Monday, March 02, 2009

Flattening the laws of England...

My colleague was rightfully incensed at—and disbelieving of—Harridan Harperson's casual talk of over-turning contract law in respect of Fred the Shred's pension. But then, as Timmy pointed out a week or so ago, the government have already done it once.
Changing the rules in mid game….or, if you prefer, violating the law of contract.
Bondholders, who have £12bn in Northern Rock, have been spooked because the Government tore up the rule book on traded debt on Friday by unilaterally rewriting creditor contracts with Bradford & Bingley to delay payment of both interest and capital. Following the B&B intervention, spreads in the sub-debt market jumped 100 basis points to 3.3pc.

One senior credit market analyst said: "Changing the documentation on a whim is not a good sign … It has thrown the whole sub-debt market into disarray."

The analyst added that Northern Rock’s bondholders are now worried that the Government will "amend the terms of the bonds so it can miss coupon payments or link payments to bad assets".

If it does: "The Government could kill confidence in the bond market as well as the equity market, which would be disastrous for fundraisings."

Now yes, we all know that those bondholders would be losing money if Northern Rock or B&B had been allowed to go bust rather than being nationalised. But that is already part of the rules of the game.

If you decide to unilaterally change the contracts, well, OK, so you’ve changed it just for one certain group of people. But you’ve shown that you’re willing to do it to anyone, anytime.

Seriously, what the fuck are this bunch of clowns playing at? What. The. Fuck?

These silly cunts are simply making the whole crisis worse. After all, what is the result of this particular unilateral fucking of the law?
Which means that all transactions now become more expensive as everyone has to price that risk in.

So, as in this case, all borrowing by all banks has just become more expensive. Pretty good for a day’s work, eh?

Are they completely insane?

Let us hope not, but it may be a forlorn hope. Rumours are circulating of plans to deploy the army onto the streets...
In a stunning conversation with a friend, who is a serving member of the Armed Forces, over the weekend, it was revealed that transfers to regiments and other units in the UK on home duties are being undertaken by the MOD based upon whether an individual was prepared to 'open fire' on UK citizens during civil disturbances.

I found this long and extracted conversation to be both bizarre and frightening. I will state at this point that he is someone that I have known for years, and trust implicitly. The fact that service personnel are actually being asked in special briefing sessions whether they would fire on their own nationals indicates that the rumours about the Army being put on standby are indeed very true.

As if to add weight to this, it was reported yesterday as a tag on a posting about UKIP by Richard North on EUReferendum that plans for Army involvement were well advanced...

Of course, now that it is illegal to take a picture of a policeman or military personnel if those involved happen to decide that it is (punishable by a fine and up to ten years in jug), don't expect to see too many pictures of said thugs kicking the shit out of protestors.

But, whilst the government gears up for the riots, they will also be gearing up to use the Civil Contingencies Act [PDF]—which will plunge us into an official dictatorship. Samizdata published the details back in 2004.

Envisaged, ostensibly, as a means of giving the government sufficient emergency powers to deal with terrorist threats (as if they do not already have enough powers), the actuality is a lot darker and goes a great deal further than that.

The effect of the Bill, once passed into law, will enable any senior government minister to delcare that an 'emergency' has happened or is about to happen and, entirely at his own discretion, enact any regulations he wishes for the purpose of:

  • protecting human life, health or safety

  • treating human illness or injury

  • protecting or restoring property

  • protecting or restoring a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel

  • protecting or restoring an electronic or other system of communication

  • protecting or restoring facilities for transport

  • protecting or restoring the provision of services relating to health

  • protecting or restoring the activities of banks or other financial institutions

  • preventing, containing or reducing the contamination of land, water or air

  • preventing, or mitigating the effects of, flooding

  • preventing, reducing or mitigating the effects of disruption or destruction of plant life or animal life

  • protecting or restoring activities of Her Majesty’s Government

  • protecting or restoring activities of Parliament, of the Scottish Parliament, of the Northern Ireland Assembly or of the National Assembly for Wales, or

  • protecting or restoring the performance of public functions.

