Sunday, 16 July 2017

Destabilisation Campaign

This is a link to a BBC article about campaigns of trolling, intimidation, vandalism and actual violence directed at MPs and election candidates in the UK. This has been an issue for quite some time, and the BBC has studiously avoided reporting it up till now, possibly because they wanted to have a victim on the hard left first. The BBC article doesn't report the half of what has been going on, for that see the Daily Mail, which has been on the case for much longer.

The point that most commentators on this issue have been missing, is that people can make money by trolling, by intimidation and by vandalism and violence. This means that a nerd who trolls Conservative candidates on behalf of the hard left, can double his income by having a second set of online profiles and trolling Black and hard left candidates on behalf of the extreme right. Vladimir Putin may have led the way with his army of paid trolls, but now others who have his sort of money are doing it too. What gives the game away, is that some of the abusive comments directed at Conservative candidates have been intensely racist in nature, which really ought to have been taboo for anyone of a socialist disposition. All this means that there are probably rather fewer people carrying out these campaigns of abuse and intimidation than it might seem at first: they use multiple personas and the money they get paid for it allows them to act like complete and utter bastards the whole time (doubtless a major attraction for them.) But it also means that somebody is investing a lot of money in abuse and intimidation: who and to what end?

Well, because it's all clearly designed to set left and right at each other's throats in the United Kingdom, rather than to allow either side a clear victory over the other, it is either somebody with no stake in the future of the UK, who simply wants the UK to dissolve into violence and chaos to the benefit of another country or multi-national conglomerate (or even currency speculators), or it's somebody in the UK who intends to launch a new political vehicle that will power through the centre of politics to "rescue and unify" a country torn apart by the destabilisation campaign that they are funding. We've already seen something like this happen in France, where a supposedly moderate candidate was voted in by people who didn't really like or trust him, in order to deny power to left and right-wing forces which were portrayed in the media as offering nothing but chaos.

The actual reality of the Macron government, is, as some feared, utterly fanatical Euro-socialism, which very few French voters actually wanted, and a nakedly Anglophobic foreign policy intended to do the UK as much damage as possible, even if France derives no actual benefit from this. French voters didn't vote for Anglophobia for its own sake, but some of them might possibly have voted for judicious Anglophobia if that yielded good profits for France. Despite being officially "centerist" there is nothing truly moderate about the Macron government.

There won't be anything moderate or genuinely democratic about the new "Centerist" party and leader which suddenly emerges to "save" the UK from the escalating battle of the trolls and thugs between left and right, either. And some of its leading "elder statesmen" backers may be very, very familiar, even if they have the low cunning to put up a somewhat less toxic "leader" as figurehead.





Thursday, 13 July 2017

Summerland and Grenfell Tower: How to Learn A Lesson And Then Forget It.

The Summerland disaster involving a leisure centre on the Isle of Man, occurred on the night of the 2nd of August 1973, about a year before Grenfell Tower was opened. As built, Grenfell Tower had none of the key defects of the Summerland building. The public inquiry was opened in September 1973 and concluded in February 1974, which is the sort of prompt and efficient timescale that the Grenfell Tower residents seem to be looking for. The inquiry's basic conclusion was "misadventure" but it did blame the materials used in the novel building, which was also criticised for having "chimneys" in the form of atrium areas where there was open space from the ground floor to the transparent roof. 

Subsequently, information emerged that there had been prior knowledge that two of the materials used in the building were combustible, and that a waiver from building regulations had been sought for one of them "Galbestos." Other combustible materials, such as softwood instead of concrete, bituminous felt, logs and even polystyrene, just found their way into the actual building (but not the approved plan!) often as part of the decor, decided at the last minute. There are drawbacks to holding the inquiry too promptly and too efficiently! The truth sometimes takes time to percolate to the surface in these cases.


The Summerland disaster claimed between 50 and 53 lives: this should be taken as a warning that the ultimate death toll for the Grenfell Fire disaster may be expressed with a similar margin of error. The Wikipedia article mentions that there were 80 seriously injured: it does not mention that amongst the nearly 3,000 survivors, there were many less serious, but excruciatingly painful, injuries caused by drops of molten plastic falling on the crowds all trying to flee through the only unlocked avenue of escape. Some of these people might have been considered serious injury cases if the hospital had not been forced to confine itself to treating only the worst cases. Lesser casualties were treated by the island's citizens (at the request of desperate police officers), at the scene and in their own homes, and probably aren't recorded in any official way at all. Many were subsequently evacuated for treatment in Liverpool and Blackpool.

Given the difference between the emergency resources available on the IoM in 1973 and those available in London in 2017, the IoM shouldn't really be criticised  for the response, which did include relief fire crews being brought over from the mainland by the Steam Packet Company, which is something else not mentioned in the Wikipedia article. There was a delay in reporting the fire to the authorities, though, for which the Leisure Centre's management really should have censured.

Three types of material were blamed for the Summerland fire:

"Oroglas" a type of transparent acrylic sheeting; there were also opaque or "smoked" versions of similar material, used throughout the seventies and early eighties for everything from rulers, plates and coffee tables to large buildings, such as the "old" Bletchley Leisure Centre (replaced in 2009 by a new one.)

"Colour Galbestos" described in a report by the University of Birmingham as "plastic-coated steel" and by Wikipedia as steel coated with asbestos and bitumen. The tradename heavily implies an asbestos material, which people would associate with fireproof material, but in practice the outer layer of this stuff seems to have burned up and across in a self-supporting fashion -and enough heat penetrated through to ignite soundproofing material on the inside of the building. Steel does not burn easily, except in pure oxygen, but it does conduct heat.

"Soundproofing material" apparently polystyrene (according to the University of Birmingham). 

There was also a disco with a fairly improvised reflective ceiling. There were bean bags stuffed with polystyrene beads in the sunbathing facility. There was a rustic staircase built of logs and an artificial waterfall that was actually made of bituminous felt. Apart from the obvious fire risks, people in the (concrete) basement disco simply didn't believe a person who warned them of the fire, because nothing could be heard. It was only when the same person reappeared with singed clothes that the disco was evacuated. At Summerland, as at Grenfell Tower, alarms did not sound.

The building contained a safety feature that was never mentioned in the public inquiry or press reports at the time: the bottom ten feet of the transparent Oroglas walls were actually made of conventional tempered silica glass in hardwood frames, because the building operators and the architect were worried about the sort of vandalism that had happened on the mainland, with small fires being kindled against the walls of public buildings. This possibility was eerily similar to what actually happened, although the small external fire in question was accidental.


The actual fire: this started in a small plastic kiosk outside the main building, close to the part of the wall that was composed of "Colour Galbestos." Prefabricated kiosks made of moulded plastic (polypropylene?) sections were a common solution in the seventies, when a place to take money and issue tickets was needed in the open air, for part of the year. They were to be found all over the country, in public parks and in zoos and safari parks. If this one had been a few feet further away from the main building, the disaster would not have occurred (at least not in the form that it did.)

Three boys broke into the kiosk (the lock was a pretty token affair, as witnessed by the minimal compensation magistrates imposed on them for breaking it) and had an illicit smoke. A fire started, by what the authorities accepted was an accident. The only criminal charge raised against the boys was for breaking the lock, because that was the only deliberate harm that they did. The fire took hold of the materials inside the kiosk, and the material of which the kiosk was made, quite rapidly, and as it did so, the plastic structure slumped in the heat, and crucially, it slumped against the Galbestos wall, the outer layer of which caught fire, the fire spreading across it. The heat of the fire on the outside layer penetrated the steel core and ignited polystyrene soundproofing on the inside. 

This internal fire spread even more quickly that the fire on the outside layer of the Galbestos, and communicated with the "Oroglas" transparent wall, above the ten foot high firebreak of non-flammable silica glass. From this point on, things happened very quickly:

The fire raced up the Oroglas wall and into the Oroglas roof, where it rapidly spread across the whole roof area, raining drops of burning plastic down through the building's atrium areas onto the 3,000 people trying to escape. (The fire should have been detected and an evacuation commenced before this point, if the management and fire detection systems had been up to scratch.) The shower of burning droplets also started fires down throughout the building, except for the basement levels, which had concrete floors. (There should have been concrete floors at high levels, too, but these were replaced with softwood during construction, without those who'd passed the original plan being told of the change. One man thought his memory was playing tricks when he saw the wood!) The Oroglas panels spread the fire in two ways, therefore: from one panel to the next and by raining fire on everything below. The untested theory behind the structure was that in a fire, Oroglas panels would fall out of their frames from the heat before they ignited, this definitely did not happen.


Relevance to Grenfell Tower: First and foremost, neither building at the time of its fire, reflected the design and specifications which had been examined in detail and approved by planners and regulators. Summerland was heavily modified on the hoof as it was built, Grenfell Tower was built to specification, but modified and its fire-resistance completely compromised, several decades after it was built. 

Differences are that at the time Summerland was built, there wasn't a widespread awareness of the flammability of Oroglas and Galbestos, although something was known to some of the people involved in both cases: the manufacturer of Oroglas acrylic sheeting had admitted that it could prove highly flammable in some conditions, and a waiver to building regulations had been sought for Galbestos because it was known not to pass two of the tests specified in building regulations. (Allegedly, in the regulation-compliant plan which the Manx Parliament actually saw, the Galbestos wall was a concrete wall, and if it weren't for the waiver, which the Parliament didn't know about, it would have stayed a concrete wall.)

At the time Grenfell Tower was being built, the Ronan Point disaster had already turned the spotlight on building standards for high-rise buildings, and by the time it was completed there was great public awareness of the danger posed by careless choices of plastic panel materials, which had led to the Summerland disaster. The Daily Mail righteously declared that no structure such as Summerland could have been built in England, and at the time Grenfell Tower was built, this was true.

However, by the time Grenfell Tower was modified, with the addition of external cladding, it clearly was possible for a duplicate of Summerland to be created in England, because this is precisely what Grenfell Tower then became, in terms of flammability.  In the intervening years, the lessons about design integrity matching building integrity, which had been genuinely and sincerely learned in the aftermath of Ronan Point and Summerland, had been completely forgotten.

There is also a striking parallel between Galbestos, a thin sheet of steel covered in plastic or bitumen (depending on which source you believe) and "ACM", a sheet of aluminium covered in plastic, as in the skins of the cladding panels fitted to Grenfell Tower and, it now appears, a great many other buildings. Since aluminium has both a greater thermal conductivity than steel and a much lower melting point, it is screamingly obvious that if a small fire could be transmitted through steel-based Galbestos, a small fire can get through aluminium-based ACM without any difficulty whatsoever.

Re: Original Post on Grenfell Tower

That post had been amended and appended and become quite long, and it unwittingly included a widely-published bit of misinformation, that the plastic filling in the panels was polyethylene, which could not possibly have evolved the cyanide gas that survivors were treated for, as is mentioned in some of the updates. It now turns out that the plastic filling was some variation on polyurethane or polyisocyanurate foam, which definitely would create cyanide. But it isn't yet totally clear that this is really what the plastic filling was, and lots of early reports said polyethylene (which would have to be have been in the form of fibre rather than foam.) The structural panels mentioned in the post ARE recycled polyethylene, but the tooling that makes them could be adjusted, via an appropriate mould-heating "profile" to use polypropylene or other plastics that might available in bulk as waste from some other process.

It is also worth noting that if the (different) plastic used in the Aluminium Composite Material skins of the offending cladding panels was any relative of PVC, then the toxic smoke will have included dioxin as well as cyanide. This is very important, as dioxin is a long-term poison, sometimes producing skin problems in the short to medium term, and, eventually, various cancers. From very small doses: it may be slow-acting but it is many times as toxic as cyanide. Survivors (and bystanders/neighbours) of the Grenfell Tower fire, need to see their doctors if they suffer skin problems or other unexplained illness, so that the possibility of dioxin poisoning gets entered onto their notes so that in the future, the right actions are taken if any of the possible cancers crop up. These can be difficult to diagnose early enough for effective treatment if doctors don't have some sort of a clue as to what is going on, so survivors need a prominent comment in their medical notes.

An edit is needed, which will be done when the truth about the filling becomes clearer. The post has been reverted to draft, but not deleted, pending this. In the meantime, there will shortly appear a new post on an earlier disaster in the British Isles (though, "outside London"). See above.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Northumbrian Lynx?






This is now a plan, to reintroduce the Eurasian Lynx to the Kielder Forest in Northumberland, to "control the deer".

There is a need for some method of deer control in Southern England, which is heavily populated (by people as well as deer), that does not involve high-powered rifles, but there is actually no problem controlling deer in the remote and lonely Kielder Forest by this method: it just needs organising in a sensible way.
Red Deer
Lynx are very efficient hunters of deer, providing they are the right sort of deer: Roe Deer or Reindeer, or possibly even Fallow Deer (though Medawar hasn't heard of an instance of a Lynx catching a fully-grown Fallow Deer.) The deer in the Kielder Forest are Red Deer, the largest species found in the British isles, and the Northumbrian population of Red Deer tend to be larger than Red Deer found elsewhere in the British Isles. Archaeological evidence suggests that in the past, Northumberian Red Deer were about a foot taller than they are today, but they are still the biggest completely wild land animal in the UK. Roe Deer, which Lynx do catch, are much smaller, and Reindeer, which Lynx in Scandinavia sometimes catch, are also smaller than Red Deer.

Red Deer in the Kielder Forest are almost certainly going to prove too big and tough for Lynx to tackle, and, since there aren't anything like as many Roe Deer in Northumberland as there are in Surrey, for example, the Lynx will have to catch rabbits to survive. This means they will move out of the rabbit-free dense forest, where they will encounter sheep. And eat them.

Introduce Wolves instead of Lynx, and it will be discovered that a single pack of wolves requires a hunting territory much larger than the Kielder Forest, and again, the sheep will cop it. Wolves invariably go for the easiest possible prey, and that is not a description of any Red Deer that Medawar has met.

Introduce Lynx to the Home Counties, where woods (and gardens) are being devoured by Roe Deer and the similar-sized introduced Muntjac Deer, and progress might be made. The experiment in the Kielder Forest will probably fail, though.

There have been some records of Sika Deer, presumably escaped from Deer farms, in the Kielder Forest, but the main species there remains the Red Deer. Sika Deer are remarkably difficult to stalk, too.

Addition: 10/7/2017
Video embedded, which will give the reader an idea of how densely populated the central Northumberland region is...


Grenfell Tower: Fire Appliances

In his tireless search for the killer revelation that will set an angry mob on a path to storm Downing Street, lynch Theresa May and sweep Labour to power, The Mayor of London,  Mr Sadiq Khan, has seized on the fact that the 67metre "Aerial" platform needed at the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire arrived late, "because it belongs to Surrey Fire Brigade and had to come from 'outside London.'" (A place which none of the metropolitan elite can actually visualise.) He has demanded an immediate investigation into this arrangement, obviously thinking that it must be due to recent "austerity" measures that can be blamed on the government in power.

