Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Good bye to UKIP

UKIP at London Assembly has now officially transmogrified itself into Veritas at London Assembly. We shall still be led by the Dear Leader and Voice of Reason, now also known as the Deputy Leader of Veritas (so he is going to be kind of DL squared). The new blog will still be reporting on his doings, on the doings of the other Veritas London Assembly member, Peter Hulme-Cross.

We shall report on events in the Great Glass Egg and on the doings of Hizonner the Mayor. And last but very much not least, we shall go on reporting on events in the dreaded European Union and analyzing them as well as developments in the campaign back home.

So, thank you for supporting and reading this blog and, please, read the new one and tell other people about it. The URL is:

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Elections and constitutions

Possibly the most extraordinary and, indeed, the most reprehensible of all the extraordinary and reprehensible reactions to the successful Iraqi election this week-end was the sight of a demonstration in Spain protesting against it. Cannot have an election under American occupation, they said; American money is being used to pay for something or other.

What these people were really saying – and how often have we heard it – was that, somehow, Iraqis and Arabs in general are different from thee and me and do not deserve freedom and democracy. They do not really want it. They want stability even if it means rule by bloodthirsty dictators like Saddam Hussein and his psychopathic family.

Very nice, too, and would be even nicer if the people of Spain (or Britain for that matter) paid a little more attention to what is going on in their own superior political systems: a wholesale surrender of democratic rights and liberties to the great managerial dictatorship of the European Union.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi people confounded the nay-sayers and have turned out in large numbers to vote in the first free election for a couple of generations at least. It seems that the turn-out across the country, despite the terrorist attacks and the threats of more, despite the troubles and the murders (though, let’s face it, only in four regions) was 55 per cent. In some regions it was considerably higher.

How does this compare with the turn-out across Europe for that democratic fig-leaf for the system, the European Parliament? How does this compare with the ever falling turn-out for the British General Election or for any other elections in the superior democracies of Europe?

The Spanish government will soon have to answer that question for the first of the Constitutional referendums is about to take place on February 20, in Spain, and some worry has been expressed.

Oh not about the vote – that is a foregone conclusion. Spain, as Prime Minister Zapatero keeps telling us (having won an election in which the electorate showed itself to be far more afraid than the people or Iraq), is one of the most pro-European countries.

What he means is that Spain gets an extraordinarily good deal and its politicians scream blue murder whenever that deal is threatened, so they are in favour of the Constitution as they assume it will be more of the same.

No, what Zapatero and the others are worried about is the turn-out. Apparently, only the most optimistic commentators predict more than 50 per cent. Something to be proud of, given how important the Constitution is going to be.

Oh and by the way, I hope all our readers know what the Iraqi vote was about: to elect a commission that will debate and write a constitution. Ahem, I do not recall M Giscard d’Estaing’s Convention being elected. You cannot ask the people to decide such matters. Well, not in Europe, anyway. In Iraq, maybe.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Who is backing the bid?

Not the readers of This is London, the Evening Standard’s website, that’s for sure. The last time I looked (about two minutes ago) their question “Do you support London’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games?” had the following result: 38 per cent voted yes and 62 per cent no. Perhaps Hizonner should get his minions to get in there and vote. But then, we can play that game as well.

After all, UKIP at the London Assembly was the first political organization to oppose that useless and expensive bid. Make Britain proud, indeed! Britain has plenty to be proud of without a ridiculous extravaganza that will mortgage Londoners' income for decades to come. (Membership of the EU is, of course, not one of those things.)

Still no improvement in London's transport system

There is one thing about Hizonner the Mayor. He is really rather old-fashioned. He may be a socialist (some days of the week) and an old-time supporter of trade union rights (until he has to negotiate with them himself, but it was ever thus); he may be Europhile who thinks that entering the euro is on par politically speaking with adopting summer time on a permanent basis; but when it comes to trying to find someone he thinks might be efficient, where does he turn? To the United States.

That’s right. Just as in those old Ealing comedies, efficiency and achievement means “get a Yank”. Unfortunately, he got the wrong Yank. New Yorkers could not believe their luck when Bob Kiley left their rather benighted subway system for the greener pastures of London.

At the time Hizonner explained the Bob Kiley was worth every penny of his inflated salary because he was the man who had turned the New York subway system round and will do so with the London underground. And another thing, Kiley was described as a former CIA agent. Must be efficient.

