Saturday 25 May 2013
The Indian government, we are told is evaluating the possibility of stationing troops in Afghanistan after the international forces begin leaving the country in 2014.
An Indian Ministry of Defence source said no decision has yet been taken, but the possibility of putting boots in Afghanistan is under consideration by the Indian government.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting New Delhi May 20-22 and the issue of stationing of Indian troops is likely to be discussed, said an official of the Indian External Affairs Ministry. "It is in India’s interest to enhance security and defence cooperation with Afghanistan", added the official, but he would not comment on whether a decision has been made.
However, on has to observe that, on the list of things India can do, really to hack off Pakistan, stationing Indian troops in Afghanistan is very close to the top. Probably the only thing higher is invading the rest of Kashmir. And we should remember that both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers.
Friday 24 May 2013
According to the Telegraph Media Group Ltd, the olive oil ban that was now isn't. It had, we are told, provoked "popular loathing", or "misunderstanding", from the people that were being protected for their own good.
"It was a measure intended to help consumers, to protect and inform them but it is clear that it cannot attract consumer support", said the hapless Commission spokesman in Brussels. As a consequence, the "proposition" was being withdrawn, to demonstrate that the Commission had been "very alive to the current debate in the press".
The reaction of Copa-Cogeca is interesting. This is the Brussels-based farming association, which is representing the olive oil producer interest. It says: "It is totally ludicrous that the commission just withdraws this measure due to political pressure - it has been discussed for over a year and passed through all the correct legal procedures".
The association argues that it was necessary to ban refillable bottles and the traditional aceiteras found on restaurant tables, complaining that, "It is totally unacceptable that the Commission has done a complete U-turn and has succumbed to political pressure like this".
This is from Pekka Pesonen, the general secretary, who goes on to add, "Perhaps it wasn't explained well enough". There, he has a point. The commission spokesman who originally set out the measure made a poor fist of explaining it, and there was no publicly-accessible background briefing that made a case for the ban.
That said, the media wasn't interested in explanations, scenting another Brussels "red-tape folly" to sink its teeth into. For the hacks to give the context and the background would have spoiled their story.
Nevertheless, it is no part of the media's job to explain our government's legislation when it fails to do so on its own account. We thus have here a small example of what happens when there is no democratic legitimacy behind a measure that was – certainly by Brussels standards – relatively sensible.
Friday 24 May 2013
A ban on troops wearing uniforms in public in the wake of the brutal killing of serving solider Lee Rigby on the streets of London has been lifted amid fears it gave the impression they had been cowed by extremists.
According to the Daily Mail David Cameron made clear at a meeting of the emergency Cobra meeting this morning that he felt the ban sent the wrong message, and made clear that "the best way to beat terror is to continue with normal life".
It is understood that military commanders had issued guidance to all serving personnel in London to not wear their uniforms in public. Not for the first time, though, the politicians have shown themselves to be more in tune with public sentiment than the military brass.
For once, David Cameron has done the right thing. But, if our troops in uniform are to be targets, they should be issued with side arms with which to defend themselves.
In operational theatre overseas, British Army officers and men can carry sidearms such as holstered pistols. Until the beginning of the IRA outrages in the Seventies, as a cadet I would go on courses from my own Army base carrying a 303 rifle on public transport.
Unease about off-duty soldiers travelling around armed is a very modern phenomenon, and it's a curious double standard that we query this but do not object to armed police, who are civilians, carrying rifles and machine guns.
COMMENT: WOOLWICH COMBINED THREAD
Thursday 23 May 2013
In his own words: "I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same." That's at the very heart of the matter: A British citizen who has more identity with the country of his family's origin than his current native country; someone who clearly exhibits foreign cultural values, but as the Guardian has it, he was born in Lambeth in December 1984 and he grew up in Romford. He is thought to have been radicalised ten years ago and does feature on MI5 files. From a broken family, it looks like a case of cultural (and perhaps social) isolation leading to a path of hate, nurtured by known extremist organisations.
Anjem Choudary, the former leader of al-Muhajiroun, has confirmed that he knew. Choudary said Mujaahid had converted to Islam in 2003 and was a British-born Nigerian. He said he had attended meetings of al-Muhajiroun from around 2005-11, but stopped attending the meetings, and those of its successor organisations, two years ago. That's why this smells like a "lone wolf" style operation of a mad man - and unless there is evidence of an Al-Qaeda operation, I shall maintain that view.
