Monday 10 August 2015


I've never had much time for the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond.

I first became aware of him when I watched a Despatches programme back in October 2010, which showed that he had transferred a deal of his investments to his wife in order to avoid tax.  And a considerable amount of tax too. Experts said at the time that there could be savings of around £180,000 for every million in profit that was made. Not a bad saving for him. 

But pretty despicable for a Cabinet minister in a government cutting everything to shreds.

Even after that I was barely aware of him and his doings. He has a seemingly well deserved reputation for being dull as ditch water. 

I put him down as another typical selfish rich Tory with little understanding of the world and a huge opinion of his own importance. 

He seems to have spent his life insulting and upsetting people, but typical of his type it never seems to bother him and it doesn't seem to have done his career any harm.
Pretty much he's saying "up yours"
Conveniently this article, which appeared the other day, shows a bit more about his abilities, or rather lack thereof. I was particularly shocked (if not a little amused) by the picture above taken at the talks where John Kerry hammered out a deal essentially between America and Iran over their nuclear programme and the rest of the countries just agreed.

You’ll note, incidentally, that he has positioned himself right next to the American Secretary of State (his de facto boss). 

Those of you conversant with the protocols and manners of the Near and Middle East might know that the “thumbs up” signal that Hammond is giving is considered extremely offensive in Iran. Apparently it’s a bit like giving the ‘middle finger’ to someone here….so sort of “Go spin on it!!!” 

Just what you'd expect from the FCO.

Now, as foreign secretary, surely a job for a far more competent man, given its dependence on diplomacy, compromise and good relations, noner of which he seems to be even aware of, much less accomplished in, he has weighed in to the debate over Calais by claiming that millions of migrants pose a threat to the EU’s standard of living and social structure, apparently using the term “marauding migrants” to describe the desperate people at Calais trying to get to England.
They need help. They are humans like us.
He said: “So long as there are large numbers of pretty desperate migrants marauding around the area, there always will be a threat to the tunnel security. We've got to resolve this problem ultimately by being able to return those who are not entitled to claim asylum back to their countries of origin.”

Hammond said EU laws meant migrants could be “pretty confident” that after setting foot on EU soil they would not be returned to their country of origin. “Now that is not a sustainable situation because Europe can’t protect itself, preserve its standard of living and social infrastructure if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa.”

Of course something has to be done.  Only a fool would think otherwise.

But Mr Hammond considers himself to be an Anglican: the English version of Christianity. Like so many politicians, he claims to be a man of faith.

Maybe as a Christian he would like to consider a Christian approach to the problem instead of referring to these people as if they were a bunch of wild animals. Who does he think he is? Katie Hopkins?

As I said in the comments on a previous post, all these so-called Christians at the head of the UK, including the Queen and the prime minister, might like to ask themselves..."what would Jesus do?", instead of using JC as an election tool.

In many cases these migrant people are fleeing from countries in which the "great" European powers (mainly Britain and France) have dabbled over the years.  Hammond didn't mention that many of them are trying to escape the mess that the Americans, Brits, Italians and Spanish left behind in Iraq and also a Syria overrun by IS, thanks to the chaos of region...or the mess that the French and Brits left after interfering so disastrously in Libya, and leaving behind complete chaos.

Now I know that not everything can be attributed to the interference of the West and in particular Britain, but a fair amount of it can be. Time after time we imagine that the likes of Blair, Brown, Cameron and Osborne know better how to govern Middle Eastern or African countries, when they don't. 
The Queen maintains that every action she takes is guided by Jesus's teachings. So is she opening up her house to people displaced by famine, poverty, war?  Aye right!

And telling the public that these countries have appalling regimes which must be changed just won't work any more when we know that they happily sign massive weapons deals with the Saudis and Bahrainis. 

I don't pretend to have a solution to the migrant problem, but I didn;t choose a career in international politics. However, I'd venture to suggest that Mr Hammond might like to get together with other UN members to see what they can do to stop the traffickers. 

These people who sell freedom and bliss in Europe and in particular the green and pleasant land, where they assure potential customers that everything is as near paradise as you can get. 

It must seem like dream to someone living in fear of their lives in a broken country in North Africa or the Middle East, just as it did for Brits leaving the UK for better countries at various economic downturn/persecution stages of British history. 

But these salesmen lie, just like the ads you see on the telly that tell you that you can take 20 years off your age by using this new cream... and only £60 a jar!

Meeting with other leaders won’t solve the problem, but it might go some way towards stopping it at source. Of course, it won't placate the UKIP faction.
Oh just a bit tighter, Mr Bush
We should remember too, that most other European countries, some of them even more broke than we are, have already done a very great deal more that Britain to resettle people fleeing from the horrors of broken regimes that we helped break… Maybe Britain has to take its share of the responsibility for the mess it has left behind it in its leader's search for a Congressional Medal.
Some commentators would have you believe they all want to come here.
Not really.
In the meantime Cameron, who has already tried to tone down Hammond’s rhetoric, might like to look to see if the “leader of the house” job could be made available to Hammond.  That’s where failures as FCS usually go, isn’t it?