Well, it is sad to destroy such old-fashioned illusions, but I fear, I do so fear, Mr Kiley has turned out to be a dud. Presumably, Hizonner persists in his habit of not using London transport and his staff may do likewise. Otherwise, somebody would have noticed that the tube is shambolic, the new buses are relatively useful but add to the congestion on some inappropriate routes, and Londoners are beginning to get rather restive.

Maybe Hizonner should read some history or watch some Shakespeare. He would then realize that the London mob can be a fearful thing.

The truth is that anyone can say they used to be in the CIA. Who is to contradict him or go into any detail as to what he might have been doing there?

Another truth is that while Kiley took over the New York subway system when a large dollop of money had just been allocated, he did not manage to introduce any lasting improvements. The subway system is just about the one thing in New York that does not work satisfactorily.

Under Kiley’s management it became more dangerous than it used to be, while the rest of New York City is considerably safer now than London. His stewardship had also been embellished with a gubernatorial enquiry into allegations of cronyism and fat-cat salaries. Clearly, just the sort of man to bring in at the head of Transport for London.

Well, the questions are beginning to be asked here but our own Mayor does not seem to share Mario Cuomo’s courage: he is not about to investigate Mr Kiley’s operations, even though the London Assembly is beginning to complain about the man’s behaviour. (One fight with the Assembly at a time, presumably.)

So, what has Mr Kiley achieved? Well, he was paid £700,000 last year, well above what his contract stipulates. The number of his executives earning in excess of £100,000 has risen from 12 to 22 and the number of those on more than £50,000 has doubled. Several of the higher paid ones are his old mates from NYC.

All this is detailed in a somewhat chaotic article in the Evening Standard, which also quotes various complaints from pre-Kiley employees of the transport system and its management. That, I have to say, leaves me cold: the system was appallingly badly run then, as well.

In the meantime, Hizonner is threatening to raise fares again (they have just gone up as is normal in the new year, well above the level of inflation). His threats are tied to the uppity behaviour of members of the London Assembly. However, if this were a real democracy, the demands voiced by said members, that Hizonner should close down his propaganda rag, The Londoner, would hold. Instead, the money will be taken out of the transport budget.

Then there is Kiley’s threat to extend the congestion charge throughout London, thus making Londoners prisoners in their own homes without any terrorist charges. To be fair, Hizonner is distancing himself from that plan but is insisting on extending the unsatisfactory, inefficient and harmful system to Kensington and Chelsea, despite almost unanimous opposition.

Will Mr Kiley explain? On present record, no. But, presumably, even his contract is not written in tablets of stone.

Shock, horror! The BBC is unprofessional

It is the contention of this blog that the dear old Beeb, the solace of our childhood and the standard bearer of British supremacy in broadcasting quality, is actually a bloated bureaucracy with its own agenda, that just happens to be seriously anti-American, anti-western, pro-EU and, generally soggy left.

Added to that is the undeniable fact that the BBC is an anomaly. It lives off public money, to wit a poll tax on TV ownership and using that money advances its own ideological agenda and “competes” in the world of broadcasting on completely unfair conditions.

There is, however, another indictment: it has become completely unprofessional. Let me relate an interesting tale.

Yesterday morning I received a phone call from BBC 24 hours, asking if I would agree to be interviewed as the Bill to implement the constitutional treaty has been published together with the proposed question for the referendum. I was invited in my guise as the Research Director of the Bruges Group, a reasonably well known organization even in BBC circles.

As usual I was asked a few questions about my precise opinions about the referendum, the constitution and the EU itself and was told that my interview will follow immediately after Mark (surname unfamiliar and therefore unmemorable to me) from the Forum for Social Europe.

As the pleasant young man who was talking to me admitted that he had never seen a copy of the Constitution for Europe, I offered to bring one and took with me the invaluable British Management Data Foundation edition.

When I arrived at Television Centre, I was rushed in to the studio, barely pausing to discard my coat and bag. I was placed next to the man who was to interview me and discuss the particular item. He turned to me and said somewhat accusingly: “You are not Mark.”

“Um, no,” – I admitted. It was useless to deny this. The fact that I was not Mark was entirely obvious. “Well, who are you?” – he continued, feverishly looking through his briefing notes on the laptop. It seems that paper and pencil no longer figure in the average BBC interviewer’s life.

I explained who I was and had to repeat so often and so loudly that I was from the BRUGES GROUP that my chap’s colleague had to glance at us reproachfully. We were, indeed, interfering with her feed.

Any reasonably experienced political journalist should have heard of the Bruges Group, whether they agreed with its euroscepticisim or not. This one had not, and introduced me eventually as being from that group of eurosceptic MPs. We do have the odd MP as a member and a few have addressed meetings. But it is not primarily a group for parliamentarians.

Furthermore, I had to explain hastily and in whispers that no, I was not in favour of Europe, whatever that might be. My interviewer had the hazy notion that the other chap, Mark, who was, in any case, in the Westminster studio, may have been against the constitution and in favour of Europe. So I must have been in favour of both. The idea that anybody might not be all that keen on either clearly had not occurred to him.

He was not interested in my copy of the constitution, having only the word referendum in his mind and not really knowing what he was talking about. Eventually I was asked whether I thought the proposed question was fair, and when I said that it was inaccurate but reasonably fair, I was allowed to explain why we had certain problems and worries about the way the referendum would be run.

Then I sat back, waiting for the questions on the constitution itself to follow. They did not. I was thanked politely and Mark was brought up on the screen. Presumably, he, too, was somewhat bewildered about this emphasis on the referendum.

As far as I could tell he was not given much time to present his case whatever it may have been either, since the only thing the particular news programme was interested in was the return of the Guantanamo four, who had quite unjustly been imprisoned for taking a walking holiday in the mountains of Afghanistan heavily armed with AK-47s, handgrenades and other suchlike hikers’ luggage.

Well, there we are. A conspiracy to keep an important subject under wraps or a completely shambolic inefficiency, unprofessionalism and ignorance?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Will Emperor Ken prove the London Assembly has no clothes?

We have already written about the farce of the London Assembly attempting to hold Hizonner the Mayor to account in any way that can be called meaningful. Well, here is the latest instalment of the saga:

For the first time in its five-year life, the London Assembly today (Wednesday) bared its teeth and rejected Hizonner the Mayor's budget. The Tory, Lib-Dem, Green and UK Independence Parties combined in a two-thirds majority to call on the Mayor to cut the proposed council tax precept increase, scrap his propaganda sheet The Londoner and cut other unnecessary expenditure.

However, council tax payers should not crack open the champagne just yet. Under GLA rules, Ken has until St. Valentine's Day to force his spending plans through by picking off off two Assembly members from this unusual coalition of diverse interests.

Will Hizonner support Green plans to cover London in parks, or reveal his secret ambition to get Britain out of the European Union in order to tempt the two UKIP members to back his budget?

There may well be a massacre on St Valentine's Day, but Ken will pull out all the stops to make sure that it is the Assembly that is looking down the barrrels of the tommy guns.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No difference between us

The recent pronouncement on the part of the Commission about the Conservatives’ proposal for an immigration policy raises a few interesting points.

The most obvious one, asked by David Rennie in the Daily Telegraph is:
“How did Britain end up binding its immigration policy to the European Union, so tightly that - to hear the European Commission talk - it is already too late for Michael Howard to throw the process into reverse, even if he is elected prime minister?”
Well, how, indeed. It all started in 1999 with the Tampere Summit at which various maters of justice and security were agreed to and the media paid not attention. When eurosceptics tried to raise the subject, their comments were dismissed and jeered at.

All of a sudden, it is turning out to be true. Just as the fact that the duly elected Chancellor of the Exchequer in a duly elected government with the largest majority in the House of Commons in modern history, had to go begging to the Commission in 1997 to be allowed to lower VAT on fuel, that is, too fulfil a manifesto obligation. His plea was refused. Nobody much noticed.

And has anyone noticed much the various agreements of Tampere II, that is the Hague Protocol agreed to in the autumn of 2004? Well, no, not really. This document, too, concerns a far-reaching plan for various policing, justice and security matters, including the final transformation of Europol into an operational force. It is one of those ten-year plans that will go on unrolling, regardless of any election or referendum in Britain, any other member states or the European Union.

Even a directly elected Commission, a panacea proposed by some misguided individuals would not alter the fact that the governance of the EU is managerial not political, or that it is not a project that cares much about democracy or accountability.

Yes, we find it all rather frustrating. But there is another organization out there that is just as frustrated, and that is the Commission. They, too, would like to have the role of the European Union acknowledged in various ways and find themselves thwarted in this laudable exercise by national politicians. They cannot understand why this should be so.

The answer is very simple – politicians have elections to win, even if their real power is reduced with every month, every year, every European Council. They still like the trappings and kid themselves that maybe this is all a bad dream. Any minute now they will wake up and the whole European mess will simply melt away.

The Commission and its denizens, on the other hand, have no such problems. They do not stand for elections and do not consider that to be a good way of running anything. Accountability? Who needs it?

They do, however, believe fervently in the project and its essential goodness. Therefore, they want to publicize it. They want the people of Europe to know that the benign EU is looking after them and stopping the national politicians from making a muck of things. Hence the apparently crass intervention in British domestic politics over immigration.

In other words, they are like us – the opposites converge. We, eurosceptics, want to highlight the role of the European Union in domestic matters, and so does the European Union, particularly the Commission. It is the rather woolly-minded individuals in between that annoys us both.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Wimps past and present

Last week there were two rather hard-hitting articles about the EU and its strange lack of courage or far-sightedness in the Wall Street Journal Europe. Neither was written by a dedicated member of the international eurosceptic fraternity, though one of the authors, the eminent Polish economist, Professor Jan Winiecki, being a convinced free-marketeer, is not precisely a huge supporter of the project. His article was called Wimps, which seems to be a very precise way of describing the EU

Professor Winiecki, a professor and chair of International Economics and European Studies at the Rzeszow School of Computer Science and Management and president of the Adam Smith Centre in Poland, made as the starting point of his article an interesting little story about the President of the Toy Parliament in Strabourg, the Spanish socialist Josep Borrell.

It should, first of all, be noted that Señor Borrell, a newly elected MEP was chosen to be the president as part of a particularly unpleasant bit of pork barrel politics between the two main groups: the Socialists and the European People’s Party, to which our own dear Conservative MEPs are attached.

(Incidentally, what happened to his intention to reform the Toy Parliament, especially with regards to the payment and expenses system? A toy it may be, but it is a very expensive toy and we seem to have no right to to take it back to the shop and demand a refund.)

As our readers may recall, the two countries that became closely involved with attempts to sort out the Ukrainian problems after the first, rather dubious presidential election, were Poland and Lithuania. This was not surprising, as they are countries, whose history has been closely intertwined with that of Ukraine. Furthermore, like the other post-Communist states and unlike the older members of the European Union, they are well aware of the need for a transparent and accountable political system and a free media.

The EU itself, on the other hand, played a somewhat ambiguous part. Javier Solana did run around from one important actor in the drama to another, but his aim was to achieve stability. Not the same thing as freedom, democracy and accountability at all. Above all, he and Chancellor Schröder did not want to upset President Putin who was trying to use the Ukrainian election as a stepping stone in his own ambitious power game.

It all reminded some of us with longer memories of the EU’s insistence in the early nineties that no matter what and no matter how but Yugoslavia must stay together, thus, in effect, giving Slobodan Milosevic a go-ahead for some of his most unpleasant policies.

Well, we know what happened in Ukraine and are now waiting eagerly to see what will happen next. Not all of us, it seems. Mr Borrell made some rather curious remarks to the leading Warsaw newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza.

The outcome in Ukraine, according to Mr Borrell, was “a great success for the EU in avoiding a crisis”. Presumably, had Yanukovich managed to push through a fraudulent vote, that, too would have been a success in avoiding a crisis. Nothing could be worse than a crisis for the structure-obsessed EU politicos, not tyranny, not oppression, not cheating in elections.

This success, unnoticed by most people in Ukraine, was achieved despite the intervention by the uppity new members who were clearly acting “under US influence”. Gasp! Hiss! At least, he did not repeat President Chirac’s bêtise about the new members losing a good opportunity to keep quiet.

It seems that one cannot possibly be in favour of free and fair elections. Anyone who says that must be an American agent. And what could be worse than that? Reminds one of the dear dead days of the old Pravda newspaper.

Alas, those uppity new members refused to be lectured to in this way and Mr Borrell, who could not blame his advisers, blamed the translators. It’s a set-up Youronner, he said, I was mistranslated. In return he heard the Polish equivalent of yeah, right.

Professor Winiecki, however, has gone beyond blowing a raspberry in the direction of the tired old socialist at the head of a toy parliament. He sees this rather silly story as the epitome of what is wrong with the whole EU mentality.
“No matter the exact wording, Mr Borrell expressed an obsessive anti-Americanism common in today’s Europe. And that, in turn, reflects the mental state of the Continent whose main characteristic is fear. Fear of nearly everything.”
It is afraid of getting involved in and helping the countries that lie between the EU and Russia and would not even have uttered a squeak of protest but for the new members, who know a thing or two about what goes on behind those borders.

It is afraid of the market. It is against
“… a work ethic, competition, and all the paraphernalia of the market regime”.
It is afraid of Islam and tries “to make a virtue of its fear”.
“On the bigger international stage, the obsessive invocation of ‘rule of law’,of ‘multilateralism’ as opposed to ‘unilateralism’, comes down to a search for an excuse not to act.”
Nor is he, unlike certain American commentators, well-protected by that uncouth American power, impressed by what is now more and more often described as the “soft power” of Europe or, rather, the European Union.
“Europe’s invocation of ‘soft power’, i.e. the preference for economic assistance as the solution to violent conflicts, raises psychologically interesting questions. How much does that reflect socialist mythology that throwing money at the problem will overcome obvious obstacles to success? And how much, simply, is it an aversion to risk, a fear of engagement in the world’s problems. The EU’s reluctance to act anywhere, and its instinct to fall back on the least imaginative approach, was most recently on view in its response to the masssacre in Darfur.”
They are, in other words, wimps, scared of their own shadows and hoping against hope that if they shut their eyes all those internal and external problems will go away. Failing that, the despised Americans will deal with some of them.

Oddly enough, there had been a similar despairing article in the Wall Street Journal Europe on the previous day. This one dealt largely with economic and social issues and cut a swathe across the frozen, terrified European political outlook.

In particular, it cut across the whole ridiculous nonsense of the Lisbon Agenda (already on the dust heap of history):
“This overloaded agenda has suffered from conflicting priorities, inadequate political will at the member-state level, poor co-ordination and inadequate delivery. Each spring the European Council, with a marked improvement in content this year, has produced excessive and flatulent conclusions by way of annual review that said so much as to amount to saying virtually nothing of substance.”
Well, yes. And who is the author of this imprecation? None other than Señor Borrell’s predecessor, Pat Cox, who seems to have become a vociferous supporter of free market economics and freedom in general.
“Meanwhile, in spite of twin budget and trade deficits, the American eagle continues to soar. The Chinese dragon behaves as if performance enhanced. India is finding its economic feet and Japan is turning the corner. But Europe’s stars are failing to shine, marking a relative economic decline. It would be tempting to ascribe Europe’s economic problems solely to forces beyond its control – a global slowdown, the weak dollar, higher oil prices or even the unique challenge posed by the low-wage, high tech countries in Asia. Tempting but wrong, that.Europe should not blind itself to the fact that its economic problems are very much of its own making.”
Mr Cox’s article calls for greater freedom in economic and social terms: less regulation, greater tax cuts. He points to his own country, Ireland, as the great example of a successful low-tax economy but, unfortunately for his argument, a country that has such a high inflow of subsidy cannot be used as a text book case of the Laffer curve.

Still, one cannot argue too much with the following conclusion:
“I believe that the root cause of Europe’s lack of dynamism lies not in its procedures, although these can and should be greatly reformed, but rather in its core beliefs. More specifically, it lies in our unwillingness to acknowledge the contemporary failure of the postwar experiment in high-tax,regulation-intensive, dependency-inducing welfarism and the success of free-market liberal reforms in the US in the 1980s and elsewhere in the 1990s.”
You go man! One thing puzzles me about all this outspokenness. I may be suffering from a memory failure but I do not remember similar pronouncements from Mr Cox in his days of glory, that is, his presidency of the European Parliament.

In those days he seemed to support the “postwar experiment” and derided all attempts to free up economic and social activity. In fact, he presided over a Parliament that did its best to tighten even further the various detailed and inappropriate regulations, proposed by the Commission and negotiated by the Council of Ministers.

In those days, Mr Cox could have been described in Professor Winiecki's succinct way as a wimp. Still, as far as Mr Cox is concerned, the light has been seen, the truth sighted and salvation glimpsed. Much in his future pronouncements, one assumes, will depend on what he will do now that he is no longer presiding over that toy parliament in Strasbourg.

One wonders what Commission President Barroso made of the following slightly sarcastic imprecation:
“If the EU is to prosper, my dear President Barroso, this is not the time for you to be the conservative leader of a cautious continent.”
All this can be summed up in a very simple phrase: Europe is afraid of freedom. The continent that invented the concept has abandoned it and rails against anyone who tried to invoke it. In so far as there is a European identity, the EU and its wimps are busy destroying it.

What a shame

On the BBC World Service I espied the following headline: Mars launches Europe-wide review. And why not, thought I. There have been plenty of Mars probes sent from earth. Clearly, those clever little Martians noticed the fact that there is a peculiar new political constellation on earth and thought they would have a look-see, probably in order to avoid making the same mistakes.

Alas, no little green men to be seen anywhere. It is merely the large confectioner Mars re-examining its European, particularly British operations. As things stand, there may well be rather large cut-backs. But no Martians.

By the way, would it not be good idea to rename the Field of Marathon, so nearly flooded by the Greeks in their pre-Olympic eagerness, to the Field of Snickers? I am told one confectionery has now replaced the other.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Kilroy runs up the South Carolina flag

Or the Slovenia flag, or the Ukraine flag, or the Bosnia flag. Anyway, he has, as all our readers, undoubtedly know, declared independence and has announced his intention to form another party (yes, thank you, we have already cracked that joke about the name).

Roger Knapman, the Leader of UKIP (not to be confused with the Dear Leader and Voice of Reason, whom we obey, sort of, in our section of the Great Glass Egg) told the BBC this morning that he was opening a bottle of champagne. Indeed, I believe, he was recorded as doing just that.

We do hope that the Leader of UKIP does not become one of those louche heroines, so beloved by writers of the thirties, who insisted on starting their days with champagne and, possibly, boxes of chocolates. If memory serves, they tended to do so a little later than eight o’clock in the morning.

One does, however, wonder, whether there really is anything to celebrate in this new development. Let us add up the consequences:

UKIP loses its main attraction as far as the media is concerned and possibly a number of members, activists and supporters, not to mention potential voters in the General Election.

Kilroy himself would have made a point, created a new party, which might gain some support from disgruntled UKIPites and, crucially, from dissatisfied Labour supporters. But it is unlikely to gain enough to manage a seat in Westminster.

This should make the main parties quite happy. Gone is the threat from that pesky entity, UKIP. Well, no, I don’t think so.

Take the Conservative Party. (All right, I’ll take the Conservative Party but not for long.) They, too, are over the moon, though champagne seems to be in short supply. But, in fact, a lot of potential UKIP voters are more interested in the inadequacy of the Tories than in any goings-on in any other party. In other words, they are not going to go back to the fold and with two parties to vote for, may well take away enough votes to cause serious inconvenience in a seat or two.

The Labour Party, almost certain to form its historic third government in a row, are worried about the turn-out and the stay-at-home supporters. In the past none of these would have been lost to UKIP, perceived as full of disgruntled Tories. Now, there will be a new anti-EU party, led by a former Labour MP and a man, who is, roughly speaking, on the left of the political spectrum. It may well attract crucial votes in a seat or two.

I shall not bother to write about the Lib-Dems as there is very little I can think of saying about them.

Then there is the referendum, probably to be called in March 2006. What will be the Invisible No-man's a.k.a. Vote-No campaign’s attitude to this development? Having taken the rather confusing “yes to Europe, no to the constitution” line and the more understandable one of not discussing actual membership of the EU during the campaign, they have always tried to pretend that UKIP with its growing support was really just a bad smell. Now they will have two parties to offend their olfactory senses and, inevitably, more talk on the media about actual membership and effects of the vote on the constitution. They will not like it, but on present count, we shall not know that, as they will not be seen above the parapet.

Of one thing our readers can be certain: the mischief-making capacity of the Dear Leader and Voice of Reason in the Great Glass Egg will not be impaired by this development.