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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Translating the answer

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 11:02:00 am

UKIP's Lord Willoughby de Broke has submitted a Written Question about deportation.
Whether the Prime Minister's statement at the Labour Party conference that "any newcomer to Britain who is caught selling drugs or using guns will be thrown out" will apply to citizens of European Union member states.

And the Written Answer—the written answer, mark you—from Lord West is as follows:
I shall write to the noble Lord.

Translation: "you know as well as I do that of course it does not apply to EU citizens. Piss off and stop asking embarrassing questions."

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 11:02:00 am


Join the dots

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 09:38:00 am

Apparently, we major political bloggers are asleep on the job.
Why are the major bloggers not picking up on these things? Where are they? Tied up in Polly Toynbee and David Milliband.

Well, yes, we get all tied up in spelling "Miliband" correctly, amongst other things. I don't want to speak for anyone else, but for fuck's sake, I'll cover precisely what I want to cover and you know why? Because I do this for my delight; I am not some kind of philanthropic public service, nor am I an unpaid publicity mouthpiece.

I am fed up of being lectured by bloggers who feel that I'm not doing my "job" properly. You want me to cover stuff: fucking well pay me—make it, if you will, a proper job—and I will think about trawling through your poorly written, structurally incoherent posts and try to assemble them into something that people want to read and easily comprehend.

In the meantime, I shall keep trawling the 130 or so RSS feeds that I currently track and continue writing about things that I want to write about, in the way that I want to write about them.

Oh, and I have been aware of Common Purpose for some time and may well write about it at some stage. In the meantime, if you are interested, do feel free to watch this fascinating although overly long video about this rather sinister organisation.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 09:38:00 am


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 08:34:00 am

The estimable Wat Tyler has been examining Scotland's fiscal position. His conclusion?
Which compares with its 8% GDP share of the aggregate £31bn UK fiscal deficit, coming in at £2.5bn. So net net, a fully independent Scotland is £2.5bn pa worse off. Or approximately 2.4% of its £106bn pa GDP.

Which means, of course, that the rest of Britain would be a couple of billion better off. Just saying, is all...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 08:34:00 am


The Sound of Saud

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 05:51:00 am

I hear from John Trenchard that a very special treat awaited King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia today.
The army marching band (Coldstream Guards?) was playing the Darth Vadar Evil Empire "Imperial March" theme from Star Wars just as King Abdullah pulled up in his limo to greet the Queen.

What the fuck!!! Is this a jibe by the army (or rather HM Liz) at the Saudis?

Let's hope so, although I think that I detect the hand of the D of E, frankly. Whatever: as Not A Sheep points out...
As Wikipedia says "The theme...represents the totalitarian Galactic Empire as a whole, and Darth Vader specifically. More than other Star Wars themes, the March has attained an iconic status in the Western consciousness as a general "evil theme", and as such is used to portray power at public events".

Since just about all music and film seems to be banned in Saudi, King Abdullah almost certainly does not know what the music is. Ha!

BURN!


UPDATE: it's here! Only about the first 20 seconds, alas...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 05:51:00 am


10 people...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 03:13:00 am

... that I would like to hit in the mouth with a brick, was a meme I first noticed at Jackart's: now the poor little Greek boy has nominated The Snob and your humble Devil.

However, unlike my colleagues in what one blogger (though I can't remember who) once called "the Scottish swearblogging triumvirate", there is simply no way that I am exempting any members of this fucking NuLabour government. I have, however, had to write out people who are dead—like Ted Heath, for example, whose corpse I would like to violate in ways never before thought of.

I loathe so very many people that it has been quite a task whittling the list down to a mere ten, but every single one of the following has worked hard to deserve their place on this list.
  1. First up is Alison Goulding. Well, not Alison Goulding as such, more the kind of people that she represents: the scrounging, feckless, lazy, selfish bastards who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and who infest this country like the fucking awful parasites that they are.

  1. Hazel Blears [See this Carnival of the Chipmunk-kicking]. She is an evil fucking dwarf, with an irritating voice and a curiously alien face. This last would be much improved by a good bricking.

  1. Patsy Hewitt [See this extensive and detailed DK rant. Oh, there's another. And another.]. She is still out there, people, being patronising somewhere: she must die.

  1. Charles Clarke [See these three rants about the fat cunt]. Authoritarian, fat, ugly and with massive jug-handle ears, Charles Clarke has to be one of the single most unpleasant people on the planet. And he's still alive and is thus a candidate for a fucking good kicking, using shoes with bricks tied to the bottom of them.

  1. Ruth Kelly [DK opinion here]. The voice, that awful, annoying voice. And the hypocrisy. And the belief in the sky-fairy. Just an awful, horrible woman. I shall tear out her vocal chords before beating her to death with an especially scabby brick.

  1. Jose Manuel Barroso. The grinning, formerly Communist, president of the EU Commission is not only a total fucking cunt, but he is also a serious threat to our country. So, let's beat The Tin-Pot Emperor to death with special, harmonised Euro-bricks.

  1. Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and liar par excellence. I have written about 80 billion words on the massive untruths that he peddles, there seems little point in articulating my absolute fucking hatred for his. But it is enough to say that he—and his evil little homulculus, Stern—have already provided our totalitarian politicans with an excuse to impose myriad curbs to our freedoms, and there will be many more. Their obfuscations and lies will cause the reckless spending of billions of dollars and the needless deaths of the poorest in the world.

  1. Gordon Brown, the Gobblin' King, the One-Eyed King Cunt in the land of the blind. He is not only an evil little fuck, but an incompetent fuckwit: his most egregious act is his cynical shafting of the poorest in our society. He is a very real and present cunt.

  1. Polly Toynbee. Polly. Toynbee. Polly. Fucking. Gordon Toynbee. Oh my dear fucking christ, how can I possibly articulate how much I absolutely, totally, utterly loathe this woman? Well, I can't; not in a brief paragraph like this, which is why I linked to some of my earlier and more prolix efforts. But, trust me, I loathe her.

    Some people might think that, as she is only a Grauniad commentator rather than a politician with direct power, she should not be so high in the rankings. Unfortunately, Polly is one of the evil fucking people who allow the perpetuation of this evil socialist state that we have; not only do the politicians think that she is reflecting the will of the people, but the people think that she represents informed commentary. In many ways, she is far more powerful than most backbench politicians.

    Especially given her dirty dalliances with The Gobblin' King.

  1. And the winner is... David "Batshit" Miliband! He is a hideous, spoddy, speccy twat whose mouth writhes across his face like a separate living (and utterly evil) alien being. Not only that, but he worships at the altars of the evil fucking demons incarnate named Gore and Barroso whilst being, at the same time, utterly ignorant of the major portfolios that he has been the curator.

    Miliband is an appalling person, whose latest piece of cowardice—bunnying out of his responsibilities under the pretext of adoption—is only what we expect from this four-eyed, impotent, arsehole bastard.

    What an utter cunt: I am sharpening the edges of my brick for this one. It's going to be sharpened bricks at one end and sharpened cockroaches at the other. The fucking, evil, fucking, creepy, fucking cunt.

Oh, finally, Bill Gates gets an honourable mention on the grounds that, every time that I have to use Windows, I want to bash myself in the mouth with a brick, in order to distract myself from the pain in my eyes and brain, as well as the paranoia which using Windows induces in me.

But I feel curiously unsatisfied now. I might have to print out the faces of the above fuckers, find some bricks and some mannequins. Alternatively, perhaps I shall console myself by nominating Prodicus and PigDogFucker...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 03:13:00 am


Gordo is... #2

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 02:42:00 am

Guido has posted a landscape version of the All Trick, No Treat poster. This tenuous pretext has given me the only excuse I need to build on the last effort and shamelessly pinch Vindico's suggested slogan (click image for larger version)...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 02:42:00 am


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 02:15:00 am

I wanted to comment on this abomination some time ago, but the moment has passed and I now only have one thing to say.

