Click to get your own widget

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Just finished watching Arnie in The Running Man & was drawn to the comparisons with the destruction of Yugoslavia.

Arnie plays a man named by the media as the "Butcher of Bakersfield" because he refused to bomb civilians.
----Milosevic was named by the media as the "Butcher of Belgrade" because he ruled over the only country where genocide & ethnic cleansing didn't take place (there are still 200,000 Moslems, 50,000 of them Albanian, living in Belgrade.

The media deliberately faked a film of him refusing to bomb people to show him doing the bombing.
----ITN, allegedly accidentally (as our court insists you say), faked a film of a concentration camp by taking what they specifically knew was a refugee camp & filming through barbed wire to show people outside apparently imprisoned behind the wire (did I say accidentally).

In a gladiatorial trial Arnie takes apart everybody with his amazing physique.
----Milosevic, in his show trial, has taken apart every prosecution witness, with his intelligence.

The politicians & media arranged lots of fighting & explosions to provide entertaining TV.
----The politicians & media arranged lots of fighting & explosions to provide entertaining TV.

The New World Order
----The New World Order.

The killing of civilians is dishonestly blamed by the media on the other side to get people baying for blood.
----The killing of civilians (the 3 marketplace bombings in Sarajevo done by our allies for TV & the real Srebrenica massacre for which Nasir Oric provided video of him beheading people) is dishonestly blamed by the media on the other side to get people baying for blood.

Sending Hunters after the good guys.
----Sending assassins after the good guys - the assassination of Arkan was certainly western organised tho' they still claim the killing of other pro-Milosevic politicians was done by Milosevic.

Arnie is a bit old for an action hero.
----So is Milo.

Unfotunately the ending where Milosevic & a his band seize the TV station & start telling the truth & the audience cheer him & he gets to put Lord Bonomy & Carla del Ponte in ejector seats hasn't happened yet. Unfortunately seizing the western media, or even getting a letter published taking up 1% of the space given to lies, in any newspaper in the western world, is not so easy. Still.......

Monday, October 24, 2005


I recently attended the Scottish Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Glenrothes. I spoke against the last 2 motions which were immediately almost unanimously passed. Nonetheless I heard nothing which persuades me that everybody else wasn't wrong. That is why I am posting the motions & my speeches here.

If anybody who spoke or voted for the other side wishes to put their position I would be very happy for them to use the comments facility, or if preferred I will add it directly to the article.

For anybody who wishes to be sure of being called to speak at conference may I advise choosing to speak directly against some PC motion expected to go through on the nod. As a party we, being nice people, do have a tendency not to object to any proposal that somebody has taken the time & trouble to produce & has a few nice cliches. Since I believe most state busybodiness is somewhere between useless & harmful I personally would prefer if we passed a bit less policy. This autumn of 7 motions 7 were passed.

On the other hand it is difficult to imagine a Labour/Tory conference where your chances of speaking would be greater if you wanted to oppose the leadership so there is definitely hope for us.

I also think that, even an overwhelming defeat is better than letting bad policies go through unopposed - the Fairtrade motion is in any case purely advisory as foreign policy is a matter for federal conference, one speker on the PC inspector motion said that some supporters thought the motion didn't go far enough so at least I have provided some balance.


Conference welcomes the growing consensus about the benefits that properly structured Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can bring to businesses, employees, communities and the environment.

Conference believes that:

1 Scotland needs successful people creating and developing enterprises if we are to deliver sustainable growth and thrive as a nation;
2 companies should work to increase their positive, and reduce their negative, impact on the environment and on society;
3 CSR is a way in which companies can be accountable for meeting the needs and expectations of stakeholders including customers, investors, employees, suppliers, regulators, special interest groups, communities and wider society;
4 in the long term, businesses can benefit from working responsibly through:

(i) making a positive contribution to good causes in the community;
(ii) gains in staff morale and productivity;
(iii) gains in community awareness of the company;
(iv) improved business performance;
(v) lower waste/energy costs; and
(vi) lower business costs.
Conference calls on the Scottish Executive to:

A) develop a framework for the promotion of CSR in Scotland;
B) adopt a socially responsible procurement policy for both the Executive and the wider public sector, requiring those companies from which they procure services to meet a high standard in their social and environmental impact;
C) require all Scottish devolved public bodies to report on their socially responsible practices;
D) require Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to promote CSR to business and to ensure their own operations are socially responsible;
E) empower Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to:

i) provide grants to enable socially responsible practices to be adopted by SMEs;
ii) provide advice services in business gateways on becoming socially responsible;
iii) encourage companies to work in partnership with and assist community causes and charities;
iv) provide certification to recognise responsible business practices and awards for those who excel; and
v) require businesses which receive such assistance to report on the impact this has had on the company’s operation and performance.
Section 1 here is absolutely correct - Scots have a history of creating & developing businesses worldwide & WE desperately need to let them do the same here.

Unfortunately there is NOTHING in this motion which does that.

