Wednesday 27 March 2013

Invest In The Eurozone?

While reading in the Telegraph a report of the inept performance that was England last night, one is amused by the adverts that appear underneath (pictured above)

One wonders if it's 5 days early, a Freudian slip by the pro-EU paper or the Telegraph's odd way of mocking the Cypriots?

Monday 25 March 2013


Perhaps it's weariness on my part or the expectation that it wouldn't be long before others clock Cameron's speech on immigration as the nonsense that it is (and thus do the hard work for me), but I couldn't bring myself to comment on Cameron's latest wheeze.

And unsurprisingly unravel quickly it has:


So follows Cameron in a long line of Tories who in spirit is defined by the words of Labour MP Hugh Gaitskell, October 1962:
"...have been indulging in their usual double talk. When they go to Brussels they show the greatest enthusiasm for political union. When they speak in the House of Commons they are most anxious to aver that there is no commitment whatever to any political union."
Cameron's immigration announcement was always bollocks but he's not even good enough to disguise it very well. He is taking the concept of the Peter Principle to a whole new level. As a consequence, as Richard North notes, the rats are now deserting the sinking Tory ship.

As it stands Labour are more than likely to win the General Election in 2015 and we go through the whole charade again - as per Ed Milliband's recent article in The Sun:
And as a Labour Prime Minister, I will act to deal with people’s concerns. We know low-skill immigration has been too high and it should come down. We will put maximum controls on new countries joining the European Union.
Controls can only be put in place for a maximum of 7 years - Labour not quite lying but not telling the whole truth either. The 7 year limit is precisely the issue with Romanians and Bulgarians having their restrictions removed next year - their 7 year term is up.

Unsurprisingly another party had this policy of restricting immigration in 2011 (leaving unsaid that it was for only 7 years) - can you guess which one it was?

And so we go round in circles.

Friday 22 March 2013

A Power Station Obituary

Today Didcot A will be thrown onto the scrap heap. No longer considered fit for purpose under EU law, it is set to be turned off after 14:00, even though it has many years of life in it yet. Its only job now is a lonely agonising wait for demolition of the cooling towers, chimney and turbine hall. Unhelpfully the closure is at a time when we are being warned of a looming energy crisis.

Odd as it may seem there are mixed emotions locally at its closure. One woman noted on local news that; "I'm sad 'cos it's a landmark innit...?", a view echoed, albeit slightly more elegantly by Didcot Town Council leader Margaret Davies:
“The cooling towers are so large, and the power station has been such a big part of our lives that it’s hard to believe it is not going to be powering away any more.
The cooling towers have been a reassuring sight, a friendly giant, but the closure paves the way for when the cooling towers will be demolished and vanish completely from the skyline.”
A landmark it most certainly is even though it resides as comfortably and inconspicuously in the Oxfordshire countryside as Eric Pickles in a salad bar.

But many memories and fond thoughts. Once I was collared by a motorist as I was walking back from town asking for directions to the power station. My reply of; "take the next left, left again and it will be on your right - you can't miss it" must have been one of the easiest directions I have ever given to a motorist. One can never forget either the windows rattling when it fired up or the conclusions of the environmental survey when you buy a house which noted that there is a power station nearby - as if you haven't noticed.

We remember other quirks also. Despite being called Didcot Power Station, it doesn't actually reside in Didcot, instead in the parish of a village called Sutton Courtney - more well known for the burial place of George Orwell and British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. Rumours have persisted locally for many years that underhand persuasion was used for it not to be called Sutton Courtney power station when it was built.

And despite being voted the third worst eyesore in Britain, it's often forgotten that it won architectural awards when it opened. Designed by the British sculptor Henry Moore - his biggest piece- the cooling towers were positioned in such a way that all six towers could not be seen in their entire completeness from anywhere in Oxfordshire. A clever, yet subtle use of perspective, designed to limit the station's impact on the surrounding environment.

The loss of history and 'be careful what you wish for' reminds us of the Blackburn Meadows Power Station in Sheffield, the two cooling towers which resided next to the M1, and was portrayed in the film The Full Monty, were only demolished 28 years after the power station closed - against much local opposition.

But it's an end of an era, an era that once thought that keeping the lights on was more important than implementing a flawed ideology.

Didcot A leaves behind a wife (Didcot B) and 1000's of children who live on benefits.

No flowers.

Monday 18 March 2013

The Fatal Flaw

The theft of Cypriots' savings without so much as by your leave is quite jaw dropping in its brazenness. As Zerohedge notes, bank accounts are private property so what has happened is effectively the confiscation of private property - the equivalent of the government driving off with your car on a whim.

Of course the situation is being described as "exceptional and unique", as were the bailouts of Ireland, Portugal, and Greece. A precedent has been set and it's not difficult to envisage that this will happen again (it's a possible trial run) or that contagion, in the form of bank runs, will happen across Europe.

But it's seems to be forgotten among the outrage that our own Government is not adverse to similar actions themselves, only it's called something different.

