Monday, 26 July 2010

The One That Is Waiting For The Axe. . .

We all have to take our medicine, and it can taste bitter. Lord knows my medicine bottle is on the horizon, and I may yet have to take a drink. But I'll cross that bridge when and if I come to it. One thing is for sure, the axe will fall in my department, it only remains to be seen if my head is nicked off or not.

Being a public servant with a degree of concern over my job, and a Libertarian who absolutely believes that government is far too big, far too intrusive and far too expensive puts me in an invidious position. Sometimes I sound like the turkey voting for Christmas, knowing that the policy I support could result in my standing in the dole queue. But there you go.

So it is not without sympathy that I learn 75 public sector jobs are to be lost with the disbanding of the British Film Council. But I find myself asking the question, 'whilst the BFC may have had a hand in the production of some fine movies, is it really the place of the state to be making them?'

The arts is without doubt important, but it is also very divisive. Is it acceptable to throw large amounts of public cash at the opera or the ballet, despite the minority appeal? Many would say not. Is it more or less acceptable to do the same for a more popular entertainment medium?

I don't know how the BFC works, but I do know how the public sector works. Whilst films like Vera Drake and the Last King of Scotland were undoubted artistic successes, and I should imagine made a profit, would private investors want to be involved? There's a simple answer, it is yes. If there is a profit to be made of course private money can be attracted. But I'm betting that the bureacratic restraints that the public sector will always bring to the party scares off more private investors than it attracts. Thus it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that films are hard to make without the help of the BFC, but the BFC makes it hard for people to make films. Sounds rather like the benefits system.

It is rather predictable when Tim Bevan, chairman of the Film Council says, 'Abolishing the most successful film support organisation the UK has ever had is a bad decision'. Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?

It is also rather predictable when the UCU lecturers' union warned that an expansion of the private sector would be a "disaster" and that the creation of a new private university was the "beginning of a slippery slope.

Note that there's no suggestion that any existing universities will be closed, but apparently, "Encouraging the growth of private providers and making it easier for them to call themselves universities would be a disaster for the UK's academic reputation. It would also represent a huge threat to academic freedom and standards."

Well, I hate to break it to you, but our academic reputation ain't what it was. We have people going into remedial classes when they start uni because they karnt rite proper, and when they do get a degree it is a BA in Eastenders or a BSc in Climate Change Management or somesuch guff. My experience of uni, where I did a perfectly useless journalism (sort of) degree was that the tutors were more interested in using us as guinea pigs for their PhD research and making us parrot their political dogma than actually delivering anything of worth. A private uni won't have that luxury. Fail to deliver a course in an acceptable manner and that is worth something, and pretty soon the university will be closed.

As for academic freedom, a bigger lot of rot it is hard to imagine. When has a centralised system ever resulted in freedom?

And finally to the boys in blue, their not at all political brass are complaining about elected commissioners. Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers[. . .] said Acpo would "need to examine in detail the government's proposals for maintaining operational independence against the practical reality of directly-elected police and crime commissioners".

Operational independence? Give me a break will you. Firstly, the police are not independent. Chief Constables have been effective political appointments for years now, as evidenced by the Sir Ian Blair mess. Secondly, the Home Sec says jump, you jump. Unless that is a new Home Sec says something you don't like, then you ignore it. So by independent, do you actually mean unaccountable? I think so.

Finally, the police should not be independent. They should be wholly dependent, dependent on the support and wishes of the community that they serve. If you aren't producing the results and performances that the public want, then too bloody right your arse should be shipped out.

I refer you to the Peelian Principles:

The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
That does not mean impounding kids toys such as happened at the Kingsnorth power station protest.

That does not mean beating a man sufficiently to kill him, such as happened with Ian Tomlinson.

That does not mean demanding innocent people delete photographs such as happens time and time again.

Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
You are entirely dependent upon us. You would do well to remember it.

Any candidate Commish who promotes such a simple, clear and effective policy will get my vote in a heartbeat.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The One That Is Watching It Fall Apart. . .

So we're what? Two months into the coalition? Looks like we'd better reach for the polyfilla 'cause the cracks are looking quite bad already.

Firstly the Tory media seems to have turned on the new coalition new politics big society government, with the Mail, that normally most reserved and austere publication flying into an uncharacteristic fit of rage. Concerned looks over at Conservative Home.

Then of course we've David Davis' little attack in the FT this morning
(I've taken it from the Metro, as the FT is as dull as ditchwater, I'm also unsure if it's part of the whole charging for reading on the intermong thing).

