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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Striking at the core of the climate change myth

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/30/2009 11:06:00 am

In the last few days, an incredibly important set of research results went up at Climate Audit—the website of Steve McIntyre. Now, not having followed the chronology in detail, I found the post somewhat mystifying—as I am sure that most of my readers will do—so I thought that I would help out...

As many readers will know, much of the basis for the anthropogenic climate change scare came from a set of results published by Mann et al., which purported to show a massive uptick in temperatures in the twentieth century. This "hockey-stick graph" also flattened an earlier temperature period—which was well documented in historical records—known as the Mediaeval Warm Period.
The Hockey Stick Graph



This chart is Figure 1(b) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, (c) 2001 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sourced from Wikipedia and, ultimately, from the IPCC Report [PDF].

The significance of the graph should not be underestimated: the graph showed unprecedented temperature levels and was used as the foundation for the IPCC Reports and, ultimately, the anthropogenic climate change (ACC) thesis.

What is less well known is that the reports by Mann et al. (as well as many others investigating similar trends) were actually based on previous reports by Keith Briffa (whom your humble Devil has mentioned before) of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia—and it was he who had constructed the hockey stick graph.

Now, obviously we do not have really accurate temperature measurements for further back than about thirty years—and we have no even vaguely accurate direct temperature measurements for any time before the US land network stations were set up in 1896 (previous blogs at The Kitchen have discussed the accuracy of those temperature measurements).

As such, climate researchers use proxies such as ice cores or, in Briffa's case, cores from the trunks of long-lived trees such as the bristle-cone pine. The research is basically as scientific as counting the tree rings and measuring their widths and assuming that there is a correlation between these widths and the temperature prevailing at the time.

Over the last few years, some problems with this method had become evident, not least the fact that the ring widths have not reflected the temperatures that we have been able to measure in the last few years—an inconvenient truth that has been called "the divergence problem".

Steve McIntyre—who, both solo and with Ross McKitrick, has been a thorn in the side of AGW alarmists for some time now—has been doing some excellent research over the last few years into this area (indeed, because of the entirely unscientific reluctance of climate scientists in general, and Keith Briffa in particular, to make their raw data available—this latest breakthrough has been some three years in the making) the so-called hockey-stick controversy was caused by McIntyre's discovery of the unreliability of the so-called Polar Urals data.

At this point, I am going to start referring to Bishop Hill's excellent and comprehensive summary of what he is calling the Yamal Implosion.
With Polar Urals now unusable, paleclimatologists had a pressing need for a hockey stick shaped replacement and a solution appeared in the nick of time in the shape of a series from the nearby location of Yamal.

The Yamal data had been collected by a pair of Russian scientists, Hantemirov and Shiyatov, and was published in 2002. In their version of the data, Yamal had little by way of a twentieth century trend. Strangely though, Briffa's version, which had made it into print before even the Russians', was somewhat different. While it was very similar to the Russians' version for most of the length of the record, Briffa's verison had a sharp uptick at the end of the twentieth century -- another hockey stick, made almost to order to meet the requirements of the paleoclimate community. Certainly, after its first appearance in Briffa's 2000 paper in Quaternary Science Reviews, this version of Yamal was seized upon by climatologists, appearing again and again in temperature reconstructions; it became virtually ubiquitous in the field: apart from Briffa 2000, it also contributed to the reconstructions in Mann and Jones 2003, Jones and Mann 2004, Moberg et al 2005, D'Arrigo et al 2006, Osborn and Briffa 2006 and Hegerl et al 2007, among others.

So, the new data became the absolute corner-stone of a almost all climate research because, as is often the way, the climatologists were not actually gathering their own data—they were simply remodelling using the same one or two data sets. The flaw in this is obvious: if you are feeding nonsense data into a model, then the results will obviously be nonsense too.

Steve McIntyre wanted to examine the original datasets but was turned down flat by Briffa, and other avenues failed to yield results. It was only when the Royal Society—one of the few, it seems, scientific publications actually willing to enforce their data policy—published some of Briffa's research that a way in was found. After more frustrations (Briffa—deliberately?—had removed, or not archived, any metadata (including the origins) for the tree ring measurements) and more hefty research, McIntyre seemed to be making progress.
When McIntyre started to look at the numbers it was clear that there were going to be the usual problems with a lack of metadata, but there was more than just this. In typical climate science fashion, just scratching at the surface of the Briffa archive raised as many questions as it answered. Why did Briffa only have half the number of cores covering the Medieval Warm Period that the Russian had reported? And why were there so few cores in Briffa's twentieth century? By 1988 there were only 12 cores used, an amazingly small number in what should have been the part of the record when it was easiest to obtain data. By 1990 the count was only ten, dropping still further to just five in 1995. Without an explanation of how the selection of this sample of the available data had been performed, the suspicion of `cherrypicking' would linger over the study, although it is true to say that Hantemirov also had very few cores in the equivalent period, so it is possible that this selection had been due to the Russian and not Briffa.

The lack of twentieth century data was still more remarkable when the Yamal chronology was compared to the Polar Urals series, to which it was now apparently preferred. The ten or twelve cores used in Yamal was around half the number available at Polar Urals, which should presumably therefore have been considered the more reliable. Why then had climatologists almost all preferred to use Yamal?

Yet more research was required—not only to answer the above question, but also to match up the raw core data with the locations from which they were taken.
As so often in McIntyre's work, the clue that unlocked the mystery came from a rather unexpected source. At the same time as archiving the Yamal data, Briffa had recorded the numbers for another site discussed in his Royal Society paper: Taimyr. Taimyr had, like Yamal, also emerged in Briffa's Quaternary Science Reviews paper in 2000. However, in the Royal Society paper, Briffa had made major changes, merging Taimyr with another site, Bol'shoi Avam, located no less than 400 kilometres away. While the original Taimyr site had something of a divergence problem, with narrowing ring widths implying cooler temperatures, the new composite site of Avam–Taimyr had a rather warmer twentieth century and a cooler Medieval Warm Period. The effect of this curious blending of datasets was therefore, as so often with paleoclimate adjustments, to produce a warming trend. This however, was not what was interesting McIntyre. What was odd about Avam–Taimyr was that the series seemed to have more tree cores recorded than had been reported in the two papers on which it was based. So it looked as if something else had been merged in as well. But what?

With no metadata archived for Avam-Taimyr either, McIntyre had another puzzle to occupy him, but in fact the results were quick to emerge. The Avam data was collected in 2003, but Taimyr only had numbers going up to 1996. Similarly, the Taimyr trees were older, with dates going back to the ninth century. It was therefore possible to make a tentative split of the data by dividing the cores into those finishing after 2000 and those finishing before. This was a good first cut, but the approach assigned 107 cores to Avam, which was more than reported in the original paper. This seemed to confirm the impression that there was something else in the dataset.

Having identified some of the other core locations, and running yet more processes on the others, McIntyre found that the final set came from a rather unexpected—and, in Briffa's paper, unacknowledged—source.
Forty-two of the cores turned out to be from a location called Balschaya Kamenka, some 400 km from Taimyr. The data had been collected by the Swiss researcher, Fritz Schweingruber. The fact that the use of Schweingruber's data had not been reported by Briffa was odd in itself, but what intrigued McIntyre was why Briffa had used Balschaya Kamenka and not any of the other Schweingruber sites in the area. Several of these were much closer to Taimyr–Aykali River was one example, and another, Novaja Rieja, was almost next door.

And the significance of this...?
By this point then, McIntyre knew that Briffa's version of Yamal was very short of twentieth century data, having used just a selection of the available cores, although the grounds on which this selection had been made was not clear. It was also obvious that there was a great deal of alternative data available from the region, Briffa having been happy to supplement Taimyr with data from other locations such as Avam and Balschaya Kamenka. Why then had he not supplemented Yamal in a similar way, in order to bring the number of cores up to an acceptable level?

In other words, core data from a wide area were merged together in order to provide a reliable record for the past 1,000 years or so, but this was not done for the twentieth century data. Why?
The reasoning behind Briffa's subsample selection may have been a mystery, but with the other information McIntyre had gleaned, it was still possible to perform some tests on its validity. This could be done by performing a simple sensitivity test, replacing the twelve cores that Briffa had used for the modern sections of Yamal with some of the other available data. Sure enough, there was a suitable Schweingruber series called Khadyta River close by to Yamal, and with 34 cores, it represented a much more reliable basis for reconstructing temperatures.

