MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Firstly, from the Mail:
Benefit claims by Eastern Europeans have almost trebled in the past year, official figures show.

The cost of the payouts - to almost 112,000 migrants - is put at £125million a year.

The Home Office figures mean that one in six of an estimated 683,000 Eastern European incomers is living off the state to some extent.

A year ago, only 42,620 were claiming benefits.

Critics say that the welfare bill will rise further because 700 more migrants arrive every day from former Soviet Bloc states.

So, one sixth of East Europeans are on benefits. And it means that another central tenet in the 'economic-benefit' argument for mass immigration from Eastern Europe, falls apart.

Secondly, from the Telegraph:
New Labour has presided over the creation of a quango superstate that spends nearly £170 billion a year - more than five times the budget of the Ministry of Defence.

The figure has been revealed by an investigation into the accounts of nearly 900 agencies, advisory bodies, monitoring boards and other public bodies that are all termed "quangos".

The study also shows massive pay rises over the past decade for those running a slew of agencies, including the Coal Authority, the British Waterways Board and British Nuclear Fuels.

Last year, Ken Boston, the head of the Qualification and Curriculum Authority, received £273,000 in annual pay and benefits in kind.

In 1998, his predecessor received £43,563. Trevor Beaumont, head of The Tote, was paid £369,000 last year. In 1998, an official received £115,000 to do the same job.

Two years before Labour came to power, Gordon Brown spoke publicly of the need for a "bonfire of the quangos". His party's 1997 General Election manifesto sharply criticised the Tories for allowing their number and cost to soar.
A suggestion, then, for Dave: follow through Gordon's excellent idea for a bonfire of quangos, and you could go into the next election promising to balance the books, increase spending on the health service and cut taxes.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Panic Over?

It looks like the great panic is over, for now. The markets were in the green today after heavy losses last week, including a disastrous trading session on Friday. Being the Stock Market we can't say for certain whether this is the bottom, although I would imagine we are fairly close to it. What it has revealed, and will reveal further if there are any more heavy losses, however, is the knife-edge that the whole debt-based financial system lives on.

To a short-term bull and long-term bear like myself, it doesn’t really look like things have actually changed that much.
Corporate profits are still good and they should be the main marker for the performance of stocks and shares. Moreover, that elusive recession seems to be somewhere on the horizon but is certainly not close enough to really worry about. So in all reality this is solely about debt, and central banks who give platitudes about Adam Smith and liberal markets but to whom John Maynard Keynes is still the role model. That is why I am calm about the near future; central banks will simply not allow the debt-based economy to collapse. At the first sight of any signs that the economy may be in difficulty, liquidity will be flooded in and interest rates slashed.

What about inflation,
I hear people say, haven't the central banks said they are going to fight it? Well, yes, the central banks have talked about inflationary concerns over the last couple of years, and interest rates have been raised accordingly. But, in all reality, faced between the choice of the whole debt edifice collapsing around their heads and inflation being set loose, I think they will choose the easy option. Ergo, inflation will be set loose, and we all know what I believe is the remedy for this.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Broadband Has Been Resurrected

Technology, hey? It looks so easy to use on the box; just set it up and go. Unfortunately, the reality is usually one of devices unable to talk to each other and of long phone calls to tech support in Bangalore.

Anyway, things look like they are back to normal now, so blogging will return soon.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Tribes of Britain

I have just finished reading David Miles' book on the Tribes of Britain. Whilst the first part of the book ticks all the boxes that I was expecting from Miles, a former Chief Archaeologist with English Heritage, in that it contained a mix of demographics, archaeological anecdotes and genetics, the second part certainly does not. In fact, the best description of the latter chapters is as a love letter to mass immigration.

Now the first question that springs to my mind is why on earth would Miles write a book on the British people when they seem to constantly be presented as nasty racists? And if you are going to talk about events you may as well get your facts right. For instance, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993 not 1988 as Miles states.

Also, Miles correctly states that 'in 2003 new British citizens from Africa far outnumbered the combined total from the West Indies, Canada, Australia and America', with most of these coming from Somalia. He then says that this has gone unnoticed because 'they do not present too much of a problem' as they are 'mostly young, healthy, Anglophone and well educated'. Now I know that he wrote the book before two 'young, healthy' Somalians tried to blow-up Central London, but even so it proves his enthusiasm for immigration seriously clouds his judgement. And it is seems even more so when you consider that on the previous page he had exalted the 'Britishness' of a Caribbean island he had recently visited. Now although this is a little trite, it does at least have some truth to it: immigrants from places with similar cultures are obviously more likely to be able to integrate. Yet despite trying, I think, to make that point, a page later he seems to think it is wonderful that we now have mass immigration from Somalia!

