The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

Visteon is the latest victim of Brown’s recession: And the West Belfast workers speak back

Things have gone downhill for Ford since the glory days of the Model T Ford. With the global recession and that which has been made worse in the UK by Gordon Brown, it’s not an easy time for the automotive industry or for those who work for it.

It’s difficult not to feel sympathy – and solidarity – with the workers who have been made redundant from Visteon, a supplier of Ford, at the plants in Enfield, Basildon, and Belfast. The workers in the West Belfast plant have shown that they are not going to take this sitting down and are prepared to stand up to their “masters” at Ford:

the workers at the west Belfast factory are staging a sit-in protest after the US-based parent company announced that Visteon UK Ltd was entering into administration.  

Good on the car workers for daring to speak out. It is tragic to see yet another part of the UK’s automotive industry being destroyed by the “destructive destruction” of the Depression caused by politicians’ regulatory ineptitude [as opposed to the creative destruction where economic renewal is enabled]. Instead, it is economic disaster for communities such as those lived in by the tough West Belfast folk who worked for Visteon for generations.

Politicians like Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams, and the former MLA for West Belfast Diane Dodds (a candidate for the European Parliament and the wife of a Stormont Minister, Nigel Dodds) offer a better way forward than the thugs who were out rioting and “burnin'” cars last night.  It is political action that the people of West Belfast need – not a return to the Troubles that shattered many a family in this part of the capital – in order to deal with the chronic unemployment problems there. Good on the workers for highlighting Ford’s sellout.


31 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Thank goodness for 28 days: Two suspects now charged with Constable Carroll’s murder

Thank goodness that terrorist suspects can be held for up to 28 days – this reform of the detention period has ensured that the police in Northern Ireland have had enough time to question the Constable Carroll murder suspects, whilst obtaining evidence from elsewhere, and have now charged a 37-year-old man as well as the 17-year-old suspect charged yesterday.


Clearly, this case is still sub judice so the case must now proceed through the Courts and the law must be applied. The charges must be proven by the Prosecutors and the highly-paid Defence Barristers can make their case against. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) – or, to highlight its cross-community nature, Seirbhís Phóilíneachta Thuaisceart Éireann (Irish) or Polis Core o Norlin Irelann (Ulster-Scots) – has lost one of its most gallant officers.  Whether we are Catholics or Protestants, we overwhelmingly support our police service.

Constable Carroll (top),
Sapper Azimkar (left) & Sapper Quinsey

As yet, no one has been charged for the murder of Sapper Patrick Azimkar and Sapper Mark Quinsey of the Royal Engineers – and the attempted murder of two pizza delivery men – but already the Republican dissidents have been protesting outside Antrim police station against what they call “internment” (as well as an unfortunate intervention from the “bearded devil” himself, Gerry Adams MP MLA).  They are ably assisted by the “Human Rights Commissioner”, Professor Monica McWilliams (a former Assembly Member who lost her seat and should, by rights, have been retired and who was once, apparently, introduced to Bill Clinton as ‘Monica … er … Lewinsky’), and the usual suspects of human rights lawyers from the Human Rights Industry.












I have already had my say on 42 days, but maybe the atrocities at Massareene and in Craigavon – and the need for at least 28 days detention in order to gather evidence to charge the suspects – will lead Dan Hannan and Iain Dale and the many others to question their unfortunate reactions to the DUP MPs’ and UUP MP Lady Sylvia Hermon’s understandable decisions (and, now especially, proven correct) to vote for 42 days. If they had helped to vote the Government down, things would be difficult here for them now. Though I for one found it very difficult to make up my mind on 42 days, some wise words were spoken last June:

A clear majority of the British people favour a longer detention period.  We believe that the British people are right.  They won’t readily forgive any politicians who allow a major atrocity to occur because our detention procedures prove to be inadequate.

It seems that Tim Montgomerie was right on 42 days, just as he is right on 45p today.

The 42 days issue seems to be dead and buried, at least the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords saw to that, but thank goodness for 28 days.  Let’s only hope and pray that this period is enough for the police to gather the evidence to charge those who are suspected of murdering these two brave, murdered Royal Engineers – young English boys who died serving their country in the most unexpected of circumstances.

24 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Clown Consensus infects Tory IHT policy

When Ken Clarke was chancellor and Gordon Brown shadowed him, their combined incompetence was referred to as ‘Clown’ (CLarke brOWN) – hat tip: future MP for Gordon Scots and Independent.

