Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Friday, 3 December 2010

WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord

From the Guardian - Embassy dispatches show America used spying, threats and promises of aid to get support for Copenhagen accord

- WikiLeaks cables: Cancún climate talks doomed to fail, says EU president
- Cancún climate change summit: Week one in pictures

"Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial "Copenhagen accord", the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

Negotiating a climate treaty is a high-stakes game, not just because of the danger warming poses to civilisation but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will see the flow of billions of dollars redirected.

Seeking negotiating chips, the US state department sent a secret cable on 31 July 2009 seeking human intelligence from UN diplomats across a range of issues, including climate change. The request originated with the CIA. As well as countries' negotiating positions for Copenhagen, diplomats were asked to provide evidence of UN environmental "treaty circumvention" and deals between nations."

The full article can be read here.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story

Whether you believe it technically correct to view the UK's debts in commercial terms, one thing which did ring loud and clear from this C4 program was that the government of the day has a staggering freedom to commit the nation to immense liabilities. The debts that have been accumulated until now, and particularly by the last administration, will be the liability of the people, their children and their decedents for many years to come.

Although the clear purpose of the producers was to convince us, in line with the current administration's ideology, that the services provided by the State are best supplied by the private sector, in order to do so the sheer deception of the political class which perpetually implies they have money to provide to this or that service had to be exposed.

The simple fact that the money at the disposal of governments is money that has been taken from the people in the form of taxes and other legalised forms of extortion is either not realized or forgotten. However, when Blair, Brown or indeed Cameron claim that they are going to help the poor, disabled or stricken, they are not providing the necessary funds from their own pockets, but simply distributing money previously collected - or now more often to be collected, from our children or our children's children.

It has been acknowledged by George Osborne that many of the spending cuts will not actually save much or any money - the cuts are simply to halt the flow of the people's money to Blair and Brown's backers and redirect it to the backers of the Tory Party. In the most simple of terms this means closing down quangos and redirecting the funds to commercial enterprises.

What the program intended to do was to claim merit for this change on the basis that commercial enterprises are more efficient, because competition requires them to keep costs to the minimum - if they don't, a competitor will step in with a lower quote and win the contract from the less efficient organization. Whereas this may be true, there are just as many ways for a government to ensure that their backers actually win the available contracts as there are for a quango favouring administration to reward their backers with high paying and unnecessary jobs in these organizations.

What is clearly missing is the simple desire to help those most in need and to build a better society for our children by, generally, redistributing wealth from the richest to the most needy and enacting laws which create a fairer and just society. Unfortunately, the political class seems to have lost sight of this, once recognized, purpose and have reduced governance to a process of rewarding their backers with the hard earned, extorted, cash of the people, with the aim of ensuring these backers will provide them with cash or services which will aid them to stay or return to power.

Since the program predicted nigh certain bankruptcy for Britain, clearly the Nation's debts have to be reduced and an austerity program is required. However, why should it be the government who decides these cuts, alone? Most will recall how each of the parties carefully avoided explaining to the people how deep the necessary cuts were so the present administration can hardly claim to have received a mandate from the people for its cost cutting program. Surely, the people, whose money it is, must be included in these decisions - what gives George Osborne and the Cabinet the right to make these decisions alone?

The student riots over tuition fees and other indicators show that already the 'natives are restless' and a single proposed cut, which effects a relatively few of the voters, have brought violent demonstrations. Since the impact of most of the proposed cuts, which effect a much greater proportion of the Nation, have not yet been introduced the chances of these being adopted without a gradual increase in civil disobedience seems very remote. This may not actually result in revolution, but the chances that the nation will become virtually ungovernable, because so many are adversely effected, must be a serious possibility.

A fundamental shift in power is required away from the political class and back to the people - this seems the only way to avoid the prospect of these dire consequences. A system is required whereby the people are asked where the cuts should fall - it is after all, their money - in this way it should be possible to avert the looming crisis. If the cuts to be made do have the real backing of the people, those who rebel will not find sympathy from the population at large and will soon realize that their campaigns are fruitless. If the people are not genuinely involved in these decisions - there is a real chance of anarchy.

