Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Austrian election - Post 3

Emmanuel Macron's reign as the EU's wunderkind did not last long. He's been usurped by a man not only younger than he is, but one dating a girl his own age, rather than being married to his grandmother. And it may well be this small nation that influences EU policy more effectively than Macron.

British papers have picked up on the possibility that Kurz may take Austria into the Vizegrad group, thus forming an internal EU opposition group that runs from the Baltic almost to the Adriatic. They have also mentioned that the last Turkish seige of Vienna in 1683 left the country with a permanent identity as Europe's final barrier against Islam. To a point, Lord Copper. None I've read have mentioned that it was actually the Polish Jan Sobieski who routed the Turkish forces at the gates of Vienna and it was not Austria alone but a Christian alliance that finally turned Islam from Europe's heart.  

Today, Vienna is as well populated with Turkish kebab shops, per capita, as is London. Only here they're 'Kebap' shops, the pitta bread is round and the chilli sauce is bland and mild to suit Austrian palates. Most of Austria's Muslims are either Turks or from the Balkans; westernised, easy to assimilate, invisible after two or three generations. Not so Muslim migrants from Africa, Pakistan or Iraq. Austria's game plan is to assimilate the old migrants and block any more from settling; Saudi funding of mosques and imams is banned here, Salafist teaching forbidden and any segregated Islamist schools, even nurseries, subject to intense State surveillance and monitoring. And now the Burqa is banned. 

It would seem obvious even to the meanest intelligence that Austria, like Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, will refuse to take part in Juncker's mad plan to distribute tens of thousands of African Muslim migrants across Europe from Italy. Austrian tanks and barbed wire at the Brenner pass are symbolic; the little border road we use to go to Tarvisio for fresh market vegetables and a pizza lunch is manned by just a pair of bored guards. This does not, however mean that Austria will formally join the Vizegrad group; the country is proud of being a bit different, and is the EU's only neutral nation one of four neutral EU nations (and therefore not a NATO member). Austria sees itself as more Switzerland than Hungary, and will want to play a role with a foot in both Vizegrad and the Franco-German EU, holding a powerful but variable casting vote. 

The border
  Austria also desires an EU that suits it. A good example is electricity market deregulation. Only in Vienna and environs does one have a choice of power provider. Here 25% Länder-owned power company Kelag has the monopoly - in the face of EU requirements forcing competition - and the same applies in other Länder. As far as Austria is concerned, competition will only be implemented when it is advantageous to do so, not because Brussels says so.* Austria in particular believes state aid is a good thing, that maintaining jobs and the economy is more important than EU edicts. So firms employing over 15 or so people here rarely go suddenly bankrupt; once they've run up a million or so in debt and the banks won't extend, the local council and the province step in, arrange new contracts, commission orders, pump in money on easy terms, guarantee loans and put together asset deals, all utterly unlawful under EU rules but all utterly widespread here. 

Kurz regards these things as internal, matters that should be determined by individual nations and not dictated from Brussels. He is, in this, closer to Jeremy Corbyn than to Theresa May. The rail operator, OeBB, is wholly state owned and services are superb and fares low. There is a popular consensus that approves the economic role of the State and also accepts that it not need be too efficient, as inefficiency means more jobs. Even estate agents are protected here with statutory house-sale fees of 3%, half-each to be paid by buyer and seller. The consequence of this last is that Austria's estate agents are the laziest and poorest quality in Europe. 

There is an expression that one hears time after time in Austria - 'One hand washes the other'. It applies to everything from petty corruption to nepotism, crooked government deals and bribery. I really can't see that changing. Austria is 17th in Transparency International's corruption index, a way away from Switzerland at 5th place.   

Above all this election means that the EU has lost all pretence at being a homogeneous entity. Brussels must now, rather than uniting ever more closely, become even more expert at playing realpolitik with nations determined upon their own national identity, opposed to any further loss of power, and now with enough clout to make life very difficult in Brussels. Poor Herr Juncker. One can hardly begrudge him the cognac bottle for his breakfast this morning.  



*This has the knock-on that Kelag can dictate consumer hardware; instead of a UK style consumer unit costing £60 - £70 one is obliged here to install a locally-designed 'Kärnten verteiler' made by a local company and costing around €1,000. It is the size of a small fridge, made of steel, and weighs 60kg empty. It is called, without any irony, the 'Eco' by makers Schrack.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Austrian election - Post 2

A couple of weeks ago the Burqa ban came into effect in Austria, banning all clothing that covered the face. The first (and so far only) fine issued by the police under the law was to a performer wearing a shark costume whilst promoting the McShark computer chain. Austria's estimated 150 (yes, 150) Burqa wearers stayed indoors. Of course there's no Burqa problem now, say Austrian friends, but look at France, where the Burqa is used as an outward expression of Islamism to say 'FU' to the Fifth Republic. They don't want that to happen here. 


The election has been a single issue business, all about migration. On everything else there's an easy consensus between the parties; Austria is a protectionist, social-democratic republic with a socialist economy and conservative values. This has enabled the conservative OeVP and the socialist SPOe to govern in coalition for most of the years since the war. But it was Germany's stupidity in opening Europe's borders last year that provoked the backlash; until the young Sebastian Kurz took the initiative in co-ordinating the closure of the Serbian migrant route with steel fences, the tsunami of economic migrants all came through Austria, many staying. 

The Austrian Federal government went over the heads of the Länder in dispersing migrants as thinly as possible across the country. They didn't want to create ghettoes in Vienna. Here in my gemeinde we were allocated 74, though fewer than half that number are actually billeted here. The owner of a closed and tired small hotel, last refurbed in the '70s, volunteered his asset to the Vienna government with alacrity. He houses and feeds the migrants twice a day on boiled pasta and rakes in more money than he's made in the past decade. The Afghans shrug off the -20 winter cold and the snow, the Africans shiver in misery under their bedclothes. CAFOD have donated some bicycles (migrants can't drive in Austria) and volunteers now coach ex-Iraqi tank drivers, Afghan helo pilots and Sudanese taxi operators as they wobble uncertainly around the car park like children. 

Muslim migrants in particular have found an immovable cultural barrier. Not only do the valleys tintabulate to the sound of church bells three times a day, not only can you not travel more than 100m without meeting a crucifix or a Marian roadside shrine, only pork and beef can be bought in the shop, and there are no halal foods, but the locals insist on greeting them in public with a cheery smile and "Grüß Gott!". They know damn well that the God being asked to bless them is the Holy Trinity of the Christian Diety and not the sterile Allah of their own death cult. You can see them wince almost imperceptibly at the greeting. They do not respond. 

In dispersing the migrants so widely the Federal government scored a home goal. In those provinces in which most gemeindes had never seen a black face before the dispersal, the SPOe and Green vote has collapsed and the OeVP and FPOe have benefited. The message is very clear; thus far and no further. The migrants here themselves want to leave the rather bleak and isolated Austrian rural areas for German cities, and the Austrian authorities are complicit in turning a blind eye to their leaving; the whole mess was, after all, Germany's fault. In return, Germany is keeping the Austrian border closed - to intercept both migrants and Balkans cigarettes. 

