Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reality bites

Picked up by Autonomous Mind, the expectation of increasing sea ice in the Baltic this winter has resulted in Sweden withholding an icebreaker from use in Antarctica by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). This comes after the dramas in the Gulf of Finland and the Okhotsk Sea, which have completely confounded the warmists who have been predicting ice-free passages brought about by global warming.

But, as AM reports, the increasingly bitter winters that have resulted in more iced-over navigation passages. Having to deal with the real world, rather than the fantasy construct beloved of the warmists, the Swedish government thus wrote to US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to announce that the icebreaker Oden (pictured) will be kept at home and not be made available to support the work of the NSF in Antarctica, for the first time since 2006.

The detail comes from the journal Science, announcing the abrupt end of an ongoing agreement with the NSF for the lease of the Oden, the pride of the Swedish icebreaking fleet and also the world's most capable non-nuclear polar-class research vessel.

NSF has used the ship each winter since 2006–07 to clear a path through the sea ice to resupply McMurdo Station, the largest scientific outpost in Antarctica and the hub for US activities on the continent. The Swedish government decided that the Oden needed to stay at home this coming winter after two harsh winters disrupted shipping lanes in the region.

And this is indeed what happens when the real world intrudes. The warmists can sit in front of their nice warm computers and run models until the end of time, but if the ice refuses to obey the predictions, real world solutions such as icebreakers must be employed. As real people in that real world are only too well aware, you can't eat computer models.


Loot of the day

Asked whether he had considered turning down the returning officer fee, to which he is entitled at every election, council chief executive Steve Robinson said: "I didn’t see a need for that".

The council's accounts show Robinson's benefits in kind, including his car allowance, rose from £1,000 to £2,000 last year and his employer's pension contribution rose from £37,000 to £40,000 resulting in an overall £17,000 rise in his financial package of £235,000 compared with the previous year.

It is customary on these occasions to ask for reasons why we should not rise up and slaughter them ... but if I can't think of any, why should our readers?


One of our policies is missing

The number of career criminals being spared jail, we are told, has soared since the Coalition took office. An astonishing 4,000 offenders have been handed community sentences, despite each totting up at least 50 convictions.

The figure for 2010 – the year Ken Clarke took over as Justice Secretary – was 17 percent higher than 2009's and treble that of 2002. Incredibly, 408 criminals dodged jail last year even when being sentenced for what was at least their 100th offence.

Compare and contrast with the current policy of banging up this month's crop of rioters and looters, and it becomes very evident that we are dealing with a new principle of so-called "justice". People are being imprisoned not for the crimes they commit, or the severity of their offences, but for the circumstances in which they were committed.

The effect of this can be illustrated by two cases, the first of which we recounted on 18 August, where alcoholic Thomas Downey, 48, who was caught helping himself to doughnuts from a Krispy Kreme shop, was jailed for 16 months.

Hapless Downey, of no fixed address, had only been released from Strangeways prison at 7.30pm on Tuesday when he found himself in the midst of the rioting.

After attending a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, the serial offender proceeded to down a bottle of sherry and stumbled into the Krispy Kreme, in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, which was unsecured after being attacked earlier. He was almost immediately caught red-handed with a box of doughnuts, worth £17, when 20 riot police arrived. He was returned to custody.

The contrast is with this, reported yesterday, where a man who started a fire at the chapel of rest in a Cumbrian cemetery has been spared a prison sentence.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that on the night of 3 May, Matthew James Atkinson-Skinner, 24, had had a "huge amount to drink". He was making his way back at midnight to a Kirkby Stephen campsite – where he was staying following the breakdown of a relationship – when he reached the cemetery.

At the chapel of rest, he broke a window and climbed into a store room. He poured petrol from a lawn mower onto a mattress and set it alight. The fire spread, causing damage estimated at £20,000.

When interviewed by police, Atkinson-Skinner, who has a number of previous convictions, said he broke into the cemetery chapel to see what he could steal. He had earlier attempted a break-in at the town's Co-op. Atkinson-Skinner, of Green Head Barn, Great Asby, pleaded guilty to arson and attempted burglary.

Judge Peter Hughes QC put him under probation supervision for three years and ordered him to undergo alcohol rehabilitation. He was also made to do 250 hours unpaid community work. Hughes said that, although Atkinson-Skinner deserved to go to prison, it would be better for the community if instead he received help to overcome the alcohol problems that led him to commit the arson attack.

Now, either or both the decisions could be wrong. But one thing is for certain, they cannot both be right. And, if you care to spend only a short time on Google, you will find not dozens but hundreds of similar examples and inconsistencies.

There cannot be anything much more fundamental though than policy on custodial sentencing. The freedom of the citizen and when – and under what circumstances – he or she should be deprived of liberty should be pretty high up the order of concerns. Yet the kindest thing we can say about this government's policy is that it is a shambles.

As of now, we see a debate over the reasons for this month's riots and looting, but what we are not seeing is any coherent debate about the response, and custodial sentencing in general.

Largely, it is left to the geriatric and incompetent Ken Clarke, who is not only making a mockery of the system but is presiding over occasions of real injustice – where it is as bad not to jail some criminals as it is to incarcerate others.

The worst of it is, though, is that one does not detect within government or elsewhere any intelligence which might indicate that the system recognises the problems or has any idea how to deal with it. As with so many other things, we seem on the whole to have lost the ability to develop sensible policy.


Back to reality

MSM editors have clearly been delighted with events in Libya, providing an endless rush of easy stories to fill those virgin spaces in the press and the airwaves. And it saves for the holiday period having to focus on the dire reality of shop closures and economic retraction.

