Connections Three

June 30, 2010

David Cameron is a worry. He has only been Prime Minister for a few weeks and he is already getting carried away with his own rhetoric. It is difficult to rationalise his words and actions. Returning from the G8 and G20 meetings in Canada his message was, the world does not owe us a living and the UK will have to reboot its economy in order to survive. His three point plan for recovery is; get to grip with the deficit; slash benefits to make work pay; and kick-start international trade. In relation to the last point he said that British businessmen and diplomats must do more to attract foreign investors and develop business opportunities abroad. This corresponds with Chancellor Osborne’s Budget plan to reduce the size of the public sector and increase the size of the manufacturing and export sector.

How can this be reconciled with the decision earlier this month by LibDem Treasury Minister, Danny Alexander, to axe a commitment by the outgoing Labour government to make an £80million loan to Sheffield Forgemasters. This was described by LibDem Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg, as a calculated ploy by Labour to win support in Sheffield just ahead of the election. If the timing of the announcement of the loan was a calculated partisan act it would indeed be reprehensible. It also seems ridiculous for the Government to borrow money and then lend it for a commercial operation. David Cameron justified the axing of the loan, which he ventured offered little value for money, by saying that commercial banking should stump up the money. The reality is somewhat different and Nick Clegg, as a local MP, should know that.

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Connections Two

June 28, 2010

On Saturday, the 2010 G8 meeting in Toronto comprising Canada, USA, Japan and Russia; together with EU member states France, Germany, Italy and the UK came to an end with an external show of unity. The real economic and financial business followed on Sunday at the meeting of the G20. Is the G20 the future of world politics, or are we on the road to the G2 with every other country mere observers?

Meanwhile in the UK, on Sunday’s BBC Politics Show, we witnessed a Labour MP with his pants on fire and his nose getting longer each time he opened his mouth. He claimed that Labour’s borrow and spend policy had been the correct action for the economy; they were right and the voters were wrong; and rubbished the tax increases and spending cuts in last weeks Budget. He continued that there was no economic reason for the Coalition Government to reduce borrowing as the UK had the lowest debt in the EU and Labour had reduced the National Debt.

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Connections One

June 27, 2010

The 2010 G8 meeting in Toronto Canada opened with a photo-call of leaders in front of a row of the relevant flags. Why were there nine flags and ten leaders? The G8 comprises Canada, USA, Japan and Russia; together with EU member states France, Germany, Italy and UK. The extras were from Brussels who are now muscling in on everything. So there was the EU flag and not one, but two leaders – the President of the EU Council and the President of the European Commission. Talk about over-manning, but that does sum up the way the EU conducts business following the Lisbon Treaty. Canada, as host, set the agenda and presided over proceedings. The global economy was not top of the agenda, as Canada gave more importance to the subject of maternal health. This was referred to in an early, on the spot, BBC report prior to the opening of the meeting. Warning bells started to ring!

What they are talking about is population control and abortion.  The G8 countries are the main financial supporters of UNFPA – the UN fund for population activities – together with mega-millionaires in the USA.  [See the post of 11th September 2009 below – Pop Con Movers and Shakers]  You can also find out what is going on in the UN by clicking on the link at the right to Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

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Tough – but is it Enough?

June 23, 2010

New Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, presented his Emergency Budget to the House of Commons yesterday. He described it as tough but fair, with nothing hidden. His subjective assessment might not correspond with the objective impact of the public service cuts and tax increases inflicted across the board. The movers and shakers in the City might breathe a sigh of relief that it was not worse, while the most vulnerable will feel that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control. The people of Ireland might also look on, with envy, wishing that their three budgets of last year had been no worse. Therefore, any judgement of the Emergency Budget is relative.

Last Thursday, David Cameron was in Brussels resisting the EU bid to control the UK’s economy. The Prime Minister rejected attempts by the European Commission to pre-vet Member State’s budgets by insisting that any UK budget must be first presented to Parliament for approval. It was therefore disappointing to witness the new Coalition Government acting the same way as the last Labour Government. Over the weekend there was a stream of leaks from Government sources revealing the contents of the Budget and George Osborne made himself available to the Sunday political shows on television to answer questions about the forthcoming Emergency Budget. It came as no surprise to find the budget measures that had been trailed were completely accurate. If the convention, that all announcements must be first made to the people’s representatives in the House of Commons, is to be upheld it is incumbent on the House and the Speaker to hold the Government to account. It seems that they are incapable of doing that and the sooner that there is a separation of the Executive from the Legislature, the better it will be for the people.

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Defence of the Realm 1

June 14, 2010

The prime duty of the Head of State and Government is the defence of the realm. This does not come cheap in the new electronic and technological age. Air-power is supreme but limited in scope due to the availability of secure land bases and logistics. Sea-power continues to provide the endurance, reach and flexibility that land based air-power cannot deliver. This is still particularly vital for an island trading nation reliant on the freedom of the seas and trade routes. Modern sea-power requires submarines and aircraft-carriers as part of amphibious task forces. A tank equipped Army is less important now that the prospect of a conventional war in Europe has receded; it is still the foot-soldiers that hold and consolidates ground. But even these ground forces need to be flexible and transportable, with high levels of mechanisation and air-borne with helicopters.

The Royal Navy has traditionally been at the forefront of aircraft-carrier development and operations, being both inventive and innovative. Plans for two new carriers (CVF) – Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales are now in doubt due to financial constraints, with the RN pitted against the Royal Air Force for funding. Faced with another defence review, battle lines have been drawn between the three services because the object of the review is, as ever, all about reducing the cost of defence. Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP has fallen from 5% to 2.8% and each service Chief is fighting their own corner. From the Treasury point of view this in-fighting diverts attention away from the real need to conduct a review that focuses on identifying the threats, what the realistic need is and then the best way to serve the interest of the Nation. Once that has been decided and costed, the funding then has to be put in place.

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Defence of the Realm 2

June 14, 2010

Defence @ Resurgence News May 2009

ROCK UNDER ATTACK

Israel has recently launched another attack on Gibraltar. This has now been going on for two years but it does not get reported in the British media. The attacks have been getting progressively elaborate and involving more aircraft. They have reached a new height since Israel acquired AWAC aircraft to control and direct operations. Most of the Israeli Air Force fighter-bomber squadrons are taking part supported by a deployment of in-flight refuelling tankers so that they can undertake flights across the full length of the Mediterranean. Helicopters are also deployed for rescue missions in the event of fighters being downed. Latest reports indicate that the Israel home-defence missile system is being readied to deal with any reprisals directed at their territory.

Gibraltar is ill prepared to deal with the threat as there is no permanent RAF aircraft deployment on the Rock and the missile defence is non existent. The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is not equipped for this purpose. Thankfully, the Israeli flights against the British territory are training exercises in preparation for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are roughly the same distance away. Relief that Israel has no evil intent towards Gibraltar should be tempered by the realisation that when the Israeli Air Force does strike Iran it will trigger a wider conflict in the Middle East that could escalate worldwide.

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