Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
If the UN has any useful purpose, this is exactly what he would have been saying. Instead, he urges more appeasement of an enemy that is intent on destroying Israel and is not bothered how many innocent people - on both sides - are killed and injured in the process. If the UN had been in existence during WW2 and Ban Ki-moon had been Secretary General, can you imagine the conversations he would have had with Churchill? Would he have urged restraint? Would he have presented Hitler as a reasonable man, who was willing to negotiate? I fear the answer is yes.
How long can the UN last? Not long, I hope.
Here are some facts courtesy of the Conservative Friends of Israel:
Key points- Latest update on rocket launches against Israel, and humanitarian supplies to Gaza:
· 110 rockets have been fired into Israel since Saturday. In the past week over 300 rockets, missiles and mortar rounds were fired from Gaza by Iranian backed Hamas and other militants at Israel. More than 563 were fired since Hamas escalated rocket firing on 4 November. Israel maintained restraint until now hoping for a return to calm.
· The recent escalation is the result of Hamas’s decision to renew attacks after the end of the Gaza ceasefire. Since then, Israel refrained from military actions and continued talks with Egypt to broker understandings. Hamas rejected diplomacy and chose to deliberately escalate the situation.
· 250,000 Israelis in the south of the country are in range of Gaza rockets.
· On Friday, Israel allowed approximately 90 trucks of medicine, fuel, cooking gas and other vital goods into Gaza. The shipment included more than 500,000 litres of fuel and 200 tons of natural gas.
· On Saturday, 27 December, over 40 rockets were fired at the cities of Ashkelon, Netivot, Kiryat Gat, Ashdod and additional communities through the south. Hamas has ordered its operatives to attack Israel with missiles, rockets and mortar rounds. Israeli residents throughout the south of the country have been ordered to remain in bomb shelters.
· An Israeli man was killed and four others were seriously wounded when a missile hit a house in Netivot. Another man was seriously wounded when a rocket struck at the community of Mivtahim later this afternoon.
· Hamas unilaterally broke the truce with Israel: hundreds of rockets have been fired at Israeli towns in past week
· The truce provided cover for massive Hamas rearmament campaign
· Israel strikes at terrorist infrastructure – as would any other sovereign nation in its position
· The international community should lend its support to the war on Hamas terror
· Israel has exercised maximum restraint, but – after eight years of missile barrages from Gaza – must come to the defense of the 250,000 Israelis living within range of Hamas attack. Any other sovereign nation would do the same.
· The objective of the IDF operation is to cripple the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, impairing the ability of Hamas and its allies to launch attacks on the citizens of Israel; IDF action would have been unnecessary had Hamas abandoned the path of terror. Israel is engaged in self-defense, and will respond assertively to any provocation by other parties in the region.
· Israeli air strikes were launched on Saturday (27.12) against Hamas targets in Gaza, a week after Hamas decided not to renew the six-month-long ceasefire.
· Israel has hit targets in all Gaza's main towns, including Gaza City in the north and Khan Younis and Rafah in the south.
· All the targets of Israeli attack are purely militant, which Hamas uses for its terror activity
· More than 210 targets were hit in the first 24 hours.
· "Israel will continue until we have a new security environment in the south, when the population there will no longer live in terror and in fear of constant rocket barrages," Israeli Government spokesman Mark Regev.
· PA ambassador to the US Zalmay Khalilzad has suggested Hamas held the key to restoring calm. "We believe the way forward from here is for rocket attacks against Israel to stop, for all violence to end,"
· Khalilzad was implicitly backed up from Cairo by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who claimed the current situation could have been avoided had Hamas renewed the ceasefire before it lapsed and ceased all violence towards Israel.
· Israel is committed to working towards achieving a peaceful solution for Israelis and Palestinians. Fatah continues to be a partner for peace and real inroads have been made towards a peace deal
· Israel has always been committed to giving up land for peace and withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 precisely to further this goal, however Hamas seized control of Gaza, turning the area into a launch pad for terrorism against Israel.
· Hamas refuse to accept the Quartet principles (recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of previous peace agreements).
