of shame of those who voted with the Labour government? The evidence that the Labour government lied to the House is being put forward as an excuse for those votes. The argument 'we were lied to' and the evidence for this will be put forward ever more strongly to try to justify that failure to doubt.

No-one believes that they did not know the Labour government was lying.

United States, Russia, China and the Eurozone are Seriously Off-Message for Brown's Big Day

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin will attend the G20 ministerial meeting that begins near London today.

“We have to coordinate the anti-crisis policy and design anti-crisis measures to prevent similar crises in future,” an official in the Russian delegation said.

According to Tass 'Russia believes certain provisions in the communique of the meeting need to be specified. In particular, the proposal to earmark not less than two percent of GDP for anti-crisis measures does not correspond to the existing situation in various countries of the group. Therefore, specific bailout volumes should not be fixed.

“Differentiation is necessary by groups of countries... taking into account the opinion of BRIC countries” (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the official said.

Russia also believes the British proposal to decrease the refinancing rate does not reflect the specifics of developing and oil producing countries. “The economic situation differs and there is no single recipe for all,” he said.

The finance ministers will discuss the reform of the International Monetary Fund, specifically the amount of additional reserves, quotas and decision-making mechanisms, but:

“Institutions such as the IMF should not just provide urgent aid to certain countries, but also must take into account the consequences which the world economy would face in six-twelve months from anti-crisis measures,” the official said.

Ministers will also consider the capitalization of development banks. While the World Bank can provide to all of its members not more than 100 billion dollars in three years, which is clearly insufficient in current conditions, developed nations are in no hurry to up its capitalization.

“There should be no group egoism and the task of the G20 is to consider how the world economy will react, and to balance the instruments and measures that are taken to confront the challenges faced by different groups of countries. Hypothetically the growing crisis phenomena could make certain states bankrupt and it is necessary to prevent such areas of social and political instability,” the official said.

Oh dear. Now Russia is off message. First the United States tells it like it is. They regulate themselves (and everyone else if they feel like it, watch your tone Brown). Then China notes its debt holdings are 'worrying' and certainly they aren't going to take on any more. Then France and Germany (read the eurozone) say case by case and no more debt.

Brown's April 'summit' is going to cause a public demonstration of currently submerged major opposition of interests. A surfacing of every last divergence of policy, ideology, constraint, and not least national duty. For what? So he can be snapped with his trouser-leg tucked into his sock shaking important hands.

The 2 April 'summit' should be cancelled and meetings at this level held only when national priorities have been aligned, if not resolved. An added advantage would be if by then the United Kingdom were to be represented by a democratically elected government with a mandate to act in this crisis from its electorate.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Ireland Decides Who Represents Its People. Shahid Malik Should Hold His Tongue About Ireland

Justice Minister and Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik said: "these extremists in Luton no more represent ordinary Muslims than the Real IRA represent ordinary Irish people. "

The behaviour of muslims in Luton is nothing to do with Ireland and it is disturbing that the person who tries to pretend a connection is a so-called 'justice' minister. What kind of justice and what kind of minister tries to slur Irish people with muslim extremism?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Prime Minister of Ruritania Tries to Look Statesmanlike in East London Supermarket

The shambles that is the organisation of the 2 April London 'Summit' (formerly known as G20) has at least three well springs:

New Labour's acclaimed inability to organise a booze-up in a brewery;

The very divergent statuses of the invitees ;

Implacable opposition to debt and spend statism by leading member states of the European Union confronting implacable opposition to the regulation of financial markets by the United States and, despite false propaganda to the contrary, the UK prime minister's giunta, (and, from the US, any other infringement of United States sovereignty).

The venue being what appears to be a large supermarket in the east end of London, just about as far from proper London as you can get without sinking into the Essex marshes and surrounded by the tarted-up dereliction of Docklands is a choice matched by directing the President of the United States to fly into Stansted. Will he be coming by Ryanair? No wonder Downing Street organisers of this disaster cannot get through to arrange further inconveniences for the President and his entourage.

