Saturday, December 01, 2007

BBC Commemorate Anniversary

It's 50 years since Boris Pasternak's novel Dr Zhivago was published, and the BBC have a new radio adaptation.

It's also 75 years since Stalin starved several million Ukrainians to death. If there are any BBC documentaries on this subject, they're keeping pretty quiet about them on the website.

Only two Western journalists exposed the famine - Malcolm Muggeridge in some unsigned Guardian pieces, and a young Welshman called Gareth Jones, who was almost certainly killed by the NKVD two years later.

You can't blame the BBC bigwigs for this lack of focus. After all, when they were at university only right-wing lunatics like Robert Conquest claimed the USSR was responsible for millions of deaths. Turned out he was right all along.

Pot "shocked" at blackness of kettle

Guardian :

Joey Barton has described Newcastle United fans as "vicious" and admitted to being "shocked" by the scale of abuse meted out to Sam Allardyce and his players during last Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool.

Deviant Banged Up Again

Surely Broadmoor is the place for this chap ? The hippies have a lot to answer for.

Gough had claimed that to appear in court naked did not amount to contempt. His counsel said Gough believed that to be naked in public was a fundamental freedom and that nakedness was an aspect of his personal autonomy. Gough has spent nearly 19 months in Saughton Prison since May 2006. On each occasion he has refused to wear clothes when released at the end of his sentence and been arrested when he entered a public area.

Its a Canard I Tell You

I'm sure this is just another tabloid myth put about by right-wing rags like, er, the BBC.

Signs warning people not to cook fish from the River Severn have been erected after migrants from eastern Europe were allegedly caught poaching fish. John Roberts, from the Shropshire Anglian Federation, said the removal of the fish has become a major problem. He said he caught three Polish men with pike and a mallard in separate incidents last week. "Particularly at this of the year it is critical as the Polish dish for Christmas is carp, " he said.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Grow Old ...

Paul Fox, guitarist with the Ruts, one of the favourite bands of my degenerate days, has died. The Ruts were a powerful band, whose songs "Secret Soldiers" and "Dope For Guns" are as relevant and prophetic as ever. Alas neither are on Youtube - I'll have to dig out my old Peel tapes.

Interesting to read in the obituary that he and frontman Malcolm Owen, just like Joe Strummer, were hippies with haircuts.

He moved to Hayes, Middlesex, and became a professional musician while living in a hippy commune in Anglesey in the early 1970s with Malcolm Owen. The pair formed a progressive rock band, Aslan, playing gigs around North Wales. In 1976 he met up again with Owen in London, who had cut off his long hair and was raving about the punk scene.

"Then, later in the 60s, there was the hippy thing, although I don’t think I was ever as much of a hippy as Joe, who went the whole way. Then the squatting. We shared things in common .. I was completely amazed to see Joe at the 100 Club, with his blonde hair, all punked out, totally unlike this hippy from before. It was an amazing transformation ..."

Malcolm Owen took the whole thing perhaps a little too seriously, adopting the stage presence and singing style I term "patient refuses to take his medication" (Cockney Rejects' I Am Not A Fool being the locus classicus), and dying of a heroin overdose just as the band were becoming noticed. But in the swirling, flanged chords of the chappie with the hair you can detect a trace of lost prog-rock gods Aslan. I suppose Faerie Queene of Twee Liz Frazer was a little young to replace Malcolm, but it's a pity she didn't. The guitar's perfect for her voice. And what a contrast that would have been.

Hat-tip - stroppyblog

The Point Being ?

More undeclared donations, more names in the frame, and the Tories turn an 11-point poll deficit into an 11-point lead.

Guido and Ian Dale are pretty much on the sleaze case, although I'd be interested to find out more about the letters. If Mr Mendelsohn wrote to Abrahams as a major donor, where are the similar letters to Janet Kidd and that builder chap - not to mention Mr McCarthy the solicitor ? After all, they were in form if not fact much bigger donors than Mr Abrahams. How come they don't seem to have been getting the thankyous and invites for chats. Maybe they have - or maybe it was known all along that they were merely conduits.

So it's looking good for Blue Labour. But does anybody seriously think that a Cameron administration would make any difference to the most important change in the UK - the ongoing replacement of the English by mass immigration ? They are just as in hock to employers as Labour. Indeed, I'm scratching my head to think of any area where Tory policy would substantially differ from Labour. People aren't turning to the Tories because of their nice ideas but because :

a) they're not the Government
b) Cameron has to a great extent removed the 'nasty party' tag - which must be reckoned an achievement. Unfortunately that achievement comes at a price, the price being a closer and closer shadowing of NuLab policy. There's not a Guardian hobby-horse without its Tory working party beavering away.

