Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"



Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fake News

"Fake News" is very much in the news these days although it has always been around since time immemorial. Probably the main reason for it being more prevalent now is the expansion of social media and "Instant News" sources such as Twitter which make it far easier so spread such news.

For me, the original fake news was, of course, Lord Haw Haw during WW2, and it was only when I got older and started to read books involving the occupied countries did I realise how desperate people were for news and the risks that they were prepared to take to obtain something like the truth.

In those days, the BBC was the main source of reliable news worldwide. Yes, during the wartime it might have been guilty of the sin of omission at the behest of the censors, but as far as I'm aware it never actually told lies.

But why is it happening now and who is responsible?

I would argue that once respected news organisations such as the BBC along with certain once well trusted newspapers are largely to blame. Far from delivering the impartial wide ranging news that people would once risk their lives to hear, we now seem to get only that what the BBC wants us to hear. They would claim that the choice of news is a matter for editorial judgement, which of course is true provided that the choice is made in an impartial manner.

But I would question whether the selection is impartial. Since Trump was elected in the US, news from the US seems to have occupied far more air time than all the news from the rest of the world put together. But nothing much from Europe, nothing of events in Sweden or Austria or even Paris. Nothing about the very serious problems with immigrants or the major disturbances that they are causing in Paris. Last week Breitbart reported that hundreds of violent thugs took to the streets of Paris near to the Gare du Nord on Wednesday night burning some 47 vehicles but I didn't see anything about this in the UK media. In UK media there has been lots of coverage about Trump's wall, but virtually none about the fences that many European countries are building along their southern borders.
 
Indeed, the previous week, Breitbart was accused by many many news outlets of itself peddling fake news. The news? Breitbart reported that rioting migrants had set fire to Germany's oldest church. "Fake" they all screamed! Yes, it wasn't Germany's oldest church, it was their second oldest!!

The only news about immigrants seems to be that our hard-hearted prime minister is refusing to let in some unaccompanied, suffering, destitute children whose only wish is to come to Britain. Nothing about the fact that Sweden, having let in a number of such 'children', found that they were raping genuine children and that subsequent medical examinations and bone scans revealed that most were nearer thirty than twenty.

But even if you don't spend your time searching the internet for news and are not aware of the BBC's omissions, you only have to watch one of their discussion or documentary programmes on television to recognise the bias. Discussion panels are invariably biased well to the left and questions  frequently start with a biased assumption. And when we come to documentaries, man-made Global Warming is a proven fact.

So what is "Fake News"? Apart from a few items that can be almost instantly disproved, such as the recently reported death of some "celeb" who was seen a few hours later on television, most seems to be either news that has not been reported by the usual media sources or a totally different slant on reported news. This is clearly why the media and governments are getting so alarmed. In this brave new world, we should believe all that we are told by approved news outlets and not believe what I prefer to refer to as "Independent" news sources. It is surely indicative of the decline in our media when one can watch "Russia Today" and feel that there is more truth in some of their news than that offered by the BBC.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bercow and Trump

A major item in today's news seems to be the rant decision by Speaker Bercow that President Trump was not a suitable person to address the Houses of Parliament. This seemed to be a personal decision, no doubt egged on by some lefties, but he has been forced to apologise to the Speaker of the House of Lords for speaking out on the subject without consultation, as any invitation would normally be a consensus decision of the two Houses,

But, care of the Guido Fawkes blog, I now have a list of many of the rather unsavoury people that have been invited by the Speaker to the Commons where he has entertained them since his appointment.

Invited to tea in the Speaker's House at public expense
Vietnam - Vice Chairman Luu
North Korea - A party of four including the “Speaker of North Korea”

Invited to address Parliament
China - President Xi Jinping
Kuwait - Emir of Kuwait
Indonesia - President Susilo Yudhoyono
Singapore -  President Tony Tan Keng Yam

In all these countries there are major Human Right abuses and many basic freedoms are severely restricted.

Compared with these the alleged failings of Trump are trivial in the extreme.

I think that if I were Trump I would get the US embassy to organise some kind of spectacular "not-to-be-missed" event during his visit. Something like hiring the Albert Hall or the O2 Arena for a day and putting on a show of the best of America (and I don't mean all the so-called celebs who boycotted his inauguration). Invitations should go to "ordinary people",  and could include some MPs but certainly not Bercow and his Labour supporters!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Demonstrations

It's a great time at the moment for those who like to go to demonstrations, indeed there are so many taking place at the moment that it's hard for them decide which to attend!
It all started  with Trump's election in the United States. and the number of reasons to demonstrate seems to be increasing daily.

Indeed, I suppose it started before the election with demonstrations about Trump's attitude to women and what he may or may not have done in the past. Strangely, there was no mention of Bill Clinton's activities whilst he was in the White House. Was that the first time the premises were used for extra-marital sex? If so, perhaps there should be a plaque to mark the event.

