Friday, April 30, 2010

Labour, Stop Campaigning. Please.

First it was embarrassing to watch Elvis serenading Gordon with The Wonder Of You.

Then it was sad to see Gordon bashing up his assistants in his campaign car after realising he was live to Sky slagging off Mrs Duffey, and comic too.

Today we are not to be disappointed. At Labour's poster launch, a car crashed into the adjacent bus stop, as in picture above, at the moment their poster was revealed.

Wouldn't it be better if they simply packed up, stopped campaigning and went home? I'd have thought so.

World's Sexiest Woman Prefers Losers

Cheryl Cole has been chosen the FHM world's sexiest woman two years in a row. Not bad. But why does she keep choosing to grant her favours and backing to the world's greatest losers? Take her husband, Ashley, who's been chasing other ladies around pretty much ever since.

OK, love can have strange effects on even the most intelligent of people.

But her choice in politicians seems equally erroneous. She said she finds David Cameron creepy, and thinks that Gordon Brown is much more convincing!

Yes. Right. Especially when Elvis is singing The Wonder Of You, or he's beating up his media assistants, because he's just gaffed on live TV.

Why get involved in politics anyway, Cheryl? You only upset people.

From Gordon's point of view, at least somebody still loves you, mate! What with having the world's sexiest woman as a loyal fan, things can't be that bad.

Lend Euros At 20% Per Annum. Interested?

The Greek 2 year note tells a story.

Its yield has risen from 4% four weeks ago to near 19% yesterday.

Money doesn't bullshit like politicians and media.

These rates tell you that markets don't believe the supposed bottomless pit of money from the IMF and the ECB will change anything. The problems of eurozone debt are simply too vast for any bureaucratic solution. The only way countries like Greece will find any resolution is by coming out of the Euro, not by borrowing more and more in an attempt to stay inside.

Here is a tiny one line report from Bloomberg.

April 29 (Bloomberg) --

Greek two-year notes opened lower, sending the yield on the securities 174 basis points higher to 18.71 percent as of 7:44 a.m. in London.

It's amazing how such important news gets only one sentence in Bloomberg, and all the promises coming from the EU and the IMF get the headlines, bamboozling investors into believing the crisis is over. Such as The WSJ.

Interest rates rising five times in a month? Come on.

The promises keep on coming and they get bigger and bigger on each occasion -

a German trader's take on the promised bail-out

Reuters -

European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said the EU should complete talks "within days".

Investors were comforted by signs the package could be worth as much as 100 billion to 120 billion euros ($133 billion-$158.5 billion) over three years -- much more than an earlier reported 45 billion euros.

And that's just to save the Greek Euro. There are plenty of others in need of a fix.

The rationale behind the bail-outs is to save the banks. But that's not a sensible idea. It would be better to use the money available to save the banks. Otherwise the money will only temporarily halt national insolvencies, whereupon the banks will also need saving.

It's Sad To Watch Brown Disintegrating

From Iain Dale.

It's too awful to watch any more. Brown has to let go. He needs to stop trying. It's over. He needs to keep his dignity, or what's left of it. He is, after all, our Prime Minister. It's not good to see him disintegrating before the eyes of the whole world. It's only an election. He needs to think beyond the next few days to the rest of his life. We need to move on. So does he.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mrs Duffy - A Job For Ant & Dec

would ant & dec, presenters of reality TV show 'Í'm A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here' be the ideal promoters of proper TV debate?

In the 1970s Harold Wilson famously stated that a week is a long time in politics. A generation later, plus a telecommunications revolution, the time horizons of political life have narrowed even further, almost to the point of disappearing. This has had the effect of making politicians hide from their audiences, and increasingly withdraw into their ivory towers. When they push themselves outside the bunker and face real people in real life situations, the effects can be downright comical. And yet only by the politicians daring to have a little more real exposure can the quality of political debate be lifted from its current dire straits.

Yesterday we saw a classic example of what happens in one of these situations. Gordon Brown met a real live straight-taking voter for the first time in years, and he took it very personal. It was funny, sad and informative all at the same time.

Brown gave his honest assessment of the relatively friendly Mrs Duffy one second, (wrongly calling her an ex-Labour voter. It's Brown's inability to take in information which is his greatest weakness) and within minutes, the networks were full of nothing else. Chaos broke out, and the dust has still not settled.

But Brown has struck on something here. This is surely the right format to improve future political communication, with instant feedback from members of the public, assuring a proper drama worthy of the term political discussion. This is not just a story about Gordon Brown. The yawning chasm between politicians and voters has grown beyond an acceptable point.

No more televised debates and a narrowing of issues is required. Nor the sterile TV studio where image games are played out to the detriment of serious debate. The random unannounced walk through a crowd of people who have no idea the politicians are coming is the way to open up politics once more. Reality on TV, just as with drama and entertainment, so with politics. This is the way to make communications technology work. Make things real.

A handful of random Mrs Duffys should be set loose on all three of the party leaders. In less than five minutes the nation would have a much clearer grasp of the issues, where the parties stand, and a much better idea of the true personalities of the party leaders.

guidofawkes — April 28, 2010 — Guy News brings you a musical number on the tragicomic result of Gordon's encounter with a real person.

As I wrote on PB just now -

Will Mrs Gillian Duffy please subject all the party leaders to her question and answer techniques?

She says she wants to know about debt and immigration. No messing.

Brown cannot really claim that the debts are not his fault, or the immigration overload.

Clegg isn’t sure what to do about debt.

As an MEP he voted for for the EU Common Asylum Policy.

Cameron wants debts reduced.

He has decided to cap immigration.

If Mrs Duffy’s decided to abandon Brown based on policy, she should by rights be a Cameron supporter by now.

If in addition to asylum and debt issues, she wants to keep the Pound, then Clegg’s mincemeat.

If Mrs Duffy can so easily swing the course of political debate in a few minutes, and make issues so clear to understand, then this is the way to go. All the hours spent in confrontational debates and discussion in front of TV studio cameras is achieving nothing. Uncensored random walk technique (URWT) will discover the nation's Mrs Duffys, and show our leaders as they truly are.

The quality of our country's political debate would increase a hundredfold. Full marks to Gordon Brown for showing what can be done. Street level Political Reality TV is where it's at.

(although if she hadn't been wearing a heavy red-lapelled jacket, would Brown have approached her?, one wonders.)

Now then Clegg and Cameron, get out there in the jungle of public opinion, and let's see if you've got what it takes.

Let's not have an X-Factor Election, all puffed up and airbrushed with professional interviewers setting agendas. Let's do Big Brother. Let's get real. As Gordon was in effect saying yesterday, 'I'm a politician. Get me outta here'. More of this please. Get them out of the studio and into the jungle.

haven't we had enough of image politicians with cryptic policies?

Iaindale quote of the day -

"It's not about immigration itself,
it's about respect for what ordinary people think."

Voter in Luton North reacting to Gordon Brown's gaffe

The street walking debates should be compered by Ant & Dec, with BBC, ITV and SKY political interviewers sidelined.

Spice Girls Show Clegg How It's Done

Mrs Gillian Duffy should be invited to also meet Nick Clegg and ask him directly the questions that Brown so honestly answered today. 'Mr Clegg,'she might say, 'what are your policies on all these debts, and the immigration flooding into Rochdale?'

I have found a few sources today on various of Clegg's policies on key issues - such as on defence, immigration, the economy, the NHS. They make surprising reading, and most Lib Dem voters would be shocked if they knew, let alone others, a bit like Mrs Duffy was shocked with Gordon Brown's reaction to her reasonable comments. The divide between ordinary voters and Brown and Clegg seems vast. Wouldn't it be good to give Clegg the Duffy treatment too and see how he handles it.

