Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ed Miliband. My God, what a wanker.

John Humphrys interviews Ed Miliband. With a leader like this Labour is guaranteed to wither in the wilderness. Thank God.

Monday, 22 November 2010

And then we kill them - when do we start?

Is this not inevitable? And how we do we make sure the right people get it in the neck? From European Referendum:

"The full extent of the police and criminal prosecution powers that the European Union has over British citizens can be revealed today," writes Mary Ellen Synon.

This is the result of a Mail on Sunday investigation, which has "uncovered an alarming array of new EU controls over justice and home affairs for which no one has voted, and most are unknown to the public."

Of course, the reason why most are "unknown to the public" is because the media rarely talk about them and, when they do, "no one seems to care". More specifically, no one in parliament seems to care for, as we wrote when that plaintive statement was made, in legislative terms, "the parliament has collectively lost the will to live".

Parliament is no longer really interested in its primary functions, we wrote, and has turned in on itself, to the extent that its internal, petty politicking has assumed an overweening importance, to the exclusion of everything else.

That was over two years ago, when Philip Johnston was railing against the creation of "a powerful new EU interior department, called the Standing Committee on Internal Security (COSI)." He had devoted some space to then home secretary Jacqui Smith's failure to mention it.

But then, as now, this was our old friend the Hague programme, about which we were sounding the alarm in 2004. But, if you had then asked the average British political blogger or MSM political correspondent about it, they would have thought you were referring to young William's last television appearance.

But since then, more than enough has been written about it for those who wanted to know about to keep themselves informed, not least the European Union - Tenth Report of 15 March 2005. And therein lies another part of the problem.

This does go back all the way to 2004, when we saw the European Council reaffirm the priority it attached to "the development of area of freedom, security and justice", claiming, as always, that it was "responding to a central concern of the peoples of the States brought together in the Union". Despite our concerns, nothing happened then and, six years later, as the Mail on Sundayraises the alarm (and not for the first time), precisely nothing will happen now.

Therefore, the real problem is that, unless the issue can gain political traction, and there is a felling that this is an issue that can get resolved, there is and will be nothing to drive it forward. People, and the media – in the short-term, at least - will take a lead from the politicians. And if the politicians do nothing, the issue dies.

But that is the short-term. As Booker reveals in his column today, more and more we see the "authorities" working to their own agendas, which have nothing to do with the principles of justice or good administration.

When it also dawns – as it eventually will – that the authorities are also working for an alien power (not "foreign" - but alien), as is increasingly the case with the police through the Hague Programme, then the last vestiges of consent will break down. The divide between "us" and "them" will become a permanent breach. And then we start killing them.

This is not a warning, nor a threat, nor a prediction, nor indeed an instruction. It is simply an observation. When the compact between the people and their rulers breaks down, the result is always the most extreme form of violence.

In Britain, however, having been tolerably well administered for several centuries, we have become slow to turn to serious violence. Thus, our rulers have got lazy and complacent and they think they can continue along the route they have taken. They can't. The worm will turn eventually. When it does, people will die. That now is the only certainty.

Education, grammar and the squealing of the Left

The Telegraph
reports "Pupils will be penalised in exams for poor spelling, punctuation and grammar under a sweeping overhaul of the education system."

Just listen to the lefties squealing about this. Learning grammar, punctuation and spelling is obviously soooo hard. Amazing how someone like my late mother, who left school at 14 before the war and who had no other formal education, could write English that was grammatically correct and properly punctuated. Many of our young people lack these basic skills. And they get to university. Believe me, I have to mark their papers.

Teenagers will lose up to five per cent of marks in GCSE examinations if they fail to display high standards of written English.

The rules, which are likely to apply to all subjects, including mathematics and science, follow claims that thousands of children leave school without being able to compose a sentence, spell difficult words or write a coherent letter or email.

The move, to be outlined in an education White Paper next week, would reverse a Labour decision seven years ago to scrap rewards for good literacy.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said the building blocks of English had been "demolished by those who should have been giving our children a solid foundation in learning". Business leaders such as Sir Stuart Rose, the Marks & Spencer chairman, have complained that too many young people leave school "not fit for work".

Last night, the change was backed by educationalists who suggested it would give schools a greater incentive to train pupils in the basics of spelling and grammar. The written English requirements will be among a string of radical reforms designed to restore rigour to the examination system in England and promote the study of traditional subjects.

Next week's White Paper will also propose:

  • A return to traditional A-levels by moving away from bite-sized "modular" courses in some subjects in favour of tests at the end of two years of study.
  • Allowing universities to script A-level exams and syllabuses to ensure sixth-form courses act as a better preparation for a degree.
  • The introduction of an "English Baccalaureate" that rewards pupils for gaining five good GCSEs in English, maths, science, foreign languages and a humanities subject.
  • A ban on schools using vocational courses as "equivalent" qualifications to boost their ranking in GCSE league tables.
  • A review of the National Curriculum to outline the key "bodies of knowledge" that children should master at each stage of their education.
  • A reading test for all six year-olds to identify those struggling the most after a year of school, ensuring they receive extra tuition.

The Coalition reforms are being billed as an attempt to reverse 13 years of "dumbing down" by Labour. Mr Gove has been critical of changes to the exams system which he claimed had widened the gulf between independent and state schools. Many fee-paying schools have shifted pupils towards alternative exams following claims that mainstream tests are too easy.

In a speech, Mr Gove attacked Labour's decision to abandon requirements for pupils to spell correctly and use proper punctuation and grammar in GCSE exams.

In the past, five per cent of marks in all GCSE exams were ring-fenced for high standards of written English. But the rules were scrapped in 2003.

Good spelling and punctuation is still rewarded in some exams, but the number of marks available differs between subjects and often candidates are only rewarded for good English in certain questions. They are usually told which questions these are.

Mr Gove said: “Thousands of children – including some of our very brightest – leave school unable to compose a proper sentence, ignorant of basic grammar, incapable of writing a clear and accurate letter.

“And it’s not surprising when the last government explicitly removed the requirement to award a set number of marks for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar in examinations.

“The basic building blocks of English were demolished by those who should have been giving our children a solid foundation in learning.

“Under this Government we will insist that our exams, once more, take proper account of the need to spell, punctuate and write a grammatical sentence.”

The move, which will not at first apply to A-levels, was given a cautious welcome by examiners. Jim Sinclair, director of the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents exam boards, said: “The previous system fell into disrepute because of cases where candidates were writing competently, spelling flawlessly and using correct grammar – therefore picking up the five per cent – but the subject content of their answers was rubbish.”

He added: “I wholeheartedly support the desire to ensure that when young people leave formal education that they are functionally

literate and numerate but I would caution against using crude instruments to disproportionately reward spelling, punctuation and grammar.”

Prof Alan Smithers, the director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: “Clear expression is evidence of clear thought. It is reasonable to expect accurate spelling and good use of grammar in an exam.

“The results mean less if the examiner is trying to project on to a poorly written answer what he or she thinks the candidate was attempting to say.”

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Was it for this? Ireland shafted. Now they realise.

From The Irish Times. At least it shows that there are people in Ireland who've realised what shit the EU really is. Their political class sold them out, just as ours have.

IT MAY seem strange to some that The Irish Times would ask whether this is what the men of 1916 died for: a bailout from the German chancellor with a few shillings of sympathy from the British chancellor on the side. There is the shame of it all. Having obtained our political independence from Britain to be the masters of our own affairs, we have now surrendered our sovereignty to the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Their representatives ride into Merrion Street today.

Fianna Fáil has sometimes served Ireland very well, sometimes very badly. Even in its worst times, however, it retained some respect for its underlying commitment that the Irish should control their own destinies. It lists among its primary aims the commitment “to maintain the status of Ireland as a sovereign State”. Its founder, Eamon de Valera, in his inaugural address to his new party in 1926, spoke of “the inalienability of national sovereignty” as being fundamental to its beliefs. The Republican Party’s ideals are in tatters now.

