Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Here's a prediction.

The hacks of SW1 will get all excited about the new wave of airstrikes. Private clinical polling will tell the PM that support will collapse soon as the public has caught up with what has just been done in their name. Consequently the scale of the missions will be drawn down quite soon.

What we'll then see after the first wave of raids is a dispersal of ISIS forces, very well disguised from satellites and recon flights. The choice targets will be much harder to find and hit. Public scrutiny will be extremely close so the subsequent operations will be so risk averse that the abort rate will be over 60%. From the air, they won't be able to tell ISIS fighters from civilians.

We will waste quite a lot of airframe hours with sorties landing with no munitions launched. What we will then see is a massive inflation of operational costs as spares have to be fabricated from new. At this point the RAF will be telling the MoD that if they want to avoid a capability gap then they will have to reduce the mission times. Using up all the Tonka spares leaves us with nothing until Eurofighter weapons delivery systems are working. 2017 maybe?

Then the Americans will get snotty that they have to budge their scheduling around to slot the Brits in to add no capability they don't have already, and privately they will be taking the piss out of us while the French won't give a flying fig.

We will step out of the way and instead do loiter missions comprising of sixty minute slots where we may get to pop off a brimstone missile or two if we get some half decent intelligence from the ground. Pretty soon, everyone will have forgotten we are over there, the media will be bored of reporting it and then we'll just phase out strike missions, unless there is a terrorist attack on European soil in which case they will keep up the charade.

Eager to climb down, the government will invent a particular objective and then miraculously claim it has met that objective, saying that it can do more with intelligence assets for the coalition, launching surveillance sorties from aircraft we leased from America. What we should have done in the first place.

We'll be able to say we stood up with France to "defeat ISIS" when in reality all we've done is dispersed them until the next window of opportunity for a surge. Far from actually winning the peace, they'll form the rump of a new body along the lines of Hezbollah, so even if Assad wins the day his authority won't extend to territory where the airspace is controlled by the west.

Because there will be no satisfactory reckoning, there will instead be a low grade civil war that rages for decades much like Lebanon with daily suicide bombings and political assassinations.

We probably won't end up killing many civilians because our operations will be largely ineffectual, and when there are no observers on the ground, who's counting anyway?

I'm not sure about the exact details but we can say that it will be a risible show of force that will demonstrate privately to our allies that we are a waste of space, and most participants will call the whole damn thing a farce. The politicians though will walk away self-satisfied that they have done the right thing, and will applaud themselves for their strength and unity. Medals will be handed out by the dozen to bemused aircrew.

Meanwhile the public will be none the wiser because nobody in the media has the military literacy to understand what is going on and hacks will take MoD press releases as gospel. Meanwhile, us "ranting bloggers" will be nose deep in NATO reports and procurement orders showing the media up for the worthless hacks they are.

What nobody will clock is that the really evil bastards who did the really bad things will vanish without a trace and will never be held accountable for what they did.

Does that sound about right? Place your bets now.

Let's call these airstrikes what they are. Virtue signalling.

We're going to see a lot of comparisons with the existing air operation, the one about to start and the one of Libya. None of which are directly comparable.

Libya is unique in that there was an immediate humanitarian concern that could be reasonably affected by air power in a short time and there was every advantage in ensuring warplanes, SAMs and other ordinance was knocked out of action lest they end up put to use elsewhere.

Eventually though, regime forces soon learned how to evade airstrikes by blending in. After which, there was a high rate of aborted missions. The whole effort went off track as military stalemate was achieved. People then started asking "now what?" which was answered by removing Gaddafi. You can argue the toss as to whether that was a good idea. On balance I think it probably was (with a boatload of caveats) but there is no real endgame in Syria.

Firstly I don't see how we would identify ISIS forces unless they are directly engaged in hostilities, and if we can then it won't be for long as they adapt and blend in. We can disperse them and operate long enough so that it can't reform as an effective fighting force, in which case it will go dormant or move to the next most vulnerable spot (possibly Lebanon). What then?

There is also every possibility elements of it will merge with the rebels we are supposedly supporting. We won't have any idea who we are engaging with by that point. The downside of scattering ISIS is it very much removes the opportunity for the Syrian tribes to rise up and slaughter them so in a lot of ways, we are offering ISIS an exit strategy to a surge that cannot succeed anyway.

More to the point, we can't do anything useful like we did in Libya by getting rid of all the heavy ordinance in the region, because it's all under Russian protection and we don't have complete air superiority in the region. We'll be asking Russia for flyover permissions.

The moral posturing over this is seriously stupid and if you look on Twitter right now, the politicians and hacks are applauding the likes of Hilary Benn for a florid and rousing speech with absolutely no grounding in the very dangerous realities of what we are about to undertake.

All this high talk of "they hate us for our values" and "defeating fascism" is unmitigated crap. It's an opportunist surge which is nothing new under the sun in the middle east and most tribes lending their support to it see it as a vehicle for either seizing the spoils of war or doing a houseclean of the old order. Some with just cause. The threat that it does pose to us is managed by surveillance, not airstrikes.

Effectively ISIS is the new Al Qaeda style media demon to distract us - and what a pitiful public memory we have that we haven't learned any of the lessons. That the commons could vote it through on the basis of virtue signalling shows that our politics is now broken beyond repair, and our culture so twisted that representative democracy just cannot be trusted as a decision making mechanism anymore.

That the media is now pouring over the debate video looking to see how it affects the power divide in the Labour party and how many times Cameron was asked to apologise rather than examining the ramifications of a decision to go to war ought to be seriously alarming. This is very much bread and circuses. Just how SW1 parochial can you get? We're actually going to war in a very tight spot were Russia is also fighting. And nobody in our media thinks that's apparently a bad idea? No - better write a piece on how "brilliant" Hilary Benn's speech was. Pathetic. Sickening.

Bombing Syria won't end well.

Airstrikes are very much a vanity project in this and in most other instances. We have decided that something must be done, and have decided that air power is the means by which it will be done, without deciding what that something is or what the effects are, or even if the means can achieve it.

That does not sound like a reasoned proposition to me. It sounds childish. It's a kneejerk response to Paris to satisfy the egos of blowhards who think sending out bombers is the answer to every geopolitical crisis.

It has had some effect in Iraq against ISIS where we have had a reasonable idea of what's going on on the ground, a knowledge of which territory we are defending and the likely deterrents. But Libya proved that you can't really stage a sustained campaign without having good, trustworthy ground intelligence.

As the enemy works out the rules of engagement are, they find ways around them and ways to hide which means increasingly missions are aborted in fear of collateral damage. We then revert to face saving by going after targets of lower priority that are not engaged in immediate hostilities. We end up fighting round the edges, wasting a lot of money and a lot of time while burning up our credibility.

The enemy is not some brigade on a map with static allegiances. It's tribal, it's fluid, and allegiances can turn on a sixpence. One wrong bomb in the wrong place can change political alliances. We have little in the way of trustworthy ground intelligence to know which way things are going. We do have informants, but they are not always telling the truth and have agendas of their own. It's much the same as a political leak to the opposing party in order to attack factions on your own side. It's risky business.

If you believe that ISIS is some kind of unified force that can be neatly bombed until it vanishes then you have been playing too many computer games. The middle east is not Command And Conquer.

I am not opposed in principle to intervention, but this isn't a planned operation, nor is it in any real sense dedicated to a lasting strategic outcome. Saying suck it and see, let's start bombing and see what happens is foolish. To devise a route to success you first have to define what that success looks like - otherwise you're pouring petrol on the bonfire.

We are talking about contested air space with multiple agendas over ground we have already diplomatically conceded, with Turkey playing it's own games which are not yet apparent. There is no good reason to trust Turkey.

I do not believe that Britain's presence adds value to the operation in that we offer little capability that is not already oversupplied. As far as the Americans are concerned, they would probably view British air operations as battlefield clutter and a nuisance.

I also think this notion of "standing with our allies" by joining in is bovine. Just because the global elites are agreed that something must be done does not mean there is unified agreement of what that something is, and it not does it mean they have a mandate.

Where the power dynamic lends itself to bovine conformity it demonstrates that our political establishment is incapable of making a legitimate representative decision in this regard and only public deliberation can really produce a valid verdict.

Strategically it seems pointless, militarily it doesn't seem feasible, the objectives are vague with unknowable consequences in a situation where it really is up to Syrians. Even if we did quash one tribal surge we would just make room for another - and if, as ISIS was, it found itself militarily disadvantaged, it would resort to the same savage tactics employing any of the same tools against ISIS collaborators and allied tribes.

There are no good guys to pick in this, and in the end, Russia has decided Assad is staying in place. That is probably how it will end, and we are going to do absolutely nothing to challenge Putin in Syria for that regional influence.