Breaking away from the travails of the euro, Ambrose is dipping his toe in the water, telling us we're poised on the edge of the second part of a double-dip recession.

Outside the capital and the more prosperous south, Britain is in fact already in recession, and the situation can only get worse as the local authority and health trusts start shedding labour on a scale that simply cannot be absorbed by an already stagnant labour market.

Trading figures, on the other hand, go up and down, but short-term rallies are no guide to the overall health of the economies, here, in Europe or the United States.

Everywhere you look, real economies are contracting, consumer confidence is at an all-time low and, after the depredations of additional taxation, inflation and rising energy costs, people simply do not have the disposable income that will help kick-start activity.

Soon enough, as the party conference season starts, the so-called "silly-season" will be over and the media will have to doff its cap to the reality. It won't be pretty, as the screws tighten with every passing day, that makes even getting an ice-cream an unrealisable treat.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Without consequence?

Mostly, the lower orders do not read the newspapers (an increasingly rare occupation in any event), and they do not watch the news on the telly. Nevertheless, by a mysterious process of osmosis, this sort of information does filter down. And when it gets into the general consciousness that we are being ripped off, the fabric of society begins to unravel.

Basically, we accept government and pay our taxes on the understanding that, despite its very obvious faults, the system is basically fair. This, if you like, is the "social contract" which underwrites our nation. But when you start getting so many examples of how the white-collar looting classes are ripping us off, the consent element of government is eroded.

All that is then left is government by coercion – the increasing use of threats, penalties and force, until there is no difference between this and any other violent dictatorship. That is our direction of travel. This wholesale looting is not without consequences, and the government ignores that at its peril.


The days are numbered

... as the miserable summer drains away, we move to an autumn of discontent – and the warmists will continue with their mantras.

There has been much excitement over various scientific developments in the climate field, weakening still further the foundation of the warmists' belief system, but this has never been about science. Thus, eroding the foundations will have little effect on the progress of this scare.

It is the case in the scare dynamic that the longest and most damaging phase is the final one – the regulatory over-kill - which extends far beyond the original impact of the scare. We still have on the statute book legislation dealing with the 1988 salmonella scare, the listeria scare of the following year and the BSE scare of 1996.

The main effect of the global warming scare is being felt in energy policy, and that will be with us for some considerable time. The up-side is that the effects are noticeable and they bring down governments. Effectively, the winter of 1946-7 did for the Labour government and redefined post-war politics.

We are probably approaching a similar turning point. A miserable, cold population, with no money in their pockets, will not be kindly disposed to the government when the lights go out and the TVs and games computers go silent. Of such stuff are revolutions made.

And with the looting class there to give us an example, we know what to do.


Lucky for her

... her loyal citizens only want to cut her salary. But, if the looting class continue to take the piss, nothing can be ruled out (see news clip below).

Much more and the authorities are going to have to consider full-time police guards for their chief executives and other senior officers. And then they will discover the true meaning of "there are more of us than there are of them". They cannot be everywhere, all the time.

For next year, though, it is time already to consider a Council Tax "slow-down". These white-collar looters will quite happily put their own "customers" in jail if they don't cough up, and jail is not a place you want to be. But there is no reason why payment should not be delayed.

Wait until the bailiffs appear before paying, and then pay the money direct to the town hall, minus the charges they have levied. Send a cheque ... they cost more to process, and make it for five pence more than the sum due. Staple the cheque (several times) to the covering note. And, of course, do not put a stamp on the letter.

To such stratagems are we reduced, but this – and much more to come – signifies the removal of consent. TPTB have hollowed out the democratic process, so it no longer means anything. Short of killing these people, we have to devise a series of "pinprick" tactics that will make our displeasure felt.

They, like Killian (an unfortunate name), should count themselves lucky that we are, by and large, a law-abiding nation. But they should also be aware that there is a limit to our patience.



Tony Fountain (pictured), the chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, we are told, is the country’s highest-paid quango boss with a pay package of more than £520,000, comprising a basic salary of £365,000, a second home allowance of £85,937 and pension payments of £70,810.

The former BP executive also received a performance bonus of £146,000 and additional payments of almost £9,000, bringing his total pay to more than £675,000.

And that is unacceptable ... that and the rest of them who are being so grossly overpaid. I am not interested in excuses or even explanations. Words are not enough ... this is wholesale looting, theft on an industrial scale. It must stop.

Now, I acknowledge that we cannot make it stop in the short term. But hear ye, powerless we might be as individuals, but you – and you know who "you" are – would be extremely unwise to presume on that always being the case. Our memories are long, and our patience is short ... and you can push us only so far.


Monday, August 29, 2011

The enemy within

"Too many eurosceptics spend their time sniping at each other, rather than turning their guns on the real enemy, which in this case is Brussels", writes Roger Helmer. This is in response to the open letter by Autonomous Mind, which triggered a response from myself and Boiling Frog, with a related piece by Witterings from Witney, who has been debunking the pseudo-sceptic John Redwood.

And now AM has come storming back with another piece, putting the lid on Helmer.

Where Helmer goes wrong, of course, is in believing himself to be a eurosceptic – as opposed to a fully paid-up member of the Myrtle tendency, doing sterling work as a Judas goat on behalf of the Tory Party. To be a Tory and a eurosceptic – in the original meaning of the word – is a contradiction in terms.

That is partly why, one assumes, that the Tories are investing a great deal of effort into debasing the word – hence Redwood's self-regarding piece.

