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HANSEL AND HANSEL…..

By ATWadmin On March 13th, 2007 at 7:49 am

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t happening!

Schools are teaching children as young as four about same-sex relationships to comply with new gay rights laws, it emerged yesterday.  They are introducing youngsters to homosexuality using a series of story books in preparation for controversial regulations coming into force next month.

Fourteen primary schools are taking part in a £600,000 State-funded study aimed at familiarising children with gay and lesbian relationships. The research team behind the project intends to post the findings on national websites to help all schools use the books in their literacy lessons. It also revealed it is leading workshops for local councils across the country which are asking how to implement new laws banning discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

The academics working on the study say showing children that homosexuality is part of everyday life helps reduce homophobic bullying in the playground. They claim schools need to ensure they are serving the needs of gay pupils and parents to comply with the Equality Act. However the scheme sparked alarm among Christian groups who fear the legislation could leave schools open to lawsuits if they refuse to use books with gay characters.  One story being used in the research project, headed by academics at Sunderland University, is a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers. They marry in a book titled ‘King & King’.

Sorry but the agenda these people pursue is warped. These tender young years at the beginning of Primary School are the years of innocence and I fail to see why SEX has to put on the agenda! I am sure that some gay adults must also share my offense at this politicalisation of the kindergarten driven by radical gay lobby groups. Lord know what Chicken Licken and his pals will get up to in future classroom tales but I do believe that there is no place for such a radical agenda in any schoolroom. 

THE INIQUITY OF EQUALITY?!

By ATWadmin On March 13th, 2007 at 7:28 am

malefemale.gifIn my world, the sex of a person has no relevance to the pay they receive. It is all about such factors as experience, ability, tenacity, competency, delivery, commitment. But what are we to make of the news that thousands of male public workers could have their pay slashed as jobs are re-evaluated in the light of higher salaries and backdated pay for hundreds of thousands of women workers?

From next month, more than 500,000 women working for local authorities and an equal number employed by the NHS will become eligible for equal pay settlements dating back six years, under an EU ruling. Councils have already admitted they cannot afford the new pay scales, raising fears they may have to increase council tax to pay for them. As a result some men will see their salaries cut – reportedly by up to 40 per cent in some instances – to pay for the deals.  Is this right – is it fair? If it were the other way around, and women were facing 40% paycuts, would that be fair? Or is this just one more example of the unbelievable clumsiness of the Public Sector?  

OBAMA AND THE LONG-SUFFERING PALESTINIANS…..

By ATWadmin On March 13th, 2007 at 7:12 am

I note that Democrat Presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has told a small group of Iowa Democrats that he supports relaxing restrictions on aid to the Palestinian people. He said they have suffered the most as a result of stalled peace efforts with Israel. "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people," Obama said while on the final leg of his weekend trip to eastern Iowa.

He’s right.

And nobody carries more responsibility than the Palestinians who vote for Anti-Semitic killers like Hamas and vicious thugs like Al Fatah. The culture of death – of Shahid worship – that permeates Palestinian society needs cleansed and Obama’s suggestion that loosening up of some of the restrictions on providing aid directly to the Palestinian people would make more sense if the use of such massive flows of financial aid could be properly accounted for. It cannot, as I reported a little while ago, and therefore tightening restrictions on aid would be the better route.

‘I wanted to call it “Apocalypse My Arse”

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

‘I wanted to call it “Apocalypse My Arse”, but in the end we decided on “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. It’s a provocative title, which helps with ratings.’ Martin Durkin has a hangover and a desire to get some things off his chest – about the green movement’s demonisation of him for daring to question environmentalist orthodoxy; the ‘soft censorship’ of his earlier programmes; and the endless revelations that he had an apparently dodgy Marxist background…

Whatever viewers may have thought about the new theories put forward in Swindle to explain global warming …there’s no denying that the film poked some very big holes in the global warming consensus.

