Friday, October 19, 2007

Moving

I've decided to up sticks (boom boom) and move elsewhere. The new and hopefully improved Big Sticks and Small Carrots can now be found at sticksandcarrots.net.

All new posts will now appear there and not here. If you link to here, I'd be eternally grateful if you could update the link to the new address. The new feeds are obvious on the site for anyone who likes RSS.

Thanks

Garry

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beacon of Blind Dogma

The news that Turkey's parliament has authorised attacks into Kurdish Iraq in order to stem the flow of PKK activities directed against them comes as no great surprise.

Before the war, the Turkish government specifically warned that it could destabilise their northern border region and sought assurances from the US that this would not be allowed to happen. In particular, the Turks insisted that the US government should provide a guarantee that it would not allow the formation of an Independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq after the removal of Saddam. They feared that this would stir up their own sizeable Kurdish population and lead to threats to Turkey's territorial integrity.

The requested assurance was given by the Bush administration despite the fact that the war was allegedly about empowering Iraqis to take control of their own destiny. There was no way in which the US government could be sure they could fulfil their promise if they really were serious about introducing democracy in Iraq. The guarantee was just one small contradiction in a much larger swamp .

The Turks were certainly not convinced. Ultimately, despite the massive pressure put on them and the offer of huge bribes financial incentives, they refused to allow the US military to use Turkey as a launch pad for the invasion. But the Turkish warnings, like so many others, were ignored as the Bush administration steamrollered its way to war.

Now, with an increasingly autonomous Kurdish region in the north of Iraq and growing cross border instability, the Turks are preparing to take matters into their own hands. The US adminstration's calls for Turkey not to take unilateral military action is risible given their own penchant for violent unilateralism.

And so, the neo-conservatives fatally flawed plan use violence to turn the Middle East into a beacon of democratic peace and stability continues to unwind bloodily. No doubt there will be some who will again argue that this was an unforeseeable consequence of the invasion. These people will be poorly informed or in complete denial or lying.

Irving Kristol once said that "a neoconservative is a liberal who's been mugged by reality". What a git.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bloggerheads: Fasthosts and UKreg: why you should look elsewhere

Dear oh dear.

I'm currently thinking of getting a domain name and some hosting sorted out so that's at least one potential customer they've definitely lost.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sad but True

As mentioned a few times recently, I don't believe that British politics can change significantly unless the cosy two party FPTP voting system is abolished. As such, I'd really like to see the Liberal Democrats doing well; a hung parliament with a substantial Lib Dem presence seems to be the only possible route to genuine electoral reform. As a bonus, the Lib Dems often adopt policies which I'm broadly in favour of. I normally vote for them in general elections for those two reasons. I would not, however, describe myself as a Liberal Democrat.

So then, what of the untimely demise of Sir Ming?

First of all, I'm saddened by the way his age became the defining issue of his time as leader. Much of the media seems to believe that any visible signs of advancing years are an abomination to be mocked mercilessly. Media attitudes towards Ming's age undoubtedly became a significant factor for him and for the Liberal Democrats. It did not make for comfortable viewing.

On the other hand, there were other failings and the party was not doing well under his leadership. He might have done a better job if his age hadn't been the issue it was but that's not relevant now. In the real world, more column inches were devoted to Ming's sock garters than to Lib Dem policies.* It simply wasn't working and there was no sign that it could be made to work. If the party was to have any chance of doing well at the next general election, he had to go

Ming ability to face the reality of this situation and act on it rather than dragging things out in the vain hope of turning things round is quite refreshing. He's done the party a favour. I hope they make the most of it.

Whoever the next leader is, it'll be an enormously tough job. Leading the third party is much more difficult than leading one of the big two, especially when they're a bunch of bloody liberals who don't take kindly to being led and insist on being allowed to vote on policies. What kind of democracy is that...

Much more problematic is the fact that the new leader will face a ridiculously uneven playing field. The grossly unfair system used to elect parliament in this country puts the Lib Dems at a huge disadvantage. At the last election, the Liberal Democrats got 22% of votes cast and 9.5% of the seats; Labour got 35% of the votes and 55% of the seats.

