MichaelCD - The Blog.

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

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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Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Falkland Islands Belong to.......

From time to time, the issues of the Falkland Islands are raised. It never ceases to amaze me how many people, especially those of a left-wing or anti-British bent, continue to parrot the views of the Argentine government. Essentially, that they are 'occupied' lands, illegitmiately held by British 'oppressers'.

A commenter on the Unelightened Commentary blog, called 'United Irelander', spewed out the same tiresome rhetoric:
(T)he Argentinian dictatorship sought to reclaim what was, unquestionably, Argentinian land.
Unquestionably? Really! Well I certainly question the legitmacy of their claims.

First of all, the Falkland Islands had never, prior to 1982, been officially under Argentine sovereignty. The claim of sovereignty comes mainly from the Spanish, who had sovereignty of the Islands from 1774, and ruled them as part of their Argentine colony. To achieve sovereignty, the Spanish had removed disputed French and British colonies from the islands.

When the Spanish government abandoned the islands in 1811, sovereignty of the islands was up in the air. After independence from Spain, in 1816, the new Argentina established a small fishing port and penal colony on the islands, and claimed sovereignty over them. Their claim was half-hearted, and never officially recognised by foreign govenments.

In 1833 Britain returned to the islands, this time determined to make a go of colonising them. The Argentine colony was expelled, and the British government encouraged settlement of the islands by 'selling' them as a pleasant land, brimming with life. The truth, alas, was somewhat less appealing, with the islands being windswept and barren.

Whilst the claim of sovereignty is complicated and open to dispute, many see the geographical element as cut-and-dried. After all, look at the proximity between Argentina and the Falklands. Yet, as we have seen, Argentina's claim comes almost entirely from Spanish sovereignty of the Falklands.

Furthermore, the original Argentina was based around the old Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, from Spanish colonial times. The Rio Plate is obviously much closer to the Falklands than Britian or Spain, but is still thousands of miles away. Modern Argentina is, indeed, very close to the Falklands, but that's only thanks to its bloodstained annexation of native Indian territories.

So, yes, there are legitimate aspects of the Argentine claims, but to say that the islands are certainly Argentine is nonsense. But I suppose it's just what you expect from anti-British bigots.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Boris and Jeff

It is time for another edition of Boris Johnson offends. This time it's Portsmouth turn.

Okay, Boris has again used gross generalisations, that don't really hold up when put under scrutiny. My memories of Portsmouth are of the Mary Rose being contstantly sprayed with water, and of the HMS Victory, resplendent in the August sunshine. And it is also as much of a Liberal Democrat area, as a Labour one.

However, despite Boris' opinions being somewhat off target, the reaction is another tiresome leftist over-reaction.

Jeff Hopkins' comments, insulting the people of Llanelli in the Sun yesterday, were far, far worse:

Jeff added: “It’s like dropping people from the moon. Polish kids are sent to the schools not being able to understand English.

“And Polish nurses are tearing their hair out at the state of the health service.”

And what of the local unemployed?

Jeff said: “The poor working class here have no skills and have been left behind. Many end up on drink or drugs.

“The Poles who come here are better educated. I don’t think many of the local unemployed are resentful — some just don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.”

So, according to Jeff, unlike those super hardworking, ultra-intelligent Poles, the unemployed of Llanelli are workshy, drug-addicted, drink-soaked thickos.

Jeff is entitled to his view, of course, even if it is insulting and idiotic. I just wonder why we in Britian expect politicians to hold their tongues and their opinions in check, and then proceed to moan at their blandness and similarities. And, heaven forbid if Jeff Hopkins wore a blue rosette and had made those comments, he'd have already been strung from the nearest tree...

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