All this has put Sebastian Kurz in the Ballhausplatz. 

I was in the local pub yesterday evening with a couple of young German friends and the place was fairly packed with folk watching the election results. I'd worked out that the full tables in front of us were SPOe until young Katz nudged me to point out an FPOe 'Strache' scarf draped over a chair on the table behind. This is how rural Austria works. There's only one pub, so Labour and UKIP share, and get on politely enough, greeting eachother in the toilet and enquiring about children. They're likely to be related, after all, in an Austria in which extended families have largely stayed in place on the same land their ancestors inhabited centuries ago. And community and cultural identity are always more important than party politics.    

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Austrian election - Post 1

I'm going to spread my reaction to the Austrian election over two or three posts. It really is all far more complex and nuanced that UK commentators are indicating. You'll hear the term 'Nazis' bandied about a lot over the next week, so let's start with that. 

Ulrichsberg, a short drive away, is a small ruined roofless chapel perched on a small peak above the village; on its walls are the regimental plaques of long-gone army units - mostly of the Austrian army as it was absorbed into the German forces after Anschluss. In particular, this was the recruiting ground for the Gebirgsjäger, the mountain warfare troops with the little Edelweiss on their sleeve, the local regiment of which scuppered a much more powerful British force at Narvik and spent the rest of the war in Lapland fighting Russians. Each year the old veterans with their Iron Crosses, their close combat infantry badges and wound badges, all made legal to wear after the war as long as the Swastika was ground off, met for a flag and prayer service of a type familiar all over Europe.


It enjoyed a semi-official approval; each year the Austrian army would lay on vehicles to take the old soldiers up the steep mountain and would maintain the forest track; they would provide a scratch oompah band and a couple of senior officers in uniform, and the local gemeinde would sanction the attendance of the Fire Brigade and use of local resources. All was well until a journalist identified ex-members of the Waffen SS (the ones who fought, but hardly honourably, rather than the ones who operated the extermination camps). Of course there was a stink, the army was ordered to withdraw help, the gemeinde said 'nothing to do with us, guv' and for the past two years the old boys have met in a tent down in the village - unable to get up to their ruined chapel. It was an official move to suffocate the thing - though long known about and tolerated - because of bad publicity. A very Austrian reaction - they are great hiders of unpleasant things.

The point is that these old boys are people's fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, loved and esteemed family members, who were conscripted into the Reich's forces and like soldiers everywhere who have fought, remembered this as the most intensely lived part of their lives. If they shared anything, it was a rather old fashioned belief in service, obedience, discipline, comradeship, self-sacrifice, domestic economy and a loyalty to their family, clan and province. Values still prevalent here in homes of all political persuasions.


In a simplistic Twitter world the shorthand for this sort of treffen is a 'Nazi Rally'. When an FPOe politician said recently that Austrians who served in the Reich forces should stop being ashamed of it, he of course raised a 'Nazi Spectre' storm from Der Spiegel to Guardian Towers. The reality is really far more nuanced than that. We'll hear a lot about Austrian Nazis over the next week.  
 
Values often skip a generation or two. So it seems sometimes with the Millennials, who can seem priggish, over-serious, politically unrealistic and far, far too didactic to we boozy, bloated, fortunate Gen-Xers. Ulrichsberg too was attractive to the old and the young, to the veterans and to their grandchildren and great grandchildren. It's about tradition and culture rather than fascist values, as far as I can see. I could be wrong, but I can see little evil in it. This lieder has had over a million views on You Tube - is it a fascist anthem or a folk song?



Saturday, 14 October 2017

Eight things to do with a whiteboard ......

The further I get from all the corporate crap, only some of which I pretended to understand in the wind-down year before I took the early bath, the more I wonder why there are people who still take it all so seriously. The risible idiocies coming through my professional body have now surely degenerated into self-parody; surely to God, no-one believes this to be serious?

What next? "Using snazzy sounds and transitions in Powerpoint to give evidence at the Construction Court - how to impress!"

I recall I once shared a complex but very plain spreadsheet with a director who gazed at it unmoved. The following week I resubmitted it to his PA with all the cells coloured in and a 48pt header 'Risk Management Dashboard'. He loved it. After that I found that calling anything a 'dashboard' was an instant way of engaging his attention, until 'agile' came along - when everything had to be 'agile'. Well, I was bloody agile at that point. By about a thousand miles.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Shengen isn't working ... broken by smuggled cigarettes?

Friends of mine here in Austria have recently made a couple of trips back to the UK by road, distributing stuff between their two homes. Both times they've been stopped at the border and inspected by the German Finance Police (like the Inland Revenue but in uniform, with pistols). Not looking for Jihadists, Sudanese migrants, Serbian surplus weapons but for cigarettes and tobacco. 

Germany has announced that she will keep her borders closed. So will Denmark, France and Austria, not to mention Hungary and Slovenia. The pretence is terrorism; the reality, I think, almost certainly includes smuggled tobacco products.

Austria is a nation of heavy smokers, and the legal price of ciggies at about €4.50 a pack keeps it that way; bars are mostly smoking-friendly, with only a ban coming next year for food and fags in the same room. It does my heart good to walk into a thick comforting fug of eye-stinging tobacco smoke down the hill at my local gasthaus - keeping alive the memory of pre-2006 Britain. It's not that the Austrian government, under strong pressure from the EU, doesn't want to increase tax on fags; it can't. The proximity of the eastern EU border, with fags coming in from Ukraine at €1.50 a pack, means any tax increase on legal fags will actually lower revenue. Poland's the same, as is Hungary.  Only the UK and Ireland, far from eastern Europe, can increase tobacco duty indefinitely.

So as the Shengen area border posts are reappearing and traffic queues that were recently just a distant memory are now returning on national borders, the nations of Europe are striving to stem the haemorrhage of tax eastwards and halt the tsunami of Chinese and eastern European fags flooding in. 

The prospect makes me chuckle that it's Europe's smokers who may be the final straw that broke Shengen. Now that would be sweet revenge ...  

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The war with the New Left is a fight for Enlightenment values

Following my Atlantic Charter piece below, two slightly unlikely mainstream voices have joined pleas for us to respect these most basic values. Most coherent is Allister Heath in the Telegraph, who recognises the same threat;
Contemporary “liberals” – the dominant group in the civil service, academia, the cultural industries and among young, highly educated urbanites – have all too often become born-again authoritarians.....Forget about democracy, people power and autonomy: the New Left loves authority, elite rule and cultural warfare.
I've commented before on the declining commitment of the young to democracy - of great concern, because even our most fundamental democratic safeguards of universal suffrage and the secret ballot are under attack from the New Left, who favour authoritarian rule by 'experts' i.e. them, for our own good. Big State centralist authoritarianism is something I've fought against my entire life, and just when I thought we were winning we face a new cohort of slavemasters. If you can, please read Allister's piece - it really is worth it.