Nick Clegg, however is going for broke. His party's policies are unpopular, and he knows it, so he has decided to skip street level as-it-appens contact with the public on TV, and revert to his image appeal, which he sees as his ticket to the very top.

'Í'll tell you what I want', he says. 'what I really really want'.

'What I really really want is to be Prime Minister'.

Here are more Spice Girl lyrics where the theme was much the same as Clegg's -

Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really
really really wanna zigazig ha.

It's amazing what rubbish can achieve instant fame and popularity, isn't it.

Now then voters, do we really want Clegg to come and zigazig as Prime Minister? Surely a brief glance at a few of his policies might be in order first.

Here are some of his policies. The Euro. Proportional Representation. And defence - Get rid of nuclear weapons. Cancel Typhoon, and all new submarines.

PICTURE - New Ships from The Russian Black Sea Fleet

Why not send Putin an invitation to come and run Britain in person, if we are to give up defending ourselves entirely? Maybe that's the coalition that Clegg truly has in mind? For Comrade Cleganov, his family would have come full circle.

But, more seriously, what about a coalition with Gordon Brown?


Floater wrote: Hang on, has clegg changed his mind again?

“Nick Clegg refused today to rule out working with Gordon Brown in the event of a hung parliament after the General Election.”

Not necessarily. He has said, he wouldn’t serve in a Brown-led government. But that doesn’t mean, that Brown can’t serve in a Clegg-led government (as a jester, perhaps?).

by little voice April 28th, 2010 at 8:21 am

Or Brown could the Minister in charge of Musical Tributes, possibly.


Open Europe - In an interview with the Times Nick Clegg, when asked whether he might want to see the UK join the euro over the lifetime of the next Parliament, said: "I see no circumstances in which we would do that, no, because it's not economically justified." However, he added: "If next Tuesday the world went completely upside down and inside out and we decided the only way we could secure the prosperity of the British people is to change our currency arrangements, you have to keep that option open."

When the paper suggested to him that it was not possible to have it both ways, he replied: "You can, of course you can. It's perfectly logical and rational to say no; any case for going into the euro does not exist at the moment. Can I predict at what point it may or may not be justified in the future? No, of course I can't."

Writing in the WSJ, Iain Martin argues that Nick Clegg's support for joining the euro puts him in an "interesting position" in tomorrow's final leaders' debate before the election, adding: "How ironic if his bandwagon was stopped by a resurgent Mr. Cameron pointing to the imploding euro."

Meanwhile the Express reports that Conservative analysis of Nick Clegg's voting record as an MEP shows that he supported a common EU asylum policy, giving up the UK's seat on the United Nations Security Council and a near-30 percent pay rise for MEPs.

Mrs Duffy, are you listening? According to The Express, Nick Clegg voted in favour of the Common EU Asylum Policy. So there would be plenty more arriving in Rochdale if Clegg becomes Prime Minister.

PLUS THIS - Clegg wants an end to the NHS!!!

The Daily Mail reports that Nick Clegg wants to break up the NHS.
In a little-noticed interview before he took over as leader, he said the party should consider a social insurance system to replace the present tax-funded Health Service.

Perhaps that has to do with this story of the 100K bung and earlier bungs from Alpha Healthcare who are ultimately owned by Harberry Investments, based in the British Virgin Islands.

Alpha Healthcare has given the party large sums in the past, including £100,000 last year, £160,000 in 2005 and £10,000 in 2004.

The company’s shareholders, Bhanu Choudrie and his brother Dhruv – also listed as shareholders in the parent Harberry – are Alpha directors.

However the two are Indian citizens, with a ‘non-domicile’ status, which entitles them to avoid British tax on any income or gains from their overseas assets.

comment on PB by fitaloon April 28th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I would say that what we want, what we really really want is Nick Clegg's portfolio of policies be examined and properly explained, before he starts talking of what he really really wants, which is the power to carry them out.

I really really do.

Market Crash To Hit Labour's Election Result

The fall in one hour from 5700 to 5600 in the FTSE yesterday evening gave the market its biggest one day fall since November 2009, over 150 points or 2.5%. (Futures are at 5575) The fall in stocks was not only a British affair, and went right round the globe, ostensibly due to the collapse in hope for a timely Greek bailout.

Behind that came the report of a downgrade in Portugal's debt rating, and hints from China that the boom there might be getting close to its end. The one year stock market boom which has seen stock prices recover by 70%, a record rise throughout stock market history going back over centuries, could now be over.

The Telegraph writes - Jitters about the fate of Greece and the impact on other indebted countries, such as Portugal, triggered a mass sell-off on European indices.
The ratings agency Standard & Poor's cut its rating on Greek sovereign debt to junk status. S&P also cut its rating on Portugal's long-term debt to A- from A+. Although Portugal retained an investment grade on its bonds, S&P said its outlook on the country was "negative"

Whatever the reasons and the explanations, there is only really one single cause worldwide of the current financial troubles. That is debt. Debt has run up so high around the world that there are few places not affected. When people believe that the worst is over, prices surge, but once people realise that the problems are more heavily entrenched, collapse in confidence becomes inevitable, and prices tumble once more. Yesterday at around 4pm London time, fear of such a slump kicked back in heavily around the globe.

The EU had tried to keep the next phase of economic bad news out of the headlines until after the British election was complete. But now it seems that Brown will be going to the country with sterling and the stock market both heading into the next fall south, along with European indices and the Euro.

They say a week is a long time in politics. By May 6th the financial picture could be one of shock at the sudden fall in confidence. If so, politics cannot be unaffected. Brown's polling level must surely head to the floor. Cameron's hopes of a majority might be saved, as voters instinctively realise that a Hung Parliament is entirely the wrong response to the most serious financial crisis the country and the world have ever faced.

Inside the Conservative Party, there is a lot of excellent material, ready and able to tackle economic decision-taking. None is as experienced and knowledgeable as John Redwood. Cometh the hour, cometh the man? But that would be after an election, of course.

Or will the British people prefer this to be an X-Factor election, where glamour and celebrity override all serious considerations of our economic future? If they do, the result will have a catastrophic effect on markets.

UPDATE - down another 1% this morning in first hour. Is this the year long bear market rally done with? It's time to sharpen those government spending pencils. The rougher times are back. Frothy items like Cleggs should get blown away as well as incompetent ones like Brown. This was not meant to happening until after the election. It must help Cameron to rebound.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clegg's 30 Pieces Of Silver

A serious mistake?

Nick Clegg has been rather evasive over the last ten days over exactly how he would behave in the event of a hung parliament. But he gave me some straight answers here in Edinburgh this morning. And he may soon wish he hadn’t.

He more or less ruled out working with Labour. And then he said that he wouldn’t support a Tory government unless it agreed to PR.

But the Tories have already said they won’t accept a referendum on PR, so does this mean we won’t have any government at all after May 6th?

I suggested a few days ago that I thought Mr Clegg was smart enough to play a long game, to concentrate on demonstrating that the Lib Dems were a sober party of government, and to leave his demands on PR for another day. But I may have over-estimated his tactical astuteness. It seems as if the party is now prepared to hold the entire country to ransom over a potential change to the voting system.