In drafting his piece, though, Redwood – a Westminster MP - unwittingly shows up Helmer's main error in his patronising little homily. The real enemy is not in Brussels. It is in Westminster. The reason we joined what was to become the European Union was because our MPs permitted it. The reason we are currently members is because Westminster MPs, of which Redwood is one, continue to permit it.

Thus, despite Helmer's wish to keep us distracted, our guns are indeed aimed at the real enemy. His role as a Judas goat becomes less and less convincing with the passage of time, as more and more people realise that he is there to lead people into a Tory Party which will do precisely nothing about getting us out of the EU.

And that, for all his bonhomie and pseudo-scepticism, makes Helmer the enemy too. There is no such thing as a Tory eurosceptic. We cannot emphasise strongly enough - it is a contradiction in terms.


The bureaucratic mentality

Given the overwhelming evidence that sentencing has been far more severe than normal following the recent rioting and looting, one might expect the accusations of Eoin McLennan-Murray, president of the Prison Governors Association (PGA), to be taken seriously.

He has charged that the courts have shown "naked popularism" in meting out tough justice after the riots, and is warning that, if people continue to be put behind bars at the current rate, prisons will be full by mid-September.

"It's like when you've got sharks and there's blood in the water and it's a feeding frenzy. There's a sentencing frenzy and we seem to have lost all sight of proportionality," McLennan-Murray said yesterday. "It's appealing to the populist mentality, and that's not the best basis on which to sentence people. The norms of sentencing are being ignored."

However, any expectation that the courts might have reacted in a measured way goes right out of the window. In a classic bureaucratic response, the Magistrates have "angrily" dismissed the criticisms. But Magistrates Association chairman John Thornhill said sentencing had followed guidelines and he was "angry and concerned" by the comments.

The point, of course, is that the evidence is unarguable. Since the riots, the prison population has gone up by more than 1,000. It reached a record high for the third consecutive week last Friday, standing just 1,500 short of its operational capacity at nearly 87,000.

And Ministry of Justice statistics for court cases relating to the disturbances between 6-9 August estimate that 70 percent of people were remanded in custody. By comparison in 2010, ten percent of those brought before magistrates' courts were remanded in custody.

Thus, you can argue that the "feeding frenzy" is merited, and that the language is overblown. But you can't, with any logic, claim it isn't happening and pretend that normal procedures are being followed.

But that is the bureaucrat mentality for you – a complete inability to accept criticism, or to respond to it with anything other than denial. And the terrifying thing is that these are people with real power. We are heading for troubled times.


Grand theft tidal

Barely noticeable amid the daily torrent of "news" flooding onto the internet – some of it important, much not – is a small item announcing: "Tidal Energy's project to install Wales' first full-scale tidal stream generator has secured a £390,000 grant from the Carbon Trust".

Even though that money is coming out of our pockets, it is hardly anything to get excited about – as much could easily be chewed up getting rid of one over-priced local authority chief executive.

But what grabs the attention is then the remark that this "investment" follows £6.4 million from the EU and £4.4 million from shareholder Eco2 as well as others. And all this, more than £11 million of which seven is public money, is to build one "DeltaStream" tidal generator with a capacity of 1.2 MW (and a likely load factor of 27 percent).

Panning out at about £9 million per MW, that makes this particular installation about three times more expensive than offshore wind – although the prices are not directly comparable as this is a test rig.

Given that the 12-month technical trials are successful, it is proposed that a larger-scale "pre-commercial" array will be installed, with a target date for operation around 2014. And by then, the project will have soaked up about £70 million.

Based on all previous assessments, however, it is extremely unlikely that tidal power will ever prove financially attractive – although this has not stopped our idiot government pumping £20 million into the wave and tidal energy "industry", and even then the rent-seekers are complaining that it is not enough.

For that money, we could have made redundant over 100 over-priced local authority chief executives, which indicates the scale of the waste we are having to support – and that is not including the EU money. Lacking any democratic legitimacy, this is nothing short of theft, and in its very own category ... grand theft tidal, as the Americans might say.


No "Falklands effect" for the Boy

Easily led and with the tactical acumen of a one-legged budgerigar, the Tory faithful are trilling over the "success" of their Boy in Libya – heedless of the fact that, as Peter Hitchens warns, we are unleashing forces the like of which we have little knowledge, and every reason to fear.

Worst of all though – with the complicity of the increasingly dire MSM - the ill-considered Libyan adventure has diverted attention from the slow-motion train-wreck of the Afghan policy, where feral soldiers are rejoicing in blood lust that defies the very essence of a measured counter-insurgency campaign.

As pointed out by the Pakistani Nation newspaper, on every single metric by which progress is measured, the campaign is failing. "Afghanistan is returning to the brink", it reports.

With the USA in the lead, the aim has been to focus on a three-tier exit strategy. Level one is to attacking insurgent forces in an attempt to degrade their capability. Level two is to put up a façade of negotiations with breakaway factions, to give the impression that pacification is being achieved. The third level is to invest heavily in building the Afghan security forces, enabling them to take over the bulk of the "dirty" fighting from the coalition forces.

However, these efforts have reached a dead end. Despite the continuing "surge", the Taliban have shown themselves predictably flexible, shifting the focus of their operations to areas less heavily policed, knocking out key logistics and attacking civilians and infrastructure, all in a successful ploy to unbalance the security forces.

The breakaway Taliban elements no longer trust American administration's sincerity in the negotiations and consider it as a ploy to gain time to weaken them militarily. Then, the multi-billion dollar training of the Afghan national army and police force may at best be taken as a waste of money. This year alone, $12 billion will go down the drain in a vain attempt to develop effective army and police forces in Afghanistan.