In other words, regulations for any purpose whatsoever.

And that is just the beginning. The Bill goes on to set out just what those ministerial fiats can do:
  • provide for or enable the requisition or confiscation of property (with or without compensation);

  • provide for or enable the destruction of property, animal life or plant life (with or without compensation);

  • prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, movement to or from a specified place;

  • require, or enable the requirement of, movement to or from a specified place;

  • prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, assemblies of specified kinds, at specified places or at specified times;

  • prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, travel at specified times;

  • prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, other specified activities;

The Bill will also enable said minister to abolish any law or statute at the stroke of a pen.

These are Bolshevik-style powers, so sweeping and totalitarian that they sound as if they have been lifted out of some 1930's banana-republic manifesto.

The effect (and almost certainly the intention) of these laws will be to give the Executive complete political control over the country. Bloggers or media owners who oppose the government can have their businesses requistioned and shut down. Political opponents can be put under indefinite house arrest or dragged before kangaroo courts. Meetings or organised protests can be disbanded and, theoretically at least, the Executive could even order Parliament (which is an assembly) to be evacuated and closed.

Under the rubric of 'terrorist threats' the Executive is about to equip itself with awesome and unlimited powers and let no-one delude themselves that these powers will not be used against, say, pro-hunt campaigners, petrol protestors and maybe even Samizdatistas. The Nulabour fantasy of complete control is shortly to be made flesh.

This is probably the last year of Britain as a liberal democracy yet the mainstream media is (as usual) asleep at the wheel. They will remain that way. It is up to bloggers to raise the awareness and ring the alarm bells in the hope that some opposition can be stirred into life.

Leg-Iron sums up the potential situation very well...
No sense at all, apart from that Civil Contingencies bill, Labour's Enabling Act. It's gathering dust and the Gorgon is itching to play with it. Once he has that under way, no more elections, no more tedious discussion in Parliament and no more irritating democracy. The Gorgon will no longer need even the Labour party. He can just do what the hell he likes and there is then nothing more we can do about it.

He can't just set it in motion. He needs our help to do that.

He needs a riot. Preferably more than one, preferably in different cities. Down comes the already-suggested curfew laws, food rationing because we've already been told we're all obese, huge taxes on booze and cigarettes (for health reasons) huge taxes on gas, electricity and petrol (to save the sparrows) monitoring of all travel and communication (because there might still be 'activists' out there plotting to kill us all) monitoring of all spending (in case someone's stocking up on explosives) rewards for shopping thought criminals, compulsory identity papers and cameras, cameras everywhere. For our protection. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, will be the new Slogan for Britain.

This used to be the sole preserve of the tinfoil hat brigade. I wish I'd listened to them sooner because now, most of that list is in place already. All that's needed is activation of the Civil Contingencies act and it's complete. He has a little over a year to provoke those riots. It's going to get pretty surreal in the coming months. But we have to grit our teeth and face him down.

If we don't riot, Labour are likely to be obliterated in a general election.

If we riot, there won't be one.

I really, really hope that I am being paranoid. But should the Civil Contingencies Bill be invoked, I shall be less than surprised. And maybe even your humble Devil will stir from behind his keyboard, put aside his fine words and prepared speeches, and join the fighters at the barricades.

Because, should that come to pass and with the prison-camps beckoning, there will be nothing left to lose...


Paul R said...

I felt sick when I read that post on Ian's blog.

It's getting all rather scary now.

Anoneumouse said...

It is the Civil Contingencies ACT

it was a Bill pre Royal assent

Leg-iron said... 'emergency' has happened or is about to happen ...

Crap. They don't need a riot. Just enough rumours of a riot. Which is what we're seeing now.

Better get ready.

TheFatBigot said...

I'm not sure it's right that they abrogated contract law with Northern Crock. As I understand it they used a power contained in the contract to change the terms of the deal. There's nothing unusual or improper in that. Simple Harriet's ejaculation is a whole new kettle of ball game.

