Thursday, July 31, 2008

The passion deepens and now I have revealed it, I find that I am actually revelling in it. And as my love is appearing on the news more and more, what joy fills my heart!

Just look that tempestous spirit when questioned by 5 news about the leadership election. If he had a mane, it would have been tossed back as he muttered 'oh for god's sake'.

And what about here? That cheeky look in his eyes, that winning smile as he puts the BBC wench in her place. But what gets my attention is that finger holding is jacket casually and yet oh-so-sexily thrown over his shoulder... a girl can dream, can't she?

Tales from South Cornwall

Lovely Trixy (™) has twisted my arm (I am Minge – hope you are well), to recount our recent well-earned sojourn to sun ourselves like lazy but, withered, gazelles in glorious Cornwall.

Owing to her lolling around on a beach like a bronzed Amazon, she asked me to keep you, her faithful readers, up to date; she was fairly preoccupied during our stay, building and implementing her master plan to snog and possibly deflower all males of the species that she get her elegantly manicured talons on - well at least those who had recently departed a selection of Britain's better public schools, and had keys to a floating gin palace on the Helford River…

Firstly lets recap our journey in the Trix-mobile to the “Duchy”, the land where pasties don't just come from kiosks at suburban railway stations, the only County where the cream is as clotted as John Prescott’s syntax – and sadly home to five singularly ineffectual, and hopefully soon to be redundant, Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament...(Andrew George, Moron of Parliament for St Ives for instance doesn't seem to really mind that his constituents lack jobs, or live in the most appalling poverty in the UK...he's preoccupied with a greater scheme, persecuting those who buy holiday homes with a zealotry not seen since the Catholic Kings –bugger everything else, lets burn the rich!!)

We departed Trixy Towers upbeat (thanks to Cher and Marlboro lights) until we discovered to our inverse delight, that the Department of Transport had turned the M3 over to the NCP people, and it is now an almost completely static carpark. However praise where praise is due for this bunch of socialist cowboys (sorry Harriet, cow-persons) - I congratulate HMG on their successful implementation of the plan – not so much the wheels of the Government wagon falling off, as the wagon grinding to a halt completely. The only excitement is hanging out of the window looking at the people whose cars have exploded in the heat – if there’s one thing that brings the great British public together, its suppressed joy at someone else’s misery.

Once we’d moved on, we eventually found ourselves pootling (Trix thought the term mincing was not quite a gay enough description for our driving style, and music choices) down the A303, and Trixy decided randomly that, owing to Sherborne having a girls’ school (where my friend Sophie went incidentally) it was obviously a perfect place to stop off for a refreshing glass of wine. Our criterion was stiff however, and we brooked no opposition - we wanted a public house with lashings of local colour and country charm and a barman who made a) a good martini b) a tent in my pants. We envisaged rosy cheeked wenches, pulling pints of the Syphilitic Rooster (or whatever local beverage was all the rage) to horny handed farm hands…

We finally found such an olde Dorsetshire country hostelry (can’t remember the name, the Dog & Bollocks, or the Ducks’ Nuts or similar) replete with thatched roof, and dripping with what (the lovely) Kirsty Alsopp would describe as 'character features'. Trix and I hoped we'd fit in with the locals in our London rags – we certainly tried to make ourselves inconspicuous (Trixy tucked her tiara surreptitiously behind her ear, as I hid my monocle – although the rustle of our cerise taffeta evening gowns underneath our evening capes was a bit of a giveaway). However, as luck would have it, we managed to avoid being run out of town by angry village “folk” - hurling slurs on we metropolitan types daring to enter their village…

The hostelry in question had been bought twelve months ago by this delightful, and almost certainly lovely, couple from Balham: Jeremy and Sophie (would you believe it!). Trix and I were in awe of their stripped pine and Cath Kidson dining accessories, but harboured vague doubts on the authenticity of their “Olde Dorsetshire Map: c.1550) – I’m not certain, but I have a feeling that the M5 didn’t run from Exeter to Bristol in 1550? Please do write-in if I’m wrong…I’ll prepare a fact sheet if necessary…

“So. I'm almost at the end of the country?” This was Trixy's observation as the Trix-mobile finally cruised over the Devon -Cornwall border (hurrah!) near to journey’s end. I always treasure moments such as these, when Trixy demonstrates the keen mind and agile wit which has propelled her so seamlessly to such dizzying heights within Euro-baiting politics...

And so, we arrived at Mingey Manor, in the small village of Moist-on-the-Gusset, near Little Felching – and home of the Mingey family since we first starting minging way back in the reign of Farty the First - but we’re also equipped with all the mod-cons you’d expect in the County where David Cameron suns himself – running water, electricity every other week, and hot and cold running houseboys...

I won’t bore you with the details of our stay. Suffice it to say that for a good time dear reader, go to South Cornwall, which is infinitely preferable to North Cornwall for all too obvious reasons (please note this list is not exhaustive, and may include utterly irrelevant as well as breathtakingly incisive material:)

· In a recent Government report, issued by the Department for Health, It has been proven that Newquay has more chavs, per sq ft (or per square Ford Escort – it amounts to the same thing) than anywhere else in the British Isles – with the obvious exception of Romford, and parts of Chingford. Visitors beware; I try to camouflage myself behind hooped earrings and (faux) Burberry tracksuits if the need arises – I understand the TA runs a course to prepare people for such adversity…

· “Sloane-Square-on-Sea” (also known as the Padstow/Rock conurbation) has more annoying 16 sixteen year old boys trying to get served in bars than anywhere else –except the Trafalgar on the Kings Road (SW3) or the Henry VI in Eton High Street.…Which can make being served problematic, and can skew the choices on the jukebox from something lovely by Bonnie Tyler/Cher/Barbara Streisand, to something crap by Naughty Rascals, or whoever the latest dance sensations may be..

However, in South Cornwall we have lots of secret places, and the people are much nicer, if fatter. But I’m not going to tell you about them, because it will get too crowded and then we’ll have to bring back emmett-culling* and I’ve just put myself down for a flower arranging class so I’m not sure I’ll have the time.

Hope this has livened up your day, and stay moist.


*Emmett-Culling (v): literally, to cull an emmett; a process practiced by Cornish persons of hurling clotted cream, Ginsters pasties and Cornish fairings at non-Cornish folk as they cross the Tamar River in order to repel, or possibly maim non – Cornish folk.

If I know what love is, it is because of you

Firstly, I must apologise to Mr Eugenides for mocking him when he revealed his love for Wendy Alexander.

For I to now realise the trauma of being in love with a member of the Labour party. It is a passion which I am almost too frightened to say, although the first hurdle of admitting it to The Devil has been passed. A hurdle from which I emerged relatively unscathed, save a text message informing me that I should be beaten to death with my own womb, filled with rusty spanners.

Dear readers: I am in love with David Miliband.

It is he who occupies my mind in disturbing dreams involving a vat biofuels, a wind turbine and a feather bower. Just look at the fire in his eyes when he talks about renewable energy, watch his temper flare when questioned about the Lisbon Treaty and the suggestion that maybe it is somewhat similar to the EU Constitution. That figure, hidden beneath well cut suits would ripple with muscles just waiting to be unleashed on a fragrant and willing Trixy.

By day, a New Labour Foreign Secretary but by night a wild, ardent and sexual lover.

And yet, dear readers, they are calling for this political adonis to be fired!

The foreign secretary had "overstepped the line", Geraldine Smith said, while fellow MP Bob Marshall-Andrews accused him of "duplicitous" behaviour.
The Guardian article discussed Labour's future without mentioning Mr Brown.

And all for writing what he believed in.
Readers may notice the picture in that article and wonder whether I was there:

My message of love it seems has not been noticed by the object of my affections, and so I hope to do so in my new campaign, inspired by that other love match which never was:

Ladies and Gentlemen

I can only hope it's more successful.

"Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm delighted that the Tory MEPs are still campaigning hard against the Lisbon Treaty. I was not surprised that once again they used the money and ideas of UKIP to promote the idea that the Tories are in any way suitable at protecting the interest of this country against the EU...

