THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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October 2009

A deliberate provocation?

Menezes police officer gets top IPCC role | Politics | The Guardian.

The director of investigations of the IPCC, the "independent"  body which investigates complaints against the police, is to be a man it criticised in its report on the de Menezes affair. Our leaders were not content with sending the blundering killers on a taxpayer-funded holiday as a reward; it was not even enough to promote the commander in charge on that disastrous day. All concerned, it seems, must have prizes. Except of course for the dead man and his grieving family.

Our leaders are never going to let us forget how little claim we have to the loyalty of "public" servants, are they? Kill an innocent member of the public, trash the CCTV tapes, perjure yourselves about shouted warnings and smear the dead man's name? Not a problem. Every member of the team is rewarded for loyalty to the state. It is hard to believe that this appointment is not a deliberate provocation; a message to all that to cross the British state and its agents is always to come off worse; whatever the justice of the matter. It is one more reason (if more were needed) not to cooperate with New Labour's politicised police "service".

The man himself smugly said;

"I'm delighted to be joining the IPCC which has a vital role in building public confidence in policing. I am confident I can contribute to that aim."

He must be using, Humpty-Dumpty like, his own definitions of "confidence" and "confident." Right now, I am only confident that we are led by amoral men and women without a glimmer of conscience. New Labour and its apparatchiks can't go soon enough for me; those in the police not least.

The next tech thing

TED Blog: Wireless electricity demo: Eric Giler on

It's been a while since I posted a TED talk. This is not one of those inspiring insights into the human condition. It's just a scientist enthusiastically demonstrating something cool I can't wait to have.

The commercial side of implementing this is as interesting as the science, when you think about it. The devices transmitting and receiving power are on matched frequencies, so other devices would not receive it. What use is that? I want all my devices to be battery-free, picking up power from broadcast transmissions as I walk around. On the other hand, I must be charged for that power, or no-one will invest in the infrastructure to provide it to me. Short of taxing everyone to have the state provide the infrastructure (in which case it will be as unreliable as any service where payment is guaranteed regardless of performance) how could this be done? Will the company transmitting the power have to trust the data from the receiving device? That's not under their control and could easily be rigged.

I am sure someone will figure it out. I hope it's soon. Batteries are much of the weight in our mobile devices and wireless electricity would transform their design as much as their function.

Genies and bottles

How I became the story and why the Right is wrong | News.

My post last Saturday was based on the quoted remarks of Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett. He is now trying to qualify those remarks and to accuse the Right of hyperventilating " the drop of a chapati..." Let him squirm and smear. The genie is out of the bottle.

He certainly does not seem to have convinced his readers of his bona fides. Most poignant of the reader comments on the linked article was this, from "Digger" of London;

My Dad always warned me about Labour. You cannot trust them, he used to say. They hate Britain and everything it stands for and want to undermine it from within to create a permanent majority in their favour. They destroyed a fantastic education system in order to give all us plebs no fighting chance at social mobility (so we won't vote Tory), and they love creating state dependencies be they people on benefits, a bloated public sector or even quangos for their privately-educated mates. My Dad used to say all this in the 1980s and I thought him an old school bigot who didn't get it. But Dad - you were right. That's exactly what they are like. I'm sorry for dismissing you, and I'm even sorrier I ever voted for them (embarrassed even that I fell for the "New Labour" lie). My Dad has dementia now so doesn't notice the damage done to his country after 12 years of their nonsense. All I can do now is warn my son and hope he is not as fooled as I was.

This seems to me to be the authentic voice of the British working class. A class betrayed by a party founded, ostensibly, to serve them. In simple heartfelt words, Digger expresses many of the points I have tried for years to make here.

I hope his son listens, for all our sakes.

Parish notice No. 2

The Last Ditch: Parish notice.

Thank you for your votes and your comments on the new banner for The Last Ditch when it moves to China. The vote was not particularly conclusive. My own preference was option 3, but in responding to the suggestion that I needed a lofty overview in the style of the current banner, I seem to have lost the Chinese aspect altogether! Not that the blog will be about China. As a mere guest, that would be rude. Still, there should be some reference to my new home.

For this round, I have eliminated Option 1 (which no-one but me likes). I have taken the text from Option 2 and applied it to the Shanghai skyline of Option 3. And I have added a new one (in photo and poster versions) which is a picture of Hangzhou, showing the old China against the background of the new.

Just click on any picture to enlarge it. Am I there yet? Comments please! Then I promise I will resume normal service.

