Daily Archives: 3 February 2008

The New Battle for Britain are SPLITTERS!

Horrors! The latest issue of Quaequam Blog!’s favourite anti-EU conspiracy rag is in danger of getting pulped. UK Column editor David Noakes explains why:

However The New Battle for Britain Group, under the pretext of using a cheaper courier, sent a lorry to collect 87,000 copies and now tell me they have put them in a warehouse in Birmingham. In another few days the whole lorry load (3 tons) will have to be pulped as out of date, which seems to be their intention.

The Reform Treaty is going though Parliament now. We could have got January and February editions out throughout Britain, urging people to visit their MP in his surgery and vote against the Reform Treaty. With two editions, 200,000 copies, we might have changed the minds of the 70 MPs we need. Now it will be a miracle if we get one edition out.

From my home in Falmouth I produced the Plymouth and Devomport Column, the Cornish Free Press, the UK Column and the British Free Press. It takes a solid month as editor, production, typesetting, writing 90% of the articles, sending it to the printer for each issue. With today’s technology it is a one man operation. Each month I donate my efforts, and the newspapers, to the anti-EU cause and to you, the readers.

The NBFBG’s contribution has been to field the phone calls, and act as trustee for the many donations the paper receives; they also owe a duty of care for my month’s time and effort.

I say to the NBFBG: please deliver the paper now, before you compromise your legal position as trustee. And I ask you our supporters, to phone them up on 01752 312743 and ask them to release and deliver the paper.

David Noakes. 07974 437 097

The probable cause is: On Sunday 5th January Brian Gerrish of the NBFBG agreed in a meeting at the Novotel to back the original name, the British Free Press, the name first chosen, as Brian’s “Column” name (military connotations etc.) was causing too many people to bin the paper without reading it. During that following week he changed his mind. But it should not be about Brian Gerrish. It is about getting out of the EU dictatorship.

It’s quite clear, to me at least, that the NBFBG have been infiltrated by Common Purpose. This is a sinister plot to ensure that the EU Police State is ushered in with no debate whatsoever!

Fortunately, the latest issue, now called the British Free Press (formerly the UK Column, formerly the Plymouth and Devonport Column) is available online (pdf). If it you can discover that:

  • The recent scandal over social services taking children into care is a Nazi / EU plot.
  • The BBC has been infiltrated by Common Purpose and is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • The adoption of the Reform Treaty will usher in the End Times predicted by the Book of Revelation.
  • The Academy Schools programme is a secret way to give paedophiles access to our children as part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • The Evangelical Alpha Course, run by the son of German Jews, is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • The Queen is a “New Age Fabian” who misrepresented Christ in her Christmas broadcast.
  • The recent stock exchange crash is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • The Guardian and Lib Dem support for scrapping ID cards is part of a Nazi / EU plot because we’ll all have to have EU ID cards anyway.
  • All elections to local government have been abolished by our EU overlords.
  • Craig Venter is planning to take over our minds with his artificial life jiggery-pokery (possibly as part of a Nazi / EU plot – it isn’t clear).
  • Immigration is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • UKIP is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • Gordon Brown is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • The Justice system is part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • Uniquely among MPs, Tory Mark Field is NOT part of a Nazi / EU plot.
  • Oh, and the “proper” UK flag is a red cross on a white background, because it is the one used by the King of Cornwall who got it off Joseph of Arimathea.

Spread the word!

Is “42 days” a ruse for something else?

Say what you like about the Labour government, they are experts at the art of splitting the difference. Even when they lose, by and large they win. For example, the existing rules on allowing terrorist suspects to be locked up for 28 days without charge was a “compromise” eked out of the last time they tried getting their 90 days proposal through.

It looks as if the Labour backbenchers are in no mood to fall for that one again and enough of them will join the Lib Dems and Tories to block the 42 days proposal. But is that the whole story? I was not, for example, previously aware that the counter-terrorism bill included scope for Home Secretaries to ban coroner juries with a stroke of a pen in the interests of “national security“. It sounds like a dreadful idea, but in the kerfuffle over 42 days, how much attention will be paid to it? And for that matter, how many other clauses in this bill are we likely to be concerned about?

Could it be that Jacqui Smith is prepared to lose “42 days” so long as the debate surrounding it succeeds in obscuring all the other bad laws she intends to get through the backdoor? Scrutiny in the Lords can only block so much.

The pope’s a dope!

Two recent stories about the state of the Catholic Church deserve repeating here.

The first regarding Pope Benedict’s decision to pull out of a visit to a Rome university. The reason? Students are up in arms over his defence of the notorious trial of Galileo. Yep, that’s right. Ratzinger’s a flat earther and believes it is justifiable to use censorship and the threat of imprisonment to justify his argument.

Meanwhile, it emerges, that he has ordered exorcist squads in every diocese. An exorcism centre has been opened in Poland (hat tip: Fortean Times). All this to tackle an apparent growth in popularity of satanism.

Know any satanists? Thought not. More to the point, I can think of nothing more likely to encourage disturbed young minds into believing such things are real, and thus worthy of worship, than the news that one of the world’s biggest religions is rededicating itself to wiping it out.