The second and most unlikely voice is that of Owen Jones in the Guardian - yes, he whom I characterised as whining "The wrong people are using democracy!" after the Brexit vote. In an entirely unexpected piece he writes
I have little truck with pro-independence movements unless a nation is oppressed, like those subjugated by Europe’s former great powers – and Catalonia is not. Supporting Catalonia’s right to divorce does not mean endorsing it. But when democracy comes under attack anywhere, it is our collective responsibility to show solidarity.
Well, well.  

Incidentally, anyone after Quentin Letts' new book 'Patronising Bastards' will find Blackwell selling direct on eBay for £11.99 - the cheapest I've found, unless you know different ...

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

No cheap food or goods from Brexit? WTO deal revealed ...

I'll post the memorandum images below as I have them today from the European Commission. I'll leave it to those wiser than I in these things for definitive comments, but from my first reading it seems:-
  • We'll keep our separate 1995 membership of the WTO
  • On Brexit, we'll apportion EU import goods tariffs and quotas - so the end result for the 27 + 1 is as now for the 28
  • Same for agricultural subsidies
Does this mean that all the talk of Brexit freeing us from EU restrictive import barriers and enabling cheaper food and goods is just twaddle? And how long will we keep in lockstep with the Empire?   



Postscript
++++++++
Ah, pretty much as thought - Guardian has the detail
Guardian's take is that we & the EU have played a flanker in preventing the US dumping its unwanted ag surpluses on us both - but that it's not yet a done deal. I guess there's a difference between choosing to raise quotas and being dumped upon.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Moral courage that shames the dictators of Brussels

The Summer of 1941 was a bleak and fearful one in Britain. We stood alone; the public mood in the USA was against any involvement in the war, our cities were nightly being destroyed by Nazi bombers, Hood had been sunk, Rommel was pushing us back to Egypt in North Africa, Nazi U-boats were sinking tens of thousands of tons of shipping. A beam of hope shattered the gloom in June when the mad Hitler invaded the Soviet Union - and Britain, itself short of every piece of war equipment, with nary a .303 round to spare, under threat of invasion, gamely dispatched convoys of war material to Stalin, beggaring our own forces to do so.  

In August, at very considerable risk from U-boats, aircraft and the spiteful might of the Nazi behemoth, Churchill crossed the Atlantic to meet President Roosevelt to agree the foundation of a postwar world. It was a meeting of the most astounding confidence, with Britain at danger of falling to the Nazi jackboot and the US not even in the war. From it came the Atlantic Charter, a document of hope, freedom and justice, a candle to light the breath of aspiration amid the dark blanket of evil that fell across Europe and Asia.
The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.

First, their countries seek no aggrandisement, territorial or other;

Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;

Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;

Fourth, they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;

Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security;
Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;

Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;

Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measure which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.
It was the document that built the foundation of the United Nations, back in the days of its purity and before its corruption by lesser nations and little crooks in league with global corporatists. The right of self-determination was proclaimed unequivocally by the UK - at a time when a third of the globe was still coloured pink. It committed us to the most ambitious postwar programme of independence that the world has ever seen, as people after people, nation after nation, were given leave to exercise self-determination. The Atlantic Charter is an enduring document of the most profound moral worth, a foundation stone of peace and civilisation for the twenty-first century. 

Let us remember those principles of self-determination this week, at a time when the functionaries of the EU act even now to suppress the identity and freedoms of Europe's peoples under a new legal and economic jackboot. Let us also remember the moral courage, the almost unbelievable confidence in the power of Right and Justice, that was displayed by the leaders of the free world in 1941. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Spain blocks any meaningful dialogue over Catalonia

The next few days will be critical for hopes of a peaceful resolution to the Catalan crisis. 

El Pais sets out most clearly the Spanish position;
As things stand today, the Spanish Constitution does not contemplate the right to secession. It obliges all powers to preserve the unity of the state and to guarantee that sovereignty will remain in the hands of all Spaniards.

Accepting a dialogue, mediation or negotiation that might lead to a legal, agreed-to referendum with a binding option for Catalan secession from Spain entails opening up a negotiation for constitutional reform between the governments of Spain and Catalonia, and this is something that the central government cannot do unilaterally, much less under pressure or through international mediation.

The only body that can reform the Constitution is Congress – where Catalans are also represented, by the way. To this should be added all the citizens of Spain, who would have to be consulted in a national referendum.
And there you have it; Spain is indivisible, self-determination, even for a population that meets international criteria for a separate people, will not be permitted. With all offers of external mediation rejected, and Catalans not given the slightest hope of a legal referendum, Catalan leaders are being forced into an unlawful and unwarranted declaration of independence, or abject surrender to Madrid's rule. 

This is not the way to deal with devolution in the 21st century. Even at this hour I hope calmer heads will prevail to avert what would be a catastrophe for the peoples of Spain and Catalonia.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Felipe of Spain - just the same old don?

Felipe VI of Spain showed his real attitude to self-determination back in July, on a State visit to the UK during which we pretended he was welcome and he pretended that he enjoyed being here. The toy king (founded 1975) who owes his throne to the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels refused to recognise the government of Gibraltar (founded 1713) or the rights of the people of Gibraltar to determine their own future; a true EUphile, he wanted instead to trade the freedom of the people of the Rock without any reference to their own views. 

His uncompromising and brutal speech on self-determination in Catalonia confirms his attitude towards extending democracy within his toy kingdom. No calls for dialogue, no door left open for a future legitimate referendum, no compromise. In the world of kings he is something of a counter-jumper, an arriviste, a nouveau roi. Perhaps his grasping approach to what is left of the Spanish empire is not unexpected; neither Ceuta nor Melilla, holdings far less legitimate and democratic than Gibraltar, will be allowed to slip from Spain's grasp. 

Many in Catalonia now blame Felipe for the paramilitary violence last weekend. They know their king better than we do, and have a shrewd idea of the extent of his power to direct Spain's military. This also raises whether Felipe is personally behind the long series of military provocations against Gibraltar this year. Is Felipe just the same old unreasoning, fanatical don that we have known before? Has loyalty to the Pope just been replaced with loyalty to the EU? 

I sincerely hope that both sides pull back from the brink next week, that Spain concedes a proper referendum, that the Catalan parliament resists declaring independence. Felipe and his EU masters have shown themselves to be both wilful and stupid so far, driving the region to secession. Let's hope more balanced voices are heard - possibly Switzerland, which has already offered to mediate, but has been spurned by both Spain and the EU. 

Felipe may want to take note. Switzerland is what an actual democracy looks like - and every Canton retains the right to leave the Swiss Federation. Perhaps he was sick on the day they taught democracy.

Felipe II and Felipe VI - the same old don?

