Wednesday 31 August 2011


I've blogged about Labour MP Kerry McCarthy's rather hypocritical views on music before. She took umbrage at an apparent 'date rape' message in a former boy band member's song, something that he subsequently denied, and she suggested that the record should be banned.

Kerry is, however, happy to promote punk - that famous bastion of good taste. At the time when I pointed out, via twitter, the dubious Nazi origins of Joy Division's name (her favourite band) and the nature of their followers, my complaints were labelled by her as 'offensive'.

And, as her latest post proves, Kerry doesn't mind dodgy music lyrics per se; here's her views on the rather robust Sex Pistols song on abortion: was rather dodgy lyrically speaking and completely juvenile in its politics, although it’s still a great song.
I know it's relatively trivial, but stuff like this winds me up - it's MPs like Kerry that will censor our music, films and video games based on their own personal preference rather than adhering to the principle of free speech. The warped views of Ms McCarthy is the reason that I can buy black rapper MC Ren's blatantly racist album in a high street store but not a Skrewdriver one.

All music is equal but...

Big Success?

Following on from Autonomous Mind's wonderful exposure of Roger Helmer MEP as a Judas goat, Helmer unwittingly reinforces AM's point by tweeting this today:

Apparently reducing the number of Strasbourg sessions is hailed as a 'big success'. A genuine campaigner against the EU and our membership of it, of course, wouldn't give a toss how many sessions Strasbourg has. All that matters is that the EU Parliament has no sessions at all in either Brussels or Strasbourg because it no longer exists or that it's irrelevant because the UK is no longer a member.

Mr Helmer, however, thinks that making the EU more efficient at its job is something to be proud of. It isn't.

Update: Ironies Too has an interesting post on another sidekick of Roger Helmer - the 'fierce Eurosceptic' Chris Heaton-Harris MP

Not Banning The Burka?

Before the last election one of UKIP's manifesto policies was to ban the burka, it was a controversial move and one policy I fundamentally disagreed with (though I understood some of the concerns behind the move). I vented my frustrations on here at the time.

Now it appears, during a twitter exchange, that the policy has been dropped. No official announcement of course but good news if true. Anyway, it gives me an excuse to post one of my favourite Matt cartoons. Just priceless:

Tuesday 30 August 2011

All Inclusive - EU Style

It appears via Wikileaks that the Belgians are whinging have expressed concerns to the US about a G20 "super group" within the EU:
Our[US] Dutch interlocutors have also noted some tension between EU members that are G20 participants and those that are not; the Belgians, for example, have expressed concern about a G20 "super group" within the EU that consults on the issues first before bringing the discussion to the larger EU community. As guests in the G20, the Dutch are trying to walk a fine line between wanting to punch above their weight with the big EU economies in the G20 and foster their usual spirit of inclusiveness and consultation with all EU member states.
Bless the Belgians feel a little left out. Though it would help their cause greatly if they could perform the relatively basic task of forming a Government first - 14 months and counting (leaving aside the fact that their real Government resides in Brussels anyway).

Monday 29 August 2011

"War On Every Front"

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph writes that this coming month, or even next couple of weeks, will decide the future of Angela Merkell, Germany's destiny, and the fate of the Euro:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer has enough coalition votes in the Bundestag to secure backing for Europe's revamped rescue machinery, threatening a consitutional crisis in Germany and a fresh eruption of the euro debt saga.

Mrs Merkel has cancelled a high-profile trip to Russia on September 7, the crucial day when the package goes to the Bundestag and the country's constitutional court rules on the legality of the EU's bail-out machinery.

Mrs Merkel's aides say she is facing "war on every front".
There are ever louder concerns being aired in Germany about the lack of democracy in a fiscal union which the Euro survival depends on:
Christian Wulff, Germany's president, stunned the country last week by accusing the European Central Bank of going "far beyond its mandate" with mass purchases of Spanish and Italian debt, and warning that the Europe's headlong rush towards fiscal union stikes at the "very core" of democracy. "Decisions have to be made in parliament in a liberal democracy. That is where legitimacy lies," he said.
Merkel therefore faces defeat which would surely start the unravelling of the Euro. But I wonder if, despite their reservations, the Germans really will put their concerns above the EU knowing what the ultimate consequences will be? Would they be prepared to take the inevitable blame over the fall of the EU?

