Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Eurozone: Big banks on dope.

The title comes from this excellent post:

More on the ECB loans:
Above has a link to this:

More on the Ireland referendum and potential consequences:,1518,818313,00.html

Finally, a  look at Mrs Merkel's problems:,1518,818378,00.html

UPDATE 1st March 2012

A negative German view on the ECB liquidity initiative:,1518,818615,00.html

See also:

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

How I spent last Sunday morning

Early start for a Sunday.  At 8.50AM  I was outside The Imperial pub in Southborough along with colleagues from Tunbridge Wells Mental Health.  Our purpose: to act as marshals for the Tunbridge Wells Half-Marathon.  On with the bright yellow garment and then a walk to my first position, outside Tesco's in Southborough. 

Positioned not far from the start the runners hove into view just after 10.00AM.  What sight.  Runners of all shapes, sizes and degrees of fitness.  Hundreds of them - in fact over 2,000 in all. Bringing up the rear was a  pantomime horse, a good five minutes behind the first athlete.

Then it was a stroll to our next location.  Our group was stationed between the finishing post at Tunbridge Wells Boys' Grammar School and the junction of St. John's Road and Newcomen Road.  We had been told that the leading runners would come into view at around 11.10AM, but the winner shaved about eight minutes off this time and was well ahead of the rest of the field.  The elite runners came through, including the first female who was in fifth position.  Over the next fifty minutes the main body of the field came home, most looked comfortable, a few in some minor distress.

At noon I headed home and my walk along Mount Ephraim and Langton Road took me along the route of the race.  Runners coming towards me were bravely carrying on and I am sure some would have stories of personal triumph to tell.  I take my hat off to every single runner.

Uckfield-Lewes line campaign

An excellent article on the Wealden Line Campaign website.

Irish Referendum

Ireland is to hold a referendum on the European fiscal compact as it is required to do so by its 1937 constitution.  A 'no' vote will not derail the compact as it comes into force once twelve nations have signed up to it.  However, a 'no'vite will cause some problems. The commissars in Brussels will not be happy, as the last thing they desire is any democratic expression of dissent.

The German Federal Constitutional Court has granted the German parliament more say in the approval of future bailouts.  The battle is well and truly joined in Germany between being a 'good European' or opposing further bailouts.,1518,818007,00.html
German constitutional wrangle.,1518,818095,00.html
Kohl puts his oar in.,1518,818065,00.html
Second bailout for Greece will not be the last.

Atwood for the chop?

In May 2011 the Conservatives had a shock in Rusthall.  They lost to UKIP.  The result was:

UKIP: 634, Conservative: 560, Liberal Democrat: 540.

The Liberal Democrats published the best election address but did not campaign, had they done so the Conservative candidate (the retiring councillor) might well have come last.  The Conservatives ran a very poor campaign.  UKIP fought a very hard campaign.

Most galling for the Conservatives was that the success of UKIP placed at risk the seat of the other councillor for Rusthall, Bob Atwood the Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

UKIP will be up for the battle to win another seat in Rusthall in 2012.  The Conservatives may be hoping that the Liberal Democrats do not contest the seat as the latter's votes are more likely to go to the Conservatives than the anti- EU UKIP.  Then again, maybe not, as in my experience many Liberal Democrat voters are registering a protest vote and have little understanding of the policies of the party.
Thus the Conservatives may hope the Liberal Democrats and/or Labour stand and split the anti- Conservative vote with UKIP.

The key issue in the election will be the decision of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to raise council tax against the wishes of the Coalition government.

One of my regular readers has commented on this as follows:

The budget could have been balanced without increasing Council Tax but by taking tough decisions that are needed in times of economic stress and by following the path trodden by the overwhelming number of Councils in not increasing Taxes. Not bottling out and becoming a pariah among Conservative Councils that have taken tough action in order not to increase Council Tax.

The Communities Secretary has commented on the fifteen Conservative controlled councils which either have or are proposing to increase council tax.