All in all, it's a bit of a shame really, because if this book had ended at the chapter covering the 18th century I would have been enthusiastically endorsing it. Now, however, I must say that I won't be reading anything by Miles in the future. And as for English Heritage, an organisation of which I am a member, you do wonder about the sort of political bias that exists within it.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

An Unlikely Civil War

The blogger Mr Smith has pointed out a number of posts from Paul Weston, who he describes as a 'social commentator'. What caught my eye most was the two posts entitled 'Is European Civil War Inevitable by 2025?' The article, in reality, is ruminations by Weston on demographics and the ubiquity of violence in states with large Muslims populations.

Obviously, I am well aware of the arguments about demographics; I have read Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West and I used to lap up plenty of Mark Steyn’s doom-laden columns, in years gone by. And I certainly can see the validity of the argument - inward Islamic immigration continues unabated, whilst 'white flight' is a well documented phenomenon.

However, I think that extrapolating short term trends over a long period of time, is risky territory. Weston seems to believe that there will be a violent reaction to one terrorist attack too many. Is that realistic? I can forsee more and more people angered by terrorism, certainly, but their likely reaction will be to agitate for strict Islamic immigration restrictions and against the building of 'Mega Mosques', both policies that would postpone, or even stop, 'Islamification'.

There are also a couple of other tenuous arguments within the article.

Even if we agree with Weston's demographic argument, the 5 to 1 ratio is over the whole of Europe. Yet, this is likely to mean that in a country like France the ratio will be high, in many other countries in Europe the ratio will be low. Will the hopelessly outnumbered Muslim populations in these countries rise up in support of Sharia too? They will need to, if the thesis is correct, because it will require a massive sectarian conflict, like that in Iraq, to really render the Police and Army useless. Again, this all seems highly unlikely to myself.

There is, however, a killer section in the article, which I will reproduce here:
In France the politicians promise more money for the banlieus, within which Sharia law operates and no white European dare set foot. In Spain they gathered in squares after the Madrid train bombing and held candle-lit peace vigils, before voting out their Government and replacing it with one more in tune to the Islamists demands. In Holland, the Dutch justice minister, Piet Hein Donner has no objection to Sharia law being imposed, providing it is done democratically, and in Sweden, integration minister Jens Orback declared: “We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us.”

After the London tube bombings, the government’s immediate response was to worry not about the English, but about the terrible oppression the perpetrators must have suffered from in order to commit such a crime. Much to our rulers dismay, the “fabulous four” were educated and middle class; their drive was Islam, not oppression.
Weston has it on the submissive aspects of the governments of Western Europe, and the simple fact is that it far easier for Muslims to work within the current policial framework, extracting concessions, if they desire an Islam dominated future. In short, the obsession with minority interests, which dominates British politics, offers a richer ground for Islamists than engaging in a mass war.

Now I will engage in my little bit of fantasy: it's 2011, a charismatic Muslim leader emerges, styled as a moderate, who attempts to combat 'Islamophobia' and the 'extremists' within his community, he is feted by the Guardian, the Coexistence Trust and the BBC. Affable, presentable and a model of 'integration success', he is more Barak Obama than George Galloway. His party, helped by the 'ethnic voting' that those from the Indian Subcontient routinely engage in, win a good number of seats in the General Election.

The government court him, wanting to bring back the voters that they have lost back into the fold, and aim to concede to whatever he desires. And then the dam will have burst: Islamic schools, Mega Mosques, Islamic courts, will quickly become a daily reality of life in Britain. Perhaps, similar movements will arise in France, Sweden and Holland, too.

Britain will continue to exist, but will have become hollowed out and divided. And if, like Weston, you're looking for a Hadrianople or an Alaric outside the gates, you will not see the destruction right in front of your eyes.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hitchens on the EU

Hat-tip The Devils Kitchen

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Monday, July 16, 2007


July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Brent crude-oil futures traded above $78 a barrel in London for the first time since Aug. 9 as maintenance shutdowns limited North Sea supplies and violence in Nigeria curbed its oil exports.

The August Brent contract rose as high as $78.02 a barrel and was trading at $78 a barrel, up 43 cents, at 8:38 a.m. on London's ICE Futures exchange. Brent has averaged $64.56 so far this year for contracts closest to delivery, after averaging $66.11 last year, $55.25 in 2005 and $38.04 in 2004.

