Monday, 31 October 2011

Caught between a rock and hard place

For over a decade I was a member of Tunbridge Wells Churches' Social Responsibility Group.  In my view the Christian faith has a 'positive option for the poor'.  Many of my ideas have been influenced by liberation theology. My involvement in the voluntary sector as strategic and operational levels has been as direct consequence of my opinion of the role of the church in society. 

Inevitably I was drawn into controversy, both with secular and church organisations, particularly the latter as I hold to a postmodernist view as expressed by such writers as Don Cupitt, an ordained priest in the Church of England and a Life Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

The role of the church is set our well in Faith in the City: a call for action by church and nation published in 1985 by the General Synod of the Church of England.  One paragraph of the report is relevant as we try to understand the problems at St Paul's Cathedral.

Yet while many members of the Church of England have generally found it more congenial to express their discipleship by helping individual victims of misfortune or oppression, fewer are willing to rectify injustices in the structures of society.  There is a number of reasons for this preference for 'ambulance work'.  No-one minds being cast in the role of protector of the weak and powerless: there is no threat here to one's superior position and one's power of free decision.  But to be a protagonist of social change may involve challenging those in power and risking the loss of one's own power.  Helping a victim or sufferer seldom involves conflict; working for change can hardly avoid it.  Direct personal assistance to an individual may seem relatively straightforward, uncontroversial and rewarding; involvement in social issues implies choosing between complicated alternatives and accepting compromises which seem remote from any moral position.  From the nineteenth century onwards, a distinguished line of Anglican theologians has wrestled with the ambiguities of social action; but most of us still feel a lack of confidence in these grey areas.  We have little tradition of initiating conflict and coping with it creatively.  We are not at home in the tough, secular milieu of social and political activism.

See:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8861089/St-Pauls-branded-laughing-stock-as-Dean-Graeme-Knowles-resigns.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100114564/dean-of-st-pauls-resigns-rowan-waffles-c-of-e-becomes-national-joke/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8858510/Bishop-of-London-branded-hypocrite-as-he-backs-St-Pauls-protest...-and-eviction.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8860546/David-Cameron-and-Ed-Miliband-must-be-inspired-by-the-spirit-of-St-Pauls.html

Interesting comments in the article below - by a Roman Catholic who was a priest in the Church of England:

http://www.tunbridgewells-ordinariate.com/blog/?p=1601

Conservative Future (3)

Third in a series of articles concerning the future of the party as suggested by Conservative Home (or Conservative Majority).

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/majority_conservatism/2011/10/the-economic-policy-we-have-and-the-economic-policy-we-need.html

Southborough Town Council by-election: Vote for Figgett?

This week there is a by-election for a seat on Southborough Town Council. Not a major event in the overall scheme of things but of vital importance for the future of Southborough.

Currently the big issue in Southborough is whether Tesco (or any other supermarket chain) should be permitted to build a store on the Ridgewaye, an important open space.  Local environmentalists are opposed to the scheme, as are local retail businesses.  Without doubt any supermarket will have a serious adverse effect on existing shops and will add to congestion on roads already chronically over-crowded.

The political parties (UKIP, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats) are contesting the seat. 

An Independent is standing who has the splendid name of Spike Figgett.  His platform is one of opposition to the development of the Ridgewaye site and also greater local accountability and participation in decision making.  Localism.  He asks for the support of the voters of Southborough (although whether he will get it is quite a different matter) to send a clear message to the political parties, as they all have seats on the planning authority, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. All are complicit in varying degrees for the disaster that will befall Southborough should planning consent be granted for development of the Ridgewaye.

Breaking News: Greek referendum

Talk about putting a cat amongst the pigeons.  The Greek prime minster has announced there will be a referendum on the eurozone bailout terms. Link below to the full story.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8860967/Greek-PM-calls-referendum-on-EU-debt-deal.html

I wonder if he has discussed this with Merkel?

More on this story:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100114609/greece-gets-its-euro-referendum/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15526719

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jeremywarner/100012911/greece-must-vote-no-to-the-bailout-terms/

Europe: inter-locking problems

World markets have continued to slide, partly on the negative view of the eurozone proposals to deal with the sovereign debt issue, but also on the fear that the world economy is sinking into recession. The OECD report today is depressing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15528949

Resentment and fear are stalking Europe.

Underpinning much of the resentment is the feeling that the eurozone crisis is the fault of Germany in that it in effect has a veto on the actions of the European Central Bank. Germany is ensuring that the ECH cannot engage in quantitative easing or issue euro-bonds.  the ECB is criticised as its interest rate and exchange rate policy gives the impression of being geared to the needs of Germany.  For their part, the Germans claim they have no desire to rule Europe economically.  See:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794970,00.html

Quite apart from the problem of having a prime minister who is a laughing stock, there are underlying concerns about the fragility of Italian society, as well as the cost of selling sovereign bonds.  Three interesting articles:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8858614/Eurozone-crisis-sees-Italy-tire-of-Silvio-Berlusconis-Don-Juan-antics.html
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100012903/italy-europe-and-red-brigade-terror/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8861179/Italys-crisis-deepens-on-eurozone-slump-bail-out-doubts.html

France is worried it  might lose its AAA rating as French banks hold large amounts of Greek sovereign debt.  The Greeks resent their economy being controlled by the EU.  Portugal is heading into recession which will make it impossible for it to repay its sovereign debt.

In the UK, the terms of membership of the EU are coming under ever closer negative scrutiny, which is leading to serious tension within the Coalition.  Three articles worth a read:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8859151/Nick-Clegg-is-out-of-step-with-Britain-over-Europe.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg/8859374/Nick-Clegg-close-ties-with-Europe-are-absolutely-essential.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/8858823/Half-of-Conservative-MPs-want-to-pull-out-of-the-EU.html

Background: useful summary of the main problems:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14934728

Couldn't resist this!


Of course, I am not like this............I prefer Scotch whisky.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

No comment!

More Yuk!!

