Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Public Schools in the UK

For John, BLUFCan Western political concepts endure when a sizable minority favor a non-securlar state?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This article, from The Wall Street Journal, raises some questions about education in majority minority districts.  In particular, and this seems to be a slowing increasing issue in Europe and Great Britain, to what extent are cultural communities permitted to isolate themselves from their host community?

I would note that this is a small group of schools in a pretty big nation.  Today Scottish independence from Great Britain is a bigger issue than a handful of Muslim dominated schools in Birmingham.  The vote is 18 September, a little over three months away.

Regards  —  Cliff

  As in "Did you see the results for the European Parliament a couple of Sundays ago?"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Election Results, Elsewhere

For John, BLUFWhen political parties don't meet the needs of the people, "the worm turns".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Night Watch for 25 May 2014 we have a report on the Presidential Election in Ukraine:
Ukraine: Chocolate candy billionaire Petro Poroshenko will be the new president of Ukraine, according to exit polls from Sunday's elections.  He won almost 56 percent of the vote against almost 13 percent for former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Press reports indicate a 60 per cent voter turnout generally, but almost no voting in the two eastern regions in secession.  Final results are due by Monday, but preliminary returns indicate no need for a run-off election.

Comment: Press reports about Poroshenko suggest he might be a fit Ukrainian president because he appears to be comfortable in capitalist circles and in statist systems.  His comments while casting his ballot indicate he will pursue aggressively integration with Europe and he also will support aggressive combat operations against the eastern separatists.  He said he wants peace; suppressing the secession is how he intends to obtain it.

Almost a landslide victory.

Now we get to see how President Vladimir Putin of Russia plays this.  Going back to Night Watch:

Russia:  Comment:  President Putin said last week that he would respect the outcome of the Ukrainian presidential election.  He did not clarify what he meant in referring to Ukraine.  Presumably Russia will not recognize Poroshenko's presidency as extending to Luhansk and Donetsk.
In the mean time, the Instapundit has linked to Guido Fawkes' blog, (Order Order, "of plots, rumors and conspiracy") for a report on the UK elections for the European Parliament.  To understand the results I am going to cartoon the outcome.  Think of the Conservatives (Tories) as the Republicans and Labor as the Democrats.  That leaves the question of what represents the UK Independence Party.  Maybe for Democrats the US Tea Party and for Republicans the Libertarians.&snbsp; For sure, the UKIP wants the UK to be independent of the European Union (EU).  The Green Party is a European kind of thing that represents Environmentalists.  The LibDems, or Liberal Democrats are a former powerful party that has been on the margin since the 1920s.  At any rate, here are the results:

Lib Dems6.871

So what does it mean when a party opposed to the United Kingdom membership in the European Union is the big winner in an Election for seats in the EU's European Parliament?  Probably not much for the EU, since that is 23 seats out of 766 seats.  And, not much in the UK itself, since the UKIP is not a threat to the Tories or Labor in the House of Commons.  But, it is a sign that the voters are prepared to shift their voting if they decide the two major parties are not moving in the right direction.  Remember that the Lib Democrats, with only one seat in the new EU Parliament, ran the United Kingdom 100 years ago.

UPDATE:  I went to the blog ¡No Pasaran!, looking for comments on the French elections to the European Parliament, but found this item on the UKIP Leader, Mr Nigel Farage.

By the way, the same kind of voting that happened in the UK happened in France, with the National Front Party, lead by Marine La Pen, winning big.  I have only estimates:

PartyPercentSeats (est)
National Front2619
Socialist Party13.910

This is, of course, causing a big uproar in France.

Without waiting for the final result, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls went on television to call the breakthrough by the anti-immigration, anti-euro party in one of the EU's founding nations "an earthquake" for France and Europe.
An interesting turn of events.  Frankly, it bears watching and may, along with the Ukraine imbroglio, call into question the so called "Pivot to Asia".