What kind of democracy is that?

* This might possibly be a very slight exaggeration....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ming has resigned with immediate effect. Cripes.

Tory Spin Merchant Caught Out Over PMQs "Edit"

It's one of those Monday's when I feel that light entertainment is the order of the day. In situations such as these, we are fortunate to have the output of the UK's number one political blogger to amuse us.
Iain Dale: Brown's Spin Merchants Caught Out Over PMQs Edit

You may remember that during PMQs on Wednesday that Harriet Harman is caught shaking her head when David Cameron says "can we ever believe a word the Prime Minister says?". Here's the BBC footage. It's a few seconds into the video. And here's the Sky footage which shows the same.

However, if you watch the version on the Number Ten website it has clearly been edited - or rather, Harriet Harman has been edited out. Click HERE and then click on October 10 WMV.

All broadcasters get the same feed. It can ONLY have been edited afterwards by the Number Ten Communications team. What a disgrace. They are public servants paid for by the taxpayer. They are not paid to save Harriet Harman's or the Prime Minister's embarrassment.

And people wonder why I refuse to promote Number Ten petitions. If this doesn't show that Brown's lot are spinning in exactly the way Blai's oppos used to, then I don't know what does.
I hope Iain has a spittle guard for his PC.

Here are two screenshots of an unrelated part of those same "edited" videos.

BBC
No 10
Can you spot the difference?

Yes, Downing Street's video is 4:3 format and the BBC's is 16:9. This is not a new innovation introduced specifically for this session. The result is that Harriet Harman can't be seen in the Downing Street version. She's is the 4:3 twilight zone.

This can ONLY be the result of a vast leftwing conspiracy, the Number Ten communications team clearly insisting on the 4:3 format when the service was launched because they knew this day would come. What a disgrace...

The comments are equally amusing. In the first, Michael P quite politely points out the undeniably fact that Iain is mistaken. Others joined in and Iain even felt the need to publish one of his famous non-retraction retractions:
UPDATE: A commenter reckons this is because on the No 10 website the videos are in 4:3 whereas the BBC & Sky use 16:9. That is entirely possible I suppose, but if you look at the Cameron wideshot it seems similar to the No 10 site, whereas when it goes to Brown the close-up is far more marked than you would expect.
How gracious. In fact, Iain has yet again refused to state that he was wrong and instead only points out that "a commenter reckons" he's talking complete nonsense. This then allows his band of barking seals to attack the credibility of the aforementioned commenter, despite the fact that he's made an entirely valid point. Like this from "bebopper":
I see the Labour trolls are back. Welcome back chaps. No doubt, you've been nursed in field hospitals during these trying times, hoping forlornly for a ticket back to Blighty.

Well, you're back on the front, so what have you got, apart from aprehension?
Has General Brown promised it will be all over by Christmas?
Textbook.

The entirely valid criticism now successfully dismissed, the thread can continue as normal. "Nice one bebopper" say the next two comments. The next, implicitly boosting the truth of Iain's claim, says "Poor Gordon, mocks and taunts ringing in his ears, no wonder he's becoming so sensitive! Maybe women we'll [sic] like him better now he's to be pitied?".

The modern classic, "The Left has never been about truth - it is about getting power." also makes an appearance in glorious ironicolour. The thread continues with various other comments in support of Iain's post.

And all of this is in a post bemoaning the disgraceful spinning of others. Now that's entertainment.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Housekeeping

I'm going to make a few minor changes on the blog. Cue navel gazing.

The most significant (not very, then) will be the laying to rest of the "CuriousHamster" moniker. The reasons for the name are far too dull to go into but I've decided that it's not really suitable. It's only the fact that changing my Blogger name will retroedit every comment I've ever made on Blogger which has put me off doing this before now. For example, anyone who happens upon stumbles upon Iain Dale's suggestion that "go and play with [my] friend Richard Gere" will now be rather confused. Nevertheless, it's got to be done. I'll be rewriting the "About Me" bit to reflect this change (including the fact that I did previously blog as CH).