The results are... interesting, to say the least. [Emphasis mine.]
McIntyre therefore prepared a revised dataset, replacing Briffa's selected 12 cores with the 34 from Khadyta River. The revised chronology was simply staggering. The sharp uptick in the series at the end of the twentieth century had vanished, leaving a twentieth century apparently without a significant trend. The blade of the Yamal hockey stick, used in so many of those temperature reconstructions that the IPCC said validated Michael Mann's work, was gone.


This significance of this cannot be underestimated—it absolutely strikes at the root of the entire AGW scare. The effective conclusion is that the hockey-stick graph—and the huge temperature uptick in the twentieth century that underpins the entirety of AGW alarmism—is false.

Let us be absolutely clear about what this means: if the AGW alarmists are indeed motivated by genuine concern that humanity is causing a catastrophic warming of the planet, then they will now retract their protestations.

If, however, the motivation is different from this—if the scientists are, for instance, motivated by money or by power or by political machinations—they will continue to prophesy doom and destruction.

If you read Bishop Hill's entertaining narrative—which I really recommend that you do—and comprehend the significance of the obfuscation, cherry-picking and outright dishonesty displayed by Briffa and others, then you will know which way I'm betting.

But make no mistake, if honesty still exists—assuming that it ever did—in the climate science community, then the concept of anthropogenic climate change is dead.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/30/2009 11:06:00 am


Virtual hugs needed

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/30/2009 10:28:00 am

My friend and colleague Mike Rouse has been having a bit of a shitty time of it recently, including being burgled and interrogated at gunpoint by a bunch of murderous thugs who stole his laptop and phone (which the insurance company apparently won't replace, thus severely Mike's ability to work) as well as numerous other woes—all of this and he lives in Coventry.

Do, please, wander over and give a word or two of encouragement because methinks he needs it...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/30/2009 10:28:00 am


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How appropriate

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/29/2009 07:31:00 pm

Guido points out that NuLabour sullied a fine band and a fine song when they played James's Sit Down for Gordo's speech.
What struck Guido was the interesting choice of music at the beginning. “Sit Down” by James which includes the lyrics:
Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me

A somewhat insensitive choice for the Prime Mentalist’s entrance…

True enough. Although, it's also worth noting that this excellent song also contains these lyrics...
Now I’ve swung back down again
It’s worse than it was before
If I hadn’t seen such riches
I could live with being poor

I imagine that some of the three million unemployed could probably sympathise with those words, as would anyone who has been otherwise hit by this recession.

Methinks that either someone really didn't think this through, or someone thought it through really, really carefully...

UPDATE: thanks to the heads-up from Gregg Beaman in the comments, I found James singer Tim Booth's reaction when Gordon used Sit Down as his introductory song last year...
We have always been supportive of the Labour Party, as well as Greenpeace, Amnesty and CND, but obviously the machinations of a desperate politician trying to restore unity by using our song is not something we are totally behind. The Labour Party has become quite similar to the Conservative party and it's hard to tell the difference between the two these days, it's certainly not as clear cut as it used to be.

There are some real ironies in the lyrics of "Sit Down", which was played just before Gordon Brown spoke to his conference this week. "Those who find they're touched by madness/Sit down next to me/Those who find themselves ridiculous/Sit down next me." That would have been a nice irony if they had played that line and he had put his hand up. And then there's, "If I hadn't seen such riches/I could live with being poor".

Obviously, I don't subscribe to Tim's politics, for all that I love James as a band (why is it that artists are almost always Lefty twats?), but I think that calling the Gobblin' King a "desperate politician trying to restore unity" is pretty spot on.
If the Labour Party started using it regularly we would have to have some words but as a one off, that's life, isn't it?

Perhaps Tim would like to "have some words"...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/29/2009 07:31:00 pm


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Trouble with Capitalism

Posted by julymorning at 9/28/2009 11:24:00 pm

The Trouble with Capitalism is, apparently, everything that governments do to try to mitigate the trouble with capitalism, according to Harry Shutt.

It all starts with boom-and-bust, something economists assure us is a natural feature of the capitalist paradigm. In the nineteenth century, all of this capital floating around was ploughed into industrial ventures in the expectation of its generating stuff (good) and more capital (also good), which could then be ploughed further into more ventures, etc. This snowballing of prosperity was occasionally punctuated by hideous crashes, such as the stock market crash of 1873, when invested capital failed to produce more stuff or more capital, either through failures in the level of demand or because the prospective stuff had been over-valued in the first place.

All well and good, except for all those people adversely affected by the busts, who also tended to be the same people who accrued the least advantage during the booms. This was all quite scary; and then two world wars came along, which were also very scary - so frightening in their death toll and genocide and nationalism that the obvious response was to entrench
...the inescapable responsibility of the state for the maintenance of minimum economic security for all citizens.

Shutt says some stuff here that suggests the reasoning behind this was that the disaster that was World War II was caused, in part, by the economic suffering of the common people in the fascist countries, who turned to nationalism/fascism because it promised to protect them from boom-and-bust. Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace suggests differently, but I'm getting away from the point, which is that, for whatever reasons, insulating people against the crappy part of the capitalist cycle became a priority for Western governments.

So what did those governments do?
...in order to maintain full employment governments could and should 'adopt a compensatory fiscal policy to offset the irreducible fluctuations in the private sector of the market'...

...which they did...
...by using the tools of demand management (monetary as well as fiscal policy) to manipulate the level of economic activity so as to keep unemployment below the level at which the fiscal costs of the welfare and social-security budgets would become too burdensome.

They also:
...became significant promoters of investment, whether through state subsidies or incentives to private investment, or else through direct state equity participation in enterprise.

And this all trundled along quite nicely, because in the couple of decades post-war, Western economies enjoyed such a massive growth spurt that unemployment was almost non-existent and even many of the poorest in society experienced an unprecedented increase in their quality of life.

But then the 1970s happened. Growth slowed dramatically; saturation had occurred in many markets, especially that of consumer durables; the need for non-durables was fairly static; and essentially demand grew in line with population growth, governed by replacement rather than first-time purchases. Companies diversified; new markets were sought. Universal employment and social welfare turned out to be government policies that could only really be practical as long as the economy continued to grow at a quite high rate. When growth slowed, unemployment grew, as did the demands on the welfare state.

Government response was, inevitably, fiscal and monetary stimulus.

And therein lies the problem Shutt identifies: rather than adjusting to lower rates of growth, and attempting to define a new understanding of prosperity in the absence of tremendous growth, governments adopted policies that merely put off the day of reckoning whilst at the same time ensuring that when the reckoning did occur, it would be infinitely worse due to that delay.

There was now, on the one hand, an excess of labour: reduction in demand and production meant that not only could there now not be full employment, but the price of labour shrank as well.

More worryingly, however, there was now an excess of capital. Monetary stimulus had created a lot of money that had to be invested somewhere, and traditional avenues for investment were now not as profitable as they had once been; gone were the days of a 12-15% return. New markets were slow to open up; where, then, could all this money go?

The answer turned out to be riskier investments; the possibility of collapse was high, but if successful, the returns would also be correspondingly huge. Property, for example, futures, derivatves, junk bonds: this is where the money flowed, even as people understood, as time went on, that the assets backing them might be tremendously over-valued.

And this is where, the reader begins to feel, Shutt is getting pretty fucking angry. Because this whole process of crazy investment with the capital glut has been going on since the late 1970s. And every time the risks don't pay off, government response has been to 'mitigate' the problem with further stimulus—thereby worsening the capital glut, which was the original problem. And of course, in the process, creating a tremendous deficit burden.

Of course, stimulus has not been the only response, just the worst one. Governments have also tried to open up new avenues for investment: new geographical markets, privatisation of state services, corporate subsidies, etc. All of these good intentions have resulted in corresponding problems: exploitation in the third world, fraud, corruption, organised crime, corporatism.

All of these 'solutions,' Shutt claims, are understood to be empirically imperfect; they are all predicated on the belief that, one day, growth will return to its post-war levels, sucking up excess capital and labour once again and freeing the government from the penalties of its Keynesian overspending. Except that this return to huge growth keeps not happening.

Shutt wrote The Trouble with Capitalism in 1998, perfectly predicting the bust that has been occurring in the past two years. You can see why he's irritable:
The resulting financial and economic collapse [of 2007-2008], which is by now perceived as the most serious crisis of global capitalism since the Great Depression of the 1930s (if not in its entire history), is clearly in line with the predictions made in the book. Yet, while to that extent it may appear to have been vindicated, its analysis of the causes of the crisis is still very far from being generally accepted. Indeed mainstream analysts have devised some bizarre explanations for the onset of the crisis, while steadfastly ignoring its long-term, fundamental causes.

If he's right, then his frustration is wholly justified, because governments' response to this bust has been to do exactly what he claims will exacerbate the problem further.
Such deliberate distortions of reality reflect a more general, and all too understandable, tendency on the part of the global establishment to try to ignore the longer-term factors behind the crisis. In particular they seek to divert attention from the chronic relative stagnation of the world economy since the 1970s, which has made it increasingly impossible to find sufficient outlets for reinvestment of inexorably accumulating corporate profits—not to mention the artificially stimulated flows of capital into pension funds and other savings vehicles—in productive assets, as opposed to unproductive and highly risky speculation. The central theme of the book...is how the would-be saviours of the capitalist profits system have since the 1970s resorted to ever more ingenious methods to overcome this inescapable tendency—the essence of the business cycle, familiar from the earlier history of capitalism since the nineteenth century.

His thesis - and this makes a lot of sense—is that the way to mitigate the more destructive parts of the cycle of profit-motivated capitalism is not to encourage further that profit motive by creating more capital and more risky ways of generating profit. And if it is true, as Shutt claims, that growth has forever stagnated, then it is true that we need to redefine some way of measuring value besides the accumulation of profit:
It is self-evident that free-market, profit-maximising capitalism is incompatible with a low-growth or no-growth economy, since to survive it requires the possibility of perpetual accumulation of profits and expansion of shareholders' funds. From this it must follow that the untrammelled pursuit of profit maximisation by corporations can no longer be accepted as their primary objective, at least as long as they enjoy the privilege of state protection or subsidy.

What, then, can we put in its place? This is where Shutt's work falls: 'How can we measure value apart from profit?' 'I dunno, let the people decide':
Any criteria used as alternatives to the supposedly impersonal one of profit maximisation would need to be derived from conscious political choices....it must be the presumption under a democracy that the purpose of any economic system is, broadly speaking, to provide the mass of people with what they want - or, ideally, what they would want if they had full knowledge of the choices open to them. Handing responsibility for deciding this to bureaucrats or politicians is never likely to provide durably satisfying results. Mechanisms will therefore need to be devised to enable the wishes of citizens to be reflected in the determination of priorities in resource allocation.

Some of what he suggests is stuff we need anyway: more frequent consultation of the electorate (including referenda), decentralisation, limits on political funding, greater transparency in government and greater scrutiny of public officials, a more critical media, and greater accountability. He also warns against protectionism and advocates a more globalist approach.

The rest? Redistribution of wealth and resources from rich to poor, equality of outcome, and the European Union.

Thus the book ends on a most unsatisfying note; quite apart from that fact that there are many who would assert that growth can recover and markets can expand, either through the advancement of technology or geographically if we stopped stifling growing economies with 'development aid' that props up their corrupt governments (to be fair, Shutt does address this as a problem), democratic redistribution of wealth and goods does not really seem like a very holistic replacement for the profit motive—ignoring, as it does, the question of incentives. At the moment, the desire for profit is what drives innovation, expansion, and pretty much every other economic action. Is he suggesting, as so many people do these days, that we should be satisfied with the wealth we have so far created, and merely shuffle it hither and thither until everybody has a decent share? Let us not forget that, even now, what most people do with their days is produce stuff; what is the point of producing stuff if not in the expectation of getting other, or better, stuff in return?

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Posted by julymorning at 9/28/2009 11:24:00 pm


Windows Ads and Apple fans

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/28/2009 09:27:00 pm

Stuart Sharpe approvingly quotes Charlie Brooker's article on how much he hates Mac users (yes, another one).

Well, this Mac fanboi far prefers a CleverSimon article that highlights the idiocy of Brooker's argument. [Emphasis mine.]
But that’s the thing. I’ve never met one of these “eerie replicant Mac monks” Charlie Brooker is bitching about. I’ve never known anyone, online or off-, who considered a Macintosh purchase a “spiritual choice.” In fact, I’ve never once encountered an Apple zealot half as frothy-mouthed as the jackasses who jump on every opportunity to take cheap shots at Apple products and their users.

Charlie Brooker’s thesis is “I hate Windows, but I hate strawmen Mac evangelists more, so I’m going to marinate in my misery just to stick it to these imaginary fanboys. I’m unhappy and unproductive, and I’m going to stay unhappy and unproductive—that’ll show ‘em.

Well, your humble Devil is perfectly happy for Brooker to stay stewing in his Windows hell and—let's face it—I entirely endorse everything that the man says about the hell that is Microsoft's flagship operating system (especially since I seem to have become the designated office Mr Fixit of late).

But, as CleverSimon points out, Charlie Brooker's irrationality is screamingly evident.
Finishing the sentence “I’ll never buy a Mac because” with anything but “it doesn’t meet my needs” means you don’t get to accuse Apple users of making irrational purchasing decisions based on slavish adherence to an ideology.

Quite.

Now, I'm quite sure that many people will accuse me of taking Brooker too seriously or of being a biased Mac fanboi but, frankly, that doesn't alter the fact that Brooker's article invokes a strawman so huge that it might as well be twenty feet tall, full of chickens, pigs and Scottish policeman and burning on a remote Scottish island.

Having said that, I'm entirely with Charlie as regards the Windows 7 Launch Party adverts...
It's so terrible, it induces an entirely new emotion: a blend of vertigo, disgust, anger and embarrassment which I like to call "shitasmia". It not only creates this emotion: it defines it. It's the most shitasmic cultural artefact in history. Watch it for yourself.

Alternatively don't: you may need to scrub your eyeballs after watching the hideous ethnic and age-gap spanning grab-bag of sinister fuckers in that video. Just imagine that they are planning a sex-party. Trust me, it wil be less creepy and repulsive. Although not much, I'll admit.

Who the fuck is handling the Microsoft ad account? They should be shot, their building burned to the ground and the entire place sowed with salt. I mean, it's not only the cringe-making Windows 7 parties but (as I have mentioned before) also—as we approach the final quarter of two thousand and nine—the continual radio adverts for Office 2007.

What the fuck is going on at Microsoft? Are they trying to kill the company...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/28/2009 09:27:00 pm


Quote of the Day...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/28/2009 06:57:00 pm

... comes from The Heresiarch's discussion of Polly Toynbee's proposed resignation speech for Gordon Brown.
There's very little connection between the size of the state and the quality of the services it provides. A big state can be every bit as squalid, penny-pinching and mean-spirited as a small one. But the impact of its penny-pinching and mean-spiritedness on ordinary life will be considerably worse.

As an illustration of this mean-spirited penny-pinching that has an effect on everyday life, your humble Devil was in a pub in Coalville, near Leicester, this afternoon (I was doing a presentation to a potential client).

Talking to the barman revealed a whole host of stupid fucking crap that has emanated from the local Nazis council. For instance, the pub holds lots of live music nights and has got nice vinyl posters done and pinned to the boards outside the pub. Naturally, a council jobsworth insisted they be taken down.

OK, maybe they might cause some driver to crash or something. Right? And yet that same jobsworth asserted that the pub was allowed to fill its windows with posters, advertising precisely the same shit.

Or, again, the pub holds an annual weekend of live music at which 52 bands play half hour sets over the two days. They normally hold this in a marquee in the car park. This year, despite having obtained all of the licences, etc., another jobsworth showed up on the eve of the event and told the organisers that they couldn't, in fact, hold the event outside because it might cause "noise pollution".

"No wonder," said the barman, "that the BNP do so well around here." I nodded in agreement.

"If you think about it," I added, "voting for a moronic, far-left, collectivist bunch of racists is a pretty big 'fuck you' to whichever twats are in power, eh? You are basically saying, 'I would rather vote for a bunch of knuckle-dragging, racist, nationlist fuckwits than you. Yes, it's a pretty big fuck you..."

Dangerous words, really: I could almost find myself persuaded to vote for the BNP simply on that basis. Almost.

Anyway, I'm rambling: do go and read the Heresiarch's article, which is an excellent analysis of why NuLabour have been such a colossal fucking disaster (as if you need telling again).

But, let's face it—even when NuLabour are deservedly consigned to electoral oblivion, their evil, mean-spirited, penny-pinching brethren will still be infecting every local authority in the country.

Burn them: burn them all...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/28/2009 06:57:00 pm


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baroness Scotland: teller of tall tales

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/27/2009 01:52:00 am

And so the Baroness Scotland saga rumbles on—not least because spiteful bloggers like myself, finding it incredibly amusing to see this loathsome hypocrite banged to rights, just won't let it die. Or, at least, not until I have seen her actually die, and her head stuck on a fucking pole outside the Tower of London.

Anyway, you'll remember that the Baroness issued a statement saying that she had seen her illegal employee's passport. In fact, the quote was precisely this: [Emphasis mine.]
"I was shown all relevant documents—a P45, National Insurance details, a marriage certificate, a letter from the Home Office, references and a passport—by Ms Tapui during her job interviews."

Indeed, the Baroness has reiterated her position. [Emphasis mine.]
Lady Scotland restated her position, saying: "For the record, as I have said previously, I was shown all relevant documents—a P45, National Insurance details, a marriage certificate, a letter from the Home Office, references, and a passport—by Ms Tapui during her job interviews. I have nothing further to add."

Now, Baroness Scotland was fined £5,000 because she did not take copies of these documents as the law—a law that she herself helped to conceive, draft and vote through Parliament—stated that she should.

As such, neither the UK Border Agency nor the general public have any proof whatsoever that Baroness Scotland did, indeed, check these documents.

Never mind, our monocular cunt of a Prime Minister believed that no further action should be taken against Baroness Scotland—who is, lest we forget, the Attorney General and thus the government's chief law adviser—because she had seen these documents.
But because she had not knowingly employed an illegal worker and had checked documents Mr Brown believed "no further action" was necessary.

Of course, in common with both the UKBA and the British people, the Gobblin' King had absolutely no proof of this whatsoever because there is none.

Which means, of course, that if someone popped up and said that the Baroness had not, in fact, checked Loloahi Tapui's documents—and, specifically, her passport—then there might be a few repercussions.

Oh look! Someone has actually done that—in fact, Loloahi Tapui herself!
The former housekeeper to Attorney General Baroness Scotland has claimed the peer never asked to see her passport before giving her a job.

Speaking exclusively to the Mail on Sunday, Loloahi Tapui, an illegal immigrant from Tonga, claimed she was given work after a 10-minute interview.

Baroness Scotland—fined last week for failing to take copies of Ms Tapui's documents - insists she saw a passport.
...

In [the interview], the 27-year-old insists a passport—reported to contain a forged and out-of-date visa—found in her West London home during a raid by UK Border Agency officials is the only one she possesses.

She says she has been in Britain illegally for five years, since her student visa ran out, and is prepared to take a lie-detector test to prove she is telling the truth.

"I do not understand why [Baroness Scotland] said that she saw my passport because I know I'm illegal," she tells the Mail on Sunday.

"Why [would] I provide my passport because I know [that if I did] I would not get employed by her."

Good question. As such, one can conclude, I think, that "one of the few Black women in public life" has been slightly... ah... economical with the truth.

In other words, she's a stinking fucking liar. And a crook, to boot.

The ball's back in your court, Gordon, you fucknuts.

P.S. For those few of you who haven't seen it yet (though I alluded to it in my question for the Lords), Baroness Scotland has previous in terms of being a filthy hypocrite.
[Lady Scotland] was responsible for announcing tougher sentences for careless motorists who kill when she was a Home Office minister.

Lady Scotland confessed to the driving offence in an interview with this newspaper conducted in April 1991, when she was made the first black woman in Britain to be made a QC.

Asked if she had ever broken the law, the then Patricia Scotland “confessed to a careless driving conviction—she had been coming into a major road in London when a taxi hit her”.

A taxi hit her... And yet she was the one given the conviction for careless driving. Hmmmm.

Could it be that Lady Scotland is, once again, being a bit disingenuous? Could she be telling a bit of a Passport porky-pie? Who can tell?

But let's just say that if you believe her, Baroness Scotland also has a really lovely bridge that she'd like to sell you...

P.P.S. It seems that Gordon is utterly desperate not to loose Lady Scotland's special services (whatever they may be, exactly)—so much so that he was willing to do a colossal u-turn on ministers' expenses.
BARONESS SCOTLAND was saved from facing questions about her expenses last week by a swift government U-turn that at a stroke changed its policy on allowances.

The Sunday Times revealed last week that Scotland had received £170,000 from an allowance intended for ministers in the House of Lords who live outside London. This was despite the fact that the baroness has owned a family home in the capital for 15 years and tells the Lords it is her main address.

Before our article, the Cabinet Office could not have been more clear that Scotland should have received the allowance only if her main home was outside the capital.

However, less than 24 hours after the article was published, Baroness Royall, the leader of the Lords, sanctioned a statement by the Cabinet Office which overturned all its previous advice. It said the allowance was available to all lords who serve as ministers, regardless of where they live.

This, of course, means that other ministers can start claiming loads more of our lovely lolly in order to shore up their disgustingly depraved lifestyles. Thanks a fucking bunch, Gordo.

Yeah, sure: why not give lots more money away, Gordo? After all, it's only money. It's fucking magic money that falls from the fucking sky, ain't it, Gordon? It's definitely not the product of other people's hard work, is it, you one-eyed freak?

Of course, in Gordoland, it isn't actually our money—it is the state's money and the goverment can spend as much of that cash as it likes on as many pointless and wasteful projects as it likes. And what we are allowed to keep we should be fucking grateful for.

And the state still lets us keep nearly half of what we earn, so we should be ever so fucking grateful.

Now remember, fellow proles, to doff your fucking cap as the minister drives by...

UPDATE: and now it seems that Lady Scotland is in trouble with the Bar Standards Board.
The latest revelations come as her professional body was urged to launch a highly embarrassing investigation into her conduct.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that the Bar Standards Board has received a number of complaints about the beleaguered Cabinet minister, who was fined £5,000 for employing an illegal immigrant.
...

The Bar Standards Board does not normally investigate complaints about a lawyer's private life, but its own guidelines acknowledge that such an inquiry may be launched in "exceptional circumstances".

A spokeswoman for the board declined to comment about Lady Scotland's case and refused to disclose how many complaints had been received.

Senior legal sources have told this newspaper that the Bar Standards Board would have no alternative but to carry out an inquiry into whether the QC breached the barristers' code of conduct and brought the legal profession into disrepute.

The board was created just three years ago as part of the Bar's attempt to retain its self-regulating role, and failing to act could leave the organisation open to criticism, said lawyers.

"I have no doubt that the Bar Standards Board will deal with this properly and take appropriate action," said one QC.

Members of the disciplinary panel may now have to consider whether Lady Scotland's activities have been "dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister".

The board has the power to disbar a lawyer who is found to have committed a serious breach of the code. Even if a lesser punishment is imposed – such as a fine, suspension or reprimand – it could be fatal to Lady Scotland's political career.

Any inquiry is likely to focus on whether the legal profession has been tarnished by Lady Scotland's breach of immigration laws and the imposition of a £5,000 fine, but Lady Scotland could face even more difficult questions if her version of events differs from the account given by Ms Tapui.

David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth, was among those who asked the Bar Standards Board to examine the case.

Mr Davies said: "If Gordon Brown cannot bring himself to discipline her then the Bar Standards Board should look into whether she has breached her professional code.

"I would have thought that Lady Scotland has obviously brought discredit on to barristers through all this."

Strange though the concept may seem, I think that Baroness Scotland has made people think even less of lawyers than they already do. Further, our lunatic Cyclopean PM's refusal to sack her suggests that the legal profession is rather too close to our government for comfort.

It's all gone a bit Pete Tongan for "one of the few Black women in public life"...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/27/2009 01:52:00 am


'Tis a pity she's a whore crook...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/27/2009 01:28:00 am

Via the LPUK blog, I come across this Tweet from jumped-up fuckwit Mirror journo Kevin McGuire.
Nick Clegg's told me he thinks Baroness Scotland needn't resign. Depressing if one of the few Black women in public life must walk

I do like Kev's capitalisation of "Black": it makes it absolutely clear that we are playing identity politics here. It's unfortunate that Kev's tweet doesn't make it clear whether that second sentence is his own opinion or Clegg's but, ultimately, that is irrelevant.

My own reply would be that it is depressing that "one of the few Black women in public life" is such a fucking crook that the public should think that she needs to walk.

In fact, it is depressing that "one of the few Black women in public life" has so little sense of honour that she has not already walked.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that Baroness Scotland—"one of the few Black women in public life"—has a record of hypocrisy and dishonesty that would shame even the other members of her professions, whether lawyer or politician.

Do Nick Clegg or Kevin McGuire think that Baroness Scotland should be able to get away with theft, dishonesty and corruption because she is "Black" or because she is a woman? Or perhaps they think that Baroness Scotland shouldn't have to walk because, in their eyes, the silly cow has done nothing wrong?

It might be argued (though not by me) that we need more "Black women in public life" but we definitely do not need more thieving, arrogant hypocrites—of any colour—in public life.

As such, why doesn't Baroness Scotland just fuck off?

Questions, questions...

One thing that can be said for sure is that Nick Clegg is not the man to clean up Parliament. But then we know that none of the three main parties are actually going to do anything significant in that department, don't we?

And we know why: because they are all up to their dishonest little eyeballs in fraud and infamy, and ably assisted by the scum who work in the media—scum such as Kevin McGuire.

Let us hope that the new media does kill the old: without the MSM's conspiracy of silence around the antics of our elected representatives, it will be much easier to rouse the country into setting fire to the fucking lot of them.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/27/2009 01:28:00 am


Quiz Questions

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/27/2009 01:13:00 am

Every week, the Lords of the Blog set quiz questions, of the "who am I" variety, that test readers' knowledge of those who sit in the Upper House—here is this week's quiz.

Your humble Devil, being a mischievous chap, decided that he should set his own question for the noble Lords...
  1. I helped to pass legislation that brought in far harsher punishments for careless drivers, yet I have a conviction for careless driving.

  2. I helped to pass legislation that brought in harsh punishments for those who employed illegal immigrants, and then employed an illegal immigrant.

  3. I fleeced the taxpayer for £170,000 in living expenses that I was not entitled to, and yet I haven't been prosecuted for fraud.

Who am I?

Do you think they'll know who it is...?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/27/2009 01:13:00 am


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Prejudices reversed: yup, they're still shit

Posted by PDF at 9/26/2009 12:42:00 am

[NOTE: I'm not DK, I just act that way to get the chicks]

The Daily Mail is an awful newspaper, and I apologise in advance for linking to it. However, whenever someone is involved in oh so terribly awful offensive racial slurs, it's usually the best at reporting them: the serious papers are quite happy to say "cunt" or "cocksucking motherfucking wanker" without asterisking at all, but whenever someone says "nigger", "Paki" or "Yid" they tend to gloss over the slur rather than repeating it.

The Mail, on the other hand, will refer to an unfortunate racial incident as "the youth suggested that Mr Barnbook should go and f*** himself in every relevant cavity, while the bigot suggested that the youth was a c***ragging worthless piece of n****r s*** who should go and get himself a f***ing job rather than sit about w***ing all day. And also that the youth's mother was a dirty c**n w**** who took it up the a*** from every gentleman with 50p to spare".

In the real, vaguely adult, world that I'm hoping most of the readers of this blog live in [*], then I'm hoping we'd go for the principle of "racial ephiphets, like all breaches of tact and civilisation, should be reported and slated, but at the same time asterisking out expletives is pathetic, Victorian-aunt behaviour". And hence I'd link to neither kind of hypocrisy. But without the Daily Mail piece, the story I'm linking to here makes no sense.

Now, I'm not asking you to share my views on the rightness of 'we stood by whilst the Germans tried to wipe out an entire race, therefore it's entirely fair enough that we should give them a country full of people who are neither us nor Germans'. I'm still distraught that the postwar settlement didn't involve carving out an Israel-sized bit of Germany, making it the Jewish homeland, and also using it as the key European US Army base - clearly the safest and fairest solution, with no drawbacks.

But sadly it didn't work like that, and instead we decided that the best recompense for the Holocaust would be to make a Jewish state somewhere full of Arabs. Sorry, Arabs! Anyway, the Arabs got cross at this and started some fights; the Jews who decided to take advantage of this special offer went for it, and hence Israel. America, feeling [INSERT REASON FOR THE US'S BLIND SUPPORT OF ISRAEL BEYOND ANY STRATEGIC REASON], decided to back said place to the hilt.

Anyway. The net result is, Arab chaps who had their land nicked are cross; some of them try and fight the people who nicked their land; but more of them, because it's easier, try and kill civilians on the other side who're on the land that got nicked. The killing of civilians is an evil and murderous piece of behaviour, as recognised by all kinds of international law. As a result, the Israelis bomb the shit out of said people.

Unfortunately, this also tends to involve bombing the shit out of civilians in the area. A lot. And as it happens, the Israeli military's approach to civilian casualties is similar to that of Sir Arthur Travis Harris Bt: they're the enemy, hence they need dead. Both are wrong [**]. Hence, civilised people tend to become cross at Israel's actions.

And so we return to the original story: Rowan Laxton getting prosecuted for his actions in the gym, whilst watching a report of the Israeli military's latest murder of a civilian. On reading the story in the Times and Grauniad, who merely suggested that Laxton used appalling and bigoted ephiphets, I'd assumed he'd shouted something unspeakably evil in order to get busted, perhaps: "fucking Yids, Hitler failed, gas the lot of 'em" - that might be considered worthy of a bit of censorship, even in a civilised society.

But the Mail article reveals that all he said, on watching some civilians whose parents made a deeply poor choice of homeland being slaughtered, was "fucking Israelis, fucking Jews". And that's enough, in this day and age, to get you done for incitement to racial hatred, fined and sacked.

Meh. It's obviously a twattish thing to say. Luckily, nobody ever makes twattish exclamations on seeing emotionally moving things. Which, weirdly, is where we came in... I'm leftier than most types about here, but still far keener on freedom than enforced PC-osity, and I hope that any idiot who's pleased to see Laxton's downfall is equally happy to see people locked up for saying "fucking terrorists, fucking Muslims".

Which, apart from the fact that a far higher proportion of Jews are Israelis than Muslims are terrorists, is a statement that's no more ignorant or offensive. And shouldn't involve getting jailed or sacked.

[*] One where we can say "cunt", no right-wing cunt will try and get us censored for taste, and no left-wing cunt will try and get us censored for misogyny...

[**] In 1940, more or less any British action would've been fair enough. But Israel and Harris both utterly fail to cross that criterion due to the unequivocal support of the world's greatest superpower. Thank you, FDR, for making Harris's actions dreadful rather than necessary.

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Posted by PDF at 9/26/2009 12:42:00 am


Friday, September 25, 2009

Busy time

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/25/2009 05:26:00 am

My apologies for the lack of blogging—your humble Devil is stupidly busy with the day job (which is currently bleeding into being a night job too). I'll be back on it as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Charlotte Gore wrote a rather good post on why statism is like having to make tea for the entire office.
So in the office we use a collectivist method of solving the hot beverage allocation problem. In other words, we do brew rounds, or tea rounds. Rather than get your own drink when you want one, we must make a drink for everyone else in the office who wants one, and we take turns on a round robin basis.

I’ve been mulling on this pretty much all year, because I hate it. I really really hate it. I’m told I’m not really a ‘team player’—which is certainly true in respect of the brew rounds, but I’ve been doing my bit regardless for the sake of a peaceful life.

Today, however, I decided to put this question to the Internet: Is this the best way of solving the beverage allocation problem, or would it be better to switch to an individualist, ‘help yourself when you want one’ approach?

Here’s my argument in favour of the latter: Everyone requires and wants different quantities of tea and coffee through the day. Some will want just one or two cups, others (tea based lifeforms like me) will want one at least once an hour.

Under an individualist system, each person simply makes a drink for themselves when they need one—this means that supply always matches the demand exactly, and everyone’s happy.

My argument against the collectivist approach is nearly the opposite of this - supply does not match with demand, and because making a round of brews is a more onerous task than making a single brew, people tend to be less keen on doing their round when it’s their turn. The result is that supply does not meet the demand, because those with a higher demand for tea either have to do additional brew rounds when it’s not their turn, or wait until the person whose turn it is is ready to make one.

Do go and read the rest, whilst I burn my backlog of work and compose a long post about drug prohibition (which has been discussed a lot recently).

"Yes, yes," I hear you cry. "But haven't you done that subject to death?"

Well, I have made my feelings fairly clear on a number of occasions, yes: however, when I read utterly evil crap like this...
Taking drugs is a deliberate, flagrant, immoral act and those who partake in such actions should be severely punished. One role of government is to protect the individual’s liberty, but another is to protect the individual from themselves and others.

... I have to comment or else my head might pop.

Needless to say, I think that the author of the above comment is a total fucking cunt who should be beaten to death with his own cock.

