Friday, 17 December 2010

BNP vs CEHR - BNP victory!

This morning at 10am at the Royal Courts of Justice the verdict in the Commission for Equality and Human Rights vs the British National Party was handed down.

Verdict: BNP victory!

The BNP will now of course seek all its costs from the CEHR. In your face Trevor!

Details here.

Commentry from the BNP here.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Balance of trade - UK vs EU

One of the most important policies of the BNP is leaving the European Union. This is because we see no reason to be governed by foreigners, and have no desire to govern them. BNP policy is that we would remain within the free trade area (aka the customs union) and so trade would be unaffected.

However, the EU could try to make that difficult for us, so it's worth looking at what the implications would be of them saying, "no deal, get lost entirely." If the UK had no trade with the EU, would we gain or loose?

Here's a map showing trade balances with the EU for 2009. (You may need to click on it to see a bigger version.)



The countries shaded red or pink have a negative trade balance with us, ie, we lose out trading with them. The countries in grey are positive, we sell them more goods and services combined than they sell us.

Clearly in the EU only the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands are significant to us, although Sweden, Finland and Romania are slightly positive. All the other countries are either slightly or strongly negative - we lose money by trading them.

Now let's aggregate that by looking at the same maps for the entire world.



and...



From the upper image you can see we are negative overall with respect to the EU and Asia, but positive with Africa and Australia/New Zealand.

The lower image shows that we are positive with respect to all the Americas and the USA is our most important trading partner.

Here's a table showing the actual value of trade with our beneficial partners (2009).


The "profit" is how much more we sold them than they sold us. Contrast the above table with the same for our two big neighbours.

So you can see that if we cut off trade links with the EU we would lose £14.7bn profit from Ireland and the Netherlands, but gain by not making a £18.7 loss on trades with France and Germany, and of course gain even more from not trading with the other EU countries.

All this means the EU is very unlikely to make it difficult for us of we choose to leave. They would just be hurting themselves.

Two other factors need considering.

1) Most of the UK's exports are "services" while our imports are "goods". Goods are easy to block with trade barriers because they are tangible, services are not. Services can be sold through a front company in the target country. For example a UK software house employing 1,000 people could start a ten person company in another country and pipe the software in through the internet. Financial services can be slipped under borders in much the same way.

2) The UK is Europe's premier tourist destination by value. Foreign tourism is worth £115bn a year to us and the UK leaving the EU free trade area wouldn't change that.

So putting it all together we have little to fear from leaving the EU.

Now if someone were to suggest joining the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) that would be an interesting option to explore.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

World Infowar I

The story so far: allegedly one Private First Class (2nd rung above civie street) Bradley Manning of the US army, whilst on a tour of duty in Iraq, reported to work with a Lady Gaga CD, wiped the music and overwrote the CD with 260,000 classified documents (possibly using several CDs over several days to get the complete set.)

PFC Manning

The documents were available on SIPRNet, a parallel internet run by the US Department of Defense, hosting the same applications as the regular internet, eg email, web pages and the like, but in a secure environment. This network hosts documents up to the level "SECRET". Access to this network is restricted to about 3 million personnel, both military and civilian.

This data was then passed to Wikileaks, a web site devoted to hosting leaked documents. Wikileaks has an obscure origin; it is thought to have over 1,000 people involved in running it on part-time basis, but its self-proclaimed Editor-in-Chief is one Julian Assange, an Australian with a background in hacking. (The identity of those who actually own and run Wikileaks is unknown - possibly Assange is also the owner but that is by no means certain.)

Julian Assange

Shortly after Wikileaks started releasing these 260,000 documents Mr Assange was accused of two sexual offences (one rape, one harassment) during a visit to Sweden; his Swiss bank account was frozen, and MasterCard stopped processing payments to Wikileaks. Assange was arrested in London, refused bail (not unreasonably since he refused to provide the court with a UK address) and at the time of writing resides in HMP Wandsworth (a London prison.)

Some people think to see dirty tricks in this concatenation of misfortune to assail Mr Assange at this time.

But the harassment is not all one sided. "Hacktivists" have come to Assange's and Wikileak's defence. MasterCard's website has been attacked by a Denial of Service attack and effectively taken down (although the system used by stores is still working.) The Swiss bank, PostFinance, has also been targeted and their website rendered inoperative. Their press release said, "Access to www.postfinance.ch and thus also e-finance is currently overloaded owing to a multitude of online enquiries."

"Online enquiries," in one way of describing a DOS attack.

The Swedish public prosecutor's office has also come under fire.

So it seems World Infowar I has now broken out. The US government is determined to persecute the person it holds responsible for the leaks, and the Internet community is equally determined to hit back.

The opinion of this blog is simply: why on Earth did the Americans ever expect documents available to three million people to remain secret?