Posts Tagged ‘Mr Cameron’
We have built an impressive bonfire in readiness for tonight’s celebrations. This morning we checked its interior for sleeping hedgehogs before sprinking kerosene. No need to apply any to ‘Werrity’, for the guy is stuffed with old newspapers many of which feature his famous namesake. It was whilst we were doing this that Albert commented that were Guy Fawkes alive today he would not lack for volunteers!
My old pal is somewhat vexed by the news that the Border Agency have for some while decided not to check in detail the passports of incoming visitors to these shores, a slight omission compunded by the fact that, for the first time in a century, there are no warships guarding our coastlines. Short of a welcome mat there is little more we can do to invite every terrorist on the globe to join us.
Why no frigates or destroyers protecting our shores? Sadly our total fleet has been reduced to 19, despite pledges by Mr Cameron that “a 40-ship Navy was the absolute minimum”. Of the 19 survivors, eleven have been deployed in the Mediterranean as part of our Libyan mission. Some are now heading back but right now what is known as Emergency Fleet Ready Escorts has, er, no escorts available.
Given that the cost of the bombing of Libya by the RAF has cost the equivalent of ten frigates it is all very odd. Of course the theory is that we have performed a great humanitarian deed in gaining the Libyan people their freedom. This was Cameron’s equivalent to Thatcher’s Falklands, was it not. No it wasn’t and we have not ‘won freedom’, we have merely displaced one tyrant to make way for another.
Right now Libya is anything but free. In towns such as Sirte, now reduced to rubble, and Bani Walid, where Gaddafi hid after his Tripoli palace was over-run, local people are enraged by mass looting and summary executions by rebel fighters. Rebel fighters are still carrying out house-to-house searches for alleged Gaddafi supporters and reports speak of mass hangings. Even doctors and nurses who treated injured Gaddafi fighters are being rounded up and, at best, cast into a prison in Zawiyah, in “appalling conditions”.
But this is merely the prelude to what is to come. Abdel Hakim Belhaj is the most powerful military figure and is threatening to ignite a whole new conflict over his Islamic extremism. Indeed, many former rebel fighters are now talking openly about a new revolution if the country’s political leaders on the National Transitional Council give in to pressure from Belhaj, head of the Militrat Council, to turn Libya into a fundamentalist Islamic state, modelled along the lines of the old Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
The more moderate military leader, Abdel Fattah Younis, was assassinated just weeks ago and many suspect that associates of Belhaj did the deed. With Younis gone, Belhaj is all-powerful. He has received messages of support from Ayman al-Zawahri, the new Al Qaeda leader, and the courthouse in Benghazi now flies the terror network’s flag. Reports speak of armed gangs to be seen everywhere, each parading the Al Qaeda flag and chanting Islamic slogans.
Belhaj was the driving force behind last week’s announcement that Libya will introduce Sharia law, a brutal form of justice that includes flogging and executions for those accused of ‘crimes’ such as adultery, homosexuality and theft. It will allow Libyan men to take multiple wives and give males custody of children, while women will have no right to divorce. Belhaj demands brutal punishment for anyone who critices Islam or refuses to pray.
It will be Belhaj’s second attempt at taking over Libya. In the Eighties he launched an uprising against Gaddafi which failed. He fled to Afghanistan and fought in the Soviet-Afghan war. He then returned to his native Libya and formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. He again fled but was captured by British and US intelligence in Malaysia and was handed over to Gaddafi.
At the very least Libya now faces renewed civil war for Belhaj is hated by many of the secular elements of the evolution. One, named Kharyee, said yesterday that ”If he becomes boss, we will make another revolution. He wants to take over but we will kill him before he can do that”. But resistance will be difficult for Belhaj’s links with the Taliban have earned him powerful friends
The only possible conclusion is that, as in Iraq, we went to war on the assumption that removing a dictator automatically opened the door to human rights and the rule of law.Those of us with an understanding of these countries knew that it wouldn’t be like that. The land is now awash with weapons and hostilities are breaking out between the Warfalla and Obeidi tribes, the Berbers in the western mountains, the Magariha, Misrata and coastal Kargala Tawajeer tribes. All came together to fight Gaddafi, now their old emnities are resurfacing. The scene is set perfectly for one all powerful figure to assume control.
