Sunday, 20 September 2015

Hardly anybody is going to agree with this

A senior judge has ruled a child molester was rightly given a tougher than normal sentence because his victims were Asian and so suffered more from his crimes.

Without having access to all the facts on this while on the road I remarked that it sounded about right. My instincts now guide me toward giving such rulings a fair hearing whenever I see an outraged right wing reaction. I'm going to stick with my first reaction. As usual, the reaction is based on how the case has been reported. It's totally kneejerk from people who demand equality and consistency under the law. Those are fine aspirations, but the thing about a justice system is it has to pass judgement with regard to all the circumstances. Thus consistency goes out of the window in the first instance.

It is implied by the media that the judge is saying that the suffering is less for white girls. That is not what has actually been said. The judge said "harm was aggravated by the impact on the victims and their families within this particular community."

This is undoubtedly true, and it's easy to see how such words could be twisted and wilfully misinterpreted. The judge has handed out a sentence with regard to all the circumstances. The argument that follows this is that somehow a higher tariff on assaults on Asian girls somehow means the suffering of white girls is devalued and the deterrent makes white girls more vulnerable. It's a logical argument, but sometimes logical arguments can also be complete nonsense when applied to reality. If the sentences were in any way a deterrent such crimes would not happen. This is merely a gesture for this specific case that can be read either way depending on one's own particular prejudices. Correct be if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, this does not constitute a precedent, nor is it policy. Judges decisions are often referred to but are not in themselves tariffs in their own accord.

What this is saying is that the punishment is escalated according to the extent of the harm. It is not designed to devalue the harm experienced by others. In any justice system, as much as we demand certain standards are upheld, we would never want consistency because we would want the punishments to be in proportion and not meted out according to some central government checklist. We already see legal absolutism in motoring offences where mitigating circumstances are ignored and lives are ruined unjustly. We always want human intervention is such matters.

We cannot dogmatically run our courts in pursuit of some philosophical ideal without reference to how things are, and the reality in this circumstance, that judges may wish to consider in future is that Asian girls *potentially* may face far graver and longer lasting consequences. And sometimes, the crime is carried out in full knowledge of this and is calculated to do that exact damage. How the judge approached it is not particularly astute, but I have a feeling there's never going to be a politically convenient way to phrase it. The fact is that white girls from a liberal British culture can suffer such abuse and rebuild their lives eventually. Not all, but I would wager most. In a shame-honour culture, that is less likely.

That then opens up the multicultural debate once more, in demanding uniformity and for the system to disregard cultural circumstances. But in this matter, disregarding the cultural circumstance is to de-facto ignore a huge aspect of the harm inflicted, thus you could play the Daily Mail at it's own game by twisting it the other way and say that because the system ignores cultural differences, the extra harm inflicted is ignored thus is institutionally prejudiced. How then can you call it a justice system?

The fact is, we do live in a multi-cultural society whether you like it or not, and you can argue that respecting the cultures of others retards integration, and maybe five years ago I might have agreed, but where this is a consideration is among first and second generation immigrants who are never going to fully integrate anyway. Thus there will always have to been culturally specific guidelines as long as we do have immigration from those places sharing these cultural aspects. You don't have to like it but justice depends it's flexibility and application to the circumstances - which means sentences will wildly vary for superficially similar cases - and that's fertile ground for wilful media distortion. But as a dispassionate observer, as indeed a judge must be, you have to see the logic in the apparently illogical.

There was a case a couple of years ago that outraged me when a young back man was given a light sentence for killing an Aspergers man with a single punch. Examining the case in detail, I found that the judge was right. I still don't like it, but I accept the validity of it and the same applies here - because any system that places ideological purity and conformity to precedent above all other considerations can simply not ever be considered a justice system.

That said, this all hinges on what the judge knew about the victim and could perceive about the family of the victim, and the factors that are not reported here. Given the media propensity to omit that which is critical to the essence of the judgement in order to provoke outrage, I am willing to give the judge the benefit of the doubt. If you are going to leap to conclusions, it's a safer leap of faith to assume the Daily Mail is wrong and deliberately so. Your outrage equals profit.

More facts about this may come to light, and I'll keep and open mind to considered arguments, but the reason I blogged this is because it's largely the right wing and eurosceptic crowd most likely to run with this. The reaction to this is born of the same base instinct to emote and rage when presented with the appropriate bait. It's what makes eurosceptics look unhinged and very often quite silly in getting worked up about things that only really exist in the imagination of the reporter. As campaigners eurosceptics need to develop the discipline to reserve their initial reactions and look at what has been reported with scepticism. How can you call yourself a eurosceptic if you do not apply scepticism even when inconvenient to the narrative?