1984 IS A WARNING NOT A FUCKING INSTRUCTION MANUAL, you hideous, grinning, ginger midget.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 02:15:00 am


It's a bouncing baby Bance!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 12:25:00 am

A email correspondant has emailed me with an interesting connection. In terms of documenting it, I can find (so far) that as of July 2007, Antonia Bance was still "policy and communications manager for UK Poverty and Oxfam" which is, I think you will agree, very lovely indeed.

In late September, Antonia wrote the following on her blog. [Emphasis mine.]
Finally, I think I’ve moved a bit politically, and my allegiance to the party has hardened, meaning that I am both less likely to criticise the government’s actions (particularly since Brown took over) and more likely to self-censor when I want to shout about how wrong they are. Hey ho.

Hey ho, indeed. It's good to know that whatever the NuLabour government does, the policy and communications manager for UK Poverty and Oxfam won't be too inclined to criticise them.

Which is, I guess, a good thing since, in 2006, the UK government funded Oxfam, through the DFID, to the tune of £11.2 million (other UK Agencies, whatever they might be, donated £2.4 million).

Trebles all round!

UPDATE: this is slightly off-topic, but looking through Oxfam's 2006 filed accounts [PDF], I am interested to note (p49 of the document, p48 of the PDF) that Oxfam Great Britain appears to be registered in South Africa.

Click for larger
Does anyone know why that should be?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/31/2007 12:25:00 am


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MSM phrases that fuck me off

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 11:48:00 pm

There are certain phrases currently in use that really grip my shit. So, here's an open letter to the wank-stains of the MSM.
Dear Wank-stains of the MSM and especially the BBC,

I think that it is lovely—now that NuLabour has given you permission—that you have finally had the balls to run major reports on immigration. However, could I point out that the only people "questioning whether or not the government has lost control of our borders" are stupid, ignorant fuckwits, much like yourselves.

Of course the government has not "lost control of our borders". It quite deliberately gave away control of our borders when it signed up to the EU.

So, I wonder if you'd mind getting a fucking grip, please?

Regards,

Your Humble Devil
Hell Towers
Brixton

On a similar subject, you have got to love this quote from David Davis.
"Immigration policy has been out of control for a decade and, if you can't count migration, you certainly can't control it."

As Timmy has repeatedly pointed out, you cannot control it no matter whether you know the fucking figures or not.
As has been noted here before the only one of the four types of immigration that the UK really controls is family reunification. Intra EU movements cannot be stopped, asylum is ruled by UN agreements and extra EU economic migration is about to become subject to the new EU "blue cards".

So anyone who wants to seriously change the amount of immigration needs to state that we have to be outside the EU for this to happen. That would be the adult debate…we’d like to change this situation but we don’t actually have the power to do so. So how do we reclaim it?

I’m, as most will know, in favour of the free movement of labour, so I’m not actually advocating that we do change the immigration rules. Just pointing out that it’s all very well to talk about it, but if you don’t actually have the power to change it, then that’s all it is, talk.

Absolutely correct. And, as Trixy keeps pointing out, if the Tories are not in favour of all this immigration, then maybe they should have instructed their MEPs to vote against it.

Just a thought...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 11:48:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 11:41:00 pm

As an addendum to the Royals debate, could those of you who still say that the Royal Family are German also be good enough to point out that you think that none of this lot are not British either, please?

You know, just so that we can see that you are consistent in your views...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 11:41:00 pm


Coronation or coronary

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 10:16:00 pm

The more that I think about it, the more I like my solution to the monarchy question.
So, here's an idea: let us make the monarch the guardian of the Constitution. The manrchy shall carry on as they are now—ambassadors and figureheads—but with this proviso: the monarch is required not to give Royal Assent to any law that contravenes those rights laid out in Magna Carta Libertatum and the Bill of Rights—and a modified Act of Settlement which will lay out the measures outlined below.

If the monarch should do so, they will trigger an immediate referendum after which, should they lose, the monarch will be dethroned and replaced with the next in line to the throne. At the same time, any Bills given Royal Assent in the current and previous Parliamentary session shall be declared null and void, must be re-presented and the whole saga gone through again.

That should provide adequate punishment for both monarch and Parliament for attempting to fuck over the people, and keep Parliament so tied up that they cannot do a fucking thing. And that can only be to the good.

Before I proceed with the rest of this post, however, my sparring partner in this particular joust has put up the first part of his retort, highlighting the fact that much of the Magna Carta Libertatum has been rendered irrelevent or been superceded. He is, of course, correct.

In a way, it hardly matters what we base our rights on, although I would say that Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights are good places to start: it is my (off-the-cuff) proposed mechanism for maintaining our freedoms that I like.
  • My solution provides the strengthened monarchy that I maintained might be a good brake on Parliament.

  • The only way in which the monarchy is strengthened is through binding them to protect the interests of the people.

  • The monarch is required to understand and pay attention to what they are signing.

  • The triggered referendum allows for the people to approve measures—such as liberty restrictions during wartime—to be passed.

  • The referendum also provides a mechanism to remove lazy or tyrannical monarchs.

  • The whole thing puts up massive barriers to the tyranny of the Parliament.

  • It provides a wonderful excuse for our Parliament to tell the EU to fuck the fuck off—"Terribly sorry, Mr Barroso, the monarch wouldn't pass it and you know that we can't bypass the monarch in the same way as we can bypass the people. Bummer, eh?"

What's not to like?

However, it is not just my dislike for tearing down functioning institutions on a point of principle—imposing your principles on others is not a libertarian thing to do; I propose tearing into Parliament because it isn't a functioning institution—that motivates me to retain the monarchy.

Nor is it the distaste when I see that latent class bigotry and fiscal envy that shines through the ideals of so much republican rhetoric—"We will abolish the Royals and give the land back to the people." Do we not now believe in property rights?—that makes me suspicious of their motives.

No, there is at least one positive advantage; especially if we are to leave the EU and make our own way in the world—a measure which any libertarian state must surely undertake. And what is that advantage? Quite simply, community.

We need to rebuild trust and relations with those in the Commonwealth who we sold down the river in 1972. Many of those in the Commonwealth retain the British monarch as head of state and there are some, such as the Australians, who have voted to do so.

To build a loose-knit community of countries which share similar values and ambitions, that are willing to help each other (without, as in the case of the EU, being coerced into doing so), we need a figurehead. The monarchy is already that figurehead and to remove it would be to remove what has bound us together for so many generations. As the Royal Mail found when it rebranded itself Consignia, it is far better to revitalise your brand than attempt to create a new one.

There is another issue: I see many bloggers on the Right, railing against the fact that "Lefties hate Britain" and "Lefties want to abandon British culture" and other such things. Were we libertarians to dash down the monarchy for the sake of our values, would we be any better than those who wish to erase British history for the sake of their own warped socialist values?

No, the retention of the monarchy, altered as described above, is desirable for practical, moral, constitutional and, yes, marketing reasons. To abandon it would be spiteful folly.

UPDATE: Freeborn John has posted the second part of his thesis. He looks at a radical 17th Century group known as the Levellers, ,who issued an Agreement of the People, an extended version of which "was promoted by John Lilburne who hoped to find a middle way between royal despotism and military dictatorship". It is a radical document (for the time) which calls for many of the things that we now take for granted and some that we still do not.
This radical tradition, which failed within a republican movement that was itself to fail, has been claimed by the left. That's actually reasonable. But it's also a reasonable claim for libertarians to make. At least, it is if those libertarians mistrust power and the people who are attracted to it and so seek term limits, if they hold every person to be equal, if they hold that the state and the law must always be subservient to the liberties of the individual so that, for example, nobody should be held without trial.

It's a radical tradition that we need to claim as libertarians. And it derives, fundamentally, from opposition to the idea of a monarch. After all, if every person is equal there can be no monarch.

All people are not equal and they never will be. All may have equal rights under the law, but that is something different and, since the law is a construct of human civilisation, we can permit ourselves to provide an exception which proves the rule.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 10:16:00 pm


A proposed role for the monarchy

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 05:59:00 pm

Ah, the monarchy: a bone of contention for many libertarians. I have explained some of my thinking in a recent post, but there are a few points that I'd like to address.

Peter Risdon has left this comment.
I find these ostensibly libertarian defences of monarchy depressing. If we own ourselves we can't be subjects. If power comes from citizens it can't come from the crown. It's as simple as that.

Perhaps that's why I like the idea of keeping the monarchy; I have met far too many "citizens" to want to give them any power. And, let's face it: I am a posh bastard. I have far more common feeling for the Royal Family than I do to a bunch of scrotes on a Council Estate or, indeed, the bunch of scrotes in government...

You see, I don't want power: I don't want to be able to tell other people what to do. I just want to ensure that no one tells me what to do. We have seen "people power" revolutions and they aren't pretty.

In fact, no libertarian should be interested in wielding power, which is why organising them is so damn difficult. But, for the record, I would much, much rather be the subject of a disinterested monarch than a citizen of a country with an overbearing and interfering government.

From everyone's point of view, we have the worst of both world's right now.
What's more, having the power of a monarch exercised by Parliament means that Parliament has unlimited power, and that's irreconcilable with libertarianism, and also with classical Liberalism, really.

Whereas if a government wields power in the name of the people, it does not have unlimited power? Well, we know that that is bullshit.

Although I could quote Communist Russia and any other numbers of "citizen dictatorships" I don't really need to: I'll simply point at our Parliament. Our government have, effectively, unlimited power because their is no authoritative brake on what they wish to do.

I proposed that those brakes should be a strengthened monarchy and a strengthened House of hereditary peers. Why? Because they work and, fundamentally, I am not interested in wielding power and that some are brought up to do so from birth doesn't bother me.
Monarchy and limited government cannot be combined, they are mutually exclusive.

Again, this is simply not so. You are confusing systematic theory with outcomes.

Look, in the early days of Parliament, the government and the monarch fought like cats and dogs. What was the upshot of this? That the people were left well alone and a good thing too.

I say, bring back a system wherein those in power are so busy trying to make their piss-marks on their own territory that they have no time to interfere in our lives.

And what is a monarch? Effectively, they are the same as an unelected president. Big deal. I don't like our elected government, why the hell am I more likely to like our elected president?

What I like about the hereditary idea is that these people are outside politics. The monarch, for instance, does not need to pander to five-year election cycles or the prevailing majority: this is a feature, not a bug.

Instead, we have exchanged, as RM points out, "the Divine Right of Kings for the Divine Right of The Majority." Or, to put it into modern parlance, the tyranny of the majority.

As I said, my libertarianism is about utility not dogma.

Anyway, Peter continues...
Government needs to be limited by a constitution, not by the arbitrary whim of a strengthened monarchy.

A Constitution does not, as I pointed out before, limit an inimical government. The only reason that it has worked in the US is because the government has made no real effort to ride roughshod over the document.

As I pointed out, where the US government wanted to get around the provisions of the Constitution, they did so: the idea that blacks were not "men" as defined in the Constitution allowed slavery. So why this faith in a piece of paper that was, in any case, drawn up by the Executive?

Documents can be destroyed and Constitutions can be altered and amended with any amount of will. We have seen that for ourselves.

Because, you see, we have a fucking written Constitution in this country: it is made up of a number of separate documents, the principle ones of which are Magna Carta Libertatum ('Great Charter of Freedoms') and the 1689 Bill of Rights.

And what good have these declarations, these laws, done us? None. Because we have a government—or rather, a huge number of governments, of which NuLabour is the worst—that are not interested in maintaining those rights. They can use their majority to ram any damn law they like through Parliament, hence the erosion of our most fundamental rights.

So, here's an idea: let us make the monarch the guardian of the Constitution. The manrchy shall carry on as they are now—ambassadors and figureheads—but with this proviso: the monarch is required not to give Royal Assent to any law that contravenes those rights laid out in Magna Carta Libertatum and the Bill of Rights—and a modified Act of Settlement which will lay out the measures outlined below.

If the monarch should do so, they will trigger an immediate referendum after which, should they lose, the monarch will be dethroned and replaced with the next in line to the throne. At the same time, any Bills given Royal Assent in the current and previous Parliamentary session shall be declared null and void, must be re-presented and the whole saga gone through again.

That should provide adequate punishment for both monarch and Parliament for attempting to fuck over the people, and keep Parliament so tied up that they cannot do a fucking thing. And that can only be to the good.


UPDATE: Peter has left another comment.
DK, the fact that I am a subject is the reason why my freedom of speech has been curtailed, and is being reduced even further.

This is, of course, absolute crap. This is nothing to do with our monarchy: it is because our government has been allowed to ride over our Constitution.

No, one can say that this is only because the monarch has the power to change the Constitution, but they don't actually. Magna Carta bound the monarch as much as anyone else. The entity which is destroying our Constitutional Rights is the same entity which reduced the monarch to the current level of powerlessness: Parliament.

Leave aside the theory of power in this country for the moment, and look at the actualite.

The story of the last few hundred years has been an increasing, and more or less unopposed, power grab by the "People's Parliament": tyrants ruling in the name of some of the people. Their last great power grab was the 1911 Parliament Act, which was then bolstered by the 1949 Parliament Act.

Parliament is the great dictator: Parliament has been the entity that has ensured that it can rule unopposed. Parliament raises taxes and makes the laws. It is the supreme power in the land and it is the only relevent power in the land (at least until the European Union—an organisation even more adept at gathering power than our Parliament—came along).

It is why our political parties are increasingly homogenous and why they are so keen on using measures, such as state funding, to ensure that other parties are hamstrung. Project Parliament Power is complete and so cowed are the people of this country that Parliament could probably declare the abolition of elections tomorrow and there would be barely a stir amongst the pathetic people of this country.

And what would we do about it? March on the streets and wave some banners on a fucking Saturday when the cunts aren't even there? What? Our 1689 right to bear arms has been abolished and the numbers allowed to have guns has been whittled down to a tiny fraction, the very amount of ammunition that they are allowed to store is tightly controlled.

Did the monarch do this? No. It was the tyrants of the House of Commons, the tyrants of the majority. Politicians: hang them all.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 05:59:00 pm


Gordo is...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 05:17:00 pm

Although he has now removed it for some reason, Iain Dale had, on his blog, a new Conservative poster: it had a picture of Gordon and bore the legend,
"All trick, no treat."

(I have a copy saved, but I shall find out why Iain pulled his before I post it.)

However, I like it: it doesn't look like a traditional Tory poster and it inspired me to my own effort...


I think it's a winner...

UPDATE: I shall post the Tory version after 10pm.

UPDATE 2: here it is...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 05:17:00 pm


Hostel Part II: Ugh

Posted by The Nameless Libertarian at 10/30/2007 11:50:00 am

Watched Hostel Part II the other night on DVD. Nasty is not quite the right word to describe that movie. Frankly, nasty does not do it justice. Crude, brutal, misogynistic, misanthropic - but well made enough to make you want to watch to the end.

For those of you who do not know the ever so slightly racist Hostel films, the premise is quite simple (oh, yeah, and spoilers ahead). A group of American tourist head out to the edge of nowhere (actually Eastern Europe) where they are abducted by a group calling themselves Elite Hunting. Elite Hunting are wealthy individuals who pay money to torture and kill other people. And that is pretty much the way the first Hostel film worked – a group of male young Americans being tortured and killed. The second film pretty much follows the same plot, but this time the victims are female. To give you an idea of the extreme imagery of the film – probably the most memorable scene occurs when one of the three female protagonists is hung up, naked, by her feet and pulled into the centre of a room over a bath. Another woman comes in, strips, lies in the bath and slashes at the back of the hanging girl and bathing in her blood. The scene ends with the woman in the bath slashing the throat of the hanging girl. It is probably the very definition of a horror movie. It is fucking horrific.