I read that the British Empire Medal is to make a comeback to reward people who contribute to the development of the Big Society. Doubtless it will encourage the gong-chasers. As usual,  many deserving people will be over-looked.  It will be who you know rather than what you do that will decide who receives the award.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8855649/British-Empire-Medal-to-be-reintroduced-after-20-years.html

Excellent Fireworks in Rusthall

A fine mild evening was the perfect setting for the annual Rusthall Fireworks and Bonfire on Rusthall Common.  Excellent attendance and, as usual, a well- managed event, not forgetting the role of the police in closing roads during the torchlight procession.  Real flaming torches, none of the battery operated nonsense. The display featured fireworks I had not see before. 

My impression was that the display lasted longer than in previous years.

Congratulations to the organising committee, which not only arranges the event, but also holds a number of fund-raising events throughout the year.

A Canterbury Tale

Fascinating place Canterbury.  A pedestrian free shopping centre,  many interesting pubs,  historical buildings in spades and a university.  Truly a jewel, but sadly a gateway to areas of severe deprivation.  Indeed you do not have to travel far within the city to come upon such areas.

On a recent visit I made a short detour to view the new Marlowe Theatre.  An imposing building in a modern architectural style, it is a huge improvement on the old building.  Good job it was not in Tunbridge Wells as the Aspic Brigade would have fought hard to preserve the old building.

Canterbury City Council has invested heavily in the theatre project.  In west Kent, Tunbridge Wells lacks the impetus to provide similar facilities to those of the Marlowe, yet it is far more affluent than east Kent .  All Tunbridge Wells is capable of is re-opening closed supermarkets and attracting new ones.  No imagination: no vision should be inscribed on the Council's coat of arms.


Just come across this article:

http://www.yourtunbridgewells.co.uk/blogs/canterbury_tales_the_curse_of_the_traffic_jam_1_1105417

Excellent article

The article (link below) encapsulates the problems of the eurozone and the failure to deal with them in an appropriate fashion. The eurozone is a busted flush and with it the EU.  Makes Clegg's comments (see previous post) even more cringe worthy.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8858604/The-two-halves-of-the-eurozone-are-locked-in-a-broken-marriage.html

More clag from Clegg

Link below to an interesting article about Clegg and his euro-fanaticism.  The comments on the article are marvellous.




http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg/8858200/Nick-Clegg-warns-David-Cameron-of-economic-suicide-over-EU-policy.html

Panic?

The decisions of the recent eurozone summit have been greeted with the enthusiasm usually reserved for a visit to Grimsby on a wet day. The begging mission to China, together with the pleading letter to the G20 from Rompuy and Barroso, are hardly the actions of a eurozone confident it has come to grips with the problems.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/8857518/Why-the-latest-eurozone-bail-out-is-destined-to-fail-within-weeks.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8857456/George-Soros-attacks-Brussels-rescue-deal.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8857499/Chinas-refuses-to-play-the-Good-Samaritan.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8858816/China-warns-it-cannot-cure-eurozones-debt-crisis.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8858279/EU-leaders-call-on-G20-to-help-bring-swift-resolution-to-crisis.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8858304/Joint-letter-from-Herman-Van-Rompuy-and-Jose-Manuel-Barroso-to-G20-in-full.html

Two links on the problems facing Cameron in the UK, followed by an article on the democratic deficit within the EU.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/8857722/David-Cameron-faces-guerrilla-war-with-Conservative-MPs-over-Europe.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8857735/New-moves-to-claw-back-EU-powers-on-workers-rights.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8857533/This-was-the-week-that-European-democracy-died.html

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Cassandra or realist?

The link below takes you to an article which concludes the recent eurozone agreement will last for two weeks.  One has to say that the problems with the Greek economy and the problems in Portugal support the contention.

The joker in the pack is Italy, the world's eighth largest economy.  Italy had to pay over 6% to move its recent bond sales, which most commentators believe is unsustainable.  Added to which, what will the loose cannon, Berlusconi,  do?  Would Italy accept the level of control over its affairs as has been imposed on Greece?  Do Italians feel slighted by the comments of Merkel and Sarkowsy directed at Berlusconi? 

It all looks and feels very fragile and very dangerous.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/8857518/Why-the-latest-eurozone-bail-out-is-destined-to-fail-within-weeks.html

Dramatis personae of the euro drama

Links below to two interesting articles.

The first is a profile of Mrs Merkel.  Covers a wide range of topics including views on multiculturalism, Turkey, Israel and Russia.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8855882/Angela-Merkel-The-triumph-of-Europes-Iron-Lady.html

The second link is to a knock-about article putting the boot into Sourkowy and Bunga Bunga.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8856384/The-world-is-at-the-mercy-of-irrelevant-pygmies-like-Silvio-Berlusconi-and-Nicolas-Sarkozy.html

I'm all a twitter

the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells is correct in stating that councillors should be banned from sending tweets during council meetings.  More power to her elbow.  Quite apart from the discourtesy, nay rank bad manners, we do not pay our councillors allowances to be distracted from following debates by sending tweets.

Full marks to the Leader of the Council, Bob Atwood, who said:

Council meetings are important and serious events when decisions affecting the borough's residents are made. It is only right and a matter of courtesy that members should be focusing on meetings.

Now, why is it that I am not surprised that Councillor Sean Holden has objected to the Mayor's comments, accusing her of fogeyism?  Mind you, I would be sorely tempted to put my earphones on to listen to some music rather than have my ears assaulted by the inanities of Councillor Holden

More on Lewes-Uckfield re-opening, or not!

The real villain of the piece is East Sussex County Council who might wake up one day and realise that re-opening the railway will benefit its residents.  The Wealden Line Campaign is far too gentlemanly about all this. Time to make life uncomfortable for the officer and cabinet member responsible for transport issues.

See:

http://www.bml2.co.uk/the-news/83-peers-challenge-the-government-over-bml2.html

Friday, 28 October 2011

The eurozone is not out of the wood....

Anyone who believed fondly that the eurozone's political leaders had sorted out the short-term problems of the euro will have been disabused by the events of today. It was expected that the recent eurozone conference would merely paper over the cracks whilst a lasting solution involving fiscal and political union was worked out.  However,  that the cracks would reappear so quickly must be disconcerting to the optimists, but not to seasoned cynics.