Background: The Hamas threat to Israel
· Israel withdrew all military and civilian presence from Gaza in August 2005. Since then, more than 5000 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian neighbourhoods. In the first four months of 2008, the rate of rocket attacks was one every three hours.
· Under cover of the truce, Hamas engaged in a major campaign to upgrade its terrorist capabilities, manufacturing and smuggling massive quantities of weapons into Gaza – including rockets, explosive charges and machine guns – and constructing a network of underground tunnels for combat purposes. Israel cannot acquiesce to the presence of a Hizbullah-like organization on its southern border.
· Since 2004, 92% of Sderot residents (a town of 20,000 inhabitants) have experienced a Qassam rocket falling on their or an adjacent street. 16 Israelis have been killed by Qassam rockets and hundreds have been injured and maimed.
· Israeli civilians have 15 seconds of warning period before the rocket strikes.
· Hamas are opposed to the peace process being conducted between Israel and the Palestinian moderates under Mahmoud Abbas and committed to the destruction of Israel.
· Hamas belongs to the "A" League of extremism, alongside Iran, Syria, Al Qaida and Hizbullah. The United Nations and a majority of its member states have designated Hamas a terrorist organization and will not engage in any contact with its representatives.
Month-by-month tally of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel in 2008:
*Ceasefire declared: 19 June
** Israeli operation inside Gaza to destroy tunnel intended to kidnap soldiers: 4 November
*** Up to December 26
For a daily tally of rockets and mortars fired into Israel, see: BICOM Statistics: Total number of identified rocket and mortar shell hits since 2001 and daily tally for 2008.
Humanitarian situation in Gaza:
· Prior to Hamas’s escalation of rocket fire in November, Israel was providing close to 4000 trucks of aid a month to Gaza, along with fuel and electricity despite the ongoing attacks on Israel.
· Close to 9,000 Gazans received permits to enter Israel for medical treatment in the first half of 2008, a considerable increase on previous years
· Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Programme in Gaza, has denied that there is a humanitarian crisis. In December, he told Canada’s Globe and Mail, that, “This is not a humanitarian crisis... It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving.”
· In the last 24 hours Egypt has opened its border with Gaza at Rafah to let injured Palestinians seek treatment there. However the Egyptian foreign minister has accused Hamas of not allowing injured Palestinians to leave Gaza to seek treatment, even though much-needed medical supplies are waiting at the nearby El-Arish airport.
· A senior border official has reported that "No one has come in, we don't know why they're closed on the other side,"
· "The wounded are barred from crossing" into Egypt, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said in Cairo, blaming "those who control Gaza. We are waiting for the wounded to cross.""The Rafah border crossing was opened by the Egyptians yesterday, but no Hamas people showed up" on the other side, an Israeli military spokesman said.
How would you want your government to react?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
David Cameron wanted to be seen as a statesman, someone leading his party responsibly over these troubled times. He offered Gordon Brown his support and Brown responded in typical fashion; he used it against Cameron. It was hardly surprising. Brown is one of the most tribal, partisan politicians you could ever want to meet. Cameron’s decision to back Brown may come back to haunt him in 2009. He handed the man who has presided over the mess we are now in, the initiative. If the polls are to be believed, Brown and Darling are trusted more to guide us through the recession than Cameron and Osborne. If Cameron had done what he should have done and highlighted the government’s complete incompetence and only offered some support to Labour when it was absolutely necessary, the polls may read differently now.
This approach would have required the Conservatives to have had a clear vision of how they would have handled affairs differently from Labour. Unfortunately, this vision was about as clear as the view of Parliament across the Thames on a foggy day. A razor sharp Shadow Chancellor – someone like John Redwood – would have steered the Conservative ship in a different direction. They would have not supported the government when it failed to regulate the financial services industry. They would have fought vehemently against the rapid growth of the client state on the grounds it stifles the economy. They would have presented the true Conservative alternative and now the electorate would be able to see the clear blue water between the two parties. Alas, this was not to be and the result is the Brown poll bounce, which seems to be on the wane, but is still there. Brown should have been dead and buried by now. At the moment he is still breathing on his own and the life support machine has been put away and is not likely to be needed for quite some time.