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Anthony Wedgwood Benn (RIP)

For John, BLUFOne can think someone is wrong, yet still respect them as a person.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Tony Benn, a member of the British Parliament, was an all out socialist.  In the article linked to here, from The Daily Mail, the reporter suggests that Tony Benn would have turned Great Britain into another North Korea, if he had had his way.  I would suggest that such a characterization may be a bit over the top.  On the other hand, Mr Benn was a true believer.
Benn was brought up in an atmosphere of deep idealism and moral seriousness, and his mother Margaret, a feminist theologian, impressed on him the Methodist maxim:  ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’
Thoroughly wrong, but thoroughly a man of principal.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, February 24, 2014

Floods in England

For John, BLUFYou mess with messing with Mother Nature and there will be consequences.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

As we know from the news, there has been terrible flooding in England this Winter.  I am sure most attribute it to the weather, which flows from this continent to the United Kingdom and then on over Europe.  One assumes it is then recycled somewhere over Asia and then flows back over us.  At any rate, things seem to be worse this year and it is attributable to Global Warming/Climate Change.

Mr Richard Fernandez, of the blog Belmont Club, takes on this issue.  He narrows it down to British Environment Agency and their failure to continue past practices, practices their Masters have deemed unfriendly to the environment, an environment which appears to not include humans.

The floods were apparently not only inevitable, but foreseeable.  The chief problem to preventing them lay in a policy which maintained that active flood control was bad.  Nature treats humans as part of the natural world but environmentalists treat nature as part of the political world.  Many a misunderstanding arises therefrom.  Alas the rains and the seasons refuse to read Labor Party and Green Left manifestos and the results are often inconvenient.  And so the floods came.
My only addition would be to note that if Government is going to return some area to its "pristine" state, some 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, it ought to notify and relocate the people impacted and then not sigh in public about the forecastable results.

The Environment Agency is a Non-Departmental Public Body, in other words, a QUANGO.  The idea is to have an agency such as the Environment Agency at arms length from the responsible Government Minister (here it would be the Cabinet Secretary).  The nearest US example might be the Federal Reserve, responsible for keeping the US economy ticking along.  The Fed is as close to a perpetual motion machine as we are likely to see in our lifetimes.

So, this British flooding is unlikely related to Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change. Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spying on Friends

For John, BLUFEverybody does it.

Commentator Marc Ambinder (Harvard, 2001), writes for the magazine The Week, "Why the NSA Spies on France and Germany".

I liked the article and I especially liked this quote from a recent French Foreign Minister:

"The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us," former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told France Info radio.  "Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too.  Everyone is listening to everyone else."

The difference, he added, is that "we don’t have the same means as the United States — which makes us jealous."

There you are.  The admission that "everybody does it".  That doesn't make it right, and the situation in the former East German Democratic Republic, where the STASI spied on everyone, is a cautionary tale.  The real, unanswerable question, even by the Intelligence professionals, is if it makes a difference.  It surely did at the Battle of Midway, but apparently didn't at Pearl Harbor.  It allowed us to shoot down Admiral Yamamoto, but 65 years on didn't stop 9/11.

We need to strike a balance and we need some public examples of rectitude.  Some acceptance of inefficiency to say that we really do respect the Fourth Amendment, even as we are hoping our Governent is keeping us safe.  For example, shouldn't we feel we can EMail our City Councillors without someone else reading the missive?  How about a compromise?  It is OK for NSA to store the EMail out in Utah, but our local Government shouldn't be running filters to kick out copies to DPW or the Police without benefit of a Court Order.

UPDATE:  Grammer correction—"see" to "else".

Regards  —  Cliff

  Let's be honest, there is a "Special Relationship".  This is about France and Germany (and Brazil and Mexico).  We and the Brits are in bed together on this.  And, England isn't really part of Europe, in a political and cultural sense.  They are partnered with CANAM.
  In France everyone has a mistress and at a recent funeral for a President of the Republic (Fran├žois Mitterrand) the widow and the mistress were both at the graveside.  That doesn't make it right, although it is very "French".
  Department of Public Works.

Friday, October 25, 2013

PM on GG and the Guardian

For John, BLUFStriking the balance is the hard part.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at Guido Fawkes' blog, Order, Order I found this quote from British Prime Minister David Cameron regarding the newspaper The Guardian, and, one would presume, Reporter Glenn Greenwold.
And the first priority of a prime minister is to help try and keep your country safe, and that means not having some la di da, airy fairy view about what this all means, it’s understanding intelligence and security services do an important job.
Regards  —  Cliff

  Reminisencent of the Speaker in the House of Commons, trying to maintain order during Prime Minister's Question Time.
  Although Mr Greenwold, a former US Constitutional Lawyer, has moved on to form NNN (Narcacistic News Network).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

One Man, One Vote

For John, BLUFEnsuring one man, one vote is not always easy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

PressEurop provides a precis of articles they judge to be the best of the European Press, including the UK.  This item is from the British newspaper The Independent and is titled "English revolution in House of Commons".

