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Thursday, 22 February 2018

The issue is Brexit, not Gun Control in the United States.



Donald Trump says he is considering arming teachers after shooting tragedy


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By far and away, the greatest issue facing the people of the United Kingdom today is Brexit and the unholy mess that this government is creating in the negotiations with Europe.
However, on Sky television News last night (21st February), over two hours was devoted to Donald Trump and his meaningless rhetoric in a discussion with an invited audience on the question of gun control in the "United States". An issues which has been debated numerous times before after previous atrocities of mass shootings in the USA. After the live broadcast, Sky News presenters spent even more time precising the discussion and offering their own "take" on what Trump and some of the audience had said.


At the end of the day, this debate will produce the same result as all the other debates and Americans will go on shooting each other because the 2nd Amendment (adopted on December 15, 1791) and the power of the "Gun Lobby" in the United States will ensure that nothing will change. No matter how much hot air is generated after each massacre, the "Right to bear arms" is embedded in the American character and will not change.
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Meanwhile, the divisions within cabinet concerning Brexit and the so called transition period remain as a thorn in government's, side and the divisions in the country grow more bitter each day. Today, a meeting of the cabinet Brexit Committee is to be held at Chequers, an "Away Day" to resolve the huge differences between ministers on this momentous subject.
It will be interesting to witness how much coverage Sky Television News gives to an issue which directly affects millions of people, in the United Kingdom and in the remainder of Europe.


Monday, 19 February 2018

Voluntary codes of practice, self regulation and other forms of self discipline are not working.



Freedom of the Press



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Fleet Street


When I was a boy, I never had the vision of being a train driver, or a bus conductor, or a fire-fighter or any other of the thousand and one occupations that almost every boy has the ambition to fill in later life. For me, there was only one occupation that drew me like an irresistible magnet. I always wanted to be a newspaper reporter, an investigative journalist who would expose corruption and wrong doing and hold those responsible to account in the court of public opinion and even in the courts of the land. Over the years, the press has been responsible for exposing the scandal of John Perfumo, the excesses of Rachman and the exploitation of homeless and vulnerable in society, the Washington Post reporters Bernstein and Woodward, bringing down Richard Nixon and his crooked administration in exposing the Watergate conspiracy and more recently still the MP's Expenses Scandal which shook the political establishment of the United Kingdom to the core. Consequently, I hold freedom of the press to be cornerstone of democracy.
With freedom however, comes certain responsibilities and obligations. Over recent years, specific sections of the press have overstepped the line and brought the concept of press freedom into disrepute. The content of the smear campaigns waged by these "Press Barons" has become more and more vitriolic as each competes with the other to fill their articles and pages with lies and allegations so outrageous they they become almost comic. The coverage and subsequent comment by one of these "newspapers in particularly in connection with the Hillsborough Disaster, is a national disgrace which will remain as a testament to media abasement. However, the sinister motivations for these scurrilous reports and denunciations, lies in the desire of the proprietors to impose their own values, opinions and political structure on society by whatever means necessary. It is an attack not only on the individual "victims", but also on democracy itself. Personal attacks on those who oppose or are deemed to be a threat to the position of the "establishment" as determined by the press, are not a new phenomenon in the United Kingdom. Harold Wilson, Michael Foot and no doubt Clement Atlee have all been targeted to a greater or lesser extent over the years since the end of the war. The "Reds Under the Bed" scenario, has been a favourite scare tactic of the right wing press for many years, but it is not only politicians of "the left", who have been subjected to scrutiny and abuse. Attacks on ethnic minorities, religious sects, and individuals have been hounded and persecuted by the self appointed guardians of the nation from their executive offices in Fleet Street and now in Kensington, Wapping or Canary Wharf.
Over recent years, the excesses of these "newspapers" has immeasurably exceeded what any society can accept as reasonable and fair comment. More recently, Sky Television News has joined the ranks of the press inquisitors and now pursues the perceived "threats" with lies, smears and abuse through what appears to be a collection of specially recruited and trained presenters to berate and seek to intimidate anyone being interviewed. Fortunately however, a number of interviewees are able to stand up to the Sky News tactics, but all too often the interviewer has the last word. The common factor in both the newspaper and television ferocity, is that in all cases they are able to "get away with it" with no sanction or censure or any form of control being applied. In the same way as the playground bully will push the bounds of their behaviour and become more savage, then the media too will continue to go beyond the limits until they are stopped. It is abundantly clear that the notion of voluntary codes of practice, self regulation and other forms of self discipline are not working and probably never have. There is a compelling case for a statutory independent body with the necessary teeth and avaiable sanctions to enforce its decisions, to watch over the activities and practices of the media and the content of their newspaper pages. Only in this way, will it be possible to ensure that a free and democractic press is not overwhelmed and submerged by a corrupt and iniquitous media, driven by a few vested interests intent on destroying democracy in this country, as they impose their own regime on our society.
Looking back to my childhood ambition, I can only conclude that had history taken a different course, I would be ashamed to be a reporter or journalist or even part of today's media machinations.



