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Monday, May 19, 2014

UKIP, elections, and messaging

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 5/19/2014 08:29:00 pm

This is something that I have been mulling for a while, and which I eventually posted (as a long and meandering comment) over on Victoria Munro's blog. Since it sums up what I feel about UKIP right now, I thought I'd post it here as a shortcut when people ask me what I think.

Being a libertarian in this country, in this particular age, is a difficult thing (even for the brief moment when the Libertarian Party existed), and deciding who to vote for is also tricky.

Although I am writing this entirely in a personal capacity, I have been a UKIP member,on and off, for a few years. Back in 2005/06/07, I was a even a policy former for the party—along with another six or seven libertarian political bloggers. We set the tone for the first, proper national manifestos—low, simple taxes, sensible energy policy, small state and free trade with the world—and we were allowed to do so.

Having spent a little time with him, I believe that Nigel is intellectually a libertarian even if—like my parents—he is not instinctively one on every topic: many others in the party were—are?—the same.

Whilst the Tories were enthusiastically pushing the idea of compulsory community service state slavery for young people, I saw a UKIP Conference (mostly made up of older people) decisively and overwhelmingly reject such fascism.

I met many young UKIPpers at UKIP meets, but also at events at the ASI, IEA, and the Libertarian Alliance: these are the people who are coming through UKIP Youth and even in the running as MEPs. They were (mostly) articulate, intelligent and passionate—and not racist.

But, as I found when founding LPUK, there is a problem with appealing to libertarians—there just aren’t enough of them. You are not going to win a national election appealing only to them. Further, I believe that UKIP was finding that the annoyed Conservative vote was also reaching saturation point.

In order to gain a decent voter base, the party has had to start appealing to the traditional Labour voters—or those who have never voted. Which means targeting the working classes. And here’s a guilty little secret: the working classes tend to be more pissed off about immigration than the middle-classes (especially the “Islington” middle).

Think of it less as racism, and more as tribalism—and humans are instinctively tribal animals. But, on a more practical level, it is the working classes who believe, more strongly than most, that their jobs and wages have been affected by high levels of immigration.

This is why we have these aggressive immigration posters and messages that, I must confess, make me very uncomfortable too. However, I think that it would be very difficult to deny that they are working. Yes, the libertarians are leaving UKIP but, as I said before, it’s a numbers game: there are more working class people than there are libertarians.

Despite all of this, I will vote UKIP at the Euro-elections, and there are two main reasons for this: first, that I wish to carry the message, very strongly, to the LibLabCon alliance that they do not have a right to be in government, they do not have a right to power—something that Labour and Conservatives have, I think, utterly forgotten (leading inexorably to a corruption almost as total as the Republicans and Democrats in Washington).

The second reason is equally simple (even if less spiteful): I want Cameron to understand that the people of this country do not want to be part of a Federal Europe, and that he’d better hold that referendum or else. After all, even now, the Conservatives are trying to weasel out of it: having crowed about how they had got the referendum legislation through the Commons, they have been very quiet about it being stymied in the Lords (even though they had the numbers to get it through). In other words, I want to ensure that Cameron is kept honest.

I realise that both of these reasons seem rather negative, but I think that they are the best reasons for voting UKIP at this time.
I sincerely hope that, after this particular flurry of negativity, we can once again start to push the positive aspects of the party—the free trade, small state, citizen of the world policies—to the British public.

In the meantime, I will happily continue trying to push libertarian policies through UKIP, the Conservatives, and via any other feasible political means.

UPDATE: to address the substantive point, most sensible economists (including Hayek) agree that, as long as inequality exists between national states, you can have either a Welfare State or free movement of people—not both.

Right now, we have a problem: we want to control immigration, but we cannot limit said immigration from the EU. Which means that we need to limit immigration from the rest of the world even more than we would otherwise.

UKIP's position used to be (I think it still is) that, outside of the EU, we would be able to treat the citizens of all nations equally. Or, indeed, favour those who have a similar cultural background to the British people—those we loosely designate "the Anglosphere".

