Monday, 28 February 2011

Defence Cuts and Libya

I have looked around everywhere for a post or article on this topic; the SDSR with regards to Libya. It seems that people are avoiding this topic like the plague, perhaps because it is monumentally obvious that if we are going to play any part in military action against Libya then we simply cannot go ahead with certain parts of the SDSR. It simply is not possible, why I will explain in a few minutes. First consider in full, again, the cuts as envisaged in the SDSR courtesy of Wikipedia.

British Army
  • Challenger 2 tanks will be cut by 40%.
  • The British Army presence in Germany will end by 2020.
  • Overall personnel numbers will drop by 7,000 to 95,500.
  • The number of Challenger 2 tanks will be cut by 40% to an estimated number of just over 200.
  • The number of AS-90 heavy artillery will be cut by 35%to an estimated 87.
Royal Air Force
  • The Harrier will be retired in order to maintain the Tornado as the RAF's main strike aircraft until the Typhoon matures. The latter and the F-35 Lightning II will constitute the RAF's fast jet fleet in the future.
  • Personnel will be reduced by 5,000 to 33,000.
  • Nimrod MRA4 project, after spending £3.2 billion and the first aircraft being completed, to be scrapped. RAF Kinloss, where the aircraft were to be based, will close.
  • Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft procurement will go ahead, as will the Airbus A400M. These aircraft, along with the current C-17s, will form the future air transport fleet. The VC10 and TriStars are approaching the end of their service lives and the C-130 fleet will be retired 10 years earlier than planned.
  • 12 Boeing Chinooks will be added to the current fleet, a cut to the original order for 22.
  • The Harrier GR9 will be withdrawn during 2011.
  • The RAF's future fast jet fleet will be based on the Typhoon and the F-35 Lightning II. The latter, which will also be flown by the Royal Navy, will be the more capable and cheaper F-35C version. The UK has originally planned to buy the F-35B, a Short Take Off and Vertical Landing aircraft. The F-35C has longer range, greater payload capability and the MOD envisages life cycle costs to be 25% cheaper than the F-35B.
  • The Sentinel R1 will be retired once it is no longer required to support forces in Afghanistan.
Royal Navy
  • The Royal Navy flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, will be decommissioned "almost immediately" rather than in 2014. The Joint Force Harrier aircraft will be retired. Both of these measures will save money for the purchase of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
  • One of the Albion class landing platform dock ships will be placed at extended readiness.
  • Either HMS Ocean or HMS Illustrious to be decommissioned, whichever is least capable as a helicopter carrier.This was decided in December 2010, Liam Fox stated "HMS Ocean should be retained to provide our landing platform helicopter capability for the longer term. HMS Illustrious will be withdrawn from service in 2014".
  • One of the Bay class landing ship dock vessels (later identified as RFA Largs Bay) would be decommissioned.
  • Replacement of the UK's nuclear deterrent, based on the Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines, will be delayed by four years, deferring £500 million in spending. Changes to the size of the missile tubes will save £250 million.
  • 7 Astute class submarines will be built as previously planned.
  • The surface fleet of frigates and destroyers will be reduced to nineteen ships; the current thirteen Type 23 frigates, the three active Type 45 destroyers, and the three Type 45 destroyers currently under construction. The remaining Type 22 frigates and Type 42 destroyers are to be disposed of. "As soon as possible after 2020", the Type 23 frigates will be replaced by new Type 26 frigates.
  • The strength of the RN will be reduced by 5,000 (to a total of about 30,000)
And that is it, few might wonder why we even bother having an armed force when there is no one in it, not our politicians of course they do not wonder any such sensible thoughts.

What is currently being planned to stop Gaddafi going all 15th century on his people, is to impose a no-fly zone. What is this? A no-fly zone is a territory over which aircraft are not permitted to fly. Such zones are usually set up in a military context, somewhat like a demilitarized zone in the sky.

Now the Geography of Libya is somewhat arduous if we are to contemplate using post-SDSR resources to corner Gaddafi. As you will see from the map on the left, Libya is not exactly surrounded by tea-loving cricket monkeys; Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt are not our best international allies bluntly put. In the north there is water, a lot of water, so much water in fact that you need a ship. A big ship, something on the scale of an aircraft carrier. Why? Well, the americans have a lot of bases dotted around that region which can accommodate fighters jets of our pedigree, and they also have the tech needed to service them. Moreover the closest ally which uses the Typhoon is Italy, though they might not be over-joyed by the prospect of lending their bases to pesky Brits they would probably relent if leaned upon a bit. But that is a big 'if' and the italians have not been known to favour big expeditionary military missions since about two millennia ago - crossing the Rubicon and all of that. They are more embroiled in their Prime Minister's latest shenanigans. Hence were we to take part in the no-fly zone operation it would almost, without question, be with the help of the Americans. But then one must ask, why should we take part at all when they US Marines boast more fighters jets than our Navy and Airforce combined? Wont we just be in the way of a properly equipped fighting force? Chances are that this would be the case since we have no means of fielding any heavy equipment of our own except for choppers.

We still have a lot of craft which can accommodate choppers, and substantial numbers of them as well; that said a chopper is peanuts compared to a fighter jet and it is like comparing apples and oranges if you are to analyse a no-fly zone whilst only keeping choppers as your option. They are useful for close support but certainly not for patrolling an area four times the size of the UK.

The current UK flag-ship is HMS Albion, a grand lady indeed, but she cannot carry aeroplanes only choppers.

We have sold, scrapped or decommissioned the following Invincible class carriers; HMS Ark Royal and HMS Invincible. What remains is HMS Illustrious due for decommissioning in 2014 after HMS Ocean has undergone extensive refits.

Lets make this abundantly clear to those of you who do not yet realise the significance of an aircraft carrier. It is a floating bit of sovereign space. It is a tiny floating UK which can blow stuff up very quickly should circumstances so require it. Circumstances are not requiring it yet in Libya but if every armed conflict to date is anything to go by, they will. There is a difference between being belligerent and pragmatic and knowing your history and ignoring it. We are terribly good at forgetting our history in the UK and as a result tend to repeat an awful lot of mistakes which could have been avoided if people in command where not being so optimistic about the prospects.

They know that they need Illustrious more than ever, they know that they can halt the sale of HMS Invincible to a Turkish scrapyard and re-install the Rolls-Royce engines at the blink of an eye. But they wont for the simple reason that they will look weak and incompetent for having completed botched the SDSR. If any of them are reading this let me make this very clear; you already look like amateurs for thinking that no aircraft carriers would be needed during an entire decade. It took four months -four months- for your defence review to become obsolete. To save some face, or at the very least, listen to the people in the know, you can reverse some of these decisions. There is waste in the MoD, yes no one denies this, but there is also a time when you have admit and consent that you were wrong. Own up to your shortcomings and move on. These assets are gravely needed for a no-fly zone cannot be established without them, it simply is not possible since no one, down there, likes us enough to lend us their airbases and we would just be in the way of the americans as said.

What is more; the Typhoon cannot fly off aircraft carriers, it is not a carrier jet like the French Mirrage 2000. The Harrier GR9 can, but like everything else useful, it is being scrapped to save money. The Harrier and the Carriers are perhaps our most valuable asset right now, one cannot topple Gaddafi with nuclear submarines nor with Cyber Commands no matter how intriguing the prospect of that might sound.

The Government knows what they have to do in order to remain a significant player in the world, but they wont since they will loose face if they do. We have had so many politicians like that who were afraid to do the right thing, and as a result history only remembers them for their failure to do the right thing. Not for all the good they also did. What will the Coalition be? A Chamberlain or a Churchill?


Since the Libyan crisis began, the Coalition has faced repeated criticism over the decision last year to decommission HMS Ark Royal and the Royal Navy’s Harrier jets, leaving Britain without a functioning aircraft carrier. Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, insisted that such criticism was a “red herring” because the base in Cyprus meant Britain could still operate jets over Libya if required. And would it, pray, still be a "red herring" if this had happened in Zambia instead, where are no conveniently placed RAF stations. I cannot believe that this man is using geography as a defence for scrapping HMS Ark Royal. What an idiot. A five year old could pick holes in that defence.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Mr. Mercer you EU mong

Mr. Mercer,

As an elected representative of the British people, it is your duty to explain to us why our govt. has agreed to replace the British military with an EU Military, without our approval, consultation, or consent.

In particular, I ask the following:

Why did our govt. sign this EU-SOFA agreement (UK sig. on page 10), which merges the militaries of European nations into an EU Military?

