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Archive for August, 2009

Yesterday’s news, to be sure (literally), but interesting none the less. From time to time, it’s worth paying a visit to the Army Rumour Service (“Arrse”) to try to infer the mood of our servicemen, currently tasked with dealing with the most difficult enemy in the world: incompetent political leadership. This was the report:

From The Sunday Times
August 30, 2009
British soldiers banned from using live bullets to save money

Michael Smith

British soldiers are being forced to train with blanks rather than live rounds to save money.

The entire Territorial Army (TA) and a number of nonfrontline regular army units will be affected by the ban on the use of real bullets in personal weapons, according to defence sources.

Soldiers bound for Afghanistan will be spared the restrictions, but even they will start training with live rounds only in the last three months before departure. Those learning to shoot as part of basic training will also be allowed to use real bullets.

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP and a former infantry commanding officer, said: “The idea that our frontline reserves should not be able to use live rounds is quite extraordinary…”

Only a government that has no idea what it’s doing – and has made some determined enemies within the civil service – would allow a story of this sort to leak when our moron Prime Minister has decided to pay the troops a morale boosting sapping visit on – or near(ish) – the front line.

But it was a bit of a non-story, in reality. I know from (limited) experience that the only time reservists use live ammunition is on the range, but finding time for that kind of training is not always easy for the part timers. Also, because of the way the war’s going in Afghanistan, all live ammunition has probably been prioritised for the battlefield. Even so, it gives you some idea of the sort of pressure our supply chains are now under, and that there are some serious replenishment and supply problems brewing (not least over food and water, would you believe).

Thanks to this twit government – and twit-Brown in particular – trying to fight the war on the cheap, it’s quite possible we’ll be throwing rocks at the Taliban pretty soon. But ’twas ever thus!

So, why post this? Well, some of the reactions of people on that chat forum (quite a lot of whom are either current or former soldiers) are quite telling, in terms of the mood of people who are actually in or around the thick of it.

Have we, as a nation, really been reduced to this?
When will someone grow a spine and arrest brown and darling for criminal negligence, or at least misconduct in public office?

…writes “Skycarver”. While “Diripio” says:

It is funny how things have gone full circle. I can remember in the 70’s when I was in Sennelager and the last Liarbour government were in power, tankies being reduced to a maximum of 25 road miles a year and no live firing, no ranges due to a lack of 9mm and 7.62.

The sooner this government are put to sleep the better, but will the alternative make any difference?

Good question. We’ll get to find out soon enough, though. I wonder if Bonkers Brown actually realises that yet.

Another “Arrser” comments:

Look at all that crap Indian 9mil we bought & had to dump because it was pants!
What’s next? The RAF dropping grenades out of Cessnas? The Navy going to sea in canal boats?
I wonder if all this penny-pinching woul’ve beenthought up if the Gov & MP’s had’nt been cought out fiddling expenses….

Harsh and fair. But “Auld-Yin” reckons this is nothing new. It happened the last time the Labourists were busy trashing the country:

Very remininscent of the 60’s early 70’s where you were lucky to get a range day in between APWTs.
Several times doing your annual weapon test was the only time that live rounds were used – and I was Infantry FFS.

“Jeagar” spoils the party somewhat with a caution to err on the side of moderation (it’s a pretty good post, though, so I’ve included it here):

Whenever I read something like this, which serves to confuse more than it illuminates, I’m reminded of the old adage about newspaper reporters, “first simplify, then exaggerate”. I’m no fan of Brown or his utterly useless, discredited Goverment of course, but what exactly is being cut here? I’ve read the article and I’m none the wiser. Is it simply a reduction in ammo available for range days?,has BATUS gone completely blank?, are recruits not going to do any Stage 5 Live firing at all? What’s happenig at Brecon, Warminster, Sandhurst etc?As for ammo only being available for training in the 3 months prior to deployment to Afghan, no big deal, theres lot’s of other things to be getting on with in the meantime, I’m sure there will be sh*t-loads available then at least. Fact is, just how often, apart from in the run-up to APWT, do Infantry Units for example, actually go on the ranges? not THAT much in my experience.

There might be some point here in sticking your hand out for the Outrage-Bus, but not on the info. so far received and not on the basis of this tedious article in The Times.

True enough, but fails to nail the main point: as more and more of these types of story filter out, and the “utterly useless, discredited” government limps on, staggering from one crisis to another as the full scale of its incompetence and dishonesty becomes ever clearer, morale in the army will drain away. Only a change of government can reverse this because only a new government will have a mandate to change policy and fix the problems. It’s pointless having a go at the press, (unless it’s to make it damn clear that the MSM is partly responsible for putting these idiots in power in the first place).

Comments of the day go to “OldTimer”:

How come we can’t afford live ammunition but the taliban seem to have an abundant amount available. Perhaps they have a better government . Thinking of it it certainly couldn’t be any worse than ours.

and to “HE117″(!), who makes this perceptive observation:

Actually I think we are looking at a shell crisis situation in the offing…

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…is_of_1915

See any similarities?

Yes, and a couple of differences: Asquith was honest, honourable – and elected!

(PS: Hat tip to Anna Raccoon, who wrote an interesting piece on this latest Labourist fiasco earlier today, and who’s a much better writer than me anyway 😉

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Ustinov

5:40, roughly, is the point we should all try to take (shouldn’t we?).

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BP Libya: The motive
SNP collusion: The opportunity
Release of Megrahi – lies: Brown’s crime

The British government did decide to release Megrahi to sweeten a BP oil deal, the Sunday Times has revealed. So, they lied – to everyone. And Brown has pulled his usual trick of scuttling off to talk nonsense to our soldiers in Afghanistan when the heat’s on at home. Only, it won’t fly this time for him because marines are dying this time while he’s “in country”.

The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests

In a letter dated July 26, 2007, Straw said he favoured an option to leave out Megrahi by stipulating that any prisoners convicted before a specified date would not be considered for transfer.

Downing Street had also said Megrahi would not be included under the agreement.

Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.

The exploration deal for oil and gas, potentially worth up to £15 billion, was announced in May 2007. Six months later the agreement was still waiting to be ratified.

On December 19, 2007, Straw wrote to MacAskill announcing that the UK government was abandoning its attempt to exclude Megrahi from the prisoner transfer agreement, citing the national interest.

In a letter leaked by a Whitehall source, he wrote: “I had previously accepted the importance of the al-Megrahi issue to Scotland and said I would try to get an exclusion for him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion.

“The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the [prisoner transfer agreement] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual.”

Within six weeks of the government climbdown, Libya had ratified the BP deal. The prisoner transfer agreement was finalised in May this year, leading to Libya formally applying for Megrahi to be transferred to its custody.

Saif Gadaffi, the colonel’s son, has insisted that negotiation over the release of Megrahi was linked with the BP oil deal: “The fight to get the [transfer] agreement lasted a long time and was very political, but I want to make clear that we didn’t mention Mr Megrahi.

“At all times we talked about the [prisoner transfer agreement]. It was obvious we were talking about him. We all knew that was what we were talking about.

“People should not get angry because we were talking about commerce or oil. We signed an oil deal at the same time. The commerce and oil deals were all with the [prisoner transfer agreement].”

His account is confirmed by other sources. Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Libya and a board member of the Libyan British Business Council, said: “Nobody doubted Libya wanted BP and BP was confident its commitment would go through. But the timing of the final authority to spend real money was dependent on politics.”

Bob Monetti of New Jersey, whose son Rick was among the victims of the 1988 bombing, said: “It’s always been about business.”

