Friday, 4 September 2015

How many Syrian refugees has Israel taken?

Um, absolutely none. They are turned away. 


Death porn

I really can't say much more than that which Brendan O'Neill wrote yesterday for the Speccie: "Sharing a photo of a dead Syrian child isn’t compassionate, it’s narcissistic".

Since Blair's war in 2003 some 10,000 Iraqi children under 18 have been killed by car bombs, mass gunfire, suicide bombers, booby traps and as collateral casualties in the murder of their parents in a sickening sectarian debauch. 

Strange that Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, both of whom voted enthusiastically for Blair's War in 2003, the event that more than any other led to young Aylan's drowning off the Turkish coast this week, seem to have selective memories. Their posturing seems to me more like sickening political hypocrisy making electoral capital out of a child's corpse than anything else - and will seem like this until I see them grovelling contritely and begging our forgiveness for their part in the deaths of those 10,000 Iraqi kids. 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Human fallout from the Islamic Civil War

To politicians, leader writers and rent-a-gobs I would say just take a step back and look at the events of the past decade with some perspective. And please re-read your history of the 30 years war in Europe. Then it was broadly a fight between two Christian factions, Catholics and Protestants, but with alliances of convenience that saw Catholics fighting with Protestant forces and vice versa, nobility fighting with the armed bishops and every petty lord out to land-grab, rape, pillage and spoil. The long drawn-out fight, with scores of small gains and losses, changes of prominence, as fluid as mercury, petered out only when there were too few left alive to fight and too little food to preserve even the survivors. 

The centuries-old conflict between Shia and Sunni Moslems has broken out into factional war across the globe, wherever they are gathered. Yes, even in the UK - where Douglas Murray has noted attacks on Shia mosques by Sunni Islamists. Behind the fanatical and primitive Sunnis are the powerful oil states led by the corrupt and despotic hereditary tyranny of Saudi Arabia; leading the Shia are the zealots of Persia. One side throws queers from high buildings, the other hangs them from construction cranes. In terms of savagery and barbarism there's really not a lot to choose between them. The old Sykes-Picot nations of the middle east mostly contain mixes of Shia and Sunni with other tribal or ethnic allegiances; Kurds are Kurdish first, Moslem second. 

For anyone naive enough to think that the migrant problem will end if we just sort Syria out, forget it. The fighting will just spring up elsewhere and produce a new stream of migrants. Two things are needed to halt the tsunami of migrants at source; the prospect of prosperity at home (butter not guns) and a quiescence to the civil war. Until the civil war draws to a close, we will always be under pressure from migrants fleeing its effects. 

Nuking Mecca and Medina would probably be more effective in ending the flood of migrants than anything else - and if we're not prepared to do that, we need to shut the gates and let them fight it out. We haven't shed tears for the thousands of three and four year-olds slaughtered in Iraq since 2003 by car bombs, suicide bombers and gang-bangers; perhaps the press photos of their remains, generally a few small body parts and large smears of blood and viscera, didn't make it to the front page.  

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

How one sometimes yearns for Chinese injustice ...

Just the sound of that whining, entitled NHS official's voice on the radio was enough to send me to the Gin bottle a moment ago. Doesn't matter what the foul-up is, how many people have been killed with neglect, abandoned, mutilated, had their lives shortened or quality of life ruined, it's always the same bloody whining apologetic NHS voice ... tonight on the improper release of HIV records

Spokesgit: "Our concern is to improve the quality of service to the people we serve ..."

Radio reporter: "Have you found who was responsible?"

Spokesgit: "Lessons have been learned and we will be implementing changes to help prevent a re-occurence"

Radio reporter: "Will anyone be sacked?"

Spokesgit: "Our focus is on the care we provide to patients and clients and ensuring we achieve high standards; lessons have been learned ..."

Jeez, sometimes one years for the injustice of a Chinese court, a pistol round through the back of the head five minutes after the hearing and the cost of the round deducted from the whining spokesgit's pocket change.

Even Germany needs to lock the gates

Germany's unconditional offer to house Syrian refugees is a bold and humanitarian move. Syrians, however, are in the minority of those striving to reach Germany; 44% are from the Balkans, and another substantial cohort are from Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. If the tsunami of migrants were just Syrians, things would be much easier. And even for Germany, the numbers don't work. 

