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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gay rights and the church

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2007 11:04:00 am

Your humble Devil feels that he should clarify his position on this gay adoption shit; in a move that will no doubt enrage people such as bookdrunk, I am with the Catholic Church on this one. And, believe me, I never thought that I would write that sentence.

Regular readers will know very well that I am a confirmed atheist and that I think that religion is stupid. However, I think that there are more ridiculous and dangerous views out there (scientology and socialism, for instance) and so I must accept that many people are very, very fucking stupid. However, I am also a libertarian and this issue is very simple for a libertarian.
The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties policy institute, today issues the following statement on the legitimacy of anti-discrimination laws. This statement is prompted by the continuing debate over the Equality Act 2006, which allows the British Government to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says:

"Every person has the right to life and justly-acquired property, and to do with his own whatever does not infringe the equal rights of others.

"From this primary right can be derived all the rights of the liberal tradition - freedom of expression and contract and association, together with security against oppressive or arbitrary behaviour by the State.

"It does not generate any right not to be hated or despised or shunned.

"It does not justify laws against discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion or sexual orientation, or laws against expressing or inciting hatred against any group.

"If someone chooses, for whatever reason, not to employ homosexuals because of their homosexuality - or not to rent property to them, or not to provide other paid services to them - that is his right within the liberal tradition. By such behaviour, he is not committing any aggression against others. He is merely exercising his right NOT to associate or NOT to contract. No one who is thereby refused suffers any harm that is, within the liberal tradition, to be considered actionable.

"The same reasoning fully applies to discrimination on the other grounds of race, sex and religion.

"By forcing people to associate with or contract with persons whom they would otherwise reject, anti-discrimination laws are an attack on life and property. They are a form of coerced association. They give some people uncompensated claims on others. They amount to a form of slavery mediated by the State.

"Politically correct authoritarians like to hail each new set of anti-discrimination laws as an extension of human rights. Such laws are in fact violations of the only human rights that mean anything.

If Catholics agencies do not want to place children with gay parents, then that is absolutely fine because they are not the sole provider of adoption services.

If people do not like the Church's attitude on this, then they can stop placing the children with Catholic adoption agencies. It really is that simple.

It's called "freedom", you see; some of you may have forgotten what that is, but it involves personal choice and not state coercion.

UPDATE: bookdrunk has a reply that is almost disappointingly measured...
For one, while Catholic adoption agencies might not be the sole provider of that service, they are being paid with public money for whatever service they do provide. The argument that "if people do not like the Church's attitude on this, then they can stop placing the children with Catholic adoption agencies" only applies when individuals are directly involved in placing their child up for adoption. In the majority of cases, the state performs that role and makes decisions on our behalf concerning the welfare of children who do not have families that can support them. It's certainly not a simple question of personal preference.

I apologise for my lack of understanding as to how the adoption system works, but if the state does not support anti-gay sentiments then maybe there might be room for other people to start non-discriminatory adoption agencies with whom the state could place children instead? Part of the problem, though, is that it is very difficult to set up anything that deals with children as there are so many intrusive and constricting regulations (whether you think that these regulations are necessary or whether they actually do the job that they are supposed to is a debate for another day).

The point here is that if there is no difference between a gay couple and a heterosexual couple in terms of the child's benefit, which is what the anti-discrimination law is saying, then we—those of us who are not religious loons—should not worry about whether those who adopt said child are gay or not.

But the law has not been made for the child's benefit, it has been made for the benefit of homosexuals who want to adopt. Therefore, if homosexuals wish to adopt a child, they should go to a non-Catholic agency.

I still fail to see the problem here.

UPDATE 2: having said all that, bookdrunk's point about "1 penis good, 2 penis bad", which I raised on 18DS the other night, is a load of lunacy.
Yes, the Catholic Church is actually in favour of gay single parent families: one penis good, two penis bad. And then there's the awesome threat of multiple vaginas - nunneries have never seemed more like unexploded ordinance.

Which is why I'll defend the Catholic church's right to make certain decisions, but I won't necessarily support the Church or those decisions per se.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2007 11:04:00 am


UKIP are a bunch of vote-splitters

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2007 10:15:00 am

This is the assertion of of of Iain Dale's commenters, who says:
Unfortunatley [sic] UKIP are nothing more than a bunch of bitter vote splitters.

Now, this may be just me, but that rather implies—does it not?—that UKIP have exactly the same policies as the Tories but are dedicated to their evil plan of solely screwing over the Conservatives. They might as well simply be called "the Anti-Tories", eh?

Because UKIP definitely stand for precisely the same things as the Tories, don't they? Let's just cast our gaze over a few of these policies and see how very little difference there is between them, eh?
  1. The Tories are pro-EU, as their Chairman stated quite categorically a while back.

    Some people have accused UKIP of acting in a "lemming-like" way by opposing the Tories because the Tories have the same attitude, i.e. they are EUsceptic. Let's just pop that little bubble, shall we?

    In the words of the Conservative Party Chairman:
    It is not the Conservative Party's view that we should be out of the European Union.


    Now, if that is too complicated for some of the fuckwits who continue to argue that the Tories are EUsceptics, let me spell this out for you again: THE TORIES DO NOT WISH TO WITHDRAW FROM THE EU. If you still can't grasp the concept, you may like to remember which party took us into the EEC (without a referendum) and which party signed the Maastricht Treaty (without a referendum and using a three-line whip to ensure that their MPs voted for it); a clue: it was the Tories.

    Therefore, to argue that UKIP are shooting their cause in the foot by opposing the Tories—even if UKIP had no other policies—is just totally fucking stupid, OK? If you don't like the EU, if you think that its unelected bureaucracy controls too much of our lives, then there is only one party that can do anything about it and that party is not the Tories.

    And anyone who thinks that the EU can be reformed is an idiot: why not check out the Serf's post to find out why?

    The EU has been estimated to cost Britain's economy nearly £100 billion every, single fucking year, and about 70% of our laws are initiated by EU Directives that we have no control over. Plus, of course, we have a trade deficit with our wonderful EU partners.


  2. The Tories believe that government spending is at the right level. There have been, despite some claims, no firm moves over tax cuts or public service reform. All we have had from the Tories is some meaningless blather about "sharing the proceeds of growth". This is horseshit: whilst taxes are so high, growth is going to be fucking pitiful anyway. More importantly, the Tories do not seem to believe in tax simplification (which would allow for tax cuts anyway through the cutting down of the administrative burden).

    UKIP have a detailed Flat tax policy (which the Tories seem to have shelved) which, briefly, runs like this.
    • Income Tax and National Insurance merge into one income tax, rated at 33% across the board,

    • Personal Tax Allowance raised to £9,000 to take thousands of low earners out of tax completely,

    • The shortfall of £34 billion to be recouped from growth, lower administration costs and a freeze (and eventual drop) in the rate of government spending.

    The Tax Policy can be found here [PDF] and my detailed assessment can be found here.

    UKIP also support the abolition of Inheritance Tax (which brings in a pathetic £3 billion) and Capital Gains Tax (£2 billion).


  3. The Tories support the state funding of political parties, a policy which even ConservativeHome opposes.

    UKIP utterly oppose the state funding of political parties.

  4. The Tories have not published any detailed Education Policy, but we do know that the Tories are opposed to grammar schools and selection generally.

    UKIP's Education Policy document can be found here [PDF] and my assessment can be found here.

    The most important points are that UKIP support the privatisation of schools and funding through vouchers, a system similar to that which has been so successful in Sweden. They actively support selection and grammar schools.

  5. The Tories support Green Taxes supported by extremely dodgy science [DK passim ad nauseam, but have a look at Junk Science for some rather more robust science.]. Furthermore, these green taxes will allow the EU far more power over our economic policy since the Environment is a wholly EU competence.

    UKIP think that the whole climate change malarkey is so much hysterical bollocks and so don't support Green Taxes but support the funding of new technologies to wean us off the burning of hydrocarbons.

  6. The Tories don't support free trade (since they are pro-EU, they cannot).

    UKIP believe that free trade enriches us all, and so support entirely free trade with everyone (including Europe).

  7. The Tories oppose electoral reform and seem unsure about an English Parliament.

    UKIP support limited reform and support an English Parliament.

Need I go on? Would you like to tell me, precisely, to what degree UKIP are simply "vote-splitters"? I would call them a distinct party with a distinct agenda, wouldn't you?

By the way, the correct answer here is "yes".

So can we stop all of this fucking bollocks about UKIP just being an old Tory pressure group, please? Or rather, if you want to make such points, go and make them over at Iain Dale's where your comments will warm the cockles of his his anti-EU, free-trading, Tory-supporting heart...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2007 10:15:00 am


Tim Montgomerie: vote UKIP

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2007 08:43:00 am

Via Timmy (although I also saw Tim saying this on his Newsnight interview), Tim Montgomerie has written an article for The Times which is of interest.
Britain’s mainstream political parties all look set to offer a very similar menu at the next election. It will be the political equivalent of spam with beans, spam with greens or spam with lentils.

I have been saying this for sometime; I'm glad that Tim has caught up. Of course, there are other options; and of those options, one party has politicians elected to a senior levels, albeit in the European Parliament.
If voters reject the idea that climate change is public enemy No 1, they have no political party to represent their views.

Apart from UKIP.
No opposition leader stood for religious freedom during last week’s dispute between the Catholic Church and Labour.

Apart from UKIP.
Think of grammar schools, capital punishment, the monarchy, private healthcare or membership of the EU. On issue after issue the main parties are afraid to offer real choices.

Except, of course, UKIP.
This diet of political spam has encouraged many voters to support smaller parties or to stay at home. A recent poll found 36 per cent in the “none of the above” camp.

Which rather indicates that there is a potential 36% of the electorate which UKIP could tap: it just needs to get its message across.
David had a sling to kill the oppressive giant of his time. The “none of the above” party has the internet to end the dominance of today’s political goliaths.

And, unfortunately, the most viable of those parties, UKIP, simply isn't using the medium properly; it is time that they woke up and started taking advice from those who understand the medium or else they are going to lose a big opportunity.

Because the fact is that whilst the big parties are all offering spam (or, in the case of the Tories, Spam), UKIP are able to provide an alternative. But why?

It's simple: when 80% of our legislation comes from an unelected foreign bureaucracy which the three main parties all support, how can they possibly offer real alternatives? They can only ever put forward different policies within the very limited wiggle-room that the EU leaves us.

UKIP want to leave the EU, and so are not bound by its strictures or vision; hence the fact that UKIP really can offer alternatives. So, you want a country that we ourselves rule; you want lower and simpler taxes and small government; you want selection in schools; you want an alternative?

The message is simple: vote UKIP. And remember, Tim Montgomerie says you should...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2007 08:43:00 am


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

18DS and socialist solecisms

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/30/2007 08:20:00 pm

Last night, your humble Devil popped up on 18DoughtyStreet; I particularly enjoyed the first hour, which featured Dizzy Thinks, Croydonian, Mars Hill and Recess Monkey and, of course, Iain. Paul Burgin of Mars Hill alludes to some of the things that I said and I thought that I would clarify them (especially if, like me, you cannot actually watch the archives for reasons yet unknown).
But it is interesting, esp when Devil's Kitchen starts going on about Global Warming and racism and socialism. With hindsight I would have handled that slightly differently, but his comments are a good reminder of why UKIP are seen as a little bit way out there.

What I voiced on the first of these subjects, Global Warming, was hardly contentious; I maintained that what Batshit and others spout is a load of fucking horseshit and the world is not going to disappear in a ball of flame if I don't turn my DVD player off. I have written endlessly about this: should Paul—who reacted like a Muslim being told that Mohammed was a paedo—be reading this, he might like to have a look at posts on the topic of why carbon emissions (especially those emitted by humans) are almost totally fucking irrelevent, the reasons why the language employed by scientists is far from dispassionate (and evidence of the application of this tactic from the 70s, when Global Cooling was going to kill us all), how the sun's cycle relates to all of this and what alternatives to fossil fuels are out there. Finally, let's finish with the World Climate Report which is rather less of a harbinger of doom than Stern's massively discredited piece of shit.

Sorry, Paul, but your belief that something is so, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is like any other religion: a pile of stinking ignorance marinaded in a refusal to let go of your comfort blanket. Let is go, Paul; you'll feel much happier. Really.

My second was rather more contentious: I said that I believed that socialism was worse than racism. I still do, and here's why.

A racist is a stupid, ignorant bigot but at least he cannot, and will not, try to force me to believe what he believes and force me to pay for the implementations of his beliefs. Socialists do.

So, socialism is worse than racism. It might have been the insufferably smug Recess Monkey who blurted out that 6 million Jews might disagree with me; this was, of course, a fucking stupid thing to say since the Jews were murdered by National Socialists. Our left-wing pals were also wonderful on the subject of Mao Zedong, Uncle Joe Stalin and Pol Pot, trotting out the usual fucking filth about how Communism wasn't actually socialism (in which case, I'm Mickey Mouse).

As I have opined before, at length, socialism naturally lends itself to totalitarianism. When fisking Polly some time ago, I wrote the following:
Can you not see the stupity inherent in formulating policy that does not rely on people being quinessentially selfish, Pol? That was the basis of Communism, and it was why Communism failed: because people are selfish. This is why we have to force tax from people rather than relying on their good nature and asking them to donate it.

It is such a basic thing, Polly, really it is, that I am surprised that you have taken so many years to realise it. Far better to have a good idea of how individuals behave and then try to build a society around that, rather than attempt to force individuals to behave entirely altruistically when it is fundamentally against their nature to do so.

The point is that socialism relies on force, it's entire structure is predicated on forcing people to give up their possessions to support those whom they would not willingly support otherwise. What socialists do is to extort and steal from people in order to sustain and pay for the socialists' own beliefs. This is why socialism has led to so many nightmarish regimes and, incidentally, why socialism is far worse than racism. However, show me a racist socialist and I'll show you a monster (along the lines of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pot).

Now, I'm sorry if some of you consider these views as "a little bit way out there", but they seem perfectly clear to me. Indeed, neither Dizzy nor Croydonian seemed to actively disagree with anything that I said: they did seem to be interested in the lack of coherent response from the Lefties sitting between them though...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/30/2007 08:20:00 pm


Monday, January 29, 2007

Short people got no reason to live.

Posted by Andrew Field at 1/29/2007 06:32:00 pm


Nothing brings joy to my heart after a miserably long day of work like a beautifully innappropriate advertisement.

Enjoy.

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Posted by Andrew Field at 1/29/2007 06:32:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 03:28:00 pm

As you might have noticed, I have been doing some admin and I have finally been able to switch to the new version of Blogger. One of the things that this allows me to do is to use one of the many domain names that I have to point my blog properly.

You can now find The Kitchen at http://devilskitchen.me.uk and don't worry about any old links: they will all still work. And if you want to try this yourself, there are instructions here.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 03:28:00 pm


Polly has been seduced by The Dark Side

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 12:30:00 pm

Over at The Fisk, Phil Hendron has taken Polly apart in true style. The whole thing is very much worth reading, but there was one sentence in particular that caught my eye.
Polly doesn't mention that though, after all, she's one of the chosen few in Gordon Brown's Smith Institute.

I hadn't realised that Polly was part of the Smith Institute.
The Smith Institute is a think tank in the United Kingdom. It was founded in memory of the late John Smith QC MP, former Leader of the Labour Party.

A large number of the thinktank's events and meetings are held at Number 11 Downing Street, the Chancellor's official residence, and the organisation enjoys extremely close ties with Gordon Brown. The director of the Institute is Wilf Stevenson, one of Gordon Brown's closest confidants (Brown was best man at his wedding). The Smith Institute is currently the subject of a second investigation by the Charity Commission, which is examining whether its political ties with Gordon Brown breach the rules governing charitable organisations. The Shadow Chief Secretary,Theresa Villiers, has also recently written to the Information Commissioner to request an inquiry into the Treasury's refusal to clearly state the full extent of the links between Gordon Brown and the Smith Institute.

Ed Balls, now Labour MP for Normanton and former Chief Economic Advisor to Gordon Brown, was given a (paid) Senior Research Fellowship at the Institute after he left HM Treasury to stand as a Parliamentary candidate in 2004.

Guido has been hacking away at the Smith Institute for some time, dubbing it The Sith Institute; his contention is that it is little more than a private consultation, campaigning and pressure group for Gordon Brown. Given Polly's obsession with her big Norse warrior, I suppose that I should have assumed that she was, in fact, a member of The Sith.

Now The Sith are under investigation, and Polly is away until March: are the two facts, by any chance, related?

And is there any chance that Polly has fled the country for good...?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 12:30:00 pm


More UKIP defections

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 12:08:00 pm

According to the Huddersfield Examiner [not online that I can see. UPDATE: here is the Beeb link], the Earl of Dartmouth is another UKIP convert.
A TORY peer has quit as president of Colne Valley Conservative Association to join the UK Independence Party.

The Earl of Dartmouth—whose family own large amounts of land in the Huddersfield area—said he was joining the party because he thought Britain would be better off outside the European Union.