Syed and Dan are actually lovely people who I would happily have round to dinner but there's no getting away from the fact they are wearing t shirts thought up, paid for and designed by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

But people reading this leaflet wouldn't know that, they'd see a nice group of mainly sensibly Tories protesting against the treaty and thus reaffirming their mistaken belief that voting Tory will actually help us maintain sovereignty and get back what we've lost. When really, when you want someone to vote no to power transfer, highlight fraud and corruption (including of their own should the matter arise)and raise awareness of what's actually happening in the EU then you should put a tick in the box of Nigel 'shark hunter' Farage.

Monday, July 28, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Conspiracy or coincidence?

Now, I'm not one for conspiracy theories, since I don't want to ruin my tanned, healthy complexion with unsightly wrinkles, particularly around the Bambi's. However, news reaches me that David Cameron's nearest neighbour on his relaxing Cornish holiday (and by that, I mean the next house round the cliff) is none other than UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

I'm surprised that Dave allowed the situation to happen, given that he thinks Mr Farage is a fruitcake, loony and closet racist. Or perhaps it was actually all planned well in advance and those muttering about how Nigel is nowt but a Tory plant (they do exist, if you would believe it..) are right!

I can't see it myself. For whilst Dave seems more at home posing on a rock like a 21st century mermaid, Farage is out catching sharks...

Don't do as I say, or 'A song I rather like'

Now, I'm not really up on modern day music; Well, what you kids would call 'popular' music for I consider Rachmaninoff modern. And despite my normal routine of ignoring them when someone, particularly a boy, tells me something is very good, I can't with this one.

When the Beefcake used to read me snippets of Wodehouse I used to giggle to myself but something stopped me from grabbing the book and reading it myself, despite knowing that he was quite right and that Wodehouse was an absolute Genius. It was a refusal to be one of those people who just like the music, films or books that their boyfriend does. Of course, a few years later and I am devouring Woodhouse like an anorexic who has just realised that, far from fat, they'd look good in a Lowry painting and it might be time to start eating cakes again.

So when my elite, Roman friend played me this song one evening I tried my hardest not to like it. But, a week later it's been played quite a few times on my iPod. It's very annoying.

Friday, July 25, 2008

cars, planes; just cars.

I cannot remember ever actually seeing the paper part of my driving license. This only became a problem a couple of years ago when I was in Brussels and I needed to hire a car, but the nice people at the DVLA in Swansea sent me a fax with the list of my entitlements on.

I never managed to get round to my local post office to get a proper second part, though. It wasn't really an issue because when I hired a car the people just called up the DVLA who confirmed I had a clean license, that sort of thing. So today when I am trying to hire a car, I stumbled across a slight problem. The company with the car didn't have the facility to do that and needed a paper bit. 'Right', thought I, for I often come up with very profound statements in a crisis situation. 'I'd better call up the DVLA'.

I didn't press 0 to find out what this over payments on driving tests fiasco was and after listening to some Welsh sing song tones, and not asking them where the Atomic Power Station was in the language of the Celts or whoever but I finally managed to speak to a human being. They informed me that I can only get a fax from them if I am abroad. If I live in the UK then, essentially, I can go fuck myself.

Well, I wasn't going to let that deter me. So, Minge got the fax number of his Paris office and Gaby there said of course she would fax it back to us in the UK. Cue long story to the DVLA about being at a work conference abroad and needing to drive down to Bordeaux where the MD has gone without signing some forms. Anyway, £5 later and I am told the fax is on the way to Paris.

So, now that is being faxed to the hire rental people who, actually didn't seem to care too much. Maybe that's because the card part of my license has all my entitlements on it too. So, one Renault Clio is soon to be mine for the weekend and then I can go to Cornwall and enjoy the lovely sunshine and not the clotted cream or strawberries because I am still on bloody Atkins. Which I hate.

Ah, the bliss to be leaving the home counties, and not having to take public transport....

Dear Readers, I am close to marrying him.

Stopping IVF?

Before I start this, a disclaimer: I don't want children and I can't understand why anyone would.*

Trixy doesn't think anyone should get fertility treatment on the NHS. It's not essential medical treatment and there are people out there not getting treatment for cancer so they have to pay for it themselves and I think that's more important than assisting 'reproductively challenged' people. Sorry if that offends, but that's how it is.

However, if we do currently offer IVF to couples then I don't think that the anti smoking Nazis should be able to deny people treatment because they don't conform to their incredibly dull lifestyles they all want us to live.

"The evidence on smoking isn't conclusive, but there is research showing it can affect ovulation."
said Professor Peter Braude, a leading fertility specialist based at Kings College London.
But that won't stop ZaNu Labour for one second. They HATE smokers, hate anyone who gets invited down a pub to have a drink because they don't and hate people who say 'fuck it' and demolish a bar of dairy milk in one sitting.

Never mind the fact that smokers basically fund the NHS through the duty imposed on cigarettes. I mean, if they hated it that much they'd ban smoking outright, wouldn't they? But they don't. They just treat us like pariahs and use us as cash cows. We pay above and beyond for treatment they wish to deny to us, but there's the mental block with these people: they don't equate liberty and choice with the fairness or, indeed, the NHS.

I only wish that smoking did affect fertility but I've had very little proof to show that it does. A good friend of mine smokes about 40 a day, he used to smoke about 60, and he has 4 children. Another person I knew when I worked in Brussels had nine children and was a keen smoker. In fact, the only person I know who is having trouble producing ground game is a non smoker. Perhaps they should take up the habit as it seems to work wonders for my friends. Unless, of course, the whole thing about smoking and fertility is just absolute bullshit and it's another way for this hateful administration to discriminate against anyone who doesn't fit into their ideal of the perfect British citizen...

You might not like smoking, but I don't like ugly, smelly people. I don't like people who wear Old Spice and think that pacamacs are, were or ever will be a fashionable item. But that's your choice to look and smell like that, and it's my choice to have a cigarette. And next time you moan about not liking the smell of someone's smoke, before you moan and ask them to put it out even though they're standing in the open air, stop and think: maybe you smell like an incontinent old donkey, and the smoker is just trying to mask the smell?

*well, I did say to one person I would have his children.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

some people never learn

It's been a bothersome couple of days: you would have thought that people would learn not to provoke a woman who has chronic period pain, been interrupted by freaks and their egos on holiday and is doing atkins whilst also being a vegetarian.

Anyway, it appears they don't.

My friend commented that they obviously hadn't learned from when Steve Irwin went around poking a vicious creature with a stick.

Am trying not to bite. Really, I am.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There's a plan?

The beefcake that is Strangely Brown brought my attention to a piece on BBC online entitled: 'Mission change' for UK in Iraq which had inspired the comment of 'Ye gods, there was a mission???"

S.B is almost as good at International Law as me but I will grant him that he is rather better at implementing it. My opinion on Iraq has been that it is an illegal war, an unjust war, that we have no place being there and our troops should not have ever been sent there. I also doubt that there was ever any long term plan in place since the Americans don't exactly have much experience in peacekeeping and reconstruction and our government are a bunch of cunts who expect the MoD to compete for funding the same as any other department whilst seemingly forgetting that we are fighting two medium sized wars.

So as for 'change of mission', I can only think of the wit and wisdom that what Captain Edmund Blackadder:

Melchett: You look surprised, Blackadder.
Edmund: I certainly am, sir. I didn't realise we had any battle plans.
Melchett: Well, of course we have! How else do you think the battles are directed?
Edmund: Our battles are directed, sir?

Today, Gordon Brown said:
We would expect another fundamental change of mission in the first few months of 2009 as we make the transition to a long-term bilateral relationship with Iraq.

To which I would ask him; what was the original plan?
Bob: Oh sir, please don't give me away, sir. I just wanted to be like my brothers and join up. I want to see how a real war is badly.
Edmund: Well, you've come to the right place, Bob. A war hasn't been fought *this* badly since Olaf the Hairy, Chief of all the Vikings, accidentally ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the *inside*.

Well, quite.