Brent set a record on Aug. 7, when crude futures closest to delivery reached an intra-day high of $78.64 a barrel.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Dealing With Terrorism

Stella Rimington, former head of MI5, has elucidated her remedy for dealing with terrorism:

The former head of MI5 today calls for stricter border controls to combat a terrorism threat to Britain which will last for a 'generation'.

In an exclusive Daily Mail interview, Dame Stella Rimington says the Government must resist the introduction of increasingly 'draconian' terror laws, such as detention without trial.

But she argues that 'if you have people who would kill you there have got to be a lot more checks' of those trying to enter the UK.

There you go, Gordon, it's simple. You do not need to trample on civil liberties, and you certainly do not need to spend massive amounts on implementing ID cards. If you want to fight terrorism, the first place to start is our porous border.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oil Fundamentals - Update

The fundamentals of oil have returned to the news this week. The IEA has predicted a coming supply crunch:
Crude-oil supplies will be tighter in coming years, with a "supply crunch" after 2010 as OPEC's spare production capacity evaporates, the International Energy Agency predicted Monday.

Supplies will tighten because economic growth will drive up demand and offset significant increases in oil-refining capacity, the IEA said, according to media reports citing the agency's annual medium-term forecast.

The IEA, which monitors energy markets for the world's 26 most-advanced economies, doesn't forecast oil prices, but its conclusions imply consumers should expect continued upward pressure on energy costs, The Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition.

"Oil and gas price pressures look set to remain in the coming years," the IEA reported, according to the Journal. "Slower-than-expected (gross-domestic-product) growth may provide a breathing space, but it is abundantly clear that if the path of demand doesn't change on its own, it may well be driven to change by higher prices.".
Clearly, the problems here are more of a refinery nature than Peak Oil related. Nonetheless, they are related to the unbelievable explosion in demand of the last few years emanating from non-OECD countries, which has lead to the pressure on refinery capacity.

And when you add stagnating reserves, refinery problems and massive demand together it shows that we are headed one way: directly towards what Peter Terzakian calls an 'energy breakpoint'.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Broken Society

David Cameron is aiming to 'mend' society:
Tory leader David Cameron has said mending Britain's "broken society" is the biggest challenge facing the UK.

Citing high crime rates, drug abuse and teenage pregnancies, he said there was something "deeply wrong" and "long-term generational change" was needed.

Mr Cameron was speaking to the BBC's Sunday AM show ahead of a report by the party's Social Justice Policy Group.

All very laudable. However, it is not just a 'long-term generational change' that is needed. The fact is that it is not just problems with the so-called underclass of British society that have created the feeling that our society is broken. Their is a deep pervasive current of nihilism, self-loathing. consumerism and selfishness that runs through all rungs of society.

One of the saddest, and also most graphic, manifestations of this has been the response of some to the widespread misery caused by the floods in the North-East of England. Here are three examples:

National Flood Forum co-ordinator Mary Dhonau warned cowboy builders could arrive at people's doors "wearing spurs and yelling yee-haa".

She advised flood victims to use recommended workmen "even if it means you are displaced for longer".

"There aren't enough builders in the area for the homes who need one,"
she said.

"People will go to the area and nobody knows who they are. They have got to check their credentials."

She said damage done by dodgy workmen could end up being more stressful than the flooding itself.

It could lead to the need for people to move out of their homes again, she said.

Meanwhile, Katrina Whincup has faced the prospect of profiteering.

Mrs Whincup, 36, was forced to flee her house in Ilchester Close, Bransholme, with her three children Adam, Abbie and Emily on June 25 after it became flooded.

She tried to secure a property in Mill Lane, Beverley, to rent through a private landlord, after seeing an advertisement in the Mail.

But she claims the price was increased by £120 to £900 per month at the last minute, a cost too high to be covered by her insurers.

Since then Mrs Whincup has lost out on three other properties in Hull because of the high demand.

The owner of the house in Mill Lane, Beverley, did not wish to be named and declined to comment.
Finally, in this sordid trio we have this:
Four people have been arrested on suspicion of looting from flooded properties in West Yorkshire, police have said.

The arrests for theft were made in the Brigg area of Wakefield, where a number of homes were hit by flooding.

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police said the four people had been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Ch. Inspector Mark Truelove said: "We warn people engaging in such activity they will be dealt with robustly."

Perhaps these are merely isolated incidents, but you really do have to wonder about the mentality of those involved here. They are a symptom of the broken society, but unlike the underclass it cannot be claimed that they are 'poor'. Therefore, it is beyond the ability of the left, with their Marxist obsession with money and poverty, to solve the malaise in society. So what is now needed is a revolution. A revolution, to be more precise, in the morals and spirit of the nation.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gordon's Weakness

There has been much said about Gordon Brown’s accession to Prime Minister.Most of it seems to revolve around how he has surprised the Tories, by not causing a massive poll slump after taking the keys to Number 10. Quite why anyone would have thought that Brown’s accession would have caused such a down-surge in popularity I do not know.