In the Allander Report on growing the Scottish economy one complaint was the propensity of politicians to make all the right noises about growth & then go do whatever they wanted in the first place.

That is what this motion does.

In a similar way Jack McConnell has said that growth is his "first priority" but, apart from being the man who raised business rates in the first place, has done nothing. However the fact that he said it proves HE knows growth is the first priority of voters. If we are ever to EARN a position as Scotland's largest party it will be because WE have provably made economic growth our true first priority.

Instead this motion would load wealth creators down with an entire new class of inspectors, committed not to any measurable standards but merely to general political correctness, rigidly enforceable on anybody who has to do business with the 54% of the economy that is the state. If this motion had been made truly voluntary I would have had no problem with it but a compulsory enforcement of government political correctness inspectors is a bad thing.

Scotland has had the lowest growth rate in Europe, itself the slowest growing continent on Earth.

That is why WE have recently cut business taxes & Nicol Stephen said, at Federal Conference, that we need further cuts to kickstart growth as Ireland has so spectacularly done.

I believe that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Scotland which would make it impossible for us to match, or exceed, Ireland -

Their growth of 7% a year over 15 years has nearly tripled their GNP while ours has gone up barely 20%.

Ireland achieved this, not just by cutting business taxes, but also by cutting regulation.

This motion, obviously, does the opposite.

Worse - section 3 calls for wealth creators to be made "accountable" for satisfying the "expectations" of all & sundry including "special interest groups".

This is a blank cheque which could stifle any growing business.

Finally - will political correctness inspectors increase productivity & cut costs?

It says so right here on the tin in section 4 - & I do not believe it. If it were so the directors of Asda would not have to be forced to ask the builders of Holyrood how to cut costs.

If you are also unable to believe this PROMISE you CANNOT, cannot, in good conscience, vote for it & I ask you not to.
I was unaware, when drafting this, that the proposer was a lady whom I have previously praised in this blog for a couple of economically innovative ideas, & whose comments played a part in persuading me to rejoin the party. Had I known this in advance I would have phrased it in a less confrontational manner. Nonetheless I stand by the points.

FAIRTRADE - Scot Lib Dem Motion

Conference rejects the increasing damage to third world farmers by the decision-making of western countries.

Conference therefore agrees to support and promote the aim at all governmental levels to give Fair Trade to all countries by adhering to the following set of principles:

1 Ending the use of conditions attached to IMF-World Bank programmes which force poor countries to open their markets regardless of the impact on poor people.
2 Improving market access for poor countries and ending the cycle of subsidised agricultural over-production and export dumping by rich countries. In addition, changing WTO rules so that developing countries can protect domestic food production.
3 Creating a new international commodities institution to promote diversification and end over-supply in order to raise prices to levels consistent with a reasonable standard of living for producers, and changing corporate practices so that companies pay fair prices.
4 Establishing new intellectual property rules to ensure that poor countries are able to afford new technologies and basic medicines and that farmers are able to save, exchange and sell seeds.
5 Prohibiting rules that force government to liberalise or privatise basic services that are vital for poverty reduction.
6 Democratising the World Trade Organisation to give poor countries a stronger voice.
Changing national policies on Health, Education and Governance so that poor people can develop their capabilities, realise their potential and participate in markets on more equitable terms.

I will support anything in the above relating to Western protectionism & the need to help the 3rd world. It is immoral that the average European cow receives a subsidy of £900 whereas the average Sierra Leonese lives on £300 a year.

However, sections 1 & 2 of the motion call for protectionism, particularly of "domestic food production". This is not a new idea. Britain used to do this until, with the rise of the urban working class & the Liberal Party, they were able to force the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1842. Since then Liberalism & free trade have been synonymous to everybody's benefit. Fairly free trade has worked for South Korea, Singapore & the US. Protectionism failed North Korea, Burma & Ethiopia. India, China & New Zealand all used to practice protectionism & had low growth. All have now moved to fairly free trade & have high growth.

To tell the people of the 3rd world that they will develop by protectionism is a cruel deception which runs counter to all historical experience.

Section 3 call for the creation of an OPEC style cartel for ALL other commodities specifically for the purpose of "raising prices" & "ending (over)-supply". What this means, on the ground, is that somebody somewhere is going to be physically prevented from making a living.

In the case of coffee, the primary target of the self-styled "fair trade" movement, this will be Vietnam. This country, which our ally bombed, if not "into the Stone Age" as they promised, certainly into generations of poverty, is now developing by, among other things, competing successfully in the international coffee market.

But if "over-supply" is to be prevented how will our cartel enforce renewed poverty on the people of Vietnam? By the use of Agent Orange perhaps for that is where this proposal leads.

The good intentions of the proposers are not in doubt but good intentions are not enough. We are talking about the lives of billions of people & we have to get it right. This motion does not do so & I ask you to reject it.


The original copy of the motion left out sections 5,6 & 7 so obviously I did not comment on them. However my position is not changed.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

British Blogs.