Thursday, 30 June 2016

Dail Mail journalistic standards very low

Check out the headline on this Daily Mail article....

and then further down the article you have this...

Bizarrely the body of the article does not reflect the fact that Boris has thrown in the towel, even though the headline does.

The offending hack seems to be James Tapsfield, Political Editor. He should be ashamed; the average blogger does better.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Iain Duncan Smith for Tory leader

Who is he? It's the bald one. Does that help? Not the obvious candidate, but IDS could be a good choice for Tory leader. He's done the job before, in opposition, and by general consensus did it badly, but that is because he is boring and opposition needs a dynamo who is continually in the government's face.

Boring but dependable

IDS has done well in the Brexit campaign. He has been eurosceptic since the year dot unlike certain blond buffoons who jumped on the issue recently when it looked like it could make him Prime Minister. IDS has caring credibility, he resigned from the cabinet over proposed cuts to disability benefits. It also helps that he is not Eton and Oxford and has had a real job before politics. He studied in Italy (opinions vary as to exactly where in Italy but it was definitely in Italy  so "Foreign Experience" on the CV) and he was in the army and did tours in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia. 

He is still boring of course but now might be the time for a boring person. He is also a bit thick, but provided he is well advised he should be able to handle the Brexit negotiations and heal the rifts in the party.

Nominations close in 24 hours. He'll need to move fast if he wants the job. At the moment he is not even being talked about.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit

Free at last?! Brexit has been chosen 52% to 48% and the Prime Minister has said he will quit by October - ironically, just last week he was telling us, "Don't be a quitter." He also predicted World War Three (or was it Zee?) so maybe he is quitting so he has more time to stock up on tins of beans and loo rolls. It remains to be seen if he will take George "Emergency Budget" Osborne with him.

The result was close and not predicted, even Nigel Farage threw in the towel after the polls closed yesterday evening before grabbing it back later in the night. The reason "Leave" won is quite subtle and not being reported at the moment. As can be seen from the early Sunderland result, it's differential turnout. In a normal election nice middle-class people pop along to the polling station and make their cross. This means a 60% turnout is considered good. Yesterday though, voters were flocking in from the council estates in greater numbers than ever before. Turnout shot up past 80% in some areas and needless to say it is this kind of person who is most affected when immigration causes rents to rise and wages to fall. So the unwashed voted Leave, and now the Guardian-readers are squealing foul. It is no foul though; it is the genuine will of the people.

Indeed 52% is an under-representation of the true native British desire to leave the EU. There was a big Scottish Remain vote which was more of an anti-English vote than an anti-EU vote. They don't like the EU anymore than the rest of us but the opportunity to prod the English was too good to miss. Call it the "Mel Gibson effect".

And in London, 60% of the massive five million strong electorate voted Remain. But 60% of Londoners are immigrants, born abroad but with UK citizenship now, and their instinct is to weaken British sovereignty as native Brits are seen as the enemy who might at any point suddenly object to their country being invaded. They see a weaker Britain as better for them.

It was noticeable during the campaign that Leave proponents were the smarter, cleaner-cut set, exemplars being MEPs Nigel Farage and Dan Hanan, journalist Julia Hartley Brewer, writer Louise Mensch and Colonel Tim Collins, while Remain were a collection of scruffy freaks such as Eddie Izzard, Bob Geldorf and Jeremy Corbyn, as well as innumerable short, fat and largely indistinguishable and incomprehensible Scottish ladies. Leave was led by higher IQ, better educated people than Remain, and yet the great bulk of Leave's support came from ordinary working men and women. The British class system does contain an unwritten, and largely invisible to outsiders, compact in which the upper echelons look out for the less lofty. Toffs who honour the contract get rewarded with great loyalty; scruffs who somehow achieve a high position don't even realise the contract exists and get grudging support  because they claim to be from the working class. Yesterday's result was the product of old fashioned patricians who have nothing personally to fear from the EU doing their duty and looking out for those who do have a lot to lose.

The result provoked predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth at the BBC, in Brussels and wherever the Bilderberg HQ is. It was gleefully reported that the Pound had fallen to its lowest level against the USD since 1985. By this morning though it was at its lowest level since last week. Likewise the FTSE 100 was back up in its normal trading range by mid-morning after a low start.

So what of the future? What is likely to happen and what would we like to happen?