This would be fine if was absolutely clear that voting reform is what people want. But I see very little evidence of that. People are angry and feel like punishing the two main parties, whom they blame for a rotten political system. They’d quite like to reward the charismatic and appealing Mr Clegg. But the beauty of the first past the post system is that it gives voters a direct link with their MP. If you don’t like him, or her, you can sling him out, regardless of national swing or anything else. If you want him to vote against a particular issue (the Iraq War, say) you can lobby him to do so. The idea that our response to the expenses system should be to break this link and create a new class of MPs who are shoved in on a party list and owe no allegiance to anyone but their party leader is somewhat bizarre.

In the middle of a major economic crisis, Nick Clegg has chosen to make electoral reform the defining issue. And I can’t help feeling that is a very serious tactical mistake.

hattip for this, left by graeme April 26th, 2010 at 10:18 pm on politicalbetting comments. A very good and important piece of writing, which deserves greater prominence.

I too find it odd that Clegg is so bothered about PR. The Lib Dems could well be decimated by it with the Greens likely to steal a quarter of their vote. UKIP would surge too as they did in the Euro elections, where they came second pushing the Lib Dems into fourth place.

PR would weaken Britain's democracy. That could please Clegg's EU masters.

If Clegg keeps going with his PR campaign, will this become the defining issue of the election?

Do you want an end to FPTP?

If not don't vote for a Hung Parliament. Don't vote for the Lib Dems.

Vote Conservative. Vote for strong government.

The Sun says NO to Hung Parliament.

The Untruths Of Liberal Democracy

Cameron's support can only grow in the next few days. As commenters are realising, it is LIb Dem policies which are the problem. Once people find out what they are, they don't like them.

The Mail writes - Despite the progress made by Mr Cameron, the BPIX poll says Mr Clegg won the second debate. He is still regarded as more charismatic, honest and relaxed than his rivals.

However, now voters know more about his policies, they do not like all they see. Reports about the party’s support for an amnesty for illegal immigrants, scrapping Trident and releasing large numbers of prisoners have taken their toll.

This seems to be Fact number one of the closing phase of the election.

Fact number two is that a Hung Parliament is now viewed as 'inevitable' given the Lib Dem surge. But is that the case necessarily? The Conservatives are 34 to Labour's 27, and the gap might be growing. If this lead moved three more points by polling day, there could be a lot less Labour MPs, to match the growing number of Lib Dem MPs. The show's not over til the fat lady sings. The public doesn't want a hung parliament, and may vote accordingly in greater numbers for the Conservatives after another week of consideration.

Fact number three is that if Labour and Lib Dem are able to block Cameron by forming a coalition government, the price of that cooperation will be PR. I am not sure I agree with this either. The Lib Dems would stand to lose more from PR than the Conservatives or Labour. If you take the results from the 2009 European elections, the biggest gainers would be UKIP.

PR would drive the Conservatives to far stronger euroscepticism, and a coalition between UKIP and Conservative might even hold an outright majority. The Lib Dems would lose a large number of voters to the Greens. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

Open Europe's

Quote of the fortnight:

"On liberty, the Liberal Democrats are at their best...Strangely at odds with this is their warm embrace of the euro, the Lisbon Treaty and the European Union, which many of the same people feel is another kind of tyranny...Is it stretching the definition of 'honest politics' to change the party line on the EU, two weeks before a general election?"

Leading article, Times, 20 April 2010

Read more:

All Eyes On Germany. The Awful Moment Of Euro Reality Is Here.

In the world's markets, it is being assumed that the rescue of the Greek Euro is a done deal. It isn't. The potential for this situation to crack open and spill in all directions is still very much in place. Only now is Germany faced with the reality of bailing out the weaker Euro countries. It will require billions and billions going into the future. Quite simply Germany cannot afford it.

How long will it take before the political wish to keep the eurozone intact is faced with the impossibility of doing so? That moment is getting closer by the day.

Open Europe writes -

German Finance Minister says Greek bailout conditional on further austerity
The Times reports that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has warned that his government may block the Greek rescue package until the country agrees to tougher austerity measures. "The fact that neither the EU nor the German Government has taken a decision means that the response can be positive as well as negative," he said. "It depends entirely on whether Greece goes through with the strict austerity in coming years." Wall Street Italia quotes Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesman for the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, saying, "any member State can block. It is their right if they still think that it's not yet needed and the financial stability of the euro area is not at stake."

A bail-out could still be effectively refused. If the terms are made so onerous that Greece would not want the bail-out offered, that is as good as Germany refusing one. But is a bail-out even legal?

The WSJ notes that Mr Schauble is due to meet with the Bundestag's parliamentary parties' floor leaders later today to discuss the bailout. Hermann Otto Solms, a finance spokesman for the FDP, a junior member of the governing coalition, said: "Our party is very concerned that it is not going to be a one-off rescue, but will turn into continuous, automatic help for any country that ends up like Greece. That we cannot accept". Die Zeit quotes him saying, "We do not want an EU monetary fund." Guido Westerwelle, the FDP Foreign Minister said: "Greece cannot receive a blank cheque".

Angela Merkel's coalition partners, the Bavarian CSU don't want to bail out Greece, full stop.

Hans-Peter Friedrich, head of the CSU group, said Greece should "seriously consider leaving the eurozone," according to the Telegraph. The Chairman of the SPD opposition, Sigmar Gabriel, is quoted in Die Welt saying, "[Chancellor Angela] Merkel has deceived the Germans."

Yet to the media it is unthinkable that the eurozone would not be saved. The whole political structure of the EU is swaying in the breeze. What happens when the wind accelerates, and the next storm comes in? It will crack. That's what it will do.

A Die Welt leader argues, "The German chancellor can make as many admonitions as she pleases. She could even threaten to turn down the request for aid. But this is no more than politically motivated banter. In the end, Germany will transfer its billions over to Greece - the pressure from European partner states and the financial markets is too strong".

Yet a note of realism is struck in the British media.

The Guardian notes that ministers have again warned that the EU-IMF bailout package will end up being far more than the initial €45bn promised with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, pointing out that the €30bn pledged by the EU for the €45bn bailout was just for the first year of a three-year deal.

In the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues, "Europe is at last paying the price for fudging the true implications of EMU 19 years ago in that Medieval city on the Maas, gambling that it would one day be able to lead Germany by the nose into a debt union." A WSJ editorial argues "a bailout would, of course, end nothing. What it would do instead is open a wide new world of moral hazard - for Greece, for the countries providing aid, and for the future of the entire euro-zone."

The clock is ticking.

Market rates for Greek debt are surging this morning.

The FT todayThe Greek two-year bond yield jumped 258 basis points to 12.71 per cent – a fresh high since the country joined the euro in April 2001. The premium investors demand to hold Greek bonds over German bunds also rose to 12 percentage points.

“The probability of a Greek default is close to zero if the country receives a bail-out from the IMF and the EU,” said Gary Jenkins, head of fixed-income research at Evolution. “But in the medium term, there is still a big chance of a default unless the Greek economy improves. Investors are worried that it won’t.”

The WSJ - The Greek debt crisis is approaching a moment of truth. With short-term Portuguese, Spanish and Irish bonds falling sharply Monday, euro-zone policy makers are running out of time to stop the crisis engulfing other member states and threatening the euro area as a whole. To avoid contagion, three things must happen: The Greek problem must be sealed off; countries need to flawlessly fulfill their deficit-reduction promises; and global growth needs to be buoyant. That's a tall order.

(Associated Press
Stock price tickers flash green, indicating gains, at the Athens stock exchange on Friday, April 23. Shortly later, Prime Minister George Papandreou called for the activation of a joint eurozone-International Monetary Fund financial rescue to pull his country out of a major debt crisis.)