On issues like this, or matters of EU legality where it's actually hard to call it for certain, it's best to skirt around it than to leap in the dark and be spectacularly wrong. A little discipline in editorial selection from eurosceptic campaigners is vital if we want to win. What we are seeing at the moment is outrage incontinence at every little EU bent banana story. If you are splurging your hatred of the EU out on to Twitter, you are making it harder for us to make the case that we are rational.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Referendum Planning Group

Firstly, many thanks to all the people who attended the meeting today. The turnout was about right. We expected a few no-shows but what is clear is that despite our many differences, we are reaching the right people.

For those visiting this blog for the first time, there is nothing much I can add in terms of what was said today, and after a long day, taxing the few social skills I have, I would just draw your attention to this post and the links therein. That and to strongly reiterate that we eurosceptics must change the record and ditch the eurosceptic baggage if we want to win. If you took that much away from today then it was worthwhile.

As to where we go from here, the ball is in your court. We waited for no instruction to call this meeting and shall issue none to you. You decide your own level of involvement and whatever we set in motion will snowball as you make us aware of your efforts. All we ask is that you keep us in the loop, report on your successes and failures so that we can persistently refine our message. Much of what needs to be said has already been said on the other blog so please have a browse through the archive.

Monday, 7 September 2015

How many Pakistanis can you fit in a Mini?

Somebody asked me "how many Pakistanis can you fit in a mini?". I'm really the wrong person to ask because I need specifics. If we are talking about the original model then legally, five occupants depending on whether it has been retrofitted with a central seatbelt, but then that's unlikely since there would be insufficient legroom. Outside of the realms of the law you could possibly fit a small child in the boot and perhaps one or two very small children on the laps of passengers. It really depends whether we are staying within law or whether we are pushing it into absurdity in some kind of world record attempt. If it is the former, the question must specify whether the vehicle is in Pakistan as the regulatory regime is different and the enforcement much less stringent.

But then there is also the modern variant of the Mini, which comes in many configurations including an estate version with fold down seats in the rear compartment. But this estimation also requires other parameters be considered in that there is in fact a factory approved, road legal six wheeled limousine variant for which there is no reliable dimensional data available. It also depends on the type of fixtures and furnishings which are also unspecified. This has an impact on the internal volume of the cabin. Certainly a champaign bar would reduce the carrying capacity.

We also need to specify whether the occupants would be alive or dead in that corpses can clearly be manipulated to occupy less space in a way a living individual would find impossible. Were the occupants dead, technically you could liquefy them and thus as a fluid would mean a much inflated figure. And then it depends on the ambient temperature as particle density could make the difference. Also, if it's a convertible and prone to leakage, then there are intrinsic limitations. I'm not saying it is an unanswerable question. Merely that you would have to be in full command of the facts and properly define the parameters of the question before taking anything like an educated guess.

This is actually a serious post though. We often hear the refrain "politicians never give straight answers". The media wants you to hold this view. This is how they assert their supremacy and power over politicians. How often have you listened to a weasel like Eddie Mair or Evan Davies or Jeremy Paxman bully a politician into giving a yes/no answer? Their assumption is that you are stupid, cannot cope with anything with nuance and need everything breaking down into binary options according to parameters that they themselves define - thus controlling the message and preventing politicians from adding new dimensions to a discussion. What is seemingly a simple question can be one badly directed, often deliberately so, that is adjacent to the central issue as a means of diversion.

To properly answer a question, you have to set out the circumstances, make distinctions between the respective components, specify your personal weighting on what you think are the likely parameters and then give your answer according to the scenario you envisage - rather than the paradigm you are being goaded to accept.

It is a highly effective tool of media bias, where the likes of Paxman build their prestige and reputations as a slayers of untruthful politicians when in fact they are political players in themselves attempting to frame the discourse to produce answers they want to hear, rather than what is pertinent to the debate.

Effectively it's the same as insisting on an answer as to how many individuals can fit in a 1960's Mini when in fact the Mini is a modern BMW variant. The interviewee will seek to avoid answering the question because its the wrong question, and yet they come off badly for doing so. This is how the media creates a toxic atmosphere and hostility to politicians which gives them power. Real power. They then become the trusted prism through which we conduct our national conversation.

There is a classic example of this on this Youtube where you can see Evan Davies attempting precisely this deception. He can't cope with the arguments Owen Paterson is making thus uses the technique to steer the discussion on to grounds he is comfortable with. THAT is how they own your opinions.

