Who Said This
Who said this:
“The sham state of today, oppressing the working classes and protecting the pirated gains of bankers and stock exchange speculators, is the area for reckless private enrichment and for the lowest political profiteering; it gives no thought to its people, and provides no high moral bond of union. The power of money, most ruthless of all powers, holds absolute control, and exercises corrupting, destroying influence on state, nation, society, morals, drama, literature and on all matters of morality, less easy to estimate.”
And who, in response to that, said this:
“I understood immediately that here was a truth of transcendental importance for (our) future. The absolute separation of stock exchange capital from the economic life of the nation would make it possible to oppose the process of internationalization in (our) business without at the same time attacking capital at such, for to do this would be to jeopardize the foundations of our independence. I clearly saw what was developing, and I realized then that the stiffest fight we would have to wage would not be against the enemy nations but against international capital. I found an effective rallying-cry for our coming struggle.”
Last question. Does any of this sound at all familiar in relation to our modern situation and the things the Left are saying? Just asking.
Answers on a postcard please. No googling.Filed under Economics, Europe, Evil Bankers, Just A Little Fun | Comments (3)
Really, you just couldn’t make it up. I’ve just come across this new ’superhero’ being used as an ‘instructive’ tool for the European Union. Captain Euro.
RESUME: Born ADAM ANDROS – the only child of a famous European Ambassador and a professor of palaeontology.
Travelling the world with his parents, Adam learned to cope with the adult social world from an early age. As a child, participation in an experimental language programme, enabled Adam to become a polyglot.
Adam was investigating a series of bizarre archaeological finds when an incredible event, involving DR DAVID VIDERIUS, prompted Adam to take on the identity of CAPTAIN EURO.
Captain Euro has taken a difficult vow: “To use, wherever possible, intellect, culture and logic – not violence – to take control of difficult criminal situations.” Captain Euro is a diplomatic hero – the symbol of European unity and values.
SPECIALIST SKILLS: As well as being fluent in many languages, Captain Euro, as Adam Andros, was a first class student of Information Technology. Euro combines his acquired language and technology skills with his international ’savoir faire’ and his natural investigative curiosity, to protect Europe and carry Europe’s message of goodwill around the world.
PERSONAL: Captain Euro finds time for an unusual relaxing hobby. He paints European landscapes. The fingers that tap scientific data into Captain Euro’s palmtop computer are often stained with paint.
I hope that they make this guy’s adventures into a movie. I can’t wait to see the ‘action scenes’. Several huge, overtly muscular genetic abominations trap him at the end of an alley and approach menacingly. Captain Euro then sets about using his intellect, culture & logic to sort them out. “Now listen I am sure we can talk about this… ooof… there really is no need to resort to physical …. ugh …. I would appreciate it if you could stop striking me bodily for a brief time …. agh! … please give me back my left arm, I need it to paint my landscapes …”
All images & Captain Euro summary text
Copyright (c) http://www.captaineuro.com/
An Independent Kingdom (Lisbon Pt.2)
I’m going to try and be brief, where possible, because I know this is going to be a very long post. What I plan to do today is explain precisely what is wrong with the Lisbon Treaty, why the case ‘for’ it usually presented by its supporters is weak and what I think we should have done in our present situation.
Before I do though I need to ‘come clean’. Even if not a single word of my essay today were true I would still not support the Lisbon Treaty. Patriotism is a dirty word these days, it seems. Either that or people try and shape its meaning to make a pretence towards patriotism, when in fact they are simply appeasing their conscience or disguising their bigoted hatreds. But I am of that old school, pig ignorant, knucklehead variety who would defend the sovereignty of our country and its parliament into my grave. And yes I mean the Queen too. I know that to most of the liberal left I sound like some kind of dark age throwback – an anachronism. I’m comfortable with those labels. We are what we are.
The Arguments “For”
“Lisbon ‘Streamlines’ Democracy In Europe”
Lisbon does no such thing. What it does is avoid the “messy” business of having to agree everything with one another (and the electorate of each member state). Now the unelected inner cabal, who are not answerable at the ballot box and have never been voted directly for by any of us get to decide a very great deal of the issues about how we run our country. It streamlines something, yes, but democracy isn’t it. Power and control, maybe.
“But the MEP’s make the decisions…”
Yeah. Okay. Listen, I’ve got a timeshare you might want to see…
“Lisbon is not the Constitution.”