That man will be Belhaj. He is committed to jihad – the overthrow by Holy War of Christian states and the creation of an Islamic world. No, Mr Cameron, this was not a Falklands style triumph!
TEST YOURSELF WITH THE WEEKEND QUIZ!
1. Deva was a Roman city now known as what? 2. Spanning 30 years on the charts, how is Tony Fitzgerald better known? 3. What does a kleptomaniac do? 4. What is the popular name for the anaesthetic nitrous oxide? 5. Who was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit? 6. The doomed ship Titanic was registered in which English city? 7. In which year did Marc Bolan die? 8..What is made up of the minor arcana and the major arcana? 9. The Romanian dictator Ceausescu was executed on which day in 1989? 10. In ” The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”, who played his wife Britt Ekland?
I never thought I would live to hear my fellow chicken-keepers singing the praises of Millwall supporters, but that is exactly what happened this morning. Searching for some comfort in the depressing images of broken Britain, my pals loved the report of a huge contingent of the fans of the soccer club of ill-repute forming a protective ring around shops in Eltham. One said that little thugs are not welcome, we await their arrival with eager anticipation. Needless to say the cowardly mob of criminals turned back. Right across the country similar groups are forming up, people have no confidence in the government or police and they will no longer stand idly by and watched businesses built by hard-working locals destroyed. The fight back is under way but what a terrible indictment of the establishment that is!
Those of us in the north have now had our first taste of the thuggery and mayhem. Manchester police were yesterday obliged to add 100 of their most highly trained officers to the vast convoy of police buses heading for London. The result was that when the entirely predictable riots broke out last night the local constabulary was ill-resourced and lost control. The same story applied across all of our region. The prime minister eventually returned from his holiday and immediately ordered that London must be protected, the result was that other cities were not. Even he must surely now realise just how mistaken his policy of reducing police numbers is.
Any suggestion that what we are seeing is the direct result of cuts or perceived corruption at the heart of government or police has become untenable. Yes, the decisions to cut youth facilities and the lack of any attempt to deal with conditions or unemployment in deprived areas are factors but you do not make your neighbourhood a better place by burning down your neighbour’s house. You can’t scream about social injustice whilst walking away from looted stores with TVs. You do not make this society a fairer one by terrorising ordinary men, women and children, or by setting fire to their streets, or by destroying businesses that have served communities and provided jobs for over a hundrd years. The riots have no moral authority whatsoever.
The fact of the matter is that the hoodlums who are out on our streets robbing, burning, throwing bottles and putting people on the mininum wage out of a job are self pitying scumbags. The vast majority of ordinary folk themselves have problems, but they work hard and always do their best for their families. Now they are forced to run for their lives as leering looters destroy or steal their possessions and peace of mind.
Whilst not all the pictures are of black youths, the great majority are. Those images of black youths looting and pillaging will not soon fade from the national consciousness. They have set race relations back in this country by 30 years. And appeals to parents are a waste of tiem, in many cases parents have been involved alongside their violent kids.
And in their pathetic swaggering we see the limits of society’s attempts to be soft, to be compassionate. In the end – softened up with their human rights, pampered with a benefits system that was meant to protect the vulnerable – we get this shabby shower. Listen to one of them droning on about unemployment and you are left wondering who on earth would employ them.
There have been many moving pictures of innocents caught up in the reign of terror by marauding thugs. None more so that the ones featuring a miidle-aged man who was beaten unconscious in full site of a single policemen who could only watch and wait for reinforcements. When they came they had to literally fight their way through to help the victim. He is not expected to live. If the situation continues more deaths are inevitable.