I concur fully with the content and tone of this article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8856420/Europes-sticking-plaster-will-not-heal-the-wounds.html

Italy is coming under presssure as its debt costs soar to unsustainable levels:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8856661/Italian-debt-soars-on-EU-bail-out-fears.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15490890

Portugal and Spain are suffering a contraction in money supply which will threaten their ability to repay debt as economies slide:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8854267/Europes-rescue-euphoria-threatened-as-Portugal-enters-Grecian-vortex.html

The German government is running into probles wit hthe German Constitutional Court:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,794578,00.html

There is the problem of the monitoring arrangements in the eurozone agreement will upset Greece and Italy:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8853908/EU-rescue-rescue-document-is-one-giant-leap-for-the-eurozone.html

the German central bank is worried that the EFSF leverage is a re-run of the mistakes that have led to the current problems - don't give an alocoholic more drink:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8854382/Eurozone-bail-out-holes-emerge-in-the-grand-solution-to-solve-EU-debt-crisis.html

Finally where is the UK in all this?  The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that the UK will not contribute to any IMF support of leverage on the grounds  that the IMF supports nations and not currencies:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/georgeosborne/8854331/George-Osborne-to-block-IMF-cash-for-eurozone-bail-out.html

However, there is a deeper worry that the EU is moving to a two tier system which will damage the interests of countries outside the eurozone:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/8853084/Europe-the-plates-are-shifting-and-David-Cameron-risks-being-stranded.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8850724/David-Cameron-fails-to-win-assurances-on-eurobloc.html

Finally, the eurozone has gone to China with a begging bowl for help.  One interesting comment on this is that China is committed already in southern Europe and the risk is that these states will become client states of China and this will result in a surrogate Chinese presence within the eurozone and the EU.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jeremywarner/100012880/europe-kowtows-to-the-chinese-dragon/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15489202
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794575,00.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8857165/Eurozone-rescue-fund-tries-to-tempt-China-with-bonds-issued-in-yuan.html

The two things which would resolve the issues are the very ones the Germans will not permit: let the European Central Bank act as lender of last resort and engage in quantitative easing.

The next few weeks are going to be hairy.  It comes as no surprise therefore to learn that Cameron has instructed Whitehall to look at the potential for repatriating powers to the UK.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8856974/Whitehall-officials-urgently-review-Britains-EU-membership.html

Rusthall news

Rusthall Fireworks tomorrow evening (29th).  Always an excellent display and bonfire. Preceded by a torchlight procession which sets off at 7.30PM.

On the face if it, it is a sensible idea that the parish council takes on the management of allotments from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council as local control should make for quicker resolution of issues.  However, has any consideration been given to the financial implications of a transfer of responsibility?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Goodbye Silvio?

It is rumoured that Silvio Berlusconi has agreed with the Northern League that he will resign at Prime Minister of Italy in December.  Hope it is in writing.  Given his behaviour over the years it never ceases to surprise me that he has survived.  Must be something in the Italian psyche, which if so, bodes ill for the success  of the austerity about to hit them - and hit they will be as the Iron Lady of Berlin has had her way.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794388,00.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/silvio-berlusconi/8853448/Silvio-Berlusconi-lavished-millions-on-showgirls-actresses-and-television-presenters.html

The devil is in the detail

The article I have posted a link to below is an excellent summary of the decisions taken at the Eurozone conference yesterday.  It shows clearly how German thinking has dominated.  France has been seen off, Greece will be run by the 'troika' and Italy will be subject to much indignity.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8853908/EU-rescue-rescue-document-is-one-giant-leap-for-the-eurozone.html

Also, interesting article from Spiegel Online about Merkel.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794366,00.html

Unmitigated tosh

Who writes this rubbish?:

http://www.voteenglish.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=370%3Ahuge-new-bailout-to-prop-up-euro&catid=36%3Alatest-topics&Itemid=641

Long on symptoms, short on causes.

No euphoria following the marathon meeting of national leaders of eurozone countries.  The decisions taken at the meeting highlighted effectively the shambles that is the common currency and the failure of political leaders and the EU to resolve issues that started to surface nearly two years ago.  Of course, they were all in denial then that there was a serious problem with their precious monetary union project.

The meeting yesterday bought time, nothing more. Sticking plaster on the symptoms.  It did not set out a policy or timescale to deal with the fundamental causes of  the problems of the eurozone.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100012860/europe%E2%80%99s-punishment-union/
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/andrewlilico/100012844/avoiding-triggering-greek-sovereign-cds-is-a-mistake/
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jeremywarner/100012842/why-the-summit-to-end-all-summits-solves-nothing/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/damianreece/8851575/We-should-worry-about-what-they-havent-discussed-in-Brussels.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/26/eurozone-crisis-bigger-challenge-ahead

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8851769/Europes-grand-gamble-risks-failure-without-ECB.html
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794278,00.html

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/125644.pdf  This is the official  statement released after the eurozone heads meeting.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8851995/Eurozone-heads-proclaim-comprehensive-debt-crisis-plan.html

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Now you see him.


Now you don't.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEQooIx3Cjg

According to this: http://englishpassport.org/2011/10/24/eurosceptics-unite-to-lobby-in-parliament-square-for-a-yes-to-eu-withdrawal-referendum/

the English Democrats were joined by UKIP.  Really:  surely the other way round?

Will EU Summit satisfy the markets?

As I write the signs are not looking good.  See:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15449149

An excellent article on the democratic process at work in Germany.  A must read.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100012823/thank-you-germany/

Leverage proposals hammered in the Spiegel Online article:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794025,00.html

Italy: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794121,00.html

Update: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8851769/Europes-grand-gamble-risks-failure-without-ECB.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8851408/Italian-MPs-in-fist-fight-over-pensions.html

German Parliament: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,794182,00.html

End of an era?  http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jameskirkup/100113706/europes-financial-crisis-the-end-of-an-era/

JP Morgan explains the euro crisis with lego




I just couldn't resist this story!  For explanation please go to:









Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Eurozone debt crisis: talks break down as Angela Merkel rejects rescue deal

Headline is from this Daily Telegraph story.  Tomorrow should be interesting.  See:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8849346/Eurozone-debt-crisis-talks-break-down-as-Angela-Merkel-rejects-rescue-deal.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8849310/EU-crisis-talks-in-limbo-after-crucial-summit-is-cancelled.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15449149

A few more links which may be of interest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8849328/EU-rescue-plans-hostage-to-raw-politics.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/silvio-berlusconi/8849933/Silvio-Berlusconi-makes-secret-pact-to-step-down.html
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100113467/the-collapse-of-the-euro-looks-increasingly-inevitable/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8848906/Eurozone-debt-crisis-can-the-European-ideal-survive.html

Would you solicit funding from this man's party?