I'm also intending to finally sort out my blogroll. I tend to think that a blogroll should include the bloggers who you read regularly and hold in high regard and mine had become too long for this principle; it simply wasn't possible to find the time to read them all regularly. A while back, I decided to start again from scratch and deleted the old blogroll. A combination of factors, but mostly my ability to procrastinate to a record breaking degree, have meant that I never got round to rebuilding it (apart from a small number of blogs who were absolutely automatic inclusions).

The problem is that there really are a lot of good bloggers out there; it's difficult to draw the line when so many people have something interesting to say. It would so easy to be back to square one in no time at all so I've avoided the issue altogether in the way that an Ostrich doesn't. No longer. My first target is to add the twenty bloggers who most fill the criteria I described above. This is a purely subjective judgement on my part so please don't feel put out if you're not on the list. There are only two bloggers who will not be on my blogroll due to a failure to meet the second condition. No prizes for guessing their identities...

I might also make some minor cosmetic changes to the blog. If anyone has any suggestions on that score, feel free to let me know.

And relax.

We apologise for the temporary break in our normal programme schedule. Gazing outwards will resume now.

And the words they say

Which we won't understand

Yes, it is another post about the turning away of Iraqi employees of HMG who are now in grave danger.

I received a letter from Robert Smith yesterday confirming that he has signed EDM 2057. He has also written again to the Foreign Secretary asking him to address the flaws in the new policy and tabled a question to the Ministry for International Development to ask how many Iraqi staff have been employed for over twelve months.

He also included a copy of his press release on this issue which was sent out to various media organisations on Friday afternoon.
Smith speaks up for Iraqi Employees

Sir Robert Smith MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine has backed concerns about Iraqi employees working for the British government following the Prime Minister's limited offer of support to those whose lives had been put at risk.

Sir Robert said "It is ridiculous that the Prime Minister thinks we only have a responsibility for those who have worked with this country for twelve months. The death squads will not ask how long someone has worked for the British before deciding whether to punish them. The motion I have signed calls on the Prime Minister to meet the UK's moral obligation by offering resettlement to all Iraqis who are threatened with death for the "crime" of helping British troops and diplomats. We must ensure all those who have been brave enough to support us deserve our support in return."
Whether any of these organisation's choose to publicise this is open to question but I think we can safely say that Sir Robert is supportive of the aims of the campaign. Splendid stuff.

Friday, October 12, 2007

From the Pale and Downtrodden

I make no apologies for continuing to post regularly about the plight of Iraqi employees of the British government.

The other day, Nick Cohen addressed the problem in the way that only he could as part of his latest attempt to convince himself that he alone occupies the moral high ground. In the now all to familiar style, he bemoaned the fact that not enough attention was being paid to the people who are actually doing the killing in Iraq. "Many find it impossible to declare who is killing interpreters, Christians and soldiers, and why" he declared*.

What then would Nick Cohen make of David Miliband's blog post today on the subject of Iraqi employees? Miliband goes one step further and completely avoids mentioning the fact that trhis policy is needed because some of these people are being killed and many others live in fear for their lives. No mention. At all.

Comments are open on Miliband's blog if you wish to express your opinion. If you do, please take care to be scrupulously polite. I'm not joking. Hostility will not help over there. Be polite!

Doing my best to see this from "the other side", I can see that this is a tricky situation for the government. They are desperately trying to claim that the south of Iraq is a success story and that security situation has improved to the extent that British troops can withdraw. The fact that Iraqi employees of the British are in grave danger makes a mockery of this assertion and is politically embarrassing for the government. As a consequence, they're trying to publicise a policy to deal with a problem which they don't want to acknowledge even exists. The result is the half-hearted effort announced at the beginning of the week.

And that's where any attempt to see the government's point of view breaks down. Avoiding political embarrassment versus saving people's lives? There's no way I can even begin to understand anyone who chooses the former over the latter.

