The Duke of Omnium has denied top level NHS management changes are imminent on the day a shocking report has been published about National HaulAir Services flight provision for the elderly.
Omnium is the National HaulAir Service's Second Chief Executive, Executive for Servicing Passsengers, Director of Passenger Announcements, Chief of Grooming Facilities, Director of Public Airport Customer Relations, Master of In-Flight Entertainment, Head of Chief Executive Management, Manager of Aircraft Trading and Director of After-Dark Arts Programmes.
He was interviewed this morning, responding to previous speculation about his repeated flights to Flying Boats based in Corfu owned by Derria Spivchap, the Chief Executive of the Russian Executive Flying Boat Service.
He has angrily denied that he is seeking to obtain Flying Boat privileges from Mr Spivchap for the Executive Board of the National Haulair Service and related secret negotiations about joint Flying Boat privileges for the executives of the Eton Touring Company and the exclusive Bullingdon Flying Company subsidiary, the Bullingdon Very Private Flying Club.
"Mr Spivchap and I share a long-standing common interest in collecting old brass, he said, which we discovered during the time when he was seeking entry for his Russian Private Executive Flight Service to the United European Air Service Brokerage market during the time when I was Commissioning Executive for Trans-European Air Flights.
"While, in line with current flight standards for our passengers, we no longer install brass in our latest National Haulair Service passenger aircraft, the very best old brass in the International Air Haul market is that to be seen in Flying Boats, of which Mr Spivchap has a remarkable collection. We even have a friendly rivalry in presenting brassneck displays.
"Mr Matt Richkid, who has one of the largest collections of family old brass in the world, and has added several outstanding examples of Flying Boats through his shrewd Private Haul Air deals always meets up with us on Spivchap's Corfu Flying Boat to compare and swap our old brass collections.
"He happens to be an old school chum of George Newborn, Finance Executive of the Bullingdon Flying Company, who has a growing interest in collecting and managing old brass and joins us when Mr Richkid visits. But frankly, he's not in our league. And he ruffled a lot of feathers last year by misquoting my praise of Gordon Macavity as "an incomparable flightmaster" to the press as "an incomparable disaster".
The Duke has also brushed aside the speculation that has resulted from his recent move from the Senior Executive Suite in the VIP Arrival Lounge of Heathrow Airport, where he has been sited during the relatively short time since he was granted his Dukedom, to the Senior Executive Suite in the VIP Departure Lounge.
He dismissed speculation that provisions in the new Executive guidelines for members of the VIP lounge to be allowed to renounce their membership of the Lounge and move into the Senior Executive Suites in the Security Lounges are of any significance.
"I have no intention whatsoever of becoming Chief Executive of the National Haulair Service, he said. I am devoting myself in my current roles to improving the flying experiences of hard working passengers, supporting our outstanding Chief Executive Gordon Macavity and making sure the planes fly on time.
Our National Haulair Service is the envy of the world.
We have met our target, a record for the National Haulair Service, of holding fatal air crashes down to just five percent of the total. Our thoughts of course are with the families, and we are constantly setting up new enquiries to identify ways to improve our service. The number of passenger infections arising from inadequately serviced plane seats and undercooked in-flight meals is now below that of any Third World Haul Air Service. The recent survey of disappointing results from our special free flights programme for the elderly has spurred us to improve further. We are today setting up an urgent enquiry which is expected to report in three years' time. We do not rest on our laurels. Our record is the envy of the world.
"Flights are always free from the point of the Passengers' Departure Lounge, and no-one will ever be asked to pay for a ticket at the point of boarding the plane.
"Gordon Macavity is doing a superb job, constantly investing in our National Haulair Service by printing money to buy more planes, employ more pilots and flight attendants and cut down waiting times for free flights.
"Donald Poltroon and his Eton Touring Club Company and their pathetic and privileged premium class passenger cartel at the Bullingdon Flying Company have no alternatives to offer whatsoever, and are trying to keep their plan to make 20% cuts in free flights carefully hidden from passengers. But our passengers aren't taken in by their ruses. And they know that the number of fatal crashes would soar if they were to succeed in securing the new contract for the National Haulair Service.