Then came the election result with huge demonstrations claiming "Trump's not my President". I can vaguely understand these taking place in America in spite of the factual error; if they were American citizens he was now their President, like it or not. But why the huge demonstrations with the same slogan in London and other cities? I can't imagine there are that number of American expats in London, so if the rest were British, what is the point of having a slogan that is 100% true? Trump isn't their President, unless they believe we are now a state of the USA rather than the EU.

Then the demonstrations followed fast and furiously. One, which apparently had Merkel's approval was against the Great Wall of Mexico, and tended to overlook the fact that some countries within the EU bordering Turkey are building fences and installing razor wire along their borders. I suppose fences are OK but walls are not!

Next came Trump's decision to withdraw funding for some abortions. This angered the feminists in spite of it only being for abortions abroad paid for as part of aid. But why worry that it doesn't affect Americans at home, it's a good reason to go out and have another demonstration.

This was followed by Trump's decision to cut back on funding for some 'green' projects and approve the construction of two oil pipe lines as well as allowing the greater use of coal in industry. Totally logical, you can't make steel without using coal; all that has happened is that jobs were lost in America and industry had to import from elsewhere, usually China. Overall there was no change in global emissions. But does that matter? No, let's go and have another demonstration.

And then, of course there is his most recent decision, to ban people from entering the country who were born in a number of predominately Muslim countries. It is for just 90 days, presumably to give officials sufficient time to devise a stricter vetting process. This immediately started protests with an number of newsworthy people who had been born in these countries promptly complaining that they'd never be able to return to their adopted home. Mo Farah, a Somali who has British citizenship but now lives in the US was affected. No-one ventured to ask why he had apparently returned to Somalia from where he is supposed to have fled in fear of his life. Even though foreign born British passport holders have been assured that they will be allowed to enter the US, the moaning continues.

And whilst on the subject of moaning, these events seem to have totally eclipsed all the EU remoaners, although I expect there will be demonstrations against today's parliamentary vote on Article 50. If I were the sort who organised demonstrations, I would be demonstrating against those MPs who voted to remain regardless of the fact that a huge majority of their constituents voted to leave in the referendum. Taking the Trump slogan, the residents of these constituencies should be out there marching with banners "You are not my MP"!

Oh, I nearly forgot the coming State Visit by Trump and the petition to cancel it. There's now another one asking for the visit to take place and considerable doubt as to the authenticity of many of the signatures for them both. The claim is that Trump is a monster, and in today's Daily Mail, Piers Morgan provides a list of a dozen far greater monsters who have had State Visits during the Queen's reign. Amongst them were two of those that I especially hate, Emperor Hirohito of Japan and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

I've probably missed some demonstrations, but never mind, it doesn't really matter they're all the same. Many of the demonstrators don't even seem to know why they're there judging by the variety of posters on display.

The only people who don't seem to have had a demonstration are our police forces who are forced to protect these demonstrators. They should be out their campaigning either for more police or a limit on the number of demonstrations that may be held per week.

Happy Demonstrating!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

ADHD

I was reading yesterday about a teenage motorist who was in court for a string of motoring offences including knocking a cyclist of his bike and failing to stop.

In mitigation, his solicitor argued that he suffered from ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Surely anyone suffering from ADHD should be automatically banned from driving. After all, paying attention to your surroundings and what is happening is probably the most important aspect of driving and any driver who doesn't do so  is a great danger to others as well as himself.

Additionally, any person who is hyperactive is also a danger, drivers need to be calm and cautious in what they are doing.

In my view, ADHD is one of those illnesses which should preclude someone from having a licence.

Friday, 27 January 2017

President Trump and Theresa May

Those self-serving individuals who present their assessment of global politics in the form of a "Doomsday Clock" have decided that the world will be a far more dangerous place since President Trump was elected and Britain decided to leave the EU. They advanced it by 30 seconds so that it now stands at two and a half minutes to midnight (whatever that means).

This is rather strange, as for various reasons, I now feel safer.

Firstly, Brexit. This will mean that the EU will lose one of the internationally most important countries and will speak with that bit less authority. It will also lose a large chunk of its income, and unless the remaining countries are prepared to pay more,  it means that there will be less money to throw around and thus less attractive to countries like Ukraine where it was the EU's dabbling that led to the Russian intervention. Hopefully, without our support, it will not get involved in things that could lead to military intervention, making, in my view, the world a somewhat safer place.

Then comes Trump, very outspoken, whose actions so far seem to to indicate that he will actually do what he said he would do before being elected, a novel change! He wants to spend more on the military and updating weapons which is what any prudent leader should do. At the same time he says that America is no longer prepared to get into unnecessary wars, such as Iraq and Afghanistan and even that he will only support NATO if all the other members of the alliance pull their weight and spend more of their GDP on defence in line with the US.

