Saturday, 29 May 2010

Coming soon.
A blog reporting from the Horn of Africa and the challenge of restoring hope to Somalia.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Dear Monsieur Sarkozy,

Many congratulations on your most exceptional victory. I am in complete admiration and wish you the strewngth of Samson in your endevour to modernise France.

Please note, do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Our annual vacance en France would be ruined if you iron out all the most magnificent French quirks. Two days spent railing against the shops shutting at lunchtime and the impossibly slow pace of life and then....pure relaxation. Don't ruin it.

However, very grateful if you would kindly prevent illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa from reaching, let alone encamping at, Calais. One has always wondered how these people are hosted and cared for with impunity on your side of the Channel but suddenly become illegal immigrants by the time they reach Dover (in the back of or underneath whatever vehicle they can strap themselves to).

If they are legal at your end, be so kind as to make them feel welcome.
If they are not, please deport them before they make onward travel arrangements.

Get a bloody grip.



Sunday, 6 May 2007

Blair's contempt writ large

To spend his final days in power deliberately skewering his own successor at the expense of the Nation would tell you all you need to know about this pathetic little student we've had for a Prime Minister these past 10 years.

PR - The death of Government

The Scottish elections have really underlined for me why Proportional Representation is so bad.

Not only is the voting system so totally incomprehendable, but there is a fundamental disconnection between votes and candidates.

People don't vote for Parties, they vote for people. A Party dictated regional list is contemptuous of the voter. These people do not take personal responsibility for their electoral platform, they are secondary campaigners and yet, based on nothing more than a proportion of the vote, they get to sit in power and make decisions with no individual and answerable public mandate.

PR is often represented as being"fair and equal" but it is nothing of the sort. It is a collection of robots controlled by an Orwellian Party dictatorship and I will do everything possible to prevent it spreading any further.

Scotland, poor sods, are condemned to a lifetime of powerless, coalition government managing social and economic terminal decline.

BBC Bias (part 2,343,467)

The election coverage of the BBC, and for that matter many other outlets, was as biased and dreadful as always.

Blind to steady but evident advances the Tories were making all night long, the BBC did everything to portray the election as a disaster for the Cameron project.

Firstly there is no Cameron project, merely the resurrection of the Conservative Party as a whole and secondly winning control of 38 additional Councils and 900 additional seats to control nearly 60% of the Councils of England is impressive by any measure and a victory by all.

I am the first to accept that council elections do not wholly indicate national trends. The Tories made some pretty odd loses alongside their wins. However, people are now looking at and voting for the Tories in a way inconceivable just 5 years ago.

The most appalling aspect of the media coverage, however, was their complicity in the Labour line that the Tories were making no ground in the North and had "no Councillors in Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle".

It is indeed the case that these three great Cities have no Conservative representation, but consider this - Labour have absolutely no representation on 90, yes, 90 English Councils. As the map below shows, Labour are lost all across the Country. There are another 40 or 50 Councils which have less than 5 Labour Councillors.

The media simply cannot bring themselves to accept the Tory resurgence. This is fine where media bias is well founded and well understood. I will never expect the Mirror or the Guardian to be treat Cameron fairly but that is a business decision and those publications live and die by their allegiance.

The BBC is very different. It exists in the public interest, funded by each and everyone of us through the most blatant and unreasonable tax.

It is very simple, the BBC can become politically biased if they want to, but they must face the same price and risk as all the others. Bias or license fee - not both. You decide.

Ashdown, Kennedy, Menzies Campbell, ???

Standby for another Lib Dem leadership campaign. If you can bear it.

Hanging Chavs

Last week, Scotland hosted the sort of election Zimbabwe would have been distinctly proud of.

With people facing two separate elections involving three different election systems, the result was a staggering 1 in 10 ballot papers spoilt. Spoilt by confusion and complication that is, not apathy and anarchy.

The whole point about the simplicity of democracy is that everyone can understand it. The act of marking a single paper with a single 'X' is time-honoured.

Rather like Bush and his ludicrous "hanging chads", one expected Scotland to burst into a flame of legal contest as losers claimed that their victory was buried amongst the discarded papers.

Those first in the queue should be the decent people of Scotland whose honourable attempt to participate in the democratic process has come to nought through no fault of their own. I myself have spent some considerable time trying to figure it all out and well done to all those who got it right. I cannot be sure I would have myself!!

The one group of people, however, who have absolutely no right to challenge the result are the Scottish Labour Party, under whose watch and with whose direction and compliance, such an abomination was allowed to take place.

It is ironic that their own thoughtless, flawed and pathetically "equal" system has brought about their own downfall.

Mr Allan Wilson, defeated Labour candidate in Cunnignhame North, smarts at his personal loss. Not half as much as the 100,000 Scots denied their right to vote.

Abandon the Brown Ship

Labour’s new strategy: cut and run; survive to fight another day.

A the end of a very bad day for the Labour party in the country , it is the news that Charles Clarke has publicly announced that he will not run for the Labour leadership and John Reid's news that he will resign from teh Cabinet when Brown takes over that really gives us the meaning of it all and describes just how bad things are.

