Saturday, January 31, 2009

Funny peculiar

(nb. I am not DK)

I see Alcohol Concern have been talking their shite again, bitching about Wetherspoons selling pints for 99p and kissing Liam Donaldson's fat ginger arse.

It's bad enough that we pay for this fake charity through our taxes without seemingly genuine charities syphoning off more money to the cunts, but that is exactly what Comic Relief have been doing. 

And what a waste of money it is. This piss-poor website, for example, cost Comic Relief five grand
In 2004, Comic Relief funded Alcohol Concern and London Drug and Alcohol Network to produce an online toolkit that would help local alcohol leads develop and implement cross cutting local alcohol strategies.

Since Red Nose Day is looming ahead of us like a hideous but unavoidable dose of flu, I thought I might fire off a quick e-mail. 


As a long-time supporter of Comic Relief I was troubled to discover that you donated £60,000 to Alcohol Concern in 2007. This is a state-funded pressure group that is rarely out of the news due to its relentless lobbying for such fun policies as higher taxes and the abolition of happy hour.

I very much resent having to pay for these puritans through my taxes and to think that I might be giving them so much as a brass farthing via Comic Relief is frankly too much too bear.

I hope you can reassure me that you have no plans to finance these people again in 2009 otherwise I will be forced to start donating to your bitter rivals at Children In Need.



PS. It would also be nice if you could refrain from releasing an unfunny novelty record but I suspect that is too much to ask.

I'm not being facetious in describing myself as a long-time supporter. I do genuinely think that Comic Relief do good work but what the fuck are they doing associating with arseholes like Alcohol Concern?

Ironically, Comic Relief only started funding UK charities because a certain section of the Great British pleblic suspected that money given to Africa ends up getting spent on AK-47s and palaces. Well fuck that. If the alternative is giving it to Alcohol bastard Concern, then let's throw them the cash and ask no questions.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kirsty, Elvis and Colonel Sanders

I've taken time off from assisting lycanthropes to translate this post by Vaughan Roderick:

It's hard to believe sometimes that within a few months we will be half way through the third Assembly's term. It doesn't feel like it. Perhaps that's because the coalition talks and Rhodri Morgan's illness meant that months went past after the elections before the 'One Wales' government could start on its real work.

I don't really understand why but recently a few bloggers and journalists have questioned the future of that coalition. They claim that some different coalition could come into being between now and the next election. Perhaps they're feeling nostalgia for that wondrous period of excitement and farce during the summer of 2007! To be honest I don't see why the present government should not continue. There would have to be a serious falling out or one hell of a good reason for either party to break their agreement and turn their backs on their partner.

Nonetheless some still insist that the political climate has changed with the Liberal Democrats having changed leader and with a similar change on the horizon for Labour. There are all kinds of rumours circulating (groundless I think) concerning secret meetings between Kirsty Williams and one would-be Labour leader or another.

Kirsty cut the feet from under such rumours on Tuesday. The only possible candidate she had met was Carwyn Jones, she said, and that accidentally in a KFC restaurant before a game between the Scarlets and the Ospreys. Is it possible that the future of the Welsh government could be decided over a Bargain Bucket and a Viennetta? Hardly.

Those who think Labour and the Liberal Democrats could reach some kind of deal forget an important fact. Due to Karen Sinclair's illness a red-yellow coalition's majority would be an extremely fragile one. Labour has experienced such torture before. Why on earth would a party leading a government with an overwhelming majority choose to put itself back in the situation where every vote depends on Trish Law's whims and Brian Gibbons' ability to press the right button?

From Labour's position a divorce would be painful and dangerous for whoever leads the party. Even Huw Lewis has declared publicly that the party should keep to its word and ensure that the present government serves its full term.

But what about the other partner in this marriage? It's easy enough to argue that Plaid Cymru made the wrong decision by rejecting the rainbow in 2007. If you remember Ieuan Wyn Jones justified his decision to be deputy rather than First Minister by claiming that only a deal with Labour would ensure a referendum before 2011.

Does anyone expect that to happen? I find it easier to believe that Elvis will be discovered working in a chip shop in Treorchy. Nonetheless walking out of the government would be a ruinous blow to Ieuan Wyn Jones' credibility - an admition of a lack of political savvy. As far as I know there are no plans in Plaid Cymru's ranks to change leader and as long as Ieuan Wyn Jones is in charge 'One Wales' is safe.

Kirsty Williams said on Tuesday that she intends to lead her party back into government. I can't see any way for her to do that before the 2011 election.

Posts by Vaughan Roderick are regularly translated and posted on Politics Cymru

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Al Gore's hearing in front of the Senate was not, alas, postponed because of the cold weather after all. Still, the fat windbag's star is waning... But, what's this? Someone even more stupid than Gore!
The creepiest moment of the day at Gore's hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came when Sen. Ben Cardin (D., MD) called, in the context of any new international global warming treaty, for international "support for uniform scientific information so that we all are operating with the same set of facts."

As Tom Nelson points out...
Gulp. Boy, that actual scientific method is really proving inconvenient.

Yes, yes it is. Still, here are some facts for you, Senator Cardin:
  • The world may or may not be warming. Honestly, we don't really know.

  • The world may or may not be warmer than at any time since the last ice age. But, honestly, we don't really know.

  • If there is some warming trend, man may or may not be contributing to it. Honestly, we don't really know.

  • Ah, fuck it—you get the idea...

I hope that helps, Senator...?

I love this consensus we've got going...

We are, of course, constantly being told that the anthropogenic climate science is absolutely settled and that anyone who doubts it is a liar or a madman—in short, a "denier".

And yet, people who know what the fuck they are talking about keep on coming out of the woodwork and gainsaying all of this. Today, via Watt's Up With That, it is James Hansen's former supervisor at NASA who has stated that he does not believe in this load of old crap: EU Referendum provides a comprehensive precis... [Emphasis mine.]
First published by the Senate EPW blog prop. Jame Inhofe, this has it that James Hansen's former NASA supervisor has declared himself a sceptic. Hansen, he says, has "embarrassed NASA" and "was never muzzled", although he should have been.

Our current hero is retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr John S Theon. As Hansen's former supervisor, he joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears. "I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made," Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on 15 January 2009. "I was, in effect, Hansen's supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results."

"Hansen," he says, "was never muzzled even though he violated NASA's official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind's effect on it)." He thus embarrassed NASA "by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress."

Theon is also declaring "climate models are useless." His own belief concerning AGW is that "the models do not realistically simulate the climate system." There are many very important "sub-grid scale processes" that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit.

"Furthermore," he says, "some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it." Theon also charges that these scientists "have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists."

This, he adds, "is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy."

Seriously, the only irrational people on this planet are those who do not seriously doubt the... ah... science behind anthropogenic climate change.

As I have said many times, I and the other eeeeeeevil deniers are going to be proved to be absolutely correct, and those who have whole-heartedly embraced this hokum are not only going to look very stupid but also—having diverted billions from the economies of all nations and restricted growth and technological enhancement in the poorest countries—they are going to have the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings on their consciences.

And when all of this is eventually blown wide open, it will take many years before any scientists are ever taken seriously again. And, given the way that the scientific community has behaved over this issue, that is the very least that they deserve.

What a bunch of cunts...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Server Admin and RouseMedia

Further to the problems with the server, thanks to the genius known as Mike Rouse, MySQL came back up again. It has, alas, since crashed again, but Mike managed to isolate the problem and copy out the old databases.