It’s time we had a proper Foreign Secretary, up to the difficult job that awaits him. 
Oh look, we are being overrun...
I'm thankful that the Minister for External Relations in Scotland, Humza Yousaf, treats the situation with a great deal more decency than his British counterpart. Maybe one day soon he will be the Secretary for Foreign affairs in an independent Scotland.
PS: Just found out that The Great Foodbank Siege is online and on sale now.

Will write more about it tomorrow.

Here is the link. Please help if you can.

Mark talks more about it here on his blog.


  1. From what I've seen recently Tris he may want to think about talking to SKY News. I only make this suggestion because they have done some coverage from some of the migrant camps around Calais and found a significant number of U.K. registered vehicles. When they tried to talk to the Brits in the camp their presenter and her camera crew were threatened. Apparently the French have "lifted" a number of UK registered vehicles from the camps.

    Surely anyone with a solitary brain cell would be onto SKY News and the French police to get the registration numbers from the vehicles so far identified and making some early morning alarm calls. There again we are talking about a member of the British government actually making a reasonable and logical decision to pursue these traffickers!

    1. Lord. That's horrific.

      I suspect they won't want to do that. They prefer to blame things on foreigners.

    2. Makes you wonder which side of the E.U. referendum argument they are currently on Tris. I mean with all the unsavory, in my view, language being thrown about by Cameron, Hammond etc I almost think they are are on the "We want out of the E.U." campaign instead of the "Let's stay in" campaign. Either way they are doing shed loads of work FOR the "We want out" campaign and absolutely NOTHING for the "Let's stay in" campaign!

    3. Yes. I wonder. Isn't Hammond anti Europe? He seems to be anti most other things, except maybe his expenses.

    4. Well if he is auntie he is the weirdest looking auntie I've ever seen! ... oh wait a minute that's the wrong type of anti isn't it! LOL

    5. Duh... Mind he reminds me of my Great Auntie Flo. But she had purple hair.

  2. tris

    The politics of distraction whipping up race hatred using the immigrants as
    the dog whistle as they say. Just shows how unsure the Torys actually
    feel of their wafer thin majority which will start to evaporate with every byelection .

    The funny thing is one half of the Torys want to cause race riots/hate to restore
    the Great back into Great Britain the other half cant get enough cheap wage/slave
    immigrant labour bit of a contradiction there..

    Germany will not founder on the racial question; to the contrary, the future of our people depends on solving it. As in so many other areas, here we also shall be pathfinders for the world. Our revolution is of enormous significance. We want it to find the key to world history in the solution of the racial question.-Joseph Goebbels

    What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

    We live in a dirty Tory world and its gonna get worst but under the electoral system
    within the uk ( which the snp took part and as such legitimised the outcome ) the people
    freely chose and now many must suffer once again

    1. Oh yes Niko. While the low level newspapers (and that now includes most of the broadsheets) are concentrating on dirty horrible foreigners, they aren't mentioning the paedos, weirdos, thieves, the loss on the banks, the falling though of the powerhouse of the north, the crumbling NHS being sold off, university fees set to rise, etc etc etc.

      The fact that Britain doesn't have that many immigrants; that many of the ones it has are here because of the daft bloody empire and the fact that moronic governments have interfered in every conflict they could for as long as we can remember... the fact that migrants are good for the economy and without them we would be sunk... none of that matters.

      Yes it's true that the business owners love cheap labour and many of them like illegals because they can pay them next to nothing, as it's all done under the table.

      The electoral system is a joke, so ois the house of lords and the monarchy. It's all anti democratic and if it were anywhere else I can imagine a British government going to war to encourage the adoption of more democratic means.

      I don't think you can really criticise any party for taking part in the elections though be they SNP or Sinn Fein, Labour, Greens...whatever...even Labour, who also take part in the system.

      It's what there is. You can't change it from the outside. If no one stands against the Tories they will win 100% of the seats. They'd be even more unbearable then.

      Encouraging news that polls show Corbyn winning in the first round.

      No one seems to know or care who will win in Scotland. Kezia most likely, but she made a big mistake in criticising Corbyn. I've been reading tweets form people who already voted for her, now absolutely furious with her.

      If Corbyn wins, she's in the ****.

      On the other hand while disagreeing with all his policies Mackintosh seems to think that Corbyn is a sincere man. Don't think he has any chance though.