The UK population could almost double over the coming 75 years, according to official government projections. The previously unpublished figures suggest the British population could hit almost 110m in 2081, if immigration fertility and longevity rates are high.

The figures are higher than those released just a month ago by the Office for National Statistics. In October, the ONS projected the population could go from around 60m today to as high as 77m in 2051.

Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch UK said that the projections were a warning that should be heeded. "These projections are a sharp reminder of what could happen to our population, indeed our country, if the government fails to take firm and effective action," said Sir Andrew. "They have consistently underestimated the scale of immigration. They have had to raise their assumptions about future immigration six times since 1997. We simply cannot afford any more misjudgements of this kind."

It is currently the pleasure of Guardianistas to point out the hypocrisy of people who emigrate because of mass immigration. I guess the point of the emigres is that, given the transformation of England, if they HAVE to live in a foreign country they'd rather it was one they chose themselves.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Juries - "Verdict Modification" Initiative Unveiled

Guardian :

Juries are to be told how rape victims typically respond in an attempt to dispel "rape myths" which ministers believe are contributing to plummeting conviction rates for the crime.

A panel of judges, doctors and academics will start work next month on the project, which will attempt to put together a package to inform the jury without interfering with the fairness of a trial.

Well, they've corrupted the constitution. They've corrupted the civil service. They're corrupt themselves. Corrupting the law where those pesky juries keep having a mind of their own is a logical step on from there.

It'll certainly be interesting to see one of these packs - I think it's unlikely they'll be able to keep them secret. This one ain't going to go away. But if they get away with it, they'll want to apply it elsewhere. I can just see the juries in race discrimination tribunals being handed pictures of lynchings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave ...

Fascinating stuff. Mr Abrahams (now £650,000) appeared on the Today programme at 7.10 to explain that

a) he'd no idea that funding under other people's names was illegal until last Friday

b) some donations had been rejected because you couldn't fund under other people's names. Have to check the audio when the BBC put it up to find his exact phrasing.

The interviewer (Naughtie ?) didn't really bite on this - I think he asked one question of the "did it not occur to you ?" type and left it at that. Imagine if that had been a Tory donor.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is There No End To The Sleaziness of Nu Labour ?

Seemingly not.

Alright, I guess I expected David Abrahams' "I'm just a simple property millionaire who didn't have the rule book in front of me" defence on BBC Radio (RealAudio) this morning. Property millionaires are renowned for not knowing the rules and their general naivety. You expect no more from them. Not the first property man up Newcastle way to get his feet under the Labour table, and probably not the last.

But the news that Peter Watt, general secretary of the Labour Party, was privy to this deception - well.

And to put the tin lid on it, along came MP and ex-Europe minister Denis MacShane on the PM programme (BBC Radio Player for a week - 55 minutes in) at five to six. Amid the blather and attempts to broaden it into a bipartisan issue ('Lord Ashcroft ...') one theme stood out.

"We'll only carry on cheating with the present funding system. We want taxpayer cash then we won't have to cheat any more".

This wasn't the way he spun it, or course. "The twentieth-century way of financing party politics can't work any longer" - although he didn't explain why. The fuddy-duddy idea that individuals should put their own hands in their pockets to fund parties was like, so yesterday. Democracy should pay for democracy, he said, and if we weren't grown up enough to accept that, we would have problems like this 'year after year after year'.

You have to admire his whatever-the-Polish-for chutzpah-is. Politicians have rarely been held in lower esteem, and he thinks the time is right to ask taxpayers to subsidise them. He seems not to be aware of the enormity, the outrageousness, of what he's saying.

"We're cheating b******s, so give us some money !" The dirty dog.

UPDATE - Guido has more - and one of Mr Abrahams' directors bunged Harriet Harman too.

UPDATE 2 - the money was £194,000 yesterday. Currently £550,000 and rising. Guido reports that Hilary Benn was also a recipient. The Abrahamic inheritance is spread broadly - and Mr Abrahams himself appears to be a bit of a chancer too.

He was chosen as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Richmond, North Yorks, but a series of newspaper reports led to him being deselected in 1991, a year before the general election, when the seat was won by William Hague. A local newspaper reported that he was using two different names. To his tenants, he was known as David Martin, a name under which he has also held company directorships. Mr Abrahams said he used a different name because his father had wanted him to be successful "independent of the family name", though he stood for parliament under his real name.