Mind the (skills) gap

It should be noted that the migration crisis that reaches our screens is not actually the concern of Britain. If we wanted to significantly reduce the inflow, while the revising 51 convention would solve the EU's problems, it would have only minimal effect on us. Where we have a virtually uncontrolled influx is from India. The way it works is they send their most capable in the family to take a highly paid job in engineering, IT or the medical profession. From there, they establish the right to bring in family who in turn can bring in their own extended family. That's if you actually want to call it a problem. But if you wanted to reduce the numbers, you would start there.

But before I started tinkering with human rights laws and immigration policy I would pop over the road and ask Airbus why it is they feel the need to advertise their aerospace engineering jobs there. They would tell me what we already know. There is a skills gap among our own, and a shortage of applicants even when the rewards of such a career are high. We need to a address a more philosophical question as to what is driving the poverty of ambition. I think welfarism has an influence among other factors and am happy to listen to opinions on that.

Though anecdotal, I think I have something of an insight. As a kid I was obsessed with aviation and like all young boys dreamed of being a pilot in the Royal Navy. But that seemed to me about as far fetched as being an astronaut. Then I thought of being an aerospace engineer. But then decided I wasn't smart enough. There is a perception that the profession is full of smart people who know how to do complex sums who went to Oxford. When I started working at Airbus I soon realised that nothing could be further from the truth. In most cases, aerospace engineers are a bunch of overweight hairy Bristolian men who sound like farmers who give their design solutions to Indonesian CAD jockeys.

See, you'd never know that growing up in Bradford where you fall out of school with very little clue of what's possible and certainly you grow up with the idea that kids from Bradford drive buses and mend cars. There were no apprenticeships and few opportunities to train. What I learned was how to tinker with computers while lounging around on the dole. The local college courses were crap, half of which closed down halfway through due to attendance atrophy - and the wages in the north seem to have a glass ceiling no matter how skilled you are.

I may be making excuses for myself, I don't know, but really programming chose me, and I didn't choose it for myself. That was just my ticket out. Of the people I used to hand out with, most resigned themselves to a pedestrian unambitious life - and I've always said that was a pity because I grew up with some great kids who could have been anything who have since been robbed of their vitality by Bradford.

Somehow, somewhere, we got it badly wrong, and I think it starts with our industrial policy and our welfare policy and I think we have set a course to become second class citizens in our own land as we are gradually replaced by a more agile, more willing and better qualified workforce.

It's always been the case that if you do well, the chances are that your kids do well, and your proximity to London improves you chances. So there is an inherent class barrier and there is a north south divide. I also think the north is being robbed of its talent as London sucks in the bright sparks so there are few people who have succeeded as role models.

I think also our welfare system does just enough to prevent poverty but pays so much as to suppress real ambition. The will to succeed is often born from failure and how can one fail if one is prevented from doing so?

We can also say that because there is now a global marketplace for labour and labour is a commodity, where corporates have no national allegiance, they do not feel duty bound to invest in people. They can import talent at will. Employers expect loyalty from employees but show none in return. They demand high skill sets but do not invest in training, nor do they interview on the basis of best fit and attitude, merely on whether boxes can be ticked in terms of skills. The have lost the ability to recruit and nurture real talent. Instead, they look overseas.

In the final analysis, if we want to slow the rate of immigration from India, we shouldn't be putting restriction on businesses and closing the borders. We should be upping our game to make sure our own young are in with a chance of applying and that they have the skills and the self confidence to compete.

There is no magic-wandery we can deploy in tinkering with immigration policy if our own people are not up to the jobs and can't even be bothered to do the basic jobs. If we take that approach why should businesses come here at all? They say that inequality is disappearing, but I would argue the inequality of opportunity is still rife for those with the misfortune to be born in the north. And while Westminster (actually Whitehall) still has choke hold on policy and governance, how can we even the odds? That is why we need The Harrogate Agenda.

We must have a humane policy, but we must still control our borders

As shambolic as our asylum policy is, the answer is not to open the borders. In many respects, that there are so few waiting at Calais is a sign that our border controls are actually working and the message has got out that if you get to Calais, you have reached a dead end. It's working as it should, which makes something of a mockery of Ukip's scaremongering.

If anything the ones in Calais are comprised of those who can't see any other option than the UK, or are determined to get in for more nefarious reasons. We are succeeding in keeping them out. While they make good TV during silly season, they are not actually central to our problem. It's a problem for Europe, but less so a problem for us. Our immigration problems are a wholly different strata of law and a wholly different type of migrant.

As to taking a share of Syrian refugees, it's a bit of gesture politicking that is neither here not there. It's an astute moving in building good relations with our neighbours. That's all. In terms of broader policy, it tackles only the symptoms, not the causes. It's one thing to say it's great for Germany to take 800k migrants. There is room and the former NATO bases are more than large enough. The question is, what about next year? Unless we turn off the tap by amending the 51 convention, they will keep coming.

Some have suggested abandoning any attempt to control the borders. There is certainly a case for liberalising border restrictions in that some migrants fear that if they come here on a limited visa they may not be let back in if they go home - so they remain here and disappear into the woodwork. Allowing free flow means that some migrants would, and very often do, go home. Certainly increasing the number of legitimate visas reduces attempts at forced entry. If anything irregular migration is a consequence of tight border controls. Nothing creates illegal immigrants quite like more immigration law.

But that is not to say we can or should open the borders. Some argue that humanity has the capacity to overcome the problems and that people are problem solvers. But the fact of the matter is that large influxes do cause problems and not short term ones either.

I like the idea that people are problem solvers. But as a rule they are entirely selfish in their solutions where the consequences of solving their own problems are somebody else's to deal with. That is why we have regulation of the civic sphere and planning to ensure basic standards of living and sanitation are upheld.

What we see when we have rapid influxes are entire communities who are wholly ignorant of procedure and pretty much do as as they want, from discarding refuse in the gardens, building over drain manholes, and then there's the antisocial behaviour that really does rip into community cohesion - the consequences of which are largely felt by the bottom decile. It's one thing for middle class urbanites to say "let them in" but the consequence of their moral posturing are felt by somebody else.

Already we have environmental health working overtime, not least to deal with overcrowding. You can take the lofty presumption that people do not equal more problems, but more people equals more cars - and more cars means more problems, more space constraints, massively disproportionate externalities and more pollution.

Then there is the aspect of safeguarding culture and heritage. Marxists certainly give me the impression that absolutely nothing is sacred and they would happily concrete over anything and everything is fair game. Immediate humanitarianism needs come first in their book. Again, that's a powerful moral sentiment, but at the same time, these are the same people who persistently complain about the lack of humanities and arts etc.

What makes Britain majestic is that some places and things are frozen in aspic. We do safeguard the distinctive and we do protect against urban sprawl in order to give people the cultural assets and the green spaces they need. Leave it to Marxists and they'd bulldoze everything until everywhere looked like the shit end of Croydon with no green spaces whatsoever. People who think Hackney Marshes constitutes a green space.

Part of what makes Britain something different is that the people here are custodians of something worth having. We have an island story that people come from all over the world to see. Preservation and cultivation of such assets are essential to the spiritual life of the island. I would argue that these things are the things that inspire us and are paramount.

While there is no theoretical upper limit, there will always be an absorptive capacity if we want to keep any semblance of social cohesion and preserve those features and freedoms that make Britain a desirable destination. That the open borders bunch would gladly see it wrecked makes them both philistines and hypocrites as well as fantasists.

We must always ensure that the rights of the settled are respected and that any influx that puts them in the minority, means the total breakdown of systems that facilitate the high quality of life we enjoy - those systems that make up the invisible government all around us that maintains those things we take for granted and are barely aware of. Without managing influx so that systems can keep pace, we very soon become that which most migrated from. Dirty, crowded, dysfunctional and unsafe.

In that respect, we are already overstretched, especially when I see presumably Pakistani youths in pyjamas battering each other with clubs on Hounslow highstreet in the day time and Somali gangs shooting at each other in Woolwich. Course, the pious bunch who would never venture to such places wouldn't see it, so again, it salves their moral problems but the consequences are visited on somebody else. In that regard, I find the open borders bunch not only risible, but contemptible.

Bloody cheek!

I love this notion that I'm supposed to be a "team player" after both Ukip and Breitbart have spent the last three years soiling the bedsheets in terms of winning the referendum - and then directed invective at me for saying so.

Then when the poor gal is a bit stuck she has the nerve to ask me to source a Youtube video for her pet hate rag. Clearly googling the keywords "riot Afghani Syrian Greece" and looking at the first five search results is beyond the capability of these little darlings. No wonder they are manifestly incapably of getting their facts right. You have to admire the nerve though.

Assuming I'd helped the dear gal it would have looked a lot like this:

Darkies from bongo-bongo land of military age have been rioting and looting on the streets of Athens culminating in clashes with ISIS terrorists as they divide their loot. It's all the EU's fault for having open borders (inserts something about completely irrelevant Dublin Regulations) and YOU are paying for it. (pads out for fifteen paragraphs, claims credit months after the Daily Mail ran it.)

Ho hum.

The "new teeth" narrative

There is a narrative kicking around that the father of the boy washed up on the beach risked drowning just to get new teeth in Canada while supposedly safe in Turkey.

Let's consider this for a moment. Can you imagine being a dad and having no teeth? Can you imagine what that does to your self-confidence and your health and your self-worth? Can you imagine how that might affect your ability to do the best for your son?

