Daily archives: September 24, 2009

Horrible Right Wing BBC Agenda

I am watching BBC Question Time, for the first time for many months. I am genuinely astonished at the right wing bias of the panel. That the two “non-party” panel members are Digby Jones and Fraser Nelson shows the determination of the BBC to cover the full spectrum of political opinion from very right to very very right.

That they could not find a single panel member who supports the release of al-Megrahi, or who was prepared to mention that he might well not be the Lockerbie bomber, rendered the whole first fifteen minutes of “debate” otiose

As previously mentioned, I was once invited to be a panelist on Question Time but was cancelled by the BBC at short notice. .The BBC more recently caused a storm by inviting the BNP on to Question Time. I have stood against the BNP in two parliamentary elections – one in Norwich, and one in the very heart of the BNP heartland in Blackburn. Combining both parliamentary elections, as a mere individual I gained just two votes less than the BNP.

Yet, according to the BBC, I am officially banned from politics programmes on the BBC because I have no evidence of popular support for my views, while according to the BBC, the BNP have to be invited because of the extent of the popular support for their views.

The truth is that there is no concept of too right wing at the BBC, while there is a concept of too radical. The one no go area is a questioning of the narrative of the War on Terror.

Fascists are within the pale; sceptics are not.

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Baroness Blackout

Everybody in London with any connection to the media knows that Baroness Scotland’s ex housekeeper, Loloahi Tapui- Zivancevic, is loudly denying that Baroness Scotland checked her immigration documentation, and canvassing selling this story.

So why are both the BBC and Sky reporting Ms Tapui- Zivancevic’s arrest without mentioning the fact that she is calling the Baroness a liar.

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Only Israel Should Have Nuclear Weapons

A friend of mine in MI6 told me earlier this year that for the first time, the Israeli nuclear arsenal is now bigger than the British nuclear arsenal.

Plainly that is of no concern to Gordon Brown, because while he exhibited righteous indignation today at Iran’s attempts to acquire a nuclear weapon, Israel’s large and expanding nuclear arsenal was not mentioned at all. The potential to make a bomb in a few years should bring sanctions; the possession of an illegal arsenal of 162 warheads (in February – probably 165 by now) should not even rate a mention. New Labour have of course been providing heavy water and nuclear components to Israel, with a false paper trail through Norway.

I am very pleased that Brown has put the UK’s nuclear weapons into disarmament talks and has endorsed the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. But with Israel not a party to any of the treaties, and with Brown and Obama refusing to admit even that the World’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal exists, I can only presume they believe that nobody should possess nuclear weapons – except Israel,

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Nick Clegg: Ambition Without Talent or Principle

At 2am I watched a repeat of Nick Clegg’s conference speech in full on the Parliament Channel. The Liberals and the Lib Dems always had a knack of producing leaders who were liked and respected. Jo Grimond, Jeremy Thorpe, David Steel, Paddy Ashdown and Charlie Kennedy were all among the first rank of effective and charismatic parliamentarians of their day (I am not here discussing the merits of their policy positions or extra-parliamentary activities).

But in Menzies Campbell and Nick Clegg the Lib Dems have produced two total duds. Both have the same leaden delivery and both are self evident preeners with an opinion of themselves which far outstrips their talent. I am not sure I have ever seen any conference speech by any leader of any party as devoid of charisma as Nick Clegg’s was yesterday.

You can’t replace charisma, but there are some things which can compensate for its absence. Heartfelt sincerity is the most important of these. That was particularly lacking, too. The only bit of Clegg’s speech that came across as compellingly believable was when he declared that he wanted to be Prime Minister.

I am sure he does. I want to bat at No 3 for England.

But why? There were two areas where the insincerity was so evident that it made my flesh creep. And they were areas where the Lib Dems should be making the running – on Afghanistan and Trident.

On Afghanistan, Clegg started his speech with an attempt to invoke the glib patriotism of The Sun, with a heartfelt tribute to our boys and girls fighting over there. Except they were, of course being let down by the government. They needed more helicopters and equipment to kill Afghans more effectively, (he left out the last phrase).

We should do the job properly or not at all, Clegg declared in a truly pathetic attempt to appease neo-imperialists and anti-imperialists both at the same time. It was a sickeningly cynical bit of politics from someone who was masquerading as a Liberal.

Clegg spent the entire conference attempting to appeal to Thatcherites by proposing cuts in public spending, including in public service pay and pensions. But on the obvious and largest waste of public money he offered only a completely meaningless formula. There should be “No like for like replacement of Trident”, he intoned with a constipated look on his face that was meant to indicate statesmanship. The remarkably small conference audience duly applauded.

“No like for like replacement of Trident”. How can people who are supposed to be thinking Liberals applaud such a transparently meaningless phrase? What a pathetic ducking of the issue. It could mean that the UK retains and pays for a submarine based offshoot of the US nuclear deterrent, but configured differently. It could encompass Brown’s three submarine proposal. It could mean – and this seems to me the most likely meaning – that we should keep and pay for an offshoot of the US based nuclear deterrent but it should not be submarine based. But as with the support for the occupation of Afghanistan, there was no underlying rationale; just a burning desire to try to appeal to all shades of opinion at once.

I shan’t bother to try to deconstruct Clegg’s “Progressive austerity”, which might be the worst political slogan ever conceived. His abandonment of the Lib Dem commitment to abolish univeristy tuition fees is shameful. To pretend that what happens in Scotland is impossible for England is foolish. To prioritise a pointless nuclear deterrent and an imperial war over social progress and mobility is not, in any sense, liberal.

The problem with an increase in the tax threshold to £10,000 is that, while it does lift the low paid out of income tax, it provides precisely the same cash tax cut to everybody earning £10,000 or over. Someone on £10,000 a year will get exactly the same cash boost as the banker on £5 million a year. Both will get a bigger cash boost than someone on £8,000 a year. How is that progressive?

At the last general election the Lib Dems under the excellent Charlie Kennedy offered a viable, radical alternative. At the coming election they will offer Clegg’s carefully crafted attempts not to offend Tory England. As the party has grown, and as the allowances of public money for MPs’ and MEPs’ staff have created a parisitic army of the paid ambitious, the Lib Dems have become merely slaves to the worship of power. I can think of no reason to vote for a party led by Nick Clegg.

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