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Showing posts from May, 2007
Via Iain Dale, this news of a new Tory Communications Director.
Andy Coulson, the ex-editor of the News of the World, is expected to be appointed Director of Communications for the Conservative Party.
The News Of The World editor? Oh, fan-fucking-tastic. So we can expect some really mature and considered political discussion, eh?

Fucking hellski.

Ban pleasure!

Oh, dear fucking god, will these fuckers never piss off? Why is it that every pleasure that we have is to be regulated and eventually legislated out of existence? They've gone for fox-hunting, smoking and now they're getting started on the booze.
Alcoholic drinks will carry new health warning labels by the end of 2008 under a voluntary agreement between ministers and the drinks industry.

The labels will detail alcoholic units and recommended safe drinking levels.

Bottles and cans currently have alcohol percentages, but only some state what this equals in alcoholic units.

Public health minister Caroline Flint says exactly what the labels will say is not decided, but the warnings will not be as strong as for cigarettes.
Anyone else looking forward to "Low Sperm Count", "Alcohol Causes Cirrhosis Of The Liver" and "This Drink Is Going To Fucking Kill You" warning labels? Oh, and don't forget the "If You Take One Sip Of This Drink, You WILL Go Home…

The BBC

A little while ago, The Dude wrote a post in which he defended the BBC.
Despite this, I am a supporter not only of the BBC, but of the licence fee too. And are you going to tell me that the BBC is in the Governments pocket? OK, they may only attack from the left - but at least there's no overt party political bias. In time and with focus, I think they might just balance their political reportage, and there are signs that they are waking up to the problem. The trick is to take the time to complain every time you notice a biased programme and report. Eventually they'll get the message.
The whole post is well worth reading, and it's one that I broadly agree with. I enjoy watching television without adverts and I will admit that, amongst the increasing crap that it outputs in a desperate scramble to get ratings that it doesn't need, the BBC does broadcast some excellent stuff. Just because the news reporting is a little biased isn't a decent reason to abandon the whole s…

More charity/NGO horseshit: Greenpeace

Iain Dale has received an email from Ben Stewart, chief media officer of Greenpeace UK, in response to a request for them to send a representative to debate with Dominic Lawson over climate change.
Iain,

We have a policy at Greenpeace that we no longer debate people who don’t accept the scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change. It’s similar to the policy undertaken by cancer specialists who used to debate the tobacco industry but discontinued doing so. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, if we debated Dominic Lawson on climate change it would look great on his CV, not so good on ours.

I would make clear that that doesn’t mean I don’t think there should be freedom of speech for people with DL’s view, there should be. He is welcome to write about it and speak on it all he wishes, even though I disagree. But by debating him and his fellow-travelers we perpetuate the myth that this is a ‘he said/she said’ issue, a 50/50 where there is still a debate.

I’d debate Bjorn Lomborg, who accepts…

Jollification

Following on from my post about John Christopher and in response to a challenge, I thought that I'd continue in a literary theme. Dennis Wheatley was another prominent British author, who is mainly remembered for his Black Magic stories, such as The Devil Rides Out.

Although the attitude of many of his characters, many of whom are staunchly patriotic, are frowned on today, his books were always acknowledged to be informative and well-grounded, as well exciting. Besides, perhaps his values weren't so far out.
In the winter of 1947 Wheatley penned 'A Letter to Posterity' which he buried in an urn at his stately home. The letter was intended to be discovered some time in the future. In it he described his belief that the socialist reforms introduced by the post-war government would inevitably lead to an unjust state, and called for both passive and active resistance to it.
"Socialist ‘planning’ forbids any man to kill his own sheep or pig, cut down his own tree, put up …

Inheritance Tax

A little while ago, I signed a Number 10 Petition to abolish Inheritance Tax. This pernicious, distressing and shitty tax causes immense amounts of heartache; a friend of mine, for instance, is unable to move on with her life—nearly two fucking years after the tragic death of her partner—as the Inland Revenue have still not got around to working out how much she owes in IHT.

