Saturday, 31 December 2011
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
It's like the 2010 election never happened and Labour are still in power.
But what caught my eye was that the Telegraph, who never mention the EU at all when it comes to this issue, almost fall over themselves pointing out that very elephant in the room:
The Business Department has warned that forcing firms to charge a minimum price could be illegal under European law. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, favours a voluntary approach, but he has been overruled by Mr Cameron, although the compulsory scheme might fall foul of government lawyers.And:
A Whitehall source said: “The Prime Minister has decided that when it comes to alcohol, something pretty radical now has to be done and he is keen on the minimum price. It is complicated how this can be delivered, particularly under European law...And:
European law is complicated and minimum prices are only likely to be allowed if the authorities can demonstrate that they are tackling a major health problem without undermining competition.And:
Historically, governments have been reluctant to look at minimum pricing because of concerns about the legality of the move...What's going on? I can only assume that the regular Telegraph staff have gone on holiday for Christmas and the temporary cover are making a better fist of it. No doubt in January when the regular staff return, normal service of ignoring the elephant will be resumed.
Saturday, 24 December 2011
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Leaving aside that Cameron didn't actually veto anything, what's revealing is that 'Brit bashing' is apparently fair game. Should eurosceptics in this country have indulged in such language about other EU countries then the usual retorts of 'little Englander' would've be chucked about with abandon.
Naturally all of this will be used as an argument of the UK being isolated in Europe. The isolation argument has always been a red herring. It matters not if you're on your own, what matters is if you're right. It's far better to be isolated yet correct, than be wrong only in order to take comfort in being a sheep. The latter is perfect territory for extreme political outcomes that ironically the EU was supposedly designed to prevent.
Ronald Reagan once said:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."I'm partly here on this planet because my maternal grandparents met, as workers, at the Supermarine Spitfire plant in Swindon during WWII. They, in their own way, helped fight for my freedom and so as a consequence handed it down for me to do the same - I intend to carry that fight on. If that makes us isolated then so be it - I don't care.
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Friday, 9 December 2011
Cameron has always shown himself to be a europhile ever since he became leader so why has he only now performed a u-turn so large that it's visible from space? The short answer is, he hasn't.
Despite the wisdom of the all seeing eyes that are journalists (who think this is a summit not a council meeting) there has been no veto, in fact no treaty changes can be made without an IGC. This is evident in the weasel words that are being used (my emphasis):
PM declares: 'I had to pursue Britain's interests... I effectively wielded the veto.Effectively does not mean he has. And...
Cameron faces virtual isolationVirtual eh? Not the same thing.
The golden rule with Cameron is to accept that he is a europhile, so if he appears to make statements to the contrary then there will inevitably be a massive catch So why are most falling for his guff?
Cameron is playing to a pliable British press to convince his party that he really is eurosceptic, when strong evidence shows conclusively the opposite. This is obvious in this piece by the Mail:
This is the moment that Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrates exactly what he really thinks of David Cameron's veto of the EU Treaty change.I bet now Cameron and Sarkozy are laughing in private, saying to each other "brilliant we got the timing just right" but Sarkozy saying; "shit, I still look short in the photos"
After the gruelling all-night sitting in Brussels, Mr Cameron approaches the French president with his hand outstretched, ready to shake and show there are no hard feelings.
But not only does Mr Sarkozy refuse to acknowledge the PM, he actually does a swift swerve aside, waving pointedly to someone - anyone - on his right.
Boris Johnson has concluded that Cameron has played a blinder - in a sense he's right: Cameron is stupid but he's cute enough to play to the gallery of Tory voters who are more stupid and gullible than him.
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
It leaves me wondering whether I should write a generic post along the lines of; "nothing to see here, move along the bus please" and keep reposting it after every EU meeting a la Blue Peter's 'here's one I made earlier'. So I can only agree with this piece by Governmentitus who labels the Euro as being in "do not resuscitate" territory (ironically in his first posting for a long time).
A blizzard of silly proposals has hit the wires this week as a legion of ministers, diplomats, commissars, high secretaries, and fellow travellers all lobby and conspire to create "momentum" behind pet themes. In the meantime, nothing workable is actually on the table before the "summit-to-save-the-euro" on Friday.
Be careful. Do not be distracted by Byzantine absurdities. And don’t listen to anybody who uses the term fiscal union. There is no such proposal. All we have so far is a Stability Pact with extra lipstick (Fiskalunion).
Nothing further to add.