New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 18th February 2018





Good morning everyone



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I caught some of the Television coverage of the Winter Olympics this week and came to the conclusion that some of the competitors are either very brave or quite mad or even a combination of both. I do not refer to the curling event where large, heavy blocks of granite are slid along the ice towards a target of different coloured circles some distance away, while "sweepers" scrub frantically at the ice in front of the stone causing it to go faster or change direction or whatever. Curling is quite genteel and similar to a game of bowls on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Studland. I refer to an event called "Skeleton". Another of those mountain events where the contestant descends from the top of "the run" at great speed. This one however is different from the others in that the descent is made on what seems to be a small dinner tray fitted with a handle on top and a couple of ice skate blades underneath. Coming down a mountain at 150 kph (that is over 90 mph in real money) dressed in very little may seem like a great "buzz" to some people, but to do it "head first" might be taking things a bit far. As I said previously, very brave or quite mad or even a combination of both.
Having said that, congratulations to Lizzy Yarnold on becoming the first Briton to successfully defend her "Skeleton" title.


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Image result for Boris Johnson theresa may warns that "people are determined to stop and overturn Brexit


Many speeches and interviews over the past week in respect of "Brexit"with still no clear direction from government of intention or purpose.
The country did not vote for a "leave at any price" resolution and many now realise that any other solution than the so called "soft Brexit" will be an unmitigated disaster for the United Kingdom, industry and British society generally. The guidance and leadership that we expect and deserve from government is lamentably missing from the current cabinet and its ministers, with each offering their own individual solutions and understandings of the current disarray, all of which are completely at odds with the speeches and briefings given by the Prime Minister, who should be in charge of the process but is too weak and inept to exert any discipline and leadership or her team.
Boris Johnson of course recognises this turmoil and cynically grasps another opportunity to bid for leadership by imploring all factions in the warring government to come together to prevent those forces seeking to overturn the referendum result and prevent Brexit being implemented.
Read the full piece at: Hard Brexit will be an unmitigated disaster for the United Kingdom, industry and British society generally.
https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/hard-brexit-will-be-unmitigated.html



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Meanwhile, back in Jersey, Condor are still plagued by "technical problems" and those pesky French stevedores striking in St Malo.
Condor announced that Wednesday’s services (in fact there was no scheduled sailing for Wednesday anyway. It was Thursday. Condor confused again.) had also been cancelled but the vessel was expected to return to service on Friday.
"Additional maintenance (on Rapide), has been completed in dock and, coupled with adverse weather in the English Channel, means Rapide will reposition to St Malo in time to resume her schedule on Friday. We do apologise for the inconvenience this has caused but anticipate that Rapide’s return to service will enable passengers to complete their half-term travel as planned".
Condor has an endless supply of appologies and excuses in respect of their lamentable service provision which they trot out at every holiday period. The islanders are fed up with the poor service from this operator and we can only speculate as to why the States of Jersey allow this situation to continue year after year.


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Outside my window it is foggy. Well actually it is very low cloud which is quite usual for this part of the country for this time of year. It eventually stopped raining and the lanes seem to be getting back to normal as the flooding recedes.. Still no snow even hough it is very cold.
In what must be some kind of record, I have completeed this email without one mention of the Express !