The Politics of War

Are we surprised that the arrest of Karadzic has been announced the same morning as a meeting of EU foreign ministers? Trixy really isn't.

The capture and dealing with of war crimes was something required by Serbia should leaders and aspiring politicians wish to scoff at the EU trough. This was reiterated by that infant masquerading as our Foreign Secretary who said the arrest,

"pave the way for a brighter, European future for Serbia and the region".

What else should we expect from a man desperate to hand over every last ouncegram of our sovereignty to an unelected foreign bureaucracy. Surely the tower beckons soon?

Don't misunderstand me: I am glad the cunt is going to be locked up.
Who could not, given that some 8000 Muslim men and boys were bound, shot and thrown in mass graves and the siege of Sarajevo by the Serbs resulted in the loss of another estimated 10,000.

And I'm not even surprised that politicians use the deaths of thousands to further their own causes. After all, to get that far in politics one needs to have had some kind of moral lobotomy.

I'm also not surprised that no mention has been made by these Foreign Ministers of the role the EU troops played in the massacre, standing around whilst the atrocities took place. Let's face it, talking about the EU's military ambitions is rather like sex in Victorian times: they all want to do it, they are getting on with it, but certainly no one talks about such things.

In contrast to the statements by Mr Miliband and the French Presidency of the EU, who said it was:
"an important step on the path to the rapprochement of Serbia with the European Union."

and Jose Manuel Barrosa, who called it
A very positive development...It proves the determination of the new Serbian government to achieve full cooperation with the ICTY. It is also very important for Serbia's European aspirations,

The Americans actually said something about what it meant for the people who suffered, rather than what the foreign community could gain from it:
"The timing of the arrest, only days after the commemoration of the massacre of over 7,000 Bosnians committed in Srebrenica, is particularly appropriate, as there is no better tribute to the victims of the war's atrocities than bringing their perpetrators to justice," the
White House Press Secretary said. Quite.

Of course, Serbia who really do need to be rewarded for no longer hiding this murderer, should now be welcomed into the EU.

But, oh! We'll need the Lisbon Treaty for that. I do hope the Irish wouldn't be so selfish as to hold them back....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tories in not saying anything new shocker

Two for today.

The first one is this story about acres being banned by the EU which was picked up and widely circulated by UKIP back in January following a letter from Reihard Klien, Head of Unit DG Enterprise. Clearly, however, even though we read exactly the same documents, just somewhat quicker than the tories who are all busy going on foreign trips at the expense of the tax payer, what UKIP say doesn't count.
The other 'story' is

David Cameron has just confirmed that, if ratification of the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty were not complete in every one of the 27 EU states, an incoming Conservative Government would carry out its promise to hold a referendum and recommend a "No" vote.
says Dan Hannan.

I'm not entirely sure how this is a news story. This has been the Conservative Party line for some time, now and it was in the 2005 manifesto. In my opinion, the more interesting line was written up by the incredibly sexy David Wooding:
Mr Cameron admitted it would be "almost impossible" to have a referendum if it was already law in the UK and the rest of the EU.

He told an audience in Harlow, Essex: "We may have to say, well look, we’re not happy with this situation, here are some of the powers we’d like to have back.

"But we can’t give you that referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because it’s already been put in place across the rest of Europe.

By October we will know what the Irish are going to do, and it will not be to let the Lisbon Treaty fail. It won't go through by 2009 but their aim is really before the June 2009 Euro Elections. We won't get a general election until 2010 I shouldn't have thought, which means that if we get a Conservative change of management then David Cameron will do precisely fuck all.

So, when people like Guido comment that:
UKIP should shut up shop and return to the fold.

I say, 'No'.
There is also the fact that so we get rid of Lisbon, what about the other 75% of our laws made there. Or the fact that when the Constitution was rejected the first time around, the pace of legislation sped up.

The Conservative Party are Pro EU. I am anti EU. I do not want to be run from Brussels. For better or worse, I want the people who make the laws which affect how I run my life to be MPs in Westminster, elected by the people and removed by the people, should they so wish.

One Treaty does not, in reality, make the slightest bit of difference to the final destination of this project or the fact we are already governed from Brussels. And the sooner people realise that, the better.

My uncle told me yesterday that Michael Gove had promised him from the other side of the table that the Tories would have a refefendum no matter what. My uncle is going to be a county council candidate for the Conservative Party and yet the MP thought nothing of completely lying to him. Spin and bullshit, the same as all politicians. Well, they're lying to themselves so why not to candidates?

I'm so envious of people in the armed forces; at least they are actually doing something productive.

That's why Trixy is preparing to hang up her quill and swap it for something a little more weapon-like.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blog Porn

That hunk of a human being, Iain Dale, is compiling a lovely list of lovely bloggers*, entitled:
Guide to Political Blogging, which is partly a directory of UK Political Blogs, and partly a review of the year in blogging.

Anyone interested in having their tuppence worth can go:

I'd just like to remind readers that I am stunningly attractive and liable to reward those loyal to me with favours.

Happy voting!



*lovely is probably pushing it. Most of them are less than desirable. Apart from the lovely ones who know who they are....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tales from a sandy place: part deux

Reality in Afghanistan is often as the media portray it: it is fucking dusty (the desert topsoil is basically five inches of yellow talcum powder, a nightmare in open-topped vehicles); breathtakingly hot (52 degrees in May); our equipment is heavy; the fighting can be terrifying and hellish (although often the biggest rush imaginable); the enemy are able to hurt us if we're unlucky; and there aren't enough troops to do the job, and those there are suffer massive overstretch (my battalion finished in Afghanistan on 9 June 2008. We deploy again in September 2009).

The media can be our enemy though: the BBC's reporting in particular makes me see my arse in rage. Take this account

Through a tiny square of dirty window, all I can see are clouds of dust as we pitch and heave across the open desert. I'm crammed into the back of an armoured vehicle, heading for battle with seven British soldiers.

Fred is the most extrovert, the butt of endless jokes about his large appetite and weight. James is the most silent. He's only just 19.
I shared the "armoured vehicle" in this article with this woman, and Fred was in my section (fat fucker!). It's a good job I didn't read the piece until I got back from theatre, or I would have shot her on the spot. "Plain fear"? Not really. There was a nervous tension, but we weren't afraid. When I found myself on the wrong end of a Taliban 50 cal the next morning, then I was afraid: but in a landrover in the middle of the desert? Nah.
I'm watching it all through binoculars, like a First World War general. I make out the shapes of Fred and James in the line.

What did she think she was watching, The Somme? There was no line - we ran down a hill, over an assault bridge and got stuck into the enemy compounds on the far side. I could go on (but I will attempt to maintain some objectivity). Finally, the woman focuses on the bitterness of the locals. No mention of the fact that the Taliban use locals as hostages for propaganda purposes; no mention of the fact we had spent days warning all non-combatants to leave; no mention of the food and water the locals were happy to give us.

The civilian reaction I encountered in Afghanistan was largely positive. They were understandably fearful for their families but clearly recognised the protection we offer. What the locals hate most is the endemic corruption of their own leaders and the insecurity that brings (for example, we killed three suspected Taliban who were herding locals at gunpoint into a pick-up truck. It turned out they weren't Taliban, but were the private militia of the local governor).

Ultimately, the people of Afghanistan are sick of war and just want to be left alone. It is crucial for us, however, that we do not allow the hard-line Taliban to take control again once we are gone (let us not forget 9/11, an attack on everything the West stands for, and the origin of this conflict), and we cannot leave until there is a stable security situation in the country. At the moment, we are training up the Afghan National Army and Police, and having worked with the ANA first hand, I can vouch that they are coming along nicely in many cases. On top of creating a situation in which the rule of law can flourish, is nation-building our job, though? Arguably, yes. Not in the sense of creating a centralised government (no chance - Afghanistan is a loose network of tribes, many of whom would go to war at the drop of a hat in order to resist overtures from Kabul), but I believe the establishment of some kind of stable local economy is essential to peace in Afghanistan.