Moreover, while Turkey is a signatory to the 1951 convention and has signed the 1967 protocol, it has entered an "exception" to the geographical extension. Thus, it only recognises refugees from the Council of Europe area. We can apply for asylum in Turkey but Syrians can't.

Legally in Turkey they are not defined as refugees. The guest status means that Syrians do not have rights in Turkey and that the State has the right to make the decision to deport them at any time.

Such a charitable approach rather than a rights based approach also feeds negative public opinion in Turkey towards refugees. Many local people have expressed their discontent with the Turkish government allocating resources to Syrians instead of Turkish citizens who are in need, such as earthquake victims. Some of the words they use to define Syrians include “beggars”, “looters”, and “exploiters”.

Syrian refugees enjoy no right to work and would not be employed even if they did. So they are faced with with the prospect of raising their children in camps or unsafe accommodation, where girls are sucked into prostitution and the young men recruited by militias.

The story about "wanting new teeth" is just a bit of flotsam trivia, taken from an interview with the dead boys distraught aunt. It was a reason, but clearly not the whole of the reason, and to latch on to this and say "it was a lifestyle choice" is cherry-picking and unpleasant. The fact is that this man had an opportunity to raise his son in Canada with family rather than waiting around as a second class citizen in Turkey. He took the chance, as would you.

It should be noted that had the land routes not been closed off by fences there would be no need to attempt a sea crossing. Meanwhile, some have observed the boy had no life jacket. Somehow I doubt the Turkish coast has a branch of Surf Shack for all your maritime safety needs. Moreover, the chances of a toddler surviving even WITH a life jacket, out in the middle of the sea are... none - certainly not without fresh water.

Yes, the father does have some agency in this, but we see a chain of failures of policy that made this possible, not least the stringent anti-money laundering rules that prevent larger sums of money being transferred from Canada and the failure to exert diplomatic pressure on Turkey to accept refugees.

More than that, we only have a partial version of the story, as told through the distorting prism of media and while Turkey is notionally a safe country, were you in his position, you might have a different definition as to what constitutes safety. The asinine and nasty posturing over this is utterly repellent and nobody is deserving of such scorn for the crime of trying to do what's best for his son. Would that men went to such lengths to do the best for their children in this country, perhaps they'd be in decent jobs rather than complaining about immigrants taking theirs.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Dispatches from Calais

A good friend of mine went to Calais to get the measure of things. This is his report.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Think before judging

Anybody who insists "they are economic migrants" is asserting something of which they have no proof. The government doesn't even know so why should we take some Ukip grunters word for it? The fact is, for whatever reason, they are coming - and even though reform of the 51 Convention could slow the tide, there are those who will try their luck anyway. In those instances, it's not Calais to watch. It's Heathrow. Those who come on limited visas and disappear into the wood work. In all likelihood, if they went to Calais, they are seeking refuge from something.

You can have all the strict border controls you like, but that does nothing about the majority who come through with permitted paperwork on short stay visas.

Once again I must draw readers attention tot he fact that there is no hard and fast rule that says Asylum seekers must claim asylum in the first safe country. The law says they CAN, but nothing says that they must, And why would they pick some Balkan hovel or Greece or Southern Italy where basic governance is falling to pieces and the jobs are in short supply?

Now I am not making the case for unlimited immigration, and in fact I think those who do are contemptibly stupid. To gain control over the situation is going to take a massive multi-agency effort, massive intergovermental cooperation and the there must be measures taken at the global level all the way down to parish councils.

In this leaving the EU is neither here nor there. There are some measures we can take to deter EU migrants - ones which are already within our power and councils should be doing that anyway in order to uphold certain basic standards. That would also detect the problem of those overstaying their visas. More than that if we want to attack the problem immigration then we need serious revision of our drugs prohibition in order to take the profit motive out of it for Nigerian and Somalian gangs.

I won't make this a long post. I could, but the main points are thus. Do not make judgements of these people you see in the media. You are not faced with their choices and you do not know for a fact what action you would take. Secondly, the naff expectation that they should camp out in Southern Europe is not a viable proposition and and if it were a choice you faced, you definitely wouldn't opt for that. Lastly, we are not threatened by Syrian refugees. That they are Muslim is neither here nor there. They are escaping the likes of ISIS, as indeed would you. And if you had a family, you would not wait around in some dangerous refugee camp to see your daughter sucked into prostitution or your son recruited by a militia.

Regardless of whether they are economic migrants or refugees doesn't matter. They are humans with the same basic needs as me and you. They have the same motivations as me and you. Macho right wing pronouncements are easy to make from the comfort of your office chair. If you are going to do that, at least bother to inform yourselves of the basics before venting your ignorant bilge.