Have a nice week

John




Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Hard Brexit will be an unmitigated disaster for the United Kingdom, industry and British society generally.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/13/boris-johnson-warns-thwarting-brexit-vote-would-be-disastrous

Boris Johnson warns that "people are determined to stop and overturn Brexit


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Again, either by accident or more probably design, which is usual for this buffoon who is constantly seeking to be the next Prime Minister, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson wades in with a speech warning that, " people are becoming “even more determined” in their efforts to stop and overturn Brexit". There is no doubt that there are some amongst the "remainers" who have this objective in mind and are seeking either another Referendum or a complete  cancellation of the 23rd June 2016 result, but to suggest, as Johnson would have us believe, that all those who voted to remain in the referendum are now frantically seeking to prevent the United Kingdom leaving the EU, is as absurd as practically every other utterance that this self serving, politically ambitious hypocrite has ever advanced.
It is indisputable that the 17,410,742 who voted "Leave", took that decision for many different reasons. It is also indisputable that a significant number of the 17 million did not vote to leave "at any price"
Voting to leave the European Union without any agreement with the 27 other nations on the questions of the Customs Union, the European Single Market and not least of all the Border between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom Northern Ireland was never fully defined by the leave campaign, preferring to cloud these issues with vague platitudes and even undisguised lies, as in the case of the £350 million per week promise for the NHS . These are but three of the numerous issues which require clarity and resolution and which should have been resolved prior Article 50 being triggered and perhaps even before the referendum took place. The rights of people in the workplace, the status of those EU citizens remaining in the United Kingdom after the Brexit date, together with the rights of those UK citizens living in the EU,  jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, Free movement and a thousand other issues which had become integral to the British way of life after 40 years membership of the EU should have been addressed and resolved.   What we actually gained from the referendum was a Prime Minister who made a complete miscalculation and promptly copied Pontius Pilate and washed his hands of the whole matter before walking off leaving others attempting to resolve the resultant chaos from the unexpected "Leave" result. 
The country did not vote for a "leave at any price" resolution and many now realise that any other solution than the so called "soft Brexit" will be an unmitigated disaster for the United Kingdom, industry and British society generally. The guidance and leadership that we expect and deserve from government is lamentably missing from the current cabinet and its ministers, with each offering their own individual solutions and understandings of the current 
disarray, all of which are completely at odds with the speeches and briefings given by the Prime Minister, who should be in charge of the process but is too weak and inept to exert any discipline and leadership or her team.
Boris Johnson of course recognises this turmoil and cynically grasps another opportunity to bid for leadership by imploring all factions in the warring government to come together to prevent those forces seeking to overturn the referendum result and prevent Brexit being implemented.
Many in his own party have already condemned Johnson's intervention as hypocritical and cynical designed only to advance the Johnson brand and pave the way for him to assume the leadership. With David Davis, Liam Fox, David Lidington and others queuing up to present their own stall during the coming week culminating in a speech from Prime Minister Theresa May in Munich on Saturday next followed by a second speech on the UK’s future relationship with Brussels, following a Cabinet “away day” summit at Chequers.
At a time when this country faces decisions which will affect the nation for generations to come, decisions which are arguably the most important for decades, we have a government dithering with conflicting opinions, a government riven by civil war, a government without leadership or direction and now through this maelstrom, emerges Boris Johnson with yet another power play. The United Kingdom cannot afford to be  led by power seeking individuals concerned only with their positions and ambitions as the clock ticks inexorably towards 29th March 2019.
We have to secure agreement on all outstanding issues with the other 27 nations of the European Union. With the government in its present state and with the maneuvering of some cabinet ministers, this may prove to be an impossible task which could well result in a disterous "Hard Brexit".
We must have a general election before this government completely destroys any prospect of a settlement.