What it does mean is that the risk of a "friendly" fire incident is increased and while nobody gives a shit that Turkey shot down a Russian mig, this gets hairy when British aircraft are accidentally shot down by Russian air defences.

I see plenty of potential for souring already deteriorating relationships while handing huge diplomatic leverage to Russia. What I don't see is a coherent plan to bring peace to the region or anything that enhances our security, or is even in the national interest. Taking home a souvenir t-shirt saying that we stood we France while we made yet another mess seems unnecessary for continued good relations with France.

The bottom line is that we have no track record in succeeding in these such endeavours. Applying our kind of intervention to what is already an unimaginable mess should make our further tinkering unthinkable. It will have more to do with the power positioning within our own dismal tribes than bringing about any lasting settlement to Syria. That should never be the basis for military action and the fact that it is says a lot about how degraded our politics is now. I think we need a little regime change of our own here at home.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Something MUST be bombed!


The London response to the Paris attacks is actually not the one to watch. In all likelihood it will follow the usual pattern of platitudes, followed by a bump in defence spending and some gratuitous and militarily useless air strikes. We’ll later see some or other new initiative to sift thought our Amazon receipts and Linked In requests in our Gmail accounts along with yet more risible policing policies. It is so predictable as to be boring to seasoned pundits.

As far as that goes, I don’t think there is anything I could add that you couldn’t get from the mainstream media and there are probably commentators better qualified to comment. My own view is that London has abdicated much of its own responsibility for governance to the EU and so we must look to Brussels to see where the real action is.

What caught my eye was the news that France asked for assistance under Article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty, in response to the attacks. Article 42.7 stipulates that “if a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations charter”

This article has never been invoked before. This is unprecedented. Many believe this to an automatic compulsion for EU member states to go to war. It isn’t and the EU would never insist in that it would show just how unlikely a unified response would be. Besides, the devil is in the detail.

In reality, it is little more than a gesture with so many loopholes as to be utterly meaningless - except for the gesture itself. In international politics, gestures are everything. It is an attempt to Europeanise our response and to put the EU at the centre of events rather than our respective heads of state.

We have already seen unanimous motions of support passed in a grandiose display of unity among our euro-elites but it doesn’t take long for the hypocrisy to shine through the cracks. Predictably, as with Libya, Germany has declined to offer up military assistance and if there is a larger military offensive it will be executed under the aegis of NATO with the EU trying to insert its brand wherever it can.

What this shows is that despite the EU’s continued efforts to usurp the nation state in all areas of interest from tackling climate change to regulating the more mundane aspects of everyday life from plastic carrier bags to the sugar content of condiments, when it comes to the holy grail of dropping bombs on people, it will never obtain that elusive supreme authority.

But then the EU has no need of such authority. The EU only ever needs supreme authority to push a “common position” that would otherwise not be realised. In this and in all such attacks there is already a common position. Something MUST be bombed!

After 9/11 we heard that same cry. It took a little while to decide who and where – and were we not already at war in Afghanistan and Iraq when the 7/7 London bombings took place, the RAF would have been bombing somebody somewhere. It seems to me that the response is uniformly the same every time. Death begets yet more death.

The West simply doesn’t know how to handle this kind of war. This is a war of ideology. We have a long history of fighting and winning territorial wars where armies fight armies and we have yet to shed that mentality. You cannot kill an idea with tanks and aircraft.

What we are looking at is a wholly nihilistic enemy that has neither the means nor the intention of fighting us directly. It wants us to destroy ourselves - and for reasons that escape me, our leaders seem hell bent on obliging them.

The way asymmetrical warfare works is to make your enemy afraid, put all kinds of barriers, suspect each other and spend extraordinary sums of money on war operations that accomplish very little, apart from create more refugees and the problems that go with it.

Thus far we've given the terrorists EXACTLY what they want. It took less than forty eight hours for a French aircraft carrier to set sail to the Middle East. If Iran were at all entrepreneurial they would open up a service depot for them in the gulf. There’s plenty growth potential there.

We can look forward to several months of pounding the desert with multi-million pound aircraft dropping ordinance costing in the hundreds of thousands to take out tents, Toyota trucks and dilapidated Russian APCs. Already an extra £2bn has been allocated for British generals to go toy shopping.

Next up will be the militarisation of borders, erecting further fences, more regulation placed on banking to detect irregular transfers, more snooping and whatever else they can think of that will diminish our liberty. After which ISIS will launch yet more attacks just to show how impotent we are.

Only when we have made a prison for ourselves will we be safe, by which time we will have dismantled our freedoms and given the nihilists the satisfaction of wrecking everything that’s good about the West. In that regard, if ever the moves to make our response to terrorism an EU wide response succeed, it will be less a mutual defence agreement – but a joint suicide pact.

Meanwhile, the right wing fear that Europe will become Islamic will not be through birth-rate demographics but through half of the middle east fleeing to Europe in terror of whatever boneheaded military stunt the West embarks upon next. For ISIS, that’s mission accomplished. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Extremism

Religious extremism I don't get. I can't speak to that. Political extremism I do understand though. Politics is a frustrating game. We can vote out MPs, but we cannot vote out their backers or the people pulling the strings and financing them. It's a game where money talks. Say the wrong things and your meal ticket dries up. Piss off the wrong people and find yourself unpersoned.

Challenge the orthodoxy in any way and all the platforms are snatched away from you. And as much as the guardians of orthodoxy cannot be removed, they cannot be persuaded. For with office comes prestige. Even their farts are applauded. Prestigious office or high standing within the bubble is a licence to talk crap and those who have the audacity to mention that the emperor has no clothes are labelled troublemakers.

Challenging them makes one rude and "aggressive" and impolite. Only by telling them how magnificent they are will they grant you an audience. They may momentarily listen, but they are surrounded by sycophants who are threatened by different ideas who will manoeuvre to block the outsider.

Without privileged access by matching their prestige, you don't have a voice. So if you ever wonder why I am angry and ranty it's because I speak to an establishment that cannot and will not listen. When they say I'm ranting, that is how they describe a long and detailed post. Our wafting establishment don't do petty detail. Such is for "ranting" madmen. And because they have their snivelling yes men among the lower orders, they will do their part in promoting the narrative that you're some kind of crank.

If that fails, and in my case it will always fail because I won't go away, they will pull all kinds of dirty tricks to try and keep me quiet. If I had a business they would go after that. My dad's had exactly the same pulled on him. Just today, an MEP pretended that a tweet disagreeing with him was somehow threatening and called it "a matter for the authorities". I may well get a visit from the plod tomorrow and it wouldn't be the first time. The message is clear. Keep quiet plebs, know your place, do not question your masters.

So in the face of an immovable establishment I can see why revolutions are necessary and why they are so murderous in clearing out not just the front line politicians, but also the court scribes who pass themselves off as journalists and all the party officials who have assisted in the political assassinations. Those guardians of the firewall that protects the orthodoxy. That is why revolutions are so vengeful.

They say an election is a bloodless revolution. But a revolution that does not purge the whole establishment is not actually a revolution. It's just window dressing. I can see this. And there are none so dangerous to them as men who can. Quietly they are ostracised and marginalised, sometimes to the point of insanity.

The psychologists call them "lone wolves" seething with anger. Ultimately revolutionary politics is the politics of the losers. The people who tried and failed to achieve political change. The ones who the establishment succeeded in beating down. Sometimes they are moved to terrorism.

As to whether it is ever justified, well, that entirely depends on whether you wanted them to win or not. Whether they were right or not. Sometimes an establishment order is so foul that it must be removed at any cost. That is why one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. But since our establishment does not resort to torture and murder, that is the best we can ever hope for from our politics. That is just how establishment orthodoxies work. We are a tribal species and it is in our nature to behave that way.

That power cannot be removed without savagery. Presently nothing about our establishment is so foul that it warrants murderous savagery, but every now and then one can fantasise. For while it is not foul enough to warrant murder, it is a foul and stinking corrupt cesspit, and hating them is the only sane and normal response to these men. Because they are scum. The very worst kind of scum; stupid, arrogant, aloof, devious and nasty.

So while I can never find sympathy with those who kill for a god, one can understand those who find empathy for those who would kill for an idea. After all, it is commonly accepted it is a fine thing to die for an idea. And if one of them one day succeeds, chances are, their target had it coming, and one day, in the right circumstance, the public might well be moved to pick up rifles and join them.

So you might ask why I am even bothering if it is so futile. After all, I get little thanks and no joy from it and the harder I work the more futile it is. I do so out of blind faith that fate may smile on me and maybe I will get through. We have at least to try to change things so that when we do finally give up and see these people murdered in their beds, we can say with some justification that we tried to stop it happening.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

We are the architects of our own prison.

