Thursday, 25 March 2010

Liberty, Independence and Prosperity

(Not only has our Kodachrome been taken away, so has our AGFA XRS.
Above is a scanned example of what you could do with the latter.)

The best way to know the state of England in any age, is to look at what her people are putting in their gardens. Under the reign of Elizabeth the First, English gardeners adopted the exquisite "Rosa Mundi", whose very name evokes the world view of a society that had indeed just discovered the concept of a world view, rather than accepting their alloted place at the edge of a Vatican-controlled Europe, as if this were the edge of the known world. Breaking free from Europe under "Gloriana's" reign was to transplant and transform England, from the edge, to the centre. It was under her reign, too, that geographers started to talk of "Britain", even if the act of Union was still a century away.

Under John Major and Anthony Charles Linton Blair, two leaders passionately determined to bury the British nation back under every shackle that Europe might propose, plus quite a few of their own devising for good measure, English gardeners opted for "decking" and covered their gardens in fairly flat (until something warped) areas of sawn and routed Finnish timber.

The emerging trend, under Gordon Brown, is for the decking to be removed to expose the soil once more, to grow vegetables for simple survival. The decking is found in short lengths, stacked ready for a million wood-burning stoves to consume.

Grim times, indeed. But what hope is there, for the future?

Well, grim times bring grim necessity and some very lucid moments.

That is precisely the formula that transformed an uncertain, actually quite frightened, country, whose Queen and whose freedom was hated by the rulers of Europe, into one that fought for her survival because there was nothing else to be done. She won, she survived. Europe remained closed to her, she turned elsewhere -and discovered both Scotland and the world.

The best thing that can happen to Britain now, whether Scotland is still along for the ride or not, is that Europe will once again try and squeeze her out. This will dismay and humiliate Britain's political elite, who will explore alternatives to subjugation only if forced. (Rather like the Hebrews under Pharaoh.) But they will be forced, and the alternatives will be found. And a new political elite will emerge, like Elizabeth's captains, to whom freedom will be exhilarating rather than uncomfortable.

When the Russian people had their taste of freedom, Vladimir Putin was able to persuade them to spit it out. What Gordon Brown, Nicholas Clegg and David Cameron have just six weeks or so left to do, is somehow persuade the British people not, on any account, to put freedom anywhere near their mouths. If they fail, Britain will once again realize that freedom and prosperity are the same thing.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Canvassing, Stalking and the Pimps of Political Corruption

The recent scandal over Members of Parliament and their expenses claims, and lesser scandals (involving much bigger amounts of money!) over funding contributions to political parties at the national level, has served to protect the real core of political corruption in the United Kingdom from public attention. The people in the British Political system who are best placed to improperly enrich themselves are neither ministers nor backbench MPs: it is the Constituency Agents and Constituency Party Chairmen who are in the best seats. Very few laws and regulations specifically apply to them, and those that do are focused on the conduct of elections in the first place and the practical management of the constituency party and any associated clubs in the second. As long as these functions are conducted within the letter and broad spirit of the law, the agent and chairman are almost invisible to the electorate, the returning officer, and electoral commission. Not that returning officers and the electoral commission are really anti-corruption bodies in any case.

MPs and Ministers, on the other hand, are under the public eye, and the eyes of their peers, the whole time, which is why an unwarranted expenses claim of a few hundred pounds is not merely a scandal, but one which can destroy a career. In such an environment, the scope for really serious, million-pound corruption would seem to be almost nil. It is the invisible men who have the freedom. And that's not their only advantage.

Traditionally, there has been one constituency party per constituency, so a 1:1:1 ratio between agents, chairmen and MPs. But with parliamentary boundary changes and a desire to save costs, in some cases one agent may cover two or three constituencies, and the constituency party apparatus itself may be based on the traditional, and not the current, boundary. But assuming that the traditional situation is still normal, and there's one Agent, Party Chairman and MP per constituency, it is almost always the case that the Agent and Chairman have a dozen or so County Councillors and perhaps a couple of dozen District or Borough Councillors under their wing. If one likens the constituency party to a Roman Galley, the Chairman is setting the course, the Councillors are working the oars, the Agent is walking up and down the gangplank, fondling his whip in an overt sort of way -and the MP is the beautifully carved figurehead on the bow script. The vessel is propelled by the wind and the graft of councillors.

