Curveball

Once David Cameron claimed that a vote for Brexit would compromise Britain’s security, it was inevitable that a whole host of generals, admirals, air marshals and former intelligence chiefs would come out of the woodwork to reinforce his misgivings.

We should remind ourselves that there is no European Intelligence Service and that collaboration with other intelligence agencies may not be quite as advantageous as many claim. In that context, it’s worth remembering the role played by Germany’s BND intelligence service in the build-up to the Iraq War…

Click here for the full story.

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Woke up, fell out of bed …


EU makes net migration target 'impossible'
EU makes net migration target ‘impossible’

BBC News, Thursday 12th May 2016
Figures show 1.2m more EU migrants have got National Insurance numbers in the past five years than have shown up in immigration statistics. Boris Johnson has attacked the government’s pledge to cut net migration, saying ministers know it is “legally impossible” to achieve. The ex-London mayor said EU membership made it impossible to control immigration and criticised politicians who “promise that they can control it”. He said the government had “absolutely no control” over the numbers coming from the EU, adding: “What’s certainly not a good idea, politically, is for politicians to stand up year after year and tell the British people ‘we can cut immigration to tens of thousands’ when they know full well that that’s legally impossible.”

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Pouring petrol on the fire of corruption

David Cameron was caught on camera at Buckingham Palace telling the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world”. A microphone picked up a conversation between himself, the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain,” the Prime Minister told them, referring to an anti-corruption summit he was due to host later.

To be fair, according to the latest Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by the Berlin-based organisation Transparency International, Nigeria features well outside the top ten most corrupt countries. The index, which includes 175 countries and territories, defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain and measures perceived public sector corruption worldwide. The scores range from 100 (squeaky clean) to zero (highly corrupt). A score of 50 is the number Transparency International considers the borderline figure distinguishing countries that do and do not have a serious corruption problem. In the 2014 survey, Nigeria scored 27. On the whole, it paints a fairly alarming picture. Not one single country got a perfect score and more than two-thirds scored below 50.

The ten most corrupt countries were identified as:

RANK COUNTRY CPI Score
1 Somalia 8
North Korea 8
3 Sudan 11
4 Afghanistan 12
5 South Sudan 15
6 Iraq 16
7 Turkmenistan 17
8 Uzbekistan 18
Libya 18
Eritrea 18

Perhaps the most perturbing aspect of this is the fact that Mr Cameron’s government continues to distribute increasing amounts of aid to countries he admits are guilty of rampant corruption.

Somalia, for example, has received £583m in UK aid under David Cameron. The figure for Afghanistan is £955m. In total, the world’s ten most corrupt nations listed above have received £2.7 billion in British aid since he took office. Ministers insist they spend to support specific development projects and trusted charities, but there must be a huge risk of these funds being diverted into unauthorised accounts.

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A catalogue of own goals

Everyone makes mistakes. And most mistakes are forgiven, provided the perpetrators have the courage to admit them. But in the words of the song, ‘sorry’ so often seems to be the hardest word.

A jury has found the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster were unlawfully killed. In the course of the proceedings, a catalogue of police failings emerged that could result in criminal charges. It all begs the question – why has it proved so difficult for South Yorkshire Police to offer the families an unreserved, undiluted, unambiguous, full and frank apology for their failures before, during and after the disaster?

Perhaps they figure that they learn so much from their mistakes, they can’t wait to make another one. Barely was the ink dry on the inquest verdicts than Narpo (National Association of Retired Police Officers) released a statement congratulating colleagues for doing “a good job”. Rick Naylor, a Narpo member who was working at Hillsborough on the day, sent colleagues a message entitled ‘It was a bad day’. “Mistakes were made and we would all like to turn the clock back,” he wrote, adding that despite the failings found by the inquests “there were many examples of outstanding actions and selflessness by police officers on that tragic day as they did their best to deal with the disaster unfolding before them”. Adding that his colleagues had done well to remain dignified while “bile and hatred” was directed towards the force, which faced “immense challenges” in the 1980s.

I know the message was intended to be internal and was made public by accident, but the timing is so insensitive, it defies belief. Another catastrophic own goal.

David Crompton, the current Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, was suspended on Wednesday amid continued anger over disproven claims that Liverpool fans were to blame for the deaths.

At the inquest, it was established that the supporters did not turn up late and that any late arrivals had no bearing whatsoever on the tragedy. Fans were told to turn up fifteen minutes before the game but the crush outside the turnstiles occurred thirty minutes before the game. This was a direct result of the insufficient number of turnstiles in operation for that section of the ground. Police chief David Duckenfield, however, immediately blamed the gate opening on the fans and, as a result, the police treated the incident as a crowd behaviour problem instead of a major medical emergency. Consequently, ambulances were prevented from entering the ground.