Monday, 12 February 2018

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 11th February 2018


https://paper.li/f-1346065353#/


Good morning everyone


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Swing low, sweet chariot.
England 12 points Wales 6 points.
A rain drenched Twickenham saw England run out eventual winners against an injury depleted Wales side full of determination and effort, as usual, but certainly missing the kicking skills of Leigh Halfpenny. Two first half tries by Jonny May and Owen Farrel providing the one conversion, were enough to see England advancing on the road to another Championship. Two away matches to follow at Murrayfield and Stade de France before the final match against Ireland at Twickenham.
In Dublin, Italy were a much poorer side than the one who played England just 7 days before, which made Ireland look far better than they actually were. The scoreline Ireland 56 points Italy 19 points clearly flatters an Irish side. In flashes of brilliance, Italy's tries demonstrated that they could be a very good side but far too many periods of mediocrity ensured their defeat. Marrayfield saw Scotland run out winners with Scotland 32 points to France 26 points. This was no France of yester year however when Serge Blanco and the others played with passion and flair. Played two lost two says it all.

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George Dubya Bush says that there is clear evidence that Russia "meddled" in US election.Like the clear evidence that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. G W Bush "won" a rigged election and lied all the way through his Presidency. We should place no credence on anything this warmongering hypocrite says.

Image result for SuRie will represent the UK in this years Eurovision with "Storm".

SuRie will represent the UK in this years Eurovision with "Storm". Another UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest (will we still be part of this annual nonsense after Brexit?) well in the mould of Sing Little Birdie Sing, Sing, Sing (2nd in 1959) or even "Cry Baby" from 2003. "Nul points" beckons.


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When people have no idea what they are going to do or what their ultimate objective is, they invariable resort to the old chestnut "I will tell you tomorrow".
With Prime Minister May, it is always that we will set out her plans for Brexit, in a major speech "next month". Theresa May has used the "next month" comment with monotonous regularity, since she stood on the steps outside 10 Downing Street on 13th July 2013. On each occasion the resultant "announcements" have been little more than regurgitated cliches of vague intent without substance or direction. There is no reason to believe that this "Plan to set out more detail next month" will be any more enlightening or specific than the previous promises of clarity.


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"Hard Sun." Did anyone watch the last episode of this 6 part "drama"? At the end of the episode as the sun rose slowly in the sky revealing a brilliance and intensity some 4 years too early according to Grace Morrigan (who is either a MI5 operative or something even more sinister), I and probably many others were left wondering. Did Charlie Hicks actually kill Butler and if so why? (apart from getting off with Butler's widow). Is there going to be another series? (The rumours are that the writer has a plan for a 5 year project). What is the chemistry between Renko and Hicks? Was this the prelude to more "Hard Sun" or was the whole 6 hours a complete waste of everyone's time? Answers on a postcard.

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McMaffia finished on Sunday night didn't it? All secrets of the plot were revealed weren't they?
I posed the question some weeks ago, asking who were the good guys and who were the baddies. The last episode made it clear (?) that there were no good guys at all and that they were all baddies. Even the police were exposed as corrupt double crossing nasties, changing sides and killing people.
Even the sugary sweet Alex Godman rapidly degenerated into a "nasty" cutting drug running deals worth $ billions and eventually killing Vadim Kalyagin as he lay unarmed and mortally wounded on a sofa in a seedy Moscow apartment. Was this really the end or am I still missing something? Answers on a postcard.

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Meanwhile, back in Jersey, "Condor cancels Rapide crossings again.
Condor said the cancellations were due to the vessel remaining in dry dock longer than planned"
These words have become an integral part of the Condor "Stock phrases" hand book, only the name of the vessel changes.


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Hang on, hang on. They are still promising Arctic weather with penetrating frost, wind and heavy snow coming soon. Some places have admittedly had some snow, but nowhere near the apocalyptic disruptive and life threatening conditions promised by the Express. Will the forecasts change when the Express becomes part of the Mirror group?


Have a nice week


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Theresa May will set out the detail "next month"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-brexit-speech-plans-michel-barnier-boris-johnson-away-day-chequers-a8204581.html


Theresa May to 'set out more detail' on Brexit plans next month.

Image result for Theresa May to 'set out more detail' on Brexit plans in major speech next month.


