A wonderful example of an unaccountable bureaucracy at work. DVLA willingly sell the following number plate to a customer, Mr Clarke (apparently “it slipped through the net”):


Then they decided that because in their view it causes offence they will persecute the chap who purchased it from their own website:

They said it was causing offence and I had to remove it, and they are threatening to criminalise me. But they are a government agency and they put the plate on their own website for anyone to buy so it’s 100 per cent legal.

‘I would love to know what offence I am committing as they haven’t told me. I have got the receipt for the plate, the registration document and the vehicle is fully taxed and insured so I’m at a loss to see what the problem is.

Cue the usual official threatening letters:

But within six weeks, he received a stern letter from the DVLA telling him the plate was ‘causing offence’ and ordering him to remove it from his vehicle.

The DVLA says it is an offence for it to still be displayed.

Perhaps DVLA don’t appreciate that there is a legal precedent for use of this word – Mr Clarke should take them on.


Carry On Regardless

Despite that Icelandic polls show consistent opposition to EU membership

“The vast majority of Icelanders are still opposed to joining the European Union according to a new opinion poll published today, March 17, in the business newspaper Viðskiptablaðið. 55.7 percent oppose EU membership while 30 percent favour the step. 14.2 percent are uncertain.

A recent poll by Capacent published on March 10 put the opposition to EU membership at 50.5 percent, the support at 31.4 percent and the uncertain at 18 percent.

The last poll before that was published by Capacent in July 2010 putting the opposition at 60 percent, the support at 26 percent and those uncertain at 14 percent.

Every poll published in Iceland since August 2009, made by different polling companies, has shown a large majority of Icelanders against joining the EU and only about 1/3 in favour.”

…the process of membership continues by Iceland’s politicians:

Iceland’s accession negotiations with the European Union officially began today with the first four chapters of the entry charter up for discussion.

According to an EU statement two of the four first negotiations have already drawn to a temporary conclusion.

You cannot carry on defying your own people. When will they wake up?

"Boundless Stupidity"

A rather damning indictment of the German government’s role in the Euro crisis in today’s Der Spiegel by leading German economist Stefan Homburg. He argues that Greece should default but because of Germany’s ‘boundless stupidity’, she will continue to pay up. He begins by making this point about the proposed voluntary participation of the banks, which would not only lead to a default by the ratings agencies, but are illegal:

Banks cannot participate voluntarily. An executive board is committed to its company’s welfare, and not the public interest. If it waives outstanding debts at the expense of its own company, this is a breach of trust and punishable by law.

So according Homburg the proposals are merely a big show to reassure German taxpayers:

SPIEGEL: So the voluntary participation of private creditors, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have agreed on, will achieve little or nothing?

Homburg: It was all just a big show which was mainly intended to calm the German public. Merkel wanted mandatory participation, Sarkozy wanted none at all. In effect, Sarkozy has prevailed.

Interestingly an agreement by French banks to rollover their debt has been put forward by the French this morning:

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday that the government had a first draft deal of an agreement with French banks to roll over holdings of their Greek debt.

“We’ve got a first draft. It’s a first outline,” she told journalists ahead of a news conference with President Nicolas Sarkozy

However, Homburg is so confident that the German will pay that he has invested in Greek bonds himself:

In recent days, I myself have invested a considerable sum in Greek bonds. They will mature in one year’s time and, if all goes well, produce a 25 percent return on investment. I sleep very soundly at night because I believe in the boundless stupidity of the German government. They will pay up.

Since I involuntarily help finance the rescue packages through my taxes, I have no problem with also receiving a portion of the profits. Why should it only be banks and hedge funds that benefit?

But Homburg is in no doubt that Greece will eventually default, it’s simply incapable of sorting out its finances, but the Germans (and indeed the rest of the EU including us) will continue to throw good money after bad in hope the that someone else will be blamed for the Euro collapse:

Many politicians have also come to the realization that the path that we are on ultimately leads to national defaults and currency reforms. This process is already irreversible, but nobody wants to say it out loud and go down in history as the one who triggered the explosion. So we leave the bankruptcy to subsequent German governments and, in the meantime, throw good money after bad. Sooner or later, this much is certain, the system will be blown apart by political and economic factors. And, unfortunately, there is a great danger that, when this happens, it is not only the euro that will fall apart, but also the entire EU.

Greece will be voting on its austerity budget tomorrow, which most analysts believe will pass the Parliamentary vote, albeit narrowly, meaning the Euro debacle will continue to limp along pathetically for some time yet – in the meantime billions of pounds of taxpayer’s money will be wasted to shore up a few politician’s egos. I think I could use a few stronger words than ‘boundless stupidity’ to sum up the current crisis.


Nigel Farage and Shami Chakrabarti were on BBC’s Andrew Marr this morning reviewing the papers. Naturally the subject of the EU was broached, over Milly Dowler and capital punishment, the Greek crisis and the Olympic ticket farce. This prompted Chakrabarti to comment (from memory, the transcript’s not yet up):

“It’s amazing how you manged to get the EU into every subject”.

Now I wonder why that would be? You would hope that eventually Miss Chakrabarti might work out the answer for herself, but probably not.

Douglas Carswell U-Turns On EU Exit?

Witterings from Witney alerts me to this latest post from Douglas Carswell:

It’s encouraging to see so many of the 2010 intake of Conservative MPs recognising the hopelessness of “throwing good money after bad” in the Eurozone bailouts with a letter to the Financial Times today. Many of them also voted to stop the bailouts in the division lobby.

They are surely right. Bravo.

Not only is Carswell agreeing with proposals that are anything but a radical reform of the EU despite his previous well known assertions, astonishingly Carswell then links to a ConHome page that contradicts his claim that ‘many of them voted to stop the bailouts’ – as I blogged here, only one of the fourteen signatories did. (or am I missing something?) *

Carswell then finishes his blog with this :

That makes it all the better to see Members of Parliament demanding a radical overhaul of our approach to Europe – and, let it be whispered softly, perhaps even some kind of meaningful democratic oversight over Britain’s EU deal making.

Ahh, the classic – democratic oversight rather than out. In other words ‘in Europe not ruled by it’. A Judas goat indeed.

*Exactly 50% of those Tories who voted against the bailout were new intakes – 15 Tory MPs out of 30. Plus the number of new intake Tory MPs in 2010 was 148. So where has Mr Carswell got his ‘many’ from?


When Cameron recently decided to regurgitate the same Labour nonsense on being robust against burglars and siding with householders – i.e. sound tough but not actually do anything, I don’t think he expected his ‘promise’ to be tested quite so quickly:

A suspected burglar has been stabbed to death while apparently trying to break into a house in Greater Manchester.

And guess who’s been arrested:

The man, 26, is believed to have been carried away by other members of a balaclava-clad gang as they fled, before being dumped in the street.

The householder, his son and son’s girlfriend have been arrested.

Greater Manchester Police said it was treating the death as murder.

No charges as yet, but I won’t be surprised if…