Monthly Archives: January 2011

The consequences of an end to mass immigration

 The liberal internationalists tell   us  that   the woes  of  the  world would come upon  us  should we end mass immigration into Britain,  although,  like  Lear threatening retribution, (“I will do such things–   What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be   The terrors of the earth.”)   they are unable  to  say  exactly what the woes  will be.  In fact, I cannot recall ever having seen an article in the British media which goes beyond lazy generalisation about “competing in a global market” or  “driving private enterprise abroad”.    Let me see if I can make a better fist of analysing what would happen.

To stop mass immigration would require Britain’s withdrawal from  the  EU,  the repudiation of other treaties such as the UN Convention  on Refugees (UNCR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR),  the repeal of the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the ending  of the rules which make it easy for new immigrants to settle in Britain for the purpose of joining  relatives already here, for marriage and on compassionate grounds.  Consequently,  the consideration of the effects of mass immigration has to take in both  the practical effects of  its cessation on the British labour market and its international repercussions.

The effects on the British labour market

There would be greatly improved employment  opportunities for the British.  The  labour market would tighten and wages would rise. That would place extra costs on employers but they could be offset by a reduction in taxation due to millions of people being employed who are currently unemployed. Nor would  wages rise uniformly. Labour   would  move    into  those   occupations  which  are essential   and  which   cannot  be provided  at    a   distance,   for  example     healthcare     and  education.  We  would   discover    how  occupations   rank in terms of  utility.  Wages  would  rise  in  those occupations which had most utility to  attract  staff from elsewhere. This could have surprising results. We might find that vital jobs considered menial now would pay much more once cheap labour could no longer be brought in.   This would be justice for the many who have seen their jobs undervalued  because of the ability of employers to use cheap immigrant labour.

Employers  would  respond  to labour  tightening   by   using    labour  more  efficiently.   Automation  would increase  and  employers   would  change their attitude  to  the employment of the long-term unemployed,  older  people  and  the disabled. Both  employers and government would  take vocational   training   more seriously.   Government  would  provide  incentives   to  employers  to train  their staff and  increase  the  training  of    public   service   professionals such as doctors and  dentists.  Government would also  be forced  to tackle the mess which is our public education to  ensure  an adequately educated workforce.  

Employers  who could not find the labour to run their business in  this country would have to accept they could not do so.   No one has a right to engage in an enterprise regardless of the effects on the welfare  of the community as a whole which is effectively the present position. Capital which cannot be used in this country can be invested  abroad.  The balance of payments would be improved by  a reduction in money being remitted abroad by immigrants.

The increase in employment of Britons would  be an immense social good beyond  reducing  the cost to the Exchequer  of  the  unemployed,  for people are generally happier and responsible  when employed .    

 The  pressure  on  public services,  transport   and housing would be lessened making  access  to them  easier  for Britons.   In particular, reduced demand for housing would reduce the cost of purchasing, leasing or renting property for private individuals, public bodies, charities  and private companies.   An ending of mass immigration would also curtail  the substantial cost of providing  the benefits of the welfare state to immigrants as soon as they gain the right to legal long term residence in Britain.

Fewer legal  immigrants would allow much greater supervision of visitors to Britain – a significant minority of whom are health tourists  or who are here for criminal purposes – and a proper control and investigation of illegal immigrants. No more sending suspected illegals to the Croydon reception office under their own speed or leaving ports and airfields with an inadequate or completely absent Borders Agency  presence.   IThe repeal of the HRA, our departure from the EU  and the repudiation of the ECHR and the UNCHR  would allow Britain to deport people at will.  We could then not only refuse new immigrants but  start removing the  illegal immigrants who are already here.

Would there be an unmanageable  labour shortage?

The  idea  that  Britain  is  short of  labour  for  most  purposes  is    demonstrably  absurd.   The official figure  for those of working  age who are economically inactive in the UK is  approximately 9.5 million, or nearly a quarter of the age group. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=12.  Clearly not all of those would be able or willing to work,  but equally clearly  a large proportion would be able and willing to work  if  the conditions  were  right, for example,   wages  rose,   employers  became  more accommodating  and the benefits system was tightened as the  number  of opportunities for work rose.    .

The   claim  that  the   indigenous   population   will  not   do   the jobs  immigrants take  is  demonstrably false.  In areas of the country with  few  immigrants  native  Britons  do  them  willingly.   In  many instances  where foreign workers are employed it is not because  native Britons will not work. Take  the case of the cockle-pickers who died in Morecombe  Bay  several years ago  it  was   widely  reported  in   the  media  that   the   Chinese  cockle  pickers   clashed  with    British  cockle  pickers   who resented  them  invading their  territory.  These   Chinese   were  not   filling  jobs  which  were  unfilled   by   the  British  but  competing with the British for the work.

More generally, one of the great lies of modern British politics is that employers are unable to recruit from the native population, especially for unskilled labour. Vast swathes of work have been effectively denied to the native population  by collusion between employers and those who supply labour.  This happens both within the indigenous ethnic minorities who only employ from their own ethnic group and within immigrant labour which commonly works through gangmasters who are immigrants themselves. This does not just work in areas such as fruit picking  and factory assembly work but in areas such as the NHS where we have the absurdity of doctors and nurses trained in Britain having to go abroad to find jobs because immigrants are employed here.

The other thing which prevents native Britons taking jobs in some parts of the country is the fact that the native Briton does not want to work for employers whose workforce is predominantly formed of  immigrants or native-born ethnic minorities. Like every other people,  native Britons do  not  wish to be  forced to work in their own land in  an  employment where they are in the minority, especially where they could find themselves in a situation where the workplace language is not English.

It is also important to understand  that the menial  jobs immigrants  take are worth far more to them than a native Briton.  If you earn as little as £200 a week net – many immigrants work cash in hand – and  live  in accommodation   either   supplied  by  an  employer   or   in   crowded accommodation for very little rent –   you will probably still be able to save a substantial amount, say,  £2,000 pa.

If  you  come from China where wages  even in the  big  cities are  50 pence an hour, you would earn £1,,000 pa for a 40 hour week.  Working at a  menial job in Britain allows you to save double the average  Chinese big  city annual wage in a year. That money remitted to China takes  on the  local purchasing power.  The multiplier for Eastern  Europeans  is less,  but even there £2,000 saved in a year would be a good professional salary in places such as Poland. Give native Britons the chance to save the  equivalent  of a British professional’s salary in a year  doing  a menial job and they will flock to the work and put up with basic living conditions.  Of course, no such employments are on offer to  Britons.

As for skilled workers,  there are few skills which cannot either be taught in a relatively short time or purchased from people working abroad.  There are far  fewer absolutely indispensible skills. In addition, many skilled Britons might decide to  return  because   the ending of mass  immigration would  signal that there was once again  a clear distinction between the  rights  of British citizens and the rights of foreigner. This would alter radically the  moral climate in Britain which could have a profound effect on the  way in which British émigrés view their homeland.

The international effect

There would almost certainly be a great uproar if Britain ended mass immigration. But  the roar would come from a paper tiger because those most affected would come from the Third World with which we have little trade and where Britain’s national interest is rarely if ever at risk.

As  a permanent member of the security council of the UN  Britain can veto any UN sanctions or even attempts to pass motions to censure her.  Britain is also an important member of institutions such as the IMF and  World Bank and could cause a good deal of trouble for the nations most likely to need the aid of  such organisations.

Then there is the inconvenient  fact  for critics  that no government in the world is officially for uncontrolled immigration.   Even more embarrassing, most of the members of the UN have immigration regimes incomparably harsher than Britain has at present.  A phrase including glass houses and stones comes to mind.