Durkin: "It shows that environmentalists and journalists can be utterly intolerant’, he says. ‘They simply will not tolerate any dissenting view. Straight away they try to take it down. You can see that in the kind of language they use – they say “the jury is in” on global warming, or “the science is done and dusted”, or you’re a “denier” if you question the consensus. This is not about having a debate but about shutting down debate.’

The wheels seem to be coming off the Global Warming bandwagon. Probably time i watched both Gore and Durkins documentaries as that seems to be the way the arguments are being sold…Being a chemist.

war? what war?

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

My Engineer daughter is going to Japan in a week’s time on business, and as she is travelling to Hiroshima, I thought I’d browse the Web pages, and see what the Japanese say about this city, the name of which entered the history books on August 6th 1945, when the first atomic bomb exploded over the city centre after being dropped from the B-29 bomber Enola Gay.  The web-site pages are full of the Peace Memorial, and ‘Steps towards Peace’ and even the dreaded term ‘Multiculturalism’ has reached this city which has arisen from the very atomic ashes; but strangely enough, the only sentences which refer to the War are short, evasive and abrupt, and equally strangely the reasons why the blasted thing was dropped on Hiroshima in the first place are not even mentioned!

hiroshima.jpgAt least the web-page refers to the fact that the Japanese started the war by striking at the Malaysian peninsula, and, almost as an afterthought, also acknowledges that they attacked Pearl Harbour! The Chinese conflict is dismissed as two ‘Incidents’ followed by war, and then the whole of the Second World War, is also covered by the bald statement “Japan rushed into the Pacific War”.

My mind is inevitably drawn to the work of Orwell, and his classic “Big Brother”, and the adherents of the thinking behind the phrase, “Tell a big lie long enough, and everybody will believe it!” Here we have a whole city labelling itself as ‘Never Again’, and ‘Peace at any Price’ whilst avoiding the whole issue of why the city suffered this devastation! There is no mention of the fanatic Japanese defenders of Iwo Jima, and of their tenacious defence of the island; where they suffered over 20,703 casualties before the surrender. This same defence convinced the American Commanders that the 25,000-odd American casualties would and could be multiplied ten- or twenty-fold if the Japanese homeland was invaded in a classic sea-borne invasion, and the knowledge that the super-bomb was available tipped the balance as to it’s deployment!

To quote a Scots author, one Stuart McHardy, "History beuks are written/ wi the winner’s frame o’ mind."; but it looks to me as though the revisionists have been at the Hiroshima books, and cobbled together a little recipe which ignores the realities, and concentrates instead on getting rid of the Bomb! Some ‘Peace’, which writes off the reasons, and talks instead about the hoped-for outcome!

 

Cheer up! It’s not all bad news!

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 12:49 pm

Although I have never experienced it, I’m sure that electoral defeat is a painful experience.

It cannot be nice to loose your job – particularly when you are as well paid as an MLA.

However, this morning’s Belfast Telegraph carried a report which suggests that it isn’t all bad news for those MLAs who lost their seats.

Politicians who will not be retuning to Stormount will receive a “resettlement allowance” of almost £16,000 PLUS “winding-up” expenses of up to £16,000.

All that for being members of an Assembly which never met for most of its four year existence !

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO NORTHERN IRELAND POLITICS – PART 1

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 11:41 am

UK_unionist_party_logo.gifTHE UK UNIONIST PARTY – its’ part in my downfall!

I wanted to offer those of you who might be interested my take on Unionism within Northern Ireland and what better way to start than with the only political party I have ever belonged to- the famously self-exploding UK Unionist Party! If you enjoy this, I can follow up with perspectives on the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.

For starters, the thing about the UK Unionist Party (UKUP) is that it was never really designed to be a Party. That was an accident. In fact the history of the Party is littered with similar accidents. Fortunately, we had a lawyer available!

mccartney1.jpgThe main man in what was to be the Party was North Down resident Robert McCartney. Bob was a fiery barrister, who had long been a thorn in the side of the Ulster Unionist Party eventually storming out of it in 1987, disgusted at the antics of then leader Jim Molyneaux. He had also branded DUP leader Ian Paisley as "a fascist" – so he was an equal opportunities insulter of the great and the good. 

