Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Referism - FIFA

The current shennanigans involving the World Cups for 2018 and 2022 and its presidential election may not appear to have much to do with Referism.

There are 208 football federations belonging to FIFA and a majority of 75% of them is necessary to change the agenda, postpone the election and prevent the current President, Joseph S. Blatter from enjoying a walkover or whatever the footballing equivalent is. Not much chance therefore of the subscription-paying federations having any influence.

However, it appears that several "tier 1" sponsors such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, Emirates and Visa are expressing their concern at bribery allegations and the damage that the affair may be causing them because brand association is a two-way street. As these concerns have voluntary and folding votes in the matter, ie £ hundreds of millions in sponsorship annually, it will be interesting if a backroom deal is concocted by the Gnomes of Zurich to give the former President of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders a golden parachute after a decent (long enough for people to forget why, so three months)  interval. Just think how many people will have made the decision in those companies to voice their concern, probably well under a hundred, yet they can multiply the power of their views to exceed those of millions of footie fans.

The point is that the ability to freely withhold money equals real power that no amount of "votes" can equal. £ and $ are the oxygen of business and government . Thus we individuals must seize from Parliament the right to authorise the Supply Process which opens the tap of public spending. We are no threat while the people who borrow money to give away abroad can gaol us for refusing to pay. Only when they can have their pay stopped if we choose will they listen.

Click on Referism for more information.

Lord Taylor of Warwick

12 months in jail, ie three months inside, for £11k fiddled. Will he lose his peerage or will he go back to claiming £300 per day? The precedent of Lord Kagan in 1980 who went back to the Lords within six months of completing a ten month sentence, bodes ill. At least the Representation of the People Act 1983 disqualifies Members of House of Commons  jailed for 12 months or longer. The Life Peerages Act 1958 assumes that peers are honest, decent people. As a consequence, the only way to strip a peer of his title is by passing an act of attainder (last done in 1917 against lords fighting for the Hun).

World Food Prices: Oh Dear, Auntie Beeb

Today the BBC went into full Cameron mode with a report of an Oxfam Report on doubling food prices by 2030. Half of the increase will be due to climate change. We're doomed and it's the West's fault so we can pay to sort it out, thank goodness. Give them your ****ing money as the Rt Hon Member for Witney said.

I couldn't find the report on the Oxfam website (why don't they introduce a paywall?) so checked the BBC's sister organ, the Guardian. Aha! The report will be published on Wednesday. Reading it, deep down I found this paragraph:

"A devastating combination of factors – climate change, depleting natural resources, a global scramble for land and water, the rush to turn food into biofuels, a growing global population, and changing diets – have created the conditions for an increase in deep poverty."

Sorry, I had to embolden that phrase hidden in plain sight. A growing global population as the UN predicts that population will grow by an average of 0.77% per year. World population could be between 7.4 - 8.6 billion by 2030. The European share of global population is on a declining trend to less than 6%.

So why won't the BBC mention the one or two billion extra mouths? Is it because it doesn't fit in with their agenda that "everything is the West's fault and we can pay and I saw real poverty in the three months I went to El Salvador to help build a school before going up to Oxbridge" ? As the Left/Greens discovered with climate change it's easy to make reasonable, comfortable westerners feel guilty and pick up the bill. They know that most money spent down south goes west as endemic corruption takes everyone's share and not much to encourage more donations gets done. Besides, the development- media complex is a booming industry with ambitions to overtake the military-industrial one.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Move Along - Nothing To See

Buried deep in the vaults of the BBC's news website is this report of a demonstration by a crowd of 200 militant Sikhs outside the Sikh Cultural Centre next door to the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Singh Sabha in Dudley who were objecting to meat and alcohol being served at a private party inside. It began peacefully, then the usual minority threw bricks, etc at the police and stormed the building causing criminal damage.

The Chief Inspector in charge of the police operation said,

"I would urge those responsible for the violence to hand themselves in to their local police station immediately or face officers arresting them at home in the very near future."

I am sure they will.

In 2004 this happened to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre after a misguided attempt to tick the diversity and inclusion boxes and encourage members of ethnic minorities to go to the theatre.