Barry Devonside, whose 18-year-old son, Christopher, died in the tragedy, said: “They didn’t do a good job. Yes, I saw police officers endeavouring to give mouth-to-mouth or CPR and those people were excellent. But the sad thing is they were only a few, maybe on two hands you could count them.”

During the subsequent attempts to cover-up their actions, South Yorkshire Police allowed narrow loyalties to prevail over their broader humanity and sense of propriety. Those involved should be thoroughly and unreservedly ashamed of themselves. The communities of South Yorkshire need a police force they can trust and respect, but this is not a time for the force to prioritise its wounded pride. Yes, eventually, energies must be focused on rebuilding morale, but before that can happen, the force will have to have the character to face the public and summon up the strength to say sorry.

It will take even more strength for the families of the victims to forgive them.

Click here for more about the Hillsborough Disaster.

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ANTidote available now!


ANTidote

Neil is an avid aquarium hobbyist. He is also the grandson of a woman who befriended extraterrestrials from a small circumbinary planet known as Morys Minor. Having obtained financial backing for a project to reestablish contact with his late grandmother’s alien friends, he unexpectedly receives a visit from one of them. Unfortunately, yukawa3 has alarming news for everyone on Earth. A species evolved from ants is surreptitiously invading the planet and is bent on overthrowing humankind. Neil must act to save his fish. The consequences of failure are unsinkable.

Based on all the best books you can think of and written with all the clarity of a grungy and neglected fish tank, ANTidote explores themes of staggering inanity sprinkled with a few flakes of nourishing perspicacity (mainly for the fish).

Click here to purchase the book from Amazon

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Woke up, fell out of bed …


The parallel universe of political correctness
The parallel universe of political correctness

Telegraph, Monday 18th April 2016
One of the several accusations against John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, is that he consorted with a prostitute. The BBC, for reasons of self-interest which do not need restating, has pursued this story with unusual enthusiasm. BBC reports, however, have preferred the term ‘sex worker’. This is because the word ‘prostitute’ is considered politically incorrect, and insulting to the practitioners of the trade.

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ANTidote available soon!


ANTidote

ANTidote will be available from Amazon on May 7th 2016.

Click here to purchase paperback version

Click here to pre-order the kindle version.

Here’s the synopsis:

Neil is an avid aquarium hobbyist. He is also the grandson of a woman who befriended extraterrestrials from a small circumbinary planet known as Morys Minor. Having obtained financial backing for a project to re-establish contact with his late grandmother’s alien friends, he unexpectedly receives a visit from one of them. Unfortunately, yukawa3 has alarming news for everyone on Earth. A species evolved from ants is surreptitiously invading the planet and is bent on overthrowing humankind. Neil must act to save his fish. The consequences of failure are unsinkable.

Based on all the best books you can think of and written with all the clarity of a grungy and neglected fish tank, ANTidote explores themes of staggering inanity sprinkled with a few flakes of nourishing perspicacity (mainly for the fish).

In the meantime, the complete eBook version of ‘Through The Wormhole, Literally’, is currently available FREE right here:

Download PDF format
Download MOBI (Kindle) format

If you prefer, you can purchase the paperback version here: Amazon.

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Woke up, fell out of bed …


Jeremy Corbyn changes his mind about EU membership
Jeremy Corbyn changes his mind about EU membership

ITV News, Thursday 14th April 2016
Jeremy Corbyn urged supporters to back the European Union “warts and all” as he made his first major intervention in the referendum campaign. In what many have described as a U-turn, the Labour leader – a long-time critic of the EU – used a speech in London to insist that his party is “overwhelmingly” in favour of Britain staying in the union.

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David Cameron under pressure over father's offshore fund
David Cameron under pressure over father’s offshore fund

Independent, Monday 4th April 2016
David Cameron’s father ran an offshore fund that paid zero UK tax for 30 years. He was allegedly involved in hiring what has been called a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign paperwork for an offshore fund in what may have been an effort to avoid paying UK tax. Papers leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca are said to suggest Ian Cameron was part of the scheme as a director of Blairmore Holdings Inc.

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ANTidote


ANTidote

I told you I’d never write a sequel. Well, here it is!…

ANTidote will be available from Amazon in May 2016.

In the meantime, the complete eBook version of ‘Through The Wormhole, Literally’, is currently available FREE!!!

Download PDF format
Download MOBI (Kindle) format

If you prefer, you can purchase the paperback version here: Amazon.

Posted in Voyager Series Tagged , , , ,