In 1995, the then MP in North Down, Jim Kilfedder – leader (and sole member) of the ..wait for it..Ulster Popular Unionist Party, (the equivalent of the Judean People’s Popular Front) died suddenly and there was a by-election from which Bob emerged triumphant. He became a Member of Parliament and I believe he was then viewed by some as a pluralist-minded liberal politician who offered a fresh alternative to the existing stale Unionist menu. I can stll recall his interview on Radio Ulster the day after his victory and he was then being hailed by the local MSM as  the future of Unionism. How times would change, but that lies a little further ahead.

Around this time, the UK Government called the Forum Elections, and Bob was elected on a province wide vote of 25,500 and he was subsequently joined by Irish politician and writer Conor Cruise O’Brien and "serial protestor" Cedric Wilson in these multi-party talks. At this stage, I still had not made any connection but that was about to change.

In 1997, Sinn Fein/IRA called a tactical cessation of mass murder and were instantly invited into the Forum by a conniving Government.  The UKUP delegates withdrew instantly from the talks, and thereafter from the Forum itself. A unionist party that actually put principle first – amazing!

By this time, I knew Cedric Wilson, Paddy Roche, and others who were to play a dramatic role in the later destruction of the Party. My association with them came about from my then role as Chairman of the Non-party aligned "Business & Professional People for the Union" grouping. As the pace of political events heightened, the group to which I belonged "interviewed" David Trimble – the relatively new new Leader of the UUP, Dr Paisley, leader of the DUP, and fatefully, Robert McCartney – leader of the UKUP. I was most impressed with Bob – he was earnest, obviously intelligent and spoke in a way which resonated with me and several others of the group.

The next year, 1998, saw the Government call a Referendum on the outcome of the talks between the various local Parties – which excluded the DUP and UKUP. I was then more centrally involved through my friendship with Cedric and Patrick and attended many private meetings of the "NO" Campaign, along with several public meetings. It was a heady time – and my first full-on political experience. I met most of the major Unionist figures during this time and was unimpressed. Bob was the exception and so, after the referendum was held and our gallant "It’s Right to say No" campaign failed to swing the day, I then was asked to stand as a candidate for the UKUP in the 1998 June Assembly election.

In a moment of madness – to borrow a contemporary phrase – I accepted it, knowing absolutely nothing about campaigning and with little on-the-ground support in the heart of Ulster Unionism in Upper Bann. David Trimble was the sitting MP but I did enjoy the excoriating of his appeasement minded policies in the local media. It was very much David V against the David T goliath.

The UK Unionist position was simple. We opposed any political arrangements which rewarded terrorists, which would release killers from prison, which would destroy the RUC, and undermine the rule of law. Our Party opposed devolution, and sought to persuade that integration with the mother of Parliaments at Westminster was the way forward. In that respect, we stood alone. I was honoured to stand on such a manifesto as I felt it was decent and principled. But could we sell it to the electorate?

The answer was…YES! I did not succeed in winning a seat in Upper Bann, and got 1400 odd (very odd!) first preference votes. I did, however, outpoll every other Ulster Unionist except Trimble. I got virtually no transfers from the other Unionist Parties and at that point I started to understand why tribalism is such a big factor in NI politics! But whilst I failed to win a seat, several of my colleagues succeeded! Along with Bob, Cedric got elected in Strangford, Patrick in Lagan Valley, Roger Hutchinson in East Antrim, and Norman Boyd in South Antrim.  I was closest to Patrick and Cedric, saw Hutchinson as a spiv and was stunned that he could get elected and had never even met Spiny Norman Boyd!

