Daily archives: April 2, 2009

Shock Horror – Gordon Brown Says Something True

Amid all the pomp and hyperbole of the G20 summit, Gordon Brown said something that was actually true.

“Today’s decisions, of course, will not immediately solve the crisis.”

Unfortunately that statement is just as true if you omit the word “immediately”.

The outcome of the summit was exactly as I predicted, with everyone claiming they had “won”. I can leave Brown his ten days of reflected glory. As the economy plunges again thereafter he will look pretty silly.

Brown has told the truth before, when he said his economic policies had “Brought an end to boom and bust.” He was telling the truth about the boom bit.

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Death at a Demonstration

The media are going full volume now to churn out lies that policemen attempting to treat the dying man were pelted with bottles. The blogosphere is attempting to fight back with the truth – with the exception of the mainstream media’s favourite bloggers, Iain Dale, Derek Draper, Alex Hilton and Paul Staines. Which is of course precisely why they are the mainstream media’s favourite bloggers.

There is an important eyewitness account here:


Justin has also an interview with an eyewitness:


All of which leads me to resurrect this bit I wrote in a comments thread in reply to someone asking why I hadn’t mentioned the possibility of agents provocateurs:

There was a fascinating and drawn out scene outside the Bank of England yesterday when a distinct group of some thirty were attacking the police, one hitting the police with a long pole. Prominent was a group of young Asian lads.

I recognised them because I was crushed up hard for a good while against the same bunch of young Asians outside the Israeli Embassy a couple of months ago, where again they were being inexcusably violent.

The very strange thing was that, plainly from Sky’s overhead cam, the Police had the ability to isolate and snatch this group of obviously violent individuals, and the police would have had my support in doing so. But they didn’t.

So who are they?

My prediction of the police tactics – written before the protests started – seems to have been entirely accurate and almost certainly the direct or indirect cause of this death:

“Each demonstration will be split up into several separated groups. Each group will be tightly corraled, penned in with barriers in an uncomfortable crush that feels threatening to those inside. Occasionally groups will be shuffled between pens. Most demonstrators will not be allowed to the destination point to limit the appearance of numbers at the rallies. Once it is over, people will be kept corralled for several hours, with no refreshment or (this is critical and no joke) toilet facilities. The tactic appears designed to create confrontation as people try to get out of penned areas to hear the speeches they came to hear, to escape the crush or just to find a loo. At the same time the argie-bargie thus deliberately sparked is confined to small numbers the police can contain.”


Sadly there is no kind of inquiry under this government in which the public will have the slightest trust.

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A Good Day to Bury Bad News

I have just realised that the press release below, issued today, is being put out on the one day when you can be guaranteed that not a single political journalist in the country will look at it, when they are all swamped beneath thousands of pieces of material on the G20 summit.


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I have just received the following from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights:

2 April 2009

Session 2008-09 No. 31


Notice of Forthcoming Public Evidence Session

UN Convention Against Torture

The following oral evidence session has been arranged:

Tuesday 28 April 2009


Craig Murray (former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan)

The Committee will be following up its 2006 Report on the UK’s compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture by taking evidence from Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, on allegations that UK ministers and officials knowingly received information obtained by torture. The Committee previously heard evidence from Ian Cobain of The Guardian and Brad Adams of Human Rights watch about allegations of abuse and mistreatment involving British agents in Pakistan. A transcript of this session and the Committee’s correspondence with ministers on this issue is available at:


The above meeting is open to members of the public. It is advisable to allow about 20 minutes to pass through security checks. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in Committee Rooms. Members of the public enter via the Visitors Entrance, next to St Stephens Entrance, the Palace of Westminster.

The members of the Committee Are:

Mr Andrew Dismore MP (Labour, Hendon) (Chairman)

Lord Bowness (Conservative)

John Austin MP (Labour, Erith & Thamesmead)

Lord Dubs (Labour)

Dr Evan Harris MP (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)

Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Liberal Democrat)

Mr Virendra Sharma MP (Labour, Ealing, Southall)

Lord Morris of Handsworth (Labour)

Mr Richard Shepherd MP (Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills)

The Earl of Onslow (Conservative)

Mr Edward Timpson MP (Conservative, Crewe and Nantwich)

Baroness Prashar (Cross-Bencher)

Clerks of the Committee:

Dr Mark Egan (House of Commons) 020 7219 2797

and Rebecca Neal (House of Lords) 020 7219 6772

Enquiries: 020 7219 2797/2467 Fax: 020 7219 8393

E-mail: [email protected]

Homepage: http://www.parliament.uk/jchr

Media Inquiries: Ms Jessica Bridges-Palmer: 020 7219 0724

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Gordon Brown’s Ego

There was a 5% chance that it would fall to the UK to host this particular G20 meeting, but the timing of it plays to Brown’s obsession with being cast as the man who saved the World. As we plunge into depression, I can guarantee you that come next year people will see that it made no difference. It also will not fulfil its primary purpose of getting Brown re-elected.

As I explained yesterday, the final communique will have been agreed some time ago between senior officials (believe me, it used to be my job), so the media’s playing along with the “suspense” of whether agreement will be reached is rubbish. Brown said as much in Downing Street yesterday: “When the communique is released to you tomorrow, you will see that…”

Which doesn’t rule out some grandstanding by politicians looking to win votes at home, and there is a 0.1% chance that will lead someone to refuse to sign it, but don’t hold your breath. It will contain something for every leader to hold up as “their” negotiating victory. The negotiating officials understand that need very well; it will be a beautiful and pointless construct.

Brown’s vanity is enormous. I still have many friends in the FCO,and staff in the UK Mission to the European Union (UKREP Brussels) were horrified to receive an instruction from the FCO to ensure that the situation when Gordon Brown was obliged to hear a speech against him in the European Parliament from MEP Daniel Hannan, could not happen again. No. 10 reasoned, quite unrealistically, that other EU leaders would not want to suffer potential embarassment the same way, so there should be wide support for such a measure.

This was unrealistic because, while there may be some sympathy in the unelected Council of Ministers, it would be the elected European Parliament which would have to make any procedural changes. There is institutional tension between the two bodies, and to convince MEPs that they cannot criticise members of the Council of Europe in their presence, is an impossible task.

So our poor men and women in Brussels duly put out some feelers and found that, not only was there no sympathy, but nobody else thought that anything bad had happened. Wasn’t this democracy? Isn’t parliament for debate?

Of course, the Westminster one isn’t, with Brown only swanning in for half an hour a week for Prime Minister’s questions, half of which are planted and rehearsed, and the whole chaired by an outrageously biased pro-New Labour Speaker.

Anyway, my friends in our mission in Brussels consoled themselves that Prime Ministerial pique would die down, and with the G20 summit keeping Brown frenetically busy in London, the whole thing would be forgotten. But no! As they opened their offices at 8am Brussels time this morning, there was a missive from No 10, demanding to know what progress has been made. An affront to the great Gordon is an affront to the great Gordon. It cannot go unpunished. Even if the Dear Leader is busy saving the world, there is always time for such vital detail.

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