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Council housing doesn't work any more

The Parker-Morris standards for Council houses are almost always described as minimum space standards. They are not. They are actually maximum space standards. When the committee was investigating during the 1950s, at the height of what was then called 'slum clearance' in which gorgeous Georgian terraces and the remains of 16th and 17th century urban villages were destroyed along with any houses that had inconveniently survived the Blitz, the government faced a demand problem. If they built houses that were wind and weathertight, with indoor privies, heating and all modern conveniences, good strong roofs and damp courses, better in fact than most privately rented housing stock, how would they curb demand? The answer was to make them small - with every square inch of space calculated; room for the bin, and the pram, for a small 2-person sofa, a table for the wireless, a dining table for two. Making them as small as possible - smaller than the private alternatives - was intended to restrict demand, and in the 1950s, to an extent, it worked. It also allowed economy in construction, housing 25% more people than new private construction for the same cost. 

In 2017, private housebuilding builds to almost exactly the same space standards as the 1961 Parker Morris quota. But with no room for the landrover baby buggy, the fridge freezer, the dish washer or storage for clothes and shoes twenty times the size of the lean post-war wardrobe. The owner of a modern estate home may also rent a self-store space in lieu of a garage and loftspace, or clutter their parents' homes with their overspill of stuff. 

Off-site fabrication, increased quality control that means thinner, leaner structural sections, eliminating wet-trades, de-skilling construction and global procurement* have all combined to deliver new houses at minimum cost and minimum size with barely acceptable economic life; you can expect the roofs to fail economically in twenty years, services to fail economically in fifteen years. However, for those houses built with a slot-in pre-plumbed bathroom wall that just needs connecting to water and bolting in, owners may well need to remove sections of the external brick cladding to replace the plumbing. Yes, we're now building instant slums, with poor soundproofing, shoddy materials and, still, hammer-induced fitting of precise components. 

It's no longer possible to build council houses better than private homes for lesser cost; there is also no longer a 'cheaper' option as private builders have already attained the nadir. There's just new housing, all the same. The only variable is land with planning consent. Unless the government cracks this one, new council housing just won't work any more.

*A consignment of cement-woodwool boards from Thailand on one of my jobs was delayed when HMRC found a few kilos of heroin hidden in the load.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Dear Evening Standard - saying "Death to Allah" is not illegal

From the strapline in the ES, you'd think the bloke was facing jail for saying something rude about the Muslim fetish-god, wouldn't you? One needs to read the story to discover that the crime was actually criminal damage, for writing on an expensive business class seat, or rather for 'religiously aggrevated' criminal damage. This is a curious quirk of English law; saying 'Mohammed Sucks' in criticism of the Muslim idol is fine, printing it on a blog is perfectly legal; indeed, one's right to do so is clearly enshrined in s.29j of the 2006 Racial and Religious hatred Act:-
Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.
However, spraying a wall with the same message in a way that causes criminal damage can be 'upped' to the more serious offence. Clear?
Otherwise, saying 'Death to Allah' only becomes illegal when it escapes from the umbrella of s.29j - when it is proclaimed with the intention of breaching public order, causing hatred or violence, when it is used to harass to intimidate. When, in other words, the aim is other than legitimate 'discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse'

I know this entire concept may just be too hard for many simple minds to understand. It seems to have defeated Tristan Kirk, the author of the piece. Or this may be wilful obtuseness; it suits a certain metropolitan cabal to try to threaten, bluster and shock folk into saying absolutely nothing derogatory about religion. So let's thank goodness for all the Greg Tingeys out there who do such sterling service in the cause of free speech.  

Monday, 2 October 2017

EU regional policy - yet another grievous error

The EU set up the Committee of the Regions in 1994 with a huge lie. Its real purpose was to establish direct governance links between Brussels and European local government whilst bypassing those pesky democratic national governments and states. Sometime over the last ten or fifteen years, the EU decided either that this regional policy was a huge error or that, following the Treaty of Lisbon, that it was no longer needed. Today the Committee of the Regions is a poorly-funded embarrassment in Brussels, with an unknown President (the fourth or fifth EU President?), currently Karl-Heinz Lambert, and the third-smallest budget in the EU, largely spent on itself. The EU will never abolish it, of course, but it will just be gradually pushed further and further to the margins, absent from news releases, ignored, underfunded and unfashionable. Its Presidents and members feature on no ballot papers, and I'll bet there's not more than half a dozen people in the UK who know more than one of our 24 members. Shortly to go.

Yet during its lifetime, it has wasted more money and fomented more conflict than pretty much any other EU cabal. Ambitious regions, in conflict with their national governments, have even established 'embassies' in Brussels, in the most egregious display of snouts-in-the-trough misuse of tax money. Catalunya is one consequence, one that the EU now bitterly regrets.

It is quite possible that Catalonia will gain independence, but not from this referendum, at least not with any legitimacy. It will take a proper referendum, sanctioned by the Spanish government, overseen by observers, absent threat or coercion. 

What a bloody mess. What utter stupidity - Spain's and the EU's. Forgive me, but everything the EU touches turns to shit. This could all have been avoided if skill and experience rather than zealotry and purblind anti-democracy had driven these fools.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

EU seeks to destroy self-determination

The UK, post-WWII, has been one of the world's most fervent upholders of the rights of a people to self-determination. From Palestine in '45-47, Indian independence in '47, the wave of African independence in the 1950s right through to officially arranging TWO independence referenda in Scotland, few nations have done more to defend and promote self-determination.

In return, we assert those rights on behalf of the people of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. And also, with greater finesse, for the people of Northern Ireland, a falling majority of whom wish to remain part of the UK. 

Indeed, the West was very much in favour of self-determination until the fall of the Wall, when strangely there was a shift towards the idea of 'territorial integrity' trumping self-determination. Oh sure we believe in self-determination, said the EU, except when territorial integrity is more important. So for Western Ukraine, self-determination but for Crimea, territorial integrity. The EU's unelected officials love the new approach; it allows Imperial inconsistency. For an antidemocratic organisation that has fomented war and conflict in the Balkans, Ukraine and Baltic, which has encouraged the Spanish neo-fascists to provoke an armed incident in Gibraltar, it's therefore no surprise that the EU is wholly behind the neo-fascists in suppressing the people of Catalonia. Maybe Germany and France are even prepared to offer new Condor Legions to help the fascists.   

Now the EU, an unelected empire renowned worldwide for foreign policy incompetence, for creating division and for fomenting conflict, is blundering clumsily, foolishly and maliciously into Northern Ireland. The province is a matter for the British and Irish governments alone, and for the people of the province alone to determine. We can simply not allow the EU to destroy the carefully wrought peace. If they try to re-ignite armed conflict there, we must drop all defence and intelligence co-operation immediately, and walk away from Brexit talks. 

The anti-democratic nomenklatura in Brussels must learn one lesson - the power of the ballot box, whether in Catalonia or anywhere else.

Catalan independence supporter wounded by EU police today

Thursday, 28 September 2017

British independence websites blocked by EU government in bid to stop referendum

Brussels, 28th September
 
British authorities have accused the EU government of blocking websites aimed at spreading information about the country’s independence referendum. The move is part of a crackdown on the British independence movement to prevent the vote, which includes the confiscation of ballot papers and the deployment of extra police officers to Britain. Separatists hope the referendum will go ahead on 1 October to decide whether Britain, an autonomous former nation in the European Union, should declare itself an independent country.