Turning Germany into a nation of immigration such as the UK has become faces Merkel with judging what the limit is without Germans feeling so alienated and deprived of their identity that they install a far-right government to forcibly remove the migrants. Oh yes, be in no doubt that the powers know that there is a tipping point - and they must keep overall immigration within it to prevent losing control. So Merkel will have a figure - probably somewhere north of a million - that is 'safe' enough for Germans to accept, albeit with some grumbling and some fringe protests. 

Der Spiegel's soft left take on the crisis also recognises this 
The coexistence of hundreds of thousands of Arab and African Muslims -- in addition to the millions of Turks and people of Turkish origin already living here -- will test the limits of German tolerance. The country will again debate whether headscarves should be allowed in government workplaces, whether girls should be required to take co-educational swimming classes, whether minarets can be as high as church steeples and how loud the muezzins can conduct their calls to prayer. But this is a test that German society can, indeed must, endure.

If, fearing the wrath of voters, politicians duck uncomfortable truths, the hatred will spread and the public will lose faith in politics. Essentially, what Germany is confronted with is a double integration process: that of refugees who are coming to Germany and that of Germans who no longer feel they are a part of their own country. The only way societal cohesion in this new Germany can be guaranteed is if both of these groups are carried along as the country moves forward.
And of course Farage is right. The migrant wave is of biblical proportions and the numbers of potential migrants are far in excess of the number that not only Germany but anywhere else in Europe can accommodate without violent power change and forced deporatations. So Germany, too, must find a way of closing the gate once the million or so have arrived. This is inevitable if stability is to be preserved. So take Merkel's public words with a pinch of salt - she knows a limit must be enforced at some time shortly in the future, and certainly within a year.

I know Keleti pályaudvar, which with Nyugati pályaudvar is one of the two still attractive 19th century rail terminals in Budapest. Neither has yet been 'modernised' with EU money, and round the back of both are still shell and bullet scars in the masonry from the Red Army's fight to capture the city early in 1945. Round the side of the station is a structure more symbolic of the new globalism - a vast glass and steel shopping mall. Arena Plaza, complete with Zara, Subway, H&M and all the rest of the Euro trash - including a substantial Tesco. I'm just waiting to spot the first press photo featuring a Sudanese economic migrant in Budapest clutching a Tesco carrier bag ...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Fly boys

I need to be a little circumspect here, in sharing this tale. Thirty years ago as a young professional when first I came to London to work the first Docklands construction boom was in full swing. We were doing works there that produced considerable amounts of demolition and excavation waste, and my first job was to find a haulage contractor for the 'muckaway' work. I did all the due diligence and found a licensed, certificated firm with a small fleet of tipper wagons offering rapid response and a very attractive rate. Soon they started moving sixty tonnes a day or so of soil and rubble, to general satisfaction. 

What I didn't know at the time was the destination. It turned out they were fly-tipping the lot in a 4 mile radius from the other end of the Blackwall tunnel; for many south Londoners, the Docklands boom meant overnight piles of spoil appearing on every scrap of disused land. The firm's governor was nothing if not smart; he has since held great office in his City guild, is a Freeman of the City of London and is frequently now photographed in dinner suit with a chain of some sort over his shoulders. You see, he also had the contracts at the time with a number of south London councils for the removal of fly-tipped spoil. 

It couldn't happen now, I thought, with every square inch of the Metropolis covered by CCTV cameras, but the Mail carries a salutory story about a rise in fly tipping; much, it seems, not commercial malpractice but household waste. Some of it, like the bicycle left at the bottle bank or the garden furniture atop a bus shelter are clearly attempts at recycling, but I think I know what's responsible for much of the rest. Ten or fifteen years ago, a household skip was a fairly good-value service, costing about a hundred quid all-in. Today in London you'd be hard pushed to get a 6yd skip for under £250, and face a Council 'license' fee of at least £50 on top. Visits to the Council dump are rationed and regulated. So people do exactly as you'd expect - they fly-tip for free. And the more that Councils charge, the greater the volume of fly tips. 

