30 September, 2014


A charming tale from Northern Ireland. A golf fan in Holywood, Co. Down, was holding a party to celebrate the European win in the Ryder Cup. He flew the EU flag in celebration and a neighbour complained to the police.

All very straightforward and normal, you might think.

But the complaint was to the effect that the twelve Golden stars on a blue background was an Arabic symbol and offensive.

I have never been to Holywood, but I salute its inhabitants. 'Oh brave new world, that hath such people in it!'. Life must be bliss where you have no idea what this flag means.

But the Europe Team in the Ryder Cup has nothng to do with the EU, an undemocratic tyranny of bureaucrats.

And the flag is offensive.

28 September, 2014

Tory resignations

No one will have really been surprised at the resignation of Mark Reckless, who has joined UKIP. Reckless explains in some detail how he came to the conclusion. Principally, he doesn't think Cameron means it.

Cameron has been relying on his promise to hold a referendum if the Conservatives win, and it is tempting to vote Conservative just for this. But increasingly people are believing it to be a sham. Cameron will do very little to renegotiate our deal with Europe (and be allowed very little by Europe) and will then lead the 'staying-in camp', pretending his reforms are the best that can be achieved.

Reckless points to the European Arrest Warrant which Cameron at first opposed then has quietly brought back. A corrupt judge in Romania or Slovakia can order your arrest by British police without your being able to contest it. They don't have habeas corpus in Europe so you can be locked up for a long time without charge, and, except for murder, none of these countries have trial by jury.

So Reckless went. Others will too unless Cameron looks as if he isn't cheating us.

More interesting is the departure of Brooks Newmark. Firstly, what was he doing for a living? Why do we need a Minister for Civil Society? Is it as opposed to military society or to those in religious orders?

Anyway, this bogus minister, who is filthy rich and married with five children, got a message on social media from 'Sophie, 20-something Tory researcher' saying she'd like to ask his advice about becoming an MP and he, sensing the possibility of a shag at the Party Conference, purred along.

It is almost inconceivable that a grown man could be so stupid (Sophie was, of course, an undercover reporter) but he fell for it hook, line and sinker.

And then, good gracious.... Ask yourself, gentlemen, how you look at your best, which outfit makes you most attractive. I have known women who favour the cords and brown shoes casual look, but most I have known think a decent suit and tie. Some women find cufflinks quite sexy.

Mr Newmark sent 'Sophie' a picture of himself in paisley pajamas, naturally with his penis hanging out. Paisley pajamas! Good grief! and this is a minister of the Crown!

Cameron appointed this man a minister, even though he had been in trouble before about stupid posts on social media and had to resign, and Cameron must take the blame.

Mr Newmark's constituents now need to hand him the pistol and the bottle of whisky. He is too stupid to be an MP.

26 September, 2014


As the world prepares for war in the Middle East and the Ukraine, I see there are photos in the newspapers of Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) addressing the United Nations.

Fortunately it's 1st April


25 September, 2014

Softened up

I first began to think we were being softened up for a war when ISIS was described as 'the biggest threat the United States has faced'. That's the United States of America, with its fast jets and stealth bombers, its ships and Aircraft carriers, its drones, its hundreds of thousands of soldiers. ISIS at the time numbered 10,000 (it's probably now around 20,000) and was equipped with the sort of weaponry an American could buy in a hardware store.

ISIS are Sunni muslims and largely Syrian. They were rebelling against Bashar al Assad in their own country and we, if you recall, were trying to help them.

Then we imposed our own man to lead Iraq next door, and he, a Shia, like the majority of Iraqis, was being unpleasant to Sunnis and the Sunnis in Syria crossed the border to fight him.

None of this fighting has taken place in Kent, or New York.

Where the Sunni bandits are a threat to the West is that they might send suicide bombers to our shores. Why would they do that? Because they perceive us as being involved in what they perceive as their country. So what would be the effect of us bombing the hell out of them? Exactly: they will respond in the only way they can.

Now David Cameron has adopted the usual mantle of the Tory Right: 'If there's a fight anywhere, we want to be involved'.  It is a demonstration of national and personal machismo.

Cameron has already told one porky pie to support the idea of British involvement: he said ISIS had already plotted an atrocity on British soil. That was the so-called 'toothpaste bomb' threat but it wasn't by ISIS, it was by an offshoot of al-Qaeda. ISIS have so far killed, what, four westerners? Five?

And yet Cameron has recalled parliament to discuss going to war: another war in which no way out has been suggested and none will be found and which will put not just our service personnel but our civilians at risk.

If instead of vast resources being devoted to a foreign campaign, we simply strengthened Britain's borders we would defend ourselves more effectively.

