Monthly Archives: June 2010

Slash and burn.

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I am opposed to the cuts made by this Con Dem Nation, as the Mirror calls the government. The cuts do not go half far enough! This is mere trim and singe as Dr Vince Cable once said. He was saying that even trim and singe was wrong. 

It is not just that waste is a very great moral evil, as Gladstone said. But it will restore to us much of our liberty. All these armies of social workers who harass people, government inspectors etc… away with them! All the form filling and ‘elf n’ safety rules –  out the window. Woo hoo! Back to the ’80s – bring it on!

The Cameron government has tinkered and needs to cut far more deeply. The thing is the consensus is that we need Keynsian economics to get out of this mess. Trouble is that is what we tried under Labour and that got us into this fine state. Job creation appeals to me. We could at least try and create them in producttive sectors and not in counter-productive regulatory roles.

It is like this mythos that is put about that regulation could have saved the bank crash. I think bankers know what they are doing better than politicians. But knowing they are too big to fail hardly encourages caution.

I read about that German doctor who due to a linguisitc error gave a patient 10 times the right dose iof diamorphine, killing the patient. I feel deeply sorry for both men involved. This doctor has been struck off and he should not have been. It was an enormous mistake but think of all the patients over decades he has treated successfully. I would be happy to be treated by him and let him treat my children. The General Medical Council are probably chicken shit because of the media. ‘Killer doctor returns to work’. ‘What if he does it again?’, then I would probably agree with making him find a new career. Well, we have rules saying Americans must prove they speak English but Germans do not. How logical and fair is that?  So much the the EU improving our health and safety. That is why the man died.

If this physician kills again –  you let him do it. But if we strike him off he will not be there to save more lives.

SOS – BP

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An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The word ‘spill’ does not quite do justice to the scale of the calamity. The other oil companies are keen to make BP look like the bad boy and show that they are so safe they this could never happen on their watch. But this s probably false. The safety regs for them are a cut and paste job so it is said. They all refer to saving walruses in that sea despite there having  been none there for three millions of year. Shocker!

Obama alludes to BP as British Petroleum with a particular spite reserved for that adjective. I do not think he is an anti-Britisher. The name of the company for some years has been Beyond Petroleum. People have speculated that Obama is anti-British owing to his grandfather having been interned during the anti-Mau Mau struggle.

I think it is a tad unfair to blame the most senior people for low level decisions that they have little to do with. I suppose the threat of criminal charges hanging over them is the only way to keep them attentive to small stuff.

Contrast the Bhopal disaster. American executives managed to avoid prosecution for decades despite the deaths of thousands of Indians owing to a chemical leak. I have visited the once stricken city. I have heard some men have finally been convicted for this negligence. But will they serve much time.

I have heard it said from a very astute young businessmen that the best thing for BP to do would be to be very honest and candid in its apology. This draws a line under the incident and allows the company to move on. However, doesn’t this open one to having pay hug amounts in compensation? He seemed to think so.

Cameron got it right.

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I have long believed that the Parachute Regiment was fired on on 30 January 1972 and returned fire albeit wildly. I have now changed my mind. The Saville Inquiry was much more extensive than the Widgery Report. Saville could hardly have been more thorough. Costing £190 000 000 and taking 12 years it was too long and too costly. However, in a way the fact that it came out now is good. The Troubles are over quite a long time (notwithstanding some murders by ultra republicans). The situation has calmed down and much rancour abated. Therefore nationalists are not so fervid in seizing on this as a stick with which to beat the Army and unionists are not so knee jerk in defence of the State.

I have not read the report but I have a prejudice towards accepting such reports. Leftists often rejected the Hutton Report and Lord Butler’s one. I am entitled to do the same to this one. Of course this should not be a matter of political balance but an objective quest for the truth however inconvenient that may be for any side or interest.

It would have been better if this inquiry had not been conducted. It is ammunition for the republicans and its cost was exorbitant. It focuses too much on wrongdoing by a group of soldiers to the exclusion of premeditated murder by terrorists, loyalist and republican.

I have much sympathy with what the solicitor for the soldiers said. Evidence was often inconclusive and rather than saying that unsatisfactory as it is that on certain issues no finding can be made, Lord Saville decided to come down on the side of agreeing with the Army’s accusers.

