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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our generation will go to space...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/28/2011 01:43:00 am

Don't tell me that the concept of a space elevator doesn't fill you with thrills...

Some years ago (checking my archives, I find it was actually way back in 2006), I championed Liftport's Space Elevator programme, believing that—amongst other things—the whole concept was incredibly cool. Although they ran into difficulties at one point, Liftport is still going and still keeping the space elevator dream alive.

There are times when the world conspires to remind you of certain things, are there not? I have just started re-reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars—which features a space elevator—and now I have just stumbled across this fantastically enthusiastic post over at Counting Cats.
In 1995 I started my MSc in astrophysics (yeah, I have a dog in this fight but mine really is worthwhile—do I need to say why? If so I have lost you and you can grab your coat on the way out and basically I hope the door doesn’t bang your arse) at Queen Mary, London. I met a Spaniard there and you know what? She’d only written her undergrad dissertation on the space elevator! I was like wow! I really was. The idea, like so many others, like the Silbervogel or whatever had just been in the aether (which Einstein demonstrated doesn’t so much not exist as just not matter—ouch!).

Whether or not great minds think alike is irrelevant. Competent ones can do and we were far from alone. Both Agnetha and I had dreamed independently of something grand and this was not the meeting in a pub in Stepney of two geniuses. It was better than that for it was written on a beer mat. It was simply the realisation that it could be done and that we were not alone in conceiving this scheme. Yeah, I know it was not original but it honestly had been to me and her. That is my point. If the idea can occur without separate cause to the likes of me or Agnetha then…

… Maybe it’s a good one. Not an Earth-shaker. Not a Quantum Mechanics or whatever but basically, physically, (the engineering is as ever something else—I have have the greatest respect for engineers—they make dreams real—and that is way cool) absolutely obvious.

NickM finishes his post with this extraordinary video: it seems that the designs have not much changed since those that I saw in 2006, but the technology has finally arrived. It's time...


So, so cool...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/28/2011 01:43:00 am


Marred by his own hypocrisy

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/28/2011 12:56:00 am

Andrew Marr: a face only a mother and two desperate, lackwit MSM slappers could love (occasionally).

You would have to have the sense of humour of a socialist not to laugh at the recent travails of Andrew "arsehole" Marr.
BBC presenter Andrew Marr has revealed he took out a super-injunction to protect his family's privacy - but says he will not pursue it any further.

Mr Marr told the Daily Mail he was "embarrassed" about the gagging order he took out in 2008 to suppress reports of an affair with a fellow journalist.

"I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists," he said.

Really? Then why did you do it—is it because you are a disgusting hypocrite?

Yes.

After all, this is a journalist who questioned and harried MPs (as long as they weren't NuLabour ministers) over stupidity, corruption and hypocrisy—and yet who tried to gag his fellow hacks from reporting on his own faithless behaviour.

After all, it wasn't as though Guido hadn't let us all know some time ago.
At the time he believed he had fathered a child with the woman, but later found out through a DNA test this was not the case.

Yes, Andrew Marr spent seven years allegedly paying child support to Alice Miles—only to find out that she was, apparently, quite as unable to keep her genitals in her knickers as he was.

That alone made me laugh for nearly half an hour. I wonder if Marr will be asking for his money back...?

Lest we forget, of course, this is the same Andrew Marr who decided to have a go at "socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed" bloggers.

As such, I thought it worthwhile digging around The Kitchen archives (not least because some 6,000 people seem to have had the same idea) in order to dig out my encomium to this "nightmarish Fraggle".
Andrew Marr, however, is a bald, jug-eared, media whore whose pathetic and slavish devotion to NuLabour may or may not be influenced by his employment by the extortion-funded BBC and his marriage to Jackie Ashley, the raddled-looking harridan daughter of a life peer who writes for both The New Statesman and The Grauniad.

But, Andrew Marr is at least correct when he accuses bloggers of ranting. After all, whilst many of us are very angry about how our country has been systematically destroyed and our futures mortgaged by his favourite party, we are—alas—unable to use taxpayers' cash to get our points across. This leads to a certain amount of frustration and, inevitably, more than a soupcon of cathartic ranting.

But, as Anna Raccoon shows, we in the blogosphere can do some genuine good by providing crowd-sourcing and expertise to those oppressed by Andrew Marr's favourite little technocrats.

Furthermore, many blogs provide an invaluable insight into certain professions because they are written by people at the sharp end—people who genuinely know what is happening on the ground, or have a specialist knowledge of the subjects that they write about.

Which, for me, provide far more useful information about the true state of affairs than Andrew Marr reading some generalised crap—written by some underpaid graduate with a 2:2 in English Literature—off a fucking autocue. No amount of ridiculous arm-waving, Andrew, can substitute for a coherent piece written by someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

Still, I suppose that Andrew can write with some authority about super-injunctions, eh? It's just a pity that the same does not apply to honesty, truth, faithfulness, straight-dealing and not being a cunt.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/28/2011 12:56:00 am


Making stuff

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/28/2011 12:19:00 am

As some readers may know, in real life your humble Devil designs software. I have only really started doing it formally in the last eighteen months or so and it is a massive learning curve.

Whilst you might have a vision of what your software should look like and how it should operate, things never seem to come out quite as you imagine: you are learning how code works, you are constantly learning new paradigms, constantly understanding your markets, adapting to laws and embracing new technologies—and, most challengingly, you are (almost certainly) trying to realise your vision with vastly limited resources.

Which is why I find this quote from Ira Glass—as transcribed by Daring Fireball from this video—so incredibly apposite...
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.

I have, indeed, gone through years of this—and in several professions. I spent many years trying to produce great art in the medium of print, before taking my first hesitant steps in web design.

I'm not sure that I have ever produced really great work in pure website design—but in the area of software design, working with fantastic developers, I am finally producing really great work (it's the combination of problem-solving, elegant code, workflow design and aesthetic beauty that captivates).

And with the new system that we are about to embark on, it is just getting better and better and better...

But (lest the above seem overly self-congratulatory) one of the things that continues to drive me on is that my "work disappoints" me still—it could and should be better. But that is, at root, why I continue to love my job (and neglect The Kitchen)—because I know I can do better, and because the people that I work with not only give me the freedom to try, but the skills and the creativity to realise it...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/28/2011 12:19:00 am


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unlawful rebellion

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/27/2011 11:47:00 pm

Here we go—another day heralds the foundation of another libertarian group blog. It is hardly surprising, really; some time ago, Tom Paine discussed the idea that group blogs might be the way forward—an idea that he reinforces with his introduction to Orphans of Liberty.

Whilst I wish the best for the Orphans, but they are fighting a real problem...

I don't know what it is about libertarians but any groupings—whether Alliances or Parties—seem to lead to discord and disagreement. I don't know why this should be—perhaps it is that the nutters seem to be able to shout the loudest.

One of the most vociferous bunch of people around at the moment are the so-called Freemen on the Land. Whilst I enjoy watching their antics, I have always wondered just how sound a legal basis they have for their assertions. But perhaps Captain Ranty's post at Orphans of Liberty might give some kind of indication—especially the section on Lawful Rebellion.
Lawful Rebellion

This is a different kettle of fish entirely.

Lawful Rebels take their guidance, and their instructions, from Magna Carta 1215 Art. 61, which gives all Britons the right, (actually, the obligation), to rebel if the monarch violates her Coronation Oath. She has done so, by herself or by proxy, over three thousand times since 1953. The Labour government tinkered (illegally and unlawfully) with the House of Lords when they passed a Bill of the same name in 1999.

They disallowed (some) hereditary Peers from taking their seats in the HoL despite them having Letters of Patent. In so doing, they diluted the power of the HoL as an Upper Chamber, and as a result, a Barons Committee was formed in 2001. Some 80 Peers got together and selected a Quorum. In turn, the Quorum delegated four Peers to trot up to Buck House to inform Madge that they were dischuffed.

They gave her 40 days to put right the wrongs, (she did not) so they gave her a further 10 days to deliberate the Second Affidavit (known as an Opportunity To Cure), and, although she acknowledged the Barons Committee, she did not correct her oath violations.

Now that all conditions for Lawful Rebellion are met, the way is open for ALL Britons to revoke their allegiance to the monarch and swear it instead to the Barons Committee. Like them, I also sent my First and Second Affidavits to Madge, and more recently I sent a letter to the Barons Committee pledging my allegiance to them. Article 61, never revoked amended or rescinded, gives me the right to ignore any and all statutes issued by the monarch and her government. I am instructed to "..distrain and distress" them in any way I can. Which includes, but is not limited to withholding taxes, and generally being a pain in the arse. I am doing just that.

As you might expect, your humble Devil enjoys watching people make a pain in the arse of themselves—especially when their target is the state—but how much legal basis is there for Lawful Rebellion.

Well, in a nutshell—none.

Why? Surely Magna Carta—that great charter signed by King John I in 1215—is the cornerstone of the liberties of the British law.

Unfortunately not.

Magna Carta was actually revised a number of times—from 1216 until its last ratification in 1423—but the first time that Magna Carta was incorporated into British law was in 1225. By that time, a number of the clauses had been amended or specifically omitted—and Clause 61 was one of the clauses that was removed in 1216.

When researching this, I found a useful translation of Magna Carta, with the omitted [*] and extant [+] clauses marked very clearly. For those that are interested, the only remaining extant clauses—those that have not been subsequently overwritten by other laws and statutes—are as follows:
  1. FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.

  1. The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.

  1. No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

  2. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

And that's it.

Now, one can see that any copper trying to nick your cash is, in fact, in breach of Clause 39 and it is entirely possible that various agencies—from the Legal Aid to your thieving lawyer—could be accused of breaching Clause 40. Other than that, however, Magna Carta does not actually protect you from an awful lot. If you want to know when these clauses were removed or superceded, Wikipedia has a comprehensive list.

Now, I am sure that many people would say that they don't recognise many of these superceding laws, but they overlook the simple fact that Lawful Rebellion—as defined by Clause 61—does not apply because it was never incorporated into English law in the first place.

So, if you want to indulge in rebellion, by all means do so—but do be aware that your cause is not supported in law.

Any law.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/27/2011 11:47:00 pm


Monday, April 18, 2011

The shorter NHS reform debate

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/18/2011 09:06:00 am

Now, I know that the whole NHS reform debate is pretty complicated and no one quite knows what's going on—so, your humble Devil has decided to provide a handy cut-out-and-keep guide to the whole issue...
All doctors (most especially GPs and GP bloggers): "The reason that the NHS is crap is because it is run by managers, not medical staff who know best about their patients' treatment."

All doctors (most especially GPs and GP bloggers) on the news that medical staff are to get the ultimate say on how the NHS is run: "We didn't mean us!"

Meanwhile, as 0.12% of the RCN membership passing a vote of no confidence in the Health Secretary is reported as 99% of nurses pass a no confidence vote in Lansley, your humble Devil reports that 99% of nurses starve their patients to death.

Hey! Don't thank me—I'm here to help...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/18/2011 09:06:00 am


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vince Cable Plays His Favourite Party Game

Posted by The Spine at 4/14/2011 04:08:00 pm

More cartoons, nonsense, and hairless old men at The Spine.

Posted by The Spine at 4/14/2011 04:08:00 pm


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Go on then!

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 10:22:00 pm

Apparently the Civil Service are threatening to go on strike...
The Public and Commercial Services union has warned of a civil service general strike after its national executive unanimously backed plans for industrial action.

Is there any danger of making the strike permanent? No?

Well, how about Cameron grows some testicles and sacks the fucking lot of you? Because I am pretty sure that most of us—those of us who pay for them—simply won't give a shit when the collection of Hooray Henrys and low-grade Letitias go on strike.
General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: "At least half a million people marched for the alternative on 26 March, and now we are saying we must be prepared to strike for the alternative."

Well, the "alternative" is a world without you bastards—and I welcome it.

As I said, sack the top three grades at least.

Failing that, we should sack every single one of them...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 10:22:00 pm


An Islamic revolution...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 01:07:00 pm

One of the defining features of the strictest versions of Islam, as highlighted by Carpsio, is the rulings that imams are asked to make on the tiniest of details.
They happily hold forth on matters like hair dye, whether video phones are ‘permissable’ and how frequently one should shave one’s pwabs—which is a welcome change from our own dear church, which can only answer “coffee or tea?”.

But Carpsio's imagined solution to this mania for religious micromanagement is rather excellent...
In fact, I often dimly wonder if you could spark an Islamic Reformation just by doggedly asking increasingly abstruse questions—is plasticine permissible? Is it allowed for a woman to handle spiders on her period? Can I ride a donkey if I’m wearing shorts? A few thousand questions like that and eventually even the sternest imam is going to throw his hands up and start playing wistful ballads in his mosque like his CofE counterparts, telling his flock to sort their own fucking lives out and, you know, just try to be decent people.

Works for me...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 01:07:00 pm


It's still one law for them...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 01:20:00 am

... and another for us, as MPs exempt themselves from the latest laws on tax avoidance. [A tip of the horns to Samizdata.]
MPs have had specific provisions made for them regarding tax avoidance rules introduced in the Finance Bill, Accountancy Age has learned.

Legislation to prevent the practice of disguised remuneration, which uses trusts to provide non-repayable tax free loans and offshore pension schemes to avoid tax, was included in the Finance Bill.

However, section 554E (8) says the legislation "does not apply by reason of a relevant step taken by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) in relation to a member of the House of Commons".

Lest we forget, MPs are still exempt from the laws surrounding benefits in kind too.

It seems that our Lords and Masters simply will not learn—until, that is, they are adorning 646 good-looking lamp-posts.

Then they might just begin to work it out...

UPDATE: following his comment, I am reminded that one of those who would escape the air tap-dance is DK mascot, Steve Baker MP—who declares himself furious, over at ConservativeHome.
I am furious. Who could possibly think that special tax treatment for MPs is a good idea? Who could possibly think that MPs would get away with it if they tried it?

But wait. Who drafts Government bills? Not back-bench Members of Parliament... In whose interests is it to keep Members of Parliament up to their armpits in the brown stuff? I smell a rat.

The implication seems to be that IPSA might have some advantage in making MPs look like self-serving shysters: I would suggest that one could actually ascribe this motive to the entire Civil Service. Which is why I have always maintained that the first thing that I would do, were I ever Prime Minister, would be to sack—instantly and with immediate effect—at least the top three grades of Civil Servant.
There should be no special treatment for anyone before the law, least of all those who make it.

Unfortunately, as anyone who has read Hannan and Carswell's The Plan will know, this isn't the first example of special treatment for MPs. Beyond the freedom to speak in Parliament with impunity, all legal privilege for MPs must end. We must suffer the same pain and inconvenience as the rest of the people of this country.

Well, I entirely agree with that...
I have written to the Chancellor, asking him to remove this provision. I hope colleagues reading this will do likewise.

Good luck with that...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 01:20:00 am


The false savings of "competitive" tendering...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 12:42:00 am

... are neatly illustrated by Dick Puddlecote.
To illustrate, I'll go back around a decade to when such things really did pit suppliers against each other in a cut-throat mechanism which drove down costs to provide value for the taxpayer buck. It was a time when large operators were capable of being usurped by a one-man-band offering a quality service at a homemade price. The more providers, the lower you had to pitch to be sure of getting the work.

Those days are long gone.

About five or six years ago, in our experience, the regulatory burden began increasing at an alarming rate. Health and safety was ramped up to quite absurd levels and quality thresholds were set which were impossible for small outfits in our industry to comply with. For example, a company like ours—with a tad more financial breathing space by virtue of our larger size—were able to implement all of the ridiculous (and not even mildly more protective) demands placed on the vehicles which would be acceptable to the authorities concerned. The little guy had no chance—unlike us—of throwing a load of cash at new, or adapted, vehicles to cope with the latest over-weening directive imagined by local authorities, none of which would have any effect on overall safety or provision of service.

We thrived as a result, while dozens of our competitors threw the towel in and went and did something else instead (that's if they did anything but sell their rig and roll up to the local social security office, of course). Happy days for Puddlecote Inc, but we were—as economics dictates—charging far more to the authority.

Of course, Dick fails to mention that, in many cases (especially in the NHS) if you are not a member of the "supplier framework"—for which you have to submit massive amounts of paperwork and be of a certain size (in terms of turnover)—then even being in with a chance of tendering for many public sector contracts is almost impossible anyway. The result is fewer suppliers who have to sink even more time and money into simply bidding for a contract.

For example, the other day, I was talking to a friend whose company deals with the public sector: the tenders often run into the hundreds of pages and they often have to attend at least two "pitches"—with the entire tendering process often running to six months or more.

His company recently bid for an NHS project over a period of three months: the tender response ran to 187 pages, they attended three meetings (including one "pitch"), did a considerable amount of research and product tuning to ensure that they would be able to meet the technical requirements, and were delighted that they got short-listed to the final two...

... at which point the tendering organisation in question informed them that they were terribly sorry, but they had got the tender process wrong and they would have to cancel this process and start again from scratch!
Of course, once again costs have no way to go but up, and with less competition, we are likely to get more of the proportion of work available. The taxpayer gets shafted while the public sector office fills its boots with council tax cash.

And the end result? Well, they can say that greedy private sector businesses are ripping off the taxpayer and that competitive tendering—introduced by Thatcher IIRC—just doesn't work.

Clever, huh?

Remember, our industry is just one small part of public sector outsourcing. Every supplier, in every field, is being put through this. Raising costs, and punishing your bank account with every monthly council tax instalment as a result.

Indeed. And the origin of this uncompetitive rubbish...?
You see, the whole process is run according to the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, which - as I'm sure will not in the least surprise you - is the UK enactment of European Directive 2004/18/EC.

Competitive tendering is supposed to act against monopolies and cartels, yet EU legislation is actively encouraging them in every town hall up and down the UK.

The problems here are, of course, not down to one single piece of legislation at all—however, the legislation serves as a convenient fig-leaf for those involved in the whole process. If all of the rules have been followed, then the amount of judgement required by those running and judging the tendering companies is vastly reduced.

Why?

Well, the way in which a tender should work is that anyone should be able to tender for the business. Now, many would argue that this could lead to poor outcomes—the smaller company could go bust without completing the job, or their service could be worse or just not up to the job, or the service could be delivered in a less safe way, etc. etc.

But all of these things should be assessed by those doing the tendering, those running the project. However, if these people made a fuck up then, of course, their necks could be on the line.

If they have fulfilled the minimum guidelines, however, then the potential for risk is far lower: not because the judges spend more time considering the bids, but because they know that the only bids that they can get are those that meet the minimum legal guidelines.

In other words, the onus for proving that the service is suitable is thrown almost entirely onto the tendering companies. The problem being, of course, that said companies must spend more money and time on doing the judges' work for them—resulting in higher prices.

If the project the goes tits up, the judges can point out (usually) that they have fulfilled all of the legal provisions and that it must be someone else's fault that the project is 18 months late and looking like crap.

In the meantime, as Dick points out, the only person being consistently shafted is the taxpayer...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/12/2011 12:42:00 am


Monday, April 11, 2011

Quote of the day...

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/11/2011 11:51:00 pm

... comes from Toby Young's scathing appraisal of socialist media darling, economic illiterate and all-round arse, Laurie Penny.
She’s so earnest, so self-absorbed, it’s impossible to take her seriously. Almost everything she writes is beyond parody, as if she’s the creation of a brilliant Right-wing satirist rather than a real person...

In many ways, I would love to believe that Penny is, in fact, such a creation.

Alas, I fear that this is not the case, and that Laurie is not only real but just as self-absorbed, fatuous and earnestly pretentious as the articles that fall like turds from her metaphorical pen.

Laurie Penny would be funny—if she were an invention rather than a dangerously influential parody of an intelligent and knowledgable human being...

UPDATE: back in February, young Penny wondered at her fortunate state...
So, I'm experiencing a bit of vertigo. Nine months ago I had just over a thousand Twitter followers; now it’s nearly thirteen thousand. Nine months ago it was a huge nerve-wracking fiasco for me to talk on a regional radio driveshow; last month I was a panellist on Any Questions. Nine months ago I was a blogger in the process of trying to improve my writing in the hopes of someday, maybe, being a ‘proper’ commentator’; I’m now a columnist for the country’s foremost leftwing magazine, earning a living as a full-time comment-and-features journo, and have written opinion pieces for the Guardian, the Evening Standard, the Independent and others. I got to talk at the Fabian Society conference! People from the BBC sometimes ring me up and ask what I think about things!

Penny thinks! Super! But don't worry—Laurie is not letting any of this go to her head. Actually, maybe she has—but that is all going to stop...
Meanwhile, I’m gradually learning how to handle all the pressure without being a total dickhead.

We're waiting...

Any time now...

UPDATE 2: the wife was at Wadham College, Oxford, at the same time as Ms Penny...
But stacked against everything else that comes out of Wadham College, what is Laurie Penny really doing?

She is travelling an extremely well-trodden road bearing the placard of thoroughly-explored philosophies. And the destination, reached so many times before, has benefitted no one except the travellers themselves.

This is not a condition, I fear, that is exclusive to Wadham...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/11/2011 11:51:00 pm


The solution is not to keep spending

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/11/2011 08:12:00 pm

A few days ago, there were various reports—such as this one in The Grauniad (natch)—predicting that household debt was going to increase massively...
The Office for Budget Responsibility has raised its prediction of total household debt in 2015 by a staggering £303bn since late last year, in the belief that families and individuals will respond to straitened times by extra borrowing. Average household debt based on the OBR figures is forecast to rise to £77,309 by 2015, rather than the £66,291 under previous projections.

Economists say the figures show that George Osborne's drive to slash the public deficit and his predictions on growth are based on assumptions that debt will switch from the government's books to private households – undermining his claims to be a debt-slashing chancellor.

Now, I am about to advance something of a radical idea, but hear me out... Are you ready?

When your household income drops, how about YOU DROP YOUR SPENDING TOO?

I mean, for fuck's sake, it's not a difficult concept. I know that, for the last 15 years or so, you have been watching financially incontinent governments piss money away like a drunken sailor who's just won the Lottery spending his way through the entire port—but emulating the government is just stupid.

If you haven't got the fucking cash, don't bloody spend it.

It's not difficult, seriously.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/11/2011 08:12:00 pm


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Dylan Disappoints

Posted by The Spine at 4/07/2011 04:34:00 pm


More cartoons and naked hippy chicks over at The Spine

Posted by The Spine at 4/07/2011 04:34:00 pm


Monday, April 04, 2011

Putting your money where your mouth is

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/04/2011 09:15:00 pm

Rally Against Debt loathsome hypocrites, unpleasant little shits, indolent fucknuts and violent extortionists.

A couple of weeks ago, we saw 500,000 people marching—and occasionally violently assaulting businesses and people—in favour of the state spending yet more money on government-sponsored wank-fests. Plus, of course, there are plenty more big-mouthed arseholes on Twitter who believe that the government shouldn't be making any cuts.

And yes, most of us see our taxes taken from our pay-packet at source through PAYE. As a result, many people are not really cognisant of how much tax they pay—but I think that we can assume that these supporters of our essential front-line services would happily pay more tax to the government in order to protect their vital infrastructure .

Luckily, as we all know, the Treasury and Councils are more than happy to accept voluntary tax donations. Simply enclose a cheque and covering note and send the moolah to:
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
London
SW1A 2HQ

So, how many people did that last year? I would imagine that at least the 500,000 people marching did so, eh? As UKIP Councillor Richard Lowe discovered through an FoI request, it seems that far too few people are really ready to put their money where their mouth is.
Bearing in mind you’ve a lot of wealthy, big state fans – Lord Sugar, Lord Sainsbury, Colin Firth, many
other media types who write in to papers complaint about cutting the arts, heck, even Bob Crow, head of the RMT Union who wants to tax every text message and email sent by a penny is on well over £100,000 a year!

So, bearing in mind there are all these rich people who want the Government to spend more, interfere more, and not cut anything, how much was donated by those alive from 2002 to 2009?

Drum roll please…

£7,349.90

Right.

Look, the situation is really very simple: in order to enable the vastly increased public sector spending that has happened over the last few years, the government has been spending vastly more than it earns in tax receipts.

A couple of weeks ago, 500,000 marched in favour of keeping these spending levels: had each one of them given an extra £10 per year, the state would have another £5,000,000 to spend.

But they didn't.

Had these people voluntarily donated an extra £100 per year, the Treasury would have been £50,000,000 to the good.

But they didn't.

Had these people voluntarily donated an extra £1,000 per year, the Treasury would have had another £0.5 billion to ring-fence services.

But they didn't.

So why—in the name of fuck—do these cunts think that those of us who are not employed by the state (and, mostly, do not avail ourselves of its services) should be forced to pay yet more when they themselves do not consider the services provided worth shelling out more than £7,349.90 extra for?

Fuck me—it would be pathetic were it not so evil.

Evil?

Yes, evil. For this collection of 500,000 abominations don't want to pay for these jobs and services—no.

They were marching to force those of us who are productive—those of us who produce wealth through our hard work, our ideas, our capital and our innovations—to support their lifestyle of indolence, extortion and stupidity.

It is difficult for me to express my contempt for these unmitigated bastards in words—I feel a physical loathing when watching Bob Crow doing anything.

The best that I can do is to express my own revolt by marching, drinking and having a fucking good time—so, on the 14th of May, I shall.

And the rest of you loathsome hypocrites can fuck right off.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/04/2011 09:15:00 pm


Sky News

Posted by The Spine at 4/04/2011 12:23:00 am


Some nights I think they'll hire just about anybody.
More dumb cartoons at The Spine.

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Posted by The Spine at 4/04/2011 12:23:00 am


Friday, April 01, 2011

Classic bait and switch

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/01/2011 12:06:00 pm

Following on from my last post about Google's non-release of Android "Honeycomb", it seems that the company have quite neatly bent the mobile phone companies over a barrel and begun screwing them royally...
Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group.

John Gruber sums up what this means, whilst also claiming that he "saw this coming all along"...
So here’s the Android bait-and-switch laid bare. Android was “open” only until it became popular and handset makers dependent upon it. Now that Google has the handset makers by the balls, Android is no longer open and Google starts asserting control.

I pass no judgement on Google's behaviour—it is, after all, a business: what does amuse me is the fact that so many people somehow thought that Google wasn't...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 4/01/2011 12:06:00 pm


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  • "DK is a take-no-prisoners sort of libertarian. His blog is renowned for its propensity for foul-mouthed invective, which can be both amusing and tiresome by turns. Nevertheless, he is usually lucid, often scintillating and sometimes illuminating."—Dr Syn
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