No one can deny that there are major social issues to address. But right now the priority is to reclaim control of the streets. Any talk of police cuts must be abandoned and all city constabularies must be allowed to expand. There are other imaginative moves to consider if only the out-of-touch politicians will listen. In one of todays papers, a group of ex officers, both police and military, have proposed the creation of a national reserve comprising experienced, fit, retirees operating as a sort of police TA and ready to return to take over all desk work at a moments notice. And another idea caught my eye.
Hundreds of arrest have been made and already some of the accused are being released on bail. This is ludicrous but the problem is that there are no empty cells. Someone has suggested the creation of a holding area to meet the immediate need to get the leading offenders off the streets. This to be backed up by detention camps created on former military sites still owned by the state. The scene is then set for lengthy sentences that may deter but will certainly protect the rest of us.
Draconian? Not really when you consider what is happening under cover of mass disorder. One example was the incident in which yobs invaded a shop and carried away the owner’s baby which she was nursing. Had that happened in normal times it would have carried a huge sentence. There should be no difference in law.
Perhaps the other pressing issue is that there is no fear of the police. Some of this is of course down to the attitudes police themselves have portrayed, but a good deal of it is down to the police impotence born of fear that even laying a hand on a villain may result in suspension. For the time being all thoughts of human rights should be banished by temporary law using, if necessary, The Riot Act.
After all the vast majority of decent law-abidng people are being deprived of their human rights! Meantime we must retain our sense of humour. We ferret-men were much cheered by a comment you will find attached to yesterday’s blog. Send the fat bloke from the TV ad about ‘Confused dot com’ on to the streets, he suggests, that would bore them into submission!
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR A VERY SPECIAL QUIZ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The weather is sunny, the news less so. But the hens seemed indifferent to it all, even ‘Gaddafi’, the bullying pecker, is unmoved. Rather like his ghastly namesake! Yesterday William Hague gave an object lesson in the art of turning, claiming that he always intended to spend a billion rearranging the concrete in Libya before leaving the Colonel in residence. To be fair David Cameron needs no lessons in the art of turning and it is surely time for his latest performance.
Because the idea of paying off the whole national deficit at record speed just ain’t working! As expected the growth of the economy has ground to a near halt. We chicken-breeders are to economics what dear old Cyril Smith was to hang-gliding, but even we can work out that if cut-backs are too rapid there are fewer jobs, less inclination to spend and less tax revenue. In effect the economy is as flat as a MacDonald’s pancake. And we are less than impressed with the latest excuses about weather and Royal weddings, which surely compete with the “dog ate my homework” we all peddled many years ago.
Mr Osborne may well be preoccupied with the latest Guardian revelations about his involvement with the Murdochs, but he really should turn his mind to the more pressing issues of the need for a Plan B. He won’t of course, hence our humble plea that Cameron intervenes as he did on Forests, the NHS and other lunacies. The latest wheeze of overhauling planning laws might make some difference; Britain built its way out of recession in the 1930s, but concreting over this sceptered isle is, understandably, always fraught – as seen in the local rows surrounding the massive investment of money we don’t have in high-speed rail.
But such things are really straws in the wind. Uncle Vince Cable is banging on about printing more money but the Bank of England will take some persuading given that inflation is rnnning at twice its target. That leaves only the option of slowing the frenzied pace of deficit reduction, which Mr Osborne insists would shatter “confidence” and push up borrowing costs.
This is nonsense. With cheap, long-maturity government debt and an independent currency there is no reason on Earth to think that closing the deficit more steadily would visit a Greek-like crisis on these shores. And, as top economist Jonathan Portes has declared, low interest rates are the product of the slump itself, rather than the result of Osborne’s hair shirt.
As a group of geezers who see no shame in an about-turn, we suggest that the prime minister pulls away from worrying about what Rebekah is going to reveal, and instead steps on the Osborne corns. His one idea of boosting growth by eliminating the 50% tax bracket is truly political dynamite, what he must do is ease back a little on VAT and job cuts. Such moves would not only be popular but would also encourage a return to buying. And he needs to give more help to manufacturers by leaning on the Banks which we supposedly partly own.
To go on pretending, as Osborne did yesterday, that all is positive is crass. He should address an audience wider than Ed Balls for we have all seen what is happening in America. Politicians there are putting the scoring of points ahead of the national interest and there is no future in that!
Just for a week the prime minister should put aside the inevitable Murdoch clan revelations and put the country first. He must know by now that some of his motley crew are three pence short of the proverbial shilling, deep down he must know that the economy will ultmately decide his fate. He should win back a few of the supporters he has lost by acting now!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Rock festival 2. Wales 3. Advent 4. Edinburgh 5. Atonement 6. Albert Hall 7. Judaism 8. Film Festival 9. Nirvana day 10. Lincolnshire
I’m sure that if the prime minister knew of our gang of aged chicken breeders he would regard our mutterings with utter disdain. Understandable in a way since none of us would gain social acceptance at one of his Chipping Norton parties, but quite wrong in another. For we represent a cross-section of society with the breakdown of political allegiances broadly in line with those portrayed by Mori, plus a fair sprinkling of geezers who never vote at all. But we are all shocked by the unending revelations about the Murdoch empire, and even more staggered by the role that David Cameron has played in it.
Of course even we yokels realise that none of this began with the arrival in Downing Street of the Old Etonians and Mr Cameron’s main defence in yesterday’s Commons uproar – that Gordon Brown was equally culpable – misses the point. What has been uncovered over the past week or so is a large informal network, in which newspapers, policemen and politicians all looked after each other with jobs, influence, money and treats.
It is now perfectly clear that this has been the order of the day for a very long time, but the excuse that the new Prime Minister merely joined an established orgy of corruption makes his actions no less deplorable. And to compound the felony Mr Cameron conceded yesterday that, during his 26 social gatherings with the Murdoch clan since becoming PM, he did discuss the BSkyB takeover bid, albeit in an ‘appropriate’ way. He shouldn’t be surprised that his enemies are now choosing to create their own version of what took place, the point is that he shouldn’t have been there at all.
That apart there are significant questions to be answered about his judgement in appointing Andy Coulson, given the clear indications that his resignation from the News of the World was the result of charges of phone hacking. In July 2007 Cameron appointed Coulson to his office as leader of the Conservative Party. He said then that “Andy will make a formidable contribution as a senior member of my team in building the most effective strategy and operation to win the next general election. I look forward very much to working with him”. Of course what emerged from that election was a coalition and one of the first to warn Cameron against bringing Coulson into government was his then admiring partner, Nick Clegg. This followed a Commons committee accusation that senior executives at News International were concealing the truth about the extent of phone hacking. Yesterday the MPs attacking the PM included many of his Lib Dem partners.
Sadly even the announcement of the terms of reference for the Inquiry into all this aroused suspicions. Cameron surprised everyone by including the BBC. It may be a coincidence but this was a constant demand by the Murdochs whose motives for shrinking the Beeb have always been obvious. Perhaps we are all paranoid in wondering if their word still holds sway?
But the story that has unfolded would create paranoia in a monastery. It is increasingly clear that the Murdochs have frightened our politicians into submission. Just a fortnight ago, Ed Milioband was warned that Murdoch’s papers would “make it personal” after he broke with the political class omerta towards the company. There are now a whole list of similar threats to various politicians. In effect the fear was that those who crossed Murdoch would get the full tabloid treatment. It was a powerful Mafia-like racket. And turning to the police for help was not a good idea!
It is clear that when the various trials take place there may well be much more for the Prime Minister to fret over. But right now it would be good to believe that he ‘gets it’, that he realises that someone has to clean up our corrupt and bullying culture at the top. A small step in the right direction would be for David Cameron to become totally detached from the clique which has done so much to damage him.
He must realise that right now, at least so far as Tory and Lib Dems are concerned, this is not an issue about changing governments. It is about changing the Prime Minister and he needs to act right now. No more cosy parties with Rebekah Brooks et al, no more toadying to the will of corrupt bullies!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Shoulder blade 2. Great Stour 3. Sex Pistols 4. Falmouth 5. India 6. Judo 7. Henry the First 8. The wind 9. Maastricht 10. Young
Some one up there has turned off the tap! To walk to the allotments minus a brolly was little short of a miracle, and we set about our work of clearing the mud in a brighter mood than for some days. There have been moments when I wished I were a hen, able to stay in the dry with a near army of fogies attending to my every need. Then again I would never have the chance of being invited to a David Cameron birthday party as was Rebekah Brooks in October.
This latest revelation about our very strange prime minister plus the sad but very convenient death of the whistleblower Sean Hoare, who made clear that Andy Coulson was a key figure in the hacking scandal, could well have occupied our tea break but Phil had a different Cameron tale to tell.
His nephew is employed by Derby based carriage builder Bombadier. Thousands of British jobs there are devoted to building train carriages and there was considerable optimism about the future. It was widely expected that the company would be given the task of building rolling stock for the £6 billion upgrade on the Thameslink rail route, an order guaranteed to provide continuing employment for thousands.
Those thousands are now laid off and face a very uncertain future. Given the firm’s excellent quality and reliability record, the government created shock waves of giant proportions when it announced that the massive contract was to be awarded to German firm Siemens. Outrage soon followed but Mr Cameron and his Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, proceded to claim that their hands were tied. At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Cameron said that “we were bound by the criteria set by the previous government. In this case the procurement process was designed and initiated by them”. At first hearing it sounded a weak explanation for the sacrifice of so many British jobs. Upon examination of a leaked document it proved to be a barefaced lie.
Someone in the Transport ministry decided to reveal all by releasing anonymously a copy of the “Invitation to Tender”(ITT) for the Thameslink Rolling Stock Procurement Programme (TRSP). The document reads ; “The issue of this ITT in no way commits the Secretary of State to award the TRSP to any person or party. The Secretary of State reserves the right to terminate the competition, to award the TRSP without prior notice, to change the basis, the procedures and the timescales set out and referred to in this document or to reject any or all Proposals and to terminate discussions with any or all Bidders at any time”.
In other words the point of the process was entirely proper, to oblige the British Bidder to offer a competitive price. Predictably the government is now defending its decision to sacrifice thousands of skilled jobs, and to destroy an important British enterprise, by claiming that it would have been at risk of contravening EU procurement directives. Experts have dismissed this excuse, but even were it to be valid we have to ask ourselves about our real priorities! Since the vast majority of the people believe that we shouldn’t be subject to EU law anyway, it seems decidedly odd to sacrifice so much for fear of Brussels becoming irritated.
Former Treasury Minister Geoffrey Robinson said that the document proved that ministers were free to decide. They were free, he said, to “put the national interest first”. He ended with a plea that the decision be reversed to “save a vital British industry”.
Sadly his plea is likely to fall on deaf ears. The multi-millionaire Hammond is not renowned for viewing British manufacturers favourably, and Cameron has become totally preoccupied with explaining his extraordinary relationships with Coulson and the Murdoch clan.
Job creation should surely be an absolute priority for any British government, particularly at a time of recession. Instead we have one happy to see thousands more skilled workers cast on the scrap heap and to defend its failure via a tissue of lies!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S PUB QUIZ; 1. Rose 2. Tessa Jowell 3. Westlife 4. Seaweed 5. Sweet 6. Victoria 7. Oil tanker 8. Fuller’s 9. Blood poisoning 10. Leopards
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR ANOTHER PUB QUIZ????????????????????????????