Bill Sticker said...

Hmm. The squaddie response at ARRSE to this issue sounds less than convinced.

Mind you, if I saw cherry berets on the opposing side of the barricades, you'd find me carefully but briskly walking in the opposite direction. He who runs etc..

Martin said...

“For him (and so far we may agree) there is no freedom without law; but he tends to convert this, and to argue that wherever there is law there is freedom. Thus ‘freedom’, for him, means little more than the right to obey the law” -

Bertrand Russell on Hegel.

As I wrote yesterday, this is the only definition of freedom that Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Peter Mandelson understand; the freedom to obey the law. The Civil Contingencies Act is the proof of that statement.

My own often-stated view is that the United Kingdom is now in a position almost directly analogous to that which existed in Germany at the end of the Thirty Years War. Serfdom became widespread as the nobles taxed the people into the ground in the pursuit of economic recovery, after they had pursued a vastly self-destructive conflict. They did this so that they could stay on top. Both in Germany then and in the UK now, staying on top is all that matters to those in charge of policy.

We can hold ideological arguments until the cows come home as to just what our version of 'the vastly self-destructive conflict' has been (for the purpose of a quite life and the avoidance of the sort of ad hominem abuse that has proponents of 'divide and conquer' rubbing their hands with glee, I'll settle for subprime lending) - but there can be no better illustration of how far down the road of serfdom we have gone than for taxes to possibly be increased while our new, and very pervasive, security apparatus stays in place. An enlightened political class would recognise that they can have taxes or security cameras, but not both. But ours isn't enlightened, possessing instead a sense of their own exceptionalism, an incredible lack of humility and lack of awareness of their own faults and failings, which is quite terrifying.

Public disorder is not the answer. With a law like the Civil Contingencies Act on the books, public disorder plays right into their hands. Better a hunger strike than a riot. Better the quiet dignity of an Aung San Suu Kyi than the bluster of a Daniel Cohn-Bendit; and at 14 stone, I could be doing with losing the weight.

Anonymous said...

Who achieved their political ends:

1) Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams and the boyos. Bombers in power.

2) Aung San Suu Kyi. Moral saint under house arrest.

Anonymous said...

Ah, you boys really crack me up. A fat bearded twit writes that he had a pint with a mate who said that there were going to be riots and the army would shoot the rioters.

This would be the same fat bearded twit who tried to stand for election, all the loons got excited, and then he couldn't quite work out what to do so gave up?

I was down the pub last night and a bloke said to me there were these 'gators. Huge slimey, green ones that were living in council accommodation because the sewers were so bad they couldn't live down there any more. They're on income support and everything. My mate is entirely respectable and I've known him for years, ergo it must be true.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Harridan's gum flapping exercise, Gordon Brown is an expert at stealing pensions. He's been robbing billions from us for years.

It's the only thing the Cyclops is good at.

Nicking a few million from Fred should be second nature.

John B said...

Harperson's comments were scary and revolting; it's good to see that even GB has repudiated them.

The B&B debt is completely and utterly different - everything the government did was provided for within the original contracts. See the comments from Kay Tie, who works as a city trader, on Tim's post.


All those demonstrations that few could be bothered to attend,all the squabbling and bickering about who is or who is not a nazi,all the mindless occupation of the moral high ground,the assasination of our unity,now dear friends it is too late,can we tell our children(if we are allowed to keep them)that we would have attended but the football was on,oh brave new world that has such people int.

Anonymous said...

Well I have a mate who's Iranian. He's just left the country for Ireland (Shit scared)as whilst here he was helping to build four BIG camps in the wilds up north. I believe they have named them FEMA camps in the USA.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"I really, really hope that I am being paranoid."

Well, Devil you are basing this on the unsubstantiated claim of Ian Parker-Joseph's friend.

Parker-Joesph, for context, is constantly prattling on about conspiracies:

"adds weight to the theory that 9/11 was a planned event"

"7/7 bombings in London, that many still consider to be government sponsored"

"Britain on the other hand having bought into the bigger plan, now needed to scare its own population into compliance, so, were the 7/7 London bombings arranged?"