Medawar thinks that if this matter is investigated, fully and truthfully, rather than simply stopping with the procurement of the existing appliance, it will be found that this arrangement goes back decades, perhaps even to the nineteen seventies when high rise buildings such as Grenfell Tower were being built. Far more commercial high rises have been built in London in the last ten years than were built back then, so the need for such appliances is probably greater than it once was, but to return to the reason why London Fire Brigade does not own the appliance which seems key to fighting fires in tall buildings, many of which are in London:

Medawar saw a predecessor of the same appliance, being demonstrated on a children's TV programme, and it, too, was owned by Surrey Fire Brigade. Medawar stopped watching children's TV in the nineteen seventies...

At the time, the Fire Brigade, like the government, was still adjusting to the existence of what seemed like lots of high rise buildings (still nothing compared to what there is today!) and the Home Office advice to fire brigades struggling to purchase very expensive pieces of capital equipment, which they might not use very often, was to share them between adjacent brigades, basing them in a position where they could get to the largest possible number of different target buildings (in this case, high rises) as quickly as possible. I think that the children's TV programme actually said that the appliance could get to large parts of London faster from Surrey than it would have done had it been based in the middle of London.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have a number of specialist vehicles, including an aerial platform (not as high reaching as the Surrey one, but suitable for the tower blocks found in Bedfordshire and neighbouring counties) and these are based at Kempston, sited for a quick scramble onto the A6, M1, A421, A428 etc. In parts of Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, it will be this equipment that arrives at a fire, if the controller actually calls for it. In other parts of Hertfordshire, it may be equipment from Cambridgeshire or Surrey that arrives, but only if the controller asks for it! The main factor behind the Aerial Platform being late at Grenfell Tower was that the controller's checklist didn't include asking for it on initial reports of a fire in a high-rise building. This has already been changed, as an obvious management error.

Formal and informal arrangements to pool key resources and provide mutual support are part and parcel of how the fire service in the UK actually works on a daily basis, and it is becoming painfully obvious that the people who want to run the country have no clue that this is so. The "culprits" they need to look for are Roy Jenkins and Merlyn Rees, Home Secretaries in the relevant period, both Labour, and just possibly Reginald Maudlin, Conservative. During the seventies, Home Secretaries were struggling with a fire service nationally that hadn't really been properly organised since the second world war, and there were still tiny private fire brigades belonging to local factories, dotted all over the country. 

Most of the pooling and sharing arrangements still in force, actually go back to those reforms, although they may have been "renewed" more recently, allowing spin doctors to claim they are actually recent. 

It is also worth noting that a 67 metre Aerial Platform is a very large vehicle indeed and access roads around Grenfell Tower, and quite a lot of other high rise buildings, are restricted and awkward. If Mr Khan wants vehicles like this to be based in Central London, he's going to have to find a few billion pounds to reconfigure the road network.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Coercive Diplomacy: The Blair Way


See link to BBC article.
Sir John Chilcot is not the first person to mistake a vicious pathological liar for someone with very strong self-belief.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Russian Readers and LPS buildings.

In this past week, this blog has had more readers from Russia than from the United States or the United Kingdom. This is the first time this has happened in the history of the blog. It may be because the post on Grenfell Tower mentions the Large Panel System for large buildings. The former Soviet Union built a lot of these, many under twelve stories high so that they are not officially "high rise" but are still capable of the same kind of cascade failure as Ronan Point, at least in columns if not all the way across.

In some of the new provincial cities built in the USSR to house strategic industries or research facilities, great tenement blocks were built: not as high as Grenfell Tower or Ronan Point, but often hundreds of metres long. Cascade failures in these will lead to a collapse going from ground to roof, but probably not proceeding along the building like falling dominoes. This will still suffice to kill dozens of people, though, and it may have been what Chechen terrorists were seeking a few years ago, when there was a spate of rucksack bombs being placed in the entrance foyers of tenement buildings. 

In the smaller LPS tenements, three to six stories high and like a Czarist era Mansion in size, of which there are many in Moscow if not elsewhere, a rucksack bomb in the foyer would probably destroy the whole building. In a concrete cell or steel-framed structure the same size, such a bomb would basically just destroy the foyer and cause blast casualties in adjoining rooms.

 Chechen terrorists probably had an expert knowledge of the weaknesses of various standard Soviet era buildings, from the fighting that went on in Grozny, and they chose to exploit the weakest point in the weakest type of building.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Taking Stalking Seriously: With Important Update.



"Taking stalking seriously is murder prevention." See link.

Back when David Blunket was Home Secretary, he made vigorous attempts to get police to take stalking and harassment seriously and actually produce an appropriate reaction. There were a few self-righteous responses from senior officers, but basically the police in general ignored the Home Secretary, who is responsible to Parliament for their actions. The reason for this is simple: the police have a deeply-ingrained culture of believing that stalking victims willfully provoke their stalkers and don't deserve any help. In truth, many individual stalkers are stalkers because they develop deep grudges about happenings which a normal person would regard as totally insignificant and probably not even offensive in any way.