Some of the invitees are heads of state and leaders of their country's Executive. Some are leaders of their Executive but not heads of state. At the moment the only head of state who is not leader of an Executive who appears to have been entangled in this mess is our own. The Queen must be peering anxiously at the biggest protocol cock-up of all time and wondering if it's being done on purpose to be rude back to President Obama. She can't have him in for a state banquet, or even for dinner, without asking all the other heads of state; but what about the Chancellor of Germany, or Mr Putin? Perhaps she'd better have them all over, for a buffet lunch or tea, but then that rather lumps Mr Obama in with everyone else and anyway the Sarkozy's have just been and the rota is very strict (that's going to be thrown out too with people coming in unexpectedly). That's what comes of Brown inviting people round to someone else's house without asking first, putting on public display (again) his conviction that he is head of state really.

France, Germany, and Italy are the three biggest voices from the eurozone flatly rejecting debt, public spending and, doubtless, a visit to the wilder shores of inflation later. But they are not speaking for themselves alone; case by carefully considered case is their choice - so judgmental of them, so not New Labour - and so far Italy, at least, hasn't spent a lira adding to its public debt (well it wouldn't be very wise, would it? It's being paid down as fast as Mr Tremonti can go while Prime Minister Berlusconi ended the Italian part of the recession by uttering the magic word 'Condono'). What they want is international financial regulation observed, and member-state co-operation in ensuring transparency in observance. Brown wouldn't like that and the US won't put up with it.

If New Labour hadn't got their hands on some of the levers of power in our country this Ruritanian shindig would be funny to watch. But they have and it isn't.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Coming to London to Visit the Queen

G20 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting this weekend in Sussex, hosted in the UK (it being our turn). Turn and turn about is the standard arrangement as the G20 has no permanent secretariat.

Whatever is going on at the ExCeL centre in Docklands on 2 April - 'where Mr Brown will receive heads of government from the EU and 19 other leading economies, including Mr Obama on his first visit to Europe as President', what the Times refers to as 'the main summit', is not a G20 -format meeting. That is being held in Sussex (see above).

The Times reports also:

'Even though Mr Obama is visiting Britain for the G20, he is expected to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.'

Reports from Gateshead (Gateshead?) reveal that UK Treasury officials are having difficulty getting their calls returned from the US Treasury:

“There is nobody there,” Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary told a civil service conference in the North East Labour heartlands. “You cannot believe how difficult it is.”

This seems to indicate too that the statement in the Independent that the President and the Prime Minister would be in daily contact about the 2 April 'main summit' is not being fulfilled.

Could it be that the President of the United States is actually coming to London to see the Queen?

The Micropolitcs of Representative Democracy

We're very short of by-elections again. There was Glenrothes but that doesn't count. Not after the goings-on. It's as if Fearty-from-Fife disease has infected every decision-taking process controlled by New Labour. By-election avoidance has absolute priority.

That is why no behaviour, no matter how publicly reviled, is unacceptable from any member of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

'Back me or I'll apply for the Manor of Northstead'.
'No! Any sinecure you want, but not that or the Chiltern Hundreds'.

And what deals, other than troughing permissions, are being struck now? It is often overlooked that when a Leader enjoys such monumental levels of personal rejection and political bankruptcy as does our Prime Minister, small but often pernicious and long term in their effect powers pass into the hands of others. This is not to say that large powers and concessions are not being made also to maintain himself in power. But we can see those.

What dung heap of smaller debs is he accumulating to avoid facing a vote?

'With faith in the future, let us together build yesterday today.'

Our family, our extended family, has been out and about consuming, as we must. In the last month there have been three serious purchases: a car, a new kitchen, and a big tumbler drier. As with all large purchases there has been lots of comparing and consulting and choosing. All these things have to match current and future requirements for some years and meet current budgets. And look good, be reliable, embody up-to-date technology, have reliable suppliers for any servicing, and have reasonable delivery dates.

The car is a Mercedes, the tumbler drier is Bosch, the new kitchen oven, hob, fridge, etc are German too. (The skilled men refurbishing the kitchen - plastering, flooring, tiling, electrics, carpentry including redoing of the sash windows, and installing the units are from east of Germany but work like, well, Germans, with all the assurance and capability that comes from proper tradesmen's training. Quotes were taken, and insurances and elf'n'safety statuses checked).