Image, one of the areas where people said Brown would err, has not got the same hold over the public that it did in 1997. The ‘Cool Britannia’ hysteria of that era has dissipated, to be replaced by a more image-weary media and public. And, in any case, all media appearances can be heavily managed and choreographed, interviewers can be handpicked and speeches carefully constructed; leaving little chance of the voters seeing the real personality of Brown shining through.

The other hope, I suppose, was that Brown would quickly be seen as a 1970s dinosaur, whose socialism would send the voters of the ‘middle’ ground back into the arms of the Conservatives. It should have been fairly obvious by now, however, that Brown does understand that you need wealth creation and lower-than-1970s direct taxation to make an economy tick.

In saying all that Brown does have some severe weaknesses. The economy has performed well in a number of ways, but it is certainly not the ‘miracle’ economy that Brown and his media Toadies like to paint out. Most damning of all is the question of who has benefited from Brown’s policies, who has lost out and what effects will they have on our country in the future.

The City has been full of praise for Brown, and why shouldn’t they be? He has kept direct taxation reasonably low, and resisted the temptation to clamp down on record bonuses. Furthermore, there is non-domicile tax status in which foreigners (many of whom hold British passports) pay about 25% tax rather than the 40% top rate. That is great for them, and many would argue that this has lead to top foreign talent descending on the City making it the powerhouse (or, indeed, the only working engine at all) of the British economy.

This windfall has allowed Brown to throw the money at the people he regards as either too important too annoy votes-wise, or as ‘worthy’ of government help. So we now have a protected public sector retirement age of 60; whilst those of my generation have been told that they must work till 68 before retiring. Then there are those who are technically called ‘economically inactive’, including all those who live off welfare, the black economy and crime. Many of these people are classed as ‘poor’ by the government and the likes of Polly Toynbee, but are, if they have plenty of children, more than likely far more cash-rich than those who work on low to middle incomes.

Brown’s recent machinations in which the income tax starting rate of 10% has been scrapped, is yet another kick in the teeth for these people. Indeed, the marginal tax rate for the poorest members of society who try to better themselves through work, is now 90%. True, many of these people have ‘benefited’ from House Price inflation over the last ten years, but nowhere near as much as the upper-echelons of society.

The effects of this are obvious: by subsidising the unproductive you breed more and more of these types of people, often alienated from general society and shorn of the civilizing nature which the act of working brings to a person. More than likely, you’ll also force those who are on the bread line to drop out of work and maybe even split-up relationships, to benefit from the Prime Minister’s beloved tax credits. This policy is, therefore, undermining the moral fabric of the country.

It is true that these policies will have pernicious economic effects too, but due to the strength of the City and the global economy, these problems will only manifest themselves of the long term. So what needs to be attacked now is the immoral aspect of Gordon Brown’s economic policies, not his financial policies. The degenerative aspects of this should be obvious to any conservative; why then does it seem that only a Member of Parliament for Labour, understands that?

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Family Values

When social conservatives attack immigration, they are regularly told that they are actually engaging in a collective nose cutting. Immigrants, we are told, actually bring 'family values' to this country, and are, therefore, of great benefit to our society and social cohesion.

Let's leave aside the question of what sort of 'family values' these immigrants bring for now. Instead, what does the statistical evidence say? Does it really back up these claims? Firstly America:
President Bush and others argue that one of the benefits of immigration is that immigrants have a stronger commitment to traditional family values than native-born Americans.

However, a new analysis of birth records by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that out of wedlock births have grown dramatically for both groups, and rates are now about the same for immigrant and native mothers. Children born to unmarried parents are at higher risk for a host of social problems. This may be especially true for the children of immigrants, because they need strong families to adjust to life in America.
Then there was this report from Britain:
The number of marriages in England and Wales has slumped to the lowest level on record, it was announced today.

The 10% cent fall reversed three years in which an increased number of people had tied the knot. Provisional figures from the Office for National Statistics showed there just were just 244,710 weddings in 2005.

In London the decrease was even more marked, with marriages falling by 35%
London, of course, has received masses of immigration over the last decade. There does not seem, in conclusion, to be much evidence for the claims of immigrant 'family values' on either side of the Atlantic. So whilst I do want to re-establish family values and laud any attempts to further that goal, I think we can safely say that importing millions of immigrants isn't the answer.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007


My brief hiatus is over.