Martin McGuinness is standing as a candidate in the Republic of Ireland presidential election. Interesting article in today's Daily Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/8846110/Martin-McGuinness-is-a-convicted-terrorist-yet-he-could-be-elected-Irelands-new-president.html

It was of course Mr Uncles who attempted to solicit financial support for the English Democrats from Sinn Fein and stated that he supported SFs policy of seeking a united Ireland.

Mr Uncles recently has shown himself to have difficulty in distinguishing various forms of nationalism, but of one thing we may be assured: he supports nationalism Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein style, but not civic nationalism for the people of Northern Ireland, whom he would happily hand over to the Republic without any consideration of the principle of self-determination

Tail wagging dog

Cameron should tell Clegg to take a running jump.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8849273/Tory-demands-on-EU-powers-are-impossible-for-Coalition-says-Nick-Clegg.html

Tensions mount in Rome and Berlin

The tension is mounting in Italy ahead of the EU summit.  France and Germany have demanded that Italy introduces austerity measures as a matter of great urgency.  The worry is that Italy's sovereign deby problem is such that it could eat up all the funds and leverage planned for the EFSF.  Meanwhile, Nero Berlusconi has problems as the Northern League party threaten the stability of the government coalition and may call for elections.

In Berlin the EFSF proposals have to run the gauntlet of the German parliament, which some commentators see as being a huge gamble by Mrs Merkel, as the outcome of the vote is problematic.

Makes Mr Cameron's difficulty with his rebels very small beer.

See:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793884,00.html   (Italy)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15452367
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793848,00.html   (Germany)

More problems:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15451328

Uncles' Provisional IRA friend in the news

Martin McGuinness is standing as a candidate in the Republic of Ireland presidential election.  Interesting article in today's Daily Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/8846110/Martin-McGuinness-is-a-convicted-terrorist-yet-he-could-be-elected-Irelands-new-president.html

It was of course Mr Uncles who attempted to solicit financial support for the English Democrats from Sinn Fein and stated that he supported SFs policy of seeking a united Ireland.

Mr Uncles recently has shown himself to have difficulty in distinguishing various forms of nationalism, but of one thing we may be assured: he supports nationalism Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein style, but not civic nationalism for the people of Northern Ireland, whom he would happily hand over to the Republic without any consideration of the principle of self-determination.

Damaged goods. Dave should have talked to Roy

So, David Cameron has had his nose bloodied by the Tory 'rebels' who refused to obey a three-line whip on the referendum debate. Take away the 'payroll' vote and  about half of the Conservative backbenchers did not follow orders.  79 voted for the referendum and 2 registered absentions.  Two tellers who would have voted 'yes' and it is believed  12 unregistered abstentions. (Interesting to read the list of Labour MPs who voted 'yes'.)

See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8847123/EU-referendum-how-the-MPs-voted.html

See:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8847032/EU-referendum-David-Cameron-hit-by-biggest-Conservative-rebellion.html

Once backbenchers acquire the taste for rebellion (and the ego trips that go with it) it is almost impossible to stop.  The result will add to tensions within the Coalition.  I cannot help but think that one reason so many Conservative MPs rebelled is that they are heartily fed up with the Liberal Democrat tail wagging the Coalition dog.

Mind you Conservative disloyalty to the Leader on such a scale is very rare. But it happens, as Roy Bullock, the former Leader of Tunbridge Wells can testify, having been sniped at for months by fellow councillors before being ousted.

Olive branch from Cameron?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15442765

Interesting, but not unexpected comment from Clegg.  Sooner the Coalition is dismantled the better.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Spiegel Online

I have commented before on the authoritative reports by Spiegel Online during the eurozone crisis. Clearly written with a German perspective, nevertheless still worth a read. The latest reports maintain the standard.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793719,00.html On Leverage

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793656,00.html More on leverage and German Parliament vote.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793440,00.html More on the German Parliament

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793599,00.html Fiscal union

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793574,00.html Comment on the Summit

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793645,00.html French woes

The night of the Tory knives

I have placed links to two interesting articles.  Reports suggest up to 70 MPS will defy the Conservative whip and possibly a few from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.  Not one of Cameron's better decisions to insist on a three-line whip on what is after all a backbench motion not binding on the government. He has turned the EU referendum vote into a vote of confidence by his backbenchers in his leadership.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100113047/referendum-vote-tells-us-tories-are-divided-over-david-cameron-not-europe/

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/willheaven/100113074/red-toryism-is-on-its-deathbed-so-put-the-champagne-on-ice/

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sourkowsy shows true Gallic temperament

I note the poor little man has lost it.  Mind you, having had an ear bashing from Mrs Merkel probably put him in a foul mood.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8844773/Nicolas-Sarkozy-tells-David-Cameron-Were-sick-of-you-telling-us-what-to-do.html

Simon Heffer sticks his oar in:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2053044/A-posturing-French-Pygmy.html

Tory Turmoil

See post on my other blog:

http://johnhopkinsonconservative.blogspot.com/

Tory Turmoil

The big row in town at present is that between France and Germany over how best to try and resolve the problems of the eurozone. Failure to cobble together a compromise or  a decision which saves face for the loser in the negotiations could spell the end for the eurozone and indeed the EU.  For more information on the issues and stances being taken see my other blog: http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.com/

Compared to the above the turmoil within the Conservative Party over the issue of an EU referendum is small beer.  However, we should not seek to downplay it.  Europe has been a running sore through recent Conservative history and the House of Commons vote tomorrow is simply the latest eruption of anti-EU sentiment within the party.