There is a lot of teasing about me thinking I am a one-person focus group: the 'if I'm doing it most other people are as well' thoughts I was unwise enough to expose to family view. Professional-level criticism has been unleashed unkindly within the family circle on this belief. Nevertheless, I persist in thinking (though this time just to myself) that it is significant that Germany has needed none of the almost unthinkable trillion-plus pounds - the equal of the UK's GDP - splurged on supporting its financial system, its economy, its society. While they ended the German Democratic Republic and healed the wounds of market socialism, over the same years New Labour built state capitalism in our country.

And the answer to the question, 'What is the difference between market socialism and state capitalism?' None at all.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Getting Gordon to Apologise Is Not Enough

What we want from Gordon is not apology. No matter how modern our use of the word it always contains some trace of defensiveness , of explanation.

What we want is contrition. And we want it perfect -
interior, supernatural, universal, and sovereign.

We want him to mean it, not just express it.
We want it because he knows he has offended the Good, not because he fears loss of honour or power, or fortune.
We want him contrite for all of it, everything he has done.
We want him resolved never to do it again.

New Labour New Thought Police? They don't even know where to start.

We Need A United Kingdom Constitutional Summit Not the G20

The empty rhetoric of Global Brown illustrates cruelly the sad state of our Constitution. As he rants on about global regulation and control he fails to recognise that it is not just self interest that produces the nation state 'protectionism' that so sharply delimits his vainglorious proposals.

Other states have Constitutions that define them, set out their powers, and enshrine the aspirations of their people. They have Constitutional courts to defend those principles, to resolve conflicts between government and the state, and to interpret and refine Constitutional principles over time, ensuring that Constitutions are dynamic and constantly and appropriately in force.

The United States enjoys the supremacy of its laws; it doesn't do global (except requiring the rest of us to acknowledge that supremacy too). The European Union doesn't do European either, never mind global; that's what the Lisbon Treaty is about, and it is held up currently before the German Constitutional Court while its compatibility with the nature of the German state and its self determination is examined and ruled upon; the Constitution of Ireland is incompatible with Lisbon too , apart from the Irish people having had their constitutionally guaranteed say.

Lecturing and hectoring other countries on how to run an economy has made our Prime Minster both unpopular and now a laughing stock when England as an example of how he runs an economy is considered. In other countries much of the damage he has done would have been challenged in their courts - financial and economic legislation with retrospective effect and consequent impoverishment of classes of individuals usually gets short shrift in properly constituted states. And eliding economic protectionism (which probably isn't very helpful at the moment) with the political protection offered to citizens of other countries by their states from arbitrary alteration of the social contract is a very Brownian piece of misspeaking.

It is our misfortune to have a state where the absolute power of monarchy was devolved into the hands of an Executive with fluid, often unlegislated givens and practices governing the use of that power. Just as the state of the economy shows the world the inadequacy of Brown's stewardship as Chancellor, now he displays the inadequacy of his understanding of our (and their) democracy; and even demands that other governments' political leaders should agree his proposals as saviour of the world and emulate his performance as a tinpot dictator.

Rather than his worthless 'summit' on global economic and financial governance a national constitutional council to discuss ways of remedying our own country's disastrous democratic deficit should be called by Parliament.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

What Needs To Be Done Now

The New Labour regime has allocated £1.3 trillion (the UK GDP) to alleviate the collapse of banks in the United Kingdom. Here is Angels' list of a much less costly government intervention that will leave cash in consumers' hands to 'kick start' the economy.