Mr Blunket was also concerned about gang stalking, after one mother and her handicapped daughter committed suicide after being endlessly stalked by gangs of youths and adults, with the police constantly refusing help. It is apparent that the police in the United Kingdom have taken a collective decision to ignore senior politicians and Parliament on this issue.


Update 5/6/2017: The Inspectorate Of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate have had a go at improving the situation. One of the key findings of their report, is that police frequently obscure stalking campaigns by treating each and every incident in isolation, as in the case highlighted above. This has to stop. Not only do the inspectorates want the law tightened, they want police and prosecutors to be much more aware of what the law actually says!

The full report "Living In Fear: The Police and CPS Response to Harrasment and Stalking" and an associated research publication may be downloaded from the page on this link.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Petition For Sun Qian

Sun Qian is a Canadian citizen who has been detained for months without any proper legal charge by the Chinese Communist authorities, solely because she practices the meditation and exercise discipline "Falun Gong". Whilst chained up and helpless, guards have sprayed pepper spray directly into her face, and then covered her face to maximize absorption of the irritant by the skin, mouth and particularly eyes. She was then not allowed to change her clothing for ten days, which meant that she was exposed to the irritant for all that time. The response of Canadian government officials has been to suggest that they should proceed "very quietly" which appears to be a euphemism for doing absolutely nothing.



Please sign the petition to shame the Canadian government into looking after one of its citizens.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Overwhelming Fire In Portugal

While headlines in Britain have been dominated by the Grenfell Tower fire, the situation in Portugal is at least as bad. In this instance, the fire is believed to have been started by lightning, but in many other similar fires in Southern Europe, Australia and California, forest fires have been started by property developers to illegally clear land, and have gone far, far out of control. Where this happens, it needs to be punished with exceptional severity, and it must be recognized that this type of arson is done for profit, and the culprits and their associates must be subject to asset seizure, exactly as if they were drugs dealers.

In terms of death toll, this is the worst forest fire in Southern Europe for some time, and the impact will be particularly bad in Portugal, where the national population is fairly small.

We are still at the beginning of summer: there will be more fires before autumn. There already are quite a lot of firefighting aircraft available in the region, particularly if the French are in a position to lend theirs, and these are useful, especially for moderating a fast-moving fire. But the death toll in such emergencies seems to come from villages and towns being surrounded and overwhelmed, and, especially, the fire catching up with fleeing residents on the highways. There needs to be a form of fire-fighting with "combat persistence" to defend pockets of habitation and avenues of escape.

There might well be room for even more amphibious water bomber aircraft, and for all-terrain vehicles able to get fire-fighting equipment to even inaccessible hotspots, but what is also needed is some sort of monster fire-fighting equipment that can make use of recently improved highways into villages and towns, to deliver water and fire-retardants for long enough to keep people alive until the fire passes.

After many years of infrastructure spending by the European Union, it is reasonable to expect highways and bridges leading to any significant settlement, to be able to take lorries of the normal maximum weight of forty-four tons. Tanker fire-engines should be built, right up to this weight, and equipped with high pressure jets, remote-controllable from within the cab, which should also have high quality air filters and standby oxygen to protect the crew. These vehicles should normally be filled with a solution of ammonium phosphate fire-retardant in water (plain water in a pinch), and their mission should be to damp down corridors along the highways, to keep the fire back so that residents can escape and fresh fire-fighting resources can be deployed. It would be straight-forward enough to also equip these machines to produce local mists of water or phosphate solution in "self-defence" if the fire gets close. Where suitable perimeter roads exist (and they could always be built especially for this purpose) the heavy fire-fighting equipment would be able to lay down a fire barrier around vulnerable towns and villages. There simply has to be a means of protecting refuges and the avenues of escape.

Update: 19/6/2017 The most recent news images from the scene (much too upsetting to embed on the blog), show burnt-out cars and body bags on what should be a decent single-carriageway trunk road, capable of taking standard 44 ton lorries. But the burnt-out trees come right up to the edge of the road. This is not acceptable for an evacuation route in a high fire-risk area. There has to be some sort of treeless verge. This would still require a last-minute spray with ammonium phosphate to make it into a firebreak, but at least it would be possible to spray such a break quickly from a vehicle trundling along the road, without encroaching trees creating dry and fire-retardant-free areas through which the fire could reach the road.

Friday, 5 May 2017

English Losing Its Importance? Really?



This is a link to an article about Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, which describes how he told Italian reporters that English was losing its importance, and then proceeded to make a speech in French. The Italian journalists present, all people with jobs, laughed politely, but for an awful lot of young people in Italy and, even more especially, Spain, there is no hope of employment in their home country for the foreseeable future. Nothing that their governments or the European Commission are willing to do, is going to help the situation.

