Monday, 14 April 2014

Testing the Water...

It seems the Ukrainian situation refuses to die down, with more Eastern states falling prey to armed groups taking control of government buildings.

It may well be that Russia is looking to mop up all of the Ukrainian states East of the Dneiper river. In fact I said this my to friends when Russian irregular forces started to do the same thing in Crimea.

The thing is, Crimea isn't directly linked to Russia: there is no land bridge. There is a long thin road down a peninnsula that almost gets to Crimea, but there is no bridge over the water. Therefore to cement the annexation of Crimea, Russia needs more Ukrainian land and everything East of the Dneiper is fair game as far as Russia is concerned. Why settle for a disembodied state when you can have much, much more?

However, there is a disconcerting element to this: what if Putin didn't stop at the Dneiper? What happens if he decides to annexe the whole of Ukraine? What possibly could our response be? We wouldn't go to war with Russia, as Ukraine isn't part of NATO. The U.N. wouldn't sanction any "Peacekeeping" action, because it will be vetoed by... Russia.

So there is a great risk of Ukraine being subsumed by Russia, with the West unable politically to have an answer. Mind you Europe must share a large slice of the blame if that happens: if you poke a Pitbull, don't be surprised if it turns and attacks the Poodle sat next to you. Europe provoked Russia all right, with not just talk of economic co-operation, but full integration and membership (economic and political) of the E.U. and (most provocatively) NATO.

Okay, I'm pretty certain that we wouldn't go to war with Russia over the Ukraine. But what if he didn't stop at Ukraine? What if he took back the old USSR states?

Would we go to war?

What about Poland, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia?

Would we go to war?

At what point would Russia provoke retaliation? Its clear to me that the actions in Ukraine are a sounding board for further action. Testing the water.... looking for weakness.

And weakness there is aplenty. Forget the political weakness in Europe, its a given that the political amateurs in the E.U. will be outflanked and outpaced by Putin. That's what you get when a committee of unelected, self-centred bureaucrats get in a position to run anything. They are not leaders, they are directionless yes-men, serving the political elite.

Weigh up the question: Would we go to War? Or lets re-word it: Could we go to War?

Its been a few decades now since the Iron Curtain fell and "freedom" flooded into Eastern Europe. Since then successive Governments have degraded our armed forces, to the point that we now can't wage war on our own against a band of goat-herders, let alone the might of Mother Russia.

We have a fleet of six, yes that's six modern destroyers. We have one tiny not-quite-an-aircraft carrier, with no aircraft to fly off its decks. We have a fleet of submarines that just about hold together, plagued with problems in peacetime, its unknown how they would stand up to the pressure of wartime operations.

Our Air Force operates aircraft designed by committees from the 70s and 80s. None of them offer any benefits of ultra-modern technology. Not one of them offers the technological advantage of the Spitfire did in today's world.

The army is equipped with Challenger 2 tanks, who are equipped with ammunition that is almost at its use-by date. After that, there is no-one making the ammunition any more. The tank can be equipped with updated smoothbore canons, but that's not a reality yet.

So, could we stop Putin if he decided not to stop at the Ukrainian border?

And ask yourself, how quickly would we have to resort to nuclear weapons compared to two or three decades ago, thanks to our degraded conventional forces? How dangerous is it to rely on the last resort?


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Maria Miller HAD to Quit.

She had to quit, because she's a classic example of the gulf between those in Westminster and those outside.

Those of us outside know the seriousness with which stiffing our employer for tens of thousands of pounds in expenses will be taken. We know that most likely the Police will be involved and we also know the judge prosecuting the case will not let us walk free by paying back only 5 grand and  a 30 second apology.

We know we will be hung out to dry, as there are NO CIRCUMSTANCES where misappropriating  that amount of money will be in the slightest way tolerated. It doesn't matter whether its £45K or £85k (news reports quote both figures and anywhere in between). We know we're going down if caught.

So for the public, the employers of those MPs to see the workers collectively band together and say that she only had to pay back 5 grand and issue a wishy-washy, sort-of apology, its really a monumental slap in the face. MPs don't understand that at all, thanks to the in-bred, elitist, self-centred attitude of those within the walls of Westminster.

Untill MPs understand that there is one rule for us all, that they are not a "special case", that even inside the walls of Westminster they are still the public, until they understand the concepts of parity in law and probity in their actions, then the press will continue to expose them and the public will continue to be anti-political.

I only wish the public would realise this will not end until they vote to end the party political system. I wish they would vote for their local independent candidate in any forthcoming elections. Party politics have hijacked the Westminster machine and made it work for "them", rather than us.

It. Needs. To. End. Soon!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Thoughts on the Nick Clegg Vs Nigel Farage Debate this evening.

