Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I get junk mail

Images in this post have been removed at the request of a third party - full details below.* As the purpose of the images was to illustrate points made in this post, the images have been replaced by a description of the deleted material, in italics, so that readers still have some idea of what I was talking about.

Junk mailers routinely plaster their bulk mailshots with loads of red ink, bold type and words like "important", "urgent" and "priority" in a desperate attempt grab your attention. I've just had a European election leaflet from that party with the pound shop logo, which looks like some sort of template from Junk Mail for Dummies.
First deleted image Masthead of the Ukip election leaflet mentioned above. Approximately two thirds of the masthead taken up by the words "Ukip news." with the standard yellow on puce pound sign logo. The right third is taken up by a bright red box emblazoned with the following message in white type:
"Important information.
Do not discard.
Please share with friends and family when you have finished reading."
The content lives down to the cheesy huckster aesthetic, with the usual bed-wetting scare-headline about migrants splashed over the front page. There are a couple of smaller headlines about the kippers' second least favourite thing after migrants, the European Union.

If you were being really uncritical, you could almost say that the kippers have something approaching a point about the Europe Union, which is increasingly looking like an elite project with a massive democratic deficit, captured by the same out-of-control financial institutions that crashed the global economy, a project that's currently destroying its own poorest member states with that "doomsday machine called the Euro"© Mark Blyth.

On current performance, it should be super easy for the kippers to make an anti-EU headline from some truly evil or inept scheme that the Persian-cat-stroking super-villains in the European Commission are currently planning to impose on their subject populations.

But what do they pick? The Commission's proposals for a Financial Transaction Tax - one of those rare indications that the Euro-elite aren't completely on board with the project to enable too-big-to-fail trans-national financial institutions to carry on growing and looting the continent entirely unhindered. A reminder that, just occasionally, the Commission tries stick up for the little people, rather than simply offering them up as sacrificial victims on the altar of the Vampire Squid, or whatever other monstrous, Cthulhu-like financial deity happens to be roaring loudest for innocent blood.

And it's also a reminder of the gulf between reality and those UKIP boasts about being the party that takes on vested interests and sticks up for the little guy:
Second deleted image Short (two paragraph) article from the election leaflet, written by a Ukip activist by the name of Lucy Bostick. The article is titled "City under EU attack." In it, Ms Bostick is described as a City professional and is quoted saying that a proposed EU financial transaction tax would force the UK to act as a tax collector for other member states, "decimating" the City of London. I captioned the image with the comment  "Ukip's Lucy Bostick says 'decimating the City' like it was a bad thing."
It may not be a panacea, the wheelers and dealers would certainly find loopholes and there might be unintended consequences, but as a measure intended to divert a small portion of the financial elite's loot into the common wealth of nations, for the benefit of ordinary people, a Financial Transaction Tax is at least one of the most well-intentioned ideas to have come out of the Commission in recent years.

It's not surprising that a party headed by a former City commodities broker who wasn't even able to set up his own offshore tax-avoiding trust fund properly would be against anything that threatened the narrow interests of the City of London and it's even less surprising that, when faced with an open goal like finding something meaty to criticise the European Commission for, his team missed by a mile.

There are times when you can safely judge a book (or leaflet) by its cover.


* Reason for amendment:
Lucy Bostick, the Ukip activist quoted in the election leaflet above, contacted me in December 2015, via the comments section of my blog, with the following message:
I can't see a means of contacting you so I'm posting here. I'd like to ask you to remove or edit an old post in which you have included me. Please could you contact me so I can send you full details of my request? Many thanks 
The comment was attached to a recent, totally unrelated post, but after a short search I realised she was referring to to this post, made over a year and a half ago.

The assertion that "I can't see a means of contacting you" is one of those statements which immediately disproves itself - Ms Bostick did contact me, via the comments section of my blog and I responded to her comment, asking for the full details of her request.

At the time of writing I have heard no more, so have taken a look at this blog post to work out for myself what Ms Bostick is objecting to.Having re-read my post, I can comment as follows:
  1. So far as I can see, Ms Bostick has no possible grounds for objecting to anything I have written. I have merely drawn attention to her publicly stated opinion that a proposed EU financial transaction tax would decimate the City of London and indicated that I'm not impressed by this argument.
  2. As Ms Bostick has no reasonable grounds for objecting to what I've written, I'm assuming, (in the absence of any clarification from her) that the only tenable objection she might have must relate to my illustrating this blog post with a couple of short snippets scanned from a Ukip election leaflet, presumably on the grounds of copyright and image rights (the article by Ms Bostick had her photograph at the top). Although reproducing and commenting on party political publicity material is common practice (see here for a well-known  example from a few years ago), I have deleted any images from Ukip's unsolicited electioneering pamphlet, so that there can now be no possibility of any reasonable person finding any grounds for demanding further edits.