Despite tremendous investment, the Afghan security forces are nowhere close to the mark. During poppy cultivation and harvesting seasons, the security personnel desert their units to participate in these better paying activities, returning to their units during intervening periods.

Furthermore, at a macro level, there is no attempt whatsoever to reconcile the political issues, aimed at reconciling regional enmities – especially those between Pakistan and India – which are fuelling the conflict. This leaves the broader situation as fragile, and as fragmented, as it has ever been.

Thus, while The Boy is basking in the glow of his supposedly successful Libya adventure, Afghanistan is waiting in the wings, ready to tear down any pretence that he has a handle on the situation. The exit strategy is looking increasingly hollow – as indeed it is – and the general aims are now unrealisable, as they always were.

So far, the pretence that we have a workable exit strategy has kept the media at bay, but soon enough, as the magnitude of the train-wreck becomes apparent, The Boy will be forced to confront a policy failure of major proportions – with no means of recovering it.

By then, the "success" of Libya will be a distant afterglow, and reality will be setting in. Should the Cleggeron coalition have survived until then, the Boy's foreign policy credentials will look irrevocably tarnished by the time it comes to an election.

In short, there is going to be no "Falklands effect" for The Boy. The current level of approval is as good as it gets. As the effects of the policy failures multiply, it is downhill all the way.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

I blame the parents

A man held on suspicion of looting a mobile phone store in the riots is, we are told, the son of a former police boss. Mark Duvall, 26, was arrested on Friday in connection with an attack on a Vodafone shop in Woolwich, South London.

His father, Len Duvall OBE, was chairman of the Met Police Authority and is leader of the Labour Group on the London Assembly. Last week, the London Assembly member for Greenwich and Lewisham called for public help to track down the rioters.

He said: "I'm dismayed and outraged by the mindless violence, theft, criminal damage and risk to life we have seen in Greenwich and Lewisham and around London".

The one thing for sure, however, is that the police are handling this crime correctly. Following earlier concern that the police over-reacted to high-profile crimes, the public were told this:
In certain cases blanket coverage by the media may lead to the public perception that police are targeting resources to high profile stories. The Met have confirmed to the Authority that this is categorically untrue and we want to reassure London's communities that all investigations are resourced proportionally.
The author of this statement, by the way, was Len Duvall OBE.


Too thick to learn

Two recent offerings demonstrate why the Tories are going nowhere on the European Union. The first comes via Autonomous Mind in two tranches, an Open Letter to Roger Helmer and a rebuttal of the great man's comments. The second is a piece from arch Speccytwat James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday.

Turning to the Roger Helmer effort, this demonstrates, beyond peradventure, that the man really is not a eurosceptic – merely a Tory timeserver, who serves to garner votes in support of a cause that inherently favours European political integration.

Forget not that the Tories took us in to the "Common Market" and, of the two great building blocks of the European Union, the Single Market Act and the Maastricht Treaty, both were negotiated and approved by Tory administrations.

The clue, therefore, to Helmer's false claim (for it is he who would have us believe he is an "outer") is a response to Autonomous Mind and the question: why do some eurosceptics in Westminster occasionally appear to support some integrationist measures?

To that the Great Sage puts his own rhetorical question: "Is it better to seek to move the Conservative Party in a Eurosceptic direction over time (which implies some compromise with Party policy), or to make one grand kamikaze gesture which rules you out of the action ever after ...?".

And there lies the constant and continuous deception. If, after nearly forty years, the Conservative Party has not yet moved in a Eurosceptic direction, then it is a fair bet that it never will. Yet, year after year, decade after decade, the Myrtle tendency wants us to discard the evidence of our own eyes and believe that one day the impossible will happen and the Tories will lead us out of the European Union.

Turning then to the Speccytwat, we then find a variation of the Tory theme, with the young Forsyth pontificating about how – on the basis of yet another inane an expensive EU law – Dave and his merry men need to "tackle Britain's relationship with the EU".

And here lies dribble. As my erstwhile co-editor is fond of pointing out, Britain does not have a relationship with the EU – Britain is part of the EU. This country can no more have a relationship with this body than can we suggest that our own left feet have relationships with our own bodies.

The problem with which we are confronted, therefore, is that the Tory commentators are so incredibly thick that they cannot even get past first base. They survive in a fog of incomprehension, compounded by their own impenetrable stupidity. That ensures that we are not likely to make any more progress in the next forty years than we have in the last.

The moronic Forsyth, however, is determined to stretch incredulity to the limits of elasticity and beyond, advancing the idea that The Boy whom he so much adores should be looking for a new Cabinet Secretary on the retirement of Gus O'Donnell, with a proven ability to cut regulation and reduce red tape.

No one but a moron could utter something quite so stupid – the idea that a Cabinet Secretary can succeed in achieving something that a prime minister and his cabinet, and the entire elected parliament, have failed to do.

Most of all though, it ignores the reality of the European Union – regulation is not an à la carte option. Adoption of the acquis communautaire is an essential and inseparable part of our membership of the European Union. The only way out, is to get out – to leave the EU entirely.

And it is this that these incredibly thick Tories simply cannot deal with. Instead, they prattle and blather - but the only ones to think they are clever are themselves.

With forty years of membership under our belt, you would have thought they might possibly have learned something about the EU ... but it is Tories of which we speak. "Too thick to learn" might be their real party slogan.


No confidence in the system

Booker's dogged determination to shine the light of day into the families court system seemed to take a knock last week, when The Mirror and then the Daily Mail (amongst others) pitched into the Vicky Haigh case.