Perhaps it's that good old Vitamin D, but I must say I do feel that the break in Italy has done me the world of good. The beach was beautiful and litter free, as were all the streets. Our travel representative mentioned that there was very little crime - a fact which was also borne out by our experiences. Most of all it was possible for all age group to be out late in the evening, strolling, drinking quietly and even eating ice cream at 12:30 in the morning. What a difference between that and our evening streets.

Sometimes, however, when you spend more and more time in a place, and when you have a better grasp of the language, your views of a country become more rounded. So, although all the things I love about Italy were there once again, I did become more than a little irritated with the nature of some of the Italians. Still, these irritations are minor, and do not diminish my own Italophilia.

Well, that's enough of my own ramblings which have filled this blog over the last few months. Now we have a new Prime Minister, oil is riding fairly high and the summer terrorism season
has reared its ugly head. That should have my fingers tapping those keys...

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Friday, June 01, 2007

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

I've been very quiet blogging wise over the past month. This is unlikely to change soon, as I am seriously fatigued with work, and have a close friend and colleague who is losing his battle against that dreadful disease. So at this moment in time I really have no appetite whatsoever for blogging, and little knowledge of what is going on in the world.

Thankfully, I'll be holidaying in Italy later in the month, and will hopefully return refreshed and enthusiastic; but until then it's very unlikely that I will be blogging. So before I go on my hiatus, I just wanted to say thank-you to everybody who has read this humble blog.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dear Ministers...

Thank you for listening to my worries about road pricing.......and then deciding to totally ignore them. That's good old Representative Democracy I suppose.

And hey, it's not like fitting cars with an electronic tag which monitors every mile travelled is detrimental to civil liberties. No siree. Providing accurate figures about immigration, however, well that's just being the living emobodiment of Big Brother!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

MPs' Day of Shame

Ian Dale has a list of the MPs who voted for the 'opt-out' to the Freedom of Information Act. Most of them were Labour MPs, some of them even government Ministers. That is quite amazing considering that the Labour government stated a couple of years ago:
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 reflects a national policy shift in public administration from a culture of confidentiality to a one of openness.
The Act allows anyone the right of access generally to all types of recorded information held by a public authority, subject to certain limited exemption. The right of access to information is far wider than that currently enjoyed under any Code of Openness.
But, hey, as soon as their own expenses were opened-up to the lumpenproletariat, they've suddenly lost interest in 'a culture of openess'.

The source of the bill was the Conservative Party's David Maclean. He is quoted in the Daily Mail - and this is not a joke - as saying:
Mr Maclean claims the move would prevent correspondance from falling into the hands of "criminals or the BNP".
Ahh yes, the nasty, bogeyman BNP once again. If you have no idea how to dfend your scandalous attempts to deny the public information on your overblown expense claims, bring up 'racists'. I wonder, Mr Maclean, how exactly will the BNP use the FOI act? And, in what way would their usage of the act be construed as being 'wrong'? Perhaps Mr Maclean could furnish us proles with an explanation, but given his lack of love for openess, I'm not holding my breath.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Earth's Plentiful (?) Bounty

I'm not a fan of the crass headline, but I am pleased to see that the Daily Mail is interested in tackling the subject of oil reserve depletion:

According to David Strahan, a respected business journalist and author of the new book, the early warnings of an oil crisis were correct in every respect, save their timing.

In the next couple of decades or so, he argues, our civilisation will have crossed a point where the peak of oil discovery and production has been reached.

From then on, the story will be of dwindling supplies and rising prices.

Is he right? Well, he marshals some impressive arguments. The rate at which we discover oil has indeed been falling for 40 years.

In the Sixties, geologists found some 55 billion barrels a year. Today, the figure is down to just 9 billion barrels.

Most worryingly, we now consume three barrels for every new one discovered, and out of the 98 oilproducing nations, 60 (including the UK) are now in terminal decline.

Tax revenues here are dropping as North Sea oil production declines.

Indeed, Britain will become a permanent net importer of oil next year - according to The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre - and then our balance of payments and energy security will begin to deteriorate.

Strahan says: "It's the end of a gravy train for Britain."

Indeed. Our trade deficit is already dire and we haven't begun to the feel the pinch of being a net oil importer.

Let's remember that although it is difficult to fix a peak in the production of oil, - Strahan has predicited 2020 by the way - it doesn't change the basic fact that easy oil just isn't being discovered anymore. Tar sands may be numerous, but are far more difficult and expensive to extract than sweet light crude. And then there is demand, which shows no sign of abating. This all points towards oil trending higher and higher, at the very moment Britain is becoming a net oil importer.

