Here we go, Saturday night and a glorious cover song. It’s got a link to last evening’s offering, can you work it out?
British Foreign Secretary Margaret a Beckett has roled up her sleeves and weighed in on the kidnapped British sailors issue. Mrs Beckett has confirmed that a British diplomatic note had been sent to the Iranians. "I think everyone regrets that this position has arisen. What we want is a way out of it – we want it peacefully and we want it as soon as possible." Baaaaaaaaaaa.. !
Meanwhile, a group of some 700 peace loving civilised people staged a brief demonstration in the Iranian capital Friday against the U.K. and the 15 U.K. sailors being held by Iran. Leaving Tehran University campus after Friday prayers (What better time?) the protesters "spontaneously" walked a few hundred meters down the road chanting "Death to Britain!" and "We condemn the British invasion!"
Did you see that a New York art gallery has decided to cancel an exhibit of a chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ after protests by a US Catholic group? The six-foot (1.8m) sculpture, entitled "My Sweet Lord", depicts a naked Jesus Christ with his arms outspread. The sculpture, by artist Cosimo Cavallaro, was to have been displayed from Monday at Manhattan’s Lab Gallery. The timing, over Easter Holy Week – the most important part of the Christian year – provoked an outcry. The Roger Smith Hotel housing the Lab gallery decided to cancel the exhibition after the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for a boycott.
Not sure how I feel about it. Clearly it is an outrage, designed to provoke, to insult, and Christ is a popular target. But on the other hand, we aren’t intolerant Muslims who go crazy the minute anyone says a word of criticism about our Lord. Jesus Christ is bigger than a poxy chocolate statue and giving publicity to Cavallero is probably the worst thing to do. I’m looking forward to this same "brave" artist producing a Muhammed shaped sweets for kids, Prophet pralines…?
It’s a beautiful Spring day here in Northern Ireland. Gardens are being manicured, flowers are beginning to bloom with daffodils and crocuses everywhere, birds are even building a nest in a tree right in my front lawn. Just got back from visiting my dad, who is slowly dying and I couldn’t help but reflect upon the contrast of Spring heralding new life whilst other life has to come to an end. It’s the way of the world, I guess, but somehow days like this make me feel worse. Odd, isn’t it?
The war is not only over but victory has been declared!
The fact that Mr Trimble was able to secure half of that “victory” (a place for murderers in the government of Northern Ireland) is ignored but let’s be fair – you cannot take an oath like the one McGuinness will take without accepting the right of the state to exist (cough – Michael Collins)!
More specifically, the EU backs trade with Iran rather than support for Britain. European foreign ministers failed last night to back Britain in a threat to freeze the €14 billion trade in exports to Iran, as the hostage crisis descended into a propaganda circus.
EU foreign ministers meeting in Germany called for the sailors to be freed but RULED OUT any tightening of lucrative export credit rules. The EU is Iran’s biggest trading partner. British officials are understood to have taken soundings on economic sanctions before the meeting but found few takers. France, Iran’s second-largest EU trading partner, cautioned that further confrontation should be avoided. The Dutch said it was important not to risk a breakdown in dialogue.
Who is surprised? The EU puts its financial opportunities from Iran before any sense of solidarity with Britain. Once again the ludicrous notion perpetuated by Blair that we are "at the heart" of the EU is a fantasy. Iran is closer to the black heart of Europe than we will ever be. It’s also going to be that little bit closer to being within missile reach of a nuke ready Iran
What fate awaits a country that has no effective borders? The next decade will see the UK provide an answer to that question – and the omens are not good. I was reading that migrants from eastern Europe are pushing down British workers’ wages and increasing unemployment.
Lord Turner has told Tony Blair that low-paid workers are earning less following the arrival of 600,000 migrants from countries such as Poland. He also believes that unskilled British workers are being left without jobs.
Meanwhile, Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said:
"At last someone is getting through to the Government the real-life consequences of the massive levels of immigration, which it has not only permitted, but stimulated. If they do not now regain control of our borders, their traditional supporters will desert them in droves."
Previously, David Frost, of the British Chambers of Commerce, has warned that current levels of migration are "not tenable", and are leaving young Britons out of work. In evidence to a Tory seminar group, Mr Frost said many arrive with degrees, but are willing to take non-graduate jobs. This leaves UK nationals who do not have degrees with nowhere to turn.
"There are now some concerns, wider economic concerns, coming through from the business community that is about the displacement of young white males. There is a feeling young white males are being displaced by young migrants from eastern Europe and that position at this stage is not tenable."
So, is the Government deliberately perpetuating a policy of open borders that means young unskilled British white males find themselves excluded from the Labour market, and if so, what are the socio-economic consequences of THAT? Why does Governmen care so little about our own nationals? There is no such things as "the jobs that the British cannot do" – there are only jobs that some British are either physically unwilling or economically unable to do. But Government policy is mute on that aspect of the situation.
I share the sense of disgust Simon Heffer registers with regard to the decison taken in the House of Commons when MP’s voted themselves another £6.5 million a year, or £10,000 each, to promote themselves!
"To their credit, the Tories, almost to a man, voted against this disgusting waste. The extra cash is to be used to enable the mental porridge on the Labour benches to build exciting websites, or do mailshots, telling their constituents (and anyone else who happens to be passing) how wonderful they are. I do not ask why MPs are so obsessed with their image, because I know the answer: they have little or nothing else to do, they like to boost what they think are their means of being re-elected because they are otherwise unemployable, and some are so crippled with vanity as to be nearly psychiatric cases. But why on earth should we pay for this lunacy? How many junior doctors can we hire for £6.5 million a year? How many new teachers, or police, or how much better care for the elderly?"
Simon is correct, although his admiration for the Conservatives decision NOT to vote in favour of this extra money is ameliorated by the fact that they will still accept it care of Labour largesse. Maybe the Conservatives could donate it to charity, so ensuring their hands remain clean?
I would give a guarded welcome to the decision to cut up to 1,700 jobs from the health service in Northern Ireland – more than double the original estimate drawn up by the Department of Health. It had been anticipated that up to 800 clerical, managerial and executive jobs would go as part of a shake-up after the Review of Public Administration. It was set up to look at how NI public services are organised and how best to fund them. The losses will be phased in over a four-year period. They aim to save £50m per year to be invested directly back into frontline services.
The NHS is a bureaucratic monstrosity and reducing some of this vast administration is a good thing. However I also wonder if the organisational abilities of this organisation will improve as a consequence of this decision, or will it just stagger along, still inherently dysfunctional because of the political masters that control it, but with a few less administrators?
Wonder what you make of Iran’s suggestion that a deal be cut to exchange 15 Royal Navy personnel captured in the Gulf for five Iranians seized by American forces in Iraq? Glad to hear that State department spokesman Sean McCormack rejecting suggestions that a swap could be made.
The five, believed to be members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, were seized in January in the Iraqi city of Irbil. If we were so foolish as to enter this game, it would be ensure further tactical kidnappings. The Iranians soldiers were captured inside an Iraqi city, and they were caught out supplying Iraqi terrorists with weapons. In no way is there ANY comparison to British sailors carrying out a UN mandate in Iraq waters. But then again this is Iran we are deaing with and truth and reason have no place in the Mullah’s thinking.
It’s now a WEEK since the Iranian pirates kidnapped our sailors. Do you think we are any closer to getting them back? Do you think Iran has been put under pressure by the strategy favoured by the wise owls in Whitehall, the diplomatic way? I don’t. I feel the failure to indicate any sort of military action is an encouragement to the Mullahs.