The EU government has insisted the referendum is illegal and is taking action to stop it, including the spreading of information seen to promote the vote. Earlier this week, police summoned 17 people for questioning over the development of web platforms related to the referendum. A police spokesperson told AFP the people were suspected of “disseminating a website for people to participate in a referendum declared illegal by the European Court of Justice”.

 
An organisation which manages how users find websites with the extension .uk was raided by the EU security police force, Politico reported. The .uk Foundation, which manages the register of domains ending in .uk, was forced by authorities to block websites with information about the referendum.  The raid came shortly after the ECJ ordered the foundation block websites related to the vote. The homepage of the site Referendum.uk now displays a message stating: “This domain name has been seized pursuant to a seizure warrant under the Judicial Authority and is under its administration.”

A spokesperson for the British government told the Guardian the move was denying people the right to freedom of information online.


Remember, they can't rewrite the result of 23rd June 2016. We may be the last nation allowed independence in Europe. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Con Coughlin: Saudi-funded Islamism better than Qatari-funded Islamism. For some.

It's always good to know there are some certainties in life, and Con's willingness to parrot the message of his contacts at the MoD are amongst them. Sometime, though, during his most recent lunch, he must have confused the reality, for today's column is contorted even for Con.

Although he half admits that Brit Islamist killers have well established links to Salafist / Wahhabi  extremism from KSA, he points out that Qatar, too, sponsors terrorists who want to kill us, and selling 24 Eurofighters to Qatar is a mistake. The Saudis are our real friends, Con says, despite them funding a network of terrorist madrassas, mosques and Islamist infiltration, despite them exporting Islamist imams intent on the destruction of the west. He doesn't have to point out that KSA directly pays the salaries of 2,000 MoD staff and offers lucrative if ostensibly corrupt employment opportunities to retired officers and civil servants who can influence procurement decision making, as well as being a source of assured profits to the global arms manufacturers headquartered in the UK. 

Clearly, for Con and his MoD chums, a few score Brits annihilated each year by Islamist killers is a reasonable price to pay for such lucrative wonga.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Deep anger at Brexit 'betrayal'

Although I have avoided writing a post that condemns Mrs May's handling of Brexit, the comments to the post below are unanimous in their anger, frustration and exasperation at the government's implementation of the Brexit vote. I share the frustration, but not perhaps the anger.

We are where we are. The only government that will implement Brexit has a knife-edge majority. We face a powerful, effective and international Remain lobby that seeks to reverse the vote. May's own ministers risk triggering an election that would put Labour into power and leave us in the EU. 

The nation is deeply divided. That we won doesn't mean it's wise to trample on the sensibilities of the losers. Remember Churchill's 'Magnanimity' - we have to find a way back to a unified nation, to heal the bitterness, while still honouring the vote and implementing Brexit.

So no, you won't find puce spluttering fury here, nor pointless condemnation of the government. It's all far too serious for that. We are tiptoeing through a minefield. Yes, Hammond should go - or rather be re-shuffled to Agriculture or DFID. For now May's speech has made a number of conciliatory, utterly reasonable concessions which if rejected by the EU demonstrate a level of unreason that forces us to leave without a deal. Not our doing, guv; no nation could swallow their punishment.

I'm keeping my powder dry for now.    

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Florence speech verdict; steady as she goes

Reactions to Theresa May's Florence speech are predictable. Nigel Farage and Guy Verhofstadt have both slated it, politicians have created varieties of weasel words of semi-approval but the majority in the middle asked of the much-hyped landmark "was that it?"

The avoidance of a cliff-edge and extending our leave date until the end of the current EU budget cycle both make some sense. However, what I was looking for were Mrs May's words on what is to me a critically important part of leaving; re-establishing the supremacy of UK courts. What she said is this:
I am clear that the guarantee I am giving on your rights is real. And I doubt anyone with real experience of the UK would doubt the independence of our courts or of the rigour with which they will uphold people’s legal rights

But I know there are concerns that over time the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens overseas will diverge. I want to incorporate our agreement fully into UK law and make sure the UK courts can refer directly to it.

Where there is uncertainty around underlying EU law, I want the UK courts to be able to take into account the judgments of the European Court of Justice with a view to ensuring consistent interpretation. On this basis, I hope our teams can reach firm agreement quickly.
In other words, after Brexit the UK supreme court will revert to being fully independent and the judgements of the ECJ will have just the same comparative weight as those from the common law jurisdictions of the Commonwealth and the US, which have long been considered by our supreme court. In fact, the UK has always been more open to the use of comparative law than any of the Code Napoleon nations of the EU. It is therefore the EU that risks isolation from evolving international standards, through a rigid belief in its own politicised court, and not the UK. 

In the field of human rights in particular there has been an international convergence between first-world jurisdictions, and human rights cases in the UK have frequently been argued using foreign case-law; a report for the US congress in 2010 quoted the decline of the US supreme court in leading international law and praised the UK, and the then leadership in the Lords of the UK's supreme tribunal;
The House of Lords has, where relevant, used decisions from foreign courts in these cases to compare how the rights have been interpreted. This applies for not only the European Convention on Human Rights, but also for a number of other international treaties. For example, in A v. Secretary of State, foreign cases were used throughout the opinions of the Law Lords, which was considering the use of evidence that may have been obtained by torture. It noted how the Torture Convention had been implemented into the law of France, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States. During this case, numerous foreign decisions were referred to—three from the Supreme Court of the United States, twelve from the Supreme Courts of six other countries, and others from international courts and tribunals. Some commentators have noted that the use of so many foreign cases was a “conscious attempt to put the practice of the UK within a global context and to upgrade the common law to modern international standards.” In fact, the approach of Lord Bingham was highly commended by an article in the Law Society Gazette, which provided:
Lord Bingham has performed brilliantly in the job for which he was specifically selected in defiance of the principle of “buggin’s turn”, which would have given it to another. He has stitched the Human Rights Act into the fabric of our domestic law and, in doing so, aligned our jurisprudence with that of an emerging global approach. The breadth of the approach of the House of Lords under his leadership throws into stark relief the decline of its US equivalent … this was a conscious attempt to put the practice of the UK within a global context and to upgrade the common law to modern international standards.
That puts the politicised 'court' of the ECJ in its place, I think. Brexit means our courts will again be free to develop law in line with humankind's continuing social evolution, using the wisdom of the US supreme court and of our Commonwealth cousins, unconstrained by the narrow and primitive world-view of the parochial and somewhat corrupt ECJ.  

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Yvette Cooper and Lily Allen

In the wake of the tube bomber suspect and his chum both having been child migrants lodged in UK homes, I'm wondering how those saintly, selfless givers Yvette Cooper and Lily Allen. who both undertook to house migrant children in their own capacious homes (in Yvette's case more than one) are getting on?

Oh. They didn't actually house any migrants, did they? That was left to ordinary folk, many elderly, whilst our gobby heroines just reaped the kudos.  