So, all in all, I'm thinking Tony got his timing just right. As for you Gordon...oh dear.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Something I Missed

I am not sure how I missed this from a couple of weeks ago. At least it gives me the opportunity to re-state:
The only pillar of the nation state which has not yet been attacked by multiculturalism, is the law. Well, so I thought. Then I came across an article on the BBC website, it turns out that the laws of this land, rooted in anglo-saxon common law, are not accepted by some British citizens.
This path in which we are sleepwalking down, is the one which leads us all the way upto the end of our nation as a united whole.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Britannia Fragmented

This week’s elections north of the Border may be one of the most important in the history of this island. If, and it is by no means certain, the Labour hegemony of Scotland is over, the SNP stand to take control of Holyrood. It is widely believed that the consequence of this victory will be that the Scottish people will get a chance to vote on independence, thus leading to the break-up of this nation, Great Britain.

What is surprising about these turn of events is not that the SNP, under the wily but slippery Alex Salmond, are set for victory, but that there is so little interest south of the border. Worse still, the only people who are interested are ones who are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a divorce between England and Scotland. And, even more dismayingly, many of these people are within the conservative and right-wing movement; spending their time berating the Conservative Party for still supporting the union, when its break-up would deal a massive blow to Labour's chances of gaining power again.

Well, there are a lot of things I'd berate the Cameron Conservatives about,
but a policy where they are attempting to conserve this nation state is certainly not one of them! They recognise, as all to few of us seem to, that defending the nation as it is - a whole greater than the sum of its country parts - is of the utmost importance. It transcends debates about North Sea Oil revenues; it transcends debates about what constituency Gordon Brown will represent; it transcends petty political point-scoring; and it involves the very soul of our nation.

Hopefully after Thursday, more people will come to realise that. Let's just hope it will not be too late.

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A quote from the Hitch's travel diary:
Of course, Iran is not a proper free country and you can get into serious trouble if you oppose its regime. But that regime is weakening, not least because it is failing to deliver prosperity and jobs to the young. Its grip on their loyalty weakens by the day. A war with us would give it back its legitimacy, just as the attack by Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s.
Somebody should tell Douglas Murray.........

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Crazy World of Politics

I've always thought that the political 'bubble' leads to the trumping up of differences between politicians. So, although most politicians agree about the major questions, the things they dispute are made out to be of the most grave importance. The public, however, do not agree about the relative importance of these things, which has caused the apathy we see all around us.

Yesterday there was another example of such trumping up of a minor difference. Darren Millar, a Conservative candidate for North Wales, commented on homosexuality:
He said Mr Millar was asked if he thought homosexuality was a sin. Mr Millar replied that "he was against all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality", however, "there are certain religious texts which think homosexuality is a sin."
And the responses to that, were some of the most ludicrous, and frankly embarrassing, I have ever heard:

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said: “These comments are not acceptable in a modern society and we would expect Cameron and Bourne to distance themselves from such comments.”

Clwyd West’s Labour AM Alun Pugh said: “There was a sharp intake of breath around the hall as Mr Miller made his statements. [...]

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said the Conservatives should drop Mr Millar as a candidate.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, Mr Hain said: "If you want people to believe that the Conservative Party has really changed, it is essential that you take immediate action against him."

He said, simply, that some religions 'think' homosexuality is a sin. In fact, they say homosexuality is a sin, so Mr Millar is actually incorrect in his statement, but what about the rest of it? All he has done is express that he agrees with the one-party state line against 'discrimination', and mention the truth that some religions view it as a sin.

To make such an innocuous statement out to be a big deal, politicians show their pathetic point-scoring side, and it isn't exactly likely to motivate the public to go and vote at the ballot boxes next week.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The Nation of Immigrants?

Laban pointed out this article from the Telegraph, which talks about a new publication from CIVITAS, demolishing the 'nation of immigrants' argument:

Between 1066 and 1945 Britain actually had very few waves of immigration. By far the largest was the Irish during the 19th century and, technically, they were not immigrants, since Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Irish "immigrants" never amounted to more than 3 per cent of the British population.

Numerically, the next largest group is the Jews. Official statistics record that 155,811 Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe arrived over 25 years from 1880. Their contribution to the intellectual, political and economic life of Britain has of course been enormous. But even adding the 70,000 who fled to Britain from Nazi Germany, the number of Jewish arrivals was, compared to the 50 million Britons already resident here, minute. They are certainly not enough to make Britain "a nation of immigrants".

Almost all immigrant groups never managed to reach 1 per cent of the population. The Normans, though they seized land and power, were a tiny elite. The Dutch who arrived in the 16th century were, in proportion to the whole population, a much smaller group. Even the 50,000 Huguenots from France only ever amounted to a hundredth of Britain's total population. And they arrived over a period of 50 years.