Meanwhile, the BBC - in its wisdom - has spent the best part of the day regurgitation a 'bears heading towards woods clutching newspapers' story:
Nearly half of cancers diagnosed in the UK each year - over 130,000 in total - are caused by avoidable life choices including smoking, drinking and eating the wrong things, a review reveals.This nannying by the BBC is relentless and I'm fed up of it. Can we have proper news not some uncritical publishing of a report by an organisation with an agenda?
So this is an ideal opportunity therefore to link to, what is in my view one of the finest football chants in the English game - the Greasy Chip Butty song by Sheffield United fans, the lyrics being sung to the tune of John Denver's Annie's song:
You fill up my sensesI'm not sure what I like about this chant the most; the sound of 30,000 drunken Yorkshire men battering Denver's song into submission, the fluffy lyrics of the original sung by wool jumper wearing Denver being replaced by uncompromising Northern imagery, or the fact that when I've heard it sung at Bramall Lane copious children stand up singing (arms outstretched) "you fill up my senses...like a packet of Woodbines".
Like a gallon of Magnet
Like a packet of Woodbines
Like a good pinch of snuff
Like a night out in Sheffield
Like a greasy chip butty
Like Sheffield United
Come fill me again....
Anyway it's a wonderful riposte to the neverending BBC propaganda every week and no doubt would give some of those in the BBC, should they hear it, a heart attack....ironically.
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
I've only just spotted this from a Man in a Shed's profile - a now seemingly former Tory, who has been unhappy for sometime with the Tories and especially Cameron. Indicative of the systematic decline of all political parties - particularly the Tories since Cameron took over.
Cameron's loyalty is to the EU even if it means the complete destruction of his own party. What more of a damning indictment is there of the insidious nature of our membership.
As per the infamous FCO 30/1048 document of 1971 predicting the implications of our membership of the then EEC:
(ii) the transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feeling of alienation from government.That alienation has come to pass - big time.
Monday, 5 December 2011
One would like to think he was voting because he was swayed by the arguments, because it was an issue of conscience or, heaven forbid, it was on behalf of his constituents.
But no... it's more important to remember if the vote is whipped and (presumably) vote accordingly to party orders.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
That aside, the point of my post is to pick up on this obituary by the BBC. Firstly it states:
At 6ft 4in tall he was known for his physical strength...Which leaves one wondering whether the author has actually ever seen him play. A beautiful passer of the ball he definitely was, however the least of his attributes was his physical strength - by his own admission:
Then we get to this (my emphasis):
"Alcohol did not affect my career, in part because I never had the physical build to play this game," he said.
"Soccer became my profession only when I was already 24. I was too thin and when I was young I did not have the opportunity to prepare myself physically for the sport."
His heroes included famous libertarians Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the men who led the Cuban revolution of the 1950s,Er...in what way can those two mass-murdering men ever be described as libertarians?
You can't even get away from BBC bias in a footballer's obituary.
Update: Thanks to Witterings From Witney in the comments, he's alerted me to the fact that the BBC (as expected) have made a silent edit to their obituary. It now reads:
His heroes included Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the men who led the Cuban revolution of the 1950s...But I have a screen print:
Saturday, 3 December 2011
Psychiatrist calls for lithium to be added to waterDo read the article in full, ironically it makes you laugh and depressed at the same time. Perhaps it's a clever ruse by Dr Bhamjee on behalf of the Irish Government to drug the Irish into pretending the Euro crisis is not much to worry about.
A consultant psychiatrist last night called on Government to add lithium salts to the public water supply in a bid to lower the suicide rate and depression among the general population.
At a mental health forum on “Depression in Rural Ireland” in Ennistymon, Co Clare, Dr Moosajee Bhamjee said that “there is growing scientific evidence that adding trace amounts of the drug lithium to a water supply can lower rates of suicide and depression”.
Dr Bhamjee said that a community would not get “hooked” on lithium “because the doses would be so small”.
He said: “There are 200,000 people suffering from depression in Ireland and the Government must think of new ways of tackling the problem.”Mr Neville said that with the well-publicised suicide of footballer Gary Speed, it raised contagion or copycat suicide concerns.