I doubt it. The German Constitutional Court has a track record of wriggling rulings out in favour of the EU on these issues (it will do so again) and then there's the boundless stupidity of the German Government as AEP acknowledges (my emphasis):
While the bill is likely to pass, the furious debate leaves no doubt that Germany will resist moves to boost the EFSF's firepower yet further. Most City banks say the fund needs €2 trillion to stop the crisis engulfing Spain and Italy.
It's important to appreciate the almost limitless determination to keep EU and the Euro going come what may. So a bumpy September awaits the Euro but I suspect it will continue albeit in an even more crippled state than before.

"I Agree To Everything I'm Opposed To"

I struggle to add anything meaningful to Autonomous Mind's posts, exposing so-called euro-sceptic Roger Helmer MEP as yet another Tory Judas Goat, largely because the whole process has became unbearably tedious in its predictability. Decades of the same ol' Tory mantra - "in Europe, not ruled by it", "Tories are really eurosceptic" blah blah blah takes its toll. As Richard North wonderfully puts it:
Turning then to the Speccytwat, we then find a variation of the Tory theme, with the young Forsyth pontificating about how – on the basis of yet another inane an expensive EU law – Dave and his merry men need to "tackle Britain's relationship with the EU".

...Britain does not have a relationship with the EU – Britain is part of the EU. This country can no more have a relationship with this body than can we suggest that our own left feet have relationships with our own bodies.

The problem with which we are confronted, therefore, is that the Tory commentators are so incredibly thick that they cannot even get past first base.
Rather like the pesky pigeons that sat on my roof this morning at 5am - waking me up by cooing incessantly. Pompously sat there, sticking their chests out as if they're important, cooing the same dull notes over and over and over again. It's enough to drive me insane. Brainless and stupid, there's no point arguing with them, nope, the only solution is to get the airgun out.

Friday 26 August 2011

That Nice Mr Cameron

Note to the Daily Telegraph; if you're going to write a 'puff piece' at least make it vaguely plausible. This one on Cameron is so magnificently ludicrous (apparently one of Cameron's faults is that he's too nice for his own good) it's not even one worth frisking - just reading the first two sentences is enough:
It is odd, but undeniable: a lot of people still underrate David Cameron. There are parallels with Margaret Thatcher.
See what I mean? Just those 19 words would take a whole blog post to frisk! Quite frankly anyone who thinks Cameron is underrated needs to find a very large saucepan, fill it with water, bring it to the boil...and then stick their head in it. But oh no, the deluded article goes on, praising Cameron's handling of the riots:
Again, the Prime Minister struck exactly the right note: reassuring but firm. He displayed the most important quality which a political leader needs in difficult circumstances: grip. He took a grip on the crisis and in so doing, set the terms of the debate: that while social problems must be addressed, there is no excuse for criminality.
Reassuring but firm? Took grip on the crisis? Or another way of putting it: announcing a number of half-baked, unworkable measures and also propose ones that already existed. One example was the shutting down of social networks during a riot (a move even praised by China):
Mr Cameron told MPs: ‘Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media.

‘We are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.’
So how's this well-thought out, carefully considered and 'firm' proposal going Dave? Er not well:
David Cameron’s plan to shut down social networking sites to prevent disorder was ditched in a humiliating U-turn yesterday.
Humiliating eh? Still at least we can take comfort in the Telegraph's analysis that Cameron is underrated.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

This Sunday My Basic Civil Rights Will Be Suspended

Ever since the London riots the MSM has been churning out copious gobs on a stick offering various opinions on the causes of the riots and either calling for harsher sentencing or conversely more 'understanding' of the rioters - some are even blaming the coalition cuts. Unsurprisingly the Lib Dems have been found sitting on the 'sympathy for the criminal' side of the fence as expressed by their condemnation of the four 4 year sentence of two Facebook users who tried to incite rioters.