Of course it is. All the scary monsters that caused the rejection of the original European Constitution are still there. Lisbon still allows for all the accoutrements of statehood; a president, a foreign ambassador, a foreign policy, a legal personality. If you take a tiger and shave a patch of fur from its back - it’s still a tiger. And since Lisbon is the Constitution then it has already been voted out of existence on several occasions. Even in its newer (exactly the same) form its been voted out once. But that’s fine. If you don’t get the answer you want to hear, keep asking until you do.
“Voters don’t care about Europe. It’s always low on their list of priorities.”
Like every poll, you can ask questions to get the answers you want to hear. While Europe may come tenth on many polls, immigration, the economy and crime all come near the top – all things that will be directly affected by – guess what … Europe. Depending on how you choose to frame the facts, you could argue that Lisbon comes first, second and third on every poll taken. But of course nobody chooses to frame the facts that way. That wouldn’t get the answers required.
“We need to work together with the rest of Europe to achieve the big goals.”
Okay. And we can do that perfectly well as a sovereign nation without any need to become a vassal to the world’s newest superstate. You see there used to be these things called “summits”, where ambassadors from each country would discuss, debate and find common ground on which to cooperate.
“If we leave Europe it will wreak economic havoc. Nobody will work with us! We will be pariahs! Loads of jobs will be lost…”
This is just the most astonishing pile of steamy claptrap and yet its amazing how often it is spouted. We are one of the richest countries in the world (despite the recession), and we are a net importer of goods. We are a vital key trading partner for all the big European players, as a customer. Anybody who thinks businesses will stop dealing with us because they’re miffed we don’t want to be in their club anymore has no understanding of business or markets at all. It’s just ludicrous. Yes, there would be some negative consequences, just as there will be some negative consequences of being IN the EU. But on balance, I believe we’d come through it just fine. Can I prove that? No. But neither can the other side prove their argument. It’s all supposition. At least my side is based on something – we weren’t always in the EU and we managed international trade just fine back then…
“The EU has stopped wars in Europe.”
You might be right. I doubt it – but you might be. But presuming the reason we haven’t had a war in 60 or so years in Europe is because we’ve been in the various incarnations of the EU is like presuming that the reason we haven’t been hit by a car today is because the sun is shining. The two things are going on, but there are so many other elements at work too.
For a start, since the end of World War II we’ve had nukes in the world. After seeing what happened in Japan, nuclear weapons are a powerful deterrent to all-out world wars. Furthermore, we saw the cost of the World Wars (in lives, resources, and money) and I suspect the horror of it all has provided a deterrant. And then there’s NATO. Really, anybody who thinks the EU is more likely to be counteracting European wars than NATO might want to go have another look at their history books. Or maybe its because our armies have been busy storming into other parts of the world, deposing leaders we didn’t approve of, saving the world from fictional weapons of mass distruction, installing a flimsy facade of democracy, and blowing lots of things up. It’s kept our army fairly busy – this 60-year time of peace and love.
You could even argue that we’ve just been lucky- that no new Hitler has come along with an evil plan and the right national environment to proceed with it. But in the end, even if I were willing to accept that the EU were preventing more world wars (I’m not, but let’s pretend) I would still point out that it can do that perfectly well as the original cooperative union rather than in its new role as Superpower Extraordinaire.
“Leaving the EU would wreck our international treaties and ruin our reputation in the world.”
Any international treaties that could not survive a country declaring its wish to remain independent would be better off dead. Our “reputation” in the world is a joke. “The Sick Man of Europe” they’re calling us, again. Let me tell you this – the good reputation you get by sucking up to the school bullies is valueless. Respect, and consequently a good reputation, is earned by strength, integrity and character. I am not advocating that we throw our toys out of the pram and start blubbing helplessly. I am advocating that we remind the world whose pram it is, that we know its history and its value, and that we respect its citizens enough to keep their thousand-year democracy safe for their children. (Lost the pram metaphor there a bit. Sorry.)
“America want to work with Europe now, not the U.K. alone.”
So what? We don’t make policy for our country based on what some other country quite fancies today – even one as important and worthy as America. Countries and their governments are fickle - things change. But even if they did not I still maintain that America will not start turning British Ambassadors away if we left the EU. After all, its Britain who are the ones usually fighting at their side. Indeed, a British ambassador would give our country more of a voice than an EU ambassador representing a plethora of countries and interests.
“Our future is part of Europe. We cannot escape it”
This is a favourite of the Lefties and it is the most difficult argument to counter because it is not an argument itself. It is a political statement all its own. I’ll get to it in my conclusion.
The Current Situation
“A referendum on a ratified treaty is pointless.”
‘Pointless’ is an interesting word. If a man kills another man, punishing him will not bring the dead man back. Is the punishment, therefore, ‘pointless’? If a fire burns down a house, investigating the cause of the fire will not miraculously restore the smoke-stained wreckage – so it’s ‘pointless’? If you best friend promises to pay you back a tenner, but then you are killed in a road accident, is it ‘pointless’ to lay the tenner on the grave?
Some people would say so. I’m not one of them.
When every main party promises the people of the country a referendum they should get their damn referendum! I don’t care if the treaty is ratified, cast in stone, mounted on marble and surrounded by diamonds at the top of Mt. Everest, guarded by a mixed honour guard comprising the mafia, the yakuza, the S.A.S and the militant wing of the Royal Mail. A promise is a promise is a promise. When political parties commit to something so absolute, so profound, then fail to deliver their promise – it is a true body blow to the very nature of democracy.
“The most important thing is to win the election. We must get rid of Gordon Brown.”
This is a favourite of my Conservative colleagues. Anybody who has read this blog will know I am no supporter of the Prime Minister. I’ve sat there until the small hours of the morning on the last three elections getting steadily more miserable as the hateful New Labour project swept to victory. I’ve worked as hard as anyone to reverse that situation. But win at all costs? No thanks. That’s not for me. While I honestly believe that a fourth term of Labour would hammer nails into the nation’s coffin, and while I support the vast majority of current Conservative ideas and policies, I would not be willing to compromise my integrity just for victory. If the choice was between doing the right thing and losing or doing the wrong thing and winning, I’d choose the former. Because I don’t think, if you do the right thing, you can ever truly lose. But that’s just me.
“We must fix the economy and the broken (various things) first…”
The wonder of a successful government with a mountain of MPs and an army of civil servants to hand is that you can multi-task. Yes, that’s right, you really can deal with more than one thing at a time. Hey, here’s an idea… you could even use some of the skills of your backbenchers to lighten the load. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too radical.
“The expense cannot be justified”
Give me a break. There are quangos that cost more money in a month than a referendum would cost in its entirety. But even if that were not true I don’t believe we can afford not to do this. Everybody hates politicians right now. And I’ve got bad news for my higher-ranking colleagues – that hatred isn’t going to go away even if you accept every visit to the naughty step that is commanded of you. If you want to restore trust in politics, you have to start doing what you promised you would do, and listening to the voice and will of the people.
“Referendums Are A Tool For Dictators, not democracy”
Whenever I hear this tomfoolery I know I am talking to an authoritarian. When you ask the people what they want, they vote on it, then you do it, thats pure democracy. Direct democracy. When you presume the people are “too ignorant” to know how to answer or understand the question, or when you choose not to ask because you might not like the answer, that is pure arrogance at best, dictatorial at worst. I don’t advocate a referendum on what colour the potting shed roof should be painted, so let’s not try that clever word-twist. Just on issues of historic significant constitutional change. It’s not as hard as you might think – these issues don’t come along very often.
What I Wish We’d Do Now
Hold a referendum on continued membership of the EU. Let MPs campaign as they genuinely believe, free of party whips. Let the public have the debate, let the media say what they wish, do not allow external bodies (like the EU itself) to campaign or get involved at all. This is a matter for the British people and nobody else.
Respect the result of the referendum.
If the people say “no”, don’t rephrase the question and ask again, or dilly dally around wishing you’d heard something different. Just withdraw from the EU immediately – politely and respectfully. Then set to work building the new trading deals and co-operation framework as necessary.
If the people say “yes”, tell me and all the other sceptics to shut the hell up because we had what we wanted and democracy has answered. I would accept that gracefully and get on with working in the new environment.
Whichever result you get – hold a new referendum every ten years, if the public suggest it is necessary and if the institution remains viable.
In the end – none of that matters. Because its really not about any of the things that everybody claims that it is about. This battle is more fundamental than that. It’s the classic opposition of Right versus Left, Small Government versus Big Government, personal liberty versus collectivism. This is the argument that has split Western nations for hundreds of years. It’s got a new outfit and a new name, but its the same old fight.