Link: EU-SOFA agreement, signed by UK

Why did our govt. agree to ATHENA, an EU mechanism to administer the 'common costs' of military operations on behalf of 'Europe' ?


Why did our govt agree to ERASMUS MILITARE, an EU mechanism to create a common defence culture via exchange of young military officers within training colleges around the EU ?

And why did our govt agree to the EUROPEAN SECURITY and DEFENCE COLLEGE to train military personnel from EU member states for a mission defined as 'To support a Common Security and Defence Policy and to promote a common European security culture.' ?

MP Mercer, this is not only a betrayal, it's a pre-meditated, wilful a betrayal by stealth.

I suspect that there will soon come a day where the British people remind those they perceive as traitors that betrayals of this magnitude have a way of consuming, in very unsavoury ways, those who perpetrate them.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Defence Policy; Coalition vs. UKIP

It must be a bitter pill to swallow for the coalition when "a bunch of fruitcakes and loonies and closet racists" have a more realistic and grown-up defence policy than the government. I sincerely agree with Labour and Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary when he added his voice to those calling for the SDSR to be reopened. He said it already looked "out of date" and that many of the assumptions about it had been "shaken over the past month". True, Labour is the majority party responsible for this shambolic state of affairs in the MoD but it was the coalition's choice to slash %7.5 of the annual defence budget, and they decided to do so in one of the most mysterious ways yet known to man; e.g. rip apart newly constructed surveillance aircraft with CAT diggers... WTF? What did the Nimrods ever do to Dr. Fox to deserve such an inglorious end?

Hence I reproduce here the full result, thus far, of the Coalition's approach to defence and if you scroll down a bit further you will see that of UKIP. I know which party I would like in power if my country went to war.
  • Reducing the planned purchase of 22 Chinooks to 12
  • Delaying Trident for political reasons that will cost billions
  • Cancelling Nimrod MRA4
  • Reducing armour and artillery, if reports are to be believed, to the bone
  • Reducing surface vessels
  • Reducing Tornado
  • Withdrawn Harrier GR9′s
  • Withdrawing Sentinel
  • Slashing allowances and expenses
  • Setting up the armed forces for a post Afghanistan change in terms and conditions of service
  • Implementing a 2 year pay freeze
  • Reducing pensions
  • Reducing service personnel by 17,000
  • Reducing the MoD Civil Service by 25,000 which will likely result in more work for service personnel
  • Removing the External Reference group from reporting on the Military Covenant
  • Trying to convince everyone that the SDSR was a considered and balanced review (thats my favourite joke of the year)
  • Sacking 25% of RAF trainee pilots
  • Reducing size of army to an estimated 80,000 troops, after the Afghanistan campaign
And from UKIP's website is the following:

UKIP promises:
  • To defend our national interests, maintain the NATO alliance, support our traditional partners. We want to disentangle our forces from the EU and moves towards EU armed forces. UKIP will keep our independence by retaining – always – ultimate command and control over our national forces.
  • To stop trying to buy defence on the cheap UKIP will spend an extra 1% GDP per year on defence – an increase of 40% on current budgets ( a £14.76 billion increase ). UKIP believes in establishing a defence budget which will properly sustain Britain’s defence commitments. To keep defence costs down by smarter defence procurement, and with more involvement of British industry wherever possible.
  • To increase the Army to at least 125,000 personnel (trained requirement) in order to enable it to cope with its existing deployment and roles. To double the Territorial Army in size from 37,000 to 75,000 soldiers.
  • To restore the Navy to its 2001 strength, with 3 new aircraft carriers (one extra), 4 assault ships, 30 destroyers and frigates, 12 Fleet Submarines, 25 coastal vessels and 50 Merlin helicopters, with around 7,000 extra personnel to 42,000 (2003–41,550). UKIP would guarantee the futures of naval ports Plymouth and Portsmouth and base ships permanently in Rosyth and so return it to a proper naval port status.
  • To increase the Air Force’s capabilities by enlarging the tanker fleet, modernising the transport fleet, buying more helicopters and 50 extra JSF aircraft, and increasing RAF personnel to 50,000.
  • To restore many traditional regiments, such as the Black Watch and Staffords, subsumed as battalions of EU-inspired ‘super-regional’ regiments such as the Royal Welsh, Royal Mercian and Royal Regiment of Scotland, in order to serve in EU battlegroups.
  • To renew the Covenant between the Country and those who are asked to risk their lives on its behalf: through better pay, generous compensation for injury, restoration of Crown immunity, private medical and dental care, reinstatement of military hospitals, decent accommodation, an offence of treason for those UK citizens who seriously attack serving personnel, and above all, respect and support. We will also introduce a National Service Medal to be awarded to all servicemen and women to thank those who have seen combat, and those who have not, in their service of their country.
  • To reappraise our operations in Afghanistan to a single clear and achievable mission or seek to negotiate a withdrawal with our NATO partners.
  • To maintain Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent with existing Trident submarines, and then replace them with four British-built US missile armed submarines.
  • To retain and increase Army and Territorial Army personnel through better pay, free medical and dental care for them and their families, retention ‘warrants’, school recruitment and other incentives.
  • To introduce a National Defence Medal to recognise ‘Forgotten Heroes’.
One can promise a lot when in opposition, but their mettle can surely not be worse than the Coalition's.

