It has been yet another busy week, so again I shall have to limit what is included and try, where sensible, to keep my comments fairly brief...
Well, of course they are, and often for very good reasons, for example with the (successful) goal of thwarting intended terrorist attacks within our nation. The danger comes when this (or anything else) is used as a justification for ever-increasing surveillance and snooping of various kinds.
The latest is as reported here regarding the EU's proposal to monitor any EU citizen merely suspected of being what they term intolerant. Now there's a word with almost unlimited potential scope, rather like offensive. Anyone can be 'offensive' to someone sufficiently determined to be offended – and there seems to be no end of the 'professionally offended' in today's society.
More significantly, this is an easily-decoded attempt to introduce one of the key elements of totalitarianism that we have long known is the EU's (and others') ultimate aim. Its first purpose is to ensure that no-one can oppose whatever the EUrocrats decide to impose. This is a very dangerous move, and must never be allowed to apply to our nation. Perversely (for the EU) it might end up being the single most powerful weapon for the Better Off Out campaign, which is ready for the planned In/Out referendum...
Free Speech, Free Press
Continuing on the same broad theme: the ongoing saga of the post-Leveson legislative outcome rumbles ever onward. I think most of us by now realise that the whole exercise, and especially the Hacked Off campaign group, has ended up being what those behind it always intended: a Left-wing plot to bring the press under State control, as in the former Soviet Union and other places where the press's main business is in promulgating State propaganda.
Fraser Nelson had a useful piece on this in The Mail a few weeks ago, worth reading again now.
As I and others have touched on already, this is also one of the big goals of Common Purpose. There is a somewhat removed supposed link between the Prime Minister and Common Purpose, via a third party organisation, as The Telegraph reports. I can't see that there was any deliberate connection here: indeed, the PM wouldn't have done it this way (if at all, and I suspect probably not) if he had known of the link between the charity of which he is patron and Common Purpose. It just doesn't ring true, to me – but isn't all that significant, in and of itself, because of what might be called the 'extra-stage remove'.
Unfortunately, the failure to declare that patronage for a year – stated to be an administrative oversight – makes it look worse than it almost certainly is. That was not well handled by David Cameron's office!
Guido has all you need to know re Hacked Off's admittedly partly circumstantial political connections (and Medway-based readers might also like to note the semi-direct connection with Medway Labour and their candidate Tristan Osborne) – but there's enough for anyone to recognise the tone and nature of that common ground – and a further clue is the Guardian's support for the proposed regulation, as reported by The Commentator.
Ultimately, any new regulation planned to be imposed by the State needs to fail before it reaches the Statute Book, and instead existing laws should in future be applied properly in situations where there are grounds for believing that the law has been broken. That is the correct approach; and if done properly will work well as both a corrective and a deterrent.
Not some weird (and, frankly, ugly) dance oddity by the likes of the equally ugly Miley Cyrus, but what the mental child Russell Brand has been doing lately. No doubt buoyed up by his return to more positive-sounding (if only just) headlines since the Andrew Sachs affair with Jonathon Ross, he has been putting himself about, at will, on what looks like as many occasions as he could physically manage. Perhaps that's just an illusion...
The no-nonsense Alex Massie has said what I suspect most who have bumped into any of this are already thinking, including that Brand is a 'twerp'. It's enjoyable to read, and on this occasion I really need to add nothing to it here...
It's Alimentary, My Dreary Watson
Although that sub-heading might be a little contrived(!) it does perhaps remind us of the level of activity long associated with Labour's Tom Watson. It has often resembled the lower end of that canal, especially the machinations also involving the likes of Damian McBride and Derek Draper. The Mail has some very interesting revelations from the inside track (or tract!) on Watson's involvement in the Falkirk alleged selection-rigging.
Now, there might be some sour grapes from the eliminated candidate, but there is sufficient detail to indicate that it's probably substantially true. I have personally witnessed some of the same practices in selections here, so I do recognise much of what is being reported. Also, it had become an imposed all-female contest at the short-listing stage, so he couldn't have been chosen anyway (as he is not Jack Dromey, Harriet Harman's husband, who did somehow beat an all-female requirement).
This report by Guy Bentley about his attendance at the CLASS Conference (he explains what that stands for) is illuminating. Old Hands such as myself find none of it at all surprising, having had our own experiences of similar events in decades past – but for the younger generations it's quite eye-opening.
Especially as this event included the likes of Owen Jones and (equally ghastly) Mark Serwotka, it shows much of the true nature – and ignorance-or-dishonesty (probably both) of some of the current high-profile players in Britain's political left-wing. The really sad part is that there are still so many gullible folk around who will just lap up this stuff, despite modern facilities that allow just about anyone to discover the reality quite independently – something no previous generation could do so conveniently, if at all.
On the same day, this puff piece in our local (to me) newspaper appeared for Labour's newly-selected candidate for the Rochester and Strood parliamentary seat, Naushabah Khan. Two big laughs for me on one day!
This is the almost-invisible lady who, when faced with a real challenge (me, for example) runs away and hides when losing the argument. The next thing I know, her tweets are now hidden from public view. No doubt that will change for at least the latter part of the election campaign before reverting back later in May 2015, but her true nature is already known to me and others.
Meanwhile, apart from a few examples of doorstep campaigning with other Medway Labour folk, Ms Khan has no political profile whatsoever, and no personal achievements here that I have been able to discover. Perhaps I have missed something...
When her prime opponent, Mark Reckless, stood in the seat and won it some three years ago, he already had a track record on numerous issues from rail fares and services to saving Rochester Airport, and lots in between. He has built up a very strong record of personal achievement and, in particular, representing his constituents (either all/most of them, or the vast majority where views differ).
This selection does beg the question, though: do Medway Labour really have nothing better to offer? Are their (admittedly not very well attended) selections so starved of even reasonable material that they set the bar so low? In this case, as Mark Reckless' position is near-enough unassailable, it could be that they just wanted a 'paper candidate' who could do with the practical experience of standing, ready for something more serious (probably elsewhere – like Bill Esterson, also from Medway, who went to a safe Labour seat in Merseyside.
I perceive something of a parallel to Labour's Harriet Yeo in the Police
and Crime Commissioner election here in Kent a year ago: Labour came
third; and I think they might well end up with a repeat performance in
Rochester and Strood in May 2015...
Well, I do have more, but I think the above is enough for one week!