It's obvious that this myth has been propagated for one reason alone: to assuage fears about the comparatively massive scale of modern immigration. After all, what better way to answer people like myself who claim that assimilation takes considerable time and will always involve pain on both sides, than to point out the past successes. The truth, laid bare here by Conway, is that there is no numerical precedent for the modern waves of immigration.

I cannot help thinking that those who are implementing such a policy concurrent with the weakening of the sovereign nation state, are the authors of an experiment that is likely to lead us into a fragmented abyss. One day, they'll be seen as the traitors they truly are.

Gloomy thoughts aside - I'd like to wish a Happy St George's day to all.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

That Escaped Rabbit

So, the result of mild weather has directly led to oil prices falling to a two-year low, stuck in the $50-55 barrel range. Natural Gas has suffered, too, with lower use of central heating.

But what goes around comes around. What the weather has given with one hand it has taken away with the other. Because of scorching drought in Australia, the grain harvest was severely affected. That has sent the grain price soaring, which will feed through into higher prices for all staple produces.
That is from post on this blog, in January of this year.
Let me turn to the reasons for the rise in CPI inflation to 3.1 % from 1.8% a year ago. As discussed in our February inflation report, part of that rise reflects an unexpectedly sharp increase in domestic energy prices during the second half of last year, more than offsetting a fall in petrol prices. Part reflects a rise in food prices cause by a weather-induced global reduction in supply.
That was Mervyn King's letter to Gordon Brown, explaining the reasons for the CPI surpassing 3% despite the recent interest rate rises. Glad to see he's caught up.

So, whilst we are on the subject, where will inflation go next? Well, I am not as easily convinced as many analysts that the bank are on top of the problem, and that we will see a reduction coming through very soon. The high energy prices from last year will fall out of the system, which will undoubtedly have some sort of an effect in reducing it. That's hoping, of course, that oil prices stay at their current level all summer. To achieve that we need to buck the trend for oil increasing during the summer months, and we would need to avoid anything which could lead to oil prices hitting $70+. So, no wars, Hurricanes, supply problems or sweltering heatwaves. Do you feel lucky, Mervyn?

Then there is dear old Gordon's taxes. Even if the oil price doesn't reach $77 dollars a barrel, and even with the fact that oil is cheaper for us now that the Pound is so 'strong' (actually it's the Dollar that is so weak), there is a very strong chance petrol will hit £1.00-a-litre.

I can see, therefore, inflation hanging around the upper 2% range, for the near future. Coupled with the UK's rising trade deficit and with unemployment rising again, the economic future is not looking particularly bright.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The French Elections

The official campaign for the Presidency of France, commenced on the 9th of April. Over the last month numerous articles have been published about the prospective candidates. Quite a number of these have been very complimentary about Nicholas Sarkozy, the main right-wing candidate.

The Daily Telegraph, was first in, describing Sarkozy's impessive 'tough love' proposals and ideas:

On Thursday he presented his 16-page manifesto, eight million copies of which are being prepared for distribution to French voters.

He has moderated his previous commitment to tax cuts, promising merely to "do his best" to lower them. But he reaffirmed his determination to create a ministry of immigration and national identity.

"If I'm elected I will never stop declaring our pride in being French," he said, announcing that he would introduce annual "immigration quotas".

The promises sound good; although they do seem a little familiar. Perhaps David Cameron has lent him the manifesto he wrote for Michael Howard's failed general election campaign. But this article, also from the Telegraph, provides an even better reason for the French to vote for Sarko: he scares the French 'youths', witless.

Then there is Pat Buchanan, who focused his column on Sarkosy's patriotic credentials, impressing Pat immensly:
Sarkozy sounds like a Hamiltonian. He believes in markets. He understands markets. But the country comes first. Decisions that affect the sovereignty and economic independence of the nation are not to be left to the invisible hand of a market that promises only the most efficient result, now, and not necessarily what is best for the nation.
If all this promise turns out to be true, then I sincerely hope that the French do vote for Sarkosy. Unlike some, I cannot see any good coming from France falling into disarray, and if Sarkosy came through on his promises he could be the medicine it desperately needs.

