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"We admire the development of the peace movement around the world in the last few years. We pray to God to empower all those working against war." - Saddam Hussein, February 2003

Wednesday, August 07, 2002  

THE CHAIRMAN OF the Commission for Racial Equality, Gurbux Singh, has resigned in disgrace today after being convicted of a public order offence:
Mr Singh, 51, who was involved in a confrontation with police last month outside Lord's cricket ground, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £55 costs.
In an incident following a one-day international between India and England - which India won with three balls to spare - Mr Singh had waved his fists at police officers and told them: "I'll have your jobs. Do you know who I am?"

Interesting how the voice of the oppressed believes himself so powerful that he can get innocent police officers the sack at whim. But Singh was always a corrupt bureaucrat, as last year's election proved. He chose to have a petition signed by all the party leaders committing themselves not to use racism in the upcoming election. When Blair and Hague signed it on behalf of their parties, the CRE tried something different, getting every MP they could find to sign it individually, and publishing the names of those who refused, flashbacks of McCarthyism suddenly seeming very real for a moment. It was a clear attempt by a state body to smear the Tories in the upcoming election.

Britain did once need a Commission for Racial Equality, but I am not so sure one is needed now. Black and Asian men and women hold respected and vital positions all over our society; doctors, government ministers, teachers, journalists, policemen. The law rightly protects anyone from racial discrimination in job selection, and racism is diminishing rapidly across the country. Racial integration has far to go, but in general our immigrants are already far better integrated than most in the United States and much of Europe. What role does the CRE have in encouraging integration? It only concentrates the matter back on race, rather than ignoring it as the irrelevancy that it is. In nearly all of the ways that can be dealt with by government bodies, Britain is not a racist society. We have come far enough not to need a Commission for Racial Equality. To abolish the CRE would not be to vindicate racism, but to acknowledge its defeat.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 23:25 | Permanent Link |

IF YOU HAVE a spare half hour or so, I strongly recommend you read this report. Two academics examine the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias of the BBC news programmes, and show in every case how it violates the BBC's own charter on objectivity. Packed with evidence, it makes an overwhelming case against BBC claims of fairness in broadcasting.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:40 | Permanent Link |

WHY IS THE Labour Party so keen to have state funding of political parties? I suspect this piece in The Independent gives the real reason:
"Donations to the Labour Party have plummeted by 83 per cent in only three months, deepening its cash crisis.
The collapse in contributions, disclosed yesterday, follows a series of rows over Labour's links with wealthy businessmen, including the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and the pharmaceuticals manufacturer Paul Drayson. With the party up to £8m in the red and Britain's biggest unions threatening to cut their contributions, the slump in donations will alarm Labour fund-raisers."

In a funny sort of way, this demand for state funding is basically just a call for a return to the 1970s and its legacy of taxpayers subsidising lame duck industries. It wasn't right then and it isn't right now. If a business doesn't want to go bankrupt, it should please its customers more, and if a political party faces huge debts it should govern the country better.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:33 | Permanent Link |

A DIFFERENT SORT of blog was started yesterday, over at Biased-BBC. This is truly a group blog. Its purpose is to highlight political bias in this once-great broadcasting institution. I thought that rather than simply muttering under my breath every time I saw the BBC defending higher taxes, a bigger government, the euro, Palestinian suicide bombers and so on, I would set up this blog, with everyone else who notices political bias free to add their own pieces. If you spot any on BBC television, radio or internet services, you can let us know by filling in the form at the bottom of the page, and submitting it to us. We can then add that example to the page. I hope the site goes well, and that as many people as possible can contribute.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 02:59 | Permanent Link |

YESTERDAY'S MENTION ON National Review Online's Corner was certainly helpful for a webmaster wanting a few more hits for his week-old site! Here is my hit count for the last fortnight.