With two weeks to go, we now know that the majority of councils, over 300 in fact, want to freeze bills for their residents in tough times. Not everyone has set out their budget plans yet so I expect to see those taking up the Government’s freeze deal to climb further.

A minority of out of touch authorities that seem unwilling to accept our offer should face up to the fact that it is unnecessary and it will hit hardworking households in the pocket. Residents will spot that many neighbouring councils are able to offer to freeze.

In Rusthall, UKIP must be pinching itself. The Conservative Group has made a rod for its own back and the blame for the rise in council tax will be placed at the door of the Leader of the Council. 

My personal opinion is that I hope councillor Atwood holds his seat.  He has managed to calm down the febrile rhetoric concerning the civic complex, been party to putting pressure on Morrison to re-open a supermarket and has tried to bring the issue of the re-development of the former cinema site to a conclusion. 

Tory Blues in Tunbridge Wells

ConservativeHome is getting stuck in to Tory controlled councils planing a council tax hike.


On the list is Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, planning an increase of 3.30%.

See also:

The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles is quoted thus:

With two weeks to go, we now know that the majority of councils, over 300 in fact, want to freeze bills for their residents in tough times. Not everyone has set out their budget plans yet so I expect to see those taking up the Government’s freeze deal to climb further.

"A minority of out of touch authorities that seem unwilling to accept our offer should face up to the fact that it is unnecessary and it will hit hardworking households in the pocket. Residents will spot that many neighbouring councils are able to offer to freeze.

The opprobrium being heaped on councils such as Tunbridge Wells must be galling for Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, whose boss in government is Eric Pickles.

Monday, 27 February 2012

'Ello, 'ello.

Mental Health Charity benefit from police property donation.
Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource (MHR) was fortunate to be one of the recipients of a grant from the Kent Police Property Fund. The fund is generated from the sale, at auction, of unclaimed lost property and items seized in police operations. The proceeds raised at these auctions are then presented to local charitable groups that work for the good of the local community.
MHR fundraiser Diane Bradley was presented with a cheque for £500 by Chief Inspector Jon Bumpus, District Commander for Tunbridge Wells and said “receiving this donation will support training to equip staff with the relevant skills to maintain, manage and develop our website. Being able to regularly provide up to date news and links for the public and our clients about Mental Health services & support within Kent is a vital service. We would like to thank Kent Police for their continued support of our work”.

Euro shambles drifts on...and on

The G20 conference in Mexico has resolved nothing.  Non- eurozone members of the G20 are looking to the eurozone to strengthen its firewall before offering any further support.  The IMF is supine.  The German Chancellor has admitted the last Greek bailout agreement is not guaranteed to work. Nevertheless the German parliament has approved the second Greek bailout package.It is a shambles.  The final link in this post considers the misery the Greek people are being subjected to.,1518,817818,00.html
Leaders buy time at G20 summit.,1518,817887,00.html
Germany has become the new villain.,1518,817795,00.html
Europe is pouring money into a bottomless barrel,1518,817858,00.html
Merkel rebukes minister for comments on Greece.,1518,817881,00.html
German parliament approves bailout package.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Eurozone misery continues

Two excellent articles for your consideration.

Councillor Brian Ransley

I have had occasion to mention Councillor Ransley in previous posts.  The links are to interesting reports:

I draw your attention to this:

Councillor Weeden considered that the public summary was misleading when compared to the facts that had emerged in the full report. The Chairman clarified that the public summary had also been provided by SfE.
In conclusion of the public session, the Chairman confirmed that Councillor Ransley had been found not to have breached the Code of Conduct in respect of each of the eight allegations that had been made. She said that, despite criticising CouncillorRansley’s actions in terms such as ‘inappropriate’ (4th complaint),‘discourteous and unfair to make remarks about named individuals when they were not present’ (5thcomplaint), ‘serious lack of judgement in repeating hearsay and rumour to fellow councillors’ (6th complaint) and in breaching Council protocols established under the Council’s Constitution, SfE believed that Councillor Ransley nonetheless acted in good faith in all the actions complained of, including those where he relied on information provided by others.

