Wednesday, 27 April 2016

What IF?

Bert Hopkins sat in the control room watching the cameras which cover Whitehall and Horse Guards. Originally there had been a two man crew, one monitoring all 24 screens and one who took control when close ups or tracking of movement was required; after a G4S in house review it was decided the job only needed one man, on a zero hours contract (of course) and minimum wage, doing twelve hour shifts and no overtime. This, according to G4S, was progress and cost effectiveness at work. To the men and women made redundant it was just a way of further increasing G4S profit margins, on an all ready lucrative UK Government contract, at the working people's expense. Bert thought maybe G4S had a point as over the last four years the highlights of the night shift were recording close ups of drunken couples having 'knee tremblers', in corners where they did not think they could be seen, for the day shift.

Bert looked at his watch, it was 3 am. He wandered back to the 'staff area' where the kettle and microwave were positioned and having placed a microwave burger to heat up ("Just like MacDonalds" claimed the bumf on the wrapping) he put the kettle on to boil to make himself an equally fake 'instant' cappuccino. As the chemicals frothed and fumed in his mug and the flabby burger flowed across the paper plate struggling to live up to the over blown claims made by the wrapping, Bert noticed an HGV pulling onto the Horse Guards Parade ground. He left the drink and burger in the 'staff area' and took control of a camera to see what was up. It was a tank transporter with a tank on the back. This did not worry Bert as he had been briefed to expect from around 3 am tank transporters would start turning up. Apparently there was some do on Horse Guards to do with the Royal Tank Corps going into action on the Somme for the first time. Bert checked the front of the cab but the driver had the blinds down, already getting some shut eye before off loading commenced at 6 am; "Lucky blighter", thought Bert. Bert checked the registration was MoD then turned his back on the banks of screens to finish the epicurean delights awaiting him in the 'staff area'. As he picked up his mug to take a slurp, all the cameras watching Horse Guards flared as they sought to adapt to a sudden increase in light levels; all except the one on the back corner of 10 Downing Street which had gone 'off line'.

As the cameras regained their sight Bert could no longer see the tank transporter as it was surrounded in orange smoke and glimmers of tinsel. He tried to get the Downing Street camera back on line but all tests showed a total equipment failure. He called up the digital recording for the camera to see if that would help him diagnose the problem. There was the tank transporter and it looked as if the camera was looking straight down the barrel of the tank on its back. Bert thought he saw a puff of smoke from the muzzle of the tank's main gun and almost simultaneously the camera went 'off line'. He checked a couple more times and became certain there was smoke coming from the muzzle which could only mean the tank had fired at Downing Street. Yet Bert found that hard to believe. Surely the MoD would not allow a tank with live weapon rounds to be placed in the centre of the UK Government Ministries. He went back to the bank of screens and picking the camera which covered the back of Downing Street zoomed in through the dissipating smoke to see where the back of 10 Downing Street had been there was now a hole at the end farthest from Whitehall and the roof had collapsed for about of the third of its length. He immediately rang his shift manager, based at Canary Wharf, who finally answered on the third attempt and suggested Bert was either pissed or had been at the wacky-baccy. Bert patched him into the live feed which was showing evermore clearly, as the smoke and dust cleared, the collapse of 10 Downing Street was all too real. There was a long silence at the Canary Wharf end, an 'Oh shit!' or two followed by a bout of stating the bleeding obvious as in:
  • Keep the cameras running
  • Don't wipe anything
  • Have you called the police
  • No don't call the police that's my job
  • Don't leave until the police get to you
  • Keep your eyes open
  • And don't bloody wipe anything
Being an ex Met copper, Bert started reviewing and copying the data from each camera from the time the transporter first came into view. What he saw impressed him. By comparing timings he realised the puff of smoke he had seen on the Downing Street camera was in fact the second round fired by the tank. Three further rounds were fired, the action lasting under ten seconds from the first round being fired. At that point the tank fired smoke bombs and parachute flares blinding all the cameras still working for around twenty seconds but it was at least a minute before the cameras could distinguish shapes and a full three minutes before they returned to full definition. The first two rounds appeared to burst on the outside of Downing Street below the camera and the next three inside the building, blowing the corner out and wrecking the internal steel skeleton to the extent the roof collapsed. Who ever carried this out, thought Bert, are highly professional and never intended to kill anyone important because they would have targeted the Prime Minister or Chancellor's flat. Further they carried out the attack when the office end of Downing Street should be empty. His control room phone rang, it was the Terrorist Cell at Scotland Yard and with a couple of clicks of the mouse they had all the data Bert had collated and copied zipped off to them. Five minutes later his manager in Canary Wharf phoned him and told Bert to gather up all the data as Scotland Yard wanted it and G4S were giving their full cooperation. Bert thought about telling the self important twat in Canary Wharf that it was already done and dusted but opted to say that he would get right on to it, instead, as the idea of playing this 22 year old 'manager' as a mug was awfully appealing.

