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Showing posts from April, 2007

Sinclair: C-

Poor old Matt Sinclair! Much like Jackart, he is a man who thinks that the Tories are our saviours, the people who are going to deliver us from our purgatory and bring us into the light. In an effort to disparage those who might attack them, Matt misses a fundamental point in his own argument; I shall not slap him for this. After all, we all do it from time to time.

But that doesn't alter the fact that his party tribalism has actually obscured his rationality. He attempts to answer your humble Devil's post...
Firstly, in his title he asserts his is the principled position. It isn't. A person with principles will make the decision most likely to lead to actual results as close to those principles as possible.
No, they won't. A person with principles votes with the party nearest their principles.

You can make the politics of the possible argument as much as you like, but this is not a principled decision; why pretend? And why is it that the Tories have so much dofficulty und…

For god's sake, don't vote with your principles!

As I simply can't resist throwing back his gibe, does anyone else think that Jackart is sounding a little bit... well... shrill on the subject of UKIP? Although he has been very effectively fisked, in detail, by Trixy, I thought I stick my two pence worth in.
I am bored of commentators and bloggers lazily trotting out the line that "the boy Dave is just another Tony Blair and we might as well go and vote UKIP", just because he refuses to promise Tax-cuts, and has worked out that making people like you makes them more likely to vote for you.
Yes, but people are even more likely to vote for you when they like both you and your policies. As it happens, I don't like Dave; I think he's a fucking fake and a spiv at that. He'll say anything to anyone: less Blair and more LibDem really.
The Line that "Europe makes most of our laws ERGO westminster is irrelevant therefore we must vote UKIP" is just as dull.
Unfortunately, this does not make it any less true.
This amused your humble Devil.
Oh, and before I forget - Feel Good Drinks can fuck off. And so can Innocent Smoothies. And all the other examples of cloying corporate cute that are taking over the world.

Just die. Just fucking die.

Sorry, it sounds petty I know. But I'm genuinely worried that if it doesn't stop, in a generation or two we're all going to have turned in to super-healthy mongs unable to understand labels unless they talk to us like five year olds. Do not exceed the stated dosey-wosey or your tummy might get hurty.

Worth visiting just to see the comment by one of the Innocent guys...
Via ChickenYoghurt, there's a petition to sign if you think it'll do any good. Basically, it goes like this:
We, the undersigned, call on the government to initiate another vastly expensive whitewash which will waste enormous amounts of public money whilst exonerating the current government and security services of any wrongdoing whatsoever. It may or may not cost less than the £500 million, or whatever the fuck it is, that the massively fruitless (and yet-to-report) Bloody Sunday enquiry has paid to lawyers so far but I simply cannnot imagine a better way to spend the cash. Certainly, giving it to the Security Services and thus allowing them more resources to ensure that another 7/7 never happens is definitely not the best use of that money. Really.
Can you tell that I'm a wee bit sceptical?

And the Welsh...

Having had a little stab at the Scots for being a bunch of statist lunatics, it gives me a great5 deal of pleasure to point out that the Welsh aren't really a whole lot better.
But later on, the campaign trail leads to a Baptist church hall where all the candidates have their first public debate. They are not an inspiring bunch.

As far as I can work out, Sir Dai [Llewellyn] is the only one who is not paid for by the taxpayer. The Tory candidate, Jonathan Morgan, a regional Assembly Member (as opposed to a constituency one), is the slickest - articulate, local and full of facts.

The Labour candidate, Sophie Howe, a legal services manager for the Equal Opportunities Commission, bleats the party line about improvements under Labour.

Why, she is asked, have hospital waiting times got longer? 'Because we have been focussing on well-being rather than illness,' she says. Yes, that is what she says.

The Liberal, Ed Bridges, is doing a PhD on public library provision, and the Plaid Cymr…

The wrong way down a one-way street

A Scottish client phoned me today to ask my opinion of the SNP. I replied that whilst they were making some of the right noises—especially in the matter of slicing into the huge Scottish state sector—they were actually slight fantasists. I now regret this statement.

I regret my use of the word "slight" as, via the Snob, I see that Wee 'Eck Salmond thinks that independence would not be a one-way street.
SNP leader Alex Salmond said independence was "not a one-way street" and a Scotland which went its own way could later re-join the United Kingdom.

