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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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The Queen’s 2013 Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her annual Christmas message to the Commonwealth.

Queen

The theme of the 87-year-old monarch’s televised address was “reflection”. It focussed on the birth of her great-grandson and heir, Prince George, the 60th anniversary of her coronation in 1953, and looked ahead to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year. [Read more…]


Queen’s Speech At State Opening Of U.K. Parliament

Queen Elizabeth II has opened the 2012 parliamentary year in the United Kingdom’s Parliament at Westminster.

A State Opening of Parliament is the main ceremonial occasion of the parliamentary calendar. Escorted by the Household Cavalry, the Queen travels from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. She enters the House of Lords and directs Black Rod to summon the members of the House of Commons.

Queen

Black Rod, as the chief official of the House of Lords, is ceremonially denied entry to the Commons, a practice that symbolises the independence of the Commons from the monarchy. Black Rod knocks three times on the door of the Commons chamber. When admitted, he advises the Speaker that the Queen has summonsed members to the Lords. Members then proceed to the Bar of the House and listen to the Queen’s speech. [Read more…]


British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s Howard Lecture

This is the audio of UK Foreign Secretary William Hague’s Howard Lecture at the Menzies Resource Centre in Sydney.

Hague

Hague was introduced by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. He also answered questions. Former Prime Minister John Howard gave the thank you speech. [Read more…]


Howard Lecture: Tony Abbott Introduces William Hague

This is the text and audio of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s speech to the Menzies Research Centre, in Sydney.

Abbott

Abbott introduced UK Foreign Secretary William Hague who gave the John Howard Lecture. [Read more…]


David Cameron: “We Are On The Right Track”

British Prime Minister David Cameron says the country is on the right track.

The upbeat message came in Cameron’s New Year message. “This is a government in a hurry,” Cameron said.

Britain is in a competitive race with countries such as China, India and Indonesia, and cannot afford to slow down, Cameron said, as he outlined actions taken by his government on reducing the budget deficit, reforming welfare and education, and increasing pensions.

Transcript of David Cameron’s 2013 New Year message.

2012 was an extraordinary year for our country. We celebrated our Queen with the Jubilee. And with the Olympics and Paralympics we showed beyond any doubt that Britain can deliver. It was a great year. But, if we are honest, it was a tough one too.

We are still dealing with debts that built up over many years. And for many families, making ends meet is difficult. So to anyone starting this New Year with questions about where we are heading and what the future holds, I want to reassure you of this: we are on the right track. On all the big issues that matter to Britain, we are heading in the right direction and I have the evidence to prove it.

This government inherited a huge budget deficit that was dragging our country down. Well, this New Year, that deficit is forecast to be £13 billion smaller than last New Year, down by one quarter since we came to office. [Read more…]


Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Message To The Commonwealth

Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her annual Christmas message to the Commonwealth.

The televised message comes at the end of the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations of her 60 years on the throne. [Read more…]


Cameron And Miliband Respond To Leveson

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Opposition Leader Ed Miliband have spoken in the House of Commons in response to the Leveson inquiry report.

Cameron accepted the principles of the Leveson report but rejected the need for a statute, whereas Milband called for Leveson’s proposals to be accepted “in their entirety”. [Read more…]


Leveson Report On UK Media Released

Lord Justice Leveson’s report into the “culture, practices and ethics of the press” has been released in London.

Leveson

Leveson read a prepared statement about his report and said he would take no questions nor make any future public statements. “The ball is now back in the politicians’ court,” he said. “They must now decide who guards the guardians”.

The Executive Summary of Leveson’s report is shown below. All four volumes of the report can be downloaded here:

Extracts from Lord Leveson’s statement.

For over 40 years, as a barrister and judge I have watched the press in action. I know how vital the press is – all of it – as guardian of the interests of the public, as a critical witness of events, as a standard bearer for those who have no one else to speak up to them. Nothing has changed that view. The press operating freely is one of the true safeguards of our democracy. As a result it holds a privileged and powerful place in our society.

But this power and influence carries with it responsibility to the public interest in whose name it exercises these privileges. Unfortunately as the evidence has shown beyond doubt, on too many occasions those responsible along with the editors code of conduct – which the press wrote and promoted – have simply been ignored. This had damaged the public interest, caused real hardship and on occasion wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent people. What the press do and say is no ordinary exercise of free speech; it operates very differently to blogs on the internet and other social media such as Twitter. Its impact is uniquely powerful.

A free press in a democracy holds power to account but, with a few honourable exceptions, the UK press has not performed that vital role in the case of its own power. None of this however is to conclude that press freedom in Britain, hard won over 300 years ago, should be jeopardised. On the contrary – it should not. I remain firmly believe that press, all of it, serves the public very well well most of the time. The are truly countless examples of great journalism, great investigations and great campaigns. Not that it is necessary for the press to be pursuing serious stories for it to be acting in the public interest. Some its most important functions are to inform, educate and entertain, and when doing so to be irreverent, unruly and opinionated. But none of that means that the press is beyond challenge. I know of no organised profession, industry or trade in which the serious failings of the few are overlooked because of the good done by the many. In any other case the press would be the first to expose such practices.

12-11-29_leveson-inquiry-report_executive-summary


Conrad Black: “You’re A Priggish, Gullible, British Fool”

Conrad Black is interviewed by the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman.

In 2005, Black faced 17 charges of misconduct and fraud relating to his company, Hollinger International. He was tried and convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice in an American court in 2007. Legal challenges to some of the charges were subsequently upheld in the US Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. He was released from prison in May 2012.



Julian Assange Speaks From Ecuadorian Embassy In London

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spoken for the first time since seeking asylum two months ago in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Julian Assange

Assange appeared on the balcony of the embassy and read a prepared statement. The appearance lasted nine minutes. He called on the United States to “do the right thing” and end its “war on whistleblowers”. [Read more…]