Abolish council tax

Abolish the BBC licence fee

Abolish VAT on all house building and repair work

Provide free journey-to-work services

Provide free school uniforms

Provide free tuition in music, arts and sports for school-age children

Remove all charges for dental and eye care

End prescription charges

Reduce tax at the pumps by 50%

Abolish road tax

Promote social housing allocation by waiting list

Limit public sector and publicly-funded pensions to no more than the average pension across the entire population

Abolish transaction costs on private house purchases and sales

Come to think of it, abolish income tax

If it can be done for the banks it can be done for the rest of us.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Collapse of Household Budgets

Household budgets are a complicated area to look at. What is counted, how it's counted, like with like comparisons, the sheer heterogeneity that comes with the turf. What I wondered about is this:

How much time do households across the United Kingdom have before they run out of means to buy what they need, based on consumption over, say the last twelve months, each month? Do they get to the end of the month always, sometimes, rarely, never? If any of the last three, where are they putting the debt? We know it used to be put on credit cards and consolidated onto the mortgage. But where is it going now?

Purely anecdotally, looking when in the UK, people didn't seem to have a notably high standard of living. Food prices, clothes prices, fuel prices, transport prices, and housing prices were very high, but consumption behaviour was on a par with, or at a lower level than, casually observed consuming in Italy. The fuss about plasma screen tellies and foreign holidays and the use of processed and prepared foods was over the top. No-one visited had houses that were notably luxurious, nor cars particularly large and new, nor drank or ate better than elsewhere.

We know that living standards are falling from these pretty mundane levels into real disadvantage quite quickly. If people weren't managing to live on what they got to keep of their incomes even at the best of times with very little ostentatious consumption, what is happening to them now? So-called 'bail outs' for tens, hundreds of billions of pounds to collapsed banks are not reaching individual households or providing the household credit we know is needed for the maintenance of even a modest standard of living.

Extant data no doubt can be collated but is there a source that sets things out in 'how many households are facing meltdown within weeks, months, a year' terms available?

Custard and the G20

At the desperate urging and self-serving insistence of Brown, the G20 London meeting of central bank governors and finance ministers has been recast as a 'summit' with heads of state and heads of government. This has been achieved on the back of the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (1949-2009) being celebrated in France and Germany in the same period. World leaders are in northern Europe anyway, so can spend a day in London.

Pouring custard over the most important member of the United Kingdom government in the heart of London's government quarter raises serious questions about the competence of Brown's regime to offer acceptable levels of personal security to people vulnerable for myriad reasons to attacks not just on their dignity but their lives.

Despite destroying the basis of the civil liberties of each and every one of us New Labour cannot be relied upon to prevent an assault that was as up close and personal as Gavrilo Princip's exploit.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A Big Boy Took It And Ran Away in Kirkcaldy After the Glenrothes By Election

'Yesterday's report [into the disappearance of the marked register of the Glenrothes by-election} said it appeared to be the first time such documents had gone missing from a court. (Herald).

The report said: "The investigation has not found the missing records and is not able to determine precisely when and how the documents came to be lost.

"It concludes that a combination of human error and weaknesses or failures in management systems and work processes at the sheriff clerk's office in Kirkcaldy caused the loss."

The report said these included a failure to properly log the documents when they were received.

As the documents were stored in a basement to which outside contractors had access, it highlighted a failure to store the register in a more secure location.'

It is Wrong to Pour Green Custard Over Peter Mandelson

But I did laugh at this comment on Political Betting:

I’ll go for Alistair Darling, attacked with porridge, outside the Bank of England.

by Paul D March 6th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Holborn and St Pancras

Will Frank Dobson stand again for election in this inner London safe Labour seat? Sixty eight is usually time to think about retirement. There are some high profile potential candidates for London seats not least, ironically, Ken Livingstone, who beat Frank into third place for Mayor of London after standing as an independent when Frank beat him to the nomination using the Party machine.

As the Brown-led New Labour regime follows its New Labour-constructed banking and financial sector into the abyss, dragging the real economy behind it, there must be some use to which such an electoral winner and vote-getter can be put. Labour threw away their greatest asset, Blair but can they afford to discard instant voter recognition Ken as well?

Thursday, 5 March 2009

A General Election Must Be Held Now

It's over. The Bank of England is printing money. The bank rate is as close to zero as it can get. The pound is sliding - again - . The country has been humiliated by its Leader's cold reception in the United States. And mortified by his pretence that he speaks for Europe.