If the local farmer had a regular income, and Afghan security forces could free him from Taliban threats, he would not be inclined to take $10 under duress from the Taliban to go and fight. Of course, the opium issue rears its ugly head at this point: it is by far the most lucrative crop for these farmers, and to them it is no different to growing maize (except that they earn ten times more growing the former). If we buy the crop, we create a potentially endless financial dependency. If we don't, heroin makes its way onto our streets. Catch 22?

If I had a cast-iron solution to the Afghan problem I would be a richer man than I currently am. What I can say, however, is that the war there is winnable: Taliban desperation at military defeats has led them to amateur replication of Iraq-type IED attacks, rather than the small arms scrapping of the last two summers. In the areas where the Taliban still hold sway, we are now strong enough to peg them back at every turn (although we do need more troops to finish the job). The locals still aren't safe, facing corrupt local officials, and the Afghan central government is still weak: the local governors hold far more sway than Kabul governments ever will. We can't leave until the security situation is resolved, however, and that will take years of graft and certainly more British lives. Is it worth it? I believe so: the world benefits from a Taliban-free Afghanistan, and we've expended so much effort, so many lives, and made so much progress, we cannot just walk away. But we need a clear political end-state (secure country? Liberal Democracy? An end to the drugs trade?) and the troops to do the job.

Politics geeks: over to you.

Strangely Brown of the 1st Battalion, The Trinity Tiddlers.

Lib Dems to censor their own press office?

The latest splurge of shite from the Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe has been sent to me by a poor journalist of mine who thought he had assigned them to the spam folder. The content was rather surprising to both of us.

Today a cross-party alliance of MEPs has presented proposals for legislation on A European Global Online Freedom Act (EU GOFA), along the lines of the American Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA) in order to ensure the global freedom on the internet. The EU GOFA is supported by human rights organizations Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House...
The 19 page legislative draft proposal contains provisions on:
* Minimum corporate standards for European Internet business operating in authoritarian states.
* Annual designation of Internet restricting countries.
* Establishment of the 'Office of Global Internet Freedom' (OGIF) as part of the European External Action Service.
* Statement that it is EU policy to promote global free speech on the internet and the global free flow of information.
* Designation of 20 million euros for the development and distribution of anti-censorship tools and services.
* Rules for European business with content-hosting services in order to create more transparency.
* Treatment of internet censorship as an international barrier to trade.
* Export controls and a human rights impact assessments for exports to internet restricting countries.

For those of you who aren't intimate with the groups in the European Parliament, ALDE is lead by none other than Graham Watson MEP who 'represents' voters in the South West foolish enough to vote Lib Dem.

Is this the self same Watson who, only a few years ago, took the lead in trying to control the media output surrounding the European Parliament? As reported by the Sprout magazine at the time (2005), a confidential memo 'shows that even in the European Parliament officials have some ideas about press control that would make even RObert Mugabe blush.'

Parliament wanted a 'code of conduct' for journalists, a blue print to clarify what areas of filming and photography are permitted and not permitted' and sanctions for members of the press who do not shove their heads up MEPs arses with sufficient frequency.

This is what emerged from the minutes, but reports afterwards found that some MEPs were rather keen on banning journalists altogether!

The MEP from whose these words spouted were, according to reports from inside, was none other than chief 'Liberal Democrat' himself Graham Watson MEP.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

un petit gag

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway. Nothing is moving. Suddenly a man knocks on the window.

The driver rolls down his window and asks, 'What's going on?'

'Terrorists down the road have kidnapped Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, David Miliband, and Jack Straw.

They're asking for a £10 million ransom.

Otherwise they're going to douse them with petrol, and set them on fire.

We're going from car to car, taking up a collection.'

The driver asks, 'How much is everyone giving, on average?'

'Most people are giving about a gallon.'

Tally ho! Tales from a sandy place

Trixy has been pestering me for ages to write a piece about Afghanistan for this blog. I'm a serving infantry soldier and I have done two tours of Afghanistan. I suspect Trixy wishes me to "tell it like it is", or make some telling revelations about the nature of modern warfare. Other, wiser heads than I have done a far better job of that than I ever could, so I suppose this is a think-piece; please bear with me: Afghanistan is a hideously complex situation and I'm only going to talk about the bits I've seen.

The British actions in Helmand Province glory in the title of "Operation Herrick". Each phase is given a number: summer tours are even, winter are odd, and they change with each new Brigade as it deploys for a six month tour. Herrick 8 (16 Brigade) is ongoing, Herrick 7 (52 Brigade) was last winter, and last summer was Herrick 6 (12 Brigade). At the moment, the Royal Marines seem to be taking the winter tours, the Army the summer. Last summer, the Royal Anglians and the Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) took the brunt of the fighting; this summer, the Parachute Regiment are getting their hands dirty.

Enough background info. To analyse a conflict on the strategic level, one has to consider the nature of the beast; are we dealing with total war? Counter-insurgency? Peace Support Operations? I'm not going into this in depth as there is enough debate in the matter to write a book, but in overview, Afghanistan arguably contains elements of all three natures. Certain areas of Helmand are undeniably enemy territory, and when broached (usually on planned, deliberate operations under open rules of engagement) UK forces are guaranteed a good scrap. The "total" war is effectively won, however, and when the Taliban do take us on, they get smashed as they are no match for us mano-a-mano. Predominantly, therefore, the Taliban rely on mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to attack us, as well as engaging in intimidation of locals and all the other hallmarks of the traditional insurgency. Finally, in other areas of the country we are facing a Peace Support Operation as we try and improve the lot of the locals and build some kind of civil infrastructure in a country where there is none. This makes our job extremely hard. The enemy could be working the fields one moment, then pulling an AK47 out of a haystack and engaging us the next. Friend and foe are very hard to distinguish.

OK - hitting the "zoom" button to zero in from a strategic debate to my own lowest-level observations... To debunk a few myths. The most common misconception about British troops in Afghanistan is that our kit is crap. It isn't. It is exceptionally good these days. Perhaps when the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts started there were deficiencies, but for the most part the new kit we're getting is great: the Grenade Machine Gun (GMG) and .50 calibre machine gun ("50 cal") are superb and effectively double the support we can get from our Fire Support Teams. The old reliables of the 81mm mortar and the General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG or "gimpy") are still magnificent weapons and the enemy fear them. The new Osprey body armour is a life saver - on the wrong end of an ambush, one of my platoon had his weapon shot out of his hand and took three 7.62mm rounds to his chest plate - and got up to carry on fighting with another, wounded lad's weapon. And our new rifle is excellent; I didn't have a jam all tour and I fired many magazines. Our new boots are comfy. The list goes on; but the key point is that the Army is neither under-quipped nor under-resourced.

The RAF, however, is a different matter. They don't have enough airframes to go in-and-out of theatre, and those they have are outdated, decrepit and held together with chewing gum - leading to frequent cancellations and delays: immensely frustrating for those waiting to go out of theatre, sometimes losing days of R&R mid-tour leave due these problems. The RAF are also enormously struggling for Chinook support helicopters. We can't move around Helmand without them, and getting flights is a nightmare; once again, far too few airframes. Sometimes, we can't patrol if the Chinooks are being used elsewhere: a massive restraint. The Incident Response Teams (i.e. Paramedics) use them, and if the IRT can't deploy, we don't patrol as there would be no way to evacuate any casualties we might incur.

Casualties happen. My battalion, in a year of non-stop operations, has been immensely lucky not to lose anyone. We have sustained several serious casualties, and that is cause enough for lamentation. When I was serving with 2 Mercian on Herrick 6, we lost four from the Battlegroup in my time with them, including the youngest soldier thus far killed in Afghanistan. I was with his platoon on what would have been his 19th birthday, and it was a sombre moment. It is testimony to his mates, however, that only hours after the sadness of sharing a brew in his memory, they successfully repelled an extensive Taliban attack on our compound. Forget about the "Playstation Generation" or "the youth of today": when the bullets are zipping, the British soldier is easily the counterpart of his World War Two predecessors, or indeed soldiers of any era. Maybe our job is even harder than our glorious antecedents? Last summer, the killed/casualty odds for a combat soldier in Afghanistan were 14-1, worse odds than D-Day in 1944.