Yea yea, another snobby pontificating pseudo intellectual telling you how to think. Yep that's me. I make no apology for it because you still have the freedom to ignore it. But listen anyway. Sky News, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, along with the Guardian, the BBC and the rest of them know exactly which of your buttons to press. That's how they make their living, and so press those buttons they will. They set the bait, you rise to it. Every time you do the cash register rings.

These people are not in the business of reporting news. They are an adjunct of the entertainment media who use international events as their raw material. They don't want you to think, they don't want you to question them, they just need you to keep unquestioningly lapping up their bilge. They don't give a the first fuck that they toxify everything they touch or that your reaction makes for bad policy making or that the net effect of it is more death.

We have F16's, GR4's and all the high tech military equipment we could possibly want in the fight against zealots, but our enemies have the most potent weapon ever created. Our media. They use it with skill to drive a wedge between us and so long as the media keeps making a living, why should they give a tinkers damn?

But it isn't just them who use that weapon against us. Our own rulers do. They will never tell you want to think outright because they know that doesn't work. But they will lay out a trail of breadcrumbs to lead you to the conclusion they want you to reach. It is a battlefield of ideas, but mainly their ideas. Mine and yours don't get a look in.

They show a particular skill where it comes to excluding ideas they don't like. For sure, the columnists we see in the media are ordinary people just like me and you, but the ones they choose are carefully selected. There is no better way to discredit a good idea by picking a fool to promote it.

It's no coincidence that they roll out the red carpet for Nigel Farage, Owen Jones and Russell Brand. The ideas they represent threaten them, but they themselves do not. They are poor on the specifics but each in their own way represent one basic idea. That the power must be challenged and retaken from the establishment.

There is no better way to neutralise a threat than by taking their weakest spokesmen and allowing them access into the inner circle. Their egos are their undoing. Such men are tiresome, blethering egotists whose own self-regard leads them into a very human trap of believing they are infallible. From there they then speak on matters of which they hold no knowledge. It is we who do the rest in bringing them down.

Having seen us coming they know how to deal with the threat. It's like judo. Very easily can they turn our outrage into a sentiment against our own. We shout down the very ideas that threaten their grip on power. They draw their power from your outrage. That is the means through which they obtain our consent - and that is how they use use our own power against us. Left, right, divide and rule.

The bottom line is that by rising to their bait you consent to whatever they wish to do in your name. It is for this reason I watch no news programmes or read their newspapers for any purpose other than ridicule.

There's nothing I can get from the newspapers that I can't get from bloggers or by researching for myself. We do not need these people to tell us what is happening or how to interpret events. Every day I see better thinking on my own social media feeds than anything they provide. It's time we cut them out of the loop.

You can't seal yourselves off from them entirely and you cannot avoid their influence but you can strip them of their power by ignoring their output and and refusing to react. If we do that, we soon rob them of their hold over us and also rob terrorism of its power. Soon enough even the terrorists will learn that the worst atrocity they can think of holds no power over our ideas, is mourned on the first day and forgotten in the next.

Then, maybe, when those who rule us do not react to it on our behalf, on the basis of a manipulated sentiment, we will start to understand each other and not be afraid of each other.

The bottom line is that we will never be safe from the zealot and the madman. The darkest reaches of their minds are hidden from the prying eyes of the state mechanisms we have. All we can achieve by asking for more and more safety is to make a prison for ourselves and hand yet more power to the people who thrive on, and profit from our fear.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Europhiles don't think much of Britain do they?


There was no place to put this post other than here. This is one of my more immoderate views.

"Britain is too small, it can't survive on its own, and leaving the EU is risky. The future is unknown." That's the essential message from Europhiles. Basically, sniveling, pessimistic, Jeremiah cowardice.

Fuck that. Britain is a massive economy. It has dominated the world and culturally continues to do so. It is a power in its own right and we are perfectly capable of choosing our own fate and we have absolutely nothing to lose from breaking out from the herd and asserting our values in the wider world. This notion that we are small and timid little island that cannot fend for itself is a gross insult to our culture and indeed those who we remember on this day of all days.

Britain is an amazing country. It has shaped Europe and the world, it has pioneered workers rights and human rights and it leads the field in so many ways in spite of the EU, not because of it. 

As offensive as the europhile view of Britain is, it is also a reflection of what the EU itself is. As much as it cannot make a case for its own existence without resorting to a massive pack of lies, it has achieved so little that it has to steal the accomplishments of the global community and pretend they belong to the EU.

It actually has so little to say for itself that the Remain campaign mainly crows about roaming mobile charges as if the majority of us give a tinker's fuck. And even that is a global agreement and it's happening everywhere.

Brass tacks... If you want safety and security and certainty - go to prison. You will live a long, safe and futile life - but please don't condemn the rest of us to your miserable retreating vision of Britain. If you think that the pedestrian certainty the EU offers is the best we can get for ourselves, and that surrendering our voice at the global top tables is a price worth paying then prison is probably the best place for you.

There's a choice on the table here. We can either retreat deeper into little Europe, walling ourselves off from the big bad world, doubting our own capability and flushing our distinctiveness down the toilet - or we can decide that we are going to be a proper country and that we are ready to put on the big boy pants and act like one on the world stage.

We can either be a democratic free trading country in our own right or we can subordinate ourselves to a euro elite whose zealotry and hubris will drive all of Europe into the dirt. We can be authors of our own destiny and embrace the future, or we can look back on the failed ideas of yesteryear, saluting the ring of stars as we go.

Franky, if your opinion of Britain is so low that you think it's worth abolishing the country (and democracy) for a bit of economic certainty, then seriously, fuck you.

Monday, 2 November 2015

12 reasons why we're staying in the EU

1. Brits are pathetic whingers. It's a way of life. If they actually solved their problems they would be miserable. The further north you go the worse it gets. Hence Scotland.

2. The people who claim to be interested in politics are not. They just like the entertainment value of political gossip and have lost the capacity to tell the difference. The SW1 circus is sufficiently distracting enough that people won't engage in issues of substance.

3. Complexity. Leaver arguments require detail and precision whereas Remain arguments require no thought. Just the same grunting about three million jobs and repeating the same lies. They have full control over the institutions so they don't even need to formulate sophisticated messages.

4. Ukip. Ukip already fucked the dog for the leave camp by becoming a trade guild of village idiots, permanently souring the credibility of euroscepticism. It's irrecoverable.

5. Tories. London Tories with no exceptions are treacherous vermin. Their order of loyalty starts with the inner tribe, the wider party and those they can freely exploit. The notion that any voice other than their own should be heard is offensive to them. Thus they have used their position to take ownership of the campaign, employing two halfwit thieves to run it who haven't the first idea what they're doing.

6. Leave.EU. Basically Ukip Mk2 and about half as smart, made only marginally less awful than Ukip by the absence of Nigel Farage.

7. The left. Gone are the days where you could appeal to a leftist with arguments concerning democracy. The few who know what it is despise it.

8. The EU. The EU is made up of some extremely smart people who know exactly what they are doing and have seen us coming a mile off. They will spend a lot of money to bury all the symptoms of the problems they've created recently, knowing the electorate has the collective memory of a goldfish and a similar IQ.

9. Public ignorance. As much as people haven't the first idea what the EU actually is, the EU is adept at muddying the waters to keep it that way. Try to explain the critical differences between inter-governmentalism and supranationalism and you sound like a conspiratorial lunatic. A sizable portion will vote to stay in because they think it means cheap flights and no roaming charges. The rest think it is democratic because it has periodic voting rituals.

10. The media. The media is largely run by teenagers with no understanding of the issues and no historical context. They will not host a debate unless they can find actors to read from the predefined script. Anything outside those parameters melts their tiny brains. They have no idea what journalism is and no sense of obligation to improve the public understanding of anything. It's one of the few industries where making a quality product is detrimental to revenue - BBC included.

11. Eurosceptics. We are obsessives. We never stop droning on about it, we've been saying the same things for thirty years, nobody cares and even the people who think we're right would cross the street to avoid us - and I don't blame them either.

12. Human nature. Humans fear change. Humans do not like political risk and they will not rock the boat if things are tolerable - and though things could be manifestly better by leaving the EU, things just aren't bad enough to roll the dice.

I can't think of any good reason to be involved in this campaign other than the insights into human behaviour and the thrill of expanding my own knowledge through rigorous debate. The issues are diverse and far reaching, complex in nature and if you have even half a grasp of some of the themes I've been pushing just recently then you know something about 65m people on this rainy little island do not. It's worthwhile for that reason alone.

One lesson is clear - that the expression "knowledge is power" is demonstrably untrue. Nothing is more isolating in politics than having the first clue what you talking about, and the more you know the more alienated you become and the more estranged you become from the surreal pastiche that passes for British politics.