In 2009, David Cameron must stop tinkering around the edges, present a clear alternative and replace his Shadow Chancellor. He has to tell the voters the truth. He must tell them in clear terms the scale of the mess Gordon Brown has got this country in to. He must inform the voters, life under a Conservative government will be hard at the beginning. The amount of debt Labour has accumulated will mean the scope for tax cuts will be minimal. Massive state intervention will make the recession last longer. The only way forward is a reduction of the public sector and a reduction of the welfare dependency culture that has permeated its way through Britain like a cancer. If he manages to get this across, this should give him a short breathing space to formulate the policies needed when Britain pulls out of the recession – which I think could easily last for three years. If he fails to do this, the Conservative Party does not deserve to be elected to power.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
What amazed me was the desperation of the staff in the Body Shop to get hold of our cash. We were given the hard sell by one assistant, then another tried to do the same a couple of minutes later, and then when we were paying for our goods, the checkout operator tried to get us to spend more by getting off her seat and picking up the free gift which could be ours if we spent another £5.50. You got the feeling they were selling as if their lives depended on it. Perhaps the Body Shop is going to be an early casualty of the recession or perhaps it is just that store in jeopardy, but it was not a pleasant shopping experience. Fortunately, the staff in other stores were relaxed, although judging by the number of shoppers in Marks and Spencer, I do wonder how long that established name of the high street can continue in business.
With the amount of discounting in every store, I can't see how retailers are making a large enough profit, unless the mark-up was extremely high at the standard price. Next January and February in particular are going to be terrible months for redundancies and I wonder how many people who served us today will still have jobs.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Dear Prime Minister
You are either the most deluded man in Britain or you are a liar. There are times I think I know the answer and there are times when I realise I do not. You still continue to repeat the myth that Britain is well placed to weather the recession, although every economist and the International Monetary Fund say the recession will be worse in Britain than in any industrialised economy. Now you are relying on the 'fighting spirit' of the British people, no doubt hoping you have hoodwinked them enough and will trust you to lead us to the promised land. It appears you have instructed every minister to pepper all their sentences with three words; global, worldwide, America. By using this approach you hope the British people will absolve you from all responsibility for the complete mess we are in. The fact you have plundered pension funds, recklessly borrowed to fund the client state and failed to regulate the financial services industry, seems not to bother you. Instead you hail yourself as a Messiah or a superhero and you are succeeding in exporting 1970s socialism around the world. You don't seem bothered that by borrowing more, leaving this and future generations saddled with debt, you will make this recession last much longer than necessary. In case you now feel a hint of remorse, may I remind you of some simple economic facts.
The reason why Jaguar Land Rover is experiencing severe financial difficulties is the same reason the major American car manufacturers are in the same boat: they build more cars than they can sell, they are inefficient and suffer from poor management. I will address these points in sequence.
You of all people understand the world's desire to be environmentally friendly. You have, after all, taxed us more under the guise of environmentalism and Ed Miliband is intent on taxing us more, even through a recession. Because of this, we now desire smaller, cheaper to run cars. Jaguars, Land Rovers, Range Rovers and American gas guzzling SUVs do not fall in this category. It is a simple matter of supply and demand. Doling out another £1 billion pounds of borrowed money will not solve the problem. It will only put off the inevitable.
Car manufacturers should look to Nissan when it comes to efficiency. It is companies like Nissan who have a future. The latest cutting edge technology not only makes building cars cheaper, it also means you have a future.
The reason why some car manufacturers are in trouble is because management has failed. They - like you (remember no more boom and bust) - failed to plan for the bad times. They failed to gauge what the public wants. Recessions root out inefficiencies in the economy in a ruthless way. There will be many more companies in Britain who will be found wanting. What are you going to do? Adopt the pick and mix strategy you are trying to use at the moment? Or are you going to cynically make sure you intervene only when jobs are in jeopardy in Labour constituencies; especially if they are marginal?
Britain deserves better than this. In you, prime minister, we have an old dog who is incapable of learning new tricks. This is what has got us into this situation. You are not the man to lead us forward. You are not the man who will adapt to the new challenges Britain will face. I'm not saying the Conservative Party has all the answers, however, history tells us it is the Conservative Party that has had the job of digging Britain out of the economic mess the Labour Party has got us in to. One day the electorate will realise if they elect Labour to power, it always ends in tears. Hopefully, this day will dawn sooner, rather than later.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
This pick 'n' mix approach to where our money is spent is another example of how this government is going to prolong the agony for all of us. If Jaguar cannot sell enough cars then the company will have to be broken up and the profitable parts sold on. This is the correct way of doing things. Artificially keeping the company alive with taxpayers' money will not help the British economy recover in the long term.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Today Woolworths has announced it will cease trading from January 5. Some 28,000 people will join the dole queue. There are many who will lament the loss of one of the most familiar names on the high street and it will be sad to see it go, but when was the last time you shopped there? I can't remember the last time. I do a lot of shopping online and I can never remember going to the Woolies website. I have tried to go on it tonight and I was informed it was undergoing essential maintenance, which means it is never going to be up-and-running again. Woolworths have gone to the wall because they didn't keep up with the times. They used their tried and tested methods of retailing in a business world that was changing rapidly around them. They didn't diversify enough and we found new ways of shopping and left poor old Woolies behind. We probably thought it would always be there, but if we stop spending money there, it is bound to go to the wall.
Unfortunately, there will be many well run businesses going to the wall over the next couple of years. I will feel sorry for those well run, well managed businesses, but as for Woolies; I am sorry for all those who are about to lose their jobs, but the management over many years has much to answer for.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
There have been many lies told in this case, but we don't know who the liars are. One thing I do know, is the liars will eventually be found out and then heads will roll. In the meantime, Damian Green and his family can spend Christmas knowing he is not going to go to court, although if the CPS do decide to prosecute Mr Green in front of his peers, the case will be very entertaining. It won't happen because our independent legal system cannot be corrupted by Downing Street. Yes folks, there is a porker, with his nose freshly out of the trough, flying through the sky tonight!
Monday, December 15, 2008
My daughter and I live with my mother. My mother and I both smoke. My mother has been a nurse for 30 years, and the hospitals/clinics where she works are all non-smoking campuses. If she smokes, she leaves the premises at lunchtime, and then she carries a small bottle of febreze with her to spray her clothes and hair before she goes back to work, not to mention mints. She has been doing this for about the past three years, and has never had a complaint. That is, until two weeks ago. That was when the office manager pulled her aside and told her 'someone' had said they smelled smoke on her. No detail on whether it was a doctor, patient, nurse, etc. My mother came home in a panic that night. All hospitals in the state are non-smoking campuses now, and the particular hospital where mother works has it in their policy that an employee can be sent home if someone smells smoke on them. Also, this hospital recently implemented a new policy. For all new hires, they are performing a hair follicle pre-employment drug screen. If nicotine is present, the hospital will not hire them. Since the incident two weeks ago, my mother and I are smoking outside. We have rewashed all her nursing uniforms whether they were dirty or not. These actions we have taken are, in themselves, not really issues to me. What makes me angry are the reasons. My mother did not break company policy. If anything, she's more conscientious about it than most. I don't smoke in places where smoking is prohibited. But when it comes into my home, invades my privacy, and causes a loved one to fear for her livelihood, it's just wrong.
I see signs posted on buildings that quote legal regulations prohibiting discrimination against someone for being a non-smoker. I have yet to see a sign declaring what smoker's rights are. But, like my mother, fear keeps me from making too much of a fuss. Smoking is more accepted in my place of employment (ironically, I work as an alcohol/drug abuse counselor). Yet, even though I may not have to worry about anyone complaining of smelling smoke on me, we still have to walk all the way to the back of the property, rain, shine or snow. That's ok. I can look forward to getting off work, when I can go home and relax in my own house. Oh, but wait, that's being taken away too.