Then a blonde divorcee alleged that Mr Abrahams had persuaded her to pose as his wife at the selection meeting and at subsequent talks with the local party chairman. Anthea Bailey told a local newspaper that she had agreed to get engaged to Mr Abrahams as a "business arrangement" so he could create "the right impression". At the time of his selection, a press statement was issued reportedly stating that he lived with his wife and son, although he had never been married. Mr Abrahams described the allegations as "false" and part of a smear campaign. When he survived a deselection meeting by a single vote his agent, press officer, chairman, two vice-chairmen, treasurer and secretary resigned in protest. He was ousted in a second vote.

But his political ambitions did not end there. In the mid-1990s he stood for selection as the Labour candidate for the safe seat of Wansbeck but failed. One former Labour official said yesterday: "Bennie Abrahams was a larger-than-life character and maybe the son was trying too hard to follow in his footsteps." Mr Abrahams gives his date of birth as 1954. However, friends say he is much older and official records appear to show that he was born in Newcastle in 1944.

UPDATE 3 - and like a pantomime villain, up pops Francis Maude (RealAudio) on Today to say that Labour should have listened to the Tories and introduced State funding. Can't he get it into his skull that no-one thinks it's a good idea except the main parties ? Another dirty dog. I'm in serious danger of running low on contempt.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Strange ...

I'm getting lots of Google hits for Robert Thompson and Jon Venables - the James Bulger murderers, now released and living somewhere near children under false identities (in Cornwall according to one forum, along with Maxine Carr), and Sean Walsh, who claims to be one of the killers.

Nowt on the news though - yet I've had about 100 hits for them today. What's going on ?

French Rioting Season Opens

A little late this year, the traditional autumn riots are upon us. The rioters being the usual suspects.

Alex Salmond and the Smart Guys Theory of History

Unlike yours truly, Mertin Kelly only posts when he's got something to say. In a long post he examines (inter alia) Alex Salmond's qualifications as a nation-builder.

I like :

Perhaps his mischief can be dismissed as the immaturity of an intellectually immature nationalist ideologue, aching to blast white noise into The Saxonist Entity’s lug and to outrage ‘Outraged of Tunbridge Wells’. If so, it casts a sad, and telling, insight into the nature of Salmond’s character. Few successful nations have had a pater patriae who behaves like a glue-buzzing, Burberry baseball-capped Buckfast swiller spoiling for a fight with the cops in Coatbridge – yet in terms of the constitutional settlement that he must work within, that is precisely how the First Minister of Scotland behaves towards Her Majesty’s Government of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

But his point is - what kind of nation-builder will Alex Salmond be ? A Bismarck or a de Valera ? My hunch is that Salmond would be quite happy to be a de Valera - but whether sullen resentment of the English, in the absence of the Catholicism which also united the Free State, is sufficient glue to unite Scots must be in doubt.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Labour Sleaze ...

A builder who has never voted in his life and lives in a £12,000 ex-council house is at the centre of mysterious donations said to amount to £196,000 made to the Labour Party.

Newcastle man Ray Ruddick is listed as the third largest donor to the Labour Party since Gordon Brown came to power. Yet the man whose financial donations are only bettered by multimillionaires Lord Sainsbury and Mahmoud Khayami claims to have never voted in his life, doesn’t like politicians and especially doesn’t like the Labour Party.

Of the £196,000 which is said to have been donated to Labour in his name £104,000 have been handed over since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. Mr Ruddick, 55, from the Blakelaw area of Newcastle works with wealthy property developer David Abrahams, a prominent member of the Labour Party in the North. Last night Mr Abrahams, 53, refused to say whether the donations were actually made by him using Mr Ruddick’s name.

The latest list of Labour donations, which was published on Tuesday, reveals that Mr Ruddick and a woman named as Janet Kidd both made donations of £80,000 on the same day in July. In the past four years donations totalling £381,850 have been made in their names. Mrs Kidd, who is believed to work as a secretary for Mr Abrahams is also reported to have made a donation of £5000 to Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman. The figures were all reported in The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

When approached by a reporter about the donations made in his name Mr Ruddick said: “I can honestly tell you that under no circumstances have I made any donations to the Labour Party. That’s quite possible that Janet and myself have been set up. I can’t go into this any more. I don’t know the ins and outs of it. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I have never voted in my life. I can’t stand Labour. I can’t stand politicians.”

After initially denying all knowledge of making the huge donations Mr Ruddick said he could remember making a donation of £80,000 to the Labour Party. He said: “I made donations to Labour on that day which totalled £80,000. Janet also made the same size donations on the same day. These are the first payments either Janet or I have given to Labour.”