In the near term, policy makers need to squash all talk of a Greek debt restructuring because any suggestion a euro-zone country might default would be disastrous for other member states. But that requires European politicians to persuade an increasingly skeptical market that Greece's problem is one of liquidity, rather than solvency.

A few weeks ago, a one-year €45 billion ($60 billion) support package might have bought Greece and the euro zone some respite. Now, the markets increasingly appear to be demanding a much bigger display of confidence: Barclays Capital estimates €90 billion over three to four years might be needed. Get this wrong and serious damage could be done to the European banking system. Belgian, French, German and Dutch banks all have significant exposures to southern Europe, J.P. Morgan notes. Yet the bigger the liquidity-support package, the greater the risk of losses for other member states if Greece's problem does indeed turn out to be one of solvency. That makes the situation much trickier politically.

It's a choice of eat a small amount of shit now and bail out Greece, or eat a massive amount of shit later. The only problem is the small amount is still far too large for European governments to raise in their current enfeebled condition. And politically it could open up a whole new can of worms, where the German government is put into conflict with German courts over the specific prevention of bail-outs in Treaties. A large majority of the German people would also be turned against the EU. The political fall-out could even be greater if the bail-out goes ahead than the financial fall-out if it doesn't.

In reality there is only one destination, a break-up of the eurozone. As politicians cannot stomach the prospect, it will be an event-driven dislocation and collapse.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Liam Fox Warns Of Russian Rearmament

There are still many questions unanswered about the crash which killed Poland's President Kaczynski. To my mind the suspicions are strong that the plane crash was caused deliberately, and it was part of a coup d'etat in Poland where Prime Minister Tusk wiped out all effective opposition to EU federalism, the Euro, ending Kaczynski's attempts to build an independent Poland, allied militarily with the USA.

Not many people want to look beyond the media statements given out at the time by all Russian and European media that Kazynski himself caused the crash, despite all the details provided in support of that theory proving to be incorrect. There were the sounds of gunshots recorded at the crash site, which were small calibre, not rapid or random as you would expect from exploding ammunition, but steady and deliberate.

The world does not want to think the unthinkable as yet. Which is foolish in the extreme.

If Russia is complicit in a coup d'etat in Poland, that demonstrates that Russia is potentially a far more serious threat than previously believed. The 'coup' happened the next day after Obama signed a Treaty with Putin on reductions in nuclear weapons, which on the face of it seemed reassuring.

It is instructive to return to an article called Energy - The New Cold War written by Liam Fox in The Times in 2007, in which he stated that Russia was unilaterally withdrawing from the Treaty On Conventional Forces in Europe. He wrote the following -

Russia’s petrodollars are financing a $189 billion overhaul of its armed forces between now and 2015. They will purchase more than 1,000 new aircraft and helicopters, 4,000 new tanks and armoured vehicles and a new submarine fleet. New missiles will carry nuclear warheads. Western addiction to oil and gas is causing us to fund the threat against us.

Reports that Russia is now withdrawing from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty will only fuel suspicions about Putin’s defence posture.

This was before the oil price surged, and the availability of cash to drive the Russian programme can only have increased. Also since then there has been the Russian invasion of Georgia, where the President Saakashvilli reported that the Russians tried to assassinate Kaczynski during a visit there. President Saakashvilli is alone in stating pubicly that the Polish plane crash was a deliberate and evil act.

The Western countries of Europe are living in a dreamworld. Their leaders are locked into a mindset of imagining that the EU is the bringer of peace to Europe, and Russia is neutralised by democracy. Yet the EU is an organisation deeply penetrated by the Russian FSB according to the assassinated Litvinenko, and the Russians are reverting to totalitarianism.

Here is extreme danger. The western countries of Europe disarming, while Russia is rapidly rearming. Liam Fox and David Cameron cannot be unaware of the looming threat, while Clegg seems to be positively advocating immersion into the very political structure, which the Russians are to a greater extent than realised in control of. Brown is a spent force, and is not worth wasting time on.

Britain needs a Conservative government at this time of serious international threat. UKIP should close ranks now, and assist in the defence review that would ensure our armed forces are ready for any threat that is to come from the East.

The Americans and President Obama appear to be less naive as to the threats being faced by the world. LINK to Times article on new worldwide one hour missile.

EXTRACT - White House officials confirmed last week that the president, who won the Nobel peace prize last year, is considering the deployment of a new class of hypersonic guided missiles that can reach their targets at speeds of Mach 5 — about 3,600mph.

That is nearly seven times faster than the 550mph Tomahawk cruise missiles that arrived too late to kill Bin Laden at an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 1998.

“The ability to attack a wide range of targets at intercontinental range, promptly and without resort to nuclear weapons, is of central importance to US national security,” said Daniel Goure, a defence analyst at the Lexington Institute in Virginia.

The White House has requested almost $250m in congressional funding next year for research into hypersonic technologies, some of which harness the shock waves generated by a fast-moving missile to increase its speed further.

The new weapon could be launched from air, land or sea on a long-range missile travelling at suborbital altitudes above 350,000ft. The missile releases a hypersonic pilotless plane that receives updates from satellites as it homes in on its target at up to five times the speed of sound, generating so much heat that it has to be shielded with special materials to avoid melting.

Greek Euro Goes Critical Earlier Than Hoped

The EU was hoping to postpone the Greek bailout until after the British election was over, and they had secured another five years of British europhile government. But the collapse in the bond market for Greek debt has made a more urgent reponse necessary.

This is putting the EU on the spot, as there are many problems yet to overcome if a Greek rescue package is to be put together. For a start many Germans are furious that Germany will be required to pay the lion's share of a bail-out, and there will be legal challenges made.

From the WSJ,

Among other things, investors are wondering whether Greece's rescuers will now demand to be paid back first, putting other bondholders at a disadvantage, Mr. Pamphilon says. That is typical of the IMF, but it's not clear what the euro-zone governments will demand.Mr. Altafaj, the EC spokesman, said talks on this topic were continuing and that there was as yet "no definite answer."

There is also another unknown: How long would European countries agree to prop up their weak neighbor?

Approving the aid request in Germany's parliament will be an exhausting struggle, and critics there have threatened legal challenges. A bailout is deeply unpopular in Germany, which will put up €8.4 billion of the €30 billion euro-zone package.

But that figure is just for this year. Barring an economic miracle, Greece will need more next year, and probably the year after.

"With the bond markets in cardiac arrest," says Ms. Komileva of Tullett Prebon, "there is little hope for Greece but a long period of EU transfers."

This is not what euro-supporting Nick Clegg and Vince Cable need in the next ten days as they gear up for the election in Britain. Cameron need only probe gently and ask questions as to their intentions if Britain is asked to pay Greek debts off.

The EU could yet become an election issue, regardless of all parties' preferences that it does not do so.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cameron's Enjoying This Election

He's finding his style, his themes and is powering up, speeding up, firing up.
One theme I like is -

The politicians have forgotten that the public are the masters, and not the servants.
So true of Labour and also of their bullying state employees attacking small businesses all over the country. Public servants should be that - public servants. Under Brown they have created a Police State which needs dismantling.

He says You will only be sure of change with The Conservatives. Any other vote and you could end up with a Hung Parliament, and endless indecision
Also true. But even worse than that. We will be unable to defend ourselves from the EU, and other outside powers seeing our political weakness.

It's good stuff. Gordon Brown gets Elvis to sing The Wonder Of You about himself. Cameron sings the same tune and applies it to the people. Here are the new positive message posters matching the talk.