I was interested this evening to see Nick Clegg basically badmouthing the EU, in an attempt to prop up the status quo.

He lied about the amount of  EU legislation implemented in the UK, using the weasel-wordy qualification "Primary" Legislation in order to reduce the amount of EU-derived legislation to 7 percent. I'm afraid Farage failed sucessfully to pull him up on that specific qualification as the mark of a career politician.

The same goes for Nick Clegg's insistence that to want to exit the EU is an old-fashioned stance. The EU was derived as a concept in the 1930's, before he U.N, before the G20, before all of the modern trade bodies came into being.

The EU isn't the be all and end all on trade agreements.

All Nigel Farage had to do to show how out of date the EU is, is hold up a mobile phone. Why does it work seamlessly in every country you visit? Why does its charger work in multiple countries? Who ratifies the standard for the USB connector that you connect to your PC with?

The ultimate global authority on standards is the United Nations. Their standards are then adopted and implemented by regional bodies (The EU) which are then implemented and adopted locally by member states.

This is why when you buy a device with a USB port in the USA, it works with a device bought in China, or the EU. Its why when you buy a phone in Europe, it works in the USA or China or India. There is no "European" USB, or "American" USB, or cellular telephone standards.

If mains electricity had been invented and adopted within the current regulatory framework we'd have global standards for voltage and the type of socket you use.

The EU as a concept is out of date, 1930s philosophy born out of the 1914-18 conflict, that was strengthened during the second world war that something had to be done to unify Europe, when the question was already being answered.

Ditching the EU removes a swathe of expensive, unnecessary legislature that in the modern age does a job that is already being done. The global trade links forged by the major trading nations of the G20 and promulgated by the global legislature and regulatory framework set by the United Nations does the job already. It is a modernist, cost-effective, policy.

Once the curtain has been pulled back of the Wizard-of-Oz-esque flim-flam that is the European Project, it will collapse. No-one in UK politics wants this, because the EU is a convenient scapegoat for all our ills. Politicians can take credit for good policies themselves, while blaming the EU for bad ones, or using it to deflect criticism.

Lets abolish it and let our politicians stand on their own two feet and be responsible for their own actions.

UPDATE:

This is the positive message that Nigel Farage needs to start promoting to push past the image that he is "old guard" and wanting to return to an England of Empire, Closed borders and as Nick Clegg put it "a return to the Gold Standard".
In fact Nick Clegg looks like the one wanting to hold onto the past, and promote the status quo.

For more on this look up the ITU, the IEC, the ISO, most if not all of whom seem to be located in Switzerland.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Dark Times Ahead.

Not sure why, but I get the feeling that the world is going to get really interesting soon. Something is afoot and I'm not sure what part all the pieces play.



Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Terrorists in Ukraine

Its funny: all the supposed "Russian" soldiers that have annexed the Crimea are wearing full battle dress but no insignia. Therefore they belong to no recognised regiment which means they can be deemed armed insurgents or terrorists.

Its about time Ukraine treated them as such.

Russia says they are "self-defence" forces. Well the Ukraine forces are the only legitimate forces that can defend Ukrainian soil.

Lets see how the armed insurgents respond to a tank or two coming at them.

Play 'em at their own game I say. If the "soldiers" are Russian, let the Russians declare it and make their intent clear. If they're nothing to do with Russia then the Ukrainian forces should deal with the, Russia can't have it both ways.


Monday, 24 February 2014

Tanks on Wednesday?

So the new polititical reality dawned in Ukraine at the exact same time the Russian leadership were distracted, enjoying a Vodka or two wrapping up the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Now the chill wind is blowing from the East in that Russia is seeing more and more of it's buffer zone turn Westwards. Not to mention a huge swathe of endless flat land. Perfect for the tank battles of WW2 and prime for agricultural development today.

There is a limit to how far we can push and Putin isn't the sort of person you piss off. He won't be taking this lying down. Ukraine is an important strategic ally for Russian, as is Georgia. The EU may find it harder to flip the Ukraine than the less important countries like the Baltic and Balkan states.

So, Sunday Ukraine turns Westward, today we get Russian posturing and in the background military mobilisation. Tuesday forces move up to the border and Wednesday the Pro-Russian provinces in Eastern Ukraine open the border to Russian "peace-keepers".

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Ukraine: Like a Moth to a Flame.

I pity the people of Ukraine: They currently have a choice. But instead of doing their own thing, being independent, they're running headlong towards an autocratic regime, the only difference is which point of the compass they prefer.

Maybe after decades of being part of the USSR its wired into their psyche.

But if they join Russia, they're hostage to a regime that they haven't elected.

If they join the EU, its exactly the same.

The only differences is which particular faction of politicians get rich.