Visits 27 July to 6 August

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 01:59 | Permanent Link |

Tuesday, August 06, 2002  

SOMEONE CALLED GEORGE Monbiot was peculiarly allowed to write a column for the Guardian today. The result was some of the most idiotic ranting even they have dared print:
"[America's] preparedness to go to war with Iraq without a mandate from the UN security council is a defiance of international law far graver than Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with UN weapons inspectors....
[I]f the US were not preparing to attack Iraq, it would be preparing to attack another nation. The US will go to war with that country because it needs a country with which to go to war....
[Tony Blair's] challenge is to recognise and act upon the conclusion of any objective analysis of global power: namely that the greatest threat to world peace is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush. The nation that in the past has been our firmest friend is becoming instead our foremost enemy."

There we get a true whiff of what the Second Gulf War's opponents are about: mindless, morally blind, anti-Americanism. They hate America because it is one of the few countries left in the world that can still tell the difference between right and wrong, and is willing to fight for freedom. I am proud that Britain joins her in doing what she can to help in that quest. But America can do no right in these people's eyes. When President Bush acts in his own country's interests, it is a sign of "isolationism", a charge no other country's leader faces when putting his own people first. But when Bush acts on the world stage, he suddenly becomes "interventionist", "unilateralist" and "the greatest threat to world peace". Now Bush can either be interested in dominating the world, or in isolating America from it, but not both.The BBCdian liberal elite will really have to choose which it is soon.

The extent to which the left's warped world-view is based upon nothing more than numbers, calculations and sociological theories is evident in their response to the terrorist murders organised by Osama Bin Laden and Yasser Arafat. Instead of asking who the democratic, legally-bound leader is, they accuse America and Israel of bring the attacks on themselves, and absolve the terrorists of their crimes on grounds of poverty and hopelessness. The left's inability to distinguish between a democratically elected leader who fights to destroy those who bomb children to achieve their twisted political goals, and a half-baked tyrant who uses chemical weapons in testing on his own people, who marches into neighbouring countries, and who is building terribly destructive weapons to fight us, demonstrates why Britain will never again have a true socialist government. Bin Laden proved that good and evil really do exist, and the British people will no longer support those who deny it.

So what is Monbiot's alternative to co-operating with America? He openly states that he thinks President Bush is a worse man than Saddam Hussein, that terrorists and tyrants should be left alone and democratic statesmen opposed. So what should Britain do? In so many words, become France:

"We can resist the US neither by military nor economic means, but we can resist it diplomatically. The only safe and sensible response to American power is a policy of non-cooperation. Britain and the rest of Europe should impede, at the diplomatic level, all US attempts to act unilaterally."

Boris Johnson was right last April to describe us as the second most important country in the world. We earn that influence through having a huge economy, the fourth largest of them all, and through the most professionally trained armed forces in the world. But we also gain it from being the closest ally to the world's only super-power. It would be treason to throw that rattle out of the pram in a tantrum born not of logic or conviction, but born only of resentment that America continues to disprove every major socialist theory with her success. France has never changed minds in America, nor has she exercised any influence when she spouts her silly ideas. For all France's sniping, she has no army to back up her words, and no moral authority to support her protestations.

The left is ultimately about turning Britain into another backward, inward-looking, high-taxation, European state. What they want is a people too morally deficient to care enough about any cause to support a war in its favour, and a country too weak to wage war in the first place, even if they ever did decide it was right. This gloomy, pathetic vision stretches even as far as the likes of Kenneth Clarke, though it is much more weakened and vague by the time it reaches them. But it is not a vision shared by the British people, and so long as our political leaders continue to support America when she is right, they will win mass support for their foreign policy.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 08:26 | Permanent Link |

I HAVE GAINED a lot of respect for David Winnick in the last twenty-four hours. Labour MP for Walsall North, he has taken a correct and moral view on Iraq, and been more courageous than his own leader in defending it against "appeasers" such as Tam Dalyell, the batty man who wrote a book about the sinking of the Belgrano, seeking to portray it as a war crime.
"As far as my parliamentary colleague is concerned, it should be borne in mind that he totally opposed the liberation of Kuwait and the action in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
"With the greatest respect to Mr Dalyell he is an appeaser of military and criminal dictatorships - which he has every right to be.
"It is not because he approves of those regimes but because he will not accept any military actions.
"Had we listened to those critics in the past just imagine what would have happened.
"The ethnic cleansing would have carried on and Afghanistan would have been under the same criminals who were responsible for September 11.
"Therefore I think we should not take what they say too seriously."

