I have held this week's digest back while clarifying something, so it will not appear until Saturday...
Unite If You Want To
Carrying on from previous weeks, the McCluskey (UNITE the Union) vs Labour feud continues, as Iain Martin shows here. Don't read just the first paragraph in isolation or you'll get the wrong idea! This is typical Martin style, which he does in places such as Twitter as well, so one does need to pay if anything greater attention with his writings(!)
It isn't all that long; but for those in a rush I can say that it is the second paragraph in from each end that one really does need to read. They tell most of the story as we all need to know it, and it is telling about the ranting 'big shouty sneering man' that McCluskey (predictably enough) is, and (for those reading between the lines of McCluskey's actions) is making his real intentions to take over Labour – or perhaps from Labour – and run the country himself, either directly or via a puppet Prime Minister.
From there he could (and would, I am certain) transform the nation into a totalitarian Communist-style state in comparatively short order. This makes Iain Martin's headline even more pertinent than it might at first have appeared...
Crosby, Steals and Gnash
This from Guido is one of those (numerous!) object lessons in how the media can and do manipulate stories to suit an agenda.. In this case, it is the Lefties' much-hated (because of how effective he is) Conservative Partys' hired-in campaign director Lynton Crosby, and it is The Guardian (no doubt in collusion with others) who is being targeted.
Selective and seemingly at least partly falsified (in subtle ways, but they still count) reporting has manufactured a story that clearly doesn't exist, and shows the depths to which some will descend – nearly always those on the political Left, no doubt taking their cues from the bad old days of Pravda in the era of the old USSR. Even the 'leaked' document (of which only a few of its dozens of pages were quoted) wasn't a leak after all, and wasn't from the stated source.
However much the chip-on-shoulder 'Socialists' (i.e. Communists in sheep's clothing) gnash their teeth at even the thought of Crosby, he is here for the duration – and both sides know that he could very well be instrumental in securing an overall Conservative majority in 2015.
The Agony of the Ecstasy
This is an interesting article regarding the street prices of drugs and whether it is still sensible to keep them criminalised.. It is fundamentally flawed in conflating alcoholic drinks with drugs (they aren'tL: they are beverages; and tea, coffee and carrot juice amongst others can and have been abused as drugs, so it's a separate subject) but the key social points remain.
That is: if illegal drugs are becoming more affordable in the overall marketplace (i.e. including the black market and the rest) then the present policy appears to be failing. Incidentally, a short-term change in the market dynamics doesn't imply that the extant was policy is or was wrong, though it might have been: it simply shows that the issue needs looking at anew and the short- to medium-term future projections checked, updated where necessary, and re-evaluated in case some kind of change of approach is now needed.
It's always a difficult one, this, and cannot avoid the clash between the nanny state prononents and the out-and-out libertarians. The key should be the reason those drugs were outlawed in the first place, whether that still stands (it almost ceratinly does, as human biochemistry hasn't changed materially in the interim) and the impact on society as it is today and will be (as best we can perceive) in the next few decades.
The only change I'd definitely wish for is a correction of the corruption that excludes one hard drug – tobacco – from the legislation that affects all other out-and-out drugs (i.e. excluding normal substances that can be abused). Now that there are so many readily-available alternatives, there is no reason not to have a global ban on tobacco products, making the law consistent at long last.
Fears of contraband can be dealt with by rendering all tobacco on the planet useless as a drug, which is actually quite simple to implement and irreversible. It would be a one-way street, with no going back; but it could be done and the scourge would be gone for ever.
Subsidy vs Sub-standard
This interesting story shows how the reduction in the scale and breadth of subsidising spare rooms to those who do not actually need them is already reducing overcrowding in at least one area, even this early into the new policy's implementation. That was always the real point, or one of the key points behind the changes. Instead of the selfishness of some resulting in the deprivation others in real need, aided and abetted by a deliberately flawed policy from years ago, this is now being corrected..
Perhaps now all the honest people in this country can begin to understand why this move was necessary: some of them already did, but others have been caught up in the 'bedroom tax' lie and were fooled for a while.
Incidentally, this is one of those cases where a policy that is to do with one subject (benefits) has a positive influence on a different topic, in this case housing. Contrast that with the manufactured 'connections' between unrelated subjects such as identifying one area of expenditure and then saying how much 'better' that sum could be spent on [insert one's own favoured topic] of which we always get plenty at Council. On which subject...
Medway Council Meeting
Last night's meeting of the full Medway Council was typical: long, with an excess of public questions, mostly from one lobby group (and its tame followers) on just one topic – which, as always in such cases, soon becomes repetitive and boring – along with a huge amount of party political 'broadcasting' (almost entirely from the Labour group) and ending in the inevitable Motion on national policy that was (very weakly) disguised.to make it appear to have local relevance.
Not that, even then, it had any local council relevance, in terms of the purpose of the council. These are usually Trades Union originated and go to many if not all councils where there is any kind of Labour presence...
It is interesting to note that not even the local media reporters are falling for this tactic any longer, and are well up to speed on what is really going on. That card has been played too many times, and has become something like the boy who called 'Wolf!'.
The main topic of debate was the modernisation of Rochester Airport and a comparatively modest investment in it, over time, in order to secure a strong ongoing return. The Labour (and others? probably) organised flooding of the public gallery and the public questions session was full of the usual class war claims about 'a few millionaires' and where everyone and his dog would rather spend the money.
There was also a false recoupment period based on today's rent, whereas anyone who understands these matters and had studied the proposals would know that the rent will become market-level and there will also be business rates from the to be developed area.
What most people won't know is that this Masterplan is essentially what was looked at as one of the possibilities for the airport's future a number of years ago. I know: I was there! It has just been an inordinately long time coming, but is now going to happen.
The standard Labour Plan B, having failed to shut Rochester Airport a decade or so again (which they denied had been their aim, but I have all the documents that prove it), is a delaying tactic, which they sought by means of an amendment. I am pleased that the Conservative Administration of the council saw right through that – as of course had I, straight away – and defeated the cleverly-worded (but dependent upon most people's ignorance of these matters) amendment, and the original proposal was agreed.
That's it for this week!