One side believes that government should be minimal. That personal responsibility comes before state responsibility. That freedom comes before control.
The other side believes that government should be optimal. That the state can solve all our problems and so everybody should be beholden to it. That freedom is a necessary price to pay for security.
This isn’t a Conservative / Labour / Liberal Democrat thing. There are authoritarians and libertarians in all parties. This is about where the power should lie, who should wield it, and what controls should exist over those figures of authority.
Call me an old fool, but I rather liked our thousand-year-old traditions and I’m not ready to consign them to the bin just yet. In fact, in keeping with the new greener world, I’d like to recycle them and bring them right back – shiny and new. In our own parliament. And do you know what? I suspect that’s exactly what will happen in the end. One way or another.Filed under Europe, European Union, Lisbon Treaty | Comments (10)
Vote Blue On June 4th
If you live in the Roman Bank & Peckover County Division I will be asking for your vote on behalf of the Conservatives on June 4th. I am sure you will hear my political opponents promise you the world on a silver platter. I have already had a taste of some of the grand claims they make and grander criticisms of the present Conservative administration. It doesn’t seem to matter how skewed their presentation or how invalid their comment. They seem to think that if they promise you the Sun and the Moon and Six Miracles Before Breakfast that’ll somehow win them a seat. In the end, I’m sure readers of this blog are well aware of the political merry-go-round. You’ve heard enough nonsense like this over the last decade to be immune to it. Nevertheless, this month you may be presented with dizzying spin from as varied quarters as UKIP and Labour and the Lib Dems. I don’t want to get into that big-talking point-scoring political nonsense. As a local candidate I just want to make a few simple, honest promises. You’ll be able to reach me (locally) when you need help. I’ll listen to what you say, I’ll push the things you want and I will work like a dog on your behalf each and every day. There’s nothing grand or colourful about those promises, I know. But you can take them to the bank. Try me. I won’t let you down.
Conservative Spring Forum
I have just returned from the Conservative Spring Forum, which I visited with a number of friends and colleagues this weekend. It was an enjoyable trip which I found useful and interesting. The agenda could have done with a bit more meat on its bones, to be honest. Nevertheless, the speeches and presentations I attended were solid and intelligent. In particular, I was lucky enough to be at the Freedom Association fringe event with the folk from FensCF when MEP Dan Hannan addressed the small but attentive audience with an impromptu ten-minute speech. As usual when Dan Hannan makes a speech I was blown away. Nor was I alone in this as the audience were clearly just as taken with his smart, confident and intelligent arguments. The following day he had another speech for conference, presented here. I have been a fan of Mr. Hannan’s work for some time (I very highly recommend his book, The Plan, to anybody interested in politics and democracy in the U.K.) and so it was a privelige to hear him speak and a stroke of great fortune to be able to do so from a few feet away! Quite honestly, It made the weekend for me!
We must not forget that on the same day that our County Council elections are taking place we will also vote on our European candidates. I’ve heard a few ‘normally Tory’ voters suggest they may flirt with another party as a ‘protest’ over the whole Europe and refendum thing and I’d just like to say: Please Don’t. Let me explain why. Most Conservatives are sceptical about further integration with Europe and even those that aren’t want to support proper democratic procedure. The only way to make Labour rethink its blind course of destruction right now is to deliver them a sound thrashing at the elections on June 4th. If you vote for the ‘fringe’ parties you may think this works as a protest. And of course you have a free vote and should obviously cast it wherever you choose. But Labour will not be shaken by a few votes moving to parties with no power or influence. That protest will do nothing to turn their arrogant grins upside down. What will scare them and move them to rethink their position is a Conservative Landslide. Add to this the fact that we really do have decent, honourable, hard-working candidates who we desperately need to get elected so they can bring some sanity back to Europe and you can see why I’d quite literally beg you to remember how important this European Election is. The European Union is the Monster in the Closet, it wants to creep out at midnight when you least expect it and literally take control of your lives. Give your vote to the Conservatives and we’ll have a real platform to tame the beast and put it back in its cage.