 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Why Boris' £350m a week is about right

It's extraordinary that folk who can't read a P&L a/c or balance sheet are suddenly experts in accounting, but the media is full of remoaners who are striving to shoot down the figure, referenced by Boris Johnson in his post-Brexit vision paper.

Amongst the remoaners is some bloke who says he is head of statistics. I've read his silly letter - which has been shot down by Boris. His basic error was in answering the claims made during the referendum rather than what Boris had written, and not actually reading what Boris had written before writing his own fatuous missive. The rebuttal from the Orwellian BBC Department of Truth shows that in fact the EU is paying the UK £50m a week, and that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden. 

Folks, for the truth go to the EU budget pages. Not what the BBC or the remoaner statistics manager thinks the figure should be, but the actual EU official figures. 

For anyone who works for the BBC, let me explain. Our gross contribution, before the rebate, is £24,337.2m€. We get a 6m€ rebate which brings the contribution down to a net 18,209.4m€ a year, or €350m a week. 

We also collect €4.27bn a year in VAT and duty for goods landing in the UK but passing through to elsewhere in the EU. You could argue that some of this would remain after Brexit and that this should be added to the €18bn. 

Either way, what Boris actually claimed about the £350m a week was broadly true - the figure was close, and yes, we will regain control of how it's spent.

Friday, 15 September 2017

OECD's grip on £13bn of UK tax must be severed at the wrist

Following the post below on the £13bn a year DFID budget, it has become clear that Priti Patel can't use any of that money for Irma relief however much she wants to - because the OECD forbids it. She can throw as much of it as she wishes at nepotistic and corrupt UN agencies run by third world spivs and crooks, at risibly crooked development schemes from North Korea to Pakistan, but can't spend even a fiver on fuel oil for the old Andrew's warships to task to the disaster zone.  

The £13bn DFID budget is fully one-third of the UK's defence budget, but we can't spend it to help our overseas territories because of the petulant edicts of a bunch of shiny-arsed globalists. 

There can be only one response to that. Transfer 40% of the DFID budget immediately to the MoD and another 40% to the FCO. The OECD can pick the bones out of the remaining 20% until it fades away. 

The United Kingdom will NOT be dictated to in this manner.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

'EU is not a benign force' says Herr Juncker

In an extraordinary speech yesterday in which he admitted the full anti-democratic malignancy of the EU Empire, Herr Juncker, the Federation's senior unelected official, finally put paid to the hopes of UK Remainers. As Nigel Farage in the Telegraph points out, after yesterday, there is simply no-way now that the UK 'Remain' bloc could ever win another referendum. In a series of coming power-grabs that emasculate Europe's nation-states and disenfranchise a population of over 400 million, Herr Juncker set out his plans -
  • A single, unelected, Federation President, with full powers
  • A standing Federation army
  • Full Federation tax and fiscal control over the 27 satrap states
  • Federation alone to determine foreign policy
  • Funding block on all anti-EU parties, but generous funding for Federations own 'tame' parties
  • EU immigration policy compulsory for all members
  • Euro made compulsory - robbing nation states of the last vestige of independence
British politicians who claimed during last year's referendum campaign that warnings of these EU ambitions were 'fantasy' are now left looking very foolish, and Soros-funded shills and Brexit saboteurs now stand revealed as the anti-democratic agents of a most malign and dangerous totalitarian force. 

Whether Europe's people will acquiesce in their own disenfranchisement and the destruction of their nation-states is another matter. But the UK will now never regret making the decision to leave.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Blair excoriated in withering dismissal

For those of you who have not yet read Matthew Norman's shredding of Bloody Blair in the Indie, I urge you to create a quality ten minutes with the tipple of your choice and savour the flaying of any shred of political credibility from Blair's permatanned hide. Turn away now to avoid a brief extract, as they say ...
For most of the past year, he has been attempting to use the issue of Brexit and the resentments it has unleashed as the catalyst for the formation of a new centrist political party, which he could control from offstage. Any doubt about that was removed by the movement of his lips when he denied it to Marr.

The glib vagaries that served him superbly in the mid-nineties boom times – the cultivated vagueness evident from his vacuous witterings about conjuring up some magically EU-friendly immigration constraints – are out of vogue. Theresa May could have told him this, but there is no appetite for bland reassurance and vapid rhetoric when people in full-time work cannot afford to feed their children, let alone to buy or rent a decent home.

If Blair is a kind of tragicomic Napoleon gazing across the sea from Elba, he is no longer a good general. He isn’t even the bad general of cliché. He isn’t fighting the last war. He isn’t fighting the war before that. He is fighting no war at all outside his own narcissistic head. The war he is fighting is the one against his own irrelevance, and that was lost a long time ago.
Exquisite. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

A good time to stop wasting 0.7% of UK GDP

If you're a UK taxpayer, don't bother donating to the British Red Cross for the relief of Hurricane Irma. You're already giving. About £13bn a year of tax. Not all to the Red Cross of course - they get only a fraction of this. The bulk of it goes to teaching Ethiopian nomads how to play electric guitar, setting up pedicure shops in Sudan and sending top British hat-designers to Basutoland to show the natives how to fashion Crêpe De Chine and ostrich feathers into women's headgear. In other words, the bulk of this money is wasted on hopeless schemes that don't develop anything by one iota. 

However, it's the use of this money to fund disaster relief that interests us. It seems the Foreign Secretary, the man tasked with organising aid and relief to Brit islands in the Hurricane path, doesn't have a budget worth talking about for this sort of thing. However, some 17% - some £2.2bn annually - of the IDF is earmarked for this very purpose. DFID - independent of the FCO since Blair, and its current SoS Priti Patel  - is in charge of the purse strings. 

Oh good, you may think, the government already has a pot to pay for tents, water, C130s, medical teams, hospital ships and the panoply of disaster relief. How reassuring. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. You see, that £2.2bn mainly goes to UN organisations - organisations that undermine European efforts to control economic migration, that openly criticise our elected government, that work to subvert the efforts of our elected politicians. WFP, UNICEF, OCHA, UNHCR and WHO are not friends of the UK - yet UK taxpayers are funding their bloated and corrupt organisations. 

And what about the costs to the poor bloody Navy, down to 17 warships and cut off at the knee by spending pressures? Who pays for the fuel oil, the maintenance, the supplies, the emergency aid they are distributing in the Caribbean? Well the Treasury will just tell them to find the costs from within their existing budgets. They always do. 

It's high time to reform that humanitarian / emergency aid pot. It should take a bigger share of the ODF for a start. And instead of paying a cabal of corrupt UN agencies who are determined upon our destruction, why not fund our own Navy, Royal Engineers, RAF transport  command, volunteer police officers and the like to respond fully and effectively, unconstrained by the swingeing cuts to their operational budgets?

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Conservative leadership ballsup

Young Jacob Rees-Mogg would make an amusing dinner guest; erudite, charming and blessed with an eccentricity that only wealth and privilege can allow. As a leader of the Conservative party he would be catastrophic. It's an indication of the dire state of the parliamentary party that there are no near runners to young Rees-Mogg on the race card. Not one bloody senior Conservative politician who can connect with the public just enough to win their vote.  The Tories would have to be as mad as a bucket of eels to pick the tweedy weirdo as Leader. 