My understanding is that the full report is not to be published in the public domain. Ponder on Councillor Weeden's comment.  An open, transparent and accountable Council?

Tunbridge Wells Councillor launches public attack on a fellow councillor

John Smith was a leading light in the Conservative Party in Tunbridge Wells.  He was chairman of the Conservative Group on the Borough Council and his ability led to an invitation to meet David Cameron at Downing Street.

Then he was deselected as a candidate at last May's local elections.  He stood as an Independent and beat the Conservative candidate.  This municipal year he is proving to be an excellent Deputy Mayor.

In  letter to the local newspaper, The Courier, he has launched a blistering attack on Conservative councillor, Sean Holden, which he rounds off by inviting the electorate in Councillor Holden's ward to ask themselves what he has done for us other than cost us money.

Councillor Smith has attacked the Conservative Group on the Council for proposing a 3.3% increase in council tax and also raiding reserves to bridge the funding gap and keep the sinking ship afloat. He goes on to argue that the Council should have taken the £100,000 grant offered from central government and not stiffed the residents for another fiver.

One of my readers has commented thus:

The budget could have been balanced without increasing Council Tax but by taking tough decisions that are needed in times of economic stress and by following the path trodden by the overwhelming number of Councils in not increasing Taxes. Not bottling out and becoming a pariah among Conservative Councils that have taken tough action in order not to increase Council Tax.

Another letter in The Courier supports the stance taken by the Conservative Group on the Council.  The letter is from John Dutton who received a mention in an earlier post:

I wrote:

A high-profile blogger (John Dutton) against the civic complex redevelopment has been forced, according to the local newspaper (The Courier), to issue a fulsome apology for untrue and unfair statements and innuendos.

Mr Dutton, apropos the council tax increase, has written the following in his letter to The Courier.

I sincerely believe that under the good stewardship of financial portfolio holder James Scholes and leader Bob Atwood, we have the best possible hope for the future of our town and borough.  They deserve our support, not denigration.

Dear me.

See also:

Investigatory Committee: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

One of my 'moles' informs me that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has established a committee known as the Investigatory Committee.  I have scanned the Council's website in vain to find dates on which the committee meets, agendas and minutes.

What is the remit of this committee?  Why is nothing about the committee in the public domain?  The Leader of the Council promised on his appointment greater transparency and engagement.  Time to keep the promise.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

About time

To all, apart from europhile zealots, it is apparent that Greece should leave the eurozone.  At  last, a member of the German cabinet has broken the Merkel induced trance that the euro cannot lose members.  Mind you, the German finance minister has been very close at times to breaking rank.

The bailout terms agreed last Tuesday are not going to work.  Until the eurozone nations are prepared to put more resources into the contagion firewall the IMF, USA, China etc are not going to offer support.

The reality is that until Germany agrees to eurobonds, powers for the ECB to act as a central bank and asset transfers between nations, the eurozone is not going to work.
Brazil sticks its oar in.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Eurozone problems trundle on.

The next staging post in the ongoing eurozone disaster is how to circumvent German opposition to an increase in the firewall designed to protect Italy, Spain and Portugal.  The danger is that, unless the bailout firewall is increased, the IMF may pull the plug on the Greek bailout.  See:,1518,817152,00.html

My regular reader has been exposed to an almost daily blow-by-blow account for the past two of the problems of the eurozone.  Below is a synopsis of the Greek element of the problem.

the Greek government has hailed the bailout agreement as saving Greece from a nightmare, that leaving the euro would be the worst possible scenario.  In this context a report by Center for Economic and Political Research makes for interesting reading.