19 September, 2014

Scotland: the fallout

The Scots have voted and the nonsense level has reached what surely must be its peak.

The Spectator (and many others): 'we are in danger of dissolving the most successful political union in history.' No, think America, think Germany, think Switzerland. If ours was so successful 45% of one of its constituent parts wouldn't have voted to leave.

Cameron: 'the Scots have voted for a new constitutional settlement'. No, Davy, they voted to stay in the UK, the old settlement. Other leaders tried the same sort of tosh, aimed to cover up their spectacular own goal during the campaign.

Now the vote is over, Britain finds itself not at ease with itself, but in a rather difficult predicament. No one who knows the man will be surprised that the source of its predicament is Gordon Brown, disgraced former Prime Minister and the man with the anti-Midas touch.

Towards the end of the campaign, when people thought the Yes vote might win, Brown announced that he had been having a chat with some of his constituents (he didn't name them and we can be sure this was a lie) and there was support for a new constitutional settlement. The three party leaders in Britain all gave it their full support. It involves what is called devo-more. At the start of the campaign we could have got away with devo-lite, a modest amount of devolution if the Scots stayed in, then the price went up to devo-max and now it's even worse than that.

The three leaders and Mr Catastrophe had no right to offer what they did - the way we do constitutional change in Britain is through a vote in both houses of parliament then approval by the Queen - and now we are in the do-do.

The Scots can fairly say (even if it's not true) that they voted 'No' because of this offer. They will insist on it being fulfilled. But parliament won't approve it without equally generous terms for England. Of course that scuppers the timetable: it's going to take at least two years, whereas Catastrophe promised it for Burns' Night (25th January).

But if this looked like a bad night for Alex Salmond and David Cameron, think how Ed Miliband must be feeling. When Parliament insists on only English MPs voting on purely English matters, he is going to find that every time Cameron wants something done he just needs to say it's an English matter and he will have a majority. Miliband is frantically backtracking, but his Agreement to Catastrophe's plans have effectively meant the end of the Labour Party for the near future.

And while we are on the subject of who has done well or badly, has anyone in Britain come out of this feeling that our politicians and our media are fit for purpose?

I don't think so.

We have a long and difficult time ahead. The people don't like not knowing where they stand.

18 September, 2014


David Prior, head of the Care Quality Commission, says that up to 10,000 people a year die because of poor NHS care.

Ten  thousand  people  per  year.

At the same time we see that staying with an unreformed NHS is the principal issue in the Scottish Referendum campaign. The Yes side are concerned that the evil English might allow private money and private health standards to contaminate the service they are getting.

I should have thought one of the main benefits of Independence would be that you didn't have to have the NHS.

17 September, 2014

Still going

A week away and I return to find the Scottish referendum debate still going on. I wonder that anyone has anything new to say, although I suppose Gordon Brown's promise to have more devolution if they say no, hastily backed up by the party leaders, is new. It is new constitutionally, that a former (disgraced) prime minister could start making promises on a constitutional settlement without reference to parliament.

Anyway, it's nearly over.

One interesting point: I saw that Bob Geldof had addressed a 'No' rally. Geldof is Irish. Is he saying that he thinks being a part of the UK is so wonderful that he'd like it for his country?

Reversing the 1922 constitutional settlement would be a change indeed.

07 September, 2014

The Great Negotiator

Finally, as many commentators (not me) foresaw, the polls show that Scotland's Independence vote is in the lead.

If the UK breaks up - indeed whether it does or not - we are going to have to have a look at how we got into this mess.

Scotland voted for an SNP majority, and the SNP leader, Alex Salmond, came down to London and demanded an Independence referendum. He must have been staggered when he got it. Any normal Prime Minister would have said 'OK, you set out how it would be like, Independence, and we'll set out how we think it would be like. After that we'll start talking about referenda.'

But Cameron, who wants to be seen as a modern, all-inclusive sort of moderator, rather than leader, rolled over immediately.

Then the question. Again, any normal leader would have devised it as 'Would you like Version A (complete independence) or Version B (some sort of independence light)?'. But Salmond saw the danger of this and insisted on a straight 'in or out'. Again Cameron rolled over.

The problem is that this is the man we've got negotiating for us over whether we stay in Europe. I suppose it's possible that Cameron wants Scotland to leave (his Labour opponents would lose a lot of MPs at Westminster), and that he wants Britain to leave Europe. But I don't think so. I think he's just a weak negotiator.

This is quite worrying.

04 September, 2014

All you need to know

On Monday, the most searched for internet items in the USA were the nude photographs of celebrities which had been hacked from Apple.

In Britain it was news of football transfers.

01 September, 2014

The Commentator

See my piece covering the appointment of a new EU Foreign Minister in The Commentator. It's free.