There has now been a reply (in the negative, naturally).
The £4 billion raised from Inheritance Tax is equivalent, for example, to an increase of over 18p on petrol duty.
Or, to put it another way, about 0.5% of the government's projected spending for this year. Or, to put it yet another way, about £0.75 billion less that VAT fraud cost in 2005–2006. Or about 4% of what the EU costs us every year in lost opportunity costs...

A difficult choice

You know when you get to that stage where you loathe so many groups of people that you have a hard time choosing which one it is that you despise the most? No? Oh. Well, I am having a problem working out whether I am more enraged at fucking corrupt politicians or the bastard charities that spend the millions lobbying them.

Today's Charity of Contempt Award goes to Save The Children, who have kicked off a campaign to persuade Gordon Brown to use our tax money to pay eliminate medical care fees in Africa.
LONDON (Reuters) - Gordon Browns across Britain are calling for leaders of rich nations to help African countries abolish healthcare fees when the G8 meets in Germany next month.

In a publicity stunt, charity Save the Children has dispatched a car to travel round the country and find 840 people with the same name as the next prime minister.

Save the Children is campaigning for the G8 to pay for the abolition of healthcare fees in Africa and hopes by getting all the Gordon Browns in Bri…

Stop and quiz

Via the poor, little Greek boy, I see that John Reid is hell-bent on putting as much of the framework of a police state into place as possible before he, mercifully, fucks off.
The government is considering giving police officers across the UK "stop and question" powers under new anti-terror laws, says the Home Office.
Er... Does anyone remember that Identity Cards were not going to be compulsory to carry? You know, various Home office ministers pooh-poohed the idea that Britain was going to become some kind of jack-booted, totalitarian police state because you wouldn't actually have to carry your ID Card with you?

Remember?
The proposal, allowing police to ask people about their identity and movement, is among measures being considered by Home Secretary John Reid.
So, is it just me that thinks that that promise about not having to carry your ID Card wasn't worth the paper that the lying cunt bastards didn't even bother writing it down on?

Ah, I'm almost looking fo…

Catching up

Via Matt Sinclair, I see that there is now a Ghost Cabinet of bloggers. Nice to see that some of the... er... younger bloggers have caught up.

DK's Blogger Cabinet was finally assembled on August 9th 2005 and their policies were assembled over the course of the next couple of months. The final manifesto was presented in November 2005 (it should be pointed out that some of my views—including my conversion to ever more rabid libertarianism and my understanding of general economics—have developed since those tender times).

Oh, and Matt's post specifically discusses the Ghost Cabinet's DTI strategy; he might perhaps be interested in what DK's DTI ministers—Tim Worstall and Chris Dillow—decided to do: that was to email me—entirely independently of each other—to let me know that their first act was to scrap the entire department and put themselves out of a job.

That still sounds like a really good start...

The Tripods

We all know that trilogies tend to work rather well; it is no coincidence that many of the best plays and books are in three acts. And, after the success of the Lord of the Rings, who could deny that the level of our cinematic technology can allow for almost any scenario to be well depicted?

So, what should be next?

Watching the film of the War Of The Worlds, I was reminded of one of the finest literary trilogies ever written: John Christopher's The Tripods.

John Christopher was one of the best post-apocolypic sci-fi writers, on a par with John Wyndham. Books such as The Death Of Grass and Wrinkle In The Skin are fantastically realised but, in your humble Devil's opinion, the Tripods Trilogy was his finest achievement.

At the time that the BBC adapted the series—which I remember watching and being pretty scared by—it was the most expensive that the Beeb had ever done. Unfortunately, they decided to introduce a number of extraneous and downright contradictory storylines and charact…

Iain Dale: Freedom Association Chairman is mad

Now, generally speaking, I am a great fan of The Freedom Association, who's About page lays out the Seven Principles of a Free Society.
Individual Freedom
Personal and Family Responsibility
The Rule of Law
Limited Government
Free Market Economy
National Parliamentary Democracy
Strong National Defences
"Freedom is usually appreciated only by those who have lost it, consequently it requires not praise but intelligent, active and continuous defence. We campaign for limited government and the fundamental freedoms essential to the maintenance of a humane and civilized society."—Norris McWhirter C.B.E. (1925-2004)
According to Wikipedia, the current Honorary President is Christopher Gill, who was also Honorary Chairman from 2001 to 2007.
[Gill] was one of the Maastricht Rebels and has been President of The Freedom Association (TFA) since 2007.
...

