Friday, March 30, 2007

Really, really, really, really stupid

I have just discovered a new candidate for stupidest person in the world, regardless of sex or race. Please, you have to watch Yvonne Thompson on last night's Question Time. Some classic bloomers, for starters.
"... there should be an apology to the living ancestors of slaves..."

She really starts to get going at about 28 minutes in and it's just... Oh, fuck, I just cannot describe it. This woman makes Guido look like fucking Olivier!*

On the whole question of slavery reparations, Timmy kindly points out that Britain actually spent more money and resources fighting the slave trade than she actually made.
Good, so because our forefathers made a lot of money out of this then we should compensate those harmed. Which is interesting, because the Royal Navy gos on to make another, further claim:
Overall, the nineteenth-century costs of suppression were bigger than the eighteenth-century profits.

Now isn't that an interesting thought? Indeed, they go further:
It was costing financial capital – Britain did indeed pay heavily in ‘subsidies’ to other European countries to induce them to give up or at least curtail their trade in slaves; somewhat less to numerous chiefs on the African coast for the same purpose; vast sums to its own slave-owners in the West Indies to purchase the freedom of their slaves in 1833; more again to meet the costs of maintaining a squadron on the coast of Africa. It has been estimated that great as was the wealth generated by the slave trade in the half century before 1807, the costs of suppressing it added up to a similar sum:¹ “.. by any more reasonable assessment of profits and direct costs, the nineteenth-century costs of suppression were certainly bigger than the eighteenth-century benefits.” Above all, the campaign was costing the lives of British seamen: a sacrifice that might be worth making to put an end to the slave trade, but a sacrifice wasted if the only result was further suffering for many of the trade’s victims.

So what we have here is what I would call a very interesting situation indeed.

Doesn't it just: so what does Timmy propose that we do? I mean, some sort of reparations must be in order, don't we think?
We must pay reparations because our forefathers profited from the slave trade. However, our slightly more recent forefathers paid quite heavily to suppress the slave trade. Indeed, they paid more to suppress it than did the earlier group profit from it. And whom did this expenditure benefit? Clearly, if slavery is a harm, one that must be compensated for, then the benefit accrues to those who were not enslaved, as a result of said actions. So the harms suffered by 19th century Britain (greater, as we note, than those gains accruing to 18th century Britain) should be compensated by payment of reparations from the descendants of West Africans who were not transported.

Which would be, roughly speaking (as roughly speaking as we current Britons are responsible for the 18th century depredations), the current inhabitants of Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria etc. etc.

And as we note, those reparations should be higher than the "Big Claim". Let's call it a round £ 10 trillion shall we? Good. So, when that's handed over then we'll take our cut, the impoverishment we suffer in the present because our forefathers, instead of investing in industry, educating the illiterate or building the productive resources of the nation, instead, decided to spend the gelt sweated from the labours of the nation on suppressing a vile barbarity, and then pass on the £7.5 trillion to the descendants of those who were indeed enslaved.

I'm looking forward to my cheque, I can tell you!

* Yes, she was even fucking worse than that chipmunk-faced, chippy, monky, chipmunk fuckwit, Blears; could that twat's daft fucking face and whiney bloody voice get any more irritating? Is that the sound of cockroachs being sharpened...?

Carey was tedious, but generally right. Farage, I thought, did very well although he did miss the above point about the money that we spent bringing an end to slavery. Let us hope that a few more people have gone away now taking UKIP a wee bit more seriously...

Easter Special.

Following on from this, part of me hopes that this particular Passion was completed by a marshmallow Judas, a fudge St Peter and a Mary Magdalene made entirely out of chewed up fruit pastels.

With typical restraint the Catholic league call it "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever". Worse than say, the idea of celebrating the death and resurection of Jesus with a giant chocolate egg delivered by a magic rabbit.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Samizdata points out that, whilst we Brits don't make many great cars any more, there are some things that we are good at.
Many of the world's top Formula 1 racing teams are based in Britain, like MacLaren in Surrey. And as this article demonstrates, while it may be cheaper to make cars in China or Brazil or Poland, many of the hottest car designers are still British. In the information economy, the value-added areas of design are what count, and it turns out that Britain is rather good at it.

I always think that it is worth pointing out that the man whose inspired design and elegantly engineered enclosures without doubt helped save Apple Computer, back in 1998, is also a Brit—Jonathan Ive CBE.

Miliband: "speccy twat"

The poor little Greek boy articulates what I feel about Miliband...
David Miliband is the sort of guy that we used, in our un-PC schooldays, to describe as a spastic. He was the kid on the chess team that you bullied incessantly (or at least, you did if you were a bully when you were at school; I myself was, er, on the chess team). His is an eminently punchable face; the sort of face you want to grab and hold down in the toilet for flush after gleeful flush, roaring with joy that there are such geeks in the world for you to torment. Cameron, for all that he comes across as a toff, is seen by many neutral observers as a likeable kind of bloke. Miliband, on the other hand, looks like what he is; a policy wonk with no friends. It shouldn't really matter, of course; but it does.

Our Hellenic friend wonders where this Tory worry about Batshit comes from; given that the man is useless at his job and writes utter horsecock like "I am part of the 'I can' generation", I can't see whence their fear stems, that's for sure.

An Open Letter To Toyin Agbetu

Dear Toyin,
If a few plans currently in the works come to fruition then it's highly unlikely that I'll be posting any material anywhere for the forseeable future - so you'll excuse me if I proceed to the task in hand with relish.
You are a public menace, and should get out of this country and go back to Africa on the first available flight.
Your little publicity stunt in Westminster Abbey certainly got your name in the papers - although I have to say that if I, a 36 year old, 14 stone Glaswegian white man, tried the same trick the royal protection goons would probably have dropped me before I got out my chair and the pathologists would still be picking bullets out my corpse.
But such is life. The police have to be very careful about accusations of racism; which is very probably why you were gently ushered out of Westminster Abbey still screaming abuse at the monarch instead of being frogmarched out in handcuffs with a bag over your head, which to my mind is what you deserved.
It seems that you're one of that tedious class of ethnic minorities and immigrants who bore whites like me by talking about their race all day long. You are the spiritual kin of the loathesome Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a refugee from the African-on-Asian racism of Idi Amin Dada who has been granted opportunities and given honours far beyond the reach of natives yet who still seems consumed with hatred of this country, its culture and its people.
You are the spiritual kin of the perennial bore (and sprig of Trinidad's black elite) Richard (Darcus) Howe, a commentator so vapid that were he not black it's doubtful he would have anything to talk about.
You are the spiritual kin of the Jamaican Marxist bore Stuart Hall, a 'cultural theorist' (?) who never really seems to have learned that culture is a matter not of theory but of fact.
You've been a delegate to a BBC conference on citizenship; as a British citizen by birth from an ethnic and religious minority who's very interested in the dynamic between ethnicity and citizenship, I never get invited to these things - what's the trick? I mean, what do you know about citizenship that I don't?
You've also been a participant in one of BBC Radio 4's 'Great Debates', on the topic of 'Dr Martin Luther King v Malcolm X', provided soundbites criticising movies you probably haven't seen (don't worry, if that was the case you're in good company - Tim Luckhurst, a former editor of 'The Scotsman' and libel bully, has been caught doing the same) and participated in a BBC debate 'on some of the issues surrounding the abolition of the slave trade'.
And just a few days after that you're publicly barracking the Queen...what a wonderful country...
The website of your organisation 'Ligali' (as in 'Kigali') carries a page in which you question whether or not current black Members of Parliament are 'effective advocates or token puppets'. Your targets range right across the ideological spectrum of British politics, from Adam Afriyie to Diane Abbott. What's important to you is race and racial identity - and as such you reveal to be no different from the British National Party.
And this is where you must excuse me if I get annoyed.
I have spent quite a considerable amount of time and energy criticising the BNP. The BNP's beliefs are unscientific and ahistoric, which results in them being acivic. Their belief that race is the principal component of nationhood fails to place sufficient weight on the importance of common language, common history and common culture in the development of nations; Roman citizenship was available across the Empire, for example (it's possible that neither of us would be where we are were it not for the efforts of a Jewish Roman citizen, a tentmaker to trade, from the mother of all imperial backwaters), and the United Kingdom and the United States were the first modern nations to offer multi-ethnic citzenship. It is no coincidence that these nations and their cousins have had the greatest success in building societies founded on civics and the rule of law.
And that's what you want to destroy, just as the BNP also want to destroy it.
You're not on.
Why are you here? Where are you from? How do you support yourself? Do you get any of my tax money?
You need an education in British civics pretty damn fast, son. I might suggest a suitable crash course.
You should take a trip to any of those monuments called 'war memorials' which sit in every city, town and village in the United Kingdom. Read some of the names of the people who died to preserve the liberty into which you have been invited and which you want to smash because it suits you.
Then feel ashamed of yourself.
But the day you feel ashamed of yourself is the day the Queen goes to church with Nick Griffin.
Next time you're speaking to her, give her my regards.
And wear a tie, because you look ridiculous in fancy dress.

Can I hear you calling my name?

There is a theme spreading through our Fifth Estate, and seeming to give the appearance of one of our more popular memes: it is a question, a small question but an important one.

Has democracy failed?

As far as I can make out, Tom Paine kicked it off and, living in Moscow as he does, one can see where the inspiration might have come from.
Something is clearly very wrong with British democracy. Our low election turnouts prove that. Our voters do not face bombs and bullets on their way to the polling station, but they show less enthusiasm to vote than the Iraqis who do. Perhaps we should arrange to stain British voters’ fingers with purple ink and have men armed by Iran take pot-shots at them? I am sure President Ahmadinejad would oblige.

One might expect the constant meddling, the authoritarianism, the sheer bloody priggishness of New Labour to drive people back to the polls. They were elected by a minority and they are imposing the views of part of that minority on the rest of us. Yet British non-voters I speak to are way beyond mere disinterest. They are militantly apathetic. They have enthusiastic contempt for the process.

Do go and read the whole thing; it's well worth it.

Anyway, Jackart then took up the baton, speculating that it is perhaps the sort of people who vote that have led to this sorry state of affairs (albeit with his tongue ever so slightly pressed in his cheek). Perhaps we need to cull the numbers of those who can vote?
Very simply I would recommend civil servants (in return for their jobs for life and state-funded pensions) should be denied the vote (though perhaps they should be able to vote in local elections), as should people who take more in state benefit than they pay in tax. Exceptions would probably include those who are in receipt of benefits through no fault of their own such as the disabled. As this policy would only be fair if the tax and benefit system was clear and transparent, there would be benefits for all through the necessary simplification of the tax system. Should you therefore fall into any of these disenfranchised categories, you simply change jobs or get one in order to qualify for a vote. Taken to its logical conclusion, perhaps any tax-paying entity should get a vote - companies' boards of directors for example.

In short, those who pay the piper should call the tune. Those in the pay of the state should have no say in how it is run.

Actually, if you accept the original premise, there is some merit in this idea, I think. But it doesn't address the problem of apathy.

This morning, at Comment Is Free, our old friend MrPikeBishop (who seems to have become a CiF regular) is discussing the same fraught subject.
The problem with democracy, even the sham democracy entertainingly disembowelled by Adam Curtis's "The Trap", is that any old pillock gets to vote. Have you met the electorate? Charming people, some of them, but yee gods, dim isn't the word. A nice smile, a few choice buzzwords, promises of jam today - or threats of evil paedo muslim tax-raising jam-thieving climate-change deniers tomorrow - and the marching morons check the little boxes and go to sleep for another five years. You can't really blame them, life's too easy. When you had to discern whether a cave held a cave bear, or a foxy cave chick in a fur bikini, you thought hard about your choices, you observed, you cogitated, you weighed balances - or you died. Nowadays, there's no pressure.

Nope - the public needs to be cut out of the loop. We add nothing to government, and by alternately whining and whooping we poison every decent mind that might wander towards Westminster. Some might argue that we simply need to trim the electorate down - remove that sector which most readily swallows the cheesy grins and warm words; that means you ladies. And while there's certainly merit in the idea, there are enough halfwits with Y chromosomes too to make even that measure insufficient. The only solution is one man, one vote.

Obviously, I can think of one person who would run this whole thing rather well: me. The trouble is that I am sure that there would be other contenders and, well, physically I'm just not built for a fight.

Perhaps we should adopt DK's old Blogger Cabinet—formed from choice cuts of both the right and left blogosphere—to run the country? It seems a good idea to me: I mixed statist and non-statist and a good many other them decided to abolish their positions anyway. After all, as a minarchist libertarian dictator-for-life, I certainly wouldn't need even a tenth of the number of the present incumbents.

No, much as I love that last idea, I think that our democracy is the best thing that we've got. But these various commentators are correct: something isn't right. Personally, I blame the Welfare State. Once we signed over control and responsibility for our lives to the state, it ceased to matter of which particular political stripe the state was and now it has ceased to matter.

If the Tories get in you might get a couple of quid less a week than Labour might give you but, in the grand scheme of things, the NHS will continue to be someone else's problem, as will the shitty trains, as will you benefits, you income, your loved ones.

The state takes responsibility for all of these things: ultimately the state takes responsibility for your life and all of those around you. No political party will have the courage to substantially change the Welfare State or even the effective level of welfare that you receive. So, who cares what party's in power? And if it doesn't really matter what party's in power, what is the point of voting?

There's your voter apathy right there.

Olympic costs, Ken?

I watched part of London Tonnight's regular Ask Ken programme this evening, wherein one of the punters asked Ken Livingston whether he would guarantee that the Olympics would not cost more than the current estimate of £10 billion.

Ken replied that he would consider himself to have failed if it cost "more than half that", i.e. £5 billion.

I wonder if anyone has told him about the Japanese knotweed (a flick of the horns to Wat Tyler).
"THE organisers of London’s 2012 Olympics will this week reveal that knotweed has invaded the sites of two of the main arenas — leaving the games with a clear-up bill which experts predict could top £70m. Surveys of the site in Stratford, east London, have revealed a 10-acre swathe of Japanese knotweed under the proposed velodrome and aquatic centre. The plant spreads so aggressively that it could undermine stadium walls and crack concrete concourses unless every trace is removed. The full extent of the contamination of the site for the games, including unexploded bombs and toxic chemicals, is still being assessed.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has already identified mercury, lead and petro-chemicals in the soil, as well as asbestos in derelict buildings. There are also as many as 60 unexploded bombs dropped by the German Luftwaffe during the second world war."

We still haven't been told why these problems were not identified before the project was undertaken- after all, locals knew about them. But we do know that the whole thing is already running four times over budget. And the clock is ticking ever more loudly.

What can possibly the explanation? And is Ken going to regret ever making that statement?*

* Yes. Now, I just need to find a link to it...

Carnival of the Batshit #6

Via The Englishman, we get yet more disastrous news from Batshit's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In the Carnival of the Batshit #3, I blogged about how the EU was going to fine DEFRA £305 million for failing to deliver the Rural Farm Payments (RFP); I also pointed out that Batshit hadn't blogged about since May 2006. Well, no wonder because it's even worse than we thought.
The total bill for the Government's failure to pay English farmers their subsidies on time over the past two years could reach £500 million, a committee of MPs is expected to say today.

The cost includes up to £305 million in fines from Europe, £156 million on "fixing" the failures at the Rural Payments Agency and £21 million in interest payments to farmers last year.

In a long-awaited report which is expected to be critical of the Government, MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee are expected to determine whether responsibility should rest with a wider range of ministers and officials than who have lost their jobs so far.

While Lord Bach, the junior minister responsible, and Johnson McNeill, chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency, were sacked, Tony Blair promoted Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, who bore ultimate responsibility, to the Foreign Office.

Mr McNeill was eventually paid off by Defra after drawing his £114,000 salary for nearly nine months but Sir Brian Bender, the Defra permanent secretary, to whom Mr McNeill reported, was promoted to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Sir Brian was one of a group of officials who was told by Government business advisers six months before the system went live that it stood only a 40 per cent chance of working.

That anyone from a government department has (eventually) lost their job shows what a complete and utter fuck-up the system has been. And just think of that money that we taxpayers have to stump up because of the failures of the Miliband's department.

£500 million. Half a billion fucking quid.

Sure enough, when you consider that the Gobblin' King is anticipating spending £580 billion of our cash this year, the RFP bill looks tiny. But what is so irritating is that at least £331 million of that half a billion is entirely unnecessary expenditure; if this lunatic fucking system had not been employed, then we should have needed to pay neither the farmers' interest bills nor the EU fine.

But, as I pointed out, Batshit is far too busy criticising Prince Charles for not collecting an award by video-link, whilst Batshit himself flew to India to give a talk on Sustainable Growth! In fact, Batshit is, as I pointed out, only really interested in doing an Al Gore—lecturing everyone about how they should, essentially, do as Dave says, not what he does—whilst avoiding learning or talking about the new technologies that are going to render all of this carbon emissions crap obsolete.

What an odious, deceitful, little shit he is. I almost hope that he does stand against Brown: seeing those two bastards wrestle it out would be more than entertaining...

Dizzy, the SNP and UKIP

Dizzy Thinks that the impending SNP thrashing of Nulabour would be a threat to UKIP. Dizzy speculates that, were the SNP to win, then they might very well hold, and win, a referendum on Scottish independence and this would, in turn, lead to the breakup of the UK.
So where does UKIP fit into all this you may wonder? Well, as most people know, the European Union as it is today is the sum of its treaties. In the case of our membership, it was the UK that negotiated entry and agreed to become a signatory. An SNP referendum win on independence will effectively nullify all those treaties. After all, if the nation state that joined no longer exists, then, as they say, "all bets are off".

Scotland will, if it so chooses (and I can't see her not doing it when the money from England disappears), negotiate its own membership of the EU. Likewise, it will be down to what is left, be it separate nations or a new Union between England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to find a settlement on it’s relationship with the EU.

Consequentially, and party politically, as the United Kingdom will technically not exist it means the playing field on which UKIP places itself is suddenly, and dramatically, altered changed. The simple move of breaking the Act of Union will instantly propel each of the home nations out of the EU and will provide the means for renegotiation on whatever terms we so choose. Be it rejoining; be it EFTA; or be it "sod off".

Ah, well that's the trick isn't it? What would the government of the day do?

There are several points to address here. Let's leave aside the technical legal debate (in Dizzy's comments) about whether we would, in fact, be propelled out of the EU and simply take that fact as a given.

What would Britain do? If the LibDems were in control, then they would certainly renegotiate entry and I imagine that they would do it on similar terms as we currently have, and might go for even greater integration.

This would not really be that difficult: over the years, many of the individual instruments have been consolidated into treaties in the way that the Social Chapter is now integrated into the Treaty of Amsterdam. With the size of Britain's contribution to the EU coffers and to its members' markets, I cannot see a problem with England and Wales (perhaps forming a new Union) rejoining. And, let's not forget, we have already passed all of the necessary Regulations, Directives and Recommendations into British Law anyway.

In fact, I suspect that Scotland, economically suspect as it is, would be the nation that would have the most trouble convincing the other EU states to admit them (especially the poorer Eastern European ones).

I suspect that both the Tories (in their present incarnation) and NuLabour would also renegotiate entry, but they might try to do so under different terms. This would be far harder and probably well-nigh impossible.

They might try to renegotiate our terms of Common Fisheries Policy, for instance; but the CFP is enshrined in the Treaty forming an EU in the first place. With no vote on the Council of Ministers, this would be impossible (and even if we did, persuading the other 26 members to let us break with the terms of the most fundamental treaty of the EU is just not going to happen).

Or, of course, these two parties might attempt an EFTA-style deal; I don't foresee a problem with that necessarily. Again, Britain is in an excellent bargaining position although it should be noted that we would probably be made to pay way over the odds for the pleasure of joining that club but, even so, we would almost certainly be better off.

In order definitely to be better off, of course, we would have to untangle all of the EU instruments that we have enacted into law over the last three decades (but then we would have to do that if we left too).
The question is, what happens to UKIP? Now, I imagine my UKIPer friends will point out to me that their party is undergoing a re-branding strategy and will soon emerge as the Independence Party. This is all well and good, but how many members, and crucially voters will it retain? I’d suggest that many will simply flock back to the Tory Party that they originally left once the EU issue is resolved.

Well, as I have pointed out, the fact that we are catapaulted out of the EU certainly does not mean that the EU issue has been solved.

Obviously, UKIP would campaign for, at the very least, the EFTA option: there is absolutely no guarantee that neither the Tories nor NuLabour would not try to rejoin on the terms that we are currently under. This would still leave a place for UKIP in the political sphere.

UKIPs ultimate aim is the withdrawal from the EU and, if we did manage to achieve that, and we managed to persuade the main parties to ensure that we stay out, then one could argue that there is little need for UKIP. A good many of its members might well rejoin the Tories (or, indeed, Labour).

Leaving aside Dizzy's postulation for a seond, in UKIP's current transformation the rebranding is the smallest part, for it is the general policy development which is much more important. However, this policy development is fundamentally still directed at leaving the EU. When people say, "what happens after we leave the EU?", we UKIPpers need to be able to answer that question.

In some ways, the general policy development is being undertaken so that we can answer that question; this which makes us more electable which, in turn, means that the chances of us achieving our goal, i.e. withdrawal from the EU, that much higher. In that sense, if the goal has been achieved, then UKIP could, effectively, die a death having achieved its primary, founding aim.

After all, as I demonstrated with Oliver Letwin—who was unable to answer any of my substantive points and instead weaselled out—the rational argument on the EU has already been won: it is only UKIP's status as a stable, credible political party that is, in the eyes of some, slightly suspect.
Consider this as well; many of the most active people in UKIP are libertarian free marketeers (which is not a bad thing in itself). However I’d hazard a guess that a large majority of its vote is simply made up of traditional Tories whose only problem is the single issue of Europe.

This is, I would say, a pretty fair assessment. However, it is those libertarian free marketeers who would ensure that UKIP's continuance. For most of those driving the party at this point in time—and I include myself in this—the issue of the EU is simply one policy in a panoply of libertarian policies that we would wish to pursue. In all of this rebranding talk, the central tenet is that of "independence" and that means personal independence from the state as well as independence from the EU.

A great many UKIPpers are libertarians: we want small government; we want lower, simpler taxes; we believe in non-statist solutions to the public sector service problems. To an extent, and to people like me, these things are absolutely as desirable as leaving the EU: but, at the same time, these policies are simply not possible unless we do leave it.

In some ways, in fact, the situation that Dizzy outlines could be a good thing for UKIP. In the same way that membership of the EU divides other parties, in UKIP it unites people of entirely different political affiliations (yes, I know that the Tories like to believe that UKIP is entirely composed of disgruntled natural Tories, but this simply isn't the case). Hence of course, the infamous internal schisms and infighting.

With the EU no longer an issue, it would, as Dizzy points out, be likely that the party would shed a good number of the more traditional Conservative and Labour members; but then the libertarian core of the party would be entirely dominant.

UKIP would become a lean, mean libertarian machine rather than being populated with the current melange of conflicting political views, loosely held together by the single EU issue.

As such, I think that the party might actually grow—into something other than what it is now, to be sure—but something with a far more united general purpose: that of a dedicated libertarian agenda.

With a new identity, less infighting and the same core agenda amongst the vast majority of its adherents, the new UKIP would, in turn, be far more attractive to that large group of libertarians—many of whom are so very prolific in the British political blogosphere—who currenly do not have an effective political voice.

After all, for many Tories it is only tribalism or the burning desire to remove the authoritarian bastards of NuLabour, that stops them voting for UKIP now (even though many of them support UKIP's agenda). And the steady growth in the proportion of voters intending to place their cross next to one of the "other" parties show that mindless party political sentiment is gradually being eroded.

If the Tories unseat NuLabour at the next election and turn out to deliver everything that they currently promise (more green taxes, more power to the EU, state-funding, no tax cuts or even simplification)—and I believe that they will—then there will be precious little reason for those already disenchanted with Cameron to vote for the Conservatives again.

As UKIP continues to professionalise and develop comprehensive policies, there will be even less reason for those who agree with UKIP's libertarian agenda not to vote for the party. As the British state continues to grow, UKIP will become a serious contender.

The Ghost, Guido and Newsnight

This post started off as a reply to this comment by ghost of michael collins about Guido's less than successful Newsnight interview.
to be honest, i thought he was pretty stupid to take that BBC offer - what was he thinking? that they'd allow him to rubbish their entire reporting methods without some sort of backlash ? says to me that Mr Fawkes has poor judgement, unlike your good Devil self, of course.

Compliment accepted and appreciated, but then I have appeared on 18DoughtyStreet a number of times: does that not count as a lapse of judgement? Is 18DS perhaps too tame a venue?

Yes, Guido was hammered rather; however, I think that this is partially down to the medium. Writing allows a far longer reaction time and thus it can be easier to defend oneself. There's another aspect too; although Guido has his beliefs, his blog doesn't necessarily reflect them.

Look at it this way; I write very long posts, during the course of which I almost always reaffirm some aspect of my political ideas: I write them through logically and with supporting evidence several times a month. Thus, I can easily reach for a particular piece of evidence or logically explain a politico-philosophical idea; this has been incredibly useful for asking questions, off the top of my head, in the recent political debates at Global Vision, the Adam Smith Institute, and Oliver Letwin and Polly Toynbee at the Bow Group.

Guido doesn't write in this way, and many bloggers do not do so (especially the "older" ones). Perhaps it is because they have gone through the arguments so many times already—it requires a certain obduracy to keep stating your beliefs in this way and the lack of political bloggers lasting much more than a year would seem to confirm this idea—but it does mean that they are not so practised when faced with a spontaneous argument.

Not that I'm saying that I would have done any better than Guido against the fairly fierce opposition that he had but then again I might have done in a similar situation, simply because I rehearse all of the arguments day after day.

But this blog is a different beast to Guido's: I merely state opinion and—to an extent—try to convince others of the veracity of my arguments. Guido aims to break stories and to peddle gossip.

What annoyed me about the Newsnight interview was that it allowed Paxman and White essentially to write off all blogs as mere unsubstantiated gossip sites and to repeat the old mantra that they are full of inaccuracies. Generally speaking, opinion pieces on the blogosphere, at least, are far better-sourced than that of the MSM because—and Guido did make this point—our reputations are at stake.

Actually, this point was made rather eloquently by Michael White's denial of his knowledge of Prescott's age, a stupid thing to say since it is so easily refuted.

This actually makes the argument for the blogosphere far more usefully than Guido was able to do live: the one person shown—absolutely and irrefutably—to have lied was the reporter claiming that the blogosphere is inaccurate.

Is that irony?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Columnist of the year

A good number of we bloggers have very little time for the opinion-writers of the MSM, holding the denizens of this established media in contempt at the very least. The most egregious example of the stupidity and mendacity of the mainstream commentariat has to be Polly Toynbee, a woman who occupies her own idiosyncratic zenith of total fucking deceitful hokum.

The now-sadly-defunct Factchecking Pollyanna spent eight months chronicling her manipulation and misquoting of figures to back up her—usually already tendentious—arguments; some of the examples were so blatant that one can only conclude that she had set out deliberately to deceive her readers.

Quite apart from her ongoing perfidy on the question of statistical evidence, her arguments have always come over as being more than somewhat motivated by the jealousy that so many Lefties resort to. But worse than that, despite the evidence of history, Polly has always refused to acknowledge that the state simply does not run things efficiently or even benignly.

Her contention, for instance, at the Bow Group lecture, that one of the things that the government runs well is the NHS would have provoked howls or derision if we had not all been knocked into a stunned silence by her chutzpah. As I speculated at the time, I suspect that had Dr Rant or Dr Crippen been there, the reply to her ridiculous assertion might well have been unprintable.

On another point, although she admitted that the vast marginal deduction rates inherent in means-tested benefits have damaged social mobility, Polly continues to cleave to the useless and inefficient tax credits as a decent means of redistribution. And she totally refused to acknowledge that the destruction of the grammar schools have influenced social mobility in any way; nor did she grasp or even entertain the idea of privatising schools and funding them through vouchers—in emulation of the Swedish model of which she is so fond—could help either. This is essentially because this would remove schools from the dead hand of the state and would depoliticise them, and then what would she comment on?

Many bloggers have spent an inordinate amount of time fisking Polly—examples can be found at the assorted Carnivals of the Pollykicking #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 and ...Again—and they have done so not only because of her coronary-inducing smugness, but also because it is so easy: her arguments are spurious and effortlessly-refuted (often by the correct quotation of figures that she has fiddled into the piece). In short, Pollyanna is one of the last people on earth that you would hand a positive award to.

Thus, I can only conclude that everyone else in the MSM is even stupider than Polly herself. Incredibly, our own dear statist fuckwit has won the Columnist Of The Year at the 2007 British Press Awards. [EDIT: story is now hereDK, 09/07]

What the fuck?

If we needed any proof of the Leftist sympathies and utter mediocrity of the British MSM, this surely must be the clincher although I must admit that handing the National Newspaper of the Year to The Observer would also go some way to confirming the rightness of one's utter contempt for the entire sorry industry.

UPDATE: Bookdrunk quite correctly points out that my accusation of a Lefty bias was probably rather unwise given the number of times that right-wing papers and columnists have won.
If there's one thing that bloggers who cover the media agree on, it's that there's plenty of mediocrity and outright hackery for the entire political spectrum.

Absolutely. Polly's still something special in the mediocrity department though.

Tim Janman: better off out of... well... anywhere...

A very drunken night for your humble Devil at the Better Off Out Politicians Are Better Off In event on Monday night. Whilst I wandered around, bumping into various inanimate objects, Trixy bumped into an unpleasant piece of shit called Tim Janman, a former Conservative MP for Thurrock.

I'm not sure what he does now, but one of the things that he is currently doing is making obscene calls to Trixy and generally upsetting her. Let us hope that Mr Janman and myself do not meet again. What kind of fucking little turd meets someone, knows that she is seeing someone, but still thinks that it is acceptable to 'phone her up late at night and make obscene suggestions? Well, former Conservative MPs, obviously.

Janman's Wikipedia entry is quite illuminating. [Emphasis mine.]
On 10 October 1989, Janman joined Nicholas Budgen, M.P., and Jonathan Guinness (in the chair) as speakers at a major fringe meeting organized by the Young Monday Club, heralded as "The End of the English? - Immigration and Repatriation". Janman was subsequently quoted by journalist Judy Jones in The Daily Telegraph as saying that "if you look at the lack of immigration control in the past, then yes, Britain has become the dustbin of the world". He added that there was a need to offer voluntary repatriation to members of ethnic minorities settled in the UK, which groups did not wish to integrate with the indigenous population.

Now, if you were to look at the manifesto of the BNP [PDF], this is almost exactly what they advocate.

What was that, Mr Cameron, about UKIP being full of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists"? Well, I must admit that your racists do seem to be very open about it.

I am not sure of the best way to define Janman's attitude to young ladies, but I would say that "obnoxious, stalking pervert" would suit nicely.

UPDATE: yes, your humble Devil did, indeed, meet Chad Noble and—despite some members of the UKIP leadership donning tin hats and leaping for cover behind the tables as we drew closer—your humble Devil was deeply irritated to find that Chad is actually a rather pleasant chap. Damn him! Oh well, I put it down to the healing effects of the unstinting distribution of copious amounts of free booze.

Guido was also there, as was Alex Singleton and a host of people from UKIP, Better Off Out and The Freedom Association. Good fun had by all, I think.

I have to say "I think" because my memory is slightly hazy...

Child Poverty

Ok, so I read National Statistics Online every day - I'm an amateur econo-nerd. Got a problem with that?
Although yesterday's NSO release on investment was of much the same up is down, left is right, through the looking glass quality of the majority of the National Statistician's effusions, it did contain one little diamond.
It stated that,
"Total net investment by insurance companies, pension funds and trusts was £25.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006, £0.7 billion higher than the figure for the third quarter. A decrease of £2.8 billion in net disinvestment in UK company securities was the main factor in the rise, whilst net investment in British government sterling securities and other assets increased by £0.3 billion and £0.1 billion respectively. These increases were partly offset by falls in net investment in short-term assets and overseas securities of £0.6 billion and £1.9 billion respectively."
I stand to be corrected, but from where I'm sitting a 'decrease of £2.8 billion in net disinvestment in UK company securities' does not exactly indicate that the smart money was overly confident about the state of the stock market at the end of 2006 - an analysis perhaps borne out by the ease with which it fell earlier this year.
Hopefully we're not living in a house of cards, because if it does all crash we have a lot of mouths to feed.
Yesterday the Breast Beating Corporation was beating its breast about child poverty. That these penniless nippers might not be going shoeless, or in some cases Nike-less, is irrelevant; poverty, you see, moves.
Those who have seen the move 'A Bridge Too Far' will recall the irritation with which Gene Hackman greets Denholm Elliott's news that the Polish Brigade cannot take off for Arnhem because of the fog - 'it moves, you see'. Watching the BBC report last night, I must confess to feeling much the same way as Hackman.
Amidst yesterday's breast beating one could determine the very faint hint of spin. Poverty is now determined by separate meters of income for single persons, married couples and households with children. There are 200,000 more juvenile indigent buggers than was anticipated; and yet if there was ever a classic example of analysts being unable to see the wood of truth for the tress of ideology, the BBC's report was it.
The first poor person they interviewed was Barbara, a single mother with three children living on benefits. Barbara had a clearly visible tattoo. The fact that one of her kids was white while the other two were black might indicate that she has had issues sustaining relationships while failing to resort to perfectly legal, if not morally acceptable, forms of birth control; or if else fails, keeping her legs together.
We were not informed of Barbara's level of educational attainment and work history - unfortunate, as this might have provided necessary context as to how she arrived at her current pass.
But we know she's poor.
The BBC's second interviewee was Constance.
Constance has a young child, is in work but is finding it hard to make ends meet. As such, she has my sympathy.
Constance is also African.
Thus, perhaps, did the BBC reveal the real causes of why the 'scourge' of child poverty remains among us. If Barbara had led a slightly less chaotic lifetsyle when she was younger, her children might not be in poverty now. We would not even be discussing Constance had she not been permitted to settle in the UK; and it must be said that one hopes that she is not sending any of her limited income back to her country of origin in the form of remittances. That's just throwing money away.
I could be doing both of these ladies a great dis-service - they might both be widows, in Barbara's case a serial widow; in which event her case is doubly tragic.
However, that in such cases 'poverty' is a flexible event demeans the very concept of poverty. Poverty is Africans living on a dollar a day, not a British single person having to live on £190.00 a week or whatever.
Poverty is not defined by ideology - it cannot 'move' to where the advocates of the welfare state and mass immigration say it is, and try to make us weep when those practices' beneficiaries fall within its scope.
To attempt that is in itself a form of poverty - poverty of knowledge and poverty of pride.

Monday, March 26, 2007

An email correspondant helpfully points out that I am the proud owner of a Googlewhack result.

The question now remains: why on earth would you type that into Google?
The inaugural biweekly Euroblog Roundup #1 is at Nosemonkey's place. Your humble Devil gets a mention for this post, and there's plenty of other good bits there too.

Go read, and don't forget to submit entries at EUroundup [at] gmail [dot] com


Whilst we all accept that slavery is still heartily indulged in in that shitpit known as Africa an awful thing, the idea that reparations should be paid to the descendants of slaves is, frankly, a load of fucking horseshit. Why?

Well, Not Saussure reminds me of a nice little illustration.
Consequently, I think it’s an opportune time to remind people of the outcome of the case Victims of Slavery versus Lloyd’s of London, heard in the Court of Appeal by Lord Justice Mussellbeet last May. It’s not available on Bailii as yet, so we are fortunate that Tim Worstall made a full transcript.

Indeed he did and, whilst the whole thing is very much worth reading for it's general giggle-factor, I reproduce the concluding paragraphs below.
"It has been brought to our attention that the average life span in West Africa is some 45 years, and the average annual income £500 a year. In the United States the similar figures are 75 years and £ 25,000.

"Armed with the afore-noted facts we are now able to overturn the verdict of the flapheaded oppressor of our schooldays and find in favour of the plaintiffs. Lloyd's of London is indeed responsible for the situation in which they find themselves.

"Now, as to damages. As you may have noted, there is no jury here, simply ourselves, so calculation of the damages, the restitution to be paid, falls to us. The basis of such a calculation is always that of sufficient to restore the situation to that of the status quo ante, or what it was before.

"Each of the plaintiffs is to pay to Lloyd's the sum of £985,000 immediately. This is based on a working life in the US of 40 years at £25,000 per annum as opposed to a 30 year working life in West Africa at £500 per annum. It is with a little relish that we note that, under the normal contingency arrangements, the plaintiffs lawyers will be liable for 40% of these sums.

"We further order that Lloyd's make suitable arrangements, at Lloyd's expense, for the return of the plaintiffs to their respective tribal homelands in West Africa. If America has damaged you so much that you must come to England to sue those responsible for taking you there, the least that can be done is to provide you with transport home. It should be obvious that at the same time the transportees will be stripped of their US citizenship as it must be heinous to bear such a mark of the slaver's oppression of you.

"There now remains the question of lifespans to consider. It is with considerable sadness that we note we cannot don the black cap now and order executions to bring the plaintiff's average lifespan as a class down to what it would have been if Lloyd's had not existed, but we think it right that they should discuss amongst themselves methods to correct this injustice, perhaps a lottery for assisted suicide or some such. As previously noted their lawyers should be liable for 40% of this part of the settlement, and having done some back of the parchment calculations we would point out that the immediate slaying of all of their legal representation will fill these requirements.

"That would be a suitable payment for encouraging the plaintiffs to persist in such a ludicrous and impertinent suit.

"God Save the Queen.“

I wouldn't worry about the lifespan: simply ship these gentlemen back to Africa and they will be slaves their lifespan will shorten in a trice...
Dr Rant lambasts the target culture in the NHS.
Oh, I see now, it's all getting better, it's our best year ever. Why yes, it is, it's out best year ever!

Like fuck it is. Heisenberg would certainly have had no uncertainty that our government are lying deceitful cunts.

Dizzy Thinks that The Independent are a bunch of hypocritical cunts.

Either that, or they are as thick as shit. You decide.

Guido behind the times shock!

Guido has pointed to the following Tory Radio calculation of Miliband's assistant's salary.
...[Miliband] has an official effectively acting as his blogging assistant who does about 10 hours work a month at a cost of £300. Now if that was equated to a full time equivalent that would be say 40 hours a week at £30 an hour for 52 weeks which is a whopping £62,400 salary.

This was posted on Saturday.

Now, I know that Guido likes to think that he is ahead of the game, and therefore I think it only fair to point out that your humble Devil posted the same calculation on Thursday night, in my fisking of Miliband's blog costs.
So far this month, you have posted 10 times. In February, you posted 12 times. In January, you posted 14 times. And that is taking your official ten fucking hours a month?

And those 10 hours a month are costing £300—£30 per hour? That's a little more reasonable than the design fees, Davey; although it does mean that your official must be raking in something of the order of £62,400 per year (assuming a 40 hour week) which is not a bad screw by anyone's standards.

And I happen to know that Guido was aware of this posting because, knowing what a fan of Batshit he is, I emailed him the link.

Good point

Over at Samizdata, the question was, "After global warming, what will be the next hysteria?" I particularly liked this reponse...
Resource depletion.

This crisis will require stringent controls on wasteful industries and excessive lifestyles, higher taxes to discourage use, and, probably, some form of rationing in which public purposes will outrank mere private use.

If those responses to the crisis sound familiar, they should. Every crisis, for some odd reason known only to those possessing the secret knowledge of "higher consciousness", requires almost exactly the same set of solutions.

The villains are always individual greed and corporate excesses, and the solution always includes collective action directed by a benevolent political leadership class, and the clearly required increases in state powers needed to overcome the emergency.

No matter what the problem may be, the purveyors of subtlety and nuance will always prescribe the same medicine.

As I said, it's just the oddest thing.

One could almost believe that all these endless crises are merely pretexts being used to justify repressive legislation.

Sometimes I just wonder...

Now, come on: how could anyone justify using repressive legislation to solve non-existant problems? Please answer with reference to Batshit...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I know it's old...

... but this, to illustrate the possibility of the Tories switching from rosettes to ribbons, does make me laugh.

Kudos to The Spine for making Cameron look like a total fuckwit. Well, more of a fuckwit. How is it that Cammy-Babe is able to look like a Crufts entry and a box of chocolates simultaneously...?

Please don't kick the spaniel.
The director of The Great Global Warming Swindle defends his film against his detractors.
Too many journalists and scientists have built their careers on the global-warming alarm. Certain newspapers have staked their reputation on it. The death of this theory will be painful and ugly. But it will die. Because it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

As the man points out, why were the attacks from the man-made global warming camp so utterly feeble? Because they are wrong, wrong, wrong...

The EU couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery. Hooray!

Yes, I must admit that I was a little worried about the Berlin declaration: I had assumed that it was going to bind our governments to signing what was effectively a new EU Constitution. Luckily, our leaders never got the chance to sell us down the river—again—because of someone with more balls than our entire government.

I speak, of course, of Vaclav Klaus, the EUsceptic president of the Czech Republic. Nosemonkey explains the background.
The Berlin Declaration, for those of you who are lucky enough not to know, is the agreement German Chancellor (and current EU president) Angela Merkel was hoping to get the leaders of all 27 EU member states to sign this weekend.

In any case, it looks like poor old Angela’s cunning little plan just ain’t going to happen, the eurosceptic Czech president Václav Klaus pointing out that he can’t be expected to sign anything he wasn’t consulted on, that references to the environment and climate change within the text are ill-conceived, and that he is not prepared to commit the Czech Republic to a 2009 deadline to rush through reforms.

The upshot?
Ms Merkel, conscious that a row with Mr Klaus would overshadow celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Union’s founding Treaty of Rome, will not ask him to sign the declaration.

Her spokesman said she would sign the statement on behalf of all 27 EU members and hoped their leaders would support her. The declaration will also be signed by José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, and Hans-Gert Pöttering, president of the European parliament.

So, far from becoming a new symbol of hope an co-operation, as she evidently hoped, Merkel’s Berlin Declaration looks set to be interpreted as an edict issued from on high without any consultation (from the European country with perhaps the least leeway to issue orders to anyone, after the last century), and counter-signed by the unelected head of the most powerful organisation in the union and a man who heads a parliament that still holds little real power.

And, indeed, this is what has happened.
So all the heads of Government from 27 countries have been shipped to Berlin to watch three people sign a worthless piece of paper, two of them German. This is being presented by Merkel's press team as a great triumph for Europe.

What counts as a cock up then?

Well, quite. However, it doesn't alter the fact that darling Angela decided that she was going to "sign the statement on behalf of all 27 EU members". What the fuck? In the name of all that's unholy, since when did we vote the fucking German sodding president to speak for us?

I'm really fucking sorry, but I must have missed that meeting.

(Coincidentally, I must also have missed the meeting at which we decided that the EU should speak for Britain over the Iranian situation too.
The EU has told Iran to free fifteen British sailors who were captured after allegedly straying into Iranian waters near the Iraqi city of Basra.

I would imagine that the Iranians are carefully drafting their reply: does anyone know what the Arabic for "piss off, you bunch of scat-munching, cowardly wankstains" is? We could have an exclusive here...)

What is entirely typical of the EU, apart from this rather pathetic damp squib, is Merkel's response. The head of one of the EU member states declares that he is not going to sign the Berlin Declaration, so Merkel decides that she'll just sign it anyway "on behalf of all 27 EU members" and then hope that everyone falls into line when presented with this fait accompli.

What a bunch of bastards.
The Ferret Fancier reckons that Lord Cunt Hunt is a liar. So do I.

No surprises there then.

Neil and ID Cards. Again. No, really.

Neil Harding: The Mouth of NuLabour.Neil Harding: the Mouth of NuLabour. Just because I haven't kicked him for a while, doesn't mean that it isn't worth it...

Your humble Devil hasn't turn his baleful eye towards his old foe, Neil Harding, for quite some time. However, he does enjoy The Longrider's occasional discourses and The Longrider has been engaging with everyone's favourite Labour lunatic.

The Longrider has been indulging in rants upon his favourite topic, that of identity, recently; mainly, it has to be said, in response to Neil, who highlighted a story about people being able to track other people by mobile 'phone.
For those who are freaked out about the government and their use of new tracking technology (yet they don't worry about having a bank account, mobile phone, internet etc. placing their most intimate details with unknowns), where is their campaign against this?

The thing is that Neil just doesn't fucking get it. Ever. He was about the only bastard blogger, on the Left, the Right or hanging in the air near the fucking ceiling who was ever in favour of the ID Cards scheme. Eventually he backed down, after nearly everyone had flamed him, conceding that this particular scheme might be a bit of a fuck-up.

Now The Longrider has reminded us of the fact that if you do not keep your data on the National Identity Register (NIR: the database behind the ID Card scheme) up to date, then you can be fined £1,000.
Courtesy of the NO2ID blog, this story in the Daily Mail:
A police force will be set up to issue £1,000 fines to anyone who fails to update their personal details on the Government’s new database, it has emerged.

While the use of the term “secret police” may be somewhat hyperbolic, the principle remains; the government wishes to keep tabs on us; every intimate detail; and if we fail to keep them informed they will punish us. Not that this should come as any surprise; the foul demagogue, Blunkett was proposing this when he came up with his “entitlement” card plans some five years or so ago. Now, there is another example of the left twisting language... “Entitlement”, Hah! A nice cosy sounding word that equates to the home office spying on us under threat of penalties if we don’t. Still, at least they dropped any pretension of this scheme being about entitlements.

Although this fine has always been part of the plan (as far as I know), it is worth reminding ourselves that this government really are a bunch of authoritarian cunts. But, of course, in our oh-so-fucking-wonderful democracy, even totalitarian bastards like NuLabour needs some supporters.

So just in case you are wondering what kind of fucking scum would be leading this police force, just in case you want to know what kind of shit will be kicking down your granny's door in the middle of the night and hauling her off to spend a night in the cells with Garry the gerontophile rapist, look no further than the kind of devious, lackwit fucker who said this...
Personally I have no problem with the database state and tracking people etc. There are huge benefits to be had if it is done right (and most people who object IMHO are just scared of government and use ridiculous scenarios of big brother and futuristic fascist states - they might as well go and live in a cave if they think like that).

No, bring it on. I think we should track everyone and put their location on the internet for all to see (this way we can watch the watchers), we should DNA test all babies at birth and then every rapist/murderer/criminal etc would be caught first time (and know they can't get away with it). I know it sounds horrible that nobody could lie about their location and partake in criminal activity and easily get away with it- but what would be really horrible are all the victims who suffer because we shy away from using available technology that would protect them.

This is the kind of hideous little cunt who would remove people's freedom simply because they might, one day, commit a crime. This is the kind of hideous little cunt who believes that all governments are benign, who will not learn the lessons of history, who will not understand that employees of the state are our servants and not our masters, who will not understand that it is not for the state to tell me who the fuck I am.

This is the kind of bastard for whom any means justifies the end.

Can you guess who it is...?

UPDATE: Not Saussure has an excellent and very detailed post on this.

UPDATE 2: did you know that in Germany you cannot buy cigarettes without your ID Card? England Expects explains how innocent all this really is...
If anybody dare suggest [ID Cards] will ever be used to regulate our behaviour they are denounced by the powers that be as scare mongerers and so on.

So imagine my suprise when in the lobby of the Berlin hotel in which I am staying I saw this. Apparently since January 1st this year all fag machines in Germany require you to put your EU ID card in to allow you to buy cigarettes. Of course this is just to ensure that kiddywinks don't buy cigs.

Of course. Silly me...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I couldn't but help overhearing the following in the pub this afternoon, as the fuckwit gentlemen in question were pretty much bellowing.
Gentleman 1: "Elton John be a baron? Elton fakkin' John? 'E's the fakkin' gayest fakkin' coot on the fakkin' planet, the fakkin' queer."

Gentleman 2 [entirely in earnest]: "Elton John's not fakkin' gay. 'Is boyfriend is but Elton John's not."

There are times when I feel like weeping for this country. The rest of the time, I wish that I had a mask and a silenced pistol.
Your humble Devil is delighted that he is number one on Google for the search term "Gordon Brown is a cunt". It's funny, 'cos it's true...

I might make that my new strapline...

Slavery Boredom

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
We'll all be doused with white man's guilt
Paid by the licence fee!"
My apologies if I sound tart, but the BBC's over-egging of the slavery pudding is getting on my wick.
It was abolished 200 years ago, for goodness' sake. A lot's happened since then, like the Industrial Revolution, the universal franchise and two world wars in which the descendants of African slaves willingly fought for King and Empire. Get over it.
But no, no opportunity can ever be lost to ram home the innate depravity of British society and culture. Your NHS and welfare state? Shove it, mate, products of imperialism. Where's my giro book?
Not content with whipping slavery of the coin to death, the BBC is gearing up even now for that fiesta of slavery of the groin which will be the 2012 Olympics.
Yesterday, BBC News reported that,
"The 2012 London Olympics could become a magnet for human traffickers bringing in prostitutes and illegal workers, the government has said.

The Home Office has unveiled plans to combat gangs who imprison women and force them into the sex trade and push men into forced labour."
The best way to combat sex trafficking is to restrict immigration from Eastern Europe and the Balkans; however the political will to implement that simple, but not easy, solution does not exist - so the hand-wringing will continue.
But there's a very big problem with scare stories concerning sex for sale in 2012.
They are not without precedent; and the last time they appeared, when push came to shove they came to nothing.
Remember the scare stories about how tens of thousands of women would be trafficked into Germany to service the (w)hordes of football fans attending the 2006 World Cup?
So why should we assume 2012 will be any different?

Friday, March 23, 2007

50 Reasons Why The EU Is Shit

Trixy has taken up The Indie's challenge and completed a list of 50 reasons to loathe the EU. Well, 51 actually. And none of the points is "because these lists drive EUphiles wild".

Go read the whole thing...

And, in other news, Iain Dale highlights a quote that I can wholeheartedly endorse.
"There is one thing the Europeans do rather better than we do. The lack of drinking at lunchtimes in this country is appalling"—Nigel Farage, MEP, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

Can we start a campaign?

Let's start a petition calling for more lunchtime drinking...
The Nameless One fisks sodding Terry Hamblin's fucking dreadful piece of accusatory writing (that he later removed from his blog). Go read the whole thing.

Strangely, Terry seems to have got into the mood.
A blighter, on the other hand, is a contemptible person; one who casts a blight on his surroundings.


You're doin' my Nutt, man!

It seems that a group of scientists have decided to reclassify drugs.
Alcohol is ranked almost as harmful as heroin in a controversial new drug classification system proposed by a team of leading scientists.

The class A drug Ecstasy, possession of which can result in a seven-year prison sentence, is placed near the bottom of the league table which lists "harm scores" for different substances.

LSD, another class A drug, is also considered relatively safe despite its powerful hallucinogenic properties.

Cannabis, recently downgraded to class C, occupies a middle position. It is rated more dangerous than Ecstasy, LSD and the dance floor drug GHB, but less harmful than tobacco.

The table, published in The Lancet medical journal, was drawn up by a team of highly respected scientists led by Professor David Nutt, from the University of Bristol, and Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council.

It is intended to be a model for policy makers which is more scientifically based than the current Misuse of Drugs Act system that attaches "a, b, and c" labels to illicit drugs.

This eminently sensible list is based on a number of different criteria.
The scientists identified three main factors that together determined the harmfulness of a controlled substance.

These were: The physical harm to the individual user caused by the drug, the tendency of the drug to induce dependence, and the effect of the drug's use on families, communities and society.

One of my arguments has always been that (heroin aside) the stronger drugs tend to be less harmful because you cannot take them sustainably. One cannot spend one's whole time on Ecstasy, for instance, because one would find it damn near impossible to hold down a job; besides, the drug is self-limiting through the law of diminishing returns: the more one takes it, the less effect it has. This is one of the reasons that people tend to "grow out of" such substances.

However, alcohol and cigarettes (and, indeed, cannabis), for instance, can be taken very regularly over the period of decades and thus do more long-term harm. They also become more addictive, with the physical addiction supplemented by a habit-forming one.

Of course, I think we should just legalise, regulate and tax the whole lot of them since the vast majority of the damage that the illegal drugs do, to both individuals and society, derives mainly from their illegality...

EU in joined-up thinking shock!

Nah, only joking! The EU has done a deal with the US.
European Union transport ministers have unanimously backed an "open skies" aviation deal with the US aimed at liberalising transatlantic air travel.

The EU said consumers would see a total of up to $16bn (£8.1bn) in economic benefits as a result of the deal, as increased competition brings down air fares.

Well, of course this is very good news (and fits in with Barroso's newly articulated philosophy—apparently he likes free markets) but doesn't it clash somewhat with the EU's green taxes and its rather hardline stance on climate change?

Are these people actually listening to each other?
Via The Nameless One, there's a job vacancy going...
Skill Set
  • Personality: desirable but not essential

  • Ability to work in a team: desirable but not essential

  • Numeracy: essential but not desirable

  • Communication skills: Yes, you idiot

  • Political capacity: Machiavellian

Can you guess what it's for? Find out now...
Jay-sus*, they're all at it. Getting book deals that is.

Still, Hodder Headline Ireland must be a desperate bunch of cunts if they're resorting to giving that twat Twenty a feckin' two book deal...

* Yes, I know I'm an atheist; it's amusing Oirish slang, or so I've heard.

Bloody Devil #15

Bloody Devil AwardThe Bloody Devil Award is for people who fisk objects of public derision but who also pepper the post with gratuitous but intensely satisfying insults.

Except, in the case of Patsy Hewitt we have had to relax the rules somewhat, as there are no insults too gratuitous for that sack of shit.

That's right, Bloody Devil #15 is awarded to Dr Rant—a fine blog whose Cluedoid contributors have been slamming into the government, and particularly the fuckwits runnning the NHS, with a great, big, shiny fission reactor of rage for some time now—for the post entitled Thanks for our 'best ever year'. Here's your P45, now fuck off.

It's an auspicious title, and the text does not disappoint.
Progress my fucking arse. What a monstrous pile of twat.

Patsy is an utter gobshite. She is a soulless, vapid, harridan of a woman, with neither wit nor guile, who, as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, destroyed what was left of the British Car industry. Now, as Secretary of State for Health, she is destroying what is left of the National Health Service. She has been massively over-promoted. Even her colleagues think that she is 'out of her depth'. She thinks that progress is determined by a reduced number of beds. Doctors and nurses know that a bed reduction means that your post-operative patient is going to be lying 36 inches away from an MRSA+ve dement who is covered in shit.

Dr Rant has a better suggestion. Rather than put 11,000 NHS employees out of work, why not just giver Patricia Hewitt her P45? Better still, why not sack all 419 members of the corrupt, lying government, and stop their underhand destruction of what is left of the health service.

Do go and read the whole thing: it's quite, quite beautiful. Even if the NHS has not had its best year ever—but, seriously, who could possibly doubt darling Patsy's word?—our perfidious, clueless cunt of a Health Minister has provided more than enough inspiration for some of the blogosphere's first class swearblogger fiskings (even if I do say so myself).

Here's a few reminders of past glories, all of which plumb new nadirs of decency and taste, for you all to enjoy.

And neither of us are doctors, nor do we even work anywhere in the NHS: just imagine what the rest of them feel like. Although, come to think of it, they probably feel a bit like Dr Rant, I suspect...

DPA: not a sex act (that I know of)

No, no, no: DPA stands for the Data Protection Act (1998), which has been used to full and ingenious effect by a junior doctor.

The good Doctor Crippen has been highlighting the MTAS scandal, which appears to be a NuLabour fuck up of truly Promethean proportions; however, one young doctor refused to be discouraged.
Dr. Pal is an FY2 at Frimley Park Hospital down in Surrey.

He recently submitted an application for higher professional training to MTAS. Like many of his colleagues, he was unsuccessful. No interview and, to make matters worse, no explanation. No feedback. Nothing.

Dr Pal did not let matters rest there. He wanted to find out what had happened, and why he was unsuccessful. He tells Dr Crippen that he wrote to Professor Elizabeth Paice, at the London Deanery, and to Dr David Black at the KSS Deanery making a Data Protection Act enquiry

Dr Pal says:

The people to whom I addressed my letter were:
  • London Deanery: Professor Elizabeth Paice (Dean)

  • KSS Deanery: Dr. David Black (Dean)

Dear Dr. Black,

RE: Data Protection Act 1998 request

MTAS application for ST1 Core Medical Training

Name: Dr. Pal

Under the provision of the Data Protection Act 1998, I would like to request a transcript of the data held about me by with regard to the above application, submitted via the Medical Training application system.

Please be sure to include:
  • The personal information you hold about me;

  • The names of the individuals who assessed and scored my application form;

  • The date my form was assessed and scored;

  • The score my form received and the total number of score points available; and

  • The reasons why my application was rejected.

Please would you also advise me of the logic involved in any automated decisions taken by you about me pursuant to section 7(1) (d) of the Data Protection Act 1998, and ensure that any database field codes are fully explained.

If you need further information from me, or a fee, please let me know as soon as possible. The provisions of the act require that this data be supplied within 40 days of receipt of this request. Since you organisation has not made public details of how to supply payment in advance, then I consider the date of sending this email to be the request date, and any request for payment should not delay the supply of the data.

If you do not normally handle these requests for your organisation, please pass this letter to your Data Protection Officer or another appropriate officer.

If this information is not forthcoming within the 40 day limit, I will be raising the matter with the Information Commissioners Office.

Yours faithfully

Dr. Pal

Well, both government officials and doctors have the reputation of being somewhat secretive, so did Dr Pal get the information that he'd asked for? Well, up to a point, Lord Copper.
Dr Crippen (and no doubt his regular readers) was not surprised to hear that Dr Pal has not received an answer to the questions he has raised.

Dr Crippen (and no doubt his regular readers) was astounded to hear that Dr Pal has instead suddenly received an offer of an interview.

One has to ask, why the sudden change of heart?

Alas, being the pure-souled, high-minded chap that I am, not in anyway inspired the great Uncle Stalky, I cannot possibly imagine what could have made these fine, upstanding people change their minds about giving Dr Pal an interview.

Can anyone else explain? For 'tis a mystery, to be sure...
The Englishman shows that the state sector pays as much money per pupil as many private schools.
So no more excuses for the failing State Sector please, they've got the money so why can't they deliver the goods?

The answer is, of course, that the fat-arsed pen-pushers at the LEAs skim off almost a third of this. So sack the useless bloated administration, make the schools independent and fund them through a voucher system, like the Swedes do. There is now no excuse for the fucking lame performance of state schools.

Carnival of the Batshit #5

In my last post, I pointed out that Batshit is not really interested in the Food or Rural Affairs part of his job, only in the Environment part of it.
No, neither animals nor people's livelihoods bother Batshit one iota: he's too busy flying around—spending taxpayers' money to "offset" his carbon footprint—and devising fresh excuses to raise more taxes and attempting to put binding constraints on the following government.

One of the main things that I object to about Batshit—apart from the fact that his mouth writhes across his face in the most sinister manner, like some kind of loathesomely crippled newt—is that he is so fucking useless at the only aspect of the job in which he shows any interest at all.

Batshit's approach is constantly one of negativity: he consistently maintains that we are destroying the planet and that catastrophic warning will lay waste to our civilisation. And yet CO2 in the atmosphere has been higher than it is now; indeed, it has been considerably warmer than it is now and the human race—which in the Mediaeval Warm Period, for instance, was considerably less advanced than now—inconveniently failed to be decimated.

But in Miliband's eyes, the only thing that can possibly be done is to curtail energy use, to tax people for "undesirable" behaviour and to introduce ID Cards by the back door by calling them Personal Carbon Point Cards.

Not once have we heard anything positive from this creepy little harbinger of doom: why? Quite simply because he is ignorant of the alternatives which is absolutely fucking unforgiveable.

I have pointed all of this out before but, being a Devil who has faith that man's infinite ingenuity will save us, I thought that I would remind my dear readers of all of those positive ideas that are being pushed forward even as you read this.
  • Wave Generation
    Far more reliable than wind or solar power, there has been a wave energy generator connected to the National Grid since 2000. Batshit shamelessly admitted his ignorance of any aspect of this form of power generation, which is so suited to our island nation.
    Where is the announcement of this very positive development on Batshit's blog?

  • Zinc Oxide Solar Oven Powerstations
    I covered these a long time ago, and they just might be a really very viable method of energy generation: here are the details of how they work. A prototype 300kW plant was built and successfully piloted in June 2005.

    Of course, we can guess at the reason why Batshit would not be over this technology, even if he bothered to find out about it: it is developed by Swiss companies (not in the EU) and piloted in Israel (not in the EU) which would make a mockery of all of Batshit's oh-so-important meetings in Brussels.

    Even so, where is the announcement of this very positive development on Batshit's blog?

  • The Hydrogen Economy
    There are any number of projects devoted to this concept (roughly speaking, the only by-product of burning hydrogen is water), but a number of notable ones are highlighted by Tim Worstall.
    From where I sit, running a company that deals with scandium and its salts, I can see a huge effort and investment in alternative energy production technologies. Solar cells can now be constructed that are 30% efficient, there are people absolutely certain that roofs can be made of titanium oxide based plates that will separate water into H and O using only the sun. That latter technology, if 10% efficient, would allow the roofs of US housing to produce sufficient H to power fuel cells to provide heat, cooling and electricity to those same US houses. The researchers insist that 15% efficiency is currently 5 years away...
    I talk to the guys in this programme on an occasional basis as one of the options (the most efficient, I am glad to say) in the manufacturing of such solid oxide fuel cells is to use scandium oxide as part of the electrolyte. Indeed, we actually contributed to the research at St Andrews that shows the very best mixture of dopants for stabilised zirconia used, and have helped spread the word.

    Where are the announcements of these very positive developments on Batshit's blog?
  • Nuclear Fusion
    The Holy Grail of power generation has moved considerably closer, thanks to Dr Robert Bussard, as Strange Stuff pointed out. [Emphasis mine.]
    Dr Robert Bussard has been awarded the Outstanding Technology of the Year award for is new type of Fusor, a type of simple cheap fusion reactor originally invented by Philo T. Farnsworth in the 1960's. His modifications have removed a major power drain and could well lead to a commercially [sic] generator within a decade, much sooner than Tokomacs such as Iter will be able to do.

    Indeed, if you follow the links in my post to the various bits of the story, you will find that the news here is even better.
    So fusion would be safe, and there is no radioactive waste as there is with fission. But the most compelling promise of fusion is in the fuel itself: fusion is produced from an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium, which exists in the Earth's oceans in sufficient abundance to supply the planet's energy needs for hundreds of millions of years - until long after the Sun itself has flamed out.

    Quite. And so, once again, we are forced to ask the question: where is the announcement of this very positive development on Batshit's blog?

Why has David Miliband so consistantly focused on the puritanical aspect of the hydrocarbon problem? Why has he not announced any of these exciting developments on his blog? I mean, you would think that maybe—just maybe—the news of a massive leap in the viability of nuclear fusion might have made it: it only happened in December 2006, for fuck's sake.

There really are only two alternatives.
  1. Batshit is utterly ignorant of any of these developments. In which case he should get himself up to speed or resign.

  2. Batshit does know about them, but has deliberately suppressed any news of them for political gain. In which case he should resign for being a shifty, devious and deceitful little shit.

Well, Davey-Boy, which is it? It's the Polly Conundrum: are you a facile fool or a devious liar Personally, I hold the man in such utter contempt that I am unable to decide between the two options.

Either way, Batshit is not fit to hold public office and should be impaled and his burning, limp, rag-doll body carried around the streets of London whilst people throw turds at his twitching, CO2-emitting form.

NHS Fail Wail

I think that we can all agree that the UK's response to coronavirus has been somewhat lacking. In fact, many people asserted that our de...