As it stands, the government's policy will save some lives but leave many others to their fate. Please do consider writing to your MP to lobby for a further change in policy. Dan Hardie has all the information you need.

Finally, on a positive note, I emailed my MP Robert Smith yesterday to ask him to consider signing EDM 2057. This morning, I got a reply from his office saying that he had done so. Well done that man.

* I have more I'd like to say about Cohen's latest effort but not here. Maybe in another post.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On The Turning Away

A new website has been launched as part of the campaign for "an immediate turnaround in current government policy in relation to current and former Iraqi Translators and Contractors, who, due to their employment assisting our forces, are being avoidably abandoned in mortal danger".
We Owe It To Them
Clicky clicky.

An Early Day Motion on behalf of Iraqi Employees has also been launched by Lynne Featherstone:
EDM 2057

IRAQI EMPLOYEES

That this House recognises the courage of Iraqis who have worked alongside British troops and diplomats in Southern Iraq, often saving British lives; notes that many such Iraqis have been targeted for murder by Iraqi militias in Basra, and that an unknown number have already been killed, whilst many others are in hiding; further recognises that many Iraqis who have worked for fewer than 12 months for the UK are threatened by death squads; and therefore calls upon the Prime Minister to meet the UK's moral obligations by offering resettlement to all Iraqis who are threatened with death for the `crime' of helping British troops and diplomats.
Please consider writing to your MP asking them to sign this motion.

In Other News... (Updated)

The day after Cameron's "unscripted" conference speech, I concluded a post on public disaffection with party politics with these words:
Gordon Brown is hardly an innocent bystander in this. More on that in another post.
In the days since, 10 Downing Street has been redecorated in the colour of its occupant and there's an electric fan in desperate need of a clean. The post I intended to write no longer seems necessary. Brown's attempts to portray himself as above party politics while politicking like Tony Blair on heat were always going to lead to disaster and so they have. His antics even put me in the invidious position of having to agree with Michael Howard yesterday. I feel dirty...

But Howard's point (on Wednesday's Newsnight) was unarguable. No-one, and I do mean no-one, believed Brown's excuses for not calling an election. Let's not mince words. Brown was lying to the British people. No-one likes to be lied too, not least when the lie is so obvious as to suggests that the liar thinks you're a gullible fool. Labour mouthpieces might try to downplay the significance of this moment but that'll only make it worse. It was a major misjudgement.

In fact, it could have been the moment when Brown lost any chance of wining an election but for the fact that Cameron is not entirely honest either. See his "I've not got a script" claim for further details.

What's needed, clearly, is a thorough and expensive review to analyse the reasons why the public feels such large levels of disaffection and distrust towards our politicians. This review will need to come up ways to encourage people to think of politicians as contestants on Big Brother. It should also put forward a number of gimmicks which will make it easier for people to vote. Ideally, it will recommend that people should be able to vote without engaging their brain in the process in any way whatsoever...

We deserve better than this.

Update

Unity has written an interesting post which addresses another segment on Newsnight last night. This related to a documentary which asked politicians to support a bill which would make their lies a criminal offence. I should say that I hadn't seen this part of the programme when I wrote the above because we only get the first 30 minutes of Newsnight up here before cutting away to Newsnight Scotland.

(As an aside, I like Newsnight Scotland but not the fact that the two broadcasts overlap. I missed, for example, Paxman's famously amusing attempts at the weather until I read about them on the interwebs.)

I have now watched the segment and have to say that the proposal to make political lies criminal offences is very silly indeed. It would lead to all sorts of politically motivated court cases from anyone and everyone and it's hard to see how the judicial system could fail to be politicised if this were ever to become law. It's a non-starter.

My own view is that a fundamental reform of the voting system is what's required. The FPTP system creates a closed market in which choices are few and quality is low. It is small "c" conservative in nature so it is very difficult for the public to hold politicians to account in any real way or to express their desire for real change, especially when the two potential parties of government are equally unscrupulous in their politics. There is very little incentive for either party to significantly improve their standing among the general public. All they need to do to win power is to appear to be a little bit less horrid than their rivals in the eyes of a few hundred thousand people in marginal consistencies.

It is a quite perverted state of affairs. Abolishing the closed shop of the FPTP system is essential if there is to be even a chance of "A New Politics" developing in this country. The problem, of course, is that it is exclusively that same closed shop which has the power to open it up. It's going to take an extraordinary campaign to persuade a majority of MPs to vote for something which will open them up to increased competition. In fact, it'd be like persuading them to act like a herd of Ameglian Major Cows. Maybe Deep Thought could do it* but even it would be pushed.

In the meantime, in the absence of the second greatest computer of all time (fictional) designed by a race of pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent beings disguised a mice (also fictional) and in the further absence of enough MPs who genuinely put democracy and country above career and party (all too real), nothing will really change. The long slow erosion of trust in politicians and the decline in participation and engagement in the democratic process will continue.

This will (and already does) have real world consequences. "Respect Agendas" launched by those who have themselves squandered any respect them might once have commanded are doomed to failure. Laws passed by people whose moral authority is considered highly suspect will become more and more difficult to enforce. And the government's initial inability to halt the Northern Rock crisis was a sign of things to come. Falling turnouts and growing distrust and disillusionment with our politicians is of more than academic interest.

Almost every political speech these days contains at least five gadzillion uses of the word "change". Let's have it then.

* The Omnicognate Neutron Wrangler could argue all four legs off an Arcturan Megadonkey, but only Deep Thought could persuade it to go for a walk afterwards. I'm a bit of a fan of Douglas Adams. I thought I'd mention it because it might not be obvious...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Enemy's Enemy

Is the US government enabling and protecting a terrorist organisation? If the boot were on the other foot and the Turkish government opposed US attempts to deal with a terrorist group which had killed US citizens, how do you think the Bush administration would view that?

The US certainly doesn't show any real enthusiasm for tackling the PKK and affiliated groups. In fact, the Turkish government claims that they have captured US weapons from members of the PKK. These weapons are thought to have been given to the PKK by the infamous mercenaries at Blackwater who operate in Iraq under contracts issued by the Pentagon. I can only assume that General Patreaus be soon be showing slides to the world's media which demonstrate the fact that these terrorists are using US arms. He will undoubtedly then argue that this is proof of US government support for a group which they themselves classify as a terrorist organisation. Or maybe not...

Of course, the PKK and the PEJAK are known to cause problems for the Iranian regime as well as the Turks and the Iranians have been responding heavy handedly in recent weeks. But only a hardened cynic would suggest that the PKK's antagonism of the Iranian government has anything to do with the Bush administration's apparent unwillingness to shut them down. I mean, the US government has absolutely no track record of turning a blind eye to, implicitly supporting or secretly funding and training violent, human rights abusing, non-democratic organisations. Right?

The Nasty Government

Here's the written statement on Iraqi employees.

There are so many conditions and get out clauses as to make Brown's statement yesterday close to worthless. Tim Worstall highlights the disingenuous nature of this supposed change in policy.

And this:
In addition, interpreters/translators and other Iraqi staff serving in similarly skilled or professional roles necessitating the regular use of written or spoken English, who formerly worked for HMG in Iraq, will be able to apply for assistance for themselves and their dependants provided that they satisfactorily completed a minimum of 12 months’ service, and they were in our employ on or after 1 January 2005.
So if your life is in danger because of your association with HMG but you are unskilled or semi-skilled and don't speak English, the Brown government doesn't care if you die.

Or perhaps they think this is what's happening in Iraq:
Madhi Army militiaman: You are known to have worked with the occupiers. I've got my power drill ready. I just need to check a few details before I drill a hole in your skull.
Former employee of HGM: Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me...
Militiaman: Shut up, traitor. We know that you worked for the occupiers for more than twelve months. Do you deny this?
Former employee: No, but...
Militiaman: And we have heard you speaking English to the occupiers.
Former employee: Yes, but...
Militiaman: And we believe you worked for them in a skilled or professional role.
Former employee: No, that's not true. I worked in the laundry.
Militiaman: Oh, that changes everything. Sorry to have troubled you. Mind how you go ma'am...
What is required is not difficult to understand. The government should offer asylum or a resettlement package to all Iraqis whose lives are at particular risk because they worked for HMG. The families of those at risk should likewise be protected. This needs to happen now. People are dying now.

Brown's pathetic attempt to present the fa├žade that he's doing something while the government pulls out all the stops to do as little as possible makes me feel physically sick. Any faint hope I might have had that Brown would be an improvement over Blair is rapidly fading.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dan Hardie: Iraqi Employees: Maintain the Pressure

Go read. This weekend's Times article looks increasingly like part of a spoiling tactic to take the wind out of the sails of the campaign meeting on Tuesday.

Gordon will be making an announcement on Iraq at about 3.30pm.

Update

Brown's announcement:
And I am pleased therefore to announce today a new policy which more fully recognises the contribution made by our local Iraqi staff who work for our armed forces and civilian missions in uniquely difficult circumstances.

Existing staff who have been employed by us for more than twelve months and have completed their work will be able to apply for a package of financial payments to aid resettlement in Iraq or elsewhere in the region, or - in agreed circumstances - for admission to the UK. And professional staff --- including interpreters and translators --- with a similar length of service who have left our employ since the beginning of 2005 will also be able to apply for assistance.

We will make a further written statement on the detail of this scheme this week.
Dan's reaction:
The Government are saving some Iraqis threatened with death if they’ve worked for us for 12 months, and abandoning others, equally threatened with death but who’ve worked for less than 12 months. They’re playing a numbers game with people’s lives.
Seconded.

Also, Brown's use of the words "professional staff" suggests that many people who do meet the completely arbitrary 12 month condition will still be left to their fate.

This simply is not good enough.

By the way, Des Browne, in an C4 News interview discussing this and other matters relating to Iraq, just said:
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
He was talking about Brown's bad week in politics, not about the abandonment of Iraqis in genuine danger of losing their lives. Humanity is an alien concept to this man. The fucking insensitive bastard.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Good News! Possibly...

On the face of it, this looks like good news:
Iraqi interpreters and other key support staff who have risked their lives to work for Britain are to be allowed to settle in the United Kingdom, The Times has learnt.
Get. On. With. It.

The "possibly" in the title refers to this:
Government sources have disclosed that a few hundred vital support staff would also be helped, although they declined to give details.
You know what they say about the devil's location. Details which "government sources" are unwilling to discuss are known to be among the pointy tailed one's favourite haunts. Best wait and see what the government actually says (and does) before breaking out the bubbly.

On that note, why am I even reading about this in The Times? Is to too much to expect to hear this first hand from, you know, a minister or something? Can't the government do this one small decent thing without it becoming just another part of their attempts to groom journalists and curry favour with their employers? Apparently not.

Anyway, Dan Hardie has been doing a fantastic job coordinating the interweb campaign and there's been lot's of good stuff going on. When it finally comes, it seems unlikely that the government's statement will suffer from too little scrutiny.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Democracy in Action

The spin and hype surrounding David Cameron's "unscripted" speech still makes me laugh. Does it comfort you to know that he spent all that time memorising his lines so that he'd come across as talking from the heart? Would he continue to do that if he won the election?
Civil servant: Prime Minister, we have an urgent matter of national security which needs your immediate attention.
Dave the boy wonder: No can do. I'm in the middle of memorising my off the cuff remarks for next week's press conference. Come back in a few hours...
That'll work.

It was impressive that he managed to remember so much, I grant you, but then, Christopher Biggins can also memorise lines (for panto, you know) and I wouldn't want him running the country.

Anyway, his "unscripted" speech was a veritable smorgasbord of crowd pleasing measures adrift in a sea of wishful thinking. Here's one example. He said that "we need to scrap that early release scheme in prisons". I'm afraid I don't have the time to look up the figures but given that most prisoners serve approximately half of their sentence, we're talking here about nearly doubling the number of prison places and the amount of "tax payers money" (copyright of the Conservative Party) spent on the prison budget. Can anyone tell me if this Daily Mail wet dream has been fully costed?