The Tory MP was dining with a group of around a dozen non-politicians at a wine bar in Southwark on Thursday and was unaware that several journalists from the Financial Times were eating at a nearby table.

Of course, of course. He was totally oblivious to the fact that there could have been some reporters from the FT sat in a pub which is as close as next door to their offices as makes no difference.

Despite his back bench status Davis is a 'big beast'. He could perhaps be considered unlucky to lose the leadership election to Cameron. His stand on the 4500 days detention (or however long it was) was a vainglorious shot across the bows of his party leader and there is little doubt that he represents the majority constituency of the Tory party. That majority are now looking at the Blair lite leader they have, his relationship with Clegg, and the fact they're spending a lot of time telling everyone what great mates they are. It does look a little like Blair and Brown, doesn't it?

The difference between Labour and the Tories is that the Tories can get rid of their leader in the time it takes to prepare a bowl of cornflakes.

We've also seen a lot of Douglas Carswell since the election, and I don't think that is any accident either. Davis has been setting his peices up waiting for the right time. And where Carswell is, you can be sure Hannan isn't far behind. I'd be surprised if there wasn't some escape route from Brussels to Westminster set up.

The more Libertarian wing of the Conservative party must be looking with unease at this 'Big Society' plan Cameron has. The way he talks about 'allowing' us to take control. He talks about the importance of voluntary service. The first I take exception to, we don't need his permission. The mark of the 20th century politician, a complete incomprehension of the concept that he is there to do our bidding. We are not there to do his. The second I agree with wholeheartedly. But then we have the mark of the 21st century politician, 'it's voluntary, but if you don't do it voluntarily, we'll make sure you're obliged to do it.' Nice.

There seems to be concern that Cameron is pandering to the 50 or so LimpDim MPs rather than the 200 Tory MPs. Well, what did you expect? Cameron wants Cameron to be in power, not the Tories, they are just a convenient vehicle for this. He's shown his true colours with the immasculation of the 1922 committee and the blocking of the election of Bill Cash to the chair of the European Scrutiny Committee.

No, there's very little change here.

But there is an important one. Unlike the Labour party membership, the Tories can remove their leader with great ease, and traditionally will do so with great relish. Not for them the dirty inter-factional infighting we'll see in the run-up to the Labour leadership election. It will be clean and surgical.

Let's hope this coalition breaks up. Let's hope that the LimpDims are hugely damaged. Let's hope that Cameron is left twisting in the wind. Let's hope that Labour have the foresight to elect the ridiculous Abbott or the twisted and poisonous Balls to the leadership, because then we'll have three completely unelectable parties.

I said a couple of years ago that the election after next will be the important one. Well that election will now be the next one. Looks like my predicition could be along the right lines.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The One That Says It's None Of Their Business. . .

News today that Pristina is waiting for a judgement by the International Court of Justice on the independence of Kosovo.

A short and no-depth history lesson. Yugoslavia was one of the Versailles states, drawn up in 1918 at the conclusion of the First World War. It was an interesting idea as they managed to lump in the Croats and Serbs, who had a history of beating the shit out of each other for generations, and the Christians and the Muslims who had a history of beating the shit out of each other for generations into one easily combustible package. That it took another 70 years to really kick off was something of a miracle.

It was always a bit of testy area when it was part of the Ottoman Empire, as evidenced by the assasination of Arch-Duke Ferdinand. What a bloody mess.

Fast-Forward a hundred or so years and the benefits of the old Empire, and the federal state are still being reaped. Especially in the UK where the word Kosovan is almost a by-word for the sort of person who arrives in Dover in the back of an HGV (although I understand these days it's normally Eritreans, Iraqis, Iranians, Sudanese and Vietnamese).

Following years and years of repression, persecution and general nastiness, the vast majority of ethnic Albanian Kosovan Muslims decided they'd had quite enough of Serbia, thank you very much, and on 17th February 2008 they declared independence.

It could have gone quite badly, one can only think back to the reactions of Serbia when Croatia and Bosnia did the same. Thankfully, it all went Slovene smoothly. Probably something to do with the shit load of UN troops camping out in the area. Serbia no doubt remembered the big bangs echoing around Belgrade when the missiles came raining down earlier on in the story.

Serbia aren't happy about this. For some reason, and I'm a bit hazy on the socio-political history bit here, they seem to view the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as being Serbia and some other bits all doing what Serbia say. I'm not sure that's how a Federal model works. I thought the whole point of a Federal model was that it gave all constituent parts an equal say in the running of the place, a washing-up rota and stuff. Perhaps I'm wrong.