This is a little complicated, so some background.  The British House of Commons, sometimes referred to as Westminster (after the palace where they meet), is composed of Members from England itself, and also from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which, all together, compose the United Kingdom.  The thing is, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland also have their own parliaments and certain authorities have "devolved" to those local parliaments.  It would be like Massachusetts having the General Court, but also some counties having their own authority over important matters, which are theirs alone to decide, while the State Reps from those Counties get to vote on how all the rest of the citizens of Massachusetts deal with the same issues.  For example, say the counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth (and throw in Nantucket) get to set their own liquor laws, including taxes on booze, and, because it impacts selling, what are holidays.  They also get to set their own minimum wage laws and their own MCAS standards.  They do this free and independent from the say-so of the General Court, but yet the State Reps from those counties get to participate in making those same decisions for the residents of the other eight counties.

Frankly, the English, as opposed to the British, are miffed that Scots and Irish and Welsh tell them what to do, but they have no say the other way.

The British government wants to give English MPs the power to strike down laws that do not relate to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, writes The Independent.  Under the proposed constitutional reforms, which will be presented to Parliament in autumn,
English MPs would be able to reject legislation on devolved issues such as education, the NHS, transport and the environment, even if it had been passed by a majority of all MPs in the House of Commons.

The move would dramatically rebalance power in Parliament – and could result in a future Labour government being unable to pass significant legislation without the support of other parties [because a significant number of Labour MPs are Welsh and Scottish].

Today, all MPs in the UK parliament can vote on legislation affecting England, but English MPs do not have similar sway on matters voted by the national devolved parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What is fair?

Regards  —  Cliff

  At this point we call upon Professor George Anthes to explain to us the US Constitution and the "one man, one vote" rule and how it applies in this case, which seems an awful lot like the GLTHS Imbroglio.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Health Care Reform in the UK

For John, BLUFAffordable health care is hard to find everywhere.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Apparently we are not the only nation having problems with healthcare reform.  And, the infamous Speaker Nancy Pelosi line, "We have to pass it to know what is in it" may also apply to the United Kingdom.  From the blog Brighton Lite we have this report on the UK efforts to reform its 1948 National Health Service.  My recollection is that Minister for Health Aneurin Bevan's system was a single payer approach to health care.  The blog post is titled "What is the cost of the NHS reforms?".

The Government of Prime Minister David Cameron has produced a 400 page document.  You might say that 400 pages is nothing compared to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obama Care), but remember, the United Kingdom has about 63 million people, about one-fifth that of the United States.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, April 22, 2013

Our British Cousins

For John, BLUFMiss Amanda Thatcher is an up and comer.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"The Texan who stole the show at Margaret Thatcher's funeral"

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farewell Margaret Thatcher

For John, BLUFRush Limbaugh liked Maggie Thatcher.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Blogger and Law Professor Ann Althouse has a longish blog post with this title, "Rush Limbaugh calls Margaret Thatcher 'one of the greatest Americans, quote, unquote, that I've ever met.'"  The lede is:

He describes a dinner party at which the hostess, Gay Gaines had seated him next to her longtime friend Margaret Thatcher and was urging him to talk about the latest political issue, which he said he was too tired to do.  Thatcher said "Gay, he doesn't wish to speak about politics.  So let's talk of the rule of law" and, as Rush puts it:
... bam, there we are off on a discussion, the rule of law. She loved the founders.  She absolutely thought they were the most brilliant people, 'cause they were Brits, don't forget.  Our founders were British.  She loved them.

She loved Thomas Jefferson.  Thomas Jefferson was it.  But she loved them all.  She knew the history of this country better than most people in this country do, and she revered it.  She was one of the greatest Americans, quote, unquote, that I've ever met.

That important Anglo-American history and belief in the rule of law and the rights of People is a wonderful tie between two Peoples.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, March 28, 2013

UK Bad Winter

For John, BLUFGlobal Warming saving lives?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A friend of my Brother Lance sent along this extract from an article in The Daily Telegraph on the impact of CAGW on the UK:

... The reaction to the 2003 heatwave was extraordinary. It was blamed for 2,000 deaths, and taken as a warning that Britain was horribly unprepared for the coming era of snowless winters and barbecue summers. The government’s chief scientific officer, Sir David King, later declared that climate change was “more serious even than the threat of terrorism” in terms of the number of lives that could be lost. Such language is never used about the cold, which kills at least 10 times as many people every winter. Before long, every political party had signed up to the green agenda.

Since Sir David’s exhortations, some 250,000 Brits have died from the cold, and 10,000 from the heat. It is horribly clear that we have been focusing on the wrong enemy. Instead of making sure energy was affordable, ministers have been trying to make it more expensive, with carbon price floors and emissions trading schemes. Fuel prices have doubled over seven years, forcing millions to choose between heat and food – and government has found itself a major part of the problem.

... By now, the Energy Secretary will also have realised another inconvenient truth – that, for Britain, global warming is likely to save far more lives then it threatens. Delve deep enough into the Government’s forecasts, and they speculate that global warming will lead to 6,000 fewer deaths a year, on average, by the end of the decade. This is the supposed threat facing us: children would be less likely to have snow to play in at Christmas, but more likely to have grandparents to visit over Easter. Not a bad trade-off.

Global warming saving lives.

The full at article can be found here.

Regards  —  Cliff

  He no longer copies Brother Lance, since Lance believes in CAGW as unmitigated disaster.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Away With It

For John, BLUFJust because it is OK in your culture doesn't mean it is OK in mine.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday, writing in his own blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, Law Professor Eugene Volokh talked about culture as an excuse.

This is from The Daily Mail, and it is about the UK:

A muslim who raped [in the sense of statutory rape -EV] a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless.

Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.

At some point Mr Rashid told psychologists "women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground".

Unless it is your daughter or granddaughter, or mine.

This is cultural relativism run amok.  What happened to "ignorance of the law is no excuse"?  Is a 13 year old girl who is raped (even if it is statutory rape) not harmed and does not society have a responsibility to say to everyone that it is not acceptable to commit this crime?  I don't care if she did "consent" to intercourse.  He took advantage of her and it was wrong.

This young man should have been made an example of, pour encourager les autres.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For the encouragement of the others, referring to the execution of Admiral John Byng.  The author was Voltaire and the work Candide.

Friday, January 25, 2013

How To Manage an Empire

For John, BLUFDon't micromanage.

Blogger Glenn Reynolds writes:

WHY THE BRITISH EMPIRE WAS SO EFFICIENT:  Bad communications inhibited micromanagement.
I think this is very insightful.  Good intermediate managers don't ask for help.  They do, however, recommend change upward.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 21, 2013

Whither Terrorism, al Qaeda Style

For John, BLUFIs there still a terrorist threat out there?.  Your chance to vote.

Over at The Manchester Guardian we have Columnist Jason Burke telling us "Algerian hostage crisis does not mean we are back to dark days of extremism".  The lede:

Since the beginning of the Algerian hostage crisis, David Cameron has repeatedly emphasised the seriousness of the threat such incidents pose.  Al-Qaida in the Maghreb [AQIM] and other northern African groups, he has said, pose a "large and existential threat" that is "global [and] … will require a global response … that will last decades".  It needs to be "top of the international agenda", he said on Sunday.
Mr Burke suggests that since Prime Minister David Cameron didn't arrive at Number 10 Downing Street until 2010 he might have a lack of perspective.

Meanwhile, over at The Telegraph we have Columnist Janet Daley is saying "Al-Qaeda is back – big time.".

Killing Osama bin Laden (or rather, signing off on the ongoing military operation that killed him) might have given Barack Obama a great electoral pitch, but what exactly did it accomplish for the security of the United States and its interests?  Al-Qaeda is back – big time.  As a man who knew something about indefatigable terrorist organisations once said, “They haven’t gone away, you know.”  As we learn more of the horrific details of the Algerian hostage crisis, it becomes clear that the old outfit is getting on just fine without its nominal head, scoring a hit of quite spectacular global proportions, which threatened nationals from as large a number of countries as would ever be likely to gather in one place of employment.
On this side of the pond we have things to celebrate, like another change of government by peaceful means.  Well, it is the same President, but some of the cabinet is changing.  We are not focusing, in public, on the Long War.  But, the Long War is still out there and it may link up with drug cartels that are roiling Mexico.