But, as I say, I'll elaborate later...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/25/2009 05:26:00 am


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baroness Scotland: breaking the law is like "overpaying the congestion charge"

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/22/2009 11:17:00 pm

Oh, look! Via Guido (who also reports that the ugly baggage has been reported to the Bar Standards Board), Baroness Scotland is on the TV!


"... that I got caught." [Alright, I made that bit up. Convenient break in the video though, eh?]


I'll bet that the Attorney General is sorry after being found guilty of breaking a law that she brought in—she has been fined £5,000 (half of the possible maximum).
Attorney General Baroness Scotland has been fined £5,000 after being found to have employed a housekeeper who was not legally allowed to work in the UK.

The UK Border Agency said she took steps to check Tongan Loloahi Tapui's right to work but had not kept a copy of documents, as required by law.

Opposition parties say her position is "untenable" but No 10 said it was an "inadvertent" mistake.

She apologised for the "technical breach" and said she accepted the fine.

Shut. The. Fuck. Up. This is not a fucking "technical breach": this was—and I'll say it again—a breaking of the law that you introduced. It was a hideous, spiteful law that should never have seen the light of day and not only did you help bring it in, but you have also—somehow—weaseled your way into being the government's chief adviser on legal matters.

At the very least, you are an incompetent fuckwit who is not fit to hold such an important job, my dear Baroness; at worst, you are a lying, hypocritical, law-breaking shithole.

Given her position, Baroness Scotland should have been fined the full £10,000; since she cannot possibly have been ignorant of a law that she introduced, one can conclude that she deliberately flaunted it and with deception aforethought.
In a statement, Downing Street said: "The UK Border Agency is satisfied she did not knowingly employ an illegal worker. She examined documents of her status. She paid tax and National Insurance on her earnings. She employed her new cleaner in good faith.

"But regrettably she did not retain copies of the documents proving the right to work she was given. As a result she is paying an administrative penalty."

It added that breaches of the law were taken "seriously" and the PM had consulted the cabinet secretary about whether the ministerial code had been breached.

But because she had not knowingly employed an illegal worker and had checked documents Mr Brown believed "no further action" was necessary.

So, the only proof that she saw these documents is... Oh, wait: there is none. Nada. Nowt. Nothing.

Never mind, I am sure that the Devon farmer I posted about a while back—who was given an on-the-spot fine of £10,000 per worker—will be treated equally leniently, eh? No further action need be taken, I imagine...?

Still, thrilled as I am to see Baroness Scotland fined—though not, it appears, humbled—I believe that one of the best posts about this comes from Jackart. [Emphasis mine.]
She wanted to work, and indeed pay tax. Which makes Loloahi Tapui a more valuable citizen than 15% of the native-born population who sit on their fat arses watching Jeremy Kyle and reading the Sun (those who can actually read), and who don't get their doors kicked in by uniformed thugs in the pay of the state, which instead subsidises their idleness through a complex smorgasbord of 51 different benefits which ensure that no-one born in the UK has to work if they don't want to, and indeed get punished with marginal withdrawal rates of 90% should they even try.

Borders are an affront to human dignity, as is the welfare state.

Quite: that last line is succinctly put, and quite correct. But then, governments have never really been worried about human dignity—especially not the current crop. After all, would someone who possessed dignity go around pilfering petty cash from the taxpayer...?

Speaking of which, my dear Baroness... About that £170,000 that you stole...

UPDATE: I love this piece of logic from The Nameless Libertarian...
So, she broke a law that she helped to draft. And she has been fined for it. Yet, according to Gordon Brown, she doesn't have to resign. It really does beg the question of what the fuck someone has to in order to have to resign in the world of Gordon Brown. Unless, of course, the law she broke doesn't need to be adhered to. In which case is this law strictly speaking necessary? And if not, then surely the person who helped to bring it onto the statute books should resign?

Can't say fairer than that, eh?

Now, really... About that £170,000...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/22/2009 11:17:00 pm


Monday, September 21, 2009

Red sky at night, cyclists' delight

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/21/2009 10:45:00 am

A little while ago, I let off some steam about the dangerous driving of many motorcyclists in the London area, and alluded to the assumed guilt of car drivers.
The only thing that worries me is that car owners are almost always blamed and that they feel in some way guilty for causing accidents.

I have always felt—given how the war on motorists has been progressing—that, sooner or later, the law would be changed to ensure that motorists would be assumed to be automatically responsible for all accidents.

Now, via an appalled Iain Dale, it seems that it is being proposed that motor vehicle drivers would, indeed, be assumed responsible for any accidents.
MINISTERS are considering making motorists legally responsible for accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians, even if they are not at fault.

Government advisers are pushing for changes in the civil law that will make the most powerful vehicle involved in a collision automatically liable for insurance and compensation purposes.

What the fuck? So, if some idiot runs out in front of me and I am—despite travelling at or below the speed limit—I should be held legally responsible when I hit them? Or when a cyclist whizzes gayly through a red light into a stream of traffic, I should be responsible?

Fuck. Off.

Look, leaving aside any partisan affiliations here, drivers are sometimes careless. But so are cyclists and pedestrians—especially since they often do not obey traffic signals or even behave rationally around roads. In short, everyone does stupid things and sometimes those little stupidities end tragically.

In assigning blame, we have systems like... well... courts, and juries and judges. These oh-so-archaeic institutions, as well as others like them, look at all of the facts and, from the evidence, work out who—if anyone—should be to blame. That is because we have tended to base our legal system on a presumption of innocence (and where we have not, e.g. libel laws, we are able to se just how perverting the assumption of guilt is).
The move, intended to encourage greater take-up of environmentally friendly modes of transport, is likely to anger some drivers, many of whom already perceive themselves to be the victims of moneyspinning speed cameras and overzealous traffic wardens.

And some will think, "wait a fucking minute? Why the fuck should I be held guilty when it wasn't my fucking fault? Isn't there something wrong here?"
Many will argue that it is the risky behaviour of some cyclists—particularly those who jump red lights and ride the wrong way along one-way streets—that is to blame for a significant number of crashes.

Quite. And, combining an "it'll never happen to me" attitude with knowing that they will not be held responsible, cyclists will do these things more and more.

In short, this law will have unintended but entirely foreseeable consequences. And the only people who will get fucked over are the eeeeeevil motorists.

So that's alright then.
However, policy-makers believe radical action is required to get people out of cars and onto bicycles or to walk more. Only 1%-2% of journeys are at present made by bike.

You mean that the prime motivation for this this shit isn't even to reduce the number of crashes—but to get people out of their cars? Just how fucking warped in the head are these cunts?

Perhaps these shit-stick bastards would like to cycle my 27 mile each way commute for me? No? Thought not.

What kind of mad, twisted, evil, monomaniacal little cunt would suggest such a gross distortion of our entire legal principles? Oh, look—it's a fake fucking charity...
Phillip Darnton, chief executive of Cycling England, an agency funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) to promote cycling, said four key policy changes were needed. “I would like to see the legal onus placed on motorists when there are accidents; speed limits reduced to 20mph on suburban and residential roads; cycling taught to all schoolchildren; and cycling provision included in major planning applications,” said Darnton.

Yes, that's right: it's the government handing our hard-earned money over to an "an independent, expert body" so that this absolutely-not-independent-in-any-way organisation can lobby the government for more curbs on our freedom. These bastards make me fucking sick.
Such proposals will be seen by some as part of a battle for control of Britain’s roads between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

One would have thought—since only one of those groups actually pays for the fucking roads—that the battle should be pretty one-sided, eh? Apparently not.

Still, I wonder if there are any other authoritarian authority figures with a vested interest in such a measure?
Last month Harry Wilmers, 25, a mental health support worker, was killed when his bicycle was hit by a lorry in Manchester. Wilmers was the boyfriend of Rebecca Stephenson, the daughter of Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police commissioner.

Well, that's it: motorists are fucked then.

Even were I not a driver (by necessity), I would be fucking disgusted by this proposal—it should be struck down and the fuckers who proposed it punched repeatedly in the face. But instead it will be made law.

Fucking hellski.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/21/2009 10:45:00 am


Sunday, September 20, 2009

On the spot fines: putting the Border Agency on the spot

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 09:24:00 pm

Via The Englishman, I see that a farmer is facing a massive fine for employing illegal workers.
A farm owner from Devon who is facing a fine of up to £120,000 for employing illegal workers says he had taken precautions to check their credentials.

Twelve workers were arrested by Border Agency officials after a raid on 1 July at Merrifield Farm in Crediton.
...

Farm owner Peter Coleman may now face a fine of up to £10,000 for every illegal worker.

He told BBC News: "We do our best to comply with regulations.

"We have a very good database of all employees and we have a list of passports and proof of identity.

"But the biggest problem for employers is to prove the identity of the person.

"We are not experts in forgery."

If he did check and copy their credentials, then I am sure—after spending fucking thousands of pounds on lawyers in order to prove his innocence—that Mr Coleman will be able to avoid the fine.

Or, rather, to be able to reclaim the money that he will be forced to pay, having been allegedly handed an on-the-spot fine.
Mr Coleman was handed an on-the-spot penalty notice by immigration officials that could mean a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.
...

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: "Mr Coleman was issued with a fixed penalty notice following the raid.

"That civil action is still pending.

"To avoid being fined, Mr Coleman must prove to the UK Border Agency that he has carried out the correct checks before giving the workers jobs."

Um... I'm sorry? You fucking what? Mr Coleman was issued with a fixed penalty notice?

So, what you are saying is that far from the state having to prove Mr Coleman's guilt, Mr Coleman has to prove his innocence? Seriously, what the fuck?

But, leaving that aside, can we assume that Baroness Scotland has been handed a £10,000 fixed penalty notice? She hasn't?

Well, fuck me!—ain't that a surprise?

P.S. It's worth noting why Mr Coleman was forced to hire immigrant workers.
He said he had problems finding British people to work on the farm which processes chickens and ducks.

He said: "We approached the Job Centre.

"We offered employment to 58 out of the 59 people that applied, 55 of which were British.

"Four were unsuitable and asked to leave and five are still with us.

"The other 46 found the job not to their liking and left or did not turn up in the first place."

It is not the job of the British taxpayer to subsidise the lifestyles of those who choose not to work. We should find those British people who did not turn up to work and stop all of their benefits—it is the only way that these lazy cunts will learn.

If we remove the benefits of those who will not work, then they will have to work. This will reduce the amount of work available for immigrants, and thus reduce the number of immigrants coming here (and, yes, I know that this won't be an instantaneous effect).

For crying out loud, it's really not very difficult.

UPDATE: as the wife pointed out last night, it's a strange country that punishes those who are the victims of fraud...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 09:24:00 pm


Baroness Scotland

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 05:35:00 pm

Baroness Scotland: a true British politico, and the personification of British law under NuLabour: arrogant, over-bearing, hypocritical and utterly corrupt. Oh yes, and fucking ugly to boot...

Patricia Scotland was born in Dominica, to Antiguan and Dominican parents, but her family moved to Britain when she was three. As such, one might have thought that she might have some sympathy for those coming to Britain in order to find a better life.

As Guido points out, it seems not.
Baroness Scotland was appointed by Gordon Brown to be the government’s chief legal adviser. Prior to becoming Attorney General she worked as a minister in the Home Office, cracking down on illegal migrants and imposing tougher penalties on business and individuals who employ them was passed.

As the government's chief legal advisor, one could also be forgiven for thinking that Baroness Scotland would also know the very laws that she was instrumental in passing. That does not seem to have stopped her—as the Daily Mail reported—breaking the law.
Immigration officials launched an investigation today into revelations that the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, employed an illegal migrant.

The Government's top law officer sacked her housekeeper, Loloahi Tapui, yesterday after it emerged that the 27-year-old Tongan was in the UK illegally.

Lady Scotland, who has denied knowing Tapui did not have the right to work here, faces a civil penalty of up to £10,000 if found guilty.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: 'The UK Border Agency will conduct this investigation as they would any other investigation into allegations of illegal working.'

The Daily Mail revealed this morning how Lady Scotland has paid Loloahi Tapui, 27, to look after her large family home in West London for the past six months.

Miss Tapui has been living in Britain illegally for five years after overstaying a student visa. She is still using her National Insurance number from her time as a student.

As Guido also points out, the good Baroness can presumably easily prove her innocence—by adhering to the very laws that she helped to pass.
There is only one statutory defence against conviction for employing an illegal worker under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996—the act specifies that you get this defence only by checking and copying certain original documents belonging to your employee.

The Home Office guidance on this is clear—you will only be able to establish the defence by checking and copying specified documents, including the passport and “any page containing UK Government endorsements indicating that the holder has an entitlement to be in the UK and is entitled to undertake the work in question.”

Amended ActSo all the Attorney General has to do to clear her name is show us the copy of the page and she is in the clear. If she has not got that copy, she has broken the law she is supposed to uphold.

Indeed. And, as we all know, ignorance of the law is no defence for one of us proles—it most certainly should not exempt Baroness Scotland.

As such, The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has swiftly reported Baroness Scotland to the relevant authorities, shortly before the Baroness could do so herself—as Guido predicted that she would.
UPDATE: Now if the standard operational procedure for law breaking by senior government figures as per the New Labour school of spin is followed (as executed in the past by Harriet Harman and Peter Hain) Patricia Scotland will report herself to the UKBA. They report themselves so they can spin “when I became aware of the technical breach of the rules blah blah.” They are not rules, they are laws, laws which the Attorney General has sworn to uphold...

And laws which—I would like to remind you—Baroness Scotland helped to push through when she was a Home Office Minister.

There. Is. No. Excuse.

Since it seems incredible that Baroness Scotland was, in fact, ignorant of the law, we can only conclude—repeating a theme that your humble Devil developed during the expenses row—that Patricia Scotland believes that the law simply does not apply to her, that she is exempt from the laws that she passes over us. Baroness Scotland believes, in short, that she is above the law.

This cannot stand.

These law-making cunts must live by the laws that they pass, or else they would pass bad laws with impunity—the fact that our corrupt rulers are supposed to live by the same laws that apply to everyone else is one of the strongest safeguards that we have against bad and evil laws being passed.

The laws that Baroness Scotland helped to pass have already created an underclass of people in this country, for even legal immigrants have few rights: they are milked and pushed about by the British state, and they have to take it or else that same state will destroy their lives.

If this premise is carried on to the rest of us, then we all become the untermensch. The expenses scandal emphasised what happens when the politicos exempt themselves from the law: having decided that the laws concerning benefits in kind did not apply to them, these venal bastards quite deliberately set out to enrich themselves in a way that would see any of the rest of us in prison, or at least severely fined.

And they got away with it. Every single one of them.

Given Baroness Scotland's contempt for the immigration laws that (and I'll say it again) she pushed through Parliament, it comes as no surprise to find—via The Sunday Times—that she has decided to personally enrich herself in contempt of other laws too.
The attorney-general, Baroness Scotland, is facing serious questions about payments of £170,000 that Cabinet Office rules say she was not entitled to receive.

Scotland is already at the centre of a row after she was found to be employing an illegal immigrant as a cleaner.

It emerged yesterday that she has for years been receiving an allowance intended for peers who live outside London, despite saying her main home is in the capital.
...

Scotland has a £2m home in Chiswick, west London, and since 2001 has consistently declared it on her Lords expense forms as her main residence.

Despite this she receives an allowance of £38,280 a year, on top of her £113,000 salary, to help maintain a property in the capital. She also owns a cottage in Oxfordshire.

This weekend her spokeswoman defended the payments, saying that the money is available to all ministers regardless of where they live.

However, the Cabinet Office, the Senior Salaries Review Body and parliamentary documents make clear the money should go only to peers whose main home is outside London.

In a statement, Scotland said at no time did she tell her department that her “main residence was outside London”.

This means that Scotland, who was at the Home Office before becoming attorney-general, may have been wrongly paid up to £170,000 since 2004. Instead, she should have been paid only a London supplement, which would have amounted to less than £10,000 in the same five-year period.

It is quite obvious—this woman is an arrogant, corrupt, law-breaking hypocrite. Patricia Scotland should be prosecuted, fined, imprisoned and humiliated.

In a statement to the Mail on Sunday, Labour MP Graham Stringer has articulated what we all believe.
"It is extraordinary that after four days she is still in the post," he said. "The whole Government is tarnished. People feel the Government is passing laws it is not applying to itself."

We know that you are passing laws that you are not applying to yourselves, Graham: we have seen the document exempting you and your fellow MPs from tax on benefits in kind.

However, it is good to see that you recognise that this incident is bringing Parliament's reputation even lower—something, I'll admit, that I thought would be incredibly difficult to do after this summer's revelations. And yet you corrupt bastards have managed it—an extraordinary feat.

To describe the mother of all Parliaments as institutionally corrupt—and have the vast majority of people agree with you—would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. But now that the people of this country have seen the evidence—evidence that our lords and masters did their frantic best to conceal from us—I would wager that there are few that would now disagree that the rot has spread throughout the entire institution.

Radical change is needed in this country and not one of the Big Three—up to their necks in the venality, hypocrisy, law-breaking and corruption as they are—will make a difference. It has become, I think, obvious that the corruption is endemic amongst the entirety of our political class—perhaps it is time for the gentlemen amateurs to replace these parasites...?

For one party will make a difference—LPUK. If only because your humble Devil would personally turn Parliament upside-down in order to root out and destroy the stinking rot within it.

Anyone found to have been fiddling their expenses or otherwise breaking the law—whether they be politicians, civil servants or any other kind of filthy politico hanger-on—would all be prosecuted in short order.

Now, that would be what I call an enjoyable job of work. And my purge would be far more ferocious than that of the hopelessly compromised Tory, LibDim and Labour parties.

Because you just watch—no punishment will be meted out to Baroness Scotland. None at all.

And now imagine if it were your humble Devil in charge...

UPDATE: there has been no comment from Baroness Scotland's colleagues at Lords Of The Blog—nor have they had time to give us the benefit of their wisdom on the illegal troughing of Baroness Morgan.

Perhaps they're too cowardly busy to comment.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 05:35:00 pm


Why now?

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 02:36:00 pm

Apparently, Ed Balls has maintained that Labour could save schools money.
Education spending could be cut by £2bn by axing thousands of senior staff and "discipline" over pay, the schools secretary for England has indicated.

Ed Balls, the first minister to suggest possible cost-cutting moves, told the Sunday Times one option was to merge comprehensives to form "federations".
...

In the Times interview, Mr Balls warned of post-general election pay curbs, saying: "It is going to be tougher on spending over the next few years."

Well, I am very happy that Ed can save schools some £2 billion of our money, but why is this acceptable now?

Because, as far as your humble Devil is concerned, the subtext here is...
"We have to urge restraint now, because we've buggered up the finances. But, of course, it is absolutely fine to piss £2 billion of taxpayers cash up the wall when times are good."

So, Eddie-baby, perhaps you would like to explain to the cash-strapped majority in this country why pissing their money away unnecessarily is absolutely A-OK when your political career isn't riding on it?

And this is one of the crucial things about politicians: their incentives are even worse than the bankers. The only thing that politicos care about is the next election—which occurs in a maximum of five year intervals.

Until then, they are more than happy to waste your money—after all, they didn't have to work hard to earn it, did they?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 02:36:00 pm


Royal Mail: bag o'shite

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 02:19:00 pm

On the fourth of September, I ordered Apple's Snow Leopard from their online store. Using the postal service, it was estimated that my package would arrive between the seventh and the tenth of September.

It did not.

Days passed. Finally, on the seventeenth of September, a Royal Mail "sorry, you were out" note was pushed through my flat door. Apparently, the postman had tried to deliver my package at 11.00 that morning.

Except that no such attempt was made. I know this, because the wife was in all day.

My conclusion, therefore, is that Royal Mail "workers" are a bunch of lazy, shifty, dishonest little shits and, given that, my immediate reaction to the news that said "workers" are contemplating a national strike is quite simple...

How the hell will we tell?

As The Appalling Strangeness says in his comprehensive fisking of the above article...
Finally, maybe Deputy General Secretary [of the Communication Workers' Union] Ward might want to use some empathy and consider why—after a summer where Royal Mail employees have devastated the already tatty reputation of that organisation and made mail deliveries even more of a joke than they have been before—those running the Royal Mail believe increased automation and employing fewer people might be the best way forward for them.

Quite. And maybe—just maybe—Deputy General Secretary Ward might like to consider that Royal Mail is not run for the benefit of its workers: it is run for the benefit of Royal Mail's paying customers and for the benefit of the taxpayers who subsidise the whole shebang.

Because private companies cannot be run for the good of the workers or they go bust. This is why the privatisation of state-run businesses and monopolies has led to so much better service—union demands are anathema to running an efficient business: as a result, those ex-state monoliths have had to curb the unions, or die.

I say that we should properly privatise the Royal Mail and—furthermore—that said privatisation cannot come soon enough.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/20/2009 02:19:00 pm


Friday, September 18, 2009

Splendid news

Posted by The Filthy Smoker at 9/18/2009 02:29:00 am

(nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen)

This just in from the Beeb:
Unhealthy men 'may lose 10 years'

Middle-aged men who smoke, have high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels face dying about 10 years before healthier counterparts, a study warns.

Dr Robert Clarke, of the Clinical Trial Service Unit at the University led the study.

He said: "'We've shown that men at age 50 who smoke, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can expect to survive to 74 years of age, while those who have none of these risk factors can expect to live until 83."

Fuck me, but is this really what it all comes down to? The endless public health scare stories. The fascist smoking legislation. The rapacious tax rises. The fake charities. The obesity 'epidemic'. Ian bastard Gilmore. It all comes down to the risk of dying at the age of 74? And I can eat what I want and smoke tabs as well? 

This is the least scary scare story I've ever seen, and I've seen Troll 2

Doctors, if you're reading this:  74 years is more than enough time for me to do all the things I plan to do in this life. I'll leave all that senility, dribbling and pissing myself to someone else, if it's all the same to you. 

Risk very much accepted, now fuck off and leave me alone. Don't worry about those taxes I've been paying. To be honest, I never expected to see that money again anyway. Use it to buy a catheter for an 83 year old nonsmoking vegetarian. I'm off out.  

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Posted by The Filthy Smoker at 9/18/2009 02:29:00 am


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doctor, no

Posted by The Filthy Smoker at 9/16/2009 11:14:00 pm

(nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen)

Courtesy of the BBC, I see that a handful of quacks have managed to drag their fat, lazy arses off the golf course for long enough to spout more ill-informed, authoritarian bollocks.
Doctors warn on climate failure

Is there nothing these cunts won't pontificate on? I fully expect to hear the British Medical Association giving us their solution to the England football team's perennial problems on the left side of midfield which, knowing them, will involve banning opposing sides from fielding right-backs.
Failure to agree a new UN climate deal in December will bring a "global health catastrophe", say 18 of the world's professional medical organisations.

Writing in The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, they urge doctors to "take a lead" on the climate issue.

And I urge you, dear doctors, to shut the hell up. Since you talk nothing but drivel about subjects which vaguely fall into your own sphere of expertise, your opinions on other issues are worth less than fuck all.  

What kind of "lead" do you expect doctors to take? Considering that years of blanket coverage on global warming has made the public more sceptical about your end-of-the-world cult, I somehow doubt that hysterical squealings from a bunch of legalised drug-dealers are going to turn the tide.
"Even without climate change, the case for clean power, electric cars, saving forests, energy efficiency, and new agriculture technology is strong."

Leaving aside the fact that these issues are well beyond the remit of the medical profession, we would, I think, agree that at least most of these issues are important. The question is whether we will achieve them by bringing the Western economy to its knees whilst throwing billions at tin-pot dictators in Africa. 

Could we not spend a bit more time addressing malaria and AIDS in the Third World and a bit less time worrying about alligators basking off the coast of Sweden? Would the billions being spent on windmills not be better used providing clean water, vaccinations and medicine for the poor of the world? Y'know, progress?

There is a corresponding editorial written by Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist who talks alarmist rubbish about obesity, and Lord Michael Jay, a former diplomat, who"chairs the health charity Merlin."

So not real doctors then. And the 'charity' Merlin, naturally, receives vast sums from the state so they can use their millenarian fantasies to extort still more cash from the taxpayer, as its accounts show:
UK Department for International Development: £12,833,106

EU: £11,833,106

Aside from appealing to their rampaging god complex, the quackocracy gets excited about catastrophic AGW because it gives them an excuse to push their tee-total/vegan/puritan agenda: 
"A low-carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon-diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease."

Will it fuck. As NickM writes at Counting Cats:
The medics clearly know nothing about climatology but are still using it as yet one more stick to try and beat us into health compliance.
 
Go read the whole thing. It's excellent. I will only add that at the bottom of the Lancet/British Medical Journal letter is the e-mail of the main contact. Ladies and gentlemen, making his thousandth appearances in the Devil's Kitchen, it's...
Ian.Gilmore@rcplondon.ac.uk

This fucker better hope I never seize the reins of power because he is so far ahead in the race to be first up against the wall that it's no longer a contest. 

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Posted by The Filthy Smoker at 9/16/2009 11:14:00 pm


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