Hey ho.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Italy should take 1.9m more migrants - how many Guardian readers are there?

The following figures are from Eurostat - all for 2014. They show the %age of the 2014 population that was born abroad - no split between EU and non-EU countries. Apart from the outliers with statistically non-significant figures (and I remember Viviane Reding at the Royal Intitution trying to tell me how Luxembourgers maintained a strong national identity - it must only be by ignoring four in ten neighbours) of all the big players only Italy is not playing her part in making a new home for foreign-born peoples; to bring her to the 12% benchmark of UK, Germany, France and Spain she needs to settle another 1,912,400 non-Italian born migrants. Oh, and the Danes shouldn't be all holier-than-thou either; when there are another 110,000 Iraqis in Copenhagen they can sit at the same table.

No let me see. If there are say half a million Guardian readers eager to leave the UK in disgust, they only need to open to share their Tuscan villas with 1.4m Somalians and Eritreans to get the job done. 

Persons


Liechtenstein 23,424 37,369 63%
Luxembourg 237,848 562,958 42%
Switzerland 2,183,206 8,236,573 27%
Cyprus 191,587 847,008 23%
Estonia 265,363 1,313,271 20%
Austria 1,410,894 8,584,926 16%
Ireland 741,260 4,625,885 16%
Belgium 1,773,148 11,258,434 16%
Sweden 1,532,563 9,747,355 16%
Latvia 271,126 1,986,096 14%
Norway 704,440 5,165,802 14%
Croatia 568,678 4,225,316 13%
Spain 5,958,308 46,439,864 13%
United Kingdom 8,035,554 64,767,115 12%
Germany 9,817,994 81,174,000 12%
Greece 1,265,165 10,812,467 12%
Netherlands 1,953,436 16,900,726 12%
France 7,661,658 66,352,469 12%
Slovenia 235,310 2,062,874 11%
Iceland 37,116 329,100 11%
Denmark 569,596 5,659,715 10%
Italy 5,737,213 60,795,612 9%
Malta 40,157 429,344 9%
Portugal 859,065 10,374,822 8%
Finland 297,812 5,471,753 5%
Lithuania 137,417 2,921,262 5%
Hungary 447,029 9,849,000 5%
Czech Republic 396,156 10,538,275 4%
Slovakia 174,908 5,421,349 3%
Poland 620,308 38,005,614 2%
Bulgaria 109,239 7,202,198 2%
Romania 211,210 19,861,408 1%
 
Source: Eurostat tables tps00001 & tps00178 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Lords for the Lords?

There seems to be a consensus of opinion across the spectrum that the Lords isn't working. For every dedicated peer giving time and effort to scrutinising and revising the minutae of legislation there are ten getting pissed on subsidised public booze in the UK's most expensive private club. Spivs, crooks, dags, dead-beats and losers; life peers, of course. Drawing a per diem allowance every time they turn up to lunch. So what are the options?

If we need a second chamber - and we do - it must be rather smaller, of no more than 200. Making it an elected chamber creates huge problems of democratic rivalry with the Commons - which is the more legitimate? So it really needs to be an unelected chamber.

However, leaving membership appointments up to serving politicians means they will stuff it full of the drongos, dags and failures with whom it's currently stuffed; we need a way of getting 200 random, non-partisan peers dedicated to good legislating and not afraid of standing up to the government when necessary; men and women of honour, virtue and valour.

Life peers are a poor-doing lot. You'd need to mince a good score of 'em to get an ounce of virtue. So how about restricting membership of the Lords to, erm, hereditary peers? They owe the government nothing, usually have a real diversity of life experience before they change their name (forget the Woodhouse stereotypes - think Keith Rous, a successful Australian sheep farmer who became the earl of Stradbroke, telling villagers at his local pub to 'call me Keith' ) and are generally both independent and bloody minded.  

Add to this a revival of the practice of elevating truly exceptional individuals sans reproche to hereditary viscountcies or earldoms (perhaps not even one each year, and Willie Whitelaw wouldn't really make the grade) and our most outstanding contributors to national life would be recognised and augment and refresh the peer-pool.