In last week’s Cambs Times, Columnist Samuel Brakespeare called me irritating. He did it in a subtle and ironic way, but still. Irritating? Me? Surely not. My first actual outing in the local press and I get called names! Yikes. I suppose it’s lucky I’ve got thick skin if this is what I have to look forward to! I’m joking, of course. I rather like the Fen Diary regular slot, which is witty, punchy and informed. I don’t mind that I have been labelled as a potential source of ‘good sport’ there. At least he took the time to read my blog and comment. I just hope that as time passes I’ll be able to get the inimical Brakespeare to think of me as useful instead. I’m a newbie in local political terms. Maybe I’m naive too. But I really do think we can move beyond cynicism and actually contribute something to our communities. That’s why I got involved in local politics and that’s exactly what I want to try and help achieve. If I can demonstrate this then I hope even the most professional cynics will agree I’m useful rather than irritating.
The Small Print (legally required during election campaigns.)
Published by Mrs D N Clark on behalf of Steve Tierney both of 111 High Street, March, Cambs PE15 9LH.
“I’m Just Nipping Down The IMF For Some Milk & Cheese”
In the 1970s, the Labour Party had so thoroughly trashed the economy of Great Britain that we sat on the verge of bankruptcy. Strikes plagued our nation. Working hours were curtailed while people struggled to pay their bills in the face of rising unemployment and hardship. The Labour government, shame-faced and craven, stumbled weakly to the International Monetary Fund with their begging cap in hand and asked for help to bail us out. It was an embarrassing, desperate fall for a country that had once been the most powerful trading nation in the world. It spelt the end of Labour’s reign, paving the way for Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives to sweep in and quite literally save the country from destruction. To this day some sections of society loathe Thatcher and this is because she had to make very painful and radical decisions to ‘fix’ the economy, cleaning up the mess left behind by her predecessors. But fix it she did and Britain was returned to prosperity. It wasn’t perfect, of course. We had problems. But we could afford to buy our groceries and pay our mortgages again.
Flash forwards to 2009. After more than a decade at the wheel Labour have presided over yet another financial disaster. It’s true that some elements of this one are global in origin. But where is our manufacturing base? Where are our entrepreneurs? Where are the wealth-creators that are necessary to ride in on their white horses and save the day? They’ve been taxed and over-regulated and demonised into oblivion. It is not good enough that Labour always want to blame somebody else. They have been in power since the last century! They have had ample opportunity to prove that a progressive left government can work and they have failed.
For the last few months I, and some other sceptical commentators, have been suggesting that Britain’s finances are even more dire than the government would like us to believe. We’ve said that the country is already slipping into a state of technical bankruptcy, that we have been for some time, and that it is only a monumental credit bubble and some complex spin operations which have covered this up. Time and again spokesmen and media have assured us: “This is not the case”. Only a couple of months ago Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown both laughed off the idea that a new visit to the IMF would be necessary for the United Kingdom.
This week the Daily Telegraph has a story with the headline: “Britain should not fear asking for IMF cash.” Following a briefing from a senior Labour cabinet member it argues: “Britain should not be afraid or ashamed of taking money from the International Monetary Fund.” Apparently, the IMF is all different now. There should be no ’stigma’ attached when one of the once-richest countries in the world has to beg for help. Again. It’s just a loan after all. Another loan. So, there we have it. Full circle. The Labour Party have mismanaged their way back to bankruptcy and begging and they are trying to fool the voters into thinking it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a little household shopping trip, apparently.
“Darling! I’ll be back soon. I’m just nipping down the IMF for some milk and cheese. Do we need anything else?”
We do need something else. A new government.Filed under Credit Crunch, Election, Europe, Parliament, Recession | Comments Off
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s all about the G20. Obama this and gazillion fiscal stimulus that. It’s very exciting, all the stocks are riding high on the optimism of it and yet its still almost completely worthless. What we needed was some good old-fashioned common sense, a little protection for the poor, some belt-tightening and a bit of community spirit. You know, the stuff the British used to be good at. Famous for, even. What we got was yet more great buckets of cash poured down whatever black hole fund the IMF fancies next week. And where will all that new money come from, because most countries sure as hell don’t have it? The printing press. Of course. What scares me is that the current leaders of the free world don’t actually seem to have any ideas between them. Well, none that don’t involve conjuring up money that you and I will have to find for the next decade or more. It’s a sad day when I thank the French for having the common sense to say “non” to Yet Another Massive Global Stimulus, but that’s where we are. Of course, it’s all just a huge media stunt anyway. Gordon Brown Saves The World again. Just in time for his specifically-delayed budget to bribe his core electorate and a few floating voters to gift him another ‘bounce’. If it wasn’t all so horribly predictable it might almost be funny. For Gods Sake get this madman off the levers of power. He’s like the Wizard Of Oz, all flashing lights and impressive colourful shows … covering a grand illusion. When the curtain comes down it’s just going to reveal a sad man, bereft of any true strength, fighting to retain the pretence of power that was never truly his to command.
