Monday, 25 June 2012

No, you can't renounce EU citizenship

"Well, you can, but you then have to renounce your UK citizenship as well though, perhaps, one can then revert to being a British subject of HM Queen. After all, most of us would prefer that, anyway. How do I know this? Because HMG has so replied to Lord Stoddart's Written Question: what is the process by which British subjects may renounce their European Union citizenship."

The euro should now be put to the sword

" Greece must default and leave the euro. Writing in Le Monde diplomatique, Costas Lapavitsas, professor of economics at SOAS, explains: “Greece needs to stop chasing its tail by seeking to service an unsupportable debt… default ought to be followed by the reintroduction of the drachma.” Yes, there would be short-term economic turmoil, but it has to be better than endless suffering. Formal bankruptcy is the financial solution to a financial problem: Greece’s insolvency. Will it happen? Not if self‑serving EU leaders and their Brussels flunkies have anything to do with it. Like members of the Flat Earth Society, they cling desperately to a vision of the world that no longer bears scrutiny. The dream of a United States of Europe has turned into a nightmare, but confronting reality is too terrifying for them to contemplate. In the absence of voter approval for irreversible fiscal union and a perpetual conveyor belt of taxpayer funding from Stuttgart to Salonika, how does the euro survive? For if Greece goes, what about Spain? Many Spanish banks are bust (their property portfolios are a horror show). Madrid cannot afford to rescue them, because its borrowing costs are too high. So the European Central Bank is lending cheap money to the Spanish financial sector so that it can recycle the cash into Spanish bonds at below-market rates. It’s like a drowning man throwing a lifebelt to a sinking ship: both are doomed."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Britain full to bursting: Population up 10% in 15 years...and they are just the ones we know about

Daily Mail
"The most overcrowded parts of Britain have seen their populations rocket in the past 15 years, official figures revealed yesterday. London – which is by far the most densely-populated area of the country – now has nearly 5,000 people crammed into every square kilometre. According to the Office for National Statistics, the numbers squeezed into the most crowded parts of Britain have soared by 10 per cent since 1997."

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Europe's on the brink of probably the gravest and most frightening tumult of our lifetime

Daily Mail
"Sunday’s Greek election was trailed for weeks as a make-or-break event. Nobody with a brain the size of a sultana believed it, but we dutifully listened to the TV news coverage, and waited with unbated breath for a result. We got a minority victory for a party notionally committed to keeping Greece in the euro by sustaining a national austerity programme that has already reduced the nation’s economy by 20 per cent since 2007, and next year promises to cut wages and pensions by another 15 per cent. Global markets flickered momentarily upwards in the wake of the announcement, then fell back in disbelief. They recognise the following about Greece’s predicament: if it persists with the austerity programme necessary to cling on in the euro, only penury and political extremism lie ahead. The country is no more fit to share a currency with Germany than I am to play tennis with Andy Murray. There is no more chance of Greece repaying its debts than of Boris Johnson giving up women."

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Health tourist leaves NHS with £500k bill as MP warns abuse of care by foreigners is widespread

Daily Mail
"A foreign patient who cost the NHS more than £500,000 in medical bills fled the UK without paying for the treatment, it was revealed yesterday. But the case is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ according to a member of Commons Health Select Committee. Tory MP Chris Skidmore said: ‘This figure may seem high, but sadly this is widespread. One hospital trust alone is owed £8million from foreign nationals who haven’t paid their bills.’

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Why is Europe lending money to Argentina?

"European countries have repeatedly found themselves the victims of aggression from the Argentinian government: Spain with the nationalisation of their oil company Repsol's majority stake in the firm YPF; the European Union as a whole which has felt it necessary to file a suit against Argentina's import restrictions with the World Trade Organisation; and Britain has seen threats of legal action and boycotts as part of the facile Argentinian claim on the Falkland Islands. Why are we repaying all that hostility with support for World Bank loans to the country that total $16.2bn?"

Friday, 8 June 2012

Official ‘anti-racism’ is ruining the beautiful game

"Ignore the Roy Hodgson-bashers – it would be barmy to select footballers according to their PC-ness rather than their prowess. .....And yet in the eyes of the righteous re-modellers of football and its fans, arguing the toss about who should be selected on football grounds, as fans always have done, is beside the point."

Only in America…..

"...2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal work force is black while 12% of the population is black."

Peddling the easy answers

The Black Steam Train (Australia)
"After his recent appearance on Australian Story, Jack Manning Bancroft is riding a wave of public adoration. Touted as everything from a future Indigenous leader, to an Aussie inspiration, overwhelmingly, the feedback coming in from his TV appearance has been extremely positive. If you listen to the viewers, he's achieving huge success with Indigenous youth, turning the tide of low expectations and bringing high profile supporters and donations to disadvantaged Aboriginal kids. .....In operation for almost 8 years now, you may be surprised to know that AIME does not operate in a single remote area. Heck, they don't even operate in the Northern Territory, Western Australia or South Australia. ......For eight years, it appears Jack has deceived himself, and, the rest of us. He's told us he's making a change, and, more importantly, he's Closing the Gap. He is not. .......In the twenty years from 1986 to 2006, the Indigenous population doubled. While part of this is attributed to natural rates of procreation, the Australian Bureau of Statistics states that this staggering increase is also due in part to people identifying as Indigenous where in previous counts, they did not. .....I hope Jack will decide to prove me wrong and start working with impoverished and remote Aboriginal communities. It will be much harder than working with the kids from a private school, but I can promise you that it is infinitely more rewarding, and I warn you that it will at times, break your heart." (H/T Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine .....he recalls his equally colourful duels with Labour's dark lord of spin.