Kosovo is a country that was never out of the news and became a by-word for the very worst of Europe. Having struck out on its own and we haven't heard a peep since. It's like Estonia, things must be going fairly well in Estonia, because we never hear anything about it.

You'd have thought that everyone would have been very pleased with this state of affairs, it has allowed us all to focus on the job of making things go bang in an entertaining fashion elsewhere. It's like trying to sit in the garden reading your book when the burglar alarm goes off on the house down the road. It'll cause you to tut and is just a little bit more than a minor irritation, not enough for you to do something about it, but when the noise stops, it's lovely.

So now we have this bizarre situation, where the people of Kosovo who have been quietly getting on with life and not hurting anyone (indeed quite the reverse, the recent exchange of land with Macedonia is a model of how two sensible countries should act) now have to wait and see if some other people will be nice enough to give them permission to have their own country.

Well, what bloody business is it of theirs? Who the hell are the ICJ to say 'Yes, we'll allow you to be a country.' or 'No, sorry, we think you should do what the Serbs tell you, off you go now.'? Why the hell do these people have a say over the wishes of the people that actually live in this place?

Wherefore self determination?

Of course it should be pointed out that ICJ is not binding. Well, what does that mean? According to the Groan:

The judgment from the ICJ in The Hague – to be issued at 2pm – is not legally binding, but is likely to have profound consequences for Kosovo and other de facto states and territories that might secede in the future.

So it's not binding, but we know what that means, don't we? It's not binding, as long as you abide by the ruling. The moment you tell them to sod off, you can bet the big guns will be wheeled out.

Unfortunately for Kosovo, the largest organisation active in the country is EULEX, the European Union Rule of Law Mission. They already use the Euro, they're already caught in the trap. They'll swap one top heavy centralised disinterested government for another. If Kosovo gets the green light, you can bet the EU will be there like a shot whispering in their ear like Grima Wormtongue.

I wish Kosovo well, but fear their new independence will be shortlived as they become addicted to the heroin of 'EU' cash and the attendent machinery that goes with it.

The bottom line, as I see it, is this. The will of the electorate is sovereign. If the people of Kosovo, Kurdistan or Cornwall want independence, then fine. Two conditions; don't go picking fights, don't expect me to fund it. You want to stand on your own two feet? Then go ahead and do it, you'll get a handshake and wishes of best luck from me.


The ICJ has ruled in favour of Kosovo. Serbia significantly unchuffed. I don't understand why, keeping a part of a country in against its will can only result in serious trouble.

Whilst I'm pleased to see that the will of the population is not illegal, I still don't see what bloody business it is of theirs.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The One That Is Amazed. . .

Occasionally, something happens which gives you a renewed sense of faith in humanity. Sometimes people do things that show you despite all the misery, intolerance and interference that the human race specialise in, there is also evidence that we are the most amazing, determined and quite brilliant animals out there.

What am I blithering on about?

I have a friend, the same age as me, and about three years ago her mother suffered a very serious stroke. Just to show the Righteous how wrong they can be, she was a non-smoking, almost teetotal woman of 51 who cycled 4 miles a day in her journey to and from work. She was the very epitome of the health nazi's model citizen. Fit as a fiddle. It just goes to show you that when life decides to pitch you a curve ball, there's bugger all you can do about it.

The result of this stroke was that she was immobile, with significantly reduced vision and looking at spending the rest of her life in a care home. She could still communicate, perfectly capable of speech, but was easily confused, tired and without much hope of having even a fraction of the life she had before the event.

After what can only have been a very hard conversation with her kids, she decided to sign the no resus chit in the event of a repeat performance.

On Wednesday morning I received a phone call from my friend who was beside herself. It transpired that her mother had suffered another stroke. She'd been rushed the short distance from her care home to the hospital but there was nothing that could be done. She was breathing for herself, but that was it. Her kidneys had failed, there was absolutely no response to any stimulii or tests and the opinion of the quacks was that given the gap in time between the stroke occuring and her being discovered that the brain was effectively dead and it was just a matter of hours until the other systems shut down.

Because of the no-resus chit, no mechanical or medical assistance was afforded to my friend's mother beyond some suction to remove the fluid from her airways (nasal and oral discharge had turned from clear to dark red, a sure sign of the fat lady filling her lungs before bursting into song) so her death wasn't caused by choking/drowning.