Living in a broadly secular world where talk of demons and evil spirits is generally regarded as silly must be a particularly unpleasant form of Hell on Earth for Ratzinger, so it’s no surprise that he has decided his best course of action is to talk up the (non-existent) opposition. We can only hope it will prove a futile route in the long term and that in the years to come this will be viewed as a last hurrah for this particularly nasty brand of religion.

The Wintertons aren’t abusing the system – the system is the problem

So, let’s get this straight. Nicholas and Ann “ten a penny” Winterton have used the Commons’ Additional Costs Allowance to buy an expensive Westminster flat and, having bought it, have passed it onto a trust to which they now pay rent – via the Additional Costs Allowance.

Shocked? Horrified? Well, you should be, but not at the Wintertons. They are just taking advantage of a fundamentally flawed system. This trick is played by middle class families across the country on a daily basis – the Mail on Sunday commenter claiming that “One rule for all of us, another for MPs” could not be more wrong. And would it really be any less of a waste of taxpayers money if they had never used it to buy a property and instead enriched a private landlord, as a number of MPs self-consciously and piously do? In that respect I have to take issue with Dr Pack over at Lib Dem Voice: the system is most certainly not “reasonable enough.”

If MPs were serious about reform, they’d scrap the ACA and replace it with a trust which MPs could use to buy or subsidise accomodation. If that asset were ever realised, the equity purchased by the trust would simply revert to the trust. This is hardly revolutionary – it’s how the government’s own shared equity scheme for key workers operates. Instead of blowing £20,000 per MP every year, that money would be recycled every time an MP vacated their seat. Given the nature of the housing market, the taxpayer would probably end up making a tidy profit.

But of course, that would mean admitting that the wealth accrued from such investments is fundamentally unearned and a drain on the economy. MPs dare not admit that as it could be the thin end of the wedge. Next thing you know, people would start demanding we tax this unearned wealth in exchange for tax breaks elsewhere. Revolution!

Apolitics poisons everything

I’ve been reading the Rothermere Press’ reasonable, balanced interview with the reasonable, balanced BNP parish council by-election candidate Donna Bailey. If liberty ever dies in this country, it will go out not with a bang, but a whimper; a death by a thousand cuts. And it will be nice, ordinary people like Donna Bailey who will be wielding the knife.

The thing about this article which most struck me was this section:

Simon Birnstingl believes that real disenchantment with Westminster politics has brought the village to this point.

He says many locals are so far removed from the political process – and Westminster politicians so illinformed about what is actually happening in places like this – that parties like the BNP are being allowed to make themselves acceptable.

“There are real issues that are not being addressed, and people are just switching off. I think it is horrific that a lot of people just shrug when you say BNP. They honestly don’t care.”

It’s not that I would take issue with any of that; I’ve said as much myself before. But there is another dimension which doesn’t get talked about anything like as much as it should. That is, that the decline of politics is not simply a Westminster-versus-the-rest-of-us phenomenon but is happening in every town, village and suburb in the country.

Upper Beeding has apparently not had an election since 1974; I believe this. A couple of months ago I did a very nerdy thing and calculated how many candidates stood for the all-out parish council elections in East Sussex last year. I don’t have the figures in front of me but the average number of candidates for each vacancy came to less than 1.1, despite a number of parishes where it was quite competitive. In Wiltshire last year, a BNP candidate was elected unopposed.

Why do so few people stand for parish and community councils? There are lots of factors, but the main ones in my experience are an unholy alliance between a profoundly undemocratic electoral system and a profoundly undemocratic culture that regards elections as vulgar. Villages have a tendency to be ruled over by hegemonies. Political parties in all but name, they dominate by perpetuating the myth that they are above such things. The worst examples of nepotism and venality can be found but somehow this gets justified as a natural feature of village life. It works because the passive majority simply cannot imagine anything else.

It also works because the electoral system makes it almost impossible to break hegemonic power. Anyone who has ever fought an election in a multi-member ward understands this: if you’re serious about winning you have to field a full slate. Otherewise, for example if you field one candidate in a three member ward, for every single vote you get you are guaranteed two votes against you. You might succeed in splitting the vote (the Green Party did this trick in Barnet in 2006 and handed the Tories at least one councillor on a plate), but you make it more difficult to get elected yourself. While this may be a problem in three member primary council wards, many parish councils elect blocs of 10 or even 20. So long as the hegemony enjoys the plurality, its place is secured (I can only laugh hollowly when I read the Tory democratic reform ginger group Direct Democracy support FPTP multi-member constituencies as a way of promoting “choice” and “competition”). In most cases people just don’t bother.

The other side of the coin is that where the hegemony for whatever reason doesn’t manage to get a full slate (they have to die some time…), virtually anyone can slip through the net. That is what Donna Bailey tried to do and Michael Simpkins achieved.

A system like STV which works against hegemonies whether they call themselves political parties, residents associations or even just colleagues would not stop the BNP from gaining elected representatives; far from it. Whether we like it or not, the minority that support the BNP have a right to representation as much as the rest of us (so long as they accept that both they and their political leaders are pariahs). What it would do however is stop them from sneaking into office by the backdoor. It would stop them from being able to acquire hegemonies of their own. And it would stop them from being able to bleat on about how they are discriminated against and instead put the focus on delivery. It is at that point that the BNP invariably fail.

What applies to the BNP applies to everyone else too. The dead weight being carried by parish and community councils across the country is palpable. The clear white light of competition could only do them good.