This followed high court judge Sir Nicholas Wall, who had decided to make his judgment on the case public, justifying his breach of the wall of secrecy by citing the "scandalous allegations" put in the public domain "via email and the internet".

In his column today Booker responds, pointing out that the reason for Wall deciding to break all the normal rules of secrecy surrounding child care cases was that for months, details of this case had been advertised on the internet by a private investigator, Liz Watson.

Last Monday, at the behest of Doncaster social services, Wall decided to bring matters to a head. He ruled that the parties to the case could for once be named and that papers relating to it, including two earlier court judgments, should in due course be published. He then sentenced Miss Watson to nine months in prison for breach of secrecy rules.

Relying on the findings of the two lower courts, Wall stated that Miss Haigh had coached her daughter into making lengthy statements to the police and social workers that she had been abused by her father.

There is obviously much about this case that still cannot be reported, but at least Wall's ruling will give the public a chance to decide whether the assessment of the evidence by the earlier judges seemed persuasive.

Crucially here, Wall has dismissed the claims of abuse as lacking "a scintllla of evidence", even though detailed evidence was submitted, including video recordings of interviews carried out by the police, and statements from investigating officers.

Purely on this basis, Wall is demonstrably wrong, but the man has something of a track record in making such unqualified statements. In 2008, in another case, he was complained about to the judicial ombudsman by John Hemming MP, after he had witheringly dismissed Hemming's arguments that a crucial document in the case was forged.

"I find it not only unacceptable but shocking", Wall ruled, "that a man in Mr Hemming's position should feel able to make so serious an allegation without any evidence to support it. In my judgment it is irresponsible and an abuse of his position".

In response, Hemming presented the ombudsman with several pages of transcript showing how he had produced lengthy evidence for his claim, set out in meticulous detail. Rather than stating that he had not had "any evidence", it would have been more accurate for Wall simply to state that, having considered it, he had not found the evidence convincing.

Booker too has felt the lash of Wall's tongue, when he rushed to endorse the criticisms of him by a family judge for the "inaccuracy" of my reporting on another unhappy family case. Wall was so eager to defend the system over which he presides that he seemed unaware of the fact that the judge who had criticised him had been forced to come back the following day to correct three errors in the two points he had made about him.

Booker concludes his piece by writing that, when judges have such power to make their own rules about what can and cannot be reported, it places a special responsibility on them to be rather more measured in their language than they sometimes allow themselves to be.

The point though, is that Wall is defending the system – and is using his power to do so. And the media, going for an easy touch, have fallen in will Wall and taken the free pass to write up a story they have no means of verifying and have not bothered to check. A judge has said it. Whether it is true is neither here nor there – it is reportable and safe.

Hemming has also weighed into this affair, defending his own role, arguing that the adversarial nature of the family courts is inappropriate to deal with the sensitive issues involved. One side wins, the other side loses, he says. Hence if you have an allegation of abuse that is true, but the court has decided it is false then the court makes the wrong decision and potentially places the child with a parent who has maltreated the child.

Expressing his own personal view, Hemming says we need to review the adversarial nature of private family law to have a less adversarial system and one which looks more so for a compromise than a winner takes all outcome.

What is happening currently, though, is that Wall is perpetuating the adversarial nature of the system, and inviting the media to take sides in a complex dispute, where – all of a sudden – the secrecy which normally binds family court hearings has been partially set aside.

And therein is one of the key issues. Wall's disclosures are only partial – and therefore partisan. He is not defending the rights of the children involved, but the system which he represents.

That system, as we have noted, is not one in which we can have any great confidence. Wall has not improved our confidence in it.


In the public domain

It is good to see this headline with the term "beneficial crisis" used so prominently. I like to think that the phrase was coined by myself and Booker. Certainly Booker was using it in the Daily Mail in August 2001, in his column in September 2001 and also in November 2002.

And, of course, we used it liberally in The Great Deception, first published in 2003, when we explained that the concept had been a central part the planning for European integration since 1975 - it was the foundation of the plot to introduce the single currency. The "colleagues" knew they could not do it in one hit, so introduced a deliberately flawed scheme, relying on a succession of beneficial crises then to allow them to acquire the powers the needed to manage the currency.

To see the term acquire a life of its own is thus extremely heartening. Recognition of the fact that the high and the mighty use – and often deliberately fabricate – crises for their own purposes is one step towards the antidote, whence we refuse to be spooked by the scares of the night.

Over the last few decades, the beneficial crisis – so often based on scares like global warming – has been one of the most powerful of all the political drivers. Now, having labelled it, we are better placed to call the bluff of those who wish to harness its power.


The real looters

Booker has done me proud in his column, putting the "real looters" on the map. Our prisons may be bulging with teenagers who walked off with trainers and TV sets which didn't belong to them, he writes.

But, while our Government is still having to borrow £3 billion every week to cover the shortfall in paying for our bloated public sector, the most blatant "looting" epidemic of all appears to rage on wholly unchecked.

The comments on the column seem largely supportive, but some – as always – miss the point. When it comes to local authority CEOs, these are paid out of council tax. And unlike even central government taxation, if you refuse to pay, you go to jail.

This is really the point. Loot a shop, and you go to jail. Loot council tax payers and, if they don't pay up, they go to jail. There is something particularly evil in that system ... and that makes the real looters particularly evil.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Justice for all

To see how far the British justice system has gone down the pan, one just needs to look at this (above). Stephens stole jogging bottoms, T-shirts and shorts of an unknown monetary value from the Adidas store on New Street on August 8. Judge Inman told Stephens he had reduced his sentence because he handed himself in and also because he entered an early guilty plea.