The Irish people do not need to be told that, especially for small nations, there is no such thing as absolute sovereignty. We know very well that we have made our independence more meaningful by sharing it with our European neighbours. We are not naive enough to think that this State ever can, or ever could, take large decisions in isolation from the rest of the world. What we do expect, however, is that those decisions will still be our own. A nation’s independence is defined by the choices it can make for itself.

Irish history makes the loss of that sense of choice all the more shameful. The desire to be a sovereign people runs like a seam through all the struggles of the last 200 years. “Self-determination” is a phrase that echoes from the United Irishmen to the Belfast Agreement. It continues to have a genuine resonance for most Irish people today.

The true ignominy of our current situation is not that our sovereignty has been taken away from us, it is that we ourselves have squandered it. Let us not seek to assuage our sense of shame in the comforting illusion that powerful nations in Europe are conspiring to become our masters. We are, after all, no great prize for any would-be overlord now. No rational European would willingly take on the task of cleaning up the mess we have made. It is the incompetence of the governments we ourselves elected that has so deeply compromised our capacity to make our own decisions.

They did so, let us recall, from a period when Irish sovereignty had never been stronger. Our national debt was negligible. The mass emigration that had mocked our claims to be a people in control of our own destiny was reversed. A genuine act of national self-determination had occurred in 1998 when both parts of the island voted to accept the Belfast Agreement. The sense of failure and inferiority had been banished, we thought, for good.

To drag this State down from those heights and make it again subject to the decisions of others is an achievement that will not soon be forgiven. It must mark, surely, the ignominious end of a failed administration.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bailouts battering the bastard EU

Ireland crisis could cause EU collapse, warns president

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the EU, has warned it faces a 'survival crisis', with the risk of contagion spreading from Ireland across the continent

Oh, if only.

The Greek Bailout Crackup Is Here, As Austria Refuses Payments

Still, that's a bit of good news.

Then there's Portugal to come.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Well happy being index nudged

Happiness index to gauge Britain's national mood

This is the kind of squit-brained nonsense you'd expect from the last government, but it's no suprise the new lot are just as interfering, autocratic and intellectually vacuous.

One thing that would guarantee most of us feeling just a little bit happier would be to have politicians (and the whole bloody cabal of think tanks, advisers and pressure groups - as well as the fucking Civil Service) just bloody leaving us alone.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Taliban ain't your mates, lady, even if you do convert.

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A Canadian freelance journalist kidnapped in Pakistan has died, an Indian newspaper reported.

Khadija Abdul Qahaar, 58, of West Vancouver, British Columbia, "died following prolonged illness in the custody of the Taliban somewhere in northwest Pakistan or Afghanistan," The Indian Express reported.

Her death was not independently confirmed and the newspaper did not name its source or sources for news of her death, nor did it indicate when she died.

Qahaar, known as Beverley Giesbrecht before converting from Catholicism to Islam, was frail when she and two Pakistani men were kidnapped in November 2008, The Vancouver Sun reported Thursday.

Her unidentified captors demanded a $150,000 ransom for her and released video footage of her pleading for her life.

The Pakistani men were eventually released, but Qahaar was not heard from after August 2009.

Before the kidnapping, she was interviewing Taliban leaders in Pakistan's violent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or North-West Frontier province, for a documentary, the Sun said.

Qahaar changed her name and converted to Islam in response to the U.S.-led "war on terror" that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.

She gave up her career as a magazine and Internet publisher, sold her assets and April 21, 2002, and started a Web site called Jihad Unspun with a stated aim of presenting uncensored reporting of global anti-terrorism activities and news from several Islamic Jihad groups.

Its articles were often highly critical of U.S. foreign policy, and critics accused it of being a hate site.

United Press International was not able to access the Web site Thursday.

Should we tell Lauren Booth?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

More statist shit - National Citizen Service

First we had Gordon's Brownshirts, not quite getting off the ground; now we have Cameron's Commandos, implementing the Big Society via National Citizen Service.

Fuck 'em.