• I’m no social butterfly. In fact, meeting new folk fills me with anxiety. But I do know that murdering people is a pretty bad way to make friends.

    And that is the problem with jihadists – and why they are doomed to fail in their mission to expand and supposedly purify the Islamic world.

    Since Friday, warped holy warriors have threatened to burn to death 17 Kurdish fighters (who they paraded in cages through an Iraqi city), killed two people and injured five police officers in Copenhagen and goaded Egypt into attacking Libya by beheading 21 Coptic Christians, pictured here being led to their deaths.

    These deluded monsters collect enemies like a toddler hoarding toys at a birthday party – and they will stop at nothing. Sooner or later, though, it will end in tears.

    To name but a few, the sworn foes of Islamic State (IS) now include the entire Western world, all Arab governments, all Shiites, Iran, Israel (of course), Hamas, Hezbollah and even Al-Qaeda (yes, the group responsible for 9/11).

    Read More »from Global jihad is doomed because these barbaric boneheads have made everyone – including  other Muslims and themselves – their enemy
  • Reefer madness is upon us again, with media reports on a new cannabis study suggesting that a couple of puffs on a joint will inevitably lead young people to psychosis.

    While it’s true that the study shows skunk to be dangerous, it also found milder forms of cannabis, like hash, to be completely harmless. These findings do not disprove the case for drug law reform: they make it.

    The study, by Robin Murray and Marta di Forti from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, and published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, took data from 410 patients who’d suffered a first episode of psychosis and 370 people in a control group, all in south London. The headline finding has been enthusiastically reported by the mainstream press. “Super strong cannabis responsible for quarter of new psychosis cases,” the Telegraph said. “Scientists show cannabis TRIPLES psychosis risk,” the Mail said, adding that “groundbreaking research blames ‘skunk’ for 1 in 4 of all new

    Read More »from What the media reports on the new cannabis study don't tell you
  • UKIP are not a breath of fresh air – they're just the old stench of Thatcherism

    Mr Farage and his party’s elite are such fans of Britain’s most right-wing modern prime minister that they have dared to stand in political territory where even the Iron Lady might have feared to tread

    Farage seeking tax cuts to millionaires while slashing benefits is very much in the Thatcher mould. (PA)
    Nigel Farage is routinely described as a ‘breath of fresh air’ by zealous UKIP converts.

    His ‘People’s Army’ acolytes praise him as that rarest of rare things: a ‘straight talking’ politician - in contrast to sneering Westminster careerists who constantly gloss over what they really think.

    Furthermore, Faragists say he is an anti-establishment champion of the working man, whom he wants to empower by throwing off the shackles of EU bureaucracy.

    The trouble is that all this radical rhetoric is total guff. UKIP are not so much of a breath of fresh air as one of Margaret Thatcher’s stale farts.

    Until last year, when he began assiduously courting traditional Labour voters (who consider the former Tory premier a villain), the beer-supping UKIP boss had proudly proclaimed that he was the only politician ‘keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive’.

    In fact, Mr Farage (pictured with a Mrs Thatcher mug in 2013) and his party’s elite are such fans of Britain’s most right-wing modern prime

    Read More »from UKIP are not a breath of fresh air – they're just the old stench of Thatcherism
  • Another win for Farage

    A little trouble over Geneva bank accounts at HSBC made Nigel Farage the clear winner in this week’s prime minister’s questions.

    Labour supporters might complain at this, on the basis that even when Ed Miliband sweeps the floor he doesn’t get the credit. Miliband is certainly in need of a triumph after his recent dismal failures. And he looked unusually chipper after his six questions on political donors who held Swiss bank accounts with HSBC, fidgeting between heckles and giggles. If this is what he’s like when he does well at PMQs, he may need physically restraining if he wins the general election.

    The problem with Miliband’s line of attack was that, while the Conservatives come out worse, Labour is not squeaky clean. Cameron usually resorts to bullying his way out of trouble. Today he tried to drag Miliband down with him. It was like that scene in the Lord Of The Rings when Gandalf gets pulled down into the abyss by a large red beast. Only in this version Frodo Farage looks on,

    Read More »from Another win for Farage
  • Public faith in British politics is at an all time low.

    People are fed up with MPs lying and cheating. They feel looked down on by fake-sounding Oxbridge-educated men in suits playing endless games of verbal ping-pong.

    In 85 days time, when polling stations open, a third of the electorate probably won’t even bother to cast a ballot.

    Of those who do vote, almost third are predicted to back insurgent outsiders, particularly UKIP, the SNP and the Green Party.

    This means that barely half the eligible population are likely to support the three main Westminster parties.

    Such a situation would have been unthinkable only a decade ago. So how did this situation come about?