However despite all the arguments, on Sunday life and suspension of basic rights will continue unabated for a significant number of people, a situation which I suspect will pass without much comment or complaint. As regular readers know The Boiling Frog is a supporter of a particular football team and on Sunday we face our bitter local rivals - Oxford United whom we haven't played for 10 years. Though, as a derby game, it's not on the same scale in terms of numbers as a Celtic vs Rangers or Millwall vs West Ham match the passion is just as intense and the potential for disorder is similar. As a result it has been issued with a category 'C plus' rating- the highest category awarded to a football match for anticipated violence. What this C+ category actually means in practice is that there will be two sets of thugs on the streets.

Because of the nature and profile of the game one set of thugs will consist of knuckle-dragging big hitters who will haul themselves out of their respective rain-soaked hovels with either the intention of trying to 'take' the town or 'defend' the town. Unpleasant as it is, the vast majority of peaceful fans, myself included, will be left largely untroubled by these hooligans who have a perverse code of honour of not attacking ordinary fans.

In contrast there's the other set of thugs which the ordinary law-biding fan will be a lot more wary of and it's only a small mercy that they can be easily identified. They wear the same uniform, have steel toe-capped boots, riot helmets and other paraphernalia - essentially looking like an army. They will be given every tool available by the state (short of firearms); helicopters, dogs, riot shields, mobile CCTV vans and, crucially because it's a C+ game, the ability to act above the law. I'm of course referring to the Police, and unlike the aforementioned group of thugs, their thuggery will be indiscriminate - everyone will be fair game for a whack of the baton (or worse); men, women & children.

Years ago I apologised to a copper I lived next door to in - as later turned out mistaken - shame on behalf of my fellow supporters for ruining his Sunday off because our match had been moved which meant he was called in. Revealingly his response was;
"Don't worry, it means I'm allowed to hit people and get paid double-time for the privilege"
From experience I have no reason to doubt his sentiments. I've been spat at, punched, grabbed by the throat to the point of being strangled and batoned by Police Officers for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time and trying very politely to exercise my rights. I've seen much worse happen to fellow supporters, and I've got off very lightly compared to others:
Until 11 September last year, the police were rather admired in the Meyers household. All that changed in a few dreadful seconds on Reading station, when the two of them were forced to watch as officers handcuffed Tony's older son, 20-year-old Leeds University student Tommy, forced him on to the ground, and set a police dog on him. The dog bit fiercely into Tommy's face – he couldn't even raise his handcuffed hands to protect himself. The injuries will be with him for the rest of his life, partly because the police refused him access to antibiotics for 14 hours, by which time infection had taken hold.
Augur politely appealed to [the Police]. "I told them that he was a 15-year-old boy for whom I was responsible," says Augur, but he was curtly rebuffed, and the police started pushing people. "I was knocked into my younger son, John. The dog handler allowed the dog sufficient rein so that it could get at my other son, James. I saw the dog sink his teeth into James's lower leg. It was obvious he was in pain. I shouted to the police: 'That's my son, let him go.'"

Augur kicked out at the dog. The animal released James and turned on him, sinking its teeth into his leg. He fell to the floor. "I saw the dog in my face. I was horrified and frightened."

The dog was pulled away, and two or three policemen seized him. "I was on the floor with them holding me down. I felt a tremendous kick to my right side underneath my armpit. I was gasping for breath. I really thought I was going to die. A few seconds later I felt someone standing on my back, holding me down with their foot.

"I managed to look to my right and I saw two policemen holding James on the floor. He was shouting: 'Help me, Dad, help me.' A policeman punched him in the face while he was being held down on the floor.
Throw a piece of chewing gum at a football match?

A Luton Town fan has been banned from attending any football matches for three years for throwing chewing gum at a game.

Martin Wilson, of Townsley Close, Luton, pleaded guilty to ‘throwing an unknown missile’ at visiting supporters contrary to Sections 2 and 5 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991.

Wilson was also fined £615 which included court costs.

With the advent of camera phones, it should be easy to record this stuff for future complaints but any attempt to use such a device openingly is enough to ensure an even more robust Police response. Before 2008 cameras were just forcibly removed even though there was no legal basis for that to happen, now the Police can, and do, simply invoke Section 76 of the 2008 Counter Terrorism Act.