When people have no idea what they are going to do or what their ultimate objective is, they invariable resort to the old chestnut "I will tell you tomorrow". 
With Prime Minister May, it is always that we will set out the plans in a major speech "next month". Theresa May has used the "next month" comment with monotonous regularity, since she stood on the steps outside 10 Downing Street on 13th July 2013. On each occasion the resultant "announcements" have been little more than regurgitated cliches of vague intent without substance or direction. There is no reason to believe that this "Plan to set out more detail next month" will be any more enlightening or specific than the previous promises of clarity.


Monday, 5 February 2018

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 5th February 2018

https://paper.li/f-1346065353#/


Good morning everyone

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Italy 15 pts, England 46 pts.
Swing low, sweet chariot.

I watched the opening England match of the 6 Nations last season and remarked at the time that England were less than impressive in their performance. This year however things were very different. Admittedly there were periods in the game when England seemed to drift off and loose concentration (and the ball) but overall their performance was the best of the three matches. New boy Sam Simmonds has the speed of a sprinter and scored two tries on his debut and must surely have claimed the number 8 spot as his own. Farrell, Hughes and Ford turned in first class performances in a team effort which was good value for the win. It is too early to even start thinking about the "Grand Slam", but in the other matches Scotland were less than poor andan injury hit Wales took full advantage with an ordinary performance to secure the win, while Ireland poached a two point win in Paris ina poor rain soaked match where both sides gave the impression of preferring to be in one of the numerous Paris restaurant, with a strong coffee and a pastry. Next week, Twickenham will welcome the fans who carry leeks and daffodils. It promises to be quite agame, but England have much work to do over the next few days.

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In a mind boggling piece of media speculation, it is suggested that Theresa May could be soon be removed in a Downing Street coup and replaced by the "Dream Team" of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, as Prime Minister, Michael Andrew Gove as his Deputy PM and Jacob William Rees-Mogg as Chancellor of the Exchequer. To me this is less of a "Dream Team" and more like a terrifying nightmare. The worrying thing is that in today's warped, confused and fragmented Conservative Party this speculation could become reality.
There are some strange examples of serialised drama on television at the moment. 


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Are you watching "Hard Sun" for example, which should probably be called Renko but that would be too close to the name of another television serial of a few years back. Renko, sorry Hard Sun has more twists and turns than a long country lane and I have a sneaking suspicion that despite the fights in almost every episode, there is more to the Robert Hicks and Elaine Renko relationship than meet the eye. This would of course be very complicated for Hicks with his pregnant wife, lover who just happens to be the widow of his partner who he allegedly killed while both were on a case. However, an entertaining piece of drama which concludes next week. 
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Not so the case with McMaffia. If you are watching this and have spotted who are the "good guys" and who are the "baddies" while leaping between Moscow, London, Tel Aviv, Istanbul,Mumbai, Paris and numerous other exotic locations,and you are managing to keep up with the plot through much muffled soundtrack and mumbling, please drop me an email with the explanation.
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It is revealed that there is over £1 billion "missing" from the Carillion Pension fund, while executives and share holders continued to collect dividends and salaries right up to the collapse.This is absolutely outrageous. A situation where a few benefit while the many are left to bear the consequences of their "missing" pension fund, is unacceptable. For far too long , companies have been using their employees pension funds to shore up their ailing businesses. When the company eventually fails, the employees are penalised while the management walk away unscathed but with their bonuses and severance payments intact. Punitive measures must be introduced to deter the "diversion" of pension funds to the operating accounts of companies who may resort to this questionable accountancy maneuver.

In a footnote to this story, companies who are owed money by Carillion some in excess of £1 million, may now apply for Government backed loans to cover the debts. It seems ironic that a company owed money by another company have to borrow money from the bank, thus incurring a debt on their books while the defaulting company walk away scot free. Perhaps the Carillion directors and senior management should have all their assets seized, including their homes and other properties, with the proceeds distributed to those workers and suppliers who have claims.



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Practically every newspaper you pick up (particularly the Express) is predicting severe weather with snow, frost, wind and hail. This week they say, will be the coldest for decades, with temperature expected to dip to -18C or lower in many places. Get supplies in, get the thermals ready and turn up the heating. (We hope that the pensioners and vulnerable people in our society will be looked after too)

Have a nice week