Blaming Islam, a faith of 1.2bn people, is a little bit too convenient to explain what is a deeper and more complex problem. This is more about identity and identity politics. The fact that Adebolajo was a convert should set alarm bells ringing. TThis is most certainly a domestic cultural problem, not Islam, and it requires more understanding.
As much as we have social cohesion problems, and those from alien culture have trouble adapting, and we don't know how to tackle extremists in our midst without violating basic freedoms and due process, I think this will boil down to just one of those tragic chain of events that couldn't have been stopped with all the hindsight in the world.
I don't fully comprehend Islamic scriptures, but those of you who know me well will know that I know a thing or two about extremism, and while I don't have the capacity to kill, I certainly understand the impulse (just ask South Gloucestershire Council), and if this man had no stake in our society - and a head boiling over with propaganda, then nothing was ever going to stop him from killing. The justification is just the poison on the cake.
You can blame Islamist literature and extremist organisations, but the views espoused by those agents of death vary little from Robert Fisk of the Independent or various other moonbats like Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and Noam Chomsky. Were we to close down all the purveyors of this kind of distorted filth
, then we would have to start on Fleet Street.
If there is a solution to this kind of attack, it is certainly more nuanced than those presently on offer, especially by our politicians, though they could be forgiven for being mealy mouthed in what they say. All must be careful not to ignite tensions
. All it took was a mistake by the police to start three days of rioting and looting - which was entirely unrelated to "ground zero".
Never have the very British words of "Keep calm and carry on" been more relevant. There are limits to tolerance, but we are not there yet.COMMENT THREAD
Thursday 23 May 2013
We're off to Worcester on Harrogate Agenda business - positioning for a management committee meeting tomorrow. I'll get to the computer for a late post tonight, but there will be light blogging thereafter, until I get back home.
Thursday 23 May 2013
How does one make sense of the events of which we learned yesterday? What are the policy implications? What do we expect of our legislators? What should we be telling them to do?
Experts believe the pair responsible for the murder were using Muslim names and could be of Somali or Nigerian heritage. It is thought they had spent weeks watching the barracks, which the Queen is due to visit next week, prior to the attack.
Confronted with such barbarity, however, one is not disposed to take the advice of the Met Police Commissioner, and "remain calm", especially when it took the police – according to most reports – some twenty minutes to arrive at the scene.
So where do we go from here? And, in thinking of responses, and we are seeking to deal with barbarity, we need to remember the IRA and Northern Ireland. Islam and blacks by no means have the monopoly on barbaric acts.
That said, I think we need to address the willingness of the authorities, our state broadcaster and the media in general, to gloss over the fact that a disproportionate number of male blacks and Asians are involved in violent crime.
Much as the "liberal" lefties would screech in protest, that invites the inevitable response when one considers intelligence-led policing. The question of racial profiling. If coloured males are more likely to commit violent crime, then it makes absolute sense to target that group.
This, then, brings in the issue of community responsibility. So often, the police find that ethnic areas are "black holes" when it comes to the flow of intelligence. But, if local communities feel they can exempt themselves from their civic responsibilities, of informing the police of their suspicions about crime and criminals, then they must be prepared to accept that there is a price to pay.
And if, as appears to be the case, soldiers are being targeted for violent crime, then we should not hide them away in civvies, as if we were afraid for them. Within the vicinity of their barracks, they should wear uniforms, travel in pairs and be equipped with side arms. This may put traffic wardens at risk, but that is probably a plus.
As to the policing of the area, the media, ministers, and the police themselves, are being very circumspect about what is said to be a twenty-minute delay in the police response.
Conservative MP Robert Buckland has said to the BBC: "I will raise it with Home Office ministers as soon as we know the full picture," and has been quoted saying it would be very worrying if there had been an "unwarranted delay" in the police response. We know from experiece though, that all we are going to get from the system is corporate BS.
The idea that a police force the size of the Metropolitan Police "Service" ever was or ever could be accountable for its actions is just one of those cruel jokes perpetrated on us by our masters.
And the pictures of the sexually incontinent "Bopris" Johnson prattling to the media are nothing if not offensive. Amazingly, he has "every confidence" that the killers will be brought to "justice" – a fair prediction seeing as they are already in custody, having waited around after the attack for the police to arrive.