However, there is an element of 'everybody's man', about Sarkosy. Indeed,Theodore Dalrymple's recent Spectator Column takes a slightly critical view of Sarkozy:
Is Sarko the man to deal with all this? Certainly, he can talk tough; but when the Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, took the first very timid steps to reduce the inflexibility in the labour market that keeps unemployment so high in the townships, Sarko lost no time in trying to reap personal political advantage by failing to support him. The one and only correct political prediction I have ever made in my life was to foresee that if the government tried to alleviate the situation in the townships, there would be rioting on the Boulevard St Germain; and when there was such rioting, Sarko voted for surrender. It remains to be seen whether he is made of sterner stuff when he has no rival (as the Prime Minister then was) to outflank or betray.
Dalrymple does come out as supporting Sarkosy in his column, but only as the 'least worse' option, compared to the left-winger Ségolène Royal and centrist François Bayrou. Not exactly a ringing endorsement!

It is probably the way things will pan out, however. I can see Sarkosy winning handsomely. But, to me, he will simply be a new Chirac. Anti-immigration, when it's popular; economically nationalist, socialist or liberal, depending on the way the tide is turning; pro-European sometimes, anti-European the rest of the time. Exactly the sort of politician France doesn't need.

For what it's worth, if I were a Frenchman my vote wouldn't go to Sarkosy, Bayrou or Royal. It certainly wouldn't go to Le Pen, who thinks 9/11 was a mere 'incident', and morally equivocal to the bombing of Dresden. In other words he is an idiot. Instead, I would vote for Philippe de Villiers, the traditional conservative candidate. He is riding at his highest level of popularity ever, but is still unlikely to make the final run-off. Still, a good showing from de Villiers may have an effect on Sarkosy; showing him that the popular answer to France's problems is good old-fashioned conservatism.

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Monday, April 09, 2007


A little while ago I was tagged by the Fulham Reactionary. I must, therefore, in the traditions of tagging, supply six weird things about myself:
People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own 6 weird things as well as stating this rule clearly! Three people need to be tagged and their names listed. Finally a comment needs to be left on each tagged person's blog...
So, here goes!

  1. Heights are probably my biggest phobia. I don’t get vertigo; it doesn’t even make me feel particularly queasy. But I do experience some very strange shooting-pain sensations in my feet. I usually feel a lot lighter than my twelve-and-a-bit stones, too, which makes something to grip on to a must.

    This is rather bizarre, considering my favourite place in Cheshire is Beeston Castle. This is a castle famous for being stuck on top of a rocky crag, with views of eight different counties.

  2. For the second thing, I think my obsession with genealogy, is worth mentioning. It’s meant that I have spent large amounts of money on allsorts of genealogy and census websites. I have subscriptions with Ancestry.co.uk and Genesreunited, and have managed to find a lot of distant relatives. A very satisfying thing, when you belong to a small family like me.

    I have also spent a lot of time, physically finding things. I have looked through the St Catherine’s index in Sale library, many-a-time. But, most of all, there have been numerous visits to cemeteries dotted throughout Wales and the bordering English counties, where my ancestors came from. I can think of nothing more satisfying than finding the grave of a long-lost ancestor, and placing a single flower on it, which says to anyone who may see it that ‘this person hasn’t been forgotten’.

  3. I have a massive football programme collection, which has meant that I have been to allsorts of matches and grounds in a bid to collect more. That's taken me from tiny no-facility grounds like Accrington Stanley and Hyde United, to Premiership teams like Tottenham Hotspur and Blackburn Rovers.

  4. I think I mentioned before that I love the Ray Mears/Bear Grylls type of wilderness survival show.

    I would love to see if I could make a go of living in a survival situation, but this is probably me being rather delusional. It is very easy watching such programs from the comfort of a centrally-heated house, with a fridge stocked to the rafters, and getting carried away about being an SAS soldier. But, that said, it's fun to dream of eating boiled nettles and drinking pine-needle tea, whilst sat around a campfire!

  5. I drink ludicrous amounts of coffee, sometimes. It's not unknown for me to have about seven mugs-worth whilst I am in work.

  6. Finally, it's bizarre to think that I am so obsessed with learning languages now, when I was so useless at them whilst I was at school.

    We were streamed into two sets in German, and, based on peformances in French, I was put in the higher class. Sadly, I was truly woeful and finished bottom of the class.

    Then, when we had to choose options in the third year, I wanted to - and believed I was good enough to - take French. The French teacher was, however, distinctly underwhelmed, and tried to put me off taking it. When that failed, she put me in the no-hopers group, and boy were they no-hopers! Sadly, this meant that I had only a slim chance of achieving a 'C' grade, and ended up with a 'D'.

    These memories drive me on, in my quest for fluency in Italian.

Okay, well that's it. Now I have to nominate three people to tag, and I hope that they do not get offended by my doing so. So, I will tag the New Zealand Conservative, Sam Tarran and the Mild Colonial Boy.

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