When asked if an independent Scotland could in the future go back to being part of the UK, Mr Salmond told the GMTV Sunday Programme: "Any nation can do whatever it pleases.

"It can vote to become independent and it can vote if it so chooses to become un-independent, that's the prerogative of a nation and Scotland, of course, is a nation.

"It's a country - it has the right of self-determination. So…

Admin at The Kitchen

Just to let you all know, I shall be doing a bit of a revamp of the blog over the next couple of weeks. The three-column template was originally implemented to allow me to put Adsense in the "sweet spot" but, since they will no longer serve to me and the others bring in nothing significant, they may as well be excised.

All round, I shall be going for a sleeker and, hopefully, more swiftly loading template (this one has become very bloated). I shall also be trimming my blogrolls. If anyone else has any suggestions for what they'd like to see on here, please let me know, Anonoymously if you want, in the Blogger Comments (the Haloscan ones will be leaving. Finally).

UPDATE: could I also get your views on the level of swearing? Is it amusing? Is it tiresome and off-putting? I ask because, when I started this blog, I was seriously angry: hence the swearing. I have calmed down a bit—or, rather, I've become more grimly focused—over the last few years (although certain things …
Thanks to Tim Almond, who pointed me towards this little nugget.
An English pub is trying to beat the imminent ban on smoking in public places by asking for consulate status from the Peruvian embassy in London, the landlady said Friday.

She pledged that staff would learn Spanish, celebrate Peru's national holiday and may even get a pet llama if they secure consulate status.
As Squander Two pointed out, in an entirely different context, "ingenuity is infinite"...

Smack my bitch up

Pootergeek took part in a little drugs questionnaire and then sprung a surprise.
What was most surprising to me was that, when she ended by asking me what possible solution I would suggest to drug-related problems, I shocked her.

“License drugs,” I said.

She, a woman half my age, responded with a horrified (and non-scripted) “What? All of them?!”

“Yes,” I said, “especially the hard ones.”

Then I pointed out that almost all of her questions had had nothing at all to do with the effects of drugs themselves, but with the illegal activities of drug users and dealers, and that the only negative effects I had experienced had been the result of drunk people trying to pick a fight with me on their way from being kicked out of places serving booze, and that most of the drugs we had been talking about did not promote aggression in those who consumed them.

I should add that I don’t believe that the licensing of drugs would “solve our drugs problems”. I just think that its a possible solution to the wo…

Scotland: the best wee country in the world. Not

It seems that a report commissioned by the Adam Smith Institute has concluded that an independent Scotland could do very well.
The economy of an independent Scotland could significantly outstrip the performance of the UK, a free market economic think-tank has claimed.

The Adam Smith Institute predicted that Scotland's economy could grow by up to 7%, imitating Ireland's recent success.

The report also said after 10 years of independence, household incomes in Scotland could out perform the UK average by as much as £6,000.

Author Gabriel Stein, director and chief international economist of Lombard Street Research, said: "If an independent Scotland chose to follow the Republic of Ireland's low-tax route, as SNP leader Alex Salmond has indicated it would, Scotland's growth rate might be expected, over a five-year period, to move closer to Ireland's trend growth rate of 7%.
The trouble is that this is all rather dependent on those leading Scotland having a fucking clu…

More fusion

Via Strange Stuff and Peter Risdon, there has been another breakthrough in nuclear fusion (separate from Dr Bussard's hot fusion breakthrough last year).
This achievement has been described as "amazing" and "the biggest breakthrough in energy generation in decades". It seems to indicate that no scientific hurdle stands in the way of nuclear fusion. Just 5-7 years of engineering and configuring about 60 next generation linear transformer drivers. Then refining the system for commercial use starting in 20 years or less. All the pieces are now ready and proven, we just need to put them together for commercial nuclear fusion.
As regular readers of The Kitchen will know, your humble Devil is a firm believer that technology will save us from any global catastrophe that may or may not be threatened. As it happens, I don't believe in the apocalytic vision that is being painted by the global warming scientists, but I do think that we should work to stop burning hydroc…

Bartholomew, Murray, Worstall and the CBI

It seems that James Bartholomew recently went to a lecture by Charles Murray, author of In Our Hands.
His idea, briefly, is this: that the government should give every person US$10,000 a year in place of all welfare benefits, retirement payments and healthcare. Of this, US$3,000 would have to be used to buy health insurance.