Clarke, with his cohort, Milburn, has always had that glint in his eye that just told you he was going to go for it. But even one as slightly deranged as he has taken one look at today's political landscape and has pulled out.

Everyone now knows that the game is up and that Brown must face the music – alone. It will be immensely painful but thankfully it will be brief. And that is precisely why all the other potential candidates will sit on their hands. They prefer a survival strategy. The sooner Brown takes over, the sooner they lose and the sooner Brown can be dispatched and replaced. That is the time to rescue Labour, not now.

If you are around 50-ish, that is by far a better option than challenging now. After all, even if you win, what is the prize? The vile legacy of Blair and Iraq? The economic pensions black hole of Brown? A failing NHS? The torment of the Scottish Nationalists and the collapse of the Union? A revived and attractive Conservative challenge?

No thanks, Mr Brown. Its all yours, and you deserve it.

Brown has made his bed and he must now lie in it. He will fulfil the single ambition that has driven him for two decades and, in sweet revenge for his bitterness, cowardice, stubbornness and failure, it will be a (short) living nightmare.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be governed by a very vicious, nasty man with a bunker, Millwall* supporter mentality, you are about to find out.

It pains me to realise that I am living the best years of my life under some of the most despicable political leadership I can imagine.

*Famously, Millwall supporters chant “Everyone hates us, we don’t care!”

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Cut in haste, pay at leisure.

If I can adapt the much loved phrase "marry in haste, repent at leisure" to this Budget, I would say "cut in haste, pay at leisure".

This Budget and indeed the political activity of the last few days, provides all the evidence you need that Cameron is now running the country.

Cameron leads on environment, Gordon turns green. Cameron leads a Doctors rally, Gordon (& Tony) hold tortuous press conference on public services. Cameron looks for tax cuts, Gordon delivers - but just to out flank Cameron.

Gordon's mistake is that everything he is currently doing is designed to destroy Cameron. He can't help himself. He is the ultimate class warrior.

The trouble is that twisting and turning to outwit Cameron is a world apart from leading the country and his obsession will be seen for what it is.

I admire the loyalty of those who love Gordon, but even they must smart at some of the things he has and will do to win the votes of middle England. He is betraying his principals, the poorest in society and his supporters, but Gordon's "destiny" is more important than good or principalled leadership.

I may not like the policies they hold, but I do respect Socialists such as Tony Benn, who stand up for what they believe, argue with passion and honesty and take the rough with the smooth. Brown is the epitomy of true Scottish socialist / communist conviction, but he has done nothing for the poor. If anything, he has made their lives vastly worse by complicating the benefits process beyond their intellectual capability, failing the education system and standing by while crime and disorder in our poorer communities becomes endemic.

I despise his conceit. I despise his class warfare. And I despise his cynical, deceitful approach to government.

Admirable Chancellor - disastrous Prime Minister in waiting.

Pretty much sums it up for me.

Update: Did I really say 'admirable'?? Should read "abominable"!

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

The Scottish Handgrenade

History is about to repeat itself and once again, Scotland plays a leading role.

In 1990, Thatcher was driven from office by her own Party after 11 (great) years in absolute power. Scotland delivered the final blow in its reaction to the trial of the infamous Poll Tax. Heseltine, the big noise of the then Tory Party, had previously dithered over the assassination, trying all manner of underhand tactics to prompt revolt. The departure of such a powerful leader exposed the shallowness of spirit in those left behind and the complete absence of talent or leadership.

In the end, the apparently dominant Heseltine failed to secure the leadership as the Party chose to “play safe” behind the featureless charisma vacuum that was Mr Major. The Government and, frankly, the country descended into unseemly decay. Scotland did for Thatcher and the Tories haven’t managed to win more than one seat North of the Border ever since.

In the next few months, Scotland will once again provoke political chaos, and, albeit in a slightly different way, the outcome will be the same. Power will be usurped, a talentless inner lining will be exposed, and the dominant figure will stumble in the final straight as a divided and rudderless party loses its nerve.

Scotland, Gordon Brown’s personal fiefdom, is set to go to the polls in 60 odd days to elect MSP’s to a Parliament that only exists because our current Government made it so. The polls suggest however, that they will express their thanks by voting Labour out of office in favour of the Nationalist SNP. Thanks indeed. Scots were never known for their sense of humour.

This time Scotland will do for the “Prince Regent” at the moment of transition, and the Labour Party will panic and play safe. This time, however, the Opposition are ready and waiting and there will be no extended death throes.

Gordon Brown, broken and furious, will never understand how his own people conspired to use the liberty he helped to give them to betray him.

The moral of the story, if that is what you are looking for, is that politics is a ruthless business not for the fainthearted. Power must be acquired and retained by fair means or foul. Most of all, if you don’t take control of your destiny, your destiny will crumble to dust before your very eyes.

Oh yes, and Scotland may be very beautiful but its residents are a political liability! I feel the onset of a new metaphor. Alongside the "Trojan Horse" perhaps we should have the "Scottish handgrenade".