Be under no illusion - the enemy in Afghanistan are good, and they can hurt us if we're not very, very careful. Any vehicle moves are undertaken carefully, dismounting troops to carry out metal detector sweeps for IEDs in vulnerable spots. In small-arms contact, the enemy are accurate with Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and are brave to boot. Every time, without fail, no matter how large our forces or how small theirs, they will attempt to outflank us and engage us to the death. We're normally more than willing to make that happen for them, but sometimes they get lucky and we need the IRT. They're extremely good at watching us, working out how we do things and exploiting our weaknesses; the return leg of any patrol is always the most dangerous, as the enemy try to second-guess our routes and plant IEDs on our way back in.

pip pip,

Strangely Brown, 1st Battalion the Trinity Tiddlers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dear God. But cutting taxes is expansionary fiscal policy. It expands the economy. How can this man be the next Prime Minister? It must purely be on the basis that he's not Gordon Brown.

Hypocrisy from the government No. 378642985

Last week Bob Spink MP and I put some questions together for the MoD after that ridiculous speech by Comrade Brown telling us not to throw away food.

It was in relation to army ration packs which do not have a sell by date because they are tested for freshness in another way but because of that they cannot be sold on etc. Also, because they cost more than fresh food, messes will not mix them in with the other meals because it's cheaper to use fresh food. So they get thrown away. And then, of course, thanks to the Tory MEP Caroline Jackson and her other pro EU cronies, we get fined for exceeding our landfill limit.
From the Press Association:

Armed Forces minister Bob Ainsworth said that his department disposed of 122,086 "24-hour operational ration packs" (ORPs) between 2003 and 2007.

It means the MoD has thrown away food worth more than £1 million, and emerged at a time when the Government is urging people not to waste food.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "If we are to get food prices down, we must also do more to deal with unnecessary demand such as by all of us doing more to cut our food waste which is costing the average household in Britain about £8 per week."

But in a written Commons answer, Mr Ainsworth said the MoD had thrown away 95,299 ration packs in 2005 alone.

Why not sell them cheaply after a certain amount of time? Or is that too much of an inconvenience? Easier to throw them away, eh?

Delusions of Adequacy

"Tory Euro-MP Philip Bradbourn said he was fundamentally committed to changing the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy.
as reported in the Malvern Gazette.

Bless him: does he actually think that anyone out there really gives a fuck what he thinks, let alone how a nobody MEP only vaguely known by some journalists because of his habit of going on holiday at the expense of the tax payer...sorry 'study days'let alone that he can sort out a policy the majority of EU leaders are perfectly happy with and which requires unanimity?

Unless he's planning to change it by spearheading the movement to leave?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trixy and the hunt for the Moroccan tea pot

The sun is shining here in Morocco but I am not getting nearly enough sun bathing done. There are issues getting in the way of that which I am shortly to solve, by force if necessary.

This morning I went to the old part of town to do a spot of shopping. Traditional tat, that sort of thing. It was actually exhausting not because of the heat but because I was accompanied by two people who only spoke Arabic or French. This meant that I had to spend three hours wandering around busy markets, the stench of rotting fish in my nostrils, trying to remember phrases other than 'I am twelve years old and I live in a bungalow.'

The biggest struggle of all did come from my attempt to purchase a tea pot in the traditional Moroccan style. I felt it an important purchase given how I love drinking fresh mint tea. Well, luckily by then my French was in full flow. "60 Dhrs!" said I, in mock astonishment. "je ne suis pas Americen" I added, pouting like a petulant Parisien teenager. What the hell, I'll throw in a gallic shrug for good measure and start poking around at a pile of tat on another stall. No change in price, so I'll move on. Plenty more tea pots in the sea, after all.

I also cannot find any mosquito repellant for love nor money. It's a sad fact I have to face: the only thing I appear to be iresistable to are horrid flying bugs who wish to drink my blood. My forearm is swelling up by the hour and the other arm is covered in red blotches which aren't so attractive. Other people who normally get bitten the whole time invite me away on holiday with them just to give themselves a break. Nothing works. Nothing that I know of, anyway. So if anyone has any ideas how I can avoid turning into some freak show of which a travelling circus would be proud (after all, being kidnapped out here is not beyond the realms of possibility) then they would have my eternal devotion and I may even get round to making them a cup of tea with the new snazzy pot.

Yesterday I was also lucky enough to see how the Moroccan fiscal system works first hand. We were driving to the beach, along with the rest of Casa, when a policeman beckoned the car over. Cue the window coming down and much shoulder shrugging, arm gesturing and a complete denial of responsibility or, indeed, being told what we had done wrong. Something to do with a red light, I think, but I can't be sure. To be honest, it wouldn't have mattered. The policemen out here all have full ticket books because they never actually write any out. The money comes out within a matter of seconds. But the police are on tiny wages and haven't had a rise since the 1980s so what do you expect?

It's rather like the Afghan police in Kabul who take bribes and let trucks and lorries go through road blocks, and we wonder why there are so many insurgent bombs. They are paid maybe $100 a month, but the Taliban are paying young men the same wage. And when the electricity is going off, and their families are starving, the youngest son thinks ;bugger this, I want to make sure my mamma can eat.'

But more on that at a later date. Right now, I need to turn my red lumps brown.

Pip pip.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunny days are here again

Although they might not be where you are. I have heard that certain parts of rural Hampshire, for example, are experiencing showers although this does appear to be in direct correlation with dog walking.

I am not finding that, seeing as I am in Morocco and not rural Hampshire, and I have no dogs, only some rather cute, if scrawny, kittens loitering in the street below. I also have some rather bizarre red marks on my arm which can't be explained in the usual way.

From what I have seen of Casablanca so far, I like it. I haven't been staying in one of those package holiday hotel prisons but with a friend who moved here. The area is rather third world but that makes the whole experience better in my humble opinion. The driving is providing much entertainment for me and I think I will do a spot of filming of it tomorrow. The way to turn left appears to be to get lots of cars in a melee and to honk horns loudly. Anyone turning in the opposite direction sort of does the same thing and then when enough cars are together then lurch forward, trying not to crash into each other or the crowds of entire families on one putt-putt. The other day this didn't work and the traffic ground to a halt. After ten minutes, the inevitable happened and the Moroccan drivers got out and shouted at each other for another ten minutes.

In other things auto-related, my friend has a man on the street who he pays some money to to sleep on the corner. I understand the other people in the street are supposed to do this too. As we turned into the road after our eventful drive from Marrakech airport, which we punctuated with various episodes of swerving all over the lanes and veering off onto the verge to try to appear authentic (not really, he was looking for a CD case and I had to steer from the passenger side with my left hand) the man came along and told us to park in the tiny wee space available.

My friend tells me that he pays him 'to look after his car...well, no, not really. I pay him to persuade members of his family not to steal my car. I don't pay him enough to stop the kids scratching it and sitting on it.'

It maybe third world but it provides me with entertainment. I'm sure that as soon as I am dribbled upon by these overflow pipes from the balconies I may be less encouraging. But until then, I'm satisfied.

Start them early...

Oh, those Lib Dems, they're so Liberal and, er, Democaratic. Aren't they?
If one listened to them in the UK you could be forgiven for thinking that, given their opposition to ID cards and the such, but not if you have access to what they say in the EU. Which isjn't easy, I'll grant you, given that the press like to adopt an ostrich like attitude with all things EU.

So, I'll plug the gap.

Last week we voted on the biometric details for the Visa Information System for the Schengen area which, because I found the original document from the Commission in a restaurant in Brussels, was written about in early 2007. It plans to take control of immigration, granting of visa and all that sort of thing away from national government appointed organisations. Like UKPA, for example, if we were in Schengen.