But just as the UKUP gained this HUGE success (completely ignored by the MSM since our views were heresy through the prism of the government-controlled Media) the seeds of destruction had already been sewn. At a meeting in Bangor, Bob has asked all candidates BEFORE we stood for election that we would agree to resign our seats IF he requested it in certain circumstances. I clearly recall we all agreed to this, though in retrospect Bob’s demand was both poorly communicated, badly timed and a tad over-bearing. No written response was asked for……a ticking bomb commenced.

Almost straightaway, or at least after the June election and the summer period, the mood was a-changing in the Party. I had become the Communications Director of the Party – and obviously was talking to everyone, including Bob. What really detonated the destruction of the Party was the re-occurrence of Bob’s demand that all our MLA’s would resign their seats IF Sinn Fein/IRA were permitted into the Executive. It became obvious that Cedric and co did not agree with this. To add fuel to the fire, the Party’s President, the agreeable Conor Cruise O’Brien wrote an article for his employer, the Sunday Independent, in which he suggested that there could be circumstances in which unionists might prefer to be in a United Ireland than a Sinn Fein/IRA ruled Northern Ireland. This was red rag to a raging bull to Patrick, Cedric and co, and despite my concerted efforts to achieve a peace – things were about to get much much worse.

A meeting was called at Stormont, Bob was there as were all the MLA’s. And me. The atmosphere was electric as the door closed and things kicked off. Basically Bob felt the 4 MLA’s had behaved dishonourably, they felt he was being a tyrant. Harsh things were said and it just all went off the rails, ending with total discord. I have never been in such a bad-tempered meeting prior or since then. It was also obvious to me that Cedric and co no longer trusted me – fearing
I was very much in Bob’s camp. In truth, I was torn between people I had viewed as friends now acting as if they were implacable enemies.

NIunionist_party_logo.gifAnd so it was that in January 1999, the UKUP publicly split in two, with four MLA’s going off to form the Northern Ireland Unionist Party (Popular Front of Judea). I stayed with Bob and we went through a tumultous period – public meetings and media appearances – when we tried to explain what had happened. Looking back, it was too late. The split was fatal, though it would take several more years to ascertain JUST how fatal. I suppose you could conclude that it was that fateful Autumn of discontent that saw the ideals of the Party crash and burn. Everyone involved would end up losing because of it.

Cedric, Paddy, Roger and Norman never spoke to me again during the next five years though I have since met Cedric and had a civilised lunch and corresponded with Paddy, following the sad death of his wife, Liz. I have never spoken to Roger Hutchinson, nor would I. He was an political opportunist of the first order and he well deserved his own political eclipse which subsequently followed. Norman Boyd was a bland cipher, never knew him and am glad of it. 

Despite the debacle of the 1999 split, that year also saw the June European election. Bob was persuaded to stand as a candidate in this and he and I were closely involved in writing the Party manifesto. That was quite an interesting experience and I vividly remember the late nights trying to construct several sections of this. The campaign was difficult, coming as it did six months after the very public split and the acrimony that followed. Standing at this time was a bad idea, and I wish I had told Bob NOT to stand as it would have been the wiser course to take.

We found the media reluctant to give us any publicity and in Northern Ireland the European Parliament election is somehow inexorably linked with the Agricultural lobby – a group I have little time for. It is also relentlessly tribal and is all about who has the biggest vote! I recall the count taking place at the King’s Hall in Belfast and the insults thrown our way by the DUP’s William Hay, a little toad of a man. I also recall the jeering from David Ervine, the UVF’s political frontman, and latter day martyr since his death back in January.

From 1999 to 2001, the UKUP maintained a relatively high media presence and I was elected Deputy Leader in December 1999. It was a time of trying to organise the Party into constituency associations, provide it with a proper constitution, and plan a party future post Bob. During these years, he and I became trusted friends. My wife and I were regular dinner guests at his beautiful home and I got to see another side to Bob – not the public side, but a more reflective and gentle persona, a man who was proud of his family and who loved the written word. I also got to know Conor Cruise O’Brien and his wife, lovely people who were  the most delightful company. 