It’s not the “national interest” excuse that jars, or even the deal itself. People might or might not regard these as justifiable (I don’t). It’s the obvious collusion that’s gone on behind the scenes with the Scottish executive to lie about the real reasons for releasing the terrorist in question using the “compassionate grounds” legislation as nothing more than a convenient loophole. It’s the constant lying to the British people – even when they know we know that they are lying, but go on doing it anyway. It’s the attempt, incompetent as ever, to cover-up their misdeeds in the most brazen manner possible. It’s the cynicism, the dishonesty; it’s the corruption and, no doubt (because crooks like Mandelson are involved), the sleaze.

Above all, it’s the sheer, world class stupidity of this government that people will no longer forgive.

This scandal should bring down this Labour government. It’s rotten to its core. It was only a matter of time before it deceived not just the British people, but the world, once too often. That time has come.

If political corruption on this scale can’t force the chief perpetrators out, then there is something seriously wrong with Britain. I fear that that could well be the case, so I won’t hold be holding my breath.

Perhaps Gordon can explain to the troops while he’s out there why he is doing deals with the type of people they are trying so hard (indeed, have been ordered) to defeat. Of course, it’ll be too late for about 200 of them, and rising.

He, and all those who support him, sicken me.

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“Jaw-dropping”, I suppose, is one way of describing this latest piece of Welsh Labourist nasty lunacy. I simply could not believe my pork pies when I read in the Western Mail what a Carmarthen councillor (and parliamentary hopeful, would you believe – not any more!) has been up to. Have a butchers:

WELSH Labour confirmed last night it was investigating a councillor and brass band chairman in connection with a “foul and abusive” phone message that has been posted on YouTube.

Carmarthen Labour councillor Marc Scaife, who has put his name forward for selection as the party’s parliamentary candidate in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, left on Wednesday for a controversial tour of Libya with Burry Port Town Band.

The band have been criticised for continuing with the tour – part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi coming to power – after the release last week of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

In the phone message, a man who identifies himself as Marc Scaife, uses highly offensive language to berate a 19-year-old member of the band who pulled out of the Libyan tour at a late stage, creating a perceived security problem.

The caller is heard saying: “Listen very f****** carefully. You are a f****** idiot…There’s a massive security risk because of you. Do you realise what’s actually going on? Is anything going on in your tiny little mind?

“We are supposed to be playing in front of some of the biggest world leaders out there. Security is 100% tight and it includes the British Royal Family.

“I expect you to sort this f****** thing out. You go up there, you sort it out or expect a call from MI5. All right?

“I’ve had some serious explaining to do because of your irresponsible actions. Call me back as soon as you get this f****** message or I’ll be driving over to your parents’ house tonight to speak to them.

“Wise up, s***head.”

The band member who pulled out of the trip posted the audio tape of the phone call on YouTube. Subsequent messages on the site in the name of Mr Scaife said: “You forgot to tell everybody that you withdrew from the tour on Saturday with just four days to go, leaving us with a gap to fill. Your irresponsibility beggars belief. I’m surprised that you are happy to broadcast this fact.

“I don’t regret losing my temper with you – you deserved it. I stick to my opinions given in the recorded message. I suggest you listen to the actual words used and take note.

“I suspect you are going to get many similar confrontations from others in the future due to your ineptitude. I suggest you abandon your cry-baby ‘I’m just 19’ approach and act like a man – learn to act responsibly!”

The band member responds, saying: “I have not tried to adopt any cry-baby approach. I am merely pointing out that if I as a teenager can try to act in a mature and civilised manner to sort things out, there is something seriously wrong when a man over twice my age resorts to abusive and childlike rants. Indeed displaying your message on YouTube may be considered immature, but I am only trying to make people aware of the vile and foul attitude I have been dealing with.”

Explaining his position in another posting, the band member said: “I had to withdraw from the trip to Libya due to working commitments and the prospect of losing my job, something I was unwilling to risk in the current economic climate.

“I warned Marc Scaife this might be the case over a week ago and confirmed this on Friday. I have acknowledged the inconvenience this could cause and have been most apologetic.”

It is understood that the band member was one of a number of musicians recruited to go to Libya because long-standing members were unavailable.

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “The party disassociates itself from the foul and abusive language used in this telephone message. We will be contacting Mr Scaife in order to verify the authenticity of the message and to seek an explanation for this situation.

“The matter concerned is not a Welsh Labour event over which the party has any control. This is not the behaviour we would expect of any elected representative of Welsh Labour.”

Mr Scaife had last night not responded to a detailed message left on his mobile phone by the Western Mail.

According to the Burry Port Town Band’s website, Mr Scaife is 41 and plays solo trombone. He has previously played with the Suffolk Fire Service, Colchester, Crwbin and Clacton brass bands. His occupation is listed as “real estate, Bulgaria”, although it is understood that he works as a relief chef.

Bad enough a Labourist brass band has flown out to Tripoli to “celebrate” Gaddafi’s 40 year-long dictatorship (why?!). If nothing else, it’s heroically bad timing. But to bully and verbally abuse a 19 year old just because he rightly dropped out after being threatened with unemployment is simply evil. And the reference to MI5 is just bizarre.

What kind of people are thugs like Scaife? I’ll tell you: they’re the kind of people who should be removed from office immediately. Scaife should not only be kicked-out, he should be told to stay put in Libya. Why not? If he, like so many other modern Labourists, feels such a strong affinity for tyrannical regimes, he should try living under one for a (long, long) while.

I just wonder what ideas he’ll be bringing home with him, is all. Not healthy ones for him, given his proclivity for violent outbursts, or for anyone his council governs in sleepy old Burry Port, I would hazard. But don’t take my word for it, listen to the voicemail yourself on the newspaper’s website.

Unbelievable.

Btw, the Scaife person makes a fleeting appearance in this ITN report from two days ago. How would you like him as your future MP? Quite.

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From a 1968, O-level Maths paper. One of two that gave you two hours to answer umpteen questions you wouldn’t find on most A-level courses these days.

Cf: GCSE “Higher” Tier, June 2008.
Um.

And:Still haven’t worked it out? I’ll give you a clue: one is a Maths exam for 16 year-olds being trained for adulthood and a working life, the other is an infantile joke that 600,000 British “kids” preparing for a life of texting each uvva and the dole have just “passed”.

We’re finished. And socialism finished us.

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Bomber: “Reports of my death…”

This time from some excellent chap named Daniel Korsiki in the Speccy. (Makes a pleasant change from Alex Massie’s nonsensical interventions, at least.) If you really can’t be shagged to click on the link, I’ve lifted the entire text – purely for your convenience, you understand – (and certainly not because I’m the internet equivalent of a parasitical growth feeding off the good ideas of others. Some might disagree with that, of course, and that’s just peachy. They can bog off, can’t they 🙂

One of the oddest parts of Libyagate is what it says about Gordon Brown’s notions of devolution. The Prime Minister does not want to comment on the affair because, we are told, he sees it as a matter for the Scottish government, not the British government.

So, if the actions of a devolved but subordinate level of government go against the state’s interests, the leaders of that state should stay mum? That’s certainly not the view taken by successive US administrations; they have often condemned state-level actions, even when the federal government has been legally powerless to do anything in practice.

The UK has no written constitution as in the US, but a clear constitutional settlement nonetheless. Now I am not a lawyer, but as far as I understand it, the UK Parliament retains sole authority to legislate over so-called reserved matters. This can only be altered by further primary legislation of the UK Parliament. Within the Scotland Act 1998 reservations to all devolved matters are those concerned with the UK as ‘a state’ and include e.g. the Constitution, foreign affairs and defence.

Let’s play a little thought experiment. What if a devolved level of government takes an action that is within its legal competence but which leads to war with the state and a third country? Would the state have the right to curtail the otherwise legal actions of the subordinate level of government to defend the whole country’s interests and security? Most people would say so.