The whole family rushed to the bedside, a good deal from hundreds of miles away, to say their goodbyes, and had returned home on Friday evening, secure in the knowledge that the embrace of death was a formality.

At 3am on Saturday, some three days since the stroke and without even a saline drip, my friend's mother woke up. Although incapable of speech, she could focus on people in the room, squeeze hands and nod or shake her head in response to questions.

At 5pm on Saturday, with my friend's uncle in the room (having hot-footed it back from up-country with the rest of the clan), my friend's mother stared at her brother and proclaimed 'I'm baaaaack! Now go and get me a pint of bloody Stella.'

This woman was written off, had been left to expire with no assistance, at her own request, in a hospital bed with no fluids for at least three days. The family members had said goodbye, her room at the care home had been surrendered. This was, dear reader, curtains.

What point am I making? Well, none really. Beyond that fact is stranger than fiction, if you were to write it as a novel/stage or screenplay it would be spurned for being too fantastical. One further point, never, ever underestimate the human capacity for survival and to prove people wrong. I am not a religious man, but events like this can only be described in terms of miracle.

She'll never run the London Marathon, but this determination to live and also not to do as one is told is a lesson for us all. Isn't it also just like a bloody woman to ask for one thing, and then to go and do the exact bloody opposite?

OK one final point, we pay through the nose for our NHS. The nursing staff at the hospital have been magnificent, but, it was fully eight hours between the woman in question waking up and her seeing a doctor. There were simply none on site, in a large hospital on a Saturday morning.

There is no way she can get an assessment of the damage and a prognosis until Monday, because no-one with more than a nursing qualification seems to work on a Sunday. In a fucking hospital.

Don't worry though, there was a pencil neck wankstain with a clipboard on duty who came out to berate the greiving relatives (this was before the Lazarusesque awakening) for smoking in the open air, fifteen metres away from the nearest person, who tried to take personal details in preparation for prosecution for an offence which doesn't exist, (vis. smoking in a hospital grounds, or one suspects, in a position where a hospital can be seen, even if you have to use binoculars) and over which he would have no powers of prosecution. They gave him the option of collecting the details, or leaving with his teeth. He chose the latter.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The One That Was Waiting. . .

Didn’t take long, did it?

I’ve been waiting for the clangers to drop, and now they’re dropping. It was only a matter of time until this new administration proved itself to be as hopeless as the one that came before.

First there was Oiky Gove’s arseing up of the school lists. Nice one. Too soon to be sacked, I would think. That, and the fact that he’s one of Dave’s star performers. God help them. 13 years they’ve been itching to get back in, and the first opportunity they get, they screw it right up.

And people wonder I have so little faith in the State organising stuff. It’s because of things like this. Just because one is an elected MP and appointed by a bloke who didn’t do enough to win an election that a flatulent amputee giraffe could have won, doesn’t mean that you’re actually any good. Walking into a government office, and sitting in a government chair, behind a government desk doesn’t mean what you do will be any good. People don’t seem to realise this, I have friends who really do believe that if the government takes control of something, it will, somehow, be alright in the end.

I believe that if the government takes control of something, it will, inevitably, a twisted, burning wreck before Countdown goes on air that afternoon.

Then, we have the farce of Clegg’s repeal act. I could bang on about it, but why bother when two of the best in the business, Leg-Iron and Dick Puddlecote, don’t just hit the nail on the head, they drive it through the wood, the workbench and into the floor.

It makes me angry, but what really exasperates me is the low level, mean spirited and small minded idiocy that pervades our lives on so many levels.

I couldn’t care less what you believe, I have no objections. Two caveats; don’t restrict anyone else’s activities, don’t try and make me sing your hymns.

Even worse, when morons, no doubt well intentioned, go and restrict other peoples’ activities on behalf of people who are quite capable of making judgements for themselves. You could pick from a plethora of examples, but let’s take this one from Stoke on Trent Council.

Swimming lessons in some Staffordshire schools should stop during Ramadan to ensure Muslim pupils "do not swallow water", a council has suggested.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has issued an 11-page Ramadan guide for schools to help pupils who may be fasting when the school year starts in September.

It said swimming was acceptable to Muslims but posed a high risk of swallowing water that may break a fast.

Islam requires Muslims to fast from dawn until dusk for one month per year.

OK, so if the Muslim parents or indeed the Muslim child decides that they don’t want swimming on the agenda, then fine, don’t go. I wouldn’t expect them to be penalised or punished for it. That’s what you believe, then that’s fine. It has no adverse effect on anyone else.