In Switzerland, where they have Direct Democracy, the government is obliged to obtain the people's agreement before entering into any expensive program or committing the country to any great debt - it is the reason why these problems do not occur there and the Swiss Franc is such a solid currency. It is time for Direct Democracy to be introduced here - unless we are happy to see the police cracking many a skull or even tanks squashing rioters who have very valid grievances.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Opinion: we won’t be able to please many of the people for much of the time

Earlier this month Stephen Tall offered, in The Saturday Debate, 'Local government is to the Lib Dems what the unions are to Labour and big business is to the Tories'. What Stephen's view does underline is that, unless the Party achieves an unlikely breakthrough and wins a General Election outright, its place is more likely to be as a junior partner in a coalition government, which offers the choice between working with a group supported by the most ruthless of business leaders or by the, oft power crazed, union barons. This will, as demonstrated by the latest debate on graduate funding, necessitate the frequent agreement to policies fundamentally at odds with the membership's wishes. Presently the Party is in danger of losing credibility unless it has some immoveable core values, these in turn would ensure a more loyal core vote.

The most important group not represented by the two largest parties are 'the people' themselves. Local government is closer to them than either the leaders of the business community or the leaders of the Trade Unions, however - not that close. In our system of democracy, that which was originally conceived as 'the will of the people', the will of the grandees of one of these groups will always prevail in this dance of alternating dictatorships.

Representative democracy was necessary because clearly it was impossible to ask all of the people their views on every issue. However, representatives, in this misleading title, have never considered it their role to represent the majority view of their constituents, not even the views of those who voted for them, although some account is required of this if the representative wishes to continue with their political career. With the strengthening of political parties, the MPs were more keen to represent the views of their political party because their career prospects became inextricably linked to being loyal servants of that party.

Previously anyone could stand to become the local MP and would have had a fair chance of election, if they were in touch with the peoples wishes, when the primary form of communication with the electorate was from a soap box in the market square or other meeting places and a time when a simple pamphlet for each voter would not be beyond the means of the candidates. However, as the means of communications became more complex and sophisticated, successful communication by the candidates to the electorate became more difficult and with the political parties having their own manifesto and substantial funds, those who wanted a successful career in politics realized that joining one of these parties was the most practical route to success. Now, joining a political party is the only viable route to electoral success - the days of representative democracy, where the MP represents either their own or their constituents views, is over.

Government in the interest of the nation and its people was possible if their chosen representatives had independence and were able to honestly debate the issues of the day in the House of Commons - those who offered the best solutions to the problems of the day would likely be able to convince their fellow MPs of the wisdom of their case. However, once this independence was compromised, because each MP was reliant on the support of the party grandees, in practice, just the wishes of these managers became the only solutions likely to be given sufficient support to become the actions of the government. Once one of the two main parties had a majority in the Commons - the only solution became the wishes of these party grandees, big business or the unions an our alternating dictatorship.

Stephen is right, the Party does need a core vote if it is to succeed in its own right and not be dragged into supporting the policies of one of these two special interest groups. Why is there any reluctance to have 'the people' as this core vote? It is in the people that the power should reside and it has been stolen from them through devious tricks of devious people. Direct democracy would return the power to the people and is surely a much better system than all of the alternatives to 'first past the post' on offer. Whatever system is used to select the peoples representatives, direct democracy would ensure that they did not stray too far from the peoples wishes.

Only the wildest optimist can view the future with anything but serious concern. Tough decisions are going to have to be made on every issues - defence, education, law and order, immigration, social services etc. The government will not be able to please many of the the people for much of the time - surely if these tough decisions have to be taken it is vital that 'the people' play as big a role as possible in the decision process since it is they who will have to endure the resulting hardships - direct democracy offers a system whereby this can be the case. It is also the route to the big society and would re-enfranchise a disenfranchised people.

First published 13.10.10 - Liberal Democrat Voice

Opinion: we won’t be able to please many of the people for much of the time

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Opinon: the unchallenged global free market

Although the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which completed the UK’s political union with the EU, is a change which significantly disenfranchised the electorate [in as far as political parties can no longer promise to introduce measures in a considerable number of areas without the consent of the Council of Europe] our surrender to the global free market and all that it entails occurred far less obviously and has had a much greater obvious impact.