Foe a summary of the CEPR report see:

UPDATE 24.02.12

Lackadaisical Parish Council

In a previous post I noted that Rusthall Parish Council had spent £450 + VAT for a website.  We are waiting still for the minutes of the January meeting to be added to the website.  What a lackadaisical state of affairs.  Time was found for a statement by the Chair of the Council concerning the recycling bins and the newly co-opted councillor (decisions takenm at the February meeting) to be placed on the website, so why not add the minutes?

The Council has hardly covered itself in glory in recent months.  Barely a whimper  raised against the closure of the fire station and a request by the Council that some recycling bins be removed.  I thought a parish council was supposed to maintain and improve services, not acquiescent to their removal.

I am awaiting the findings of the parish survey which we were promised would form the basis for the 2012-13 budget.

When the Council formed a Planning Committee it granted it delegated powers.  However, as far as I am aware meetings of the Committee are not advertised, nor are its minutes published.  I feel a formal complaint coming on.......

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Uckfield-Lewes railway re-opening row simmers.

The debate continues on re-opening the Uckfield-Lewes railway line to provide a through route between London and Brighton and also a direct route from London to Falmer (for the universities and Brighton & Hove Albion's stadium)


The Wealden Line Campaign website is well worth a visit (via the link above).

Muted reaction to Greek bailout

The demonstration organised by trade unions in Greece appears to have fizzled out. Probably a case of demonstration fatigue.  Far more worrying is the discussions concerning the eurozone firewall, which may yet scupper the Greek bailout.  Add to this the statement by Fitch that Greek debt write - off constitutes a default.  The ECB has exchanged Greek bonds it holds for ones maturing at a later date.

A few more twists and turns:

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Ratcliffe vindicted

Some of you may remember this post:

The local newspaper, The Courier, pilloried Adrian across three pages, including the front page, for a number of comments he made, including one which referred to the issues the case below is raising.

At the time I expressed the opinion that The Courier had acted disproportionately in its reports concerning Adrian.  Tabloid journalism of the worst kind.

Palliative, not a cure

The eurozone has bought a short-term reprieve, but at what a cost. A massive loan to Greece (somewhat akin to supplying spirits to an alcoholic), external control of Greek financial affairs and a population which, although  a majority wish to stay in the eurozone, is unlikely to find the medicine palatable.  The general election in April will be interesting.  The Left is making significant progress, but is divided.

The BBC report stated the real reasons for the Greek bailout, to buy time for European banks to strengthen their balance sheets and for adequate defences to be put in place to protect Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Portugal is giving cause for concern.

Merkel and Sarkozy both have internal political problems, the outcomes of which may have much more significance for the future of the eurozone and the EU project.
The Greek gamble: new risks for the EU.
'Greece averted nightmare scenario'.  Really.,1518,816590,00.html
Default averted,1518,816024,00.html
Portugal neeeds more money to stay afloat.,1518,816598,00.html
Greek political establishment in freefall.,1518,816721,00.html
Merkel government teetering.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Latest on Greek bailout talks

Not plain-sailing.
The Greek gamble.

From my other blog

Constitutional issues

Articles on:

English votes for English legislation:

House of Lords' reform

(A seven part article to follow)

Euroland update

A number of articles of interest (I hope!).
Make sure your euro notes have the prefix 'X'
Greek bailout talks begin.
Interesting blog.,1518,816538,00.html
Much needed light relief.,1518,816442,00.html
Merkel isolated and weakened.

Odder and odder

Curious post on the English Passport blog from Steve Uncles:

Curious on two counts.

1.  The English Democrats' policy is one of parliaments for the four nations within a federal structure.  The SNP policy is for complete independence.

2. SNP members are invited to join the ED.  The link posted by Mr Uncles takes you to a page on the ED website that invites people to join as national voting members. So, we could have people from Scotland voting on policies of an English nationalist party.  Shades of the West Lothian Question.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Greek default: Not if, when.

