Saturday, October 31, 2009

Arrogant Johnson's 'Reefer Madness'

Arrogant home secretary, Johnson, has sacked his top drugs expert for daring to do his job and speak his scientific mind. Now when a New Labour lackey spouts forth, it should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's not the truth - only what the Big Brother government wants you to think. All part of the wacky world of Johnson's 'reefer madness'.

Public trust in government advisers has been blown out of the water with the off-hand manner angry Johnson dismissed out of hand his chief drugs czar David Nutt over his cannabis stance.

The adviser strayed outside his scientific remit goes the spin, committing the cardinal sin of questioning government policy. Nutt has hit back, saying his views have been "devalued and distorted", accusing 'Luddite' Brown in particular of digging in his heels, playing irrational politics.

Forcing Nutt to quit for having the cheek to tell the truth with criticisms of half-baked New Labour drugs policy, Johnson, like his predecessors, took the easy option pandering to the likes of a Daily Mail 'drugs shock' bandwagon.

Debates over cannabis classification has been raging since the 70s, with Schofield separating fact from fiction in his ground-breaking book The Strange Case of Pot. The Orange Party well remembers slogging away on a post graduate thesis looking at the very question of when social issues becomes political hot potatoes.

Politicians can't get their heads round 'pot smoking' student days and the US scaremongering campaigns of the 1950s, with dope demonised as dangerous as heroin.

Here, the history of cannabis classification is a history of hapless home secretaries.

Compromises, yo-yos and U-turns on cannabis classification have come thick and fast, all the way back to Labour home secretary, Callaghan, who came up with a special class B/C half way house for cannabis.

Home secretary Blunkett, tried it on with a downgrade from B to C in 2002. Home secretary Smith rejected advice to keep cannabis at class C in 2008 and finally vetoed ACMD recommendations.

At the centre of the row is the idea that drugs should be classified according to the perceived physical harm they do and punishment meted out accordingly. But on that basis of physical harm, the sliding scale would put alcohol and tobacco up at the top.

Nutt's only 'crime' was to repeat his long-held view that illicit drugs should be classified according to the actual evidence of the harm they cause. But politically it's much easier to cave in to spurious newspaper campaigns and back up useless government propaganda, rather than produce a classification system based on scientific evidence.

There are, however, social as well as physical factors, not least if the masses should be allowed Huxley's "chemical crutch" to get them through days of despair and despondency. A subdued society stoned out of its mind keeps a lid on dissent but plays havoc with the work ethic.

Independent advice to the government on the vexed and highly emotive issue of drug use and classification is essential. Nutt is no two-bit crony promoted to the top echelons as a New Labour patsy or member of the elite Common Purpose.

Nutt is one of the most respected scientists in his field and that makes him a not so nutty professor. Now an independent scientist has been removed for reporting sound scientific advice and more advisers are set to follow suit.

But if scientists are barred from the debate, then who does the public listen to and believe? Who do they trust when trying to come up with an informed opinion? Home secretary Johnson or a respected scientist?

Where does that leave the supposed 'independence' of advice to the government?

In the Big Brother world of Johnson's home office, respected researchers and scientists are being treated like little Victorian children - who should be seen but not heard, only allowed out of the box if they toe the government line.

Note to spinners: He isn't a "nutty professor". Professor David Nutt is the Edmond J. Safra Chair of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and heads up the Psychopharmacology Unit at the University of Bristol.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

EU Navy Blues

Backdoor moves by Brussels to set up an EU navy by stealth has been thrown in the open with the hunt for a missing yacht couple kidnapped by Somali pirates. But did anyone know we had an EU navy at all? The Senior Service is overstretched and over there.

BBC News has been quite brazen, flagging up the 'EU navy task force' on the look out for Somali pirates. Other news organisations are keen to keep the Royal Navy flag flying.

An EU navy swooping on the poor souls escaping for a better life in the Med or running down drug smugglers is one thing. But in the middle of the Indian Ocean? What did they do take a wrong turn at Suez?

The ships looks like ships of the Royal Navy. No doubt crews have HMS hats. But these are EU ships, under EU political control, all part of the EU's first naval task force, Operation Atalanta.