(By the way, I love the way that some on the right criticise the BBC for allegedly adopting a "government should spend more money" approach to every problem. Because the right wing press and the Conservatives never do this... )

There was lots of that sort of thing: national citizen service, increased spending on the armed forces, ending the couple's penalty in the benefit system, a pension "lifeboat" fund and talk of tax cuts too. Just how quickly will the economy have to grow to fund all this stuff? Fantastically quickly, it would seem.

The speech was filled with just the sort of vacuous promise filled guff which brought Blair to power way back in 1997. Blair's broken promises damaged trust in the democratic process in the UK enormously and led to the historically low turnouts of 2001 and 2005. Cameron's decision to adopt a similar approach may well lead to even lower turnouts somewhere down the line. At the risk of sounding over dramatic, I genuinely believe that British democracy could be in a real spot of bother before too long. That will be of no concern to Cameron of course, as long as he wins the next election.

(I should add that Gordon Brown is hardly an innocent bystander in this. More on that in another post.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sometimes, it's the details the MSM don't tell you which tell you the most.

So why did these journalists fail to mention the splendid jollies thrown their way by Mr Usmanov? Most of their readers have only ever travelled on scheduled or, shudder, charter flights so maybe they didn't think their readers would be able to understand the concept of luxury private jets. Likewise with the hotel. What would be the point of explaining five star hotels to people whose idea of luxury is discovering that they can keep the half roll of toilet paper left behind by the previous occupants of the self-catering apartment in Benidorm? That'll be it, no doubt...

Anyway, I'm sure the journalists and their editors were extremely grateful to Mr Usmanov for footing the undoubtedly very large bill for this trip. Anything else would be just rude!

While we're on the subject of football (sort of but any excuse), Aberdeen have qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Cup. No really, they have.

*dances around*

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Apologies for the temporary lack of posting. I seem to have some sort of infection and it feels like my brain has been replaced with twice as much cotton wool as will comfortably fit inside my skull.

I still managed to raise a smile when I heard that Dave the boy wonder, who is about to start his speech as I write this, will be speaking "from the heart" today. Apparently, rehearsing and memorising a heavily scripted speech will give his words a thin veneer of added credibility and sincerity.

Isn't it great to see our politicians putting aside their obsession with spin and presentation and tackling the big issues head on?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Who's Side Are You On?

The actions of this terrorist have turned the spotlight on liberals, libertarians and all those others opposed to the ever expanding power of the state. It is time for them to make a choice.

Will they renounce their dangerous opposition to ID Cards and the National Database? Will they publicly support the rapid expansion of the government's entirely secure DNA database? Will they wholeheartedly and sincerely endorse the government's national children's database? (And will they also support the perfectly sensible exclusion for the children of the people who made it compulsory for everyone else's children to be included?)

Will they renounce the ridiculous idea that there could be any legitimate reason to oppose the government's expansion of its ability to monitor its subjects in ever greater detail? And will they acknowledge that there are absolutely no legitimate grievances against the actions of the government.

At this crucial moment, it is to be hoped that these liberals will finally accept what all civilised people have always known; the government always knows best.

But I fear that many will not. A large number will continue to actively justify and support the actions of despicable terrorists. They will embrace violence rather than rejecting it. Many, brainwashed by the extremist philosophies of John Stuart Mill, will refuse to accept that their so called grievances are based on a dangerous, discredited and out-dated belief system. They will refuse to acknowledge the utter lack of credibility of their "arguments", despite the fact that their facile nature has been proved beyond doubt by these vicious letter bomb attacks. It is impossible to see how refusal to accept this can be anything other than a wilful denial of reality fuelled by an unthinking hatred of the government.

These apologists should know this; you're either with us or against us in the fight against terror! Anyone who refuses to actively combat this dangerous ideology will be held accountable for their inactivity.

Well liberals, what's it to be?

And remember, the government will know which side you choose to take. They always know...