Prime Minister Cameron huffed and puffed in the Cobra meeting. He could not believe anyone in the intelligence services or Chiefs of Staff had no wind of this attack. How, he ranted, could the MoD not know one of their front line tanks and its transporter were missing? Let alone how the perpetrators got hold of live shaped charge rounds to blow out the steel protective layer put in place after the PIRA mortar attack and then send three high explosive rounds through the hole to burst inside the building. Then who ever did it walked away, without being seen or detected like some modern day, invisible, fucking man! I could have been killed, a state I pay you lot, a lot of money to prevent happening. Well!

Well, the answer he received did little to lower Cameron's blood pressure or state of funk as there was no evidence linking the attack to any of the standard terrorist enemies of ISIS or the PIRA. The nature of the attack indicated this was something internal to the UK, probably political in nature and a result of Cameron's Tory Government's ever increasing dislocation from the UK electorate. The delivery of the attack said special forces given its planning, execution and accuracy but whose special forces, there was no indication. It was not beyond doubt that the attack could have been carried out by disaffected members or ex-members of the SAS or SBS but the likelihood had been ruled out by both Hereford and Poole respectively. They had firm tabs on their disaffected personnel. 

Cameron suggested that maybe the UK special forces bosses at Hereford and Poole were in on the attack at which point the Chiefs of Staff turned on their heels and walked out leaving Cameron apoplectic, yelling you can not walk out on the Prime Minister. The Chief of Intelligence reminded Cameron they had every right to do so if they had lost the confidence of the Prime Minister and would now be taking their concerns direct to their supreme commander, HM Queen, and seeking her advice on what to do next as their primary responsibility was to the safety and security of the realm, the people of the UK and not Parliament or the Prime Minister - it says so on their commissions as officers. The Cabinet Secretary pointed out Mr Cameron was on the verge of triggering a constitutional crisis for the crown so he would get hold of the Queen's secretary and seek to head this potential political disaster for Mr Cameron off and unruffle the Chief's of Staff's feathers. To achieve this would require a fulsome apology from Mr Cameron for having doubted the Chief's of Staff's loyalty, integrity and that of the services they represent. It also crossed the Cabinet Secretary's mind that triggering a constitutional crisis and the collapse of Cameron's Government may well be part of the plan the unknown attackers were trying to bring to fruition as the straw which broke the camel's back on top of the EU referendum and the continuing unrest in Scotland against direct Westminster rule. The problem for the intelligence services, as the Cabinet Secretary discussed with the head of SIS on the way back to London from Chequers in the car, is there so many UK political factions, including a couple inside the Tory Party, who just can not wait for Prime Minister Cameron to fall flat on his face and would be more than happy to give him a helping push.

That evening the editor of the Sunday Telegraph received a text, "Be warned all of the corrupt and venal British Establishment and their 'hangers on' are legitimate targets until such time as truly representative democracy and a written constitution is established across the UK."

On the Sunday night, just as the main presses of the Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail and associated titles at Wapping were about to begin printing the main edition run, all power was lost and took three days to restore. When the main frame computers were run up at each of the papers on restoration of mains power, a virus was unleashed which crashed all computers, slaves and other devices connected to the mainframes by intranet, internet, wifi or Bluetooth across the UK. The cost to Times Corp alone, in sorting out the UK cyber terrorist attack, ran to tens of millions in costs and lost revenue. 