"but evidence is also there that says that 9/11 was the work of a small but well funded group, funded by Saudi Arabia on behalf of the US government"

Martin said...

Anonymous 10:09:00

I feel it necessary to choose my words carefully in these parts, out of a genuine desire not to cause offence (I seem to have one quite a lot of that before); yet your immediately previous comment cannot go unanswered.

The word 'conspiracy' is on its way to becoming one of the most abused in the English language. The idea that people might meet together in secret in order to advance what might be unwholesome purposes seems to be entirely anathema to the tradition of English rationalism. Although the rest of her book has singular defects, this is a topic upon which Melanie Phillips expounds at length in 'Londonistan'; and being neither English nor (in the view of some) entirely rational myself, there seems to be a very considerable truth in what she says.

A way of thinking still rooted in 19 Century attachments to 'reason' and 'common sense' means that when confronted with evidence of what might be collective malfeasance, most British people will have the spastic reaction that 'it's a cock-up, not a conspiracy'. This is exactly the kind of mindset against those they might be conspiring against that anyone intent on conducting a conspiracy can only dream of.

I am not passing any kind of comment upon the merits of the matters raised by Mr. Parker-Joseph; yet he must have the right to raise them without being denigrated. If nothing else, he is a concerned citizen, and too often the right of concerned citizens to investigate the behaviour of those who govern them has been trampled and ignored, with the help of the commercial and state media. I am particularly interested in one group, upon whom any comment is regularly derided as 'conspiracy theory'. Evidence of this group's existence is in Hansard; indeed, that it does exist has never been denied. No answers are ever forthcoming as to what its purpose is. Many of our senior leaders are alleged to belong to it - indeed, there seems to be a flat contradiction regarding it between evidence given by Ken Clarke to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards as quoted in their report dated 11th July 1997, and an answer Tony Blair gave in the House of Commons on 30th March 1998. This would sem to be a perfectly legitimate topic for investigative media to pursue - yet from the overmight British press, ever willing to exercise its perceived rights to censor news and herd public opinion, rarely a word about it is ever said.

In that situation, it is hardly that people should seek answers to their questions elsewhere. Ideas about 12 foot lizards are obvious nonsense - yet when people have no confidence in how they are governed and in those who govern them, it should come as no surprise to anyone that they have flourished.

Anonymous said...

Look at it from the governments perspective and the information advantage they have.
As Buffet has said in America, all the money printing is going to lead to some serious inflation down the line.
German government bund sales have failed.
In the UK they are printing money, so a hyperinflationary collapse gets more likely, by the day.
They can turn away from this course, but it doesn't look like they are going to.

Anonymous said...

I recognise this threat of civil contingencies act / martial law being implemented but not for the reasons given in the article. It has much more to do with a breakdown in civil order due to the coming deep depression and global resource peak and decline in conventional economics.

The 'greatest depression' will be complete restructuring of our house of cards economic system that is a stones throw away from that of a third world country. They have the resilience, we are soft and will riot if we don't get fed. Within a few weeks with food and fuel stocks under ration sever civil disorder and a breakdown in our complex and fragile socio-economic system is a very real risk. What responsible government would not make strong preparations for a collapse, to maintain order?

This is the same problem faced in the US and in many other EU states - they are all preparing for it. Peak oil is only one of the multiple converging factors, the idea is that we have to be prepared to go back to 1910 in economic terms in order to build a resilient country.

A significant number of the urban population will have to go back to the land since the cities are simply unsustainable. This will have to happen under tight control at first, people are in no way ready for it and it could happen overnight. Therefore, the state is planning to manage such situations, getting the military and other systems prepared, starting from 1999 when the civil contingencies act was first proposed.

They hope it won't happen in full severity but have to be prepared if it does. We have an immense amount of knowledge and technology that can be turned to coping mechanisms during the restructuring of the age of resource decline and in all probability the shocks will be distributed over time and the effects muted - but better safe than sorry.

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