The government is split from not just reality but one minister from another. The prime minister refuses to accept that he is responsible for the appalling effects of his stewardship of the economy for the whole period of Blair's government and for the dregs of his regime on Blair's majority. Demands that he should at least recognise what he has done and apologise are met with incomprehension, never mind refusal.

United Kingdom troops are dying in Afghanistan and loitering, discarded by our allies, in Iraq. A third of the entire generation of children educated under New Labour are functionally illiterate. Basic services, such as the country's energy supply, are hanging on by a thread with half the generating capacity from nuclear power stations out and no replacement capacity within years of coming on.

Unfunded and unquantified pensions liabilities threaten further hundreds of billions of pounds surfacing into the public accounts. The banks have collapsed. Much of the population has debts beyond their means to pay off in their working lifetimes. Life expectancy in some parts of the United Kingdom is less than 60 years, and this after three quarters of a century almost of a universal public health service.

And all that Downing Street can talk about is re-establishing the prime minister's 'image' at an afternoon meeting to be held on 2 April.

Keep Calm and Carry On? For Ever?

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Help Craig Murray Have His Evidence Heard on the Use by the UK of Information Gained from Torture

On Tuesday 10 March the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights will discuss whether or not to hear my evidence on the UK government's policy of using intelligence from torture. They discussed whether to hear my evidence on 3 March but failed to reach a conclusion.

The government is lobbying hard for my exclusion. I need everybody to send an email to to urge that I should be heard. Just a one-liner would be fine. If you are able to add some comment on the import of my evidence, or indicate that you have heard me speak or read my work, that may help. Please copy your email to

The evidence I am trying to give the parliamentary committee is this:

I wish to offer myself as a witness before the Joint Commission on Human Rights on the subject of the UK government's policy on intelligence cooperation with torture abroad.

I appeared as a witness in person before both the European Parliament and European Council's enquiries into extraordinary rendition. My evidence was described by the European Council's Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, as "Compelling and valuable".

The key points I wish to make are these:

- I was British Ambassador in Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004.
- I learned and confirmed that I was regularly seeing intelligence from detainees in the Uzbek torture chambers, sent me by the CIA via MI6.
- British Ministers and officials were seeing the same torture material.
- In October/November 2002 and January/Februray 2003 I sent two Top Secret telegrams to London specifically on the subject of our receipt of intelligence gained under torture. I argued this was illegal, immoral and impractical. The telegrams were speciifically marked for the Secretary of State.
- I was formally summoned back to the FCO for a meeting held on 7 or 8 March 2003 specifically and solely on the subject of intelligence gained under torture. Present were Linda Duffield, Director Wider Europe, FCO, Sir Michael Wood, Chief Legal Adviser, FCO, and Matthew Kydd, Head of Permanent Under-Secretary's Department, FCO.
- This meeting was minuted. I have seen the record, which is classified Top Secret and was sent to Jack Straw. On the top copy are extensive hand-written marginalia giving Jack Straw's views.
- I was told at this meeting that it is not illegal for us to obtain intelligence gained by torture, provided that we did not do the torture ourselves. I was told that it had been decided that as a matter of War on Terror policy we should now obtain intelligence from torture, following discussion between Jack Straw and Richard Dearlove. I was told that we could not exclude receipt of specific material from the CIA without driving a coach and horses through the universality principle of the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement, which would be detrimental to UK interests.
- Sir Michael Wood's legal advice that it was not illegal to receive intelligence got by torture was sent on to me in Tashkent (copy attached). On 22 July 2004

I sent one further telegram on intelligence got by torture, with a lower classification, following FCO communications on the subject. Copy attached.
It was my final communication before being dismissed as Ambassador.

In conclusion, I can testify that beyond any doubt the British government has for at least six years a considered but secret policy of cooperation with torture abroad. This policy legally cleared by government legal advisers and approved by Jack Straw as Secretary of State.

Craig Murray
2 March 2009

Don't Mention the War, Brown

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in his talk to the United States Congress is 'expected to compare the battle against the global recession to the fight against fascism in the 1940s.' (Telegraph).

There are not so much pitfalls as yawning chasms lying in front of him if he does. Fascism is not just a socio-economic and political movement. It is an ideology that transorms itself appropriately to any culture it roots in. Its essence is authoritarian statism, the imposition of an ethical stance and comcomitant structures onto all citizens by using the powers of the state, and of propaganda, kept in the hands of a permanent, closed ruling group. Different cultures produce different ethical stances, depending on their history and constrained by the needs and circumstances of the present. Italian fascism is very different in its objectives for the Italian state, from German fascism, although both display the classic and fundamental privatisation of reward and socialisation of effort and failure.

Realised fascism invariably displays populist social characteristics and the clientilisation of large sectors of the population by the extant fascist regime. It is often imperialist, engaging in aggressive wars on other states to secure resources and trade routes. It uses repressive and intrusive regulation backed by paramilitary force and civil social sanction (denial of work, access to office or social statuses, welfare provision in housing, health, education...) towards an internal, defined 'other' to reinforce idealised fascist unity.

Fascism was not confined to the 1940s, nor was the second War concerned specifically with its defeat. Which is why it is still with us in its present-day guise. The cataclysms and the tragedies that engulfed Europe in the first half of the last century have as many meanings and reasons as there are people.

We cannot hope that Brown will avoid Basil Fawlty-levels of mannerisms, but he might at least try to avoid giving offence by abiding by Basil's most famous piece of advice.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Prime Minister's Address to Congress

The Prime Minister's address to a joint meeting of Congress, with the President's Cabinet in attendance, is regarded as a rare honour. The Prime Minister stressed that it is:

"absolutely necessary, indeed fundamental to sustain and reinvigorate the Atlantic Alliance, the alliance that for more than half a century has guaranteed peace in liberty."

Warning against a "fortress Europe" mentality, and protectionist policies he added: "disagreement, or worse, opposition between the United States and Europe would be entirely unjustified and would jeopardize the security and prosperity of the entire world."

Some members of Congress, however, are reported to have 'chafed at the event' and 'were slow to arrive or sent aides in their place.' (Reuters) This was attributed by a House of Representatives aide partly to irritation at being called to an event they viewed as a campaign booster for the Prime Minister.

Closing his address by underlining the special relationship existing with the United States, Mr Berlusconi received an ovation from U.S. lawmakers, particularly for his 'closing reminiscence of a boyhood trip with his father to a cemetery of American soldiers killed in World War Two.'

It's Buggin's turn tomorrow.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Jettatore Jets In

Washington under a foot of snow, the Dow collapses to 1997 levels. Perhaps someone could grant Brown a licence? He's going to need to earn a living soon.

Applied Cambridge Capital Theory or Causing Public Debt to Surface and Making Everything Even Worse

Angels thought you might all like to refresh your thoughts with a recent email:

There are two main alternative approaches to the provision of pensions.

The first is unfunded, in that pensions are paid, at a level of pre-defined benefits, out of the current pension contributions made by current employees. It is also called a re-distributive, or PAYG-Pay As You Go system.

It is a kind of pyramid banking scheme: in a pyramid bank (or Ponzi scheme) interest is paid out of new deposits, just like pensions are paid out of current contributions. Except that the banking pyramid goes bust when deposits unavoidably stop growing at least as fast as interest payments; and before it happens Mr Ponzi runs away with the loot. Whereas the pension pyramid can be perfectly sustainable, since there are always new depositors (current employees making pension contributions) and there are gradual and orderly withdrawals (pensions paid only after reaching pensionable age, and gradually, month after month). The unfunded system is sustainable as long as the number of pensioners multiplied by their individual average pension is no greater than the number of current employees multiplied by their individual average pension contribution.

Suppose the two sides balance. All future pensions are currently unfunded, and formally there is a pension debt today equal to today's pensioners' pensions for the rest of their lives. But the day of reckoning never comes, that debt is buried and as long as the balance is kept it never surfaces or needs ever to surface. It is a kind of seigniorage (the income that the state receives from the monopoly of issuing money), as long as the unfunded system is universal. If the two sides are not in equilibrium and pensions amount to more than current contributions, it is that shortfall cumulated and discounted over the residual lifetime of today's pensioners that represents today's "true" component of public debt on account of pensions.