The promise of this free market is that the whole of the world’s population can share in the affluence which has been, until now, the prerogative of the West. I pointed out in my article concerning the minimum wage that the seeking out of the cheapest labour by the global corporations has left a large slice of our unskilled and semi-skilled labour force facing an extremely uncertain future – this uncertainty is bound to effect other areas of the workforce as the under developed East are increasingly able to supply relatively cheap labour in the more skilled jobs, perhaps best demonstrated recently by VC’s declared desire to open up the UK to immigrants from India.

However, disregarding the impact of these almost certain changes, the very concept of the promise of the global free market is built on a fallacy, because the increasing affluence enjoyed by the West for the last 100 years was the result of a period when there were surpluses of easily obtained oil. We have now reached, or are about to reach ‘Peak Oil‘ the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached – this rate will be followed by terminal decline. This issue is well described in this short video interview with Robert Rapier.

Without this steady supply of easily reached oil the affluence of the west cannot even be maintained, let alone be spread to the less developed areas of the globe, because oil is the only product which can provide its basis, other forms of renewable energy cannot replace oil in many important areas. What affluence remains as oil production declines can only move away from the least competitive nations towards the most competitive – and the UK does not fall into this category.

Given this reduction in oil supplies, the obvious route is to conserve what remains so that it might be used where and when it is needed most, but the global capitalism relies on moving goods throughout the world from where they can be produced most cheaply to where they can be sold at the highest price at a time when production and use need to be as close together as possible – if oil is to be conserved.

Apart from transportation, the profit motive in capitalism demands that products have only a limited life. There is little value in making a car which will last fifty years with just minor maintenance, once those who want your car have one – you go out of business. In order to maximise profit it is necessary that the vehicle becomes redundant – motor manufacturers make vehicles which become no longer economic to repair after about ten years, regularly change styles so owners feel ‘out of date’ and keep introducing new ‘must have’ gizmos so that their newest product becomes irresistible – this means that redundant old vehicles are regularly scrapped and the energy [oil] originally required in production has gone to waste.

As Jeremy Clarkson frequently points out, the energy savings offered by new cars is negative when the energy required to produce these cars is taken into account – far better to keep an older car in service. This short-term redundancy approach is taken by all manufacturers of products in order to keep profits high.

Clearly whilst we are trapped in the global free market, the UK, whose oil production is low and whose untapped reserves are difficult to extract, will be at the mercy of these rapidly changing forces. Free of this market we would be able to manage all of our resources in a regularized fashion which would give our children and our children’s children a far greater degree of security even if we were obliged to accept a lower standard of living – which will be the end result whether we take these matters into our own hands or not.

The danger of remaining in the center of the turmoil of the free market is that we will have little or no say on where we end up, we will be at the mercy of forces which are too powerful to control by any UK government.

Al Gore's Church of Climatism

James Delingpole, the writer, journalist and broadcaster has written an article in today's Telegraph condemning many of today's leading figures of being members of Al Gore's Church of Climatism. He claims that James Lee, the gunman who was shot dead by police after taking hostages at the Discovery HQ, was also a member. Lee wrote a manifesto that he posted on the internet which included:

"The humans? The planet does not need humans.
You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!"

Whereas it is true that Al Gore, the Prince of Wales, Jonathon Porritt and David Attenborough do believe that there are too many people on our planet, they do not, like Lee, try to use force to achieve their aims, but try to convince us through reason. Why, however, is there any movement against and condemnation of those who claim that the planet is over-populated - when it is plainly true?

Those who benefit from this over-population bring forth endless scientific arguments to prove that the Earth could support many more of we humans with the use of GM crops and other techniques developed by scientists. However, they will not concede that when mankind does try to tamper, excessively, with the natural world - there are usually unexpected and unwanted consequences.

Whereas it is true that Al Gore does seem to have been richly rewarded for this work, so suspicion does fall on his motives, this accusation cannot be aimed at the other three honourable gentlemen who have gone about their work in the traditional British way, not for fame or fortune - but through a love of humanity, the natural world and a desire to avoid unnecessary suffering.

The argument with regard to over-population has been highjacked by those who wish to disprove that the climate is warming. It is true that if the climate is warming and this is caused by man through the excessive production of CO2 this will exacerbated the problem of over-population because the planet's capacity to produce food will be reduced, but whether this is the case or just a temporary state caused by some other phenomenon the over-population problem remains.

The Earth's population has tripled since WWII, with life expectancy rising in most parts of the world as the scientific community find cures for those ailments which reduce mankind's lifespan, clearly over-population is a problem - if not now, then it will be in the not too distant future. Since measures to combat the numbers on the planet, if they are not to be too extreme, take a long time to take effect - it is an issue that urgently needs attention.

There is of course a different approach, which will take effect if the situation is not managed. Survival of the fittest will be the outcome the law that has ruled us for the vast majority of our time on Earth. What those who battle for the issue to be attended to are trying to avoid is - that our children or our children's children are not faced with the problem, each day, of finding enough food and uncontaminated drinking water to survive and that being the sum total of their lives.

We have seen on our TV screens how many people in Pakistan simply face surviving each day as a result of the floods. These floods will subside and gradually the survivors will begin returning to their previous lives - if we should arrive at the point where the planet cannot provide enough food for the global population in a number of decades time - the Pakistani's present lifestyle will be a permanent condition in many parts of the globe.

We in Britain should take particular note for we are only able to produce 50-60% of our food needs - worsening as the population rises. Food prices are already rising rapidly and the serious danger is that as the world's population continues to rise, our children or our children's children will not be able to afford to import what is required for their needs - or it will not even be available! The aim of controlling and reducing the global population is a noble aim - with such evidence why would anyone want to find reasons to prevent a plan being devised and agreed between the nations of the world?

To answer this question it is necessary to consider who benefits from a rising global population. Nation's leaders might prefer to have as many subjects as possible, ambitious religious leaders may prefer their religion is followed by the maximum possible - but it is the global corporations whose very structures are geared to growth that would fear a steady decline in their potential customer base who might see such a development as most alarming.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Will the Minimum Wage have to be reduced or dispensed with?

Although it must be hoped the coalition is successful in reducing the nation's deficit through savings and are able to increase economic activity to provide increased tax income - the unexpectedly high borrowing last month does not stimulate confidence.

There is no doubt the coalition is creating an environment more conducive to business activity and small businesses, which require little finance, will find niches in the market to be able to flourish, however, with the banks still reluctant to lend and the giant corporations having grabbed so many of the business opportunities - it will be only the most inventive and determined who will be able to break into this fierce market place.

It is the ever freer global market which has created this fierceness of competition with the global corporations able to seek out the cheapest labour costs virtually anywhere in the world. In previous times there were goods marked 'made in Hong Kong' which, generally, indicated that the item was made shoddily, however, with China, in particular, opening up its massive labour market goods produced in the Far East no longer indicate poor quality - more often quite the reverse.

Given that this labour market, which now also includes India, will become increasingly active over time, it is difficult to imagine how the British workers who are most comfortably engaged in manual work will be able to find gainful employment within the parameters of the minimum wage. To compound matters, since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, we have also seen an increase in UK based companies moving their production sites to Eastern Europe to take advantage of cheaper labour costs - the minimum wage also contributes to this shift.

We must presume the coalition's plan is that the improved business environment will generate greater global opportunities for companies based in the UK. This should, in turn, lead to increased earnings for the, UK based, non manual workers of these companies and their shareholders, which will then, in turn, provide greater business opportunities for service companies [those services which can be provided only in the UK] which will again, in turn, generate jobs for manual workers.

Given that cheap labour will be available somewhere in the world for many years to come, without dispensing with or lowering the minimum wage - it is difficult to see how else those most suited to manual work will be anywhere close to fully employed for many years ahead.

From a global standpoint, a system which provides the poorest in the world with opportunities to obtain work, leading to their circumstances being improved, must be seen as a step forward. However, previously, it was believed that this process would raise the earnings of the most deprived, globally, to close to that of the highest paid, but as the laws of demand and supply in a free market dictate, should there be an excess of labour - those paid the highest will have to reduce their rates if they wish to be employed.

So should the recovery not be as successful as hoped, or even if more successful, there is a distinct possibility that those most suited to manual labour will be severely underemployed. Should the recovery be less successful than hoped or the recovery stalls - would the best solution be to reduce or dispense with the minimum wage? If the recovery is more successful - would it be better for the government to pay employers a premium to employ UK workers? This could be preferable to the Gordon Brown solution of having masses paid unemployment benefit or disability allowance - if it can be afforded!

From a personal stand point, I seriously doubt if there are many who can really feel a sense of inner worth and/or feel included in society, if they are not, at least, contributing to their own upkeep?

