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The stupid—it hurts (just don't smuggle controlled substances to solve it)

The trouble with relying on harsh prison sentences as a deterrent for idiots undertaking criminal actions is that idiots are idiots. Your humble Devil is forcefully reminded of this fact by a recent BBC story about a prize idiot called Laura Plummer.

A British woman has been convicted of smuggling 300 painkiller tablets into Egypt and jailed for three years.

Laura Plummer, 33, was arrested after she was found with the Tramadol tablets in her suitcase, on 9 October.
Uh huh. Why on earth would Ms Plummer be trying to smuggle 300 Tramadols into a hell-hole like Egypt, I wonder...?

Plummer, from Hull, claimed the painkiller, legal on prescription in the UK but banned in Egypt, was to treat her Egyptian partner's back pain.
Riiiiiight.

Her family said her lawyers had lodged an appeal. Plummer previously said she had "no idea" the tablets were illegal.
As it happens, I had no idea that Tramadol was banned in Egypt; but, hang on—Tramadol is pretty strong stuff, right? In fact, it …
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From the archives: a polemic

I found this across the web whilst researching recently. I wrote it when I first became leader of the Libertarian Party and it was, apparently, posted on the now defunct LPUK website. I rather like it, so I thought I'd reproduce it here, for posterity...

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My friends,

We are broke. Our country—whatever it may once have been—is now laden with debt. And this isn't "the government's debt": it is our debt.

The government has no money but what it takes—what it extorts—from us.

We have gone beyond consensus politics: if a man were to come to your door, with a gun, and demand half of everything that you earned—on pain of severe punishment, on pain of the total ruination of your life—would you not protest?

For a moment, lay aside those dutiful thoughts of those starving millions beyond your gate, and think, instead, of those within your own household—within your own family: would you not rather protect them first?

Of course you would: they are your kith and kin and yo…

The UK's EU negotiating position

Right, fuck this waiting around bollocks. Does the EU really think that the legendary British tendency to enjoy queuing means that we are just going to sit about and wait for these fucking cultural and economic pygmies to dictate our future? They do—so, something must be done.

PacePete, for he does understand the issues, but he and others are approaching the whole Brexit issue as technocrats—in, essentially, the same mentality that characterises the EU itself.

I say "fuck this shit". I want this done—and done now. So, here's how we should address this issue...
"Fuck you, ladies and gentlemen of the EU: fuck you very much. We are tired of you dicking us around, and our patience is at an end.

"Yes: we understand the trade problems inherent in customs barriers: but, unless you are stupider than we thought, so do you—and so do your businesses.

"You may not understand the pressures of a democracy, but the Council of Ministers very much does: so we recommend that …

As an MEP, shouldn't you know this...?

At least one German MEP is not happy with Jean-Claude Junker's vision of a united states of Europe.
Speaking to Express.co.uk in Strasbourg, Ms von Storch, deputy leader of the far-right Alternative for Deutschland party, which is part of the Europe for Freedom and Democracy group in the EU parliament, labelled the speech “frightening”.
[...]

“The European Union which has been presented to us today is not the one we want to be members of."Well, fair enough—your humble Devil can understand this position. After all, it's just one of the reasons that the UK voted to Leave. But another comment does rather show how staggering ignorant some politicians can be...
Asked how long the EU could survive in its current form, she added: “It has to be reformed immediately.

“They will change the European Union to the United States of Europe without treaty change. Without the change of the treaties. This is incredible what we have heard today."Um, yes. Quite so. I don't know why y…

Beales of laughter: rank feminist rancour in the Grauniad*

Zoe Williams: a very silly woman. Your humble Devil notes that Zoe Williams has decided that serial perjurer Gemma Beale is, in fact, a victim—a victim of the justice system...
... a system in which men are the norm and women the deviants.And how has darling Zoe come to this conclusion? Why, because this serial perjurer is not just a serial perjurer but also a woman—and it is for this latter reason (rather than the serial perjury) that she was sentenced to 10 years.
These three ideas – a woman as ambassador for all women, a woman as a threat not to the individual but to the system, and a woman as a dishonesty time-bomb, waiting for the right sentencing conditions before she unleashes her falsehoods – all spring from the same well: a system in which men are the norm and women the deviants. However far any given woman has deviated from honourable, law-abiding behaviour – and unquestionably, Jemma Beale deviated a long way – she wears shackles of cultural expectation that are punitive ind…

Trade: no easy answers

Warning: this post contains detail for grown-ups. Again I find I am having to repeat the same basic points. As you should know by now, Britain cannot stay in the customs union. The customs union is one of the founding frameworks of the EU. It is the amalgamation of all customs rules, practices and tariffs - where all tariff revenues go to the EU under a single customs code. The EU has a Common External Tariff regime which varies according to product types.

Though we cannot stay in the customs union we can have an agreement on customs harmonisation. Tory Brexiteers have it that we cannot make our own trade deals if we have such an agreement. This is only partially true. It prevents us from diverging from the common external tariff rate. That though does not preclude new deals on removing non-tariff barriers, which are more significant.

The reason we would seek a customs agreement is to avoid Rules of Origin (ROO). If we have a zero tariff agreement with the EU but then started to giv…

Britain needs to play it smarter

There is some chatter on the web as to whether Brexit can be parked. Personally I don't see that happening. Call it a hunch but I think the process has taken on a life of its own independent of the politicians and they lack the coherence to influence it in either direction. I can, however, see Brexit transmogrifying into something that is neither Brexit nor EU membership.

The repeal bill process is not an afternoon at the photocopier. It's a major feat of legal engineering and it is going to take years. We can pass certain bills that technically mean we have left but the Brexit limbo could be of such a composition where making the final switchover in various sectors, ending EU supremacy, would be viewed as so destructive that it would go into some sort of review, much like TTIP has. There it exists as a concept but it's not actually going anywhere until it's taken off the shelf and dusted down.

We have heard much about the possibility of an accidental Brexit where we …