Sharp eyed readers will have noticed that my game has been moved from a Saturday fixture to an early Sunday kick-off. The reason being according to the Football Intelligence Officer (an oxymoron if ever there was one) is to limit alcohol consumption:

Acting Detective Sergeant James Neighbour, Swindon’s football liaison officer, said reducing the amount of drinking time before the match was the main reason it was moved.

He said: “It was a decision made in consultation with the football club.

“It was decided firstly it should be an early kick-off to prevent too much alcohol being consumed before.

“And the reason for holding it on the Sunday is to negate any disorder as much as we can. The fact the next day is a working day dissuades people from drinking as much as perhaps they would on a Saturday.

The key words here are; "too much alcohol being consumed". That bit is true but it would be a fallacy to assume that the Police want to prevent fans visiting the pub before a game altogether thus to be stone cold sober - and the reason is simple.

By allowing a certain amount of restricted pub time before a game gives two advantages. Not only does it mean that the Police can legally 'kettle' you in a confined area but that you've been in a pub helps their defence later on - "yes your honour not only was he attending a match where there was potential for trouble causing significant problems for the Police but he spent a couple of hours in the pub beforehand". That way they have the perfect defence for their more 'robust responses'. Whether you had spent that time drinking coke in the pub becomes irrelevant - you're a football fan and you've been in a pub so de facto your basic rights have been suspended.

And as you enter the pub that you have been forced to march to courtesy of a Police escort, you will be searched, your wallet rummaged through, details taken (even though illegal under Section 60), filmed by Police camcorders and your picture taken with a camera that has an oversized flash on it - that temporarily blinds you.

This Sunday undoubtedly the papers will be crammed full of more articles on the London riots with lots of 'chin-stroking-what-does-it-all-mean' commentary, meanwhile in a small corner of Wiltshire countless law-abiding citizens will be subjected to Police actions that will be contrary to the rule of law.

Even Shami Chakrabarti, someone I'm a frequent critic of, understands these concerns well:
"I have come to be horrified at some of the treatment that law-abiding fans have experienced. We are in danger of demonising anyone who goes to football matches."
And PCC commissioner Nicholas Long:
"I am surprised that we see as few complaints and referrals as we do from policing of football matches. The police should not imagine that the majority of people attending football matches are bent on violence."
But I suppose expecting any of those self-appointed experts in the media to care is a bit like asking for the moon on a stick.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Quote Of The Day

A telling quote from the Financial Times regarding Merkel and Sarkozy's press conference today on how to prolong the Euro crisis for another week (my emphasis):
Attention will be given to the Tobin-style tax proposal but it’s worth remembering that Sarkozy has suggested this before. The only difference now seems to be that he’s looking to use the proceeds to prop up the eurozone rather than fund development in Africa and climate change mitigation efforts.
'Nuff said

Thursday 11 August 2011

What A Farce

Much comment about the riots elsewhere, I don't have much time to blog my thoughts other than this little gem: my team was due to play Cheltenham Town this weekend but it was called off on Police advice due to the riots.

To put this into context all other matches including Premiership ones in Liverpool, Leeds and London are going ahead as normal with the sole exception of Tottenham vs Everton. So there you have it, Police in Gloucestershire were worried about a relatively low key game between two teams that have no history of trouble, taking place in a spa Town that has largely escaped the recent violence:
"Following recent events in Gloucester, there is requirement for us to focus police resources to deter and deal with any potential disruption which may take place."

"As a result, it will not be possible to deploy officers alongside stewards in the ground or additional resources in the town centre on this occasion."

"This presents a safety risk for and we have therefore advised the club to postpone the match in the interests of ensuring the safety of everyone involved."

"We have an excellent relationship with the club and are grateful for their support in this matter."
Anyway in a farcical and embarrassing u-turn that is completely unprecedented in my 30 years of watching football, the game is now back on, the Police excuse being (my emphasis):
Gloucestershire Police had originally withdrawn their support for the game due to the recent civil unrest in Gloucester and other parts of the country. However, a re-assessment of the situation has now resulted in the police being able to provide the required resources for Saturday's match.
The re-assessment being not only clear anger and frustration from the Swindon chairman (link now removed) but that Gloucestershire Police were inundated, via twitter and emails from fans with full and frank assessments that they were a bunch do I put this politely...Jeremy Hunts.