First published Liberal Democrat Voice 02.10.2010

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The United Kingdom Thatcherite Party

Some members and ex members of UKIP may be frustrated by the Party's leadership apparent inconsistencies in going about the business of getting the UK out of the EU. Clearly after 17 years in existence and recording just 3% support at the last General Election, it is going to take the Party a very long time to take the Nation from the Union - since the only way out is through Westminster. This slow development is concerning, not only because the longer we are a part of the EU the more the people become accustomed to our membership and all that entails, but also the youngest voters, those who are replacing the eldest - who are most against our membership - are generally in favour of membership.

What is not recognised of the UKIP leadership, or not recognised sufficiently, is that they are essentially Thatcherites and although this is valuable for those wishing to leave the EU, because she was against its increasingly federal structure - but happy to belong to a free trade organisation, she was passionately against the ERM [the preparation for monetary union] which was the next necessary step to full political union.

This blind support of Thatcher's policies does have a downside unfortunately, because for those in the Party and in the leadership positions, the whole package has to be taken on board - not just her opposition to a federal Europe. Analysis shows that, if a political party wishes to gain the support of the majority who are against our membership of the EU, its policies need to be of the centre ground because, although it is true the most ferocious opposition is from the right wing, the healthy opposition from the centre and left is needed to take us out.

Objectively, it must be concluded that UKIP's leadership, in recent times, is more concerned that UKIP is a Thatcherite party, than one which takes us out of the EU. Also, a very strong case could be made that the recent leadership's primary aim is to prepare the Party for a split in the Conservatives between the old 'one nation Tories' and those who believe that Thatcherism should be at the central core of the Party. Clearly, under Cameron, the Thatcherites have been sidelined, however, those Tory MPs who support this cause are very unlikely to risk their future careers at Westminster on a matter principle.

Thatcher may have been admired as a strong leader when in power, but she was never liked - polls consistently showed that she was less popular than the Conservative party. So even if the current leadership are successful and are able to attract those Thatcherites currently staying loyal to the Tory Party, UKIP will never be much more than a fringe party doomed to increasing obscurity. However, before those members and ex members who would like the Party to put getting out of the EU first try to wrestle UKIP away from these Thatcherites, they must feel confident that this is the wish of the mainstream members. The danger is if, in the main, they are also committed Thatcherites, a great deal of energy could be wasted - energy which could better be used finding an alternative way out of the EU.

It does seem as if Tory supporting males of a certain age were captivated by her [Nigel Farage a prime example] and she has become a Jungian anima figure, making her seem some kind of, all-seeing, goddess figure. If this is the case it would be a hopeless task trying to convince them differently - realism may strike at some time, but it is not something that can be instigated by others. Those who became fully mature before she came on the scene were able to see her for what she was and, of course, those who born after her term in office will not be so deeply enslaved.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Lord Pearson Resigns as UKIP Leader

Lord Pearson of Rannock resigned, unexpectedly, yesterday as the leader of UKIP. It had been speculated that he would resign soon after the General Election as, on taking office, he had promised to remain leader only until the election was over and then to review the situation. However, as time went by, it began to seem that he would stay longer, using his deputy or deputies to take on a good proportion of the day-to-day responsibilities. A statement from Paul Nuttall, the Party Chairman states: "The National Executive Committee will meet as soon as possible to appoint an interim Leader before a leadership election will be held following the Annual Party Conference, which will take place in Torquay from 2-4 September 2010."

Lord Pearson's leadership of the Party was something of an oddity - even for UKIP. Nigel Farage stood down as leader in September 2009, earlier than needed - his leadership would have lasted beyond the General Election. Giving his reason for resigning to be in order to concentrate his efforts on becoming MP for Buckingham in an attempt to oust Speaker John Bercow, his actions did not follow the traditional pattern of leader's of political parties. These would have attracted considerable criticism if they took similar, what might be judged as, highly self-interested action.

Speculation arose that Farage resigned because he was all too aware that the Party was extremely lucky to do so well at the EU elections and did not expect the Party to have anything like this success at the General Election - which was indeed the case. The EU elections, coinciding as they did with the Telegraph's exposure of MP's excessive expense claims - which lead voters to shun the big 3, made UKIP the natural party for the protest vote. Prior to this exposure, polls were predicting that UKIP would get 3 or 4 MEPs, had this had been the case, Farage's leadership would have been rightly deemed a failure if, as a result, the Party had only a third or a quarter of the MEPs elected in 2004.