Where are the Young People engaging with politics? It’s never been a ‘youth’ activity per se, but each year that passes the die-hard faithful get scarcer and, quite frankly, they get older too. Despite the fact that they have been campaigning sometimes for several decades, they still provide all the verve and the passion in local politics. Political parties must get younger people involved. By that I don’t just mean the Camerons and the Cleggs – the people who are in politics as a career. I mean the earnest, hard-working people who leaflet and canvas and debate simply because they care about where their nation is going and want to be part of the solution… whatever that might be. When the brave ‘old guard’ are no longer able to fight the good fight, who is going to be active in politics then? Those brave politicos will leave a gaping void if nobody has come up behind them, learning from them, gaining wisdom from their association. Sure, each of the main parties has its ‘youth group’. Most colleges and universities have active political scenes. But we need more than the ideologists and the intellectuals, we need the youths from normal working families, small towns and villages across the country. It’s called balance. It makes a difference. Some people seem to think that the death of old-fashioned party politics and ‘tribal’ voters is a good thing. They think that the way is paved for some new political nirvana. If that’s so I have yet to see the evidence. Rather, we seem to be sliding towards a miserable world where nobody cares about anything except their ‘five minutes of fame’ or their latest fix of reality TV. A world without a passion for freedom and good governance doesn’t sound like heaven to me. It sounds horrible.
Many people will have seen MEP Dan Hannan’s excellent speech from a week or so ago. It became an internet phenomenon literally overnight. That’s partly because Dan said things to the Prime Minister that many of us have wanted to say. It’s partly because Dan is a good speaker with charisma and gravity. But mostly it’s because he clearly means every word he says. He’s genuine. It’s so refreshing in these days of spin and glitz and fakery that people feel drawn to it. This is how politics sounds when it’s done right. And by right I do not mean that I agree with his comments (although I do.) I mean that politicians must have the surety and the integrity to mean what they say and stand by it. Too often, of late, people doubt that is true. If a change is coming then politicians like Dan Hannan will be at the forefront of it.
The Great Free Speech Debate
Much time has been given to the government decision to refuse Geert Wilder’s entry into the UK. He was invited by members of the House Of Lords to be present at a screening of his short documentary, ‘Fitna‘. The argument has three sides. One group thinks he is a nasty piece of work and just shouldn’t be allowed in. The government seems to agree with that. The second side thinks that he has something valid to say about the dangers of ‘Islamisation’ in the West and shares some of his sentiments. The UKIP party (and, presumably, the BNP) seem to be part of that camp. Finally there’s the group that don’t agree with him, but who think we must stand up for his right to say what he wants to say. I’m in that camp.
Look: Free Speech means people have the right to say whatever they like, as long as it does not incite to crime or violence, and is not perjury. That means that people will sometimes say things you don’t like, don’t agree with, or don’t want to hear. But their right to do so is also your right to do so! In my opinion, there is no other right which is as important as Free Speech. Without it, there is no way to defend any of the other rights we hold dear. We must protect our freedom diligently and despite the fact that sometimes it is painful to do so. We must even defend those who we vehemently disagree with, because if we do not, sooner or later, it will be our own right to free speech which falls foul of someone’s censorship. Or it will be our friends or loved one’s lips who are forced closed by the state.
The government should have let Geert Wilder in. He is not (presently) a convicted criminal. He was invited by the House Of Lords. You cannot defeat a debate by pretending it doesn’t exist, or by sticking your head in the sand. The battle of ideas must be won by challenge and intelligent comment. Not by narrow-minded censorship.
LabourList & Derek Draper
Unless you are an avid follower of political discussion this won’t be of any interest to you at all. But there’s this guy called Derek Draper and he’s in charge of the Labour Party’s attempt to do battle in the ‘blogosphere’ (a bunch of independent folk who talk about politics on the web.) He set up a website called LabourList (you can find a link to it on this page.) Then he proceeded to get into a catfight with leading right-wing bloggers Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale. It’s all gotten pretty childish and petty on both sides. Which is a shame because all three of these guys are interesting, passionate about their cause, and respected in their relevent quarters. I suppose you could argue that they are bouncing off one another in the standard political way. But it would be so much more useful if they were using their obvious intellects to debate actual issues. Maybe I’m being naive.