Dismissing the role of Islam, despite the killers screaming, "Allahu Akbar", Mr Johnson tells us that, "everybody can see" that the fault lies exclusively in the minds of the perpetrators. That, as it stands, is the bien pensant view. After all, "we don't want brutal attacks like this dividing people", says Yvette Cooper.
One thing we could put on the agenda as a serious proposition is the return of more local policing. The City of London still maintains its own police force, and the sky has not noticeably fallen in. For a start, we could have a two-tier force with local policing based on independent forces for each of the 32 London boroughs.
These and such issues are those which can and need to be discussed. Protecting the broader community and our people from violent thugs is not racism.
But, doubtless, as the bien pensants
gaze at the fruits of their work in Stockholm
, they must be bricking themselves at the thought that the people here might just be getting a tad fed up with their masters and be moved to take direct action.
Thus, the cry goes up, "isolated incident", "isolated incident". We are dealing with "misguided individuals", they say. "The fault for them lies solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack", says Cameron.
They even have UKIP's potty-trained Nigel Farage at it. He says: "I hope and believe that this is an isolated incident and appeal for calm amongst all our communities". "Nuffink to do wiv us, guv!" They wish.
Taking from my own comments
on the forum, triggered by the general discussion (which is why the forum is so valuable), I recall being a North London teenager in the sixties. Then, I was brought up in a peer group which held as a matter of rooted conviction that all "Sarf Londoners" (those from the wrong side of the Thames) were "poofters".
That did not drive me to indulge in an orgy of what came to be called "queer bashing", but it did reduce the shock value when one heard of homosexuals being beaten up for no other reason than for their sexual proclivities. In a very small way, the view that "poofters" were inferior, and somehow threatening, legitimised (or excused) the use of violence against them.
Similarly, in an Islamic society where "non-believers" are routinely called "infidels", and much worse, acts of violence against non-believers are in the same way subtly legitimised.
Therefore, someone from that society seeking to perpetrate a violent act will tend to direct that violence against the target group demonised by the society to which they belong, or with which they consider themselves affiliated (even if they do not actually belong to any specific group).
What this suggests is that the radicalisation does not create or motivate the violence - but it does direct it towards specific targets. Therefore, as long as there are people who espouse the violence inherent in the Islam faith, the community as a whole cannot walk away from the consequences. They do not cause the violence ... but their views (and tolerance of certain views) help direct it.
I do, therefore, resent these bien pensants
who so quickly and glibly tell us that this violent act of murder is nothing at all to do with Islam. For sure, the relationship is complex and subtle, but the Islamic community must take its share of the blame - and then do something to address the root cause.
What these stupid, stupid people, who call themselves our leaders, must learn is that if they do not start addressing the consequences of what is actually government policy – the elephant in the room of unrestricted immigration – white, British-born people are going to generate the "backlash" that they fear.
Coming up with the usual BS platitudes and mantras simply does not cut it. Even if I had no views about some of the "actors" dribbling into the ether, by the time I had heard their soothing, arrogant platitudes, I believe I could quite easily be motivated to consider violence against their persons.
Thursday 23 May 2013
According to comments on Robert Henderson's blog I am an "Identity Christian". That makes me a self-hater and "assimilationist" on Anglo Saxon identity.
People who share this appellation belong to a group who used to be called "British Israelism". Apparently, they are people holding the belief that Jesus and his family got away to France and then settled in and around these islands. This, apparently, is a 19th century fantasy concocted to serve the needs of imperial "Britain". More recently, we discover, it’s been commandeered by the "celts", to whom "lying comes naturally anyway".
Booker doesn't escape scrutiny either. I have a long association with him, and his "anti-racist" credentials are unequivocal, if very often obscured by his mainly writing about energy and social policy. But his son has an Indian wife and since he avoids writing about the subject of immigration and is at ease with miscegenation, that means "he supports the deconstruction of this our or any nation state".
And that is the level of political discourse from a group seeking unilateral withdrawal. My posts on the need "to accommodate all manner of legal technicalities before even attempting to escape the EU" are cited as evidence of my being an "Identity Christian". Clearly, I am a thoroughly bad egg. And if you have just read this post, you are probably a traitor.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Diverse legacy media sources are prattling about today's European Council, adopting the usual slovenly practice of calling it a "summit", rather than by its correct title.