The only real reward in all this is eventually the public is going to get exactly the shitstorm it has invited through idleness and apathy and watching them whinge about it will be delicious. By then I will be having nothing to do with politics and instead will be obsessing over something useful that will make me some serious money. From that position I will take great pleasure in watching you suffer. I may even vote for Corbyn to hasten your demise. It's no less than you deserve.

Monday, 7 September 2015

How many Pakistanis can you fit in a Mini?


Somebody asked me "how many Pakistanis can you fit in a mini?". I'm really the wrong person to ask because I need specifics. If we are talking about the original model then legally, five occupants depending on whether it has been retrofitted with a central seatbelt, but then that's unlikely since there would be insufficient legroom. Outside of the realms of the law you could possibly fit a small child in the boot and perhaps one or two very small children on the laps of passengers. It really depends whether we are staying within law or whether we are pushing it into absurdity in some kind of world record attempt. If it is the former, the question must specify whether the vehicle is in Pakistan as the regulatory regime is different and the enforcement much less stringent.

But then there is also the modern variant of the Mini, which comes in many configurations including an estate version with fold down seats in the rear compartment. But this estimation also requires other parameters be considered in that there is in fact a factory approved, road legal six wheeled limousine variant for which there is no reliable dimensional data available. It also depends on the type of fixtures and furnishings which are also unspecified. This has an impact on the internal volume of the cabin. Certainly a champaign bar would reduce the carrying capacity.

We also need to specify whether the occupants would be alive or dead in that corpses can clearly be manipulated to occupy less space in a way a living individual would find impossible. Were the occupants dead, technically you could liquefy them and thus as a fluid would mean a much inflated figure. And then it depends on the ambient temperature as particle density could make the difference. Also, if it's a convertible and prone to leakage, then there are intrinsic limitations. I'm not saying it is an unanswerable question. Merely that you would have to be in full command of the facts and properly define the parameters of the question before taking anything like an educated guess.

This is actually a serious post though. We often hear the refrain "politicians never give straight answers". The media wants you to hold this view. This is how they assert their supremacy and power over politicians. How often have you listened to a weasel like Eddie Mair or Evan Davies or Jeremy Paxman bully a politician into giving a yes/no answer? Their assumption is that you are stupid, cannot cope with anything with nuance and need everything breaking down into binary options according to parameters that they themselves define - thus controlling the message and preventing politicians from adding new dimensions to a discussion. What is seemingly a simple question can be one badly directed, often deliberately so, that is adjacent to the central issue as a means of diversion.

To properly answer a question, you have to set out the circumstances, make distinctions between the respective components, specify your personal weighting on what you think are the likely parameters and then give your answer according to the scenario you envisage - rather than the paradigm you are being goaded to accept.

It is a highly effective tool of media bias, where the likes of Paxman build their prestige and reputations as a slayers of untruthful politicians when in fact they are political players in themselves attempting to frame the discourse to produce answers they want to hear, rather than what is pertinent to the debate.

Effectively it's the same as insisting on an answer as to how many individuals can fit in a 1960's Mini when in fact the Mini is a modern BMW variant. The interviewee will seek to avoid answering the question because its the wrong question, and yet they come off badly for doing so. This is how the media creates a toxic atmosphere and hostility to politicians which gives them power. Real power. They then become the trusted prism through which we conduct our national conversation.

There is a classic example of this on this Youtube where you can see Evan Davies attempting precisely this deception. He can't cope with the arguments Owen Paterson is making thus uses the technique to steer the discussion on to grounds he is comfortable with. THAT is how they own your opinions.

Mind the (skills) gap


It should be noted that the migration crisis that reaches our screens is not actually the concern of Britain. If we wanted to significantly reduce the inflow, while the revising 51 convention would solve the EU's problems, it would have only minimal effect on us. Where we have a virtually uncontrolled influx is from India. The way it works is they send their most capable in the family to take a highly paid job in engineering, IT or the medical profession. From there, they establish the right to bring in family who in turn can bring in their own extended family. That's if you actually want to call it a problem. But if you wanted to reduce the numbers, you would start there.

But before I started tinkering with human rights laws and immigration policy I would pop over the road and ask Airbus why it is they feel the need to advertise their aerospace engineering jobs there. They would tell me what we already know. There is a skills gap among our own, and a shortage of applicants even when the rewards of such a career are high. We need to a address a more philosophical question as to what is driving the poverty of ambition. I think welfarism has an influence among other factors and am happy to listen to opinions on that.

Though anecdotal, I think I have something of an insight. As a kid I was obsessed with aviation and like all young boys dreamed of being a pilot in the Royal Navy. But that seemed to me about as far fetched as being an astronaut. Then I thought of being an aerospace engineer. But then decided I wasn't smart enough. There is a perception that the profession is full of smart people who know how to do complex sums who went to Oxford. When I started working at Airbus I soon realised that nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases, aerospace engineers are a bunch of overweight hairy Bristolian men who sound like farmers who give their design solutions to Indonesian CAD jockeys.

See, you'd never know that growing up in Bradford where you fall out of school with very little clue of what's possible and certainly you grow up with the idea that kids from Bradford drive buses and mend cars. There were no apprenticeships and few opportunities to train. What I learned was how to tinker with computers while lounging around on the dole. The local college courses were crap, half of which closed down halfway through due to attendance atrophy - and the wages in the north seem to have a glass ceiling no matter how skilled you are.

I may be making excuses for myself, I don't know, but really programming chose me, and I didn't choose it for myself. That was just my ticket out. Of the people I used to hand out with, most resigned themselves to a pedestrian unambitious life - and I've always said that was a pity because I grew up with some great kids who could have been anything who have since been robbed of their vitality by Bradford.

Somehow, somewhere, we got it badly wrong, and I think it starts with our industrial policy and our welfare policy and I think we have set a course to become second class citizens in our own land as we are gradually replaced by a more agile, more willing and better qualified workforce.

It's always been the case that if you do well, the chances are that your kids do well, and your proximity to London improves you chances. So there is an inherent class barrier and there is a north south divide. I also think the north is being robbed of its talent as London sucks in the bright sparks so there are few people who have succeeded as role models.

I think also our welfare system does just enough to prevent poverty but pays so much as to suppress real ambition. The will to succeed is often born from failure and how can one fail if one is prevented from doing so?

We can also say that because there is now a global marketplace for labour and labour is a commodity, where corporates have no national allegiance, they do not feel duty bound to invest in people. They can import talent at will. Employers expect loyalty from employees but show none in return. They demand high skill sets but do not invest in training, nor do they interview on the basis of best fit and attitude, merely on whether boxes can be ticked in terms of skills. The have lost the ability to recruit and nurture real talent. Instead, they look overseas.

In the final analysis, if we want to slow the rate of immigration from India, we shouldn't be putting restriction on businesses and closing the borders. We should be upping our game to make sure our own young are in with a chance of applying and that they have the skills and the self confidence to compete.

There is no magic-wandery we can deploy in tinkering with immigration policy if our own people are not up to the jobs and can't even be bothered to do the basic jobs. If we take that approach why should businesses come here at all? They say that inequality is disappearing, but I would argue the inequality of opportunity is still rife for those with the misfortune to be born in the north. And while Westminster (actually Whitehall) still has choke hold on policy and governance, how can we even the odds? That is why we need The Harrogate Agenda.

We must have a humane policy, but we must still control our borders

As shambolic as our asylum policy is, the answer is not to open the borders. In many respects, that there are so few waiting at Calais is a sign that our border controls are actually working and the message has got out that if you get to Calais, you have reached a dead end. It's working as it should, which makes something of a mockery of Ukip's scaremongering.

If anything the ones in Calais are comprised of those who can't see any other option than the UK, or are determined to get in for more nefarious reasons. We are succeeding in keeping them out. While they make good TV during silly season, they are not actually central to our problem. It's a problem for Europe, but less so a problem for us. Our immigration problems are a wholly different strata of law and a wholly different type of migrant.

As to taking a share of Syrian refugees, it's a bit of gesture politicking that is neither here not there. It's an astute moving in building good relations with our neighbours. That's all. In terms of broader policy, it tackles only the symptoms, not the causes. It's one thing to say it's great for Germany to take 800k migrants. There is room and the former NATO bases are more than large enough. The question is, what about next year? Unless we turn off the tap by amending the 51 convention, they will keep coming.

Some have suggested abandoning any attempt to control the borders. There is certainly a case for liberalising border restrictions in that some migrants fear that if they come here on a limited visa they may not be let back in if they go home - so they remain here and disappear into the woodwork. Allowing free flow means that some migrants would, and very often do, go home. Certainly increasing the number of legitimate visas reduces attempts at forced entry. If anything irregular migration is a consequence of tight border controls. Nothing creates illegal immigrants quite like more immigration law.