He said he was not primarily concerned that the welfare state costs too much "though it does", nor that it tends to make things worse "though it does" but that it "drains" the life out of people - particularly the spiritual life and sense of meaning.

He believed that people derive a sense of meaning in their lives in one or more of the following four ways: vocation, community, family and faith. For these things to retain their meaning, it was vital that government should leave them alone.
I do suggest that you read James' whole precis, because it is very much worth it. Why? Well, Charles Murray is, essentially, on eof the more fam…

Life in a gilded cage

The Longrider, upon finding himself in a new environment and surrounded by younger people, has written a superb post lamenting the lack of critical faculties of this generation.
I find myself working with a generation who accept without question the unproven concept that we cause global warming (sun? What sun?). Come to that, this is a generation that is woefully ignorant of geography, history, language and maths. When I find myself having to explain to colleagues how to work out something as basic as percentages or simple spelling, I despair. If I try to engage anyone on English history or global politics, I quickly find that they are quite literally, lost. And this is not unusual, I am the one who is unusual because I can spell, string a sentence together and add up… Oh, and I know where the Dardanelles are. And I am the one who failed my eleven plus on maths…

This same generation has grown up with the expectation that bad things shouldn’t happen to them and if they do, then the gover…

James rock

I went to see the reformed James play at the Brixton Academy last night and they absolutely fucking rocked! They played four new and excellent songs; they also played one of my all time favourite tracks—extraordinary because it is a little-known album track from Laid—called Five-0 [MP3]

Are you open for trade
Your salvation, for something, for some thrills
Is a body of work for your inspection
You can trace, trace my concern
My concern

I've been looking for truth
At the cost of living
I've been afraid
Of what's before mine eyes
Every answer found
Begs another question
The further you go, the less you know
The less I know

I can feel your face
Gonna make it mine
I can be the man
I see in your eyes
Can you take my weight
Are we both too small
Know each other well
We've met before

Will we grow together
Will it be a lie
If it lasts forever, hope I'm the first to die
Will you marry me, Can we meet the cost
Is the power of love worth the pain of loss
Can you pay the bill, will you keep the ch…

Drinking at home

Now what the fucking fuck is this fucking shit?
Parents who give alcohol to children aged under 15 should be prosecuted, a charity has said.

The call comes in an Alcohol Concern report on the government's Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy.

The study highlights figures that suggest a large increase in the amount of alcohol being drunk by 11 to 13-year-olds.
Go fuck yourselves, you fucking charity fucks? What the fucking hell is wrong with this damn country? Following on closely from the news that the government already has 266 ways to enter our homes, these bastards will be encouraging the state to burst down our doors with Drink Enforcement Officers.

What the... I... I'm just fucking speechless. I'm absolutely astonished that anyone could even suggest such a massively illiberal idea.

And why the fuck do Alcohol Concern think that they—or the state—can bring up other people's children better than their own parents? What amazing affrontery!
Public health minister Caroline Flint t…
During a conversation at Friday Cities, somebody pointed me to

Libertarian communism? How the fuck does that work? Actually, looking at it, it doesn't: libertarianism is not synonymous with anarchism.

Was Heath gay?

I tend to think not: after all, would anyone of either sex fuck that failure? The Appalling Strangeness points out that, really, who gives a shit and then gives a brilliant precis of what we should care about.
I would describe Ted Heath as a miserable failure as Tory Leader, Prime Minister and Elder Statesman. As Tory leader he lost all bar one General Election that he led the party into. As Prime Minister, his greatest achievement was taking the country into Europe which will always be a controversial and deeply subjective definition of achievement*. Aside from that, he had to implement the three day week, did nothing to stop the mounting problems in Ireland, did nothing to halt the decline of Britain into the unenviable condition of being the "sick man of Europe" and ultimately had his ample butt kicked by the miners. In his career (if such a word can be used) after his time in Number 10, he proved himself to be a boring, bitter old fart who constantly carped and bitched at…

Opting out is not an option

Via the good Doctor Crippen, I have found this lovely little Q & A session with Andy "spiv" Burnham (whose "truthiness" one of my colleagues discussed at length).

I particularly liked this little exchange.
John*, Hull asked
I remember who [sic] bad the NHS was 10 years ago, and I've seen real improvements. What do you think would happen if cameron got in?