To start the proceedings, Van Rompuy is hosting a working lunch with an exchange of views on energy planned. In his letter of invitation, he says he wants heads of state and governments to consider what should be done at the level of the EU to further increase energy efficiency, to consider what is needed to further develop indigenous resources, and how to achieve a more predictable energy policy, as "a prerequisite to attract the necessary investments into a modern energy infrastructure".
Also on the agenda is a discussion on "on effective steps to fight tax evasion and tax fraud, as well as to tackle aggressive tax planning in order to protect revenues and enhance the effectiveness of tax systems".
The European Council is expected to call for rapid progress on a number of issues, including automatic exchange of information, taxation of savings interest and measures to counter VAT fraud. It is also expected to welcome the agreement reached by the ECOFIN Council on a negotiating mandate for strengthened savings tax agreements with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino.
Heads of state and government will also "focus their discussion on other aspects of the automatic exchange of information that have gained momentum following the launch by five member states of a pilot initiative".
The next step, we are told, "will be to enshrine automatic exchange within an EU framework in order to promote it as a global standard. To that end the EU will develop strong coordinated positions in the G8, G20 and OECD frameworks".
In other words, the "colleagues" are going to agree a "common position" for these forthcoming talks, so that all the members are singing from the same hymnsheet, and no one is rash enough to make a solo run.
Then, tucked in at the end is a reference to the European Council being expected to call for urgent action to address VAT fraud. This will includes measures such as the "quick reaction mechanism", which will enable rapid intervention by member states in cases of sudden and massive fraud, and the "reverse charge mechanism", which specifically targets carrousel fraud.
We have been banging on about this since 2006, but there must be something in the wind that is pushing recent initiatives.
No figures have been mentioned but the speed with which action is being taken suggests something has spooked the commission. It is acknowledged, though, that the carbon market fraud cost an estimated €5 billion.
The legacy media and agencies are concentrating on the Amazon, Google and Apple tax scams, but the commission is saying that the most prevalent form of fraud is still carousel fraud and similar scams. While the media is looking in one directions, therefore, it is likely that much is happening in the wings, which will remain unrecorded.
The interesting thing is that all this is supposed to happen within the space of one afternoon, with the proceedings starting at one pm and winding up at five, with a press conference. This is governance with a difference. Our wise and beneficial leaders must be on the political equivalent of viagra.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Allister Heath is slumming it for the Telegraph Media Group, although he has a perfectly good platform as editor of City AM from which to express his thoughts.
Nevertheless, he addresses a serious issue which badly needs some air, although the headline doesn't do the piece justice with the wholly misleading title: "Nigel Farage's biggest problem is UKIP doesn't do details". As Autonomous Mind points out, for the piece to be more accurate, the headline should have read, "UKIP's biggest problem is Nigel Farage doesn't do detail".
AM goes on to state that it is Farage alone who calls the shots and the party dances to whatever tune he chooses to play on any given day. Without Farage's direct approval, nothing is able to stand.
By an interesting coincidence, I had a long talk yesterday with an ex-UKIP staffer, who had worked for may years alongside Farage, and who offered exactly the same "take" that I have of Farage. Without any academic qualifications of his own, and with no academic skills, he cannot tolerate people close to him with better skills than his own, and plots to get rid of them.
That UKIP lacks both properly thought-out policy lines (better than can be formulated on the back of a beer mat after a boozy session in the pub) is, therefore, entirely due to Farage. Many people have tried, and failed to get sensible policy past Farage, only to give up in disgust, or be fired for their efforts.
Now the more intelligent journalists like Allister Heath are beginning to notice the policy vaccum. Heath thus remarks that UKIP's problem is that its policy positions are uncosted aspirations, rather than properly thought-through proposals. Until this is sorted, Heath says, they risk being torn to shreds as media scrutiny increases.
Needless to say, the rabid supporters who have come to the fold with a child-like adulation for Farage, and a naïve faith in his charm and abilities, are those who simply wish to protest against a snooty establishment, or who like how Farage "represents people like us".
These people won't mind, that Farage's arguments have all the depth and sophistication of the lower Remove, and completely lack real world appeal. But, Heath adds, much of the country will. For want of well-crafted policies, UKIP's bubble would deflate almost as fast as it takes its leader to down a pint.
What Heath has specially noted is that UKIP doesn't have a plan to exit the EU. Furthermore, it has failed to introduce alternative trading arrangements that reflect the complexities of the modern economy. The challenge, he says, is especially acute when it comes to complex rules of origin for manufactured goods, and to protect London's financial services industry against protectionism.