He also criticised Tory leader David Cameron, accusing him of becoming a "slave to political correctness". He is the third Conservative peer to defect to UKIP in recent weeks.

Lord Dartmouth, 57, a former candidate in general and European elections, lost his hereditary seat in the House of Lords under Labour's reforms.

He accused David Cameron of turning the Conservatives into an anti-US and anti-business party.

Commenting on his defection he said: "Britain and Northern Ireland would be better off outside the European Union.

"We would no longer be paying a net £11bn a year. We would no longer be subjected to ill-considered, job-destroying regulation.

"We would regain control of our borders. We could engage with the world outside the EU, in particular the fast-growing economies of India and China, on our own terms and in our own way.

"That is why I am joining a group of people that I respect."

Earlier this month Conservative peers Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke announced they were switching to UKIP.

Lord Dartmouth, who became the 10th Earl of Dartmouth in 1997, stood as Tory candidate in Leigh in the General Election in February 1974 and at Stockport South in October of the same year.

He was a Conservative candidate for the European Parliament in June 1999.

Welcoming Lord Dartmouth's switch, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: "He brings valuable political experience, a fine brain and business experience.

"This move is another indication of the disarray in the Conservative Party and the discontent with Cameron's leadership."

In other news, but also not online, The Sun's Whip column reports that Lord Young is thinking of jumping ship too.
WESTMINSTER has been awash with rumours that another Conservative peer will shortly quit the party to join the UK Independence Party. The Whip hears that Lord Young, former Trade Secretary and one of Lady Thatcher's closest colleagues, has been flirting with the idea of making more Eurosceptic noises.

David Young—the man, Maggie said, who brought her solutions instead of problems—may even have pencilled a meeting with UKIP leader Nigel Farage in his diary.

Indeed. It is rumoured, in fact, that Lord Young may not be entirely unconnected with the source who relayed Mrs T's message of support...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 12:08:00 pm


State funding and 18DS

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 12:31:00 am

18 Doughty Street have a few ideas for an ad campaign against the state funding of political parties. They'd like you to vote for your favourite. In the comments, a number of people have put forward some novel ideas; however, I thought that I would share mine with you: it's really simple.
[Scene: a man wearing a sign reading "Taxpayer" is bent over a table. Another man has a sign saying, "Politicians". He rips down the Taxpayer's trousers, unbuttons his own and then fucks the Taxpayer roughly up the arsehole. We see the blood dripping onto the floor and hear the Taxpayer's screams of pain as well as the Politicians' grunts of satisfaction.

Caption: "State funding of political parties: it's like being anally raped without lube by a man with a 12" cock.

Don't let the politicians fuck you: tell them to go fuck themselves."
]

Do you think it'll catch on?

UPDATE: Elaib has reminded me that the clearest advert against state funding would run something like this:
"Don't like state funding of political parties? Vote UKIP: the only party absolutely opposed to allowing these fuckers to extort money from us in order to run their cliques."

That's pretty simple, I think.

While we are about it, can I just say that the new 18DS website is not great? It looks much better though, but I do think that there should be a much clearer signpost to the archives. Not that it helps, since I can't watch the archives; quite simply, nothing loads. Time to get onto their tech department, I think...

In other news, your humble Devil is back on 18DS on Monday night from 10pm 9pm until midnight. Do tune in...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/29/2007 12:31:00 am


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/28/2007 11:15:00 pm

Go on, you know you want to!

Sign the petition to sack Patsy Hewitt...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/28/2007 11:15:00 pm


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Is Batshit really mad?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/27/2007 12:14:00 pm

An email commenter has drawn my attention to the fact that Prince Charles is receive the 10th Anniversary Global Environmental Citizen Award in the US. As you know, your humble Devil thinks that all of this "emissions cause climate change" stuff is just so much horseshit, but some people have criticised the Prince for flying to the US to collect it.

Amongst the Prince's critics is our old friend, Batshit Mad Miliband. No, really.
Meanwhile, Environment Secretary David Miliband has suggested Prince Charles should receive the prize via video-link up rather than make the 7,000 mile round-trip.

What the fuck are you talking about, you hypocritical cunt? You are in India, Batshit; how did you get there? Did you fucking walk it, you twat? No, you and your four buddies flew there in order to give a speech on Sustainable Development. Are you telling me that that speech couldn't have been done by fucking video link, you speccy fuck?

Can it really be that Batshit has such a blinkered outlook that he simply cannot see the hypocrisy in this? Is the man fucking insane?

Yes.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/27/2007 12:14:00 pm


Friday, January 26, 2007

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/26/2007 10:07:00 pm

Your humble Devil has just returned to his equally humble abode in Brixton. Further, after some wrestling with his router, I finally have broadband installed! So, work and blogging (and looking for a permanent job) aspects can all take off again...

In the meantime, I crave a decent pint of ale and some sleep...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/26/2007 10:07:00 pm


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 08:40:00 pm

Today's crazy search term is: disney animal kitchen mess.

What the fuck?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 08:40:00 pm


Waiting for Miliband's apology

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 07:21:00 pm

In seems that your humble Devil is setting a trend for NuLabour ministers who find that Britain in January is a little chilly; not only was The Gobblin' King himself here ("Many Bothans died to bring us this information...") but it seems that Batshit also fancied a holiday in the sun. So it seems that I have paid for three people to take Indian holidays in the space of one month and yet only had one myself; you can imagine how thrilled I am.

To be honest, one would have thought that a minister might have done a little more in the way of blogging than merely regurgitating some figures from his official briefing pack, but that's Batshit for you: typical, lazy, NuLabour bastard. At least I took time over my entries...

Anyway, to criticise Batshit for being a feckless, freeloading cunt with all the charm and literary accomplishment of a myopic earthworm, whilst fun, would seem to be a little fruitless until he actually starts listening. Mind you, in that case what I am about to write is equally pointless, but when has that ever stopped your humble Devil?

That's right: via Timmy (who was apparently tangentially involved), I see that even the Lefty nitwits at the Beeb might, in fact, be having some doubts over their slavish devotion to the NuLabour line on climate change. Unlike Batshit, you see, they have been paying attention to the ever-growing army of experts who have, to put it mildly, cast some doubts upon the reliability of Sir Nicholas Stern's famous report.
When the Stern Review into the Economics of Climate Change came out last year, it was showered with praise.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair called it, "the most important report on the future ever published by this government".

In that case, Chuckles, and with all due respect (none), you should have appointed someone who wasn't a complete fuckwit to compile it then, should you?

As it is, it is just another in a long line of NuLabour's "sexed-up dossiers".
But expert critics of the review now claim that it overestimates the risk of severe global warming, and underestimates the cost of acting to stop it.

Yes, it does; just a tad. Or, alterniatively, it is so fucking flawed that reading beyond Chapter 5 is a pointless waste of time. Thanks to Timmy's hard work, we bloggers knew this at the time, reporting the truth mere hours after the report was released and long before the media's lies had had time to get their boots on.

Being a merciful little Devil, I'm really happy that the Beeb has finally caught up but, for fuck's sake, with all of their resources couldn't they have been a little quicker off the mark?
Richard Tol is a professor at both Hamburg and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and is one of the world's leading environmental economists.

The Stern Review cites his work 63 times; but that does not mean he agrees with it.

"If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail.

"There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make," he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4.

Precisely. It's not worth the paper that it is written on. It is a dead report, it'd be pushing up the daisies if it was where it belonged, i.e. in the fucking ground.
Sir Nicholas is aware of the increasing number of academic critiques of his review, but remains certain about his conclusions.

"It is very important that the report is discussed; a number of people have raised interesting points and we will be discussing them all.

"There are no certainties; but the broad conclusion that the costs of action are a good deal less than the damages they save, I think is pretty robust."

Do you, Sir Nicholas; do you really? You have made a number of appalling scientific and—most importantly, given your remit—disastrous economic errors, and you think that we should still take your conclusions for granted, do you?

Don't make me fucking laugh.

Some of you may have realised that I didn't really think much of Sir Nick, especially after I wrote a post entitled Stern Is A Lying Treacherous Cunt (in which I linked to yet another report [PDF] showing that... well... that Stern is a lying, treacherous cunt) and said the following:
This is just another, more conventionally authoritative, confirmation that Sir Nicholas hasn't got a fucking clue what he's talking about, and that his Review is, and always was, intended simply to provide a veneer of respectability to the bastard government's planned tax increases. In effect, it was a carefully and, admittedly, beautifully orchestrated con designed to convince the British people that the tax increases required to prop up the increasingly creaky public finances (not to mention the fucking Gobblin' King's reputation) were absolutely necessary in order to save the planet. This impression was backed up by the BBC which, at one point, reported that we had "only ten years to save the planet" (I heard that on the news the day that the report was published; I have no idea if it is online).

It does seem as though the BBC seems to be reconsidering its position (possibly by looking at some source documents, but I doubt it) it is very far from being on the side of the angels.
None of Stern's critics are advocating doing nothing about climate change.
Er... I am. I say that the advances that we are making in alternative technologies will render this argument pointless within 50 years. For example, to take Batshit's current favourite, India is far ahead of Britain in adopting nuclear power (Russia is helping India to build two nuclear powerstations in the north of the country, and negotiations are underway for more).

I also say that the projected temperature rises are well within previous, tolerated, levels and that we will easily adapt, within the hundred years that we apparently have, to any challenges that might arise.
What they disagree about is how much it is worth sacrificing now to try to prevent a worst-case scenario in a hundred years' time.

The answer is that we need sacrifice nothing. What we should be doing is encouraging free trade and exchanges of technology.

Unfortunately, since Britain has no negotiating power on trade or green issues (both are entirely controlled by the EU), we will just have to hope that the EU disintegrates soon, eh? Oh, and hope that the rest of the world is not so blinkered and stupid as our own politicians.

Talking of blinkered and stupid, I feel that it is time that we returned to that four-eyed bastard, Batshit. Now, you may remember that, a little while ago, your humble Devil took Batshit to task and to pieces (yet again) for the following comment [Emphasis mine]:
When I appeared on the Jeremy Vine programme on Wednesday a number of callers disputed my interpretation of the science of climate change. I said the evidence of cause and effect was unambiguous.

I posed the Polly Toynbee Conundrum (is he/she fucking ignorant or a perfidious liar?) and came down on one side.
Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here: I am calling David Miliband a liar: that's right David, you are a liar. Sorry, I feel I should state this once more, unequivocably and for the record: David Miliband is a liar.

Now, the fact remains that your humble Devil thinks that Batshit is a liar: it is entirely possible that he is just pig-ignorant (it wouldn't be the first time), but all of that is really irrelevent. The fact is that Batshit has been proven wrong. Repeatedly. Again and again and again.

Now, what I want from Batshit is an emailed apology, that I will publish at The Kitchen; actually, I would also like him to reassure me that he is reconsidering this whole "climate change" bollocks, but right now I will be happy for him to email me, apologising profusely for his ill-informed "unambiguous" comment. I think that he should also email a correction to the Jeremy Vine programme.

What are the chances of me receiving said apology, do you think? Or shall I start a petition...?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 07:21:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 08:21:00 am

Via Timmy, it's not my fault that I raped her, m'lud, and then kicked the living shit out of her: I was drunk.
The Government must shake itself out of its stupor and recognise that its proposal is offensive to women, oppressive of men and sets a legal and philosophical precedent that will corrode the concept of personal responsibility.

Fat, fucking chance.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 08:21:00 am


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 08:10:00 am

Do you want to have democratic elections? Do you think that those who have committed crimes should lose their right to vote? I'm sorry: the European Convention on Human Rights says, "no!"

Now, about ruling our own country... Oh, no; wait... We don't...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/25/2007 08:10:00 am


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Getting jiggy with the KGB

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/24/2007 01:02:00 pm

It doesn't seem to have been picked up by the newsprint, but ITV News reported that Litvinenko had left behind a video, which has been released posthumously, reinforcing his allegation that former EU Commission President Romano Prodi—whose many talents apparently include being able to find hostages by means of a Ouija board—was working for the KGB.

Working for the KGB and working for the EU? That's ridiculous! There's absolutely no similarity whatso-fucking-ever between the USSR and the EU.

Another famous lefty is that fat, talentless cunt, Charles Rodway Clarke; Charlie had a little dabble with the Broad Left, a faction which included the Communist Party of Great Britain, as a youth.

However, I am sure that the stupid, jug-eared fuckwit would never go as far as to betray his country and offer his less than useful services to the KGB; which is why I have no problem in directing you to this delightful and totally light-hearted post from Trixy.
I am told that the fat wingnut [Clarke], in possibly not the smartest move, allegedly called up the Soviet Embassy in London to enquire about becoming a spy for them. Unsurprisingly, they hung up on him. Charlie at that point hadn't quite got to grips with international espionage.

Not that that deterred him. Gordievsky, who at that moment was planning to come over to the West, was allegedly told that he was to be Clarke's handler. I have been told that this came from the lips of the man himself, but not having spoken to Gordievsky, naturally I cannot confirm this—I am sure you'll agree—highly unlikely story...

I only offer this totally unsubstantiated snippet in the spirit of experimentation: I want to see if the truth a lie really can get around the world before the evidence truth has got it's boots on.

I wonder if Guido can shed any light on these shocking and, no doubt, hurtful allegations...?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/24/2007 01:02:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/24/2007 12:42:00 pm

This is the best news of the year so far!
Manchester indie band James, best known for their anthemic single Sit Down, are to reform after a five-year hiatus.
The group, who scored a string of top 40 hits in the 1990s, will play five arena concerts in the UK this April.

According to their website, the band have also written their first new material since 2001's Pleased to Meet You album.

If you've only heard their singles, then you don't know them. One of the finest bands ever!

UPDATE: there's a note—from founder and bassist Jim Glennie—explaining how and why they have reformed, and the tour dates are here. This year brings a new Cure album, a new Waterboys album and news of a fresh James album: I'm so excited!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/24/2007 12:42:00 pm


The Cons are worried about UKIP, or should be

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/24/2007 11:38:00 am

What a very lovely article there is, by Master Heffer, in The Telegraph today.
There is, though, a more fundamental point about UKIP that the Tories disregard at their peril. It is no longer a single-issue party, campaigning for withdrawal from Europe. It also believes in low taxes, a smaller state, immigration controls, grammar schools and an English parliament. As such, it is very attractive to conservative-minded people. Worse for Mr Cameron, its new leader, Nigel Farage, is highly articulate, plain-spoken, experienced (he has been an MEP for eight years), attracting much media attention and highly politically motivated. As they do with the editor of the Mail, the Tories can shrug UKIP off, but they would be making another big mistake.

In a supremely smug article on this subject last Friday, the weekly bible of the bien-pensant class, the Economist, warned Mr Cameron about UKIP, saying that "to bend even slightly in its direction, however, would guarantee not only defeat, but ridicule". Really? I would concede that for the Tories to announce withdrawal from the EU would be a little breathtaking. But what about the rest that UKIP stands for? Would a Tory shift towards grammar schools, lower taxes, a smaller state, controlled immigration and democratic equality for England really have the party's opponents howling with hysterical laughter, and the voters stampeding for Gordon Brown? Somehow, I doubt it.

The Conservatives Party has, as Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke put it, left its voters, not the other way around. A... hem hem... reliable source has relayed a conversation between Nigel Farage and a certain economic and political giant of the 80s, in which said giant expressed the following: "Right behind you, dear chap. As, of course, is Margaret."

What will Iain Dale say when he realises that his fave living Tory leader is more than supportive of the "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" (a remark which, by the way, has ensured that your humble Devil will never vote for a Cameron-led Conservative Party)?

I wonder if he will stop passing on ludicrous and frankly illiterate non-stories about UKIP of the sort that Guido was peddling recently?
Guido is told that he exacted a promise from Nigel Farage as a condition of joining. UKIP, Pearson was promised, would not field candidates against Eurosceptic Tory candidates.

That is hardly the scoop of the year, frankly. It was a position that UKIP adopted after Farage—who had pushed for this back in 2004—was elected in September.
Pearson does not believe that defeating friendly anti-EU allies would serve the national interest.

I disagree with the good Lord there, personally, but I agree with it as a UKIP strategy at present.
In 2005 UKIP were reckoned to have cost the Tories six seats, including in Thanet South where the candidate was an ardent anti-EU campaigner.

I think that I'll quote Trixy's comment in reply to this one.
Would this be the same Mark MacGregor who was, in fact,a rabid Europhile and who Norman Tebbit told people not to vote for on the grounds that he was not a proper conservative? The same person that Simon Heffer came down to Broadstairs for to speak against?

And as someone who campaigned down in Thanet South, most of our support came from people who either did not vote anymore, or Old Labour. The residents of Sandwich were still hoping that the Conservative party might actually be conservative.

And just to finish off this delightful little harangue, I'll copy in my comment on the same post.
[I'm] fucking bored of all these piss-artist, short-trousered, say-anything-to-get-into-power, venal, corrupt Conservatives who seem to believe that another political party -- which happens to advocate many of the things that their own party leadership believed in before they sold out to the Reds -- has no right to stand in a pluralist democracy.

Grow up, or fuck off.

And for those of you who think that the EU is not an issue: at what fucking point is an organisation that controls about 80% of our legislation -- whether we want it to or not -- not "a big issue"?

Again, grow up.

You cannot advocate membership of the EU and be a Eurosceptic. All of this cant about "in Europe but not run by Europe" is the biggest load of donkey crap I've ever heard.

If you are in Europe, then you are run by Europe: there are no fucking half-way houses here. If you vote for a party that is dedicated to remaining within the EU -- and the Tories, by Chairman Mau's... sorry, Maud's own admission, are committed to being so -- then you are voting to be ruled by an unelected, foreign bureaucracy.

End of story; there's no grey areas. That's it. Okay? 'Kay? Kay.

With Maggie behind UKIP, as well as... ooops, Chatham House rules, sorry... and, by the sound of it, Lord Tebbit, I think that we all know who the real conservatives are.

But, as Trixy said, it was previous Labour supporters and—absolutely fucking crucially—non-voters who put their tick in the UKIP box at Thanet. 'Cos let's face it, these non-voters were about 40% of the country at the last general election.

As for the EU, well, I'm afraid that you Conservatives, Labourites and LibDems are all of the wrong side and it's the side that says, "we want to be ruled from the statist centre by unelected apparachiks."

The last time we came across a power like that*, we were rather worried that they'd invade us, weren't we...?

Oh, and India's still lovely, cheers. What's that, you say? Snowing in Tunbridge Wells...?

UPDATE: in the meantime, if Margaret is reading this, she might like to have a gander at this transcript of Nigel Farage's recent interview on GMTV which contains such choice quotes as...
I’ve yet to meet a businessman/woman who wants business in the UK to be run by Peter Mandelson.

... and...
Cameron must not be allowed to get away with this. He promised to quit the EPP, hasn't and won't. He is the first Conservative leader for many, many years who wants more EU. He wants the EU to have more power over climate change for instance. He has accepted that the EU makes 70% of our laws and does not intend to do a thing about it.

... and...
[The number of defectors to UKIP] works out at about two or three people a day telephoning us who want to leave the Cameron-led Conservatives to come over to UKIP. But these two or three a day are hard-working activists, senior councillors and constituency officials. They are office holders and significant political activists. People do not defect to us on the basis of one speech. When you have spent 30 years being a voluntary worker in the Conservative Party you don’t join us on one speech. You think about it for a while and then join us.

The Conservative Party do not believe in low tax, they don’t believe that that we should control our own borders, they don’t believe in grammar schools and they don’t believe that we should run our own country. What’s the point of the Conservatives I ask?

... and...
We’re not targeting Conservatives. We are out to win seats from all the parties. We are targeting all three parties. They are indistinguishable from each other. They’re all the same – whether it’s Labour or Blue Labour (the Cameron-led Conservative Party). We want power back from the EU to govern ourselves.

All the parties: do you hear, my Tory chums? We are out to take seats from all parties, so stop whining that UKIP are simply ego-centric Tory-wreckers. Just because you can't win the argument of ideas, you rampant, spineless cum-children of doom! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha!

Your humble Devil is certainly out to fuck up every other party because every other party is pro-EU and therefore every member of those other parties, however they may protest, are traitors. Savvy?


* Yes, you fool, I am talking about the USSR. Can't you see the similarities?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/24/2007 11:38:00 am


Monday, January 22, 2007

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/22/2007 03:32:00 pm

Thanks to all of my contributors for keeping The Kitchen hot! Keep up the good work, if you wouldn't mind, since connections here are somewhat intermittant...

In the meantime, why not show your appreciation for the boys' hard work and vote for The Kitchen as your favourite blog of January?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/22/2007 03:32:00 pm


DK in India #2

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/22/2007 11:16:00 am

Today's obviously a slightly slow news day for the Keralite edition of the Indian Express (partially, I would imagine, because government institutions are closed on a Monday) so the big story today is that Indian inflation is running at 6%. This is attributed to high wages and, of course, "global commodity prices".

It is interesting to note that the Express's Editorial does not call for interest rate rises, the traditional remedy for inflation in our more developed countries (as we have recently found out in Britain).

The Express puts the inflation levels down to other, more tangible problems.
[H]igh asset prices and high wage growth are among the determining factors in the current price situation. These are basically responses to supply-side constraints—too little good quality infrastructure and too few well-skilled students.

Your humble Devil is unsure of the numbers of further education students: the majority of the Indians that we have met are very well educated, it must be said.

One also has to be impressed with The Express: on Friday's page 2, it carried a half-page of English grammar, syntax and comprehension problems that, I fear, all too many British schoolchildren would struggle with. Today's paper provides the answers (good marketing there!) and the questions have moved onto particle physics; most notably, today's questions deal with the differences—in process, application, progress and environmental impact—between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.

These are not things that you will find in a British paper, and nor would the majority of British people be able to do the questions: can you write down the relationship between 1 Joule, 1 Volt and 1 Coulomb*? Compare these with our rare quizes (which 20% of our 16 year olds cannot read fluently anyway) on Z-List celebrities and pathetic game shows, and few things are so apt to remind one of what a decadent, lazy and self-satisfied culture we have become. No wonder so many other cultures hold us in utter contempt.

However, on the question of infrastructure, The Express is entirely correct; the roads are abysmal. Even those that are properly covered were obviously done so many years ago: huge potholes are endemic (indeed, many roads are more hole than tarmac) and a journey that would take an hour in Britain will take two or three times that here.

The roads are rarely marked into two lanes and, as a result, the sound of tooting horns fills the air throughout the nearby towns. Large, antiquated buses battle with cars—most ancient, and a few more modern—for the right to avoid the potholes on a stretch of road whilst motorbikes, mopeds and pushbikes, often laden with three or four people, thread their way precariously through the dust and cacophony.

Almost every day, the paper carries details of a major crash; although delivery drivers are today holding a major strike in protest, it is little wonder that the Insurance Regulatory Authority of India has raised motor vehicle insurance prices by 150%! The premium for private cars is up to Rs.1,650 (about £19) from Rs.700 (£8) per annum; small beer really, though one must remember that, here, £6 per month is a good wage. (On the other hand, Trixy bought a beautiful, black cashmere shawl, yesterday, for a little less than £5. And I have ordered a tailor-made, raw-silk suit—with the sort of high-collared, knee-length jacket that I have always craved—for less than £120!)

As I have long argued, any aid which we deliver to countries—whether it be Asia, Africa, South America or anywhere else—would be best invested in infrastructure, whether that be roads, water pipes or electricity pylons. We should employ and train indigenous people when we build them, so that they will have the expertise to maintain and repair them after natural disasters (such as the famous tsunami which so devastated large swathes of coastal Kerala).

In 2004, the world donated £64 billion in aid to Africa; £10 billion went to debt repayments, so where is the other £54 billion? Let us imagine that we took that £54 billion and—instead of, for instance, allowing the King of Burundi to spend £9 million on maintaining his palaces and harem—we started a massive project to bring clean, running water to the whole of Africa.

Just think of the problems that this would solve, just think of the lives that would be saved. Instead of stagnant wells—encouraging the spread of, amongst other things, typhoid, cholera, bilharzia and malaria—there would be running water. Instead of a five mile, hours-long trek to the nearest crocodile- and worm-infested river and back, there would be a tap. Instead of all of the money, training and experience disappearing straight back to Developed economies through the use of Western contractors, these valuable commodities would flow into the economies of the Developing World.

Roads are invaluable, not only for the delivery of goods and services, but also for the democratic process; make it easier for people to vote, and more of them will vote. Combine these assets with electricity and communications networks—for powering radios, internet-enabled computers, mobile phones and televisions and, again, installed by Western-trained natives—and you give people the information that they need to vote wisely and well. You give them access to information and ideas.

A reliable and wide-ranging infrastructure is absolutely essential for the development of any nation. There are obvious and glaring political differences: I have tried to address these in the past [link later] with my (hopelessly optimistic) concept of benign, contract-based colonialism: in exchange for money or resources, Britain (for instance) would effectively occupy (and protect) the country and help to build a cohesive infrastructure (both physical and political).

Of course, all of this remains little more than a pipe-dream, and we will, of necessity, merely have to sit by and watch these countries struggle to build their own idiosyncratic infrastructures; it just seems such a waste to watch country after country strain to re-invent the wheel.

But, despite all of the inherent problems (size, natural disasters, low levels of education or personal income), places like India are, gradually but driven by an ever-gathering positive inertia, prevailing. Unfortunately, others, e.g. Zimbabwe and Sudan, are merely falling further into anarchy.

It is incumbent upon us to help in whatever ways we can, and that means plowing our experience (whilst we still have any) and aid into developing reliable infrastructures. After that, civilisation (by which I mean a better quality of life) will follow.

(And the first person to tell me that these people are happier than us, living five to a small, dusty, concrete room at the mercy of destructive natural elements gets a fucking slap. If that were the case, they would not be trying to emulate the West in the first place.)

But above all, of course, we should be trying to trade with these countries, buying their products and encouraging enterprise; in this way, we all benefit. We should not be erecting barriers to their products and tariffs on their goods.

As I wrote yesterday, there's an awful lot of potential here in India, and we in Britain are missing out. So, inevitably, comes the shoe-horned call: can we leave the EU yet?


* The answer is: 1 Volt = (1 Joule / 1 Coulomb)

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/22/2007 11:16:00 am


The campaign against shit

Posted by Mr Eugenides at 1/22/2007 07:52:00 am


THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST WASTE!

screams this morning's Extremely Important™ Independent Front Page.


This is a swede,
opines the paper, helpfully,

on sale in a leading supermarket. It is shrink-wrapped in plastic, despite nature providing it with protective wrapping of its own. It is a symbol of the absurd and excessive packaging in our shops - and of the urgent need for...

THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST WASTE


Then you open the paper up, and out tumbles the first in a set of six free postcards of "Birds of Britain" which, needless to say, will go straight in the bin.

I'm not sure what's worse: that there are retards who actually get paid to churn out this shit, day after grindingly dull day, or that there are thousands upon thousands of self-satisfied, mushy-brained cunts who pay GBP 0.70 daily to read it. I mean, you could buy two swedes for that.

Bring on the cleansing hellfire.


Posted by Mr Eugenides at 1/22/2007 07:52:00 am


Sunday, January 21, 2007

DK in India #1

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/21/2007 11:40:00 am

After a three and a half hour delay at Gatwick (high winds), a ten hour flight and forty minutes over the slightly smoother tracts of land, known here as "roads", your humble Devil has arrived in India; more specifically, he and Trixy have arrived in Kerala (pronounced Keh-rue-la), the immensely long state that runs down the east coast from Goa to the very southern tip of India.

It is, as might befit a Devil, as hot as hell; our resort has only recently been hacked out of the jungle, and it is coconut and date palms that dominate the landscape. The sounds of the jungle remind us, in this small resort of Isla Di Coca, of how close India is, as do the raggedy shops and houses that lie just beyond the drive.

In this small, spotlessly clean enclave, however, colonialism might still exist. Whilst the staff are, as we were warned, incredibly laid back, they are friendly and eager to serve rather than obsequious and deferential. The uniforms range from black trousers with a light airtex t-shirt to the rather more formal attire—indicating some hierarchy?—of formal black trousers, dress shirt and black bow-tie. As I sit here in my long, linen trousers and shirt-sleeves, I am irresistibly reminded of Neol Coward's Mad Dogs And Englishmen... ("go out in the mid-day sun").

Of real interest to me, is the local edition of The New Indian Express left on of the bamboo chairs outside our room every morning (though Trixy is rather more enamoured of the yoga and massage sessions on offer).

The colloquial anachronisms in the paper are, in and of themselves, amusing enough—where else would one read about police having "nabbed the villain"?—but it is also interesting to observe the politics here; this is especially true of Kerala which was the first place to elect democratically a Communist Party and this CPM still rule at present.

It is not entirely unsurprising, given the traditional desire of Communists for control (not least of the press), that The Indian Express seems to be somewhat anti- the Kerala state government. Nor is it particularly shocking that much of the Kerala government's policy seems to consist of Five-Year Plans and other such remeniscences of Soviet Russia. What is clear is that Kerala's labour-laws and lack of tax breaks for the IT sector have ensured that—compared to somewhere such as Bengal (The Express's comparison, not mine!)—Kerala is still struggling for any income other than that derived from tourism (and, of course, agriculture).

The inefficiencies inherent here are summed up by the fact that, even with the mix of Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Christian religions, most shops are shut on a Sunday: apart from the government facilities (including off-licences, museums, etc. as well as the inevitable bureaucracy), which shut on a Monday. Good news for taxi drivers hired to drive tourists into the towns on two days instead of one: bad news for everyone else.

All of the excitement in the greater Indian economy seems to centre around IT of some sort. There is a healthy market in Indianmanufactured "cell-phones" which has seen off at least one Chinese attempt to enter the market and promises to stymie the bid from another Sino company. Indeed, mobile networks seem to be extremely healthy (my 'phone has the option of connecting to several networks, all of which appear to give good roaming coverage); it is notable, however, that 3G does not seem to have penetrated here as yet (one doubts that India has the free bandwidth as yet).

The latest Nasscom annual report on the Indian animation industry shows 2006 revenues of $354 million—up 24% on the previous year!—earned by a mere 16,500 employees. This amounts to nearly $21,500 per employee, in a country where the average wage for someone working in the tourist industry is about $12 per month ($144 per year).

Animation revenue is forecasted to rise to $869 million by 2010; the same report puts Indian computer game revenues at $48 million, forecasted to rise to $424 million by 2010. (Interwebs access here is, obviously, somewhat intermittent, so if anyone could look up the latest GDP figures for India and work out the proportion that these two sectors occupy, your humble Devil would be most grateful.)

However, the single most significant thing is this: I have seen Europe mentioned only in connection with one thing, and that is the treatment of Shilpa Shetty in the Celebrity Big Brother house.

The EU has not been mentioned once, over three days of close reading of the newspaper, in terms of economics or politics. If we are concerned that Britain is not of any importance in those areas, then we are correct. If we were to posit that we are more of a force as a member of the EU then, as far as India is concerned, we are sadly deluded.

There has been, for instance, no mention of Gordon Brown's visit; indeed, what would be the point? For although The Gobblin' King is supposed to be in India for "trade talks", we all know that he has no power to negotiate any trade deals since trade is an EU competence. It seems that the Indians—in a country with an education rate of 94%—are not stupid enough to believe that our Cyclopean Chancellor's presence is of any significance whatso-fucking-ever.

No; here in India, the only countries of any significance are China (as a military and economic rival) and the US (as an economic model and military protector). Let me repeat this: the EU has not been mentioned, not even once, in the entirety of three days of newspaper coverage. A more potent demonstration of the utter irrelevance of the EU in this wider world can barely be imagined.

That said, India is obviously struggling with the same ind of outmoded and protectionist labour and trading laws that have plagued Europe, particularly during the 60s and 70s. There is a very strong trade unionist movement here, especially in Communist Kerala.

The crucial difference, though, is that—whilst the EU seems to have caved in to protectionism and inefficient labour demands—the India government seems determined to try to push towards liberalisation of labour and free trade.

As a preliminary, the government is setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in which state labour laws and tariffs will be suspended, and tax breaks will allow businesses to trade with a considerable advantage.

There are downsides to this policy; there seems to be a particular worry that the government will simply award the land in these SEZs to its friends; indeed, there is a call for these SEZs to lead to further transparency in, and stronger, land trading laws. This reminded me of the theory (that Timmy, amongst others, has argued) that the more stringent the land possession laws, the more free the people are.

There is much concern, especially amongst Ghandi's opposition party, about the consumption of arable land by these SEZs. However, as The Express has pointed out, the amount of land approved for the SEZs is only 0.2% of India's reputed 267 million acres of land and that, actually, the best way in which to enrich the country is, as many of us have argued, to move away from peasant farming and into high-tech industries.

The Indians, it seems, have the right ideas. Which is why, of course, our pals in the EU are so worried about its progress; they worry that the EU will become an irrelevance. As I have illustrated, it is already too late: by 2050, the Commission's own figures estimate that the EU will generate a mere 10% of the world's GDP. But even now, the EU is utterly without significance in this swiftly-growing part of the world.

There is hope for Britain, however. There is an immense amount of respect accorded to the British here, especially in Kerala which, being relatively little known as a tourist destination, has yet to suffer the depredations of the lower class of British yob. Their only knowledge of the dregs of our society seems to be in the stories of the Big Brother House; the worst levels of contempt will hopefully be countered by a wonderfully nuanced article by Colin Todhunter, writing from London and published in today's Express, which essentially points out that we British are ashamed of the BB contestants and, hey, every society has its fuckheads and we are pretty ashamed of the scum that crawl from under our rocks too, doncha' know, old chap.

I have argued for some time that we should withdraw from the EU since we derive no benefit, either locally or globally, from such an inward-looking, protectionist and corrupt agency. Having perused the papers and talked to people here, that conviction is stronger than ever.

Your humble Devil has often argued that Britain could, in effect, act as a clearing house of the world; a bridge between our old Commonwealth (after we had begged for forgiveness for selling them down the river in exchange for EU membership), the US and the ever-growing markets of Asia. Even were this not a viable proposition (as some commenters have argued), it seems to me that there is considerably more to be gained by allying ourselves with the US rather than the EU.

As I said earlier, the US is looked up to as both protector and economic model, the apeothis of what India could be. When India becomes the huge world-power that it will, barring some unforeseen and catastrophic disaster, it is to the US that it will cleave, if only to provide a balance to the potentially aggressive China on its doorstep.

And suddenly, of course, the EU's decision to court China rather than India makes sense, if looked at in the light of Old Europe's anti-Americanism. Can it really be so petty? Unfortunately, I believe that it can be, and is. If the EU continues to encourage China then we will soon not be seen as a mere irrelevance: no, we shall be seen as an active enemy of India.

Think of it; two world power blocks, one consisting of the US and India nd the other made up of China and the EU. Now, your humble Devil is a betting man, and he usually wins (as the £160 profit on a £40 investment at the Boxing Day races will attest!), and my money would be on India and the US to come out top.

The EU have chosen the losing side in this war of trade and influence: it is time that our politicians realised this and pulled Britain out of this disastrous experiment, re-aligning us, instead, with the side that is going to come out trumps.

It's not too late: so can we leave the EU now?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/21/2007 11:40:00 am


The anoyingly innevitable "issue" of big brother.

Posted by Andrew Field at 1/21/2007 10:52:00 am

Richard Woods in the Sunday Times today claims the Jade Goody Big Brother debacle might bring an end to Channel 4. You know what? I think we'll survive. I mean, don't get me wrong I enjoy regurgitated American Sitcoms and soft-core pornography mascarading as serious documentary film making as much as the next chump but Channel 5 does both with such a greater sense of shameless gusto. And CSI is absolute dynamite.

More interesting than this are the comments of Derek Laud (who is apparently 'a popular black former contestant on [Big Brother]') after he was asked, in a fit of grovelling desperation on the part of programme makers Endemol, to state publicly that he didn't think that global-village idiot Jade Goody was a racist (Which has in the last couple of days (or is it years) become the 21st century equivalent of accusing someone of being a witch. Maybe we can dunk her in the Thames and if she sinks the Perfume Shop will sell her fragrance again). Somehow managing to summon some of his no-doubt deep reserves of consternation, Laud managed to state "it was completely contrived and the antithesis of reality TV'.'

I'm sorry, what the flaming fuck?

Anyone who didn't abandon long ago the hope that "reality TV" is anything more than a shamelessly stage-managed carnival needs to be put in the same hospital queue as those Wrestling fans who see their heroes as anything other than beefy dancers and the last four people who think Michael Jackson hasn't had any work done. I mean really, people. On Big Brother for example, they take a days footage from about 8 cameras, probably amounting to over 150 hours of film a day and compress it into 40 minutes of television . From this vast ocean of meangingless talking they build a narrative as contrived as the episode of Hollyoakes on before it. This barely needs telling. The fact that people can manufacture such shock that the show might be (whisper it) manipulated blows my mind.

And while we're on the subject of the salivating faux-outrage of the media and Big Brother, can we just stop for a second and look at our Axis of Evil: a woman famous only for being maybe the most fucking stupid person in Britain outside government, a failed pop-star and a beauty queen come has-been-footballer's girlfriend. Hardly criminal masterminds bringing this country spiralling into a race war hell. As Nick Griffin demonstrates, real racists are smart sons of bitches. Jade and co's actions may be nasty, bitter and spiteful but they are so on the level of any teenage gang that seeks to confirm its own status by outcasting someone else. Race was an easy tool but class is just as important. What is certain is that they are the arse end of any racial prejudice harboured in this country and thus their pillorying only serves as a meaningless salve to our battered national conscience. Their castigators are worthy of closer scrutiny than these pittiable celebrities and their playground bullying.

If I was to dig my tinfoil hat out of the closet I might wonder that the Murdoch press was quite so fixated on this just as Tessa and Tony's old buddy gets an early morning knock from Her Majesty's finest. And wonderfully (for now at least, we'll see what the end result is) the Met seem to have grown a bit of backbone and Tessa, everyone's favourite old dog-wielding northern nazi and (deputy chairman of Channel 4) Lord Puttnam's staggeringly hypocritical hissy fit at police 'theatrics' is made to look as desperate and pathetic as it is. Quote of the day to Len Duvall, chairman of the metropolitan police authority:
“When information comes into the public domain they will need to reflect very carefully on what they have said in the past 24 hours. I think they are going to look f****** stupid. Quite frankly, this is a mess created by the people involved in the situation. This childish, ‘we’re being picked on’ [attitude] is like Big Brother.”

Quite.

Posted by Andrew Field at 1/21/2007 10:52:00 am


Friday, January 19, 2007

BAC.

Posted by Andrew Field at 1/19/2007 07:18:00 pm

While the Devil's off in India living out his colonial wet dreams with Trixy (and I know there's nothing that turns him on more than the potential for sex and hegemony) his minions have a chance to sun themselves for a while, and I thought I'd take this chance to mention briefly a subject close to all your hearts... that's right; theatre. (sound of clattering chairs and a door swining open). No but wait. This is a good one. It's theatre and a Tory council being utter arses.

Cross-posted from my blog from:

There are few places in London that I enjoy an evening more than at the Battersea Arts Centre, surrounded by both staff and public who are unpretentious, enthusiastic and share a real love of theatre. Some of my happiest times in the brief period I've been in this smoggy metropolis have been drinking an overpriced Magners (something I can forgive them for as it would seem at present the potential for a reasonably priced Magners remains firmly untapped) in the BAC bar, chatting with actors, staff and assorted other utterly lovely people. It seems to attract them, probably something to do with the effort required in making it to this pleasantly quiet corner of South West London.

And this is before I ever mention the startling, exciting, gloriously naive and ambitious theatre that you can see there. From an evening of 5 minute sketches based around the fire of London in for the which the entire building was filled with smoke and Firemen, to the utterly magnificent Particularly in the Heartland you can always be guaranteed something interesting.

Which is why this news from Lyn Gardner has me postively foaming at the mouth with frustration:

Last week BAC's local council, Tory-governed Wandsworth, gave notice that from April 1 it intends to cut BAC's annual grant from £100,000 to zero and simultaneously start charging a commercial rent for the Lavender Hill building of more than £270,000 per annum. If this was to go ahead, BAC could not survive and would have to close.

£100,000. Probably the amount that the Tory led council spent on recycling pen lids last year. Surely, you don't have to be involved in theatre in any way (even in watching) to realise that this is an absurd situation. As Lyn says:

You might think local councillors would be thrilled and proud to be the custodians of such a local and national treasure; delighted by the 220,000 visitors that BAC receives each year and the positive impact that those visitors have on the local economy (about £2m-a-year, the centre estimates). But you would think wrong.

It's by no means cut and dried however hence this post is not a memorium but a call to arms. The head of Wandsworth council is Edward Lister, and here's a spiffy idea - email him. Really let off some steam and put all those hours of typing practise to some really good use. And for those people who might chance upon this and have a few more readers than my mere trickle. Please do spread the word.

---

A bonus paragraph for you DK reader's missing the miserable bastard.

I personally think this is absolutely fucking outrageous. If I had my way I'd string these ignorant, cretinous little skat trolls up by their testicles and rip their insides out through their arseholes with a coathanger on the end of an electric whisk. To sacrifice London's most exciting and significant theatre venue for the sake of the amount of money that the head of the council probably spends on tissues to clean up after his feeble sweaty Webcameron wanks is utterly criminal. May they all find themselves with a copy of Titus Andronicus sticking out of every orifice while they slowly spit roast over an open fire.

Posted by Andrew Field at 1/19/2007 07:18:00 pm


Some sad news

Posted by Mr Eugenides at 1/19/2007 02:03:00 am



· Polly Toynbee will be away until March

No! Say it ain't so, Pol!

She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child
But she's always a woman to me

She can lead you to live
She can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth
But she'll never believe you
And she'll take what you give her as long as it's free
She steals like a thief
But she's always a woman to me

Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
Oh, and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

She will promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then she'll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're bleedin'
But she'll bring out the best
And the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself
Cause she's always a woman to me

She is frequently kind
And she's suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases
She's nobody's fool
But she can't be convicted
She's earned her degree
And the most she will do
Is throw shadows at you
But she's always a woman to me

I'll wait for you, Pol.

Posted by Mr Eugenides at 1/19/2007 02:03:00 am


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/18/2007 06:25:00 pm

Your humble Devil is buggering off to India today, with Trixy, to laugh at the poor people to appreciate the way in which India is enriching itself with the help of David Cameron's speeches.

Your humble Devil will be away for a week but, barring the contraction of some god-awful disease, shall be back at the end of next week.

UPDATE: by the time that I return, my broadband will be up and running; so you can expect the sweary goodness to ramp back up to normal levels, instead of the somewhat patchy and, let's face it, slightly formulaic coverage that you faithful readers have had to endure for the last few weeks...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/18/2007 06:25:00 pm


Miliband: still wrong

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/18/2007 05:23:00 am

Avid readers of The Kitchen may recall that David "Batshit" Miliband wrote, a little while ago, on the arguments surrounding climate change. Your humble Devil took him to task in no uncertain terms for what the four-eyed cunt had written was this:
When I appeared on the Jeremy Vine programme on Wednesday a number of callers disputed my interpretation of the science of climate change. I said the evidence of cause and effect was unambiguous.

Further evidence that Batshit, a PPE graduate with bugger all training in real science, was talking utter bollocks has come to my attention via The Englishman, stout bulldog that he is, who points to an interesting story at Al Fin.
The science behind climate change is anything but settled. Just ask Cambridge astrophysicist Nigel Weiss, or astrophysicist and mathematician Habibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research laboratory at the St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Observatory.
Typically, sunspots flare up and settle down in cycles of about 11 years. In the last 50 years, we haven't been living in typical times: "If you look back into the sun's past, you find that we live in a period of abnormally high solar activity," Dr. Weiss states.

These hyperactive periods do not last long, "perhaps 50 to 100 years, then you get a crash," says Dr. Weiss. 'It's a boom-bust system, and I would expect a crash soon."

In addition to the 11-year cycle, sunspots almost entirely "crash," or die out, every 200 years or so as solar activity diminishes. When the crash occurs, the Earth can cool dramatically. Dr. Weiss knows because these phenomenon, known as "Grand minima," have recurred over the past 10,000 years, if not longer.

Source.
The upper layers of the world's oceans are - much to climatologists' surprise - becoming cooler, which is a clear indication that the Earth has hit its temperature ceiling already, and that solar radiation levels are falling and will eventually lead to a worldwide cold spell, Abdusamatov said.

"Instead of professed global warming, the Earth will be facing a slow decrease in temperatures in 2012-2015. The gradually falling amounts of solar energy, expected to reach their bottom level by 2040, will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-2060," he said, adding that this period of global freeze will last some 50 years, after which the temperatures will go up again.

"There is no need for the Kyoto Protocol now, and it does not have to come into force until at least a hundred years from now - a global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions," Abdusamatov said.

Source.

The rush to reduce CO2 levels is not only massively expensive, but totally unnecessary, according to these learned solar experts. Certainly everyone with any knowledge should understand that global cooling is far more threatening to human life than the mild global warming currently being experienced.

Politicians such as Al Gore have vested monetary interests in exaggerating the climate effects of CO2. Likewise, climatologists such as Michael Mann have achieved fame, prestige, and easy grant money through the use of shoddy research methods. The route to grant money in climate science currently lies through the gate of CAGW--catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Those are the magic words.

Reality is much larger than that. It is foolish to fixate upon one seemingly obvious explanation for cyclic climate behaviour of epochal duration. Many junkies of "global warning" enjoy the thrill of the apocalypse. Others have more mundane motivations, such as going along with the perceived flow.

Regardless, it pays for people who actually want to know what is going on, to keep their eyes and minds open.

So, David, do you still think that "the evidence of cause and effect" is "unambiguous", you credulous fool? The point is that David cannot still think that as people like myself have, for a long time and on many occasions, pointed him—both on our blogs (and we know he is at least aware of the existence of The Kitchen) and in the comments on his "blog"—to evidence that shows that the debate is very far from over.

Now, we do know that Miliband is stunningly ignorant about his ministerial brief and that might lead a more charitable man to conclude that he is merely typically ill-informed. But that won't wash anymore; Batshit continues to spout this fucking shit about climate change and "green taxes", despite the fact that he knows that the evidence is far from conclusive (and some that might be is actually fraudulent), and so one can only conclude that David Miliband is a fucking liar with an agenda bigger than my ego. And that's a pretty fucking huge agenda.

The only good thing about this is that when the whole global warming crap comes crashing down, Miliband's going to look like the biggest pillock ever born. And at that point, I may well shit from laughing...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/18/2007 05:23:00 am


Between a gossip and a bore

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/18/2007 04:57:00 am

There has been something of a spat in our Fifth Estate, between Bloggerheads and Guido. Or, rather, Manic has written a long, sententious article excoriating Guido for being a plonker, or something. I was unsure if I should weigh in on this particular blogwar, but it seems that I don't need to: Nosemonkey has pretty much summed up my opinion with far more eloquence and considerably less swearing than I would.

My personal opinion of Manic is not high: I find him boring and rather sanctimonious. I know that Manic has a low opinion of your humble Devil, because we had our own little bout of online fisticuffs some time ago. I haven't bothered reading him since (not that I did very much previously. On the grounds that he's a bore). Although I do support his campaign to get Private Eye to put its "serious" bits online.

Guido I find relatively entertaining but, frankly, a little too obscure; I am not part of the Westminster Village and I find much of his output rather too oblique. I tend to pop in occasionally but, if one really doesn't know to whom Guido is referring when he drops his hints, the entertainment is, necessarily, limited.

So, who do I support? Well... No, sorry, I simply cannot summon up the interest to go for either frankly. Guido will continue to write his gossip, and Manic will continue to campaign earnestly in Parliament Square and I wouldn't have thought that either of them could give a two shits what your humble Devil might think in any case.

I'll stick to reading my assorted favourites. You'll find 'em in the sidebar: why not have a scout around whilst I'm sunning myself in the disease-ridden plague-pit paradise that is India?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/18/2007 04:57:00 am


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/17/2007 11:29:00 pm

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Grace Lord Devil the Unique of Deepest Throcking
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/17/2007 11:29:00 pm


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

18DS and Super ASBOs

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/16/2007 01:49:00 pm

Last night's Blogger TV, on which your humble Devil was "remarkably well-behaved", is available to watch here.

One of the stories that I brought up was Timmy's comment on the so-called Super-ASBOs (or Violent Offender Orders).
These new “super-Asbos” will be aimed not only at people who have a history of violent behaviour or who have just left prison but also those who may not yet have committed an offence.

So, there you are, Burberry encovered, tattoos rampant, wandering down the road with a can of Stella or the like. Copper comes up to you and says, you know, I think you migh commit a criminal offense at some time in the future. Would you like to come along with me sir?

Off you go and:
Like Asbos, the police or probation service would apply for the orders to the civil courts, where the threshold for proof is lower than in a criminal case. The document says the process will therefore be much quicker and hearsay evidence will be permitted to obtain an order against a suspect. Any breach of the order would be a criminal offence.

What, after they've got this order, can they insist you must do?
...the measures will ban potential trouble-makers from certain areas or mixing with certain people, alert police when they move house and possibly force them to live in a named hostel, give details of vehicles they own and impose a curfew on them. The orders will last for at least two years, with no upper limit. Any breach could lead to up to five years in jail.

So, you've actually done nothing wrong at all (perhaps something against the rules of good taste with that outfit but we haven't actually put Trinny and Susannah into power just yet) and the State, on the balance of probablities, including hearsay evidence, can insist that you move out of your house, move towns, probably lose your job....wonderful isn't it?

Indeed, it is an absolute fucking shocking thing to even propose, and so you can imagine that I was (almost) struck dumb when Nick Palmer MP defended the measures. Nick used that old canard—tried and tested by NuLabour after the 7/7 bombings—that the greatest right that anyone had was to walk the streets in safety, and that this right superceded all others.

"What's next?" I thought to myself, "Will this idiot trot out that huge stinking pile of old bollocks about having nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide?" Luckily Nick did not do so and, even more fortunately for Nick, we ran out of time.

Still, I feel that, for the record, I ought to make this clear: Nick Palmer MP supports the right of the state to restrict your freedom of movement and association—to restrict your life and liberty—on nothing more than a suspicion that you look like you may, at some point, possibly commit a crime somewhere.

Every time that I think that our elected representatives could not get any lower in my estimation, some fucking fool says something so contemptible that I find a new nadir. Today's candidate is Nick Palmer MP: why not show your appreciation for Nick's firm stand via his website or email?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/16/2007 01:49:00 pm


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