Neither Mr Abrahams nor Ms Kidd could be contacted last night.

Yet more sleaze. What's really depressing is that Labour knew he faced charges when he jumped ship from the Lib Dems - a move which gave them control of the council. Presumably keeping his job was a quid pro quo :

An Oldham councillor who was found guilty of benefit fraud has kept his position on the local authority. Labour’s councillor Aqeel Salamat was convicted last week of falsely claiming council tax benefits. Oldham Magistrates’ Court heard how he failed to notify the council – which he represents – that he worked as a taxi driver while picking up benefits.

But despite the conviction, the 34-year-old remains the Labour representative for St Mary’s ward. He has also retained his position as a ‘community champion’ on St Mary’s Community Council – a position which pays a ‘special allowance’. Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Howard Sykes, said he could not understand why Salamat had not been sacked. He said: "There is a whole issue of confidence and integrity here. I can tell you one thing, if he was with the Lib Dems he wouldn’t be on my council."

The offences took place between July, 2004, and January, 2005, when Cllr Salamat sat on the council as a Liberal Democrat. When the allegations came to light the party suspended him and reported him to the Standards Board for England, but an inquiry yielded insufficient evidence to have him removed. Salamat then became an independent candidate in St Mary’s. He was re-elected in 2006 but switched his allegiance to the Labour party following the May, 2007, election. Labour had needed one more seat for an overall majority and the move effectively put his new party in control.

Cllr Sykes described the switch as Labour’s "thinly disguised, grubby, distasteful and desperate manoeuvre to keep control of the council". Last week Cllr Salamat was fined £1,000 by magistrates, ordered to pay £500 in costs and £295 back to the council. He said he had made a "mistake" and added that he was looking forward to carrying on in his post.

Rasputin's At It Again

My contempt for Rasputin really knows no bounds.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has launched a stinging attack on US policy, comparing it unfavourably with the British Empire. In an interview with Muslim lifestyle magazine Emel, he said the British Empire had put energy and resources into "normalising" lands it took over.

But the US had assumed a "quick burst of violent action" to "clear the decks" was it all had to do in Iraq. It thought it could then leave others to "put it back together", he said.

Dr Williams said the US, as the only "global hegemonic power", was trying to accumulate influence and control, rather than territory. But he said: "That is not working," describing the result as "the worst of all worlds". He told the magazine the US had lost the moral high ground since the 11 September attacks and needed to take steps including "generous aid" to "the societies that have been ravaged", a "check on the economic exploitation of defeated territories" and a "demilitarisation" of its presence in them in order to recover.

Now it may be that the whole interview (which is not available online) is somewhat more nuanced than the Beeb's excerpts. I hope so, because as presented it's full of lies. The US, for example, is the most generous aid donor in the world. But Rasputin, while an idiot, is not stupid. He'll be well aware of how this will be presented - as a dig at the Great Satan.

(I note that the enterview was with Sarah Joseph, editor of Emel, Catholic apostate, intelligent middle class English girl and another Brit convert. Her brother's a convert too. The twittering in the coal mine gets a little louder.)

UPDATE - The full waffle is at Ruth Gledhill's blog. Doesn't alas alter anything above. Thanks FW for the heads-up.

Blair Dalzell Russel DFC 1916-2007

Montreal Gazette.

Dal Russel, one of Canada's great Second World War fighter pilots, flew 286 operational sorties during the war, shot down five and a half enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain and came home without a scratch. He was considered so lucky his ground crew nicknamed him DeadEye Dick and had the ace of spades painted on the fuselage of his Spitfire aircraft.

He died Tuesday at his home in Knowlton following a stroke, three weeks shy of his 91st birthday. "He was a very independent, very single-minded, of a very definite mindset. Right or wrong, he did it," said Jeffrey Williams, a distant cousin who considered Russel an uncle.

"He did not like to talk about what happened during the war. His brother, Hugh, who was also a pilot, was killed in 1944. Dal loved to fish, but once when I invited him to go hunting with me, he declined. He told me he had seen enough of shooting and would never again fire a gun.

Blair Dalzell Russel, the son of a family-owned steel finishing manufacturer, was born in Toronto, Dec. 9, 1916, moved to Montreal as an infant and went to Selwyn House School before being sent to Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont. He learned to fly at the Montreal Light Flying Club in a Gypsy Moth single-engine biplane. Russel was working for Dominion Steel and Coal in Toronto in 1939 when the war began and he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

At 22, he was one of the youngest officers to go overseas with Fighter Squadron No. 1, and at 23, was one of the first Canadians to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross."