Thursday, April 30, 2009

Democracy is not a given good

Your humble Devil has been admonished—both here and in person—by those shocked at his stance on democracy, i.e. that democracy is not an a priori good.

Via Samizdata, it seems that Nigel Lawson not only agrees, but has been brave enough to say so.
"Democracy is nowadays a greatly over-hyped blessing, particularly by Americans, who have no pre-democratic history to provide a perspective. It is clearly less important than freedom, the rule of law and constitutional government, which ideally it should entrench, but may well not do so."

I had to point this out to some card-carrying member of the Labour Party—who also happened to be a young, well-spoken Oxford graduate—the other day, and it bears repeating: democracy is not an end in itself—freedom is.

In terms of maintaining a reasonable government—in that it provides some checks—democracy is the least bad system so far tried (and true democracy is, possibly, the least bad conceived of). But democracy is not an a priori good, it is not the object of all of our struggles—it is not the endpoint.

Democracy can be, has been, and is, used to oppress and stifle people just as effectively as any dictatorship. Just consider the case of our current government: it has imposed massive taxation (through oppression) and destroyed civil liberties (a means of oppression) and yet it was elected by just 21.6% of the electorate.

Less than a quarter of the voting population actively voted for these fuckers, and that has allowed them to loot and pillage the property of everyone in the country.

Were the government, of course, so fucking tiny and powerless that it could do almost nothing at all, then none of this would matter or, at least the damage done is greatly lessened. Which is why I am a (consequentialist) libertarian.

People who cite democracy as an absolute good are devious fuckwits and should not be trusted as far as you can throw them: they are almost certainly conspiring to steal your freedom and your property to pay for their own, personal fucking morals—and then they will cite the "will of the people" as justification for their looting.

If you are a disgusting little socialist who thinks that it is absolutely fine to steal from people because "democracy said I could", just consider whether you think that hanging Muslims in the streets would be morally right if people voted for it. And don't tell me that it could never happen—have you seen the polling results for the BNP recently...?

Although I found Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner to be a slightly hysterical book, the protagonist's father does have one interesting thing to say—that the only absolute moral evil is theft: the theft of someone's life is murder; the theft of someone's freedom is slavery; the theft of someone's property is... well... theft. All are absolute moral wrongs stemming from the same action: theft.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Very sorry, but the blog's come under a rather sustained spam attack, so I've switched the blog to registered users only for a while.

I will switch back to allowing Anonymous comments once this little lot dies down.

UPDATE: sorry, but the spammer is using a Blogger account and so I have had to lock comments down completely. Bizarrely, there seems to be no way to report a spammer's profile to Blogger, only spam blogs.

Sorry to cut the conversations short, but I can't deal with this level of spamming (some 80 comments in the space of less than ten minutes).

UPDATE 2: comments are back on, but I've put moderation on (for the first time ever) for the moment.

UPDATE 3: now back to the usual settings.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pig ignorant

(nb. I ain't DK)

Colossal scepticism tends to be the soundest response whenever a new 'pandemic' is announced, especially when the headlines...

How swine flu could be a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear warfare

(Daily Mail)

...are so utterly at odds with what the people who know what they're talking about are actually saying:
"If the avian flu H5N1 virus had spread from human to human like this then I would be extremely worried. It would be top of my Richter scale.

But this swine flu worries me less because as a population we have a basic immunity to H1N1. Outside of Mexico there have been no deaths, so it doesn't seem so aggressive.

And not only are we coming up to the summer, which makes it less likely for these viruses to spread as well, but Britain has enough antiviral drugs for half of the population.

So we should not panic in any way." 
(Prof. John Oxford)

Mishearing the advice to "not panic in any way" as "panic anyway", the press are telling us that swine 'flu will kill up to 120 million people.

Which it won't. 

Bird 'flu was supposed to kill 150 million people before it emerged that you virtually had to have penetrative sex with a chicken to stand any chance of catching it. SARS was also supposed to kill millions but that disappeared within a year. Neither 'pandemic' killed more than a thousand people worldwide (less than are killed by boring old English 'flu every winter), and none of them were in the UK. 

A 2006 report in The Lancet predicted that a future 'flu epidemic will kill 62 million, including up to 700,000 in the UK. Good news for the in-no-way sinister Optimum Population Trust if it happens, but, as Spiked have pointed out, that is not very likely (Leg-Iron begs to differ). The chances are that swine 'flu will kill a few hundred people, with tequila-drinking pig-fuckers at most risk, and then fizzle out.

Or so I had thought, but Gordon Brown's worryingly familiar response to the threat has sent a chill up my spine:

"Swine flu is an international problem..."

"Britain is among the best-prepared countries in the world..."

"We will all take action to ensure that these fears are allayed..."

See? No need to worry. Gordon the warden is going to take whatever action is necessary, Britain is best prepared to weather the storm, and anyway it's a global problem.

Oh fuck.

MPs allowances: Brown fucks up. Again

A little while ago, the Prime Mentalist announced a review into MPs' expenses, after a succession of our lords and masters were caught blatantly defrauding the taxpayer.

Then the mad, one-eyed, Scots bastard decided, unilaterally, that he was going to ignore the review and propose his own solution—a solution that was described eloquently by The Daily Mash.
PRIME minister Gordon Brown has surprised Westminster by somehow managing to make the scandal over MPs' expenses even worse than it already was.

Mr Brown has proposed abolishing the controversial £24,000 a year second home allowance and replacing it with a £25,000 a year dragging-your-fat-arse-into-work allowance.

Under the old scheme MPs would have to submit receipts to the Commons authorities, thereby allowing the public to at least speculate on the titles and content of the pornography.

Under the new scheme MPs will get around £170 a day just for being where they are supposed to be, but crucially will not have to submit receipts, allowing them to use taxpayers' money to watch as many Hungarian donkey films as they want.

Of course, many of us do get an allowance for turning up for work: it's called a fucking salary. And an MPs' salary is twice that of mine, even if they don't have some fucking extra make-work joke-job to boost that fat paycheck.
Julia Cook, professor of politics at Reading University, said: "I've been up all night racking my brains and I cannot, for the life of me, work out how he managed to fuck this up.

"The key task here was to stop giving MPs lots and lots of free money, or at least make sure that when they got the free money they didn't use it to take the utter piss.

"But what he has actually done is guarantee them even more free money while at the same time - and this is the bit that I love - making it even easier for them to take the piss."

She added: "For a man who has set new benchmarks in being an unmitigated fucking catastrophe, this could be the crowning moment of his career."

Well, it might indeed have been the crowning moment of Gordon's catastrophic career—except that, in typical fashion, our Cyclopean PM has topped it by not being even able to get anyone to support his ludicrous solution.
The government has abandoned plans for a vote on scrapping MPs' second homes allowance, it has announced.

Gordon Brown's plan to replace it with a flat-rate daily allowance failed to win support from the Tories, Lib Dems and many backbench Labour MPs.

Absolutely fucking insulting though Brown's Sign In and Sod Off (SISO ©EU Parliament members) idea was, I have no faith that MPs failed to support it out of any sense of duty or good conscience.

The real reason that these troughing bastards did not want this solution (or any solution) is that a good many of them have been exploiting the expenses system in order to fund extended property portfolios at our expense.

Since any reform means they might have to maintain those portfolios at their own expense, then they might actually have to sell the properties—and they know that, right now, they aren't going to get top dollar.
The prime minister said "swift reform" was still needed and asked standards watchdog Sir Christopher Kelly to bring forward his report on expenses to July.

But Sir Christopher warned that the issues involved were "not simple".

Yes, they are; the issues are elementary, in fact: quite simply, MPs have been systematically abusing the expenses system for personal gain, and we've had enough.

The solution is quite simple: we will accept nothing but private rental receipts, for properties in London, up to a maximum of, say, £180 per week. Further, MPs are not allowed to get their spouse to "buy" a property and then rent that.

Any bastard MP caught breaking the rules will be liable, at a minimum, to repayment of all monies from their personal income; however, it should be routine that MPs breaking the rules are prosecuted for fraud and corruption in high office. Penalties would include incarceration, swingeing fines and being barred from public office.

This might be harsh but, like naughty children, MPs have proven that they simply cannot be trusted. Basically, we went away on holiday and, at their own request, trusted the teenage MPs to look after the place: and we came back to find that they had taken the opportunity to have an expressly-forbidden party, trash the house, drink all of the good booze and get their sister pregnant.

As such, these cunts are going to be grounded, fined and never trusted again. And, let's face it, if any MP was not abusing the second homes allowances, then they are hardly going to object to its reform: if they were abusing it, then fuck'em, frankly—they are exactly the people that we are targeting.

What is the difficulty here, exactly?

Climate Rush

It seems that there is yet another bunch of fucking tossers wibbling on about climate change and undertaking stupid "stunts" to annoy everyone bore everyone shitless with their stupid upper middle class ignorance* highlight this crucial issue.
Four people who glued themselves to a statue in the Houses of Parliament in protest at government energy policy have been arrested.

Police sealed off the corridor in St Stephen's Hall, near the Commons main entrance, while the protesters, members of the group Climate Rush, were removed.

I found this through Tom Harris's dryly amusing post, in which he coins such gems as...
Why waste glue remover on them? They’ll get hungry or need the toilet soon enough.

... and...
And this unelected, unaccountable shower are just the people to give the wake-up call, are they?

... and...
So why don’t they stand for election and find out if the people of this country would actually prefer to depend entirely on wind/tidal power (otherwise known as “letting the lights go out in the middle of the next decade”)?

Can't disagree with you, Tom, to be honest. Which irritates me slightly. Although there are signs that Tom Harris has been cultivating a few brain cells and, occasionally, even bothering to use them. Which is nice.

Anyway, who the fuck are Climate Rush? Well, they are not a registered charity, alas, so no fake charity entry for them: however, they do try to explain their motives...
We are all daunted by the science of climate change.

I'm not. Piss off.
As each month passes the threats increase indefinitely.

No they don't.
It is difficult to have a clear idea of how much must be done and...

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh! What? I'm writing a blog post. Ahem. Sorry, chaps: nodded off for a second there.

Never mind, let's see which notable tossers are supporting this bunch of wankers, shall we?

With some fucking chutzpah, Climate Rush also list—at the very top of their list of supporters"You".

You what? I don't support you, you bunch of fucking tossers—why don't you fuck off? It seems, to bring this post to a near(ish)-palindromic close, that neither does Tom Harris MP.
I just think the BBC should be more careful about giving creepy little outfits like Climate Rush such an easy ride.

Strangely enough, of course, your humble Devil would have said something very similar for the last few years. With a few modifications. Well, one.
I just think the BBC should be more careful about giving creepy little outfits like NuLabour such an easy ride.

Did you spot it? Excellent.

In the meantime, I am sure that Labour's Tom Harris will happily take John McDonnell to task over McDonnell's "creepy little outfit"...

* I realise that I may be batting on a sticky wicket there...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Banning websites

To get a flavour of the kind of disgusting little people that we libertarians are up against, why not have a look at this post from a... er... gentleman who tried to have the UK Libertarian Party website banned in the Netherlands (a tip of the horns to Bella).
I have asked the Netherlands Interior Ministry to censor the website of the United Kingdom Libertarian Party,, and the party's blog at The website is registered to the party's leader Patrick Vessey. The censorship is partial: I asked the ministry to add the sites to the national police blacklist. That means they would be blocked by several providers, including the largest in the Netherlands.

And on what grounds has "Paul" got for trying to block these sites?
The request is based on the central defects of libertarianism, which it got from its parent ideology liberalism. Primarily, the claim of absolute truth and universal validity for their own values, and the conviction that they are morally entitled to enforce these on others, against their will, and by force if necessary. Specifically, the request gives as grounds for prohibition of the website, that
  1. the United Kingdom Libertarian Party presents libertarian values, including an absolute ownership right, as if they were an absolute truth.

  2. the party seeks to subject others, against their will, to a libertarian society and to libertarian values.

  3. the party openly advocates a "libertarian government" that would rule over non-libertarians, and subject them against their will to libertarian policies, using the powers of the state.

  4. the party seeks to deliberately harm others, by depriving them (against their will) of the protection of the state, for instance by the abolition of minimum wages

  5. the party is reactionary, and its goal is a harsh Victorian society, where the poor are dependent on private charity

  6. it advocates a return to the gold standard

  7. the party advocates the maintenance of a national state, and of national sovereignty

  8. it advocates the detention of asylum seekers.

From this list of reasons—many of which apply to any political party, including those in the Netherlands—one can only conclude that Paul is, in fact, quite insane.

I particularly like the bit about LPUK's "goal" being "a harsh Victorian society, where the poor are dependent on private charity", although I cannot see why that is grounds for attempting to get a website blocked. It's also somewhat amusing to see LPUK—a party whose policies some write off as being too radical—described as "reactionary".

And since when was it wrong to "advocate the maintenance of a national state, and of national sovereignty"? I mean, national states actually exist: wouldn't it be weirder if we were advocating none?

Anyway, it's when Paul tries to justify his application for censorship with a free speech argument that he gets really silly.
There is no reason why I should not seek to block or close a website on the grounds of its content. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to advocate and seek censorship.

Um... Sure. But once that censorship is imposed, then freedom of speech no longer exists: and if we are going to try to pursue this silly argument, then the application to apply for censorship on the grounds of free speech also no longer exists.
The formal rights to free expression in constitutions and treaties - for example article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights - are directed at states, not at individuals. Laws, not constitutions, are directed at individuals, and there is no law that prohibits me from seeking censorship in any form.

Well, you see, Paul, you are applying for the government, i.e. a state, to use its power to enforce the censorship of a website that breaks no laws. As such, you are, in fact, inciting a state to use its power to break the ECHR conditions that it has signed up to. Do you see?

Whilst there may be no problem with you, as an individual, applying for censorship of certain websites, you, as an individual, would have no power to ensure that said censorship takes place, i.e. you require the state to ensure that certain carriers prevent other users from accessing the websites. And, as such, there is a problem: the state is using its monopoly legal power to block said websites when no crime has been committed.
Politically, there is also no reason why I should refrain from seeking state-enforced prohibition, when others do it all the time.

Lordy. If we are going for a tit-for-tat argument, how about this one: throughout history, many political regimes have murdered thousands upon thousands—even millions upon millions—of their own citizens; in fact, throughout the world, there are governments beating up, starving and killing their own citizens—governments do it all the time. So, Paul can have no objection—were I a ruler of a country—to me enslaving, murdering and torturing thousands of my citizens "when others do it all the time".

And given that this is the case, and to further illustrate what a moronic line of argument this is, one could thus say that Paul is openly advocating torture, slavery and murder on a grand scale. Perhaps I should apply to have his website blocked?

But it gets even sillier...
If the United Kingdom Libertarian Party hosted child porn on their website, and if I complained about that content, and if the UK police and providers blocked access, then how many people would object? Would it get any attention from third parties, or from anti-censorship campaigns? I doubt it. So what is the difference if I complain about its libertarian content, and try to get that blocked?

The difference, Paul, is that the creation and dissemination of child pornography is illegal—not just in this country, but pretty much universally. Libertarianism, or the advocacy of libertarianism, is not illegal (yet).

Luckily, the Dutch government is not stupid and rejected Paul's lunatic application in short order. I like to think of the official in question looking at the application, and giving a little sigh as he shakes his head in weary incredulity.

Unfortunately, nutjobs like Paul never give up—they just move onto another target...
I have asked the Netherlands Interior Ministry to censor the website of the Adam Smith Institute,

What the good citizens of the Netherlands think of Paul's solicitous actions on their behalf is not, alas, recorded. However, I do think it worth pointing out to said citizens that Paul has taken it upon himself to decide what you, the citizens of the Netherlands, are adult enough to handle: in short, he is accusing you all of being stupid and immature.

In other words, my Dutch friends, Paul, like any good dictator, has taken it upon himself to decide what is best for you because Paul believes that he is cleverer than you. Paul believes that he knows how you should run your life better than you do.

And that, my friends, is why I loathe socialists.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hannan rides again

Via Tory Bear, here is yet another excellent speech, from the Tory Spring Conference, by Dan Hannan MEP.

Watch Daniel Hannan Speech in News  |  View More Free Videos Online at

The trouble is that Dan is on very slippery ground: he is, as it were, ignoring the elephant in the room. No, not the EU (for so we normally designate "the elephant") but his own party's attitude to that institution.

I have seen no sign that Dave "Buttered New Potato" Cameron is any more anti-EU than the Labour Party are. Yes, yes: he has indulged in the usual mutterings on the theme of "in Europe but not run by Europe"—but we know that this option is not on the fucking table.

In fact, we know—because we have seen it written in an email sent to your humble Devil—that Oliver Letwin, the Tories' Head of Policy, explicitly supports Britain's membership of the EU.

Further, Tory Chairman (at the time) Francis Maude, in a 2006 radio interview, said...
It is not the Conservative Party's view that we should be out of the European Union...

Maude, too, wittered on about reform. These people have no more intention of loosening the EU's stranglehold on our nation than any of the other three main parties.

So yes, Dan, 85% of our laws may well be made in Brussels; the EU may well be a stop to reform of our ailing Parliamentary system; and yes, Dan, the people have indeed realised that there is little point in voting. But your party—the Conservative Party—will not do what needs to be done.

After all, this is the party whose leader in Westminster has said that no Eurosceptic will sit on his front bench. Does that sound like a party that is going to fight for an independent Britain? I think not.

And yes, Dan: we know that the LibDim and Labour MEPs roll over and support "the elites against the people" when voting in the EU Parliament—but so do the Tory MEPs. With the exception of yourself and Roger Helmer, the Tories are every bit as much behind the EU project as the other parties are. In fact, for your delectation, here is a video of Tory MEP Christopher Beazley enthusing about how "national governments are the biggest obstacle to the observation of EU law".

Were Dan Hannan the leader of the Conservative Party—and actively pursuing the kind of policies that he and Douglas Carswell MP outlined in their book, The Plan—then I would almost certainly be a member of said party, and pushing for their election.

If nothing else, just listen and watch as Dan speaks: here is a man talking with conviction, with few notes, and he's talking sense. Further, Hannan does not talk down to his audience: his speeches are peppered with literary references and esoteric vocabulary. He is a delight to listen to because he makes politics sound interesting and daring and, yes, cool.

But Hannan and Carswell are not leading the Tories: the Conservative Party is led by Mr Buttered New Potato and his idiot mates. The Conservative Party is led by a man without conviction, without oratory skill, without new ideas, and without honour. In short, the Conservative Party is not the party outlined by Hannan; the Conservative Party are not going to free us from the tyranny of the EU, or of the associated tyranny of the technocrat; the Conservative Party have nothing new to offer, not even conviction.

And the fact that Hannan has tried to paint them as the anti-EU party when we know that they are not, actually diminishes Dan in the eyes of your humble Devil. To be sure, Dan may not give a shit... but then maybe he will.

I hope so. Because, if there is a decent future for Britain, it will be ignited by men like Hannan. For, as Dan points out—much as V does, in that speech, from the film of V for Vedetta—we, the people of Britain, have allowed all of this, have allowed ourselves to be diminished; and if the majority are to realise, and to change this situation, oratory of Hannan's ilk—eloquent and impassioned—will be the thing to wake them, to stir their souls.

Perhaps you think that I exaggerate? But I think that persuasive speaking is enough to make men rise up, and I shall tell you this: the meaningless platitudes uttered by the Buttered New Potato will not even stir the people from their sofas—let alone fire them up enough to make them rise up and stop the continued rotting away of their freedoms and their country.

Tell the one-eyed cunt to fuck off

Your humble Devil is a bit late to this party but, via Guido, I have found (and signed) this rather wonderful petition on the Number 10 website.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign.

Do go and sign it, if only so that the Cyclopian cunt-head realises just how much we all despise him.

Michael Caine blows the bloody doors off

It seems that Michael Caine is contemplating buggering off back to the US.
He said that the announcement had prompted him to seriously consider moving back to America, where he lived during the 1970s and 1980s as a tax exile.

"Tax got to 82 per cent [in the 1970s] and I thought this was kind of unfair," he said. "Also, I see... that the government has taken it up to 50 per cent and if it goes to 51 I will be back in America.

"I will not pay the Government more than I get. No way, ever. So they've reached their limit with me. That's the lot."

Of course, when one factors in National Ponzi Scheme Insurance Contributions, the actual top rate of tax is 63.8%. This is disgusting: it is, in the opinion of your humble Devil, absolutely, totally, morally wrong that the government should take more than half of what you earn—irrespective of how much you earn.

Why the fuck should they take that much? The fucking government isn't the one having to haul themselves out of bed every fucking morning; they aren't doing the work; they aren't doing anything at all except force you to pay for their personal morals.

There is absolutely no moral justification for it at all. But worse, as Caine points out, there is no economic case for it either.
"You know how much they [the government] made out of that high taxation all those years ago?

"Nothing and they sent a mass of incredible brains to America. Yes they did. The most stupid act you've ever seen in your life."

Some people, of course, did stay: my grandfather—a rather eminent cardiologist, who also had a private income—stayed, for instance, teaching medical students in Cardiff and paying a fuck load of tax for the privilege. But many, many people did leave in the Brain Drain. Why the fuck should they stay?
"We've got three and a half million layabouts laying about on benefits and I'm 76 getting up at six o'clock in the morning to go to work to keep them.

"Let's get everybody back to work so we can save a couple of billion and cut tax, not to keep sticking it on."


Whatever the motivations of those who set up the Welfare State, in reality it has been a fucking disaster. And the people that it has been most disastrous for is the poor; as the Welfare State has become increasingly expensive, successive governments have had to slap more and more tax on.

And because there are far more poor than rich, the burden of taxation has fallen disproportionately on them because that is the way that one raises money. And then governments, realising the potential for vote-buying, have taken advantage of that to create a "client state" in which the poor are taxed and then made to beg for some of their own money back—always threatened with the notion that "the other lot" will stop their hand-outs.

And as the hand-outs have increased, and the tax got higher, more and more people have found themselves caught in the Benefits Trap—for many, it is no longer worth going to work, for they would be worse off.

And as these extra benefits payments and benefits claimants have increased, taxes on businesses and on employment have risen. The inevitable result is that businesses have employed technology (or any other method) rather than people, and so the number of jobs available has contracted; and, since there are fewer jobs available, businesses have been able to choose those with the highest qualifications and the most skills.

And so the poor have become poorer and, crucially, with no hope of bettering their lot. And still the governments pile on the tax on the productive, whilst paying the unproductive not to work and to have babies who will also be unable to work.

It's a fucking shit situation. For everyone.

How might we possibly improve the situation? Well, as people like myself have been banging on for years, you might start by not taxing the fucking poor—it's an argument that Timmy makes, yet again, at The Register.
We need to have a thorough overhaul of the UK's income tax system. It's not that many decades ago that you only started to pay income tax as your income approached the average. Now you pay income tax if you're working part time on the minimum wage (no, really, 20 hours a week or so will get you into that tax net).

The mechanism that has been used to get us to this horrible state is "fiscal drag". In most years (the current perhaps excepted) and certainly over time, wages rise faster than inflation. This is the end result of that useful thing which capitalism alone amongst economic systems manages: a general and sustained increase in the standard of living. But successive Chancellors have raised the personal allowance in line with general inflation and not the higher rises in wages. So ever more people on ever lower wages get to pay income tax, with the absurd result that for many we are now taking income tax away and then paying it back to the same people in the same week in benefits.

The Budget itself recognises this: there are some 2 million people who face marginal tax rates of over 60 per tax. Hundreds of thousands face even higher rates than this with the combination of income tax and benefits being withdrawn as their working income rises. Yes, just as we think that there are Laffer Curve effects on the rich, we also believe that exactly the same happens to the poor. Yet in this monstrosity of a tax system we tax the working poor at higher marginal rates than we do the rich.

The solution to this is well known: to raise the personal allowance. The Adam Smith Institute (where I'm a Fellow) has been shouting in the wilderness about this for years. As a simple rule of thumb the personal allowance should be the same as working full time all year on the minimum wage. Some £11,500 or so. At the moment it's around £6,400.

The Joseph Rowntree Trust produced a survey on what it is to be poor in the UK. It concluded that you needed a pre-tax income of £13,400 in order not to be poor. That's just about that £11,500 after tax. Yes, we really do insist that those we define as poor pay income tax. UKIP (where I'm also involved) has had the same policy for some years. Last week Oxfam urged the same and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats unveiled his third tax policy of the past year and urged the allowance be raised to £10,000.

As happens so often, good ideas start out way way out there, and then as people consider their merits they approach the mainstream. Or at least, they can do. And that's what I think has been the biggest mistake of this budget. Sure, bashing the rich for a few pennies here and there will always get cheers from Labour backbenchers, but we should really be concentrating our attention upon the poor. And the best thing we can do for them is to stop bloody taxing them.

Absolutely. But remove the poor from the tax system, and you remove much of the incentive for them to keep voting for you—because you are no longer paying them those lovely free benefits, you see (if only because you can no longer afford them).
That's my complaint: that Darling's allowed a good crisis to go to waste.

Darling, like his fucking one-eyed organ-grinder, is not really interested in the poor, and never has been. The politicians are interested in only one thing—power.

To be in power, they must be elected, and to have even the faintest hope of being elected, the politicians believe that they must, at all costs, retain their client electorate.

The Budget was gesture politics at its worst: the lack of spending cuts was designed to keep the client electorate voting Labour, whilst the extra tax on the rich was designed solely to appeal to said clients' most evil sensibilities.

I have said it before and I'll say it again: if you really want to help the poor, then stop fucking taxing them.

Lordly sanctions: pathetic

It seems that two of the peers involved in the scandal of a few weeks back have been found guilty.
TWO Labour peers at the centre of the lords for hire scandal have been found guilty of misconduct by a sleaze inquiry and face suspension from parliament, according to senior House of Lords sources.

Senior peers have concluded that Lord Taylor of Blackburn and Lord Truscott have broken the code of conduct of members of the upper house.

The investigation began after undercover Sunday Times reporters posing as lobbyists found that the two peers were prepared to help to amend legislation in return for cash.

They could now be barred from parliament for up to a year and lose tax-free allowances of up to £335 a day.

You fucking what? These people were prepared to amend the law of the fucking land—in favour of corporate clients—in order to personally enrich themselves, and they might be "barred from parliament for up to a year"?

Let me spell this out: Lords Taylor and Truscott conspired to sacrifice the liberty of the British people in order to serve the interests of big business: this conflation of corporate interest with state force is one of the hallmarks of fascism.

These two cunts are traitors to the people and should be fucking swinging from lamp-posts, not possibly maybe perhaps slightly suspended. Is there really no criminal sanction that can be brought against them for this gross act of treachery?

At the very least, they should be made to submit accounts, and any and all monies that they have made from "consultancy" should be confiscated immediately.

Further, every law in which they had a hand must now be repealed, pending review. Whilst the "noble" Lords must not benefit from this gross corruption, neither should the companies concerned.

Our whole Parliament—the House of Lords, the Commons and the Civil Service—is now revealed as being unutterably corrupt; the entire edifice is rotten. It must be destroyed, gutted; the slimed, befouled, infected innards must be torn out, lest the entire body die.

Trust in politicians has been incredibly low for decades, but rarely has trust in the political process itself been so utterly lacking. It was bad enough—though just barely tolerable—that MPs and Lords personally enriched themselves; what is unacceptable is that the very business of government should be so cheaply bought.

NuLabour have accelerated this process. From the Ecclestone scandal onwards, it has been obvious that the government's very policy has been up for sale to the highest bidder; then these odious cunts pulled apart the Lords and filled it with NuLabour placemen, so that the Upper House would be unable to block the desires of NuLabour's clients—indeed, as we have seen, the ignoble Lords thus created have embraced this corporatist corruption very readily.

Britain faces a collapse of its economy, of its political system, of its worth. And waiting in the wings are the Kindly Ones, the Tories, ready to feast upon the corpse of our political system and complete the total evisceration of the mother of Parliaments.

Hang them: hang them all.

UPDATE: the rest of this week's corruption is over at Guido's. It does not make for pretty reading, confirming—as it does—that our entire political system is irredeemably mephitic.

Palestinian problem solved

“The image of Hamas is that of an extreme Islamic fundamentalist organisation, but I have to say that during our talk, Mr Mashaal spoke exclusively about the Palestinians’ wish to have a state of their own.

“One of the big stumbling blocks in negotiating with Hamas is its insistence that the state of Israel be destroyed, but Mr Mashaal spoke about having a 25-year truce with Israel if a land for peace deal could be reached. It seemed to me that he was adopting a pragmatic position.

“The fact is that before there can be a lasting peace deal, there will have to be a dialogue with the representatives of the Palestinian people. Whether we like it or not, that includes Hamas. I really think it is in the interests of Israel, as well as the Palestinians, for talks to take place. While there is a lot of pessimism around, the arrival of President Obama has created a new chance for progress that should be seized.”

Who am I quoting here?

None other than renowned polymath, part-time policeman, multiculturalist, film critic and now expert on Middle Eastern politics, Welsh Tory David Davies MP.

Where shall we send him next?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shooting MPs in the face

A huge vote of thanks to the Anonymous commenter who brightened up your humble Devil's day immensely, by pointing me to this story.
Czech art: shoot your lawmaker in the face

PRAGUE (AFP) – Two artists have offered Czechs angered by politics the chance to take revenge on their lawmakers by shooting them literally in the face, by turning their photos into air gun targets.

Tomas Cap and Michal Kraus have displayed the portraits of 200 lower-house deputies in plastic boxes on the wall of a Prague alternative gallery, in front of an air gun and a boxful of ammunition.

"We have seen lawmakers breach the promises they gave to voters so many times. The visitors of the gallery have a unique opportunity to show these politicians what they think," the artists said in a statement.

Two weeks after opening, the exhibition was a sad sight as most of the faces had been heavily damaged by airgun slugs, with some destroyed beyond recognition.

"It's mostly youths that come, but we have also had managers in suits and pensioners," including an elderly woman on crutches who climbed to the first-floor room to take a shot, Milan Mikulastik, the curator of the display, told AFP.

I can imagine that a similar exhibition in this country would draw the crowds, I must say. I would certainly spend most of the day picking out MPs to shoot in the face.
He said he only hoped the crumbling photos would last till the end of the exhibition on Sunday as "the artists want to send them to the lawmakers afterwards."


Unfortunately, I suspect that, were one to set up such an exhibition in this country, one would probably end up in prison on some trumped up terrorism charge. Or maybe incitement to hatred of some sort. No, seriously.

And it's something of an indictment of this disgusting government that I could even think that this country might be in any way less free than a former Communist satellite.

Anyway, I'm off to dream about shooting our MPs in the face. Mind you, I can't see Gordon Brown's phizzog lasting more than a day—let alone two weeks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photoshop's File Format (PSD)

N.B. I'll get back to politics in a bit: I'm just a bit busy and feeling a bit jaded with politics at present.

Via Daring Fireball, the gentleman who constructed Xee, an open source image editor for Mac OS X, wins the prize for one of the most acerbic source code notations ever.
// At this point, I'd like to take a moment to speak to you about the Adobe PSD format.

//PSD is not a good format. PSD is not even a bad format. Calling it such would be an insult to other bad formats, such as PCX or JPEG. No, PSD is an abysmal format. Having worked on this code for several weeks now, my hate for PSD has grown to a raging fire that burns with the fierce passion of a million suns.

//If there are two different ways of doing something, PSD will do both, in different places. It will then make up three more ways no sane human would think of, and do those too. PSD makes inconsistency an art form. Why, for instance, did it suddenly decide that *these* particular chunks should be aligned to four bytes, and that this alignement should *not* be included in the size? Other chunks in other places are either unaligned, or aligned with the alignment included in the size. Here, though, it is not included.

//Either one of these three behaviours would be fine. A sane format would pick one. PSD, of course, uses all three, and more. Trying to get data out of a PSD file is like trying to find something in the attic of your eccentric old uncle who died in a freak freshwater shark attack on his 58th birthday. That last detail may not be important for the purposes of the simile, but at this point I am spending a lot of time imagining amusing fates for the people responsible for this Rube Goldberg of a file format.

//Earlier, I tried to get a hold of the latest specs for the PSD file format. To do this, I had to apply to them for permission to apply to them to have them consider sending me this sacred tome. This would have involved faxing them a copy of some document or other, probably signed in blood. I can only imagine that they make this process so difficult because they are intensely ashamed of having created this abomination. I was naturally not gullible enough to go through with this procedure, but if I had done so, I would have printed out every single page of the spec, and set them all on fire. Were it within my power, I would gather every single copy of those specs, and launch them on a spaceship directly into the sun.

//PSD is not my favourite file format.

No shit...

Incidentally, it seems that Adobe is coming in for a lot of stick, with the user interface in the latest version of its application bundle, Creative Suite 4, getting a sustained, comprehensive and continuing monstering over at Adobe UI Gripes.
Me moaning about shoddy UI inconsistencies and mistakes in Adobe products and how they get shittier with every release.

One of the earliest pieces posted at The Kitchen was on the theme of Adobe's purchase of its only significant competitor in the creative software industry, Macromedia, and why it was not a good move as far as users were concerned. Monopolies are never a good thing, and Adobe's subsequent progress has only served to underline this fact.

On the Mac platform, as I pointed out in a recent post, there are competitors coming through—Pixelmator and Acorn are both good and cheap—but nothing quite covers the whole Photoshop feature set. But then again, neither of those applications costs £500—more like £50.

Users—and Adobe itself—desperately need some competition, so more power to the small Mac developers: the end result will be better applications for us all.

UPDATE: Adobe's John Knack replies, and rebuts, some of the allegations about the file format, pointing out that it alows a considerable amount of backwards compatibility. He also points out, as did your humble Devil, that its growth has very much been organic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MPs are not social workers

Via Dizzy, I have found this tremendously amusing video of our Prime Mentalist attempting to be friendly, inviting and manic enthusiastic.

All of the things that he said pissed me off, but one in particualr gets my fucking goat: this one-eyed, Scots bastard said that MPs could make a difference, whether to the entire country (in his case, by bankrupting it)...
... or whether it's voting for a constituent who needs your help...

No. No. No. No and, umpteen times, fucking NO! I had this discussion with Kerry McCarthy some time ago.

Our MPs are the only 646 people who can make laws in this country: they should concentrate on making sure that these laws are appropriate (preferably by voting against them all).

MPs are not fucking social workers; we employ people to do these things—they are called fucking Social Workers. It is not only the waste of time that I object to: it is the principle of the thing...

Everyone should be equal under the law. Does anyone object to this principle? No? Good.

If an MP is "helping" one of their constitutents, then they are, by definition, trying to ensure that said constituent is treated differently from those people whom the MP is not helping.

This. Is. Wrong.

If you are helping a constituent to evade the law, or to bypass the law, or to circumscribe the law, then you are making a mockery of the principle of everyone being equal under the law.

If you think that the law is wrong then—being one of the 646 people who can affect this law—then might I suggest that you change the law?

In the meantime, don't bitch to me about how your job is mainly social work, you cunt: you only make it that so that you don't have to troll through the tedium that is the actual law.

As usual, shut the fuck up and do your job. If you cannot be bothered to do your job—that of legislating—then please step down. Or kill youself.

Either will do.

LPUK grows up

Donate to LPUK linkWay back in the mists of time—by blogging standards—a few of us bloggers came together to try to do what venerable and valuable institutions such as the Libertarian Alliance could not: give people the chance to vote Libertarian at the ballot box.

However, we wanted to try to get it right: we wanted to grow support steadily and then look at the best way of distributing—and giving autonomy to—regional groups. Rather to our suprise—after all, none of us had really been active in politics before—we did not need to assign said groups: they have sprung up of their own accord.

And now, as Ian writes on the LPUK blog, we are gradually launching them officially.
On the 1st of January 2009, the Libertarian Party celebrated its first Birthday. From its inception at the beginning of 2008 support for the Libertarian ideals laid out in our manifesto has been steadily growing, and today we have taken the first major steps from that single national structure into regional Branch formations.

We have formally launched the South East Branch this morning, to add to the one we have in the North West, and new Branches throughout the country will soon follow, as will the names and details of our first PPC's and Local Election Candidates, which will continually be updated as new candidates are taken through our selection process.

As this country slips further into Authoritarian rule the support for Libertarian ideals has never been stronger, or more vocal.

However, as people who are coming to LPUK are telling us in no uncertain terms, the Conservative Party has no room for Libertarian thought, Cameron has made clear that he will be continuing on the present path to a Federal Europe and will not be walking with Libertarians , Osborne is providing more Keynesian economics, and William Hague has refused to commit to a referendum if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified. In other words, more of the same under a disguised 'nudge'.

Those who have come to us from the LibDems tell of horrific infighting, with the SDP controlled leadership squeezing the Liberal element out of the party, marginalising them at branch level and suggesting that there is no room in the modern LibDem party for them. The LibDems have lost their Liberal roots and become the Social Democratic party, set to continue where Brown leaves off. More of the same.

Both LibDems and Conservatives are on a collision course with the British people, 57% of whom have now indicated that they no longer wish to remain in the EU. They are looking for a genuinely free society, services that work, lower taxes, much smaller government, less nannying and laws that are Made in Britain.

The voters of Britain are not stupid people, they are not happy about being led on the road to Authoritarian rule, and they are more than aware that the Libertarian Party is the only party that offers a direct rebut to the path we are currently on.

As your humble Devil has wandered around the country—doing the odd talk here and there (especially to the young)—he has found considerable support for the libertarian ideal. These people may not call themselves "libertarian" or they may feel that a Libertarian Party is not the most effective way to bring a smaller government to this country. Nonetheless, they are all intelligent people who have realised that the current state of affairs cannot continue. After all, if you are a fan of The Kitchen, then you are probably a Libertarian.

One of the most common questions that I have been asked is something along the lines of "yes, this is all very worthy: but have you actually stood in any elections?" The answer is, of course, that we have not.

Now, we are gathering our meagre resources to do just that. And, as usual, we are asking for your money to help us do it.
If you want to make a donation to LPUK so we can continue to stand for your rights, and I will be very honest here, yes, we need your money, click here.

If you want to stand at Local Elections or as a Member of Parliament yourself to make that difference, then email us at

No, we don't have all the answers, anyone who tells you that they do is lying, but we believe that we are putting forward far more credible options than the Conservatives or the LibDems.

We don't want to spend billions on slick advertising campaigns. But we would like to be able to fund deposits; we would like to be able to print leaflets to get the message out there; we would like to be able to pay expenses (not the MPs' kind) to our speakers who troll around the country (your humble Devil would like to point out, at this juncture, that he has claimed not a single penny from the LPUK).

And one day, yes, we would like to have power: the power to leave everyone the fuck alone to get on with their lives, and to live those lives as they see fit.

Call me "a loony libertarian" if you like—it's how I often self-deprecatingly refer to myself, after all—but I think that what we want to achieve is a noble aim: to let every person live how they wish according to the priorities that they, themselves, set.

In short: we wish to set people free.

UPDATE: the Libertarian Alliance would like you to take part in a poll to decide whether or not that august organisation should actively support LPUK. Please do go and vote (whichever way you wish)...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quote of the Day...

... comes from The Nameless Libertarian, on the topic of Gordon's alleged imminent appearance on South Park.
Not quite sure why the makers of South Park feel the need to throw Gordo into the mix though; after all they already have a fat misanthrope on their cast in the form of Eric Cartman. Although, in fairness, Cartman is more eloquent, intelligent, emotionally mature and stable that Brown...

Oh, and Cartman's considerably funnier too. There's fuck all funny about that stupid, one-eyed, Scottish cunt...

Pure hypocrisy from Rudi Vis

Guido reports that Damian McBride faces the possibility of being thrown out of the Labour Party. But just look who's sitting there, coming over all sanctimonious...
Members of Damian McBride’s Finchley and Golders Green constituency Labour Party branch are to vote on whether to throw him out. The local Labour MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Rudi Vis, says:
"What he did was scandalous, totally scandalous. Something like this is really important, especially when the Government is not doing very well. He has done the Labour party an enormous disservice. I don’t believe he is the sort of member we should have. I have never met him, never seen him at any meetings, never even heard of him before, so it won’t be any loss to us."

No, I'm sure that he won't.

Strangely, of course, I had never heard of Rudi Vis MP—not until a few weeks ago.

But it seems that dearest Rudi believes that, whilst spreading some smears is "scandalous, totally scandalous", screwing the taxpayer through your second home allowance is absolutely tickety-boo.
RUDI VIS, the north London MP who is stepping down at the next election, has used his parliamentary expenses to help buy a £520,000 home for his retirement near the Suffolk coast.