Now the Clown Consensus, which is tax the higher earners – though many are entrepreneurs and innovators who create the wealth – and those who inherit a bit of wealth has laid waste to the Conservatives’ Inheritance Tax policy. Clarke says it will be postponed – but the Tories say it is a promise that will be kept.

Matt Sinclair of the TPA, as always, hits the nail on the head:

The problem is that, in sending that signal, the opposition will also send other signals to audiences they don’t intend to reach.  They’ll send the signal that, in Britain’s attempts to wrestle with record public sector deficits, the Government will treat the wealthy as targets.  That will shift the balance between risk and reward for every potential entrepreneur wondering how much they’ll be left with if their business works out.  If entrepreneurs think that the Government will seize too much of the fruits of their success then they might well conclude that starting a new business isn’t worth the risk.  That calculation isn’t just about tax rates right now but about a perception of whether our political culture values entrepreneurs creating jobs and prosperity more than it does the satisfaction of taking shots at the rich.  The same goes for multinational companies working out where they can invest without their employees incomes being absorbed by high tax rates.

The Conservatives should focus on addressing the priorities of ordinary people, trying to make them better off now and in the future, rather than attacking the rich in a misguided attempt at political positioning.  That could leave us all facing a bleaker future.


The traitor Clarke should resign, because he has created doubt over a key policy – a gift for Labour. He still wishes to lead a party that despises him and much of what he stands for. And, as I said in January when Osborne orchestrated the return of Clarke, he will damage the electoral prospects of the Conservatives. In fact, his latest ‘gaffe’ (and the acceptance of Labour’s 45p proposal) will probably cause the Tories’ poll ratings to nosedive. 

23 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The terrorists failed big time

The UK security forces, although they sustained big losses, beat the IRA by containing them and forcing the Sinners down a political route.

The dissident Real IRA and Continuity IRA (my predictive texting tries to give me Iran or Irritation – quite appropriate) have tried to cause division and bring down the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.

By killing 2 soldiers (a Brummie and a Turkish Cypriot Londoner) and a Catholic policeman and injuring two Catholic pizza delivery men, the terrorists have brought us together and engendered trust between Protestants like me and our Catholic brothers and sisters, not divided us. We’ve been through this together before, after all.

RIRA and CIRA have failed, and they should crawl back into the gutter they squirmed out of.

12 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The war is over: but how will Labour respond?

Andrew Allison, one of few bloggers from the UK mainland who seem to have a handle on what is going on in Northern Ireland, has a superb post on how the recent terrorist atrocities will not derail the political process and the Executive and Assembly that has been so difficult to achieve.

Sinn Féin have acknowledged long ago that the war is over, and that Irish Republicanism will use exclusively peaceful and political means – and not the gun and the bomb – to attempt to achieve its aspiration.  While a United Ireland is a frightful concept, in a democracy they have the right to argue the case.

What the CIRA/RIRA splinter groups do not believe in is democracy.  They are trying to collapse the Institutions that are a lynchpin in the peace.  It was difficult for the Democratic Unionist Party to agree to restarting the Executive a few years back, as no doubt it was difficult for Sinn Féin to support the police.  But it has meant that we have moved on immensely in Northern Ireland.

The Republican dissidents, however, having failed in their objective to bring down the Institutions (the local politicians haven’t panicked), may well launch further attacks – but to what end?

One of the worrying aspects to these attacks was the lack of security; for example, at Massarene, civilian security contractors had one handgun and did not shoot the gunmen. Army marksmen would have given the terrorists their rightful swift descent into Hell where they belong. Now they must be caught and tried for their diabolical acts.

What Brown and Labour need to realise is that demilitarisation and weak security hasn’t worked. Appeasement of Al Qaeda wouldn’t work – just as appeasement of the RIRA/CIRA thugs. It has given such devils time to breed and has enabled disaffected ex-Provos to join these splinter groups.

It will be interesting to see how Labour, which has attempted but failed to show itself as “tough on terror” in GB, will respond to this new threat which has for the first time brought fear on the streets of Northern Ireland – and potentially could damage our economy, and blight many lives.

11 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

++ Police officer murdered in shooting in Craigavon, Northern Ireland ++

After the Massareene atrocity, further disturbing news reaches us that a police officer has been shot dead in Craigavon, near Belfast. Tuesday evening update: Two men, aged 17 and 37, have been arrested in conncection with the murder – much quicker than it used to take to make an arrest …

So far the Real IRA and now, it appears, the Continuity IRA, have attacked the security forces (and tried to kill pizza delivery men), and the worrying aspect for people in Northern Ireland is what are the dissident paramilitaries planning next?