But that is not to say we can or should open the borders. Some argue that humanity has the capacity to overcome the problems and that people are problem solvers. But the fact of the matter is that large influxes do cause problems and not short term ones either.

I like the idea that people are problem solvers. But as a rule they are entirely selfish in their solutions where the consequences of solving their own problems are somebody else's to deal with. That is why we have regulation of the civic sphere and planning to ensure basic standards of living and sanitation are upheld.

What we see when we have rapid influxes are entire communities who are wholly ignorant of procedure and pretty much do as as they want, from discarding refuse in the gardens, building over drain manholes, and then there's the antisocial behaviour that really does rip into community cohesion - the consequences of which are largely felt by the bottom decile. It's one thing for middle class urbanites to say "let them in" but the consequence of their moral posturing are felt by somebody else.

Already we have environmental health working overtime, not least to deal with overcrowding. You can take the lofty presumption that people do not equal more problems, but more people equals more cars - and more cars means more problems, more space constraints, massively disproportionate externalities and more pollution.

Then there is the aspect of safeguarding culture and heritage. Marxists certainly give me the impression that absolutely nothing is sacred and they would happily concrete over anything and everything is fair game. Immediate humanitarianism needs come first in their book. Again, that's a powerful moral sentiment, but at the same time, these are the same people who persistently complain about the lack of humanities and arts etc.

What makes Britain majestic is that some places and things are frozen in aspic. We do safeguard the distinctive and we do protect against urban sprawl in order to give people the cultural assets and the green spaces they need. Leave it to Marxists and they'd bulldoze everything until everywhere looked like the shit end of Croydon with no green spaces whatsoever. People who think Hackney Marshes constitutes a green space.

Part of what makes Britain something different is that the people here are custodians of something worth having. We have an island story that people come from all over the world to see. Preservation and cultivation of such assets are essential to the spiritual life of the island. I would argue that these things are the things that inspire us and are paramount.

While there is no theoretical upper limit, there will always be an absorptive capacity if we want to keep any semblance of social cohesion and preserve those features and freedoms that make Britain a desirable destination. That the open borders bunch would gladly see it wrecked makes them both philistines and hypocrites as well as fantasists.

We must always ensure that the rights of the settled are respected and that any influx that puts them in the minority, means the total breakdown of systems that facilitate the high quality of life we enjoy - those systems that make up the invisible government all around us that maintains those things we take for granted and are barely aware of. Without managing influx so that systems can keep pace, we very soon become that which most migrated from. Dirty, crowded, dysfunctional and unsafe.

In that respect, we are already overstretched, especially when I see presumably Pakistani youths in pyjamas battering each other with clubs on Hounslow highstreet in the day time and Somali gangs shooting at each other in Woolwich. Course, the pious bunch who would never venture to such places wouldn't see it, so again, it salves their moral problems but the consequences are visited on somebody else. In that regard, I find the open borders bunch not only risible, but contemptible.

Bloody cheek!


I love this notion that I'm supposed to be a "team player" after both Ukip and Breitbart have spent the last three years soiling the bedsheets in terms of winning the referendum - and then directed invective at me for saying so.

Then when the poor gal is a bit stuck she has the nerve to ask me to source a Youtube video for her pet hate rag. Clearly googling the keywords "riot Afghani Syrian Greece" and looking at the first five search results is beyond the capability of these little darlings. No wonder they are manifestly incapably of getting their facts right. You have to admire the nerve though.

Assuming I'd helped the dear gal it would have looked a lot like this:

Darkies from bongo-bongo land of military age have been rioting and looting on the streets of Athens culminating in clashes with ISIS terrorists as they divide their loot. It's all the EU's fault for having open borders (inserts something about completely irrelevant Dublin Regulations) and YOU are paying for it. (pads out for fifteen paragraphs, claims credit months after the Daily Mail ran it.)

Ho hum.

The "new teeth" narrative


There is a narrative kicking around that the father of the boy washed up on the beach risked drowning just to get new teeth in Canada while supposedly safe in Turkey.

Let's consider this for a moment. Can you imagine being a dad and having no teeth? Can you imagine what that does to your self-confidence and your health and your self-worth? Can you imagine how that might affect your ability to do the best for your son?

Moreover, while Turkey is a signatory to the 1951 convention and has signed the 1967 protocol, it has entered an "exception" to the geographical extension. Thus, it only recognises refugees from the Council of Europe area. We can apply for asylum in Turkey but Syrians can't.

Legally in Turkey they are not defined as refugees. The guest status means that Syrians do not have rights in Turkey and that the State has the right to make the decision to deport them at any time.

Such a charitable approach rather than a rights based approach also feeds negative public opinion in Turkey towards refugees. Many local people have expressed their discontent with the Turkish government allocating resources to Syrians instead of Turkish citizens who are in need, such as earthquake victims. Some of the words they use to define Syrians include “beggars”, “looters”, and “exploiters”.

Syrian refugees enjoy no right to work and would not be employed even if they did. So they are faced with with the prospect of raising their children in camps or unsafe accommodation, where girls are sucked into prostitution and the young men recruited by militias.

The story about "wanting new teeth" is just a bit of flotsam trivia, taken from an interview with the dead boys distraught aunt. It was a reason, but clearly not the whole of the reason, and to latch on to this and say "it was a lifestyle choice" is cherry-picking and unpleasant. The fact is that this man had an opportunity to raise his son in Canada with family rather than waiting around as a second class citizen in Turkey. He took the chance, as would you.

It should be noted that had the land routes not been closed off by fences there would be no need to attempt a sea crossing. Meanwhile, some have observed the boy had no life jacket. Somehow I doubt the Turkish coast has a branch of Surf Shack for all your maritime safety needs. Moreover, the chances of a toddler surviving even WITH a life jacket, out in the middle of the sea are... none - certainly not without fresh water.

Yes, the father does have some agency in this, but we see a chain of failures of policy that made this possible, not least the stringent anti-money laundering rules that prevent larger sums of money being transferred from Canada and the failure to exert diplomatic pressure on Turkey to accept refugees.

More than that, we only have a partial version of the story, as told through the distorting prism of media and while Turkey is notionally a safe country, were you in his position, you might have a different definition as to what constitutes safety. The asinine and nasty posturing over this is utterly repellent and nobody is deserving of such scorn for the crime of trying to do what's best for his son. Would that men went to such lengths to do the best for their children in this country, perhaps they'd be in decent jobs rather than complaining about immigrants taking theirs.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Dispatches from Calais

A good friend of mine went to Calais to get the measure of things. This is his report.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Think before judging

Anybody who insists "they are economic migrants" is asserting something of which they have no proof. The government doesn't even know so why should we take some Ukip grunters word for it? The fact is, for whatever reason, they are coming - and even though reform of the 51 Convention could slow the tide, there are those who will try their luck anyway. In those instances, it's not Calais to watch. It's Heathrow. Those who come on limited visas and disappear into the wood work. In all likelihood, if they went to Calais, they are seeking refuge from something.

You can have all the strict border controls you like, but that does nothing about the majority who come through with permitted paperwork on short stay visas.

Once again I must draw readers attention tot he fact that there is no hard and fast rule that says Asylum seekers must claim asylum in the first safe country. The law says they CAN, but nothing says that they must, And why would they pick some Balkan hovel or Greece or Southern Italy where basic governance is falling to pieces and the jobs are in short supply?

Now I am not making the case for unlimited immigration, and in fact I think those who do are contemptibly stupid. To gain control over the situation is going to take a massive multi-agency effort, massive intergovermental cooperation and the there must be measures taken at the global level all the way down to parish councils.

In this leaving the EU is neither here nor there. There are some measures we can take to deter EU migrants - ones which are already within our power and councils should be doing that anyway in order to uphold certain basic standards. That would also detect the problem of those overstaying their visas. More than that if we want to attack the problem immigration then we need serious revision of our drugs prohibition in order to take the profit motive out of it for Nigerian and Somalian gangs.

I won't make this a long post. I could, but the main points are thus. Do not make judgements of these people you see in the media. You are not faced with their choices and you do not know for a fact what action you would take. Secondly, the naff expectation that they should camp out in Southern Europe is not a viable proposition and and if it were a choice you faced, you definitely wouldn't opt for that. Lastly, we are not threatened by Syrian refugees. That they are Muslim is neither here nor there. They are escaping the likes of ISIS, as indeed would you. And if you had a family, you would not wait around in some dangerous refugee camp to see your daughter sucked into prostitution or your son recruited by a militia.