What is all of this born out of? Our pathetic excuse for assisting British nationals in Libya. Utter humiliation. What is becoming more apparent though is that there are no military assets to send out there because it would appear that we have scrapped everything even remotely useful. Word is doing the rounds that a no-fly zone should be imposed on Libya but of course that would necessitate an aircraft carrier as there is no way a country out there would play friendly host to a squadron of British fighter jets. We do not have any aircraft carriers anymore. The coalition in their infinite wisdom scrapped them. You can see whence the argument travels from here.

In essence for every year you travel back in time the probability that we could have managed this shit storm of a situation, professionally and authoritatively, increases exponentially. In 1950 the Royal Navy would have had an entire carrier group out there by now, and in 1980 at least one Invincible class carrier would have watched the Libyans with fiery eyes, Harriers at the ready and Nimrods on the go (though remember 'could' does not imply 'would' since there is geopolitics to take into consideration as well). There would be no beating about the bush, no incompetence, people who risked other people's lives would have been sacked quicker that you can say 'BBC'.

But what is really, truly, amazing is that the news channels are focusing solely on the hardships of a few Brits who are stranded in the back and beyond. I sympathise with them of course but in the background people are being slaughtered for what they believe in. Poor little Brits cannot get out, boho, whereas the Libyan people are having their own armed forces used upon them, mercenaries brought in to make them toe the line, air-to-surface missiles used on a crowds of people, humans, like you and me, non-combatans, non-lethal, non-hostile, or at least not hostile enough to ever warrant the use of laser guided precision weapons, normally employed to neutralise tanks.

No, who cares about that? Lets focus on the gallant HMS Cumberland which has just "rescued" stranded nationals in the most pathetic of manners. To top it off, she is being decommissioned after this final operation. What if this had happened 6 months from now?

Finally do you know what the really tragic thing is? Somewhere someone down the line will have to rebuild all this capacity since this simply wont fly. All of this scrapping is thus pointless and wont save any money in the long term since it will just need to be rebuilt anyway.

Monday, 21 February 2011


Think Defence

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Labour, EU and the Independent - what the flunk?

Yeah I am as confused as you are.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Celebrity Support?

In my mind there seems to be a logical fallacy somewhere in announcing that you have celebrity support. The AV campaign has committed actors Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth and Stephen Fry. And surely others. Sea Shepard, a whaling conservation society, counts among its advisers Pierce Brosnan and Sean Penn.

What the fuck?

What on earth does Pierce Brosnan know about bloody whales to make him qualified to be an 'advisor' to a wildlife conservationist? Is he a marine biologist, is he a scientist, does he attack Japanese whaling ships in his free time? No, he is James Bond and that is it.

Colin Firth backs the AV 'yes' side presumably because he falls for every populist political ploy that the system wants him to back (see his previous support for the LibDems quickly retracted whence they backed the tuition fee rise). But lets assume not. Lets ask this; is he a constitutional historian, does he have a degree in international relations, has he done a dissertation on the merits of AV alongside FPTP? No, he is George VI and over and above that his support for either side should make little or no difference.

Do you know who I count amongst my advisers when I write my scientific reports on the most abstract of concepts? Babar, Lady and the Tramp, Paddington, Doctor Who (obviously), Luke Skywalker (his knowledge of particle physics dynamics is second to none), Darth Vader (Luke's arch nemesis, yes, but give them a cup of tea and Darth will tell you everything there is to know on sub-molecular fission interactions) and how could I forget; the gummy bears - savvier engineers you will not find, their approach to elasticity and aerodynamic viscosity problems would make any thermodynamics professor blush.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Bang on, bang on...