"We are not surprised that the Eton Touring Club Company's Strasbourg Executive Mr Hardman, who constantly carps about our low 5% fatal crash record, has turned out to be a admirer of discredited West Midlands Conservative Air Race Executive, the late Mr Egot Badsmell, on the very day that another scurrilous report has come out which seeks to smear the proud record of our much-loved National Haul Air Service.
"The continuing huge enthusiasm for our Twitter Microflights #welovethenhs free mini-flights service proves that our passengers know that we at HardLabour are the natural Executive of the National Haulair Service."
I'm fascinated by the way in which the Obama administration is playing up to the "Nation on the March--Scotland puts two fingers up to USA" narrative. They have been seeming to seek to outdo each other in expressing various levels of rage and disgust addressed solely at the Scottish administration, as if they really thought that Alex Salmond, MacAskill and the others really were solely responsible for the release of Megrahi and his repatriation to LIbya.
As I've demonstrated irrefutably in my previous post, the repatriation of Megrahi could not possibly have taken place without the express consent of the UK government. That's because it's explicitly required as a provision of the Treaty which enabled the transfer of prisoners between the UK and Libya, a Treaty signed by Gordon Brown's UK government in November 2008 and ratified by Gordon Brown's UK government in May 2009. There was at that time only one Libyan prisoner in any jail in the UK. Now that Megrahi has returned to Libya, there are none
I've been discussing this point on several heated blog posts centred on the supposed ways in which Salmond, MaAskill and Co exercised their supposed power of transfer. One of the most excited posters (he has a book about to come out) pointed out that the preamble of the Treaty stated that the Scottish government is responsible for the transfer of prisoners in Scotland.
Alas. A preamble in a Treaty has no force whatsoever. Only the specific provisions in the Treaty itself have legal force. A preamble is a political gloss, a statement of intent. And in the world of Treaty-making, it is usually put there to satisfy the political needs of the constituency or constituencies. It is more or less the political equivalent of stating" We believe in Motherhood and Apple Pie.
Whatever the preamble said, the relevant provision required the express agreement of the UK government, and thus Gordon Brown to agree the return of Megrahi.
So why have they not condemned and deplored Gordon Brown's central and decisive role part in a transfer Treaty that only applied to Megrahi? Why have they overlooked the key clause in the Treaty which shows the UK had to agree to the transfer. After all, even if we care to accept the ludicrous notion that the Salmond administration could decided to release Megrahi against the wishes of the UK government, Brown had the power under the Treaty to refuse to agree to Megrahi being repatriated. He could have, for example, insisted that Megrahi was transferred to a UK hospital where he would be kept in secure conditions equivalent to jailing, as was done in the case of such notorious prisoners as Ian Brady, Myra Hindley and the Yorkshire Ripper.
Why has the Obama administration not fulminated against Brown's failure to do this?
Why have they been venting their fury at the dancing monkeys on the organ of Mr Gordon "Macavity" Brown, who's so very conveninently away on his longest holiday ever, and remaining silent about the organ grinder who presided over the made-to-measure for Megrahi Treaty, ratified it and agreed to the transfer provided for in it?
Is this some mysterious form of conspiracy designed to protect Brown? Some unknown quid pro quo involving a chunk of the oil and gas contracts just signed with British companies? I very much doubt it, though such things are not unknown.
But look at the politics of Obama's image, and his administration's image. His carefully constructed halo as the defender of the oppressed. And of course the Head of State of the largest group of the bereaved families and loved ones of the terorist\s victims, the great majority of whom are known to have been bitter opponents of Megrahi's release. The leader of the nation that suffered the murderous attacks of the terrorists crashing planes who killed more than ten times the toll of Lockerbie has been seen to demand justice for victims of terrorism without actually directing his wrath at either the true enabler. Gordon Brown, or the original man who ordered Megrahi to do his disgusting, murderous work.