Regardless, until I see the media Establishment calling the entire Swiss nation "racists" (especially given their recent vote to further limit immigration) then I'll take the commentary of the commentariat with a massive fucking pinch of salt.


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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 5/19/2014 08:29:00 pm


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hounding Rufus

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/18/2014 01:34:00 am

On 26th January this year, the comedian Rufus Hound announced that he was intending to stand as an MEP for the National Health Action Party. Which is super.

After all, Mr Hound is, at least, standing up for something that he believes in. Unfortunately, Mr Hound is rather ignorant of the state of healthcare—around the world in the present day, and in this country in the past.

On 26 January, your humble Devil—being a helpful chap—decided to help Mr Hound with some advice. Mr Hound has kept the comment in the pending queue—a superbly political response which, whilst hiding the facts from his band of sycophantic fans, prevents one from accusing him of deleting any criticism.

Luckily, thanks to WordPress's habit of displaying one's own comment (even when not approved), I am happy to reproduce my words of wisdom, below…
Rufus,

I think it’s great that you are actually getting up and doing something—as you say, no one wants to be one of “those people”.

Unfortunately, there are some errors in your reasoning.
“Up until 1948, only wealthy people had access to doctors.”
This is not actually true.

It is a fact, for instance, that the seven great hospitals of London were all built and maintained by private subscription: that is, horrible rich people digging into their own pockets and funding the building and maintenance of hospitals—including special bursaries for treating large numbers of very poor people. (Indeed, just look at the huge public displays of generosity that enabled the Elephant Man to be permanently housed in one of the largest London hospitals.)

More than this, throughout the 1800s and up to the early 1900s, at least three quarters of the working population—plus their spouse and children—had access to doctors through Friendly Society memberships (the Friendly Societies were like trade unions, and—for a small subscription—paid out-of-work benefits, and (being the biggest employers of doctors) primary healthcare).

This largely came to an end when the British Medical Association—whose members didn’t like being pushed around by working men, nor the fact that competition depressed their wages—lobbied the government to amend the 1911 National Insurance Bill to make it a state-collected tax (rather than state-purchased Friendly Society memberships).

At this point, access to doctors was more restricted because the doctors’ quid pro quo was a doubling of their wages.
“The NHS is the one of the single greatest achievements of any civilisation, ever, anywhere in the history of the world.”
Which is why no one else in the world has ever tried to emulate it. The nearest is Canada, but their hospitals are all owned by councils, or charities, or private entities—and they all compete, thus keeping prices down and outcomes up.
“It’s also the most cost effective health care system in the world.”
I’m afraid this isn’t true either. The Singapore Health System, for instance, costs half what the NHS does (per capita) and has far better survival outcomes.

As I said, I admire what you are doing; however, it would be even better if you researched the subject and thus, unlike most politicians, were able to speak from a position of knowledge.

I highly recommend a book, by ex-Labour Councillor David Green, called Working-Class Patients and the Medical Establishment.

Regards,

DR
I hope you enjoyed that. And that you will, when considering Mr Hound's candidature, act as you feel is right.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/18/2014 01:34:00 am


Monday, December 23, 2013

On the food bank hysteria

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2013 10:27:00 pm

Media Personage: "Mr Average, you use a food bank. Correct?"

Mr Average: "That's right. I mean, why pay for food when you can get it for free?"

MP: "But why have you started to use one now? Is it because the evil Coalition have been deliberately starving you on ideological grounds?"

MrA: "Not really. It's just that I didn't realise that there were people giving away free food until I read about them in the paper on my way to work."

MP: "And there you have it: more and more people are using food banks because the evil Coalition—cruelly limiting a household's benefits to an equivalent pre-tax income of a mere £34,000—are starving them utterly to death. On purpose. Back to you in the studio, Tom."

Tom: "Er…"

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 12/23/2013 10:27:00 pm


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Satire is dead

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/14/2012 12:20:00 am

The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

So, a non-democratic institution that has lasted for about twenty years—not 60—and led to riots and appointed heads of state is...