Regardless of whether they are economic migrants or refugees doesn't matter. They are humans with the same basic needs as me and you. They have the same motivations as me and you. Macho right wing pronouncements are easy to make from the comfort of your office chair. If you are going to do that, at least bother to inform yourselves of the basics before venting your ignorant bilge.

The reason you'll see a great deal of moral and intellectual inconsistency is because nobody quite knows what to do. Just about everybody recognises the need to protect that which is worth protecting while at the same time we have to extend basic human kindness to the needy. In that, there are compromises and sacrifices and not all of them are politically convenient - and often logistically difficult. Anyone who makes grand pronouncements and thinks this can be solved with the wave of a magic wand is someone speaking from pure belligerent ignorance.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The problems won't go away by ignoring them

This isn't meant to be a detailed post and there are many caveats to consider but I wanted to outline the basics of the solution to the migration crisis.

First and foremost, these people are human beings. You have to start from that basic recognition. If they made it as far as the continent, they are here, they have immediate human needs - food, sanitation, medical care. That IS our problem.

In this context, there isn't a migration crisis, per se - there is a refugee crisis and within that an exacerbating factor of economic migrants piggy-backing on the refugee flow. We need to manage that and make the distinctions.

That said, we have to be pragmatic. FACT: Greece, and Southern Italy are not safe, there are insufficient resources to deal with them, and there are no jobs for them and the administrative systems are not mature enough to cope. So, they must be distributed evenly over Northern Europe. That means we take more than we presently do.

We need processing camps and we need to make sure they are safe, clean, policed and secure and so we can adequately determine genuine asylum cases. We need a very big one in Calais, and we need to take our fair share. When we do, we refuse right to settle in London. Our Northern cities could use some diversification and re-population. The binary Muslim-White culture needs to be broken.

Meanwhile, any EU migrants here without a job or place to stay, will be expected to return to their place of origin. EU law permits this. We also make sure we enforce housing overcrowding rules and minimum wage rules so that EU migrants don't get to undercut domestic workers. That means word gets back to Eastern Europe that it's expensive to come and there's no sympathy if you arrive and expect to doss on the streets. That much is not unreasonable.

Crucially, the reason refugees are risking the Med is because land routes have been closed off by fences. Fences which do not serve as a deterrent. Take them down - but at the same time, stop the rescue boats. They are an incentive and reduce the risk of trying the journey.

Next up is to create more legitimate means of legal entry, so we don't see such widespread abuse of the asylum system. That gives us short to medium term relief.

Long term, we have to invest and invest big in Africa, dredging the ports, building roads, building good governance and supporting property rights. Build offshore asylum processing centres in Africa, run by the UN, and audited by our own government to ensure sanitation and safety. We then say that to gain entry, you will be refused at Calais, but if you go to an offshore processing centre, and wait your turn, we will get to you.

But as much as we need to fix Africa, we need to fix Greece and Italy - so they can take their share of migrants and ensure migrants actually can stay there.

To do all this we have to start with reform to the Geneva Convention. Immediately - in order to reduce the incentive. It is part of the pull factor and a reason for migrants (not refugees) to ignore the legitimate immigration processes.

We could do this, we can afford to do this - and we could do it tomorrow IF there was the political will - but the British public want reductions in immigration - which is just not possible. We'd rather the problem festered and got worse and seemingly we'd rather see people getting tear-gassed and festering in squalor.

The truth is, we are not going to be able to close our borders or even adequately control them, we are going to take on a lot more people, but if we manage the distribution that need not be a bad thing for Liverpool, Hull, Bradford and Newcastle. Many will go back to Syria after the war - and so will Iraqis, and in the mean time, the remittances they send back will be better for international development than any aid programme. There will be an outflow eventually if we act now. We need to make Africa wealthier.

We cannot ignore the problem, we're going to have to take more people - and suck it up because we have no other choices - other than that which Ukip proposes, which is to close the borders and leave people to rot hoping the problem will go away. If you have any sympathy with that view or that party, you need to be elsewhere - because if that's what you think, you have nothing to say that I want to hear.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

An immoderate and pissed off rant

I don't really buy the garbage about a free press. I can't think of anything more unhealthy and toxic than a shitrag like the Daily Express that has precisely no interest in serving the public good. It knowingly misrepresents the facts, it knowingly shitstirs and it does so with no genuine concern for enhancing public debate. It wilfully produces asinine garbage for the consumption of bigots and shows no remorse in needlessly fucking with people's lives and livelihoods, sabotaging their careers while creating a toxic atmosphere of scares and panics. It is an abuse of prestige and position and it is to the detriment of society - and liberty.

Moreover, it is not done casually. It is compiled by expert contortionists, using sophisticated innuendo and marketing psychology on a platform that gives them unprecedented reach and influence when neither is deserved or even earned. Why it should be at liberty to destroy lives and bankrupt entire industries for its own entertainment without consequence, when motivated by pure malevolence, beats the hell out of me.

Course, there's no real hard and fast way of regulating it but perhaps it should carry a health warning on every article. "WARNING: MAY CONTAIN MISANTHROPIC MALEVOLENT BULLSHIT DESIGNED TO PROVOKE A KNEE JERK REACTION IN IDIOTS FOR THE PURPOSES OF PROFIT. THE AUTHOR DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE TRUTH OR YOU - IT JUST WANTS YOU TO HATE THINGS. READING THIS HARMS YOU AND OTHERS AROUND YOU"

If we can legislate for a pop up message warning about cookies, we might as well do that. Course, we'd get all the libtards talking about infantilasation of the public, but it does rather look like people believe the shit that they read in newspapers in spite of their proven inability to get the facts right even when they are trying.

Course this is never going to happen, because some people bizarrely think that such trash is the sign of a free country. Personally I think it's an affront to liberty in that we all live under the tyranny of these vessels who hold sway over policy because of how they will misrepresent the truth in a protected market position. And puhlease, don't give me the crap about truth being subjective. They are practised and professional liars and they know when they're doing it.

Certainly we cannot censor them, not least because it doesn't work, but it is time there was a market intervention to ensure bloggers are returned in news search results. The Google listing guidelines lend undeserved weight to these vessels. The guidelines work on the assumption that that somehow the legacy media has a deserved reputation for accuracy and editorial responsibility in spite of their being zero evidence to corroborate this.

We are told that in a free society, we have to accept things as they are warts and all for a healthy and vibrant democracy. There is nothing healthy about the current discourse on migrants and certainly the cesspool comments sections betray just how toxic their influence is. The old tropes no longer apply in the internet world. They have used their influence to garden wall and corporatise the internet and have used their market position to bury the alternatives and atomise any audiences that would threaten them.

Worse still, they parasite off blogs, often stealing content wholesale and never crediting the sources while decimating journalism. Regulating the press may not be the way to go, but certainly breaking their deadlock on the market is justifiable and very necessary if we really want a vibrant and healthy media. I would accept it "warts and all" if I could see something other than warts.

Frankly, we'd be better informed if we fire-bombed the lot of them. They are not the sign of a free press. They are an inhibitor to it.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Slandered by Guido

I can't not comment on this. Somehow Guido has leaked part of an email exchange with Aaron Banks. It didn't come from me, I was saving it for future reference. I am shocked and outraged though. Guido says...
Good to see the No to EU campaign is putting aside its differences and uniting behind the cause… or not. When eurosceptic blogger Pete North emailed the pugnacious founder of the controversial ‘The Know‘ group, Arron Banks, politely offering some advice about his campaign...
He asserts that I "politely" offered advice. This is absolutely untrue and I resent having my reputation dragged through the mud. I was superior, condescending and moderately rude as my readers have come to expect and demand. I was not in any way polite. I am appalled by this low shoddy reporting and I would ask that Guido issues a correction immediately. I have a reputation to uphold.

Nor did Mr Banks actually hope that I died in a freak yachting accident. He stated clearly that he was "tempted to add" such a remark but actually refrained from doing so. Had he done so, I have the last laugh because I made it through the entire weekend without even so much as seeing a yacht, unlike that jammy bastard who probably owns one. I did stub my toe on the bathroom door though if that's any consolation.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

They haven't thought it through

I'm seeing more of this "just open the borders" crap. I wish I could be so frivolous as to endorse this wafting empty sentiment and virtue signalling, but as usual it falls to the few to think about these things. Clearly even the best international development policy is not going to bring any immediate resolve and there is no question of closing the borders. We are going to have to take our fair share.

We can list a great many advantages to taking them but when we're talking about very large numbers, we need to manage it sensibly. We do not make the assumption that all of them will necessarily be looking to use state welfare services, but still in any case they need to be documented, otherwise they disappear into the woodwork. You cannot manage a modern first world country without capacity planning and knowing the scale of what you're dealing with.