The meeting  tomorrow of eurozone finance ministers is expected to sign off the latest bailout for Greece.  Failure to do so will lead to default.  However, there is  growing sentiment across the eurozone, the IMF and the European Commission that Greece is dead in the water and that signing off the bailout is the equivalent of throwing good money after bad.,1518,816410,00.html
Rescue package not the answer.


The following 'story' appeared on the English Passport blog.

A well-written story, which immediately made me suspicious.  Took me a few seconds to find this:

The English Passport item has been plagiarised from The Guardian, moreover it fails to mention that the subject matter refers to an event in May 2010.  The Facebook page referred to in the article no longer exists.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Southborough Tesco

The Southborough Environmental Action Movement  (SEAM) has been leading the charge against development on the Ridgewaye site in Southborough and in particular plans to build a supermarket.  Concerns about loss of recreational space, traffic congestion and damage to existing retailers have been to the fore.


There have been expressions of concern that the vibrant High Street in Rusthall will suffer should the supermarket development be approved, although I have my doubts.

SEAM is attacking on two fronts.  Southborough Town Council owns part of the land it is proposed should be developed and SEAM is promoting the opinion that the land should not be sold.  Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is the planning authority.

In May there is an election for one Borough Council seat in the Southborough & High Brooms ward.  The seat is marginal between Labour and Conservative.  The parties (along with the Liberal Democrats) give the impression of having to varying degrees reservations concerning the development of the Ridgewaye without translating that into meaningful action.

At a recent by-election in the ward for a Town Council seat the Conservatives had a famous victory over Labour.  The Liberal Democrats had an exceptionally dire vote whilst an Independent standing on an anti-development platform secured double the vote of the Liberal Democrats, but was way behind the Labour and Conservative candidates.

The question to be resolved is the extent to which SEAM and the Town Council represent the views of a significant section of the people of Southborough.  Poor turnout at local elections is endemic, and people who vote usually do so on party lines irrespective or local issues.  One way forward may be for a candidate (or a party) to promise to press for a referendum on the future of the Ridgewaye site.

Greek roulette

Stay in the eurozone or default?  Default is a serious possibility, indeed probability, as it is reported that the German government is divided on the issue.

Should more money be thrown at Greece even though there is no guarantee the austerity measures will work?  It is almost a certainty that the austerity measures will fail at some stage and Greece will default.  Mrs Merkel is reported as insisting that Greece must not be permitted to default, no matter what the cost of austerity is to the Greek people and the anathema in which they hold Germany.  Like a roulette player gambling on her number coming up, more and more money is being spent, in the hope that default will be avoided.  Roulette players will tell you that to keep on ploughing stake money on a number in the expectation it will come up is not a good idea.  Funds run out before the desired event occurs.

The BBC article below sets out the social, economic and political problems in Greece.

In the event of Greece receiving its bailout funding next week it will be merely a palliative.  Greece should depart, default and devalue now.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Is the final phase of the Greek economic/debt tragedy upon us?  It looks like it.  Is Greece to be sacrificed so that greater protection can be given to Italy, Spain and Portugal? 

Greece is probably ungovernable now.  Elections in April will result in far Left and far Right parties doing very well, and then what?

Greece on the brink

It will not take much to topple Greece into anarchy. Greece has had a turbulent political history. There was a civil war from 1946-49 and military rule (the Regime of the Colonels) 1967-74. The current economic crisis has led to widespread social unrest and the government of Greece is in the hands of a stooge from the EU.

Years of misery is the future for the Greek population, either remaining within the eurozone, or defaulting and leaving the benighted currency.

Grim years ahead. Already politics of the far right and far left are making inroads. The articles below make for sombre reading.,1518,814939,00.html
European doubts growing over Greece debt strategy.

This blog has been following closely for two years the eurozone crisis. What has happened has been a systemic failure of the political elite in Europe to counteract the problems caused by political hubris in establishing the eurozone as a stepping stone to a united Europe.,1518,815209,00.html
Greece cannot be ruled against the will of its people.,1518,814571,00.html
Misery in Athens.
Another tweek of the thumbscrew.