In the last few days, fear has suddenly returned to the streets of Northern Ireland for the first time in over a decade. Tonight’s and Saturday’s murders suggest a return to terrorist violence here. However, although these terrorists  have broken the peace, they will not bring down the Insitutions.

Update: The Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for this murder of Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, 48, from Banbridge, Co Down. Banbridge, where I used to live, was the scene of a bomb by the Real IRA  on 15 August 1998 which wrecked the town centre but claimed no lives (a trial perhaps for their vicious Omagh bomb later that month) – and, in 1982, when an IRA bomb in the town killed 11-year-old Alan McCrum. Or as has been documented in Lost Lives:

A nine-year-old Derry boy, playing cowboys with his brother in the garden, stumbled over a tripwire and set off a bomb which killed him. 

Do the terrorists wish to return to these dark days when young kids, whether Protestant or Catholic, were “collateral damage” (as the paramilitaries consider them) of such atrocities?

9 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The reaction to the Massareene atrocity shows how Northern Ireland has moved on … and yet Labour policy has failed

It used to be when there was a terrorist atrocity in Northern Ireland that there was equivocation from some people, who were not prepared to fully criticise the attack because of fear.

While the “Real IRA” itself has even gone as far as condemning the 2 Catholic pizza deliverers (one of whose mother works in a Catholic school in Antrim, and the other who is a young dad from Poland) as “collaborators” for daring to carry out lawful economic activities and for earning a living, everyone else has condemned the despicable attack.

Cllr Thomas Burns, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assembly Member for Antrim South, has to be credited in particular for his impassioned call hours after the attack for such incidents to stop and for the need for peace.

These soldiers deserve posthumous Victoria Crosses, as Slugger O’Toole quotes:

The Sun is reporting, that one of the pizza delivery boys was ‘saved’ by one of the soldiers, who subsequently died as a gunman shot him whilst laying on top of the pizza boy. The soldiers told the boys to get down and one of them jumped on one of them lying on top of him whilst bullets flew above them. Apparently the gunmen kept on firing as the men lay dead on the ground. A friend of the delivery boy said: “The guy with the gun then just walked over and executed the soldier as he lay on top of Anto.”

People know that if such attacks continue, and retaliation occurs, it could be they or their families who suffer. What must the Irish-Americans, who once donated money to the IRA and yet who lost many of their own number (policemen, firefighters, etc) in the Twin Towers, make of this diabolical act?

Northern Ireland is a better place than when I was a kid, when we had to travel through military check points in our school bus in order to get to school.

People don’t wish to go back to those dark days. The Real IRA atrocity – in which they have done the dirty work of the Taliban, as these soldiers were due to go to Afghanistan – has probably put a stopper on the devolution of justice and policing to the Assembly.

Right now it’s painful for Catholics to look their Protestant neighbours in the eye, and vice versa, but that mutual friendly smile says we won’t go back to the dark old days. The Real IRA is irrelevant when what really matters is the quality of our lives, jobs, security and providing a decent future for our kids.

There are 12-year-olds and younger in Northern Ireland – who must be very puzzled by this attack – who weren’t even born when the last soldier, Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, was murdered by a gang who were later released early within 18 months under the most despicable element of Blair’s Belfast Agreement and was a key element in the political annihilation of David Trimble. 

For the sake of these kids, let’s hope that it wasn’t prisoners released early who have committed this atrocity.

Update 23.29: Following tonight’s murder of a policeman in Craigavon, the SDLP’s Dolores Kelly, MLA for Upper Bann, and their spokesperson on Equality, Victims, Policing and Parades, has been on the television condemning outright the attack and calling for people to report these “murderers”. Joe O’Dowd, Sinn Féin MLA for Upper Bann, has just called for people to report any information they know to the police. The murderers will not bring down the Institutions.

9 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

++ Child abuse lobbying: Disturbing allegations about Harman’s past ++

First, may I ask, why isn’t this a front page story and why isn’t it leading the BBC News 24 and Sky News?