Even those who don't rely on the state to settle them still have externalities in the short to medium term. High density is not without its inherent problems. Places like reading have narrow terraced streets, sometimes with three cars per household, with absolutely antique sewerage, reinforcing the trend of paving over front gardens for parking space which in turn adds capacity stress on drainage and sewerage so we need yet more investment, planning and an expansion of the environment agency.

Wage depression is less the concern since we have a national minimum, but that is only an effective measure if it is properly enforced, which it isn't. Moreover, we're seeing a massive rise in over-occupation of housing which has inherent risks and environmental concerns that affect people directly.

We can make the broader arguments in favour of immigration as it is beneficial in the longer term but it says absolutely nothing of the immediate practical concerns, which means you need a means of managing influx, not least for capacity planning so their basic needs can be met.

To that end, at the very least, we need to acknowledge that people will come regardless thus we need first world, safe processing centres that can liaise with local councils throughout the country to get them settled. What we can do then is turn it to our advantage by resettling people away from London. No northern city is going to do worse for having more people and the housing situation is less acute. But that has to go hand in hand with an intelligent industrial policy.

There is no excuse for the inhumane conditions migrants presently endure in Calais, not least because it's in France, but the Easter bunny notion of flinging the borders open is juvenile.

Clearly we have to provide, safe, secure accommodation, food and basic provisions. We will need to ensure the rights and conveniences and liberties of those already here are protected and we cannot have fifteen people living in a three bedroom house. Nor can we allow these people to be exploited by unscrupulous employers. At the very least it's a market distortion that does have a direct effect on the bottom decile.

The question for the idiots who embrace such a asinine position is how much extra council tax are you willing to pay - and if not, which council services are you happy to sacrifice? Elderly care? Weekly bin collections? I know the words absorptive capacity don't exist in the Marxist lexicon, but I'm interested in how they envisage this going down.

I've heard the "just build more houses" riff which is fine as far as it goes, but added people does not translate to a proportionate increase in employment, and the immediate integration problems require much more invasive and comprehensive local government in protecting against overcrowding and labour exploitation. That naturally outpaces housing development and increases the price of domestic goods. Where does this fit in the stack of priorities given the existing capacity crunch? Which magic money tree do we shake?

Saturday, 29 August 2015

It couldn't last

I made a decision to retire this blog last week, in favour taking a more sanitised approach. But there is actually no good reason why I cannot do both. What I don't want to do is have my more immoderate posts distracting from the overall output on the new blog, and so here is as good a place as any to make the odd incidental point.

As to the subject of this post, though I said I would limit my attacks on Ukip, I think this is important to take note of. We are past the general election now. All efforts are geared to the referendum, crafting our message and public perceptions of those who represent the No campaign. Thus it must be pointed out when Ukip is failing.

I have warned of the dangers of foam flecked Kipper ranting about foreigners and Muslims, and that message is not getting through. We saw during the election that such material only drags the debate onto the racism battlefield, turning the debate away from the central matter. We can't afford this now.

We would expect Ukip to have learned some of the lessons and show some leadership in moderating their message. This is not happening. What we have seen instead is more of the same dog whistles that effectively give their followers permission to grunt about the same old things. I didn't pick it up at the time but here we find a speech made by Ukip MEP Gerald Batten last month, highlighted by an official Ukip Twitter account. It's entitled "Western civilisation has to stop kowtowing to a Dark Age ideology".

I know these arguments well, and not far behind it comes the usual clich├ęs abut multiculturalism etc. There is some basis in truth that would be worth examining in more subtle terms, at a different time, but this really just qualifies as banging on about Muslims, using BNP rhetoric. This is absolutely the last thing we need from a party that will take a lead role in the referendum campaign.

It's one thing for the bottom-feeders on Twitter to be promoting this message in association with Ukip, but for Ukip MEP's to be choosing this of all messages, at this of all times is just inexcusable.

This is where Aaron Banks should take note. If the No campaign is built on a Ukip base than it is tainted from the outset. It's bad enough that their eurosceptic arguments are poor and their message uncoordinated, but these people have absolutely no self-discipline, no capacity for strategy and continue to make careless, unforced errors. They have learned nothing. The No campaign needs to put as much distance between itself and Ukip as humanly possible.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Complete Bastard est mort


That's the end of the Complete Bastard. Never let it be said I don't listen to criticism. I've heard all the asinine comments about the title of this blog and so to take that argument out of play I am migrating to a blog of a blander title over at peterjnorth.blogspot.com so people can make asinine comments about my name instead.

Responding to a second criticism, I am done attacking Ukip except for where it is pertinent to making a particular point. They are steadfastly determined to grunt about foreigners and complain about safety regulations and claim we will save millions and billions by leaving the EU - and there is nothing that can be done to dissuade them. It's a waste of my time. Congratulations. You win. Grunt away!

I am instead going to concentrate on building the alternative case for leaving the EU and writing posts on how to argue the respective points and how to argue effectively. This will undoubtedly open up a whole new raft of new complaints, probably about it being either too "high brow" or too complicated, or "off message" with the main No campaign. Nothing I do will ever satisfy those who are determined to pour scorn on our work. From the passive aggressive sniping to the downright nasty, they'll find something else to whinge about. They always do.

Buzzing around achieving nothing


I've been increasingly irritated by a housefly for the last couple of days. It's wasting it's energy and its short lifespan, buzzing around in every direction, accomplish nothing and generally causing a nuisance. Unlike a spider, you can't help it. With a spider you can put a glass over it and chuck it out the window in the hope that it might at least take a risk and live a useful life. And there is a perfect Ukip metaphor. Here we have an entity that largely feeds upon faeces and regurgitates it, buzzing around unproductively, annoying people, and using up energy without achieving anything.

You might want to help it but it never stays in one place long enough to capture it. You can open all the windows, causing yourself some discomfort, you can even waft it in the right direction, but it still won't go in the right direction. In the end you just have to resign yourself to the fact that it will just continue to cause an irritation, will continue consuming shit, and waste its energy producing nothing in a short and pointless life.

Brexit is the key to reforming Europe


The more you look at Brexit, the more inherent complications you find. The EU has been steaming ahead with various trade deals in recent years that we would have to work hard to replicate, tus any Brexit talks would require we negotiate the use of these deals by proxy until such a time as we can negotiate our own. That will necessarily require membership of the single market and consequently, we cannot make any promises about ending freedom of movement, assuming that were even desirable.

The fact is that the EU does have clout. It's no use arguing the toss over whether it is in decline or not. It is still a large market we cannot afford to lose, nor can be cut ourselves off from the extended benefits of single market membership.

Thus, as we look to the referendum, it becomes more a question of defining what kind of relationship we want with it. Even with our independence we would have to work pretty hard and pretty fast to open up new trading avenues just to compensate for the mid term losses should we completely reject European co-operation. In fact, we will have to work hard and fast in any eventuality.

With that in mind, when a new treaty offering us something close to associate membership is announced, it will look superficially attractive. It saves us the hassle and expense of having to replace trade deals and to an extent excludes us from ever closer union. What it probably won't offer is an independent vote at the top tables or trade exclusivity, which in most respects merely formalises the stagnation we're presently stuck in while the eurozone group does what it needs to do.

Since we are not in the Euro and never will be we are never going to be in the mainstream EU, which is a good thing, but we will be relegated to a formalised slow lane where we find ourselves following the rules but having no say at the top international tables where trade rules, including those of the single market, are made. As we continue to point out, the EU merely rubber stamps regulation. It is a redundant middleman.

With that in mind, independence will always be the best option for Britain, and by defining the terms of our relationship with the EU, using an interim stage such as the Norway Option, we can set about creating a benchmark for interfacing with the single market so that anyone may join it, thus reducing the EU to an actor within it rather than the master of it.

Anyone who knows anything about the intricacies of the EU knows that it has overreached in so many ways and while there is notionally a single standard throughout it does not manifest in reality. The hypocrisies are there for to see for anyone who looks for them. By leaving and regaining trade autonomy can we set a baseline for what a genuine single market looks like, recognising that it is the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that has the greater influence in regulatory convergence. In that regard, UNECE is the single market, not the EU. Regulatory convergence is more pertinent to modern trade diplomacy than border tariffs.

The problem with the EU is that it seeks deep and comprehensive trade agreements that require unrealisable social changes, which the EU is not equipped to ram through, and so in many respects we have a European Union in name only. In terms of trade we have multiple tiers of treaties making up various zones within, with members in various stages of economic and social development. In that regard the EU is overextended having made demands of members that it can never bring to fruition - not least it's overambitious cultural reforms to the East and in the Balkans. As we have discussed previously, these have the capacity to do more harm than good.