This exchange does show divisions within the Labour Party over this war. Wrong as it may be to be partisan over something so important, I must admit it is nice to see Labour's nasty old terrorist-supporting, economy destroying, bloodlust left returning to prominence, showing what the party is, at bottom, really like.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 07:40 | Permanent Link |

THREATENED BY THE prospect of imminent electoral defeat, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has resorted to anti-American prejudice to boost his campaign in what now appear to be the dying days of his government. Declaring his opposition to fighting Saddam Hussein, he has opposed using any of Germany's money or troops to help the good guys in the Second Gulf War. He doesn't oppose a pre-emptive strike against Saddam on "legal" grounds. He says his position will remain the same even if the UN approves the action.

Schroder has always struck me as a shifty fellow. Resembling a vampire facially, he seems to have Clinton's political cunning, but also his lack of any moral principles. While the German public responded in revulsion when Britain became one of the only countries in the world to legalise human cloning for medical research, Schroder was privately envious of Blair's own standpoint; that he wouldn't allow ethical issues to get in the way of scientific research. But after four years in office, he has achieved very little for his economy or his country. With interest rates kept artifically high in Germany by the European Central Bank, the rate of unemployment has hardly changed, still being at the dreadful levels Britain last saw around Black Wednesday, nearly a decade ago. Populist Bavarian conservative leader Edmund Stoiber now offers Germany a different course of action. Just a while ago, it seemed inconceivable that a Bavarian like Stoiber could be elected to lead Germany, Bavaria being seen as the source of a far too vulgar, excitable sort of person. Now analysts are predicting that Schroder cannot close the gap of 10% in the opinion polls by which he is trailing Stoiber. I hope Germany votes Edmund Stoiber to power, so the last major European bastion of the left but one is removed. After that, it is down to Conservatives over here to complete the trend.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:59 | Permanent Link |

IAIN MURRAY OF The Edge of England's Sword linked yesterday to a very interesting piece he wrote for Tech Central Station about modern science journalists filling their columns with politicized editorial content:
"The lead news story, for instance, is about the new 100-kilowatt infrared laser being developed by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. The laser is designed for use in attacking non-human targets, such as other aircraft, ground vehicles or static targets such as fuel dumps, anti-aircraft batteries or power grids. Yet, because the laser's energy could be reflected from these targets and thereby cause accidental blinding, the focus of the story is not the science of the laser, but the magazine's barely disguised outrage that the laser is not banned by the Geneva Convention."

I think what Iain reports is a small part of a debate that has been going on a long time between scientists on how to encourage public interest in science.

They know that true science can be wondrous and fascinating, and that huge numbers would love it if only they gave it a chance. But they also know that science is currently very much a minority interest. So they work out different ways to bring it to the masses: first they try public shows with lots of fun explosives, then they present lots of TV programmes about the science of sex, of course giving lots of screen time to naked women. Now, they are apparently embracing left-wing politics in a way they hope will make science more "relevant". Well, we saw what happened when the Church tried that. Not a happy precedent, and particularly discouraging for a profession which cannot really justify itself without a commitment to objectivity.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:59 | Permanent Link |

Monday, August 05, 2002  

TWO MILLION IMMIGRANTS a decade are likely to come to this country in the foreseeable future. When the schools are working, the hospitals can cure everyone, the jails are not packed, houses are not in massive shortage and unemployment is almost zero, then we can look at mass immigration again. Until then, we need to make some changes to the law, because the present influx of people who (quite understandably) come here hoping for better economic conditions is more than we can presently cope with.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 19:30 | Permanent Link |

THE CAMPAIGN TO ensure state funding of political parties was given a surprise knock by a rare show of integrity by the Prime Minister in his recent interview with Jeremy Paxman. In the interview, Blair said he would only do it as part of a party concensus, not force it though with his majority. The Tories have now come out in clear opposition to this, so let us hope this idea goes away for a long time.

I would make the case against it myself, but I cannot do it better than Janet Daley did last February.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:31 | Permanent Link |

Sunday, August 04, 2002  

A VERY 'funny because it's true' piece comes from Nigel Farndale today, on the endless tendency for the press to report the results of every minor scientific study as a fantastic or horrific factual discovery, and the general silliness of "irresponsible journalism".

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:41 | Permanent Link |

THERE IS AN excellent article from Simon Heffer in The Sunday Telegraph today, focusing on the Conservative Party's obsession with image at the expense of opposition. He also tears down the myth that there was ever a rump of personally intolerant Tories eager to attack homosexuals, or whatever the BBCdian seems to think:
"Just for the record, the Tory party has always been popular with homosexuals. Mr Duncan talks about breaking the glass ceiling that stops homosexuals getting to the top: but Pitt the Younger, in all probability, broke it 220 years ago. Disraeli married late in life to an older woman, and would definitely have been put down today as batting for both sides. I cast no aspersions on their sexuality, but neither A J Balfour nor Sir Edward Heath found being a confirmed bachelor any bar to Downing Street. At least one member of Mrs Thatcher's first cabinet was homosexual. Her last parliamentary private secretary, Sir Peter Morrison, was a constant trial to the whips, who were afraid that his late-night cruises around and skirmishes in Sussex Gardens would come to the attention of the press.
Throughout the party's history, even when sodomy was a criminal offence, so long as no one frightened the horses, no one said anything and no one cared. To pretend to the contrary is historically inaccurate, and so wilfully so that one suspects those who continue to do it have some hidden agenda."

Essentially, I agree with all he says. We are doing what we can to prove ourselves bright and fresh and modern enough to govern Britain again. But after 63 months in opposition, it is now time to work primarily on the radical ideas which we can defend before the British people as they start to contemplate with dread a third term of Labour failure.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:17 | Permanent Link |

I SUPPOSE IT was too much to hope that Tony Blair could stick by President Bush at least until the war to depose our common enemy started. Now, Blair seems to be making his support conditional on US surrender to some Palestinian demands:
The Telegraph has learned that the Prime Minister is privately urging President Bush to call Arab-Israeli peace talks before any military action against Iraq, but the White House is resisting.
"The Washington argument is: You can deal with Iraq in a separate box. That is not the London position," said a senior Whitehall figure.
"It doesn't mean you cannot do anything until there is a settlement in the Middle East, but you have to make progress."

It isn't necessarily a bad idea to look at the Middle East in relation to Iraq, but this policy is really putting the cart before the horse. Iraq (like the Saudi government), gives cheque after cheque to the families of suicide bombers, fuelling the brutal terrorism to which Israel is responding, and which prevents negotiation. To aim at peace in the Middle East before removing Saddam is like trying to solve a bathroom flood without first turning off the taps. Then again, to mix metaphors a little, Saddam is only the cold tap. We certainly also need Arafat - the hot tap of this flood - out of the picture.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:51 | Permanent Link |

ANDREW RAWNSLEY BEING away, Hywell Williams writes a thoughtful column in today's Observer, analysing modern politics and its obsession with loyalty. I don't agree with all his conclusions about the Conservatives, but he is typically insightful throughout the article as he reaches them.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:19 | Permanent Link |

Saturday, August 03, 2002  

FOR A SICKENING example of self-importance, read the front page of the Mirror today:
"Pressure mounts on Tony Blair as 91 per cent of voters slam plans to send our lads in to back Bush's armed "regime change" in the Gulf"

Turn to the full story, and you find - surprise - that it is not 91% of the voters who oppose war, or even 91% of people selected in an opinion poll - it is 91% of Mirror readers who could bother to phone up: less than eleven thousand people in a country with a population of 60 million. But, dishonestly, they go on to pretend this is a real blow to hope of Britain waging war:

"Blair knows a war in Iraq would go against the views of the electorate."