Andy Burnham MP, Minister of State for Health answered
Cameron was the man behind the patient passport, which would have helped wealthy people opt out of the NHS...
How dare you try to opt out of the NHS! We shall abolish all private hospitals immediately!

Fucking hell, what a cunt. For fuck's sake, Andy, we want as many people as possible to opt out of the NHS (and not only so that they actually get a better service). I explained why some time back, when I refused to sign Richard Solomon's Our Petition.
... I believe that those who can pay for their own medical treatment should do so: as far as I am conce…

Frederick Forsyth admits getting "lost in world of fiction"

Frederick Forsyth is probably the only really famous old boy that my prep school has ever produced (sorry, Ed, I don't know if you're famous enough yet) but that was a long time ago and one must now conclude that poor old Freddie has lost his mind. Or, perhaps it is was the writing of all of those fictitious novels that has addled his senses?
One of the Conservative Party's highest profile celebrity supporters has urged David Cameron to "kill Ukip stone dead" by committing the party to a policy of seizing back key policies from Brussells [sic], can reveal.

Frederick Forsyth, the best-selling author, set out his plan in a major speech at a "Better Off Out" meeting of the Campaign for an Independent Britain at the week-end.
Ah, yes; Freddie is a patron of the Better Off Out campaign (which, incidentally, I emailed to add my name to after Lance-Watkins's comment but, alas, my name has yet to appear) and I am sure that he yields to no one i…
Simon Heffer lays into NuLabour splendidly...
The past decade has seen a sustained assault on public probity, economic responsibility, constitutional efficiency, the rule of law, administrative competence, liberty of the subject, and our international reputation of a sort unknown in living memory. I defer to no one in my disdain for the Major government: but, with the notable exceptions of its economic buffoonery and its toadying to pro-Europeanism, it could not hold a candle to the present crew for sheer destructiveness of our values, our way of life and our money.
That doesn't cover the half of it. Luckily, the whole article is a lot longer: go and read it all.
Stupid fucking quote of the day...
The invisible hand of the market is supposed to provide us with all the services we could ever want but it seems as if all it does is sell us stuff we don't need.
No, the invisible hand was never "supposed" to do that, it just does. Second, no one is making you buy tat: you choose to do so. You really are going to have to get used to the concept of personal responsibility, you know.

Fucking hellski.

Andrew Marr: stupid bastard

Andrew Marr is, I am sure, a very nice man. Unfortunately, he is also pigshit ignorant and stupid to boot. Admittedly, he is a journalist, so one shouldn't be surprised. Today, he's wittering on about recycling, bemoaning the fact that when electronic equipment—specifically, in his case, a printer—breaks down, we throw it away.
But to discard a hugely sophisticated article of silicon, wiring, glass and plastic, whose computing power would have filled a room at a Sixties university, because I cannot mend it, is surely terrible. Go to any big waste tip and you'll see glinting, glittering mounds of computers, laptops, printers, never mind mobile phones and digital cameras, chucked because they're out of date, or because some comparatively tiny thing has gone wrong, and no normal person can mend them.

No previous generation could have imagined doing this. It's the equivalent of finding a seatbelt snagging on your Ford Cortina, so throwing the car away; or discarding a ty…


Your humble Devil has a letter in the Evening Standard today [not online].
Anthony Hilton interestingly compares the social inequalities generated by the City's current boom and that of the Victorian age, but misses a fundamental point: in the 19th century there was no welfare state.

While some Victorians invested only in fine living, a great many used their assets to finance orphanages, schools and hospitals, returning their wealth to the communities that helped enrich them in the first place.

The resentment felt by those of us on relatively modest incomes is not that bankers earn so much, but that their millions appear to be selfishly hoarded. Because people have abdicated all sense of social responsibility to the state, today's multimillionaires feel no obligation to help those who most need it.

It is admirable David Cameron should be talking about fulfilling a duty to society and seeking to reinvolve charities to achieve this. But if we are to persuade today's young banker…

A quick note on authors

I just want to clarify a couple of things, as people seem to be getting a little confused.

The Devil's Kitchen is not a group blog as such, not in the way that Samizdata is; we don't all have the same views. Indeed, the people that I initially invited were invited precisely because they were emphatically not of the same views as I. They were people who wrote well and who might provide a dissenting voice so that The Kitchen's readers could get a different viewpoint from time to time.