National Citizen Service for 16 year olds.
Get rid of ID Cards
Social security payments to require work.
Discipline To Be Put Back Into Schools.
Get all the cancer drugs we need.

Add it all together. You get David Cameron's Big Society

Labour's Election Collapse Exposes Lib Dem Euro Policy

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Labour's collapsing campaign is epitomised by today's Elvis fiasco. It's like they've given up and are walking away. You find yourself wondering how many more surprises this election campaign might hold. Nick Clegg. Elvis Presley. How about another possibility?

I checked back on Letters From A Tory blog (LFAT) and found this post in March, in which the blogger asks if the EU might yet become an election issue. The Greek crisis is forcing the EU to contemplate interventionist measures which are not sanctioned by the Lisbon Treaty. Unbelievably a new Treaty might be needed much sooner than anticipated.

Lisbon was intended to be the last Treaty, but with the ruling of the German Constitutional Court, the primacy of national government, and the requirement for their consent to the transfer of any powers to the EU, combined with the Euro crisis, has opened up an opportunity for David Cameron to state clearly that in Britain such powers will not be granted without a referendum.

In fact he has already done so.

On 3rd November 2009, the day after the Lisbon Treaty was ratified: he said “If we win the next election, we will amend the European Communities Act 1972 to prohibit, by law, the transfer of power to the EU without a referendum. And that will cover not just any future treaties like Lisbon, but any future attempt to take Britain into the euro.” The move would hand the British people a “referendum lock to which only they should hold the key”, Cameron said.

It was not about Westminster striking down individual items of EU legislation but an assurance that the final word on laws belonged to Britain. …He added: “These changes: the referendum lock, the sovereignty bill, stopping the use of ratchet clauses, all these changes can be put in place by our own parliament. They do not require the approval of our European partners – merely the sanction of the British people at the ballot box, which we will seek at the forthcoming general election.

They will put in place real protection for our democracy – protections other countries have but which are missing here in Britain. They would increase accountability, and they would ensure that the breach of trust committed by this Labour government could never happen again.”

If the Greek crisis were to blow up in the next two weeks, so that the EU is forced to break cover, and demand urgent support for a rescue package, Cameron might get a second chance to explain his proposals for stopping the erosion of Britain's national decision-making.

Letters From A Tory, also explains the internal problems facing the EU, as follows -

26th March 2010: Germany and France have tabled controversial plans to create an “economic government of the European Union” to police financial policy across the continent. They have put Herman Van Rompuy, the EU President, in charge of a special task force to examine “all options possible” to prevent another crisis like the one caused by the Greek meltdown. His mission will be to draw up a master-plan for the best way to oversee and enforce economic targets set in Brussels as a key part of a bail-out package for Greece. The options he will consider include the creation of an “economic government” by the end of the year.

“We commit to promote a strong co-ordination of economic policies in Europe,” said a draft text expected to be agreed by EU leaders last night. “We consider that the European Council should become the economic government of the EU and we propose to increase its role in economic surveillance and the definition of the EU’s growth strategy.” …The contentious language was contained in a Franco-German document prepared for an emergency meeting of the 16 “eurozone” countries, in the wings of a summit in Brussels. The talks, over a pre-dinner aperitif, decided on an EU-led “mechanism” for bailing out the crisis-hit Greek economy with the help of the IMF if necessary. Combined with the aid is a German plan for tougher sanctions for countries, such as Greece, that run up massive public debts while failing to reform uncompetitive economies. Mr Van Rompuy is an enthusiastic supporter of “la gouvernement économique” and last month upset many national capitals by trying impose “top down” economic targets.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has called for the Lisbon Treaty to be amended in order to prevent any repetition of the current Greek crisis, which has threatened to tear apart the euro. “I will push for necessary treaty changes so that we can act sooner and more effectively when things go wrong, including with targeted sanctions,” she said. If Merkel’s idea gains momentum, Croatia’s likely EU membership next year would need an “amending Treaty” providing an easy opportunity to lever in proposals for economic government. When the Lisbon Treaty was agreed, European leaders, including Mr Brown, said that it would be the last attempt to change the EU’s basic rules until least 2020.

Sensing that the crisis could help Cameron, LFAT continues -

I wonder, I wonder. Could it be that the EU still has a headline or two up its sleeve that might cause Labour an enormous headache and in doing so hand the initiative back to David Cameron? He was unable to stop the Lisbon Treaty being ratified, but that doesn’t mean Europe can’t become an election issue given his unequivocal stance on more power being handed to the EU in future. Ironically, the EU has given Cameron a lot of problems in the last few years, yet now it is on the verge of playing right into his hands….

LFAT wrote this a month ago, when it was not foreseeable that Labour would collapse and the LIb Dems surge to replace them as Cameron's primary opponents. Labour's EU policies were cryptic to say the least. The Lib Dems on the other hand are entirely open about supporting the Euro and the EU. It would be manna from heaven if the Euro crisis were to break before polling day. It would chrystalize in British voters' minds that we should be very wary of joining the Euro, first of all. And Cameron could highlight that we will be asked to stump up tens of billions to rescue the Euro. He could demand that a referendum be held immediately after the election, once the EU's proposals are known. Clegg would be stranded.

Brown's ''We Are The Champions'' Moment

Watching the Labour Party Elvis on the BBC singing 'The wonder of you' was excruciatingly embarrassing. It was like another Neil Kinnock moment, when they sang 'we are the champions' at the pre-election rally.

Channel 4 version!

Looking at this performance, I've realised what the problem is. They keep singing the wrong songs. Kinnock should have sung not Queen's 'We are the champions', but their equally well known 'Another one bites the dust'.

Likewise, Brown should not have been serenaded with 'The Wonder Of You'' but an adapted 'Return To Sender'. I suggest a few lines for this below -

We keep on voting Conservative,
But Labour keeps coming back…

They put hundreds of votes in the mail box,
and send them special D.
You can vote for whoever
But Brown’ll come back, you’ll see.

In two weeks time, Elvis can come back and do a Brown version of Heartbreak Hotel.

Ever since dear Tony left me,
The Party's been total Hell.
He never lost an election,
But I ain't done so well.

Music and politics can mix well if done right.

Boris Johnson shows how it's done.

No one minds a knees up. But these Labour election-time musical cock-ups are becoming a regular feature.

Cringe. Double Cringe.

What will they do as an encore? Gordon Brown miming 'I Just Wanna Be Your Teddy Bear'

The original Kinnock pre-election 'We Are The Champions' strangely doesn't appear on Youtube. So here's The Queen doing it.

Takes you back, doesn't it. As does this one of Kinnock, before Labour went 'new -


Someone's found the Kinnock Original

Friday, April 23, 2010

Polish Crash Was Orchestrated Coup D'Etat

Shocking news comes out that the guy who filmed the video minutes after the Polish air crash has been murdered. He was stabbed then rushed to hospital, where he has stabbed again by three men who came in and switched off his life support system.

Next up - Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy and Prince Charles all cancelled their visits to the funeral of President Kaczynski at Krakow. Merkel could have driven there from Berlin easily enough so what's going on?

The gun-shots videoed in the wood in Smolensk are said to be from a small calibre pistol. It is speculated that a military group went in and shot the survivors of the plane crash.

The Tupolev plane had its own terrain proximity warning device, so the pilot would have known he was in trouble when he was sent on the wrong descent line, but as I've found on pilot websites, it was tragically too late when he realised he had been duped into taking a lethal descent line into a depression.

The bodies and the personal belongings have all been removed from the crash site and sent to Moscow. Journalists were prevented from reaching the crash site.