Upgrading cyber security in the UK commercial banking sector and financial trading floors, in response to the cyber attack on the UK Establishment Press, is already hitting the bottom line and trading volumes as UK and international investors became ever more concerned about any cyber attack rebounding on to them and taking down their own trading networks. The FTSE beginning to drop alarmingly and, along with it, the pound as it appears less and less secure as a reserve currency. Without doing very much at all, the secretive group seeking major constitutional change is steadily creating an environment of instability in the UK, both fiscal and political, that could bring the British Establishment's cozy little world crashing down around their ears. 

Yet still the police and intelligence services had no lead as to who was behind the demand for political reform or the attacks. Worse for the organs of the British State, opinion survey's were showing increasing support for the demand for true political reform and support for the campaign. A Yougov poll indicated that 60% of its members would still support the anonymous reform campaign even if they assassinated David Cameron or members of his Tory cabinet.

Historians are flooding BBC politics programs discussing the last time there was this level of discord and disaffection between the 'British Establishment' and the people, there was civil war, a republic and Charles the First lost his head.

Underlying and unsaid, as the count down to the EU referendum continues, the question remains, "What part of the British Establishment will be the next target and how will it be attacked?"

To which the answer remains, "Nobody knows."

Note: This is of course a piece of fiction, an anarchic short story and is not indicative of actual or future events.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Dead Space

Been off line living in the dark lands of depression, not interested in engaging with the world, finding eating a chore; in fact ignoring anything that sought to disturb me, as I lurked in the dark corners of my mind seething with anger, worthlessness and self hate.

I could not face any information about the world outside, the occasional peak simply reminded me how ghastly it all is outside of my safe space, an outside where hucksters and confidence tricksters destroy ordinary people under the shabby cloth of politics, capitalist greed and their claims of doing it for the 'public's own good'.

I have this urge to attach signs under the local Tory hopeful's 'Vote for Carson' signs with lines like:
  • and keep paupers in their place
  • and put my nose on the gravy train for five years
  • and kick darkies out of Galloway
  • and put Scotland back into the dark ages
  • and ensure the growth of fascism
simply to give his current campaign a degree of honesty and openness you will not find quoted in any of his Tory leaflets or erstwhile local papers which are probably edited and printed in Wigan, Huddersfield or where ever else Johnstone 'Tory' Press can get it done on the cheap as a bulk deal along with the Scotsman which they have successfully destroyed.

So I grit my teeth and scrabble to the edge of my self dug pit, pull myself over and squint and the first thing I hear is Scottish Trade Union and Labour politicians whining about getting shafted over BAE Govan by the Tories. Why the shock and outrage? This is a direct result of being 'better together' according to their own political credo.

Anybody who has followed the Type 26 frigate saga has long known that a certain number were being built in India as part of the BAE deal and the probability all the hulls would be built in India and transported to the UK for fitting out, has long been self evident to all following the saga except for the trade unions at Govan and Scotch Labour, it appears. The good people of BAE Govan who believed the 'Better Together' lies have made their own bed of nails and now, sadly, are not simply being asked to lie on it by Ms Dugdale as their brave sacrifice to save the UK Union and put one over the SNP but to do so while a ten ton vibromatic road roller is going over the top of them; driven by Ms 'Trident' Baillie.

The usual gallumphing suspects in the unionist media are all ready stirring their SNP hate glands and crying wolf about saving the very BAE yard their sniveling sycophancy, to a UK Union which is rotten to its core, has brought to its knees. Yet the problem lies not in Govan nor with the SNP nor in Scotland but the MoD in Westminster who are so skint saving up for the new Trident 'willy waver' they can not afford the fuel to put few RN ships that are left to sea. Anyway what would be the point? Due to poor design, MoD corner cutting and trying to get things done on the cheap, the few Type 45 destroyers that are operating will routinely break down courtesy of a lowly stoker plugging his electric shaver in a socket for a shave.