No. Do you know what—this is why I've quit. The world is beyond comment or satire.

How soon can I get off this fucking planet...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/14/2012 12:20:00 am


Friday, September 21, 2012

Last orders at The Devil's Kitchen

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/21/2012 01:30:00 am

As regular readers might have noticed, your humble Devil has been struggling to comment on politics for some time—the last couple of years, really.

A number of factors have contributed to this: the loss of anonymity has, though my choice, has made a difference, of course; as has the fact that there are only so many times that one can write the same thing over and over again.

Further, when your humble Devil started blogging, those of us who were of different political opinions still adhered to certain standards of evidence and honesty: that sense of brotherhood has disappeared with the introduction of the financially-backed party political sites.

This has accompanied the ever-accelerating disappearance of those bloggers whom I considered a daily read: not because I agreed with them, but because they made me think, and they made me laugh.

Most importantly, unlike when The Kitchen first opened, I am actually happy in my personal life—I have a fantastic wife and a job that I love.

And it is this last item that has led to this final announcement: I now spend most of my life involved in my work, building and creating things that make people's lives better.

Shortly, I am to take an enhanced and, possibly (at some point), more public role in the business. This is, I feel, incompatible with maintaining The Kitchen—especially given the way that I feel about politics and political blogging anyway.

As such, I am giving my loyal army—of readers, contributors, enemies, political foils and brothers in arms—notice that, in the next couple of weeks, this blog will be retired. Initially I shall put it behind a login and then, after taking a back-up, I shall (probably) delete it.

The Devil's Kitchen has been running since January 13th 2005: in that time, there have been 6,005 posts; 3,776,324 page loads and 3,089,579 unique visits—with my best day (when I published a post assessing the state of the code released during ClimateGate) amassing 24,598 unique visits in just 24 hours.

I think that I can claim the rather more dubious accolade of coining—and embodying—the word "swearblogging".

I am also pleased that the phrase and concept of "fake charities" has also entered the blogging lexicon—not least through my setting up of the site that enabled people to check whether such organisations take government money. I hope to be able to upgrade and refine that resource soon.

Quite apart from the fact that the catharsis which The Kitchen enabled—and which kept me going through some very dark days—I have also met some incredibly nice people through this blogging lark, many of whom I have had great fun with, and who I hope that I shall continue to see.

However, despite all of this, I have felt for some time that politics is an utterly futile endeavour. For the last few years, I have found that my work has allowed me to make a real difference to people's lives (not least my own) in a way that politics—let alone the libertarian position that I occupy—can never do.

Remember, politicians only ever make your life harder—they never make it better, or easier: you have to do that for yourself. And I have found that this positivity is far more healthy and rewarding than wallowing in the stye of negativity and managed decline that is the political arena.

And so, for all of the reasons above, The Kitchen will close within the next couple of weeks. And for good this time.

I shall maintain my online presence through my portfolio site (and I might even update it occasionally!). I shall even still Tweet occasionally about politics. I am also (for those who are interested) pretty active, experimenting with interesting CSS, over at CodePen.

It is my intention, too, to start up a new blog: this will be concerned with technology, software development, management, the exciting developments in HTML5 and CSS3, and the web in general: those who might find such a thing interesting can drop me a line, and I shall let you know when it's up and running.

Until then, thank you—all of you: readers, writers, friends, enemies, colleagues and acquaintances. I have had so many opportunities that I never would have had without all of you. I have had the chance to meet some of the politicos that I excoriate, and the researchers who I slag off; I have had the chance to influence policy, and to drink enormous quantities of free booze. I have partaken of bad tempered political arguments, and still been stood a round; I have met people, both interesting and articulate, who made me very welcome in London when I moved from Edinburgh.

So, until we meet again, farewell to all my friends and enemies—it's been a blast!

UPDATE: thanks to all of you who have left comments, sent messages, etc. I am particularly delighted that I was able to introduce so many people to libertarianism: since I discovered that philosophy through the blogs of others, I am happy that I have been able to, as it were, pay it forward...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/21/2012 01:30:00 am


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quote of the day...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/16/2012 04:17:00 pm

... comes from a comment under this snobby Grauniad article in which some author called Joan Brady whines about big chain coffee-shops.

Here is Joan Brady, wittering on about those evil corporations daring to set up shops...
Three quarters of [Totnes's] population protested against Costa: Totnes already has more than 40 independent coffee shops. That many people agreeing on anything approaches a miracle, a landslide of public opinion. Costa isn't bothered. It hasn't bothered with the populations of other protesting towns either. But isn't this supposed to be a democracy?
... to which our doughty commenter—one davidwferguson—promptly replies:
And if your idea of 'democracy' is 'a system where me and my condescending arsehole chums get to dictate to other people what kind of coffee they're going to be allowed to drink', then I hope you never develop any kind of inclination towards fascism.
Pithily put, I think you'll agree; and it exposes the big lie behind all of these Islington so-called "liberals"—they are snobs, and authoritarian snobs at that.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/16/2012 04:17:00 pm


Saturday, September 08, 2012

An economic solution I can get behind...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/08/2012 03:41:00 pm

... comes from the Daily Mash...
DRINKING at least three pints of beer at lunchtime could put Britain’s economy back on track, it has been claimed.

As the country sinks further into a double-dip recession, economists believe the decline of lunchtime drinking could be the cause of its economic woes.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “Throughout the 80s and early 90s, office workers would flee the office like rats out of a trap at half twelve – twelve on Fridays – heading straight for the pub.

“However bosses fell under the influence of soulless foreign ‘business experts’, particularly Americans, who believed that drinking several pints of beer in the middle of the day could negatively effect productivity.

“But it’s only after the shift away from midday alcohol binges towards eating a sad little sandwich at one’s computer that everything went to shit.”

Professor Brubaker believes a mandatory minimum lunchtime beer consumption of three pints could restore Britain’s economic vigour.
Yup—I think that'll work very nicely!

As I always say, the glass is half-empty—and it's your round...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/08/2012 03:41:00 pm


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Let's be Frank

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/05/2012 10:41:00 pm

Via someone on Twitter, I was directed to the Grauniad's pathetic hatchet job on Frank Turner (I hope that my post wasn't the trigger).

The article's author—Michael Hann—claims that he has reviewed Frank's albums in the past, but hadn't realised that Turner wasn't the greatest fan of the state. Presumably Hann skipped Sons of Liberty.

But here is Frank's heinous crime:
Turns out his libertarianism and belief in the power of the people to resist oppression aren't of the leftist sort. They're of the rightist sort.
Right. So, in the world of Hann, belief in individuals is fine so long as you label yourself "left-wing", but that same belief is evil if you don't.

Nice.

Hann then responds to some of the commenters below his article:
The Guardian is a leftwing newspaper. What we do is disagree with the right.
Uh huh. And I thought that a "leftwing newspaper" might be for something. Like the betterment of the working man, or the empowerment of the masses, or better education, or something.

But no: apparently, "a leftwing newspaper" exists to "disagree with the right".

Which is just one of the reasons why normal people are so disengaged from politics: the whole charade is one bunch of highly privileged people disagreeing with another bunch of highly privileged people over rarified philosophies, the outcomes of which always screw the hard-working people of this country—treating them all, rich or poor, as nothing more than cash-cows for the expensive experiments of the pusillanimous, disconnected bigots that inhabit Whitehall, Westminster and Fleet Street.

Frank's reply to Hann can be found in full on his blog—I will quote the most pertinent bits.
My politics are based on principles like democracy, individuality, equality of opportunity, distrust of power and, above all else, freedom, including economic freedom. They’re not the same as when I was 19, or indeed 23 – a few more years kicking around the world has made me adjust my views a little, although the basic principles remain the same. Once I would have called myself an anarchist. These days I suppose the word “libertarian” does pretty well for me, though I suspect it’s a little over-intellectual as a description. I just think the world works better when people are left alone to do what they want as much as possible.

Incidentally, here’s some things I’m not: “Tory”, “conservative”, or “Republican”. If you don’t know the difference between these and libertarians, I suggest reading up a little before slagging me off. I don’t consider myself “right wing” either. I’m just not a leftist.

A lot of people have been treating this as some kind of reveal. Given that the journalist was quoting from an interview from 3 years ago[*] that seems a little odd to me. There’s something about it in the FAQ on here, and Poetry Of The Deed (2009) had a song on it called “Sons Of Liberty” which was about this kind of thing. As it happens, I don’t want my music to be particularly political (as I’ve been saying for ages) so I don’t talk about it that much. But it’s not like I keep it secret either. A lot of the fuss here to me seems to be because some people have had an idea of what they want me to be, and have discovered I’m not that. Sorry, I guess, although I’d say that it’s be much worse for me to pretend otherwise to please them, or sell records, or whatever.

At the end of the day, some people will disagree with my politics. That’s fine. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do with their lives Most of my friends disagree with me, not least Billy Bragg and Chris T-T. But, being adults, we understand that intelligent people can disagree about stuff. Despite occasionally running my mouth (a bad habit of mine, which I’m working on) I don’t think people who call themselves socialists are evil, mad, stupid or deserving of being attacked; I just see the world differently. In everything I do, I try to treat everyone with equal respect and consideration. I’d hope that the way I’ve gone about my music career would attest to that to some degree. I’ll drink a beer with anyone.
I will state, for the record, that all of the above is absolutely true. I am not going to pretend a massive intimacy—we met through a mutual friend who knew that Frank read your humble Devil.

However, Frank and I have been for a few drinks a number of times and I will state, (again) for the record, that not only is the man himself thoroughly decent but all of those surrounding him—who are of a number of political persuasions—are thoroughly nice too. By their friends shall ye know them (or somesuch).

* In this interview, Frank actually mentions your humble Devil. I think that we had first met a few months before...
I dunno, I must admit I’m friends with a guy. Have you ever heard of The Devils Kitchen? It’s a libertarian political blog. The guy, Chris Mouncey [sic], who runs it became leader of the libertarian party, which is a really small political party. Now, I’m uneasy around fringe parties because it just seems like a fucking waste of time. Having said that, I do agree with what they say. I’ve been talking to Chris because I think they’re using the song Sons Of Liberty as one of their campaign songs or something *laughs*. I don’t know, fuckin’ a. You know what, if there’s a Libertarian party candidate I’ll probably vote for them just to make Chris feel better about his life. It’s difficult because, at the end of the day, politics is the art of the possible. The kind of politics where you sit around in circles discussing abstract theorisation of how society can be run is essentially pointless because it doesn’t change anyone’s life for the better. If you’re gonna take an interest in politics, you might as well take an interest in it that’s actually gonna make a difference to anything.
Well, I'm sorry to have let you down, mate. But—hey!—one can only try...

At best, I was a reluctant politician (I took the job of leader because no one else wanted it) but, then, the idea of being in government—or even trying to get there—is never going to sit well with a libertarian.

I do far more good—and benefit far more people—by doing my day-job well. Which is, after all, why this place has been so quiet of late.

So, all I can say to Frank is "ignore the Guardian and its armies of student wankers, and carry on doing your day-job well..."

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/05/2012 10:41:00 pm


Thursday, August 23, 2012

My favourite Olympics moment...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 8/23/2012 09:19:00 pm

... was, without doubt, my friend Frank Turner going the warm-up for the Opening Ceremony with his song I Still Believe.

Why? Because it's a really good song but also because he stood and warmed up the crowd with the line "Come ye, come ye, to soulless corporate circus tops".



One can only admire his cheek!

I met him through a friend, and was thrilled to find that Frank was not only a fan of The Kitchen but also—though once embraced by the left—a thoroughly libertarian gentleman.

But don't take my word for it—just listen to Sons of Liberty (especially the coda)...


So if ever a man should ask you for your business or your name
Tell him to go and fuck himself, tell his friends to do the same.
Because a man who'd trade his liberty for a safe and dreamless sleep
Doesn't deserve the both of them, and neither shall he keep.
I have had lots of fun with Mr Frank Turner—I highly recommend supporting him. Apart from anything else, he's a very nice chap...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 8/23/2012 09:19:00 pm


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jacqui Smith: Writing shit.

Posted by The Nameless Libertarian at 8/14/2012 12:23:00 pm

Please note: I am not the Devil

It has to be said that I am not the world’s biggest fan of Boris Johnson. Yes, I get that he has charisma in an era of politics where charisma is a rarity, if not an almost extinct, quality. But the reality is that, in power, his policies are at best anodyne and at worst asinine. And no manufactured façade or pointless post-Olympics euphoria* can change that.

However, nothing can make me buy into the incumbent London mayor more than a hatchet job from the former Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

It begins with Smith showing just the most basic awareness of what has been happening in her chosen field (politics):
Boris Johnson is certainly having a ‘good Olympics’. The newspapers are full of summer stories about his potential threat to Cameron’s leadership.
This opening is worth celebrating because, my good friends, it represents the very pinnacle of quality and writing ability in Smith’s article. All downhill from here, I’m afraid.
I’m not convinced that Mayor Johnson will become Tory leader or prime minister. First, as Steve Richards pointed out in a good Independent piece this week, there are major barriers to him even being in a position to compete. Would he remain so popular if he dumped his London role in order to get back into parliament, for example?
The counterpoint to this tired argument – which has been rehearsed again and again during the hype around the costly and over-rated Global School Sports Day – is so tedious that it is almost not worth repeating. But for old time’s sake as the Olympics are finally – and gloriously – over; Johnson doesn’t have to dump London in order to become an MP and thus get back into parliament. He could do both at the same time. Like a certain Labour former Mayor of London.
Second, while he is undoubtedly popular in London, I wonder how his style would translate to the rest of the country. Let’s not forget that David Cameron encouraged other cities to vote for an elected mayor on the grounds that ‘every city needs a Boris’. The result was hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the politician who personifies the role of elected mayor.
Oh, please. The failure of the “yes” campaigns in the elected mayor campaigns has little to do with Cameron’s rhetoric linking the concept with BoJo. It has far more to do with it being the policy of a government suffering with a chronic – if not fatal – case of the mid-term blues. But I love the failed rhetoric of the attempt to make Boris the personification of the elected mayor; what about Ken Livingstone, who served two terms as London mayor? Or the candidate in a monkey suit in Hartlepool? Or does Smith have such faith in the Boris brand that she thinks he has managed to wipe every other elected mayor in history from the popular imagination?
Third, while mayor of London is an important job it is arguably not as tough and nowhere near as serious as being even a cabinet minister let alone PM. Johnson remains untested through the grind of ministerial life and as a shadow minister he proved not only gaffe prone, but also not particularly interesting or innovative.
Funnily enough, “gaffe prone” and “not particularly interesting or innovative” could nicely define Smith’s time in the Home Office. And that’s when she wasn’t being authoritarian and draconian. And I also love the fact that Smith is able to judge the toughness and seriousness of being London mayor even though, well, she’s never done the job. I guess her get-out here would be the use of the word “arguably”. Well, arguably, Jacqui, it is fair to say that you have no idea what you are talking about.
Finally, I hope the Tory party and the British people will see through his facade. My challenge to Johnson is: why do you put on an affable, unworldly, untidy persona when that is so obviously not who you really are.
No doubt he is quaking in his boots at this challenge from a discredited, failed politician.

And even the most basic glance at Johnson’s career would show that he is more than just an untidy hairdo and a bumbling personality. Anyone fooled by his façade is a moron, really,
I worked with Johnson while I was home secretary. He proved utterly ruthless in cutting off Met Commissioner Ian Blair at the knees immediately after his election. I don’t believe people should make their way in politics by trashing other people, but that was his clear aim in getting rid of a commissioner who had led the Met during a time of falling crime and reform. Others have commented on Johnson’s lack of team spirit – I can remember him turning up so late for a COBRA meeting on Olympic security that the meeting was ending as he burst into the room.
First up, Ian Blair was an cunt on a cosmic scale whose incompetent ineptitude means he has blood on his hands. If BoJo was responsible for his fall, then he deserves a medal for cutting Blair off at the knees. Hell, it may yet be his greatest achievement.

The COBRA charge is more interesting – in fact, it may be the most interesting part of the whole article because, when deconstructed, it shows just how flawed Smith’s attempted rhetoric is. Ignoring the slightly sad attempt to remind us all that she used to hold and important office and had to go to important meetings about important stuff, what she appears to be doing is suggesting that Boris was in some way negligent on something so crucial as a vital meeting on Olympic security. Yet even the most basic fact checking shows that this meeting was very probably far from essential.

Let’s break it down, then. Boris was elected Mayor of London in May of 2008. Smith resigned as Home Secretary in June 2009. So there were 13 months in which this meeting – assuming Smith is telling the truth about is existence (sadly, a big leap of faith for our political class) – could have taken place. Crucially, though, the latest it could have happened was just over three years before the London Olympics was scheduled to take place. This removes a lot of the ersatz urgency on the meeting that Smith is trying to create. Perhaps BoJo was late because he had priorities other than trying to plan security for an event that was still years away. Yup, you can argue that this does show a lack of team spirit. But you can also argue that it shows a politician who can prioritise.

And given COBRA meetings are meant to be emergency responses to catastrophic events hitting the UK, the real question is why the fuck was it convened to discuss security for an event that was still years away? The answer, I’m guessing, is that Gordon Brown had a hard-on for COBRA, presumably because it reassured him that he was a very important person with lots of important power. The same goes for his shitty ministers
I know people are disenchanted with ‘traditional’ politics, but it is wrong to respond to this by suggesting that elected politics is something you can fit in between writing your lucrative newspaper column and appearing on television gameshows.
Oh, please. Who the fuck is making the sort of assertion that Smith cites here? Yes, if such a person existed, they’d be a dickhead. But to actually meet with someone who believes in what Smith writes here would be meeting with a straw man.

And if you want to know what most people do want to overcome their disenchantment with traditional politics, it is politicians with ethics, convictions and solutions to the problems the last Labour government created for us all. And preferably politicians who don’t use their expenses to pay for their husband’s wank material.
To become a senior politician, you will have put other parts of your life like your career and family on the back-burner in order to even get to a position where you can face the electorate.
Do you have any evidence that Johnson has not done this, Jacqui? Any at all? Because Johnson is currently a senior politician who has a mandate from over a million voters (as opposed to someone who could not convince thousands of people in Redditch to return her to Parliament less than 12 months after holding one of the Great Office of State).
Fighting and winning an election involves an immense amount of energy, stamina and quick-thinking as you meet and talk to hundreds of people each day.
Swing and a miss from Smith. Once again. Aside from the fact that taking advice on winning elections from someone whose recent electoral history would suggest that she isn’t the go-to person in this field, it is worth noting that BoJo defied electoral gravity this May by retaining his role as London mayor. Sure, he was greatly aided by the fact that he was running against an odious candidate who managed to alienate members of his own party with his execrable opinions, but if I was to run for office** I’d be more inclined to ask BoJo for advice than the loser that is Jacqui Smith***.
You need to have thought through your position on a whole range of issues or you will soon be caught out. And quite rightly. Being an elected politician is an immense honour and a great responsibility.
So, when in office, it might be best not to exploit, say, the expenses system to your own advantage? Or so your other half can have a cheeky one off the wrist?
You are a voice for those you represent; you embody the mandate granted in our democratic system. This isn’t something that you should suggest can be achieved lightly.
Don’t think anyone is suggesting this can be achieved lightly, Jacqui. But nothing beats a good straw man argument now, does it?
Acting as if you woke up in City Hall one morning and are now engaged on Boris’ Big Adventure; artfully ruffling your hair to suggest that you’re not really bothered about your appearance; turning up late to important meetings so that other important people have to wait for you are designed to make you stand out from the political crowd. They are a tactic as clever as any other political tactic and people should not be taken in by them.
What, a political tactic like claiming to be a “pretty straight kind of guy” or “not Flash, just Gordon”? And what makes Boris stand out is not so much his unkempt hair but the fact that he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously and has a basic level of charisma. Perhaps this is Smith’s problem with BoJo, at the end of the day. Because she comes across as a po-faced authoritarian with all the charisma of decaying roadkill. And that’s before we factor in the fact that this article so wonderfully reminds us of the reality of Jacqui Smith, politician – an unashamed party hack, spewing forth the Labour line with the sort of unthinking devotion that would be humorous if these fuckers weren’t trying to run all of our lives for us.

*Which may well be dented by the fact that the closing ceremony – judging by the Facebook comments I read on the night of said ceremony – was a steaming turd served up with a hearty marinade of liquid shit.
**Rest assured, kind read, that this will never happen. Ever.
***Yeah, yeah, there were boundary changes etc etc. But if Ed Balls – who has the personality of an aggressive form of anthrax mixed with rabies – can carry his constituency at the time of a great big swing against Labour, then I don’t think it is too much to expect Smith to do the same, Of course, we can cite things such as the expenses scandal as damaging her chances. But whose fault was Smith’s tainting in the expenses scandal? Exactly.

Posted by The Nameless Libertarian at 8/14/2012 12:23:00 pm


Murphy's Law #94,000

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 8/14/2012 01:27:00 am

Yes, I read Timmy regularly, so it's only inevitable that I should decide that we should look at tax-avoiding accountant Richard Murphy's latest prognostications, shall we?
Google is tax avoiding: by definition that means what they are doing is legal, of course. And it may even be that what Google is doing is within the spirit of EU law, although that is to simply miss the fact that EU tax laws have now been spectacularly rigged to advantage companies over people so that the spirit of the law has itself been corrupted.

But even that is not the real point of why Google needs to be in the dock over its tax. The real reasons is that Google has set itself the motto “don’t be evil”. That means that Google explicitly recognises it has choices about the way it does business. And by choosing to do business as Google does, in a way that ensures it pays little or no corporate tax on its vast profits earned outside the USA in almost any of the countries where they actually arise Google is saying it is willing to free-ride our economies.

What that means is that in my opinion Google is saying it has no interest in giving a return back to the societies that are letting it prosper.

That’s doing evil in my book.
Look, I am no stranger to calling Google out on its somewhat optimistic catchphrase; but—via Daring Fireball—let's just look at another side to the company, shall we?
Instead, Bock, who joined the company in 2006 after a stint with General Electric, blew me away by disclosing a never-before-made-public-perk: Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify.
Now, someone like Richard Murphy will shriek and scream about this benefit. The money that is going to the widows of people who actually added value to the company—people like Murphy will say—is actually owned to the millions of people who have added fuck all to the company.

But that is because people like Richard Murphy are, in fact, fucking devil-spawn. They are scum-sucking shit-holes, fit only for fucking with the most rancid cocks; they are like a three-week dead vagina with maggots and an unhealthy cockroach infestation.

People like Richard Murphy—though not, necessarily, Richard Murphy himself, you understand—are evil little bastards who, having saved huge amounts of money through their own tax-avoidance practices, would now deprive a company's widows and children of benefits so that Barry Wiggins down the council estate can buy another mastiff.

To describe Richard Murphy as a disgusting, hypocritical little cunt with all the morals of a weasel would, you might think, be utterly beyond the pale. And, of course, I am not doing that.

I will merely let you draw your own conclusions...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 8/14/2012 01:27:00 am


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