And as for those idiotic EU immigration proposals from the Home Office I have no scorn derisive enough. It seems we want French pastry chefs, Dutch hydro-engineers, German surgeons and Italian hat-makers, who do not depress the earnings of their native peers, but do not want Polish plumbers, Romanian ground-workers, Slovenian electricians or Estonian dumper drivers, who do depress the earnings of their native peers, but we cannot figure out how to do this without depriving farmers and growers of the migrant workforce who put food on the table, flowers in the vase and sandwiches on the shelves of M&S. We also want the wage growth that restricting trade skills would bring without the inflation that it would also cause, and must want to build even fewer houses than we are building now.

Brexit seems to have addled Tory brains. Let's just pray they can get through on autopilot alone, sans cerebrum, until we're out. Then I don't give a fig.   

Monday, 4 September 2017

EU prepared to bleed 27 nations dry in order to hurt UK

Herr Barnier, an unelected EU apparatchik, declared yesterday that the EU will teach the UK the consequences of leaving the single market - irrespective of the cost to the 27 remaining members. Our pain, he said, will serve as a good lesson to any other nations thinking of leaving. This level of Euro-fanaticism, in which the good of the EU institutions and their unelected officials rides roughshod over the people, businesses and nations of Europe, has been exposed by Herr Barnier's own very poor performance leading the Brussels team.

That this is indeed, incredibly, the self-obsessed position of the EU is substantiated by their obsession with the UK 'divorce bill' - money which will benefit only the behemoth in Brussels and its bloated bureaucrats in their corrupt, tax-free Nirvana. The good of the people of Europe, of national economies, of trade and citizens' welfare comes very low on the EU's agenda. 

Indeed, the EU's pressure on the UK and Irish governments to reintroduce a border - against the natural wishes and inclination of both nations - is motivated solely by a concern for EU tax revenue and the maintenance of protectionist and restrictive trade barriers that cost the people of Europe billions in higher food costs. 

All of which are of no concern to the EU's unelected officials. They are prepared to bleed their 27 member nations dry to preserve their own corrupt privilege.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Herr Barnier descends into histrionics

The EU got the negotiations disastrously wrong from the start. Their cause was crippled not by the UK but by the territorial in-fighting between the Parliament and the unelected officials of the Commission. Herr Verhofstadt, who would have loved nothing more than to have faced the hated Brits across the table himself, only consented to Herr Barnier taking this place if he was constrained not to depart from the EP's detailed instructions by a millimetre. And instead of keeping this crippling disability secret, Herr Verhofstadt rose to his hind feet and crowed it all over Europe.

The EU assumed of course that their usual Panzer tactics would work; first they ridicule, undermine and insult us, then wear us down with verbiage and papers, all the time proclaiming that only they have control of the agenda and the UK must obey like a recalcitrant schoolboy. Boy, how little they know us.

This week it was time for the UK to tell the king he was wearing no clothes. The Berlaymont bullies sat gobsmacked with hanging jaws as some young Treasury rasper with an Oxbridge double first completely demolished the legal basis of their money grab. Then we had to tell them to get serious about negotiating - that in effect Herr Verhofstadt must allow Herr Barnier some flexibility.

An irascible Herr Barnier, undermined and on the back-foot, descended into Gallo-German histrionics at the press conference; the UK was finished (untrue) we would be forced out of Europol (untrue) and our nation would sink 'neath the waves. I was only waiting for the poor little man to turn to David Davis and exclaim "Your mother was a Hamster and your father smelt of Elderberries!"


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Vote Socialist - Get Fascist

There is a fascinating dialogue in the comments to the post below that highlights how history is re-written. It was during WWII, I suspect, that the US government realised that securing black commitment to the war effort was critical. The trope was then developed that the US government - in direct succession to Abe Lincoln's Union - was the manumitter of Southern slaves and the champion of freedom, and this was the reason the civil war had been fought. This is the version of history that has stuck. The alternative reality - that the war was about the Constitution, in which victory for the Union meant that local power and autonomy was made forever subservient to the central State - has been lost. The latter reality makes it personal, as the statues being pulled down are of men who fought for Localism, a particular passion of mine. It's easy to hate someone for supporting slavery, harder to condemn them for their support of Burke's Little Platoons.

And so to Lord Tebbit (one of the few life peers I am happy to acknowledge) and his gentle reminder in the Telegraph that Fascism sprung from the left. Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf were both proto-Nazis, as most Fabians were in those days, advocating extermination camps using gas to kill (but humanely, in the English way) the poor, the genetically wanting, the educationally subnormal and anyone else who threatened the racial purity of their Fabian paradise. The Lefty Swedes were still compulsorily ripping out the wombs and excising the testicles of the mentally sub-normal until 1975, thirty years after we hanged a number of Germans for doing the same thing. Please do read the good Lord's piece if you can. It's a reminder of the truth of the warning "Vote Socialist - Get Fascist"

Saturday, 26 August 2017

'Swivel Eyed' Brussels is 'Away with the Fairies' on Brexit

Mainland Brits and the Irish have been coming to terms with each other for around a thousand years. We both have a certain amount of experience. We both have skin in the game. We're both going for a solution that pretty much leaves the border exactly as it is. All of which has prompted the crude Brussels thugs and Berlaymont bullies to fling insults at us again last week. If they seriously think we're stupid enough to trade peace and mutual benefit for protecting the EU's tax coffers, they are away with the fairies. It simply won't happen. 

The Guardian reports that senior EU clerks have been 'eye rolling' over the border issue; I suppose this is the same as being swivel-eyed. And they're certainly lunatic if they imagine either we or Eire will change our positions.  

Negotiations start again on Monday, and the Federast freaks have pompously declared they will be producing an end-of-term report to opine on whether the UK has submitted sufficiently quietly to the Empire's demands. The answer, as we all already know, will be negative. 

Failing the EU's exam will be a singular mark of success for our negotiating team and they should be rewarded at this point; greeting cards, tributes from the floor of the Commons, a crowd-funded champagne fund, a ticker tape reception for the Eurostar carrying them home are all possibilities. 

However, the half time whistle has not yet blown - and we must knuckle down at this critical stage of the game and ensure that we DO fail their crooked little tests in the next few weeks.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Judicial competence

This is a post in praise of the EU. Or maybe to the UK's influence in having introduced to sclerotic and protectionist Europe just a little of the many advantages in terms of access to justice that we enjoy in the UK.

Austria, like much of Europe, has no commercial law small claims procedure. To resolve an intractable contract dispute here, even a small one, means each side lawyering-up at €300/hr for even the most mediocre and least competent of lawyers and a full court hearing before career commercial judges. Contrast with the UK, in which claims for up to £10,000 (£1,000 for personal injury and landlord/tenant) are dealt with under the small claims track of civil procedure, often called small claims courts or county courts, in which an experienced local solicitor often sits as Recorder. Legal costs are not claimable, and court fees are fixed in advance. 