Courtesy of the European Commissions' Eurobarometer. Knowing the EU I can guarantee you that even the above results have been "updated".

Ruled by Retards

We truly are ruled by incompetent fucking retards. Not even Labour were this stupid. This particularly pisses me off, since a fair few of my friends were intending to go down this route. Bloody fucking idiots that is all I can say, the party of the armed forces my fucking arse. This is their record so far, try convince anyone to vote for them come the next election. UKIP are going to have a field day.
  • Reducing the planned purchase of 22 Chinooks to 12
  • Delaying Trident for political reasons that will cost billions
  • Cancelling Nimrod MRA4
  • Reducing armour and artillery, if reports are to be believed, to the bone
  • Reducing surface vessels
  • Reducing Tornado
  • Withdrawn Harrier GR9′s
  • Withdrawing Sentinel
  • Slashing allowances and expenses
  • Setting up the armed forces for a post Afghanistan change in terms and conditions of service
  • Implementing a 2 year pay freeze
  • Reducing pensions
  • Reducing service personnel by 17,000
  • Reducing the MoD Civil Service by 25,000 which will likely result in more work for service personnel
  • Removing the External Reference group from reporting on the Military Covenant
  • Trying to convince everyone that the SDSR was a considered and balanced review (thats my favourite joke of the year)
  • Sacking 25% of RAF trainee pilots
A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now. Just slash and slash and slash until the blood is flowing, and then the wolves will come... I am all for cutting public spending but not at the cost of national security.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Military Procurement; US-style vs. EU-style

This is of course not a commanding example and more sample data is need to draw conclusions, but it is fair to say that when dealing with the US you get more of your stuff in time, on budget and it does what is says on the tin. Again I know that this does not apply to everything (see JSF e.g.) but compared to cooperation projects with other European nations (to foster some spurious belief in a future EU armed forces, and supposedly to reduce costs), the Americans drift across the pond like white feathers whereas the European partners are more like bowling balls (which sink).
Boeing has announced that it has successfully completed -- ahead of schedule -- its industrial participation (IP) programs for the first five C-17 Globemaster III aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Lets compare this with
According to a February report to the French Senate, the A400M is €5 billion over budget, 3 to 4 years behind schedule, and 12 tons overweight; aerospace experts estimate it is also costing Airbus between €1 billion and €1.5 billion a year.
Not exactly the fiat of business integrity.

British Politicians, the small print and the EU

There is no point in me writing a post on this myself, Mary Riddell has done a fine job of that already.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, rhubarb, rhubarb, order in the House, 'physically ill' and the rest of it. All I can say to the Commons over this votes for prisoners dispute is: just shut up and pull the trigger and get out of the Council of Europe. Or admit you are too timid to pull the trigger, so shut up anyway and submit in the manner that suits men who are cowards.

This noise about how Britain may now stand against to the council's European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is at best naive and in most cases (yes, you, David Cameron) is synthetic. What Cameron has done on this one is pretend this is the crucial line he won't cross. Meanwhile, very much more quietly and apparently without a moment of squeamishness (odd that, how selective the prime minister's stomach is on parliamentary sovereignty), his Government hands over more and more power to the European Union.

What he has done by stirring up this prisoners' votes business is simply give the euro-anxious Tories a different kind of 'European' bone on which to chew. Yet this issue is not the meat. The ECHR and its decisions are not the things most endangering Britain's sovereignty now.

Still, if MPs are really so determined to stop this so-called 'encroachment' by Strasbourg, maybe a technical note first. Britain freely (and foolishly) agreed long ago to give the court at Strasbourg all the powers that the ECHR has since been using. This so-called 'court' at has never invaded Britain -- the supine British opened the gates to all these European 'justices' and their powers to decide Britain's laws.

The angry cries, even among my colleagues, that there has been 'remorseless undermining' of Britain's parliament and courts implies that the ECHR has been tunnelling away under the stone walls of Britain, rather in the manner of medieval seige warfare. It hasn't. The ECHR has done only and exactly what decades of euro-supine British politicians have allowed it to do. The drawbridge has been down all along, with 'We are all Europeans now' written on cloth-of-gold and slung from the battlements.