A Russian journalist said that the radar equipment at Smolensk was dismantled after a visit by Donald Tusk and Putin. Another report says that the runway lamps were seen being replaced after the accident.

Their temporary removal would have made finding the runway impossible in one kilometre visibility.

The most likely explanation from all the known facts is that the pilot approaching the airport was given false information as to the real location of the runway, and was lured into a depression nearby on a wrong descent line.

There are also allegations being made that many of the people alleged to have died on the plane were not there at all, but were arrested in Poland and murdered and delivered to the crashed plane. The shots were necessary to ensure that no one survived the air crash.

This could not have happened without the cooperation of Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister, working in cahoots with Putin. The Heads of State from around the world might have feared that more assassinations were planned at the funeral of President Kaczynski, or they simply realised the full shocking truth of what has happened and cannot attend a funeral organised by Kaczynski's murderers.

This was not a plane crash, but a coup d'état by the Polish Prime Minister Tusk supported by the Russians and the EU. Poland's maintaining of the Zloty will likely be terminated from here, and Poland's willingness to cooperate with the US over the placing of missiles and defences ended.

Central Europe is now effectively defenceless, and the front line to the East, that was once Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania will become Germany and Austria once more. The greatest shock to me is not that these events have happened, but that there has not been one report in the British Press, or TV.

In a political debate, one of the leading candidates Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, attacks the Polish independent opposition as homophobes, anti-Semites and racists. The freedom of Europe including the freedom of Britain is once more at serious risk, but this time from its own internal political structures, as well as from foreign military threats. Danger bells should be ringing. A country that can do this, can go to war, and intends to do so.

Germany has become a defenceless weakling. Europe is now in serious military danger, and the Polish coup d'etat demonstrates that. Nick Clegg is on the inside of this latest threat to our freedom, just as was Blair. Their biggest mistake is not their vanity though that is indisputable in both cases, but their naivety and their tendency to trust the Russians, who are rearming rapidly while their internal economy disintegrates.

Danger. Danger. Danger. Danger. Danger.

The Polish Plane Crash is Europe's warning. This was a coup d'etat. From here we must move fast to defend ourselves. Yet dear old Clegg wants to help the Russians yet more by removing Trident. David Cameron, it's going to down to you.

Will Cameron Attack Clegg Over The Euro?

photoshop job required

In the debate last night Cameron went one step down the road of making the EU an election issue, by pointing out that the other two betrayed their promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. He didn't bring up Lib Dem support for the Euro, and nor did he make any fresh statement about repatriating powers and renegotiating.

But you can be sure of one thing. The focus groups will be working today to see if the EU might have any traction for him as an election issue. Clegg is far more vulnerable than Brown on this, being pro-Euro and openly supportive of EU federalism, while Brown has played his cards closer to his chest.

If the issue does have any way to help Cameron to bring Clegg down a peg or two, the temptation to use it will be great. Cameron could attack the Lib Dems directly over the Euro. He would suddenly be in a great position to do this, if the Germans propose a new treaty to save Greece's membership of the Euro, which could happen before May 6th.

Merkel is trying to get agreement on a new Treaty to raise the funds to save the currency. Clegg will want Britain to support this action, which could cost the country GBP10-20 billion, which we cannot afford. Cameron could then bring this issue to the fore of the election campaign, and insist that a referendum must be held before Britain agrees to bail out Greece and the Euro. Clegg would not be in favour, and the issue would stall his charge, and provide an axis for Cameron to lever Clegg.

Open Europe writes -

The three leaders clashed on Europe, with Cameron saying that voters had been "cheated" because there had not been a referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty, promised by both Labour and the Lib Dems. He added, "What you are hearing from the other two is, frankly, do not trust the people. Do not ask them when you pass powers from Westminster to Brussels. Just give in to everything that comes out of Brussels and do not stand up for your country."

Clegg said he would offer "a referendum on the fundamental issue [of EU membership], do we stay in or do we go out," adding that he would campaign to remain in the union. Cameron responded saying, "This idea that what people want is an in-out referendum, I don't think it's right. It's a con." Clegg also attacked the Conservatives allies in the European Parliament. Brown said: "I am afraid David is anti-European, Nick is anti- American. Both of them are out of touch with reality."

In the Times, Bronwen Maddox notes that "Nick Clegg escaped a direct challenge about the euro (he, alone of the three, wants to take Britain into the currency zone)." On his BBC blog, Gavin Hewitt argues, "The debate came down to this: the Conservatives will resist any new powers going to Brussels. The differences between Labour and the Liberal Democrats over Europe are slight."

The Euro could yet light up though, and become a crunch issue. Cameron will be weighing up the pros and cons each day. Due to the German Constitutional Court decision on the Lisbon Treaty, any bail-out of Greece would require a new Treaty, but they will not announce one in time to help David Cameron's election chances, if they can help it.

But as they wait each day, and try to avoid an announcement of a new treaty, the crisis moves closer to irretrievability. Interest rates in Greece went over 9% yesterday. The sums required are rising to Euro 130 billion by 2012, and even that might well not be enough. The hole is simply getting too big to fill.

Open Europe writes -

An article in Spiegel examines predictions that Greece will need up to €130 billion in aid before the end of 2012 and quotes German FDP politician Frank Schäffler saying "It is possible that Germany will have to make more than €30 billion of euro credit available before the end of 2012...After that it could be more. Greece is a bottomless pit."

Cameron must be tempted to raise this issue with Clegg. He could start by saying - 'The price of saving the stricken Euro is very high. If Merkel asks us to fork out to save the Euro, Britain must hold a referendum on this issue alone. Britons must at last be given a choice.'

UPDATE - Only today the Greeks are formally asking to be rescued. From the FT,
Greece will ask its eurozone partners to activate a €30bn rescue package following a week of intense pressure on financial markets, the country’s prime minister has said.

George Papandreou, speaking on Friday from the Aegean island of Kastelorizo, said he had asked the finance minister to “take all the necessary steps” to draw down the package.

Apr-22“We believe our European partners will act decisively and provide Greece with a safe haven to rebuild our ship [of state] with strong and reliable materials,” Mr Papandreou said.

Surely Cameron will react to the news, and challenge Clegg to state whether he would ask Britain to put up money for the rescue without a referendum.

Clegg Dances On Polish President's Grave

Who does Nick Clegg think he is?

He lets rip at the political beliefs of Cameron's allies in the EU Parliament, who are the proteges and allies of the recently assassinated Premier of Poland, President Kaczynski.

He referred to all these people, of who I doubt he knows hardly even one in any detail, as homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist. One commenter on Political Betting writing this morning said this in reply -

Simon, I’m half Polish, and you have to remember it is a Catholic country and has some outdated ideas. They will get there in time, but it will take longer than, say in the UK. I was lucky in that my dad wasn’t hung up on stuff like that. He had a very old fashioned view as to a woman’s role in life, but racist, anti-semite, homophobic no he was not. I know he would have been angry at what Clegg said tonight.

by Kristin April 23rd, 2010 at 3:17 am

Clegg should show respect to traditonal Polish nationalists who have just suffered a terrible tragedy and should not be politically dancing on their graves. If he cannot see that David Miliband's smears against traditional Catholic Polish beliefs are wrong and downright rude, then he should simply keep his mouth shut.

Clegg - arrogant stupid shit.