But no, you see, you can’t have that.

Schools with a significant number of Muslim pupils should try to avoid scheduling swimming lessons during Ramadan to remove unnecessary barriers to full participation.
No-one must be allowed to swim. If denying everyone a swim isn’t a barrier to full participation, then I don’t know what is.

I despair, I really do despair. It is precisely this sort of action which means that people of different race, religion, sexuality or any other quality which is relevant only to the individual concerned, will only ever look upon the other with resentment and mistrust.

I fear we can elect as many new politics, coalition governments we like, it will make no difference, the bastards have taken over, I really don’t see what we can do about it, all the time people are scared of being branded racists and Nazis.

Friday, 9 July 2010

The One That Is Shocked But Not Surprised. . .

Sky News have been promoting a video investigation carried out by them today, video is here, relating to the grooming of a 13 year old girl for sex on the internet.

Whilst the story is a sadly familiar one, one aspect does jump out at me. Doubtless the story will raise more concerns about the dangers of the internet, there'll be calls for more regulation, bans, etc. This is of course, rubbish. Some people purposefully drive their cars at pedestrians with the intent to kill them, this doesn't mean cars should be banned. But factor in the children and the spirit of freedom on the internet and it is a different story.

Anyhow, what is so remarkable about this story? (Emphasis mine)

Simon Beard, 57, a former development officer at the National Youth Agency, was caught in a sting operation by Sky journalists after he arrived at a pre-arranged location to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

On his website, Beard claims to have worked with young people "for 20 years".

Sky News can also reveal that in 2007 he ran a two-day training course in Manchester advising youth workers how to counsel teenagers about sexual relationships.

Now, time for stating the bleeding obvious. You can't tell if someone is a paedophile. They don't wear a special t-shirt, a badge or a hat, and a CRB check is all very well, but it does pre-suppose that any paedophiles have been caught before, or are magically listed as being such.

But here's an idea, perhaps one of the ways to prevent this sort of thing is to minimise the contact people can have with kids on a fairly anonymous level? Statistically, most sexual abuse of children takes place within the immediate family unit, and to be frank, there's not a lot that can be done about preventing it beyond prosecuting and convicting the perpetrators.

Whilst abuse in the family is the more common context for abuse, I'd be amazed if the second most common context wasn't people who work with children on a regular basis. The dirty mac clad nonce hiding in the bushes waiting to pounce is way down the list.

Teachers we need, the benefits of an education system far outweigh the cons of a small minority abusing their positions. But, do we really need 'development officers'? Do we need a National Youth Agency? And I'm certain we don't need youth workers counselling teenagers about sexual relationships.

This is one of the dangers of a pervasive state. So obsessed are they with getting involved in every single aspect of every single person's life in this country that there will always be this sort of thing as a result. The State is impersonal, deaf, blind and unthinking. I'm sure the National Youth Agency was set up with most altruistic of intentions, but the fact is that the State is simply not equipped to look after and bring people up. It is a one to one, or two to one job, it needs a sensitive, considered and pragmatic hand, the State cannot do it, and in a reversal of the situation of the teachers, any benefits are far outweighed by the clumsy, unthinking harm caused by the State's meddling.

More to point, what business of the State is the sexual relationships of any of us?

To be fair, attention should be drawn to the word 'former' in Beard's job-title, however, he's been 'working' with young people for 20 years. Are we to believe this was a one off?

Twenty years in a non-job has resulted in what amounts to State sponsored paedophilia. Granted he would probably have followed prediliction whatever his position, but by stupidly getting involved were there simply is no need, the State has given him the keys to the door.

The State must stop getting involved in the details of peoples' lives, because all altruism flies out of the window to be replaced with political posturing, targets, box ticking and justification of existence. It will only ever do more harm than good.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The One That Is Back. . .

Life, both personal and work has been the order the day recently. With that and the World Cup, blogging time has been scarce.

The other problem is that we are still in the honeymoon period of this new government, the dropping of clangers sounding like a Disaster Area opening chord have been noteable by their absence. It makes facepalming blogging that much difficult. Don't worry, they'll make an arse of it before long.

Or will they?

I've just finished reading 'The Plan' by Carswell and Hannan. A fine prospectus and one that I heartily recommend. There's a few things in there that I don't agree with, but on the whole I'm of the opinion that if the suggestions contained within were implemented we'd be a damn sight better off than we are now.