All parliament has to do if it really does want to stop the powers of this 'court' is just vote to pull out of the Council of Europe, ECHR and all. Then this absurdity of votes for prisoners, and every other ECHR so-called 'human rights' absurdity, goes away; or at least -- and this is what Cameron is hiding in this debate -- until Brussels reminds the United Kingdom that by signing up to Lisbon Treaty and the rest, powers across the Channel can go on imposing these 'human rights' on Britain whether the UK tries to derogate from the ECHR decisions or leaves the Council of Europe altogether.

Cameron, being so very busy having a public relations-designed 'physcal illness' over the issue, won't admit that the problem with exactly this kind of control by foreign powers over Britain's legislation will continue as long as Britain stays in the EU: even if Britain now refuses votes for prisoners -- and it won't; in the end, some man caught with 10,000 child porn images on his laptop will have the liberty to cancel out your vote -- ultimately the EU will have ways of getting the same decision reached in the European Court of Justice (the EU 'court,' this one in Luxembourg with the power to enforce EU law in member states). All that will be necessary is for some other ex-con lowlife to bring another case, this time in Luxembourg not Strasbourg.

The Lisbon Treaty, among many other poisonous things, gave the EU 'legal personality' for the first time. That means it can sign international agreements, not as an agent for a group of 27 sovereign states, but as a state in its own right. And as this new country called Europe, it is going to join the Council of Europe. It will be a member just as the United Kingdom is now.

What that means is that Britain, even if it pulls out of the Council of Europe, will still be bound to the damned thing as a part of the EU: remember, Lisbon made us all 'citizens of the EU' now. If you are a native of England, Scotland Wales or Ireland, your nationality is now 'European' whether you want it or not. The treaty says so, and the treaty, thanks to the refusal by Cameron and William Hague to fight it, is law.

Treaties and other international agreements now signed by the EU will be directly binding on the UK and have primacy over all UK laws and the British constitution. And, no, Britain does not have a veto over most of the things the EU might sign treaties on.

Slightly delicious note: I gather the EU's signing for the membership has been held up because the EU is demanding that decisions of the ECHR cannot over-rule the decisions of the ECJ. In other words, Brussels is demanding that its own court have supremacy over the ECHR, something Britain has surrendered for its own Supreme Court.

So there could be turf conflicts between the euro-courts. As Open Europe notes in its briefing this week on the votes for prisoners dispute, the EU has its own catalogue of justiciable rights -- '' 'the so-called Charter of Fundamental Rights, enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. The Charter allows citizens to contest rights set down in EU law at the European Court of Justice, and, in future, possibly also the ECHR (when the EU accedes to it).'

This will make it 'increasingly difficult for the UK to negotiate a carve-out from European human rights legislation.'

As for the detail of this particular case of prisoners' votes, 'Withdrawal from the ECHR would allow the UK to ignore ECHR rulings on prisoners votes when it come to general elections. However, as voting rights in European Parliament and local elections are covered by EU law as well as national law, their application in the UK could in future be challenged at the ECHR or the ECJ.'

Oh, and as for the Cameron fudge about limiting the vote to prisoners serving four years or less, the ECHR has already struck down that notion in a similar case, Scoppola v Italy. It decided that the prisoner's rights were violated because Italian law barred him from voting on the basis of his sentence. So they will knock down Cameron's four years, too, and I'd suspect he knows it.

Which is why the noise in the Commons over this is just noise. Either parliament is sovereign or it's not, and until the MPs vote to take Britain out of the EU, it's not: the 'legal personality' called the 'European Union' is sovereign.

So the MPs might as well go home; or go around to the 'Scrubs for a bit of canvassing.

But it just isn’t going to happen. Even if he launched on this kamikaze mission, he wouldn’t complete it. Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, has already advised Downing Street that banning votes for prisoners is illegal. I guess he would resign, along with Ken Clarke. I am told that most of the supreme court judges would follow Clarke out of the door, launching Britain into a full-scale constitutional crisis. Not only that, Nick Clegg, who has been strangely silent on all this, would walk out of the Coalition.
Who cares if Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke and the Supreme Court judges walk out? They are doing so on their principles not ours and they are supposed to represent us and our parliament. It is not a constitutional crisis when the people that walk out have no support form the electorate anyway. If they had the support of voters and truly trumpeted the vox populi, the story would be different. Hence I cannot see where this "constitutional crisis" would be coming from, simply because no one would care and a few would cheer.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Privatise universities, or they will do it themselves

This kind of bullshit social engineering is what will lead to widespread privatisation of Britain's top universities.