I can imagine it now, standing on a Type 45 destroyer bridge at action stations; Target incoming ..... range five miles ..... 600 knots, anti-ship cruise missile ..... engage with anti missile system ... and all the lights go off, the radar screens go blank and the targeting computers crash because the Captain's steward put the kettle on for a brew. This is the Royal Navy of 'Better Together' and Cameron's Government and is an accurate cypher for HMS UK as a whole whether it is PFI schools and hospitals, welfare policy or the destruction of the NHS in England.

It is tempting to tick off a list of all the things that were going to happen if Scotland voted to be independent which are in fact happening because we are 'better together' but I will not because I fear the pit of despond which I currently teeter on the edge of will suck me back into its morbid and dark maw. 

A list which Dugdale, Rennie or Ruthie 'Tank Commander' can only respond in the manner of; well, aye but ... maybees, it wis all Osborne's fault, this wisnae meant tae happen, we were told it wid be fine, our London bosses hud it aa sorted, honest, if ye'll jist say the magic words 'Better Together', it willnae help BAE Govan but honest ye'll feel a lot better ..... weel it works for us .... for a wee while ..... Oh! Look! Jackie's showin' wee lambs and mair squirrels oan the BBC Scotland News ....

Actually, the pit of despond looks a far happier and more optimistic place than Scotland's 'Better Together' political landscape and self serving media ... I might just slip back in, after all.

Monday, 11 April 2016

As we approach, the final curtain ...

So the weekend has gone and the British MSM has tried to pretend nothing much happened by largely ignoring the Junior Doctor's protest against Hunt's destructive NHS contract and then pretended there was nothing to see at Downing Street on Saturday except maybe most of the Metropolitan Police not already committed to football matches. Today's misplaced story is being turned into an SNP 'baad' story, as I type, as the actual perpetrators of the PFI hospital and schools scam on Scotland's taxpayers rush to hide behind the Mighty McTernan, 'Red Banner' Jacqui of the BBC and equally frothing Torquil at the Record of last resort, as they pump out more smoke and ash than 'Krakatoa' in an attempt to prove you can fool all of the people all of the time and give their Labour bestest pals a chance to run for the hills while they cover up the 'omnishambles' Gordon Brown's failed PFI project has left in its wake.

A simple way to understand how a PFI contract works is; the council asks for bids to design, build and maintain a new school or schools.  In general terms the initial bids from the main PFI contractors have all the fiscal credibility of a Jackie Baillie shadow budget or a Dugdale tax revenue claim. The council CEO recommends a preferred bidder to the councilors, according to Gordon Brown's Prudence Rule, who then either accept or reject the recommendation. Only after the councilors have given the main PFI contractor the green light does the actual business of costing, design and the cascade of competitive sub-contracting bidding begin. In other words the main PFI contractor basically has a license to print money at the taxpayer's expense by maximising cost estimates while squeezing the subcontractors as hard as possible (PFI contracts are routinely three times more expensive than their own outline tender and more than twice as costly as a conventional council build over the twenty five year contract). The council's only contribution to the initial process is to give the PFI contractor the land to build the new school on which remains in the main PFI contractor's hands at the end of the contract period, usually 25 years. The Education Committee have no right of oversight of the new build or ability to alter the contract or design as the main council has signed up for PFI as an arms length contract. The specifications of the build are all under control of the main contractor's designated architects and engineering practice. The designated architects and consulting engineers are, of course, seeking to maximise their profit margin by utilising cheaper and less experienced members of staff. A habit which cascades down through out the build and to the eventual building maintenance contracts for repairs, servicing, grass cutting and cleaning. This is seeking to maximise profit is part of the reason why you end up frequently having new primary and secondary schools already over crowded on the day they open (Greenock Academy / Kirkcudbright Primary), more classrooms means less profit all the way down the sub contracting chain, all justified by using out of date demographics, provided by the local council but collated in a way which does not reflect what the actual demand is now or is going to be in the future.

Back to the core issue. In 1986 if Thatcher had been caught up in the Panama Scandal in the same way as Cameron there would have been a vote of no confidence and she would have been gone, we would now be heading for a UK general election and the 'In/Out' EU referendum in June would have been cancelled. So why is this not happening?

The Boris / Duncan-Smith Tory faction would love to bring forward a vote of no confidence in Cameron's Government based on the Panama Scam but they can not as they are also up to their necks in the scandal and to do so would expose the corruption inherent in the current bunch of Tories for all to see, as leak after leak poured out from either side in this Tory civil war, in an outburst of muck spreading. The last thing Boris or any of the Tories want is even greater exposure of their tax avoidance scams as their MSM friends try hard to spike the Panama story and their grubby involvement in it, as of no interest to the average British subject by refusing to cover it.

Corbyn would also like to bring forward a vote of no confidence in Cameron but is stymied by the surfeit of Blairites in the Labour Parliamentary Party and Lords who would also be likely to be exposed as beneficiaries of Panama's less than honest broking. What is best for Labour is to hope this all goes away and the Tories self destruct in the aftermath of the June EU vote, no matter the outcome.

The SNP could bring forward a motion of no confidence in Cameron's government but for the reasons outlined above, it is not in Labour or the Tories current self interest to do anything else but ensure any SNP no confidence motion fails.

Meanwhile, back in Scotland, Labour and its Scotch organisational sub group are now in the even deeper thick and steaming as the PFI contract new school builds, forced on Edinburgh's Labour Council by Labour's Chancellor, Gordon Brown, begin not just to unravel but to physically collapse. Whether the reason for the buildings failure is lack of maintenance or deficiencies in the build, the finger of blame can only be pointed at the PFI main contractor who has failed to provide a building fit for purpose over the twenty five year period of the contract.

The problem arises as the original PFI contractor company will by now have collapsed in on itself after selling on the PFI contract to, say, a Cayman Island's offshore tax avoidance vehicle, via their legal friends in Panama. You can not sue or force reparation by a PFI company or its ex-directors which is no longer trading nor is it likely the officials in the Cayman Islands will be very forth coming about the real owners of the shell company, under their jurisdiction, which purchased the PFI contract.

Millers, the original main building contractor, no longer exists as a trading company and Amey will already have their legal beagles checking for a way out of any 'knock on' liability that their purchase and liquidation of Millers may entail.

So just who will Edinburgh Council have left to pursue or will Edinburgh's council tax payers be left to carry the fiscal can for yet another Labour inspired municipal disaster?

It may be clearer now that both Labour and the Tories are equally vulnerable to any further Panama leaks and exposure which will not only reveal just how deep our UK politicians are in this avoidance scam but the degree to which a blind eye to the avoidance scam has long suited UK Governments of both stripes, since the 1980's, as a way to bury the real costs and risks of the use of PFI 'public service' contracts to the UK taxpayer and the UK economy.

The only group of people who are 'better together' in today's UK are the Labour, Tory and Libdem MPs and Lords. The rest of us are being well and truly screwed over.

I am now hoping that England will vote to leave the EU in June while Scotland votes to stay. If this is the case, Scotland can ask the EU to acknowledge it as the UK's EU successor state. Given the statements coming out of the EU with regards 'England' I would be very surprised if the EU did not welcome Scotland aboard with open arms and by Scotland joining the EU, the UK Union would cease to exist. All that could happen in line with Ms Sturgeon's recent suggestion Scotland could yet be independent by 2018 ... just saying .... all to the sound track of Frank Sinatra singing 'My Way' in the background.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

So ..... We'd already guessed as much

Today's big news is the people who perceive themselves to be our 'rulers'; Westminster politicians, other neoconservatives and the oligarchs, have been ripping us, the idiot UK taxpayers, off. Well, "hot diggity dawg and dang ma boots"; I'd never have guessed, would you?

The BBC of course fails to mention our dear leader, Cameron, is up to his neck in it, via the family trust fund his Daddy set up, but is quick to point the finger at Mr Putin of Russia (must be a SNP voter) or Mr Hollande in France (an easy target as the English institutionally hate the French plus the French are to blame for all these 'bloody immigrants' - always good for the Tory hate glands). There is also a mysterious silence over Trump or Clinton's potential involvement in this sort of scam which seems particularly odd. 

It appears if you have $1m in petty cash, no doubt it has to be in used notes, some nice lawyers in Panama will find a patsy to front your company holdings, who then takes the rap when it goes 'tits up', stuff them on some island with zero taxation and enable you to bury your billions beyond your local taxman's grasping hands like some latter day, "Cap'n Flint, oooh, arrh me hearties!".

In the mean time you can play the stock exchange casino with out ever digging your treasure up because your stock brokers never expect to see any cash from you as the weight of your money bends share prices to your will, in line with Einstein's theory of gravitation, but in this case its is not time which is bent but your share dealings; your stock brokers either get a nice share of the profit or indemnified for their losses, after all what is half a million, pick your major currency, between friends when your portfolio is worth many billions and earns a million a day just sitting in the sun, on its nice Caribbean Island, doing 'bugger all'. 

It is funny to see Mr Tory of Stoke Poges getting all het about this, especially as he only thinks it is those, 'bloody foreigners who are at it!' (courtesy of the BBC, Mail, Torygraph) rather than most of the MPs of his party and especially his dear leader. It is another damn good reason to get out of the EU, he blusters, not realising this is the actual fiscal free for all which is at the heart of Boris and Duncan-Smith's plans for a rejuvenated 'City' outside the EU. The fact that everywhere north of Watford will return to the dark ages, if this Borising happens, seems to fly over Mr Tory's head or maybe he just does not care because he will just move to Tunbridge Wells, if the local peasants in Stoke Poges become too restless.

What is really bothering me and should be bothering you is this;  
  • Just what is the actual fiscal shit storm which is about to hit the West's banking and financial system which this sudden release of squirrels is hiding?
I think the National touched the nerve with its article about a potential Greek IMF / ECB loan default, exiting the Euro and returning to the Drachma. This is the Central Banker's worst nightmare and the IMF still have not got over the shock when the Argentinians gave them the two fingered salute a few years ago. If Greece exits the Euro the probability is other EU economies which are suffering from the Germans, French and Benelux  manipulation of the Euro for their own benefit, will pull out as well. So who will jump first after a Greek Euro exit? Italy? Spain? Portugal?

How will the banks of Germany, France and the UK survive such a major Euro zone exit with potential Euro loan defaults?  The RBS will take a major hit as Osborne made the bank prop up a couple of French Banks by underwriting their loan exposure in Greece and Portugal. How Germany will cope with the loan over exposure in Greece facing its Bavarian Banks alone, is a separate issue.

Germany and France's commercial banks are already in deep in Greece and the European Central Bank will take a direct hit from its own exposure in Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as secondary hits from a pan European '2008 banking collapse' rerun. It is not as if our own or the other Governments in the EU should be surprised or claim they could not see this banking collapse coming when a cursory look at any financial analysis or article over the last three years has been warning us a world banking melt down, worse than 2008, is just waiting to happen.

Will a Greek IMF / ECB default be the straw which breaks this particular camel's back? Maybe it will be a UK exit from the EU, who can say. 

There is also the issue that much of the West's GDP is tied up in the manufacture and sale of weapons and our UK leader's attempts to get us to back any further military involvement in the Middle East falling on deaf ears or as we say in Scotland, "GTF Cameron". Worse we, the people, are now questioning why the UK are flogging weapons to Saudi Arabia to bomb the 'Bejesus' out of the Yemen and wanting it stopped while support for replacing the UK's nuclear phallus is pretty lukewarm outside the Westminster bubble. BAE financial handouts from their pals in the UK government, masquerading as weapon's orders are getting a bit thin, if BAE can not sell to their customer in Saudi Arabia from the UK or not get to build the platform for the nuclear phallus, why keep up the pretense they are a UK company when their registered company HQ is now just down the road from the Pentagon? The USA will not be bothered if BAE in any of their shapes or forms flogs stuff to the Arabs just as long as the Arabs do not use it on Israel.

Then again, maybe this sudden 'expose' of international tax fraud via Panama, is the central bankers telling the world's richest 10% there will be no hiding place for them this time around when the shit hits the fan, they will have to cough up and take a financial hit because us plebs do not have two brass farthings left to rub together.

At the risk of sounding like a latter day Corporal Fraser, all I sense is; there is something else on the international horizon our 'leaders' do not want us to get wind of and it is not a squirrel invasion.