Friday, 28 September 2012

Spain falling apart

Spain could be falling apart literally. There has been rioting in Madrid over the last few days and the public is seething at the austerity they are being expected to face. But one region has more cause for resentment that the rest: Catalonia.

The Catalans never wanted to be part of Spain in the first place. They were assimilated by conquest in the early 18th C. and have never really gotten over it. Now the Catalan President is planning to hold an election in November in which complete independence will be on offer.

Catalonia: "We want out!"

The Catalan autonomous region has its own language, a long coast line, a long border with France and is ideally placed to become an independent nation. Weakness in Madrid is all the excuse they need to ramp up the separatist movement.
Catalonia is the most industrialised part of Spain; the most able to look after itself. As an independent nation they could skip most of the austerity the rest are going to have to endure. As a nation in its own right Catalonia would be as rich as the UK - per capita, and decidedly richer than the rest of Spain, and richer than countries such as Greece or Portugal.

At the moment Spain is essentially a "Castilian Empire" based in central Spain with Madrid as its nexus. The outlying regions have had to be bribed (when the empire was weak) and bullied (when the empire was strong) since the eighteenth century to keep them onside. Now the empire is weaker than it has ever been before. This does not look good for Spain as a nation state.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Movie review: Innocence of Muslims

If you want to see a truly awful movie - here is one: Innocence of Muslims.  

Of course if you're in Egypt, Libya or Afghanistan it's blocked, so here is a still to look at instead.

Mohammed chased by angry wives slapping him with sandals.
The film is 14 minutes long, made by an Egyptian convicted drug-dealer and bankrupt called Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, although for the purpose of making the film he called himself Sam Bacile and claimed to be Jewish.

The cast themselves did not know what they were making. The significant words were dubbed in post-production.
The film itself is confused, in fact incomprehensible, and certainly not a trenchant criticism of Islam. It does have a donkey which becomes the first muslim animal when Mohammed converts it. And there is some suggestion that the donkey may be gay!

Supposedly there is a longer version of the film, and the 14-minute version is just a trailer. At most ten people have seen the full version (if it exists) at a private viewing.

Reactions in the muslim world have resulted in numerous deaths including that of the US ambassador to Libya (although it seems likely that that attack was pre-planned and the film merely came along at a fortunate juncture.)

The Pakistani Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Balor has offered to pay $100,000 to anyone who kills Nakoula. The Pakistani Foreign Minister has said that America should reconsider its committment to free speech!

Meanwhile satirical website The Onion has published this picture showing Jesus, Jehovah, Budda and the Hindu elephant god Ganesha enjoying a four-way orgy on a cloud.

Gods behaving badly
The original picture is uncensored and features creative use of a trunk. They think they are being very clever down at The Onion, but if you zoom in to the top-left I think you can just make out Mohammed peeking from behind a cloud!

A pleb apologises

The government Chief Whip (at this exact moment, anyway) Andrew "Thrasher" Mitchell, MP, has apologised for not showing enough respect to the police.

It is alleged that while leaving Downing Street on his bicycle (points for greenness!) his way was obstructed by a closed gate and a lady police officer from SO6 (diplomatic protection) invited him to proceed through a pedestrian gate to which he replied along the lines of, "Don't you know who I am? F*cking pl*b!" (Exact wording disputed) thus committing a Section 5 Public Order offence.

Andrew Mitchell: Checked shirt?! Awooga!!
Fashion error!

Thrasher had been appointed Chief Whip a few minutes previously and was quite reasonably annoyed that his new status was not acknowledged by flunkies rushing to open gates for him. This blog can only sympathize. When a fellow takes the trouble to attend a top Public School, top University, and Sandhurst, and serves a whole nine months with the Royal Tank Regiment and gets a medal for going to Cyprus it must be galling not to have ones achievements recognised.

It must be said that his service with the army was a bit short but clearly they felt in the regiment that nine months from Andrew was as good as a lifetime from anyone else and they should not stand in the way of his progression into the banking industry.

But this blog does have to take issue with his use of the word "pleb". When Andrew sits down at the cabinet table he is surrounded by people who went to Eton and Oxford. Poor Andrew only went Rugby and Cambridge. Surely he is the pleb!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Indeterminate prison sentences come home to roost

Our previous Labour government had no qualms about knocking away the fundamental pillars of justice if it suited them. Right to silence, double jeopardy, fixed term prison sentences: all got shot in the knees (and let's not forget "executive detention" where people get locked up, albeit in their own homes, just because the government says so.)

Now one of these has turned and bitten them. IPP (open-ended Imprisonment for the Public's Protection) has been ruled unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights and compensation is to be paid.

To the credit of the current government they banned IPPs as soon as they came to power, but we have a legacy of 6,000 people in jail sentenced to serve an open-ended term, basically until they pass a course in public safety. Already 3,500 are over their minimum term and places on the course are very limited.

Already two such prisoners have been granted thousands of pounds compensation, and thousands of others will be toiling over their claims right now. Thanks, Labour!

Oh, and Labour are now 15% ahead in the polls.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Another tram lady: this time black

Emma West has company - we have another tram lady. This one's invective included, "I hate f*cking white people," and, "White c*nts!" In contrast to this lady's rant, Miss West's contribution was a reasoned polemic on the subject of immigration.

Here is the new tram lady...

"White c*nts!"

The complete video may be viewed here.

It will be interesting to compare and contrast this lady's treatment by the authorities with that of Emma West. Emma had her children taken into care, she spent time in prison, and she has been in court three times so far with no actual trial taking place.

This new "tram lady" would seem to have committed a more serious offence, based on the language used and hatred expressed. I trust the authorities will step up to the mark promptly.