  3. tris

    Things are mending now
    I see a rainbow blending now
    We'll have a happy ending now
    Taking a chance on love


  4. tris

    over at the Torgraph where Conan resides

    Tax credits betray the hard-working majority. Scrapping them only harms the workshy
    By Julia Hartley-Brewer

    The name i would suggest says it all she doesn't ask about employers
    using part time as opposed to full time hours which would lead to less
    people needing help from their fellow citisens.

    Or the fact some couples with children both working full time still
    needing tax credits to get by

  5. The funny thing about the article is that she destroys her own evidence by saying: "Obviously there are reasons why some people cannot find full time work (personal issues, poor skills, or a lack of suitable jobs in their area) or they have childcare costs that make working a pointless exercise in terms of money in their pocket at the end of the week." She neglects to mention housing costs, which are astronomical.

    Then she ignores what she has said and goes on to hit out at the feckless who don;t work full time.

    I started reading the comments but after a few decided that I couldn't cope with the venomous hatred of foreigners that you get these days in Telegraph threads. Similar in many ways to the Mail and Express, but usually with slightly better grammar.

    I don't suppose Ms Hartley Brewer is short of a bob or two?

  6. It is obvious to anybody with a couple of brain cells that in general the last thing people want to do is leave their home and culture for unknown outcomes in a strange, far-off land. That is why I find it strange that no government is willing to step forward with a Marshall Plan approach to the problems in Africa so that Sudan and Eritrea and Mali etc can begin to operate as normal countries and not failed states.

    Why doesn't the UN call for that? Where are Al Shebab and DAESH getting their weapons and money to fight their jihads. Who is trading with DAESH? I can't believe that between them the CIA, KGB, Mossad and MI6 haven't worked it out in the finest detail and know exactly what is going on.

    1. Yes, Bill. By and large people who have the guts and the get up and go, to risk their lives and many privations for a very uncertain future, are pretty much strivers, not skivers.

      Of course a plan to rescue the mess that has been made of Africa and the middle East would probably be beyond the pockets of even the rich countries so it's very unlikely to happen.

      But I have to agree. Where are the weapons coming from? Who pays?

      Remembering that France, UK, Russia and USA are biggest weapons suppliers in the world.

  7. tris and the other nat atheists

    The problem with your denigrating others ie the Torys deep felt religious
    beliefs is a total lacking of understanding of the teleological underpinnings
    of Conservative religion.................which is founded on the teachings of the
    OTHER Jesus

    1. Ah... I never knew about him.

      Where he come from?


  8. I think I might upset a few people with this.......

    Some people say we should take in all the migrants. Fair enough. But at what point do you stop? Taking in the migrants will simply encourage more to come here.

    I understand fully why desperate people want to leave war, terror and poverty. I would probably do the same. But there has to be a limit to what can be done.

    At what point do we set the limit? Schools are at bursting point in some places. GPs are feeling the pressure. Housing is non-existent.

    And something which I think will find agreement:

    Hammond is frigging useless (never, ever trust someone who uses a double-thumbs-up). Defence Secretary? I used to hold the view that this Cabinet position should only be held by someone who actually served in the Armed Forces. Tom King was the last real incumbent. However, IDS changed my view for good........

    Had a bad day at work, so apologies for the ranting..........

    1. No. I don't think so, Anon. people usually listen on this sit and argue if they want to but (with a few exceptions) they don't get upset. You've not be racist caused any offence. Why would people be upset?

      I'd agree that we can't take everyone, but of course no one is asking us to.

      By relation to population Britain has taken very few. It needs to stop playing the martyr. Greece and Hungary, Italy, Spain... they have all taken far more that the UK. Even small countries like Luxembourg, and Iceland, are taking some

      We need to find a way to stop the flow of refugees. That's why I'd propose an international task force to stop the traffickers. But we need to look at the reasons why these people want, or need, to make these terrible journeys with risk to life. Many of the situations can be traced back to our interference. We need to take responsibility for that.

      Immigrants are nearly always very productive people. It takes a special kind of person to get up and travel thousands of miles to make a better life. The equivalent of chavs or neds wouldn't bother. There are exceptions I know, but all the figures from Westminster show that they make a net contribution to society. If the schools and NHS is not coping, it is because they are spending the money that these people tend to generate on other things, like more lords, doing up Buck House and Kensington Palace, and of course Westminster adn the multi-billion pound bill.

      Mr Hammond was defence and is now the Foreign Secretary, a post where you would have expected him be advised about things that are acceptable in other parts of the world. He reminds me of the hapless David miliband who went out to India, where all the statesmen are elderly, and where people still show automatic respect for age, and looking like the head boy, he lectured them on how they should be doing things. Faux pas or what? Peter Mandelson had to rescue him. You know you are crap at diplomacy when they send Mandelson to rescue you.

      Hope tomorrow is better for you!!


    2. (Excuse typos, please... exhausted here!!)