I’ve heard this sort of film – and other similar torture based productions – referred to as Gorno – a curious (and more than slightly unpleasant) hybrid of gore films and porno flicks. Of course, films that mix death and titillation are nothing new. Cannibal Holocaust sees the “heroes” killing a rainforest dweller in horrific style, before the female in their group is attacked, raped, and then beheaded. The Devils was all about a rather ghastly mix of sex, sadism and death. Crash (the Cronenberg version rather than the Oscar winning one) was all about fucking and dying, albeit in car crashes. And all the slasher movies of the eighties – particularly the Friday the 13th series – sought more and more elaborate ways for an unconvincing masked psychopath to despatch scantily clad teenagers. Gorno may be a new term, but it is nothing new. It refers to a disturbing style of film that mixes death and sex – and that mix has been around in some form or other since motion pictures came into being. And I enjoy the odd slasher movie, and think Cannibal Holocaust is much more intelligent than the title or a brief plot synopsis would indicate. However, Hostel Part II is something very different.

Joss Wheedon, of Buffy and Serenity fame, recently wrote an article condemning a Gorno flick. And part of me wants to agree with his ranting complaints, and part of me wants to find a way to ban this sort of nasty, shitty little film. I don’t think the Hostel films would make someone kill (unless they were already deeply disturbed) but I really wonder about what sort of person would make this sort of film, and what sort of person would enjoy it.

But then I remember that, politically, I am a Libertarian. I advocate freedom of choice So the fact that I find something deeply unpleasant does not mean that everyone else will find it deeply unpleasant. Hell, I find Strictly Come Dancing deeply unpleasant. But the viewing figures would suggest that others do not agree. Let’s not ban this sort of film, let it stand. Some people – judging by the Box Office returns – love this sort of thing. And who the fuck am I to say that what they find entertaining is in wrong and should not be seen?

And another aspect to freedom of choice is that people have a freedom to choose – not just to make the film and to watch the film, but also not to watch the film. So I will never watch Hostel Part II again. My choice. And if you want to watch the film again, well, fuck it, your choice. Eli Roth will get (more) rich off your choice, so fairplay to him for finding a gap in the marketplace that is making a fucking fortune.

The fascinating – and most difficult – part of being a Libertarian is accepting that your view allows other to make both bad (and totally fucking awful) choices. If you start to believe you know what it is the correct choice for other people then you are no better than a multitude of shite politicians, including the total cunt who claims to be our PM.

So Hostel Part II – let anyone who wants to watch it, well, watch it. Can’t understand where you are coming from, but hope you enjoy it.

‘Cos I certainly fucking didn’t.

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Posted by The Nameless Libertarian at 10/30/2007 11:50:00 am


Britblog Roundup #141

Posted by Mr Eugenides at 10/30/2007 09:51:00 am


...is up at Mr Eugenides.

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Posted by Mr Eugenides at 10/30/2007 09:51:00 am


Johann Hari and the Toynbee Conundrum

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 12:47:00 am

In the Devil's lexicon, the Toynbee Conundrum runs as follows: is the eponymous Polly peddling her shit because she's totally fucking ignorant or is she being deliberately mendacious? The wonderful thing about the Toynbee Conundrum is that, whilst Polly is the most egregious example, you can apply it to so many people.

Johann Hari for instance.

I found this particularly stupid article via The Reptile (who contrasted it with Littlejohn) and it's just a massive fucking load of shit.
Back in 2001, I wondered out loud – and in print – if it would take "an environmental 9/11" to finally break the corporate brake that is holding up all action on global warming in America. Since then, New Orleans has drowned, the South-east has dried up so severely the city of Atlanta is nearly out of water, and the skies over California have been turned red by the worst wildfires since records began.

Note how Hari lumps together the hot conditions of this year with the Katrina Hurricane of over two years ago.
More than a thousand people have died, and more than $70bn worth of property has been destroyed. Seeing Americans huddled together in refugee camps is something that no longer shocks us on the nightly news. Yet still the political debate in the US remains stuck far short of the drastic cuts in carbon emissions we need now if we are to stop this Weather of Mass Destruction.

I have only one thing to say: melodramatic horseshit.
The science is clear: these apocalyptic weather-events are unlikely to be freak one-offs. While it's hard to link any single hurricane or vast fire to global warming, Katrina and California's wildfires fit into the wider warming pattern of increasingly freaky weather predicted by climatologists as the world gets warmer.

Professor Tim Flannery, Australia's most distinguished scientist and a leading expert on climate change said: "Americans might feel they're suffering from a whole lot of severe weather at the moment, but look globally and you see exactly the same thing around the world. Anywhere with a Mediterranean climate, such as Greece or Australia or California, is suffering extreme wildfires. Now, why is that happening? The climate is slowly shifting, so that the desert regions adjacent to those Mediterranean areas are starting to expand."

He's not alone. The prestigious journal Science recently published the results of a long study into wildfires – and they found that man-made global warming is driving their new ferocity. Professor Thomas Swetnam of the University of Arizona concluded: "Lots of people think climate change and the ecological responses are 50 to 100 years away. But it's not 50 to 100 years away – it's happening now in forest ecosystems through fire."

Well, this is a lovely theory but it just isn't born out by... well... by the data.

Far from hurricanes being even more frequent and even stronger, the very opposite is happening.

Florida State University’s COAPS (Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies) says that hurricane season 2007, which ends November 30th, is looking well below normal, in fact they are calling it "historic inactivity".

According to COAPS: "Unless a dramatic and perhaps historical flurry of activity occurs in the next 11 weeks (ACE is based on calendar year, not traditional June-November hurricane season), 2007 will rank as a historically inactive Tropical Cyclone year for the entire Northern Hemisphere. During the past 30 years, only 1977, 1981, and 1983 have had less activity to date (Jan-December). For the period of June 1–October 19, 2007, only 1977 experienced LESS tropical cyclone activity."

Oh dear, poor old Johann. Maybe next year will be devastating, eh?

But surely Johann must be right about all this drying out, yes? I mean, the 0.6°C rise over the last century must have made a massive fucking difference, right? Er, no...
So does rising global temperature cause drought?

In the context of what appears to have been a one-degree Fahrenheit rise in mean global temperature since 1900, the observed relationship between temperature and precipitation in North America does not favor the hypothesis.

During the period 1900-2005, precipitation seems to have actually increased in areas above 30 degrees north latitude—including California and the rest of the U.S.—according to the most recent assessment from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This does not mean, of course, that droughts haven't occurred in North America over the last 100 years, but it doesn't support a link between rising global temperature and increased drought.

And, again...
In fact, one almost certain effect of global warming will be an increase in the evaporation rate of the oceans. Megatons more water is put into the sky as temperatures of the air and oceans rise. Presumably, much of this water will fall as rain somewhere, so it would probably be more logical to guess that warming would cause more rain rather than less.
...

In fact, just last week I posted drought maps that showed that while Southern California has had drought conditions over the last year...


...they have had absolutely average rainfall over the last five years and North America has been downright soggy:


Oh, sorry, Johann, better luck next time, eh? Oh, but Johann isn't finished with his hyperbolic fantasies yet; the fat little fuck is on a roll.
The fires will speed up as global warming speeds up. If we hit three degrees centigrade of warming, most models predict the Amazon rainforest itself will dry out and burn up. The most important carbon skink on earth will turn to ash – ensuring the world warms even more.

Really? It's the first that I've heard about it. But that's the think about these MSM columnists: they can simply sit there and write their bullshit and, unlike blogs, never actually link to any sources or evidence.

But is 3ºC warming likely: well, if you utterly ignore the warming rate that we have already seen, it might be, yes.
What we arrive at is a sensitivity of about 1.2 degrees Celsius for a CO2 doubling (where the blue line crosses 560ppm). In other words, we can expect another 0.6ºC increase over the next century, about the same amount we experienced (and most of us failed to notice) over the last century.