Gill served as Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Ludlow from 1987 to 2001, when he stepped down. He was known as the "Butcher f…

Vote now for your favourite useless fuckwit!

A couple of days ago, I referred to a discussion about the most incompetent NuLabour minister; I wrote about Charles Clarke, the jug-eared cunt.

Now Iain Dale has posted a poll in which you can vote for your top three most completely fucking useless NuLabour fuckwits.

Your humble Devil nominated the following Commissars (links are to DK Best Of... rants about those personages): PatsyHewitt, JohnPrescott and the SafetyElephant. With so many stupid, useless bastards to choose from, it was a very difficult decision though...

I was tempted to vote for the Gobblin'King, but since I'm fairly sure that we will see another of these polls soon, and that our Cyclopean King-in-waiting will continue to fuck things up in the most spectacular way, I'll save him for next time.

Next up, Iain, how about a poll to find the most loathesome columnist...?*


* No, there are no prizes for guessing who I'd vote for.
As readers will know, I hold no particular brief for young Miss North. However, she is being stalked by some mad bint who absconded, after being convicted in absentia of harrassment. Quite apart from this woman being a nutjob and, of course, the fact that this libertarian is a big fan of the rule of law, Rachel's one of us and I would advise you to go and read Rachel's appeal (a flick of the horns to ChickenYoghurt).

Basically, the idea is for us to look out for this loony and to help the police catch a convicted criminal.

UPDATE:Mike Rouse has created some nice blog-buttons.

UPDATE 2:The Telegraph follows up.

Galileo is dumb

Trixy has picked up a nice little quote from the EU Commission's Vice-President.
Handelsblatt reports that Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen has made the latest in a series of gaffes. He told journalists that the Galileo EU satellite project was “in some ways a dumb project”. His spokesman quickly moved to correct the Commissioner saying that his remark had been misunderstood and that the Commissioner naturally thought Galileo was “extremely important”. He explained that “Verheugen indeed said ‘dumb’, but he meant ‘simplistic’”.
Which, of course, is sooooo much better.

He might also have added that, up until this point, it has also been a spectacular failure. It is seriously behind schedule and the private funding agreements seem to have collapsed. As EU Referendum has highlighted a number of times, Galileo is in serious trouble and the EU is looking to force member states' taxpayers to bail out this massive fucking vanity project.

For make no mistake, vanity project is w…

Who is the most incompetent NuLabour Minister?

Charles Clarke: Top of the Fuckwits for the 685th week running. He also a shit. A great big fucking shit. With a garnish of shit. And shit sprinkles.

That is the question that Master Dale has asked, and one which we debated briefly on 18 Doughty Street last night. As I was suggesting people, I knew that there was someone lurking in the back of my mind, like a dog turd in the corner of your bedroom that you haven't noticed until it's completely fly-blown.

Yes, I believe that none of us mentioned the Sweaty Baboon himself, Charles Clarke. How could we have forgotten the Safety Elephant, a man who—until John Reid's incumbency of the Home Office—represented the apeothis of NuLabour's thuggish, authoritarian tendences.

Indeed, some time ago, I wrote a post summarising his stupidity, mendacity and sheer fucking uselessness, which seems tailor-made for answering today's question.
The real problem, though, is that he completely fucking useless. Can you think of one competent t…
We all have our particular favourite targets and for Jackart it's obviously the police.
They are harassing the law-abiding whilst not doing their job properly. As far as I'm concerned, they can enforce the smoking ban and licencing infringements, but only when they've cleared up every unsolved burglary and mugging, and not before.
I can't say that I disagree with a word of that. Go read the whole thing...

Patricia Hewitt shows her true colours

(I am not obsessed with medical stuff, honestly. It is just that at the moment there's a lot of interesting medical stuff happening.)

Sadly, Remedy UK lost its case today. The full judgment is available here, courtesy of Dr Grumble. The case was a judicial review. Judicial review is what you ask for when a government body makes a decision which is irrational, unlawful or outside the power that it has under the law. It is not a review of the law itself. In this case, the decision under review was not the decision that led to the "Modernising Medical Careers" initiative itself, nor the decision to put the original MTAS scheme in place. What was reviewed was the way in which the MTAS review body appointed by the Secretary of State decided to modify MTAS when it became clear that MTAS as originally conceived just wasn't going to work.

I'm not going to comment on the merits of MTAS in detail, because it merits its own series of detailed posts. Trying to do that …

Spartacus? Eh?

Despite the fact that I disagree with Owen Barder (blog currently down) on almost everything, and have attacked him quite viciously in the past, I do actually owe him a large favour.

However, that is not the reason why I am—belatedly—highlighting Timmmy's post about The Daily Mail's attack on him. It is because of the wider implications for we bloggers.

About 83 billion bloggers have commented on this topic—using the, to me, mildly incomprehensible epithet of I'm Spartacus (I've never seen it)—but I particularly liked Gary Andrews' post on this, not least because he says some very nice things about your humble Devil.
And again, any blogger or note, or not noticed at all could be subject to this treatment. It’ll further serve to drive a wedge between blogs and the media, bloggers and non-bloggers, will lead to further self-censorship [5], and the loss from the internet of engaging, entertaining and thoughtful writers, both actual and potential. So the MoS aren’t just d…
This is most amusing. Especially the bit about internet politics...


A flick of the tail to Dizzy...

Hague: off the cuff, out of his depth

Trixy just happened to be in her club when the Tories were holding a press conference. And happened to catch poor old Billy Hague at a weak moment.
As people drifted off, it was just Hague left with his press lady, who informed him that he had a live interview lined up where they wanted to talk about the Litvinenko case and road pricing. Old Bill didn't look too happy at that news. In fact, if I recall correctly, he placed his hands on the bar, leaned on them and say he 'didn't know anything about road pricing' and that he wasn't that confident on Litvinenko.

I had a look at the interview on the TV and he was right, he didn't know that much. I'm so happy that a policy being debated in the House of Commons today which is of considerable importance, especially if Galileo has anything to do with it, is off the radar of the Shadow Foreign Affairs Secretary.
Poor old Billy! Go and read the rest, including why Galileo is important.

What I find extraordinary is that I…

Are these people insane? Or just really, really stupid?

A little while ago, Timmy posted about MTAS and included an assessment which points out that, really, security in web systems should be thought about at every stage of implementation; in fact, it should be absolutely integral to the operating of the system. It isn't something that should be bolted on at the last minute if security is paramount; and surely, when you are storing everyone's medical histories, you really should be thinking about security at every, single second.

Which makes this question and answer, highlighted by Dizzy, so absolutely confounding.
Yesterday, Oliver Helad MP asked the Secretary of State for Health, "whether a privacy impact assessment (a) has been produced and (b) is planned for the NHS spine project." In an amazing moment of honesty, Carline Flint said, "No. We do not believe that such an assessment would serve any useful purpose at this stage of the project".
What.

The.

Fuck.

Are these people completely mental? Hello! Any politici…

Worried About Ray

Apologies for my lack of posting, but I was back in Edinburgh—yes, it's still beautiful—for a wedding over the weekend and I have been catching up on the work that I didn't do whilst asleep on the train.

Decent posts are coming, but in the meantime here's a quickie. A little while back I mentioned going to a gig at which the support band, The Hoosiers, were rather good.



I like it: Harryhausen was a genius and the whole thing is so beautifully retro.

The General Medical Council

The GMC is the regulator of the medical profession in the UK. It licenses doctors to practice, has the power to revoke or place restrictions on that license when a doctor's fitness to practice is called into question. The purpose of the GMC is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the community by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. The main guidance that the GMC provides for doctors is called Good Medical Practice, which outlines the standards that are expected of doctors. This all sounds well and good, however the reality of the GMC is entirely different.

Judge Charles Harris raged: "It is like a totalitarian regime: anybody who criticises it is said to be mentally ill - what used to happen in Russia."