That was an extreme example, but the point is serious and recognized in international law. Under the so-called laws of state responsibility, a state is responsible for the actions of its officials and organs, even if the organ or official is formally independent. It is even responsible if the organ – in this case a devolved level of government – is acting ultra vires, that is, “beyond the powers” of the state. Indeed, entities not even classified as organs of the state may still be imputable, when they are otherwise empowered to exercise elements of governmental authority, and act in that capacity in a particular instance. So the UK is legally responsible for Scotland’s actions.

In other words, if the power to conduct foreign relations is truly an exclusive competency of the UK government, with no role for the devolved bodies, a logical consequence is that some devolved actions and indeed laws impinging on foreign relations are invalid, even in the absence of already-established UK government policy. Libyagate is not only about Gordon Brown’s politically-calculated absence, or Kenny MacAskill’s misguided notions of compassion, but about a constitutional grey area that should be explored further, at the very least by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which is responsible for legal matters arising from Scottish devolution.

Interesting. It seems quite conceivable to me that the Scots would want to try to get their own back on, I assume, the “English” for dragging them reluctantly into umpteen wars, including two of the global variety, by doing exactly the same thing.

What is certain, though, is that this moral and political travesty perpetrated by the unhappy, well-connected, corrupt-as-hell, Scottish political sets that are the SNP and the Scottish Labourists, like Brown, is not going to go away any time soon, Brown’s attempts at pretending it never happened (and that he had nothing whatsoever to do with it) notwithstanding.

One simple reason why this is true is last night’s revelation in the Telegraph about the freed terrorist himself, Megrahi. He’s not quite as close to death’s door as these idiots had led the world to believe. He was not in need of quite as much compassionate leave from justice as the sanctimonious SNP windbag who did the deal with Labour to let him go would like us all still to think.

[Cancer expert] Dr Richard Simpson said that medical reports show there is “significant doubt” that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi will die within the next three months.

The Labour MSP accused Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice minister, of failing to conduct sufficient checks before deciding to release the terminally-ill bomber last week.

This attack was echoed by the Tories, who said that the most recent medical consensus was Megrahi would live eight months, too long to be eligible for compassionate release.

The row broke out as Gordon Brown finally ended his silence on the controversy, but refused to say whether he agreed with Mr MacAskill’s decision.

The Prime Minister stressed he had “no role” in the release and he was “angry and repulsed” at the hero’s welcome that greeted Megrahi on his return to Libya.

A storm of international condemnation has met Mr MacAskill’s ruling last week to release Megrahi, who is suffering from prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds.

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) guidelines suggest that inmates are only freed if they have less than three months to live.

However, Dr Simpson, who specialised in prostate disease research, said: “It is clear to me from the medical reports and the opinion of the specialists that Megrahi could live for many more months.

”Kenny MacAskill released him apparently on the advice of just one doctor whose status is not clear and who is not named.”

Dr Simpson, a former member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons’ prostate cancer working group, said the minister should have sought a second opinion from a specialist in palliative care.

A health assessment compiled by a SPS medical officer for Mr MacAskill, states that last autumn Megrahi was given between 18 months and two years to live.

Who’d have thought it? He’s not quite so poorly after all. Aside from the legal implications for the Scottish Injustice Secrectary, the political and moral implications of this man’s survival beyond the bizarre three month life expectency limit imposed upon him by a two-faced Scottish system are severe for the pathological liars and cowards involved in this whole, stinking affair, like Brown and, of course, Mr “Higher Power” himself, MacAskill. They are now, for example, in the unenviable position of wishing this man dead – in a hurry. Very compassionate.