The lady who wrote the parliament opinion on this proposal was a Lib Dem called Sarah Ludford, and I am lucky, lucky, luck luck luck to be in receipt of one of her press releases:

I am disappointed that we have been unable to reach agreement, but the Council and Commission have not sufficiently thought through how their proposals would work. No decision to require fingerprints from six-year-olds should be made without taking into account doubts over reliability due to rapid change in young children's' prints, and the significant costs and inconvenience for their parents if the solution is to impose collection every two years instead of five.
Note, the 6 year olds are not escaping because it might be wrong to tag children who haven't done anything wrong, but because they change when the children grow, which is quite rapid then.
That is why MEPs are making the reasonable proposal of starting with twelve-year-olds for fingerprinting and re-examining age limits after a three-year study. I want the Visa Information System to succeed, and we cannot afford to make it into one vast experiment with 70 million entries at any one time.

That's much better. Pre teen, and we take your prints. Who could say fairer than that, eh? Make sure it all works nice and smoothly, the EU can be in charge of all the data because they are going to be in charge of all migration soon, and then before you know it, George Orwell will be going 'finally! They worked out that it was an instruction manual...'

Next time a Lib Dem tries to make out they are libertarian, tell them when they open their mouth, all you can hear is the sound of dripping arse gravy.

Now excuse me, I must dry my hair by poking it outside for 20 seconds.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Double Standards we are expected to understand

The message emanating from this country is now striking: be a terrorist with links to one of the most hunted men in the world and you'll be about to live with your family in a large house paid for my the tax payer.

Be a British citizen and fend for yourself.

Because that's the difference in the situation between Abu Qatada, Al Qaeda's right hand man in Europe and Andrew Symeou, the 19 year old facing extradition to Greece.

The Courts have said that under the European Convention on Human Rights, Qatada cannot be extradited to Jordan, where he has been found guilty of terror attacks and bomb plots, because evidence used against him may have been collected by use of torture.

Conversely, the statements signed by the young friends of Andrew Symeou were obtained by punching, slapping and threatening by the Greek police, so they told the British Consulate in Zante. And yet, because it's a European Arrest Warrant, so long as the boxes are ticked Symeou is facing extradition for a crime he has not been convicted of and for which no prime facie evidence has been produced except statements obtained by torture. He could be detained for 18 months without charge.

Qatada, who has been convicted, doesn't get locked up in a nasty prison cell and has his fat arse and his family paid for my you and me.

Greece are in the EU, you see, so we can't criticise them. Oh no. We can criticise America but we aren't allowed to say that the country we help fund via the EU has a legal system and a view of civil liberties which is on par with countries in the middle east.

We can send one of our own to face misery and the possibility of an unfair, unjust conviction, but someone who has been found guilty of terrorism can wander up and down the streets of London drinking fizzy pop and claiming incapacity benefit for an injury which is sceptical to say the least.

This is what is wrong with this fucking country. It's being run by sandal wearing lentil eaters who care more about the rights of criminals than they do about their actual responsibilities. And it makes me fucking sick, it really does. But they'll get away with it because the British public have such a short term memory and a complicated case which involves someone outside Westminster doing something is too complicated for most journalists and certainly their editors who don't like to admit that whilst they've been climbing the journalistic ladder, the power to govern our country has been handed away under their very nose.

Both these cases are because of our membership of the European Union. But one is easier to understand and bandy around than the other. Why bring up the European Arrest Warrant when we have to admit this had 3 party consensus in Brussels and only those 'nutters' in UKIP voted against it? Oh, and it hardly got a mention in the press because it didn't involve some front bench politician, a house full of cameras and weirdos or some washed up, fucked up drug addict celebrity flashing her Mary.

It's no wonder I can't make it to the end of a newspaper without either correcting it or flinging it across the room.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Greatest headline of the day

To me, anyway. It's from the Press Association newswire

I think that if MPs did actually throw food at each other rather than talking bollocks and moaning then people might take more of an interest. Maybe.

A well-needed break

Am off on holiday in a couple of days and it couldn't come at a better time. No, that's not true. It could come at a better time; I could be flying off to the sun tomorrow and have already packed and gone to the supermarket to by velcro and suet. (don't ask)

I am feeling a wee bit stressed because of work, I keep forgetting to pay my tax bill, pay in cheques and all that sort of thing and my love life is just a complete mess. I can tell it is because I was on the tube earlier and I started reciting Shakespeare and sonnet No, 116 in particular.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

From Wiki:

First published in 1609, is at once one of his most romantic pieces as well as one of his most profound works, often quoted at weddings. It is commonly interpreted as the view that true love is unchanging, despite changing circumstances, such as the loss of beauty with old age--or even the loss of the other's affection. In this sense, the sonnet can be seen to be a commentary not only on romantic love, but on unconditional love, which does not depend upon reciprocation for its continuation. It may even be taken to suggest that true love survives betrayal and infidelity, or any other action on the part of the beloved which might tend to "remove" the love. If so, then it implies the long-suffering and forgiving nature of genuine love. These implications elevate the sonnet from the realm of merely romantic literature into the expression of a moral ideal.

Oh god. This won't end well. Having spoken to good friends recently who are still in love with people who have either died or hurt them very badly, I have to consider the reality that this isn't one I am going to be getting over any time soon.

Thank god I am going away somewhere hot, sunny with great shopping. Am needing that shoe fix. Honestly...who recites Shakespeare these days outside of the South Bank.

Recycling laws, not rubbish

It appears that the Tories have taken a new approach to recycling: they are now using existing EU laws as manifesto commitments. I suppose there is a benefit to this since there is less chance of them renaging on them and telling us, like the government have, that manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation.

Households would be paid cash to recycle under a scheme proposed by the Conservatives last night.

George Osborne said he wanted to replace penalties with rewards for people who take the trouble to sort their rubbish.

In a speech today he will propose a scheme used in 500 cities and towns in the United States to encourage green behaviour.
So why did his party support fines
from the EU for exceeding landfill targets, then?
The Shadow Chancellor will point to the UK's low rate of recycling relative to other European Union countries as a major justification for changing public behaviour.

In 2005 Britain sent 22.6million tonnes of rubbish to landfill.
So? There is an excellent article by the gorgeous Timmy which sums up why recycling everything possible is not the holy grail to which our society should aspire.
Mr Osborne wants to capitalise on growing public outrage at the way councils have been encouraged to levy swingeing fines on families who fail to abide by draconian new rules.
And breathe. Come now, Trixy, you know he's a politicians and he feels the need to bullshit and deceive on a regular basis.
Right. okay. I would like to capitalise on the fact that George Osborne is being deliberately deceptive in that statement. I would like to, but I won't, capitalise on that frustration by dumping all of my rubbish on his fucking head. Or his lawn. They're both green and liable to rot, I suspect.
What annoys me here is that these 'draconian rules' are supported, were supported, and will continue to be supported by the Conservative Party.

So why are they being reported by the MSM as though it's something the Labour government thought up? They know it's not. Why, when Mr Osborne is being interviewed, don't they say 'But it's EU law which your party supported?' or 'But really, isn't the best way of stopping this outrage simply to leave the EU and govern ourselves?' Particularly by public service broadcasters....

