Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Burn the unions

Given the recent (for most—some of us have been enduring this for nearly a year) travel disruptions in London, Simon Jenkins has written as reasonable article on the topic...
Industrial relations lore holds that the right to strike is sacred...
No, it isn't. Or, rather, the right to strike may well sacred: the right not to be sacked when you do so should not be.
Ordinary citizens have no unions to protect them. They can claim no compensation as victims of the deliberate actions of others.
Quite.

The law should be changed, as I have stated previously, to force the Unions to show—in court—that those affected by strikes have direct power to change the conditions being objected to.

In this case, any court of law would show that commuters have no such power. In these cases, the Unions and their members would be directly liable for compensation claims made upon them.

I want to see these Union bosses, and their members, bankrupted. I want to read stories about ASLEF, TSSA and RMT members losing their houses, their families thrown onto the streets; I want Mick Cash to be dragged through the bankruptcy courts to recover the, no doubt, cheap little cuff-links that he wears.

Honestly, nothing is too bad for these bastards—the law should be changed to make them personally liable for their actions, and then we will see who has the power here.

Right now, Theresa May's piss-poor government has done precisely fuck-all. Alright, Theresa—you want to introduce the "shared society", with yet more government interference in our lives? Why don't you address this crucial issue, you dried up old stick, and then we'll talk. OK?

Until then you should shut your horrible, dog's-arse mouth, you illiberal old witch.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Brexit as identity politics?

Our very favourite Lefty ex-banker economist has had a revelation...
Are we Remainers making a simple mistake about Brexit?

What I mean is that we think of Brexit in consequentialist terms – its effects upon trade, productivity and growth. But many Brexiters instead regard Brexit as an intrinsic good, something desirable in itself in which consequences are of secondary importance.
Well... duh.

I believe that's the sort of phrase that the kids are using these days.

But yes, Chris, that is pretty much correct. Many of us who try to think about such things would prefer that Brexit has as little consequences as possible but, yes, we do view Brexit as a good thing in and of itself. We tend to believe that the European Union should not exist at all but, given that it does, the UK should not be part of it.

From my point of view, this is largely because I want to sack our shitty governments—rather than have the same shit carry on because, actually, our government has no real power to change anything. This is, I'll admit, a very high level view because I simply cannot be arsed to write a detailed response—other than the myriad of posts currently on this blog.

So, yes. Well done.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Gove's legacy?

Michael Gove has, quite honourably, said that it was right for Theresa may to sack him as a minister...
"I had six years when I was a government minister. I had a chance to make a difference - I hope that I did."
The reforms that Michael Gove made in his time as Education Secretary will come to be seen as the most significant improvements to the British education system since the late 1800s—particularly in the introduction of Free Schools.

Gove made a difference—and his contribution should never be forgotten.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Emily Thornberry

Guido asks the big question today...
Finally we of course must confront the wider philosophical question raised by the Shadow Foreign Secretary’s PMQs stint: namely whether or not she is the worst person in the known universe or if in fact there are others more worthy of the title.
No, there aren't—Emily Thornberry is the worst person in the known universe.

UPDATE: having said that, Anna the birthday girl would definitely give Emily a run for her money...

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Baroness Scotland: a retrospective

Ah, Baroness Scotland—how we have missed your peculiar and brazen brand of corruption and general troughing! Truly, you are a paragon of the political class—utterly corrupt, but possessed of such a reassuring self-righteousness...

In a series tagged as the Scotland Files, Guido has been unveiling some of the recent financial excesses of this Peer of the Realm—and, now, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Highlights include:
Whilst Guido delves further into this horrid harpy's venality, Baroness Scotland continues to lie...
Scotland said it is “untrue” she demanded £4,000 for a mirror-lined cupboard. Here is the cost plan showing her demand for a £4,000 mirror-lined cupboard.

She said there is “no chandelier”. Read the emails where her staff complain about her demands over an “extremely expensive chandelier” here.

She said the total cost would be the original budget “plus the fees plus things that would come up”. Read her staff complaining about how expensive those “things that would come up” are here.

Scotland said she followed all procurement rules to hire her friend Lord Patel on £30,000-a-month. Here is a memo showing procurement practices were waived.

She said her team she denied this all to journalists “again and again and again” before publication. Guido was in regular conversation with her press office until we asked about her Mayfair home. As soon as we started asking about this, they stopped replying. Given multiple opportunities, they did not deny any of these stories…
Now, we have found out that Patricia Scotland claimed "an educational allowance" for her grown-up children too (an obvious way in which to slip her more cash without having to justify it to the taxpayers).

Naturally, all of this has led to complaints from politicians in India and Antigua—countries in which £450,000 would be unimaginable wealth and whose taxpayers are, alongside you and I, paying for her posh paint and fancy chandeliers.

Whilst Guido is doing sterling work on this latest scandal, I thought that readers of The Kitchen might like to be reminded of the last time that we turned the spotlight onto Baroness Scotland—lest we forget...
So, the question needs to be asked—who the fuck decided that Patricia Scotland should be appointed to the important post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth?—always an important position, and even more so in these days of Brexit...

Bueller? Bueller...?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wrong, but right

I happened to be watching a wee compendium of Peter Hitchens' prognostications on YouTube the other day. Now, I don't happen to agree with Mr Hitchens on... well... almost any issue.

However...

If you scroll through that video to about 5 minutes and 15 seconds, he responds to Will Self (who is also an utter cunt), with the following words...
... the time is coming when people who have conservative christian opinions will actually face persecution of one kind or another.
As Mr Self intimates, the idea that conservative Christians will get persecuted for their views is, of course, patently ridiculous.

Oh. Wait. What...?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Re-joining the Libertarian Party

With our political choices narrowed so much—to, essentially, three main parties who all believe in collectivism (the only variation being in whether they take their inspiration from communism or fascism)—I have, after conversations, with other freedom-minded people, decided to rejoin the Libertarian Party UK.

I have paid very little attention to the party since I left, some years ago (2010?), although I have bumped into supporters at think tank parties. As such, I look forward to finding out how things have progressed...

UPDATE: amusingly, my membership was rejected. Which was nice.
Thank you for your application to join the Libertarian Party UK.

Each new application for membership is advised to the NCC, who in accordance with the rules of the Libertarian Party Constitution (Clause 4, section 4.1(e)) may disallow membership of the Party should it be raised in motion.

Follow such a discussion by the NCC, I am authorised by them to advise that your application of 6th October 2016 has been disallowed.

Your entry will therefore now be struck from the members list and a full refund of the subscription will be returned to you in due course.
Charming, eh?

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The sky has fallen in...

... or it must have, because I agree with something that Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett has written in the Grauniad!
When it comes to stumbling blocks, women’s experiences vary. Perhaps the pharmacist has invoked the right to refuse you the morning-after pill, on “moral” grounds. The fact that religious beliefs continue to trump a woman’s reproductive rights in this country is an outrage, though hardly surprising.
Personally, I do find it surprising.

So, let me spell this out for any hard-of-thinking, sky-fairy-worshipping morons out there: the morning after pill prevents conception—it does not induce abortion.

Are we sorted? Do you understand this basic biological fact? Excellent.

Warning: by all accounts, the morning after pill does, however, make you feel like absolute shit.

"Arbeit macht frei"—May doubles down on the fascist state

I see that Mrs May is determined to double down on the fascist inclinations she displayed so shamelessly in the Home Office...
The Conservatives will use the power of government to "restore fairness" in Britain and spread prosperity more widely, Theresa May has said.
Well, that doesn't sound like a recipe for disaster at all, eh? Higher taxes and more interference in business all round then. And note the use of the word "power" here.
The prime minister told the party's conference the UK must change after the "quiet revolution" of the Brexit vote, urging people to "seize the day".

Labour were now seen as the "nasty party" and only the Tories would "stand up for the weak... up to the powerful".
It seems to me, Mrs May, that the entity that is most "powerful" is the state—it certainly has the monopoly on violence.

So, Mrs May, who is going to stand up to you and your ilk, I wonder...?
The state should be a "force for good" to help working people, she argued.
Fucking hellski.

The Glorious Leader goes on...
"If you're one of those people who lost their job, who stayed in work but on reduced hours, took a pay cut as household bills rocketed, or—and I know a lot of people don't like to admit this—someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn't seem fair."
Hmmmm. What about if you are—and I know a lot of people don't like to admit this—someone who finds themselves out of work because of the National Minimum Wage (or National Living Wage, or whatever the hell it's called these days), Mrs May?

You know, the kind of person whose human capital is so low, that they will never get a job? Like, I don't know, a young person with few qualifications?

How will you use the "power of the state" to "restore fairness" in the face of this particular piece of government stupidity? Will your government stand against the power of your government...?

What's next—compulsory National Service for all citizens?
She stressed the importance of the role of the state, the need for government to be a force for good. She promised a new industrial strategy and enhanced workers rights. It was a very different message from that of previous Tory leaders who have sought to reduce state intervention and roll back the size of government.
So, if I think that reducing state intervention and rolling back the size of government is a good idea, who the fuck do I vote for?

Political choice in this country just became even narrower.

UPDATE: the ASI peeps have responded rather more coherently...
"If only Theresa May was serious about ditching ideology in favour of pragmatism and evidence – she’d have to abandon most of her main policy planks.

"Take energy price caps. We have evidence that these will lead to lower investment [PDF], lower production and more brownouts or even blackouts. Eventually, these policies may lead to electricity rationing [PDF] and nationalisation. High energy prices are mostly caused by high wholesale prices, and energy firms are not generally more profitable than other large firms.

"Or look at the employee representation on company boards – which is better described as union representation. Here, the evidence is that giving unions this sort of power can turn boards toxic, as happened to Volkswagen, and these rules have reduced the value of German firms by 26%. Other academic evidence suggests that board representation is just about the only bad way of giving workers more say in how their firms are run. So why on earth is this the policy that supposedly-pragmatic May is proposing?"

[...]
Ah yes—I had forgotten about May's lunatic idea for energy price caps. Once again, a government wants to intervene and disrupt the market—in order to fix a problem that the government has created. For fuck's sake...

I can only assume that Mrs May is planning to "restore fairness" in the Venezuelan way—by making everyone equally poor and deprived.

The motto of Mrs May's government must surely be Forwards to Fascism!

Monday, June 27, 2016

We won—now stop being a fucking racist cunt

Look at all the fucking sea.

A number of people have been crowdsourcing links about racist incidents following the referendum vote to Leave.

Whilst I suspect that there is a certain amount of finding facts to fit the narrative going on here (these kinds of things are, alas, rather widespread across this country—we are not nearly as progressive as Londoners like to think), I would just like to issue the following message...
If you are one of the cunts who are now telling Polish folk—or anyone else—to "fuck off home", get in the fucking sea.
There's plenty of it, you know. Well, you probably don't because you are a thick-as-shit moron (although that's not entirely your fault given our shitty education system) who lacks—and this is what I really cannot stand—basic manners.

Either engage in a rational, civilised debate or fuck off and become a mercenary for hire in some fucking hell-hole like DR Congo.

Or, as I said, get in the fucking sea.

The EU is not "outward-looking"...

Many Remain campaigners have lashed out, describing the vote to Leave the EU as being somehow "unprogressive". As usual with these types of people, for all that they claim to be progressive, global, and non-racist, their views are hopelessly parochial.

The simple truth is, as anti-EU campaigners have been pointing out for years, that the European Union is itself "fortress Europe"—a inward-looking customs union, designed as a protectionist barrier to trade, in order to protect big businesses based within it.

Anna Racoon helpfully provides some examples of how the EU's tariff barriers do this.
Enjoy your morning coffee today? Kenyan was it? ‘Fairtrade’ even? The EU is quite happy to see Kenyans out in the boiling hot fields harvesting coffee beans, but they are not so happy seeing them do something mechanised and clever with the beans, like roasting and packaging them. Any upstart Kenyan with fancy ideas like that will quickly find that the EU has slapped a 7.5% tax on them – not to protect the EU’s coffee bean growers, we don’t have any, but to protect the mainly German coffee bean processors.
...

How do the cocoa farmers in Nigeria fare? The EU allows them to earn a subsistence living so long as they leave their cocoa beans well alone. We have no plans to set up cocoa farms in Northumbria, so are quite content to let the Nigerians do it for us – but anything easy and profitable, like using machinery to process the beans and turn them into luxury bars of Chocolate…well can’t let them do that. Then the EU fines them 8.30%, and throws in an agricultural tariff of 18.70 % not to mention their latest wonder, the ‘sugar tax’. Why? Well there’s the American owned Cadbury’s for a start.

The Kenyans turned their hands to growing roses, that other European luxury staple. Since it had never occurred to anybody that they would do that – there was no tariff on fresh cut flowers. The industry thrived. Every night plane loads of beautiful roses arrived in Amsterdam and were sent out to flower shops across Europe. The EU demanded the right to flood the Kenyan market with tariff free EU goods in return. Can’t have Kenya developing its own mobile phone manufacturers can we. When the Kenyans refused to agree to this – the EU promptly slapped an 8.5% tax on those cut flowers; they only removed it when the Kenyans agreed not to try to make anything complicated and let the Europeans do it for them.

Back in 2009, the Archbishop of Canterbury was on the fashionable ‘carbon footprint’ bandwagon and urged us all not to buy Kenyan green beans – the following year, the UK’s Department for International Development gave Waitrose, yes Waitrose, £200,000 to swallow their fear of angering the Archbishop – and put Kenyan green beans on their shelves!

The beans are sent to Europe in 5kg boxes; once in Europe, they are repackaged in 120gm cardboard slips, given the names of fictitious farms where they have been grown, and sold onto the supermarket customers. Tescos undertake to send any ‘substandard beans’ onto frozen food manufacturers for inclusion in ready meals – good of them really, ‘cos if the Kenyans had any uppity ideas about canning their beans, the EU is ready with a tax of 12.8% to discourage them.
This is the organisation that we have just voted to leave.

So, now that we are out of this shitty protectionist block, can we start helping the poorest people in the world now?

You know, by promising no tariff barriers against anybody, and thus enhancing the lives of millions of the world's poorest citizens...?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's Brexit—so what now?

It is very difficult to write about this subject objectively. I have been waiting, and agitating, for a referendum on the EU for more than twenty years now—and I never dared to believe, even once it was achieved, that the UK would actually vote to leave the EU.

But we have. So, please indulge this humble Devil whilst he expresses his considered and thought out opinion on the matter.

YEEEEEEEEEEEES! FUCKING GET IN! HOORAY! FUCKING ACES...

Ahem.

So.

What now? A very good question to raise, and one that will be consuming us for a good few years to come, I suspect. As EU Referendum has consistently stated, Brexit is a process and not an event.

Speaking of which, Pete and Richard North are at times utterly infuriating in terms of messaging—but they are also far better versed in the actual knowledge and understanding of this process than anyone else that I know. As such, their Flexcit document has to be the blueprint for the extraction of the UK from the European Union. I am glad to hear that this document has become required reading for some Civil Service members—they will need it.

Personally, your humble Devil has never been much good at the detail of things—I prefer to engage in strategy. This is what I do in business, and in the little that I have been involved in politics. So, what follows are a few random comments from that perspective.
  • I would have said that Cameron had to go, but he has already fallen on his sword. Unfortunately, because his blade is as soft and shit at its job as he is, it has bent and is only very gently impaling its master over the course of months. Cameron has decided that he will only utter the fatal words when he is too dead to have to bear the shame of capitulation: to that end, he is willing to screw the British people in some desperate attempt to delay the inevitable. He is a cunt—teasing with his lips whilst attempting to prevent the painful penetration of his ego as long as possible—and should be pushed down to full penetration right to the hilt as soon as possible.
  • Osborne seems to have disappeared: his promise to wreak revenge on the British people should they have the temerity to vote the wrong way has put him in something of a quandary—or "right in the shit", as we might say. Ludicrously, he is apparently ringing around to gather soundings as to his viability for Tory leadership. Due to the shortness of these conversations, I don't see his phone bill being particularly high this month.
  • Michael Gove has always been a canny—and, dare I say it, honourable—politician. As such, he has ruled himself out of running for the leadership. I like to think that it is because he is well aware that, having told some outrageous lies, he cannot in all conscience lead the party to a victory. I sympathise: like Gove, I have accepted that, in this most important of votes, the end does justify the means. But just because we have won, that doesn't mean that we are not tainted.
  • Boris. Well, what can one say...? Boris is entertaining, and seems to be able to laugh off any embarrassment. I wouldn't write him off (although I wouldn't endorse him either).
  • A lot of people have opined that Farage's mission is now over, and he should fuck off into the middle distance—as should UKIP. Surely, they say, UKIP only existed to drive a referendum on the EU—having won it, that party has no reason to exist.

    That is not true: the reason for that is the group of libertarian bloggers—including myself and Tim Worstall (and many others)—who, back in the mid-2000s—persuaded Nigel that UKIP needed to have a truly national manifesto. This manifesto should be a blueprint for what Britain should look like if freed from the EU (and we thought that this event would take decades—not a decade). We then helped to build a libertarian manifesto, and to persuade people that it was a relevant addition to the national conversation. We failed.

    UKIP adopted the anti-immigration manifesto that so many of us found... er... problematic. But most of our effort remains at its core and, as a result, UKIP is not now neutered by a successful Leave vote.

    Importantly, UKIP has captured huge swathes of the traditionally Labour heartlands—and it won't give up these voters without a fight. And nor will those voters swiftly return to Labour (but more on that later).
There is a huge problem here. The problem is this: vast swathes of Britain are deeply moribund economically, and these people are poor (by a Western way of thinking). Right now, they might blame the EU—but once that excuse has been removed, we are still left with a severely divided country. We need to find a way to fix this.

The great thing about Brexit is that is gives us a strategic decision by, as it were, our shareholders. Now the managers of the company need to be able to work out how to enact that decision in the best interest of the shareholders. And I am far from certain that any of them know how to do it.

Your humble Devil will write more on this—alas, I have to satisfy my own shareholders, and have no more time at this stage. But I shall be back...