But, you are saying, global warming catastrophists get so much higher numbers. Yes they do, with warming as high as 9-10ºC in the next century. In fact, most global warming catastrophists believe the climate sensitivity is at least 3ºC per doubling, and many use estimates as high as 5ºC or 6ºC. Do these numbers make sense? Well, let's draw the same curve for a sensitivity of 3ºC, the low end of the catastrophists' estimates, this time in red:


To get a sensitivity of 3.0ºC, one has to assume that global warming due solely to man's CO2 (nothing else) would have to be 1.5ºC to date (where the red line intersects the current concentration of 380ppm). But no one, not the IPCC or anyone else, believes measured past warming has been anywhere near this high. So to believe the catastrophic man-made global warming case, you have to accept a sensitivity three or more times higher than historical empirical data would support.

So, we are looking at a temperature rise of about 1.2ºC; but what would happen then? That kind of temperature rise could be quite devastating, couldn't it? I mean, we don't know what would happen, do we?

Oh, no, yes, we do, actually. It happened a few hundred years ago, during the Mediaeval Warm Period (roughly the tenth to fourteenth centuries). And was that catastrophic? No. In fact, it was a time of incredible prosperity, when the rising temperatures led to increased crop yields and a population explosion.

(The trouble came when the Little Ice Age kicked in, and the sharp fall in temperatures led to lower crop yields and failed harvests. People starved by the hundreds, by the thousands. We know this because we have documents from the time.)

You will note though, that humans survived and relatively easily too. And with our current massive wealth and thus adaptability, I believe that—if only the ignorant, power-hungry politicians, the corrupt, greedy scientists and the know-nothing lackwit MSM commenters would stop trying to force unnecessary actions upon us—we would barely notice that any shift was happening. After all, the 70s global cooling scare utterly failed to wipe us out (or cause us any real problem at all).

So poor Johann. I would fisk the rest of his article but since it is all predicated on the bullshit that I have just fisked above, there seems little point.

I have done enough, I think, to ask the question: is Johann Hari a lying fat cunt or a ignorant fat cunt?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/30/2007 12:47:00 am


Monday, October 29, 2007

Libertarianism and the monarchy

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 10:42:00 pm

John Trenchard reiterates, once again, his support for a Republic.
As my libertarianism is enormously influenced by Founding Fathers and the American Revolution of 1776, my republicanism is derived from a central premise of those brave men, and that seminal event in history - namely the premise that "All men are created equal under God".

As someone who does not believe in a god, that doesn't really hold for me. Besides, the US hardly stuck to that, although they might argue that their general belief that blacks were not strictly speaking "men" did ensure that they stuck to the letter of the law.

It was, in fact, completely necessary for blacks to be regarded as animals for the Constitution to be consistent with slavery. You see, it isn't enough to simply have a document, and a Constitution does not make men free. One only needs to examine the Constitution of Hussain's Iraq or Stalin's Russia to be amply reminded of this.
This kind of demolishes any idea of the "divine right of Kings" , and thus with it any sort of monarchy.

The divine right of kings was a relatively late addition to the British monarchy; the Norman kings were well aware that they were invaders and not divinely ordered. The concept of divine right was first used by that supreme politician, Henry VII, when he usurped power from Richard III.

In the same way, although the rituals were observed, William of Orange knew perfectly well that he was invited on sufferance. He was not an absolute ruler: he was merely a pawn of Parliament for no real reason other than that of good form.

The English in general are not great fans of upheaval; they have an inherent sense of "good order", if you like. William was invited to invade and then to take the throne, essentially, because to not have a monarch offended the British sensibility.

But from that day forth, the monarch became essentially a tool of Parliament; a nominal brake on its power and a reminder less of a divine ruler than of a single embodiment of the British people. In short, the monarch—who ruled "in the name of the people" as well as god—reminded politicians of whence their power derived.
And yet, when I see Prince Charles meeting up with fascist Islamist thugs like King Abdullah of Saudi, I lurch back into my republicanism and wonder about DK's support of the monarchy.

Why? Do you worry about other people's support for a democracy when our elected leaders will not only meet the King but were the ones who invited him in the first place?

The reason why Prince Charles is meeting the Saudi King should be obvious: the monarchy is no longer a servant of the people, it has become the servant of Parliament.

Prince Charles goes where he is ordered to go and he meets whom he is ordered to meet. The monarchy are not superior to anyone else: they are the slaves of people, Parliament, duty and country.
Then again, I can understand that say 19th century England was quite a libertarian place, with a monarchy. But it also made use of 10 year old coal miners and appalling working conditions for about 80 per cent of the population. So, I'm not sure if we want to return to that.

What? Let me reformat that.
  1. Then again, I can understand that say 19th century England was quite a libertarian place, with a monarchy.

  2. But it also made use of 10 year old coal miners and appalling working conditions for about 80 per cent of the population.

Now that's just fucking silly: proposition one has absolutely fuck all to do with proposition two. 19th Century England was quite libertarian because the government were laissez-faire: they were paid little and were occupied with other things. The monarch had no more real power—other than that which they possessed as a person—than they do now.

Taking on board all of the above, from a libertarian point of view I think that one can, in fact, make an argument for strengthening the monarchy and making it explicit, when they take their oath, that they are always to act in the best interests of the people of Britain.

Were the monarch to refuse to give Royal Asssent to one or two Bills—or even to have the power to force a referendum on sensitive issues—it would, once again, remind those who are elected whose powers it is that they wield. And they will always need reminding.

I support the monarchy for the same reason that I support the hereditary Lords: from a practical point of view. Those who are brought up and dedicate their entire lives to the service of the country are infinitely more experienced and have less grounds for vote-whoring, bribery and corruption than those whom we elect.

I am not precious about status as such; I don't believe that the Royal Family are intrinsically more valuable human beings than I, for I do not believe in a deity. But they are a practical and, indeed, profitable institution.

In fact, the only real libertarian argument that I could construct for abolishing the monarchy—as it stands in this day and age—is from the point of view that they themselves are slaves and deserve to be as free as we would have everyone else be.

You see, although I am a libertarian, I am a consequentialist not an idealist. I do not believe in dogma, I believe in the most practical solution. As far as I am concerned, the monarchy is that practical solution.

And, whenever I doubt it, I look to history; for every USA—that throws off the "shackles" of the monarchy—there is a Communist Russia, a revolutionary France, a Communist China. Remember, we tried a republic in Britain and it didn't suit us (not least because our Lord Protector attempted to set up his own dynasty).

The monarchy serves an admirable function and its retention—and even its strengthening—is desirable from the point of view of utility. Besides, they are fun: everyone likes a little pomp and circumstance from time to time...

For more on this subject, I highly recommend this article at LibertarianUK.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 10:42:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 09:18:00 pm

Via Daring Fireball, PC World have revealed the world's fastest Windows Vista laptop.
The fastest Windows Vista notebook we've tested this year is a Mac. Try that again: The fastest Windows Vista notebook we've tested this year—or for that matter, ever—is a Mac.

Aaaahahahahaha!

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 09:18:00 pm


The Conservative Caliphate

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 08:53:00 pm

His Grace, the Archbishop Cramner, has an excellent post on the Conservative Caliphate Muslim Forum.
The Conservative Muslim Forum, a body established by Michael Howard and supported by David Cameron to advise the Conservatives on Muslim issues, has articulated some of its policy demands. In summary: Iran has a right to nuclear weapons, the Party should cease its support for Israel, a compulsory history curriculum in schools should give ‘full recognition to the massive contribution that Islam has made to the development of Western civilisation’, and preachers who advocate a rejection of democracy and its institutions should not be denied entry into Britain. They even support al-Qaradawi’s message of ‘gay-hate’.