This disaster is the culmination of a few months of problems and, as such, many of my clients are now being transferred to RouseMedia Ltd.

Unrelated to all of this (apart from the fact that I knew that I had somewhere to place my most demanding clients!), Mike has asked me to act as a non-executive director to RouseMedia Ltd.*

I am delighted to be working with Mike again: we always worked well together, and he and his fellows have some exciting ideas for the company—especially in the area of political campaigning.

Your humble Devil will be acting in a consulting role, and I am looking forward to helping RouseMedia become a runaway success. RouseMedia is a non-partisan, full-service digital media agency with some excellent ideas in the pipeline: should any politicos be reading this blog** and require or desire an online presence, may I urge you to drop a line to RouseMedia...?

* I shall, naturally, restate this interest in any posts mentioning the company.
** Hahahahahahahahaha...

The Iceman Cometh

[Author's Note: I am not the Devil's Kitchen, despite injecting 17.8% more swearwords into every post since 1st January in an attempt to catch up.]

As the planet's climate grows ever warmer and we are bombarded with more and more scare stories - in the past 24 hours alone, we have had polar bears in the Thames, Emperor penguins dying out by the year 2100, and a warning that it is already too late to reverse climate change before the year 3000, for fuck's sake - we can at least console ourselves with the knowledge that the cosmos seems determined to mock the apostles of this new doomsday cult.

Spare a thought, for example, for Al Gore, whose trip to Washington tomorrow to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the "urgent need" to combat global warming (though if it's irreversible, where's the fucking urgency?) is under threat from - yep, you guessed it - a severe winter storm warning in the capital. (h/t to Bishop Hill for that snippet.)

Meanwhile, one resident of Fairbanks, Alaska, Craig Compeau, has grown so weary of waiting for the cold snap to end that he has created a five ton ice sculpture of Gore (which, as Tim Blair rather unkindly notes, is "only slightly heavier than the real thing"). Compeau intends to display the sculpture, in aid of charity, outside a local convenience store throughout February and March or "until it melts".

He also issued a challenge to Gore to visit Tetlin Junction in the Alaskan interior, which this month saw record low temperatures of nearly -80F (-62C). If Gore uses an electric car to make the journey, Compeau says, he will even pay for his room and board. You can't say fairer than that, Al, surely? ("An e-mail message from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner sent to Gore’s official Web site is unreturned as of Monday evening.")

Of course, the beauty of the burgeoning climate change industry is that there are, quite literally, no set of meteorological conditions which cannot be reconciled with their much-vaunted computer models which, as far as I can see, seem to have been programmed by a large room full of coke-addled chimps using the numbers from last week's Thunderball draw. Take last week's shock "new analysis" that Antarctica is, contrary to all previous observations, warming up after all - news faithfully trumpeted by the BBC as the latest nail in the coffin for the "deniers":

The continent of Antarctica is warming up in step with the rest of the world, according to a new analysis.

Scientists say data from satellites and weather stations indicate a warming of about 0.6C over the last 50 years. Writing in the journal Nature, they say the trend is "difficult to explain" without the effect of rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

This overturned previous research which seemed to suggest that the continent had been getting colder over the last few decades. The methodology needs close scrutiny, to put it mildly; in the absence of actual surface weather stations recording warmer temperatures, they've used a computer model to predict what such stations would have recorded, had they actually existed.

How exactly this "proves" anything is somewhat beyond this poor little Greek layman; suffice it to say that I'll bet anyone who trusts computer modelling of weather conditions over direct observation gets soaked at least six times a month. I guess it's true, as Arthur C Clarke once put it, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. How else to explain the way this new study plucks data out of thin air?

Not being a climate change scientist, though, I do not presume to second-guess the methodology at work in these studies, the technicalities of which I can barely begin to comprehend. But I do have a perfectly functioning bullshit detector, and it's doing overtime at the moment. For example, it's no surprise to see that our old friend Michael Mann (the creator of the infamous "hockey stick" graph, not the director of, er, "Heat") was triumphant at the news:

"Contrarians have sometime grabbed on to this idea that the entire continent of Antarctica is cooling, so how could we be talking about global warming," said study co-author Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. "Now we can say: no, it's not true ... It is not bucking the trend."

Which is odd, because as recently as eleven months ago, when the men with white coats and clipboards were still telling us that Antarctica was getting colder, Spencer Weart - Mann's co-blogger at the supposedly authoritative Real Climate Blog - was smoothly insisting that computer models actually predicted - yes, you're on the money again, dear reader - a colder Antarctica:

...we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict... and have predicted for the past quarter century...

Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.

How very convenient. As Roger Pielke Jr notes at Prometheus, the blog of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research:

So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both "consistent with" model projections of global warming. Our foray into the tortured logic of "consistent with" in climate science raises the periennel question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?

Quite. To which I append a second question; has anyone ever worked out how much money is being spunked away on keeping these tens of thousands of scientists, statisticians and polar bear-fuckers in cushy research grants? I'm willing to bet it'd be enough to buy everyone in Bangladesh a rubber dinghy and a pair of swimming trunks, anyway.
Apologies to all those trying to access your humble Devil is having some server problems, i.e. the MySQL seems to be completely fucked; it's crashed and won't come back up again.

We are working on a solution...

Monday, January 26, 2009

They aren't even bothering to pretend anymore...

Raedwald has a thoroughly enraging story up at present.
Have you paid a parking fine recently? Got three points on your licence? Been formally warned by the council for your bin protruding on the footway? (yep, I have had the £1,000 fine threat on the last one) Been suspended from your Sunday football league for rough tackling? (yes, seriously) Congratulations! Your records could soon be added to a pan-European database of subversives.

Really? How? And what the fuck for?
This EU Council decision of 20th January [PDF] on the establishment of a pan-EU 'criminal' database includes the following 'offences':
  • Offences related to waste

  • Unintentional environmental offences

  • Insult of the State, Nation or State symbols

  • Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority

  • Public order offences, breach of the public peace

  • Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy

  • Unintentional damage or destruction of property

  • Offences against migration law—an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • Offences against military obligations—an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • Unauthorised entry or residence

  • Other offences—an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • Other unintentional offences

  • Prohibition from frequenting some places

  • Prohibition from entry to a mass event

  • Placement under electronic surveillance ("fixed or mobile"—e.g., home, car, mobile phone etc)

  • Withdrawal of a hunting / fishing license

  • Prohibition to play certain games/sports

  • Prohibition from national territory

  • Personal obligation—an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)

  • "Fine"—all fines, inc. minor non-criminal offences

We're all going to a totalitarian hell in a handcart. Our politicians, of all stripes and parties, are selling us down the fucking river whilst the British people sleep on.


Fucking. Hell.

Well, what a fucking surprise...

Via Samizdata, I can't say that I find the news that the state is propping up much of the country entirely surprising.
PARTS of the United Kingdom have become so heavily dependent on government spending that the private sector is generating less than a third of the regional economy, a new analysis has found.

The study of “Soviet Britain” has found the government’s share of output and expenditure has now surged to more than 60% in some areas of England and over 70% elsewhere.

In the northeast of England the state is expected to be responsible for 66.4% of the economy this year, up from 58.7% when a similar study was carried out four years ago. When Labour came to power, the figure was 53.8%.

Across the whole of the UK, 49% of the economy will consist of state spending, while in Wales, the figure will be 71.6% – up from 59% in 2004-5. Nowhere in mainland Britain, however, comes close to Northern Ireland, where the state is responsible for 77.6% of spending, despite the supposed resurgence of the economy after the end of the Troubles.

Even in southern England, the government’s share of spending is growing relentlessly. In the southeast, it has gone up from 33% to 36% of the economy in four years.

If I were the Tories, I wouldn't get too complacent about winning the next election: NuLabour has built a massive client electorate. All that they need to do is convince people that the Tories are going to cut public spending massively and people will vote Labour in droves. I am no fan of Cameron and his merry wankers, but the idea of another Labour term fills me with horror.

Fucking hellski...

Sir Humphrey: in the firing line

Speaking of Bishop Hill, I notice that His Ecclesiastical Eminence recently had an article on LabourHome, of all places.
While flicking between channels on the TV today, I came across the evidence given by Lord Birt to the Parliamentary COmmittee on Good Government. This was a bit shocking.

One of the things which he said that struck me was that apparently the Prime Minister (I think he must have been referring to Tony Blair) was all in favour of reforming the drugs laws a few years back, but was unable to do so because of the coalition of civil servants that opposed him. Birt's words were that the civil service just had too much invested in the status quo.

My conclusion was that in essence the elected government of this country was unable to achieve its aims because the civil service did not accept its proposals.

The question then is, who exactly is in charge? Does it actually make no difference at all who the electorate choose as its government? Do we simply get what the civil service wants us to have?

Those of us who were avid fans of Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister would not find the above to be particularly surprising. Fucking irritating, yes: surprising, no.

Might I point out then, that when your humble Devil finally takes his rightful place as Prime Minister (or Grand High Dictator. Whatever) of this currently benighted country, he will make it a personal mission to sack every single Civil Servant in the highest three grades.

All of them will go—without exception. It is intolerable that this country should be ruled by unelected bureaucrats (whether here or in Brussels). And who knows, perhaps that will be an added incentive for all of those who believe that the Civil Service is a job for life...

GISS data: manipulated?

I am a little late with this, but my good friend, Bishop Hill, is rather more adept at consistently tracking the climate change loonies and has raised an interesting post...

As you may know, shrieking climate change priest, James Hansen, is the head of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) and it is his extremely dodgy land record that provides much of the "evidence" for a warming globe.

Obviously, your humble Devil has highlighted many of the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, fabrications and downright lies that have emanated from GISS over the years; however, I am even more happy to bring you a critique of the whole of the GISS data set.
David Stockwell is an Australian statistical expert who has written a book covering, among other things, statistical tests for detecting datasets which have been manipulated in some way. He also has a blog called Niche Modelling which is well worth a visit.

His latest post outlines the results of running one of these fraud-busting tests on NASA GISS's global temperature index, and the results were rather interesting....
RESULT: Significant management detected.

In other words, it is highly probable that the GISS temperature readings have been deliberately tampered with, over and above the inherent problems in the collection of said data.

As more and more of the warmists' articles of faith start to crumble, there are some people who are going to look very stupid. And there are others, like Hansen, who should very probably be prosecuted...

"Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches..."

Lord Taylor of Blackburn: one of the four corrupt Lords named in the article. This man is a despicable shit and should go and hang himself immediately.

Those of us who have observed British politics have long been aware that the House of Commons is utterly corrupt, with MPs funnelling our money into their back pockets, or laundering it through special interest groups. And NuLabour upped the stakes on the sordid cash-for-questions antics of the Tories; from the very beginning—starting with the Ecclestone scandal and carrying on—NuLabour made it plain that it was not just MPs that were for sale, but government policy.

It is then, hardly surprising, that their cronies in the Lords have also been shown to be up for sale.
BARON TRUSCOTT of St James’s took a bite of his teacake before explaining to the two lobbyists in front of him just how much it would cost to hire a peer of the realm.

“Rates vary between £1,000 and £5,000 a day,” he said quietly, his voice almost drowned by the chatter in the House of the Lords dining room. It was a question, he agreed, of getting the right person rather than haggling over the money.

Truscott — a former Labour MEP who was a government minister until 18 months ago — made it clear he had exactly the right credentials.

In the course of their short tea-time conversation he agreed to help them amend a government bill that was harmful to their client, in return for cash. He said he had done similar work before. He said he had intervened on the Energy Bill — a piece of legislation he had been responsible for as a minister only months earlier. His fee was seemingly modest by peers’ standards, but probably not for most people outside the house. He charged £2,000 a day, which would have added up to £72,000 for the three-day-a-month one-year contract he later proposed.

However, he confided to the lobbyists, he had to be a “bit careful” and could not table the amendment himself. “There are ways to do these things, but there is a degree of subtlety . . . work behind the scenes,” he said.

What he didn’t know was that the two lobbyists were both undercover Sunday Times reporters.

As it turns out, four Labour peers—Baron Truscott of St James’s, Lord Taylor of Blackburn, Lord Moonie and (hilariously) Lord Snape—were able to be inveigled into giving away their dirty, little secret. Although, perhaps not so secret...?
Within earshot of Lord Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Lord Lawson, a chancellor of the exchequer under Thatcher, Taylor bellowed: “There’s more business done in here than what’s done in most government offices, or most offices.”

These four Lords are incredibly fucking low: they are just another branch of the legislature who are willing to sell our liberty down the river in order to line their own pockets. They are evil fucking cunts and they should be ejected from the House forthwith. Hopefully, the shame will lead them to do the honourable thing, although I doubt it...

... because it is becoming more and more fucking obvious that not one single individual in our Parliament has the least shred of honour or decency. As Cromwell so eloquently put it...
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

"Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

"Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

These people are cunts and they must be removed. All of them. Our Parliament is corrupt to the core and rotting from the ground up. Our legislators serve no purpose but to enrich themselves and, if it requires them to put the sell us into slavery, then they will happily do so.

This has gone beyond a little light-fingered thieving: this is the selling of policy to corporate interests for money; this is collusion with big business to enslave the nation: this is fascism.

Raze the entire place to the fucking ground and hang every single inhabitant: let there be a bonfire of their vanities. These people are colluding against the people of Britain for their own selfish gain and there is now surely no reason to tolerate this disgusting state of affairs.

It's time to clear out the rot and start again.

UPDATE: of course, it is entirely possible that we should add Lord Barnett to the list of confirmed corrupt bastards.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Troubles with cunts...

Lord Eames and Denis Bradley: evil writ large on human faces. There's no portrait in their attics, the cunts.

As unpleasant and shitty though our government are, there are still organisations that fill me with even more disgust. The sinisterly-named Consultative Group on the Past (why not just go the whole hog and call them The Truth And Reconciliation Commission, eh?) have just booked themselves a place on my list of Truly Unpleasant Piece-of-Shit Groups, with this announcement.
The government is to be asked to pay £12,000 to the families of all those killed during the Troubles - including members of paramilitary groups.

The families of paramilitary victims, members of the security forces and civilians who were killed will all be entitled to the same amount.

The payment is expected to be recommended by the group set up to advise on how to deal with the past.

The Consultative Group on the Past is to publish its report next week.

If the recommendation is accepted by the government, the cost would be an estimated £40m.

The group, co-chaired by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, is expected to say there should be no hierarchy of victims and that everyone should be treated in the same way.

That would mean the family of the IRA Shankill bomber Thomas Begley would receive the same for his death as those of the families of the nine civilians he killed.

Likewise, the families of two UVF members killed while they planted a bomb that also killed three members of the Miami Showband in 1975 will be entitled to the same payment as those of the victims.