As I said on Political Betting, in reply, you have to call it an incredible coincidence how a series of national politicians in the EU have died violent deaths in succession. Pim Fortuyn in Holland. Jorg Haider in Autria and now Kaczynski. We were warned by Litvinenko that the Russian FSB had penetrated the EU at the highest levels, and that was why he was eliminated with polonium in London. The only world leader brave enough to state the obvious about the Polish plane crash is Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Gerogia, who stated on CNN that the 'crash' was an evil act. Here is someone who knows first hand what dealing with Putin and his allies is all about.

Clegg is either stunningly naive, or downright evil to be dancing on these peoples'graves. How many more will die before Clegg's EU paymasters are brought down, and Europe's nations can breathe free once more. It makes you realise how brave David Cameron is, and how we don't need an idiot like Clegg anywhere near the government of Britain. He hasn't got a clue.

See the details of the Polish crash here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cameron Could Make Clegg's Treachery Rebound ON Him

Lib Dem promises on EU referenda stink. Clegg's offer of an IN/OUT referendum on the EU is about as manipulative as it is possible to be.

The Lib Dems stood for election promising a referendum on the EU Constitution in 2005, as did the Conservatives. But when the test came in the debate on ratifying the EU Constitution in the Lisbon Treaty, Clegg had the referendum voted down in both houses of Parliament. Hannan tells the story best. Click the link above.

Clegg's offer of an IN/OUT referendum now is circumscribed with a condition, which would enable him to say the right circumstances had not occurred. He is vulnerable on his betrayal of his earlier promise and needs to muddy the waters. Cameron needs to probe Clegg's 'promise'and point out that his party voted for the referendum, just as they promised.

But he could also go a lot further, and this might be the ideal moment to do so.

But could he pull a eurosceptic rabbit out of the hat here, and use the debate as the opportunity to expound a development of his current EU policy?

Could Cameron not adopt the same promise without the blocking condition?

If Cameron were to offer an IN/OUT referendum on the EU at some time during the next Parliament without any conditions attached, that would surely clinch the deal. He would only be agreeing with Clegg and the media euro-luvvies after all, and merely removing conditionality.

Here is a great opportunity to use Clegg's treachery back against him, not be perceived as an aggressor, but as the supporter of a policy proposed by his opponents. Cameron's promise to renegotiate and repatriate powers has always been criticised as lacking any real teeth. With an IN/OUT referendum required as part of the Conservative position on the EU, without conditions, to be held during the next Parliament, Cameron would seize the initiative from Clegg, and romp home.

The wonderful part about it is that all he would be doing is saying to Clegg - 'I agree with your approach to the problems of Britain's EU membership. Let's first attempt a renegotiation to see if we can improve the terms of our membership though, and then let's ask the people if the new terms are good enough. Yes. Let's do it. Let's hold an IN/OUT referendum during the next Parliament without conditions'.

He could make Clegg sound like the eurosceptic, saying that it is better to attempt a renegotiation than just to quit the EU in an IN/OUT referendum.

From Ted commenting on PB

On thread - the Lib Dems are only offering a once off IN/OUT referendum. If you vote OUT you don’t get another vote. If you vote IN then there is never a need for another vote - except of course when Government panics and agrees a new relationship “to stop economic meltdown”.

Cameron is proposing that each change is judged on its merits and put to the people but should say he’d consider offering an In/Out referendum as well if the situation demanded it (other countries wanting major change in treaties).

and a comment from lauranceallen -

I think Cameron is going to come out swinging tonight, last week they said he was too timid, i think we may see a lion roar tonight, passionate anger, he does this best.

It ties in with the story i read today, Cameron saying this was make or break tonight.

Cameron may just go for the whole enchilada tonight and lay waste and telling the truth, damn them if they don’t like it.

Sky News projecting party leader's faces on the white cliffs advertising tonight's debate (Hattip Guido).

(it's why we are called Albion by the way - it means the white island, same derivation as The Alps meaning the white mountains)

Open Europe today explains why Nick Clegg loves the EU so much -

The Sun, Times and the Telegraph cite Open Europe's calculations that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg received an estimated £2.5 million in salaries and allowances over ten years working in the EU institutions. His gross salary over five years working for the Commission was calculated as €282,518 while his salary as an MEP from 1999-2004 was €484,883, based on average exchange rates at the time.

Mr Clegg was also entitled to up to €52,444 in allowances as a Commission official, €1.05 million as an MEP for his travel, office and subsistence, and an additional €1 million available for his office staff at the European Parliament.

While the figures for Mr Clegg's past salaries are known, the lack of records kept and requirements for receipts mean there is no way of knowing the exact expenditure of the allowances.

Open Europe's Mats Persson is quoted in the Sun saying, "He's been part of the privileged political class for years." The Times quotes Mats saying, "By no definition can he be considered a political outsider and his claims to being one are simply not credible.

For ten years he was on the EU's generous payroll, so it is no surprise that he is out of step with the British public on Europe, including on his insistence that the UK should still join the euro, which is a ludicrous idea in light of recent events."

Meanwhile, the Telegraph notes that, while a partner at Brussels-based lobbying firm GPlus, Mr Clegg was involved in a successful lobbying effort by the Royal Bank of Scotland to weaken EU financial regulations.

Clegg ain't gonna be holding any IN/OUT referendums any time soon.

Fleet Street Slaps The Flopacrats

Fleet Street out in force today attacking Clegg for his hopeless policies, and his tendency to receive money into his personal bank account from lobbyists.

This all adds up to one thing.

The Sun, The Telegraph, The Mail, Express et al don't believe Clegg will make it to power, and they don't care if they hurt him. They want to demonstrate loyalty to Cameron, and get onside.

The Lib Dem surge, now falling away, just isn't big enough.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today's Apt Comments

Political Betting always has great comments. Never more so than this week during the latest surge of the Lib Dems, the party favoured on the site. In case you're too busy to read the thousand odd comments placed each day, here's a selection, funny, informative and relevant. I find reading blog comments the quickest way to take a snapshot of political debate at ground level each day. I might do another group tomorrow if this gets any hits or response. I hadn't realised the Lib Dem IN/OUT referendum promise was back again, for example.

1. Humour From Lib Dem Philippe Magnan

“Which is more popular: Nick Clegg or sex?”

Well, I haven’t feel a serious sexual urge since a week (which is uncanny), coze I’m surfing on the Clegg surge.
I’m hoping to attain a big Cleggasm on May the 7th.

by Philippe Magnan April 21st, 2010 at 5:53 pm

2. Clegg's VAT On New Houses Policy From Billericay dave

Cam should ask Clegg about the VAT on new houses ? see how he squirms on that.

by billericay dave April 21st, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Link to Telegraph.

3. Lib Dem positions on Europe recounted by Richard Nabavi

39 tabman - Except they’ve dropped the policy. This is a classic LibDem Triple U-Turn:

Pre-2005: A referendum on the EU Constitution (aka Lisbon).

Post-2005: Oops, scrub that, In/Out referendum

A few months ago: Oops, scrub that, In/Out referendum no longer needed

Now, from the manifesto: The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.

by Richard Nabavi April 21st, 2010 at 5:56 pm

replied to by Kristin -

Richard Nabavi @61

the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU?

And the devil will be in the detail. Who defines 'fundamental' exactly ? I wouldn’t trust them on any referendum after their walkout on Lisbon.