Well, the EU has introduced a cross-Europe small claims track, and you can sense the dragging of the vast protectionist hulk of Euronational self-interest in opposition to it. For a start, the limit is €5,000. And it only applies to disputes with persons or firms in other EU countries. Otherwise, it's remarkably like our own small claims procedure. It's invaluable to anyone doing business with Germans, who have still to discover how customer relations works. I buy a lot of building material online from German firms - they tend to be 30% cheaper than local Austrian outlets for the same materials - and of course from time to time there are problems. 

I ordered two WCs for the en-suites from a German firm. One was broken in transit and they went back to the firm without reaching me. A UK firm would have said "Tut mir leid Herr Raedwald we've broken one of your WCs. We can't get another for three weeks. So if it's OK we'll send you the good one now and the other when they come into stock. And we'll give you a £50 online voucher by way of apology". 

The German way? "One of your WCs has been broken and we can't replace it until September. If you want the other one now, that will be an additional €90 carriage." Well, I wasn't happy. The emails went back and forth until the Germans smugly responded "And what are you going to do about it?" whereupon I sent them my draft of the EU claim form, requesting also that the case be heard near to me in Austria, by an Austrian court, this option being available for consumers when dealing with foreign firms. 

The result? No online voucher - they haven't learnt that much - but a surly confirmation that my intact WC was on its way. Free of additional charge.   

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pulling down statues

Those engaging in the current orgy of statue-toppling need to be aware of the rules of the sport. I publish an extract below;

"... statues in public places are classified into three classes, as below

CLASS I - Erected by dictators, rulers, absolute monarchs, depicting themselves in poses of vainglorious pomposity. E.g. Saddam Hussein. These may be torn down, abused, insulted and destroyed without further consideration

CLASS II - Erected by public subscription, private societies, arselicking subordinates, official bodies using tax money, depicting their private hero or heroine in a public place, or a living figure with whom they seek to curry favour. These should in the first instance be offered back to their erectors to be re-sited on private land. Secondly they should be moved to some obscure location out of the public eye. E.g. Embankment Gardens in London, home to naff, unwanted, outdated or obscure bits of public statuary removed from the streets. Here they are planted deep in shrub beds in which ivy can gracefully cover them. Or the huge park in Budapest at the top of Andrassy Ut, around Vajdahunyad castle, to which all the city's communist-era brutalist statuary have been moved. Marx in the woods.  

CLASS III - Erected by popular demand to honour true national heroes to commemorate victories or glorious defeats, or feats of statecraft or heroism, statues of dogs, whimsical statues having a place in public consciousness. These should under no circumstances be removed but rather protected and preserved. E.g. Nelson, Churchill in Parliament Square, Cromwell outside Westminster Palace, Greyfriars Bobby, Manikin Pis. 

Statues of classes II or III should under no circumstances be threatened by racial or religious crowds or mobs incited by specious rhetoric, incendiary bluster, mass ignorance or sheer stupidity. ..."

There.  

Monday, 21 August 2017

Yet more lies from the False News BBC

Booker details in the Telegraph the heinous falsification of historical fact on Kirsty Wark's Newsnight. The lie propagated in the programme was that the 2m deaths upon partition - Hindu on Muslim, Sikh on Muslim, Muslim on Hindu and Sikh, rape, murder and carnage - were all the fault of the British for partitioning the Indian Empire into India and East and West Pakistan. 

No doubt this is not just BBC fake news but the lies are taught in schools to children of Indian and Pakistani immigrants. 

As Booker points out, it was the Muslim leader Jinnah who refused to accept a single nation and insisted on lines on a map dividing Hindu India from Muslim Pakistan and which led directly to an ocean of blood and 2m slaughtered across the subcontinent. 

Even the BBC cannot get away with telling a lie this big.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

"The executioner was such a nice boy .."

Channel 4, that other broadcaster funded by the TV tax, is to air a slick drama from tomorrow about four 'heroic' Islamist dupes who desert the UK to fight for ISIS. Deborah Davies at the Mail had the benefit of a preview tape and has done a superlative and carefully balanced job of reviewing it. 

There's not a hope in Hell of stopping the broadcast, even as the tiny bodies of infants crushed by Islamists in Barcelona are hardly cold. But it will damage our fight against Islamism terribly.

An important part of the peace process in Northern Ireland was the depiction, on film and TV, of IRA terrorists as ordinary people to whom we could relate. When Gerry Adams could be heard for the first time (without his words having to be spoken by an actor) he had a surprisingly soft and gentle voice. When you're sitting at a conference table to negotiate peace, rather than to accept an act of unconditional surrender, it's actually necessary for each side to understand the other. And so John Major's quiet legacy has left us a finely balanced peace in the Province.

It's hardly necessary to write that while only a small number of British Muslims are Islamists, all British Islamists are Muslims. But that those few Islamists are implacable; they're not interested in negotiations, not interested in winning political power. They want only the complete destruction of Western civilisation and the death of every one of us kuffirs. There's no point in humanising Islamists; we're never going to sit at a conference table with them. In fact, as they must be ruthlessly destroyed, we need to dehumanise them even more, so our lads and lasses have no hesitation whatsoever in squeezing the trigger. 

What we need is a TV series that shows loyal, sensible, heroic Muslims rejecting and denouncing the Islamist animals that dwell among them, that shows Islamists torn apart in a hail of gunfire as the police and security forces hunt them down, that shows Muslim SAS troopers back in the family home on leave after slaughtering Jihadists. What we don't need is Channel 4 Islamist propaganda that tells us what a nice boy the Islamist executioner is.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Is Germany seeking to revive the Afrika Korps?

Tripolitania and Cyrenaica are the scene of a new battle, this time not between the Commonwealth and Rommel's forces, but between the French and Italians. At stake is millions in revenue for various factions of people smugglers and Libya's oil and gas. Italy and its Eni SpA oil company, backing Fayez Sarraj, are promoting holding and clearance centres in Libya for African economic migrants, with Italy and the EU paying the running costs and Sarraj's tame smugglers charging African migrants a ransom migrant tax. Against them are France and its oil company Multi Total, backing General Khalifa Haftar who has his own tame people smugglers and controls the main oil port. Oil and sub-saharan Africans are now Libya's main exports.

The old regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica are the key to understanding Libya. Tripolitania to the West is home to a Maghrebi culture, common to Tunisia and Morocco, whilst Cyrenaica is home to a gulf arab culture, the Mashriq. Libya, in common with most ME nations, is not a natural country.

Into this mess wades German Interior Minister de Maizière. He wants a new EU armed force to operate far in the south of Libya, in the desert, stopping Migrants from reaching the coast in the first place, der Spiegel tells us. One can see the attraction of a desert campaign to the German mind; the French and the legion etrangere have recent experience whilst North Africa was the only Wehrmacht operational area not fouled by German war crimes and atrocities, and Rommel and the Afrika Korps one of the few 'clean' units. What better foundation for the Franco-German contribution to the EU army to build upon?