Option A


Option B


Option C


Giving an unattractive nation a makeover

Labour wanted mass immigration to make UK more multicultural, says former adviser - Telegraph.
Dreamstime_11144159This story proves the Labour Party knows no ethical boundaries to state power. A government should serve the people, not seek to manipulate them. Social re-engineering of the people in the interests of the governing party is no part of a government's remit. Labour cannot even deny this particular exercise was against the peoples' will. Why else did it manipulate the data? If it had thought there was popular support for re-engineering the nation to make it "more attractive and cosmopolitan", it would have campaigned for election on that basis.

Let's face it however; what nation would elect a government that despised it as unattractive and parochial? In deliberately flooding our islands with millions of unnecessary immigrants, Labour concealed its "driving political purpose" and "concentrated instead on the economic benefits". Those benefits have proved illusory, but they were never what mattered to Labour.

I feel sorry for the immigrants concerned. They have been used as political weapons to attack the people they came to live among and can hardly expect to be loved for it. Yet this was not their fault. They sought, as sane humans do, to improve the lives of their families. They disrupted their lives; removed themselves from their communities; made huge efforts in many cases to come to a place they hoped would offer more life chances. Many with strong religious and cultural beliefs came because they were encouraged to believe they need not adapt in order to live in Britain. Now we know why. They were being deliberately imported in order to modify Britain; to adapt it to them. They have been cruelly used in a campaign not of their making. It is impossible to imagine any party but Labour being so cynical and arrogant.

This was about importing Labour voters, dramatically changing the country Labour has long despised and taking a mischievous chance to "rub the Right's nose in diversity." It was, in short, a betrayal of the nation. Labour has today been exposed as not merely unfit to govern, but unfit to live among the people it so hates. All involved in this exercise should emigrate to a country sufficiently "diverse" to be "attractive" to them. Perhaps Cuba?

With capitalists like this... / Comment / Opinion - The two-stage de-risking of banks.

I am not arguing with Mr El-Erian's thesis here, but I am rather alarmed by his language. Apart from the horrible and unnecessary word "de-risking" (eugh), consider the way he describes the sequence of events in the late economic unpleasantness (my emphases).

The first stage of de-risking of the banking sector was led by the markets. Fueled by massive concern about the banks’ lax risk management practices and related over-exposure to toxic assets, the process was vicious and indiscriminate. With the market-induced contraction of the banking sector over-shooting, the highly disruptive implications for employment and economic activity forced policymakers into a ”WIT” mindset – doing ”whatever it takes” to stabilise the sector.

Got that? The market over-shot. It got it wrong. It was all the foolishness of crowds. People making decisions about their own money succumbed to some kind of mass hysteria, thus destroying the value of their assets. Then he describes the actions of policy-makers. Despite their "WIT" or perhaps even "HC" (headless chicken) mindset, they proceeded sagely;

The massive policy reaction succeeded in stabilising the banking system. And while the banks are still not lending in any meaningful manner to the real economy – an issue that will become politically even more problematic as unemployment continues to rise in the industrial countries (particularly, in the US and UK) – most have used the extraordinary policy support to strengthen their balance sheets and, also, take on risk.

Thank goodness for these wise, all-knowing policy-makers, who know so much better than the market itself what it will, or rather should, do. Using other peoples money they splurged trillions wisely to save the markets from themselves. Of course. Is this the end of their wisdom? No indeed not.

There is another stage of de-risking in banks’ future. This second stage will be driven by the regulatory authorities, rather than the markets.

God help us. He then goes on to make a number of suggestions, which I leave my readers to evaluate. My questions, however, are these; if Mr El-Erian is so much wiser than the market, why does he need to make money writing books? Did the funds he manages do better in this chaos than others? Or worse? If those in government are so much wiser even than him, why are they badly-paid bureaucrats, rather than retired to their personal islands? If they are collectively so wise, why did they not advocate these new regulations before the silly old markets fouled up? Finally, if banking could really be "de-risked" (which, if it means anything, must mean removing all risk) wouldn't everyone be a banker? How would that work?

Democracy gone sour?

The furore over Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time showed me just how much Britain has changed since I left it in 1992.  As I followed the interminable and intemperate "debate", I felt more and more disconnected. The mob at the BBC Television Centre calling for Griffin and his followers to be burned to death merely added to the feeling. Are those people really my fellow-citizens? They are far scarier than the BNP's pale and baggy losers, yet they belong to a group supported by David Cameron.