If current contributions are higher than current pensions you can set aside a reserve for a possible aging of the population, or pension rises. If the population ages and such reserve is not there or is exhausted, then pensions must be reduced, or contributions raised, or pensionable age distanced, or some combination of all three, until balance is restored. Or the imbalance can be and is financed by the state budget. Otherwise you get the kind of PAYG system in Russia in the 1990s: First You Pay and Then You Go, as they used to say.

The second kind of pension system is funded with defined contributions but with benefits depending on the yield earned on the accumulation of individual contributions over time. In this case there is no problem with aging, or with retiring age, since what you get depends on what you put in, and the success of the investment to which your contributions were put, by you or by a pension fund of your choice. Choice is reputed to be one of the advantages of the system. It is also good for the development of financial markets, which is regarded as a good thing in itself.

And a zero pension debt? Yes, until a time like 2008-9 when insurance companies and banks go bust and stock exchange values fall by over a half. Then funded schemes end up with vanishing yields and capital values, i.e. pensions literally vanish. Ultimately the government will have to look after the pensioners no longer covered by their "funded" schemes. The pension burden will fall on the public budget - inexorably and regardless of whether pensions are funded or unfunded.

And, should you want to switch from a PAYG to a funded system:

1 - you still have the problem of the vanishing pensions in a recession, and moreover:

2 - when you switch you make the buried, hidden pension debt behind the PAYG, (today's pensioners' pensions for the rest of their lives, which is otherwise buried and as long as the balance is kept, never surfaces or needs to) surface as a real claim on current government resources. Whereas, if the unfunded system were balanced, and it was wished to privatise it, there should be no shortage of takers without paying the purchasers the value of the otherwise buried pension debt.


keep PAYG but adjust pensions/contributions/retiring age so as to make the system - if not balanced - at least keeping the imbalance at levels that can be a reasonable burden on the state budget, or;

if you want to change from PAYG to a fully funded system, consider the unnecessary cost-surfacing into the public budget, and don't necessarily expect the eternal boom needed to validate its alleged superiority.

The Basket Case

Misunderstanding is widespread on what is faced by the eurozone member-states financially and economically. Unlike the United States all the countries of the European Union have developed welfare services, particularly in education and in health, accessible to all. They have no need to budget for the embodiment of voters aspiration in these areas, as well as cope with the financial and economic recession. They are already factored in. Nor have they immensely high levels of private debt. Europeans save. Except for England.

England has very expensive welfare services, certainly, but they are profit centres for providers and regime control conduits throughout the economy and the geographical country. The return of children of economic migrants to their country of origin for schooling, for example, is marked. French, Germans, Greeks, Italians, Poles and no doubt everyone else, do not leave their children at the mercy of state schooling in England. Though they will often return to use the better universities, which are still resisting the mauling of New Labour.

As well as having high levels of personal savings and low levels of debt, continental Europeans have homogeneous societies that are balanced enough to provide for feeding, housing, clothing, transporting, connecting and entertaining a healthy, educated nation. Of course they are not debt-free, particularly of public debt, or untainted by the financial 'obscenities' (to use 'Lord' Mandelson's term), perpetrated over the last dozen years and centred on London. But on the whole, European banks have had much better regulated practice, and much more conservative attitudes.

Some countries will have lower living standards than others resulting from 60 years under socialism. And the cost of the rehabilitation of their societies will spread to the rest of Europe, just as it did from the rehabilitation of eastern Germany. But this will be taken on, and taken care of, on a case by case basis, as the German Chancellor and the Polish Finance Minister have said. And if Germany and Poland do not know about the ups and downs of recovery from 60 years of socialist failure then who does? Not the socialist Scottish creep who has seized power in our country - or his ill taught advisers. If they knew how silly they sound they would be quiet.