Things aren't really that much better in France, and the favourite to win Sunday's Presidential Elections, Mr Macron, has made it clear that he favours "reform" of the European Union, solely in the direction of intensifying the very factors leading to high youth unemployment in most Eurozone countries except Germany and Holland.

For victims of Spain's 50% youth unemployment, the only two viable options are: learning German and going to work in Germany as a migrant (competing for minimum wage jobs with the millions of migrants that Mrs Merkel is importing from outside the EU) or learning English and seeking work in the United Kingdom, something which may become very difficult to do if Mr Juncker persists in his attempts to extract ransom payments from the British taxpayer and the Spanish government similarly persists in trying to blackmail the United Kingdom over Gibraltar. Learning French and seeking work in France would be an act of desperation, similar in nature to throwing oneself in front of an approaching train.

The situation for Italy's unemployed youth is a little bit better, in that their government is not engaged in deliberate, systematic attempts to offend not only the British government, but the British people. Italian jobseekers in the UK are more likely to get a sympathetic hearing than Spanish ones. There also exist several opposition parties determined to get Italy out of the Eurozone, which, frankly, is the only way to free the Italian (or Spanish) economies up, so that they may once more create sufficient jobs for the young. In Spain, there appears to be a political consensus for staying in the Eurozone, even if that means that half the country's youth must become exiles or accept that they will never hold paid employment in their lifetimes. 

Those zealots who fondly believe that the United Kingdom will (or should) rush back into the European Union at any price (and that price would include joining the Eurozone at a minimum, something that many of them actually want), are ignoring the fact that Eurozone membership for the United Kingdom would ensure that British youth would also have no hope of jobs in their lifetimes. The Eurozone acts as a system of sacrificial economies around the core German economy, which are then loaded down with all the economic problems that the Eurozone allows Germany to discard. It has no other intended purpose: those commonly advanced by advocates are just cosmetics. 

As long as learning English opens up the prospect of a new life in the United States, Canada or Australia as well as the United Kingdom, it will remain the most attractive option for those who are being so foully betrayed by Europe's political consensus.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

French Presidential Election: First Round

It appears, from the exit polls at least, as if Emmanuel Macron has won the first round of the French Presidential Election. This will be hailed by the European political elite as a victory for "moderate" politics, because his main rival is the "Rightist" (with a decidedly left wing economic policy) Marine Le Pen. Before anyone goes dancing in the streets to celebrate a victory for moderate commonsense politics, it is necessary to point out that Mr Macron is sufficiently anglophobic to win a presidential election in Argentina, never mind France. If Mr Macron is a moderate, then North Korea is a cradle of democracy.

Supreme Irony: Tony Blair and the Blank Cheque

This is a link to an article informing a very weary British public that Mr Tony Blair sees it as his opportunity aka "duty" to return to frontline politics in order to deny Theresa May a "blank cheque" in the Brexit negotiations. This from a man who, ever since he left public office, has been consistently behaving as if he had a blank cheque as far as public money and the trappings of power are concerned.

The Parliamentary Petition to deny Mr Blair all access to public funds, created by Steve Goodwin, has had its deadline brought forward, from the 28th of August to the 3rd of May. Any UK readers who feel they've had as much of Mr Blair as they can reasonably be expected to take, should sign the petition as soon as possible. If enough publicity for the petition can be generated, the threshold of one hundred thousand signatures can still be achieved despite the unfairly narrowed deadline.

PS: If anyone wonders why Medawar is concerned to prevent Tony Blair regaining, and immediately abusing, power, then they should read the second article ever published on this blog, and especially what it says about pathological liars.

Update: 25/4/2017  This is a link to a Daily Telegraph article suggesting that the "Open Britain" campaign is really all about getting Blairites back into Parliament.

Update: 8/5/2017  The Parliamentary Petition has ended as of the 3rd of May. There is now, belatedly, a note admitting that the petition was ended early "because of the general election" but there's no reason why it couldn't have been run on for the new parliament to deal with after June the 8th (it was due to end on the 28th of August). There has been no official response to the petition, either, despite the site promising that all petitions that reach ten thousand signatures will get a formal response from government. Once again, Blair gets away with it. This sort of thing is what gave rise to the country saying "the Devil looks after his own."

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Pressing Need to Deny Tony Blair Access to Public Funds

This is a link to Steve Goodwin's petition to deny Tony Blair access to public funds. In the next few days, the petition will pass the ten thousand signature threshold, which warrants a formal response from government, and that is an achievement. However, many more signatures are required, before the 28th of August 2017, to reach the one hundred thousand signature threshold needed to trigger a debate in Parliament. We need to reach this second, more difficult, target, because the initial, reflex government response is quite likely to be dismissive and unsatisfactory. In order to do so, it is necessary to offer a wider justification for denying Mr Blair access to public money than was possible for Mr Goodwin to expound within the format limits of the UK Government and Parliament website. Mr Goodwin chose to concentrate on two main issues: Mr Blair's "blurring of the line" (in fact, a gaping chasm) between the public interest and his own personal business interests, and Mr Blair's recent attempts to divide the nation and sow the seeds of lasting enmity over Brexit. These are valid and pressing reasons, of course, but they are not the only ones. Here are some of the others:

False legitimacy: like every other conman, Tony Blair cultivates every scrap of apparent legitimacy and prestige he can scrape up. He makes money from foreign leaders and businessmen, especially the unsavoury ones, by convincing them that he still has authority and power in the United Kingdom and can influence opinion, policy and even legislation in their favour. Every pound he is paid from the public purse seems to yield ten pounds for him in terms of his ability to get money from Central Asian dictators. This in turn fuels his ambitions to make a comeback as a "world leader" by fulfilling some kind of supranational role invented especially for him. Tony Blair is not a benefit claimant, dependent on the state for his daily bread. In Central Asia, people only get money from the state if they are in the dictator's circle of friends, so everything Blair is given makes it look, to his clients, as if he is still on the inside as far as UK policy making is concerned. The simple solution is to give him nothing.

Trappings of Power: See above. Also, Tony Blair has recently specifically demanded that he be granted certain status symbols by the UK Government, which would make it look as if he were still in power in the UK. Especially his demand that not only should the car he uses whilst abroad have UK diplomatic number plates, so should all the cars in his entourage. This would enable him and his "Homies" to roar through foreign capitals in convoy, bearing plates that would indicate to any reasonable citizen of that country that he was acting with the full authority of Her Majesty's Government. Assuming that at the same time he would likely be on his way to meet the leaders of a discredited regime, ruling by force and terror, then the sight of Blair playing "world leader" would raise up many new enemies of Britain. The Prime Minister, Mrs May, has refused this particular demand, but Blair is likely to keep on repeating the demand until he gets his way.  It is not in the national interest to let Mr Blair bestride the world as a PR man turned Emperor.

Police Protection: Tony Blair's arrogance and his addiction to armed protection appears to corrupt the officers assigned to his detail. Neighbours of the Blairs in Connaught Square angrily reported being denied access to their own homes by gun-toting police when the Blairs moved into their home there (one of seven that they now own), which seems to have been chosen specifically for its resemblance to 10 Downing Street. Although the precise number of officers assigned to protect the Blairs and their extensive property assets is an official secret, it is clear from what's in the public domain that there are several times as many officers looking after Blair as are needed to look after another former Prime Minister, Sir John Major. Medawar has relatives living near John Major's house and nobody around there has been bullied or offended by his very discreet protection detail. Nobody has yet complained about hordes of gun toting police around David Cameron, either. Yet again, the armed police protection is used by Blair to impress foreign leaders with his supposed ongoing political relevance. It helps him to convince the gullible that he is still "speaking for Britain." Blair's protection should be reduced to the levels which suffice for others who have served in the same office, and greater discipline should be imposed on those who protect Blair, to remind them that their primary duty remains to protect the public. If the Blairs want to own a property empire as a speculative investment, they should pay for private security firms to guard the investment properties. Publicly-funded policemen should not do the job!

Fairness: Other former ministers are not granted public money and the labour of senior civil servants to help and advise them with pet personal projects, however "worthy" they purport to be: why should Blair be granted special privileges?

Update: 13/4/2017: The petition has now passed the ten thousand vote threshold. Will post link to the government response when it's published.

Update 23/4/2017: The petition has now been waiting for an official government response for 11 days. Even allowing for the Easter holiday, this is a bit too long. The deadline for the petition to reach 100,000 votes has also been moved, from the 28th of August, to the 3rd of May. It seems that someone in Downing Street, probably the unelected Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, is using the announcement of an early General Election to protect Mr Blair from any awkwardness. Precisely the sort of abuse of power that Mr Blair practiced for so long whilst in office.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Worrying Case of Cyber Stalking

This is a link to a BBC article about an instance of cyberstalking, where the perp sent a writer with epilepsy an animated tweet with flashing lights in it, causing the writer to have a seizure.

Friday, 17 March 2017

"Domestic Terrorism" in Central Texas

This is a link to a post by a blogger living in Fredericksburg, Central Texas (something of a stalking hotspot, to put it mildly.) Her daughter was subjected to severe harassment and intimidation and an attempt was made to run her off an Interstate slip-road by two SUVs. 

Thus far, local law enforcement has not responded, at all, to the complaint.

The young lady's definition of this form of organised stalking as "domestic terrorism" may seem extreme, but the definition of "terrorist" is one who uses or threatens violence for political ends, and what happened is well within that definition. The "political end" in this instance appears to be absolute control of development and zoning policy in the Fredericksburg area, by a group of medical professionals acting as property developers. They also have links to cross border drugs gangs and appear to be active in diverting prescription opiates to the recreational drugs market. The property development does seem inseparable from the drugs, and may represent large scale money laundering.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Tony Blair: The Worst Choice That Trump Could Possibly Make

 Image copyright (c) AP

According to the Mail on Sunday, Tony Blair has attended a secret meeting at the White House as part of a determined drive, employing numerous contacts, to persuade President Trump to make him America's Peace Envoy in the Middle East. He was previously the UN's Peace Envoy in the Middle East, where he accomplished nothing except a certain amount of shameless self-enrichment: luxury suites at the King David Hotel; that sort of thing.