The MP may propose, debate and vote on, laws which are of some concern to property developers, public service contractors and the like. But that's only creating an environment common to the vested interests and all their competitors. They might have a desire for this to move in one direction or another, but it's hardly worth a big investment of cash, unless a limited number of MPs are in a position to deliver a drastic change in the outcome of the legislative process. This isn't the normal situation, especially when, as has been the case since 1997, a single party has enjoyed an overwhelming Parliamentary majority.

The Councillors, however, take weekly decisions that implement existing legislation. An MP may be asked to nod through, or vote against, a Parliamentary order that requires local education authorities to designate approved suppliers for schools to purchase consumables from, a Councillor on the LEA gets a vote on which supplier gets that approval. Who do you think a potential supplier will want to bribe? The Councillor? Correct!

MPs vote on the general shape of planning laws, Councillors vote on specific planning applications. Even the limited number of ministers who have a say in planning matters, generally only have authority over outline planning permission for very big or very sensitive developments, and County Structure plans. The minister does not decide whether Mr A gets permission to build a particular trading estate on a particular field next to a motorway junction or not, but the appropriate local Councillors do!

The difficulty facing any vested interest who wants to bribe a councillor, is that councillors are ordinary citizens, often with full-time day jobs, and they are indeed local, whereas the vested interest may be a big developer or a big company, operating nationally. It would be very difficult for such a vested interest to always identify the right councillors to approach: who were on the right committee, didn't already have a strongly-held view on the development, and were the sort to accept an inducement. Unless they work through the Agent and local party Chairman, that is.

The Agent and Chairman know, not only which councillors are on the appropriate committee, which is after all a matter of public record (if you've got time to look!) but also which way they are likely to vote if no inducement is offered. They will know which councillors are corruptible, and which are not. They can advise, firstly, on whether or not the vested interest needs to corrupt anyone to achieve its aim. Then they can advise on how many votes need to be swung, because it never does to overdo things, and it certainly saves the client money if he corrupts the smallest possible number of Councillors on any one issue.

Then they can advise on who to approach, or they can act as intermediaries if direct contact is inadvisable, and they can advise on what sort of inducement each selected Councillor is likely to need. This might not be a cash bribe, but could be help with a pet project. In extreme cases, the Agent and Chairman are well-placed to bully a resistant Councillor into line.

Where the MP is involved in this process at all, will be to create the right climate of opinion for the vote to be swung, or as what the Russians call a "roof" against investigation by central government or other interest authority, such as the police. Again, no matter how moral the MP is, it's unthinkable to go into any election without the Agent and Chairman completely on your side, so they will toe the line, provided that they are never asked to do anything too outrageous. And the way things are structured in the United Kingdom, it never is necessary for the MP to do anything very much, for corruption to thrive in his constituency. All he really needs to do, is stand on the bow script and feel the wind and spray on his wooden features.

The consequences of this can be small, but corrosive. Medawar recently listened to a minor rant from a nice Irish lady who works on the domestic side of a special needs school in East Anglia. The system of preferred suppliers meant that she was obliged to buy food for school dinners, from a "preferred supplier". In a market town surrounded on all sides by market gardens and farms growing vegetables, she was forced to accept battered, tired produce that had travelled from Holland and Spain and looked as if it had already been rejected by supermarket buyers. She was forced to pay £19.95 per bag for potatoes of unknown provenance, when there were half a dozen farms within a five mile radius of the school that would have sold a bag of fresh, undamaged spuds for £5. "I'm being forced to buy shite for the children, at four times the cost of decent food!" was the entirely justified, furious, complaint.

Bribes are not just paid for planning permission to be granted, but for it to be refused, so that a small developer will be forced to abandon his plans and sell on his site to a larger developer. Houses will be built on land prone to flooding, business parks will be built with lorry access straight onto a major road at an awkward junction, or where there are no adequate sewerage works or the power grid is already overworked.

All of this creates problems, and sometimes fatalities, and therefore it creates anger and unease, which some articulate and public spirited citizens might transform into protest and a widespread demand for investigations and a clean-up of local politics. This leads us to the second area where Agents and local party Chairmen have the edge over Members of Parliament:

The Agent and Chairman, at election time, organize the troops and mastermind any canvassing in a constituency. 90% of the work involved in organized canvassing, is identical to the work involved in organized stalking. Much of the information gathered in canvassing, is useful to stalkers. The methods used to find out which way a citizen is thinking of voting, can be used to look into other aspects of his life. A proportion of the people who are willing to go out canvassing at election time, will be willing to go out stalking between elections. That proportion will usually be tiny, but the Agent and the Chairman will know who they are -and what sort of a payoff they will need.