If you want to raid savings accounts you can call it; quantitative easing, inflation or devaluation of the sterling. Different names but a similar effect. Or confiscate shares without compensation to shareholders that were still trading on the market at 90p at the time as per the nationalisation of Northern Rock. Or raiding dormant accounts. Or indeed bailing out a Eurozone country with taxpayer's money, despite promises to the contrary, but calling it "compensating British troops". When were we consented about this?

The EU's fatal flaw is its openness on the theft, an openness that is necessary because, unlike a successful currency union like the one that exists in the UK, it cannot disguise it via other methods due to the inherent shortcomings of the Euro. It is hamstrung by a flawed currency of its own making. It is being hoisted by its own petard.

However we should not be under any illusions that anything would be any different should we leave without a sea change in democracy at home...

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Sunday 10 March 2013

Life Imitates Art...

Last Week Matt from the Telegraph had this...

Then from the Mail today we have this:

Obviously we should always treat newspaper reports with caution but it comes to something when a cartoonist is effectively reporting the news rather than making a joke of it...

Friday 8 March 2013

Comforting Words From Cameron

I'm on the email distribution list of the Tory party, as I am on other parties', and this afternoon I have received a reassuring email from Mr Cameron, titled "we're sticking to our plan". In other words; "Meh! Voters?" The email begins:
This Government's driving mission is to help Britain succeed in the tough global race we're in. 
What's a driving mission? Is that a Top Gear Challenge?  A global race eh? One is tempted to think of this. So why are we shackled to a dying customs union, consisting of a minority of countries in the world, designed to restrict trade with the majority of other countries who are not members?

It continues:
That means reversing years of decline under Labour. 
I'm sure someone somewhere thought using driving puns was an "excellent" idea but really, is using the terms "driving" and "reversing" in the same paragraph ideal? Perhaps it's a Freudian slip. Nevermind...
Building a buoyant economy that invents, makes and sells things again.
Does that mean our economy is no longer making, inventing or selling at the moment...what a damning indictment of the current government....
Creating the good, decent jobs that young people need. 
Is that opposed to creating non-good and crap jobs for everyone else? Perhaps that's another Freudian slip given Cameron is Prime Minister.
That's why I gave a speech yesterday making clear that there can be no turning back from the course we are on.
In other words, despite a message from the voters, especially recently in Eastleigh, "I will ignore them"...
Yes, times are tough, 
Of course as a millionaire you would know this...
and yes, there are calls for us to turn back, give up, give in. 
Where are these calls? Coming to the conclusion that other methods maybe better and thus to consider other options of fixing our broken country is markedly different to advocating giving up...but thanks for doing down the British people.
But as Conservatives know, nothing worthwhile is easily won. 
Oh yes you are fully aware of that given you didn't win the 2010 election
We need to hold our nerve and stick to our economic plan:
Again ignore the voters...

It really is a poor excuse for government policy and the rest of it can be found here. We deserve better than this.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Weasel Words

Despite the lazy media's habit of portraying UKIP as a 'right-wing' threat to the Tories, Labour at least recognise the threat it also posses to them particularly on the vexed subject of immigration:
The Labour leader admits that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were “wrong” in government to dismiss the concerns of the public over levels of migration that were “too high”.
While there is “nothing wrong” with employing foreign staff, some companies recruit from overseas to undercut the wages of British-born workers, Mr Miliband says.
It's not the first time Miliband has broached this subject and apparently Labour are to lay out their immigration policy in detail tomorrow. Yet going by the report in the Telegraph unsurprisingly it's clear that for all the rhetoric nothing will substantially change:
This will mean “maximum controls” for eastern Europeans entering the European Union
So we have dog whistle politics using words in the same sentence like; "controls", "Eastern Europeans" and the "EU" but in reality it's the same policy of restrictions on non-EU citizens while not being able to do much regarding the free movement of EU citizens. No change, no choice and complete contempt.

There has to be another way, and fortunately there now is.

Monday 4 March 2013

Back In 5 Minutes

My blogging output has decreased somewhat over the last couple of weeks as I go through another bout of "blogger's block".

Blogging has an odd way of seemingly imposing a self-inflicted pressure to deliver daily posts, however you know things aren't quite right when you start to desperately scour the news with not a clue what to write, but there's always a nagging feeling that you must write something. At this point - when the tail starts to wag the dog - I've learnt to take a short break and come back refreshed.

Strangely it's not as if there's been nothing to write about, particularly with the Eastleigh by-election. The second place achieved by UKIP has resulted in a reaction in the media not far short of hyperbole - whereas a more sober and superior analysis can be found elsewhere. Confusion in the Tory ranks is echoed by confusion and denial by the Telegraph for example.

Clearly the media have spotted that something is wrong - which is a start. Recognising there's a problem is the first step as any alcoholic will tell you but that is a long way short of solutions and full recovery. It's not Cameron nor the Tories who are the problem, it goes much deeper than that. But as always in revolutions, the capital - the heart of power - is always the last to know or to acknowledge it. The capital of a country is always the last to be taken and so it will be in this case even if the method is peaceful.

Anyways I've been taking a short blogging break and will be back very soon with a post about the Royal Mail, EU and International post, which has turned out to be more fiendishly complex than I anticipated.

So in metaphorical terms I've popped out for a cheese and tomato sandwich and will be back in 5 minutes.