The reason you'll see a great deal of moral and intellectual inconsistency is because nobody quite knows what to do. Just about everybody recognises the need to protect that which is worth protecting while at the same time we have to extend basic human kindness to the needy. In that, there are compromises and sacrifices and not all of them are politically convenient - and often logistically difficult. Anyone who makes grand pronouncements and thinks this can be solved with the wave of a magic wand is someone speaking from pure belligerent ignorance.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The problems won't go away by ignoring them

This isn't meant to be a detailed post and there are many caveats to consider but I wanted to outline the basics of the solution to the migration crisis.

First and foremost, these people are human beings. You have to start from that basic recognition. If they made it as far as the continent, they are here, they have immediate human needs - food, sanitation, medical care. That IS our problem.

In this context, there isn't a migration crisis, per se - there is a refugee crisis and within that an exacerbating factor of economic migrants piggy-backing on the refugee flow. We need to manage that and make the distinctions.

That said, we have to be pragmatic. FACT: Greece, and Southern Italy are not safe, there are insufficient resources to deal with them, and there are no jobs for them and the administrative systems are not mature enough to cope. So, they must be distributed evenly over Northern Europe. That means we take more than we presently do.

We need processing camps and we need to make sure they are safe, clean, policed and secure and so we can adequately determine genuine asylum cases. We need a very big one in Calais, and we need to take our fair share. When we do, we refuse right to settle in London. Our Northern cities could use some diversification and re-population. The binary Muslim-White culture needs to be broken.

Meanwhile, any EU migrants here without a job or place to stay, will be expected to return to their place of origin. EU law permits this. We also make sure we enforce housing overcrowding rules and minimum wage rules so that EU migrants don't get to undercut domestic workers. That means word gets back to Eastern Europe that it's expensive to come and there's no sympathy if you arrive and expect to doss on the streets. That much is not unreasonable.

Crucially, the reason refugees are risking the Med is because land routes have been closed off by fences. Fences which do not serve as a deterrent. Take them down - but at the same time, stop the rescue boats. They are an incentive and reduce the risk of trying the journey.

Next up is to create more legitimate means of legal entry, so we don't see such widespread abuse of the asylum system. That gives us short to medium term relief.

Long term, we have to invest and invest big in Africa, dredging the ports, building roads, building good governance and supporting property rights. Build offshore asylum processing centres in Africa, run by the UN, and audited by our own government to ensure sanitation and safety. We then say that to gain entry, you will be refused at Calais, but if you go to an offshore processing centre, and wait your turn, we will get to you.

But as much as we need to fix Africa, we need to fix Greece and Italy - so they can take their share of migrants and ensure migrants actually can stay there.

To do all this we have to start with reform to the Geneva Convention. Immediately - in order to reduce the incentive. It is part of the pull factor and a reason for migrants (not refugees) to ignore the legitimate immigration processes.

We could do this, we can afford to do this - and we could do it tomorrow IF there was the political will - but the British public want reductions in immigration - which is just not possible. We'd rather the problem festered and got worse and seemingly we'd rather see people getting tear-gassed and festering in squalor.

The truth is, we are not going to be able to close our borders or even adequately control them, we are going to take on a lot more people, but if we manage the distribution that need not be a bad thing for Liverpool, Hull, Bradford and Newcastle. Many will go back to Syria after the war - and so will Iraqis, and in the mean time, the remittances they send back will be better for international development than any aid programme. There will be an outflow eventually if we act now. We need to make Africa wealthier.

We cannot ignore the problem, we're going to have to take more people - and suck it up because we have no other choices - other than that which Ukip proposes, which is to close the borders and leave people to rot hoping the problem will go away. If you have any sympathy with that view or that party, you need to be elsewhere - because if that's what you think, you have nothing to say that I want to hear.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

An immoderate and pissed off rant

I don't really buy the garbage about a free press. I can't think of anything more unhealthy and toxic than a shitrag like the Daily Express that has precisely no interest in serving the public good. It knowingly misrepresents the facts, it knowingly shitstirs and it does so with no genuine concern for enhancing public debate. It wilfully produces asinine garbage for the consumption of bigots and shows no remorse in needlessly fucking with people's lives and livelihoods, sabotaging their careers while creating a toxic atmosphere of scares and panics. It is an abuse of prestige and position and it is to the detriment of society - and liberty.

Moreover, it is not done casually. It is compiled by expert contortionists, using sophisticated innuendo and marketing psychology on a platform that gives them unprecedented reach and influence when neither is deserved or even earned. Why it should be at liberty to destroy lives and bankrupt entire industries for its own entertainment without consequence, when motivated by pure malevolence, beats the hell out of me.