He knows no such thing about public opinion. But what he does know is that Saddam poses a grave threat to the British people. Popular or not, a war to be rid of him is necessary.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 10:25 | Permanent Link |

THE TORY PARTY is really putting its efforts into changing its ways to better appeal to modern Britain, and so far it is working well. Selecting candidates who look more like Britain is only the first step, however. Far more important is establishing the Conservatives' vision for the future. This should not mean detailed policies that will put the party on the defensive (and in some cases be stolen by the government), but making clear the general conservative ideas for the future: smaller government, more decentralisation, greater freedom, reforming the toilet that is our public services rather than simply flushing money down it, and support for the pound. Given a few government cock-ups, we will then suddenly find people willing to listen to us, and we will have an attractive, radical and optimistic vision for the future that will appeal to the British people once again.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:27 | Permanent Link |

AMERICA AND BRITAIN refuse to be fooled by Saddam again. Good. Let's hope he's gone within a year.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:48 | Permanent Link |

Friday, August 02, 2002  

I SAW A QUOTE this morning that strongly backed up my 'Thought for the day' last Sunday, on the problem with libertarianism. It refered to America, but how true it is of all human governace.
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."
John Adams, 11 October 1798

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 21:50 | Permanent Link |

NEIL KINNOCK IS a man now more pitied than anything else. But then he hasn't done so badly in some ways. The European Community offers a second chance to all those politicians their domestic peoples are wise enough to reject. There, free from fear that anyone can vote them out, such incompetents as Kinnock can get up to their incompetent and crooked dealings. It nows seems that Kinnock has done plenty of that, as The Sun reports:
Mr Kinnock was one of 20 Commissioners brought down by a massive corruption scandal in 1999.
He was reappointed and ordered to clean up the EU’s giant bureaucracy. Top accountant Marta Andreasen was hired to pinpoint waste.
But she revealed EU accounts were even worse than those of collapsed US giants Enron and WorldCom...
Experts fear that up to £5billion of the £63billion annual EU budget is lost through fraud, waste and mismanagement.
Mrs Andreasen, 47, claimed she was asked to verify accounts she knew were untrue — and was threatened with the sack for refusing to sign.
And she accused Mr Kinnock, 60, of playing a key role in axing her after just four months in her post.
Mrs Andreasen said: “He decided I should go to another job.
“Commissioner Kinnock even tried, thankfully unsuccessfully, to prevent me from appearing before key parliamentary committees on the issues.”

Neil Kinnock would never have been leader of a sane Labour Party, nor for that matter anything more than a humble, dim backbencher. That he got so far is testament to the EU's blindness to talent: or even its deliberate selection of the talentless. He should go - now.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 08:18 | Permanent Link |

SOME MEN, badly indebted to the bank, will turn to loan sharks as a very short-term solution. Labour is now trying something similar, going cap-in-hand to the trades unions, asking for them to pay up three years in advance:
"Charles Clarke, the Labour chairman, has called on the unions to guarantee their funding for three years at a stretch to help to ensure that the relationship is “put on a proper footing”.
Assurances from the unions would help to solve Labour’s problems with its bankers, who are alarmed at the party’s £6 million overdraft and are demanding evidence of stable long-term income."

Labour has apparently never faced such a financial crisis, and just to rub salt into that wound, the Conservative Party recently paid off all debts.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 07:36 | Permanent Link |

ALASTAIR IRVINE IS in many way a typical crack cocaine addict: willing to put his grubby, selfish pleasures before anyone else, he soon turned to violent crime to fund his habit. He now faces fifteen years in an American jail for firearms and burglary offences committed there. The only thing different about him is that his father is the Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom. A couple of the cops dealing with him represent the rest in being disinterested in this, and rightly putting their duty first:
“We know who his Daddy is and we don’t give a damn. He is accused of seven felonies and he is going down.”
“Irvine is in a two-man cell and is under no special protection. Just because he is English and has a privileged background does not give him any right to be separated from the other prisoners. I cannot reveal who he is sharing with, but it could be a rapist or a murderer.”

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:52 | Permanent Link |

Thursday, August 01, 2002  

I DO NOT think any honest person who observes the BBC for long can deny its left-wing bias. As has been said, the editorial line of the Guardian and the BBC are virtually indistinguishable, the difference being that the former is paid for only by the eccentrics who like that sort of thing, while the latter is funded by a hefty poll tax on us all.

For an example of shocking bias, just take today's BBC Online report on what Norman Tebbit said in this week's Spectator about the Conservatives. With a banner at the top of the page reading 'It's tough to be a Tory' the piece quotes Tebbit in the most biased way possible. At one point in the Spectator article, Tebbit remarks that whether Alan Duncan is gay or straight is neither here not there - what matters it that the Tories have policies that appeal to the British people:

Despite the ramblings and spoutings of the overexcitable and scarcely rational children in Central Office, the nation is not possessed by an overwhelming urge to fill the shadow Cabinet with 25-year-old black lesbians and homosexual, asylum-seeking Muslims. Alan Duncan’s totally unsurprising announcement that he is ‘gay’ has on them the impact of a powder puff flung at an elephant. Britain is a very tolerant country. The great mass of us have no desire to emulate Mr Duncan’s activities under his duvet; we do not think it our business exactly what he does do there; we do not wish to join in; we just wish profoundly that he would not bore us with his sexual problems. [Emphasis mine]

So how do the BBC report it? By reporting the opposite of Tebbit's message as his beliefs. They deliberately miss out the main point of the article with a blatantly selective quotation designed to make him sound as though he is attacking homosexuals, rather than stating that the sexuality of Tory MPs is not an important issue:

"The great mass of us have no desire to emulate Mr Duncan's activities under his duvet... we do not wish to join in; we just wish profoundly that he would not bore us with his sexual problems."
When he backed Mr Duncan Smith's leadership bid, Lord Tebbit described him as a "normal family man" which was taken to be an attack on rival Michael Portillo who had admitted to youthful homosexual experiences.

This disgraceful bias has existed for years and years, but still Tories flinch from the most obvious solution to a publically funded institution that plays party politics: privatisation. Like the Guardian, the BBC can support Labour and the Euro as much as it likes as far as I am concerned, so long as they admit that is what they are doing and so long as I do not have to pay for it. There is no hope of the BBC ever returning to the ideals for which it was established: to bring culture and learning to the masses through a new medium. Its ranks are packed with politically correct Labour supporters, especially at the top, like Director General Greg Dyke, who donated a huge amount to the party, and socialist Chairman Gavyn Davies, whose wife is Gordon Brown's Secretary, and who was invited to the Chancellor's secret wedding even though Tony Blair and Charlie Whelan were not. Freeing the BBC would be best for everyone, especially the kids on council estates who have to go without their mothers for a fortnight when they are jailed for not paying their TV license. Please, let it happen soon.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 18:57 | Permanent Link |

"Ultimately, he was an articulate, but stupid man."

So concludes the Daily Telegraph on Arthur Scargill, who retired as NUM leader this week.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 18:32 | Permanent Link |

IN THE SPECTATOR today, Boris Johnson applauds the success of the Right to Buy, and condemns the recent decision to end it, which can be explained only as a vicious decision to turn thousands of people into serfs of a socialist government, rather than free men and women who want to be independent of the state:
"If there were a contest for the most successful policy of the 20th century, the ‘right to buy’ introduced by the Conservatives after the 1979 general election must be a strong contender. While monetarism and privatisation failed to convince many people of the virtues of the free market, home-ownership did. The broad-based appeal which accounted for the Conservatives’ four general election victories between 1979 and 1992 can be summed up in the words of the fabled working-class voter when asked why he was not voting Labour: ‘It was Margaret Thatcher who got me my ’ouse, weren’t it?’ In 1979, 50 per cent of the population owned their own homes; in 2002, 70 per cent do...
In 1997, when his ears were still very much in tune with the likes and desires of the new middle classes, Tony Blair pledged to retain the right to buy. But this week it has become just one more manifesto promise to have fallen victim to the resurgence of socialist ideology within the government."