In my opinion Cameron has made a serious error is not permitting a free vote on a backbench motion and therefore not binding on the government. Raising the stakes by the imposition of a three line whip will cause even more antagonism as the whips and government set out on the road to punish Tory MPs who defy the whips.

Below are links on the subject:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2052049/Why-wont-Dave-British-people-vote-Europe.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2052356/EU-referendum-Tory-Patrick-McLoughlin-accused-bully-boy-bid-kill-vote.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/8843522/EU-referendum-Cameron-is-determined-to-face-down-his-backbenchers.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/8843830/Its-not-just-Europe-that-is-turning-Tories-against-David-Cameron.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15420358
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15384293
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2011/09/by-paul-goodmanfollow-paul-on-twitter-until-recently-there-have-two-main-euro-sceptic-voices-within-the-conservative-par.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-relishes-chance-to-show-rebels-whos-boss-2374671.html
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2011/10/the-time-for-promises-on-the-eu-is-long-over-only-deeds-will-do.html


Happy reading!

Portrait of a wazzock

The photograph is of Judge  John Foster who has banned the use of the word 'Love' (or Luv, as pronounced in Yorkshire) in his Barnsley court.

The judge prefers the poncy southern expression 'ma'am'.

What a wazzock (idiot). The use of this word in appropriate in this context as there is a body of opinion that the word was used first by a football spectator in Barnsley to describe a particularly poor referee.

There is a counter-claim that the word was the inspiration of one of Sheffield's finest, Tony Capstick.

Will the next words to be banned be thou, thar and thee?  I wouldn't be surprised, luv.

See links below for press reports.  I like particularly the second one.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8840968/Yorkshire-judge-under-fire-for-banning-love-in-courtroom.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8841179/Judges-ban-on-love-in-court-risks-eroding-traditional-Yorkshire-dialect.html

From the second link:

He might have lived in Yorkshire for many years but he must have been cloistered from the real world, as the term ‘love’ can be heard on a daily basis, used by men and women to men, women and children with no sexual overtones whatsoever. ‘Duck’ has a similar application in the Nottingham area.

More twists and turns

The eurozone crisis show continues to roll.  New acts are joining daily, the performance is becoming more confused and it looks as though the performers have no idea how the show will end.

This weekend has seen three major developments:

  • The relationship  between France and Germany has deteriorated alarmingly
  • The IMF has cast doubt on its willingness fund any further Greek bailouts
  • A proposal from the EU to form a eurozone 'Treasury' to oversee tax and spending proposals of the 17 eurozone nations.
Mr Cameron has his own little difficulty with a backbench 'rebellion' over the referendum debate.  Mr Farage of UKIP has stated helpfully? that his party will not contest seats at the next general election when the Conservative candidate is an MP who voted for a referendum.

Below are links to articles which may be of interest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8841997/Silvio-Berlusconi-angers-France-with-Bank-of-Italy-appointment.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8842165/German-Chancellor-Angela-Merkel-denies-there-is-an-EU-deadlock.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8842987/Eurozone-debt-crisis-is-a-real-danger-to-Britain.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8842427/Greece-handed-8bn-aid-package-lifeline-but-euro-concerns-remain.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8841385/The-single-currency-isclose-to-collapse.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/8843785/New-euro-empire-plot-by-Brussels.html

These two are corkers!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/8843652/Eurozone-summit-despair-and-backbiting-in-the-corridors-of-power.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8841912/France-and-Germany-an-unstoppable-force-meets-an-immovable-object.html


The europhile BBC has this slant:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15416961

This link the most up-to-date:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8843396/Europes-leaders-threaten-Greek-default-if-banks-wont-take-haircut-and-accept-losses-of-120bn.html

Latest: Sunday 23rd:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15419594

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Tosh rules!!

Below: three posts from the English Democrat Facebook page:


English Democrats - "Putting England First !" [ X ]
One key aspect of political correctness is that a person, an institution or a government is politically correct when they cease to represent the interests of the majority, and become focused on the deliberate subversion of English national culture and interests, the denigration of English history and of the English themselves, and the promotion of the objectives of minority pressure groups...
    • English Democrats - "Putting England First !" [ X ] Political correctness is grounded in the capture of state institutions, with official spokespeople, legislative powers and sanctions for breaches of political correctness. It is this capture of state institutions which makes political correctness so oppressive and dangerous. This must end..

There are many good constitutional and financial reasons for creating an English Parliament but the over-riding argument is that the English are a nation and as such they are entitled to a parliament which will acknowledge and promote their identity and culture.

Tosh on stilts, to paraphrase Jeremy Bentham, although one has to take the statements made by the administrators of the page as being ex cathedra policy pronouncements.

Civic nationalism is a rather dry constitutional matter.  In the United Kingdom the issue arose in the 1970s with what is known as 'The West Lothian Question' and has now been given an urgency as a consequence of devolution to Wales and Scotland. Basically, civic nationalism in the English context is that only MPs from English seats should be entitled to vote on bills which affect England only.  Currently,  MPs from constituencies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can, and do, vote on such bills.  One strange effect of devolution is that whilst a Scottish MP can vote on a bill at Westminster concerning the English National Health Service, he/she cannot vote on a bill concerning the Scottish NHS as that is a devolved matter solely for the Scottish Parliament.

There are of course other issues: should the four nations be independent or part of a federal structure, should there be an English parliament with its own first minister as opposed to the idea that all that needs to be done is to exclude non-English constituency MPs from debates and votes on English matters?

As I said, all pretty dry constitutional stuff.  The English Democrats (ED) state they are civic nationalists.  However, from the statements on the ED Facebook page we read:

  • subversion of English national culture and identity
  • the over-riding argument (for creating an English Parliament) is that the English are a nation and as such are entitled to a parliament which will acknowledge and promote their identity and culture.

Strong stuff.  Civic nationalism is grounded on the concept that all people within a defined geographical area have the right to have laws made only by people who represent that area.  What is being stated in the quotations above is something very different and in my view sinister. Whom I ask is English in the context of the quotations above?

I do not wish to become involved in a debate about multi-culturism or ethnicity. However it is but a short step from the statements expressed on the ED Facebook page to a policy of ethnic nationalism. Now that ex-BNP members are joining the ED and long-time civic nationalists are leaving the risk must be that the ED will gravitate in the direction of ethnic nationalism.

It is forgotten by people who talk of 'English culture' that under the influence of postmodernism we have recognised that we live in a pluralist society, that there are no over-arching cultural or ethical norms which all should follow - indeed if there were such norms, promoted and defended by an English parliament it would be a form of political correctness.  But, not a new one.  Germany underwent a period of a national cultural identity to which all had to submit unswervingly and with total loyalty.  Mental patients, gypsies, homosexuals, non- Aryans and intellectuals did not fit the model and were disposed of in concentration camps. 

Instead of the fixation on English identity and culture the ED should be concentrating on supporting those with little or no voice in our society.  That would be a magnificent vision for the party: to support the 'have-nots' in our nation, to be the party that espouses their cause and gives them hope.

It won't happen of course, instead the ED is trapped in a time warp, nostalgia for the past: a past that never existed except in their imagination.




A Sherwood resident speaks.

A spoof article by a Sherwood resident has come into my possession (don't ask!).  Now don't go all po-faced on me.

 Major hurricane (Hurricane Shazza) and earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter Scale hit Tunbridge Wells in the early hours of Tuesday with its epicentre on Sherwood. Victims were seen wandering around aimlessly, muttering "Farkinell".

The hurricane decimated the area causing almost £30 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementos from Majorca and the Costa Del Sol were damaged beyond repair. Three areas of historic abandoned cars were disturbed. Many locals were woken well before their Giros arrived.

Kent FM reported that hundreds of residents were confused and bewildered and were still trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened on Sherwood. One resident - Tracy Sharon Smith, a 15-year-old mother of 5 said, "It was such a shock, my little Chardonnay-Mercedes came running into my bedroom crying. My youngest two, Tyler-Morgan and Victoria-Storm slept through it all. I was still shaking when I was skinning up and watching Jeremy Kyle the next morning."

Apparently the usual evening activities of drinking, snorting and shooting up were unaffected.

The British Red Cross has so far managed to ship 4,000 crates of Special Brew to the area to help the stricken locals. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings, including benefit books, jewellery from Ratners, tobacco tins containing the owner's works and small brown envelopes containing pocket mirrors, razor blades and stolen credit cards.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

This appeal is to raise money for food and clothing parcels for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in this disaster. Clothing is most sought after - items most needed include:
Fila or Burberry baseball caps
Kappa tracksuit tops (his in size small and hers in size XXXL)
Shell suits (female XXXL)
White nike trainers
White sport socks
Rockport boots
Any other items usually sold in Primark.

Food parcels may be harder to come by but are needed all the same. Required foodstuffs include:
Microwave meals
Tins of baked beans
KFC
Ice cream
Cans of Special Brew.

22p buys a biro for filling in the compensation forms
£10 buys chips, crisps and blue fizzy drinks for a family of nine
and fags and a lighter for the over 8 year-olds.

**BREAKING NEWS**

Rescue workers found a girl in the rubble smothered in raspberry alco-pop and were worried she had been badly cut...

"Where are you bleeding from?" they asked,

"Sherwood" said the girl, "wossat gotta bleeding do wiv you?"

Please don't forward this to anyone living in Sherwood - oh, sod it, they won't be able to read it, anyway.

Friday, 21 October 2011

English Democrats: can they avoid disintegration?

The current malaise within the English Democrats (ED) reminds me of an aircraft disaster movie: the pilot clutching the joy-stick in a desperate attempt to pull the aircraft out of a death dive. Will the aircraft smash into the ground, or level-out and everyone live happily ever after?

Currently, the former is more likely for the ED than the latter. All hope is not lost, but it will be a close run thing. 

Financially the ED is solvent, although there is an overhang of soft loans of over £200,000 to be repaid.  The ED does not have to repay the loans until it has funds to enable it so to do.  The ED claims a membership of over 3,500 but income levels suggest a fully-paid membership of well under 2,000.  Details of the financial position are on the Electoral Commission website.  Not the easiest of sites to navigate.  See: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/PEF-online-registers/statements-of-account .

The ED lost members during the course of the past twelve months.  There have been high-profile resignations for reasons I have posted on this blog. One thread running through statements made by individuals who have resigned is a concern that ex- BNP members are being welcomed into the party and that over time this will result in the party changing from a civic nationalist party into an ethnic nationalist party.  It has not happened yet, but it could, so the argument runs.  Political parties do change their policies to reflect what is happening in the world and the issues which drive party activists. 

Thus, the Labour Party led by Clement Attlee had a different philosophy from that of Tony Blair, indeed it became known as 'New Labour'. As the centre of gravity changes within a party, so policies will change.  For the ED the question is whether its centre of gravity changes as refugees from the BNP seek a new home. Will the loss of members opposed to the influx of ex-BNP members be counter-balanced by ex-BNP members?  Of course, it is more than simply a numbers game.  The loss of relatively inactive members and their replacement by fewer battle-hardened political activists may benefit the ED in organisational terms.  The tentative conclusion I draw is that purely in organisational terms the ED will not crash.

However, the real battle is out on the streets, convincing the electorate to vote for the party in much larger numbers than the paltry numbers that have done so in the past.  Will the party steer clear of ethnic nationalism in the future?  If it doesn't its electoral prospects are grim. 

No political party operates in a vacuum.  Some of the ED ex-members have joined UKIP, which like the ED, seeks withdrawal from the European Union.  UKIP is current giving consideration to approving a policy of supporting the establishment of an English parliament, which is the main plank of ED policy.  Should this happen, then the ED will have to find something distinctive in its policies to dispose the electorate to vote for it rather than UKIP.  This, above all else, is the major test for the ED, and it may prove unachievable, in which case the party's long-term prospects are very poor.

Conservative Future (2)

Second in a series on the future of the Conservative Party

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/majority_conservatism/2011/10/a-conservative-party-for-the-little-guy.html#more

Eurozone crisis lurches along the road to perdition

Events over the past 24 hours have been truly shocking, but predictable.  Politicians cannot get their act together and as for Greece.....