If we can legislate for a pop up message warning about cookies, we might as well do that. Course, we'd get all the libtards talking about infantilasation of the public, but it does rather look like people believe the shit that they read in newspapers in spite of their proven inability to get the facts right even when they are trying.

Course this is never going to happen, because some people bizarrely think that such trash is the sign of a free country. Personally I think it's an affront to liberty in that we all live under the tyranny of these vessels who hold sway over policy because of how they will misrepresent the truth in a protected market position. And puhlease, don't give me the crap about truth being subjective. They are practised and professional liars and they know when they're doing it.

Certainly we cannot censor them, not least because it doesn't work, but it is time there was a market intervention to ensure bloggers are returned in news search results. The Google listing guidelines lend undeserved weight to these vessels. The guidelines work on the assumption that that somehow the legacy media has a deserved reputation for accuracy and editorial responsibility in spite of their being zero evidence to corroborate this.

We are told that in a free society, we have to accept things as they are warts and all for a healthy and vibrant democracy. There is nothing healthy about the current discourse on migrants and certainly the cesspool comments sections betray just how toxic their influence is. The old tropes no longer apply in the internet world. They have used their influence to garden wall and corporatise the internet and have used their market position to bury the alternatives and atomise any audiences that would threaten them.

Worse still, they parasite off blogs, often stealing content wholesale and never crediting the sources while decimating journalism. Regulating the press may not be the way to go, but certainly breaking their deadlock on the market is justifiable and very necessary if we really want a vibrant and healthy media. I would accept it "warts and all" if I could see something other than warts.

Frankly, we'd be better informed if we fire-bombed the lot of them. They are not the sign of a free press. They are an inhibitor to it.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Slandered by Guido

I can't not comment on this. Somehow Guido has leaked part of an email exchange with Aaron Banks. It didn't come from me, I was saving it for future reference. I am shocked and outraged though. Guido says...
Good to see the No to EU campaign is putting aside its differences and uniting behind the cause… or not. When eurosceptic blogger Pete North emailed the pugnacious founder of the controversial ‘The Know‘ group, Arron Banks, politely offering some advice about his campaign...
He asserts that I "politely" offered advice. This is absolutely untrue and I resent having my reputation dragged through the mud. I was superior, condescending and moderately rude as my readers have come to expect and demand. I was not in any way polite. I am appalled by this low shoddy reporting and I would ask that Guido issues a correction immediately. I have a reputation to uphold.

Nor did Mr Banks actually hope that I died in a freak yachting accident. He stated clearly that he was "tempted to add" such a remark but actually refrained from doing so. Had he done so, I have the last laugh because I made it through the entire weekend without even so much as seeing a yacht, unlike that jammy bastard who probably owns one. I did stub my toe on the bathroom door though if that's any consolation.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

They haven't thought it through

I'm seeing more of this "just open the borders" crap. I wish I could be so frivolous as to endorse this wafting empty sentiment and virtue signalling, but as usual it falls to the few to think about these things. Clearly even the best international development policy is not going to bring any immediate resolve and there is no question of closing the borders. We are going to have to take our fair share.

We can list a great many advantages to taking them but when we're talking about very large numbers, we need to manage it sensibly. We do not make the assumption that all of them will necessarily be looking to use state welfare services, but still in any case they need to be documented, otherwise they disappear into the woodwork. You cannot manage a modern first world country without capacity planning and knowing the scale of what you're dealing with.

Even those who don't rely on the state to settle them still have externalities in the short to medium term. High density is not without its inherent problems. Places like reading have narrow terraced streets, sometimes with three cars per household, with absolutely antique sewerage, reinforcing the trend of paving over front gardens for parking space which in turn adds capacity stress on drainage and sewerage so we need yet more investment, planning and an expansion of the environment agency.

Wage depression is less the concern since we have a national minimum, but that is only an effective measure if it is properly enforced, which it isn't. Moreover, we're seeing a massive rise in over-occupation of housing which has inherent risks and environmental concerns that affect people directly.

We can make the broader arguments in favour of immigration as it is beneficial in the longer term but it says absolutely nothing of the immediate practical concerns, which means you need a means of managing influx, not least for capacity planning so their basic needs can be met.

To that end, at the very least, we need to acknowledge that people will come regardless thus we need first world, safe processing centres that can liaise with local councils throughout the country to get them settled. What we can do then is turn it to our advantage by resettling people away from London. No northern city is going to do worse for having more people and the housing situation is less acute. But that has to go hand in hand with an intelligent industrial policy.

There is no excuse for the inhumane conditions migrants presently endure in Calais, not least because it's in France, but the Easter bunny notion of flinging the borders open is juvenile.