All of these things are utterly unacceptable. Utterly.
By giving Iran nuclear weapons, they facilitate President Ahmadinejad’s desire to ‘wipe Israel off the map’. By juxtaposing Iran and Israel, they suggest moral equivalence, yet one is a democratic nation which recognises the rights of minorities; the other is a barbarous totalitarian theocracy which executes women and children. By allowing them input into the history curriculum, they will be able to brainwash children with the ‘massive contribution’ Islam has made to Western civilisation, when in reality it could be summed up in a few lines (if not two words). By defending Iran, they give succour to Holocaust-deniers. And by advocating the admission of Muslim preachers who wish to destroy British democracy, they fuel the flames of the Islamist agenda and offer them the Conservative brand in support of a totalitarian Shari’a system. The rights and liberties of the British people are inalienable, and the Conservative Party above all parties should stand in their defence.

Do go and read the rest of His Grace's post...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 08:53:00 pm


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 08:17:00 pm

Antonia Bance is once again demonstrating her stupidity and lack of commitment to free speech.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean a right to speak

No, Antonia: that is precisely what it means, you fuckwit.

I shan't bother commenting further as there is nothing I can say about this socialist, box-ticking grab-bag of human-minorities that I haven't said already.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 08:17:00 pm


Collective punishment

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 07:33:00 pm

The Israelis have started reducing fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip.
Israeli fuel sanctions against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip punish an entire population and are unacceptable, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said.

He spoke after Israel began reducing petrol and diesel supplies in line with its declaration last month that the Strip is a hostile entity.

Hamas seized control of the Strip in June from its Palestinian rivals Fatah.

The European Union also voiced concern at the Israeli cuts, calling them "collective punishment".

Ok, let's look at this from a purely simplistic point of view: why has Israel started these cuts?
Rockets are fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel on an almost daily basis. Israel withdrew all its settlements from Gaza in 2005.

Because the Palestinians have been constantly firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. And when we say "Palestinian militants" we mean, in fact, Hamas; the Palestinians elected Hamas and now... well, they got what they voted for.
In a statement read out by a spokesperson, Mr Ban urged Palestinian militants to end indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, which he condemned.

But he also stated his belief that the "punitive measures taken by Israel... harm the well-being of the entire population of the Gaza Strip".

Um... Yeah, I think that's rather the point, isn't it? After all, the Palestinian rocket attacks are designed to "harm the well-being of the entire population" of Israel: I would say that Israel is responding in a very restrained manner, personally.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU commissioner for external relations, said on a visit to Jerusalem she was "very concerned" about the Israeli move though she understood Israel's "distress" over rocket attacks.

"I think collective punishment is never a solution," she said.

Tell that to the Palestinian government militants.

Can I point out that the Palestinian rockets are probably bought with UN and EU money? They've been funnelling money to the Palestinian Authority for many years without the faintest idea of how it's being spent. I mean, for fuck's sake, even the PA don't know how it's being spent...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 07:33:00 pm


Friends of the Earth EU

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 03:42:00 pm

Isn't it odd how timing's work out? This morning, I wrote about Friends of the Earth and their piss-poor propaganda animation, The Exxon Files (the site's back up now); however, I have been meaning to write it for about a week.

Anyway, the gist of the post is that Friends of the Earth Europe accept large amounts of money from the EU, which they then use to... well... lobby the EU. Which is, I think that you will agree, absolutely hilarious.

But it gets better!

An email correspondant has received, not half an hour ago, the following email. [Emphasis mine.]
Dear xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx,

We're currently promoting the Worst EU Lobbying Awards of 2007 and thought you might be interested in giving it a mention in your blog! The aim of the awards is to raise awareness of the influence corporations have on the EU. Voting for the awards (which are presented at a ceremony on Dec 4 in Brussels) is currently open until 27 November.

The awards are organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl and Spinwatch, and expose deceptive, manipulative and unethical lobbying. This year is included a new "Worst Greenwash" category for the company whose advertising is most at odds with the real environmental impacts of its business activities.

Easily digestible and accessible information can be found:

Main public site (for information and voting)
Press release

if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards, Oliver
Oliver Shykles
Researcher/Campaigner
Corporate Europe Observatory
www.corporateeurope.org
De Wittenstraat 25
1052 AK Amsterdam
oshykles@corporateeurope.org

I think that this is fantastic, don't you...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 03:42:00 pm


Mark Mardell: EU are wrong

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 01:56:00 pm

Via The Reptile, I come across this piece by Mark Mardell: one particular piece of idiocy stands out, as Mardell describes our options should the Conservatives hold a post facto referendum that votes against the Lisbon Treaty. [Emphasis mine.]
The options would range from full withdrawal, which would probably mean negotiating 26 new treaties with our ex-partners, to some semi-detached relationship with the EU itself.

Is it too much to ask that a BBC reporter understand the issues on which he is reporting?

Were Britain to withdraw from the EU, the only immediate issue would be that of trade: everything else can be delayed until later. So, would we have to negotiate 26 new treaties?

Er... No.

When countries outside the EU negotiate trade agreements, do they negotiate 26 new treaties? No, they negotiate with the EU and specifically with the EU Trade Commissioner (currently Peter Mandelson) because the EU Commission controls the Trade Policy of the EU member states. That is the whole fucking point!

This will become even less of an issue after the ratification and rendering into law of the Lisbon Treaty, because the EU gains a legal identity. So, trade-wise, negotiation would be with one entity only, not 26.

In fact, the only area in which I believe EU member states will have some autonomy is in foreign policy—it is in a separate document (although the government insists that it is one of the "red lines", I don't believe that it is formally written into this Treaty. Yet).

But, in this case, nothing has changed: we will still negotiate separate treaties with the 26 member states. However, if their foreign policy is being taken over by the EU (which it always will be to a large extent given how much rests on trade deals), then we will only have to negotiate with the EU Foreign Minister Grand High Panjundrum of EU Foreign Negotiation (or whatever it is that they are calling it these days).
Being Norway or Switzerland might prove of great benefit to the UK. But becoming Switzerland or Norway would be painful and a long-drawn-out process.

As I have said, you fucking chimp, it would not be because we would negotiate with one entity only: the EU.

And, whilst being in EFTA would be better than the current bind that we are in, why would we want to join that organisation either? The EU is putting more and more pressure on Switzerland, for instance, to harmonise its tax laws and eradicate its "harmful tax competition"; we want none of that either.

No, we negotiate on our own terms: and those terms are that we have a £9 billion per annum trade deficit with the EU, that we are the world's fifth largest economy and the world's third largest trading economy.

No, negotiating trade with the EU will be no problem: the really hard work will be attempting to reconnect with the rest of the world, especially the countries of the Commonwealth whom we sold down the river in 1972.

Not that I would expect a Beeb reporter to understand any of this: for Mark Mardell, it seems, the federal EU is the only option.

God save us from the petty and ignorant visions of pusillanimous men.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 01:56:00 pm


Rallying around

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 11:42:00 am

Your humble Devil contemplates Mark Wallace's left shoulder, whilst Daddy DK sports his trademark fedora. The photo was taken by Simon Richards of The Freedom Association.

There have been a number of write-ups of the Pro-Referendum Rally, with Helen's being by far the most comprehensive; there is little enough for me to add but, never one to hold back, I shall add my thought anyway.

As with many of these kinds of things, no one really seemed to know what to do. However, we stood about looking, in the main, grimly determined (although some, as both Helen and Prodicus point out, stood around looking like absolute prats). As Helen says, when the speeches began, there was a certain amount of participation.
There was a fair amount of loud cheering, booing, shouting (some appropriate some less so) and heckling, though none so loud as Devil’s Kitchen, who yelled across the crowd to somebody who was heckling Bob Spink for being a Conservative (clearly assuming that he was Ted Heath in disguise): “Shut up you tw*t!” It worked.

Ah, yes, your humble Devil is liable to get a little excitable in these conditions.

The stand out speaker, both for me and for Daddy DK, was Dan Hannan MEP who made absolutely plain what I have been saying for some time: these are not the government's powers to give away—they belong to us, the people of Britain, and we expect them to be returned, intact, at every dissolution of parliament.

He also made the point, which he reiterates, in a spirited column, today, that the British people have allowed their government to get away with all of this; as an aside, it brought to mind V's speech...


You can see some of Hannan's speech, as well as an off-the-cuff tirade from me, in this video.

The best part of the day was meeting the number of bloggers who turned up.
One commenter [on Prodicus's site] says that he went around looking for bloggers and found none. To my certain knowledge (and Devil’s Kitchen will support me) there were several present. It’s just that we do not carry notices on our chests that say “Blogger”. How on earth was the anonymous commenter going to find any bloggers?

Well, he need only have searched for those who were under 70 and not obviously insane. And, in fact, there were a goodly number of bloggers there. I think that about fifteen of us were in the pub before the rally and more like thirty afterwards. Stalwarts that I remember meeting include Ingram Monk, Harry Haddock, Martin Keegan, Roger Thornhill, Steve Green, Vindico, MJW, Thomas Gordon, Charles Pooter and a whole host of others (feel free to add yourself in the comments so I can get a comprehensive list).

Your humble Devil finally staggered home, blotto, at about 10 in the evening (as far as I recall). Despite the disappointing turn-out for the rally itself, I had an excellent day; I would certainly do it again.

The point is that we bloggers are the Enlightened, the informed; we know what is happening and we must continue not only to hammer home the points online, but also show support in the physical world.

Besides, a piss-up with like-minded people is extraordinarily good fun...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 11:42:00 am


Two anecdotes

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 11:20:00 am

A couple of anecdotes have caught my eye. The first comes from Iain Dale and involves one of my favourite people in the country: the unflappable D of E. [Links inserted.]
A great anecdote from a speech by Gerald Howarth MP [Conservative] to the Young Britons' Foundation dinner. He was waiting in line to be received by the Duke of Edinburgh at a defence related event and was rather surprised when the Duke looked him up and down and said to him "What does your party stand for nowadays then?" Unabashed Gerald looked the Duke in the eye and said: "For the defence of the Kingdom, sir". The Duke of Edinburgh, looking doubtful, hit straight back with a single word. "Bollocks".

Quite so. I don't care what John Trenchard thinks: come the revolution, Brenda and the D of E will remain the Heads of my State, damn it!

But, just to point out how right the monarch's consort was, here is another anecdote from Prodicus.
Sir Teddy Taylor was there [at the Referendum Rally].

He told me the Conservative party has decided - 'has decided' - not to hold a referendum post facto if they are returned to power.

I asked him if he was certain beyond any doubt and he said yes.

As I pointed out recently, what do you expect? The Tories are following their usual path of making EUsceptic noises, but actually advancing the cause of The Colleagues when actually in power.

Damn it, if even Tory MEP Dan Hannan can see it...
There is a danger, though, that voters will think that my party is getting in its surrender in advance, preparing now for a sell-out in government. After all, as I have pointed out before, parties traditionally make sceptical noises in opposition, but become pro-Brussels in power, and the Tories have what the police call “previous” on Europe.

... why do I still get commenters protesting that it cannot be true? How many times must I shout that all of them are as bad as each other?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 11:20:00 am


Lazy, scrounging, feckless baby-machines #94

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 10:41:00 am

Your humble Devil would like to introduce you to one of the pearls of Britain: so, please, put your hands together for Alison Goulding.
Scrounger Alison Goulding rakes in thousands of pounds a year of your hard-earned cash - but she still wants MORE.

And she's even praying for one of her EIGHT children to be diagnosed with a serious medical condition so she can carry on freeloading.

Alison - who is five months pregnant - reckons she's been left struggling on the breadline by uncaring benefits chiefs.

Yet her family pocket more than £20,000 a year in handouts, even though none of them has done a day's work this century. They pay NOTHING for their three-bed house, which boasts a new ultra-modern kitchen.

The home is littered with state-of-the-art goodies including FIVE tellies - including a £1,000 widescreen - a hi-fi, Sky TV, two Play-Station 2s and four DVD players.

And their huge garden boasts a full-size trampoline, two sets of swings and FIVE mountain bikes.

But Alison, 38, insists she hasn't got enough to get by.

My heart fucking bleeds, it really does.
Shameless Alison revealed she is jubilant she is pregnant again - despite complaining about the overcrowding at home.

And she insisted it was her "duty" to have child No 9.

She said: "I love giving birth - it's always so quick for me.

"People say I should stop breeding but it's not their business.

No, no, no, Alison: you really haven't got the hang of this, have you? As I pointed out earlier this morning, everyone is in hock to the state. You, however, have run up a rather larger debt than most and, ultimately, since we productive people pay for your benefits, you are effectively in hock to us, the taxpayers.

Therefore, it is precisely our business whether you have more children or not, you fucking bitch. I mean, seriously, have you no shame? I suppose not: shame is not a popular attribute these days; in fact, people like Alison Goulding seem to be utterly unfamiliar with the concept.
Alison also blasted her local Broxtowe Borough Council.

She said: "My sister has nine kids and the council gave her two houses knocked into one.

"Then shemoved to Cornwall and the new council bought a private house for them.

"I don't know why they can't do that here."

Alison also hinted she was losing out to immigrants.

She said: "There were these lovely four-bed houses round the corner but an Asian family got one.

"I'm not racist but...

Oh dear fucking hell: do we know what's coming next? I think we do...
... I think we should look after our own first."

Ian added: "We're definitely not racist - I've got a distant cousin who's black."

Indeed, Ian: and I imagine that many of your best friends are black and, don't tell me, they actively encourage you to call them "nigger" and they laugh uproariously when you tell dodgy racist jokes, yeah? Something like that, is it?

Fucking hellski.
The couple are now considering taking the council to the European Court of Human Rights.

Alison said: "We only want what's fair."

Well, Alison, if it were up to me, you would get absolutely no extra money for having children. Under my preferred system, you and Ian would have a Citizens Basic Income (CBI) of £5,200 per year and that would be your fucking lot.

And I would consider that more than fair, especially since we will have to pay for the education of your massive brood too.
And Alison defended claiming so many handouts by saying: "Even if we could work, we'd be worse off because you have to pay for childcare and rent.

"We just try to make sure we get enough benefits to get by."

If the list of hardware in the house is correct, this is a simple lie. TVs are not a necessity, let alone five of them. Playstations, DVD players, hi-fis and Sky TV are also not necessities. Were I Broxtowe Borough Council, I would be tempted to cut their benefits as those who can afford these luxuries obviously do not need this level of benefits.

But herein lies the crux of the matter, of course. The marginal deduction rates mean that it is cheaper for these two fucks to live on benefits, popping sprogs out left, right and centre, than for them to go out to work. The children are their meal ticket.

The CBI, as I envision it, would replace all other benefits and would only be paid to those over 16. That means that there is no reward or advantage for popping out children. At the same time, you would not lose your CBI if you got a job. But, this system is expensive, even at the minimal levels that I have outlined.

Wat Tyler has been looking at the government figures, especially at Incapacity Benefit, and I recommend that you read his whole post. Amongst other things, he absolutely gives the lie to the idea that there are no jobs out there: it is a lie that was exploded in an excellent comment by Dizzy Thinks.
If we get the indigenous population that can work into work with more stick and less carrot, then it will mean a less fluid job market for immigrants because it will no longer be economically attractive for them to come to Britain.

After all, immigrant labour, as important as it is, only occurs when the market conditions exist to encourage it. Brown has created a job economy reliant on it because he has actively encouraged large sections of the 'born here' population to sit on their backsides, or in the case of the young think they're too good to stack shelves in supermarkets.

We don't have an immigration problem in Britain. We have a benefit system problem. Tackling the cause not the sympton is the way forward.

This is, of course, precisely correct and, with politicos banging on about immigration and yet utterly unable to do anything about it—hamstrung as they are by the EU—now might be a good time to make that connection.

After all, if you believe that immigration is a problem, and we cannot legislate against it, then ensuring that Britain is less attractive to come to from an economic perspective is all that you can do (quite apart from being the free-market solution).

Anyway, back to Wat Tyler's post which is, as usual, chock-full of statistics and, although he ascribes the same problems as I, he proposes a slightly different system.
That's clearly barmy. But more fundamentally, it's barmy to have a welfare system that incentivises people like Alison to stay off work copulating and eating Pop Tarts.