This has to be one of the most bizarre gaps in the UKIP platform. For twenty years, the party has existed to promote the withdrawal of the UK from the EU but, in all that time, it has never come up with a single detailed (or any) coherent plan for how we would actually effect our withdrawal.
But it actually far worse than that, a situation known only to those people who really know UKIP in depth and have worked inside the organisation - as opposed to the shallow outsiders who are vain enough to think they know what makes UKIP tick.
Anyone who really knows Farage - who really does know him as opposed to those who have swallowed the media myth - know him to be a vicious and quite unprincipled bully. The sound of the man screeching down the phone from his office in Strasbourgh, at an unfortunate colleague in England, so loud that the use of the instrument was unnecessary, is permanently etched on my brain.
Like many bullies, though, Farage is also a coward. He will not directly confront those who challenge him, or those whom he sees as a challenge. Instead, he goes by devious, circuitous routes to undermine them or remove them, where he can.
There are those in the Party, however, over whom he has no control – people who are immune to his bluster. And amongst those are a small but extremely influential group whom I have take to calling the "unilats". These are the zealots who insist on UKIP standing for immediate withdrawal from the EU, without prior negotiation.
These people are utterly tenacious, with the intensity of a religious cult. They will stop short of nothing to have their views accepted, other than partake in an honest, open debate. But they can make endless trouble for Farage within the party.
As far as I know, Farage doesn't wholly agree with them – although it is very difficult to know exactly what he does believe, beyond his immediate and oft' repeated rhetoric of arranging an "amicable divorce" and negotiating a free trade agreement.
But, whether he agrees with them or not, Farage will not argue with them, or disown them. He is afraid of them. Thus, he allows them to represent their views as UKIP policy, even though they exist nowhere on any formal UKIP policy documents. For decades, he has ducked the issue, and never takes a clear line on what the actual policy might be.
Thus does Heath assert that Farage needs to sort out the detail of his policies. At the moment, he says, they simply do not stand up to detailed scrutiny. But, as long as Farage is the leader of UKIP, the party will never be able to progress to the stage of offering settled policy on key issues.
This is the fatal weakness of UKIP. And unless the Party is able to learn to deal with it, it has the potential to bring it down. Furthermore, having become the standard-bearer for euroscpeticism, Farage's personal inadequacies have the capability irrevocably to damage the movement. And that is far more important. Euroscepticism is bigger than Farage: it should be more that just a platform for his political ambitions.
Tuesday 21 May 2013
While there may be reasons why the media isn't telling us things, it is as well to ponder about the other side of the coin - why it is telling us the things it does. And leaping into that category is the news about "Bopris
" (as the Mail
happily misspells him in one of its captions) fathering a previously secret "love child" (aka bastard).
What is interesting about this piece of news is the extent to which Mr Johnson sought to conceal it, and the effort which the Mail sought to publish it, defending a case in the High Court and then fighting a case in the Appeal Court.
In this latter case, the findings of Master of the Rolls Lord Justice Dyson are pretty damning, the judge effectively ruling that the public has a right to know about Boris Johnson's philandering past, which takes precedence in this instance when "weighed in the balance against the child's expectation of privacy".
The disclosure, however, is more that just a news story. From last year when Mr Johnson was the darling of the media and being widely slated as the next Conservative prime minister, possibly deposing the incumbent, this amounts to a signal that his bid for the leadership is over.
Even the Telegraph Media Group Ltd, which must have been aware of its employee's behaviour, but so far kept silent, has been forced to out its employee.
And, with the outing, it may well be that Mr Johnson's utility as an over-paid columnist is numbered. Certainly, to some of the business's customers, his attraction will be reduced and – as an Independent poll indicates – to a measurable extent.
But what is also very interesting is Mr Johnson suddenly became so popular – especially as this is a man with few demonstrable leadership skills who handled the August riots badly, and who has none of the political experience that would be required of a prime ministerial candidate. Not only is he not, currently, an MP. He has no ministerial much less cabinet experience.
One suspects here that Johnson found so much favour with the media for the same reason that Mr Farage is so much in vogue – he was a useful stick with which to beat David Cameron. And, if that is the case, now that Mr Farage has so willingly stepped up to the plate, the London Mayor is redundant.
There, possibly, is the real agenda behind today's news. For you, Meester Johnson, ze varr ees over. And you read it first in the Daily Mail.