President Trump believes, passionately, in nation states negotiating the best deal for themselves and each other, and he is bitterly opposed to anti-democratic multi-national economic or political structures. Blair STILL sees himself as the anointed leader of a European superstate, and is part of a campaign to sabotage Brexit (Trump has made much of supporting Brexit), to which end he is working with Nick Clegg and Lord Mandelson, neither of whom believes in the sort of values that Trump's supporters do. They are natural, albeit unreliable, allies of Hillary Clinton.

Apart from posing as a "Peace Envoy" Blair has spent most of his time since he gave up on holding elected office, as a glorified PR consultant to some of the world's most notorious dictators, regimes and businessmen, which has also been Lord Mandelson's chosen line of work. They will always be found to be pursuing the same sort of goals by the same sort of means. Both of them have amassed large (and secret) fortunes in a short period of years by putting a positive spin on dictatorship and torture for their brutal clients. They have also forged friendships with some of the most ruthless mass killers on the planet.

No matter which period of Blair's life you chose to examine: schooldays; his time as a lawyer; the struggle to rise up through the Labour Party ranks to the post of leader; his time in Downing Street; his time as PR consultant to the world's genocidal maniacs -there will always be at least one former close acquaintance willing to describe Blair as a pathological liar. Blair was known at school (Fettes College) as "Milly Liar" and those who knew him well back then don't appear to see any change in him as he is today.

Well, what happens if Blair is allowed to use a "Peace Envoy" post as a springboard to the European President job that he actually wants?

With Blair, the truth will be the first casualty.

In Europe, individual freedoms and civil rights will be extinguished in favour of a twisted concept of "human rights" which denies people the right to express their own opinions or even defend themselves or their beliefs against attack. 

In the world as a whole, the Superstate of Europe will manipulate and machinate relentlessly until it controls all international discourse, and effectively "leads" and then "controls" the world.


With Blair, the truth will be the first casualty; truth tellers the second.

Update 07/03/2017: Blair now claims that although the meetings took place, "he wasn't seeking a job, just offering advice." Assuming that this claim is true, and with Blair you cannot be certain of that, the idea of Blair "back seat driving" US policy on the Middle East is not a reassuring one.

Update 11/03/2017: UK readers might be interested in a parliamentary petition to stop Tony Blair getting ANY money from public funds. (PS: This is getting near the 10,000 signatures needed for a formal response from the government. PPS: Just 51 signatures to go. Then there might be enough publicity to reach the next milestone of 100,000 signatures for a debate in parliament, which would be fun.) 13/4/2017: 10,000 signatures now achieved!

Update 12/03/2017: Blair was (typically) lying when he claimed that he wasn't touting for a job when he attended a three hour meeting in the White House. He was touting for a job. He did this behind the back of the UK government.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Proposed UK Official Secrets Legislation

New proposals for Official Secrets legislation in the UK not only make the law more severe, they seek to broaden the definition of "Official Secret" to include almost any information that might embarrass the government. It is no longer a question of information that might be useful to an enemy, but anything that might affect foreign policy, and so on.

The new laws will be more severe because the maximum penalty will be a fourteen year jail term, which is a far more severe sentence than has been passed in an official secrets case for many years, and because it is going to be an offence to have information, whereas at present the offence is to communicate or attempt/conspire to communicate such information.

This is being seen as primarily an attack on The Guardian newspaper, which often runs stories based on leaked Ministry of Defence information. But, in practice, and like David Cameron's Royal Charter making the fascist-owned "Impress" militia the official press regulator, it can be used against any newspaper doing what newspapers normally do, which is gather information. Impress is seen as an attack on the Daily Mail, this official secrets legislation is being seen as an attack on the Guardian, but in reality both are part of the same attack on press freedom in general. All journalists gather information, and they have no way of knowing till they have gathered it, whether it is sensitive or not. Under the new laws, they will already have committed an offence that will earn them fourteen years in jail! 

There is to be no public interest defence, so no matter how bad or even criminal the government conduct that is revealed by a leaked piece of information, possession of that piece of information will be a crime. It also means, for example, that anyone who has accessed Wikileaks online, or has kept a newspaper cutting about Wikileaks, could be prosecuted for possessing an Official Secret, whereas previously they would be committing a crime only if they communicated something hitherto unnoticed from Wikileaks (ie: not already in the public domain) that actually affected UK national security.

This is a major piece of legislation that was drafted before Theresa May became Prime Minister, and may be seen as part of David Cameron's petulant campaign against the press, which started in earnest when he failed to get Lord Rothermere to sack the editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, during the campaign for the Brexit referendum.

It should be obvious to everyone that it is futile and wrong to campaign to protect the freedom of the left wing press to the exclusion of freedom for the right wing press or vice versa. Freedom of the press has to be protected unconditionally.