We are informed that the Greek bailout is failing; but we knew it would. You cannot have austerity and cuts and expect an economy to grow within the constraint of a hopeless fixed exchange rate.

The poor saps in all this are the citizens. the EU and eurozone are bereft of democratic legitimacy.  The riots in Greece (see final link below) are a precursor to more radical civil unrest across Europe. But this time the 'war' will not be between nations but between states and their populations.  Alarmist?   Over the top?   Let's see. The politicians have but a few days to sort his out.

What is interesting is that it is Germany and France who are slugging this out.  What about the other eurozone countries?  Looks like they are mere by-standers who will have to accept meekly whatever the 'Big Two' decide.

Here in the UK we have leaders of the three major political parties strutting the stage and demanding MPs vote against a motion for a referendum.  Weasel words from politicians as they wriggle out of election promises are not acceptable.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8839929/European-debt-crisis-talks-plunged-into-chaos-as-leaders-announce-another-summit.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/europe-in-disarray-ndash-with-france-and-germany-divided-2373806.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,793074,00.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/new-greek-bailout-cash-comes-with-dire-warning-2373672.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8839974/Greece-narrowly-passes-austerity-package.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/greece-crippled-as-its-people-say-no-to-poverty-2373141.html

Update on Greece: 21.10.2011

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8842427/Greece-handed-8bn-aid-package-lifeline-but-euro-concerns-remain.html

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Promises, promises

Broken Liberal Democrat promises.

First, we had tuition fees. Now let us see how the Lib Dems vote after the EU referendum debate.

The EU referendum vote

My opposition to membership of the EU is well-documented so it will come as no surprise that I am disappointed that the Prime Minister is reported as insisting on a three-line whip ordering Conservative MPs to vote against a referendum.  It will store up more bitterness on the EU issue.  A free vote for all Conservative MPs, including the pay-roll vote, would take some of the heat out of the debate.

MPs will be sounding out their constituents.  One example of the line being taken by MPs planning to vote 'No' is this:

http://www.damiancollins.com/2011/10/the-eu-in-out-or-shake-it-all-about/

A number of interesting articles:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/steve-richards/steve-richards-eurosceptics-are-stirring-again-and-theres-panic-in-downing-street-2372924.html

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2011/10/from-richard4watford-an-eu-debate-amounts-to-a-kneejerk-indulgence-for-eurosceptics.html

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2011/10/the-eu-rebellion-is-a-symptom-of-a-breakdown-in-relations-between-cameron-and-large-numbers-of-his-m.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8836554/Britain-deserves-a-chance-to-have-a-referendum-on-EU-membership.html

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/parliament/2011/10/58-mps-including-46-tories-sign-next-thursdays-european-referendum-motion.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-rebels-set-to-quit-government-in-row-over-europe-referendum-2373803.html

Conservative future (1)

Two interesting articles to ponder.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/majority_conservatism/2011/10/wehaveandweneed.html

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/majority_conservatism/2011/10/a-summary-of-the-differences-between-the-conservative-party-we-have-and-the-conservative-party-we-ne.html

English Democrats High Noon?

A month ago I published a post on my other blog which I regard now as Act 1 in the story of the decline and fall of the English Democrats.

http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.com/2011/09/english-democrats-in-disintegration.html

The party has a number of policies I support:

  • withdrawal from the European Union
  • establishment of an English parliament within the Union
  • Elected mayors
  • civic nationalism
It all started to go pear-shaped when it was revealed that a National Council (NC) member had made unauthorised approaches to Sinn Fein seeking financial support and stating that the ED shared with Sein Fein the desire to see a united Ireland. No mention of self-determination for the people of Ulster. Disquiet was raised further when a link between the self-same NC member and a leading former BNP member was revealed. The NC member is Steve Uncles.

The ED lost members. Its AGM in September had a low turnout (6o approx) compared to the previous year. Many people were disappointed that Mr Uncles, who had resigned from the NC, was elected chairman of the South-East area and thereby became entitled to a seat on the NC.

Following the NC meeting on October there has been claim and counter-claim as to the membership of the NC and roles of individual NC members. Whilst one expected the discontent to rumble on until the next NC meeting, the issue exploded on the ED Facebook page today as one of the page's administrators made a number of incendiary comments. These have been deleted, but thanks to screen-capture' technology the comments have been saved for posterity. The comments may be viewed at:


http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/english-democrats/101894-strange-posts-edp-facebook-page-whats-going.html

Washing dirty linen in public?

Saddled with debts of more than £200,000, internal strife and an inability to run a whelk stall the party has shot itself in both feet, kneecaps and hands. Unless order and stability is re-established very quickly the party either will soon be listed in the archive of failed parties or become something rather different to what it was a few months ago. What is needed desperately is clear - headed thinking, determination and resolve by the moderate civic nationalists within the party. Time is short, it will soon be High Noon.

English Democrats in disintegration mode: Act 2 - High Noon

A month ago I published a post on this blog which I regard now as Act 1 in the story of the decline and fall of the English Democrats.

http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.com/2011/09/english-democrats-in-disintegration.html

The party has a number of policies I support:
  • withdrawal from the European Union
  • establishment of an English parliament within the Union
  • Elected mayors
  • civic nationalism
It all started to go pear-shaped when it was revealed that a National Council  (NC) member had made unauthorised approaches to Sinn Fein seeking financial support and stating that the ED shared with Sein Fein the desire to see  a united Ireland.  No mention of self-determination for the people of Ulster.  Disquiet was raised further when a link between the self-same NC member and a leading former BNP member was revealed. The NC member is Steve Uncles.

The ED lost members.  Its AGM in September had a low turnout (6o approx) compared to the previous year.  Many people were disappointed that Mr Uncles, who had resigned from the NC, was elected chairman of the South-East area and thereby became entitled to a seat on the NC.

Following the NC meeting on October there has been claim and counter-claim as to the membership of the NC and roles of individual NC members.  Whilst one expected the discontent to rumble on until the next NC meeting, the issue exploded on the ED Facebook page today as one of the page's administrators made a number of incendiary comments.  These have been deleted, but thanks to screen-capture' technology the comments have been saved for posterity. The comments may be viewed at:


http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/english-democrats/101894-strange-posts-edp-facebook-page-whats-going.html

Washing dirty linen in public?