'The Government's approach is an old-fashioned one: use the threat of fines and punitive taxation to force people to recycle,' he will say.
Well, then why did you support it when it was proposed by the European Commission?
'We've all seen how unpopular this heavy-handed approach has been with the public.
Which is the answer to the above question. 'oh, the public don't like it. But don't worry, we'll just pretend it had nothing to do with us or Brussels law making and then attack the government, safe in the knowledge that it will be reported that we wouldn't have done it if we were in government and we'll do something to change it.'
'What's more, it is extremely expensive to administer and encourages irresponsible behaviour like fly-tipping or back yard burning.'
That was mentioned to you guys at the time but you still supported it.
Mr Osborne will call for a switch to financial incentives.
'Instead of using sticks, we can use carrots instead,' he will say.
Not his money, I supposed. Easy come, easy go.
Councils must pay a £32 landfill tax for every tonne of rubbish that they cannot recycle. The Government has said it will increase by £8 a year each year until 2011, when it will be £48.
Well, yes, but this isn't new. And it isn't news to the Tory party either. Or their MEPs who voted for it. It's also not a Labour party proposal.
Mr Osborne will point to the American example where local authorities offer to share the savings from reducing their landfill bill with private companies that find ways of increasing recycling.
I don't particularly disagree with financial incentives as a way of getting things done, but in this case I am not convinced that we need to be recycling everything and I certainly don't want incinerators built on greenbelt, thanks.
One firm is RecycleBank, which offers to split the savings with local authorities if it manages to reduce the rubbish they bury.
The company pays households up to £25 a month for recycling.
Does that mean that council tax will go down? Surely that's only good if what happens to the rubbish is better than it going into landfill? This is a one-size-fits-all policy for 15 countries including the low countries who don't bury rubbish because they don't have much room.
Mr Osborne will tell the Green Alliance's summer reception in London: 'The more they recycle, the more they get paid.
That just seems far too broad brush to me.
'The best part is that none of this impacts on public expenditure in any way. 'This approach has achieved startling results. In some communities, it has increased the amount of household waste being recycled by more than 200 per cent.'
I'm thinking 'opportunity cost' here. It also does impact on public expenditure if the previous disposable income of households is being given to families who recycle, regardless of the impact or benefit of that. Because public money comes from individuals working.
He will add: 'While the poorest households were previously the least likely to recycle, as soon as they receive a financial incentive for recycling, they typically become among the most likely.'
I'm paying for lazy people to recycle. Great.
Mr Osborne will also announce that, under the Tories, landfill tax will not fall beneath £48 after 2011 to give councils and businesses greater certainty about the bills they face.
No fucking surprise there, is there! You know why they're not changing the fines? BECAUSE THEY CAN'T. That stuff about bills is just some bullshit invented to cover up for their own incompetence. Peter Lilley said of the government:
They prefer to claim paternity rather than admit impotence—the fate of the cuckold across the ages.
Well, that does also ring true here.
He will say: 'While Labour want to regulate, ban and interfere to get their way, the Conservatives want to work with people and give them incentives to act in a socially responsible way.
Like imposing fines for breaching EU targets and introducing targets on recycling of 50% for households and 70% for businesses? Some fucking carrot.
'The fight against climate change is the greatest challenge my generation faces. We will not shirk from this fight.'
The biggest challenge this generation faces is getting a politician to tell the fucking truth and not be a completely devious cunt, I think. But what do I know. More than most on recycling legislation, it would seem.

Hugh Muir in the Guardian still has a field of Maris Pipers on his shoulder regarding UKIP.

Once again, he's tried to fabricate a split in the party, this time by failing to understand the difference between 'discrimination' and 'encouragement'.

This does look somewhat familiar to an e-mail sent to Mr Spink by a less than savoury character who was allegedly outed by BNP leader Nick Griffin on a BBC undercover programme and who UKIP have had to call the police over regarding his keen interest in copyright and fabricating press releases and pretending they are from party leaders and the such.

The reply from the UKIP MP was perfectly simple and not quite what Mr Muir implied:
'While I think more women would be good for most parliaments, and I encourage them to step forward to be selected, I also think the best person should be selected, on their own merits.' said the UKIP MP.
Which is supposed to contrast with the views of Godfrey Bloom that "Positive discrimination is still discrimination, so selection on the basis of sex or race is indeed sexist or racist,"

Don't really see the difference myself, but perhaps that's why I don't write for the Guardian?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Do as I say, not as I do...

On the anniversary of the smoking ban, I popped into the Strangers bar of the House of Commons and took this little video...


Fucking hypocrites

Saying nothing..

Thanks to DK for that....

Elephant in the Room

Where was David Davis today when there was a real case of liberty being raised?

42 days with continual applications to magistrates and the Houses of Parliament doesn't look so tough, compared with being locked in a Greek prison for up to 18 months.

Today, Westminster Magistrates Court delayed the hearing of Andrew Symeou until the 12th August, where hopefully it will be ruled that the evidence by the Greek authorities should be shown to a British court and the defence.

Of course, because of the European Arrest Warrant as long as the right boxes are ticked on the form, there's little that can be done to stop extradition.

Prior to 1989 there were three rules which had to be applied in the UK to protect British citizens.
1) The accuser had to demonstrate that there was a proper case to answer
2) The criminality alleged abroad had to be recognised in the UK.
3) The Home Secretary had to be satisfied that the accuser would have a fair trial in the country requesting the extradition under a proper system of law.

Since the Extradition Act of 1989, implementing the UK's obligations under the European Convention (thanks for that, Tories), this is no longer the case. EU states no longer had to present prima facie evidence of the alleged offence.

Now the European Arrest Warrant merely has to claim that the suspected person is required for the investigation for any one of the 32 named categories of offences covered by the warrant.

Habeas Corpus is not alive and well in the EU. At Tampere the new European Penal Code was introduced (Corpus Juris) and soon to follow is the European Public Prosecutor. This allows for the arrest and imprisonment of British citizens by another EU country based on suspicion alone.

The Labour Government ignored the scrutiny reserve of the House of Lords when they signed up to it, so keen were they to brush aside centuries old rights of this country.

There is a clear case for the UK to have jurisdiction in the case of Andrew Symeou and no one is suggesting that the matter should not be investigated if there is a case to answer. Justice for Jonathan Hiles and his family should be done. But that should be done through a free and fair legal system, not by this awful, dangerous and fascist legislation.

So, Davis: if you really do care about liberty, freedom and justice then come on board. You'd have to admit that the policy of your party was wrong, but if this is about principles then that shouldn't be a problem, should it?

I want...a shrubbery!

The Knights who say 'Ni!' have clearly regrouped in Bristol. I say this because I read that plans to trim the undergrowth in Bristol Downs may be

potentially discriminating against gays and bisexual men
according to the 'rainbow group' who are consulted by the council, it seems, on matters cottaging.

I thought that sex in a public place was illegal, but who am I to get in the way of people looking for anonymous sex in a shrubbery. Who, indeed, are the police to stop such a thing? It's all about rights, innit. Or something.

I did have a quick word with my GBF Minge who initially expressed surprise that shagging in public places, including Royal Parks, may not be that legal, in the sense, as I informed him, that it was illegal. His rebuke that 'it's not shagging children, you know' did help me feel better about what he may or may not get up to, but that's illegal in more ways than one.

Anyway, I am quite surprised they may feel discriminated against because as Minge rightly said, 'gay men don't like bushes.'

'Straight men don't like too much undergrowth either' I replied.

Clear cut decision on getting the secateurs out, I think.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fighting for real justice?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the European Arrest Warrant and how if we are going to talk about Magna Carta and all this liberty, let's not have a discussion about a fortnight being held without charge but on the bigger picture.

Well, here's something for us to talk about.

19 year old Andrew Symeou faces extradition to Greece under the new streamlined European Arrest Warrant on the suspicion of the manslaughter of Jonathan Hiles.

Jonathan died after a fight in a nightclub in Zante which the Greek police are trying to pin on Andrew. The only evidence they have is two statements in Greek which were
signed by Andrew's friends after they were beaten up. When they were able to, these statements were retracted.

In Greece, Andrew could be held for up to 18 months without charge and with no guarantee of a fair trial.

More information is at the Justice for Symeou website.

Anyone who can should support Andrew and his bid for a fair trial in this country by showing up at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court at 9.30 on Monday, 7th July.

This is not a publicity stunt by a politician, this is the future for a young man who deserves the right to a fair trial.

It's a shame that only UKIP MEPs voted against this arrest warrant, of course.

UPDATE: I am not going to publish comments which I think are defamatory.

I did not write this post to argue for and against the case. What I am saying is that I do not think that Andrew Symeou should be extradited to Greece to face charges. Having studied international law there is reason enough for Britain should have jurisdiction in this case. And in this country, at least before the EU ignores the Irish vote and we hand over control of our justice and home affairs to Brussels, someone under suspicion for manslaughter would not be locked up for up to 18 months without charge.

If David Davis really does believe in this cause he has resigned over and it's not just a stunt, then he will be at the Magistrates Court. Someone with his profile could raise this situation.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The 6th Sense?