Vis, 68, has taken out a mortgage on his London home to pay for the country property. Interest payments on the loan are funded out of his parliamentary expenses.

Is that the stench of hypocrisy I smell...?

I think it is.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

All those brains, down the drain

George Osbourne: "... and 'pffft'—just like that we can kiss all these jobs goodbye..."

George Osbourne has unveiled a spectacularly unimpressive budget proposal.
Immediate Budget help to prevent the next generation of scientists and engineers being lost because of the jobs crisis this summer will be proposed by the Conservatives in a £600 million package today.

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, will propose funding for 25,000 new masters degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to help graduates who will struggle to find work when they finish their courses to carry on their studies.

What the fuck? If you want to avert a brain drain, instead of finding more money to send people through spectacularly useless degree courses—which will, amongst other things, simply make them more well-qualified to work elsewhere—why don't you propose actually cut taxes, you fucking pinch-nosed twat?

You know, so that businesses here will be able to... you know... actually employ these great minds to do something useful and productive? And you would, incidentally, help everyone else too.

You really are a fucking stupid bastard, Osbourne.

A new look for The Kitchen

Your humble Devil has decided to give The Kitchen a bit of a facelift. I fully expect it to take a little while to settle down, so changes may occur over the next couple of days. There are some caveats...

First, I have not been able to test the design in Internet Exploder yet, so there may well be glitches there. Sorry, there will be glitches there. If it's unreadable, please let me know. Oh, and users of older browsers will not see the rounded corners or some of the drop shadows, as these are rendered purely in CSS.

Second, I have been meaning to trim my blogroll for years. My blogroll links have always been handled by blogrolling, but I have suspended that for the moment. First, the blogrolling scripts were taking ages to load and, second, the hand-managed list in the Blogroll section is exported from my RSS reader and so represents my most up-to-date reading list. If anyone has any recommendations, however, for a blogrolling alternative then please let me know.

Third, I have not updated—as I had intended—to one of the "new" Blogger templates. This is, quite simply, because I don't understand the new Blogger code and I cannot be bothered to learn. Yet. Maybe I'll adopt it at a later stage.

Fourth, do let me know what you think. Personally, I think that it is nice and clean—I have however, preserved the old template on my computer...

UPDATE: the scaffolding is up again as your humble Devil tries to get away from the "bland" accusations. I just know I'm going to end up going back to the old one...!

UPDATE 2: back to bland for the present, whilst I work out what I really want to do with that logo...

The smears go right to the top

Guido alerts us to the fact that the revelations arising from the emails aren't done yet. And it seems that the News Of The World has the story again...
THE VILE website at the centre of the vicious plot to smear top Tories was set up with the help of the boss of the Labour Party, the News of the World can sensationally reveal today.

A new email shows that Labour's General Secretary Ray Collins chaired a secret meeting to create the Red Rag website now ensnared in the Smeargate scandal.

The email's existence links the dirty tricks site to the very TOP of the Labour Party.

And it exposes the LIE, put out by Downing Street, and repeated by government ministers this week, that the smears were just a minor aberration cooked up by a couple of renegades acting alone-and which would never have seen light of day.

A few days ago, Guido asked—rather pointedly—why Kevin McGuire had not broken the story about the planned NuLabour smears. Now we know why: because he was apparently involved in the whole thing, right from the beginnning.
Also in the room was the man who was to be the public face of Red Rag, Unite press officer Andrew Dodgshon, as well as political journalist Kevin Maguire, who was there in a private capacity.

Guido has been gunning for the press lobby for some time—with his accusations summarised here. It is absolutely disgusting that the lobby should have been complicit in this whole scandal—by publishing McBride's briefings against both Labour and Tory politicos—but now it seems that certain members were actively engaged with these disgusting tactics.

A couple of weeks ago, that evil old hag, Polly Toynbee, maintained that without the Fourth Estate holding a government to scrutiny, democracy could not operate effectively.
But democracy without the scrutiny of good journalism is unthinkable.

This line was always laughable from Polly—the most mindlessly pro-Labour champagne socialist that one can imagine. For a journo from The Grauniad—which is largely funded by government adverts—to push this line stretched credulity even further.

Now, the old bag's assertions seem even more ridiculous: the press have not been holding the government to account at all: when they have not been guilty of complicitly, these evil little cunts have been actively participating in the politics of the gutter.

The real fall-out from all of this will destroy not only the Labour Party but also it will absolutely annihilate the credibility of the mainstream media. Indeed, it already has.
Use it or lose it...

... said Polly. Well, if the MSM's primary function is to hold the government to account, then we shall happily lose it: the MSM has abdicated its duty, and it is now up to the blogs to do what they have always done—to attack, harry and hold to account both the morally bankrupt politicos and hopelessly compromised press.

Guido promises more revelations tomorrow: they won't make happy reading for Labourites—who are all implicated—or journos who have failed so egregiously in their duty.

I can't wait...

via The Englishman, it seems that Ed "Blinky" Balls is now in the spotlight...
ED BALLS, the schools secretary, used Damian McBride, the disgraced spin doctor, to smear ministerial rivals and advance his own ambitions, a Downing Street whistleblower has claimed.

In an explosive new twist to the e-mail affair, a No 10 insider has revealed that Balls was the mastermind behind a “dark arts” operation by McBride to undermine colleagues.

He claims the education secretary is running a destabilising “shadow operation” inside Downing Street to clear his path for the party leadership if Labour loses the next election.

The insider said: “There is now an operation within an operation at No 10 and it answers to Ed Balls.”

Excellent! It couldn't happen to a more odious, corrupt, little cunt. Keep it coming...

UPDATE 2: via Prodicus, it seems that the implosion of what is left of Nulabour is starting already...
You have deceived me, Mandelson's rages at Brown over Balls' secret 'spin cabal'

Peter Mandelson exploded in rage at Gordon Brown in a vicious Downing Street feud involving Ed Balls and disgraced spin doctor Damian McBride, it was revealed last night.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson accused Mr Brown of deceiving him when he discovered the Prime Minister had let Schools Secretary Mr Balls set up a secret ‘spin operation’ inside No10.

According to Labour sources, the row between Lord Mandelson and Mr Balls sowed the seeds of last week’s furore over Mr McBride’s emails smearing senior Conservatives, which led to him being sacked.

Senior Government aides say the decision to allow an ‘anti-Mandy’ cabal inside Downing Street was a ‘sop’ to Mr Balls, Mr Brown’s chosen heir as Labour leader.

Mr Balls spent much of Tony Blair’s ten years in power plotting on behalf of Mr Brown against the Blairites, making a deadly enemy of chief Blairite cheerleader Lord Mandelson.

When Mr Brown swallowed his pride and recalled Lord Mandelson in a desperate attempt to save his premiership, Mr Balls saw it as a threat to his leadership ambitions and tried to block the move.

This weekend could be even funnier than the last!

Meanwhile, Guido's site is down. From the look of his permalink URLs these days, I'm wondering if he has switched to WordPress, from Blogger? If so, it's a bit of a mistake, I feel. As Dizzy Twittered a few days ago...
Some bloggers wonder why I use a noddy system like Blogger. That is because Blogger is Google and can handle the traffic.

On the other hand, WordPress—basically on account of having no fucking cacheing whatsoever and so requiring the startup of the entire PHP framework every time that a page is hit—tends to simply bring down servers (believe me, I know).
EDIT: thanks to some charmless commenter, I see that the remark above about WP cacheing is, in fact, incorrect. As if I give a shit.

UPDATE 3: your humble Devil has only just got around to reading this Telegraph hatchet-job—to which Guido has responded—but this comment, left, below the piece, seems to sum up the mood of the DT's readers.
Personally, I wouldn't care if Guido had a history of strangling puppies. He's doing what you useless clowns should have been doing for years—showing us exactly what sort of vermin are governing this once great land.

Good on you Mr Fawkes.

—Joe on April 18, 2009 at 01:23 PM


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Samizdata: sticking it to the politicos again

Only a few weeks ago, your humble Devil was lamenting to a Samizdata contributor about how that blog was a mere ghost of its former self—infrequent and uninspired posting had reduced it to a libertarian curiosity rather than the inspiring and incisive read that it had once been.

Luckily, whilst Smeargate (ugh!) has demolished Labour's credibility, it seems to have revitalised Samizdata: the writing there is once more driven and driving. I particularly liked this post by Thaddeus Tremayne...
What follows next after Mr. Brown and his minions have been given the big, national elbow? Well, in due course (and perhaps even short course) Mr. Brown will be replaced by Mr. Not-Brown. And what lessons will Mr. Not-Brown have learned from the rise and ignoble fall of Mr. Brown? He will have learned that you can relentlessly plunder the wealth-producing sector of the economy in order to provide booty for your clients and be regarded as a visionary leader. He will have learned that you can establish a pettyfogging, pecksniffing, bullying surveillance state and be called a great statesman. He will have learned that you can hack at a once-prosperous economy with punitive taxes and onerous regulations until said economy collapses in an anaemic heap and be praised as an economic genius. And, crucially, he will have learned that you can get away with doing all of that, as long as you observe parliamentary protocols and refrain from seeking to smear your political classmates. That is unacceptable.

So Mr. Not-Brown has had his very simple manifesto handed to him on a plate, courtesy of his predecessor. All Mr. Not-Brown has to do is to pledge to 'clean up' politics and put a stop to all this lack of propriety and he is home and hosed. He doesn't even have to keep his pledge because everyone will be so relieved that Mr. Not-Brown is not Mr. Brown that they will believe him. They will want to believe him and so he will get a free pass to do pretty much whatever takes his fancy. All Mr. Not-Brown has to do (for a couple of years at least) is to make sure that his toadies and his cronies and his aunts keep their cards closer to their chests while they get on with what everybody agrees to be the praiseworthy and important business of stamping on our faces.

Mr. Not-Brown (who will probably be Mr. Buttered-New-Potato) will do precisely this, and this once great country will sink ever more deeply into the mire.

And why? Because, as Philip Chaston so eloquently posts, we are all subjects now.
In 1997 I was still a citizen. Now I am a subject: not a subject of the Crown but the subject of a new beast, one that stretches from Whitehall to Brussels. Roger Scruton has defined a subject as follows:
Subjection is the relation between the state and the individual that arises when the state need not account to the individual, when the rights and duties of the individual are undefined or defined only partially and defeasibly, and where there is no rule of law that stands higher than the state that enforces it.

This is a contentious argument, but our rights are overdetermined and overdefined on paper, arbitrary in exertion, incompetent in execution. Moreover, the European Union under the Treaty of Lisbon confers the authority of a bureaucratic state based upon a law no higher than itself, which can annul and strike out all rights, as power overrides law.

In practice, bureaucratic accretions, quangos and the vomit of regulation have encouraged a culture of subjection. This may have roots prior to New Labour but it acquired its final flowering under this pestilent regime, and discarded the final brakes upon its power: demanding that we are subject to them, civil servants in name, masters in form. ID cards, databases, surveillance and dependency.

The crux of the argument is this: once upon a time, our rights were only those which did not need to be defined—what some would call "negative rights"—and which were centred around the human right, basically, to be left the fuck alone.

Now, our rights are described and circumscribed by the state—so-called "positive rights"—and it is the state that defines what our rights are, and the state, therefore, can also remove those rights.

For example, when the state defines that citizens have "the right to an education", what it actually means is "the right to an education provided by the state and funded through the extortion of money from other citizens".

"Surely, Devil," some will cry, "this is a bit of a leap of imagination?" No, not really: let me amplify.

There is no such thing as free education and if someone cannot afford to pay for an education for their child, then the money must come from someone else. And the only way that you can absolutely guarantee that this money can be obtained—as opposed to, for instance, soliticiting charity—is to know that it can be stolen from someone else.

And the money must be stolen from someone else because the state has said that the right to an education is a fundamental "human right": therefore, not only must the right to an education be delivered upon, but it morally supercedes the right not to have the product of one's hard work stolen by force (because being allowed to keep one's own property is not, you see, a "human right").

And the only organisation that can be allowed to steal people's property by force is the state. This is not only to allow the state to keep order, but also because any other agency which was allowed to steal from people would be a competitor to the state—a challenger to its power—and thus absolutely cannot be allowed.

(There are agencies in the UK other than the central government who are allowed to steal to fund their programmes, of course; these include the Scottish government and local councils. However, they depend upon the central government for their power, much of their money and, indeed, their very existence; they are thus part of the collective entity known as "the state".)

And since the state is the only entity that can legitimately steal from people, the state is the only entity that can guarantee "the right to an education" and, by extension, all of those other "positive rights" that are now defined.

And so, because our rights are now defined by the state, we have become subjects—vassals of the state—and have simultaneously entrenched the rights of the state to continue to steal off us.

For, if human rights (as they are now legally defined) are an absolute moral good and the state is the only entity that can deliver those rights, then the very existence of the state itself must be an absolute moral good.

And if the state is an absolute moral good, then the state's right to steal off individuals must also be an absolute moral good. As such, the state-defined "positive human rights" must trump—both practically and morally—any individual rights at all.

As such, the state is now the most important entity in the country; it is far more important than any individual or collection of individuals.

And that is why we are treated with such contempt by our rulers: because they are an absolute moral good and we are merely aphids to their ants—aphids to be farmed for our sweet sap—so that the state can deliver to us our "human rights".

And that is why our freedoms have never been so clearly defined and yet so clearly non-existent.

Murphy's Law #11: subverting the will of Parliament

Richard Murphy: smug and yet so confused. He tried to make coffee with a frog yesterday, and the day before that he forgot his own name. It's very sad.

Timmy has conprehensively fisked the latest statement from the vile and evil Richard Murphy, but your humble Devil thought that he'd also throw in a comment or two—I have commented at Murphy's site, but the man is no fan of free speech (well, he is a socialist) and so it may not appear.
Amazingly the actual submission only refers to avoidance in the context of tax consultations. The word evasion does not appear, and there is not a single reference to tax havens.

There is however considerable concern that over very small bands of income the top marginal rate of income tax in the UK will in 2011 be 60% about which they say this:
raises the concern as to whether the projected increased revenue will materialise

Or in other words they raise the implicit threat that they will seek to subvert the will of Parliament through tax avoidance.

For fuck's sake, here we go again...

Tax evasion is illegal, Richard, you moron.

Tax avoidance, however, is taking advantage of the specific tax exemptions that Parliament, through legislation, has created and approved.

One could therefore say, were one going to take a ridiculously binary position, that not to take advantage of said exemptions is actually "subverting the will of Parliament".

Now, I know that Richard has previously maintained that tax evasion and tax avoidance are effectively the same thing, because he is a statist wankshaft, but Richard Murphy does not make the law (thank fuck)—Parliament does.

I would love to declare, unilaterally, Richard, that Being A Whingeing Socialist Shitstick is illegal but, alas, the fact that I have declared Being A Whingeing Socialist Shitstick illegal does not actually make Being A Whingeing Socialist Shitstick illegal. Unfortunately.

Because, you see, there has actually been no law passed by Parliament that says that Being A Whingeing Socialist Shitstick is illegal. Do you see?

And Parliament does not view tax avoidance as being illegal because it is Parliament that has made it legal. Through passing laws.

I know that this might be a difficult concept for a fantasist such as yourself to grasp but, believe me, it is the way that our legal system works.

So, by claiming that tax avoidance is illegal, when our Parliament has specifically declared it to be legal, it is you, in fact, who are "subverting the will of Parliament". You fucking stupid little cock.

UPDATE: Richard Murphy is a tax avoider.

Richard, could I point out that you actually indulge in tax avoidance? Parliament has said, through various legal instruments, that you have to pay about 40% of your earnings in tax. These laws say that you are allowed to keep the rest.

These same legal instruments set the law regarding those tax avoidance schemes that you consider to be wrong. Why is it that you consider some of these laws to be right and some wrong?

Let us see you put your money where your mouth is, Richard; you are allowed to pay extra tax (in 2007, six people did: were you one of those, Richard?).

Simply send your contribution to:
The Accountant, HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ

If you believe that tax avoidance is wrong, Richard, I fully expect you to send all your money to that address. Do remember to say what you'd like your contribution to be used for, Richard; they will send you a thank-you letter, which is nice, isn't it?

I also call on you to publish the proof of doing this on your blog—you could publish the thank-you letter, for instance. Either publish the proof that you have sent all of your money to HM Treasury, Richard, or shut the fuck up about tax avoidance being wrong.

  1. Murphy's Law #1

  2. Murphy's Law #2

  3. Murphy's Law #3

  4. Murphy's Law #4

  5. Murphy's Law #5

  6. Murphy's Law #6

  7. Murphy's Law #7

  8. Murphy's Law #8

  9. Murphy's Law #9

  10. Murphy's Law #10

Enjoy the wisdom of Richard Murphy in bite-sized chunks! And then realise that he influences government policy! And that therefore Richard Murphy and his minions are therefore partly responsible for the fucked up economic situation!

Go Murphy!

This may be true

Via The Nameless Libertarian, who highlights the rather beautifully written George Osbourne short sketch, I find that The New Adventures of Juliette has decided that McBride's rumours were pretty fucking dull and that better ones could be spread.

Do read 'em all, but your humble Devil would like to quote his personal favourite...
David Cameron is actually a freshly boiled and buttered new potato with a smug, annoying little face drawn on it with a biro. Designed by the same dark CGI arts that created Piers Morgan.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Rewarding failure

Carpsio—once of this parish—is on fine form as he goes "a little off-piste from the usual round of industry tittle-tattle to do a little light swearing." In this case, he eloquently points out that business grants are a massive load of old crap.
The way it works on paper is this: sometimes people with a good business idea can’t get access to credit or funding from a bank, and so the idea goes unrealised. Because of this, economic growth is stymied - especially in the crucial small business sector, from where a lot of innovation comes. The government therefore can step in and provide funding where the banks won’t. Furthermore, by targeting deprived areas, these grants can help stimulate economic activity in poorer areas.

Fucking rubbish.

What actually happens is this: good, profitable businesses and productive workers have money taken from them in the form of tax. This money is then channelled into bad, unprofitable businesses which go under anyway. All of this happens under an absurdly capricious and ill-informed bureaucracy which merely serves to make the whole thing more expensive.

Having discussed a case in point, Carpsio then sums up rather nicely...
So Business Link have taken your 5 grand and given it to a business that won’t last more than a couple of months and specified that the money should be spent on about the least relevant service. In addition, to administer this money we have to leap through hoops that they have set in terms of actions, reporting and timescales. Does any of this add up to extra efficiencies? In that £5000, a few hundred quid will go west in creating the ‘correct’ audit trail to fit their stupid fucking, box-ticking requirements.

The next time Gordon Brown stands in his pulpit to lecture us on the evils of unbridled free markets, bear in mind that billions of your money is pissed against the wall on clowns like this every single fucking year. Unaccountable, pointless, waste.

It's a massive pile of crap, to be sure. And nowhere in his post does Carpsio even point out that the largest Scottish agency for doling out these grants—Scottish Enterprise—has itself effectively gone bust at least twice in the last eight years...

A statement

Bella Gerens has posted a statement which, though written by an American, could equally apply here. As Bella points out, simply replace "American" with "British", etc. and replace "President" with "fucking useless, thieving bastard of a Prime Minister" and "Obama" with "that accursed, one-eyed, Scots cunt, Brown" and you have a succinct summing up of the situation in this country.
I feel I must explain, at least to the small audience that is available to me, that the naivete with which people are discussing the tea party protests is distracting everyone from the meaning of those protests.

The people who went to those protests were not there simply because they don’t like Obama and they don’t like paying their taxes. There is something much deeper behind their revulsion–a revulsion I share.

The point is this:
American citizens spend half of every year working simply to make their tax payments. That is to say, all taxes combined (US, state, county, city, etc.) are so burdensome to Americans that they must spend literally half of their income paying them. I don’t care what you say about the cost of running the government, protecting our shores, or helping the poor. This is wrong.

It is interesting to note that we consider ourselves free and self-determined yet we are subjected to such staggering regulation of our lives. You can point to our material wealth and say, “you’re wrong… we have it great,” but you’re fooling yourself if you think that. Being free and being rich are not the same thing. Essentially, we’re rich because we’ve managed to fool the world into thinking our money is actually worth something…this is another story. What is really going on here is that our government has become so monstrously plutocratic and tyrannical that they feel they can start wars, spy on us, and abscond with half our paychecks. We are told to shut up and stop whining.

Well, I’m tired of being told that I should put my “nation” before myself. That’s obviously not what this is about. People who say that mean, “put the government before yourself—you are their property.”

I don’t care who the president is (they all manage to find a new and unique way to be absolutely terrible) and I don’t care what they promise us. I think that the feelings of the people at the tea party protests and my own feelings can be quite succinctly expressed:
All experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

I don’t suppose many people today would even recognize that text but be sure, were it written by someone today, its writer would be labeled an “extremist” or “domestic terrorist” and thrown into some dark prison. In its day, that text caused a war.

I urge anyone reading this (and believe me, I have no delusions that many are) to consider for a moment whether the life led by an American is a free life. Consider whether anyone can actually claim, under threat of force, half of all your labor. Can those people spy on you? Can force you to fight a war on the other side of the earth? Can they silence you? Can they imprison you? If not, can they stop you if you decide to rob them of their power? Can they stop a million like you? Can they stop 300 million belligerent Americans who know what freedom is and crave it?

I think not.

Having said that, I do not believe these tea party protests were at all effective. Sadly, a protest against the government and its atrocities is rendered impotent when the scoundrels who operate that government make speeches at the protest. Yes, I refer to the infamous Richard Burr who gave a less than stirring speech against Obama and his bailouts. Oddly enough, Mr. Burr voted for the original bailout. How disingenuous to oppose graft only when it’s politically expedient.

Thus, any effect the protest might have had was soundly negated. Especially since Fox News took it upon themselves to portray it as a partisan anti-Obama rally. I think they just like rattling our cages, to be honest.

Just remember, the struggle the United States face today is a lot simpler than economics, party politics, or monetary policy. It is simply a struggle for power between the People and the government. The only power you and I crave is power over ourselves but the government claims that power as well. I am not prepared to submit to them.

Remember, there is nothing patriotic about supporting the government. The United States government is not the United States themselves. We are. We are the country. Our homes and our neighbors are this country. Your choice is either loyalty to them or loyalty to the government. I know on what side I stand.


Unfortunately, all of this requires a population who gives a shit and, alas, the greater part of the population of both countries seem to be quite happy, thank you, to have their lives—their decisions and their course of living—underwritten by the money stolen off others: in the course of doing so, they seem more than happy to have their lives controlled by the state.

I wouldn't mind, were I allowed to opt out, but I cannot. Why? Why should I pay NICs, for instance, when I have covered myself privately (and for half the price)? I am not going to be a burden on the state: why should I have to pay? Why can I not opt out?

I don't see why I should pay for other people to have children—why should I be forced to subsidise the lifestyle choices of others through taxes when the loss of that money curtails my own lifestyle choices? How is stealing half of what I earn, at the point of a gun, to pay for things that I would not otherwise pay for in any way "fair" or "just"?

Because, of course, the people on the Left are not really interested in a "just" or "fair" society. What the socialists mean when they talk about "justice" and "fairness" is that those who do not share their concerns should, nevertheless, be forced to pay for them.

In other words, dear readers, what the Left demand is that you and I should pay for their precious morals: these socialists demand that you and I should be deprived of our hard-earned money in order that the consciences of these shits be salved.

Not only that but, in the opinion of your humble Devil, these Leftie cunts advocate that the state steals and redistributes our money to "the poor" because these statist bastards don't actually want to get their hands dirty.

You won't find Lefties actually going around sink estates actively helping these "poor"; oh no, that might be dangerous. Much better to hive such things off to the state's employees. Don't actually go and help someone yourself: just get the state to do it.

This has caused a fractured society, in which "helping someone" is redefined as "stealing money off someone else, by force, and giving it to someone anonymous in order that they should be employed to help the equally anonymous poor". And so our culture has led not to people thinking, "there is another human being in pain: how can I help?" but "why hasn't the state sorted that out?"

I am sick and tired of having to scrimp so that others can be feckless; I am sick and tired of fucking socialist hypocrisy; and I am sick and fucking tired of being forced to pay for the personal fucking morals of the sanctimonious Left.