Anyway at least it gives me an excuse, on a Saturday evening, to plug a Nirvana classic:
Friday, 2 December 2011
The Germans are, for historical reasons, desperate to avoid again being placed in a central role at the heart of Europe. But circumstances have conspired to bring this about. Paradoxically, a European Union established to dissipate German power has enhanced it once more. And yet, perhaps because their own economy has performed exceptionally well, the Germans will not face up to their responsibilities. As a modern-day European diplomat, Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, said this week: “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear its inactivity.” For a Pole, that was a remarkable statement. The Germans should listen, and act.Desperate to maintain the Euro, what the Telegraph is advocating here is, not only a German dominated Europe, but the destruction of democracy across Europe including in Germany. Will German voters have a say in a undemocratic fiscal union that the Telegraph is essentially proposing? Or any other European countries for that matter? This...from a British newspaper.
The deepest irony is that the Euro crisis exists because the German Constitutional Court is upholding the basics of democracy and refusing to let Merkel throw it away on a whim just to prop up the Euro.
So in short the Telegraph wants Germany to throw away Europe's democracy for the sake of the EU and then it will viciously condemn it for doing so.
What a disgrace.
"[the Euro] is a burning building with no exits"In that he was correct, however it doesn't mean that exit is entirely impossible. It's clear in the current circumstances that, due to a lack of proper exits, a form of 'mouse-holing' is occurring - to exit rather than enter. The flight from the eurozone is gaining momentum and by any means necessary.
Both Merkel and Sarkozy are grandstanding with statements of their relevant positions that haven't changed in substance in months if not years. This no longer has anything to do with saving the Euro but protecting their legacy especially with their domestic audiences. And everyone else has cotton on. The breakup of the Euro is increasingly being discussed less like an option but more as an inevitability. China has given up:
China tells Europe: You are on your ownCEOs of major companies are giving up:
China, one of the few countries with pockets deep enough to buy up Europe's debt, cannot use its £2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to rescue other countries, Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said yesterday.
It is one minute to midnight for the euroAnd Sir Mervyn King has given up:
That is the view of the chief executives of European giants Shell, Philips, Unilever, DSM and AkzoNobel, revealed in a letter to Dutch paper Het Financieele Dagblad. They are running out of patience with Europe's politicians.
"It is one minute to twelve and is therefore of the utmost importance that there will come a strong handling of the euro crisis in the short term," they wrote, demanding "political courage" to create stability."
But in my several decades as a financial and economics commentator – covering banking crises dating back to the early 1970s and the Latin American debt catastrophes of the early 1980s – I have never heard a sitting governor talk in such apocalyptic terms about the parlous state of the global financial system.It's all over chaps, please get on with it and in the most orderly way possible. Thanks.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
The clock is ticking for the euro. After 11 years circulating in shops and bars from Athens to Zeebrugge, there are, it is said, just 10 days left to save itWas the use of Zeebrugge deliberate?
What is clear though is that the news chatter is intensifying greatly which indicates panic is setting in significantly. I suggested before that sandbagging maybe happening with gusto but one wonders if they know what they are supposed to be sandbagging against, especially with these rather unusually stark comments from Sir Mervyn King:
Banks should brace themselves to withstand the "extraordinarily serious and threatening" economic situation, the Bank of England governor has said.Which prompted this analysis:
It's getting obvious that no-one has the first idea what they're doing and are in denial about the urgent and fundamental problems of the Eurozone....that then leaves only one conclusion and one inevitable outcome. Gulp!
If anyone was in any doubt about the severity of the eurozone crisis and what it might mean for the UK, they shouldn't be any more.
The governor of the Bank of England delivered his starkest warning yet. It's quite something for a central banker to describe the financial climate as "extraordinarily serious and threatening".
Sir Mervyn King made no attempt to play down speculation about the possible break-up of the eurozone. He thinks banks can weather storms ahead if they set aside more capital. But he acknowledged that the problems were widespread and beyond the control of any UK authority.
To sum up the financial regulators' message - fasten your seatbelts for what could be a very bumpy ride.
"Celebrities, MPs and Stephen Fry queued up to express their outrage...on twitter" cries the Telegraph, "John Prescott (former deputy PM) tweeted; 'pleeease won't someone think of the teachers...', Tony Parsons tweets; 'Clarkson should be shot for saying strikers should be shot' and a former trade unionist tweets; 'Thatcher dying of cancer jokes are hilarious, but Clarkson's comments are nasty and cross the line'."
Another way of looking at it.
It's only a couple of weeks until Christmas, a BBC presenter has a new book and DVD out and appears on a BBC programme (Biased BBC could fill its blog on just the One Show alone).
Said BBC presenter then makes some mildly amusing yet knowingly controversial comments (where he was clearly joking), thus generating lots of useful and very helpful publicity.
If there's one post I would recommend today above all others it's this one from Richard North on the state of our media.