This comment related to the case of an NHSwhistle blower who the GMC tried to smear as mentally ill and incompetent, before investigating the very serious concerns raised. It sums up the utter contempt that the GMC has for fairne…

My First Week Back At Work

I really do hope that my host will accept my apologies for blurting out personal shit in his space; but I have just completed my first week back in practice as a solicitor, after a break of nine years. During that period I have been, at various times: a vacuum cleaner salesman; a recruitment consultant; a hawker of carrier preselect telephony services; a porn vendor; the man you want to turn to if you have a problem with your mobile; and a recipient of contribution based Jobseekers Allowance at the mindboggling rate of £114.52 per fortnight - and all with not one but two genetic monkeys on my back. This week I did a whole lot of stuff I never thought I'd do again, or thought that I had lost the bottle to do - I settled two cases without breaking sweat; I organised a schedule of court hearings without falling into an apocalyptic carpopedal spasm ( a good one can be like The Ride of the Fuckin' Valkyries); I saw clients face to face, and took their instructions and advised them luci…

Trebles all round!

Not only is this a wonderful, heart-warming story, but it ought to please Pollyanna too. [Emphasis mine.]
Employees of whisky giant Whyte & Mackay are to share a £26m bonus after their outgoing chief executive offered to pay it out of his own pocket.

South African tycoon Vivian Imerman, 52, sold the firm to the Indian-based United Breweries Group in a deal worth £595m earlier this week.

He has offered to pay all 600 employees the equivalent of three month's salary as a thank you.

Mr Imerman bought Whyte & Mackay in 2005 and turned around the business.

He said he wanted to reward staff for the hard work they had put in to help transform Whyte & Mackay's fortunes. Employees were told of the windfall on Wednesday.
Although can these figures be right? £26m divided by 600 workers is about £43,300 each: that's a bonus and a half! But, do you see, Pol?—if "the good super-rich know" that inequality is bad, then I am sure that they could follow Mr Imerman's lead…
Samizdata on measuring "carbon footprints".
Your personal carbon is a sooty sin consumed of private desire. That expended by the good state managing you is essential, virtuous, too cheap to meter.
But of course, for the state is omniscient, omnipotent and all its works are for the good of the society that it nurtures and protects. Hadn't you heard?
Fucking hell! Surely they can't be serious?
The Electoral Reform Society has hailed Scotland's council election as a resounding success.

The organisation has suggested that there were "major inadequacies" in the vote for the Scottish Parliament, which saw more than 140,000 rejected ballots.

However, a report from the society will say that the single transferable vote (STV) system used in the council election worked well.
What, I wonder, would it take for it to be hailed "a disaster"?

Beer in a glass, you bastards!

Via The Englishman, please go and sign this petition.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to oppose calls by police to introduce blanket use of plastic glasses even in pubs and other licensed premises with no history of violence. We feel blanket bans on glass are unnecessary and will have a detrimental effect on the licensed trade and the drinking experience of the millions of law-abiding pub goers in well run establishments up and down the country.
Quite apart from the fact that the thought of having to drink my Bombardier from a plastic glass is quite abhorrent, we have to stop this pernicious culture in which the innocent majority are punished for the actions of the guilty few.

Come to me, my Big Viking Warrior!

Your humble Devil would like to apologise. He has been most remiss, allowing darling Polly a good few weeks of unfisked publishing. But, you see, I was waiting for this: her ecomium to her big, Norse warrior as he steps up to begin the Fimbulwinter, the winter of winters.
Finally ministers are off the leash and free to say the rich are too bloody rich
I always think that this angle, coming from a woman who is estimated to earn £140,000 per annum from the Guardian alone (for writing two articles a fucking week, for heaven's sake!), is a particularly dodgy one.
Brown has now accepted what Blair would not: the growing gap between rich and poor is splitting and damaging our society
Pol, it is Gordon that has, at least partially caused the split; on the front page of today's Guardian is trailed the following article.
Inequality at same level as under Thatcher
Labour has failed to cut gap between rich and poor.
Who's been in charge of monetary policy for the last ten years, Polly? Coul…