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By Angela Harbutt
July 14th, 2009 at 4:12 pm | 13 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

The Lib Dem Federal Executive met last night. The contents of the meeting will (if they have any sense) be made public in double quick time.

This will be a big test for the group AND for its chair Ros Scott. Will this have been (1) a useless talking shop about do-nothing-unimportant side issues – or will they have (2) tackled the serious and important issues facing this party regarding expenses & allowances ?

I am of course, expecting clarification on what is happening with regard to the Lord Rennard, who was/is the Party’s Chief Executive – employed by the Federal Executive  and who recently resigned claiming ill health. Co-incidentally he also still has serious fraud accusations  (relating to allowance claims) hanging over him that, until now, the FE has been unwilling to deal with.

It now seems generally accepted that he is in fact away running the Lib Dem Norwich North by election campaign. IF TRUE, then how can we face the electorate with any seriousness at this or any other election? If we are willing to continue to employ somebody who has such serious question marks over them – that we leave unaddressed – we will face the consequenses sooner or later.   If it is NOT TRUE , well it just highlights how important it is for the FE to get a grip on this.

Investigate him and either clear his name, or take sanctions against him as an employee of the Party. Surely this is the ONLY option available to the FE ? And should have been item 1 on last nights agenda (if not the previous meeting).

The clock is ticking as we wait for the report from the Party President. And if it turns out that they have ducked this issue again, the clock might just start ticking on the FE itself and perhaps more importantly, its chair.

Or maybe, they will surprise us.

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GUEST POST: Rob Waller on the perils of occupying Afghanistan

By Julian Harris
July 14th, 2009 at 12:35 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

afghanistanAccording to our ‘friend’ Dave at the Foreign office the reason we’re fighting a war in Afghanistan is to keep us safe at home. He said to the nice people at GMTV…

“This is a mission that’s been developed with a very clear strategy: above all, to make us safer here because we know these areas of Afghanistan and its neighbour Pakistan are used to launch terrorism around the world.”

There are two reasons why the above opinion is abject nonsense. The first point to consider is, what is the actual threat posed by Islamic terrorism to Britain? According to the Government we’re constantly under the threat of being blown up by bearded monsters. But the reality is we’re not. If you review the history of terrorism it is quite clear that the most successful terrorist organisations are indigenous. They are not foreign based.

‘Al Quaeda’ in Britain have managed one successful attack. The rest have basically been bodge jobs that have been over-hyped by the Government and media.

Successful terrorist groups require indigenous support, a decent organisational structure and good weaponry. This was something the IRA had, but not what Al Quaeda in Britain has. It meant the IRA could strike anywhere within the UK with impunity. And why they were almost able to assassinate our Prime Minister.

During the troubles (1968 — 1998) over 1,800 civilains were killed. That’s 60 civilians per year for 30 years and that doesn’t even include all the soldiers and terrorists that lost their lives. While since 2001 Al Quaeda in Britain have managed to kill 52 people or about 7 civilians per year.

It is therefore questionable whether Al Quaeda in Britain pose a great threat. They clearly do not have the capability that the IRA had. And this brings into doubt whether we should be occupying foreign lands because of this threat.

The second point is based on the ‘stick in face theory’. Essentially there is no way you or I can guarantee that we will never be punched in the face. However we can be quite sure that if we wave a stick in someone’s face the likelihood of us being punched will increase greatly. So generally we don’t wave sticks in people’s faces.

The same principle applies to foreign policy. We can never guarantee security from terrorism. The idea of it is ridiculous. However you can be quite sure that if your foreign policy involves invading/occupying other countries that you will face some consequences — for example terrorism.

There is a logical reason for this. Which is simply that those who you attack/suppress will have some support and therefore you’re bound to piss someone off.

Miliband’s policies are flawed because they inflates the threat posed by Al Quaeda in Britain. And pretend that foreign occupation won’t annoy anyone.

The only realistic way to reduce the threat posed to Britain by Islamic terrorism is to remove ourselves from these conflict zones and leave the Islamic world to its own devices. And if you don’t agree with me I would just ask you to consider Ron Paul’s “What if…?” speech

What if our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and has not served our national security interest?

What if we wake up one day and realize that the terrorist threat is the predictable consequence of our meddling in the affairs of others, and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?

Rob Waller sits on the NCC of the Libertarian Party and regularly posts for the LPUK South East Blog.

Is Tommy Sheridan the first of many?

By Mark Littlewood
July 13th, 2009 at 3:25 pm | 4 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

Socialist politician Tommy Sheridan is in court today, facing charges of perjury. Heartening to find that politicians believed to be lying, deceitful cheats are not wholly beyond the reach of the law. More of this, please.



World Population Day – is there a problem?

By Julian Harris
July 13th, 2009 at 12:35 pm | 4 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

crowd The weekend marked World Population Day, one of the many days the UN dedicates to telling us how awful everything is. But are global population levels really a problem? This question is posed by the Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development, which presents a new study on both sides of the argument – go take a butcher’s, it makes for good reading.

Population doom-mongers have existed for millennia, along with people who moan that the next generation are heading for moral degradation. In fact, there’s probably a large cross-over between the two groups. Thomas Malthus is famed for being of the former, and in the 20th century has been joined by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, who present their arguments in the EJSD.

I’d like to focus, however, on the following argument from scientist Indur Goklany:

As wealth increases, enabled by free trade, more efficient technologies actually allow us to consume less from the environment to get the same, or greater, results. Furthermore, as wealth increases, population growth slows.

Hence rather than heading towards an apocalypse, we’re still enjoying an upward curve of improvements.

Sound unrealistic? Then consider these facts:

  • While the population has quadrupled since 1900, technology and trade have seen the price of food plummet, so that hunger is constantly reduced. In the early 1970s, 37% of the developing world’s people suffered from chronic hunger but it is now down to 17%.
  • In real terms, the price of food and metals in India are now eight times cheaper than in 1900.
  • As a consequence, health improvements are enormous. The global average life expectancy in 1900 was just 31 years; it rose to 47 years in the 1950s, and now stands at 67 years.
  • Agricultural technologies have saved vast amounts of land and therefore natural resources (forests etc.). In the USA, for example, technology has saved 1,300 million hectares while consumption has increased.
  • Even the CO2 emissions per dollar of GDP have peaked, and are now falling rapidly in many places.
  • The global population growth rate is not increasing exponentially – but instead has fallen considerably since the 1960s.

Constantly under siege from scaremongering tabloid headlines, it’s no wonder we lose sight of the considerable advances we’re making. Goklany’s arguments provide a rational perspective of the advantages of human progress that we continue to enjoy, no matter how many of us there are.

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NHS tells teenagers to “go f*ck yourselves”

By Mark Littlewood
July 13th, 2009 at 11:37 am | 10 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

nurseThe Sheffield Primary Care Trust descends to new depths of lunacy with its latest “public information campaign”.

Entitled “An orgasm a day“, the leaflet tells teenagers they have a “right” to an enjoyable sex life.

To the inevitable disappointment of its readership,  the leaflet doesn’t say whether you can access a willing pool of experienced sexual partners at your local hospital in order to exercise this “right”.

You can apparently improve your health by making sure that, every week, you eat 35 portions of fruit and veg and have sex twice.

I don’t know if the benefits are enhanced if you do these things at the same time.

A post-coital cigarette is, of course, lethal.

Is there anyone – anyone at all – who honestly believes this is a good use of taxpayers’ money?