And what life chances will any of her nine kids have? I think we know the answer- at best, they will become the welfare dependents and porch builders of the future; at worst, they will end up inside.

Let's take it as read that there is no magic bullet. But the current welfare system for people of working age is a social and fiscal disaster.

So what to do?

As a minimum, we should abandon the arbitrary and wildly unrealistic definition of poverty as 60% of median income, and revert to the traditional 50%. Nobody would starve at that level and it would hugely increase the relative attractiveness of paid employment. What's more, it would save taxpayers about £50bn pa, or £2 grand pa per British household (see this blog- £50bn equals abolishing Inheritance Tax and slashing 13 pence off the standard rate of Income Tax).

In addition, Frank Field's four key welfare reforms (blogged here) are all worth persuing:
  • welfare benefits to be time limited, as under Clinton's reforms in the US

  • authority over welfare spending to be localised- closer to the coal face (again cf US)

  • incapacity benefit to be decided by local officials, not doctors, but current recipients to retain benefit for a year after finding paid work

  • immigration to be tightly controlled so more jobs can go to current welfare recipients already here

Painless? In the short-term, no. But nobody has come up with a real world alternative. And unless we implement a radical programme along these lines we'll find ourselves dealing with more and more Alisons.

And her kids.

All the way to eternity.

And that, frankly, is not an attractive option. So, whether we go with Tyler's reforms or mine, something must be done—if only for the sake of my blood pressure...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 10:41:00 am


What is a normal climate?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 06:33:00 am

I have been reading Warren Meyer's Climate Skeptic blog since it was launched, and have found it to be clear and concise. Now Warren has released a 50 minute film, What is Normal?—A Critique of Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Theory, which presents a good round-up of the sceptic's position.

What has made people like myself increasingly sceptical about anthropogenic climate change is the inherent unreliability of the data used to measure global temperatures and the way in which those backing AGW apply "corrections".

Although Warren freely admits to having a somewhat weak narrative style, his film is as clear and concise as his writing. He concentrates particularly on the weaknesses in our data sets and the fact that we really do not know what a "normal" climate looks like.

In short, I highly recommend that you watch it.


As I keep saying, we are not going to fry; but our lords and masters are going to ensure that we suffer whatever the truth of the situation...


You can download a higher resolution version over at Climate Skeptic.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 06:33:00 am


Climate Cuttings #13

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 05:11:00 am

So, as a government committee suggests the setting up of an unaccountable body to hold us all to ransom over climate change, your humble Devil brings you Bishop Hill's thirteenth installment in his series documenting "recent developments in the wacky world of climate science."

As usual, do read the whole post but, as per, here is a choice selection.
The sun appears to have entered a period of low activity. This has created much interest among sceptics as it may lead to a period of falling global temperatures.

There has been a certain amount of anecdotal evidence in support of this theory, with early snows in the Alps and unusual migratory patterns among birds, apparently all organised by big oil. An abundant acorn harvest in the US is also said to indicate a harsh winter ahead.

An iceberg was alleged to have been seen off the coast of South Africa.

Yup, that's right: I still don't believe that we are all going to fry. And, believe me, I am not funded by ExxonMobil or, indeed, any other oil company. I fucking wish.

Anyway, you might all remember that global warming was going to deliver ever greater numbers of fantastically powerful hurricanes. No, that hasn't happened either.
Last year, hurricane forecasters predicted a bumper season powered by the horrors of global warming. They were disappointed. In 2007 they tried again, and once more Gaia has failed to go off in a huff. The 2007 is set to be one of the least active seasons for years.

Oh well, maybe next year, eh, guys? You keep on plugging on: you've got to be right sometime...

In the meantime, the very ways in which we measure CO2 and temperature levels from the past are under scrutiny again.
The stripbark pine story continues apace. To recap, the reconstructions of past climate involve using tree ring widths as a proxy for temperature. Most of the alleged increase in twentieth century temperatures in these reconstructions has been traced to stripbark pines - trees where a strip of bark has been removed. These are thought to be unreliable because of a possible CO2 fertilisation effect - ie increased ring widths are due to carbon dioxide rather than temperature. Now, blogger Steve McIntyre has discovered huge discrepancies in the ring widths within the same tree. Essentially the tree compensates for bark stripping by putting on growth on the opposite side of the tree - a confounding effect which seems to have gone unnoticed. It appears though that climate researchers have gone out of their way to use these most unreliable of trees though. We wonder why.

I cannot possibly imagine; after all, these noble scientists wouldn't have... y'know... an agenda or anything, would they?

Still, one thing that is becoming clear is that our efforts to counter AGW might well do far more damage than AGW itself.
Biofuels are in the news. The Adam Smith Institute Blog notes that it takes 1700 kgs of water to produce a gallon of biodiesel. The UN calls biofuels a crime against humanity. Politicians continue promoting them anyway.

No surprises there at all. The UN is a fairly useless organisation but it is quite right to point out that giving over arable land to grow crops to burn when there are thousands of people starving does seem somewhat perverse—evil, even.

But then, we have argued for a long time that the poor and the needy would be the first to be hit by anti-AGW measures. All that we can conclude is that the Western governments, caught up in their hysteria and egged on by dishonest scientists, couldn't give a shit.

Of course, the climate has constantly changed, even before man even existed; as such, researching reasons why this happens is always a useful thing to do.
More evidence has appeared supporting a non-anthropogenic basis for recent climate change. The Earth has become more reflective ("higher albedo") in recent years suggesting that the recent falls in temperature measured by satellites may be due to cloud cover. The interesting thing about this effect is that it is much stronger than that of greenhouse gases, again suggesting that man's impact on climate is small.

No shit, Sherlock.

Finally, we turn to the general economics of climate change.
And lastly, Tim Worstall noted an important fact about recent economic history. The world's economy appears to be following the IPCC's A1 scenario in which everyone is much richer than now, rather than the A2 scenario which assumes lower growth. This latter was the scenario chosen for the Stern report, which can now be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Which is where Timmy consigned it after realising that the whole thing was flawed, the day that it was released.

Don't panic, people; neither we nor our children, nor our children's children are going to fry. But that won't stop the control freaks in government trying to convince you...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 05:11:00 am


In hock to the state

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 04:49:00 am

Following on from my last post, your humble Devil would like to expand on the notion that the entire population are in hock to the state.

Chris Dillow recently wrote a post— on the subject of Kerry Katona's breasts—discussing self-ownership and utilitarianism.
There's a parallel here with policy towards obesity. Self-ownership says individuals have a right to become lard-buckets. Utilitarianism - the costs to the NHS and the ugliness of our streets - requires that they be constrained from doing so.

But Chris misses a rather crucial point: we do not own our own bodies or our own lives and have not done so since at least 1948. How can I say that? Well, think of it like this.

The state is the provider of a service: the National Health Service in this case. Because the state provides and "pays" (through taxes, of course) for this service, it has the power to dictate to the population.

Obesity costs money over and above a "normal" person's treatment. Even if the obese person has private medical insurance, they cannot opt out of the NHS because they are forced to contribute to the NHS through their NICs. And, in fact, because of various laws—an ambulance can only take you to a state A&E, all GPs are employed by the state—no one can opt out of the state-provided system entirely.

In this way, everyone is in debt to the state. And as long as everyone is in debt to the state, the state, fundamentally, has the right to tell the population how to behave. And this debt can never actually be discharged: you are in debt to—and thus subject to the whim of—the state from the moment that you are born until the moment that you die.

And, remember, there is no actual contract to sign (or not sign) so the government can—and does—keep on shifting the terms of this agreement as and when it likes. It's a little like Lando Calrissian's bargain with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back: "This deal just gets worse..."

As such, no one in this country owns their own body; no one in this country owns their own life. Everyone is effectively in hock to the state because you can never, ever opt out of state provision.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 10/29/2007 04:49:00 am


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