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article archives at abelard's news and comment zone topic archives: politics
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III-2006: 02 02-2  03 05 05-2 08 09 11 12 12-2 14 16 18 23 25 26 IV-2006: 16 17 19 27 30

of chameleons and the vermin club

Once, long long ago in 1948, as the UK Labour Party were getting into their regular and increasing difficulties, a socialist described the Tory [Conservative] Party as ‘vermin’.

“No amount of cajolery and no attempt at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.” Aneuran Bevan, 4 July 1948.

Naturally, this was an opportunity not to be missed. The Vermin Club was rapidly organised by the grassroots of the Tory Party.

“Well before the 1950 election we were all conscious of a Conservative revival. This was less the result of fundamental rethinking within the Conservative Party than of a strong reaction both among Conservatives and in the country at large against the socialism of the Attlee Government. Aneurin Bevan's description in July 1948 of Conservatives as 'lower than vermin' gave young Tories like me a great opportunity to demonstrate their allegiance in the long English tradition of ironic self-deprecation. We went around wearing 'vermin' badges - a little blue rat. A whole hierarchy was established, so that those who recruited ten new party members wore badges identifying them as 'vile vermin'; if you recruited twenty you were 'very vile vermin'. There was a Chief Rat, who lived somewhere in Twickenham.”
Margaret Thatcher, The Path of Power (1995)

vermin club badgevermin club badgevermin club badge
original badge size: height 2cm x width 1 cm

“On the bottom rung of the vermin club were the ordinary Vermin. recruiters enrolling ten others were raised to the rank of Vile Vermin and those gaining 25 new members gained the status as Very Vile Vermin [...] Special Nest Badges were awarded to [groups] with more than 200 [...] Vermin.

“There appeared a range of badges, advertising handbills, posters club ties in blue, maroon or brown at 15 shillings (75p each) and 4 inch high enamelled car badges to fix on a vehicle bumper for 12s 6d (62p) each.”

vermin club badgevermin club badgevermin club badge

“By April 1949, the Vermin Club seems to have become a fully-fledged national organisation. An internal Conservative Central Office (CCO) memo puts the national membership at 70,000 `...without advertising...' and gaining 6,000 members a month. Nests had been reportedly established throughout the country and, ` each of the white dominions...' Bevan's pejorative phrase was adopted as an identification label by those who felt it was aimed at them. Life membership was put at two shillings. Profits from the club were originally intended to be donated to the Conservative Party, but because these would have been subject to taxation, it was decided that all moneys raised would be donated to cancer research `... and other non-state aided medical charities'. [From a defunct article by Paul Martin]

From varying sources with modifications.

Labour chameleon

Fifty-eight years later, Prescott, another socialist bruiser, has also tried to brand the Tory Party leader as Untermenschen, using a colourful creature which, apparently, David Cameron’s daughter thinks looks like a cute frog. Unfortunately, poor John Prescott has now multitudinous troubles of his own making as the Labour Party is once more entering the third stage of self-destruct mode.

Dave the chameleon, according to the Labour Party

“What we've got is Cameron the chameleon. He can change the colour of his skin at will but the political animal underneath is Conservative to the core.”
John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister [11 February 2006].

Part of Prescott’s intended ‘insult’ seems to be that Cameron favours liberty (a long tradition in the Tory Party), that he cares about the environment - as would any decent Tory - and that he is what the Americans would call a compassionate Conservative, in that he cares about the standards of public services.

Perhaps it is time for a modern-day, colourful Chameleon Club - a very necessary replacement for Bliar and Prescott’s dull Red Party.

the web address for the article above is




sarkozy on integration of immigrants and marriages of convenience - from an interview with le monde - xavier

The French Interior minister - a politician who can think, cutting through the hysteria from right, left and the media. A major contender to replace Jacques Chirac as president.

[Freely translated from the French original]

Interviewer: You said a few days ago, that foreigners who do not like France should not hesitate to leave it. Isn’t such a proposal playing the game of the Front National [French National Front party]?

Nicholas Sarkozy: Are you so fascinated by this point from the Front National that you forbid all good sense? If Jean-Marie Le Pen [leader of the Front National] says: “The sun is yellow”, must I say that it is blue? The first duty of someone who is welcomed is to respect those who are welcoming them and so to like France, or at least respect it. I do not accept the handouts and lampoons that insult our country and our compatriots. Someone is free to have their own ideas on our laws and our customs, but when they ask to live in France, it must be understood that we live in a democracy. That means that the press has the right to publish caricatures, including religious ones; that a woman cannot be prevented from going to see a doctor because the doctor is a man; that a woman cannot be veiled on an identity document photo, and she cannot be constrained to stay confined in her home. Those who are welcomed must respect these principles. That is why I want to impose the integration contract, which will be obligatory for all those who wish to reside in France. It’s a minimal contract that requires people to learn French. Never has the need for order, authority and firmness been so present in French society.”

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Interviewer: Why harden the conditions for family regrouping, which have been debated for 30 years?

Nicholas Sarkozy: I have no intention to question a right recognised by European conventions. But to welcome their family, a person should be able to prove that they have the material means, which must come from work and not from public assistance. The person’s housing should also be adapted to the size of the family. I maintain the objective of returning 25,000 people in 2006. The execution of expulsion decisions is a priority. As for families where one or more children are being educated, they will not be expelled until the end of the school year. But there is no question of creating a new route for immigration.

Interviewer: Aren’t you going to undermine the right to marriage?

Nicholas Sarkozy: Of course I am not putting in question the freedom to make marriages between a French person and a foreign person. I observe that marriage has become the leading grounds for immigration to France. The number of residency permits given after a marriage between a French person and a non-European Union foreigner has quadrupled in seven years, going from 15,000 in 50,000 to 1997 in 2004.

This phenomenon is explained in part by the opening of French society. But it is equally due to the increase in marriages of convenience, or to marriages in name only. I want to fight against the misappropriation of procedures, notably making a long-stay visa obligatory for the spouse, as is the case in the big democracies.

the web address for the article above is

steyn on iran & ‘useless’ diplomacy - the auroran sunset

response/continuation by abelard

“President Ahmadinejad, who is said to consider himself the designated deputy of the "hidden Imam," held a press conference this week -- against a backdrop of doves fluttering round an atom and accompanied by dancers in orange decontamination suits doing choreographed uranium-brandishing. It looked like that Bollywood finale of ''The 40-Year-Old Virgin,'' where they all pranced around to "This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarius." As it happens, although he dresses like Steve Carell's 40-year-old virgin, the Iranian president is, in fact, a 40-year-old nuclear virgin, and he was holding a press conference to announce he was ready to blow. "Iran," he said, "has joined the group of countries which have nuclear technology" -- i.e., this is the dawning of the age of a scary us. "Our enemies cannot do a damned thing," he crowed, as an appreciative audience chanted "Death to America!"

“The reaction of the international community was swift and ferocious. The White House said that Iran "was moving in the wrong direction." This may have been a reference to the dancers. A simple Radio City kickline would have been better. The British Foreign Office said it was "not helpful." This may have been a reference to the doves round the atom.

“You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew.”

Despite his accurate, if colourful, descriptions, Mark Steyn is somewhat excessive in his scorn for the ‘useless’ pow-wow:

“It is not the world’s job to prove that the Iranians are bluffing. The braggadocio itself is reason enough to act, and prolonged negotiations with a regime that openly admits it is negotiating just for the laughs only damages us further. The perfect summation of the Iranian approach to negotiations came in this gem of a sentence from the New York Times on July 13 last year:

“Iran will resume uranium enrichment if the European Union does not recognize its right to do so, two Iranian nuclear negotiators said in an interview published Thursday.”

Steyn quotes Bill Clinton at the end of his piece in order to bash him, apparently failing to understand the wisdom:

“Bill Clinton, the Sultan of Swing, gave an interesting speech last week, apropos foreign policy: "Anytime somebody said in my presidency, 'If you don't do this, people will think you're weak,' I always asked the same question for eight years: 'Can we kill 'em tomorrow?' If we can kill 'em tomorrow, then we're not weak, and we might be wise enough to try to find an alternative way.”

The more resources the Iranian thugocracy waste on their project before we blow it up the better.
The more prepared we are before we blow it up the better.
The more clear excuses the idiots give us before we blow it up the better.

Clinton went into Kosovo far more unilaterally than Bush went into Iraq, and against a similar backdrop of baying cowards and useful fools. Steyn’s continuing attempts to paint Clinton as a “do-nothing” or a weak ‘liberal’ continue to not wash.

Saddam stringing us along with ‘useless’ pow-wow just meant that more of his time and resources were consumed when we wasted his useless 4th largest military in the world, and then finally expunged his remaining pretensions.

There is a world of difference between the ‘useless’ pow-wow of the UN dictators’ club, backed by a whole lot of nothing.. and the ‘useless’ pow-wow of the USA backed by a world dominant military in the hands of people clearly willing to use it. Clinton’s attitude makes a lot of sense.

‘Useless’ pow-wow is not always useless. This, of course, does not mean we should or will continue indefinitely.

I would, for example, be uneasy with gambling that the next US president has the will to do what is daily becoming more seemingly necessary. Of course, this ‘time wasting’ also gives the petty dictators time to reconsider the precariousness of their position, to back down and thus to avoid bloodshed and waste.

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Reponse/continuation by abelard:

The fossiil media and various other leftist sources have made much of difficulties facing any American attempt to destroy a probably well buried Iranian nuclear weapons programme. As ever, their objections are far from realistic. Obvious potential targets are

  • the whole industrial stream to produce centrifuges
  • mining facilities
  • the foolhardy scientists and technicians working on the task
  • the rather small coterie of usurpers who control the present dictatorship in Iran.

There will be no shortage of targets. I would hope and expect Western sources to already know most of them. Anyone at any level or part of the bomb production would become a legitimate target.

The Iranians are engaged in a high stakes gamble for considerable power. They are gambling that the West will not act, just as Madsam gambled, and lost.

This is about an attempt to change the furniture of world power politics.

They are making the same errors other ambitious dictators have made: that the West has gone soft.

Iran is hoping to use nukes and third parties to threaten the West at will.

The number of freeloaders in old Europe showed that many are quite content to attempt appeasement, bribery etc rather than pay any serious cost. But appeasement is always costly in the long run to powers that wish to be taken seriously.

The free world is a coalition, but it is essentially ruled from Washington.

The UN has sidelined itself. In my view, it will be increasingly ignored and replaced by a coalition of willing democracies.

It is in the interests of neither Russia nor China to allow a mad nuclear theocracy, nor to tempt battle with the USA. Thus far, they are attempting to gain brownie points from fellow travellers and left-wing media in the West, but in due course they will be faced with a choice between cooperate or pay very grave costs.

Do not confuse postures - in an attempt to undermine home support for international political rivals - with serious political decisions.

Do not confuse manoeuvering for advantages with “when the chips start to fall” time. When the chips start to fall, serious powers will wish to come out ahead.

Most of what you see in the fossil media and among pub philosophers is wishful ‘thinking’. It will be tolerated by the society until the decisions get serious. Up to that point, it is “feed the egos of the sheep” mode. It makes the sheep feel they matter and that means the sheep tend to support the political leaders when the going gets tough. No real politician takes the likes of pub philosophers seriously when hard decisions are in question.

Many soft or hysterical commentators react with disbelief to suggestions that there may come a time when the American administration will decide it is necessary to nuke the likes of Iran. Of course they will if it is decided that it is the only effective action. This is serious.

The question each of these gamblers attempts to test is, “Will Rome - now the USA - actually be prepared to swat the flies in Iran in the face of the immature caterwauling from appeasers and freeloaders?” All the while, the free world depends upon Rome, and hides behind their skirt.

Further, the lunatics in Iran are building rockets designed to reach all Europe. The Iranians are also trying to build a network of infiltrators/spies/traitors/ fellow-travellers in your own back yards. There is no essential difference between the behaviour of the power seekers of the Middle East and the previous ambitions for world domination from cult socialists. The methods are the same, and you will have to oppose them or be ruled by them. People are going to have to make choices, as Bush has already warned at the UN.

It is the nature of idiots that they want power without responsibility - a high standard of living without work, an insurance policy without paying the premiums.

Meanwhile the kitchen is hotting up - as I have continually warned, Iraq is a tea party compared with what could develop.

The Romans knew the score: “Let him who desires peace, prepare for war” - Vegetius.

The Greeks knew the score: “We make war that we may live in peace” - Aristotle.

Many of the old fools in Europe still think they can get by on dreams.

Reality will come and bite you if you don’t wake up.

Thank god for America and Bush.

Another of the canards of the fossil media says that America’s battles in Iraq make the Iranian dictators’ position even more ‘impregnable’. Just the reverse is true. America’s intervention has signalled that the West will act, and it has established encampments on both sides of the Iranian theocracy.

the web address for the article above is

sane discussion of the chocolate euro and italy’s growing political problems

Recommended scan.

“The Italian election result was a disaster for Italy and is a threat to the future of the euro. Romano Prodi’s coalition, which stretches from the hard Left to the soft centre, has a small majority in the lower house and a tiny majority in the upper house. Since joining the euro in 1999 the Italian economy has had very low rates of growth and rapidly declining international competitiveness.

“Italy is now in the economic condition that normally preceded devaluation of the lira in the years before the single currency. So long as Italy remains in the euro system it will be impossible to devalue, yet it would be equally impossible for a weak left-of-centre coalition, with no real majority, to take the tough economic decisions that might, or might not, restabilise the economy.”

the web address for the article above is

‘drug’ prohibition under attack by scots police

“[...] world's largest criminal market, worth $500 billion a year [...]”

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“[...] The government estimates that this relatively small population of dependent heroin and cocaine users is now responsible for 54% of robberies, 70-80% of burglaries, 85% of shoplifting and 95% of street prostitution. In addition, prohibition criminalizes millions of (otherwise law abiding) drug using adults, making it unparalleled in its contribution to prison overcrowding and the wider crisis in the criminal justice system.”

related material
Drugs, smoking and addiction

the web address for the article above is

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