Well, here we are at the end of another year as time runs out on 2012. As I grow older, I find time passes ever more quickly and it seems to have shot by.
ATW stands prepared to take on ANOTHER year and despite problems with server providers (Be still my beating heart) and nasty little trolls, we will be here in 2013 to challenge and dissent and generally be awkward about things! It was we do ..well, it is definitively what I do!
The biggest events for me this year are all entirely non-political.
My son finished doing his Master’s Degree in Financial Risk Management and as I write this he will be relaxing after watching the fireworks display in Sydney that heralds in their New Year. My daughter continues into the final year of her undergraduate time and works with endeavor and determination. It’s been a busy year for me in the world of business and a very good one. I work because I LIKE to work …one reason I really struggle with those who prefer a Welfare lifestyle. I think work is good for the soul and mind and cannot conceive of a time when I do not have things to do!
I look back across 2012 and recall the little mini ATW summit in Belfast! That was a nice memory. It’s funny but I suppose I have met quite a few of you by you over the years and it is always my pleasure to say “thanks” for coming to ATW and engaging on our wide range of topics. Whilst we may not always agree, I do appreciate your patronage and presence. ATW traffic remains rock solid, despite the blips that punctuate it from time to time. In the final analysis, ATW exists because YOU and I want it to you.
Politics wise, it has been a year of more of the same, or “Carry on Regardless”! We saw Americans choose Obama for four more years, thus proving you CAN fool some of the people ALL of the time. The GOP continues to show why it is the Stupid Party although Romney was a better candidate than I though. That said, the demographic is against the GOP and Obama will use the next four years to create even more welfare dependency thus creating a courtier class than will keep voting Democrat.
In the UK, we see a Coalition that is neither fish nor fowl. The Conservatives are led by the not-very-Conservative former PR man David Cameron who now insists that supporting a radical redefinition of marriage is the Conservative thing to do! His Partner party in Government, the Lib-Dems, continue to lose support on a dramatic scale. Meanwhile the Labour Party are united under the Trade Union appointed Miliband, they are riding high in the polls, and it is MY view that they will get back into power in two years time. They almost wrecked the country last time round, god knows what they will do next time!
In Northern Ireland, it is Groundhog day. It always is. 2012 saw unemployment kept rising as out high streets became the domain of charity shops and boarded up buildings. Talk of Corporation Tax came to nothing. Irish Republican terrorists killed again. The year ended with Unionist Flag Protesters expressing their anger at the decision by Belfast City Council to RESTRICT the flying of the Union flag to a handful of days a year. Having travelled across a fair bit of the country in the last week, I can say I have NEVER seen so many Union Flags!
Across Europe, the cold wind of recession kept blowing. Countries like Spain have truly shocking levels of youth unemployment, in excess of 50%. Greece staggers on, being bailed out by the overlords in Berlin, to ensure the Union does not crash and burn THIS year. But there is always next year! The single currency zone cannot sustain itself indefinitely but I suppose it can keep staggering on for another year or two! Frau Merkel faces re-election in 2013 and there will be no excessive volatility until the German people speak.
So many other memories. The summer Olympics….apart from the Opening ceremony was pretty good if you like taxpayer funded egotists getting gold medals. I seem to have spent ages on Radio and TV…USUALLY castigating leftism in all its many forms. The good people of the UK have had to endure more of me in 2012 than in previous years! They should look open it as Karma for voting in Labour for 13 years! Outside ATW, my twitter presence has deepened and I have made some good friends in the Twittersphere, along with Facebook.
SO, that is IT from me for 2012. I’ll see you ALL in 2013, and is my way I leave you with a song for the moment…my VERY BEST to you all!!!
It’s hardly worth blogging on. I refer to the annual pantomime that is the “fiscal cliff”. Obama and the media hype it up for all it is worth, the GOP struggle to come across with any coherence, and the whole farce will conclude when a deal is cobbled together in some way later today. This is political theatre, nothing more. If the GOP had any bottle (which they don’t) they would push Obama OVER the cliff that he has created. But they are gagging to compromise and all this pretence is to keep the sheeple happy. Shrinking Government is always a good idea and the so-called fiscal cliff is really only a route for the US to start living within its means.
This grimy amused me.
Martin McGuinness has confirmed that he has formally resigned as the MP for Mid-Ulster. “I have served formal notice of my resignation from the position of MP for Mid-Ulster with immediate effect. This is in line with my party’s commitment to end double jobbing,” he said. Mr McGuinness will remain as the Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland.Mr McGuinness was elected MP for Mid-Ulster in 1997, but he has never taken his seat in Westminster. The party has an abstentionist policy, with all of its MPs refusing to attend Parliament. “I am resigning as MP but I have no intention of leaving Mid-Ulster. South Derry and East Tyrone have suffered immensely as a result of the conflict.
The IRA, to whom McGuinness pledge his undying loyalty, was directly responsible for much of the suffering he references. In particular, I think of the unbelievable suffering inflicted on the residents of the little South Derry village of Claudy, when the IRA bombed it to hell taking the ilves of innocent men women and children.