    Certainly, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem politicians have done a lot to build a deep lack of trust – notably with the 2009 expenses scandal.

    But MPs have also been unfairly maligned by increasingly hysterical and paranoid voters.

    This contempt is most evident in the oft-trotted out claim that mainstream parties are “all the same”.

    Read More »from The problem is not so much politicians but voters
  • If the last few years taught us anything, it’s that child abuse thrives in institutions where they can’t speak out, are unwilling to do so, or won’t be believed when they do.

    To a certain extent, it is inevitable. Children are resistant to talking about what is happening right now. Very often, they distrust all adults, and don’t differentiate between a social worker and a prison officer. In scandal after scandal, they report abuse years after it has taken place.

    But that means authorities must be more imaginative about how to respond. We can encourage children to speak out, and minimise the likelihood of abuse in the first place, by investigating the reality of sex behind bars and following the evidence. That is not happening.

    Independent investigators are barred from entering prisons. The Ministry of Justice has made it all-but impossible for journalists or researchers to get into jails. The Guardian recently spent eight months seeking permission for one reporter to go into a one

    Read More »from Could children in prisons be the next abuse scandal?
  • After a series of relentless attacks from big business leaders last week, two news stories have demonstrated exactly why Labour have put themselves on the right side of public opinion.

    First up is the news that Britain’s biggest bank HSBC, helped cheat the Treasury out of millions of pounds of tax while Conservative peer and former trade minister Stephen Green was at the helm.

    Documents leaked to the BBC show the bank helped widespread evasion and offered deals to help tax dodgers stay ahead of the law.

    The company now faces investigations in several countries. The news follows earlier revelations that HSBC’s subsidiaries also helped launder money for drug cartels, terrorists and pariah states.

    In many ways the news is unsurprising. Public trust in banks and other large corporations collapsed following the last financial crisis. This is reflected in a new poll out today which finds that 78% of the public believe big business prioritise profit over ethics.

    The poll by Comres also found that

    Read More »from Big business is making Ed Miliband's case for him
  • The knives are out for the Green party

    By Molly Scott Cato MEP

    In spite of Ofcom’s suggestion that the Green party is not a major party there have been many subtle indications that we are now to be treated as just that. The first big clue came when David Cameron managed to utter the words ‘Green party’ in the Commons after years of pretending we didn’t exist.

    Now we even have our own celebrity sponsor in the form of Vivienne Westwood. But perhaps the most obvious sign is that our policies are finally coming in for scrutiny. I say scrutiny, though that is perhaps too generous a word; attack is probably more apt, but that is what a grown-up party ought to expect.

    The policy that has come under the most pressure is that of the citizen’s income. First we had Andrew Neil on BBC Sunday Politics interviewing Green party leader, Natalie Bennett. Neil acknowledged on Twitter afterwards that he had interrupted Natalie rather a lot as she tried to explain this emancipatory policy. Behaving like a grown-up politician herself, she refused

    Read More »from The knives are out for the Green party
  • Ed Miliband’s hopes of becoming prime minister of a majority Labour government are dead.

    Their demise was confirmed this morning when Lord Ashcroft released details of hisfirst batch of Scottish constituency polls.

    They reveal a truly stunning SNP surge since the end of the referendum campaign. Seats which previously would have been seen as untouchable now look like easy gains for the SNP.

    Even in Labour’s stronghold seats like Glasgow North West the party is set for disaster, with the SNP set to go from just 15% of the vote to 44%. In Motherwell and Wishaw, the party’s 43% majority over the SNP is set to be turned into an 11% deficit.

    If repeated across Scotland, the SNP would take all but a handful of Labour seats, with several Labour heavyweights including Douglas Alexander out of a job. Labour’s half century dominance of Scottish politics is now over. Ed Miliband’s hopes of governing alone are shot.

    It will be tempting for Labour to blame the collapse on the Scottish referendum result

    Read More »from Labour's Scottish collapse reveals a wider rot in their support
  • By John Baron MP

    All options regarding ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (Evel) are sadly a step closer to weakening the Union. None address the financial complexities that bind the Union, and none will prove to be a lasting solution. But the marginal advantage of William Hague’s preferred approach is that, whilst allowing MPs from England, or England and Wales, a veto, it avoids creating two classes of MP by allowing all to vote in the first and final stages of a bill’s progress.

    This is important when considering options for the future. The present choices are fudges resulting from a poorly-fought ‘No’ campaign and a hasty reaction to the result. No one party owns the British constitution. So time is required to engineer a buy-in from across the political spectrum to any new settlement – otherwise, it will lack credibility and not prove lasting.

    We need time to recognise that the concept of Evel is in fact legislatively incoherent. It will be difficult to construct election manifestos or

    Read More »from English votes for English laws will weaken the Union


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