A few points contained within have been introduced or announced already, perhaps Libertarian thought has more sway in the Conservatives than we've be led to believe. Time will tell. The whining from the Guardianistas is most comforting. Less so the BBC who just don't seem to understand that the election has resulted in a change of government. I was amazed yesterday (actually, I wasn't amazed, it's still nice to know I can rely on the BBC for my morning dose of 'Oh, fuck off.') to see an article on their news channel about children feeling scared because parental units might have a glass of wine of an evening. I don't have kids, but I'm betting that asking them what they did at school today would result in me drinking myself into a stupor. Today I've half caught a story about the dangers of letting a five year old ride a bike.

I digress.

I'm going to pass on my copy of The Plan to a friend of mine. This friend of mine is a lefty, but the more I speak to him, the more I get the impression that he's far from happy with what the left represent. The fact it is written by two Tories will upset him. Once the mention of Thatcher would have the veins standing out in his neck, now it is just a shaking of the head. I'm of the opinion that Carswell and Hannan are in the wrong party.

Maybe not. Perhaps they're in the right party. Perhaps they can bring around the ground shift that Blair, Brown and Smith brought about in the Labour party? Only it would be an improvement, not a destruction of what the party stands for and a betrayal of those they claim to represent.

Here's the rub, and it is explained in a far better way by Hannan and Carswell than I could ever manage, the logic is deeply, deeply flawed; Everyone accepts that X is a problem. Y is proposed as a solution. Those not agreeing with Y are lambasted as wanting X to continue, or not giving a toss about those suffering as a result of X. When what those who disagree with Y really want is Z. Solution Z is probably simpler, cheaper and quicker.

In a nutshell, Hannan and Carswell draw the following conclusions:

  • We rely far too much on the opinons of 'experts' who have a vested interest in any policy.
  • The State is not very good at providing for people, it is impersonal, officious, unfeeling and expensive.
  • People know what is best for them, and if given responsibility for themselves will gleefully take it up, saving money for the State (which they pay for) as they see a direct connection with the taking of taxes and how those taxes are then spent.
  • The centralisation of power is bad for democracy, bad for services and bad for politicians.
The fact that Carswell and Hannan are Tories does not mean they are wrong. I hope that when I pass my copy of The Plan to my friend, he will accept it in the spirit it is offered and read it with an open mind. I think he'll be surprised at what it has to say, and even more surprised at his reaction to it.

When Neil Clark, or whatever his name is, talks about restoring our freedoms and asking us about bills to be put before Parliament, there's only one that I want to see. We can fiddle around with smoking bans, hunting bans, environmental legislation as much as we like. We can hold as many referenda on the electoral system as we can shake a stick at, we can cut the number of MPs to 45. It won't make any difference. The only act that needs to be repealed in the first instance, and that is the European Communities Act 1972. If we are to bring around the changes that I believe we need in this country, then we simply cannot remain a member of the EU.

As Carswell and Hannan point out, there is a basic misunderstanding of what the EU is for, and every PM since Heath has been guilty of the misunderstanding, has ignored it, or has supported the EU's purpose. Clegg is in the latter camp, and it is duplicitous of the residents of the support camp to talk about participation on our own terms. The phrase 'Ever closer union', is no idle ideal, it is the primary driver of the EU and can only have one outcome.

The EU is set up to remove power from the electorate, as we have this annoying habit of making the 'wrong' decision as evidenced by the Irish vote on Lisbon. We need to ask a different question; not 'what is our role in the EU,' but 'do we want to be a member' and 'if not, what will our relationship be with it?'

I may be in the minority, but if I am, it is a significant minority. I don't want to ride roughshod over other's opinions, that is what the fascist EU does. Let's have a referendum on our continued membership, that is, of course, the action proposed by Clegg over the Lisbon Treaty. If people vote to stay in, then that's democracy.

Is the EU fascist? I belive so. That doesn't mean that hundreds of thousands will be transported to death camps - that isn't fascism, that's genocide. What is fascism? I'll leave you with what I think is a pretty good definition from Jonah Goldberg:

'Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the 'problem' and therefore is defined as the enemy.'

That sounds like where I live now.

Once you get past the fact that facism is a hateful, unthinking removal of someone's individuality, the main problem is that the State is administered by flawed, imperfect humans like you and me. Just sitting in a office with a plaque nominating you as minister for whatever does not mean you will not make bad decisions that either wilfully or accidentally hurt others.

I just want the opportunity to make my own decisions. If I get it wrong, the number of people who get hurt will be limited to single figures. If a Statist politician gets it wrong, the hurt can number in the millions.