I believe that a soldier is entitled to kill someone who attacks them even if  that is attacking with a stone. I dislike the use of the word protest with regard to 30 January incident. There was a protest earlier on, and illegal one. This then broke up and troublemakers moved in to attack the military. There was a riot at the end as the Derry Young Hooligans closed in to stone and petrol bomb the army. Look at photos of that day in January 1972.  One sees dozens of bricks lying around the soldiers. Having been pelted with these sometimes lethal missiles for months the Paras were beginning to feel that they could not take any more. The Paras are among the most bellicose men in the British Army. Police use minimum force but soldiers use overwhelming force. A soldier’s attitude is –  if you hit me, I will hit you 10 times harder. If you appear to be my enemy, I shall kill you. They say a soldier makes a poor policeman because of their very different role and training. Soldiers can be retrained to act as police but this was not done in Derry. I do not know how many, if any, of those shot were rioters.

What did certain soldiers do wrong? Fire too many bullets. Kill people who were not attacking them. Kill men who were already wounded on the ground and had posed no danger. Kill those going to the aid of the injured. Fail to cease firing when ordered to do so. It is highly likely that some lied about this later. Evidence was falsified to implicate the dead in attacks on soldiers. Paraffin was put on their hands and bombs into their pockets, in one case in a pocket that had a bullet hole in it. This was admitted in 1992 by John Major. Only one of the dead probably had a nail bomb on him.

What should have happened at the time as a court martial and the guilty men would have been sentenced by that to apposite punishment. In this case this would not have been a life sentence because these killings took place in a situation in which the men had been attacked. There is a defence of temporary insanity. Still these men are guilty of slaying 14 people without a reasonable belief that the lives of soldiers were in danger. This maybe does not apply to all of the soldiers who fired that day. In some cases, making a split second decision, they may have misidentified men as carrying weapons when that later turned out not to be the case.

100 bullets or so were fired and 27 people were hit which suggests aimed shots.

The IRA did fire that day –  that has never been disputed. It has now been established that they did not open fire first. But for the IRA there would have been no January 30 incident. They murdered two police two days earlier. Republicans took a very volatile situation and made it worse. They wanted this sort of thing to happen. They wanted to escalate the conflict. They were the chief beneficiaries of that day.

It is perhaps surprising how many people co-operated with the Widgery report.

Having spent so much on it Cameron can only accept the report. Therefore he was right to apologise in political terms. Few in any quarter will oppose this. It is of course totally unfair that only this incident is looked at. So history will record too much the crime of those soldiers and overlook the atrocities of their enemies.

This provides some closure. It would be utterly unjust to try the Paras when their enemies are getting off scot free. Yes there is a price for justice that is too high. There were many better ways to spend that money.

I hope this report aids reconciliation and is not used to stoke tensions. It shows how fair and self-critical the UK is.

The preface to Cameron’s apology was good and crucial. The Army must be praised for its generally superb conduct in Northern Ireland. Yes, some will always do wrong which is why there are courts martial.

How odd.

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I was looking up the regimental quick marches and slow marches of the Brigade of Guards the other day. I saw that of the Irish Guards is ‘Let Erin Remember’, a tune set to the words of a poem by Thomas Moore, the Irish poet not the English martyr, saint and Lord Chancellor. Anyhow Moore’s first strophe has decidedly separatist sentiments

‘Let Erin Remember/ Days of yore ere her faithless sons betrayed her… and this brightesT gem was set in the crown of a stranger.’ I am quoting from memory so please forgive me for any mistakes.

Heaven forfend that the Army should realise that this poem is an ode to Irish republicanism. Soldiers tend to be those of meagre learning and mean understanding. I say ‘tend’, there are brainy ones too. I wonder if it was a practical joke to suggest that. Maybe they got away with it since the foundation of the Irish Guards during De Tweede Vryheides Oorlog, the Second South African War –  commonly called the Boer War.

Forgive the absence

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Dear readers,

Forgive the long absence. I have a new tedious desk job, staring at the screen 8 hours a day so I am less inclined in my free time to type up my rantets.

The Labour leadership election is upon us. The press seems to be paying it precious little attention. Well I supposed many are fed up to the back teeth with politics and want a break – the world cup is on too.

Anyhow, I think Diane Abbot would be about the best choice for Labour. She is too left wing but could moderate. Much though I abominate her views she is honest and genial. She was a total hypocrite over sending her son to a public school. I do not object to her doing the best for her child but I do object to her trying to stop anyone else doing the same thing.  It was like Blair with his children at good Catholic state schools –  breaking Labour policy to send them across boroughs. Lord Falconer and Trevor Philips had their children in public schools, as did Ruth Kelly. But I digress.