As for international  trade there is no reason to imagine that Britain would suffer. The vast majority of our trade is with the developed world.   It is in the self-interest of  our trading partners to prevent action against Britain because Britain is not only an important importer  but an important exporter.  To take just one example, and a very potent one, Britain’s arms industry is one of the largest  in the world.  The willingness to sell arms is a strong bargaining card with every country on the planet.  Britain is also tied into the economies of the developed world  through joint projects such as Airbus and the supply of parts to industries such as car-making (a great deal is supplied to German makes believe it or not).    The developed world, including the EU, would simply cut off their noses to spite their faces if they took action against Britain.  There are also the rules of the WTO agreements which would prevent such behaviour.

What of Britons who are living abroad? It is unlikely their host countries would act against them for the simple reason there are substantial communities of citizens from those host countries resident in Britain. It is also true that most Britons living abroad do so in the developed world, the countries of which are  much less likely to expel those legally resident en masse than a third world dictatorship.  Moreover, in most cases Britain would have more foreigners of a particular nationality living in Britain than any foreign country has of Britons living in their country. The balance of trade would be very much in Britain’s favour if reciprocal mass expulsions  resulted.

Do Britons want an end to mass immigration?

In these politically correct times where people have learnt that to speak against pc orthodoxy is a dangerous thing which can result in the loss of your job or criminal prosecution,  it is difficult to get an honest answer to a polling question such as “Do you think post-war immigration has been a good or bad thing?” or “Do you think immigration should be reduced?”, although even with such questions  a healthy minority give the non-pc answer.. To get at the truth one has to look at the responses to questions such as “Do you think Britain should be tougher on illegal immigrants?”. These type of questions invariably produces the sort of answer which would have brought a smile to a Soviet apparatchik,  commonly being above 80%  for tougher action, which is pretty astounding when around 10% of the British population is comprised of immigrants.

It is also noteworthy that concern about immigration has been at the top of issues concerning the British for years; this despite the fact that every mainstream British political party has  with the willing collusion of the British media, done  everything they can to suppress public debate about the issue.   

Anyone who believes that the British people welcomed the post-war immigration and want more of it is self-deluding to the point of imbecility.

*PPP and PFI = Buy now, pay later

 “Figures obtained by this newspaper [Daily Telegraph] through Freedom of Information requests reveal the full, mind-boggling cost of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) upon which the last government relied to fund its public sector infrastructure projects. More than 900 schemes have been completed with a total capital value of £56 billion – yet the amount the taxpayer will have to repay currently stands at £229 billion. That is the kind of interest rate a sink-estate loan shark would be proud of. In one particularly egregious example of how not to negotiate a contract, the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley in Kent cost the contractor £118 million to build but the final cost to the NHS will be £1.2 billion.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8279753/Gordon-Browns-poisoned-PFI-legacy.html 24 Jan 2011)

Startling as the figures above are, if it had not been for the recession they could have been considerably higher because  there is no reason to believe the Labour Government would not have kept on accelerating their PFI  spending at frightening pace if the economy had not all but capsized in 2008.  The Daily Telegraph reported in 2006 that:

 “The size of the Government’s controversial Private Finance Initiative scheme is expected to spiral from £53  billion to almost £80 billion in the next four years.

Treasury documents reveal that ministers have approved 200 new PFI deals worth £26 billion to start by 2010, and the amount involved in each has almost doubled. The average size of each contract awarded for the next            four years is £130 million, compared with £75 million between 1987 and 2005.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1517684/Whitehall-oversees-huge-increase-in-private-financing-of-public-projects.html

How did Britain develop such an almighty and dishonest mess?  The Private Public Partnership (PPP) began in earnest in the 1980s as the Thatcher Government sought to both satisfy its ideological dreams (public service = bad; private business = good) and reduce the headline figure of a burgeoning national debt. In 1992 the major Government introduced a new form of PPP the  Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which was primarily a way of keeping money off the national debt books. The Blair and Brown Governments greatly increased its use.  

The really frightening thing is the fact that the true cost of these schemes is unknown. The £229 billion cited by the Telegraph is speculative. That is not because the paper has false data or has guessed to cover gaps. It is simply because it is impossible to quantify eventual costs. Sometimes this is because the contracts are so long that renegotiation of terms is built into the contract at certain points. In others, the contracts are too tight for the private company to make a reasonable profit and provide a decent product or service. Private companies may even accept risks and obligations in their contracts which they know they cannot meet and go into the contract with the intent of holding the taxpayer to ransom by saying they will not honour the contract unless the terms are improved. (The experience of military procurement shows how often original quotes are wildly below the actual cost).

Whether the default on contract terms is intended or not, it leaves the public body with a real headache. If they do not give in to a company’s demands or simply offer more off their own bat to keep the show on the road, they may well have to pay a new contractor even more than is being asked by the existing contractor. Nor is it a given that there will be another company which can take on the contract, because many public contracts are so large few companies could handle them and some, for example, the maintenance of the railways, requires specialist skills which are not readily available.

Then there is the problem of what happens if a company goes bust. It is all very well saying that the contractor will bear the cost if things go wrong. They may not be able to or be unwilling to bear losses and in either case liquidate –liquidation will be relatively painless because a company will have been set up to administer the contract and losses will be limited to the assets of that company. That produces the colossal administrative problem of what to do if a contractor fails to fulfil a contract. The state will no longer own  the facilities or employ the staff to take over a failed contract. If the contractor is providing an essential service such as health provision or running a local authorities schools, the contract cannot simply be allowed to lapse and time taken to award another one because continuity is essential. Such a situation opens the way to Governments being willing to pay well over the odds to keep the service running.

The contract to maintain London Underground which ended in tears in 2008 is a classic example of the problems of PPP and PFI. Ignoring the shambles which are our privatised railways, the Labour Government forced a PPP on the London Underground, one of the largest Metro systems in the world and a transport conduit absolutely necessary to London’s functioning, carrying as it does millions of people a day. They added insult to injury by retaining the running of the trains in public hands while putting the maintenance of the infrastructure – track, stations, signalling and so on – in the hands of private companies.  The fact that it was the maintenance of the infrastructure which has caused the most serious of the problems  in the privatised overground railways was recklessly ignored. Just to make sure that it was a disaster, the contracts were divided between two groups. In addition, the contracts to set up the PPP ran to some two million words,  which  made it a lawyers’ golden egg as squabbling between contractors and Transport for London continued incessantly which undermined the executive efficiency of both Transport for London and the contract holders. Here is the Daily Telegraph in 2007:

“The PPP was a classic Labour fudge. Labour’s reformers at the Treasury wanted to privatise the Tube, but old Labour had promised not to. The result was a Third Way on wheels, which repeated the Railtrack mistake of separating responsibility for trains and track. Under the PPP, the trains remained in public hands, with London Mayor Ken Livingstone in charge via the capital’s transport authority, Transport for London. The tracks, tunnels and signals were carved up, with three private infrastructure companies (infracos) undertaking to maintain and upgrade them on 30-year leases, starting in 2003.

Metronet – a consortium of WS Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF Energy and Thames Water – won the bid for two of the infracos, agreeing to do the work for £17bn.(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2812424/Signal-failures-that-sent-PPP-down-the-tube.html)

In May 2008, after a Metronet had a  period in administration, the two Metronet infracos were transferred back into public hands to Transport for London.  

This PPP had just about every flaw that one could imagine. The contractwas very long. Even if everything had gone to plan, the eventual cost to the public was unknown.  Right from the start the taxpayer was paying a subsidy to the private consortia of £1 billion a year, despite assurances originally that no subsidies would be paid.