There are people who credit great art as being brought about because of physical defects. One example of this is the great artist Monet, whose impressionist art is considered to be some of the finest the world has seen. Yet research last year found this technique he employed; the dabs of light, the blurred images so striking in contrast to traditional academic rules of painting may have been because of his cataracts.

Beethoven was, and I hesitate to use the term because it is frequently thrown around, considered by many to be the father of modern music and the first of the Romantic composers. This could be traced back to his deafness which meant that he left behind the stringent rules of harmony and structure which controlled the classical era. The Romantic era saw the expansion of formal structures and the compositions were increasingly passionate and expressive. The frequent use of dissonances and their resolutions, chromatic innovations and previously unused chords added to the texture and harmony of the works. Instead of predictable modulations to related keys, composers like Beethoven used innovative chord progressions and diminished 7ths to facilitate modulation. The heroic works such as the Appassionata sonata, with their thundering bass lines were brought about due to his encroaching deafness.

So, two examples of disabilities which could be considered to be too inhibitive in their various fields could actually have contributed to development.

So why is it, then, that the only disabilities which seem to occur in politics are vanity, refusal to accept that you might be wrong and a worrying attachment to dishonesty. And, worst of all, economic illiteracy.

The 'Number 10' e-mail arrives in my inbox. The subject line is 'Fuel duty to be examined "very carefully". Not only is this incredibly fucking dull, mainly by virtue of the fact that the only interesting thing which could be construed from it is that of members of the shadow cabinet peering at piles of cash going 'and how is this stuff actually made?' but it doesn't say anything.

Who cares if they're going to look at it "very carefully"? Simply based on their own record of complete economic incompetence we know that they can look at it until the cows come home but the chances of them making any sensible decision is as likely as me getting a crew cut.

Gordon Brown is committed to "keeping the economy moving" in the face of a tougher global economic climate.

Yes, but the thing is, apart from my friend who has taken out a rather large bet against UK plc and me, because I want to buy a house and I have very few overheads, most people would rather the economy moved forward rather than backward.
Government plans to increase fuel duty by 2p would be looked at "very, very carefully" over the next few weeks, the PM said in his session with the Liaison Committee. The Chancellor will make the final decision on fuel tax in the autumn.

I really don't understand why they are taking such a long time to deal with this very simple issue. yes, I know they want to make it look like they are 'green' and want to hammer all drivers as hard as they can, but the price of oil is far above the amount predicted when they were forecasting government revenue. When the March budget was forecast oil was modeled around $83.8 a barrel. In May this year it was $126.4 a barrel.

This increases government revenue in a number of ways.
1) The increase in profits from oil companies drilling in the North Sea means a greater amount is paid in tax to the government
2) Duty is an indirect tax which, by virtue of it being a percentage, increases as the price rises. This is one of the reasons why flat taxes and indirect taxes are not so regressive as if it were a lump sum regardless of the financial situation of the customer.

Thus, according to the British Chamber of Commerce in the first six weeks of the this tax year, the government made the equivalent amount of money as their 2p tax rise in the whole year.
The BCC model estimates that the increase in the Government’s North Sea Oil tax revenues will be £390m of the £505m windfall, and the remaining £115m is the extra VAT on fuel at the pump.

So why, then, are the government staring at this pretty simple problem of their own making and going "we're not going to raise fuel duty. We were wrong to suggest it and we'd be wrong to implement it." Monet could be an world famous, beautiful and highly adored artist whilst not being able to see. Beethoven wrote and performed some of the world's most loved music whilst being deaf. And yet our government in full possession of their senses cannot make right a wrong, and a simple one of that.

Well, I say 'all senses', Clearly they are lacking in the most useful:'common'.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You are what your mother ate

Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers who live on a diet of junk food could be condemning their children to lifelong obesity and ill-health, experts warned today.

fair enough.
A study suggests that a mother's poor diet can do long-lasting and irreversible damage to her child. The effects include obesity, raised levels of cholesterol, and the risk of diabetes.

I think we can call see that, although my mother ate shellfish of every possible kind and I cannot even write the words without feeling sick, let alone eat a winkle.
Dr Stephanie Bayol, one of the scientists from the Royal Veterinary College, London, said: "It seems that a mother's diet whilst pregnant and breastfeeding is very important for the long-term health of her child.

And a vet is commenting because...
...the research was conducted on rats...

But I'm not actually a rat...
The results fit in with observed patterns of children's weight reflecting that of their parents.
Genetics, anyone?
Dr Bayol and colleague Professor Neil Stickland studied the offspring of rats fed a diet of foods such doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, crisps and sweets during pregnancy and lactation.

Their progress was compared with that of young rats whose mothers were given a normal healthy diet.
Cheese? Rubbish from bins? Wiring?
Even when they were switched to a healthy diet, the rats continued to have health problems which lasted beyond adolescence.

I'm afraid that I am so jaded by the state we now live in that even if this was all true I just can't believe it in its entirety. I already am aware that funding for these projects is dependent on the results that come out and whether the people in the department believe in the same outcomes as the government of the day.

What this looks like to me is another one of those reports telling women that when they are pregnant they aren't supposed to do anything. Don't smoke, don't drink, don't eat fish or eggs or go 'wooo' on a Sunday.

And of course, the rest of us are also being told what we can and can't do. Today is the anniversary of the Hitler Memorial Day the Labour government started, called 'The Smoking Ban'. We are continually getting messages about how much exercise we should do, salt we should eat, fatty foods, why we shouldn't leave our houses except to work and raise money for the government so they can tell us how we should live the tiny part of our lives we have left.

Well, thanks. But I don't want my life to be so dull that at 35 I am living in some kind of atmospherically controlled bubble, knitting my own knickers, sipping on purified salt free water, eating lentils and organic vegetables and waiting for Alzheimer's to take its grip and spare me from the utter boredom which our betters seem to think we should aim for.

Tories try to cover their tracks

I notice a letter from the new Tory leader in Brussels, Philip bullshitBushill-Matthews MEP, talking about the need for 'centre right' MEPs to get together to block measures in the European Parliament which will spring from the French Presidency.

Never mind that most of these, including the Returns Directive and the Working Time Directive have been discussed and in some cases, voted on before, and that MEPs sitting with he Tories in the EPP-EP have as much desire to vote against them as they do to close down the brothels near the European Parliament.

Mr Bushill Matthews writes:

A number of sensitive legislative dossiers are expected to be concluded within this six-month mandate, including two of particular importance to Britain: the Temporary Workers Directive and the review of the Working Time Directive. The blocking minority carefully put together by Tony Blair has collapsed under Gordon Brown. Now that both dossiers are back on the table it will be up to the European Parliament to determine the way forward. The omens are not good. Fortunately, centre-Right MEPs from all 27 EU member states will meet in Paris tomorrow to engage in extensive debate with the French government. This is the first time that such a high-level meeting has taken place at the start of a presidency. We shall need all the friends we can get.

Which sounds rather similar to a story first given to the Mail on Sunday which they didn't print because it was attacking the Tories, and was then run in the Sunday Times:
British MEPs are joining a 200-strong European parliament jaunt to Paris this week, costing the taxpayer up to £200,000.

The three-day trip, organised by the European People’s party (EPP), a centre-right group, will include dinner at the Palais de Versailles and a champagne boat trip down the Seine.

You will, of course, notice that the article does not mention that the British MEPs going on this luxury trip, including dinners in two Michelin starred restaurants and staying in luxury hotels are from the Tory party. They will probably include the MEPs who have made millions from misusing their allowances who have yet another opportunity to have their porky lifestyle paid for by the British tax payer, whilst telling the British public, assisted ably by the MSM, that they really are the defenders of all things British.

Still, nice of old Bullshit to write to the Telegraph to put our minds at rest. If he feels the need to be defensive in his attack then we can rest assured they really won't be doing any work. Perhaps we should all write to our Tory MEP and asked them what actual benefit they secured for us by spending our money on this trip. Benefits that, say, we could not have secured by governing ourselves?