Brown's Navy cuts have already bitten deep. Now it seems all eggs have been thrown into the EU basket. The Senior Service is overstretched and over there chasing pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Who's left protecting UK coastal waters? What happens if someone invades Gibraltar - or the Falklands?

Crafty moves by the European Commission to set up an EU "coastguard", drew fire a couple of years ago with critics warning this was a back-door ploy by Brussels to build up an EU navy by stealth, with its own powers to stop and search shipping.

The MoD website has been quite open about it. Proudly declaring in 2008 that the Royal Navy's Rear Admiral Phil Jones took charge of "the EU led counter-piracy naval operation," which is to operate off the coast of Somalia. 

But what legal base is the EU using? Which Treaty has been used? Certainly not the new Lisbon treaty because it hasn't been bulldozed through yet. When were people given a say to commit UK forces to action under the command of the EU?

Do ships fly the Royal Ensign, the EU flag or mixture of both (top picture)? Do they take orders from some bod in the Admiralty or a braided Eurocrat in Brussels. Who gives the order to open fire?

Brussels empire building knows no bounds. The phantom force is on the march. The Orange Party was always suspicious of the spin the new EU treaty was "just a tidying up exercise".

You can see where this is going. A frigate in action here, a Euro fighter in action there. All dressed up with EU charm, using the cover of tackling 'piracy', 'drug smugglers' and 'international terrorism'.

But they come on the back of other empire building moves by Brussels, including the planned EU land army.

The country that fought a hot war against Hitler and a cold war against Khrushchev is now being dragged towards an EU superstate with new powers over defence and foreign policy.

A totalitarian dictatorship for the 21st century. A Euro Army with an unelected warmongering El Presidente Blair in charge of the new Empire and we'll be Back in the EUSSR.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flexible Friend Is Credit Card Conman

Planned credit card crack-downs are too little too late from a weasel-worded government which has allowed credit card companies to rip off customers with sky high interest rates.

Tough talk is meaningless until ministers have the guts to get to grips with interest rates which have been allowed to go through the roof.

Encouraging the growth of credit cards encouraged gullible customers to get deeper in debt with a flexible friend. Now the government is planning tough new curbs to stop the abuse. But it's all too late.

In a world without shame, debt firms big or small would be banned from charging massive interest rates with a consumer law putting a cap on charges and interest rates offered by lenders.

The public bought into the sham of the boom years when the living and credit was easy. Now they're paying the price.

Credit and store card firms have been allowed to get away with blue murder. The problem is not so much to do with having a flexible friend. The problem comes from charges at 18% - 20%, when the bank rate has fallen through the floor.

Why has it taken up until now for ministers to wake up and realise sharp selling with few checks is a recipe for financial disaster?

At the core is the shocking practice of multiple interest rates on one card, where only the cheapest rate is paid off first, leaving the debt with the largest interest to rack up a fat profit for the credit card company.

Minimum payments too lulls unsuspecting customers into a false sense of security with few realising that only the interest is being paid off. The capital debt will be there for years to come.

Credit cards were never meant to fuel the false spending spree of the false boom years. They started life as 'diners' cards for the fat cats not the masses and emergency back up for overseas holidays with tight checks on balances, payments and credit limits.

But the government sat back and allowed the brakes to be taken off. All part and parcel of the spending boom as consumer credit went through the roof.

How odd that only now, with an election around the corner, is the government which allowed this to happen in the first place, starting to bleat as a belated vote winner.

The solution is a new Consumer Credit Act which caps the rate of interest of all loans and credit cards tied to the bank rate. What justification can there be for a credit card charge of a double digit interest rate with a bank rate at 0.5 per cent.

Slick credit card offers from Capital One and the like kept coming in, even as the financial system was in melt down, dropped from the direct mail marketing mix only this year. Consumer credit is now falling as customers wake up to a mountain of outstanding debt. But the recession has been lingering around for more than a year.

Banks are suddenly cutting up plastic with a rapid rise in credit card default rates. Changes have been building up throughout the year due to the recession, sure but also to beat consumer protection legislation.