The United States will manage. Ostensibly, autarky is not something it is keen to practice, but it certainly can if it wishes to, or needs to. For the last dozen years financial shenanigans that are punishable in the United States have been undertaken in London. Now we face the off-loading onto London and the entire UK economy of the debt surfacing in America and across the world. It is noteworthy that the only other economies in our hemisphere in truly serious trouble are Ukraine and Georgia, both United States-under-Cheney-produced thorns in the flesh for Russia, who will, in the end, have to sort them out (in more ways than one).

Yes, Lithuania, and Hungary are in difficulty, but their support costs in the tens of billions and will be, if not readily, undertaken in the interests of European Union solidarity and self-preservation. Ireland was an overspill sump for the financial casinos of unregulated activity in the UK; as ever, Ireland is a special case but enjoys the strength of membership of the EU (and both leverage, after the Lisbon treaty vote, and some popularity there) and of the euro. It won't be allowed to fail any more than eastern Europe, even when taken case by case, will be abandoned.

Who will save England? An American unregulated financial playground, with a residual reserve currency and a destroyed manufacturing base; of little further strategic value; with a deeply damaged society, represented by a hectoring, lecturing, delusional, unelected bully. A regime drawn from a once national party whose geographic base has collapsed and whose political base, and moral raison d'etre is in meltdown. An unelected regime that refuses to face the electorate. An unhelpful, non-communitaire, popularly unwilling member of the EU. A wrecker, protagonist and prosecutor of illegal wars, a torture state.

Only a general election now can set us on any kind of footing to start negotiating and organising our way out of this New Labour disaster.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Many More Pension Rights Threatened by New Labour Promise of Legislation to Retrospectively Alter Pension Contracts

The Royal Bank of Scotland pension rules that have so benefited Sir Fred Goodwin do indeed cover many more employees than the former chief executive. RBS pension fund rules applying to those already employed before the reforms of 2006 permit any employee over the age of fifty made redundant to enjoy a full pension that can start to be drawn at once.

'The bank’s Annual Report and Accounts states: ‘The RBS Fund rules allow all members who retire early at the request of their employer to receive a pension based on accrued services with no discount applied for early retirement.’ (quoted in Mail on Sunday).

Some 20,000 of the 170,000 employees of RBS are expected to be made unemployed. The pension rules apply to all levels of staff.

Brown-led attacks upon Goodwin for drawing his pension, and threats to pass legislation to retrospectively alter his pension contract are threats, too, against all qualifying members of the RBS pension fund. If New Labour plans to alter pension contracts and rights retrospectively for this group of eligible workers it bodes ill for the entire class of those with guaranteed pension rights, a very large percentage of whom work in the public sector. Information obtained by the Liberal Democrats last week showed that the New Labour regime has been taking advice on altering the terms of public sector pensions, but we know this too from the behaviour of 'Lord' Mandelson and his threats on pension rights among post office workers, who are not strictly state employees.

This whole scenario is not just about 'unjustified reward' but about huge, unfunded claims for pensions, in the state and quasi-state sector, and unquantified and possibly unmanageable public debt.

No Platform

The reasons America is giving countenance to an unelected, spectacularly corrupt, monumental failure of a Prime Minister and moral shambles of a man can only be one of these:

Payment for past favours

Payment in advance for future favours

The Obama presidency is a seamless continuation of the previous presidency

The Obama presidency is as corrupt and unrepresentative of the American people as the previous presidency though with different objectives

The Obama presidency is too weak to control strands within American governance that continue former presidency policies and values

Americans so like and admire Gordon Brown they wish to honour him

Americans do not know or care what Brown has done to our country

Not good, any of it. Particularly when we think of how Brown denied the proper arming of our troops thus letting down not just them but our allies. When we think how the unregulated financial casino he encouraged in London has contributed greatly to the economic and financial damage suffered by many ordinary Americans as well as English people. When we think of New Labour's, and Brown's personal, opposition to the ending of tax 'havens' and secret banking and the immense burden these policies put upon those least able to support it. When we think of the anti-democratic example he offers in refusing to face election in our country. When we think of the propaganda uses to which the New Labour regime will put Brown's reception in America.

Why, Americans, are you offering your hand to Brown? He will take it and you must have heard what his hands are covered with.