Lord Pearson never appeared eager to take on the Party leadership, but judging by Farage's glowing accounts of his potential - which significantly contributed to Pearson winning the leadership contest, it must be assumed that Farage was extremely enthusiastic that he not only stood, but won. Suspicions that Farage's plan was to avoid any adverse judgement falling on him, as the Party leader, at a time of General Election failure, which may have ruined his chances of being re-elected as leader once the GE was over, are strengthened since it is clear he would like to stand again in this capacity when the leadership election takes place later in the year.

Unfortunately for Farage, if this was his plan, the fickle finger of fate [or was it a higher authority?] intervened in the shape of the plane crash he was involved in on the day of the General Election. This brush with death clearly shook him and the resulting injuries have left him far from his peak. In the meantime David campbell Bannerman has stated his intention to stand at the leadership election - which appeared as something of a surprise to Farage. Does DcB see this as his time to step into Farage's shoes and at last gain the recognition he believes he so richly deserves?

Bannerman's reputation within UKIP is something on a par with NF's description of Herman Van Rompuy "charisma of a damp rag" so is unlikely to win if some of the more popular members of the Party stand. Tim 'Unbeknown' will no doubt press Gerard Batten to stand - Batten came second in the last leadership contest.

For certain, it is time for the only political party, of note, to be established expressly to get us out of the EU to start functioning on all cylinders. The majority still want us to leave, but unless the case is made clearly and convincingly at every opportunity, the establishment machinery will grind away this desire for independence and democracy and the chance to leave because of public opinion will disappear indefinitely.

As Petrina Holdsworth, the former UKIP Chair wrote "What UKIP desperately need is a good communicator who can reinvigerate the party into a campaigning machine. There are masses of opportunities to bash the EU going to waste at the moment, it seems that the real opposition is the Daily Mail and sometimes the Telegraph.

The MEPs have masses of money at their disposal but as ever there seems very little action from that quarter. Tragic."

Who will be UKIP's next Leader?

Which candidate UKIP member's pick as their next leader will be more important this time than ever before. In the most simple terms, this is likely to be, for those wishing to leave the EU, their last chance to get out by their own endeavours. As the years have gone by, although the majority still want to leave, the young voters who are replacing the dying elder voters, are in favour of, or at least are not implacably against our membership as the older generation are - probably because they have no memory of living in an independent country. So if the next leader also fails, the game will, effectively, be up for UKIP and it may as well disband.

UKIP has now been in existence for 17 years - at the last General Election they obtained 3% of the vote. There is only one way out of the EU and that is through Westminster which means obtaining enough votes to win seats in the House of Commons - this clearly is not happening and a root and branch reform of the Party is required if there is to be any chance of success - what has been happening is not working!

The most obvious reason for this failure is that UKIP's leadership has been, as MEPs, based in Brussels, but it is in the UK that the work to convince British voters to vote for the Party must be done. It may be that the odd abusive speech by Farage is reported in the UK and the occasional appearance on a TV show might keep the Party in the public's memory, but it is clearly having little effect in terms of votes.

In order to re-adjust the Party's focus it seems essential that the next leader is not an MEP, but is someone who is based in the UK. This does open up the problem that the Party does not have the funds to pay a non MEP a reasonable salary and, as the majority of the MEPs do not seem eager to hand over much of their overly generous salary package, it means that a non MEP leader will have to mostly fund themselves - this essentially confines the search to someone who has retired on a healthy pension or has a significant income from elsewhere.

Tim Congdon is the only one of the current leadership candidates who fits this bill, although Dr Eric Edmond, the former NEC member, is actively considering standing as is Frank Maloney the boxing promoter and possibly Lord Monckton.

There is little doubt that the Party has been in the grip of Farage and his supporters - mainly MEPs and the staff paid for by the MEPs budgets. The current election of new NEC members coupled to the election of a new leader does offer the chance for a new group to manage and direct UKIP, whether this will be accomplished is yet to be seen, but it will not be an easy transition - these leading MEPs have enjoyed their highlife in Brussels for far too long to give it up without a fight.

Of the MEPs, David Bannerman has already said he will stand for the leadership. Another possible contender is the Earl of Dartmouth, although Gerard Batten should be amongst the favourites to win, coming second in last year's contest, should he decide to throw his hat into the ring.