Clearly we have to provide, safe, secure accommodation, food and basic provisions. We will need to ensure the rights and conveniences and liberties of those already here are protected and we cannot have fifteen people living in a three bedroom house. Nor can we allow these people to be exploited by unscrupulous employers. At the very least it's a market distortion that does have a direct effect on the bottom decile.

The question for the idiots who embrace such a asinine position is how much extra council tax are you willing to pay - and if not, which council services are you happy to sacrifice? Elderly care? Weekly bin collections? I know the words absorptive capacity don't exist in the Marxist lexicon, but I'm interested in how they envisage this going down.

I've heard the "just build more houses" riff which is fine as far as it goes, but added people does not translate to a proportionate increase in employment, and the immediate integration problems require much more invasive and comprehensive local government in protecting against overcrowding and labour exploitation. That naturally outpaces housing development and increases the price of domestic goods. Where does this fit in the stack of priorities given the existing capacity crunch? Which magic money tree do we shake?

Saturday, 29 August 2015

It couldn't last

I made a decision to retire this blog last week, in favour taking a more sanitised approach. But there is actually no good reason why I cannot do both. What I don't want to do is have my more immoderate posts distracting from the overall output on the new blog, and so here is as good a place as any to make the odd incidental point.

As to the subject of this post, though I said I would limit my attacks on Ukip, I think this is important to take note of. We are past the general election now. All efforts are geared to the referendum, crafting our message and public perceptions of those who represent the No campaign. Thus it must be pointed out when Ukip is failing.

I have warned of the dangers of foam flecked Kipper ranting about foreigners and Muslims, and that message is not getting through. We saw during the election that such material only drags the debate onto the racism battlefield, turning the debate away from the central matter. We can't afford this now.

We would expect Ukip to have learned some of the lessons and show some leadership in moderating their message. This is not happening. What we have seen instead is more of the same dog whistles that effectively give their followers permission to grunt about the same old things. I didn't pick it up at the time but here we find a speech made by Ukip MEP Gerald Batten last month, highlighted by an official Ukip Twitter account. It's entitled "Western civilisation has to stop kowtowing to a Dark Age ideology".

I know these arguments well, and not far behind it comes the usual clich├ęs abut multiculturalism etc. There is some basis in truth that would be worth examining in more subtle terms, at a different time, but this really just qualifies as banging on about Muslims, using BNP rhetoric. This is absolutely the last thing we need from a party that will take a lead role in the referendum campaign.

It's one thing for the bottom-feeders on Twitter to be promoting this message in association with Ukip, but for Ukip MEP's to be choosing this of all messages, at this of all times is just inexcusable.

This is where Aaron Banks should take note. If the No campaign is built on a Ukip base than it is tainted from the outset. It's bad enough that their eurosceptic arguments are poor and their message uncoordinated, but these people have absolutely no self-discipline, no capacity for strategy and continue to make careless, unforced errors. They have learned nothing. The No campaign needs to put as much distance between itself and Ukip as humanly possible.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Complete Bastard est mort

That's the end of the Complete Bastard. Never let it be said I don't listen to criticism. I've heard all the asinine comments about the title of this blog and so to take that argument out of play I am migrating to a blog of a blander title over at so people can make asinine comments about my name instead.

Responding to a second criticism, I am done attacking Ukip except for where it is pertinent to making a particular point. They are steadfastly determined to grunt about foreigners and complain about safety regulations and claim we will save millions and billions by leaving the EU - and there is nothing that can be done to dissuade them. It's a waste of my time. Congratulations. You win. Grunt away!

I am instead going to concentrate on building the alternative case for leaving the EU and writing posts on how to argue the respective points and how to argue effectively. This will undoubtedly open up a whole new raft of new complaints, probably about it being either too "high brow" or too complicated, or "off message" with the main No campaign. Nothing I do will ever satisfy those who are determined to pour scorn on our work. From the passive aggressive sniping to the downright nasty, they'll find something else to whinge about. They always do.

Buzzing around achieving nothing

I've been increasingly irritated by a housefly for the last couple of days. It's wasting it's energy and its short lifespan, buzzing around in every direction, accomplish nothing and generally causing a nuisance. Unlike a spider, you can't help it. With a spider you can put a glass over it and chuck it out the window in the hope that it might at least take a risk and live a useful life. And there is a perfect Ukip metaphor. Here we have an entity that largely feeds upon faeces and regurgitates it, buzzing around unproductively, annoying people, and using up energy without achieving anything.

You might want to help it but it never stays in one place long enough to capture it. You can open all the windows, causing yourself some discomfort, you can even waft it in the right direction, but it still won't go in the right direction. In the end you just have to resign yourself to the fact that it will just continue to cause an irritation, will continue consuming shit, and waste its energy producing nothing in a short and pointless life.