Daily Mail
"...The BBC’s Nick Jones pointed out the way Alastair Campbell and Mandelson worked as a pair — the baseball bat and the stiletto. ‘If they don’t like your story, Campbell screams down the phone at you while Mandelson quietly goes to the Director-General,’ he said. ......In a good mood, Alastair Campbell was fun; in a bad mood, he was Ivan the Terrible, Freddy Krueger and Chopper Harris all rolled into one. ......The New Labour crew fought with unmitigated ferocity for control of every single paragraph, printed and spoken, hand-to-hand, tooth-and-nail. And they were very good at it. The best example of spin I personally experienced was when Tony Blair flew to South Africa...The word spread round our section of the plane. Pretty soon, Campbell had ‘reluctantly’ given us the whole story: the Prime Minister, while conducting a Cabinet reshuffle via his mobile on a boat in the Seychelles, had saved a Danish man from drowning. When we landed, Blair agreed to do a pooled interview. ‘Right,’ said my colleague Huw Edwards after a few questions about Africa, ‘I do need to ask you about the Danish businessman you saved from drowning.’ Blair asked for a pause. Turning to Campbell, he said, grimly: ‘Is this down to you?’ To the camera, Blair said: ‘Ah, anyone would have done the same, it was nothing.’ Campbell’s ruse worked brilliantly: the Cherie beach photos were never heard of again. About a week later, a bewildered Danish businessman finally surfaced. Claims that Blair had rescued him were ‘absurd and ridiculous,’ he said: he’d merely asked the Prime Minister for a lift on his boat."

Enemies of free speech..

Andrew Bolt,Herald Sun (Australia)
"Britian’s Education Secretary Michael Gove brilliantly argues the case for free speech at the Leveson witchhunt, but Steve Kates’ introduction is also masterly: Lord Leveson is their version of Mr Justice Finkelstein, that is, someone who thinks he has understood the issues and can be evenhanded between liberty and restraint. That is, he will come down in favour of restraint but then call it liberty. Here is the para of interest: Lord Leveson told Gove: ‘I don’t need to be told about the importance of free speech. I really don’t. I am concerned that you are saying behaviour which is unacceptable has to be accepted because of the right of free speech.’ Gove was unfazed: ‘I fear for liberty if those principles are eroded.’ This Michael Gove is apparently a standout within Cameron’s cabinet and from the article I can see why. It’s not just that he is brave to say what he says, but understands the issues well enough to enter the lion’s den with confidence. "

All hail Michael Gove, defender of the Tory faith (at least compared to David Cameron)

"..His performance was marvellous. He made an impassioned plea for liberty and common sense with plenty of lines to make the conservative heart sing: "The cry 'something must be done' isn't always wise" and "Some of us believe that before the case for regulation is made, the case for liberty needs to be asserted as well."

Michael Gove plays a blinder at Leveson

"Throughout the Leveson Inquiry it’s been pretty evident that it was the lawyers who felt they were the smartest guys in the room. Today that changed. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, gave a virtuoso display of both intellect and guts as he made the case for press freedom. It’s perhaps no surprise that this journalist turned politician should, for the first time, take the argument to the Inquiry and swing it away from its focus on Murdoch and hacking and concentrate its mind on the wider issue of freedom of expression."

Debt Crisis: Greek Euro exit may cost UK £5bn

"The UK’s overall exposure to a post-euro bail-out – technically a loan which it would hope to get back – would be between €4 billion and €6 billion, Open Europe calculated. Although Greece remains the country most likely to be forced out of the euro, financial markets are also worried about Spain, where a weak banking sector threatens to push the government into full-blown crisis. EU leaders remain split over a plan to create a European “banking union”, using existing funds to back troubled banks."

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Obama's Black Friday

Warning Signs
"On Thursday, Obama got more bad news. Former President Bill Clinton told CNN that Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital was “sterling.” Clinton said, “I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work. This is good work.’ The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.” Clinton’s appraisal came at the end of the third week that Team Obama had been trying to demonize Romney for having been a successful venture capitalist. Clinton isn’t the only prominent Democrat to jump off the SS Obama. Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also refused to press the Obama attack on Bain. .....There’s just over five months to go before November 6, Election Day. They are going to be the worst five months of Obama’s life, but for millions of Americans out of work and unable to find work they will be just as bad or worse. Many of them are women. Many of them are young adults. Many of them represent a dwindling base of African-Americans and Latinos. Many of them are voters."