Today's moves are clearly welcome. But credit card companies have been hiking interest rates into double digits, raising unasked for limits and hiking up balance transfer and cash advance fees for ages.

But only now does the government reckon credit and store companies have to "clean up their act" because it's all been a bit "unfair". And even now nothing will see the light of day this side of an election.


Czech Mate For Blair?

A weary Czech president is holding out to scupper war-mongering 'Boney' Blair's plans to take over a new EU Empire. Democracy's future now hangs on rearguard action and a legal challenge in the Czech court.

As time runs out, Cameron is running out of referendum wriggle room, today joining Hague who isn't vague over the "all singing, El Presidente." Does the EU really want to get on the wrong side of a new Tory government?

All this fuss over two plumb jobs of EU president and foreign minister. Kinda makes a mockery of the spin that the treaty was 'just a little tidying up exercise'. No wonder all eyes have turned to the Czech Republic.

With only one signature away from an all powerful superstate, the heat is on Czech Republic president, Vaclav Klaus, to toe the line. Brow-beaten into submission, he stands alone with 26 other countries now signed up to the new EUSSR through a mixture of blackmail and bullying.

Never has so much depended on so few trying to whip up support for 'El Presidente' Blair.

New Labour spin is in overdrive, banging the drum for crony Blair, desperate to get one of their kind with his feet under the EU table before election annihilation. According to the Guardian, Brown has already despatched a couple of minions to lobby for the Boss.

The mere fact Boney Blair is being talked up for the job is proof Europe is in the dying days of democracy. An EU superstate with new powers over defence and foreign policy creates a new Empire - a totalitarian dictatorship for the 21st century. The UK already has an unelected head of state, unelected upper chamber, unelected cabinet ministers and unelected prime minister. An unelected president Blair would be the final nail in the coffin.

The Blair gang have been too quick to paint opponents as right wing septic eurosceptics. Opponents of the new Lisbon treaty sham, expanded EU superstate and Blair's presidency come from the left and right. Some true Labour MPs simply don't want a president, end of.

Blair, with sidekick Brown to cook the books, have a lot to answer for after a decade of disaster and failure. Shorty Sarkozy and Mummy Merkel are now distancing themselves from "Mr Flash", as their countries pull out of recession depression.

Sucking up to Bush, it was his poodle Blair who took the country to war on the back of a pack of lies, the most serious charge that can be levelled against any wannabe leader of Europe.

Scheming Blair had been plotting away to be top EU dog well before he was booted out of Downing Street. Biding his time, swanning around on the world stage, collecting meaningless titles and lucrative jobs in the elite club of the filthy rich, all carefully managed until his dream job came along.

Number one cheerleader, Miliband the Elder, is singing his master's praises and praising the EU up to the hilt - ruling himself out of the EU foreign job. Yeh sure.

As the rats desert the sinking ship, the Blair clone is looking after number one. Bananaboy will be out on his ears looking for a new job in a few months time. If El Presidente doesn't make it, he'll be in there for the foreign minister job like a shot.

Blair could talk the talk and walk the walk but a shallow smile isn't enough. In the eyes of many around the world, Blair's illegal war sticks in the throat. The blood on his hands never can be washed off.

Here the public is appalled the way the Lisbon treaty was steamrolled through parliament without a by-your-leave, thanks to the backing of Euro boy Clegg. A despicable affront to the will of the people.

Blair endorsements are coming thick and fast. The Orange Party's favourite is the ringing praise from Nice 'n Sleazy Silvio Berlusconi. With friends like Tony's best friend who needs enemies?

The love affair with brand Blair says a lot about the undemocratic swooning of European leaders who've built their own reputations on the back of the politics of false hope and discredited optimism.

Cameron and Klaus may well be in cahoots to stall the new treaty with a legal challenge and string out the signing for as long as they can. Good on them.

If, or more likely when, Klaus is finally beaten into submission, EU leaders would come to regret the day Boney Blair was shoehorned in as the head of the EUSSR. They will be stuck with unelected 'Flash' Tony, forced to make a guest appearance in front of the Chilcot whitewash into his illegal Iraq War.

UPDATE 3pm: A ruling from the Czech court is expected on November 3.