So, where are we?  Are the dark days behind us or are we seeing more of the same in our future?

Is al Qaeda still a serious threat? free polls 

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another Idol Falls

For John, BLUFBeing famous or well beloved is no guarantee you aren't a sexual predator.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here in the "Colonies" we don't know BBC personality Jimmy Savile (Sir James Wilson Vincent "Jimmy" Savile, OBE, KCSG), who died last year, but his death revealed a host of possible criminal activity during his lifetime.

The late BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile is a suspect in 199 crimes recorded so far, including dozens of cases of rape, British police said Wednesday.  They described the level of sexual abuse allegations against Savile as "unprecedented in the U.K."
These revelations coming after Mr Savile's death suggest a level of coverup, a level of organizational corruption, that should shock everyone in Massachusetts except maybe Howie Carr.

This scandal does reach to our shores with Mark Thompson, the president and chief executive of The New York Times Company, being called to testify in a closed door inquiry.

Mr. Thompson was the director general of the BBC in December 2011 when the corporation’s flagship “Newsnight” current-affairs program canceled an investigation into accusations of abuse against the television host Jimmy Savile who died two months earlier at the age of 84.  Mr. Thompson assumed his new post at The New York Times on Nov. 12.
Frankly, this is a good reason to not name buildings and intersections after people while they are still alive.  It avoids the embarrassment of having to take down the name.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bundled Up for London

For John, BLUFThe President gets to pick his Ambassadors, with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, and past political contributions are often a major consideration.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I was upstairs and the cat, Bon Bon, was watching Fox News, where there was a discussion of the President's possible choice for Ambassador to the Court of Saint James.  The interesting thing is that the presumptive nominee was recently awarded the first ever Walter Duranty prize.  Here is the announcement:

Choosing the winner of the first Walter Duranty prize at first seemed daunting. As you have just heard, there were a great many richly qualified contenders. But as our prize committee worked through the entries, there was one dispatch that stood out. Not only did it exemplify the Duranty spirit, but it did so in ways so Potemkin, so self-absorbed and so extravagantly intent on peddling terror-linked dictatorship as an exercise in elegance and good taste, that we knew we had a winner.

This story was a joint accomplishment of writer and editor, so it is a shared award. The selection committee is pleased to bestow the Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity on reporter Joan Juliet Buck and editor Anna Wintour, for their combined feats of on-site reporting, headline packaging, impeccable timing, and fearless dismissal of the truth in Vogue magazine’s astounding March 2011 cover story: “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.”

Styled as a profile of the first lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad, this article was a paragon of propaganda — a makeover of the Assad dictatorship, presenting Asma as the human face of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule: “glamorous, young and very chic.”

So, the best of British Luck to Ms Anna Wintour.  Ah yes, the last item in her Wikipedia entry circles back to the Walter Duranty Prize.

Oh, and Ms Wintour is a big time bundler.  It is the American way.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I don't know why they call it that, but we are talking Ambassador to the UK, which one would think is one of the top five posts out there (UK, Mexico, Canada, China and Russia).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ladies of the Labor Party

For John, BLUFThe Labor Party of the UK, their version of Democrats, like here, is full of rich people.  No real shock there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From across the pond we have this post at Order-Order, about the ladies of the Labor Party.  The only thing that caught my eye was that Manchester Guardian left wing columnist Polly Toynbee is a multi-millionairess and owns three homes.  And she lectures me in her column.

Thank you, Guido Fawkes.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Burning Poppy

For John, BLUFThe Brits are squashing the right to dissent.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A poem "Upon Hearing Of The Arrest Of A Kent Man For Burning A Poppy".

Appropriately, since it relates to Remembrance Day (Veterans Day) it is with the rhyme and rhythm of "In Flanders Field".

Can we not remember why we fought those great wars?

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Other View

For John, BLUFFree Speech rights are shrinking, around the globe.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

An appeal for free speech by a UK Newspaperman.  The best line.

To misquote Voltaire, the only free speech worth defending is that of the person whose views you find most obnoxious.
We need more of his.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, October 25, 2012

St Crispin Day

For John, BLUFLowell is better, stronger, for being a band of diverse brothers.

Thanks to The InstaPundit for reminding us that this is St Crispin Day.

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
Shakespeare had a way with words.  And we here in these United States are richer for it.

Regards  —  Cliff