Talking of Jeremy Hunts, Cameron continues his mastery of doing everything apart from being good at his job. Lots of sound-bites today on getting tough with rioters; such as claims that anyone convicted should go to jail - well yes Dave under Section 2 of the Public Order Act they usually do. Apparently also Police will be given powers to unmask thugs - well yes Dave under the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order (Section 60), ooh passed by a Tory Government, the Police already have those powers:
In addition, the police may require you to remove any item which they reasonably believe you are wearing wholly or mainly for the purpose of concealing your identity. They can seize such items and any you were intending to wear wholly or mainly for that purpose. This clearly includes removal of head and face coverings. Where the covering is worn for religious reasons the police have to be sensitive about the removal and it should not be removed in public and, if possible, not in the presence of anyone of the opposite sex.
And he proposes the shutting down of social networking sites. Quite how Dave thinks he can close down non-UK social sites, stop new ones emerging or anyone accessing the internet without ceasing mobile networks completely is beyond me. Jon Worth, a chap I usually fundamentally disagree with on many issues, has two cracking posts on this today. Not that it stops Tory 'A-lister' Louise Mensch agreeing with Dave and arguing for censoring twitter on...wait for it...twitter.

Despite Mrs Mensch's protestations, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Peter Fahy defends the medium as on balance useful:

It's beyond parody, and my head hurts, then I see this post from Witterings From Witney:
The "Poisoned Dwarf", as I named [Hazel Blears MP] approximately 12 months ago, compounded her inability to engage brain once again today when, in respect of looters and rioters, she said on Sky "People need to ask, why are they not at school?". Err Hazel, possibly due to three factors: it was the weekend, its was night time and it was school holidays........?
White riot, I wanna riot...

Monday 8 August 2011

Disabled Sign

Able-bodied people who park in disabled spaces is one of my pet hates, so I rather like this sign from Going Fast Getting Nowhere:

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Much press attention is currently on the disturbances in North London, however tomorrow sees another significant day regarding the Euro. Over the weekend, the US credit rating has been downgraded, Cyprus is in trouble and the ECB is fighting amongst itself to try to resolve the Euro crisis.

A deal has apparently been struck for the European Central Bank to buy Italian and Spanish bonds, though given how quickly the last EU deal unravelled - in less than a week - optimism that this latest agreement will work must be in short supply.

It's pretty clear that EU leadership has been found wanting on a massive scale - no one is prepared to make the great leap forward to fiscal union to appease the markets nor is anyone prepared to instigate an orderly break-up of the eurozone. Fudge is the name of the game, and while the financial markets sometimes over-reacts what they are particularly good at is smoking out bullshit. The Euro is being found out

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from the Telegraph reports that Germany is losing patience with the whole Euro project:

Even Germany's most ardent pro-Europeans seem to have given up trying to find a solution. They are building an alibi for EMU break-up instead.

This is a dangerous moment for the world. It is still possible that the growth scare of recent months will prove a false alarm.

Yet the Bank for International Settlements is surely right that we are pushing ever closer to the limits of a model that relies on artificial stimulus to keep stealing extra prosperity from the future. There is ever less to steal.

It looks set to be a very bumpy week.

Sunday 7 August 2011

How To Spot A Tory

An easy guide:
  1. They talk 'Eurosceptic' and then, when in power, give even more away

  2. They pretend that their party is the true Eurosceptic one; a lie that is the Tory equivalent of a massively obese woman constantly stuffing her face full of chocolate, while delusionally claiming to her GP "I dunno why I'm so fat I only eat salads".

  3. At local elections they will surround you as a UKIP candidate and lambast you for stealing 'their' votes. That they are the electorate's votes, which have to be earned, is a concept alien to them.