Let’s face it the fact that she is a woman and black is very attractive to Labour. These pieces of biodata are no unattractive to me – just neither here nor there. There’d be a lot of ethnic minority people (and right-on whites) and feminists (male and female) who’d vote for her to see the first non-white PM and the second female Premier, a first for Labour.

David Miliband, an oily shit if ever there was one. A conceited square. A policy wonk wanker. Why does he have a reputation for being smart? He was angling to depose Brown a couple of years ago but nothing happened. His brother Ed is a little more alluring as a leader. Ed Balls has a silly voice and sillier name, I cannot see people warning to him.

I think David Miliband will get it and lead Labour to failure.

Andy Burnham would be a decent choice for Labour. His political views are not extreme unlike la Abbot.

Thank phuq that that merkin John McDonnell did not get to stand. He is a cheerleader for the Provisional IRA. The Provos were ultra-nationalist, militarist, sectarian murderers. It is hard not to see them as fascist. They attacked the UK –  one of the most liberal and democratic countries in the world.

Think of when the Provos started their assault on freedom in 1969. Think of all the barbarous regimes around the world – the totalitarian tyrannies like Mao’s China. McDonnell of course believes that the United Kingdom was the most deserving of destruction.

I was chatting to some guys from the International Marxist Group in Oxford yesterday, selling their multicoloured pamphlets. They said that if Saddam had not decimated the Iraqi Communist Party then the Commies would’ve had a good chance of seizing the commanding heights in Iraq. I find this unlikely. I recall how one Commie Iraqi is buried beside the Big Red himself, Dr. K. Marx.

My Trotskyist interlocutor (not Trotskyite, please –  that is a pejorative suffix, -ite) said the CIA opposed democracy in Iraq because otherwise a Castro and not Saddam may have run Iraq. Of course –  Castro is well known for permitting opposition and multiparty elections! Anyhow I said that Saddam and Castro were strikingly similar. Both were proteges of Moscow. They sponsored terrorism abroad, they built up a cult of the personality. I must admit that Castro was no psychotic and made more astute tactical decisions.

Castro –  the Maximum leader, he of the omnipresent image, “The Commander gives the orders” says the billboards with his 10 foot high image.

The one thing I can agree with the Trots on is that the behaviour of the Israeli government is often reprehensible. Yes I need to add the disclaimer that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not against Israel per se. It should not have been created but of course I acknowledge its right to exist. Compared to its neighbours it wins the beauty contest every time for respect for human dignity and self-criticism. But nonetheless it has attacked the Palestinians fairly indiscriminately.

I view the attack on the ships resupplying Gaza as illegal. I did see footage of the men on the ships fighting Israeli soldiers. It is not all a one way street but as usual the Israeli action was disproportionate. But they are backed to the hilt by the US. The US has this moral blind spot –  letting Israel get away with anything. Was it Pat Roberton who called Capitol Hill ‘Israeli occupied territory’? I always get him and Pat Buchanan mixed up.

Israeli does not for the US. This enrage the Muslim and Arab worlds. It hacks off a lot of the Third World and the left generally. Far better for the US to have a godo relationsip with a billion Muslims that 14 million Jews in the world. The Mohammedans have the oil. Suggests that the US is not all into self-interest.

Trouble is that Obama is even more in hoc to the Zionist lobby than a Republican. People call one a Nazi for even alluding to the incontrovertible fact that there is a Zionist lobby. What is the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee then?

The day after Obama got the Dems’ nomination he was cheered to the rafters by a Zionist caucus calling for the use of ‘all possible means’ to prevent Iran getting a nuke. Tip – that means he’d go to war against them.

A war against Iran would be a hard sell after Iraq. A harder fight too – the land is 4 times bigger than Iraq and the population is 3 times bigger. It has a semblance of democracy and the regime is more popular than Saddam’s. The country is not riven by ethnic or religious fissures. The ethnic Azeris are still Iranian patriots in the main. The military has not been degraded in any way. The country’s topography is very mountainous. I would think very carefully indeed before embarking on a conflict there. The US could win, easy. But are they prepared to take the pain? Are they willing to see that many thousands of their boys and girls die? A multiple of their death toll in Iraq? I think not.