The contractors’ liability for cost overruns was capped, more or less, at £50 million for each quarter of the 30 year deal and there was a disclaimer for events such as flooding. If the private companies ran into trouble, the taxpayer had to take over responsibility for 95% of the loans taken out by the private companies. Just to put the cherry on the cake, the private companies were given a “guaranteed” rate of return on capital of almost 20%, a return twice that considered to be a good commercial profit.

Apart from overly favourable contracts, the cost of PPP and PFI projects are expensive because the private concerns financing the projects have to borrow  money at a higher rate of interest than the Government can, perhaps 1-2 per cent  more.  That is because the risk is greater for the lender. The borrower has to make a profit on the borrowed money so he must charge more than he is paying for the money to finance the scheme

There is also the problem of divided responsibilities. We now have hospitals where there are separate PFI contractors for the food, for the ward cleaning, for the laundry, for the cleaning and maintenance of multi-media installations (TV/Internet etc) and the general maintenance of the building. No one has overall control. Head teachers with PFI maintenance contracts find they cannot change as much as lightbulb without getting the PFI contractor in. To add insult to injury such services often result in offensively high charges, for example:

“George Osborne, the Chancellor, recently told how he was informed that under the Treasury’s PFI service contract signed by Labour, the cost of supplying a Christmas tree to the Treasury stood at £900, despite being sold by the retailer B&Q for only £40.

A few months earlier, he had been told that the PFI contractor would charge £148.58 to provide a fish and chip lunch for six in his private office.

In the end, Mr Osborne, Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, and their team ate the same lunch in the Treasury canteen for £32.88.

Hospitals have complained that PFI service contracts mean that they have to pay up to £333 to have a light bulb changed.

A hospital in Hereford was charged £963 to have a new television aerial, and a school £1,000 for a computer desk which normally retails at £200.” (Daily Telegraph Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent 8:00AM GMT 27 Dec 2010)

One of the things which strikes outsiders as odd about PPP/PFI is the constant granting of contracts to the same bidders  after the bidders have already run contracts in unsatisfactory fashion. Capita is an example which comes to mind with, for example, the Criminal Records  Bureau fiasco of September 2002 when schools were prevented from opening for the new term because those working in the schools had not been vetted for criminal convictions in time, the Individual Learning Accounts scheme which resulted in a loss of at least tens of millions of pounds.

Part of the explanation lies in the size of the undertaking. Many of the contracts being offered are of a size and complexity to reduce the number of realistic bidders to at best a few and at worst one.  The other possible reason for continued contract winning regardless of performance is corruption. That is not to suggest that corruption has occurred to date, merely that the possibility exists

In modern times, the British Civil Service has been remarkably free from corruption considering the vast amount of money it disposes of each year. There are two sound reasons for this. The first is the tradition of public service. This developed primarily from  the lifelong  working careers public servants, especially senior ones, have commonly had and the ethos of the Civil Service as an apolitical  institution which serves not political ideology  but politicians in power with disinterested advice. Government since the 1980s have attacked both of these pillars of public service. They are currently reducing  the terms of employment of new civil servants, especially  with regard to their pensions,  and have  increased recruitment of senior staff from outside the civil service.  The most contentious of these are the large number of “special advisers” who are classified as civil servants,  but are really  party  political appointees. The most notable has been Tony Blair’s erstwhile director of Communications, Alistair Campbell.

The second reason is lack of opportunity. If the Government is spending taxpayers’  money on its own employees to do a job, any serious fraud is difficult because the money is kept within the public body concerned and rigorous accounting procedures can be applied. Where serious corruption amongst public servants has been found in the past, it has been  almost invariably in those areas where Government contracts are granted to private companies, most notably in Defence Procurement and building contracts.  It is a reasonable assumption that the more public contracts offered to private companies, the greater the corruption will be sim[ply because the opportunity is increased.  The example of local government where public contracts have long been used freely is scarcely encouraging.

Corruption is more than people receiving money in brown envelopes  or the provision of material benefits in kind such as expensive holidays. It is also the provision of jobs years down the line, directorships for politicians and civil servants who have granted contracts. That is next to impossible to prevent. Even if a law was passed banning any civil servant or politician from accepting a post with any company which has been granted a contract which has passed through their hands, the politician  or  civil servant could simply be handed a directorship with another company – the linkage in personnel  between major companies is positively incestuous – on the basis that “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  

If corruption does occur, you can bet your life that the contracts will be less advantageous for the taxpayer than honestly negotiated ones. 

 Because many of the contracts are for periods of 30 years or more there is no meaningful political responsibility. The life of politicians in Government is short on average, either because of election defeats or sacking by the PM of the day. Five continuous years as a cabinet minister is good going.  In the vast majority of cases the politicians who made the decision to go ahead with PFI will be out of office not merely long before the final bills are paid but in all probability by the next Parliament after a contract is signed. Once out of office, they can ignore any problem which arises and the sad truth of the  matter is that nothing can be done to make them take responsibility for their decisions as things stand. At worst, all that will happen is  the electorate throwing them out at the next election, which for an ex-minister is no great loss. It should be added that it  rarely happens that an individual MP is thrown out by the electorate  because of his personal failings because the power of party label is too great.

The introduction of private money into public projects by any form of PPP is a fraud on the public.  As Hire Purchase used to be advertised in my youth, it is “Buy now, pay later”, but with the added difficulty of not knowing what the final cost will be.

 The honest way for Governments to finance projects is to raise taxes or increase the national debt. Then the public can see clearly what is being done and judge the cost. With PFI and its ilk, the cost does not appear as government spending immediately. It is Enron accounting, the removal of expenditure from the balance sheet for the present but not the future.  The expenditure only appears gradually as the debt is met by charging the government for the services provided or alternatively by charging the customer directly. For example, if toll roads are built  and/or maintained by private capital, the contractors could charge the motorist directly to recoup their costs.

But the deceit goes beyond the hidden deferral of expenditure. Much of the  detail of the contracts made with private companies is not being made available to the public one the spurious grounds of “commercial confidentiality”. 

All public/private financing is a political con – it is either deferred taxation (because the taxpayer has to service the debt) or the taxpayer pays through direct charging, for example, road tolls. PFI does not equal competition or higher efficiency, merely the taxpayer being locked into a system where the PPP/PFI providers can hold the state to ransom.

 * The Government defines PPP and PFI thus:

“Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts are a form of public-private partnership (PPP). Other forms of PPP include:

 Strategic Service Delivery Partnerships (SSDPs)

 Concessions (e.g. toll roads)

 Strategic Infrastructure Partnerships, such as the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme in the health sector, and Local Education Partnerships (LEPs) in the Building Schools for the Future programme

Some PPPs may involve setting up Joint Venture Companies.

 PFI contracts allow local authorities to gain access to new or improved capital assets (most commonly, but not always buildings). The public sector may or may not own the assets, but in either case will pays for its provision and use, together with associated services (for example, maintenance, management, security, cleaning, etc). Capital investment in the assets is made by the private sector which recovers its costs over a long contract period (often 25 years or more).”http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/localgovernmentfinance/pupprivatepartnership/

The nation state – the only way to democratic control

Democracy in the literal direct sense does not exist in the modern world, indeed for practical reasons cannot exist in a state of any size.  What we have is what political scientists call  elective oligarchy, a political system whereby the electorate is offered a choice ever few years between competing parts of a society’s elite.

 That paints a dismal picture for the  masses. However,  even within an elective oligarchy, they can exercise considerable  control given the right circumstances.  What the masses can do and have done for most of the past  century and a half in Britain is  exert an ever increasing  control  over  the  elite  through  representative institutions.  But they have only been able to do this because the  representative institutions have operated within the context of the national state.  Elites as groups have been forced to take heed of the masses because they relied upon their votes to be  re-elected and  the  system  worked  by and  large  because  the  major political  parties  offered a meaningful alternative  on  the most of the great issues.