Now compare and contrast that with the fate of filth like Andrew Laycock, at 58 a retired former council head of legal services (who will have sought the imprisonment of many Council Tax defaulters in his time). He walks free with a suspended sentence, having been given "credit for his plea" of guilty to possessing more than 5,700 indecent images and 17 counts of making indecent images of children.

Not that Birmingham is any stranger to such cases, having allowed this slime to go free. In total police discovered Grewal had downloaded 4,521 indecent pictures and 12 videos. About four percent of the images, involving children aged between seven and 13, were of the most serious kind

He was sentenced to a three-year community order and ordered to go on the sex offender's register for five years. Judge Michael Cullum told Grewal: "You have been involved in the receipt of images of the most vile and depraved nature". He said that the photos and movies, some of very young children, had been stored on two computers and that Grewal had also transferred some of them on to CD.

However he said what had saved him from going to prison was the fact that the offences had happened such a long time ago and the fact that he had pleaded guilty.

Being a judge also seems to help (above), who escapes with a 12-month community rehabilitation order after admitting twelve counts related to 75 pictures of naked and semi-clad boys aged between eight and 14 that he had downloaded from the internet.

It is interesting to see that so many judges quite clearly believe that child pornography is of considerably less importance than ripping off the odd corporate, especially when councillors are involved, hence former Lambeth councillor Toren Smith (above) getting a suspended sentence despite being found with 93,549 still images, and 777 videos – eleven of which were level five, the most serious and degrading kind.

Ex-mayors also get a break when it comes to downloading pornographic images of girls, as in Stewart Brown (above), who had indulged himself in this vice, being caught in possession of pictures, with some of the girls as young as three.

Brown had been a town councillor for more than twelve years and had represented the Calder Valley on Calderdale Council between 1996 and 2000. He had been Mayor of Hebden Royd in 2006. A retired senior environmental health officer, he had been standing for the Elland ward of Calderdale Council on the Labour ticket and, as part of his current election manifesto, has pledged to restore pride in Hebden Bridge.

In fact, the judges seem so keen to let council child pornographers off the hook that they let them go even when they plead not guilty, as here with Mabon Dane, charged with 16 counts of making indecent images of children. Said Judge David Goodin giving the ex-councillor a three-year supervision order: "There is no doubt that you have an unhealthy interest in young children."

The court heard that during an interview for his pre-sentence report Dane had continued to deny he had committed the offences and refused to answer a number of questions put to him by the probation officer, most of them about his childhood. "That is a concern as is your arrogance, there is no other word for it, with the preparing of the pre-sentence report," added Goodin.

Another one who walks free is a former council officer, admits how he would look at adult porn and "possibly also children". Michael Wallbank, prosecuting, told how when experts examined his equipment they found 13 indecent child pornography videos, each about five minutes long.

Yet Judge Brown sentences Carter to a three-year community order with supervision and orders him to attend the Sex Offenders' Programme run from Northumbria.

As the evidence builds, one can easily aver, the justice system takes looting far more seriously than child pornography. Thus, even as Manchester looters were being banged up, Judge Jonathan Geake was falling over himself to release primary school teacher, 39-year-old Matthew Scott Catherall (above).

Even (or perhaps especially) when the pornographer is found in the heart of the establishment, the judges rush to let them off, giving Eaton classics teacher Ian McAuslan, 58, nine months' imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Ordering him to be placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for seven years, Judge Christopher Critchlow said: "You have a fine record as a teacher and were clearly devoted to your profession. I give you the full credit for that long service and all that you have done in that career. It's a tragedy for you and all who know you that your career should end this way."

Certainly, and unlike looters, it seems that teachers have little to fear from the justice system. When Philip Scott admitted 10 counts of making and possessing indecent images of children, as well as two counts of possessing extreme pornographic images involving adult women, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth stopped short of sending him to jail. Instead, he handed him an eight-month suspended sentence and ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Judges, it seems, simply cannot go too far in extending their sympathy and understanding to child pornographers. Even when ex-head Hugh Simon Evers is caught after downloading nearly 400 pictures and videos of underage girls – including children as young as three being sexually abused and images of girls as young as seven being raped, Judge William Wood gives him a break and suspends his sentence.

"Like anyone who has climbed high in a well-respected profession", said the honourable judge, "you have many good qualities which stand you in good stead, and result in my having to read the good reports from what people think of the way you have conducted your life, the benefit you have given to your society in various ways as a parent, and husband, and in the course of your profession".

Having worked for the BBC is not a handicap either, hence the fate of Martyn Smith, 44. Handing down an eight-month suspended prison sentence, Judge Andrew Goymer said some of the material was "quite unspeakable... and repulsive in the extreme. It involves serious sexual activity by adults with very young children indeed and any decent person would be appalled by it".

He added: "Whenever these indecent images are downloaded... somewhere in the world a child is being violated and abused in sometimes the most horrific ways in order to produce these images to satisfy the market there is in them. And that market is generated by people like you".

And, if the BBC gives you a free pass, so does being a vicar (above). Stone was found guilty of 16 specimen charges of making indecent photographs after his computer had been found to contain around 600 illegal pictures of children. Yet he walks free.

And then, of course, there is this excrement, the former Liberal Democrat councillor Christopher John Basson, who walks free from Westminster Magistrates' Court, despite stealing £12,000 from the State in fraudulently obtained incapacity benefits, while receiving nearly £26,000 in member's allowances from Camden Council. But, at least, he's only after the money.