I wonder which loathsome specimen of IRA terror gave the go ahead for THAT operation?
Ever wondered how MUCH it would take to buy a political party? Here’s the answer;
“Ed Miliband was facing a new funding storm last night as it was revealed that the Labour Party has pocketed more than £20million from trade unions since he became leader. The largest chunk of cash, £7.5million, came from the Unite union led by Left-wing firebrand Len McCluskey. A further £3.6million each came from Paul Kenny’s GMB and Dave Prentis’s Unison.”
Labour has whored itself to the Unions for many years of course but Miliband is particularly in their debt given that it was their VOTES that won the leadership of his Party. In effect, he is owned by the militant trade unions, lock stock and barrel. Do you think this might effect policies?
A horrific story from Syria and a warning that we really should NOT be helping the “rebels” aka Islamists..
“Syrian rebels beheaded a Christian man and fed his body to dogs, according to a nun who says the West is ignoring atrocities committed by Islamic extremists. The nun said taxi driver Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped after his brother was heard complaining that fighters against the ruling regime behaved like bandits. She said his headless corpse was found by the side of the road, surrounded by hungry dogs. He had recently married and was soon to be a father.”
The West is committed to helping these killers. What more need be said? We should NOT be involved and in particular we should NOT be helping these “rebels”.
Very disturbing to read the real and present danger that foreign trained doctors represent to patients unlucky enough to encounter them in the NHS;
The full extent of the danger presented by foreign doctors working in the health service can be revealed. New figures from the General Medical Council (GMC) show that the vast majority of doctors who have been struck off were trained abroad. The revelations will add to concerns that NHS patients are not adequately protected from health professionals from countries where training is less rigorous than in the UK, and from those who are unfamiliar with basic medical practices in this country.
Three quarters of doctors struck off the medical register this year were trained abroad. Doctors trained overseas are five times more likely to be struck off than those trained in the UK. The country with the biggest single number of doctors who have been removed or suspended from the medical register, is India, followed by Nigeria and Egypt. In total, 669 doctors have been either struck off or suspended by the GMC over the last five years.
Imbues confidence, right? The obvious question is what has gone wrong in the UK that we cannot produce our OWN doctors? Why has our internal coineyer belt system failed so catastrophically???
I thought this a rather interesting analysis of the likely political scene in 2015, when the UK goes to the polls again. In essence, the argument put forward is that under Cameron, the Conservative Party CANNOT win a majority and the greater probability is that LABOUR, under Miliband, will form a Government. I rather agree and in particular I suggest the four reasons put forward for a Conservative defeat are convincing. To summarise these are;
1. The changing ethnic demographic in England. All those millions swarming into the UK over the past decade do NOT vote Conservative and this has electoral implications, a fact not lost on Labour when they were last in power and opened up the floodgates. Romney faced a similar challenge in the US and to paraphrase Gloria Estefan “the demographic’s gonna get you”
2. The rise of the UKIP. Disillusioned Conservative voters are being hoovered up by Farage and this is likely to get even more of a problem in next two years. Cameron’s embrace of gay marriage may ring liberal bells but it also ensures that many traditional Conservative voters will race to be embraced by UKIP.
3. The Left is united. With the BBC as its broadcast arm, Labour can be sure it will enter the 2015 election as the shiny armoured advocate of economic growth and the herald of a New Jerusalem. The utter chaos it created when last in power will be sanitised and no tough questions asked.
4. The electoral boundaries. These have massively advantaged Labour for two decades and make the Conservative task almost impossible. Cameron has effectively abandoned plans to redraw the boundaries to create a fairer balance.
So, will 2015 see Labour sweep back into power, possibly supported by a rump of Lib-Dems? Or, could a Conservative-UKIP combination somehow come together? My money is on Labour.
As readers know, I am a long term critic of the Honours system. It reeks of a nauseating combination of patronage, contrived populism and the State looking after cronies. In the recent new Years Honours list, Cherie Blair received a CBE. Read Guido’s salient take on her here. Charity begins at home…
Truly, Waitrose is the place where miracles happen. You see, dear reader, I have this evening seen and done things of which most humans who ever lived could not have even conceived.
I drove to the supermarket and returned with hams from Germany and Italy, English bacon (hey, I loves me some pig), a cucumber, garlic and onions from Spain, Italian cheese, fish from Scotland, mushrooms from Ireland, French butter, Italian olive oil, Kentish tomatoes, UK blueberries and Greek yoghurt.
As Leonard Read so memorably explained, I have peacefully traded with uncountable numbers of people across time and space. I have benefited from the enlightened self-interest of scientists, engineers, mechanics, oilmen, farmers, drivers, nutritionists, pickers, stackers, builders, labourers and people in many more jobs I don’t even know exist. I have done all of these things for a few quid. (Imagine how many more miracles we can achieve without government inflation!) So tonight I have traveled faster than most humans could have imagined possible and will eat better than the pharaohs and emperors.
Leonard Read describes the miracle of a humble pencil and the mystery of how it comes into being: