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Friday, February 27, 2009

The lobbyists fight back

Posted by The Filthy Smoker at 2/27/2009 05:14:00 pm

(nb. I ain't DK)

charity, n. leniency, an act of kindness; tolerance of faults and offences; a foundation or institution for assisting the poor, the sick, or the helpless

It seems that various fake charities have taken umbrage at being called fake charities on fakecharities.org. Taking time out from lobbying the government helping the needy, three of them have decided to 'hit back' in a magazine/website called Charity Finance:
A new website, fakecharities.org, has been created to highlight those charities which receive state funding and which the site’s creator alleges support the government.

Alleging doesn't come into it. 35 charities have been listed so far. Between them they spend £55 million of taxpayers' money. It's an absolute ruddy disgrace.
Charities listed include Age Concern, which is described as "applauding government initiatives with £2m of public money",

They do, and the government gave them £1,954,000 last year (23.3% of all income from donations).
4Children, "a glorified quango",

They are, and the government gave them at least £2,378,257 last year.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), "the original fake charity, formed by the government in 1971".

They are, and they get less than 3% of their income from voluntary donations.
Other charities listed include RSPB, Christian Aid and Stonewall.

Whose combined income from the government was in excess of £38 million last year.
A spokesman for Age Concern denied that accepting money from government inhibits its ability to speak out for older people.

"This has been clearly demonstrated in our recent advocacy work criticising the Government's failure to address increasing fuel poverty and the scandalous state of the social care system."

But should we be forced to pay for your 'advocacy work'? That's the question.

Of course you criticise the government. You criticise them until they do something and when they finally do it you criticise them for not going far enough. That is the modus operandi of all lobbyists, which is why, whenever the government does anything, you can bet your last nugget that some twat from a fake charity will turn up on TV saying "we welcome this move but the government needs to go much further."

The government funds these groups because they help it create a fake compromise while bypassing public opinion. Here's how it works:
  1. The government feels like giving you a good kick in the bollocks.

  2. You don't want to be kicked in the bollocks. You just want to be left alone.

  3. A fake charity turns up wielding some bogus study and demands that you be kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds.

  4. The government conducts a bullshit consultation with some other fake charities and, in the spirit of compromise, concludes that you will be kicked in the bollocks but not pelted with turds.

Result: you get kicked in the bollocks. The government wins.

And if the charity is very good at its job, this will be quickly followed by the fake loophole:
  1. The fake charity produces a study showing that being pelted with turds is not as bad as taking one in the Jacob's. They say that the government is being inconsistent by allowing people to kick you in the plums but not pelt you with turds.

  2. The government agrees and, having set a precedent, it can't be seen to allow one and not the other.

Result: You get kicked in the bollocks and pelted with turds. Democracy has prevailed.
A spokeswoman for the Internet Watch Foundation, which the website argues is using EU funds to encourage state regulation of the internet, said its EU funding is spent on a hotline for the public to report illegal online content.

"Over 75 per cent of our funding comes from the internet industry, as you would expect from a self-regulatory body."

"We don’t fundraise so we’re not a charity in that sense; the decision to apply for charitable status was more about making sure we are accountable."

So they don't fundraise and they don't assist "the poor, the sick, or the helpless". Am I missing something here? Perhaps I'm very old-fashioned but in what way is this 'self-regulatory body' a fucking charity? Is the Press Complaints Commission a charity? Is OFSTED a charity?

DK adds: the Internet Watch Foundation must be absolutely delighted. They registered as a charity in order to be "more accountable" and, sure enough, we are holding them to account. Job done.
A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern said none of its government grant is used on its lobbying activities.

Really? How does that work then? Last year, Alcohol Concern's government grant was £515,000*. Its total income was just over £900,000, of which £517,515 was spent on staffing costs. Clearly then, some—and maybe all—of our money went on salaries for people who are overt lobbyists.

And lobbyists they most certainly are, as they declared in their year-end report:
"Our main focus during 2007/08 was ensuring, through our lobbying, campaigns and media work that national alcohol policy on tax, treatment and advertising reflected international evidence as the benchmark for policy decisions."

So their main focus is on lobbying and their main benefactor is the government, and yet no government money was spent on lobbying. Guess we'll just have to take your word for that, guys.
"There’s no consideration in terms of being critical of government when thinking about funding."

I bet it never crosses your mind.
"We are primarily a lobbying charity…"

Indeed you are. You are a pressure group, and therein lies the whole problem. Why are we being forced to fund a pressure group? Why are we not forced to fund, for instance, the Pro-Life Alliance or the Salt Association? The answer lies, surely, in the fact that the organisations listed on fakecharities.org are, to a man, dedicated to expanding the power of the state, increasing regulation and, in most cases, jacking up taxes.

*DK adds: £115,000 of Alcohol Concern's grant was in restricted funds, i.e. was allocated to a particular project. £400,000 was in unrestricted funds, i.e. can be spent on whatever the fuck they like. In practice, of course, the grants all allow Alcohol Concern to operate and, since the fuckers are "primarily a lobbying charity", then this money is, presumably, primarily spent on... well... lobbying.
"…we don’t really do public awareness, and if the fact that we get a grant mattered to the work we do we wouldn’t be able to do it."

I put it to you, you disingenuous set of bastards, that the grant matters to you a great deal, seeing as how it represents 57% of your income. Or would you prefer to live off the £4,991 that you generated from individual donations last year? Face facts: without the government shovelling money at you, you'd be fucked.

It's funny how the charities that the government funds are always the ones that want to change the law, is it not? You never hear a peep from charities like the RNLI or the Donkey Sanctuary. You don't hear the Cats Protection League demanding a ban on dogs. You don't get the RNLI demanding a tax on dinghies. It's always the fake charities—the ones that no one gives money to—who think they can change the law of the land.

We don't play favourites at fakecharities.org. We agree with some of the charities' aims and disagree with others but their agenda is irrelevant. Some were born fake (e.g. ASH), others had fakeness thrust upon them when they started accepting millions from the government (e.g. Age Concern). Some are respectable charities that do good (e.g. RSPB, The Woodland Trust), others are mean-spirited bottom-feeders specifically created by the state to serve the state (e.g. ASH, Alcohol Concern). What they all have in common is our money, taken without our consent, and as my gracious host has said:
... any charity in receipt of any level of government funding is a fake.

It's bad enough that we have to pay the fat salaries of the avaricious shower of shitehawks who make up the House of Commons without having to support whining pressure groups as well. At least the politicos have to stand for election every four or five years.

Far from being, as the Internet Watch Foundation put it, "accountable" these fake charities are unelected, untouchable and, by and large, unspeakable.

So the third sector parasites can bitch and moan about being called fake charities. We can't come to an agreement on this because we fundamentally disagree on what charity means. They think they have a divine right to snatch our money and squander it on themselves and their own obsessions. We think that real charities rely on money that is freely given and use it to help those less fortunate.

So if they don't like being called fake charities, here's a suggestion. First, have a read of this very sensible proposal, then take a leaf out of the RNLI's book and throw the government's money back in its face.

Age Concern—give us that £2 million back and we'll take you seriously next time you say that being in the pay of the government doesn't compromise your relationship with the government. Maybe once you're truly independent, you might find the balls to admit that Harriet Harman's so-called Equality Bill—which you are currently supporting—is the most vile piece of legislation to be put before Parliament in living memory (y'know, seeing as how it will legalise racial discrimination.)

Internet Watch Foundation—either give us back the £467,000 you've taken from the EU in the last 2 years or give yourself a more appropriate name. The EU Department of Internet Regulation has a certain ring to it.

Alcohol Concern—you're not going to get far on five grand a year, are you? Let's have that £515,000 back and you get on the streets rattling tins. Let's see how many public donations you get when you haven't got the government there to swipe it from us under pain of arrest. I'm sure when you explain that you want to ban happy hour and raise tax on beer, the donations will come flooding in.

And to all readers of The Kitchen, please keep submitting the fake charities, and please give as many details as you can. There is still a long way to go.

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Posted by The Filthy Smoker at 2/27/2009 05:14:00 pm


Dr Angel has flown too close to the sun

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/27/2009 04:59:00 pm

Via the Libertarian Alliance blog, I find this piece of barking insanity in The Daily Mailograph...
Scientists claim they can fight global warming by firing trillions of mirrors into space to deflect the sun's rays forming a 100,000 square mile "sun shade".

According to astronomer Dr Roger Angel, at the University of Arizona, the trillions of mirrors would have to be fired one million miles above the earth using a huge cannon with a barrel of 0.6 miles across.

The gun would pack 100 times the power of conventional weapons and need an exclusion zone of several miles before being fired.

Despite the obvious obstacles—including an estimated $350 trillion (£244trn) price tag for the project—Dr Angel is confident of getting the project off the ground.

If Dr Angel's sun shield is successful he says the mirrors will last 50 years before needing to be replaced.

"What you are talking about is a project which will stop global warming for centuries to come," he said.

No, Dr Angel: if this stupid idea actually worked, what you are talking about is plunging the Earth into a catastrophic ice-age from which it wouldn't recover for at least 50 years. Or rather, the Earth will be absolutely fine: mankind would be wiped out.

You know, all of those great British post-apocalyptic sci-fi writers were right—aided by pig-ignorant, evil politicians, insane scientists will, indeed, destroy us all. The only bit that said writers got wrong was that the apocalypse would be delivered by nuclear weapons.

Fucking hellski...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/27/2009 04:59:00 pm


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Iain Dale: the state should not be bound by law

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/26/2009 10:55:00 pm

Iain Dale seems to have lost his tiny mind today...
What kind of mindset leads to someone authorising an annual pension of £650,000 for a man who has presided over one of the biggest banking failures in British history? And what does it say about Sir Fred Goodwin that he accepted such an outrageous pension? The answer is simple in both cases. It demonstrates that those who led RBS to the brink of failure have learned little from the experience and believe that it's business as usual.

Oh for fuck's sake... Where to start?

First, the pension agreement will have been made previous to the fuck-up, so it's hardly as though RBS haven't learned: it is simply that they respect the law of contract.

It may not have been a very good contract, but the business has to stick to it. Because, you see, that's the way that the law works.

As Timmy says...
Pensions are deferred compensation. This is part of the contract that he signed all those years ago.

It may not have been a very good contract, it might be that we or you or even they wish it had not been signed in the form it was, but it is indeed a contract.

And tearing up contracts, abandoning the rule of law, is really not an action or activity that is going to help us in the future.

Let us imagine that I was an investor in... ooh... let's say, an internet TV station. And let's say that I had agreed to pay Iain a salary of £50,000. OK? Then let's imagine that lots of people had fucked up (not least in failing to realise a revenue stream) and that, having poured a lot of money into the project, I had decided to close it.

Would Iain think it fair that I demand £40,000 of his salary back? Iain might argue that this wasn't in the contract, that his payment was a salary and not performance-related and that, under the terms of the contract, I had no right to demand its repayment.

What should I then do?
Sir Fred Goodwin should be shamed into renouncing this pension, and if he has no shame, then Parliament should act to take it away from him.

Translation: if Goodwin does not act in a way that accords with Iain's personal sympathies, then the state should simply over-turn the law. Essentially, Iain's personal morals should take precedence over contract law.

I have lost a good chunk of money in RBS shares—that is entirely my fault. Whilst I am very flattered that Iain wishes to fight for my honour, personally I am not so stupid as to advocate that we overturn some basic laws so that I can get revenge.

Still, it is nice to see that Iain agrees with Gordon Brown and his badger-faced sock-puppet...
Chancellor Alistair Darling urged failed banking boss Sir Fred Goodwin to give up his £650,000 pension today – threatening legal action if he fails to act voluntarily to end the controversy.

It is, after all, instructive to see how skin-deep the Tories' idea of liberty is, and what little difference there really is between the two main political parties.

And it is a very neat illustration of why personal morals should never be allowed to be involved in the making (or breaking) of laws.

So, grow up, Iain, and try to see the wider picture.

UPDATE: fair play to Iain for publishing an amendment.
I suspect I should have allowed my head to write that blogpost, rather than my heart.

I should make it clear—although fuck knows that I shouldn't need to—that I find The Shred's pension arrangements deeply fucking irritating—especially when his fuck-ups have deprived me of thousands of pounds. However, you cannot tear down the law on a whim, as that oft-quoted passage from A Man For All Seasons so eloquently states.
"What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ... And when the law was down, and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?

This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's, and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"

And the government in question is NuLabour: these fuckers do not need any encouragement to flatten the laws that protect us. For fuck's sake, don't give them any rope, for they won't hang themselves with it—they will hang us...

UPDATE 2: oh, Iain, you shouldn't have (yes, your humble Devil is a vain man and flattery will get you everywhere).

And I'm sure that my alma mater will be simply thrilled to have such a distinguished ambassador. Ahem...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/26/2009 10:55:00 pm


The consensus takes another hit...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/26/2009 10:29:00 pm

This time my attention was drawn to this Register report by a number of email correspondents, and it comes from some Japanese scientists.
Exclusive Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan's native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention. So The Register commissioned a translation of the document - the first to appear in the West in any form. Below you'll find some of the key findings - but first, a summary.
Summary

Three of the five leading scientists contend that recent climate change is driven by natural cycles, not human industrial activity, as political activists argue.

Kanya Kusano is Program Director and Group Leader for the Earth Simulator at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC). He focuses on the immaturity of simulation work cited in support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Using undiplomatic language, Kusano compares them to ancient astrology. After listing many faults, and the IPCC's own conclusion that natural causes of climate are poorly understood, Kusano concludes:

"[The IPCC's] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonic increase, should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis," he writes.

Shunichi Akasofu, head of the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska, has expressed criticism of the theory before. Akasofu uses historical data to challenge the claim that very recent temperatures represent an anomaly:

"We should be cautious, IPCC's theory that atmospheric temperature has risen since 2000 in correspondence with CO2 is nothing but a hypothesis. "

Akasofu calls the post-2000 warming trend hypothetical. His harshest words are reserved for advocates who give conjecture the authority of fact.

"Before anyone noticed, this hypothesis has been substituted for truth... The opinion that great disaster will really happen must be broken."

If you are interested in this, do go and read the whole article: much of it backs up what I—and other sceptics—have been saying for some time now (especially the concerns about the US land temperature record). There is little more that your humble Devil can add to it.

There are, however, bonus points for the first person to spot one of the AGW faithful saying "well, they aren't real scientists, you know"...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/26/2009 10:29:00 pm


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vanity

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 10:52:00 pm

Wow—fame at last! Your humble Devil is mentioned on the BBC website... [Emphasis mine.]
The first, big group are those blogs that are "truly awful". Second are the blogs such as Burning Our Money - which analyses in detail how taxes are spent - which are thoughtful and well written, but only of interest to a small, technically-minded community.

Then there are sites that cater for a more general audience, which operate more like the comment pages in newspapers, giving a forum for debate and finding the most interesting arguments from the more technical blogs.

Finally, there are the "attack blogs" such as Devil's Kitchen, which are out there to snap at the heels of everyone else and fight for a particular political view.

I have to say that I suspect Mister Shane Greer might have had something to do with this, but it's welcome all the same.

It would have been even more welcome had your humble Devil actually got any traffic out of it...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 10:52:00 pm


Bummer

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 12:24:00 pm

For all that your humble Devil believes that he is a shifty, illiberal bastard, your humble Devil sends his condolences to David Cameron and family over the sudden death of their eldest son, Ivan.
Conservative leader David Cameron's eldest son Ivan has died in hospital.

The six-year-old, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, became ill overnight and died at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London.

It's a shitty thing to happen.

That is all.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 12:24:00 pm


Victory!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 02:00:00 am

Just over a week ago, your humble Devil joined in the general opprobrium surrounding the redesign of the Tropicana packaging. It seems that said fruit-juice company has, indeed, back-tracked... [Article may be behind a pay-wall now.]
Also returning will be the longtime Tropicana brand symbol, an orange from which a straw protrudes. The symbol, meant to evoke fresh taste, had been supplanted on the new packages by a glass of orange juice.

The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamored for a return of the original look.

Some of those commenting described the new packaging as “ugly” or “stupid,” and resembling “a generic bargain brand” or a “store brand.”

“Do any of these package-design people actually shop for orange juice?” the writer of one e-mail message asked rhetorically. “Because I do, and the new cartons stink.”

Others described the redesign as making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana or differentiate Tropicana from other orange juices.

Such attention is becoming increasingly common as interactive technologies enable consumers to rapidly convey opinions to marketers.

It was bad branding, and Tropicana has seen sense. It seems that some corporations do have their tuners set to "receive" after all: good for them.

If only our elected representatives could do the same...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 02:00:00 am


David Semple: an arrogant, weapons-grade cock-end

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 01:13:00 am

This article by David Semple is absolutely disgusting in its blinkered arrogance.

I did contemplate fisking the fucker, but Bishop Hill has done such a fine job that any effort by your humble Devil seems superfluous. Here's a sample...
Collectively, as a society, we have a responsibility to our children - who are not the property of their parents and shouldn’t be treated as such.

And they are the property of "society" are they? You clearly think so. But if you took the trouble to check it out, you would find that children are legally the responsibility of parents. This is why it is not possible to sue the state when your teenagers take to drugs. Are you advocating that this should be possible? Of course not. When you say that children are the "responsibility of society" you don't mean anything of the sort. You are simply demanding a right to indoctrinate them to your personal preferences while avoiding any actual responsibility. It's the same as every other time you deal with the state—interfering busybodies get to tell you what to do but take no responsibility for the outcome. Teachers are not responsible for delivering a shitty education, child welfare officers are not responsible when children die. As soon as the state starts ruining the lives of home educated children they will not be responsible for that either.

Do go and have a read; amongst other things, His Ecclesiastical Eminence manages to link to actual evidence which David Semple—for all his wittering on about "the scientific method, skepticism [sic] and all forms of rational argument and the examination of evidence"—seems unable to cite. The cunt.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 01:13:00 am


An American libertarian on LPUK

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 12:39:00 am

I have been meaning to post this for a while, but I was rather pleased by this comment on the LPUK manifesto from an American libertarian.
It places great emphasis on the Rule of Law.

What I particularly enjoyed about the UK Libertarian's manifesto was that after reading it, I understood the libertarian philosophical goals they hope to achieved, as well as the practical approach to advance the British government towards that goal.

It mixed well the practical and philosophical. Perhaps its American cousins in the United States Libertarian Party should take note of it.

Good: I am glad that this gentleman has understood the fine line that we have tried to tread between practicality and philosophy in said manifesto.

It's not perfect just yet but we—that is, all of the party members—are constantly revising and refining it through discussion in our members' forums.

And, as The Nameless Libertarian points out, LPUK is aiming—from the start—to be less corrupt and dictatorial than the scum that we currently have to choose from.
If you are sick of these people - and surely to fuck everyone must have had their fill by now - then there is another way. It is the party that I am a member of, and have just renewed my membership of. LPUK. Go take a look.

There will be vain members of LPUK, and (if the party ever reaches a place of political power in this country) probably some greedy and corrupt members as well. But this is a party set up to fight corruption and greed within this country, and is also a party that sees you as in control of your own destiny rather than a raving egotist preening themselves in the House of Commons. It is your choice, but we don't have to stick with the status quo. There is an alternative. Get the right type of person into power by not voting for the wrong type of person.

Don't support the status quo.

Quite. Besides, I quite like the idea of someone introducing "the British Prime Minister, His Satanic Majesty—The Devil". But then I am a vain man. But honest...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 12:39:00 am


Immigration spelt out

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 12:21:00 am

You might remember that your humble Devil wrote a somewhat enraged and bitter post about Bella Gerens' loss of her job owing to the ridiculous and effectively retrospective points system. Why the fuck, I opined, are we chucking out talented, useful people whilst letting the scum of the EU in?

Well, it is apparently British government policy, as Obnoxio points out...
Just when you think the fucking idiots couldn't get any more fucking idiotic, they fucking do:
The number of highly skilled migrants coming to Britain from outside the European Union will be cut in half from next year after a tightening of entry requirements, the Home Secretary said today.

Damn, blast and bloody fuck, but you're a stupid cunt. We don't want to stop highly fucking skilled migrants from coming in. We want to stop useless oxygen thieves and dole-scrounging bastards from coming in.

Quite. And I rather favour Obnoxio's solution too...
Look, it's very fucking simple, you stupid pig-faced whore: no dole for immigrants until they've contributed tax for four years. No child support, no fucking nothing. Four years of actual tax paying over whatever elapsed period.

But, as our clownish friend also says, we can't because of the EU.

Well, that's not actually entirely true. The EU laws merely say that we cannot favour our own citizens over EU citizens, so there is a very simple solution that would solve a good many of our homegrown problems. Can you guess what it is, children?

Yes, that's right: no one in this country, at all, can get any kind of benefits—no dole, no child support, (most importantly) no housing benefit, no fucking nothing—until they have contributed tax for four years. And then, of course, limit the amount of time that anyone can claim benefits for.

You will then find that job vacancies fill up reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaal quick; as an entirely intended bonus (for those that worry about such things) we won't have the migrant problem because there will be no jobs for them, and no benefits, and thus no means of making a living.

The market, you see, solves the problem: you just have to remove the distortions.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/25/2009 12:21:00 am


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For fuck's sake...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/24/2009 11:43:00 pm

Via Obnoxio, it seems that 30% of British people would still vote Labour.

You know what this means, of course?

It means that 30% of the British public are so fucking stupid, ignorant and unimgainative that they deserve nothing better than to be pushed of the white cliffs of Dover with a high-current cattle-prod.

Over the course of nearly twelve years, the NuLabour government has destroyed many of our ancient liberties, ridden roughshod over our privacy, pried into our private lives in unprecedented ways, and soon intends to tag and track every one of us; it has torn down the constitution, displayed utter contempt for Parliamentary democracy, flouted international law and passed a deeply illiberal Enabling Act; it has put in place the highest peace-time tax burden in British history, encouraged reckless borrowing, put in place a regulatory system that has helped to bring the economy to its knees, and pissed away hundreds of billions of pounds of our money in a multitude of pointless and corrupt ways.

What the fuck do they have to do that these morons wouldn't vote for them? Seriously: what the FUCK?

And people wonder why I'm no fan of democracy...

UPDATE: a friend has pointed out that I really answered my own question in a post a while back. What would stop The Idiots voting for The Cunts?
... the politician will have to have been caught fucking a kid whilst stuffing special interest money up his own backside for that to happen.

But this wouldn't actually work, for The Cunt in question would simply be deselected in favour of another talentless, money-grubbing, illiberal Cunt; just slap a red rosette on The New Cunt and these moronic, tribalistic arseholes would still vote for it.

After all, how else could Harridan Harperson possibly have got elected?

Quod erat demonstrandum.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/24/2009 11:43:00 pm


Monday, February 23, 2009

MEPs and their big, fat perks

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/23/2009 12:25:00 am

The Taxpayer's Alliance have a new report out on MEP expenses. The first part consists of the Galvin Report into MEP corruption, which was kept in a locked room and only allowed to be read by a few select EU personnel.

You won't find the following on the above link, but it appears in the press release circulated this evening...
The Galvin Report, named after Robert Galvin, the Internal Audit Official whose name is on its front cover, was written at the end of 2006 as an audit of the expenses and allowances claimed by a sample of more than 160 MEPs. The existence of the report was kept secret until February 2008 when news of its existence was made public by Chris Davies MEP. Even then, its contents remained secret and a select group of MEPs were only allowed to read the report individually in a locked and guarded room. Now published for the first time by the TaxPayers' Alliance, its findings include:
  • Serious and repeated anomalies in payments for office assistance and services, including money being paid to seemingly irrelevant firms (including a creche and a company engaged in "the trading of wood"), and to companies which on further investigation did not exist, were untraceable or had registered no financial activity in their accounts. Some MEPs were found to be paying out their full assistance allowances, but had no assistants accredited or registered with the Parliament.

  • A culture of huge "bonuses" being paid to staff members or handling firms at the end of the financial year, ranging from 3 times to 19 and a half times the employees' monthly salaries. Large "layoff" payments were also made to MEPs' staff without justification being provided.

  • Loose rules which allow payments to be made without invoicing, and only require bills to be provided 12 months after payment. The audit found that less than 5% of audited accounts actually submitted the required documentation by that 12 month deadline.

  • Widespread failure to comply with tax, company and social security laws. 79% of transactions that should have been subject to VAT displayed no evidence of either VAT payment or exemption. 83% of the companies through which MEPs paid their allowances for office services failed in their legal obligation to register with the Belgian national company database. 90% of contracts for self-employed staff had no evidence of legally required social security payments being made. 26% of assistants and 64% of paying agent firms used to employee staff displayed no evidence of social security payments being made.

  • Evidence of MEPs using their allowances and expenses to bankroll their political parties is also revealed. Many MEPs make set monthly payments to their own political party for secretarial support, but receive varying numbers of staff in return, which raises questions over whether the payments are really simply donations. Some MEPs are found to be claiming for projects such as web sites that are actually promoting their political party rather than their work as an MEP.

Given the amount that our MPs defraud the taxpayer, these revelations about MEPs—whom we have always suspected of living high on the hog far in excess of their national counterparts (and that's saying something)—are hardly surprising.

Depressing?—yes. Appalling?—yes. Surprising?—absolutely not.

And on to the second part of the TPA report, which discusses the vast pay rise which MEPs can expect after the next Euro-elections.
How an MEP can become a millionaire, and their planned 47% pay rise

New research for the TaxPayers' Alliance and The Great European Rip-Off reveals that MEPs stand to get a 47% increase in their take home pay this year. Through a combination of increasing pay levels, a new lower tax rate for all EU officials and the plunging value of the Pound to the Euro, politicians in Brussels will see their pay rise hugely despite the rising unemployment being suffered by their consituents. As well as their soaring pay, the new book demonstrates that over and above their salaries an MEP can personally earn a further £1 million during a typical Parliamentary term through their generous allowances and expenses. The research note can be read here [PDF].

Key Findings:
  • After the European Elections in June 2009, British MEPs stand to get a 47% increase in their take home pay. MEPs currently earn the same as a Westminster MP, £63,291, on which they pay British income tax of 26%, leaving them £46,835 in take home pay. Three crucial changes in their pay arragements will increase their salaries sizeably:

    1. After June, all MEPs will move to a new, standardised salary of €91,980—at 2008 exchange rates, that is a pay rise of 16% to £73,584.

    2. At the same time, they will cease to pay British income tax and will instead pay a new, reduced EU tax of only 15%, boosting their take home pay to €78,183. At 2008 exchange rates that means their after-tax pay will increase from £46,835 to £62,546—a 33% rise.

    3. The new MEPs' salary will be paid in Euros, which have gained greatly in value against Sterling since 2008. If exchange rates stay at around €1:88p, then MEPs will gain a further increase in take-home pay to £68,801. Going from earning £46,835 in take home pay currently to £68,801 under the new arrangements is a 47 per cent rise.

  • It has been calculated that due to the generosity and laxity of the MEPs' allowances, expenses and pensions system, it is possible for an MEP to personally save enough money to become a millionaire over their 5-year term.


I think that it is time for a rallying cry and, as they go, I think that one of my bus slogans was rather good...
Our leaders are corrupt, useless cunts.
We are losing our jobs: it is time that they lost theirs.

Am I the only one sick to fucking death of these talentless fuckers dipping into our pockets the whole time? Surely not.

When is the revolution?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/23/2009 12:25:00 am


Yet more troughing from our MPs...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/23/2009 12:14:00 am

... and via Guido's Sunday Sleaze Roundup: yes, they are, indeed, all at it. First up are more revelations about Darling and three other Scottish MPs.
It has now emerged that Darling, Reid, McAvoy and Kennedy are claiming the second home perk while at the same time acting as landlords on properties in the capital.

Darling, who lives in Downing Street rent-free and bills the public for staying in his Edinburgh home, also owns a flat in London with his wife Maggie. His entry in the MP's Register of Members' Interests states the flat is "presently let", but no rental is declared.

He is also entitled to use Dorneywood, a 21-bedroom grace-and-favour mansion in Buckinghamshire reserved for the chancellor.

He also has a family croft on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

But despite having access to these five properties, Darling has claimed around £55,000 in the "second homes" subsidy since 2004-05.

The others are all indulging in the same manner. What really gets me about all of this is that some people claim that MPs are simply not paid enough—it is hardly surprising that the MPs themselves claim that they aren't—and yet so many of them seem to have property portfolios that their constitutents can only dream of.

Of course, many of them are simply scamming the taxpayer in order to buy said properties. Here's Charlie Kennedy, for instance...
Kennedy, who quit as LibDem leader in 2006, is another who doubles up as a second homes claimant and landlord. According to parliamentary figures, the MP charged the taxpayer around £63,000 in ACA between 2004 and 2007. Since at least 2000, Kennedy has also derived rent for a single-bedroomed flat in London.

He told the Sunday Herald that he had previously claimed allowances on the flat when he lived there.

He added: "The ACA is being used towards the cost of family accommodation in London, for which the one-bedroomed flat is not suitable. Therefore it is declared quite separately in the Register of Members' Interests."

I would like to see when those properties were purchased. You see, were I as bent as a nine bob note, I would have bought the one-bedroom flat and then—when I had done that up, using taxpayers' cash so that it was suitable for renting out—I would have bought my "family" flat, and switched the taxpayers' largesse to that one.

Needless to say, there are a goodly number of these cunts claiming our money whilst gaining more income from extensive property portfolios.
None of the MPs declares how much they receive in rent, or who they have as tenants. Around 40 MPs claim the controversial housing perk while also acting as landlords.

Commons rules mean that an MP can buy two houses in London with their ACA, then rent out the first property while charging the taxpayer for mortgage costs on the second.

What the FUCK? Seriously, what the living fuck is going on?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/23/2009 12:14:00 am


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Food independence and Nationalism

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/22/2009 03:58:00 pm

After the succession of rather silly comments on my Monty Don post, your humble Devil is going to return to this idea of food imports, and clarify the situation a little. And expand on it.

The first question to address is that of history: the last time that we tried to be "food independent" was in World War II. Did we manage it? No. Despite vast swathes of land being given over to farming and despite the way in which every available garden was turned over to "allotments", people in this country still didn't have enough to eat.

This is a verifiable fact: why else would we need rationing? And why else would that rationing have carried on into the 50s, years after the end of the war. Indeed, meat rationing did not end until 1954, almost a decade after the war had ended.

And at that time, the population of Britain was probably half what it is now. To try to pretend that we could ever have food independence with a population of 60 million—even given the advances in growing technology—is delusional. To desire it is even stupider.

None of this is to say that if you wish to turn your garden over to growing vegetables, that you should not be allowed to do so: please, go ahead. Personally, I have better things to do with my time.

Which is why I, and everyone else, imports food.

Yes, we all import food and we do so because it makes us richer—both in terms of money and time (when what we rent in order to get money is, partially, our time, these things are, of course, pretty much the same thing).

Why? Let us look at it this way: to get a loaf of bread, the first (and generally accepted) option these days is to go down to the baker or the supermarket and to buy a loaf of bread for about £1.30. On my salary, this represents about 5 minutes of my time.

The second option is to buy a piece of land, and turn it over to growing wheat. You will need to be able to afford the land, buy the wheat seeds, buy the fertiliser, and learn the knowledge of how to grow wheat. You will then need to wait for the wheat to grow, and then learn how to harvest the wheat; you will then need to winnow it (to remove the wheat from the chaff). You will then need to grind the wheat yourself (which involves building a mill), and then take the ground wheat, the flour, and learn how to bake bread. Oh, and you will, of course, need to get hold of some yeast and all the other ingredients that you need to make said bread.

Or, as I say, you can do something more worthwhile (and more profitable) and then use the money earned to wander down to the shop and purchase the bread for 5 minutes of your time.

Do you see?—imports make us rich. And we import food personally. That is to say that we not only import food into our personal lives, but we also pay for that imported food.

To read some of the comments on the Monty Don post, one would think that it was the government that was, in fact, controlling our trade; it does not. All of these tossers wanking on about how the government has bankrupted our country and how our pounds are worth nothing and how we won't be able to import food because NuLabour have bankrupted the country are just utter fucking morons.

Our government may have bankrupted the state, and they may have stacked up colossal debts (that we, the taxpayers, will eventually have to pay for) but they have not actually bankrupted this country. At all.

After all, why should we care that the state is bankrupt: the state doesn't do the trading with other nations: we do. And if the pound did become worthless, then we would find other currencies to use.

But the pound is unlikely to become worthless—at least not to the countries from whom we buy food. Such countries include the poorer areas of the EU (perhaps you would like to wonder why they are poorer—do you think that it might, at least partially, be because a large part of the populations of places like Greece and Spain are engaged in the unprofitable area of farming?) and most of Africa. Is the pound going to be worth less than some African currency? No.

At the risk of being accused of hysteria or of being some kind of conspiracy theorist, your humble Devil would like to advance a somewhat more controversial theory of why this government is so keen that we should "eat local". And they are, you know.

Quite apart from their blatant campaigning against "fast food", this government is, leveraging the meme of climate change, attempting to control our eating habits in a far more subtle way—through the medium of air miles.

How? Well, as an example, let us consider tomatoes. We know that growing tomatoes in a greenhouse (as you have to do in Britain to get any kind of decent yield) is actually far more energy-intensive (and thus releases more carbon) then growing them in a hot country and then shipping them over here; and yet the government—and their BBC lapdog—have always been extremely reticent about this fact. And this example covers, of course, far more food types than tomatoes.

I have recently waxed lyrical over the fascist credentials of NuLabour; but for all of their corporatist nature, but there has been a minimal overt, concerted nationalist drive—I don't really count "British jobs for British workers" because the state is so obviously unable to deliver on such a promise (although it does, indeed, smack of nationalist sentiment).

Besides, such a statement is far too obvious for a government that has preferred to operate through media hysteria and propaganda suggestion. What NuLabour and, you can bet your life on it, the Tories have noticed is that, through a continual and subtle exercising of propaganda, you can actually change the way that a society views certain practices. Take, for example, drink-driving: twenty years ago it was frowned on but, talking to many young people now, it is viewed as being tantamount to murder.

If you would like a concrete example (rather than my anecdotal ones) of the scandal that defending such a practice engenders, just look at the outrage that accompanied Gavin Webb's pointing out that a drink-driver has not harmed another human being and thus should not be criminalised for said action.

And, of course, public attitudes to smoking is going the same way: within a few generations, smoking may not be illegal—it will simply be something that is sinful and which You Just Don't Do.

The justification for criminalising both of these actions (yes, smoking indoors is criminalised) is the possibility that you might harm other people—the possibility, note, not the certainty or even the probability.

The justification for driving actions based on the spectre of climate change is the same as smoking or drink-driving—there is the possibility, however remote, that your actions may harm others (in this case, the entire population of the planet) and thus anything that might bring this about is to be frowned on, if not actively proscribed.

And, like drink-driving or smoking, this possibility is communicated through statistical manipulation, relentless propaganda, enjoinders to guilt (think of the chiiiiildren! Or, in the case of climate change, think of our chiiiiiildren's chiiiiiiildren!) and, when all else fails, outright lies.

"What has any of this to do with nationalism?" is probably what you are asking yourself (if you are still reading). Well, let us ask ourselves what is required for a real nationalist fervour to set in; well, the population should think of anyone else as "outsiders", "foreign" and, if possible, somewhat inferior.

One of the best ways in which to do this, is to stop your population from ever actually interacting with foreign cultures. The British are already pretty adept at this, usually being "British" wherever they go and making little effort to appreciate or blend into said culture.

The next thing is to ensure that your population remains ignorant of said foreign cultures at all; in this way, they can be caricatured as "bloody foreigners" or "not like us" (for which read "inferior") and not, actually, human beings (like yourself) at all.

The final stage is to convince your population that they are under a state of siege: that all of those foreigners are only out to destroy your population's native (and, of course, innately superior) culture.

Sounding familiar yet?

OK, let us move onto some examples, shall we? For keeping people in ignorance, few things are better than to ensure that they have no knowledge of foreign tongues. This government has made a step towards that—as Jon Worth points out—by removing the requirement for schoolchildren to learn a foreign language (not that language teaching, in our state schools at least, was anything other than fucking abysmal in the first place).

And as for convincing the population that they are under a state of siege... Well, where should I begin? After all, if the government isn't enacting draconian legislation to convince us all that we are about to be blown up by disgusting foreign Muslims, then they are planting scare stories about how all of these Poles are coming over here and taking our jobs and women.

Of course, there are a number of countries that speak our language, and might not seem that foreign. Well, that's easy: make sure that very few of them can stay in the country through yet more draconian foreign labour laws, and ensure that they are marked out as foreign by having to carry an ID Card that (at present) the natives do not have to have.

Climate change, of course, offers yet another prime opportunity. After all, they are already trying to imply that flying anywhere is going to kill Gaia: if you cannot fly anywhere, then your chances of interacting with any foreign culture is pretty small. It is even smaller when travelling anywhere, by any means, is socially unacceptable.

And if importing anything is frowned upon for the same reasons—that it racks up "food miles" or "toy miles", etc.—then the number of people doing business with any filthy foreigners is also reduced.

And, of course, if importing things is bad then we really are going to have to rely more and more on our own resources. And, if that includes food, as I pointed out at the top of this increasingly long essay, then inducing the population to believe that they are under a state of siege is going to be a piece of piss: after all, when no one has enough to eat (although just enough not to descend to anarchy), who are they going to blame it on? Why, the filthy foreigners, of course.

So, we end up with a country in which the natives know little of foreigners and their culture beyond the fact that they are inferior, and which believes themselves to be under a state of siege. And there, my friends, you have the perfect conditions for some real, good, honest-to-goodness, paranoid, dangerous Nationalism.

Combine this Nationalism with the already existing Corporatism, and a Socialist government attempting to spend its way out of recession by mortgaging the future of its taxpayers (and yes, I include the Tories in that description) and what you have is a textbook Fascist state. And, given that, will the last one into the ovens please turn out the light?

It is, needless to say, something that I am utterly opposed to: not only because I object to totalitarian legislation affecting my life but because, as a Libertarian, I fundamentally see humans as being one race—I see everyone as a human and worth the same (although, I'll admit, deliberate ignorance annoys me).

Unfortunately, our country seems to be determined to sleepwalk into fascism and the only thing that we libertarians can do is to try to give those who object a voice in our increasingly debased democracy. It will be a slow process to get LPUK to a point in which we can enact any change and, alas, I fear that time is running out.

UPDATE: by the way, can I also say that it is mildly depressing that almost all the commenters on this post have simply discussed their pet peeves, rather than engaging with the thesis as a whole?

Who the hell cares whether the smoking ban was right or not in this context? It doesn't matter—it's only an example.

Similarly, who the hell cares whether criminalising drink-driving is right or wrong in this context? It is, again, merely an example.

What does matter is the methods used to achieve these bans, and those used to change the public's attitudes to said topics. What is important is how the state has managed to manipulate society to make certain things "unacceptable" without people ever having to think about them.

There are arguments to be had over drink-driving, for instance, but you actually cannot have such an argument with many (especially younger) people today (I know: I've tried) because they have been conditioned to believe that drink-driving is an absolute evil in and of itself when, in fact, it is not. What we are supposed to be condemning is what might arise out of the act, i.e. injury or death to others.

Successive governments have used propaganda in a concerted attempt to make things "socially unacceptable", to the point that one can no longer even have a discussion about certain topics.

If the generally well-informed and intelligent readers of this blog cannot see the danger inherent in this, then I fear that we are all lost. Will the last lover of freedom into the gulags please turn out the lights...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/22/2009 03:58:00 pm


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Missing the point by an American mile...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/21/2009 10:54:00 pm

In the US system, the Electoral College is pretty fucking important; it allows the individual states—particularly the sparsely populated ones—to have a reasonable say in who the fuck their President is: at the very least, should they disagree with the population in general, it allows their dissenting vote to be registered.

I feel the need to explain this only because my attention has been drawn to this report from Dizzy...
The reason I am writing any of this is the news that the state legislature in Iowa have decided to change the law on how their Electoral College votes will be decided in Presidential Elections. Rather than sending their seven votes to the College on the basis of who wins in the state, they have said they will send their votes based on the nationwide popular vote. They will only do this however when states totalling 270 college votes have changed their own rules too.

So, basically, the state legistlatiure of Iowa has sent this message to their constituents: "fuck you, people of Iowa—we don't give a shit about how you voted. Your votes mean fuck all, you cunts: we will let the people in the rest of the country decide how your votes should be apportioned. Fuck you, people of Iowa, fuck you right in the fucking face."

Now, I happen to think that this is a really shitty move. After all, let us imagine that we had an general election and our government said, "we are going to hold it across the whole of Europe and the party that they vote for wil be in power" we'd be pretty fucking annoyed, right?

Let's say that everyone in this country voted for the Tories, and the rest of Europe voted for Labour, we'd be pretty pissed off that we'd ended up with another five years of Labour, would we not?

So, what does Tory-supporting Dizzy think of Iowa's measure?
It is politics at its very best.

Really? If you really think that then you are a fucking idiot—you, Dizzy, are a total fucking moron. I have never claimed to be a great fan of democracy, but I happen to think that praising the disenfranchisement of an entire state as "politics at its very best" is fucking stupid—although politics at its most typical it may be.

After all, we live in a country in which the government is run by a party that got 21.6% of the popular vote: do you support that, Diz? Or, to make it more local, more people voted for the Tories in England than voted for Labour, but it was over-ruled by the inbred idiots in our state-teat suckling satellites. Are you a fan of that, Diz?

Let me make this clear: what Iowa have done is to use a pretence of a popular mandate to undermine the power that the voters of Iowa have, using the very same power that enfranchises said legislature. Remind you of anything?

If not, perhaps you would like to remind yourself that our government has done the very same thing in regard to the EU. Are you in favour of the EU, Diz? Is this politics at its very best? I would venture to say that it. Is. Not.

Fucking hellski...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/21/2009 10:54:00 pm


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monty Don: fucking moron

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/19/2009 11:38:00 pm

What is it about people who are really, really, really fucking stupid—almost to the bounds of stretching the overly cynical credibility of your humble Devil—that the MSM are prepared to listen to their utterly worthless views?

I don't know who the fuck this Monty Don character is, but this must qualify as one of the stupidest things uttered in the last decade.
Monty Don, the former BBC Gardener’s World presenter, said the UK could run out of food “within weeks” because the country is so dependent on imports and it was essential for the country to grow more of our own food.

He urged businesses around the country to follow the lead of the National Trust: “If every household, business, office or factory dug up a patch of land there would literally be millions of allotments made available. This is just the start of something really big.”

Yes, you fucking fuckwit: the biggest famine that this country has seen since the late 1360s. I don't know who you are, Monty Don, but I do know what you are: a stupid fucking cunt.

So fucking thick are you that I cannot be bothered to waste my precious time elaborating on your mental ineptitude; why should I, when Bella Gerens has already done it so fluently?

Monty Don? Ha! Monty Fuckwit more like...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/19/2009 11:38:00 pm


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The return of fakecharities.org

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/18/2009 02:55:00 pm

Many grateful thanks to Harry Haddock of Nation of Shopkeepers for, due to his hard work and diligence, your humble Devil finally has a functioning server again.

And that, of course, means that fakecharities.org is back!

I shall be ressurecting other sites as I go along; it may take a little while to pull everything back up but we'll get there...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/18/2009 02:55:00 pm


Uh oh!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/18/2009 01:34:00 pm

Given Gordon's Brown's "Jonah" reputation, I fully expect something bad to happen to this poor fucker...
[Mr Brown] added: "Her determination to help her family is something that we have got to applaud and I wish her family well."

Yup, it's only a matter of time before something really bad happens to Jade Goody.

Oh, wait...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/18/2009 01:34:00 pm


Monday, February 16, 2009

Honest food? How about honest politics, Spam?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/16/2009 03:12:00 pm

It has long been the case that foreign-bred and raised meat can be imported to Britain and, as long as it is packaged here, it can be marked as "British".

Via email, your humble Devil has learned that the Tories are now mounting a campaign against this anomaly...
When you buy a 'British' pork pie, you probably assume that the pork comes from Britain.

In fact, meat from abroad can be imported into Britain to be processed into bacon, sausages and pies which can then be labelled to suggest they are British.

We think this is dishonest. People have a right to know where their food comes from. Meat labelled 'British' should be born and bred in Britain, raised to our high welfare standards.

Consumers should be free to choose food from any country, but real choice requires real information.

So the Conservatives are demanding honest 'country of origin' labelling to restore trust and allow people to choose British food with confidence.

The Tories are even urging you to sign a petition to the House of Commons. Well, this is all very worthy, of course. There's just one snag...

This particular area of food labelling comes under the EU, so there is absolutely fuck all point in sending a petition to the House of Commons.

Sure, our government could insist that retailers put an extra "made in Britain" mark on their produce, but this is going to confuse consumers and hardly counts as clear labelling, does it now? Besides, we don't really want to be encouraging these power-hungry cunts to "gold-plate" EU legislation any more than they already do.

So, how is Cameron going to persuade the EU to change its rules?—it won't be by sending a petition to our regional government, that's for sure. Mind you, since the Tories' campaign doesn't mention the EU anywhere, I assume that they are hoping that they can gloss over this inconvenient fact—and then they will blame NuLabour for not being able to deliver this "right to know". And then, when the Tories get into power, this campaign will, I am sure, be quietly dropped...

Whilst I think that "honest food" is a good thing, I would rather prefer to see some honest politics, frankly.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/16/2009 03:12:00 pm


Marching towards a police state

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/16/2009 12:38:00 pm

He's a man that I often disagree with but, via the Britblog Roundup #209, this Chris Dillow article is so good that it is worth quoting at length.
I don’t often disagree with ScepticIsle, but I do on one point. He says we’re sleepwalking towards a police state. I fear we’re marching there.

From tomorrow, it will, in effect, be illegal to photograph policemen.

Of course, the government will claim that the intention of this act is to stop terrorists preparing to kidnap policemen. This is phooey. For one thing, we know that so-called “anti-terrorist” laws are used to harass innocent people and have no use in catching terrorists. And the police are already using absurd pretexts to stop people taking photos.

Instead, the effect of this measure is obvious. Say the police are attacking an innocent person—which they do. A by-passer takes photos as evidence. He is then arrested under the act and the photos then disappear. The CPS then drops charges against the police as it has no evidence.

It doesn’t matter that our by-passer will probably escape conviction as he has a “reasonable excuse.” The damage is done.

It’s already very difficult to prosecute the police even when a jury finds that they lied through their teeth. This act will make it even harder, and will enable the police to further mistreat and harrass ordinary people.

The police are, in effect, above the law. What’s more, whereas the public cannot photograph the police, the police are increasingly freely photographing even wholly innocent members of the public.

In this sense, the police—far from being the servants of the public, as Robert Peel intended, are increasingly becoming an army of occupation.

Chris has neatly encapsulated everything that is wrong with this law, and the dangers inherent in it; further, Chris is not a man who indulges in wilful hyperbole (unlike your humble Devil) and, if he believes that we are marching towards a police state, then we are.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that we are marching towards a fascist state: one of the chief features of said regimes is corporatism—the way in which private companies are co-opted to serve the interests of the ruling government.

This government has managed this by farming out huge contracts to private companies for sums so vast that many of said companies could not exist without said contracts; in order to fulfill these huge jobs, companies have had to expand so quickly that, without the state contracts, they would probably not survive.

Simultaneously, the government has made the Third Sector largely dependent on state largesse, not only through destroying the urge or ability to indulge in voluntary giving through a heavy tax burden and nanny-state philosophy.

Finally, one of the most insidious corporation is the most powerful police lobby: the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). I have mentioned this before, and LPUK has been banging the drum about ACPO for some time. Now, it seems, the MSM has caught on...
Britain's most powerful police body is being run as a private business with an annual income of around £18million.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which oversees everything from anti-terrorism policy to speed cameras, was last night facing demands that it be disbanded, following a Mail on Sunday investigation into its activities which include:
  • Selling information from the Police National Computer for up to £70—even though it pays just 60 pence to access those details.

  • Marketing ‘police approval’ logos to firms selling anti-theft devices.

  • Operating a separate private firm offering training to speed camera operators, which is run by a senior officer who was banned from driving.

  • Advising the Government and police forces—earning £32million of taxpayers’ money in the process.

  • Employing retired senior officers on lucrative salaries.

Until now, ACPO’s central role in policing has not been questioned as it is seen as an essential, if sometimes controversial, public body writing the rules on police operations as well as campaigning on key issues such as the proposed 90-day detention for terror suspects and the DNA database.

But the organisation is not a public body, nor is it a police trade union or even a campaign group. It is a private company—a self-styled ‘global brand name’—paid millions of pounds a year by the taxpayer to effectively run the nation’s police forces.

Because ACPO is a private company, members of the public cannot use the Freedom of Information Act to scrutinise its operations.

This is all extremely dangerous: it is effectively rule by unaccountable private fiat: after all, it is not as though we, the citizens, can even choose not to buy their products—they are imposed upon us.
An ACPO spokesman defended the organisation’s activities. He said: ‘ACPO is an independent, professionally led strategic body. In the public interest, ACPO leads and co-ordinates the direction and development of the police service nationally.

‘In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, co-ordinates the strategic policing response.

‘ACPO is funded in part by the Government in order to collectively develop advice for them. Project work which ACPO undertakes on behalf of the police service is at the request of the Home Office and goes towards public protection against serious and strategic threats that can only be tackled above force level.

'All funds to ACPO are employed in the interests of public safety and the police service.’

Really? These people are unaccountable thugs, funded by our money and accountable to no one. They are not even a QUANGO: they are a private company.

ACPO recently approved the use of a new type of speed camera—essentially those that do an "average speed check"—to be used by police forces (via Obnoxio and The Landed Underclass). So, a private company is dictating the manner in which we should be policed. Further, it seems very likely, given their other documented activities, that ACPO actually has a financial interest in promoting these cameras.

This is utterly unacceptable and I must, once again, disagree with Chris Dillow: we are not marching towards a police state—we are already there. All that needs to happen is for the police and the government to use the laws that they have placed on the statute books, and we are all fucked.

I repeat: the laws are already there—all that we have to rely on is the hope that our lords and masters will choose not to use them...

UPDATE: Guthrum, podting at Old Holborn's place, has pictures of the Section 76 protest this morning. A rather good turn out, I see.

Oh, and apparently...
A Home Office spokesman said: "For an offence to be committed, the information would have to raise a reasonable suspicion that it was intended to be used to provide practical assistance to terrorists. Taking photographs of police officers would not, except in very exceptional circumstances, be caught by this offence."

As Guthrum says, if you'll believe that, you'll believe anything...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/16/2009 12:38:00 pm


A quickie

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/16/2009 12:29:00 am

From politics.co.uk...
The slogan 'British jobs for British workers' has split opinion between those who agree with the phrase, and those who believe it smacks of racism, a politics.co.uk poll has revealed.

Half of those people are fucking idiots: I'll leave you to guess which half...

Incidentally, here is a thought that I had today...

Employers are required not to discriminate on grounds of race; and yet, by being forced to sack my American friend, are her employers and, ultimately, the government not breaking that law?

(Or is race defined purely on the grounds of colour? In which case, should employers not maintain that they do not discriminate on the grounds of genetically-expressed phenotype?)

Are the jobs of foreign, non-EU workers not covered by any discrimination laws? And has anyone actually tested this in court? Because it seems to me that the government's new points-system is entirely based on racism: if you are one of the races of the EU, you get a free ride—if you are not, you are discriminated against.

Surely this is the very definition of racism?

Perhaps Dolly "not a racist" Draper would like to answer this one...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/16/2009 12:29:00 am


Sunday, February 15, 2009

... and now Darling's at it too.

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/15/2009 06:16:00 pm

Yes, the man who is in charge of the public finances, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has also been deliberately defrauding the taxpayer. Whilst the Treasury and HMRC hound the people of Britain for every last penny in tax, the man nominally in charge has been using his position as an MP to steal from those same taxpayers.
Alistair Darling's Commons expenses are under scrutiny after it emerged that he has lavished £70,000 on his family home in Edinburgh.

The Chancellor claimed thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded mortgage payments, household bills and goods by classing the £1.2million townhouse as his ‘second home'.

Before he became Chancellor, Mr Darling claimed that a small London flat - worth only around £150-a-week in rent - was his 'main home'.
...

Before becoming Chancellor in 2007, Mr Darling lodged with Labour Lord Lewis Moonie in a flat in south London.

Mr Darling, 55, lived at the understated £260,000 property in Lambeth from around 2003 until January 2005. According to Commons rules at the time, Mr Darling listed the flat as his 'main' home.

This enabled him to claim a total of £45,954 on his 'second home' - the family home he bought with his wife Maggie in 1998 for £570,000.

The large imposing building in the heart of Edinburgh’s most desirable areas is now estimated to be worth £1.2million.

Even after the Commons rules changed in 2004, he continued to claim that his flat share in London was his 'main home'.

In 2004/05, he claimed a further £15,341 to spend on his Scottish home. The next financial year he claimed a further £19,436 in second home allowance.

Over a five year period, the Chancellor claimed around £70,000 in second home allowance on his Edinburgh home.

Designating which home is your ‘main’ and ‘second’ residence can allow MPs to claim higher sums in expenses.

If Mr Darling had designated his Edinburgh family home as his main residence, he would only have been able to claim the potentially lucrative second home allowance for the rooms he rented in London.

This could have limited him to claiming only for rent, and the share of any bills.

However, the generous second home allowance — currently set at a tax-free £24,006 a year — can provide much bigger claims on larger, family properties.

They include the interest on any mortgage repayments, including mortgage interest payments increases on extra loans to pay for improvements or extensions.

They also include utility charges for heat, light and water, council tax, phone bills, maintenance and decoration.

Your humble Devil has not failed to notice the Tories' reticence in attacking Jacqui Smith for her disgusting behaviour, and I am pretty sure that they will keep schtum as far as Darling is concerned too. Why?

Because they are all at it. They are all buying second homes with our money; they are all using our money to redecorate and make improvements; they are all shovelling our hard-earned cash into their pockets just as quickly as they can.

It has to stop. We have tolerated MPs' perks up until now, because we hoped that they could be trusted not to abuse the system. But it seems that they cannot be trusted and so they should lose these privileges.

Because these are not expenses: they are benefits in kind. If your work were to buy you a second home, then you would be taxed on it; it is not necessary for you to have that home, it is not an expense incurred in carrying out your job.

Whilst I can claim back expenses when I go to visit a client, I cannot claim the money that I expend travelling to work: that would be a benefit in kind, and thus taxable.

Were you or your employer to try to conceal these benefits from the government's tax-collecting agents, you would be taken to court. How very different it is for our lords and masters: it is, in fact, almost the very definition of the concept of "one rule for us and another for them". Our rules dictate that we are taxed on benefits; they, on the other hand, have an exemption.

And not only have they got an exemption from taxation on such benefits, they are abusing the system to the very hilt. It is disgusting, absolutely fucking disgusting.

And there is only one solution: prosecution. Until these fuckers realise that defrauding the taxpayer can land them in a jail cell, being ritually and roughly sodomised, on a daily basis, by Big-Cocked Bubba The Phantom Bugger, they will continue to steal our money, abuse our trust and drag the reputation of our Parliament through the fucking dirt.

Perhaps we should start a campaign: I, for one, would like to hear a tape of Darling being called "darling" by a sex-starved, giant-cocked convict who has already used up his monthly lube ration...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/15/2009 06:16:00 pm


More on Smith fraudulent expenses claims...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/15/2009 06:02:00 pm

It seems that, whilst Jacqui Smith may have claimed that she spends most of her time in her sister's south London flat, this may not actually be the truth. What a fucking surprise.
The row over Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's £116,000 Commons expenses has grown after neighbours challenged her claims about how much time she spends at lodgings with her sister in London.

Calls for an inquiry into Ms Smith's expenses were turned down after Parliament's sleaze watchdog accepted her assertion that her London 'digs' are her 'main home' because she is there most of the week - not at the family home in the Midlands where her husband and children live.

But Ms Smith's account has now been flatly contradicted by neighbours in South London who say she is often there for as few as two nights a week and spends little time there during the long parliamentary recesses.

And how would the neighboours know, we ask...?
Mr Taplin, 46, who works from home, said: 'You can tell when she is here because the police guards arrive first. They turn up mid-morning on Monday and leave mid-morning on Thursday.

'I cannot recall when they have been here any other nights of the week. I find her behaviour extraordinary.'

Both Mr and Mrs Taplin say they are prepared to give evidence if there is an official inquiry into Ms Smith's expenses.

Excellent. Can we get that enquiry going now then?
The Home Secretary's version of events came under further pressure after she refused to say if she had paid capital gains tax - liable on second homes - on the house she and her husband Richard Timney sold in Redditch five years ago.

This would, of course, be straight tax evasion (yes, that's the illegal one) and Ms Smith should find herself being prosecuted for "real" fraud (as oppposed to "fake" fraud, which is when an MP defrauds the taxpayer. This is, apparently, counted as something like "a breach of etiquette" since one can only conclude, given the attitude of the authorities, that stealing taxpayers' money does not count as fraud).
Nor would she say if she had obtained a council tax discount - available to people who do not live at their 'main home' - on her Midlands property. Ms Smith's local council also refused to discuss this.

If her Midlands property is her second home, then she will have received a Council Tax discount. I wonder if the Council Tax on her Midlands home is higher than that on her sister's south London flat? I am pretty fucking sure that the answer to that is "yes".

This woman is a cheat and a liar. And if she really is telling the truth, may I suggest that we settle the matter in the old English way—through a court of law.

Can we bring a prosecution on behalf of defrauded taxpayers? I don't know, but it seems that the Crown is certainly not interested in doing so. So, who will speak for us?

Perhaps the Taxpayers' Alliance, a pressure group that claims to operate on behalf of the British taxpayer, would like to examine the evidence, ask for donations and bring a private prosecution against this cheating, thieving harpy...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/15/2009 06:02:00 pm


Time to return?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/15/2009 01:15:00 am

As long-time readers of The Kitchen will be aware, your humble Devil lived in Auld Reekie for ten years before moving to the Big Smoke. Perhaps it is time to return to the city that I still think of as home...
The Scottish Government has told Westminster it remains "completely opposed" to its plans to roll out identity cards across the UK.

In a letter to the Home Office, Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing said the cards posed an "unacceptable threat" to civil liberties.
...

He said: "Given the current financial climate, the UK Government should have better uses for the vast sums of money being spent on this scheme, which presents an unacceptable threat to citizens' privacy and civil liberties, with little tangible evidence to suggest it will do anything to safeguard against crime and terrorism."

Naturally, Fergus still thinks that the money should be spent, just that it should be spent on other things.

Still, it's a start...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/15/2009 01:15:00 am


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chris Huhne: what a complete hoon

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/14/2009 09:34:00 pm

Chris Huhne: "don't listen to me. Seriously. I'm a total cunt."


Chris Huhne's snippet (it's not really an article) in The Independent has caused an outpouring of contempt amongst my libertarian colleagues not seen since Gordon Brown last opened his fat, droppy gob.
Freedom of speech is our most precious freedom of all, because all the other freedoms depend on it.

OK, so freedom of speech is pretty fucking essential, Chris. Yes, I agree. And because "all other freedoms depend on it" that means that when you suspend free speech, you suspend all other freedoms, yes?

What with you being a Liberal Democrat an' all, you would never advocate suspending our freedoms, would you? Oh...
The decision to stop people from exercising this fundamental right must never be taken lightly.

Um... So, it's bad to suspend freedom of speech, except when it isn't...
Neither should a decision to ban people from visiting this country. As a result, I have in the past defended people with some particularly odious views, such as the recent case of the Australian Holocaust denier Dr Frederick Toben.

OK... Chris Huhne is deploying an argument similar to that of the guy who claims that "many of my best friends are black": you wonder what bigotry you are about to be subjected to.

So, what turd is Huhne about to drop into our laps? Ooh, can you guess...?
In a civilised society, however, there has to be a dividing line between the right to freedom of speech and when it topples over into incitement to hatred and violence.

No, there isn't. Look, Huhne, you utter fucknuts, either you have freedom of speech or you don't; and "freedom" means the freedom of people to say things that you don't agree with.

If someone says something that you don't like, well, tough. If someone then goes and beats someone up, that is when you prosecute. Do you understand this, you tit?

Obviously not. And obviously, the freedom of speech that Huhne claims "is our most precious freedom of all" is not freedom of speech as I understand it. As I understand it, freedom of speech means the freedom to say anything; to Huhne, it does not.
In my opinion, Geert Wilders' revolting film Fitna crosses this line, as its shocking images of violence and emotional appeals to anti-Islamic feeling risk causing serious harm to others.

"In your opinion..."? Fuck your opinion, you cunt; why the fuck is your opinion any more important than mine, fuckface?

If it was my opinion that everyone over the age of 16 should be made to take Ecstasy, would you accept that? No. So why the fuck should I rate your opinion?

This is, quite simply, Cuntface Huhne using the law to enforce his personal opinion. Just like all of the other politicos do. Fuck you all, you cunts.

Ach, the man bores me: go and read The Nameless Libertarian for a more extensive and clinical filleting of this wanker.

UPDATE: on this subject, Bishop Hill points out that excluding Wilders was probably unlawful (see here, here and here), and then wonders if Liberty (the pressure group) is a complete waste of time, space and money ("yes" is the answer) and whether, at the very least, the humourless Shami Chakrabarti should resign.
David Davis is a politician and has presumably made a political calculation that he has little to gain from speaking out in favour of Wilders' coming to the UK, and a great deal to lose in terms of his future career (we assume that he will eventually seek high office again). We expect little else from politicians and can write off the LibDems on the same grounds.

Chakrabarti has no such excuse. She is the head of Liberty, a body that exists solely to speak out in favour of civil liberties. She has failed miserably to do so. Her silence over Wilders is not unprecedented either. She has made it abundantly clear that she doesn't feel that freedom of speech extends to nasty people; her words on Question Time last week can have left nobody in any doubt about that. She also has previous form on the "disappearing act" she has performed in the last few days, notably when Liberty maintained a determined radio silence over the Sikh play Bezhti.

Chakrabarti has demonstrated over the years that she will not stand up for those whose views she deems unacceptable. She will not defend unpleasant views. She will not speak out for unpleasant people. She hates racists so much that she will allow fundamental British freedoms to be trampled underfoot in order allow these views she detests so much to be crushed, regardless of the importance of the freedoms that are lost with them, and regardless of the duties entailed in her position.

What is the point of the woman?

There is no point to her: she should resign and take her smug face and charisma-bypass back into the obscurity from which she has somehow managed to struggle. But she won't resign as president of Liberty because, as far as I can make out, Liberty exists solely to provide Shami Chakrabarti with a salary.

Shami is a fucking twat. And Davis can get to fuck too. The both of them are fair-weather civil liberties campaigners, just out for what they can get out of it, i.e. personal fame and wealth.

Fuck 'em, and Chakrabarti especially: at least Davis has a sense of humour...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 2/14/2009 09:34:00 pm


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