When it comes to dealing with Russia, I don't believe Putin is stupid. He now knows that Trump means what he says and is unlikely to do anything which might trigger a forceful response. Both Russia and America have a common enemy in Islam and just as Trump wants to build a wall to keep out the Mexicans, Putin has to spend quite a lot of resources maintaining a watch on its southern borders which mainly face Islamic countries.

One of the other factors affecting the "Doomsday Clock" was Trump's decision to scrap many of the "green" requirements. He is going to allow coal mining, new oil pipelines, fracking and other activities which are frowned on by the "Greens". I believe that he is correct to do so. What is the point of closing down heavy industry in the US to reduce emissions (and create unemployment) when third world countries then start their own new industries, probably causing far more emissions and damage than previously. Countries want steel and whether it is produced in China, India or America, there will be emissions. I fail to see why bringing production "home" is a danger to the world and makes an iota of difference to the "Doomsday Clock", it will reduce US unemployment and ensure that the product is of the proper quality.

So on balance, my conclusion, which is the opposite of the "experts", is that the world will now be that little bit safer.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Theresa May's Vision of Brexit

Yesterday Theresa May made her long awaited statement as to what she meant when she said "Brexit means Brexit".  Some say we have had to wait far too long for an indication as to Britain's position, but surely this is Cameron's fault. He was so convinced that the country would vote to remain in the EU that no preparations had been made by the Civil Service for a possible Brexit vote.

 Most of the arguments to date have been over the so-called soft or hard Brexit options, the former appearing to me to be almost the same as remaining a member of the EU under a new name.  She  made it very clear that we wanted to control Britain’s borders and create an immigration system that “serves the national interest”.  And whilst we would like free trade arrangements with the EU, this will not be at the expense of us either having free movement of people or paying vast sums into the EU coffers. Most importantly, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that the UK “will take back control of our laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain”. 

She also said that we do not wish to remain in the existing customs union as we would be required to have the common tariffs with the EU which are designed largely to protect various EU producers from world wide competition. She also pointed out that the existing customs union precludes us from negotiating our own trade agreements with other countries.

Most importantly she said that she prefers 'no deal' rather than a 'bad deal'. This, of course is something that Cameron would never have said which was why he got nowhere in his pre-referendum discussions.

Mrs May made it clear that existing EU laws which applied to this country would be enshrined into UK law and any that were no longer required would subsequently be repealed.  Whilst this would satisfy those workers who were worried about the possible loss of some rights that they had obtained under the EU, I am sceptical about the subsequent repealing of unwanted rules; no legislation ever seems to get repealed!

She said that she expects co-operation to continue on matters like security and other areas of mutual interest. Surely no one is going to oppose such an idea, although with the EU, who knows?

The Remoaners of course found fault with almost everything that she said. Clegg announced that he would vote down the deal in Parliament before talks have even started. So much for democracy, listening to the debate in Parliament and the electors views, 'No, I will vote it down regardless'. Tory MP Ken Clarke claimed that Britain could still find itself under the jurisdiction of the European Court as part of its new trade deal with the EU. And as usual Queen Nicola of Scotland had her moan about wanting to be consulted. They just won't give up and accept the result of the referendum!

Hopefully, regardless of what the High Court says, I believe that Parliament will vote in terms of allowing Mrs May to send the letter required under Article 50, as the alternative would be a snap General Election at a time when every poll suggests that the Tories would get a large majority.

Monday, 16 January 2017

EU Dictatorship


Donald Trump has said that Britain that we will be first in the line for a rapid trade deal with the US. Great, at least he doesn't want to put us at the back of the queue like Obama.

And the EU's response? Don't you even dare think of starting informal talks with the US before Brexit is complete.

Just who do they think they are?
Britain is a sovereign country, and as far as I'm aware we are free to talk to anyone or any country  about any subject. Why even Queen Nicola of Scotland is free to go and talk to whoever she likes, even if there were times when I'm sure that many at Westminster would like to stop her!

Mrs May should send our trade negotiators to Washington immediately following Trump's inauguration to start talks. This would at least show the EU that we are serious about leaving and running our own country without EU interference. If all goes well the deal could be in place to be implemented the day we leave the EU.

What is the EU going to do if we ignore their demand? Throw us out?
Yes please, it would be far quicker than lengthy talks and probably considerably cheaper.

I suspect that the French Official who demanded that penalties are imposed on the UK if we leave the EU but who has recently backtracked to say that France would want access to our financial markets might not agree; nor I suspect would the German car industry.

I think that on balance, the UK has a far better hand than the EU, lets hope Mrs May plays her cards wisely.