As such, although I am a libertarian, that does not necessarily apply to any of the other contributors. Although the vast bulk of this site is written by myself, others do occasionally chip in and so you will see surprising views hosted here.

The key is to look to see who the author is!
Here's a very entertaining website detailing some of the... er... less authorised announcements by driver on the Tube. One of my personal favourites was this one.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of couse, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction".

The British Disease

The Great GMTV Phone Line Fraud might result in job losses. Only in the United Kingdom would the first reaction of a company which has allowed itself to be used as the vehicle for a fraud perpetrated by a third party contractor be to consider sacking its staff, when the fraud would not have happened had the company's senior managers properly supervised that contractor. This is one case where it would better for the board of GMTV to accept collective responsibility and sack itself rather than have one tea lady lose her job as a result of a decision taken way over her head and over which she had no control; and if that were not possible, where it would be better for all to go than just some. But you can get away with anything in this country, even get away with murder, if you say you run a business.

I'll huff and I'll puff and fine you five grand!

A number of people have highlighted the fact that there are any number of ways—well, 266 ways—in which the scum by whom we are ruled can enter our homes. Jackart puts it rather nicely, I think.
But what is needed is a return to the principles of private property. Without privacy there is no point to property. Without property rights, there is no freedom. An over mighty bureaucracy is there fore inimical to this freedom we cherish. Property does not flow from the state, we subcontract the state to do things we cannot do ourselves, like defence from external threat; exactly the opposite to the way socialists think. State apparatchiks need to realise therefore that they are servants, not masters. We should have the right to tell the state to fuck off. With less power to intrude against our will, state agents would have to be more polite to get their work done, making the country a better place to live, work and do business.

Legislate with that in mind and everyone should be happier, except…
Happy St. George's Day and may that day come soon that we actually have something to celebrate, as the EU lies in a burning wreckage and Britain is great once more!

In the meantime, I still fucking hate all politicians...

Miliband's bribe?

It seems that David Miliband has not only said that he will not run for leader, but that he is actively voting for The Gobblin' King.
Environment Secretary David Miliband has announced that he will vote for Gordon Brown as Labour leader.

His declaration will be seen as giving a boost to the chancellor, the favourite to succeed Tony Blair.

When Mr Miliband told the BBC on Tuesday that he did not intend to run for the top job, critics said he had left himself room to change his mind.

But he tries to remove any uncertainty when he writes in The Observer: "I will vote for Gordon Brown".
Upon receiving a tip-off from my mole at DEFRA a couple of days ago, I speculated that the DTI would be abolished and that Batshit would get, amongst other things, the Energy portfolio; this would allow him to really get to grips with making us all poorer, ensuring that the lights go out and all for a delusion his Green Crusade.

Interestingly, on Friday I was speaking to an acquaintance who works a…

Paying for the NHS

The NHS continues to be a massive fuck-up.
More patients will have to pay 'top-up' fees for private care because of budget cuts in the NHS and long waiting times, a group of doctors say in a report.
Well, let us remind ourselves of what the situation actually is. Yes, operations have been delayed—hospitals have even been fined for working through their waiting lists too swiftly—in order to avoid the budget deficits which would lose Commissar Hewitt her job.

However, let us also remind outselves that funding of the NHS is at about £90 billion this year, up from £37 billion ten years ago. And yet productivity is down; as Wat Tyler points out, we now pay consultants double what we used to and we have seen a 15% drop in productivity.

So when these doctors say that there are budget cuts, this is true in relation to the last year, but it is not true over the last ten years; the budget is actually two and a half times what it was a decade ago.
Doctors for Reform says the idea that health …

David wants responsibility

Yes, yes, Cammy-babes; this is all very well but how, precisely, does one achieve it?
Conservative leader David Cameron is calling for a "revolution in responsibility" to counter a rising tide of anti-social behaviour.

He will use a speech in London to accuse Labour of encouraging irresponsibility by promoting individual rights ahead of civic duty.

Less state intervention will be part of his "manifesto" for a better society.
Well, I think that's just dandy, ain't it?
The Conservative leader will say measures like anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) have been counter-productive, because they allow people to abdicate responsibility for their actions.

Instead, Conservatives would encourage parents, neighbours, business people and teachers to take responsibility for bringing up children to behave properly and keeping their own communities in order.

A combination of less state interference, more support for families and trusting people more would create a "framew…