Sometimes politics is the discourse designed to divert from certain unpalatable and incompatible-with-your-USP self-branding.
In this case Obama sustains his crown as the eloquent-in-righteous anger leader of his people, the proclaimer of the delivery of justice. He diverts attention conveniently not just from a major ally in the current Afghan conflict, but from the fact that he has also studiously refrained from even the tiniest reflection on the fact that Megrahi was the terrorist hit man, but Gaddafi, who sent him, with or without the involvement of other pariah states, has never paid for his role as the instigator, financier and begetter of this horrendous crime. The worst he's got out of all this is a public deploring of the hero's welcome he carefully prepared for Megrahi. That's been called "disgusting". But then how can that be squared with the matching total silence on Gaddafi's role in ordering and setting up the crime in the first place?
Crocodiles everywhere may well be envious of the weeping abilities of Obama and his fellow administration senior media superstars over this tragic and disgusting business.
As for Salmond, MacAskill and the Scottish nationalists, perhaps one could think of what it's like to be a quiet little blogger who's used to around a hundred hits a day. Suddenly, they get an Instalanche and the hit rates go up to 5,000 a day. Then the rest of the internet takes them on, and suddlenly the hits are in the millions. Yes, that's just a tiny glimpse of what it's like to be mice on the political stage who the greatest power in the world chooses to express apparently impotent rage at doings for which you did not actually exercise the real decisions, anyway.
It seemed to start with some normally astute UK political journos and commentators appearing baffled. Paul Waugh of the Evening Standard, one of the sharpest of all, was of all a-Twitter last week about it's being bizarre that the British government chose to deplore the hero's welcome the Libyan government gave to returning released convict Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, whilst remaining silent on the fact that the Scottish government released him to be repatriated in the first place.
Alex Massie, the equally astute Spectator CoffeeHouse resident blogger had run a couple of posts over the previous week in "calm down, dear" mode, ridiculing a range of articles and blogger posts suggesting that the real reason for the release has been the result of the machinations of the UK government, including Lord Mandelson. He has been emphatic that the Scottish government alone had the power to take any decision about releasing Megrahi.
A transfer requires the consent of the both States.
The treaty was therefore agreed by the UK government, and the transfer of Megrahi, on the basis of its provisions could only have taken place with the UK government's agreement. It is inconceivable that Gordon Brown would not have been centrally involved in making this decision. He had it in his power to refuse to make the transfer, even if the Scottish Minister agreed to release Megrahi.
Indeed Megrahi's own lawyer is now arguing that it would have been more compassionate, if compassion was the issue, to release him to a hospital facility in the UK, whilst retaining him in custody. This has been done in the past with such high-profile prisoners as Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. As several commentators have pointed out, would the Scottish Justice Minister have been so ready to release the Dunblane murderer, Thomas Watt Hamilton, had he not committed suicide and survived to become terminally ill with cancer. I rather doubt it.
What's more, the Treaty did not come into force until it was ratified. This was a process controlled and completed entirely by the UK government. It was ratified by Jack Straw in May 2009.
And we now know that Ian Lewis, a junior minister wrote early in August to the Scottish administration to ask for Megrahi to be released. If you're really into deep Brownian machinations, you might even think it possible that this hapless man, previously sacked by Brown for harassing a civil servant just when he was faiing to show the required loyalty, could be the required sacrificial goat, with Brown denying that he knew of the letter.
There are those who suggest that Blair set it all up back on his lengthy visit to Libya back in 2004. But Brown has never hesitated to overturn Blair decisions where he felt like doing so, including during the time when Blair was still serving as Prime Minister. And all three of the above key decisions, which were really the ones that freed Megrahi, were his responsibility. It is inconceivable that David Milliband or anyone else could have foisted such a decision on him. And we know that he held a substantial meeting with Gaddafi at the G8 Conference. Which happened to be just around the time the Treaty was signed.
Why did the Scottish government play ball? Apart from the fact that they didn't have much choice, why would such a self-aggrandising peacock as Alex Salmond want to pass up the chance to pose as a world statesman? To have gullible or lazy journalists gasp in awe as he postured at putting two fingers up at the USA claiming its legal system allowed for compassion where the US one did not? To save money on keeping Megrahi incarcerated? What was not to like? Unlike Gordon Brown, they may have been too full of the anticipated glory of it to anticipate a backlash that could turn nastier than they anticipated.
For Gordon Brown, it's seemed to be a win-win situation. He gets the lucrative British comanies' oil and gas contracts signed with Libya. Any flak is currently being fired at Salmond and his Justice Minister MacAskill. A typically satisfactory Macavity solution for which Brown is so renowned.
And is it merely coincidental that the release and the resultant flak has started flying just when he has been on his most extended vacation yet? Or could this be yet another manifestation of the Macavity tactic?
Ultimately, as the papers suggest, it could lead to the downfall of Salmond's government In the long term, it will make full Scottish independence more likely. Certainly more was done to present the illusion as reality this week and Salmond and MacAskill played it for all the drama they could wring out of it. MacAskill's speech was read as if he had spent weeks watching YouTube clips of particularly cliff-hanging Oscar awards announcements.
But Brown's potentially got quite an interest in building up an independent Scotland. Tom Bower's scathing and revelatory biography presents him as having a deeply embedded, unshakeable commitment to his native Scotland, and a dislike and distrust of England and London in particular.
He is not so self-deluded as to be convinced that he will still be in power after the next election. It could suit a triumphant Tory party quite well to cut Scotland loose and get rid of a satisfyingly large number of historically Labour and Liberal Democrat seats. One of the highly convenient ways to lose the 10% of seats Cameron has promised to get rid of.
With an independent Scotland and a discredited SNP--even with a coalition of SNP and Labour, what would please the anti-monarchist Brown better than to become the first President of an independent Scotland?
I just hope every politician in Scotland has taken the trouble to read Bower's biography of Gordon Brown very, very attentively.
UPDATE: Reflections on the Obama administration's playing to the Scottish posturing whilst remaining virutally silent on the role of Brown and the specific responsibility of Gaddafii as the organizer and real source of the Lockerbie bombing here.
The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. defines concentration camp as: a camp where non-combatants of a district are accommodated, such as those instituted by Lord Kitchener during the South African war of 1899-1902; one for the internment of political prisoners, foreign nationals, etc., esp. as organized by the Nazi regime in Germany before and during the war of 1939-45.
Similar camps existed earlier, such as in the United States (concentration camps for Cherokee and other Native Americans in the 1830s), inCuba (1868–78) and in the Philippines (1898–1901) by Spain under the Restoration and the US respectively. The term finds its roots in the "reconcentration camps" set up in Cuba by Valeriano Weyler in 1897 to quell opposition to Spanish rule in Cuba. During the Second Boer War(1899-1902), the term "concentration camp" was used to describe camps operated by the British in South Africa. Ostensibly conceived as a form of humanitarian aid to the families whose farms had been destroyed in the fighting, the camps were used to confine and control large numbers of civilians as part of a scorched earth tactic.
Polish historian Władysław Konopczyński has suggested the first concentration camps were actually created in the 18th century, during Bar Confederation, when Russians organized 3 concentration camps in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for Polish rebel captives, where internees awaited deportation on to Siberia. 
This morning I revelled in listening to an almost totally deadpan documentary in the BBCR4 "In Living Memory" series-- on the origins of the Section 28 legislation in the furore over the publication of "Jenny Lives with Eric & Martin". This hilarious bit of tendenz literatur was read aloud, complete with the bit where nice, liberal Mr Jones transformed the homophobia of his wife, grumpy Mrs Jones, to the gay male couple with daughter living next door by the simple expedient of explaining to her that he had once loved a man, but decided that he loved her better and married her. Don't try that one at home, folks.