Ted Kennedy Knighted For Being Anti-British

I never thought I’d see the day that the Her Majesty’s Government would knight someone for supporting terrorism. That’s how important the special relationship between the US and UK is to the British. Gordon Brown went to Washington to buddy up with Barack. If there is any part of the Constitution for which most Americans have no use, it is the Emolument Clause and the British know this. So Gordon came bearing gifts.

The only redeeming fact is that the recipient cannot be known as Sir Edward Kennedy. Perhaps this is a bit of quid pro quo for support during the election. Ted supported Barack and Barack couldn’t swing getting Ted’s niece appointed to the Senate from New York. But he still got him the gift that money can’t buy – an honorary knighthood.

Every knighthood is given for an official reason. In this case it was for “services to the British-American relationship and to Northern Ireland”. How does that work, exactly? Kennedy is an Irish-American who consistently supported the Nationalist cause in Northern Ireland. He does seem to have pulled up short of open support for the IRA in their campaign of terrorism, though he did compare the British military presence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles to the American military in Vietnam. He said Irish Protestants should go back to Great Britain.

I know Americans are fascinated by, and covetous of, British honours. You would think, however, that one person who would not want to be an honorary knight of the realm would be someone who with such a high profile so openly opposed it. And while there is no evidence that he was personally involved, it is Ted Kennedy’s Irish Catholic electoral base in Boston that funnelled huge amounts of money to the IRA  so they could blow up innocent Brits in pubs and shopping centers around the UK.

So this is the dynamic of the “special relationship”. Britain’s socialist Prime Minister honouring America’s premier champagne socialist for supporting the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

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Oops, They Did It Again

Clearly the Government chooses its contractors on the basis of the cheapest bid, without any regard for little things like competence. Many of the security and information breaches over the last couple of years have been by EDS. This time it is by Atos Origin.

A memory stick containing all the confidential pass codes to the tax websites was found in a pub car park. As a result the Government had to shut down access to driving licence applications, VAT returns, pension entitlements and child benefit.

The Prime Minister has now even admitted the government cannot promise the safety of personal data entrusted by the public. He has not changed his plans for ID cards for everyone, which security experts have said will be hacked almost as soon as they are issued. So the Prime Minister is saying that even though the data will be completely insecure and unreliable, and will be used illegally to the detriment of an incalculable number of citizens in terms of financial loss and identity theft on top of the usual invasion of privacy, the Government must have it to control terrorism and immigration.

Free Prescriptions for Rationed Drugs

Gordon Brown’ popularity is at an all-time low. The Labour Party looks to walloped at the next General Election.

At Labour’s annual party conference, Brown needed to pull a rabbit out of hat to try to revitalise his prospects, particularly to ward off challenges within his own party. There’s nothing Socialists like better than giving away something paid for by someone else’s money.

Gordon will be giving free prescriptions to cancer patients. Sounds really good doesn’t it? Well, the Scots are already phasing out charges and the Welsh have already abolished them. So really, Gordon is giving free prescriptions to English cancer patients.

If you live in the States, you may realise how expensive cancer drugs can be. In England, they cost £7.10 a bottle. Everything costs £7.10 a bottle. So you’re thinking, wow, from $14.00 per prescription to free – not bad a deal.

It’s not a bad deal as long as you can get the drugs you need. Gordon never said he would pay for all cancer patients. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will still control which drugs are available. It will continue to work out its matrices and decide whose life is worth saving and whose isn’t. Some cancers and cancer patients are worth treating and some aren’t. That’s the reality of socialised medicine. That’s the reality Gordon Brown can’t do anything about.

And if you are in the States you may think, well, that’s just Britain; nothing like that can happen here. That’s the reality Barak Obama won’t be able to do anything about, if he gets Hillary’s way.

Summer of Discontent

I suppose it is a good thing that we can’t afford for the unnamed grandchildren to visit their grandparents in America this summer. Since they are dual citizens they are required to enter the United States on their American passports, but upon returning they have to show their British passports. The older unnamed child is still waiting for the renewal of his British passport.

It’s been a long wait. The Unnamed Woman sent everything off to the passport office in plenty of time. She enclosed the required two photographs, taken in a photo booth which advertised that the photos could be used for passports. After the usual bureaucratic delay, we were informed that the photos were unacceptable, so another set would have to provided. They were “too light”, though the bureaucrats didn’t explain what they meant by this description.

The Unnamed Woman took the child to a professional photographer experienced in producing passport photos. This photographer had already produced photos to the more rigorous requirements of the US Passport Agency. Another set were dispatched. After another extended bureaucratic delay, another letter arrived, informing us that once again the photos were unacceptable.

After extended unproductive telephone conversations with the four or five different useless passport office apparatchiks, another set of photos was sent. Then nothing. Why? Because the passport workers went on strike. The result? A backlog of 150,000 applications.

The backlog will take well into August to clear, according to jubilant union officials, smugly pleased with themselves that the general public will feel the maximum impact of their industrial action and that thousands will lose out on their holidays. If they haven’t already bought their travel insurance, then potentially they will have lost all the money they have paid for that holiday, meaning there will be no way to make it up at a later date.

I can understand why passport workers are angry. None are getting better than a below-inflation pay rise – in effect a pay cut. The longest serving staff are getting no pay rise – real or imagined – for the fifth year in a row. It is interesting that the governing party is tied to the trade unions, yet has more trouble appeasing them than the Tories. Because there has been industrial action across this civil service this year, we could be headed for another Winter of Discontent.

The only question is whether Gordon Brown will be around as Prime Minister by that time. His Government is falling apart. A couple of days ago, the third safest Labour seat in Parliament was lost to the Scottish Nationalist Party in a by-election.  His own cabinet ministers are questioning his future and plotting his downfall.

For the first time in years, the Conservative Party is way ahead in the opinion polls. It appears that having finally convinced the country that they are greener and gayer than Labour, so there will be no challenge to the cherished values of the Left, the British population may very well be willing to give them another shot at governing.

Having lost most of my affinity for the Tories, I only want to see them in power to see the Red Rose lot out. I think the Government will run marginally more effectively and we may see a slow down on the road to totalitarianism, but no great change. I doubt they will even get the passport office to function more effectively.

Matters of National Insecurity

The Government is actively and admittedly planning the ultimate in surveillance on the British population. You could call it the Mother of all Big Brothers. Gordon Brown wants the Government to keep a database of every email, phone call and all time spent on the internet. After all, innocent people have nothing to hide. The Government just wants to be able to keep tabs on your innocence.

Sure it’s a lot of personal information, but if you can’t trust the Government, who can you trust? After all, the Government is only here to look after us and protect us. And where else could your information be more safe?

Take the Ministry of Defence, for example. They tell us it is just a fluke that 658 laptops were stolen between 2004 and 2007. That’s in addition to the 89 that have just been lost. But hey, they have recovered 32 of these. Up until a few weeks ago, the MoD only acknowledged that 347 laptops had been stolen. Seems there were “anomalies in the reporting process” that kept ministers from knowing that another 311 had been taken. A significant number of these laptops contained, as you might suspect, secret information vital to national security.

But the MoD doesn’t just keep information on the hard drives of its laptops. No, this the era of the USB memory stick. They have had 131 of these lost or stolen, but just like the laptops, they can’t even say when or where. They do know that some of the sticks also had classified information on them.

Yet in the midst of admitting all of this – and given that the British government never likes to admit anything, just think of what breaches of security and carelessness with data lie unknown that this point – they dismiss out of hand any attempt by opposition parties to hold them accountable and insist they must have more and more data about every single person.  It beggars belief.

There has never been a government in this country – at least in modern times – to have such complete disregard for the people they govern.

Life and Death

According to the Daily Telegraph, Prime Minsiter Gordon Brown has been warned by his whips that his opposition to reducing the abortion gestational time limit is likely to fail. The mood of the House is to bring the limit down. With nine time-limit amendments tabled, the most likely compromise appears to be a fortnightly reduction to 22 weeks. I think 20 weeks should be a reasonable adjustment to even the most die hard pro-death supporter, but it would seem that even that extra two weeks will be too much for some to stomach.

The son of a Church of Scotland minister, Brown will vote against the pro-life position on any attempts to change the law. Even though less than one percent of abortions happen between 22 and 24 weeks, and those are the most gruesome (except for the very later abortions, which it appears will continue to be legal), Gordon doesn’t want to keep them from happening.

What is interesting to me about battle lines on this “women’s rights” issue is that the chief pro-life leaders in the House of Commons are women. The pro-choice campaign is led by men. Abortion is a very cross-party issue here. The Labour Party has long had significant support amongst Catholics.

So next week as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is debated by a committee of the whole House, it will be a matter of life and death.  On Monday, the debates will cover human-animal embryos and saviour siblings. Tuesday will start with lesbians and fertility treatment, before moving on to abortion. The preservation of the unborn and the sanctity of the entire human species is up for grabs.

Travel Costs

The Government are working hard to get everyone out of their cars and onto public transportation. They have raised the road tax on most family cars, based on carbon emissions. When it was announced in the Budget, it was made to sound like it was prospective – applying to cars manufactured from now on and encouraging new car buyers to choose more enviro-friendly models. Instead it has been made retrospective – it applies to all cars from 2001. That means anyone who bought the “wrong” car in the last seven years will now be penalised by about £245 ($500) a year.

But if you want to save money by getting out of your car, you will have to pay for the train. Of course unless your train starts at your station, you may very well have to stand for the entire journey. After all, a train ticket does not guarantee a seat, but only agrees to carriage – that the train will be going to the destination.

You also have to be careful where you stand on the train. Nichola Myhill found out that even if every breathable standing space is taken in the second class carriages, and next to the toilets between the carriages, do not stand in the luggage area just inside first class. There is no excuse for first class passengers to be soiled by the relative proximity of the cattle class. They shouldn’t have to bear with the commoners standing next to their first class luggage.

Nicola may pay £4,000 per year for a season ticket, but that doesn’t give her the right or priviledge of standing inside first class, next to rows of empty seats. She was duly fined £69 ($140) on the spot for such outrageous behaviour. (The fine is calculated as twice the cost of the first class ticket.) If she can’t squeeze into the toilet area, she just has to miss work.

This story was carried in several national newspapers. In the comments section to one, a reader proposed a logical solution: “Perhaps we should open up the roof like they do in other third-world countries?”