You fucking what? Fuck you, Lord Eames, and fuck you too, Denis Bradley. Why the fuck should the families of terrorists get any of my fucking money? I could rant forever about this, but I shall hand you over to the eloquent stylings of the poor, little Greek boy instead...
The most obvious question, of course, is why the hell I should have to pay a brass farthing in compensation for the death of a terrorist. My concern about the growing encroachment of civil liberties, and my opposition to torture, is by now familiar (I hope) to anyone who comes back to this blog a few times; but let it be stated for the record that I carry absolutely no fucking guilt, regret or remorse over the gunning down over the years of all those shaven-headed knuckle-draggers from the UVF, IRA or any of the other acronym-happy arseholes who brought misery to that place for so long.

I'm all for "moving on", but we should never allow ourselves to forget that, with zero due respect whatsoever to Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, there is certainly a "hierarchy of victims" of the Troubles, and the thugs who targeted innocent civilians belong right at the fucking bottom of it. Let them all fester in unmarked graves, every last bigoted one of them.

Quite. Now, perhaps the Consultation on the Real Past (or whatever the fuck they are called) would like to recommend that the families of the Muslim 7/7 bombers should get precisely the same compensation as those of their 50-odd victims? Come on Eames and Bradley: why don't you come to London and propose that measure, you hideous fucking cunts?

Let me spell out a little message for the families of terrorists killed in the Troubles: your men were murdering gangsters, terrorists who thought nothing of drilling holes in people's kneecaps and shooting or exploding innocent people. They were scum and, if you yourselves had any honour, you would have expunged their names from your family trees.

Nor should their actions be in any way justified by the fact that stupid, evil fucking Americans helped to fund your relatives' murderous exploits (I wonder how many continued to do so after 9/11?); but, as my impecunious Athenian friend points out,
... if they're so committed to peace and reconciliation, why not get Sinn Fein to have a whip-round in the dingy republican bars of Boston to compensate the daughters of Erin for all the sons who never came home?

Quite. They shouldn't get a fucking penny of my cash: if the families of these scum want compensation, then I suggest that they turn to those who encouraged their husbands and sons in this murder—the guilty Americans and the fucking Republic of Ireland government.

Fucking hellski...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cunt of the Week: Norman Lamb MP

Following on from the latest load of bollocks about drinking, it seems that The Daily Telegraph has found itself a politico rent-a-gob.
Millions of middle-class drinkers putting health at risk with evening tipple

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats' spokesman on health, said: "These statistics lift the lid on the very serious scale of middle-class alcohol consumption, and the potential health risks that this involves.

"While attention has rightly been on the massive problem of young people binge-drinking, a hidden epidemic among the middle classes has gone unnoticed.

"The Government has continued to massively under-fund alcohol treatment services, meaning this problem has been allowed to continue unabated."

As a Times article reported a couple of years ago, people are not risking their health by drinking more than the government limits—rather the opposite in fact.
Subsequent studies found evidence which suggested that the safety limits should be raised, but they were ignored by a succession of health ministers.

One found that men drinking between 21 and 30 units of alcohol a week had the lowest mortality rate in Britain. Another concluded that a man would have to drink 63 units a week, or a bottle of wine a day, to face the same risk of death as a teetotaller.

Given this fact, Norman Lamb is a patronising cunt who should fuck off and die. I mean, how overwrought is the idea that there is "a hidden epidemic among the middle classes"? And I personally object to the idea that—because I drink more than the entirely arbitrary, made-up "limits" for alcohol consumption—that I should be sent to an "alcohol treatment" centre.

Seriously, what the fuck, Norman? Do you think that people should be sent to alcohol treatment centres because they like a drink in the evening? What's next, you cunt—sending people to sexual addiction centres because they are having more sex than you? Or why not go the whole hog and send people off to the gulags because they have called you a cunt?

For fuck's sake, Norman, you shitting fuck-basket, why don't you fuck off and die?

You cunt.

Rocking that bonus boat

I find the news that Northern Rock staff are to get a 10% bonus to be quite incredible.
Northern Rock triggered a political row last night when it revealed that it was preparing to pay about £9 million in staff bonuses.

The nationalised bank confirmed that almost all its 4,500 employees would receive bonuses worth 10 per cent of annual pay tomorrow. For an average employee, that will amount to about £2,000.

Now, there are a couple of things that annoy me about this. The first is that I thought that we had all agreed that the "bonus culture" was a bad thing? Was the government not condemning it? Indeed, they were essentially laying all the ills of the banking crisis at the feet of said culture.

The second thing that pisses me right off is that, in return for government loans, most banks were stopped from paying any dividends to shareholders. So, now that Northern Rock is paying what are, effectively, dividends to its employees, will it also be paying dividends to shareholders? In fact, will the government be lifting the ban on dividends entirely?*

But it is this utterly hysterical defence of this bonus scheme that gripped my shit. [Emphasis mine.]
Unite, the trade union, defended the payments. “Staff at the bank have worked exceptionally hard in extremely difficult circumstances. They have experienced the loss of friends and colleagues through compulsory redundancy yet have continued working solidly,” it said.

What? That phrasing—"experienced the loss of friends"—that I find a bit insane: it's not like these people are dead, for fuck's sake. Perhaps I should send cards to Northern Rock employees reading "so sorry for your loss".

And these people should be congratulated and rewarded for the fact that, despite their tragic loss, they "have continued working solidly"? Seriously, what the fuck?

Seriously how out of date are Unite (don't answer that)? The reason that Northern Rock employees have carried on "working solidly" is because, if they did not, it would have been them who would have been made redundant.

You see, Unite, that's what happens in the private sector when you are lazy, incompetent and generally shit at your job: you get fired. Now, I know that you union cunts are used to dealing with the public sector but surely you must understand that the rest of the economy—the productive part of it—doesn't work in quite the same way?

Fucking hellski...

* I only ask because I would like to see some return on my now-near-worthless RBS shares. I bought the shares with some of the large profit that I made from Apple, so easy-come, easy-go, I suppose. Even so, it's a little irritating to see £5k reduced to about £100...

Drinking to escape all this hideousness

Via Mark Wadsworth, the BBC—possibly the biggest fake charity of them all—is getting all hot under the collar about drinking (again).
Over a third of adults in Britain drink over the recommended daily amount at least one day a week, figures show.

One day a week? Fuck me: how terrible.

Tell me, o Beeboid, are you still counting even if they drink nothing else during the rest of the week?
Data from the Office for National Statistics for 2007 shows one in five adults consumed more than double the "limit" on their heaviest drinking day.

A separate survey shows awareness of safe drinking limits has increased in the 10 years, but many people are still confused on the exact recommendations.

Well, that is not entirely surprising really.

I am getting tired of pointing this out, you fucking Beeboid shitsticks, but I am going to do so again because you still haven't got it: the drinking limits were made up—a bunch of scientists pulled them out of their arseholes.

So fuck you, you BBC morons: how dare you simply and uncritically publish government statistics as though they had some bearing in fact. Fuck you right in the fucking eye-hole. Are you a reporting organisation or simply the propaganda arm of the NuLabour government? Don't answer that, you fucking socialist bastards.
Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern said: "Today's figures show that while the government is moving in the right direction to tackle the country's high levels of harmful and hazardous drinking, action is long overdue."

Ah, Alcohol Concern... This is, of course, a fake charity:
According to its 2007/08 accounts, Alcohol Concern received £515,000 from the Department of Health. It received just £4,991 in public donations.

Now, there has been some debate as to what constitutes a "fake charity": although, as far as I am concerned, any charity in receipt of any level of government funding is a fake. However, Alcohol Concern's total income was £903,246, meaning that 57% of its funding was from the state—it definitely qualifies as a "fake charity".