If there is a logic here, it is difficult to see it ... other than it paying to wear a suit and have council connections, or a white-collar job. But, if kids on the streets don't take the system seriously, or give it any respect, you can hardly blame them. This is "The Man's justice", where kiddie-fiddlers roam the streets and looters go to jail. It stinks.


Corporate looting

Wholesale looting by the thieves in suits is not confined to the public sector. In fact, the looting disease was caught from the private or – to be more precise – from the corporate sector. Here, wages – or "compensation" as they quaintly call it – has soared to stratospheric heights, reaching the obscene levels typified by the grotesque payments made to BT chief executive, Ian Livingston.

Last year, this looter saw his bonus more than triple, taking his total pay package, including shares, to more than £3m. It thus can hardly be unrelated to see today the beguilingly simple headline "BT customers face higher bills".

Monthly line rental for customers are to rise from £13.90m to £14.60, having already increased from £12.79 in April. Other rising charges include the cost of daytime calls, the cost of the popular "Anytime" call package, and the call connection fee.

In fact, the rise in charges is directly connected to Livingston's fortunes, as he was drafted in salvage the company from its disastrous ventures, in particular the losses from its Global Services wing. His predecessor in the role, Hanif Lalani, left BT the year before, having presided over £1.6bn of "write downs" on these ventures, taking a £780,000 "golden goodbye" as his reward for failure.

Livingston has since turned the company round , mainly by the expedient of increasing prices while holding down the pay of his field workers. He has, nevertheless, retained his company's enviable reputation for inefficiency, poor consumer service and indifference to customer needs.

Apologists for this type of corporate looting will, of course, point to the effect one man can have on the balance sheet, stressing that getting the right man for the job requires an internationally competitive payment package.

On the other hand, one has to note that corporate decisions are not taken by one man alone – that is what boards of directors are for. And here the looting spreads across the table. Last year, the head of BT's retail business, Gavin Patterson, saw a salary increase of five percent and finance director Tony Chanmugam got a rise worth more than seven percent.

Yet these officials had been in post during the height of the Global Services debacles, each trousering £1.1m in salary and bonuses during the period. Chanmugam salary was then lifted from £475,000 to £510,000, while Patterson's £500,000 was increased by £25,000. In 2009, Chanmugam had also received a £315,000 "retention cash award".

The message sent is obvious – and it is one that has doubtless been absorbed by the youths of Tottenham and elsewhere. And if the men in suits can so freely indulge, they should hardly complain when the scrotes at the bottom of the heap follow their example.


Are they afraid?

I had a look at this story yesterday, and wondered what to make of it. The idea of a plod being dobbed in for failing to nick a scrote in the act of thieving – and then being banged up – sounds so implausible that one feels there has to be more to it.

However, Raedwald thinks he might have an explanation. "When officers start shooting their men to encourage obedience, you know they're in desperate trouble", he writes:
When rank and file police officers see their endemically corrupt seniors get away with gross peculation of public funds, taking lavish bungs from dodgy enterprises, rewarding themselves with bonuses that equal a constable's annual salary, consorting openly with known criminals and stumbling from one silver-braided circle jerk to another, what do you imagine happens to their commitment to risk themselves to protect the public? Senior officers are aware that they've alienated themselves from ordinary plods. So they're seeking to secure by fear the obedience they can't achieve by leadership.
I wouldn't entirely disagree with that, and we have observed before that the establishment seems to be running scared. Certainly, the extraordinary effort being devoted to tracking down the street rioters and looters, and the stiffer than normal sentences being handed down, can be interpreted in a similar vein. These are signs of weakness – fear – rather than strength.

One wonders if they are thinking what we're thinking, that we are on the cusp of a low-grade civil war, the nature of which seems to be continuing in Berlin, where the continuing car burning is now being treated as "politically motivated".

Our own establishment have gone out of their way to brand our troubles as "criminality", which is what they originally tried to do in Berlin. But it hasn't washed there, and it doesn't really wash here. They next time, though, the violence will be harder to dismiss, and our establishment too may well have to admit to political motivation.

But, if Raedwald is right and the senior plod and the politicals are losing touch with the rank and files, then we are in for a torrid time. The distance does beget fear and a frightened plod is a violent plod. But if they give vent to violence, they will be sowing the seeds of their own demise. We are the ones with the power.


Friday, August 26, 2011


We thought Oborne was barking, but this in the Failygraph seems to break new ground in sycophancy. Fortunately, Boiling Frog does the business – sort of – which saves us having to soil our hands.

BF also links to a Guardian piece which reminds us of how wonderful our British police are, a view which he entirely shares. Looking at that piece, one is not surprised that this left-wing newspaper takes a jaundiced view of the plods. On the other hand, the Failygraph unreservedly supports the plods, and The Boy.

There must be a lesson there, although I'm not entirely sure what it is.


The looters' looter

Brazen in its contempt for public sentiment, the Local Government Group (formerly the Local Government Association) is seeking to appoint a new chief executive, and is ready to pay £190,000 a year. Funded from subscriptions from local government, which it represents, the LG Group is thus far from setting a good example in moderating its salary offers. Instead, it is joining the ranks of the looters with great gusto.

Officially the group, which changed its name from the Local Government Association this summer, has advertised the job for £150,000, with more available for an "exceptional candidate". However its choice, which is likely to be announced in the next few weeks, is certain to be judged exceptional and its salary will be set to come just beneath the £200,000 mark.

Outgoing chief executive John Ransford was paid at the rate of under £100,000 a year in his final months in the job, which means that the new chief executive will be enjoying what amounts to a doubling in salary for a job that has remained unchanged.