Should the battle to seize the control of the Party away from Farage and his cabal be successful, clearly the rules governing the MEPs responsibilities will be an issue to be reviewed at an early stage by the leader and the new NEC. Perhaps Nikki Sinclair would be willing to set up and run some training courses for the most wayward MEPs, as she has clearly demonstrated her devotion to the cause and has been prepared to donate a considerable amount of her salary package to the Party.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Bilderberg 2010 - Sitges, Spain

An interesting summary of events by Charlie Skelton in the Guardian - he certainly is outraged by the secretiveness of this group of powerful wheelers and dealers - but points out that:

"If I had to pick the point when Bilderberg finally broke through into mainstream news, it would be when the BBC News Blog published a round-up of Bilderberg reports. Twelve months ago, this would have been barely conceivable. This year, Kissinger must be spitting chips."

Alex Jones of Prison Planet gives the list of participants to be:
Honorary Chairman
BELDavignon, EtienneVice Chairman, Suez-Tractebel
DEUAckermann, JosefChairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG
GBRAgius, MarcusChairman, Barclays Bank PLC
ESPAlierta, CésarChairman and CEO, Telefónica
INTAlmunia, JoaquínCommissioner, European Commission
USAAltman, Roger C.Chairman, Evercore Partners Inc.
USAArrison, SoniaAuthor and policy analyst
SWEBäckström, UrbanDirector General, Confederation of Swedish Enterprise
PRTBalsemão, Francisco PintoChairman and CEO, IMPRESA, S.G.P.S.; Former Prime Minister
ITABernabè, FrancoCEO, Telecom Italia S.p.A.
SWEBildt, CarlMinister of Foreign Affairs
FINBlåfield, AnttiSenior Editorial Writer, Helsingin Sanomat
ESPBotín, Ana P.Executive Chairman, Banesto
NORBrandtzæg, Svein RichardCEO, Norsk Hydro ASA
AUTBronner, OscarPublisher and Editor, Der Standard
TURÇakir, RuşenJournalist
CANCampbell, GordonPremier of British Columbia
ESPCarvajal Urquijo, JaimeManaging Director, Advent International
FRACastries, Henri deChairman of the Management Board and CEO, AXA
ESPCebrián, Juan LuisCEO, PRISA
ESPCisneros, Gustavo A.Chairman and CEO, Cisneros Group of Companies
CANClark, W. EdmundPresident and CEO, TD Bank Financial Group
USACollins, Timothy C.Senior Managing Director and CEO, Ripplewood Holdings, LLC
ITAConti, FulvioCEO and General Manager, Enel SpA
GRCDavid, George A.Chairman, Coca-Cola H.B.C. S.A.
DNKEldrup, AndersCEO, DONG Energy
ITAElkann, JohnChairman, Fiat S.p.A.
DEUEnders, ThomasCEO, Airbus SAS
ESPEntrecanales, José M.Chairman, Acciona
DNKFederspiel, UlrikVice President Global Affairs, Haldor Topsøe A/S
USAFeldstein, Martin S.George F. Baker Professor of Economics, Harvard University
USAFerguson, NiallLaurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University
AUTFischer, HeinzFederal President
IRLGallagher, PaulAttorney General
USAGates, William H.Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation
USAGordon, Philip H.Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
USAGraham, Donald E.Chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company
INTGucht, Karel deCommissioner, European Commission
TURGürel, Z. DamlaSpecial Adviser to the President on EU Affairs
NLDHalberstadt, VictorProfessor of Economics, Leiden University; Former Honorary Secretary General of Bilderberg Meetings
USAHolbrooke, Richard C.Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
NLDHommen, Jan H.M.Chairman, ING Group
USAHormats, Robert D.Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs
BELHuyghebaert, JanChairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group
USAJohnson, James A.Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC
FINKatainen, JyrkiMinister of Finance
USAKeane, John M.Senior Partner, SCP Partners
GBRKerr, JohnMember, House of Lords; Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc.
USAKissinger, Henry A.Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
USAKleinfeld, KlausChairman and CEO, Alcoa
TURKoç, Mustafa V.Chairman, Koç Holding A.Ş.
USAKravis, Henry R.Founding Partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
USAKravis, Marie-JoséeSenior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Inc.