So, when the corruption leads to inappropriate and damaging actions, that annoy the public, the Agent and Chairman can organize campaigns to suppress the leaders, or potential leaders, of any protest or grassroots campaign. They can bully the whistle-blowers on the Council's permanent staff: they can protect the vested interest from the consequences of getting something that is not in the public interest. A member of Parliament is a chancy and potentially useless target for corruption, but his Agent and Chairman may, in some cases, offer a one-stop shop service.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Fraud and Stalking

There seems to be a consensus, amongst animal rights activists in the UK, that most, if not all, of the stalking being done by persons associated with that particular cause, is actually being undertaken for money, or to silence/punish some activist who's got in the way of making money by this means, or out of personal spite by the same people who stalk for money. The Animal Protection Party and elements of "SHAC" being the main alleged culprits. Their clients may even be rival "animal abusing" businesses to those being targeted, or millionaires with their own deeply unsavoury personal obsessions, but all that matters is that they are willing to define a target and pay for his or her destruction.

It is very aptly described as "basement-level organised crime."

In other words, people being stalked by animal rights activists, are not necessarily even imagined to be animal abusers, although lies being integral to stalking, this assertion will inevitably be made: they have just been named by a client who wants them stalked for some criminal purpose.

Medawar wonders if this might apply in North America, too, and more especially in Australia and Germany, because in both countries, a famous international animal welfare charity (much given to threatening people to silence criticism) has been accused, by mainstream animal welfare groups and activists, of raising money under false pretences.

There is no-one on Earth more sadistic and relentless than a pathological liar whose lies have been exposed and rejected. Fraud, impure, dirty, nothing but greed, fraud for money, may actually be the underlying "cause" of many a "cause-stalker" or gang-stalker.

From stock adverts of post-earthquake donkeys (actually in Kobe, Japan, in the eighties not Chile, not Haiti, nor Italy,) dragged out to extract funds from a caring public the world over after every natural disaster, to the utterly sickening "SAGE" fraud run in the wake of the Dunblane Massacre, where a con-man from New Jersey, just released from Norwich jail, managed to persuade many of the bereaved parents to become patrons of his "Swiss-based anti-gun crusade", enriching him by at least £4M in the process, society's compassion has regularly been milked by those who have no compassion for anyone, or anything.

Pathological liars are sadists, and they are not compelled to tell outrageous lies, so much as to use emotional manipulation to force people to believe the irrational. (Such as an anti-gun campaign based in a country which makes gun ownership compulsory for adult male citizens!) The lies are mental sadism, but if they are resisted, physical sadism quickly follows, and will not stop until the perpetrators are incarcerated. Using toxic chemicals on people, to undermine both their physical and their mental health, is so sadistic that most policemen and doctors find it much more comfortable to believe that the victim is deluded; which in itself, worsens the victim's plight and is gleefully factored into the stalker's plans for their slow destruction.

Medawar would welcome comments (anonymous, for your own sake) from anyone who can cast light on the people doing this, in the UK, in North America, and, most particularly at the moment, in Australia.

Is the reason for some fairly middle of the road, worthy and utterly inoffensive, animal welfare workers in Australia being hounded by unknown stalkers, anything to do with their having made a justifiable fuss about a certain "charity's" fraud over the donkeys and the Kobe Earthquake in Japan?

This isn't the whole story about all organised stalking, but there is an emerging consensus that it IS the story where supposed animal rights activists are doing it. And it is interesting that Keith Mann gets named, by his fellow animal rights activists, in this connection, because his brother, Andrew, based in Northampton at the time, was , just a few years ago, jailed for a UK-wide government-funded training allowance fraud, where just about everyone in the UK animal rights movement was supposedly receiving "training" through his little scheme. Was this to fund the cause, or the Mann dynasty's lifestyle? Either way, fraud is fraud, is theft. Theft is even harder to justify in a political cause than violence.

PS: When the infamous Kobe donkey advert was run in Australia, not by the genuine Japanese charity that first created it, it raised roughly A$3M. The international animal welfare "charity" that re-ran the advert, without the Japanese charity's prior permission, donated about A$35,000 of this (less than 2%) to the genuine Japanese charity. Since when, the image has been used time and time again, all over the world. You do not save donkeys, or dolphins, by sending money to the box numbers on these adverts. The only charity that actually was helping earthquake-stricken donkeys shown in such adverts, was in Japan, and it never actually wanted to raise funds from outside Japan.