"No Platform for Fascists and Racists" was a concept invented in 1970's student politics. I was there, laughing at the Communist dweebs promoting it, but I was wrong. It became National Union of Students policy in the 1990's and, if the outcry against the BBC for giving Griffin a platform is anything to go by, seems perilously close to becoming the norm for "grown up" politics.

The mainstream parties are to blame for the rise of the BNP. They know how many voters feel about current levels of immigration, but they ignore it. They have created a political climate in which merely to seek to discuss it is to be denounced as "racist" and ostracised. Perhaps the fears of the "aborigines", as Griffin charmingly called us, are misplaced. Perhaps our culture will not be lost. Perhaps the social infrastructure of Britain can cope with seventy million souls on our archipelago. But aren't these fears at least legitimate? Are they not worthy of discussion?

The three members of Britain's political cartel frame all national debate within the tight parameters of left-liberal thought. They ignore the declining memberships of their parties that were once genuine mass movements. They turn their back, in some sense, on the very concept of democracy. If some of their snubbed voters and ex-members have turned to the BNP in protest, it's regrettable but hardly surprising. Nor is the way in which they routinely speak of BNP voters likely to win them back.

In 2000, voters tried to break the cosy cartel of Austrian politics by voting for the late Jörg Haider. They put his party into a coalition government and the European Left into a frenzy. A civilised, educated and kindly Austrian friend explained to me at the time "it was the only way to make them listen". The LibLabCon cartel risks the same outcome, unless it engages in real debate and listens to its people. If it had a leader with half Haider's glamour, the BNP would be doing better even now.

Today, the BNP is a statist, authoritarian joke, but so were those student politicians of my youth. Mad ideas can prevail when democracy goes sour.

MPs' expenses: still not getting it

MPs' expenses: pay rise for MPs to stop rebellion - Telegraph.

Unlike angrier members of the blogosphere, I would be happy for a reasonable number of MP's to be paid a handsome salary. We have too many for the size of country and the scope of the role, given that 60-70% of legislation comes from Brussels. As electors make strange choices, I know this will mean a lot of overpaid oafs. It is certainly galling to contemplate the likes of Dennis Skinner, Michael Martin and Jacqui Smith on, say,  £175,000 a year, when they have barely the talent to command a minimum wage between them in "real life." On the other hand, it would be sensible to make a career as a legislator an attractive option for non-oafs, and the salary enough to remove all temptations for corruption.

The expenses scandal has blown away the last shreds of the pretence that politicians are disinterested, noble souls. Many - perhaps even half of them - are clearly amoral chancers. The truth is, it's a job like any other and employers need to be alert to bent employees with their hands in the till. The electors, as employers, should really consider the qualifications of the candidate, not just to what political conspiracy s/he belongs. Perhaps the realisation that s/he would command a serious salary might make voters think before electing the more obvious media-friendly buffoons, with no talent for reviewing and amending complex legislation. Full CVs of all candidates should be available on-line in a standardised form, so that voters can compare and contrast what they would be getting for their money. I suggest all candidates should take psychometric and IQ tests and those results be published too.

MPs exist to serve their employers and should live in their constituencies so as to be accessible. Expenses for that should be their own. Everyone has to live somewhere, and people move when they get a new job. They should get a modest, public, equal allowance for a London apartment (which they can supplement if they want something grander) and travel vouchers for travelling between constituency and office. London MPs should not get even that. The allowance should pay rent, not finance a purchase. Office and secretarial services should be provided by the Civil Service and all other expenditure on parliamentary business should be published, as incurred, on a public website, so that electors can monitor their employee's conduct in relation to "jollies" etc.

The idea that they could monitor themselves as "honourable members" was a crock. So is the idea that they can create an "independent" body to monitor them. No-one can monitor them but their electorate and this should be made as easy as possible.

Damage is being done to democracy now. Not because the public is angry; we are entitled to be. It's because the MPs and the party leaders in particular are responding to this as a political, not a moral issue. Many more MPs should be expelled from their parties for the crooks they are. Party leaders should be informing the police of the conduct of the more egregious offenders. Their whingeing and moaning is destroying democracy. It's time for them to bite the bullet.

No pay rises, ladies and gentlemen please, until the stables have been cleaned.

Crime mapping

Crime mapping for English and Welsh police forces - CrimeMapper.

A new crime mapping website is available in England & Wales. I used it to check the area around my house in England and the results surprised me. It's a city centre and I knew there was crime but was amazed how much of it violent. Two or three burglaries a month is bad enough, but 50-70 assaults!? Presumably they were fairly serious for the police to be involved.

(click chart to enlarge)


Can any of our police blog colleagues tell us if this is typical?