Finally, no sensationalist alcohol story would be complete without some bunch of fucking medicos sticking their noses in where they aren't wanted.
Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians said: "While people's awareness of the health risks associated with drinking above the recommended limits is surprisingly good, knowledge of those limits is still poor, despite ten years of concerted work to raise awareness levels.

"It is vital that the government take the next step of introducing mandatory labelling on drinks so that people are in a better position to keep track of their own consumption levels."

The RCP are not, as far as I can see, funded by the state. However, we have met Professor Gilmore before.
Seriously, this collection of prize cunts are becoming even more loathesome than 38.3% of our politicians.

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: "This research shows that binge drinking and hangovers are not just a problem for younger drinkers.

"Many people underestimate the amount of units they are drinking because drinks have been getting stronger, and glasses larger, over the past couple of decades - a small glass of wine can now be two units, and large glasses three to four units.

Look, Gilmore, you stupid cunt, when will you understand that we know that you and your scientific buddies are more than happy to pull figures out of your arses so that you won't look pig-ignorant. No one believes a word you say. So why don't you go suck on a shotgun, you tedious little bastard.

Please note from the above story that Professor Ian Gilmore is not only a member of the RCP but is also "Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance" (a fact that is significantly absent from today's Beeb story).

Now, a quick search of for "Alcohol Health Alliance" throws up such definitely fake charities as Sustain, the Institute for Alcohol Studies and the Alliance House Foundation (formerly the UK Alliance for the Suppression of the Traffic in All Intoxicating Liquors); all of these organisations are heavily funded by the state which means, of course, that the Alcohol Health Alliance is also heavily funded by the state.

As such, Professor Ian Gilmore is a mouthpiece for the government and should probably have his tongue ripped from his lying head before being hanged by his testicles in a tank full of ravenous piranas. The cunt.

Why don't these people just fuck off?

UPDATE: by the way, I thought that anyone who donates to Comic Relief would be relieved and happy to know that you funded Alcohol Concern to the tune of £116,649 in 2008, which is a measly 63% more than the previous year.

Apparently, the money goes towards...
... developing an accredited alcohol training module to support Youth Providers to work more effectively with young people with drink problems. The training module is to be developed and piloted to suit Youth Providers in generic and criminal justice settings and will encompass further support through a dedicated website.

Sounds like fun!

The problem with any modern government

Over at, Ed Balls* Miliband has (finally) launched his latest brainchild: As is entirely routine over at LabourList, "he" has written a stupidly on-message, platitudinous article to accompany it. The goggle-eyed freak.
But eventually the storm clouds will pass. At this point the Labour Party must be ready with a vision of the kind of society we want to see.

And this is, you see, precisely what is wrong with almost all modern governments: the society that you want to see is almost certainly not the same as the one that I want to see. As such, you use the law to force me to comply with your personal vision.

Why the fuck should I? What makes the personal morality of you and your fellow socialists any more valid than mine? What possible moral justification can you have for compelling me to follow your personal mores?

And these questions apply just as much to the Tories and LibDems (or anyone else) as it does to the Labour Party: obviously, these bastards believe that they are superior to the rest of us—that they have a great moral insight and, indeed, a higher moral authority than every other human in this country. Why? What gives them the right to force us to live our lives as dictated by their own personal morals?

The only moral option is to allow people to choose how they want to live—libertarianism is that option. After all, if you want to form a voluntary socialist collective, then—under a libertarian government—you would be free to do so. At the same time, under a libertarian government, I would be free to live my life according to my morals, not yours.

Still, Ed does finish off with yet another hilarious platitude...
... let's build a manifesto that speaks to lives of people throughout this country. Together we can make change happen.

Oh really? Would that be Change That We Can Believe In™, Ed? You tedious fucking cunt, you.

* Whoops! They are both goggle-eyed freaks though.

Hardworking families

It's a point that I've raised before, but the first part of this post by Paul Lockett echoes my sentiments...
Of all the emotive devices and sound bites used by politicians, the abstract “hardworking family” is the one that makes me the most nauseous. It isn’t limited to the UK either, as shown by Obama’s chosen labour secretary, who promised to "improve the opportunities for hardworking families."

We elect politicians to represent all of us, so why do they think it’s acceptable to focus all their attention on “hardworking families.” If it were just the “hardworking” or “families” it would be bad enough, but it seems that you’ve got to tick both boxes before you are worthy of appearing on your representative’s radar.

Quite. Except that it's worse than that: because "families" implies having children too and so that's another box that you need to tick. In fact, if you are single and hardworking, the government pays absolutely no attention to you beyond making sure that you are paying as much tax as possible.

Given that, the line that I take issue with is this one...
Why do families that want to work less and spend more time at home deserve to be ignored?

As far as I can see, most policies aimed at hard-working families are, in fact, policies designed to ensure that they don't have to work so hard. Essentially, if any government announces an initiative to help "hardworking families", then it's time to hang onto your wallet if you are single or an employer.

Because, ultimately, most of these policies involve the politicians deciding that said families should actually do less work and stay at home—to gain the politically mandated "work-life balanace". Paternity leave, maternity leave and the 48 hour week, for instance, are justified under the banner of helping "hardworking families" and it's not the "hardworking families" who are going to pay for them...

And that means that the rest of us pay for them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An unnecessary endeavour?

Today's withdrawal of the statutory instrument to exempt MPs from the FoI Act is good news (and though some have emailed me to congratulate me on having some influence, I suspect that others had more say).
Ministers have shelved plans to exempt MPs' expenses details from the Freedom of Information Act, after the Tories and Lib Dems said they would fight it.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the government had thought it had cross-party agreement but would now "continue to consult on the matter".

Campaigners said it was a victory for "people power" after a web protest.

However, it has rendered obsolete another little project that I threw up last night: a directory of those who have promised to publish their expenses in full—

I still think that the site might have some use as a central directory, but should I change the emphasis?

Opinions welcome...

UPDATE: well, someone has submitted Malcolm Moss (who actually has published his expenses), so maybe I'll keep it going...


... of Tonbridge (where I grew up and no, it's not the same as Tunbridge Wells) is what I am. Why?

Because of the number of otherwise intelligent people who seem happy to defend the corruption of our leaders. There are some thick bastards defending them too, but my impecunious Athenian friend has already fisked Never Trust A Hippy (never a truer word spoken) and so I do not need to waste my 2009 Swearword Allowance on Paulie's deeply pathetic post. Besides, I'm not sure that I would be able to keep my sanity after wading through the non-sequiturs and straw men.

But, I must admit that I am disappointed to see PDF echoing at least one of Paulie's points: this point is that, basically, if the MP does not go on the make, then he will be corrupted by private interests.
Given that the only people in parliament who aren't stupid are on the make, which situation would you prefer: the one where they shaft their allowances until their salary approaches something liveable; or the one where they actually rely on directorships, companies, think-tanks, European institutes, and other people who'll happily reward them in exchange for making public policy that serves the paymasters' interests?

Where to start? First, as I have said before, is it too much to ask that those who would seek to govern our lives are not corrupt? Because, essentially, both Paulie and PDF are asking "would you like our MPs to be corrupt this way or that way?"

I don't want them to be corrupt at all, actually. Were I an MP, I wouldn't fiddle my expenses, and I wouldn't line my pockets in return for making policy. Why?

Because I am not corrupt.

Now, I don't know what happened in the lives of Paulie and PDF that they are so unable to conceive of someone not being on the make, but it is rather sad. I feel for the both of them.

Second, I am very happy that PDF considers more than £61k to be merely "higher than you'd get for cleaning windows with your tongue", but I might venture to suggest that he is, in fact, incredibly privileged. An MP's basic salary is more than twice what I have ever earned and yet I seem to be able to resist the urge to fiddle my expenses. Who'da thunk it?

Third, there is a very basic and repulsive hypocrisy here. Unlike the rest of us, MPs have an exemption from HMRC as regards their costs. Were my employer to offer me a second home, or pay my petrol costs into work, or anything else of that sort, then I would be taxed on it as a benefit in kind: MPs have an exemption from this rule. That is hypocrisy.

If my company does not put in receipts for expenses, HMRC can prosecute. MPs tried to exempt themselves from a requirement that they make of us. That is hypocrisy.

Fourth, we employ these fuckers: were I fiddling my expenses, my boss would be justified in sacking me. He would be justified in doing so, not only because I would be costing the company money, but because I had betrayed a trust. I would have been dishonest. We employ MPs, and so why the living fuck should we put up with our employees fiddling their expenses?

You see, the sad thing about all of this is that Paulie and PDF expect our lords and masters to be on the make, one way or another.

But they expect those evil private companies to buy our MPs instead. Of course, being the libertarian that I am, I am no less hostile to that corruption than any other. But then, as someone or other said, if you give the legislators such power, the first thing that will be for sale is the legislators. Remove almost all of their power, and private companies will not want (or need) to buy their compliance.

As I have said before, there really is only one reason that I would want to thrust myself forward as a potential Parliamentary candidate: to prove that you can be in the House of Commons and not be corrupt, not be bought. I would be the most honest and passionate MP that has ever crossed the threshold of that House.

As you know, a new MP gets to make an inaugural speech. I know what mine would consist of, and Cromwell's succinct rendering of what I would like to say appears below...
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

"Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

"Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone!

"So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"

That Paulie and PDF believe that one would only do the job in order to enrich oneself just shows how debased our political system has become.

Our legislators have been bought, and this practice is now so routine that some people find the idea of an honest MP to be inconceivable.

How very, very sad.

UPDATE: one thing that I would like to add is that, had MPs not so blatantly abused the system, then we would not need to see their expenses. Therefore, we need to treat them like the naughty children that they are: they lied about their homework and so now we are going to check their homework, every night and in minute detail, until they have got into the habit of doing it properly.

And if they still don't do what they are supposed to do, then we shall have to spank them. With a piece of two-by-four. Embedded with rusty nails coated with lemon juice.

Mild crookery? So what?

So, the world economy is collapsing; idiots in the media are giving vague credence to madmen like Jim Rogers (who's failed to notice than on absolutely every metric, the US is more screwed than the UK); unemployment has risen; and generally there is an awful lot of serious stuff worth bothering with.

In the meantime, the main issue for the day for our elected representatives is some nonsensical hair-shirted attempt to ensure that we can all peruse the scanned receipt for every coffee they buy and every taxi they take home.

This is ridiculous petty nonsense of the first order. These people/idiots/crooks [*] are in charge of trillions of pounds worth of our money, and get paid very little: as someone who's been mildly successful at 30ish in the not-financial-services private sector, there's no way in hell I'd take the pay cut, tedium, job insecurity, and utter public crucifixion if you ever do anything human and trivial but irrelevant (cheat on partner, get beaten by hookers, take big lines of coke, etc) of being an MP. Most people I know in a similar situation would never do the job either, for the same reason.

While I accept that abolishing allowances and raising MP salaries to the point where a grown-up with a bit of life experience and who'd been vaguely successful beforehand might consider applying for it would be better, that's not going to happen while idiots who're grumpy about earning fuck all because they deserve fuck all get to choose what happens (this is called 'democracy'). So instead, MP salaries are kept low, and the only people who enter are either pathetically grateful to make anything higher than you'd get for cleaning windows with your tongue, or ropey cheats on the make who realise there's scope to go beyond the official pay through crookery.

Now, MPs actually have a lot of say in what happens in the country. Not as much as they once did, sure, but still a lot. Given that the only people in parliament who aren't stupid are on the make, which situation would you prefer: the one where they shaft their allowances until their salary approaches something liveable; or the one where they actually rely on directorships, companies, think-tanks, European institutes, and other people who'll happily reward them in exchange for making public policy that serves the paymasters' interests?

It's clear that the negative consequences of the MPs who take the second option, given the assorted way that vested interests screw all of us all the time, exceed those of the ones who take maximum allowance. Back of envelope: gbp250k x 650 MPs = gbp163m per year. That's the cost of *one* stupid initiative in one fairly minor department...

So yeah, I don't give a fuck about MP salaries or expenses; if you do you're a moron; and they're a distraction from the real issues that surround government. Like business people, or indeed anyone, they should be held to account for the benefits and costs of their actions. Their wages and expenses are completely irrelevant.

[*] I accept that George Galloway, frinstance, counts under 2 here; Neil Hamilton under 2 and 3...

Inaugural speech

Via Dunhill Monster and Samizdata, I find this rather wonderful Obama inauguration speech generator. Here, for your delectation, is my little effort...
Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech

My fellow Americans, today is a tedious day. You have shown the world that "hope" is not just another word for "toilet", and that "change" is not only something we can believe in again, but something we can actually fake.

Today we celebrate, but let there be no mistake—America faces perverted and adversarial challenges like never before. Our economy is fucked. Americans can barely afford their mortgages, let alone have enough money left over for meths. Our healthcare system is borked. If your heart is sick and you don't have insurance, you might as well call a web designer. And America's image overseas is tarnished like a Essex slut. But swearing together we can right this ship, and set a course for Hell.

Finally, I must thank my frozen family, my desperate campaign volunteers, but most of all, I want to thank atheists for making this historic occasion possible. Of course, I must also thank you, President Bush, for years of molly-coddling the American people. Without your bitter efforts, none of this would have been possible.

This is something of a preview, if you will, of what I will say when I am Grand High Dictator of the World. Or maybe I'll say something more interesting and less platitudinous...

Polly Toynbee: political slut

She's a fickle creature, ain't she? One minute she's lusting after her big Viking warrior, and the next dearest Polly is rejecting him; as far as Brown is concerned, young Polly is blowing hot and cold.

This trend has been particularly noticeable over the last couple of years: could it be that Polly has found herself a fuck-buddy to scratch the itch when Gordon has annoyed her? Yes, she has and yesterday he was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States in an outpouring of hysteria not seen on this planet since that concrete pillar did a number on The World's Most Manipulative Waste of Space™, Princess Diana.

Polly's breathless encomium to the Boy Blunder™ is, even by her standards, gut-wrenchingly gushing. Take this sentence for instance...
But the monumental present danger has summoned forth a man who promises the intellect, character and power of persuasion to match the hour.

Fucking. Hell. The whole article is simplistic in its analysis of the issues and so deeply, deeply embarrassing in its assessment of Obama—a man who has already run into trouble with three of his appointees before he even took on the mantle of the Presidency—that I want to vomit. The whole tenor of the article makes me, an emotionally-stunted public school boy, feel ashamed to be British, frankly.

Nor does Polly's paean appeal to an American email correspondent...
Oh god... Polly yesterday. I feel like the little girl in the Exorcist, projectile-vomiting everywhere.

What the hell is this, too...
It wasn't until Obama was elected on a tax-the-rich ticket...

Was he? What? I must have missed the bit wherein we weren't taxing the rich (and the middle class, and the poor, and anyone who buys or sells stuff, and anyone with a pulse...).

Or maybe on 4 November 2008, the Earth was snatched from its position in the universe by evil, life-hating aliens and relocated in an alternate dimension where Murphy's Law is real instead of just a pessimistic axiom.

Anyway, her piece just goes to prove my contention that everything she writes for public consumption is a massive fucking joke perpetrated on the idiot readers of The Grauniad. I've never been slapped in the face so hard by hyperbole before in my life, and I teach Ovid, for god's sake. I mean, really—
There has never been a day like it for Britain's postwar generations. As that inauguration speech echoes out, the globe itself seems to inhale a mighty, collective intake of breath, frighteningly audacious in its hope.

I thought the speech was tedious, uninspiring, scarily vague and predictably full of terrifying comparatives. Good luck, America: you're fucked.

Because, as Jon Worth points out, if one adapts Obama's speech for a British audience "the words and sentiments could fit a Labour PM quite well." Given the economic record of Labour governments in Britain, and assuming a similar progression under Obama, I'd say that the US will be completely sodding bankrupt by the end of Obama's first term.

Fucking hellski...

Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009

EDM 492—primarily sponsored by Jo Swinson—is now up on the Parliament EDM site.
EDM 492



Swinson, Jo

That this House notes with concern the provisions in the Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 to remove the expenses of hon. Members and Peers from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act; notes that this Order singles out hon. Members and Peers in a special category as the only public officials who will not have to disclose full details of their expenses; further notes the High Court judgement of 16th May 2008 and subsequent reassurances to hon. Members that expenses would be published in full by autumn 2008; further notes with concern the regressive effect of this Order on parliamentary transparency and the detrimental impact it will have on Parliament in the eyes of the public; and calls on Ministers to block or repeal the Order in the interest of hon. Members' and Peers' accountability to members of the public.

Also displayed are the names of the 32 MPs (4.95% of the total) who have so far signed the EDM. Why not have a look and see whether or not your MP is a mendacious, duplicitous, corrupt, thieving cunt?

Mine obviously is...

UPDATE: it seems that Gordo has issued a three-line whip. What?
Gordon Brown is to order Labour MPs to back a controversial plan to exempt details of MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

The prime minister will impose a three-line whip on the vote, raising the prospect of a backbench rebellion.

No 10 said details of expenses would be more open than ever but critics accuse it of a plot to conceal MPs' expenses.

Surely, o you monocular shitbag, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, right? You fucknut.

UPDATE 2: or is Gordon withdrawing the statutory instrument entirely, as Benedict Brogan reports?
The Government has withdrawn the Statutory Instrument that would have exempted MPs from FoI requirements on expenses. Gordon Brown claims that Tories have pulled out of a cross-party deal to introduce the change. The suggestion from No10 is that up until yesterday the Tory and Labour Chief Whips were agreed that the Tories would vote with Labour in favour of the scheme. In effect the accusation is that David Cameron took fright when he realised what that would mean for his stand on transparency. The Tories are expressing mystification, suggesting that there was no deal.

Does anyone—including Bastard Brown—actually know what the fuck is going on?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carswell takes the hint...

Yesterday, I prodded Douglas Carswell over his indignation over the attempts by MPs to conceal their expenses.
Also missing from your post is a promise to publish all of your expenses, regardless of what the FoI law says, on your website. Will you undertake to do this?

Or is this simply another MP urging others to "do as I say, not do as I do"...?

And, as if on cue (surely I flatter myself), Douglas has posted the following on his blog today.
This week the Westminster establishment will try to pass a law that would exempt MPs from the Freedom of Information Act and allow MP expenses to remain secret.

I've had enough of this farce. I decided over the weekend that at the end of this financial year (April 2009), I'll be publishing a detailed breakdown of all the things I've claimed for as an MP over the year. Want to see what I spend on travel or rent? I'm going to put it on-line for all to see.

My colleague, Ben Wallace MP, had the courage to show the way, and I now intend to follow his lead.

Good stuff, Douglas: we look forward to seeing how you've accounted for every penny. What with you and Ben, there's only another 644 of you to go...

UPDATE: Douglas has emailed to inform me that that he only saw my prodding post after he had pledged to publish his expenses. Still, I'd rather take a spontaneously honest MP over a boost your humble Devil's ego...!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Abolition Of Term Limits In The United States

(Note - as this post concerns American politics, I cannot resist saying that I am not now, nor have I ever been, The Devil's Kitchen. Childish, I know; but still fun)
DK's link to Jose Serrano's motion calling for the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, that clause of the Constitution which limits the number of terms a president can serve to two, brings to mind an incident that occurred in October 2008 which, if memory serves, was little remarked upon over here.
With the grotesque insolence of a man accustomed to power, Michael Bloomberg asked New York's city council to abolish the term limits restricting his tenure as Mayor. His rationale for so doing was that he was 'the only man' who could help New York through the financial crisis, and, er, his record in office had been so good, so stunningly brilliant, that he should just be allowed to keep on truckin'. The honourable aldermen, the heirs of George Washington Plunkitt, many of them perhaps conscious that they too would soon be term-limited, actually agreed.
"This is the way of the future. Like Tony Blair, like Gordon Brown, Michael Bloomberg believes that he is so special, a person of such unique talent, that his services cannot be dispensed with, so he will do or say anything to keep power.

If Giuliani could step down after blood had been spilled on the streets, Bloomberg can step down after blood has been spilled on the carpets.

And if anyone thinks that an Obama White House wouldn't seek to abolish term limits for the presidency, they don't have much insight into the sainted one; and he'll have the whopping majorities in both the House and the Senate that he'll need to do it. "
What is shocking about Serrano's motion is that his desire to ensure that the White House becomes Democrat occupied territory, like, forever, is so great that he couldn't even wait for Obama to be sworn in before making his move. Serrano's official biography shows him to be a bit more West Side Story than Babbitt, but it contains the following gem -
"As an appropriator, Serrano has managed to secure millions of dollars in federal funding for his Bronx Congressional District. He has directed funding to countless local initiatives, including environmental projects, improvements to Bronx parks, educational programs for disadvantaged students and displaced workers and funding for various local charitable organizations, whose goals range from providing access to the arts to developing small businesses. "
To use the noun 'appropriator' to describe oneself is revealing. He takes; end of story. By his own admission, Jose Serrano sits in the Congress of the United States in order to hold the taxpayers of Boise, Idaho to ransom so that the Grand Causes of midnight baseball and tarting up the Bronx might be advanced. He might not be enriching himself, but he's still using others' money to get what he wants, which is continual re-election. The ghost of George Washington Plunkitt thus still walks New York City, the Big Apple rotten to its core.
Yet he's not alone. The former Klansman Robert Byrd once remarked that the four best friends West Virginia had ever had were God, Sears Roebuck, Carter's Liver Pills and Robert Byrd. Byrd once also remarked that you could insult his wife all you like, but don't dare touch a dime of the West Virginia roads budget. On January 3 2009, at the age of 91, Robert Byrd became the first person to serve in the US Senate for 50 straight years. His career is a rebuke to Americans who deride the Chinese Communists as a gerontocracy. If Byrd had been term limited out in 1971, then untold billions of dollars would have stayed in the pockets of Americans.
Term limits are a uniquely American political innovation. The 22nd Amendment was passed in order to prevent a repeat of FDR's four terms. Say what you like about him (and many on the American right do), history has shown that, on the whole, FDR was an alright kind of guy who had America's best interests at heart. They might not always have aligned with ours, but that wasn't his problem.
Yet even then it was recognised that the Presidency had mutated into something the drafters of the Constitution never intended it to be - the focus of great power, not a relatively small cog in a small wheel. That was why the 22nd Amendment was enacted. The Founders' worst fears about actually having a president were realised not long after FDR's death, when Truman sidestepped the Constitution altogether in order to enter the Korean War. That he did so with popular support made his actions no less illegal, and showed that the 22nd Amendment had been a very good idea.
The American right has always talked big on term limits, but has never delivered. They have been as corrupted by power and office as surely as the Democrats. The Gingrich Republicans who signed the 'Contract with America' sort of lost their commitment to the idea of giving up power once they got their hands on it - of the 1994 intake of Republican Congressmen, I've been able to find only one, Governor Mark Sanford, who later stood down voluntarily. This is a gunfight with no white hats.
Term limits ensure that fallible individuals cannot become accustomed to holding power. How British history might have been different if we had had them. When the fallible become accustomed to holding power, they develop the insolence and arrogance of Michael Bloomberg.
Serrano de Bergerac might justify what he does by saying it's for 'the people' - if he does, just watch his nose get longer and longer. Yet 'The People' whose spirit is invoked by all megalomaniacs are already represented in the American consitutional model - they are 'We, The People', the source of all temporal American power. He who forgets that, forgets America.
The concentration of power in the hands of a group of individuals with the right to limit entry to their club is an invitation to tyranny. It's now beyond dispute that the British political class has an unshakeable, and profoundly unhealthy, belief in its own exceptionalism - what is extremely disheartening about the actions of Michael Bloomberg and Jose Serrano is that they reveal that despite the best intentions of some of the finest political thinkers the world has ever seen, America has at last developed a political class of its own. Serrano and Bloomberg would feel right at home with their 19th Century homeboy, Elbridge Gerry.
As old Ben Franklin remarked, America was 'a republic, if you can keep it'. He had Jose Serrano in mind.

Pesticide Action Network: another fake charity, and some proposed action

You may have seen that, a few days ago, Euro MPs voted to put strict controls on pesticides.
The European Parliament has voted to tighten rules on pesticide use and ban at least 22 chemicals deemed harmful to human health.

The UK government, the Conservatives and the National Farmers' Union all oppose the new rules, saying they could hit yields and increase food prices.

The rules have not yet been approved by the 27 member states' governments.

The draft law would ban substances that can cause cancer or that can harm human reproduction or hormones.

UK farmers say the law would "seriously threaten" UK food production. It could wipe out the carrot industry and seriously affect many other crops, the National Farmers' Union has warned.

Certain pesticides are particularly useful in Britain to combat diseases associated with wet weather, such as potato blight.

So far, so utterly unsurprising. However, to extol the virtues of this wonderful new measure, the BBC decided to interview a "charity" called Pestercide [sic] Action Network.

And, as his Ecclesiastical Eminence points out, the Pesticide Action Network are funded... by the EU!

Here are their accounts for 2006 [PDF], when they received £240,715 [page 19] from the Commission of the European Communities (a.k.a. the EU Commission).

And here are their accounts for 2007 [PDF] (the latest available), when the Commission of the European Union handed Pesticide Action Network another £240,419 [page 20] of our hard-earned cash.

What a massive fucking surprise that was, eh?


These fake fucking charities are springing up left, right and centre: see a pro-state charity quoted in the MSM and the odds are that the "charity" is, in fact, little more than a QUANGO. This fake charity will derive a large part of their funds—our money—from the government whose measures it is supporting.

I am thoroughly sick of this: there are so many of them. And, whilst various bloggers have highlighted different ones at different times, I think that it would be a splendid idea to establish a central website—an up-to-date, searchable directory of these fake charities—which people can visit to determine easily and quickly which charities are funded with our cash, and by how much.

I have registered the domain and will set up and style a content management system framework over the next week or so. [Almost done: see update.]

This endeavour will be considerably easier if a number of people participate, so if anyone would like to help me to establish and maintain—which will, I believe, be a valuable resource—could they please drop me an email (published in the RSS & Contact Details section of the sidebar) with the title " help".

UPDATE: five hours later, is taking shape. I haven't debugged for Internet Exploder yet, but it should look (and operate) fine in modern browsers, such as Firefox, Safari, etc.

UPDATE 2: RSS feeds now properly validated and run through Feedburner.

An honest MP (possibly)

Via Bishop Hill, it seems that a Liberal Democrat, Jo Swinson, has put forward an EDM against the disgusting idea that MPs' expenses should be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009
Primary Sponsor: Jo Swinson (LD, East Dunbartonshire)

That this House notes with concern the provisions in the Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 to exempt remove the expenses of Members of Parliament and Peers from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act’; notes that this order will single out MPs and Peers in a special category as the only paid public officials who will note have to disclose full details of their expenses; notes with concern the regressive effect of this Order on Parliamentary transparency and the detrimental impact it will have on Parliament in the eyes of the public; calls on Ministers to block or repeal the Order in the interest of MPs’ and Peers’ accountability to members of the public.

Unfortunately, I am unable to verify this EDM, as it does not yet appear on the Parliament EDM website. As such, I am also unable to see who has signed it, but I am sure that Douglas Carswell will be leaping in there with gusto. Eh, Douglas?

As Quaequam blog points out, there is also a letter-writing campaign being launched but it needs to be done very swiftly so, please, send that email...

UPDATE: here's your humble Devil's missive to Keith Hill MP. I'm not sure that it strikes the right note, but never mind (he has, after all, maintained that he will not enter into any more correspondence with me).
Dear Keith Hill,

As you are no doubt aware, a statutory instrument known as Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order will shortly be passing through the House.

As you are also no doubt aware, this instrument will allow MPs and Peers an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act, and thus allow them to hide aspects of their expenses claims.

Naturally, I cannot understand why MPs and Peers should wish to do this for, as numerous Home Secretaries have assured us, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Nevertheless, I imagine that you are as shocked as I at this deliberate attempt to conceal from taxpayers the manner and the matter in which their money is being spent.

As such, I would urge you to sign the EDM—Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009, sponsored by Jo Swinson—which proposes a solid opposition to this statutory instrument.

I am sure that you—as a member of the Labour government which introduced the FoI Act in the first place—place as much value on the transparency of our democracy as I, and I look forward to seeing your name upon the list of signatories.

Yours sincerely,


I couldn't be any more polite now, could I?

President Obama, James "liar" Hansen, and extended terms

According to James Hansen, President Obama only has four years to save the Earth.
Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.

Luckily, James Hansen is a proven liar so we can dismiss his hysterical rantings as the contemptible, rent-seeking bullshit that they so obviously are.

Still, its always worth noting that Obama may not be able to achieve Change That We Can Believe In™ within his first term, or even his second, so (via Counting Cats) your humble Devil is delighted to note that Congressman José Serrano has put forward an eminently sensible piece of legislation. [Emphasis mine.]
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

Your humble Devil notes that Congressman Serrano is, like Obama, a Democrat but he is sure that this has no bearing on the amendment that Congressman Serrano has proposed.

Your humble Devil would also like to point out that it is—"thank god!" as my American friend exclaimed—very difficult to change the US Constitution. Having said that, is it not true that all tiers of the US Executive—Congress, the House of Representatives and the Presidency—are now controlled by the Democrats?*

As such, I am willing to bet that they will have a very good try at it: after all, no measure is too insane when catering for the New Messiah, eh?

Fucking hellski...

* I know little of US politics (and am not massively interested) so I'm willing to be corrected on this.