According to p8 of the Telegraph, a despicable and unforgivable episode from Harman’s past was that she allegedly advocated certain types of child pornography and the reduction of the age of consent to FOURTEEN (14- or 15-year-old boys or girls are kids, are in no way capable of consenting, and should be protected from sexual exploitation). I find the passage below highly disturbing and also I am amazed that Harman is an MP at all and has risen so far in her Party:

The Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women and Equality, who is now being touted as a possible successor to Gordon Brown, sits on a Cabinet committee on young people’s welfare.

But her political judgement and ambitions are now in question after The Daily Telegraph obtained documents showing that she called on ministers to make sexually explicit photographs or films of children legal unless there was evidence that the subject had been harmed.

At the time she made the official submission, she was a senior figure in a civil liberties organisation that wanted the age of consent to be lowered to 14 and incest decriminalised. It also defended self-confessed paedophiles in the press and allowed them to attend its meetings.


Miss Harman, 58, was a newly qualified solicitor when she became legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties, now known as Liberty, in 1978. At the time its general secretary was Patricia Hewitt, who went on to become health secretary under Tony Blair.

Among the groups affiliated to NCCL were the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation, whose members argued openly for the abolition of the age of consent. NCCL complained to the press watchdog about their treatment by tabloid newspapers and said in one article: “We support any organisation that seeks to campaign for anything it wants within the law. They have that right.”

In NCCL’s official response to the Government’s plans to reform sex laws, dubbed a “Lolita’s Charter”, it suggested reducing the age of consent and argued that “childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage”. It claimed that children can suffer more from having to retell their experiences in court or the press.

Amid growing public concern about adults preying on children, the Protection of Children Bill was put before Parliament in order to tighten the laws on child pornography by banning indecent images of under-16s.

I was not aware Harman’s alleged past connections with various paedophile lobbying groups but this is all very disturbing, considering the nature of these pro-child-abuse campaigns. The BMLCTA [Battered Moms Lose Children To Abusers] site has commented that:

All citizens need to be aware of what the politicians are promoting. It seems all too common that people get into positions of power and authority in deliberate efforts to undermine the group they are supposed to be advocating for, such as defending women or children’s rights. In this case, there appears to be a serious conflict over the fact that Harriet Harmen appeared to be promoting de-criminalization of child sexual abuse (CSA), pedophilia, incest, and child pornography, and she is the Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women and Equality and holds a position on a Cabinet committee on young people’s welfare.

Now that she is a mother, what does she think of her past work for such a campaign and such extreme libertarians that advocated child abuse?

Today, in the UK, child abuse of all kinds is at an epidemic scale  and we do need a new Crimes Against Children Act – and to give child abusers (and those who fuel the demand by viewing abominable web images) life sentences without parole. 

We should support the human rights and liberty of ‘at risk’ and vulnerable kids – and not take the ultra-libertarian view of letting their abusers loose to destroy more kids’ lives – after all, the victims’ genuine human rights are more important than the imagined human rights of paedophiles.

As for Harman, there should be a public inquiry and if these allegations are proven, she should never be forgiven for her alleged collusion with such evil child abusers.

9 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Of course school lotteries are unfair, Ed

Labour hates kids – see the link in the bar above – but at least Ed Balls, one of the more likeable cabinet members, has a very different attitude to children.

The future Labour leader, and his sweet wife Yvette, whilst both public school educated, have sent their delightful kids to state schools.

Balls was the minister who, as a dad of young kids, reacted emotionally to Baby P’s murder and the Haringey shambles. He got it right then, though he didn’t on the economy, which he advised Brown on.

And now Ed Balls says school lotteries, as introduced by idiotic upper class councillors in gritty Brighton, are not fair. Spot on.

Empathy is a good thing in politics. If a little Balls kid lost out in the lottery, Ed and Yvette would be gutted. Wouldn’t we all?

Brown’s protege is likely – if not Alan Johnson – to be the Labour leader facing PM Cameron in the 2015 general election (unless Brown goes before then to be replaced by Balls or Johnson).

After the pain of the economic depression and some dreadful Iranian war inspired by the recently defeated President Obama (which President Jindal has got to sort out), a fresh-faced Ed Balls and his lovely Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer wife and those photogenic state-school-going kiddies would be tough to beat.

If Balls calls it right on the many other issues of education and especially society and the economy, he could make this reality.

Whatever happens, the Tories need to raise their game – and not be a toady to Obama (as Bliar was to Bush), given that the Yanks have caused much of the economic and foreign policy mess that we will face for years to come.

Maybe Pres Jindal will invite PM Balls, or PM Davis, to speak at congress too?

3 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment