Friday, October 30, 2009

The true cost of Emissions Trading

NB I am not DK

No-one reading the Kitchen will be suprised by the view that the Government, and the EU, are hypocrites. Another good example of that is revealed in a new TPA report out today on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Despite all the rhetoric from politicians and eurocrats alike about helping the poor and the elderly, alleviating fuel poverty and reducing extortionate energy bills, the reality is that through the ETS they are increasing costs for UK consumers alone by £3 billion a year. Across the whole EU, between the scheme starting on 1 January 2005 up to the end of 2008, this monster cost over £67 billion.

This is the reality of the current tranche of flawed emissions policy: in the name of green policymaking, ordinary people who already struggle to heat the homes and make ends meet are being stung for billions of pounds a year. Where does the money end up? Well, a decent chunk is effectively handed straight to wealthy energy companies in windfall profits, kindly provided by Mr and Mrs Joe Public.

Don't think that the powers that be in Westminster and Brussels aren't aware of this, either. Indeed, the Express revealed this week in leaked EU Commission documents that there are plans afoot in Brussels to use the Emissions Trading Scheme as the basis of a pan-European, harmonised tax in order to fund the EU directly.

In short, they know perfectly well how profitable this enterprise can be for them - and they care not a jot that it is those scraping a living in the real world who suffer as a result.

The art of being wrong

As a piece of punditry, John C Dvorak's 1984 review of the original Apple Macintosh might well epitomise the art of tech review FAIL. [Emphasis mine.]
San Francisco Examiner, John C. Dvorak, 19 Feb. 1984

The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple (or anyone else for that matter). Apple makes the arrogant assumption of thinking that it knows what you want and need. It, unfortunately, leaves the “why” out of the equation—as in “why would I want this?” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don't want one of these new fangled devices.

Amazingly, Dvorak is still writing tech columns today; unbelievably, people still listen to what he has to say...

(A tip of the horns to Daring Fireball.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Misnomer of the century: "the Greenhouse Effect"

The Greenhouse Effect is one of those things that no one disputes, right? You know, the reason that the Earth is warmer than it should be is because of the fact that energy from the sun warms the planet but that "greenhouse gases" (such as water vapour, methane and CO2) trap the heat reflected from the surface—and so the planet is warmed.

No one disputes that, right? It's established science, yes?

Er... No.
One thing we can get out of the way immediately is that it doesn’t work in the same way as a greenhouse. There used to be a theory, dating back to Joseph Fourier in 1824, that visible radiation could enter through the transparent glass, but because glass is opaque to infrared, when it is re-emitted it gets trapped. Fourier proposed that gases in the atmosphere could act the same way. This theory was proved wrong for actual greenhouses in 1909 by Professor Wood of John Hopkins University. An experiment comparing a pane of glass to a pane of crystallised rock salt (Sodium Chloride) which is totally transparent to infrared found no difference in temperature. In fact, greenhouses work by preventing convection, a mechanism that is of course impossible to freely floating CO2.

The above paragraph is taken from PaAnnoyed's superb post at Counting Cats, which helpfully clarifies the physics of the so-called Greenhouse Effect: it's worth reading the whole post, but I'll present a quick summary.

Some of you might remember that, a few weeks ago, I published a piece pointing out that the approximate mass of Earth's atmosphere is...
... about five quadrillion (5x1015) tonnes, three quarters of which is within about 11 km (6.8 mi; 36,000 ft) of the surface.

This is, you will not be surprised to know, because I was researching the greenhouse gas effect myself: alas, a lack of time meant that I hadn't got around the writing the post—and now I have no need to do so.

So, if the Greenhouse Effect has nothing to do with greenhouses, then why is the Earth warmer than it should be? And why is the mass of the atmosphere relevant? Simples...
What keeps the layer at 10 km so cold? –54 C is far below the –24 C we expect on energy-balance grounds, so it can’t be by radiating to space. And the fact that there is a straight line all the way down to the ground suggests that whatever the mechanism is, it’s the same one that keeps the surface at +14 C. Straight lines don’t happen by accident.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. The answer is pressure. Because of the weight of air, the pressure at the surface is greater than it is higher up. This means that if air moves up and down, the pressure changes, and the air expands or is compressed. And when air is compressed its temperature increases.

Air is driven to circulate up and down by convection. As it rises, it expands and its temperature drops. As it descends, it is compressed and its temperature rises. This maintains a constant temperature gradient of about 6 C/km. (It would be bigger, but evaporation of water carries heat upwards too, which somewhat counteracts the effect.)

No heat passes in to or out of the air to effect this change. It is solely an effect of the changing pressure. (If you really want to know, the compression does ‘work’ on the gas, which increases its internal energy. It doesn’t come from any flow of heat or radiation.)

This temperature gradient is called the adiabatic lapse rate, and is an absolutely standard bit of physics.

Is that all clear? Good. Now, let's move onto the second part...
When we look at the Earth in infrared wavelengths, we see it merrily glowing away, like a coal ember, radiating all the heat it has absorbed from the sun. But unlike the view in visible light, where we can clearly see the surface, in infrared the atmosphere is fuzzy and opaque. It is full of water vapour, and a few other trace gases, that fog our view of the surface. And so when we ask what temperature the surface of the Earth should radiate at, the surface we see isn’t solid ground, but this fuzzy layer high up in the air. And therefore, it is this surface that settles down to –24 C, to radiate exactly the right amount of heat away.

It is about 4 km up, and held at –24 C by the heat rising from below balancing radiation directly to space. Below it, compression increases the temperature. Above it, decompression lowers it. The actual mechanism and explanation for the Greenhouse Effect is in fact pressure. To be specific, it is the pressure difference between the surface and the average altitude from which heat radiates to outer space. Moreover, it is the exact same mechanism by which the upper atmosphere is cooled to –54 C, and there is no way you can explain a massive cooling by heat being in any sense “trapped”.

Heat is not trapped by absorption by CO2. That is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! Such trapping does go on, but it has no long-term effect on the temperature because the adiabatic lapse rate has overriding control. You can even theoretically get a greenhouse effect with no greenhouse gases at all! All you need is some high altitude cloud to radiate heat to space.

So, given that the standard Greenhouse Effect model is... well... let's call it "simplified" rather than "a colossal pack of lies", why are people still banging on about CO2 trapping warm the heat?

Well, because CO2 does have some minor effects.
Now supposedly, according to rather more complicated calculations, doubling CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere will raise the average altitude of emission about 150 m, which will therefore raise the pressure difference and hence the surface temperature about 1.1 C. If we raise CO2 by only 40%, surface temperature will go up about half that. So we had half a degree last century (an amount too small to reliably measure). We’ll have half a degree next century. And that’s all the standard Greenhouse Effect can give you.

As PaAnnoyed points out, to get any more than that requires that you factor in a whole bunch of other, less well understood effects—as well as a bunch of Chaotic modelling (which are, by their very nature, not closely understood or predicted).

And no, as PaAnnoyed also explains, Venus is not an example of "runaway global warming"—anyone who tells you that "Venus is what will happen to Earth" is either ignorant or lying. Or both.

As I said, you really need to go and read the whole post, but I do think that we can put to bed the whole concept of CO2 "trapping" heat. Further, I think that we really ought to stop talking about the "Greenhouse Effect" because, having come to mean what it does, it is entirely misleading.

In the meantime, Kerry McCarthy has put an inflammatory title to a post by Next Left that—quite reasonably—points out that many Tory bloggers (and some non-Tories, such as your humble Devil) are somewhat at odds with the stated policy of the Conservative front bench on the issue of climate change.

But the simple fact is that the Tory front bench is extraordinarily short of anyone with any kind of scientific credentials whatsoever. In fact, like the LibDim and NuLabour benches, the Tories' representatives are only really experts in how to steal money off the taxpayers of Britain.

The anthropogenic climate change hoax gives our irredeemably corrupt politicos ample excuse to do precisely that—are you surprised that they have wholeheartedly embraced this massive fraud?


UPDATE: Timmy has commented on this piece and what he says about the IPCC is quite correct: his error lies in ascribing certain motives to your humble Devil.
The result of which is that this explanation of atmospheric physics is not some great “gotcha” showing that the whole climate change set of prognostications is wrong.

Indeed. As I have said over there, I was not intending this as yet another proof that anthropogenic climate change is a colossal hoax—surely I have published enough of those by now.

No, what I intended to do was merely to educate: to show people that the Greenhouse Effect has nothing to do with greenhouses, and that CO2 does not affect the Earth's temperature in the way that most people think it does.

The desire to do so was inspired by reading a number of posts in which bloggers or MSM reporters stated something like "the Greenhouse Effect is not in dispute" or "everyone agrees that CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas" or "no one denies that CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere", and then proceeded to show that they didn't understand how the Greenhouse Effect actually operates.

So, as I said, this article was not supposed to be a "gotcha"—merely educational. After all, I doubt that they teach the truth in schools anymore...

A Hodge podge of stupidity (and a smattering of evil)

Via Counting Cats, I see that this farcical government is getting exercised about kiddies playing online games.
Online computer games like Second Life and World of Warcraft face cinema-style age classifications under new Government plans.

Margaret Hodge, the culture minister, said ministers want to see new rules put in place to cover children's access to games. She spoke as she published a consultation document setting out the options for a new system of age classifications.

Ah, now, your humble Devil might take all of this slightly more seriously—though, frankly, I doubt it—were it not for the involvement of Margaret Hodge.
"For children under 12 who cannot make the distinction between fantasy and reality, we need tough regulation," Mrs Hodge said. Under the current rules, the BBFC's legally-enforceable age limits only have to applied to games containing violent or sexual content.

Mrs Hodge knows all about fantasy and reality, you see, as long-time readers of Private Eye and The Kitchen will remember.

Because when Margaret Hodge was leader of Islington Council, the reality was that children in care homes under her control were being ritually and systematically raped and abused; when two care home staff blew the whistle on these activities, Mrs Hodge dismissed their concerns as fantasy.

So yes, here is a woman who can most definitely discern the difference between fantasy and reality. Whilst Mrs Hodge lives in a fantasy world, the reality is that she condemned scores of children to abuse and torture.

And then—unbelievably—she was appointed Minister for Children.
The Culture Committee of MPs this week raised fears that paedophiles are making growing use of virtual worlds for activities including simulated sex with children. Mrs Hodge told BBC Radio Four that the growing popularity of online games required new rules.

We've all seen how Mrs Hodge protects children. Let's face it: her solution to kids possibly being exposed to sex acts in a fantasy world would probably be to send paedophiles into children's homes to fuck a lesson into them in the real one.

So you'll forgive me if I ignore any protestations of probity from this woman: the only bunch of fuckers less adept at protecting children than Margaret Hodge and her cronies are the pimps of the UN.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A musing on budgets

I have spotted a worrying trend amongst politicians and the media, concerning the size of government, the, frankly, colossal budget deficit and the levels of public debt.

The narrative—reinforced by Brown's £16 billion sell-off of assets (which aims to raise, over three years, slightly less than the government borrowed in August)—seems to be that the current talk of cost-cutting is merely a temporary measure caused by the global downturn.

The UK state's liabilities amount, as Burning Our Money outlines, amount to some £7–£8 trillion—a colossal figure, to be sure, but much of it is in the form of unfunded pensions and other future liabilities.

More importantly, the deficit in terms of current spending is running at nearly £200 billion per annum. It is simply not sustainable for the state to spend £200 billion more than it earns in any year, let alone consistently.

Which brings me back to my original point: the theme in the media and in policial circles seems to be that this level of debt is not sustainable in these dire times. That is true enough but it is not this that worries me.

What worries me is the continuing fantasy that this level of spending is only not sustainable because of these dire times. There are many—most notably the NuLabour government—who seem to believe that, once the UK economy is back on track, the splurge can continue.

Additionally, the other variant that I am getting is—if we could only pay down the debt and get the UK's books back in the black for just one year—that we could carry on as before.

Let me make this absolutely clear: the UK state cannot carry on spending at current levels—even were we in a boom, it would be a fucking stupid thing to do.

Let us leave aside my personal philosophy for the moment and acknowledge that, for purely economic reasons, the state is going to have to shrink.

And that shrinkage is going to have to be permanent—this country can no longer continue with the social democratic spending programme because this country cannot pay for it.

So, the debate is no longer about whether we shrink the size of the state: the debate much now focus on how we are to manage the transition.*

Because the British government cannot afford to carry on indefinitely spending £200 billion a year more than it earns. And that means a really radical cutting of the funding and services that many people might be used to—and a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

Your humble Devil predicts that even if the British economy shows positive growth in the next quarter, the pain for many is very far from over.

UPDATE: to amplify, the Tories seem to be struggling to find more than about £20 billion to cut. They need to be thinking about ten times that number.

* Those of you who heard my presentation at the Libertarian Alliance Conference may well recall that this is a favourite theme of mine.

Stand firm, President Klaus!

NB je ne suis pas le diable

Well, President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic continues to hold out on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, despite all the incentives and threats that are undoubtedly being thrown his way by the EU and other European leaders.

After the craven failure of our own Government to honour their promise of a referendum, President Klaus is the best hope of us ever getting that vote.

The TPA is running an online petition urging him to continue to stand firm on Lisbon until we can have the referendum that we were promised. Please do sign it (here), and send the link on to your friends and family.

Monday, October 26, 2009

At the Adam Smith Institute

Your humble Devil is... ah... humbled to have been asked to speak at the Adam Smith Institute's Next Generation event on Tuesday 3rd November.

I have been given a free rein, pretty much, as to the topic although they did express the wish that it involved "something libertarian" and, possibly, an introduction to the UK Libertarian Party.

Having just done such a presentation at the Libertarian Alliance Conference—which was, by the way, immensely good fun—I do rather fancy doing something a little different.

I have been developing some ideas about how a Libertarian government might both encourage charitable giving, enable people to make provision for misfortune, reduce welfare fraud and stimulate voluntary collectivism and community cohesion.

As such, I have been looking into a number of options and, most particularly, examining whether Friendly Societies (or variants thereof) might hold the answer.

So I am, at present, tempted to present a quick examination of whether these might work, and talk about a few ideas that I have had for stimulating such entities.

Alternatively, I might just have a bit of a rant. Who knows, or dares to dream?

Anyway, I look forward to seeing some of you there...

UPDATE: you can register on Facebook through the TNG group...

The Tories and immigration

Yes, I know that I have been banging on about this a lot recently but, as is often the case in the blogosphere, a whole set of circumstances has come together in order to create one or two topical... er... topics. Next week it'll probably be carrot cakes or, given my past form, climate change or political corruption.

Anyway, presumably in the light of the recent Question Time appearance of the BNP's Nick Griffin, John Redwood has felt it necessary to restate Conservative immigration policy, as laid out by Damien Green.

As usual, the policy entirely ignores the mass immigration from the EU—which, of course, the Conservatives have absolutely no power to affect—in favour of disproportionately punishing those from non-EU countries, many of which share rather stronger legal, linguistic and cultural bonds with the British people than the EU countries.

Green also repeats the ridiculous canard that immigrants somehow intrinsically put a strain on our public services and general resources.
Controlling legal migration

First, we plan to introduce an explicit annual limit on the numbers of non-EU economic migrants. This means that there should be an annual limit on the numbers allowed to come here to work from outside the European Union, taking into consideration the effects a rising population has on our public services, transport infrastructure and local communities.

What no one seems to appreciate is that whilst non-EU immigrants have to pay the full amount of tax and NICs, they have extremely limited access to public services. Indeed, non-EU immigrants are not allowed to claim benefits at all (and, incidentally, nor are their spouses).

By contrast, EU immigrants have an automatic right of settlement and are entitled to any and all benefits available to the native population.

Regardless of what I might personally feel about this issue, a failure to deal with the unfettered immigration from the EU will fail to address the issues which politicians claim to care about.

Because, totally unlike the BNP, the Conservatives are not objecting to immigrants because they are diluting the British culture—oh no, definitely not. I would like to make it absolutely clear that Britain's mainstream parties are definitely not like the BNP and are definitely not racist in any way at all.

However, if our politicos are worried about the strain on public services, then they need to worry about those who can use said services—and, incidentally, settle indefinitely in Britain—without having paid a penny into the economy of this country. Which means that they need to address the issue of EU immigrants, not non-EU immigrants.

(Of course, it would help if the money that was supposed to go to public services actually went to those frontline services, rather than being pissed away on legions of bureaucrats.)

But hist! Here is the Tory plan for dealing with this...
A further step we can take to control immigration directly is the imposition of transitional controls for new EU entrants. They should be applied here as they are in other countries.

Ahem. Now, I could be wrong, but I do not believe that the EU will let you impose these controls retrospectively, boys. You may be able to impose temporary controls on, say, Turkish immigrants upon the accession of that country to the EU, but I don't think that you can stop or limit anyone from the current 27 EU members.
As well as having a better controlled immigration system we badly need welfare reform and improved skills training so that we are not simply ignoring millions of British workers, which is why Conservatives have launched a plan to Get Britain Working. We need to do better in making British workers competitive.

Yes, well done. Marginal deduction rates for those on benefits, for instance, are a fucking scandal. And so your plan for Welfare reform is...? Hello? Anyone? Bueller...?
Preventing illegal migration

To reduce the amount of illegal immigration, Conservatives will ensure our borders are properly policed.

Brilliant. And how, exactly, are you going to do this...? And answer came there none.

Look, it may well be that the Conservatives have a secret plan to deal with all of the problems highlighted. The trouble is that I severely doubt it.

I predict that a Conservative government will, quite unjustly, continue to dole out a fucking inhumane kicking to those highly-skilled, hard-working, tax-paying migrants (whose access to the public purse is, in any case, severely restricted) whilst simultaneously ignoring the elephant in the room that is free immigration from the EU.

As a result, the Tories will not achieve any of their stated aims. They will, however, cause misery to thousands of people through a policy that is driven by political expediency and spite.

P.S. Your humble Devil posted his solution to the problem a few weeks ago.

Quangos - the alphabet soup revealed

NB I am not the Devil.

Today sees the publication of a TaxPayers' Alliance report which I am sure will be of great interest to many of those who sup at the Kitchen - a full bestiary of the UK's quangos.

Importantly, the report uses a meaningul definition of the word quango, including any Semi Autonomous Public Body, that allows us to catalogue several hundred which the Cabinet Office currently refuse to recognise as being quangos at all.

In total, in 2007-08 there were 1,152 quangos operating in the UK, with £90 billion spent on or through them and employing over 534,000 quangocrats. Year on year, that means that whilst the total number has fallen by 10 bodies, the total spend has jumped by £13 billion.

The total figures are instructive as to the overall state of the vast unaccountable swathes of British Government, but in particular it acts as a tool for anyone to actually dig into it. If you want to have a look through the sheer scale of the quango state, you can read the full report here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Your humble Devil is still at the LA Conference, where I did a showcase presentation yesterday: the subject was the UK Libertarian Party, and Brian Mickelthwait has written a quick review of my delivery...
Chris Mounsey, of the UKLP, was - I’m guessing deliberately - very downbeat.  The thing is, if you roam the earth giving rousing speeches in favour of something, all about what you want people to do, and how wonderful things will be if they do it, two things can go wrong.  One, they don’t to do what you want (in this case join the UKLIP), which can make you look and feel rather foolish.  Two, they join, but in a state of manic enthusiasm, and a year later, when nothing good of any consequence has happened because of you joining, they hate you, for getting their hopes up.  The UKLP, said Mounsey, is settling down for the long haul.  In ten years time it might accomplish something, but then again it might not.  Very wise.

Quite right, and I'm glad that my tone was correctly interpreted...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Burying culture

Could Nick Griffin be right, that there has been a deliberate attempt by political elites to destroy the prevailing culture of Britain?

If this article is to be believed, then the answer is, shockingly, "yes".
Labour threw open Britain's borders to mass immigration to help socially engineer a more multicultural country, a former Government adviser has revealed.

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration" but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working class vote".

This policy might alienate the "working class vote"? Oh, y'think?

Mind you, this would explain why NuLabour seem to be so keen to expel skilled migrants who want to work—they are likely to be too far right, far too conservative, far too hard-working, to achieve the change that the NuLabour scum apparently wanted.

No: import the unskilled, the radical, the lazy and the stupid. And don't forget to import their families too. Fuck me, what's next—Labour paid for their fucking flights over here?
As a result, the public argument for immigration concentrated instead on the economic benefits and need for more migrants.

Critics said the revelations showed a "conspiracy" within Government to impose mass immigration for "cynical" political reasons.

Mr Neather was a speech writer who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, in the early 2000s.

Writing in the Evening Standard, he revealed the "major shift" in immigration policy came after the publication of a policy paper from the Performance and Innovation Unit, a Downing Street think tank based in the Cabinet Office, in 2001.

He wrote a major speech for Barbara Roche, the then immigration minister, in 2000, which was largely based on drafts of the report.

He said the final published version of the report promoted the labour market case for immigration but unpublished versions contained additional reasons, he said.

He wrote: "Earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

"I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn't its main purpose – to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date."

The "deliberate policy", from late 2000 until "at least February last year", when the new points based system was introduced, was to open up the UK to mass migration, he said.

What this actually reminds me of is Sean Gabb's recent speech (which I commented on). In that, Sean revealed what he thought the NuLabour government's real aim was.
The purpose of the Government that took power in 1997 was to bring about a revolutionary transformation of this country—a transformation from which there could be no return to what had been before.

That summation is beginning to look more and more plausible.

Fucking hellski.

That Question Time script in full...

Constantly Furious has kindly transcribed the whole of that Question Time session just for all of those cannot bear to watch the smug awfulness of the actual broadcast. I recommend that you read the whole hilarious transcript, but here's a sample for your delectation...
And what a night it was. A glittering gallery of all the key figures, the big beasts, in British politics: MP Chris WhoHe of extremist minority party the "Lib Dems", Jack 'thought he'd retired?' Straw for Labour, Sayeeda WhoShe for Conservatives and Bonnie Greer, a random American writer, filling that vital role of black-person-sat-right-next-to-nasty-Nick-ha-ha.

Through his contacts with the BBC (you just press '1' on the remote), CF is able to bring you a full transcript of what was probably the most tedious controversial Question Time yet.

Dimbleby: "Good evening. I'd like to welcome our panel tonight. Well, all of them bar one of course"
[audience laughs nervously]
Griffin: "I .."
[audience boos, ecstatically]
Dimblebore: "That's really quite enough from you, Mr Griffin"
[enthusiastic applause. Cries of 'quite right']
Dumbledore: "First, I must just apologise for the screaming and breaking glass you may be able to hear. I'm told that the UAF have peacefully stormed the building and are now peacefully smashing the place up".
Dumbledore: "and so, to our first question. Gentlemen with the cross face.."
Angry Asian: "Nick. Is it that you love Churchill and hate Muslims, innit?"
[applause]
Nick Griffin: "I didn't.."
Baroness Wassup [interrupting]: "Yes, you do, don't you, you do"
[prolonged applause]
Dumbledore: "Moving on now. I've got photos' Mr Griffin, of you standing near a man from the Klu Klux Klan. Does the very existence of these photo's not prove, beyond doubt, that you'd very much like to strap a black man to the front of your pickup and drive all round the bayou at high speed?"
Nick Griffin: "Well, I.."
Bonnie Greer [interrupting]: "Don't you try to tell me about no KKK. I'm American."

Indeed you are, Bonnie, and your impeccable right-on credentials were proved when you talked historical bollocks to Griffin—attacking him whenever you were able.

Then, Bonnie, you courageously shut the fuck up whilst the vile Establishment politicos happily chuntered away about the measures that their mainstream parties were taking to ensure that Americans like you, Bonnie, would not now be able to enter this country—let alone be able to stay and patronise wall-eyed loons on TV. Still, I shouldn't imagine that you are any stranger to hypocrisy, eh, Bonnie?

So I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability, Bonnie Greer: truly, your ability to stand up to one man's bigotry, discrimination and injustice is to be applauded. What a pity that you, the Deputy Chariman of the National Museum, found yourself unable to stand up against bigotry, discrimination and injustice when it was advocated by your paymasters.

Yes, it was a pity—but hardly a surprise.

Reformer of the Year

Heather Brooke: WIN. Politicians: FAIL.

A press release informs your humble Devil that the Reform think-tank wants you to vote for the Reformer of the Year. Alas, my name does not appear there which is a bit of a surprise since, like myself, most of those on the shortlist have actually reformed less than fuck all.

There are a couple of worthy contenders—Douglas Carswell MP, for instance—but there is one clear fore-runner as far as your humble Devil is concerned.
Heather Brooke
Freedom of Information campaigner
Heather played a leading role in the MPs' expenses saga, winning a High Court case against the House of Commons for the full disclosure of second homes allowances. The ruling was the driving force behind the resulting reform of the Parliamentary expense system.

Go vote and ensure the recognition of Heather Brooke's achievements in revealing the fraud perpetrated upon the British taxpayer by the lying, dishonest, venal little shits in Parliament.

I mean, we all knew that they were lying, thieving cunts, but Heather's campaign ensured that we now have documentary evidence—as such, she has moved the revolution forward by a few months at least.

And, if nothing else, her fight has ensured that we have had a very entertaining year watching our lords and masters twisting in the wind.

Although not literally, alas.

MSM Moron of the Day: Philip Johnson

As regular readers will know, your humble Devil is married to an American citizen who has been a victim of the disgustingly unfair and draconian immigration system currently extant in this country.*

As such, I found last night's Question Time—during which Nick Griffin, Saida Warsi, Jack Straw and Chris Huhne tried to outdo each other in proposing ever more unfair, damaging and authoritarian legislation—enraging and thoroughly repulsive.

Of course, we should all note that the intelligentsia's fear of immigration is absolutely not in any way the same as the BNP's fear of immigration and you would be a fool and a racist to suggest such a thing.

No, these politicos were simply trying to pander to the bigotry and ignorance of a certain section of the British people suggest sensible ways of limiting immigration in order to defuse the more extreme views of Griffin. Which is, of course, much more sensible than trying to educate the viewers about the complicated arguments around immigration.

How fortunate for us all that the MSM also cannot be bothered to make that effort, as proved by a spectacularly moronic article in today's Telegraph.
Politicians appear unconcerned about the immigration-fuelled boom in Britain's population—despite the strain on schools, hospitals and quality of life. Unless we take action, the country will face an environmental nightmare, says Philip Johnston.

As I have pointed out, politicians do not seem to be unconcerned at all—in fact, they are outdoing themselves in their rush to close Britain's borders to skilled immigrants. But, leaving that aside, this article spouts some utter horseshit.

The first thing to note is that this country can hardly be described as over-crowded. In fact, the density of population in the country as a whole is pretty minimal.
Scale down the UK. To 99 football pitches.

All built up areas plus gardens would be 6 of those football pitches.

Of course, you might disagree or, more pertinently, point out that the South East is pretty densely populated. However, I thought I'd just put the whole issue into perspective, i.e. there's plenty of fucking space.

However, Philip Johnson's true ignorance and stupidity is shown in this paragraph.
Indeed, it has always been the case that in order to have economic growth it is necessary to have more people. Countries whose populations stagnate and decline are countries with no future.

Bzzzzzzt! Wrong! Thank you for playing, Mr Johnson, but you are totally fucking wrong. I am no economist, but even I spotted this hideous falsehood.

However, I shan't bother to explain why you are wrong, Phil; instead, I shall pass those reins over to Timmy.
If economic growth were a matter of just having more people then there would be no rise in the size of the economy per capita, would there? And given that we do have economic growth per capita then ….well, you see the problem.

It’s possible to make a weaker claim, that we can only have economic growth per capita if we have a growing population but that too is nonsense. The onward march of technology, our ability to add more value to resources over time will lead to continued economic growth.

There’s just one special case where the assertion might be true: if population if falling faster than growth per capita is growing. Take a reasonable historical (for the capitalist world) average: 3% growth in GDP per capita over the years. If population is falling at 4% a year then total GDP will be falling while the living standards are rising. And as it’s that latter that we care about, not the former, even in this special case we don’t actually care.

And this is why the commenters at The Kitchen who bang on about population decline are also consistently wrong. A declining population does not mean declining growth.

In fact, if growth continues at a reasonable rate and the population declines, this is immensely good news. Why? Because it means that individuals are all getting richer.

If I have ten quid, and have to divide it amongst ten people, then they each have a quid. If, on the other hand, there are only five people to divide that tenner amongst, then everyone gets £2. They are twice as rich. Excellent!

Needless to say, the rest of the article is the same old scare-mongering bollocks. Instead of some reasonable cost-benefit analysis of immigration, all that we get is MSM twats and political tosspots trying to outdo each other in pandering to the BNP-voting section of the population.

But, as I said, these people's fear of immigration is definitely not the same as Nick Griffin's. Definitely not.

Understand?

UPDATE: in response to Andy's comment, I shall repost my solution to the problem.
So, here is my proposed solution, and it is a solution designed to be implemented tomorrow—that is, it assumes that we are still in the EU, etc. So, here it is: no immigrant may claim benefits until they have been working—and contributing tax (i.e. cash in hand work will not count)—for four years.

But wait! The EU will not let us treat EU citizens any differently to British citizens. Great! The same thing applies across the board, for British citizens too.

When National Insurance was first implemented, you had to have been paying in for a certain amount of time—and earned your "stamps"—before you could start getting payouts. To an extent, this is still the case, but other benefits are not, theoretically, part of the National Insurance system, so they are paid out without any requirement to have paid in.

This should stop, right now.

So, everyone—regardless of where they are from originally—gets treated in exactly the same way: no one shall receive any benefits until they have paid tax into the system for four years (an arbitrary number—we could make it higher, if you like, or lower—four years seems a reasonable time to me).

In this way, we can stop paying for people's lifestyle choices (including encouraging the feckless to have children); we can diffuse the resentment based on the "bloody immigrants, coming here and stealing our benefits" argument; we give people an incentive to pay tax rather than do cash-in-hand work; we stop people coming here with massive families in order to soak our ridiculously generous benefits system (and thus reduce immigration); we can remove these spiteful bars to non-EU immigrants working (and thus allow private companies to hire who the fuck they want); it will provide us with an incentive to ensure that our schooling is up to scratch (since natives will be competing with immigrants on an equal footing); it allows us to open our borders to those who want to come and work here (and neutralises Hayek's problems with doing so whilst a Welfare State exists); and, of course, we will substantially reduce our social security bill.

So, to be explicit, fewer (or no) border controls but also no benefits.

Those who want to work—native or immigrant—can work: those who don't will get no support.

* Should you be a non-EU citizen interested in working in this country, here's the Devil's handy guide to just how much it will cost you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Technical hitch

At some point this morning, The Kitchen seemed to go off the air. The issue seems to be around the fact that Blogger does not like hosting blogs on "naked domains" and requires, instead, that you host on a subdomain: that is to say, http://www.devilskitchen.me.uk is acceptable, but http://devilskitchen.me.uk is not (the www. bit is the sub-domain).

Obviously, when I originally set up my domain a few years ago, Blogger did not make this distinction: now, it seems, the policy has changed and thus the site went down.

This has pissed me off slightly—I am so frantically busy at present that I really did not need to be fucking about with this kind of thing—and I am going to re-examine WordPress as a possible alternative.

However, I hate writing templates for WP and I do like the simplicity of Blogger. Plus, of course, not only is Blogger free to use but also it isn't putting any strain on my server. In other words, I wouldn't expect a migration any time soon.

Anyway, we are (mostly) back now. It will take a little while for the domain changes to propagate throughout the web but, once they have, all previous links should still work.

In the meantime, work is taking me to Wales and back for most of tomorrow so blogging will be light.

Thanks for your patience—and all of the emails expressing concern.

Regards,

DK

The Enemy Class will maintain control

The latest post at the Libertarian Alliance blog is the rough minutes of a speech by Sean Gabb to a Conservative Association: it is excellent and worth reading in full. Of most interest is Sean's contention that the Constitution of this country has been deliberately and irrevocably destroyed.
I disagree [that this has been a bad government]. Oh, if you want a government that defends the country and provides common services while keeping so far as possible out of your way, the Labour Government elected in 1997 has been a disappointment. This does not mean, however, that the Blair and Brown Governments have been a failure in their own terms. They have, on the contrary, been very successful.

The purpose of the Government that took power in 1997 was to bring about a revolutionary transformation of this country – a transformation from which there could be no return to what had been before. The English Constitution has never been set down in a written document, and there has never been any statement of fundamental rights and liberties that was protected from change by ordinary legislation. Instead, these rights and liberties were protected by a set of customs and institutions that, being legitimised by antiquity, served the same purpose as formal entrenchment. It can be hard, in every specific case, to justify trial by jury, or the rule against double jeopardy, or the idea that imprisonment should be for a specified time and no longer, or the right to speak freely on matters in the public domain. There are principled arguments that satisfy in the absence of strong passions. But, strong passions being granted, the best argument has always so far been that these things have always been in England, and that to change them would be to break the threads that tie us to the past.

It would be childish to argue that the Ancient Constitution was in good health until 1997, when it was suddenly overturned. Unless there is an catastrophic foreign invasion, constitutions are not destroyed in this way. Ours had been sapped long before 1997. To say when the tipping point was reached, and by what means, would take me far beyond my stated theme. However, what remained of the Constitution has, since 1997, been dismissed as a set of “outmoded” relics, and large parts of it have been swept away. Those that remain have been transformed beyond recognition.
...

On any normal assumptions, the country has been governed very badly since 1997. On the assumptions of the Government, things have gone very well indeed.

The rest of it is in the same excellent vein, and very much worth cogitating on—I am even being swayed by the republican argument.
On Friday the 16th October 2009, I spoke to a Conservative Association in the South East of England. Though I did not video the event, and though – on account of the heated and not always good natured debate the followed my speech – I was asked not to identify the particular Association to which I spoke, I think what I said is worth recording.

Yes, I can imagine that many Conservatives would find this speech unpalatable—but then they are concerned only with power and not with the rights and liberties of the people of this country.
We shall probably have a Conservative Government within the next nine months. But this will not be a government of conservatives. If we want a preview of the Cameron Government, we need only look at what Boris Johnson has achieved during the past year as Mayor of London. He has not closed down one of the bureaucracies set up by Ken Livingstone and his Trotskyite friends. The race equality enforcers are still collecting their salaries. The war on the private motorist continues. Rather than cut the number of New and Old Labour apparatchiks, he is currently putting up taxes. David Cameron will be no better. He may be forced to make some changes and to slow the speed of the transformation. The transformation will continue nevertheless.

Indeed it will: if you believe in freedom and so place your hope in Cameron then you are a fool. To refuse to see that makes you a knave.

I understand that many people will vote Conservative on the Barbary Ape principle. Fine: go ahead. I may even have some sympathy for that position—it is difficult to imagine that Cameron and his merry men could be quite as bad as NuLabour. But as Sean points out, he will be—essentially—no better.

Over the last few decades, we have seen a steady and gradually acceleration of our serfdom; increasingly, we are no longer free individuals, but slaves living under sufference—we are grudgingly allowed to retain a small proportion of our liberty and our possessions only as long as we continue to accept the jackboot of the statist upon our necks.

This is a war, and it's time to pick the side that you fight on: are you a totalitarian or a libertarian?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well, I know where £55 of my next pay cheque is going...

The new Apple Magic Mouse...
The Multi-Touch area covers the top surface of Magic Mouse, and the mouse itself is the button. Scroll in any direction with one finger, swipe through web pages and photos with two, and click and double-click anywhere. Inside Magic Mouse is a chip that tells it exactly what you want to do. Which means Magic Mouse won’t confuse a scroll with a swipe. It even knows when you’re just resting your hand on it.

Does anyone else think that it bears a certain resemblance to the spaceship in Flight of the Navigator...?

P.S. The newly updated iMacs are pretty gorgeous too—I want the one with the 27" screen. (Given these recent updates, Blue Eyes, I would say that there will be no other releases for a while.)

DISCLAIMER: your humble Devil holds an insignificant number of Apple shares, the price of which has, nevertheless, gone up quite nicely on the back of quite excellent Fourth Quarter Results (via Daring Fireball).

Yet more libertarian debate

Despite his being a card-carrying Labour man, I actually agree with Unity far more than I disagree with him: we are both libertarians, though he ascribes himself to be of the Left whilst I am generally cleaved to the Right*. I thoroughly respect his ability to delve deep into data-heavy documents and produce excellent digests, and we have worked together on some projects in the past.

Anyway, Unity has written a rather good post over at Liberal Conspiracy—following on from this piece of ill-informed, bigoted idiocy (which I commented on here)—in which he tries to define the difference between libertarians and "libertarian" Tories. You really do need to read the whole thing, but his conclusion runs thusly...
So, it you’re at all unsure as to how to spot a Tory masquerading as a libertarian, just ask them whether they believe that victims of crime, or just plain old law-abiding citizens have different rights to criminals.

If the answer’s ‘yes’, then you’ve got yourself a Tory (or a cabinet minister).

If the answer’s ‘no’ and they go to explain that both have the same fundamental rights but that the criminal’s freedom to exercise those rights may be legitimately, and temporarily, constrained in order to protect the rights and freedoms of others, then you’ve got yourself a liberal or libertarian.

Simples.

Which is fair enough and certainly a reasonable test.

Meanwhile, inspired by Unity's article and in a must-read post, the lovely Bella Gerens addresses the all-too-often-levelled charge that libertarians are selfish.
So let’s lay to rest, once and for all, this ‘libertarians want the world to revolve around them and fuck everyone else’ crap.*

Yes – libertarians are self-centred. I’ve said it, it’s true, amen brother. Of course we are concerned with the self. The self is the only entity over which we do have and should have control. A libertarian is not concerned with others, because it is not for us to say what is good for others, or what others should and shouldn’t do. Our comprehension of others is determined by how those others affect the self. A libertarian refrains from affecting others in ways he would not himself want to be affected. A libertarian respects others who hold this same principle, because he knows they too have selves with which they are concerned.

Is that selfish? Yes. Is it wrong? No, because the self is always the first point of reference. First, not only. I’m afraid there is no getting around that, however much others might wish there were. It is impossible to act without reference to the self.

Libertarians, in the main, have no objection to helping others, or directing their concern toward others, as long as it is done voluntarily, in the absence of third-party coercion.

The wife then goes on to illustrate, pretty bloody clearly, who the real enemy is here—designated as Person B or "the state, the welfare system, socialism, whatever". Person B is the enemy because Person B deliberately sets out to try to ensure that Persons A and C—one with resources and one without, respectively—hate each other.

We all know Person B—and it isn't just "the state". As I said earlier, it is those who believe that they "should be sovereign over the individual".

We broadly call them socialists and they are the ones who believe that there is a one-size fits all way to satisfy people's needs rather than recognising that there are at least six billion needs and wants.

And remember, anyone who advocates this kind of attitude does not expect to the one being pushed around—they expect to be giving the orders.

As such, one could coherently argue that it is socialists that are the truly selfish people here, for they believe that their way of running things is inherently better than anyone else's. Worse, they believe that their wants and needs to trump everyone else's.

They are the enemy and, at the risk of repeating myself, they are winning the war.

UPDATE: Marius Ostrowski sums up the libertarian position in one long sentence.
The realisation that the only sphere over which anyone has, or should have, influence is the self; the belief that everyone has the same basic rights unless they forfeit them by attempting to transgress beyond their legitimate sphere of influence; and the acceptance that needs, desires and wants (broadly speaking, conceptions of the good) are unique to each individual and should be left to individuals to realise through own effort and negotiation, with the implication that there is no such thing as objective societal good, merely a whole lot of individual views that may or may not agree with each other.

Nice.

* I am not really going to go into why Right and Left are inappropriate when describing libertarians—suffice to say that a belief in universal liberty does not really belong in either camp.

As I've said before, I prefer the torus view of politics—in which case, libertarianism is on the diametrically opposed side to authoritarianism. Left and Right, however, travel their respective ways around the torus away from libertarianism and towards authoritarianism.

This swearblogging

Brian Mickelthwait has expressed some disquiet over my recommendation for Emily Thornberry's severe cunt-punching.

People have slightly missed the point, I think. I have intimated this in the comments to various posts, but I now have to come out and say that I am not being funny. This blog is my catharsis and that is why I swear so much (and, as a result, I'm much calmer in real life).

Having said that, of course, if I were actually trying to incite people to punch Emily Thornberry in the cunt and throw her into the sea, then perhaps disquiet would be appropriate.

But as must be obvious to any regular reader of The Kitchen, these are more in the nature of fantasies than actual suggested actions—after all, I'm sure that no one seriously thinks that I or the poor little Greek boy really suggest doing these things to Patsy Hewitt.

Whilst I do believe that the initiation of force or fraud against someone's life, liberty or property is not to be tolerated, that doesn't prevent me from suggesting fantastical ends for those who attack us.

After all, these people initiate force against our liberty every single day; whilst few of us Westerners die because of their policies, millions in the Developing World do. These people are idiots, fools, knaves and, to put it bluntly, murderers.

Our politicos pursue policies that harm millions—and they do so in the face of both evidence and theory. These policies have unintended—but easily foreseen—consequences that harm real people.

So, why do they pursue these policies?
  1. They know no better. Well, they employ enough researchers (at our expense): they should know better. So, they either ignore research (in which case why are we paying for their researchers?) or they cannot be bothered to reconcile their fucking stupid dogma with the research (in which case, they are purest evil).

  2. They do know better. In which case, they pursue stupid, evil policies despite knowing that they will destroy and cripple people. If this is the case, our politicians represent the purest evil on Earth and nothing is too bad for them.

These are the only two options. Either way, they are stupid, evil people. And stupid, evil people deserve the very worst of punishments. And even if these punishments should not be carried out, seriously, then... well, a Devil can dream, can't he?

Especially given what these odious turds continue to do to us in their continued attacks on our liberty and our property (even if they do not overtly attack our lives).

Seriously, this is a war: this is a war between those who think that the individual is sovereign and those who think that they should be sovereign over the individual.

And we are losing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Increasing desperation

Gordon Brown is becoming increasingly unhinged—his latest pronouncements on climate change have more than a tinge of lunatic hysteria to them.
The UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change, the prime minister has warned.

This is, quite simply, a lie. A can't think of a kinder way to put this—at all.
Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse".

And this is just delusional.

Let us assume that anthropogenic climate change is, in fact, happening as they say it is. No, bear with me here: let us assume that. The world, as in this planet, will carry on just as normal—it is humans that might have a hard time.

The whole "50 days" schtick is also a big fat load of horseshit. The simple fact is that this pronouncement relies on their being an irreversible "tipping point"; and the idea that there is "a tipping point" relies on the Earth's climate operating on a positive feedback system.

And the simple fact is that there is no evidence that the climate does operate on a positive feedback system; in fact, the relative stability of the Earth's climate over the last few tens of thousands of years would suggest that the climate is dominated by negative feedback.

But the simple fact is that the anthropogenic climate change theory is looking ever more precarious. The Yamal implosion has destroyed the only remaining evidence for the unprecedented temperature rises posited to have occurred in the twentieth century.

The findings of the Argo Project—that oceans have been cooling over the last five years—have disproved the idea that the seas have been storing heat that will lead to an unprecedented leap in temperature.

The surfacestations.org project has exposed the poor siting—siting that drives temperatures above the normal, e.g. by heat exchangers, in car parks, by gas burners, etc.—of the land stations in the US that are used for the NASA/GISS land temperature record.

In any case, all of the raw data is obscured by the various agencies' "corrections"—all of which seem to move the trends upwards and which are very difficult to justify since said agencies resist all attempts to view the algorithms that they use to make said corrections.

The only thing that has been proved by all of this effort is that taking the world's temperature is nigh-on impossible—especially when two-thirds of this planet's surface is covered by water.

It is possible that satellites hold the best hope for this Herculean task but they have only been monitoring the planet's temperature since 1979—hardly a comprehensive record. In any case, the data from these eyes in the sky show a definite decrease in temperature over the last decade—no one appears to be panicking about global cooling (although one supposes that they should be).

The simple fact is that we do not have any kind of accurate temperature record for this planet—all we have are discredited proxies, badly-stitched snippets and anecdotal histories.

We certainly do not have enough data to justify beggaring the human population of this planet in the way in which our idiot politicians are suggesting.

Once again, Brown is attempting to secure some kind of legacy for himself—and to bind future governments (surely the one thing that is considered to be absolutely unconstitutional in this country).

The truth is that this sad attempt will go the same way as his "abolition" of boom and bust—it will leave the people of this country poor and oppressed, their property confiscated and their liberties ripped from them.

Except that this climate change issue will be worse, because Brown and his fellow big state socialist buddies will impoverish not just the people of this nation but of the whole world—and through this they will be responsible for the deaths of millions and millions of the world's poorest and most defenseless people.

And so Brown's legacy will be poverty and death—and I can only wish the same on him and his family.

Labour's Boris

Boris Johnson. Since 2007 he is the only Tory to head a government, namely the devolved government of London. As such he is effectively the highest ranking Conservative in the UK.

The polls suggest that in around eight months time that will no longer be the case.

Instead Labour, who once led the governments of the UK, London, Scotland and Wales, will be reduced to leading only one of Britain's governments: Wales. This time next year the highest ranking Labour politician in these isles will probably be the First Minister for Wales.

But Labour's own "Boris" won't be the inimitable Rhodri Morgan. Oh no. Rhodri's tenure as First Minister will end in December when the results of the long and tortuous Welsh Labour leadership contest are announced.

Actually the contest only decides who will lead the Labour group in Cardiff Bay; technically the leader of the Welsh Labour Party is whoever leads the UK Labour Party. But as the entire Welsh party is involved in this election the winner becomes (just as Rhodri Morgan did) the de facto leader of the party in Wales. Unless your name is Don Touhig, of course.

The electoral college is comprised of three blocks: the elected politicians (AMs, MPs and MEP), the unions, and thirdly the party membership.

There are three contenders, none of whom are household names. Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones is the favourite, but hard on his heels is the Health Minister and Gower AM Edwina Hart. The third and least likely to win is Merthyr AM Huw Lewis.

Unfortunately none of them have been to Oxford, appeared on Have I Got News For You or insulted Liverpool.

We'll let you know who is to become Labour's Boris in December. Until then, iechyd da.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The tyranny of the ignorant

Behind Blue Eyes has written a superb post about the problems in this country—and he maintains that the biggest problem is that people are, in general, disinterested, ill-educated, ignorant fuckwits.
Many dystopian novels have, as part of their premise, a tyrannical government that hides from public view information and opinions that could embarrass the authorities. In Fahrenheit 451 an elite squad of “firemen” go around burning down any house down which is discovered to contain books. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the newspaper archives are altered retrospectively to ensure the state’s narrative is maintained. Some say that in the information age such restrictions could never be enforced.

In reality, the government does not need to go to any effort to hide the truth or subversive texts. All it has to do it ensure that sufficient numbers of people are not interested in the world around them. Make sure enough people get a shit education so that they grow up lacking curiosity in the way things work, make sure enough people are comfortable with their mundane existences, make sure that mass entertainment is sufficiently banal to stop people from opening their eyes and engaging their brains. As long as the number of people who can be bothered to keep themselves informed and are experienced enough to be able to form their own opinion is kept small enough, who cares what those people think?

If you want “power” in this country, you don’t need to have the best thought-out policies, you don’t need to be the brightest mind. This is socialism’s legacy: a nation so ill-educated that many haven’t even heard of the classics, where vast swathes of society don’t have to engage their brain to feed and clothe themselves, where generations of parents don’t feel the need to encourage their children to explore the world. This country is no longer run by a patrician elite, but by a cynical class of populist authoritarians who pander to every ignorant desire of the largest minority. Britain is a tyranny of the ignorant.

Do go and read the whole post, because it is pretty much spot on—it chimes, of course, with my oft-expressed contention that education is the most important way of progressing. However, Blue Eyes makes the wider point that people just don't want to educate themselves at all.

Naturally, your humble Devil would lay some of the blame for this at the feet of the Welfare State and of various governments. After all, if the Welfare State is going to molly-coddle you, and protect you from the consequences of your actions, why bother learning about how other people fared?

And when the government keeps protesting (in the face of all of the evidence) that today's kids are better educated, cleverer than ever before, surely those kids are going to assume that they have nothing more to learn.

Some, of course, would say that affluence has a lot to do with it—a theory that Blue Eyes also advances.
Authoritarian government is much easier when the populace is materially rich, I opined. Hardly an original comment, but one that I felt had been ignored in the libertarian blogosphere’s discussion of New Labour’s legacy.

But it is really an attitudinal thing: only an arrogant idiot would think that they have nothing to learn from the writings of others—no matter how rich said idiot was.

Partly to blame is an educational system that has left 50.4% of the country with low literacy levels—something that cannot help in the pursuit of knowledge. But also to blame are anti-aspiration fuckwits like Polly Toynbee—does anyone remember this?
However, [Polly] attacked Murray’s argument and said that to tell children that they could achieve greatness was to fill their heads with fairy tale nonsense.

There's your problem, right there. People like Toynbee—the type with which the education system is stuffed to the gills—don't believe that people should learn for themselves. After all, not only might people get ideas above their station, but they might also start asking themselves why they need all of these stupid, over-qualified teachers. And that would never do.

So, we will continue to be ruled by the stupid, and the ignorant, and the Left. People who know nothing and who even lack the equipment to work things out for themselves.

Fucking hellski.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sensible women and fucking stupid women

Emily Thornberry MP: a very stupid and thoroughly unpleasant person who should be severely punched in the cunt, and then thrown into the sea.

Via Samizdata, I see that some lassie called Nichola Pease has warned that maternity pay—and other benefits—risk making women effectively unemployable.
Nichola Pease, a top City executive, caused a stir last week when she said that state-enforced maternity leave "rights" for women - and for that matter, paternity leave - was a cost that had a bad consequence. If you tell a company that it must pay a woman her full salary for a year while she is not working and raising her child, say, then, other things being equal, fewer women will be employed in the first place, however hard one tries to enforce so-called equal opportunity hiring practices.

This is a simple fact. If you raise the cost to a company of employing a person or increase the risk that employing a woman will be more expensive than employing a man, say, then fewer women will be employed. It is a fact as undeniable as a the laws of gravity.

Quite. Here's more from the original article...
Nichola Pease, deputy chairman of JO Hambro capital management and a mother of three, said excessive maternity leave and eye-watering sex discrimination payouts could backfire on women.

She denied allegations of sexism in the City, claiming most women did not rise through the ranks because of their own choices rather than any prejudice against them.

And she suggested bosses were reluctant to employ women for fear they could go on to have lots of children supported by Britain's over-generous maternity leave system.

'We have got to be realistic and make sure the protection around women doesn't end up backfiring,' she told a parliamentary hearing into sexism in the financial sector. 'That is actually one of my greatest worries.'

Mrs Pease, 48, said women were 'a really capable, practical and driven bunch of multi-taskers'.

But their contribution to the workforce risked being overshadowed by a nightmare of 'legislation and protection'.

'I think we have got too long maternity,' she told MPs.

'A year is too long and sex discrimination cases that run into the tens of millions are ridiculous.'

Women in Britain currently have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave.

One gets tired of repeating the same old mantra—incentives matter, you morons—but it seems that these idiot socialists just don't get it. It is one of the things that make me so angry with these stupid bastards: they seem to think that—if you just wish (or legislate) hard enough—then you can change both human nature and reality.

Here's news for you, you fucking socialist morons—you cannot change human nature. All of your fucking around just creates perverse incentives and your legislation has unintended consequences.

And then these nitwits pass more and more legislation which tries to compensate for the previous screwy laws. For instance, socialists enable maternity pay for women; then they realise that this makes women less employable, so they then have to pass laws making it illegal to discriminate; but these laws don't fucking work because no business person is going to risk crippling their company. And so we wait for the next round of stupid legislation—usually auteured by that disgraceful, lawless bitch, Harpy Harmperson.
Mrs Pease, who is said to earn around £3.5million, enraged equal rights campaigners who warned that maternity leave was vital if women are to compete on equal footing with men.

That sentence actually makes no fucking sense at all. None. As Mrs Pease points out, maternity leave and other bonuses make women less employable: they most certainly do not allow them to "compete on equal footing with men"—not least because companies aren't forced to pay for men to take a year off whilst being compelled to keep their job open.

Mrs Pease is obviously one of those women who absolutely understand that incentives matter; Emily Thornberry MP, however, does not.
Labour MP Emily Thornberry said: 'I am absolutely horrified to hear such an old-fashioned view expressed by someone who should know better.

Is that the extent of your argument, Emily—this piss-weak attempt to talk down to a woman far more successful and intelligent than yourself? Do you have any logical, economic argument to present?

No? Well, what a fucking surprise, Emily. You see, just another socialist moron attempting to change the world to fit her own deluded mindset and without even the slightest grip on the reality of humanity.
'The rights that Labour have given to women are extremely important - especially to women who do not have a £10million cushion to sit on.'

And this, of course, is typical NuLabour: if you don't have any reasonable counter-argument, just sneer at your opponent, smear them and demonise them.

Look, Emily, Mrs Pease may have a lot of cash but she fucking well earned it; you, on the other hand, get your salary through picking other people's pockets, and then last year you managed to steal an extra £132,390 from the taxpayer. So, why don't you shut your fucking face, you repulsive parasite?

Of course, Emily Thornberry is the kind of person who would support this piece of crap (found via Timmy).
Women without children should be allowed maternity leave, survey says

Women who do not have children should be allowed to take maternity leave, allowing them time off from the workplace, according to a study.

It found that 74 per cent of women would be in favour of being allowed to take a six-month break, or even longer, as mothers are allowed to do when they give birth. More than two-thirds of those in favour were mothers themselves.

All that this survey shows is that 74% of the people surveyed are absolute fucking morons. Well, either that or they are absolutely determined to ensure that no woman gets a job ever again. This is an devastatingly stupid idea—indicated, I think, by the fact that it is referred to as "maternity leave" when there is no maternity. But I bet Emily Thornberry supports it. Because she's a thick bitch.

I increasingly think that the world is going absolutely insane: we are seeing more and more people coming out with ideas that are, quite simply, unworkable. Has everyone gone completely batshit mad?

Nope: they're just socialists.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Summing up Libertarianism

In response to yet another stupid article on Liberal Conspiracy—a piece that claims that because some people who aren't libertarian claim to be libertarians all libertarians are not libertarianthe lovely Bella Gerens has written a scintillating explanation of what libertarianism actually entails.

The wife has a talent not only for coming at things from a perspective different from that of your humble Devil, but also for putting it in a rather succinct, clear way.
The truth is that advocates of freedom are found all over the political spectrum, but the only true libertarians are the ones who advocate it at all times in all circumstances, from the bedroom to the wallet—who believe that ‘freedom from’ is the only state of being consistent with the dignity and majesty of humankind.

‘Freedom from’ is the most important part of that ideology. Freedom from coercion. Freedom from interference. Freedom from oppression.

‘Freedom to’ is where the misunderstandings enter. People on the right think libertarians are advocating freedom to burgle, rob, rape, murder—because they read ‘freedom’ to mean ‘freedom to do whatever you please.’

People on the left think libertarians are advocating exploitation, pollution, callousness, and the primacy of making (and keeping) money above all else—because they read ‘freedom’ to mean ‘freedom to do whatever you please.’

And both sides think libertarians consider the laws we have prohibiting these activities to be a restriction on freedom.

When will they realise that they don’t understand?

Libertarians believe you should be free from coercion—and that you must not coerce anyone else. Libertarians believe you should be free from interference—and that you must not interfere with anyone else. Libertarians believe you should be free from oppression—and that you must not oppress anyone else. Because these are to be universal freedoms: what you do not wish done to you, you must not do to anyone else.

For the libertarian, there is no ‘freedom to.’ Freedom represents an absence, the absence of force and fraud. It does not represent a licence to do anything, or a right or entitlement, except the absolute human right not to be forced or defrauded.

As Bella points out, it is in the area of "freedom to" that conflicts happen.

But the whole point of libertarianism is this "do as you would be done by" attitude: a person who demands freedom from the state and then demands that this same state oppresses others is not a libertarian.

Anyway, do go and read the whole thing...

MPs are thieving cunts

As Guido highlights, a good number of the expenses that MPs claimed were not actually "within the rules".
Sir Thomas Legg has outlined his approach to expenses in a note to MPs which is now in the public domain [PDF]. Legg confirms that payment of the second homes allowance under the Green Book rules was subject to “fundamental principles of propriety”:
The fundamental principles required MPs personally to ensure that their use of the ACA was: (a) necessary for the performance of their parliamentary duties; (b) not extravagant or luxurious; (c) in accordance with the Nolan principles of selflessness, accountability, honesty and leadership; (d) strictly in accordance with the rules governing the allowance; (e) above reproach; (f) took account of the need to obtain value for money; and (g) avoided any appearance of benefit, or a subsidy from public funds, or diversion of public money for the benefit of a political organisation. These principles together amount to a general requirement of propriety.

Quite a high bar for our porcine political class.

Absolutely. It is worth remembering—as we consider the colossal amounts of cash that MPs have stolen from us in "expenses"—that we have only seen the claims for one year.

The vast, vast majority of these bastards have been in the House for nearly five years. That's five years of fleecing the taxpayer, five years of rampant theft.

An awful lot more of these venal fucks have been in the House of Commons—living high on the hog using our money—for much longer. Just how many hundreds of thousands of pounds have they stolen from us?

Even were they being asked to repay the money, this would not be enough: those who have broken the rules must be prosecuted for fraud.

I want to see those smug smiles wiped off their faces as the handcuffs go on; I want to watch the sense of entitlement dissolve from their stance as they are led away from the dock; and I want to see their arrogance repeatedly and painfully fucked out of them by a huge, mass-murderering bugger—possibly nick-named "Bubba"—who has the word "retribution" tattooed on the back of his neck.

It's the only language these cunts understand.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lynne Featherstone: liberal, no. Moron, yes.

Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone is most certainly not a liberal. Today she is wittering on about the hideous intrusions into the lives of home-schoolers—and, incredibly—trying to justify them. [Emphasis mine.]
So–a really interesting conundrum–where everyone is trying to do their best by the children - but the state feels it isn't safe to leave them to their parents alone and the parents think the state should butt out.

No, Lynne, there is no fucking conundrum here. At all. As Bishop Hill points out most eloquently...
You see, this kind of issue is easy for a liberal. This is first principles stuff: the state needs to prove reasonable grounds before it can enter someone's home; it has to get a warrant first; you are innocent until proven guilty. That kind of thing.

These are simple concepts that have been the bedrock of British freedoms for centuries. These are fundamentals. I'm therefore struggling with the idea of a Liberal Democrat MP–a Liberal Democrat MP–in a quandry over whether warrantless searches should be permitted or not. Imagine that–an MP who declares themselves a liberal can't work out whether a fundamental civil liberty, fought and died for over the centuries, is a good thing or not!

His Ecclesiastical Eminence then asks the same question that we all do...
What is the point of the Liberal Democrats if not to speak up for liberalism?

Good fucking question.

Jacqui Smith: lying, thieving shitbag

Jacqui Smith: officially a lying thieving shit.

Jacqui Smith has been found to have defrauded the taxpayer, lied about her housing arrangements and been utterly dishonest.
Jacqui Smith faces political ruin as a result of the damning verdict that a Commons watchdog passed on her expenses claims and because police support officers contradicted her account of her movements.

The former Home Secretary offered a grudging apology to the Commons yesterday after the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards ruled that she was wrong to nominate her West Midlands property, where her family lives, as her second home.

Ms Smith said that the report vindicated her claim that she spent substantial amounts of time in a house in London owned by her sister, which she designated as her main home.

But John Lyon revealed that police guarding the property questioned the veracity of the former Home Secretary’s evidence, with their records showing that the number of nights she had spent in London was at odds with Ms Smith’s account. He says that last year the police figures suggested that Ms Smith spent 37 more nights in Redditch than she had in London; her estimates based on her diary suggested that the difference was nine nights. Figures for the previous year suggest that she had spent 12 more nights in Redditch than in London.

Her punishment is truly traumatic.
Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has apologised in the House of Commons for breaching expenses rules.

She designated her sister's house in London, which she shares, as her "main home" and then claimed second home allowances on her Redditch family home.

A standards inquiry found that she "wrongly" designated her home but had followed officials' advice at the time.

Ms Smith said she accepted the findings and apologised to the Commons and to her constituents.

She will not have to repay any money as the standards committee ruled that "no further action" be taken.

That's right: she had to apologise to the House of Commons. Fuck me: what a punishment that is.

Because, let's face it, the only thing that those shysters will condemn her for is getting caught—after all, the Right Honourable Members have been stealing from us for years.

As, effectively, has Jacqui Smith.

The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics do not intend to let the matter rest there—they have written to darling Jacqui...
Dear Ms. Smith,

Today the Committee on Standards and Privileges ruled against you for your use of the accommodation allowance between 2004 and 2009. Both the Commissioner for Standards and the Committee have concluded that you were in breach of the rules: "Jacqui Smith has been found to be in breach of the House of Commons rules governing the use of the accommodation allowance from 2004 to 2009. She wrongfully classified her main family home in Redditch as her second home, and was therefore able to claim around £20,000 a year towards its running costs."

Up to 2007, it could perhaps be argued that your wrongful designation of your Redditch house as secondary was inadvertent - although most common sense indicators suggested that Redditch was your main home, you were still technically spending more nights in London overall. While we think that parliamentarians have a clear duty to make sure they are within the rules governing personal use of public money, we accept that mistakes happen.

After 2007, however, you started to spend more time in Redditch, in the location where your children attend school, where you are registered to vote and where you pay a mortgage. As the Committee states: "From that point on there was little room for doubt, but it should have been sufficiently clear to Ms Smith even before then that she was probably an exception to the rule."

Out of the £106,738 wrongfully claimed over the 2004-2009 period, the £42,130 paid to you since 2007 was, without doubt, inappropriately used for the maintenance of your family home. As a result of this breach, the Committee has asked you to apologise to the House.

Public opinion on this issue is strongly of the view that saying sorry is not enough. We ask you to pay back to the public purse the £42,130 wrongfully claimed and we feel obliged to inform you that, if you fail so to do, we will not let the matter rest here.

Jacqui Smith is a fucking fraud, and a cunt to boot.

Prosecute the fucker.