Building a Conservative majority

An article from Conservative Home.  Further articles will be added.
This is not the same as the one above.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Greece burns

I commend the article below:

See also:,1518,814864,00.html

Wot! No agenda?

Rusthall Parish Council spent £450 + VAT for a website.  I am writing this post at 13.50 on Sunday 12th February.  A few moments ago I looked at the Council's website for the agenda for tomorrow's meeting. A wasted visit, all that was on offer was the agenda for the meeting on 9th January.

Not good enough.

Update:  The agenda appeared on the website on 13th February!

Greek Parliament vote

The Greek parliament  will decided if the nation is to be beheaded or strangled. Much better for Greece to default and leave the eurozone rather than suffer a lingering death by accepting the loan terms and years of misery. Yes, leaving the eurozone will be painful, but for a shorter period and may protect the nation from civil strife and even revolution.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Homelessness: not a lifestyle of choice

Many years ago I knew a person who had been a Conservative councillor, chairman of an urban district council and a magistrate.  His business failed, so did his marriage and he became homeless, took to drink and died before reaching his 60th birthday. 

Another person ran a building company, a major contract to build a school failed.  He too lost everything.

The causes of homelessness are many and it is correct to state that the causes of homelessness for a particular individual are often the fault of that individual, but not in all cases.

UPDATE: 3 March 2012

The factors leading up to a person becoming homeless can strike quickly, then homes and family disappear, former friends shun the afflicted person, solace is found in drink.  All the familiar landmarks disappear.

The simple truth is that homelessness can strike all sections of society, the smug self-satisfied person of today can become the person sleeping in a heap of rags and cardboard in car parks, cut off from the rest of society.

It is the mark of a civilised society that help is given to people suffering misfortune. Much of the support that does exist for the homeless is provided by the voluntary sector and, in particular, the churches.  Statutory support is patchy.  I recall well the efforts (unsuccessful) of the Conservative majority on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to stop the building of a hostel for the homeless in Tunbridge Wells.

The news that the Soup Bowl in Tunbridge Wells is to close after 24 years is disquieting.  The Soup Bowl provides one meal a day for the homeless and is a lifeline for them.  It has been given notice to quit by the council.  Whilst I cannot comment on the reasons given for the notice being issued, one would hope that the council will support strongly the Soup Bowl to secure alternative premises.  After all, councillors are not immune from the risk of becoming homeless.


Greece: the heat is on. Portugal next?

Greece is on its last legs: street riots, government resignations, a plummeting economy.  Whatever measure you use, the outlook is grim.  How is it that this state of affairs has come to pass in a European country that a member of the EU and the eurozone?  The causes of the problems have been articulated on this blog many times and I do not intend to re-visit them.  What concerns me are the consequences of the failure to deal with the causes.  It is a sad story of the abject failure of the leadership of the EC and heads of national governments to act decisively months ago.

The danger is that what has happened to Greece could happen in varying degrees to Portugal, Italy and Spain.,1518,814500,00.html
Is Portugal next?,1518,814464,00.html
EU keeps pressure on Athens.
Athens riots.,1518,814523,00.html
Without a new beginning, Athens is lost
Greek Coalition hit by defections.
Greek PM warns of 'uncontrolled chaos'.


Interesting headline for an article (see below).  Pushes the nationalist cause further into the mire.  The article deserves a much better headline than that provided.


The headline below made me chuckle.

It will be the local elections soon.

The political parties will have decided whom their candidates are for the forthcoming local elections. From now until the elections in May we can expect a steady drip of political literature through our letter boxes, unless we live in a 'safe' seat in which case it is likely nothing will be delivered until April which is election address time.

It disappoints me that people vote at local elections for parties rather than individuals and that is why I applaud individuals prepared to stand as independents.  Sadly, national politics rather than local issues determine overwhelmingly voting behaviour in local elections.

The election in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells should be interesting as there are a number of marginal seats.

Southborough & High Brooms is being defended by the Conservatives.  Has 2 Conservative and 1 Labour councillor.  This is a seat Labour might have been expected to win had it not been for a stunning Conservative gain last year in a by-election for Southborough Town Council.  Local factors may well play a part, as there is vigorous opposition to plans to develop land and build a supermarket.

St John's has 2 Conservative and 1 Liberal Democrat councillor.  The seat is being defended by the Conservatives, who won a seat from the Liberal Democrats last year.

Pembury also has 2 Conservatives and 1 Liberal Democrat councillor.   The seat is being defended by the Conservatives who had a good result last May which made up for an earlier defeat to the Liberal Democrats in a by-election.

Broadwater is being defended by the Conservatives.  The other councillor for the ward, a Liberal Democrat, died recently and it is possible that a by-election could be held, although one would hope that a by-election is not called and that both seats are contested in May.

Benenden & Cranbrook has 2 Conservative and 1 Liberal Democrat councillor.  Should be a Conservative hold in May.

Rusthall. UKIP won a seat from the Conservatives last May.  This year the defending Conservative councillor is also Leader of the Council.  The Liberal Democrats have held Rusthall in the past, so it will be an interesting three-way contest.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Is it satire?

I implore you........please, please follow the link below.

Well, is it poor quality satire?  Or, does the author of this drivel believe it to be true?

There is much more material of this genre on the English Passport site. 

Greece, a goner?

The modern history of Greece is one of political instability.  Add to this economic instability, a citizenry being ravaged by austerity imposed from without and no obvious signs of a remedy for the social ills being created.  A triumph for the European ideal.

The tragedy being played out in Greece is shameful.  The guilty parties are those who signed up to the nonsense of the eurozone.  Siren voices who pointed out the structural failures of the eurozone: lack of a central bank with teeth, no arrangements for capital and revenue transfers were laughed out of court.  Those who mocked the dissenters are not laughing now.  But they will escape public opprobrium.  Convenient to have bankers to heap blame on.,1518,814095,00.html


Greece is heading for civil chaos.

More articles on constitutional change.

The debate on constitutional reform has descended into farce with the ludicrous statement by Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats that Britain is as tyrannical as Syria.  What a prat.

For more enlightened comments see:

Interesting article on the Scottish independence issue:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The tone of eurozone break-up talk changes

A few months ago the idea that the eurozone might break up or lose a member either through default or voluntarily was anathema. There is no legal process for leaving the eurozone but de facto departure could happen and there is nothing de jure that can prevent it.

The following articles are indicative of the new mood.,1518,813919,00.html
Time to end the Greek rescue farce.

Market Day

Saturday was the 'big' market day in Chesterfield. Apart from the indoor market, there was (and is) a big outdoor market which lost some of its character when food stalls were transferred to the indoor market.  A good market is as much a social gathering as a place of business and in this respect Chesterfield market was excellent.  Wandering round the stalls one would meet friends, either stall-holders or customers, and enjoy the occasional drink, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, from flasks. 

Then it was but a short step to The Market public house for a session. Our group was eclectic and during the course of the afternoon would vary is size from three up to as many as twenty people.  Sadly our conviviality came to an abrupt halt at 3.00PM with closing time.

Opt-outs from the EU

A number of Conservative MPs and the Daily Telegraph have become excited over opt-outs from the EU.  I do not share the enthusiasm: far better to leave the EU.

The final post is on a different subject: permitting women to be bishops in the Church of England. A splendidly splenetic article.

Monday, 6 February 2012


Further news on the SEAM site:

Another day in Euroland

Greece in the last chance saloon? Omens not good.  Either Greece will default or its people will have to accept further austerity with a good chance it will lead to civil insurrection.