The EU is as much about cultural hegemony as it is trade, and in its hubris creates as many problems as it notionally solves. The reality is that Western European social values cannot be imposed on a society and such changes have to come from below through popular struggle. It is only through becoming wealthier do societies become more liberal and progressive - so we are better off aiming for a single market of mutual trading standards that create wealth. Prioritising that means the social reforms will take care of themselves. They will then be lasting and genuine rather than at the barrel of a gun.

That is how we reform both the EU and Europe while at the same time breaking out of the euro-centric mentality toward a global single market, where all voices matter. Put simply, the EU as an entity cannot be reformed in this way. Supposing we could change treaties, we cannot change the essence of what it is built upon.

The reason for opposing the EU is that it is inward-looking, anti-trade (or at least open trade), protectionist, unaccountable and at times ineffectual. The 'sovereignty' question is misplaced for the reasons most often stated - global markets mean global rules. The message is that we can do better, but to do this we have to break the EU and remould it as something different from the post-war/cold war 'hug your enemy close' viewpoint. Britain leaving allows all this to happen. Without that existential threat to the EU nothing changes and we carry on limping along - with nobody ever satisfied and the EU continuing to stamp out brushfires with diminishing resources and a shrinking mandate.

It should be clear to all that we need a new settlement for Europe and the superstate idea of the last century is a failed idea that will never reach completion. Brexit is the first step to designing that new Europe. For Europe to regain its vitality it must clear away the old and make way for the new. In this Britain can show leadership and once again be asserting its global values. What's not to like?

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Countdown to a gold-plated extinction

One thing the kippers consistently point out is that it's young white girls falling prey to exploitative gangs. They might put the emphasis on the fact the culprits are predominantly Muslim, but I would turn the emphasis around and as why it is we who cannot protect our own?

Personally, I'm not in the least bit surprised that we can't when we abdicate far too much to the state with far too many expectations of what it can do with any competence. It is ultimately that which spells our cultural demise.

It's not just the "dole scroungers" who are state dependants. It is now most of us. Somewhere in the corners of our minds, we have certain assumptions about the future because of the welfare state and that unconsciously weighs on our personal decision making.

As a nation we are fiscally illiterate, not least because we have certain expectations of the state as to who will look after us in our old age - so we don't prepare or save for it. We are therefore largely ignorant of financial mechanisms. And there is no longer the familial obligation there once was to look after each other. That's the council's job innit? We have no "patriarchy" as we find in the Muslim world, all are equal in their rights, but no so equal in their responsibilities. The state has shattered the family.

When we look at our own society, atomised by social media, we have no community to speak of except the virtual one at our finger tips. Meanwhile, when we think of northern poverty, we imagine segregated hovels like Bradford, as festering incubators of Jihad, but the reality is something different. In most respects it has never been richer - and it's getting better. For sure the city centre is a shadow of what it once was, but that is more through the ineptitude of council regeneration than actual poverty.

There are two reasons for this. Our Muslims tend to be entrepreneurs and businessmen, and businessmen with a keen interest in avoiding as much tax as possible. One thing you notice on the drive into Bradford is that there is no shortage of accountancy firms.

Then there is booze. We Brits do have an unhealthy relationship with it. Our Muslims do not. That's why they are becoming richer. Booze is a wallet killer. I more or less quit drinking backing March and since then I'm thinner, sleeping better and while earning less since leaving my last job, I am not noticeably worse off for it. We complain about the work life balance but I would argue that most Brits have more time than they know what to usefully do with and booze fills the void.

Also Muslim families refuse to join in the borrowing bonanza, instead opting for family banking while we're the "must have it now" society. It's little wonder than the once poor Muslim immigrants of Bradford now hire Lamborghinis for graduation parties. Just recently I found myself in Bradford interchange and looking at the Asian youths, for the first time in my life it's me who's the scruffy, shabby mess on the platform. In the social order in Bradford, we're the niggers now.

There is an enviable energy in Bradford's Muslim society with a real sense of ambition while Brits have become slovenly, alcohol dependent, state dependent and bovine. We whine about tax evasion when we should be celebrating anyone who manages to get away with it.

Even in our attitudes to politics there is a sense of delegation. I can't tell you how many times I hear "I don't do politics, that's what I pay politicians for". My own view is that politics is far too important to be left to politicians and participation is an absolutely essential civic obligation. And I don't mean just participation in the occasional voting ritual.

But it's not just our citizens who have delegated to the government. Even the government has outsourced the difficult stuff to the European Commission. We don't do things like trade and foreign policy anymore and our aid programme is merely wristband foreign policy designed to make us feel morally superior.

Frankly, the complaint that Muslims don't integrate is a little puzzling. Firstly what is there to integrate with, and why would they want to. In what way is our work-a-day drudgery and state dependence superior to what the Muslims are building? In what way is spending your last days on state handouts in a council home waiting for death superior?

Curiously, we might note that thirty years ago, mosques in Bradford were 90's built huts with cheap green domes. As those communities have become fabulously wealthier since, the domes have been replaced with more ornate and permanent structures, more in keeping with their surroundings, and the areas we used to think were Muslims slums are now transformed. They're getting richer, the white working classes are stagnating. What has our post-faith, socialist society done for us?

If you wanted to find examples of what we remember Britishness to be about; social conservatism, frugality, entrepreneurship, family and self-reliance, you'd find in the Muslim areas first and foremost. It's hardly surprising that young white Brits cast adrift would look upon their community and think that perhaps what they have is better. And in that, we might find some clues as to why so many young find their way into the hands of ISIS - which some view as the resistance to the West imposing its broken ideals on the Middle East.

When Jack Straw concluded "The English are not worth saving as a race”, I'm almost inclined to agree. We are most certainly a culture in decline and I can't help wondering if this is just part of he natural reinvention of our species - as the older societies make way for the up and coming. It's less a question of whether we can be saved as whether we should be saved. To all things there is a time.

In that respect maybe Ukip represents the swansong of the white working class - they who could not adapt to survive. It's a little useless instituting border controls now. It's shutting he stable door after the horse has bolted. If you really wanted to re-energise our own working class, you would start by stripping away the pillars of the state that have paved the way for such spiritual decay.

But taking benefits and entitlements from a Brits is like taking a dummy away from a toddler. It's why I can't help seeing leftists as spoiled children. The sum total of their ambition is to be dependent on the state from cradle to grave. The poverty we have in this country is a poverty of ambition, and starvation of the soul.

Course, this hear above couldn't be any more white middle class navel gazing, leaden with hypocrisy an nihilism, but you have to admit, the assumption that our own ways are necessarily superior must be challenged. Nobody is risking their life to cross the Mediterranean for £36 a week and a stay in a Lancashire B&B. They don't want to be like us. They want to be better than us. For whatever measly sum it costs us in welfare, it will be repaid in a generation when their input generates far more for the economy than any Ukip voting grunter.

Some would blame mass immigration for the state some of our cities are in, but when I look at Liverpool, Newcastle and Bradford, I see great cities stripped of their vitality because any young spirited youth with something to offer the world would rightly bugger off to London. That is what gives London its energy. I don't see how any of these cities would fare worse for having more entrepreneurs and self starters - and with London being prohibitively expensive now, people approaching their forties and going back to the regions should be viewed as a good thing.

As to whether white Brits can adapt to survive is really entirely dependent on us. We can either dismantle the state and all those pillars of dependency or we can just pamper ourselves into extinction. While the Tories are eating way at the NHS (or so the narrative goes) and we see some marginal tinkering with a small part of the welfare budget, it's still universal benefits for pensioners that go untouched - and it is that which underpins our mental dependence on the state, assuming that whatever we do in the prime of our lives, there will be base standard of living for us at the end. It is that which nurtures and underpins our fiscal illiteracy and familial disintegration.

Unless we are prepared to start ruthlessly slaughtering our sacred cows then our society will continue to decline. This is why I support the removal of certain welfare entitlements from the young. I can't imagine anything worse than kids learning the ropes of a system by which they can avoid self-improvement, development and self-reliance. But so long as there is that golden goose if you cross the finish line, there is no incentive to accumulate wealth - only to spend it, and waste it on drugs and alcohol.

Moreover, if we're not prepared to start up businesses and we're not prepared to save and we're not prepared to work overtime - and in some cases, my generation opting out of breeding, we will need immigrants to pay for our gold plated extinction. Ultimately, we are the architects of our own demise and there's no use blaming immigrants. We have no choice now. Ironically, more people means fewer entitlements as local authorities must concentrate on managing the basics (as it is supposed to do), and more people along with a bit more austerity might well be our salvation. By that measure, slamming the doors shut as Ukip proposes, or regressing to more welfarist socialism as Corbyn proposes, is not only economic suicide, it is also our cultural suicide note.