In  the  past forty years our political  circumstances  have changed dramatically. Two things have happened.  The  freedom of action of the Government  and Parliament has been  greatly reduced  and the political  parties have  become  ideologically aligned.

Entanglement  in  the  EU  has resulted  in  a  majority  of British  legislation  ultimately originating not  in  Parliament but  within the European Commission,  while various  treaties have  removed  whole swathes of political choice  from the electorate, ranging from proper control over foreign policy and border control  to the pursuit of a national economic policy. Most profoundly  the  European  single market agreement and the  GATT treaty arrangements and membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have left British  parties with no choice of economic policy, for as  things  stand they have to support the notions of  free markets and free trade. Any party wishing to offer protectionism and  state intervention in the economy cannot do it  unless  they commit themselves to withdraw from the EU and WTO.

The consequence of the our membership of the EU and our other treaties is that  our politicians in practice can offer  very little  difference  in  policy to the  electorate.  And,  of course, our politicians  find it convenient to  use our  EU membership  and other treaty  obligations to  excuse  themselves from responsibility for  unpopular  measures or as justification  for forcing through vast amounts  of  detailed legislation  which Parliament,  let alone the electorate,  is barely aware is being passed into law.

The  position  is  worsened by the careerism  of  the  modern politician.  This has always existed to a degree, but what we have  now  is of a different order of magnitude. The  really depressing  thing about the House of Commons now is the  sheer narrowness of experience of the members, many of whom  have never had a career other than their political one. Hence, once on the political career bandwagon they cannot afford to get off. The current bandwagon is the internationalist one.

Internationalisation dissolves national sovereignty. The left may cheer this but they are discovering by the day just how restrictive international treaties and membership of supranational groups can be. As things stand, through our membership of the EU and the World Trade Organisation treaties, no British government could introduce new socialist measures because they cannot nationalise companies, protect their own commerce and industry or even ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent in Britain with British firms. As far as economics is concerned, a British government can have any economic system they like provided it is largely free trade, free enterprise.

The Right are suffering the same sickness with different symptoms. They find that they are no longer masters in their own house.  They cannot meaningfully appeal to traditional national interests because treaties and EU membership make that impossible. Control of national borders has gone.

A reversion to nationalism need not be a party political matter in Britain,  but  the  modern  British  left  are  unfortunately conditioned  to believe that the national state is at best outmoded and at  worst xenophobic, racist even. This ignores both the history of the mainstream British left and mistakes form for content.

The Labour Party for  almost all of its  existence  has  been strongly  protectionist  and hence de facto in  favour  of the nation state. Indeed, Blair in the late 1980s was still an  economic nationalist.  Moreover,  for most of  the  time Labour  has been consciously in favour of the  nation  state and  of Britain’s independence – few could give the likes  of Attlee and Bevin lessons in patriotism.

As for mistaking form for content, it is simply  a  matter  of empirical  fact that the nation state does not  produce a uniform behaviour – take Switzerland and Iraq  from the present day as examples of that. The idea that nation state equals aggressive, xenophobic,  badly behaved warmonger is a literal  nonsense.  In particular,  there  is  good empirical  evidence  that  where there  is  significant democratic control within a nation state, this  makes  aggressive  war  much less likely than where  a dictatorship exists.

It is also  true that supranational bodies are not noticeably better behaved than nation states. Worse, they have a large element of the  sham in them, being invariably dominated by the more powerful component states, for example, the UN being heavily manipulated by the USA  and  the  EU broadly controlled by  its  major  members. Supranational bodies are not simply vehicles for the normal process of power-mongering, but, in  practice,  that is their prime function. That  they  give a  spurious  appearance of international agreement  and legitimacy adds to the ability of the  dominating states within them to exercise control over weaker states by direct threats,  the withholding of money and, most insidiously,  the development  of bureaucracies which carry forward  the  policies forced  on  the supranational bodies by  the  most  powerful members. ( It is often  said that the UN has no power. This is utterly  mistaken.  It may not have an army but there is a vast web of agencies which allow a great deal of control and influence to be exercised over states which seek their assistance. Some  such as the IMF and World Bank control client countries from the outside, while others such as UNHCR permit direct  internal interference on the ground.)

Islam is simply incompatible with liberal democracy

Baroness Warsi’s attempt to portray Britain as a nation of Islamophobes* raises an interesting question: is it unreasonable to be an Islamophobe or is it simple self-defence? To be afraid of a genuine danger is not bigotry.

  The problem with Islam is that the Koran itself is incompatible with our society, a fact that is made double difficult because  for Muslims the Koran is the  literal word  of  Allah.  Therefore,  the Muslim does  not  have  the opportunity so common within Christianity to “interpret”  the  more inconvenient texts into a harmless banality.

From  the  point of view of English law  the   problem   with  Islam  is  this,  the religion promotes  behaviour  which  is    illegal  in England.  Hence,   it is not a question of a  few  Muslim   extremists   falsely  believing  things  which   are   incompatible with English law,  but the  Koran itself   which  is the source of the belief. let me illustrate this with a  few quotes from the Penguin translation of the Koran   by Nessim Joseph Dawood.

Dawood was an Iraqi Jew brought up in Baghdad. Arabic was his first language. His translation was made in the mid-1950s before the present extreme animosity between Jews and Muslims existed.  It is reasonable to see Dawood as someone who is not hostile to Islam and consequentlty has nbon axe to grind by producing translations designed to show Islam in a bad light. .  His introduction to the translation makes this clear:  “The Koran is the earliest and by far the finest work of Classical Arabic prose. For Muslims it is the infallible word of God, a transscript of a tablet presereved in heaven, revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel.” Now for the quotes:

 ‘Because of their iniquity, we forbade the Jews the  good  things  which  were  formerly  allowed  them;   because  time after time they debarred others  from the  path of Allah;  because they practice usury  –   although they were forbidden it – and cheat  others  of their possessions.’ (Chapter (sura) entitled ‘Women’ – sura 4).

 ‘Men  have authority over women because  Allah  has  made  the  one superior to the other,  and  because    they  spend  their wealth to  maintain  them.  Good    women are obedient.  They guard their unseen  parts    because Allah guarded them.  As for those from whom  you fear disobedience,  admonish them and send then  to  beds  apart and beat them.’  (Chapter  entitled   ‘Women’  – sura 4). 

  ‘As  for the man or woman who is guilty  of  theft,    cut  off  their  hands to  punish  them  for  their   crimes.  That is the punishment enjoined by Allah.’    (Chapter entitled ‘The Table’ – sura 5).

 ‘As  for the unbelievers,  the fire of Hell  awaits  them.  Death shall not deliver them,  nor shall its   torment be ever lightened for them.  Thus shall the  thankless  be  rewarded.’  (Chapter  entitled  ‘The  Creator’).

 ‘Prophet,  make  war  on the  unbelievers  and  the   hypocrites and deal vigorously with them.  Hell  is  their home.’ (Chapter entitled ‘Repentance’ – sura 9).

  ‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolators wherever you find them. Arrest them,  besiege them,   and  lie in ambush  everywhere for them.’  (Chapter               entitled ‘Repentance’ – sura 9).

“Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. Allah does not guide the wrongdoers.” (Chapter  The Table – Sura 5)

“Believe in none except those that follow your own religion.” (Chapter The Imrans – sura 3)

‘Believers, do not  choose the infidels rather than the faithful for your friends. ‘ (Chapter Women – sura 4)

‘Unbelievers are those who declare: ‘Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary.’ (Chapter The Table – sura 5)

“The unbelievers are your inveterate enemies.” (Chapter Women – sura 4) 

“The only true faith in Allah’s sight is Islam.He that denies Allah’s revelations should know that swift is God’s reckoning.” (Chapter entitled The Imrans –  Sura 3)

  ‘You shall not wed pagan women, unless they embrace  the faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an  idolatress…’ (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’ – sura 2).

  ‘Believers,  retaliation  is  decreed  for  you  in  bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a    slave,  and  a  female  for  a  female.’   (Chapter entitled ‘The Cow’ -sura 2).   

  ‘Remember the words of Lot, who said to his people : “Will you persist in these indecent acts which no other nation has committed before you? You lust after men instead of women. Truly, you are a degenerate people.”‘(Chapter  The Heights -sura 7).

In  that small selection – and the Koran is  jam-packed  with similar  injunctions  – we  have  anti-Semitism,  homophobia,  sanction for the subordination of women and the right to beat  them  and   general calls to strike  down  non-Muslims.   In   short  the Koran contains much which is illegal not  only  in  terms of the behaviour  it sanctions for Muslims, but also in terms  of  breaching the laws  regarding  racial  incitement.

The genesis of  Christianity and Islam are very different. Christianity spent several centuries as a persecuted religion. This eventually resulted in a quietest mentality whereby the religion was practised in the main  as a private devotion which did not challenge the state. The emperor Constantine  then made it the state religion of Rome in the early fourth century   whereby it became an instrument of state. This brought it under another form of control.

Islam’s development was the reverse of Christianity. From the first it was an aggressive, expansionist religion which spread itself through war. It was an elite ideology which  lacked the refining period of persecution experienced by Christianity to make it meek.  It remains so to this day.

*http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/8272933/Baroness-Warsi-Islamophobia-seen-as-normal.html

No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab’

London Evening Standard
  
Mark Blunden
20 Jan 2011

Campaigners against a maximum security “superlab” in the heart of London are calling for a parliamentary inquiry claiming that there was political interference in the bidding process.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, behind the British Library in St Pancras, will be capable of containing flu viruses, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer cells and HIV.

Residents living close to the centre are calling for an inquiry into the £600 million project after Cabinet Office emails, seen by the Standard, revealed that the previous government was keen to “make it happen” before the tendering process had closed.

They also claim Camden council failed to inform residents fully of the severity of the diseases to be tested at the 3.6 acre site and is stonewalling their questions.

Today, it can be revealed that in July 2007, Jeremy Heywood, a Cabinet Office civil servant, emailed officials, including the Department of Health and the Chief Scientific Officer, stating: “The PM (Gordon Brown) is very keen to make sure the government departments are properly co-ordinated on this project – and that if there is a consensus that this is indeed an exciting project, then we do what we can to make it happen.”

The email, released under the Freedom of Information Act, was sent the week before the first bids were due in and six weeks before the shortlist was finalised.

Other documents reveal that among 27 competing proposals for the site were a multi-faith centre and hundreds of affordable homes in a borough with 18,000 people on its housing waiting list. Both of these proposals complied with Camden’s brief for the site, but it is alleged the superlab initially did not.

Resident Robert Henderson, a retired civil servant, 63, said: “Camden went against their own original plan for a mixed-use development.

“There’s been political interference with the bidding process as well as the grave security issues. There should be a parliamentary inquiry because £250 million of public money is at stake.”

Read more at

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23915802-no-10-interfered-to-push-through-pound-600m-plan-for-virus-superlab.do

 
Letter sent to Evening Standard 21 Jan 2011
 
Sir,
 
I can expand upon Mark Blunden’s report “No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab'” (20 Jan) .  
I am the person who obtained the evidence of Brown’s interference using the FOIA. I have a mass of documents showing that Brown was pressing for the sale to UKCMRI before the formal  bidding process had ended and afterwards before a formal decision was made. Here is an example of the documents: 

  Sent: 27 November 2007 13:09

To: HOLGATE NICHOLAS

Cc: _[40]_____________

Subject: RESTRICTED – Land to the North

 Hi Nicholas,

 Jonathan spoke to Jeremy Heywood this morning. Jeremy said he needed the bid to be agreed by next Wednesday – 5 Dec (or Thursday latest) as PM wanted to get MRC in then (or possible public announcement.

Jonathan explained that there are two issues from our point of view: .No revised formal offer has been received by DCMS .HMT are not being helpful of recycling returns – without an improved offer from HMT JS said it would he v hard to justify.

JR said he thought the offer was sent to us yesterday – have checked but nothing in JSs post or email – JH will chase. JH also said he would go back to HMT to see what  more they can do, but that ultimately PM may have to arbitrate.

 Cheers

 Private Secretary  to Jonathan StephensDepartment for (Culture, Media and Sport 2-4 Cockpur Street, London SWlY) 

  This was a public bidding process. The decision was supposed to rest with the the Minister heading the DCMS. Brown as Prime Minister should have played no role in the decision. There were 28 bidders of whom 9 were placed on the short list. It would be interesting to know how they feel about the conduct of the bid.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See also

http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/

Politically incorrect film reviews – Made in Dagenham

Made in Dagenham

General release 2010

Directed by Nigel Cole.

Main cast:  Sally Hawkins,  Bob Hoskins, Kenneth Cranham, Miranda Richardson,  Rosamund Pike, Jamie Winston, Andrea Riseborough and Geraldine James.

This is a piece of childishly crude feminist propaganda, a fact which has (sigh) inevitably  guaranteed it glowing reviews in the mainstream British media.    The film, based on a true event, is set in 1968 with the machinists at the Dagenham Ford factory (all women) up in arms at being downgraded to  unskilled which provokes them to strike.  They may have been justified in their anger, but the film is so one-eyed in its portrayal of the argument for equal pay that it has all the veracity of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with the male characters in the role of Tom and the women cast  as Jerry.  British listeners to the BBC Radio 4 serial The Archers will have a good idea of how the men are portrayed, as weak  or  moronic bastards.   Their roles call for very little change of facial expression as all that is required are looks of bafflement, anger ,  fear and condescension.  

Sally Hawkins as the shop steward Rita O’Grady is marginally less irritating than she was as Poppy in Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky in which she carried cheerfulness to the point of imbecility, but to balance this slight relief  her character of  Rita  is even more unbelievable.  She  begins as a neurotically nervous cockney factory hand who transmogrifies overnight,   in heroically unconvincing fashion, into  the leader of the women after their original shop steward  Connie  (Geraldine James)   becomes terminally distracted by her personal  life.  (This involves a tiresome sub-plot revolving round Connie and her husband  George (Roger Lloyd-Pack) who is, yes,  you have guessed it, useless because of his experiences in bombers in the war, the feminist sub-text being the suffering of women lumbered with a man )

With the exception of  the union convener  Albert Passingham (Bob Hoskins), the men routinely behave in a male chauvinist fashion along the lines of “don’t you worry your pretty little head about it”.  As for Albert, he  might best be described as a Quisling in the feminist cause. It is one thing to believe in equal pay, quite another to be indecently gleeful when the machinists’ strike brings the entire Ford factory to a halt and puts thousands of men out of work.

Miranda Richardson as Barbara Castle has the most cringeworthy scenes, either  humiliating two of her senior civil servants (played by Joseph Kloska and Miles Jupp) who literally cower before her,  fraternising  in sisterly solidarity with the Dagenham women’s representatives  or haranguing  Harold Wilson (a rather feeble effort by John Sessions).

There are  modern feminist stereotypes gratuitously thrown in for good measure.  Andrea Riseborough plays a promiscuous girl who is taking the same view of sex as men (and thus becoming in feministspeak empowered) and Jamie Winstone is a wannabe model  who eventually has to choose between Ford giving her a break into modelling and remaining true to the strikers. Guess which she chooses. Yes, that’s right, it’s support the strikers and go back to machining after the strike is over.  Thus sisterly solidarity is verified.

The working class male is not spared parody or lecturing.  Rita’s husband  Eddie (Daniel Mays) is besieged with clichés as he is shown struggling with household chores while Rita is off on union business. He is also a target for stern feminist lectures.  He tells Rita he is not happy with her going off on union business all the time. He is accused of trying to keep her in her place.  He has the  temerity to suggest  that it might not be all for the best  that the factory has been brought to halt by the machinists strike putting thousands of male breadwinners out of work. He is told  sternly that he is being unreasonable.  At his wit’s end, Eddie makes  a heartfelt  inarticulate  plea to Rita  by pointing out that he  is a good husband who works,   doesn’t go out on the booze, beat the children or hit her.  This provokes a short  denunciation worthy of a Soviet  commissar as  his wife shrieks that  such behaviour should be the male  norm. Rita then heads  off on yet another union trip. The saga ends with Eddie making a Maoist-style confession of fault as he  catches up with her as she addresses the TUC conference.

Monty Taylor (Kenneth Cranham)  as an old-style union fixer, a man  in favour of compromise and perhaps complicity with management ,  and all too fond of his expenses. He is cast firmly in the role as the enemy within the feminist camp for not being rigidly aggressive and unreasonable. As he dealt in moral  greys rather than blacks and whites, he did bear a vague resemblance to a real human being.  It was by far the best performance in the film.

Unambiguously   risible is the relationship between Rita and Lisa  (Rosamund Pike) the wife of the managing director of Ford in Britain Peter Hopkins (Rupert Graves). Lisa is decidedly posh and wealthy, yet strangely her son  goes to the same school as Rita’s boy, which is where they meet. Not only that , but the two women rapidly form a mutual admiration society  with Lisa at one point  arriving on Rita’s council flat doorstep to assure her that having obtained a first in history from Oxford ,  she had always wanted to know from someone who was making history (in this case Rita) what it was like to make history.  (I must confess I could not stifle a guffaw at this point).

Poor Lisa is also subjected to  a second scene which could only provoke derision. Ford of America send over an executive (Richard Schiff as Robert Tooley)  to sort things out. Tooley goes to dinner at the Hopkins’ house  where he is treated to a lecture by Lisa about the iniquity of Ford’s treatment of the machinists.  Her husband Peter unsurprisingly shuffles her off to the kitchen to stop her talking. This is portrayed as an outrageous side-lining of Lisa as having nothing useful to say because she as a woman. Any normal human being would interpret as a man  not wanting his wife to queer his pitch with his boss.

What the film failed to address  in any meaningful fashion  was the social circumstances  of the time.  This was an age before it was thought reasonable for women to be single mothers or for a man and a woman to set up home without being married. The norm was for couples to be married with the man as the breadwinner. If the woman worked it was a bonus but not considered essential. That being so it was quite reasonable for the men in the film to believe that the prime good was for the male wage to be put before that of the female.   Yet when this idea was raised by the odd character in the film it was treated as absurd. In 1968 it was the norm.  There was no conception within the film that in the social circumstances of the time the men might have had a point. These were working class people who relied on their pay just to survive from Monday to Monday. Nor was there  an attempt to reflect on  what 40 years of feminism  have wrought; no  questioning of whether women with children working  would be a be a long term good or the fact that we now have a world in which it is impossible for large swathes of the population not to be able to afford to have a family life without the woman working.  

A shame that a strong cast was wasted on such ludicrous stuff.

Metropolitan Police refuse to say how much is spent on “equality and diversity”

Dear Sirs,

I have been trying to discover the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it is and under what heading it would appear in the budget of the Met Police.

The only reference I have been able to find is a 2006 Mail article – see below.

 Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Daily Mail

Outrage as police spend £450m on ‘equality and diversity’

Last updated at 12:29 27 October 2006

Paper author Sir David Calvert-Smith, QC

Scotland Yard has spent almost £450 million on promoting ‘equality and diversity’ in the past three years. In the past year alone £187 million – six per cent of the Met budget – went on ‘equalities-related expenditure’.

This included recruitment, training and research within minority communities, as well as crime fighting and prevention.

It covered not just race issues, but those of gender, faith, disability, age and sexuality. Since 2003, more than £21million has been spent on interpreters’ fees…..

The statistics were obtained by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats. Graham Tope, a Lib-Dem policing spokesman and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: “The rise in the number of reported racist incidents against police officers is concerning.

Read more at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-412948/Outrage-police-spend-450m-equality-diversity.html#ixzz14o254LHk

——————————————————————-

17 December 2010

Dear Mr. Henderson

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010120000102

I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/11/2010.  I note you seek access to the following information:

“I have been trying to discover the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it is and under what heading it would appear in the budget of the Met Police.”

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to your request within the cost threshold.  

In order to ascertain whether or not the information you have requested could be retrieved within the cost threshold, searches were conducted at the Directorate of Resources – Financial Services, and the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate.

You have asked what the Metropolitan Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10 were.

The MPS undertakes a range of work that could be considered in support of diversity and equality issues.  For example this could include responding to and investigating a range of hate crimes across London, community engagement with London’s minority communities including encouraging them to join the police, training, work to support the progression of staff from under represented groups and so on.  The total expenditure on these functions will include the salaries of officers and staff doing the work and other budgets.  It should be noted that this type of work will be carried out by all borough operational command units (OCU) as well as central MPS OCU’s, and so providing an overall spend on equality and diversity issues is difficult. This is also in addition to the work conducted within the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate, which has equality and diversity issues at its focus.

Obtaining the information that you have requested would exceed the limit set under the Act as these costs cannot be extracted easily from MPS financial systems.  This is because the MPS finance system operates using General Ledger codes (GL) to allocate expenditure within a cost centre (a different cost centre code is allocated to each department within the MPS for financial purposes).  The information that you have requested doesn’t relate to one specific budget line and there are no specific GL codes relating to ‘diversity and equality’.  In order to assist, Financial Services have looked at the GL codes which could be of relevance.  There are two specific codes which could be looked at, which relate to ‘Corporate Positive Action’ and ‘Race and Diversity Learning’ , but these only cover a minor aspect of what would need to be included in a search to answer your question, and these are in fact budgeted for within HR, and not even DCFD.  This goes to show that in order to answer your request fully, we would require far more GL codes to be assessed.

As budget lines do not cover ‘diversity’ in this broad sense, but in fact go into more detail (such as travel expenses, catering, training etc), it would mean that to determine this information would take an individual well beyond the 18 hour threshold.  It would be extremely time intensive to conduct searches against each possibly relevant GL code for each departmental cost centre.  In addition, it would be impossible to ascertain whether or not the GL code for travel expenses, for example, related to equality and diversity without manual searching of relevant claims.

In order to demonstrate the difficulty in extracting this information, I believe it helpful to explain that a previous request which asked for how much DCFD alone spent on hotels and catering for seminars in the 2008/9 financial year, which is an extremely small aspect of diversity and equality spend and not even MPS wide, was also refused on cost grounds.  This is despite it being a much more specific request, because “the information was stored within several hundred dockets which would need to be located and searched through individually.”

We therefore estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00.   This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours [at a rate of £25 per hour] in determining whether the MPS holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter therefore acts as a Refusal Notice.