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:31 | Permanent Link |

THIS GOVERNMENT CERTAINLY loves wasting our money. Now we see them planning to pay off council workers with a substantial wage increase. Ministers brought it on themselves, of course, by courting maximum publicity in announcing all sorts of extravagant expenditure. We know most of it goes not to improving the public sector at all, but straight into the pockets of the people for whom the public services are really run - its employees. Making clear the government has money to burn, as Brown did, was only whetting their appetite. In this last year, inflation has been 1%, but the unions representing council workers are demanding wage increases of 10%, and it looks like they will get them. Now I have a very simple principle with this sort of case. If people want more money, they should work harder, do better and raise more money. I don't believe that anyone thinks local government has got 10% better since August 2001, so I can't see any justification for such a large pay increase. Of course, most of the problems of the state sector are not at the level of hard working public servants, anyway, but at the bureaucratic level. That alone shows the need for greater choice in public services, something that can only be made possible by private sector involvement.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:39 | Permanent Link |

THERE CAN NO longer be any doubt of the threat Saddam poses. Unless action is taken against Iraq long before the next Presidential Elections in a couple of years, the West will be in terrible jeopardy:
"Saddam Hussein will have enough weapons-grade uranium for three nuclear bombs by 2005, a former Iraqi nuclear engineer told senators yesterday, as the US Congress held hearings on whether to go to war."

Elsewhere in The Guardian, William Shawcross makes a long and persuasive case for fighting in the Second Gulf War, the key line being:

"The real immorality and the greatest danger is to allow this evil man to remain indefinitely in power, scorning the UN and posing a growing threat to the world."

But time was made for a stupid argument from one of Saddam's useful idiots in the British press, Hugo Young, that as such a major action has not been taken in such a long time, it cannot possibly be necessary now. Making time to call the Falklands War an "absurdity", he suggests that for any democracy to launch a pre-emptive strike is inherently wrong, so presumably he would prefer to wait until Saddam has blown Washington DC, London or Tel Aviv apart before we do anything, just to ensure we are acting in self-defence. If he gets his way, we can only hope he is among those hit first.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 02:32 | Permanent Link |

YOU CAN USUALLY divide non-conservatives into the far-left, who want to introduce politicies to destroy Britain's economy, as Jim Callaghan did, and the centre-left, who want to introduce policies to destroy Britain's constitution and independence, as Blair does. What troubles me most about the centre-left, apart from their recent successes, is the total antipathy they show towards democracy. Tony Blair devolved power to London, Scotland and Wales (devolved being a euphemism for establishment of yet another tier of government), but when it became clear that no one wanted Frank Dobson as London Mayor or Alun Michael as Welsh First Minister, he did all he could to rig the party elections in their favour. In the European Elections of 1999, he rigged the voting system to give total control over candidates to the party, so that people could vote for their party, but not their representative, who would be added to the list by the parties in London in order of preference. His plans to rig the Euro referendum were made equally plain when he refused to follow the recommendations of Lord Neill, that equal funding for both sides in referenda should be ensured by government through the campaign. This control freakery is matched across the Labour movement among the centre-left. We saw the ridiculous behaviour of the Amicus bosses after Ken Jackson was deposed. And we have also seen the Public and Commercial Services Union try to stop self-proclaimed Trotskyist Mark Serwotka from gaining the leadership of the union he won in a free and fair election. Anyway, the High Court just overturned this, and Serwotka is now leader.

He is just the next name in a very long list of new Union leaders: extreme, militant figures who threaten to destroy the authority of Tony Blair. Joining Serwotka and Derek Simpson, the new communist leader of Amicus, are the Marxist Bob Crow of the RMT (Rail), the hard-left Andy Gilcrift of the Fire Brigades Union, leftist Billy Hayes of the Communication Workers Union and Scargillite Mick Rix of the train driver's union. Even the TGWU's Bill Morris may soon be deposed himself in favour of a far-left figure (or someone even more far-left than him, depending on your perspective). We are already getting a whiff of the dangers that may come if the unions do fight the government, including mass strikes and cuts in public services or higher taxes to pay for their inflated wage demands. A Tory government would suddenly look a lot more attractive to the British people if this happens, so perhaps this should be grounds for optimism. People would again look to the right to fight the unions. Ballots worked very well twenty years ago, but if they now mean militancy, then encouraging more and more people through tax credits and vouchers to look elsewhere than the uniform, stale, unionised public sector for what they need will be not only a good position for the Conservatives to adopt, which it is already, but a forward-looking, attractive one to a great number of people.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 00:45 | Permanent Link |
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