Well, here are a few new words for your vocabulary: Frexit, Nexit, Swexit and possibly Dexit and Itexit. These refer to France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Italy leaving the EU. As predicted by many, not least this blog, Brexit seems likely to cause a rush for the door. We have shown the way, others want to follow. In Italy "leave" is running at 50%, in Sweden some polls have it at 60%. Throughout the referendum campaign Remainers would challenge Leavers to name the model they wanted, the options mainly being the Swiss Model or the Norwegian Model - neither model being ideal. They both involve being swamped by immigrants for starters. 

It seems likely that the way ahead is the 'British Model'. What that is remains to be worked out, but when figured out it is likely other leaving countries will follow the British model. Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister for a few months last year slash bike-riding rock-god voiced the fear that Brexit would cause the EU to fracture along the Rhine. Although it's a fear for him, to this blog that sounds like quite a good thing. The Western European countries are not really the problem. What we need is an a la carte (see, using French, not a complete Little Englander) association which allows each member to pick from a grid of options. Down the side of the grid are the nations of Europe and across the top the options such as free trade, free movement, common currency, shared fishing, etc. Tick what you want. Free movement would not be a problem with France, Germany, Sweden and other such countries, free trade would be fine with countries further East, and this blog would only endorse a shared currency with the Republic of Ireland (and Scotland were they to quit the UK.) Other European nations may wish to tick other boxes, so let them. There is no harm to us.

It is possible though, that no other "exit" movement will be successful and we will end up dealing with the EU as a monolithic bloc. So be it. In that case we will have to be more restricted in the deals we do. It is not the end of the world. In fact there is a big old world out there and plenty of opportunity.

It is now only the morning after the night before; very early in the Brexit process. At this point all we can say with complete confidence is that the future will be interesting.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Orlando, America's biggest ever mass killing

So says all the media everywhere. But that is complete BS. In April 1993, at Waco Texas, eighty-two people died, some shot by the ATF, others burned in the fire they started. Going further back, in December 1890, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, three hundred unarmed Indians, the majority women and children, were killed by the 7th Cavalry.

So Orlando is only the biggest ever mass killing if you don't count the government.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Concealed carry

On Sunday last, 29-year-old homosexual muslim Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, armed with a semi-automatic rifle of a type generally known as an AR-15 and a Glock 17 pistol; killed 49 people and injured another fifty-three. Some patrons of the nightclub saved themselves by pretending to be dead. Mateen walked around making sure people were dead and one survivor related how he lay on the floor and did not flinch when Mateen shot him in the arm and the side so he would look dead.

In this respect the situation was similar to the attack on the Bataclan theatre (Paris, France) in November last year. Three gunmen entered the theatre and killed 89 people using AK-47s. Some people survived by lying on the floor and pretending to be dead.

What all the victims of both incidents had in common is that they were not armed. They did not have the option to shoot back.

In both cases, and especially the Orlando case, even a small number of people exercising their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms (or French equivalent) would have saved a large number of lives. Law-abiding citizens who carry guns are almost always better trained and more competent gun handlers than terrorists. The good citizen who buys his first gun will typically also buy some lessons in how to use it; will go to a range to hone accuracy, and acquire some snap-caps (blank ammunition) so he or she can safely practise loading and unloading, drawing and re-holstering until it goes into muscle memory and becomes second nature. Terrorists, on the other hand, just spray and pray.

In the Orlando case, Mateen's rifle jammed and there was an opportunity for an armed person to intervene, but no-one did, because they could not.

We are gradually entering a world in which not being armed will be considered irresponsible.

Friday, 10 June 2016

EU cost of membership

People seem to be hung up on the EU membership fees. "Leave" say it's £350m per week, enough to build a new hospital every week, "Remain" come back with, we get half of it back in the form of rebates and grants, to which "Leave" retort, half isn't nearly enough and the EU uses the grants to fund vanity projects and effectively bribe prominent people, especially lefty arty people, to promote the EU cause.

However £350m per week (or £18bn a year) is not the big number in this debate. A few years ago the Institute for Fiscal studies (IFS) calculated that the total compliance cost imposed on us by EU legislation is £120bn per year, or more than £2bn per week! This is the amount the UK public sector and private sector combined must find to comply with EU law.

When you consider that 95% of British businesses have no trade with Europe at all, for most this is a completely unnecessary burden. This is the big financial win from Brexit, not saving the measly £350m.