Thank god this is already in the pipeline for most of the ones still worthy of calling themselves universities.

To have the cheek to even mention the word "fair" and HE in the same sentence, from minsters who have almost exclusively only ever attended private schools and Oxbridge, is quite frankly beyond belief. What fucking hypocrisy.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Some free advice

Given that the probability that anyone with any form of influence will actually read this blog, is fairly slim. I am fairly comfortable posting my personal advice here for the benefit of politicians who think they know how the real world works.

What has been bothering me as of late is that the government is not able to put across what they really want to do. I do not really care much for their policies (the coalition's) since a) the Liberal Democrats had a hand in writing them, and I despise them as a political entity, b) the Conservative party does not seem to know what it is conserving anymore and might as well re-name itself to something more appropriate akin to the centre left/right policies it now subscribes to.

Me; I am very conservative and never went through the socialist stage which most youngsters seem destined to pass through, as a right of passage, before reaching maturity and embracing a pragmatic and grown-up outlook on the world (and realise that you cannot simply dish-out other people's hard earned money on your bullshit socialist utopia). As the old saying goes, a conservative is a liberal who just got mugged, and a liberal is a conservative who just got arrested. I have never been arrested nor mugged, when I have, I shall update you on my political credence.

But back to the main point behind this post. If you cannot communicate your vision then you will be defined by your enemies. It is a very simple concept. But it seems as if ministers are currently just trying to leave something, anything, just for the sake of changing society, but not saying why they want to change it. Why on earth sell off the forests for example? Who ever asked for that? It is not as if logging is big business in the UK (no it really is not so don't go posting some statistics saying that it is for then I will retort with a statistic from Sweden or Finland, which will dwarf any lumber figure put forth by any of my potential enemies).

It is fairly simple to get past this; formulate what the hell is wrong with the current system be it the armed forces or the NHS. And really hit home why it needs to change. Be a coward and ignore the EU at your own peril, there is still a lot of domestic policy (the EU is domestic policy now as well) which is still quite frankly shit. Noticed lately that no NHS doctors wear white coats? But in every other country in the world with an advanced medical service this is the case. Do some googling on that and you will see for what retard reason those were dropped and subsequently leading to various outbreaks of dangerous viruses. This is a minor issue though; there is a lot more which needs to be changed before the doctors get their coats back. Question is will ministers listen to the people or will they peddle on into oblivion and certain electoral defeat, lest they tell everyone what they are trying to achieve?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Melanchtron takes tone

So let’s see. The government grants a free vote on votes for prisoners (no choice, really). The measure goes down 500 votes against, 80 for. We then have five thousand prisoners complain that their human rights have been violated, and they sue for compensation. The courts rule in their favour at – what shall we say? - £10,000 each including costs? So that’s £50m.

The government then has to decide whether to pay. But in Parliament MPs are already putting down motions forbidding the government from paying any such compensation. The current motion may not get any air time, but someone will soon work out how to deliver such a motion properly, and it will surely pass with a huge majority, since, when families are struggling to pay increased taxes and with their benefits being cut, who is seriously going to vote in favour of paying out tens of millions in pounds to prisoners? So then the courts instruct the government to pay compensation, and Parliament forbids it.

A constitutional crisis, clearly.

Is there a way out? Well, the Council of Europe has already condemned the government for taking more than five years to comply with the 2005 judgement involving John Hirst, giving the government six months to comply. So we can’t just wait and hope it goes away. The British judges will be itching to rule against the government anyway. Surely the only ways forward are to comply or to change Britain’s relationship to the European Court of Human Rights and to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Suppose we could get that latter option past Nick Clegg. We’d then have to get it past the European Council. But complying with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights is an obligation of the Lisbon Treaty for membership of the Council of Europe, and hence of the EU. I suppose we could just not comply and dare the Council of Europe to kick us out – but then how would we prevent the UK judges from ruling government officials guilty of malfeasance for failing to comply with obligations under a ratified Treaty? The only way to avoid that would appear to renegotiate the Treaty. But could we get that past Nick Clegg?