INTKroes, NeelieCommissioner, European Commission
USALander, Eric S.President and Director, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
FRALauvergeon, AnneChairman of the Executive Board, AREVA
ESPLeón Gross, BernardinoSecretary General, Office of the Prime Minister
DEULöscher, PeterChairman of the Board of Management, Siemens AG
NORMagnus, BirgerChairman, Storebrand ASA
CANMansbridge, PeterChief Correspondent, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
USAMathews, Jessica T.President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
CANMcKenna, FrankDeputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group
GBRMicklethwait, JohnEditor-in-Chief, The Economist
FRAMontbrial, Thierry dePresident, French Institute for International Relations
ITAMonti, MarioPresident, Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
INTMoyo, Dambisa F.Economist and Author
USAMundie, Craig J.Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation
NORMyklebust, EgilFormer Chairman of the Board of Directors SAS, Norsk Hydro ASA
USANaím, MoisésEditor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy
NLDNetherlands, H.M. the Queen of the
ESPNin Génova, Juan MaríaPresident and CEO, La Caixa
DNKNyrup Rasmussen, PoulFormer Prime Minister
GBROldham, JohnNational Clinical Lead for Quality and Productivity
FINOllila, JormaChairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc
USAOrszag, Peter R.Director, Office of Management and Budget
TURÖzilhan, TuncayChairman, Anadolu Group
ITAPadoa-Schioppa, TommasoFormer Minister of Finance; President of Notre Europe
GRCPapaconstantinou, GeorgeMinister of Finance
USAParker, SeanManaging Partner, Founders Fund
USAPearl, Frank H.Chairman and CEO, Perseus, LLC
USAPerle, Richard N.Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
ESPPolanco, IgnacioChairman, Grupo PRISA
CANPrichard, J. Robert S.President and CEO, Metrolinx
FRARamanantsoa, BernardDean, HEC Paris Group
PRTRangel, PauloMember, European Parliament
CANReisman, Heather M.Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
SWERenström, LarsPresident and CEO, Alfa Laval
NLDRinnooy Kan, Alexander H.G.Chairman, Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER)
ITARocca, GianfeliceChairman, Techint
ESPRodriguez Inciarte, MatíasExecutive Vice Chairman, Grupo Santander
USARose, CharlieProducer, Rose Communications
USARubin, Robert E.Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury
TURSabanci Dinçer, SuzanChairman, Akbank
ITAScaroni, PaoloCEO, Eni S.p.A.
USASchmidt, EricCEO and Chairman of the Board, Google
AUTScholten, RudolfMember of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
DEUScholz, OlafVice Chairman, SPD
INTSheeran, JosetteExecutive Director, United Nations World Food Programme
INTSolana Madariaga, JavierFormer Secretary General, Council of the European Union
ESPSpain, H.M. the Queen of
USASteinberg, James B.Deputy Secretary of State
INTStigson, BjörnPresident, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
USASummers, Lawrence H.Director, National Economic Council
IRLSutherland, Peter D.Chairman, Goldman Sachs International
GBRTaylor, J. MartinChairman, Syngenta International AG
PRTTeixeira dos Santos, FernandoMinister of State and Finance
USAThiel, Peter A.President, Clarium Capital Management, LLC
GRCTsoukalis, LoukasPresident, ELIAMEP
INTTumpel-Gugerell, GertrudeMember of the Executive Board, European Central Bank
USAVarney, Christine A.Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust
CHEVasella, Daniel L.Chairman, Novartis AG
USAVolcker, Paul A.Chairman, Economic Recovery Advisory Board
CHEVoser, PeterCEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc
FINWahlroos, BjörnChairman, Sampo plc
CHEWaldvogel, Francis A.Chairman, Novartis Venture Fund
SWEWallenberg, JacobChairman, Investor AB
NLDWellink, NoutPresident, De Nederlandsche Bank
USAWest, F.J. BingAuthor
GBRWilliams, ShirleyMember, House of Lords
USAWolfensohn, James D.Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC
ESPZapatero, José Luis RodríguezPrime Minister
DEUZetsche, DieterChairman, Daimler AG
INTZoellick, Robert B.President, The World Bank Group
GBRBredow, Vendeline vonBusiness Correspondent, The Economist
GBRWooldridge, Adrian D.Business Correspondent, The Economist