The French presidential election is causing concern in Berlin.  The puppet Sarkozy could lose the election to his socialist rival with the consequence that France will take an independent line.on EU and eurozone issues.,1518,813524,00.html
Greece must reform if it is to expect solidarity
Bailout talks delayed.
'George Karatzaferis, leader of far-right party LAOS, said: "I will not contribute to the explosion of a revolution from destitution that will burn all of Europe." ',1518,813676,00.html
Merkel demands quick action.

French election and German involvement:,1518,813583,00.html
Crisis desperation drives Merkel to campaign for Sarkozy.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Still no end in sight for Greece

The problems of the Greek economy, austerity measures and sovereign debt are no closer to resolution.


Meanwhile, rumblings on the Tory back benches.

John Redwood, another senior Conservative eurosceptic, said he thought the majority of the Tory backbenches would vote against handing more British money to the IMF.
"We fully support the chancellor when he says he does not want extra IMF money to be given to prop up a currency," said Mr Redwood.
"I am happy for IMF money to go and help poor African countries - not to bailout broke but rich Western economies. Greece is no longer a sovereign country. It is a region in a currency union.
"The IMF would not bailout California. On the same premiss it should not give more money to save parts of euroland."


Members of Rusthall Parish Council were out in force this morning clearing paths of snow. Congratulations.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Eurozone debt

As the domestic press focus on the charges brought against Chris Huhne, the travails in the eurozone continue.  In the order of things the former is minor, the latter serious, but then people love an human interest story.  Might be difficult to find a jury of twelve people not antipathetic to the Liberal Democrats. :)



The local press informs us that Rusthall Parish Council is to decide on its response to an enquiry from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council about the  location of recycling skips.  Currently the skips are located close to the shops.  Residents living near the skips complain about the noise created when the skips are emptied.

One possible place to relocate the skips has been made by a cabinet post holder on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.  Residents in the proximity of the possible new site are up-in-arms.  There has been one 'heated' meeting of residents and I anticipate a good turnout of the public at the next Parish Council meeting on 13th February. 

Think I will attend and watch the fun.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

UK constitutional issues

My, Nick (It's time for a REAL referendum on Europe) Clegg has been busy stating his opinions on Lords' reform, devolution and Scottish independence.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sue and be damned!

Many denizens of the blogosphere do not understand that the law of defamation applies to posts on blogs. This is the case particularly at the seedier end of political blogs and fora.  However, even 'respectable' bloggers can get carried away and publish material which, viewed in the cold light of day, it might have been preferable not to have posted.

Politics is a rough trade. Insults abound.  Fortunately most blogger politicians are thick-skinned and take as good as they give. Court cases have established that a political party cannot be defamed. The chairman of a small insignificant party has taken exception to material about the party published on a blog and has claimed that it is defamatory of him personally as he is a leading member of the party.  I cannot of course publish the words complained of as that would be repeating the alleged defamation.  A High Court action has been commenced and the outcome will be viewed with considerable interest, not least in the blogosphere.


One of my readers has suggested that this post should be entitled Publish and be damned.  Fair point.  However, commencing a court case is not something to be undertaken lightly and there is a risk a plaintiff might lose.  Where would such a person's reputation (and the political party's) be then?

More Euroland links

The first link draws attention to the problems facing the eurozone, as disparities between economies widen. There will have to be asset transfers between countries, as there are in the USA between states and between regions in the UK.  The EU has the Social Fund, but this is of limited scope and is not the vehicle that should be used.

More on the ECB:

And finally, Boris Johnson tilting at the French:
Apparently several hundred thousand French people live/work on London.

Silly Six: part two

I note the author of the English Passport blog refers to some of the other members of the Silly Six as being members of UKIP Black Ops. Does the author believe such a group exists?

I am down as Care in the Community, which I assume is an ageism joke.  In fact the title fits me well as I am a director of a mental health charity and over the years have been connected with community groups, and charities which are providing care, help and support for people of all ages.

So, I take the title accorded to me as a compliment.