And, to add insult to injury, the LG Group brought in a recruitment consultancy to help with the appointment and has put the cost of this at £16,000 – more than many local authority employees earn in a year.

The contempt of the Group, however, is hardly surprising. Its political leader is Tory Sir Merrick Cockell, former leader of Kensington and Chelsea council. Cockell is one of the local councillors estimated to have made more than £100,000 in a single year in allowances paid by various local government bodies of which he has been a member.

But we must not talk of killing these people ... to do so could be construed as an arrestable offence - and it upsets some of our more sensitive readers. We, the little people, should instead smile and be grateful that we have such towering figures looking after our interests, for such a pittance. You know it makes sense.


We need a revolution

I don't have much time for Pat Condell. He strikes me as the classic "man-in-pub", reinforcing prejudices which make him almost a parody of himself. This clip is typical of the genre, even if the underlying theme is sound. We do need a revolution – more a counter-revolution, as the "colleagues" got there first to steal our rights.

But Condell, like so many, confuses elections with democracy. We need to understand here that electing officials does not a democracy make, and nor is the election of our officials a necessary condition for democracy - as Klein Verzet also notes. Until it was so perverted, there was more democracy in the unelected House of Lords than there was in the Commons.

Democracy, therefore, is not about choosing officials, but of controlling them once they are in office. With election comes the threat that, should they not behave, we will remove them ... but since those officials all work to the same agenda now, that threat has lost its force.

Nor can we really talk about restoring democracy. In this country, we have never really had it, except around the margins. The history of the British people has been the journey towards a destination, at which we have never arrived. We need, actually, to create a democracy, to which effect we need to give the means some considerable thought.

For the moment, though, Condell will have to suffice, with his call for a revolution – not an uprising. His is not a call to violence, and neither will you get one here. But to fight the current order and to seek its overthrow by peaceful means are legitimate aspirations of the British people.

And, as I keep saying, there are more of us than there are of them. We just need to realise our own power.


Tory splits?

Do you remember when the mantra of "Tory splits" seemed to be the most dominant force in politics, with Labour in full cry at the very hint of them, and the Tory grandees pulling out all the stops to maintain a façade of unity?

And now we have the "coalition", with the Cleggerons totally at odds over a supposedly flagship policy. They are split right down the middle, yet somehow this is not supposed to matter.

Actually, this makes a total nonsense of any idea of coherent government, when the man pretending to be prime minister is being held to ransom by his own deputy who is actively briefing against him.

Meanwhile, while the idiot Boy prattled about clawing back powers from Brussels, he is being undermined by his Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who has "agreed" to a controversial EU directive on agency workers, a measure which is set to cost employers more than £1.8 billion a year.

With that, the very concept of a unified government descends into low farce – a hollow joke. But the tragedy is that the joke is on us, the British people, forced as we are to suffer these posturing buffoons.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

The "excellent blog"

That is from American Thinker. To this day, in volume terms, we get more hits from US blogs linking to us, than we do British blogs – although we do have a few good friends here as well.

The British public, though, is still slow to take to blogs – preferring the safety of the MSM sites and the nanny BBC. And as long as they – and the rest of the clogs - cream off the traffic, our impact is going to be limited. Too many of our countrymen, it seems, prefer their intellectual chains.


Please leave the sector

Confronted with evidence of their peculation, you would think that local authority chief executives would be hanging their heads in shame. That, though, would be to misunderstand the beast. Lining your pockets with public funds means never having to say you're sorry. Thus, we get "much anger amongst many in local government" at the inclusion of "all payments to chief executives covering items such as expenses, pension payments and returning officer fees".

In particular, the officials are very cross about this story, identifying one of their number, Phil Dolan, as a council fat cat, "earning" £570,000. We've got him all wrong, it seems. When he left his lucrative post, his authority, South Somerset, was "obliged" to pay Mr Dolan his £133,878 salary and £6,000 benefits in kind for the year, £23,122 for his notice period, £239,000 to the Local Government Pension Scheme under rules set by DCLG and £10,700 in statutory redundancy compensation. The only part decided by the council was a £156,676 discretionary redundancy payment.

Therefore, ministers – to say nothing of the rest of us – are making "malicious and vindictive" personal attacks on these innocent local government officials. And as people lap these stories up, we are told, "they come to view local government officers as 'fat cat bureaucrats' intent on bleeding the state dry for their own advantage when, really, they'd be far better off if they left the sector".

Well, there is a real easy answer to that. If these poor, misunderstood little darlinks think they would be better off elsewhere ... please leave the sector. We won't mind at all.


Actions speak louder than words

Less than two weeks ago we saw this after judge Farook Ahmed had cut the sentence of Vincent Miller, illegal immigrant and drug dealer, to help him escape deportation (above). He deliberately shortened the sentence Miller would have received from a year to eleven months. Criminals given twelve months face automatic deportation proceedings.

And now, we see this: a looter who took just one lick of an ice cream he stole during rioting before he gave it away has been jailed for sixteen months. Anderson Fernandes, 21, wandered into an upmarket store in central Manchester after the door was left open and helped himself to a cone and two scoops.

But despite giving it to a passer-by because he didn't like the coffee flavour he was still given a lengthy prison term.

And this occurs on the day we see reported that net immigration soared by 20 percent last year. This, says the Daily Mail "is making a mockery of Government pledge to bring it down".

One could venture that what is really behind this is the weak attitiude of government to immigration. When The Man feels threatened, as with the riots and looting, no sentence is too draconian. What a contrast this makes with the laid-back attitude to people who should not even be here.

Sometimes, you know, actions speak louder than words.