The only thing people with any sense are going to conclude from this latest – and worst – outbreak of Brown/Labour dishonesty is that it really is time for change. If nothing else than because we need someone – anyone – to come in and start the long – oh, so long – process of clearing up their incalculably costly, universal mess. As implied elsewhere on this blog, this latest scandal, terrible as it is on its own, has also provided further unequivocal evidence that Brown and anyone who is stupid or corrupt enough still to support him and Labour, have to go. Forever, preferably.

At the very least, perhaps a change of government will make the SNP-led Scottish “Parliament” think twice before declaring war on Pittsburg, or whatever it is they have planned as the next step in what passes for their barking, bankrupt “foreign policy”.

“Brown Government Falls!” Oh, how I look forward to typing those words for real. What a great day for Britain that will be.

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…according to decent MSM blogger, Nile Gardiner (whom SNP apologist and recent equivocator on terrorists, Alex Massie, surprisingly of the Spectator, refers to as a purveyor of “weapons grade stupidity”, no less. Pots and kettles, Massie. Pots and kettles.)

Here’s Gardiner’s latest offering on this last piece of Brownian cowardice. Personally, I’d say it’s a laser-guided smart bomb right down Brown’s trousers.

The Prime Minister has finally broken his silence over the shameful return to Libya of the Lockerbie bomber, five days after the event. It is too little too late. Why has it taken Downing Street nearly a week to even express an opinion over the appalling hero’s welcome received by Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi in Tripoli, amid scenes that have sparked outrage and fury in the United States as well as widespread revulsion at home? This is not leadership but moral cowardice on the part of an increasingly spineless PM who is afraid of offending an odious but oil-rich tyrant with a long history of backing terrorism against Britain and America, as well as brutalizing his own people.

Brown declares that he was “angry and repulsed” by the abhorrent display put on by the Libyan regime, but clearly not angry enough to condemn the actual release by Scottish authorities of a convicted terrorist found guilty of murdering 270 people, including 52 Britons. His half-hearted comments reflect the ambivalence of the Labour government over terrorism, exemplified by Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s recent declaration to BBC Radio 4 that terrorism was justified in certain circumstances.

Gordon Brown’s pathetic response will do little to soothe the mounting tension between the United States and Great Britain over the Lockerbie issue, or the heartfelt anger of many of the grieving families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. Brown has placed the appeasement of a dictatorial regime above the concerns of Britain’s closest ally, and continues to undermine the Anglo-American Special Relationship.

It is also highly significant that Brown refused to criticise the actions of Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, even though members of his own party have strongly attacked the SNP-led Scottish administration over the issue. The PM’s denials over any British government involvement in MacAskill’s decision carried an air of desperation against a backdrop of mounting evidence of high level contacts between the Labour government and Colonel Gaddafi’s inner circle.

The Prime Minister’s spectacularly unconvincing performance today will only add to the pressure on Brown to come clean over the exact details of his own discussions with Gaddafi, as well as those between Lord Mandelson and Gaddafi’s son Saif. He has done himself no favours at all by refusing to address the three central questions that need to be answered.

Did Gordon Brown and senior British government ministers support the freeing of Megrahi? What pressure was applied by the Labour government to secure Megrahi’s release by Scottish authorities, and was an agreement struck between London and Tripoli that Megrahi should walk free?

The Brown government’s lack of transparency on this issue must be challenged in the coming weeks and months, ideally through an independent inquiry. If left unresolved, the Lockerbie Bomber scandal will undercut transatlantic intelligence and judicial cooperation, and will lead to growing tensions in the Anglo-American alliance, a dangerous course that is distinctly against the British national interest.

When have Brown or Labour ever done anything that was in the British national interest? Never, is the answer. We’ve had 12 long years of a “government” that put one interest above all others: its own. And we’ve had a chancellor – now, astonishingly, Prime Minister – for 12 years who put his own interest above everything else in the entire world, including his own party: Brown. Well, not any more Brown-Labour. Not any more.

For this latest and for all your other crimes against the British people (I’ll leave it for others to list them – it’d take too long in one blog post), you’re on your way out, out, out!

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