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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  11/01/2009  :  06:04
New Year, new topic. If you want to see the old one do a forum search for same title but 2008.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 29/01/2010 : 05:00
Anyone who blames Obama for the recession is barking. If any democrat carries blame it was Bill Clinton who, because of short-term pressures finally removed what was left of the Glass Steagell restrictions during his term in office.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 29/01/2010 : 09:48
Unfortunately a significant part of the electorate is barking mad, judging by the people they sometimes elect!

I wonder how many people will vote in the next UK election ? It doesn't look promising. According to BBC news, "The latest British Social Attitudes survey suggests the number of people who felt a pressing need to vote in general elections was declining. Some 56% of those questioned thought it was "everyone's duty to vote" - down from 68% in 1991. This fell to 41% among the under-35s. Meanwhile, 32% of people said they had "not much" or "no interest" in politics. The report's co-author, Sarah Butt, said: "Low turnout has been a feature of recent elections with just 61% of people turning out to vote in 2005. "The decline in civic duty means it is possible that, regardless of whether the next election provides voters with a clear choice between parties or a more closely fought contest, we could again see large sections of the population remaining at home on election day."

There's a graph here showing the change from 1954 to 2005:
http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm


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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 29/01/2010 : 10:02
They need to run it on facebook, that would help!


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 30/01/2010 : 06:32
Blair and Chilcott....

I'm reading Austin Woolrych's wonderful book on the Civil War at the moment and while I will admit to not watching the whole of the coverage of the enquiry I saw enough to trigger my thoughts. The point in the history of Charles I and his handling of politics where he made the crucial mistake that triggered revolution was his handling of the rebellion in Scotland. The bottom line is that he believed he ruled by Divine Right, he controlled Parliament in that he could constitute or prorogue them at will and he took almost no notice of his advisers. He knew nothing of the history and was blinkered by his personal preferences.

Any of this ring a bell?  Think massive majority, sofa government, a cabinet kept in the dark and only consulted when necessary after dodgy dossier had been issued as briefing notes and Blair's shifting of the role of Prime Minister into presidential mode. Add the Royal Prerogative and you are getting close to Charles I and the Personal Rule when he governed without Parliament.

The thing that strikes me about Blair is his defence of his personal convictions. He cares nothing for the process which should have been used, he saw getting what he wanted as a matter of political manipulation. I also have doubts about the depth of his knowledge about what was driving Dubya and his henchmen and the history of the Middle East. Read Woodward for the back story of the old neo-cons and their view of Iraq as a business opportunity. 

His simplistic view was that Sadam was a bad man and after 9/11 the US hysteria about Al Quaeeda was focussed on Sadam even though he had nothing to do with Oscar Bin Liner and his associates. Sadam wasn't interested in establishing the Caliphate world-wide, he just wanted to hold power. In the process of achieving this the most aggressive thing he did to the west was thumb his nose at them and run rings round efforts to rein him in by diplomatic means. The US in particularwas as mad as a wet hen. Remember how he was buttressed by us when he was fighting Iran. Remember his state vist to London?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the timetable of the plan drawn up by the US defence department. It was knocked sideways when Turkey refused to allow troops to enter Iraq through their territory, even denying over-flying rights. This meant that the attack had to be mounted from the South and the weather was a consideration. The Army set a deadline for the start and once that was done it ruled the political and diplomatic timetable. This is why so much pressure was applied on Blair by the US for a decision. It led to the scuttling between the UN and Washington and the pressure on Goldsmith. Then Parliament had to be rushed into a decision, this suited Blair because it gave no time for debate and rational thinking.

The result was a heavily managed and dubious ratification of the aggression and away we went. All far more complicated than that of course but what sticks out a mile is that this was not a democratic process on either side of the Atlantic. It was Personal Rule by a powerful White House aided by a supine Blair. He thought he was acting as a statesman, in fact he was seen as a stooge by the White House. If you don't believe that think back to how little influence he had over timing, planning and the necessity for a programme beyond conquest. 

Throughout all this remember that the UN Articles make invasion for regime change illegal. All that is allowed is 'proportionate force' in face of armed threat. That was the reason why in the UK the emphasis was on the non-existent threat of WMD and the '45 minute' lie. Blair admitted yesterday that he didn't realise at the time that even if the WMD had existed the 45 minutes related to localised battlefield deployment of them.

The lessons I draw from all this are that we need to alter our constitution, do away with the Royal Prerogative, ensure that decisions like this are fully discussed in Parliament and the Cabinet and make it impossible for one deluded man to drive through a process which led to the biggest foreign policy mistake since Suez. It may well be that when the Chilcott Enquiry is over they may come to the same conclusions.

I had another quite separate thought. Why did Blair use the Labour Party as a vehicle to power? I believe he is at heart a reactionary Conservative and a crypto Catholic. Two more similarities with Charles I. Did he take the Labour route because it was the easiest way to power? Remember that the first thing he did was attack the long-held convictions of Old Labour to make them 'more electable'. Once elected his politics were to the right of the Tories and the confusion this sowed in the old Labour Party was only managed by the use of the massive majority and sofa government. Cabinet government was ditched for Cronyism. Wealth was cultivated, and remember this was in the era where because of non-regulation of the banks money flowed like water to the extent that people started to talk about 'The New Economics'. 

We have seen where all this has lead us. Blood and treasure poured into Iraq, millions of lives lost, infrastructures destroyed and abandoned and now we are doing the same trick all over again in Afghanistan. All in the name of 'War on Terror'. Ask yourself one last question, how much terror has been caused in the Middle East? Think of 'Shock and Awe' and who exactly is getting the terror. Over five years ago I said that we should spend our money on economic aid to the countries we are now fighting over. One thing is certain, there would have been fewer bodies and more goodwill.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 30/01/2010 : 12:22
Good piece Stanley - thanks . Someone on TV just pointed out that there are no Iraqis on the Iraq enquiry. Guess they don't really matter at all to Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

"the 45 minutes related to localised battlefield deployment of them".

This get out was actually stated in the question by the Chilcott committee. What an easy ride they gave him. A better committee would have been Andrew Gilligan, Andrew Neil, Bob Marshall Andrews, and SC Graham.

I don't think the localsed battlefield aspect  was mentioned at the time?  The cover story then was that they could damage Briish interests in Cyprus!!  Why on earth would they? The minute Cyprus was quoted as any justification for war, it was obvious that the spinners were at work.


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 30/01/2010 : 18:37
Matthew Parris writing in The Times emphasised Tony Blair's discovery of religion and how he probably saw Bush's `Axis of Evil' as more real than metaphor. Blair `had God on his side'. He sees Bin Laden and Saddam and others as all on the same side, the evil lot.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 31/01/2010 : 06:16
The more I find out about Blair the more I suspect he is a very shallow man and not overly intelligent. I have no objection to 'conviction politics' so long as the convicted one checks in with the rest of the world every now and again.

Just for a laugh, go and find Shawcross' book 'Sideshow' where he describes how Nixon and Kissinger sat down together and decided to bomb Laos 'back into the stone-age' . Totally illegal, a terrible war crime based on selective use of dodgy intelligence and neither was ever punished. Then reflect on the fact that if you get two megalomaniacs together and give them power you get what you deserve!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 31/01/2010 : 11:05
I was surprise that I hadn't seen this on OGFB already...

Driver fined 'for blowing his nose'
An Ayrshire businessman says he has been fined by the police for blowing his nose while driving. Michael Mancini, from Prestwick, said he was sitting in stationary traffic with the handbrake on when he used a tissue to clean his nose....[read more]

Edited by - Tizer on 31/01/2010 11:06:17


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tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 31/01/2010 : 11:19
Didn't Kissinger later get the Nobel ( manufacturer of high explosives) Peace Prize?  You couldn't make it up......


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 01/02/2010 : 07:38
Yup. If you want to read a real polemic on Kissinger, get Christopher Hitchen's 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger'. I'm not a fan of Hitchens but I could find no fault with this account of Kissinger and his works. Scary!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 08/02/2010 : 12:10
Perhaps we should have a thread called "I just don't believe it!" to celebrate Victor Meldrew's famous words. I seemt to be quoting the phrase increasingly and it's a measure of the state of things generally, like the following...

You may remember that the printing company we used in the north-east has gone bust and that we had a stock of books there. We had to arrange with the appointed administrator to collect the books. They gave a date and said they would be at the printer's site all that day for anyone who needed to collect. Being hundreds of miles away we got the local TNT couriers to go there to collect on the day. Guess what, TNT rang us the following day and said their courier visited the site but it was locked up and had a No Admittance sign. Now I'm wasting a lot of my time trying to get an explanation out of the adminstrator (a big accountancy firm) and getting no response from them.

But that's only a part of the story. When TNT rang I said we had given them the mobile phone number of the administrator so why had the courier not rung him to ask what was going on (or rung me to ask)? Wait for it..."TNT couriers are not allowed to carry mobile phones for health & safety reasons", in other words because they might use the phone while driving! As I said above, "I just don't believe it!". To cap it all, when we want to send a parcel by courier they not only want the destination address but demand that we provide a phone number for the recipient! I'll go and lie down now...


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 08/02/2010 : 17:04
I sympathise with you. I don't know whether you have noticed bt Private Eye are having a real go at accountancy firms who act as administrators and then ignore offers because they get bigger fees that way. It seems all wrong to me.....

 By the way, I was reading the blurb on the back of Hitchen's book which crucifies Kissinger and amongst the critic's remarks is one from Henry himself; "I find it contemptible". I've got news for him, a lot of people find him contemptible as well. 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 08/02/2010 : 19:54
I'm not surprised to hear the Eye's comments on accountancy firms. I had to contact the boss of this firm and complain about their lack of communication. He told me his man could only be there part of the time on the Friday but I sent him a copy of the man's email promising to be there all day. Then the man in question responded and said why the courier didn't get the books - the man had left the place in the charge of an associate who didn't know how to open the doors to the loading bay! That's accountants for you!


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Bruff
Regular Member


479 Posts
Posted - 12/02/2010 : 09:47
On the driver fined for blowing his nose, a driver was pulled over last year by the Mersey Tunnel police for laughing loudly and rocking his head back.  Seriously.

 
He thought it was a joke and became exasperated with the police - so finished up in the cells.  Seriously.  Oh and his DNA would be taken etc etc.

 
And I might have mentioned it before, but there's the artist who was painting factories around Canary Wharf.  He was questioned by police.  He mentioned he was painting factories, to which the police replied 'no one paints factories'.  He replied, 'Lowry did all the time'.  As he noted, it went downhill from there.  He also noted that he had painted in the Ukraine and Vietnam, as well as Cuba, and had never had problems.  He was stopped from painting.  A few days later, he turned up again.....and was stopped again

 
And of course, there are any number of folk who have been stopped from taking photos at railway stations etc by the police, asked to delete photos, asked to turn up at police stations to show their passports, had their DNA taken and so on.  Apparently, it's common advice now passed on to first-time visitors arriving in London by seasoned travellers here on things like the Heathrow Express, not to take photos at transport hubs.

What a nice country we are.

 
The surprise actually is that we are not completely up in arms about this.  In all seriousness, we are creeping to a form of 'police state', or 'surveliance state' call it what you will, which is generally the way it happens.  I've said it before, but I actively avoid making eye-contact with any police officer these days.

Richard Broughton



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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 12/02/2010 : 12:10
Right on the nail, Richard. I'm expecting to get in trouble with the police for taking photos at some point. I like industrial architecture and interesting buildings, bridges, railways, aeroplanes and ships (especially military). And sometimes children even get into my photos. Anti-terror is used as the excuse so often these days, either that or elfin safety.


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