Saddled with debts of more than £200,000, internal strife and an inability to run a whelk stall the party has shot itself in both feet, kneecaps and hands.  Unless order and stability is re-established very quickly the party either will soon be listed in the archive of failed parties or become something rather different to what it was a few months ago.  What is needed desperately is clear - headed thinking, determination and resolve by the moderate civic nationalists within the party. Time is short, it will soon be High Noon.

From my faith correspondent

Just in from my Church of England 'mole'.


Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy . There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal.


He'd have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community.

If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy ; if the Pope won, they'd have to convert or leave.
 


The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them
in the debate. However, as the rabbi spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke
no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a 'silent' debate.

On the chosen day the Pope and rabbi sat opposite each other

The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

The rabbi looked back and raised one finger.

Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.

The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.

The rabbi pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the
rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy .

Later the cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened.

The Pope said, 'First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He
responded by holding up a single finger to remind me there is still only
one God common to both our beliefs.

'Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around
us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right
here with us.

'I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our
sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin.

'He bested me at every move and I could not continue.'

Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he'd won.

'I haven't a clue' the rabbi said. 'First, he told me that we had three
days to get out of Italy , so I gave him the finger.

'Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I
told him that we were staying right here.'

'And then what?' asked a woman.

'Who knows?' said the rabbi. 'He took out his lunch so I took out mine.'
 

France v Germany

Quite like times of old.  What a mess. Looks like EU is siding with France and ECB with Germany.

Readers of my blog will not be surprised that it has come to this.  The signs have been there for weeks that there are fundamental differences between Germany and France.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,792939,00.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100012749/sedan-again-as-germany-imposes-terms/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8838452/Franco-German-split-threatens-EU-summit.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8838425/Euro-summit-statement-the-leaked-draft.html

Leverage explained:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,792994,00.html

Italy on the brink.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/8839450/Italian-bond-yields-reach-point-of-no-return.html

Not part of this blog item, but of interest.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/8839697/EUs-new-six-pack-shows-just-how-tough-Europe-will-be-on-national-governments.html

Gloomy prognosis for eurozone patient.

Even if a deal is stitched up between France and Germany over EFSF leverage, haircuts imposed on holders of Greek sovereign debt and banks recapitalised, the fundamental problem will remain: the divergence of the economies of eurozone countries.  Fiscal and political union is not a panacea.  The old East Germany is still in bad shape economically after re-unification and huge sums spent in an attempt to catch up with the rest of Germany.

The following articles consider these issues:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,792641,00.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8837327/Frances-Nicolas-Sarkozy-and-Germanys-Angela-Merkel-hold-crisis-talks.html    (very gloomy)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8836548/Britain-cant-save-Europe-but-wemight-still-save-ourselves.html  (very, very gloomy)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Spain's debt downgraded.

Spain has had its sovereign downgraded by two points.  See:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8835356/Moodys-downgrades-Spain-by-two-notches.html

The problem for the world, never mind the eurozone is that economies are slowing, soon will stop and then slip into recession - or even depression.   The travails in the eurozone were supposed to be resolved by a mixture of austerity, economic re-structuring and growth in economies.  The sovereign debt overhang and austerity measures combined would have made that difficult - Greece being the classic example.  Contraction of world markets has made resolution of the issues virtually impossible within the current eurozone framework. 

Even if the EFSF is expanded to 2trillion euros through leverage, whilst it might save the banking system, it will not address the underlying problems of uncompetitive economies in a world about to enter recession.  The USA economy is bumping along on the ground despite QE snd China's economy is under pressure.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The EU referendum vote

Thursday 27th October will be an interesting day.  The House of Commons will debate a motion on  a referendum with three options: in, out or re-negotiate.  The result of the vote is not binding on the government.  Nevertheless, it is reported that Cameron will issue a three-line whip ordering MPs to trudge into the 'no' division lobby to defeat the call for a referendum.  Once again, Europe has returned to haunt the Tories.

See: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100111943/david-cameron-doesn%e2%80%99t-have-long-to-tell-us-where-he-stands-on-europe/

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100111867/the-house-of-commons-will-finally-divide-on-whether-to-give-us-an-inout-referendum-whats-the-betting-that-the-bbc-report-it-wholly-as-a-tory-splits-story/

I foresee UKIP gaining new members after 27th October as disaffected Tories finally lose patience.  In this context, an interesting article from Conservative Home:

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/majority_conservatism/2011/10/a-summary-of-the-differences-between-the-conservative-party-we-have-and-the-conservative-party-we-ne.html

A united Ireland?

Considering the vigour with which Mr Uncles and the English Passport site wish to see Northern Ireland separated from the Union, not as an independent country, but as part of a united Ireland, the following (although a few months old) gives food for thought.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100095628/northern-ireland-catholics-are-now-more-unionist-than-the-english-can-the-united-kingdom-last/

Would the Sinn Fein loving Mr Uncles care to comment?

A united Ireland

Considering the vigour with which Mr Uncles and the English Passport site wish to see Northern Ireland separated from the Union, not as an independent country, but as part of a united Ireland, the following (although a few months old) gives food for thought.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100095628/northern-ireland-catholics-are-now-more-unionist-than-the-english-can-the-united-kingdom-last/

Would the Sinn Fein loving Mr Uncles care to comment?

An English Parliament?

Interesting article from the Daily Telegraph:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100111777/would-an-english-parliament-save-the-union/

Earlier articles.

Previous articles which refer to Mr Uncles may be found on my main blog:

http://kentcommunityactivist.blogspot.com/

The bad news keeps on coming

The travails of the eurozone continue.  Problems now concerning the potential loss of France's 'AAA' rating, EFSF leverage and deep division within euroland about how to tackle the sovereign debt/banking crises.

This blog has trawled over the issues, so for the time being I am merely listing articles which may be of interest.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,792229,00.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,792259,00.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8832798/Berlin-experts-fear-euro-break-up-from-bail-out-escalation.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100012681/a-leveraged-efsf-is-pure-poison/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8831689/No-more-dithering-the-eurozone-must-act.html