It appears that if certain groups are not listed as aggressive threats by the MSM their activities are reported quietly on the inside pages, but virtually anything by extremist Muslim groups (such as the Luton parade disruption by a couple of dozen weirdies) triggers a three minute hate by the Pavlov's dogs of the media/ocrity.

Let's have some balanced reporting because without acknowledging problems they can never be solved.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Referism - The Consolidated Fund Account Standing Services

Dr Richard North at EUReferendum has recently been developing a new political philosophy for individuals to gain control of government for their benefit instead of the benefit of politicians and bureaucrats. It works on the basis that nothing can be done without money and proposes that an annual referendum is held on government spending. Hence Referism.  It's a great idea for real democracy.

As old-school civil servants like me learnt, the government uses a device known as the Supply Procedure to seek authority from Parliament for its spending each year.  (Here's the detailed explanation of how government seeks annual approval for its expenditure plans from Parliament). The running and resource costs of each department are set out in a Consolidated Fund Bill in December which releases funds from the Consolidated Funds Account at the Bank of England and two Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bills  passed  in March and July which  apportion funds  between departments. The Consolidated Fund Bill  authorises the Vote on Account of 45% of the present year's spending for the next financial year before what is termed the Main Estimates are confirmed in the July Consolidated Fund (Apportionment) Bill which becomes the Appropriation Act No.2. Here is the Appropriation Act 2011 passed in March. They are all passed on the nod after select committee scrutiny, which means that even MPs and the bishops & barons (who give assent) don't have a say.  It's rare to even have a debate on the three Estimates Days. It's a tribal, whipped arrangement. Referism would mean that the electorate would vote on the July Apportionment Act No.2 to confirm it. There would need to be some legislative and financial rejigging to include the winter and spring supplementary estimates and the statement of excesses for the previous year.
More pernicious to democracy than the Appropriation Acts is the Consolidated Fund Account Standing Services. These are charges which are exempted from any need to be voted annually by Parliament  because it has, by statute, permanently authorised the payments. They include, for example,

"the salaries of members of the judiciary, expenses of holding general elections, United Kingdom contributions to the budget of the European Communities, Standing Service payments for political and public salaries and pensions include Speakers, Opposition Leaders, Whips and the offices of high ranking officials, which include the Comptroller and Auditor General, Parliamentary Ombudsman and Information Commissioner."

Note how much trouble and influence the above have recently caused. Why shouldn't they be subject to the same voter control as other heads of expenditure? The resolution of judicial independence with accountability will have to be an annex to the 953 page report.

Please accept my apologies for endlessly editing this post because every time I read it over I found it necessary to recheck facts and redraft for clarity such is the apparent complexity of the process and the vagueness of wikipedia. It's as if the Whitehall and Westminster closed shop doesn't want outsiders to know what's going on behind the smoke and mirrors and jargon. And then I came across this admirably clear House of Commons Library briefing paper prepared for our MPs.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Round Down Not Round Pound

Bossy or "Big Society" Ministers are planning to announce a forced charity giving scheme called Round Pound. If a shop receipt or restaurant bill ends in 99p or 95p, an extra 5p or 1p will be added and this will go to charity. You will of course be able to decline and thereby mark yourself out in public as an uncaring skinflint.

A word to the wise, Westminster Village Idiots, charity has to be voluntary otherwise it is mugging with guilt. The last time something like this was done they called it Winterhilfswerk. It wasn't popular.

Inflation is currently at least 4.5%.  Non-MPs are worried about their jobs. Most people don't want to waste borrowed money on international aid let alone increase it by a third. If government wants people give more of their income to charity then they should be allowed to keep more of it  from the taxman.  A start towards that goal could be achieved by rounding off total salaries for ministers as below:

Prime Minister                                       £125k
Cabinet Minister                                    £100k
Minister of State                                     £ 90k
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State   £ 70k

(not including accommodation and travel perks).

Of course, they could choose to keep their present salaries, but then I would deduct the difference and use it to pay down the national debt.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Daily Mail Headlines To Which The Answer Is Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Britain could have "crushed Germany within three years" if RAF had not REJECTED inventor's plans for world's first jet fighter.

Let's suppose the RAF had a jet engine powered fighter in 1939/40. It would be unable to use the basic French airfields that were unsuitable for the Spitfire. Bumpy grass fields are equally bad for foreign object ingestion into intakes as for manoeuvring with a narrow track undercarriage. Neither would there be an effective radar plus command and control, ie Dowding System, of managing the fighters. If decent runways had been available they would still have had to fly patrols, using up fuel more quickly than even Spitfires and Hurricanes and, more importantly, engine hours. The range of the Gloster Meteor Mk III of 1944 was about 500 miles, or say 40 minutes endurance with 5 minutes of combat. In addition, the Battle of France was a land campaign so the airfields and super secret jet fighters would have been overrun and captured by the German Panzers. So Germany would have got the advanced technology. As Stalin said "Quantity has its own quality".

What use would jet fighters have been combatting the u-boats? How many minutes would a jet engine last in the abrasive atmosphere of the Western Desert with all that sand? Wouldn't jet fighters have been just as poorly commanded in the Malayan Campaign as their piston engined counterparts, even if they could cope with the heat and humidity? Yet more advanced technology would have been captured, this time by Japanese soldiers on bicycles.

What Britain needed was a decent tank with HE as well as AP ammunition, a long range escort fighter, Hurricane and Spitfire fighter-bombers, plenty of anti-submarine frigates, the navigational ability to locate a target four hundred miles away without getting lost even in daylight (Bomber Command complacently entered the war without any radar or radio research to improve on dead-reckoning). A Very Long Range maritime patrol aircraft would have been useful. But no single weapon could have wonder the war on its own. Ultra intelligence was probably the only asset that certainly shortened the war. Otherwise, it was the willingness of the Soviets to lose millions of people fighting a war of intensive and extensive attrition with Germany on the Eastern Front that won the Great Patriotic and World Wars.

The bare truth is that Sir Frank Whittle's idea was off the edge of the envelope. People were justifiably wary of punting public funds around the time of the depression when money was tight on something that nine times out of ten wouldn't work properly. We have the advantage of hindsight, the easy knowledge that suck, squeeze, bang, blow is so simple that it must work. Most of the private sector was sceptical as well.

Imagine if the Air Ministry had picked Whittle's idea up and accorded it super-priority. Which British aero-engine company would have had the capability and capacity to develop the jet engine any quicker? Bristols were having trouble with their sleeve-valve Perseus, Taurus and Hercules engines and couldn't manage to put the Centaurus into production until the end of the war, despite it being slated for entry in 1941 aircraft. Rolls-Royce had to abandon the Vulture and Peregrine in order to concentrate on the Merlin and Griffon. Napiers ( bought by English Electric in 1942) spent most of the rest war trying to make their Sabre reliable, but they never fully cured the problems and high maintenance workload. Hence the RAF ditched Sabre-engined aircraft as soon as possible after the war ended.

Reading the Daily Mail readers' comments the blame is due entirely to civil servants and politicians. If only private enterprise had been allowed  free rein... Actually Rolls-Royce and Rover (yes, the car company!) wanted free rein in order to get the technology and squash Whittle's Power Jets company. They achieved this in 1944 when Whittle naively suggested that all jet engine development should be nationalised for the war effort. (Whittle, like many geniuses, had a blind spot in the practical application of his intellect and was a socialist - yet was never nabbed by the Communist spies when he was up at Cambridge doing his Tripos in the thirties - he was married). He put the idea to Sir Stafford Cripps (Kay Burley's old regiment) who agreed that only Power Jets should be nationalised - thereby securing all the useful knowledge and much cheaper than buying out  the vastly bigger Rolls-Royce and Bristols as well. Whittle stopped being a socialist after that, although it was also a master class in capitalism. 

But the one uncorrected howler in the Daily Mail article that  raised my blood pressure is the assertion that the AVA (Aerodynamische Versuchsanstalt) or Aerodynamic Research Establishment at Goettingen (aerofoil sections?)  was the German equivalent of Boeing.  Er, they manufacture aircraft. The closest equivalent to the AVA is the Royal Aeronautical Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough or NACA at Hampton, VA.

I've given up reading the Daily Mail's aircraft articles until they appoint an aviation correspondent. Someone like the late Sqn Ldr Bill Waterton who knows the difference between a pitot tube and a jet pipe. Knowledge of Kenny Katatonia or whoever is not required.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Gadaffi's Not Playing Cricket

This headline caught my eye: Libya:ICC prosecutor seeks warrant for Gadaffi. Match-fixing? His bowling action (is Tripoli a variation on the googly?)

The ICC? No, the ICC but the ICC. That ICC.

Isn't it time for renaming to avoid  Panda Wrestling?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

I Want Another Referendum, Mr Clegg

The LibDems drivel on about "localism" (which presumably means more power for LibDem councillors). I suggest that they could regain some of their "credibility" by pressing for a referendum on European Union membership. Most voters around today didn't have the chance to vote in the 1975 referendum and none of the "Big Three" partes offer a choice. If the benefits of EU membership are as clear as its supporters allege, then the Yes Campaign ought to win and the argument would be settled for another generation. However, Nicky, please accept that other people have a different opinion to you and they might win the referendum. But that's democracy without AV.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

OBL's Last Words?

(With thanks to James Thurber, 1894-1961)

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Blogging has been interrupted or delayed because of:

The Royal Wedding - lovely, let's have more of them

Osama Bin Laden - found, shot and hidden. I've never trusted Pakistan so I wasn't surprised that he was discovered up the road from the "Pakistani Sandhurst". He'd have been just as safe near the English Sandhurst unless he pissed off his neighbours or the Council Building Control with his building design. And why did Mr Evil, scion of the biggest Saudi Arabian construction company, apparently base the design on a Second World War RAF airfield watch office (control tower etc)without the Crittall-type windows? He obviously didn't employ an architect (they have them in Pakistan) as the quality of finish was abysmal - that rendering would never have got past Thud.  Did OBL have a liking for 1950's British war films? Did he relax by donning RAF battledress DSO, DFC ribbons (whistle attached to left collar), jamming a briar in the corner of his mouth and spending hours looking at the far horizon waiting for Ginger 's overdue crate to lumber over the airfield boundary for a crash landing? As Muzzies aren't keen on dogs, he wouldn't have a black Lab so ditch the Bomber Command re-enactment idea.
One thing that Obama and the Americans got wrong was not getting the story right and sticking to it before blurting out and changing details.   It reminds me of the raid to rescue the kidnapped Scottish aid worker from the Taliban. First of all a terrorist detonated his vest next to her and then it transpired that an inexperienced rescuer lobbed an unauthorised grenade. Obama should have said "We came, we killed him and you're next Colin, if you don't piss off out off Tripoli sharpish. Any questions? No? Good".

The lovely weather - excellent for getting out in the garden and catching up on jobs I'd been putting off.

The lovely weather - excellent opportunity for staying indoors and decorating. Why does moving furniture and books etc out and back in take almost as time as preparing the surfaces and painting (which can only be done accurately with my tongue sticking out,  so I've discovered)?

Sciatica - at least as much trouble as Libya. However, with proactive ibruprofen (according to instructions), hot and cold packs and stretches to exercise my piriformis muscle, the intermittent pain and numbness is receding. At its worst I felt that If I could botox that sciatic nerve I would and then it felt like kidney pain instead. I've discovered about Hanna Somatics so I'm trying their exercises. Anything to be able to get back to walking miles without the sudden hot needle pain going down the back of my leg. By the way, decorating and gardening are very helpful for me as is a determination to break through the pain wall - I never believed those games narcissists like Coe when they wibbled on about it but I experienced something like it.

Super-injunctions - the intermission has made me consider the pernicious evil of the super-injunction and the anti-democratic development of privacy law over freedom of speech and transparency by virtually unsackable judicial activists. Judicial activism had a part to play in apartheid-era South Africa when putting a legal spanner in laws was the most effective peaceful means available to remedy the democratic deficit. Our Judges and the placemen of the ECHR are causing a democratic deficit in England and action must be taken to restore the proper constitutional balance. That is an independent Parliament that can be voted out by the electorate that passes laws for the Courts to follow, just as they obey the precedents of the remaining Common Law. Judges aren't meant to be creative, just sober, wise and fair to all.