This is amazing. You can't smoke in your workplace, so you go outside. You can't smoke outside in the car park, so you leave the grounds. Then, if there is a faint smell of smoke about your person, you could lose your job, which means you are frightened to smoke at home. If any other group or section of society was treated in this way, there would be outrage. But not when it comes to smokers. They have to like it or lump it, or face being fired by - and I use this word carefully and deliberately - fascists. This is truly a disgraceful way to treat human beings.
If Gov. Blagojevich did try and sell the vacant Senate seat, it was an act of folly that shows some politicians think they are above the law and can get away with anything. Gov. Blagojevich originally ran for office pledging to clean-up politics in the state. It shows how for some people, power corrupts very easily.
The Chicago Tribune will tell you more.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Walk in Janet Devers. Many will remember her. She is the latest metric martyr. Hackney Council have decided to drop the Crown Court case against her for selling fruit and veg in pounds and ounces. She decided to use her ancient and cherished right of a trail by jury. She knew if she let her peers decide whether she should be fined or go to prison, they would acquit her. Hackney Council knew this too, however, they are still opposing her appeal against eight previous convictions.
Mrs Devers is a law abiding citizen who does not want a criminal record. We can all understand that. She deserves our wholehearted support
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Members of Parliament, however, are in a more enviable position. They will take a break from December 18 and not return to work until January 12. As millions of Britons face an unsure future, this does not help dispel the feeling MPs are out of touch. If I was a cynic, I would draw the conclusion that the government was doing its best to avoid scrutiny for as long as possible, however, it would be very unkind of me to accuse the prime minister of such conduct. Heaven forbid. More government scrutiny is required, not less, and with MPs not sitting for around 20 weeks of the year, how many more dictatorial antics can Brown et al get away with?
You've Got To Be Taught
to Hate And Fear,
you've Got To Be Taught
from Year To Year,
it's Got To Be Drummed
in Your Dear Little Ear
you've Got To Be Carefully Taught.
You've Got To Be Taught To Be Afraid
of People Whose Eyes Are Oddly Made,
and People Whose Skin Is A Diff'rent Shade,
you've Got To Be Carefully Taught.
You've Got To Be Taught Before It's Too Late,
before You Are Six Or Seven Or Eight,
to Hate All The People Your Relatives Hate,
you've Got To Be Carefully Taught!
Friday, December 12, 2008
If they had voted yes, it would have been turkeys voting for Christmas. Manchester City Council will now have to find a new way of managing city centre traffic without hitting the general public heavily in the pocket for trying to earn an honest crust.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I hope I am not in such a small minority when I say the rescue package for the banking industry was wrong. The very reason why banks are not lending is because they do not have an incentive to do so. The government bail out made sure of that. The more the government intervenes, the longer the recession will last. But they are not interested in the truth. They are interested in saving their own bacon and inflicting their ideology on the rest of us. Unfortunately, the voters are starting to be conned.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I have said before, we need politicians who have the guts of Churchill. Can you ever imagine the great man saying, 'Don't worry, the UK is in a unique position to defeat the Nazi enemy. This war will be over before we know it. Jam tomorrow.' Never in a month of Sundays. He told the British people the truth . He told them how it was and didn't try to wrap it up in fancy words. And what is more, he got their respect for telling them the truth.
Politicians should remember telling the unpalatable truth earns you respect. The voters are not stupid. Will the next person with the spirit of Sir Winston please make yourself known.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
BREAKING NEWS: Speaker Martin to hold a secret meeting tomorrow to discuss his statement to the House of Commons
Sunday, November 30, 2008
And our best defence? Ironically, justice can probably only now be properly served if Damian is formally charged under this obscure criminal law that dates back to the 1700s.
He could then elect for that ancient British bulwark against despotism, the right to trial by jury, place his trust in 12 members of the British public and subpoena the whole damn lot of them – from Blair through to Brown.
These are the words of David Davis in the Mail on Sunday. To read his first class article in full, click HERE.