Sorry guys you broke a promise.

by Kristin April 21st, 2010 at 6:03 pm

4. Weathercock Spots A Groupie

Just spotted a big yellow coach heading over Tower Bridge…

…alas, it wasn’t the Cleggmobile!

by Sandy Rentool April 21st, 2010 at 5:42 pm


by weathercock April 21st, 2010 at 5:49 pm

5. Dave B reports David Blackburn’s write up of the Chancellors debate:

“For all his presentational and political skills and his extraordinary ability to express complicated economic arguments with clarity, Cable floundered on the detail. In fact, he sank. “

Link to Spectator.

by Dave B April 21st, 2010 at 6:21 pm


6. from anonymous and dangerous

Philippe Magnan @21

The time to know when something is more rock solid is during the last week of campaigning.

Doubt if Clegg’s current surge will significantly drop for next week, but there are a LOT of undecideds out there. And if they’re still undecided after the last debate, anything can happen.

by anonymous and dangerous April 21st, 2010 at 5:46 pm

7. And one great comment from Iain Dale's Diary -

realist said...

I heard Mr Clegg being interviewed on Radio 4 at lunchtime. He plainly sounded uneasy with some of his answers. These questions were put by the public supposedly, I can't help feeling that he would not put up a very good argument on some policies, under agressive questioning, (Nuclear arms, immigration and Britain's place in Europe seemed to cause him to start waffling). Am I alone or did anyone else notice.

April 21, 2010 6:11 PM

Clegg's Beloved Euro Racing To Destruction

Clegg's Euro advances to destruction. Yesterday, despite all the cluck-clucking from the IMF and the ECB, markets decided that Greece is becoming a greater and greater risk. No matter how much money they throw at the problem, without growth, the economy can only sink further. And without quitting the Euro, the level of currency will make growth impossible.

Open Europe -

Meanwhile the FT reports that a 20-strong team from the EU and IMF began negotiations in Athens today over the details of an aid package for Greece. Despite the issuance of three-month securities on Tuesday at a lower interest rate than many had expected, pressure continues to grow, with yields on Greek debt topping 8 percent (their highest level since 1998) according to Bloomberg as well as growing domestic opposition to austerity plans.

At what point will the inevitable happen?

Proportional Representation? LDs Are Pulling Our CLeggs.

There is much discussion on threads about PR and the claim by the Lib Dems that it would be a fairer system than FPTP. I wrote this in reply on one thread -

The Lib Dems will never want PR. It’s a con that they will continue with, until their bluff is called. Under PR they would be wiped out by the Greens nicking a large share of their support, and they would be sent into third place again by UKIP, as they were in the Euro Parliament elections.

Once FPTP starts working for them, all references to PR will be quietly dropped.

It's an old saw, but turkeys don't vote for Christmas, and if the LDs do make enough progress and start winning under FPTP, they won't want to help all of Britain's minor parties to take away what they have just got their hands on. Come on! It's flippin' obvious.

LD PR promises and discussions are a con.

Heavies Start Election Harassment Campaigns

Every day I click on my blog and each day I cannot get in. I key my password but it says incorrect. It's happened three days in succession. I go through the password rescue procedure and get back up and running, but it is a bit of a bore doing it each time, and you worry if there's some other reason than the obvious.

It reminds me of all previous election periods where I was active in writing or campaigning. Phones would stop working mysteriously. Non-existent emails would be sent to my friends as if from me. All kinds of general harassment.

There is an election in progress now.

The system is desperate to keep Nick Clegg ahead of Cameron, and stop a eurosceptic Prime Minister from winning power in Britain. I guess I can expect heaps more trouble, as can all other activists trying to stop Britain becoming the totalitarian state, that Clegg and his Euro chums would love it to be.

I will continue writing my message on here. I'm not even using my phone now until after the election, so they can't tamper with that, and the goons they pay to follow you around will have to fly a long way to harass me where I am working.

Mind you, they followed me to Italy just after the election in 2001, which was shocking. They have large resources to deploy to stop activists from working against their schemes. Nothing would surprise me any more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UKIP, Are You Listening?

From the Coir campaign E-zine -

As campaigning gets underway in Britain, leading up to the general election on 6 May, the Conservative party have published its election manifesto, vowing to take significant measures to preserve and reclaim as much sovereignty as possible from the EU. They have also vowed to “never” join the Eurozone.

In the manifesto, published this past Tuesday, the party reiterates its longstanding preference for an intergovernmental approach to politics in Europe, saying: “We believe Britain’s interests are best served by membership of a European Union that is an association of its member states.”

And this “co-operation, not federation” stance is supported by the policy proposed in the document. In one instance, the party promises voters that it will introduce a “sovereignty bill” which will declare that “ultimate authority” rests with the British Parliament, not with Brussels. And in another instance, the party promises to re-negotiate the opt-out “guarantees” they got from Brussels on the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the areas of criminal justice and in social and employment legislation.

Ultimately, on this question, the Conservatives are very clearly seeking to repatriate competencies already given over to the EU, saying: “We seek a mandate to negotiate the return of these powers from the EU to the UK.”

The Irish eurosceptics seem impressed, even if the diehards of UKIP are not.

Full article HERE.

Polish Plane's Flight Path

click on the images

These pictures come from a Russian professional pilot's website, (provided from a commenter whose wife speaks Polish), and answer some questions about the crash while leaving others unanswered. The trees in the plane's flight path leave a pathway of lopped off branches, the one below showing that the plane had banked to almost 90 degrees to the ground trying to avoid impact.

From the flight path picture above, the green line shows the correct approach to Smolensk airport. For some reason the plane descended on a steeper line and headed into a depression. The pilot realised his error and tried to regain altitude, but before he could do so, he began to hit a series of trees, which were in his way as he climbed up and out of the depression.

The plane was clearly not shot down. And the pilot and passengers clearly endured a white-knuckle ride lasting several seconds, before meeting their deaths.

But why did the pilot descend at a steeper angle than he should have done, and get into the depression in the first place?

Once he was fighting to clear trees it appears he lost part of his port-side wing, which fatally compromised the flight.

Did Air Traffic Control advise him of his incorrect descent, or did they give him the course he took, wrongly stating his position?

He must have been confused as to his exact position for some reason. Without clear visibility, and without electronic landing facilities at Smolensk, he depended completely on Air Traffic Control to tell him his position and give him his angle of descent.

What went wrong? That question has still not been answered.


Smolensk crash voice recorder damaged
Tue Apr 20 2010 11:42:32 GMT+0800 (Taipei Standard Time) · by theanchoragedailyruse · 22 replies · 511+ views
The Voice of Russia ^ | Apr 19, 2010 | none
The Tupolev-154 jet that crashed near Smolensk on April 10th suffered significant damage and deciphering information in it poses considerable difficulty.

The two flight data recorders are well preserved and have been fully examined – the Russian-made one, by a lab in Moscow, and the Polish-made one, by its makers in Poland. The work on the voice box is to continue in Moscow in cooperation with Polish engineers. On the coming Tuesday, the Polish side of the crash probe will unveil its findings at a Warsaw news conference.

So we will hear a detailed professional Polish report next Tuesday. The plane had escaped the depression and was climbing free, when it suddenly fell to earth. Damage from the trees probably had made the plane unairworthy.

Key questions would be -

'Did air traffic control wrongly identify the plane's position to the plane?'

If the plane's voice recorder is damaged, what do the tapes from Smolensk air traffic control reveal about the conversations with the flight?

What course and speeds did the air traffic controllers give to the plane before it crashed?

Had part of the port-side wing fallen away after impacting a larger tree, making the plane unairworthy, causing it to fall from the sky at a speed which explains the violent nature of the impact with the ground?

In the graphic of the plane's last moments, the broken wing appears to have changed sides, from port to starboard. From the crash site pictures, it would be possible that the plane was upside down when it crashed.