  4. Before 2010, they recited the phrase; "wait 'till Dave gets in, then we'll see how eurosceptic he really is".

  5. After 2010 and losing the election, they blame UKIP for denying them that election. (if it wasn't for you pesky UKIP people we would have won). Effectively they're the shopkeeper who blames their customers for deserting them for another shop which sells them what they want instead.

  6. Lose the election and blame Tory pro-EU policies on the coalition with the Lib Dems. That they didn't have to work with the Lib Dems or indeed vote yes to every EU policy seems to escape them - career more important than principles, eh...Louise Mensch MP? Who, incidentally, enthusiastically takes issue with other people's lack of principles.

  7. Faithful imitations of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf by constantly reciting the mantra; "in Europe not ruled by it" hoping that everyone else is as stupid as they are.

  8. Elects and supports a party leader who issues a very patronising and very arrogant refusal to hold an 'in or out' referendum:
    ....we had a referendum on that issue in 1975, which produced a very clear result.

    But a simplistic in/out referendum – posing an artificial choice that does not do justice to the range of views in the country – would be highly unlikely to settle the question of Britain’s membership of the EU at all
Nothing's changed in the 20 years I've campaigned against our membership of the EU, the same old Tory party and the same old lies.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Hang The Euro

Apologies but again due to real life getting in the way, blogging has been a bit slow round these parts.

Being busy though hasn't stopped me getting annoyed by the utterly irrelevant debate on reintroducing the death penalty - a campaign led by the self-proclaimed 'King of the Blogosphere' (Guido Fawkes), who is, by being less than forthcoming with the truth, a parody of the very medium he continuously professes to hate - the MSM. A tip Guido, the death penalty is forbidden as a result of our membership of the EU and Council of Europe via us signing up to Protocol 13.

Still, we'll have a couple of days of universal coverage of the 'passionate' debate, then probably a vote by MPs and...fuck all will change as the issue is decided by Europe.

Meanwhile... the Euro contagion spreads, rather than being a rumble in the distance you can tell it's serious this time - not only has the BBC led with the issue on its news bulletins but Barroso has been uncharacteristically blunt about the crisis. Previously the Euro has always managed to limp along regardless, but today's events look increasingly like a tipping point - panic is in the EU air.

Thank god the football season starts on Saturday to take my mind off things - though not sure it helps that my team's manager is Italian!

Tuesday 2 August 2011

That Widening Euro Debt Crisis

The recent bailout of Greece was supposed to appease the markets until September and so confident were the EU they buggered off on holiday. However the markets have intensified their pressure on Italy today:
Financial market pressure on Italy intensified on Tuesday, sucking Europe's biggest debtor nation deeper into the euro area danger zone and prompting Italian authorities to call emergency talks.

Italian bond yields hit their highest level in the euro's 11-year lifetime, ominously reaching the same level as Spain's in a sign that Rome is overtaking Madrid as the main focus of investors' concern about debt sustainability.

Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti called a meeting of the Financial Stability Committee -- made up of representatives of the government, the Bank of Italy, market regulator Consob and insurance authority ISVAP -- a day before Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is due to break his silence and address parliament.
And Spain:

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spanish prime minister, on Tuesday delayed a planned holiday in southern Spain to supervise his government’s response to the sharp fall in the price of the country’s sovereign bonds.

Amid growing alarm in Madrid over the possibility that Spain will become the next eurozone country to need a bail-out from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Mr Zapatero’s office said he would delay a trip to the Doñana national park in southern Spain “to follow more closely the movement of economic indicators”.

All of which has prompted Chantal Hughes, speaking for Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, to issue a denial that bailouts will be necessary for these countries:
The European Commission said Tuesday that debt rescue planning for Spain, Italy and Cyprus was not on the cards, despite bond yields for the big two hitting the highest levels since the euro was created.

"The question of a programme of emergency aid is certainly not on the table," said Chantal Hughes, speaking for Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, after Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero delayed a holiday departure to keep tabs on growing economic concerns.

That came after the difference in borrowing costs for Spain and Italy, against benchmark Germany, rose sharply in Tuesday bond trading
Which means of course another crisis is imminent.

However in more important news, Cameron didn't tip a waitress and he wore office shoes whilst being sockless, while on holiday.