Section 16

Under Section 16 (duty to assist) we are required to provide you with advice and assistance on how to submit a narrower, new, request whereby the information is likely to be able to be located, retrieved and extracted within the 18 hour cost limit.

As the GL finance codes which would need to be searched are very specific and do not follow broad themes such as ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’, I believe the most helpful thing to offer you is the budget for DCFD.  This is the most accurate figure which it would be likely to provide within the cost limit.

The MPS coordinates diversity and equality issues through a central team in the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate (DCFD). During 2009/10 this Directorate transferred from Territorial Policing (TP) to the Deputy Commissioner’s Portfolio (DCP). The 2009/12 Business Plan included the costs of DCFD within the overall TP numbers. The 2010/13 Business Plan included the costs of DCFD within the overall DCP numbers

The budget transferred for DCFD to DCP was £3.420m in 2009/10. This was after committing to savings of £0.412m for the current financial year. Therefore the 2009/10 overall DCFD budget was £3.832m. This budget includes the salaries of officers and staff undertaking roles within DCFD as well as the costs of projects undertaken by them.

A link to show you the work they do can be found here:

http://www.met.police.uk/dcf/diversity_s.htm

If you wish to discuss how to submit a further new request which will fall within the cost threshold, please contact me using the details below.

Legal Annex

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:

(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact.

Section 12(1) of the Act provides:

(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write or contact Sunita Maraj on telephone number 02071612750  quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Sunita Maraj

FOIA Information Manager

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint

Public Access Office

PO Box 57192

London

SW6 1SF

PublicAccessOffice@met.police.uk

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner please visit their website at http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.  Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Phone:  01625 545 700

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London – on the streets and in your community, working with you to make our city safer.

Consider our environment – please do not print this email unless absolutely necessary.

—————————————————————————–

FOI Complaint

Public Access Office

PO Box 57192

London

SW6 1SF

PublicAccessOffice@met.police.uk

18 January 2011

Dear Sirs,

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010120000102

I appeal against the refusal  to provide a figure for the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10.

A figure was produced  for the  London Assembly Liberal Democrats in 1986 – see Daily Mail article. If it could be produced then, why not for me now?   If you refuse the appeal please explain why it could be done then but not now.

Generally, I am sceptical of about the  £450 limit being exceeded because  the Metropolitan Police like all other public  bodies has a legal obligation to monitor diversity and equality practice within their organisation. This would require the  keeping of records which could be easily collated.  At the least there must be some individual figures beyond those already released.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Out of Africa? – Races are more different than previously thought

This is the cover story on the February edition of American Renaissance vol 22.2

Some interesting new research appeared too late to be included in the article. This is my summary of them: 

“There is also recent research which suggests that the Out-of-Africa 200,000 years ago version of the evolution of modern man may be mistaken. Prof Avi Gopher and Dr Ran Barkai of the Institute of Archaeology Archaeologists at Tel Aviv University have found teeth in Israel thought to be 400,000 years old which from their type seem to belong to modern man. The research – “Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel)” – is published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.21446/abstract   The finds are still the subject of debate,  but if they are substantiated they will overturn the prevailing human evolution orthodoxy and greatly strengthen the regional  development theory. “

Out of Africa?

Races are more different than previously thought.

by Robert Henderson

Researchers led by Prof. Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig have placed a very large question mark over the currently fashionable “out-of-Africa” theory of the origins of modern man. They have done this by producing a partial genome from three fossil bones belonging to female Neanderthals from Vindija Cave in Croatia, and comparing it with the genomes of modern humans.

.
Neanderthal Man: our ancestor after all.

Their initial results show that Neanderthals interbred with anatomically modern humans, mainly with the ancestors of peoples now found in Europe and Asia. This discovery both underlines the genetic differences between African and non-African populations and contradicts the pure, “out-of-Africa” version of human evolution, according to which all non-Africans living today are descended exclusively from migrants that left Africa less than 100,000 years ago. These migrants are said to have out-competed and eventually driven to extinction all other forms of homo and to have done so without interbreeding.

The authors of the Max Planck study note that Neanderthals, who lived in Europe and western Asia, were the closest evolutionary relatives of current humans, but went extinct about 30,000 years ago. They go on to note:

“Comparisons of the Neanderthal genome to the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world identify a number of genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans, including genes involved in metabolism and in cognitive and skeletal development. We show that Neanderthals shared more genetic variants with present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-day humans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flow from Neanderthals into the ancestors of non-Africans occurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups from each other.” (Richard E. Green, Johannes Krause, et. al., A Draft Sequence of the Neanderthal Genome, Science, May 7, 2010).

http://www.amren.com/ar/2011/02/index.html

 

 

“Free markets” and “free trade” as a religion

Free marketeers fancy themselves to be rational, calculating beasts. In reality, their adoration of the market is essentially religious. They believe that it  will  solve all economic ills,  if  not immediately, then in the medium to long term. Armed with this supposed objective truth, they  proselytize about the moral evils  and inefficiencies of public service and the  wondrous efficiency and ethical outcomes of private enterprise regardless of the  practical effects of their policies or the frequent misbehaviour of those in command of large private companies. Their approach is essentially that of the religious believer.

Like the majority of religious believers, “free marketeers and traders” are none too certain of the theology of their religion. (I am always struck by how many of them lack a grasp of even basic economic theory and are almost invariably wholly ignorant of economic history). They recite their economic catechism sublime in the concrete of their ignorance.

The religion has its roots in the first half of the 18th century when there were occasional attempts to suggest tariff reform, but the idea only became a serious political policy in the 1780s with the advent of Pitt the Younger as Prime Minister in 1784 who long toyed with “economical reform”.

The 18th century also provided the religion with its holy book, The Wealth of Nations by the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith. This strongly argued for “free markets” and “free trade”, but Smith also recognised the  demands of national security, the need for government to engage in social provision such as road building and maintenance which would not otherwise be done and, must importantly, the nature of a society and its economy.  Here is Smith on the Navigation Acts: “…the Act of Navigation by diminishing the number of buyers; and we are thus likely not only to buy foreign goods dearer, but to sell our own cheaper, than if there were a  more perfect freedom of trade. As defence, however, is of much more importance than opulence, the Act of Navigation is, perhaps, the wisest of all the commercial regulations of England.” (Wealth of Nations Bk IV. ch ii)

But Smith and his book suffered the fate of all those who found religions, secular or otherwise. As the decades passed Smith’s cautious approach  was redrawn in the minds of his disciples to become a surgically “clean” mechanical ideology in which all that mattered was the pursuit of profit and the growth of trade and industry through the application of the “holy edicts” of open markets and comparative advantage.  The disciples,  like other religious believers, avidly quoted the passages from their holy book which suited their purposes and ignored those which did not. They also found a further holy text in Thomas Malthus’ Essay on Population of 1802, whose predictions, although unproven by events,  could be used to demonstrate that economic expansion was vital if widespread starvation was not to occur.

The clinical, soulless and inhuman nature of the laissez faire idea as it evolved is exemplified by the English economist David Ricardo. Here is a flavour of his mindset:”Under a system of perfectly free commerce each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to both. The pursuit of individual advantage is admirably connected with the universal good of the whole. By stimulating industry, and by using most efficaciously the peculiar powers bestowed by nature, it distributes labour most economically, while increasing the general mass of the production it diffuses general benefits, and binds together by one common tie of interest and intercourse the universal society of nations”.  (David Ricardo in The fall of protection p 174).

The Napoleonic wars largely foiled Pitt’s wish for broad reform and placed “free trade” in suspended animation as a serious political idea until the 1820s, when cautious attempts at tariff reform again were made. But underneath the political elite was a radical class who were very much enamoured of wholesale economical reform. With the Great Reform Act of 1832 they were given their opportunity to become part of the political elite. They took it with both hands, their most notable and extreme proponents being John Bright and Richard Cobden backed by the intellectual power of David Ricardo – all three became MPs.

Within a dozen years of the first election under the  Great Reform Act’s passing, Parliament had been captured by the disciples of Adam Smith and the pass on protection had been sold by of all people a Tory prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, an action which kept the Tories from power for most of the next 40 years.

 Such was their religious credulity that the “free traders”  advocated not merely opening up Britain’s markets, both at home and in the colonies, to nations who would allow Britain equivalent  access to their markets, they advocated opening up Britain’s markets regardless of how other nations acted. The consequence was, as we have seen, disastrous for Britain.

 Disraeli in a speech on 1st February 1849 cruelly dissected this insanity:” There are some who say that foreigners will not give us their production for nothing, and that therefore we have no occasion to concern ourselves as to the means and modes of repayment. There is no doubt that foreigners will not give us their goods without exchange for them; but the question is what are the terms of exchange most beneficial for us to adopt. You may glut markets, but the only effect of your attempt to struggle against the hostile tariffs  by opening your ports is that you exchange more of your own labour each year for a less quantity of foreign labour, that you render British labour less efficient, that you degrade British labour, diminish profits, and, therefore, must lower wages; while philosophical enquirers have shown that you will finally effect a change in the distribution of the precious metals  that must be pernicious and may be fatal to this country. It is for these reasons that all practical men are impressed with a conviction that you should adopt reciprocity as the principle of your tariff  – not merely from practical experience, but as an abstract truth. This was the principle of the commercial negations at Utrecht  – which were followed by Mr Pitt  in his  commercial negotiations at Paris – and which were wisely adopted and applied by the Cabinet of Lord Liverpool, but which were deserted flagrantly and unwisely in 1846″. (The fall of Protection pp 337/8″).

Ironically, the “free traders” make the same general errors as Marxists. They believe that everything stems from economics. For the neo-liberal the market has the same pseudo-mystical significance that the dialectic has for the Marxist.  Just as the Marxist sees the dialectic working inexorably through history to an eventual state of communism (or a reversion to barbarism to be exact), so the neo-liberal believes that the market will solve any economic problem and most social ills. Neither ideology works because it ignores the reality of human nature and its sociological realisation.

The one track economic mentality of the early “free traders” is well represented by the father of J S Mill, James Mill:”The benefit which is derived from exchanging one commodity for another arises from the commodity received rather than the from the commodity given. When one country exchanges, or in other words, traffics with  another, the whole of its advantage consists of the in the commodities imported. It benefits by the importation and by nothing else. A protecting duty which, if it acts at all, limits imports, must limit exports likewise, checking and restraining national industry, thus diminishing national wealth.” (The fall of protection p 174). And to Hell with any social or strategic consideration or changing economic circumstances.

After the Great War and the fall of “free trade” as public policy in 1931, the religion went underground for nearly fifty years. When it re-emerged as a political idea in the 1970s the politicians who  fell under its spell were every bit as unquestioning and credulous as those of the 1840s. Tony Blair’ statement on Globalisation, ie, free trade, at the 2005 Labour Party Conference  shows that it is alive and kicking today. Scorning any attempt to discuss Globalisation, Blair said of those who wished to oppose it “You might as well debate whether autumn should follow summer”. (Daily Telegraph 1 10 2005.)

 None of this would matter very much now if those who believe in “free markets”  and  “free  trade”  were  without  political  power. Unfortunately, theirs is the elite ideology of the moment and the past 25 years. In Britain, the Tories may be more fanatical in their devotion to the market as panacea, but Blairite Labour have caught more than a mild dose of the disease. A good example of this is their response to house price hyperinflation where they desperately and futilely attempt remedies within the constraints of what they perceive to be “free market” disciplines rather than opting for the obvious state generated remedies such as restricting immigration, building a great deal of social housing and forcing developers to release land for building.

 Both the traditional Left and Right have been duped by globalisation. The Left initially welcomed globalisation as a dissolver of national sovereignty, but they are discovering by the day just how restrictive international treaties and membership of supra national groups can be. As things stand, through our membership of the EU and the World Trade Organisation treaties, no British government could introduce new socialist measures because they cannot nationalise companies, protect their own commerce and industry or even ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent in Britain with British firms. A British government can have any economic system they like provided it is largely free trade, free enterprise.

The Right are suffering the same sickness with different symptoms. They find that they are no longer masters in their own house and  cannot  meaningfully appeal to traditional national interests because treaties make that impossible.

But there is a significant difference between the position of the two sides. The traditional Right have simply been usurped by neo-Liberals in blue clothes: the traditional Left have  been betrayed by a confusion in their ideology which has allowed their main political vehicles to be surreptitiously by the likes of Blair.

The left have historically objected to “free-trade” on the grounds that it destroys jobs and reduces wages. But what they (and especially the British Left) have rarely if ever done is walk upon the other two necessary planks in the anti-“free trade” platform: the maintenance of (1) national sovereignty and (2) a sense of national cohesion.  The consequence is that the Left has been and are still struggling with two competing and mutually exclusive ends: internationalism and the material improvement of the mass of the people.

A sane alternative to globalism

Economic history suggests that the most effective general strategy to promote  economic development in a country is to allow  competition within the domestic market (where it does not create serious  social discord)  whilst regulating international trade through protectionist measures sufficient to maintain the general capacity of a country to point where it can maintain itself in an emergency such as war or blockade and be sovereign in most circumstances.  This would require the judicious use of embargoes, tariffs and quotas to ensure that all the vital industries remain as a presence in Britain.

A few industries should be in principle wholly supplied from the British market. These are defence equipment and the various energy sources. The reasons for defence equipment provision being domestic are simple: any foreign supplier can cease to supply goods for political reasons  or simply be unable to produce the goods when wanted at all or in sufficient quantities.

Energy supplies should be domestic because if they fail the whole of society is brought to a halt. Self-sufficiency in energy in any advanced country could be achieved in the medium term by nuclear power supplemented perhaps by new sources of energy such as wave and current power and bio-fuels.

A country should also build up a stockpile of essential materials such as metals and the minerals used in the chemical industry. Five years national supply should be a minimum.

A country should be able to feed its  population from its own production at a pinch. In Britain this is possible with modern crop yields and animal husbandry. Crop yields are considerably  greater than they were even in WW2 and the opportunities for increasing the volume of animal products have multiplied greatly over the past 60 years, for example, in the massive development of poultry farming since 1945.

 75% of the market in every other vital industry should be reserved for the domestic market.  What is a “vital industry”? Try these for starters: metal (especially steel), chemical, biotech,  computers, robotics, motor vehicles, shipping, aerospace, clothing, building, machine tools.

I would also reserve to domestic production at least 25% of the market for goods that are useful but not vital to provide a base for an expanded home  production  in times of  emergency.  Trade  in wholeheartedly nonessential goods – Christmas trees, pogo sticks and suchlike – could be “free”.

I am not arguing for autarky. What I am advocating are trading circumstances which allow a nation to defend its national interests, particularly in time of war or international crisis. The measures I propose would produce self-sufficiency in food where necessary, the maintenance of the ability to manufacture a complete range industrial goods and most importantly the maintenance of an arms industry which can produce a full range of weapons necessary for the defence of the country.

Such a system would provide the security the state requires and permit very substantial international trade even in essential goods.

Obviously such a regime could not be followed in its entirety by most states. However, all could exist within those parts of it suited to their circumstances, for example, Britain could manage the  entire regime, many third world countries could be self-sufficient in food.

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