Wisbech & District Conservative Association – AGM
Wednesday 11th was the day of the Wisbech & District Branch of the Conservative Association’s AGM. It was an interesting meeting with a reasonable turnout. There was some discussion about the proposal to pedestrianise Wisbech Town Center, which is a really thorny issue locally. It’s a helter-skelter story that is just too complex to go into here. Suffice to say, there is much disagreement about what should be done. MUCH disagreement!
Officers were elected for the next year. Bruce Wegg remained chairman. Yours Truly remained Vice Chairman. Simon King remained Secretary. The only change was Town Mayor And Cllr. Jonathan Farmer elected to stand down and allow the job of treasurer to pass to Samantha Hoy, the secretary of the Fens Conservative Future group.Filed under Conservatives, Europe, Wisbech | Comments Off
Skiing In Euroland
I’ve just come back from a week’s skiing in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Before anybody accuses me of being a ‘fat cat’ can I just say that I generally don’t take any other holidays all year, that I work extremely long and demanding hours, and that I save up in order to do this with a large group of old friends each winter. Even so, with our current economic climate, like everybody else I’m going to need to reassess if I can afford to do the same things next year. One thing I noticed while being forced to trade in the Euro is just how very expensive everything was. Not just because of our poor exchange rate, nor just because ski resorts tend to be expensive everywhere. The basic cost of everything for those in the Eurozone is just much higher than the amounts we pay for the same items. The friends who I travel with are, in general, quite a successful bunch, yet they were all talking about how the recession…
(or is it depression Gordon?)… is affecting them. Another thing I couldn’t help but notice is that everybody had an opinion on the current government and, with one single dedicated left-wing exception, those opinions were not pretty. These are not political people, not the sort of folk who are given to care about the government beyond their yearly tax bill. But the venom that was apparent when the Prime Minister’s name was mentioned was all too clear. That, even if there were no other evidence at all, would be enough to convince me that Labour are doomed. Hat tip to Dain Jensen, who organised this year’s trip and was responsible for it being such a success.
We’ve got Princes using racist language, Carol Thatcher called people ‘Golliwog’ and the press enjoying the whole furore with their usual gusto. I’ve been reading it all with increasing surprise that nobody ever seems to say anything that gets to the heart of the matter. The whole argument seems to be whether or not these public figures “should be allowed to” say things which may be deemed, by some, to be racially, religiously or ethnically-offensive. Frankly, I think this debate is missing the point. I don’t think that the government (or anybody else) has any right to tell people how they should speak, what they are ‘allowed’ to say, or what opinion they should have about others. We used to have a thing called Free Speech and it meant that, as long as you were not committing perjury, or inciting to violence or crime, your right to say what you felt (however unpleasant or unappealing to others) was protected by law. I believe in free speech passionately. Even when people are saying things I don’t accept, don’t want to hear, or find offensive. When the Powers That Be try to smother free speech they don’t change anyone’s mind, or win any sort of debate, they only shove the whole thing underground, while increasing their mindless ability to meddle with our lives. This assault on free speech, aka political-correctness, is an insidious and dangerous attack on our liberty. Having said that, Carol Thatcher is clearly an unpleasant, mindless idiot. Anybody who thinks that using the term ‘Golliwog’ to refer to somebody who is black, or partially-black, is the right thing to do is worthy only of contempt. And that’s the right way to deal with people who talk like this. Not by trying to enforce some kind of ‘right way to speak’ or by resorting to top-down control. But by trusting decent folk to take a look at the individual in question and realise just what sort of nasty piece of work they clearly are.
The House Of Lords
There are some dodgy folk in every arena in the world. It doesn’t matter where you go. There are always people involved for the wrong reasons, or in it for themselves, or who are seduced away from an honest path. The wrong thing to do is to presume that because there are one or two bad eggs, the whole carton is bad. The press love to tell you the dirty stories because that is what sells papers. But The House Of Lords does its job extremely well, despite ill-advised tampering by the most recent government, and is full of honest, decent people. This is true in every arena in the world. Let’s get rid of the bad eggs as and when we find them, without letting it colour our opinions in general. That’s a healthy way to deal with sleaze, isn’t it? I’m tired of letting opportunistic journalists force one knee-jerk concession after another. It doesn’t lead to improvement. It leads to chaos.