Bob was still an MP at this time as well as an MLA, and he and I frequently met up at the Stormont Assembly. During this period, I witnessed the gross hypocrisy of certain other politicians in Unionist Parties who publicly claimed that they "never" spoke to Sinn Fein/IRA representatives whilst happily chatting away to them in the Member’s tea-room. More coffee, Martin? I also discerned that the UKUP was seen as a nuisance by all the other unionist Parties, and Bob’s relationships were very rocky with many of the other elected politicians. He never had any contact with the Sinn Fein/IRA or PUP/UVF frontmen and in that regard I followed him, refusing to sit in the same TV/Radio room as them. That used to really annoy the local MSM!! 

Events were building up to the 2001 General Election and the local NI Council elections which coincided with them. Bob wanted to defend his Westminster seat and the UKUP also chose to put up several local candidates for Council. It was a very stressful time, with degrees of in-fighting focusing on a few people very close to Bob that many others did not like, respect or trust. It also brought home to me that to fight elections successfully you must concentrate your resources and not spread them too thin. Unionism had been polarising since 1998 and whilst I remained friendly with the DUP locally in Upper Bann, including future MP David Simpson and MLA Stephen Moutray, relationships elsewhere were very sore. In the event, the UKUP vote splintered, we did not make any breakthrough and Bob lost his Westminster seat in North Down thanks to a Faustian alliance between the UUP, Woman’s Coalition and erm…the Alliance Party- ensuring the uberliberal Ulster Unionist Sylvia "I’m a Lady, you know" Hermon gaining the constituency.

I was present at the count when the result was announced and it was a horrible moment. We were jeered by the Ulster Unionists, The Alliance and assorted other "moderates". Bob took it all with as much good grace as one could expect. I remember thinking Sylvia Hermon venomous in her "victory" speech. That day was a real low. 

It was at this point that I concluded the NI pro-Union electorate is inherently tribal, and disinterested in what smaller unionist parties had to say. I wondered what the point was in carrying on. Some of my associates drifted away, disgusted at the mood of the electorate.  These included my right-hand men in Upper Bann, David Hudson and Stephen Briggs, both men of deep political principle.

Things were ending. The excitement and hope of 1998 had evaporated. The media treated Bob as a combination of demon and joke. I had come to view him as a principled intellect but who was cursed with really POOR man management skills and this was the primary fault-line that led to political fracture.

Increasingly in late 2001 I found myself in conflict with Bob over the gnawing issue of a little coterie whom he listened to but who were poison. Bob and I finished our political relationship during one very heated late night phone call. I hung up on him – fed up with his pompous self righteousness -and resigned a few days later.  I timed it to coincide with the Party annual meeting. Et tu, Brute? 

Looking back on it, I wish I had resigned earlier. My line at the time, and which I do not regret using, was that for a man who claimed not to be a one-man band, he did like to play every instrument!

Towards the end of my days in the UKUP I had become interested in the internet, and had conceived of a thing called A Tangled Web. It has now outlasted the UKUP! 

Meanwhile, the UKUP staggered on. I had written hundreds of press releases over the years for it. Now these all ceased, apart from Bob’s occasional article. The Party became one man, and he and I never spoke.

Or at least not until last autumn, 2006, when I was a speaker at the BBC organised "Big Rates Debate" in Belfast. Bob was miffed because he was not allowed to speak from the platform, and in many ways I was taking his place. He sat in the front row, right in front of me but was generous with his applause during my speech and interventions. At the end of that evening, on my way out of the Ulster Hall, we met and shook hand. Bob immediately turned away from me after shaking my hand. His acolytes carried on talking to me.

And so, we come to the 2007 Assembly elections. These saw Robert McCartney lose his North Down seat. He had also foolishly convinced himse
lf to stand in a number of additional constituencies around Northern Ireland and received a derisory vote akin to the Monster Raving Loony candidates. The lesson of 1999 had not been taken to heart.
All his other candidates failed to get elected. It really was the end. The political career is over.

I have subsequently sought to make contact with Bob with a few words of sincere commiseration – his political end may have been met with glee by the MSM and his many opponents, but there is a part of me that felt it was right to show him that despite our differences, I nontheless appreciated his virtues and his attempt to offer an alternative brand of Unionism. He had his faults, but who doesn’t? When it came to matters of political integrity, he was a good man at heart. I have no idea what he thinks of me. 

I remain proud of my association with the non-sectarian pluralism of the UK Unionist Party. We did have some heady times, including some fascinating meetings with Peter Mandelson, General Sir John de Chastelain, Senator George Mitchell,  Mo Mowlam, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, David Trimble…..the list goes on and I will expand on these at another time.

I do retain some fond memories of Bob, and for a time, we made a stand that struck some resonance with the pro-Union electorate for a time. The split in 1999 was a killer blow, but what else could we have done but soldier on for the time we felt we had a mandate? We offered the electorate a way out of the trap of devolution – instead they willingly embrace that which will destroy the Union. Their call, not ours. UKUP – RIP.

Wilberforce quote

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 9:49 am

I see Patty has written an article on a film about William Wilberforce.

Writing to a friend in 1789 Wilberforce said:

A man who acts from the principles I profess, reflects that he is to give an account of his political conduct at the Judgment seat of Christ.

Politicians in Northern Ireland would do well to reflect upon that truth.

UN CONDEMNS UN AS “PATHETIC”

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 9:28 am

We all know that the United Nations is "the highest moral authority" on this Earth, right? Well, so some of our dear leftist friends would insist, and those of us who view the UN as one huge moral sewer are dismissed as cranks. But what to make of the news that UN investigators have strongly criticised Sudan for gross human rights violations in Darfur, including murder, mass rape, and abductions and also said the international community’s response to the crisis was "pathetic".  But hang on, the UN IS the International community, isn’t it? Or is there another "international community" hiding out there somewhere? Here’s the bottom-line – Genocide is taking place in Darfur and the UN watches impassively. It did the same in Rwanda as almost 1,000,000 souls lost their lives. It will continue to do so because it is morally bankrupt and as an ATW commentator shrewdly observed a few days ago, apart from possibly UNICEF, there is nothing of value left in this organisation. The innocents in Darfur are hacked to death by the Arab-inspired Janjaweed and the UN does nothing. "Pathetic" is hardly adequate. Still, maybe the UN could hold another conference about it all….?

CAMERON’S SNOW JOB…

By ATWadmin On March 12th, 2007 at 9:09 am

I know, I know. Who would be so foolish as to trust a politician? Well, "plenty" is the answer, and that’s a real problem because a lot of the time, politicians don’t know what they are talking about.

Take David Cameron. Please.

On BBC Radio 5 live this morning, Cameron stated that we had to get serious about new environmental taxes and he quoted the vanishing snows of Mount Kilimanjaro as evidence that global warming is a real problem that we need to deal with RIGHT NOW. In that regard he was merely mimicking Rev Al Gore, who made the same claim in his Oscar-winning light-hearted comedy "An Implausible Truth."  Just one problem – they’re both 100% wrong.

You see there are a few "inconvenient truths" about the Snows of Kilimanjaro scam. First of all, this article in the International Journal of Climatology makes it clear that….

‘A drastic drop in atmospheric moisture at the end of the 19th century and the ensuing drier climatic conditions are likely forcing glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro. Future investigations using the concept as a governing hypothesis will require research at different climatological scales.’

 

Furthermore,  The National Academy of Sciences published a report that defines the geographic regions of warming and cooling during the last 20 years. Surface measurements of East Africa show no warming trend. Weather satellites show a pronounced cooling trend of the atmosphere there. No one has questioned these data.

Yet to the Reverend Gore and his apostle Dave this means nothing. They seek to sell a fraud and simply asserting that the snows of Kilimanjaro are melting BECAUSE of global warming is enough. Science does not enter into their calculus. Check out this article on The American Thinker for a more detailed expose of the snow-job on Kilimanjaro!