Friday, August 31, 2007

Seriously, Jamie Oliver is a Complete Cunt

Two of my pet peeves are bad journalism and Jamie arsing Oliver. So when the two combine together to form an unholy alliance in the pages of The Daily Telegraph, it presents an irresistible target for me. So let’s take a look at the unseemly image of the Telegraph sucking at the proverbial cock of that Mockney Cunt.
"It's said that, by the age of 30, Alexander the Great had conquered the known world. Jamie Oliver, at only two years older, has conquered the hearts - and stomachs - of a nation."
That’s right, we begin with an audacious comparison – Jamie Oliver, a shit chef with terrible taste in music and all the political awareness of, well, Ming Campbell, is mentioned in the same sentence as Alexander the Great. And why? Because a few people in the nation have brought the twat’s cook books or tuned into his nauseating TV shows. In short, Alexander the Great conquered the known world, Jamie Oliver (with an extra two years on young Alexander) has become a C-list celebrity. It is difficult to think of anyone less like Alexander the Great than Jamie arsing Oliver.

"Although his estimated fortune, at £25 million, is less than half that of his rival Gordon Ramsay's, the Golden Boy's influence extends far further, reaching beyond the kitchen to public service, politics and beyond."
So Gordon Ramsay is more wealthy than Oliver? Who can we compare him to? Jesus fucking Christ?

"Not bad for the dyslexic son of a publican from Essex. Oliver started working in his parents' pub at five, washing out the bins, and by eight he had his own chef's knife and could "chop like a bitch"."
Bet that is on his CV, too: "I can chop like a bitch."

"He left school with two GCSEs and enrolled at Westminster catering college in London. Once he'd completed the course, a brief stint in France was followed by a job at Antonio Carluccio's Neal Street Restaurant, and then at the River Café with Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray."
And what a CV he has too! Two GCSEs! Catering college! Working in a restaurant! No wonder he is a millionaire with a CV that is so unique!

"It was here that his big chance came. He covered for a sick chef on his day off, and was filmed by a camera crew who were making a programme on the River Café.
The morning after the show was broadcast, the phone at the River Café rang off the hook, but it wasn't a reservation the callers were after. It was Oliver. Television producers were falling over themselves to sign up the boy-chef and his palpable charisma on camera. According to Pat Llewellyn of Optomen Television, the company that Oliver finally chose, "he shone out like a beacon"."
Fuck me, well if Pat Llewellyn of Optomen Television thinks he’s good, then he must be good. Seriously, though, who the frigging hell is Pat, and why should we give a flying fuck about what he thinks?

"Oliver's first series, The Naked Chef, broadcast in 1998, captured his natural enthusiasm for food while cunningly weaving the cooking into a story about his life in a trendy flat (rented by Optomen for Jamie) with good looking, lively friends. The message was, cook like Jamie and you too could be sitting at a designer dining table surrounded by cool dudes and good looking girls."
Funny, that. The message I took from the show was that if I was ever forced, presumably under the shadow of some sort of horrific and painful death, to eat with Jamie as his astonishingly annoying friends, I would probably end up stabbing them all in the eyes with a fork whilst screaming like a demented banshee. Guess this just shows how different people have different interpretations.

"The reason for the show's phenomenal success, however, was to do with Oliver himself rather than lifestyle statements. Although he was nervous of the camera, to the extent that Llewellyn was forced to throw him questions during filming, a quirk that became a trademark of the series, he made compelling viewing. His cooking was fun, sexy and no longer the effeminate preserve of Delia and Nigella."
I’d say Nigella, and even Delia, are a damn sight more sexy that Oliver. And the success of the show may be down to something a tad more prosaic than Oliver’s personality – perhaps it was blind luck.
"He has a laddish turn of phrase, describing borlotti beans as the "Aston Martin of beans" and slicing potatoes "beermat" thick, which persuaded a generation of men to turn off the football and make supper for their girlfriends. Those girlfriends cooked from Oliver's books, too, attracted perhaps by their simplicity and light style. Soon it seemed that everyone was throwing together a "Jamie" for dinner."
There you have it. You can be successful simply by talking like a cunt.

And how patronising and cliched is this article? All men are sat at home, watching football, and not cooking until the miracle that is Jamie Oliver comes along. Erm, no – I’m talking from personal experience here, but I never watch the football and still can’t really cook – and seeing that total shithead Oliver on the television makes me less likely to cook.
"But in 2000 the tide turned. Oliver accepted a lucrative deal to be the face of Sainsbury's, and it proved a poisoned chalice. His presence became ubiquitous. You couldn't sit down to an episode of Coronation Street without being exhorted by the cheeky foodie to buy buffalo mozzarella or lemon thyme."
This maybe one of the reasons why I hate Oliver so much. I was working for Sainsbury’s at the time this Mockney Cunt was made the face of the organisation. The company was going downhill, bonuses weren’t being paid, but still the Board was forking out millions to Oliver for an atrocious ad campaign. I know it was Sainsbury’s choice to do so, but Oliver still accepted the deal. But still couldn’t bring his family to shop in the Supermarket chain he represented.
"The BBC dropped Oliver, and the press turned on him, calling him a "fake", a "mockney", and even describing his style as "Benny from Crossroads does cooking". Clarissa Dickson Wright, another outspoken television cook, branded him a "whore" for promoting the supermarket's farmed salmon. Then he was ranked 28 in Channel 4's poll of 100 Worst Britons. It looked like the Jamie phenomenon was over."
In truth, "Benny from Crossroads does cooking" did make me laugh. But it probably goes without saying at this stage that I would have rated Oliver higher in my list of the 100 Worst Britons. Not Number One, you understand – not with the likes of Simon Hughes still in the national eye. But most probably in the Top Five.
"Cannily, he had already moved on. His plan to give 15 troubled young people a second chance by training them as chefs was taking shape, and this time his own production company, Fresh One Productions, was filming the story. The BBC turned it down, a decision they were doomed to regret, and Jamie's Kitchen aired on Channel 4."
Was it really him being canny that meant he had moved on? Or the fact that he had no fucking choice as the BBC had dropped him like a shitty stick?
"It quickly became the most talked about show in town. Oliver was a revelation. The 26-year-old showed patience and perseverance far beyond his years, combined with a real understanding and empathy for the mismatched, dysfunctional youths on his team."
If we want to praise people for showing "understanding and empathy" for "mismatched, dysfunctional youths" perhaps we could praise, I don’t know, social workers or psychotherapists, who often do their work for little more than the minimum wage plus tips. Rather than a poorly educated fucktard who is deigning to interact with just 15 dysfunctional youths simply to advance his floundering career in the limelight.
"When we wanted to knock some of the ungrateful trainees' heads together, Oliver would sigh, sit down and talk it over with them, looking for a solution, again and again. The cynical tried their best to expose him as a fake, the operation as a cheat and a scam. But, fittingly for the man who has endorsed a whole range of Teflon pans, none of the mud would stick. Oliver was once again a national hero."
Of course, I would never dream of questioning the motives of Saint Jamie, but perhaps he was patient because that made for better TV. After all, Jamie’s Kitchen would have been a much shorter programme if he had told them all to go and fuck themselves in Episode One. Maybe there is something philanthropic in the results of what Oliver did, but I think you also have to concede that he gained a lot himself from that apparent philanthropy.
"Oliver's campaigning streak found further outlet in his next project, improving the lamentably poor school dinners in this country. This time he combined grassroots action (sorting out the meals in Kidbrooke School, Greenwich) with big guns. He met with the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Essex chef's straight talking impressed him so much that he pledged an extra £280 million over three years to raise the standard of school dinners."
No, what really impressed Blair was the chance to jump on a populist bandwagon at the taxpayer’s expense.

"When the show, School Dinners, aired in 2005, Oliver's battle with the obtuse nature of government bureaucracy, both on a local and national level, was as fascinating to watch as his struggle to persuade the children to eat his homemade food. Few parents can have failed to empathise."
It is very telling of the simplistic outlook of Mr Oliver that he thinks by restricting the choices available to people, he will fundamentally change their behaviour. Because kids won’t go looking for junk food outside of school if they can’t get it in school. Perhaps this is another reason why he got on so well with the uber fascist, Tony Blair. The message from School Dinners is "you don’t have a right to choose. Me, Jamie Oliver, is going to make the choice for you."
"What makes Jamie Oliver such a heart-warming figure is that he stands up for core values, for home-cooking, decent food and proper parenting. Sometimes that seems reactionary: he's said to have wanted his wife Jools to stay at home and look after the children, an attitude that would have had the feminists of a decade ago foaming at the mouth."
I’d imagine that attitude would still have a lot of feminists foaming at the mouth. And again, this hero worship of Oliver for standing up for "home-cooking, decent food and proper parenting" is utterly misplaced – because he really isn’t alone in standing up for those things. In fact, pretty much the whole of Middle England stands for the same things.
"His rigidity over healthy school dinners led to a few parents handing takeaways over the school fence to their burger-deprived children."
I don’t know, maybe those parents felt aggravated that they were being patronised by a TV chef with two GCSEs and a course at Westminster catering college. I know I would have been.
"The same people were probably incensed when he branded as "idiots" parents who put fizzy drinks and crisps into children's lunchboxes. But most of us think he's right, and applaud him for his bravery in speaking up."
Yep, I would have been incensed by that too. Because, as my erstwhile colleague and friend the Moai constantly and rightly points out to me, it is far fucking easier for Jamie Oliver to spend the time and money on getting his kids to eat healthily with a vast fucking fortune behind him and a stay-at-home wife. Maybe a lot of people were incensed by Oliver’s comments because they showed him to be an ignorant cunt with no understanding of the real world.
"True, he's no angel. His language is sometimes colourful, but he generally gets away with it, as he seems to be swearing because he cares, rather than because he's throwing a Gordon Ramsay-style tantrum. He won't put on a tie, and his habit of wearing trainers with a suit may shock old-schoolers, although it did inspire the outfit of the current super-cool Dr Who."
That’s Doctor Who, not Dr Who. And FYI, Telegraph, if you are going to make a point of Oliver not wearing tie, it is probably better not to have a picture of him wearing a tie attached to the fucking article. Small points, I know, but worth bearing in mind.
"His youth, of course, is enormously appealing. He's the nation's favourite son, husband, father. Those televised rows with Jools on Jamie's Kitchen served only to make him more normal, like one of us, and he is conspicuously a family man.
In that sense he has much in common with David Beckham, but whereas Beckham is fumbling and inarticulate off the pitch, Oliver is a communicator who's prepared to fight for what he believes in, including the disadvantaged. He's the antidote to another contemporary, musician and hellraiser Pete Doherty. By contrast, Oliver, universally liked and admired by his peers, is proof that hard work and clean living can reap rewards."
So we should admire Oliver because he is not an ignorant fuckwit like Beckham or a junkie scumbag like Peter Doherty? Ok, but doesn’t that mean we should admire pretty much everyone else in the fucking country other than the two dickheads cited in this shit stain of an article?
"While I admire Jamie the campaigner, I love Jamie the cook, and it's a relief to see him back in the kitchen with Jamie at Home. Jamie is clearly at home in a lot of places: the programme will air in 14 countries to satisfy his global army of fans. This popularity is well deserved. He's got new verve and confidence in front of the camera, and his talk has matured from the onamatopeic language of his twenties, peppered with words such as "pukka" and "doollally" and "bish bash bosh"."
So now he has hit his thirties, he has stopped talking like a twat. Fuck-a-doodle-do. Go Jamie!
"While there's a geekiness about his weird gyrating and hand gestures, it's in a cool, unselfconscious way. The new recipes focus on the produce from his garden, most recently the very British runner bean, and take his already well established interest in fresh, local ingredients to a new level. His recipes are among the best out there, and unlike those of some other famous chefs, they are reliable, and often utterly delicious.
Alexander the Great move over. It's the age of Jamie the Great."
And we come full circle – a Mockney Cunt TV chef is again compared to Alexander the Great. Jesus H Christ, doesn’t The Daily Telegraph have an editor to watch out for this sort of mindless hyperbole?

I know, I know, my hatred of Oliver far outstrips his actual impact on my life. And in fairness, I would also jump at the opportunity if someone gave me the chance to become a multi-millionaire for little more than being irritating on a cosmic scale on TV. But it is more what Oliver stands for that disgusts me. And I will keep in banging on about Oliver and his utterly undeserved success, because it sums up quite nicely why this country is so compellingly fucked. If we lived in a true meritocracy, Oliver would be flipping burgers in McDonalds. Not being lauded in a broadsheet newspaper whilst enjoying a millionaire lifestyle.

And go read this article for a more accurate representation of Oliver than the one in the Telegraph.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Worth getting it wrong, don'cha think?

Pro-EU blogger and general stupid Lefty, Jon Worth, is siding with the prison officers.
UK prison officers staged an unofficial strike yesterday.

Wasn't it actually, technically, an illegal strike? I mean, do they not have to show that all other avenues had been exhausted and that they had held an official ballot?
Today came Brown’s response: keeping public sector pay rises low is essential to keep the lid on inflation.

Erm... This has always been a bit of a lame excuse. After all, inflation is actually considerably higher than the headline figure. Let's face it, the bald truth is that Gordon has run out of money having pissed tens of billions of pounds up the wall.
OK, that applies to the entire public sector, but will that reassure the prison officers?

Why the fuck shouldn't it? They are public sector workers, aren't they.
That might have been an acceptable line while he was Chancellor, but I think the prison officers (and other public sector workers) deserve something a little more conciliatory.

With 81000 prisoners in overcrowded jails life as a prison guard must be even more grim that normal at the moment.

Ooh, diddums. Look at the poor, ickle prison warders. Jon, me ole mucker, they can go and get another job if they don't like their working conditions; that's the beauty of having a flexible labour market.

It wouldn't be difficult to replace those that resign; I mean, fuck me, we have hundreds of fucking meathead thugs roaming the streets. Just pop 'em in a uniform and Bob's yer jailer.
Plus ask yourselves this: is a 2.5% increase for prison workers comparable to a record £14 billion of bonuses paid out in the City of London, or 37% increases in boardroom pay? Both those stories have been in the press in the last week.

OK, this is where it gets really stupid. First, the two are not equivalent because the taxpayer is not forced to pay those bonuses.

Second, those bonuses and pay rises are awarded because the private sector—and the City in particular—has been particularly productive this year (it's worth bearing in mind that Goldman Sachs agents get a percentage of the profits. It's what the Tories call "sharing the proceeds of growth").

Next up is the massive amount of tax that the state takes from these bonuses, etc.
He said that the taxman tended to recoup around 50pc of bonus earnings in taxes and National Insurance, equating to as much as £7bn last year.

So, Jon, do you see what's happening here? That's right: these companies are creating wealth that would not otherwise have existed, and then the Treasury is taking its slice—well, more of a massive great wodge, actually—so that it can afford the prison workers' 2.5% pay rise.
Perhaps Gordon might do something about that? Or dare to raise some concerns about it in public?

Actually, a good way of stopping huge salary increases to bosses would be to bring in a 0% Corporation Tax for reinvested profits, much like Estonia has. I think that you might find that it is worth keeping the cash in the company then, rather than paying it out to directors. But, as it is, the directors pay a lower tax on their rises (paid as dividends) than the company does if that profit remains in the bank, so the company may as well just pay out the money.

Er, but other than that, could you please tell me what, precisely, Gordon should do about it? Are you saying that the state should determine what private companies pay their employees? Are you saying, Jon, that the state should set the rate at which each job should be paid? Well, prepare for a pay cut, sunshine.

Seriously, you're an idiot.

Never mind: Jon is apparently moving to Brussels to "as a freelance website designer and EU politics trainer". EU politics trainer? Why am I not surprised in the slightest? He'll fit right in.

Don't feel the need to come back anytime soon, OK?

UPDATE: John McDonnell MP is horning in on the act too.
This morning as the strike by prison officers forces pay talks with Jack Straw, Gordon Brown has demanded "pay discipline" by public sector workers. At the same time the Guardian earnings survey exposes the huge gap between the income of chief executives and the wages of their workers which has opened up under Brown's supervision of the economy.

Take just a few examples: Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch Taverns, now has a salary package of £11,276,000 which is 1,148 times the average wages of his workers of £9,821. How about Tesco's chief executive whose salary is £4.6 million which is 415 times his average worker earning £11,000.

And what's your fucking point, John? Tell you what, let's do some more mathematics, shall we?

On top of your fat fucking fee of £60,000 for sitting on your lardy arse as an MP, you claimed £131,427 in expenses which I regard as being part of your salary. This brings your (ostensible) remuneration to £191,427 in 2005/06. This means that you earned over 20 times what I did last year: and what did you do with it? You turned up to 66% of votes, which is below average even for the feckless, lazy bunch of cunts that inhabit the Commons.

Furthermore, you produced not one fucking iota of wealth or value, you useless, weasel-faced parasite, and did nothing but harm by existing.

You are a fucking cunt; fuck off and die.

Orchestrating subsidies

KatesHome notices something rather extraordinary.
It costs less to go to see the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican than it does to go to the cinema.

£6, to be precise.

And that's not a term-limited special offer. It's only not available on a ridiculously small number of tickets. It's for every concert, and plentiful seats.

Of course, the big difference between cinemas and the London Symphony Orchestra is that the latter is massively and lavishly subsidised with taxpayers' cash—to the tune of £2.2 million this year—whilst cinemas are not.

So, whilst I have absolutely stuff-all interest in going to see the London Symphony Orchestra, I am still forced to pay for it and do so to the point where those who do want to see the LSO pay less for their entertainment than I do for mine.

Truly, this is a wonderful world...

UPDATE: The Barbican itself, of course, is heavily subsidised—although I cannot find an up-to-date financial report at present—and sure enough, the Arts Council England pops up on the Barbican's list of sponsors too.

I cannot understand about the Corporation of London: is it a private body or a public one? Either way, in 2003/04 it supported the Barbican to the tune of over £20 million [PDF] (not including £8.9 million capital costs).
Timmy comments on democracy.
The point is that democracy, in and of itself, does not exclude the possibility of tyranny, of the trampling of the rights of some of the citizenry.

I agree that it's the best means to an end, but democracy itself isn't actually the end. Freedom and liberty are, and we need to be vigilant about the truth that just because something is democratically decided does not make it an advance in human freedoms.

Quite. In fact, democracy involves elections and politicians and so, almost inevitably, leads to the tyranny of the majority.

Nicholas was...

A little while back, in preparation for the train journey to Edinburgh, I bought a collection of Neil Gaiman's short stories called Smoke and Mirrors.

It contained one of the finest, and creepiest, short stories that I have ever read; and it is a mere 100 words long. So, here it is.
Nicholas Was...

Older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.

The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories.

Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves' invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.

He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.




Tell that to your children on Christmas Eve and see if they feel the same about Santa...

Selfish Canuck makes stupid comment shock!

Werner Patels welcomes the London congestion charge. [Emphasis mine.]
When Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, introduced a congestion charge for the City of London and then, a couple of years ago, decided to increase the footprint of the city area subject to such congestion charge, I was thrilled.

Getting around London by car is still quite a hassle -- imagine how bad it would be if it weren't for the congestion charge.

Gosh, yes! Imagine how awful it would be if Werner Patels were not able to drive his car around the streets of London, eh?

One assumes that he is one of those who can afford to pay the charge rather than have to use the already crowded public transport system.

Well, lucky old Werner.

UPDATE: Werner replies.
Wrong -- I use public transit. Always have, always will.

Fair enough, my bad.

Only EU can save us: at our expense, of course...

As we all know, we are all going to be wiped out by global warming. We have it, of course, from TEBAF Margot's very own keyboard.
It is frustrating that so many people still either deny that climate change is happening or that we can do anything about it. (Also frustrating that some people still regard climate change as some kind of conspiracy theory or a quasi religious belief). The scientists are unanimous: It is happening.

Let us leave aside that this is utter bullshit and that Margot should maybe try shutting the fuck up, and concentrate instead on one of the much-vaunted reasons for the EU existing: that climate change crosses borders and it is only as one super duper nation that we can possibly combat the deleterious effects of anthropogenic global warming.
Can we do something about it? We must at least try. Mankind has more means at its disposal than ever before and needs to apply its collective wisdom to this problem. Otherwise future generations will not enjoy this earth that we enjoy.

Yes, thanks for that slightly hysterical post, Margot. Let us look at some of the ways that we might help preserve our Earth for future generations, shall we? Well, one way in particular, actually.

Obviously, saving power is one very important way that we should do this and one of the easiest ways to save power is to convert to "green", low-energy light bulbs. These are so beneficial, we are told, that they will save gigawatts of power every year. In fact, so wondrous are they that the EU is banning the sale of bog-standard incandescent light bulbs from 2009.

Naturally, the great EU will encourage all of its citizens to replace all of their evil old bulbs with these near-miraculous low-energy ones, and our EU masters recognise that the best way in which to do this is to make them as cheap as possible, eh? Er, no...
THE European Commission is under fire from green campaigners and retailers for plans to extend duties on energy-efficient light bulbs from China.

The Chinese light bulbs have been subject to import duties since 2001, because the commission says the products are sold in EU markets for less than their true value.

Yesterday, EU commissioners met in Brussels and agreed to keep tariffs of 66 per cent in place, despite calls from green campaigners to bring down the price of energy-efficient light bulbs to encourage consumers to make greener choices.

Oh, jolly well done! The EU has decided to ensure that energy-efficient light bulbs remain 66% more expensive than they should be, thus ensuring a slower take-up and making both us and the Chinese poorer in the process.

What a fucking triumph: quick, go shout it from the roof tops!
Both Philips and General Electric, two electronics giants, wanted restrictions lifted. They argue that Europe needs cheap energy-efficient bulbs from China to meet growing demand. However, Osram, a German company, opposes ending the duties.

While a majority of member states were amenable to scrapping anti-dumping measures, Germany has lobbied hard to keep the restrictions in place for longer.

Speaking on behalf of the British Retail Consortium, Alisdair Gray said the proposal to extend anti-dumping measures was unjustified.

"We are really disappointed in it, because it has no basis in law; it's just caving in to one company, Osram," he said.

Wow! Y'know, it's that cross-border spirit of unity that's going to stop us all frying, ain't it just!

Or, if you were overtly cynical, you might think that it illustrated how the EU operates as a protectionist entity and block on global free trade (helping to keep everyone poorer) and that all this horseshit about how only the EU can save us from ourselves is just so much fucking bollocks.

How are you going to spin this one, Margot, you stinking sack of shit?

Unio Europaea delenda est. And if not, can we at least fucking well leave?

Cameron on Newsnight

Iain Dale is recommending that you watch Spam-Cam on Newsnight. I would heartily endorse that recommendation, not only because Cameron puts in a decent performance, but because it shows what a stupid bunch of fucks the BBC journos interviewing him are.

Stephanie What's-Her-Fucking-Face comes across, as many women do, as a hectoring, irritating fuckwit with no clue what she's talking about. She proudly announces that she is unmarried and attacks Cameron for the Tory idea of giving married couples £20 a week, but utterly fails to explain where, precisely, her child is whilst she is on Newsnight being a total fucking bitch.*

The blond guy with glasses also comes across as a cunt of the very first water, totally failing to grasp Spam's ideas on crime.

Seriously, watch it: it's there until 5 today. As you know, I carry no torch for the Tories, but—for fuck's sake—I cannot believe that I am forced to pay, on pain of imprisonment, for this bunch of useless, bigoted BBC fuckers.

UPDATE: one of the nastiest aspects of the Beeb journos comes out during the questioning about the outside jobs that the Shadow Cabinet have. There is the constant repetition of the phrase "incredibly lucrative" in relation to said positions, as though what Hague and co. might be paid for their work has the slightest bearing on whether or not they have time, or capacity, to do their Front Bench jobs well.

The constant theme running throughout this programme is that the BBC journos very obviously consider that people earning over a certain amount are morally wrong. One wonders what this collection of fucks are paid: I can pretty much guarantee that it is well over the median wage.

If anyone would like to collate the names of these four cunts and then look up, in the Beeb's accounts, how much they are paid (if that's possible) I would be very interested to know...

UPDATE 2: inevitably, of course, the whole question of Spam's finances and schooling came up (the four twerps using accusatory terms, naturally). As I have said before, only in this benighted fucking country would we criticise a politician for being intelligent, well-educated and successful.

UPDATE 3: one of the sensible ideas that Cameron proposed was that of elected police chiefs (something that young Wat Tyler has been banging on about for some time).

One of the four fucks—I think that it might have been the stupid bloody woman—asked what would happen if, in an elected chief's area—this chief officer decided to ignore stabbings and rapes, what would happen then Mr Cameron? Are you endorsing that? Are you?

No, you thick cunt: the point is that the people wouldn't endorse that and they would elect someone who would address their concerns better. That's the whole fucking point.

Oh, and only a bloody Beeb journo could possibly posit that the state abdicating responsibility for anything (in this case, policing) is a bad thing.

Can we privatise the BBC yet?

UPDATE 4: Biased BBC is similarly unimpressed. Oh yeah: who was that fourth guy again...?

UPDATE 5: Vindico is on form too, and also quotes the passage that I alluded to.
Crick's pathetic attempt to suggest Cameron is trying to "abdicate" his responsibility to local communities. What the fudgecake?? How terrible!
Crick: "If the police commissioner for Liverpool says 'turn a blind eye to drug dealing, turn a blind eye to prostitution', that's ok is it?"

It seems he fails to understand how democracy works. Local people would be able to determine what is and is not important and elect the person they want to. No longer would they be forced to accept unaccountable and unresponsive policing.

Ah, so it was the blond man who looked a bit like a Gestapo pain-doctor, and not the bitchy, lower middle class woman. Well, either way, he has completely missed the fucking point in just about the most obvious way.

Thinking about it, Crick may have been even more of a stinking, pusillanimous, leftist whorebag than the woman. Gosh, it's so very difficult to tell.

Anyway, here's one of my favourite lines from Vindico...
One noticeable question came from Stephanie Flanders, who calls herself an economist, who actually asks..
Flanders: "You would give me, just for getting married, £20/wk. Is that really a good use of scarce public resources?"

Public resources? Since when has a tax allowance been using up scarce public resources. My money is MY resource, not the public's!! Get back in your cage bitch.

Class! Anyway, can we privatise this piece of shit organisation now, please?

* It has been pointed out to me that this may come across as a wee bit misogynistic. What I meant was that many women in media jobs seem to be trying extra hard: whether this is because of a real or perceived paternalistic bias, I don't know. However, this woman was trying very hard and, since all four were utter fucking arseholes, she merely came over as the bitchiest fucking arsehole of the lot.

Oh, and she was massively self-obsessed as well. I don't give two fucking shits whether you want £20 a week or not, love; if you don't want to get married and you are raping my tax money for enough that £20 a week means stuff-all to you, then the very best of luck. Others aren't quite so fortunate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It can't only be me that thinks that that statue of Nelson Mandela is incredibly fucking ugly, can it?

And surely the statue should be wearing a necklace, to symbolise all the great things that his wife, Winnie, did for the anti-apartheid movement?

Guide to Political Blogging

You can now pre-order the 288 page Guide To Political Blogging In The UK 2007–'08 at Politicos—or, of course, you could wait until it appears on Amazon, in a couple of days, and then buy it through the link that I will put in the sidebar, which will earn your humble Devil a few pennies.

According to Iain Dale...
It includes 32 articles on various aspects of blogging, 52 self penned profiles of Britain's leading blogging personalities, a directory of 1200 political blogs, lists of the best Conservative, Labour, LibDem, Non Aligned, Media, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Religious and Green blogs as well as a glossary of blogging terms. It's in full colour throughout...

A couple of Iain's commenters have pointed out that there seems to be no English list of blogs and have accused him of anti-English racism (which seems a bit silly to me: all the blogs are English unless otherwise stated, surely?).

This comment by Toque is a classic, though:
Iain should really have just published The Guide to Political Blogging in England 2007 and devolved responsibility for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to Tartan Hero, Miserable Old Fart and Slugger O'Toole.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish guides could be subsidised from sales of the English guide to make them cheaper, and Scottish, Welsh and NIish bloggers could be included in the English book as well as their respective national books.

That sounds fair.


Empirecal evidence

In yet another splendid tongue-in-cheek post, The Flying Rodent addresses the issue—raised by Laban Tall at The Sharpener—of why the per capita crime rate is higher now than it was in the 1840s.
Name a random country, and there's a pretty good chance that we've sent an army there to kick fuck out of the locals and make off with their valuables. This meant that a lot of young lads who might otherwise have misspent their youth thieving on the streets of the Gorbals were instead sent out to beat some healthy respect into Johnny Foreigner.

The list of nations with whom the UK has picked fights is truly sensational, encompassing most of the globe, and even the most misty-eyed Imperialist would have to admit that most of these weren't exactly defensive actions.

I, for one, can't remember reading about young Winston dodging assegai during a Zulu assault on London, or deprivations caused by a Chinese blockade of Portsmouth.

This speaks to a seriously high level of aggression in the British character, as our former enemies can attest. Reading about Britain in the 19th century is a little like reading a version of The Lord of the Rings in which Tolkien dresses his orcs in starched uniforms and has them witter about the benefits of civilisation before they burn the Westfold.

Obviously, there is more to it than this (as The Flying Rodent acknowledges) but I think that his point is, actually, a serious one.

People were poor in the 1800s (though getting richer all the time) and one of the ways to get out of the gutter—and avoid the workhouse—was to join the British Army. And our territorial expansion meant that there was an ever-increasing demand for men to fight overseas. Further, the rewards were potentially huge: not only because one wasn't unpicking hemp for a bowl of gruel a night, but because the loot would also be added to your salary. Many soldiers went away destitute and came back very rich men (those who did come back, anyway).

Further, of course, people who had been at the very bottom of the heap in Britain suddenly found themselves part of the ruling class in the colonies. OK, they may not have been at officer level, but they were definitely ranked above the natives. This is, I imagine, one of the reasons why so many British soldiers became ex-pats and effectively settled in the countries in which they had been stationed.

Those people who demand that the young of today "need a good spell in the army to teach 'em some discipline" tend to forget that we simply don't need the kind of forces that we did under the Empire; further, of course, the potential rewards are nowhere near as great.

Fringe impressions

Robert Sharp comments on the time shift perception at the Fringe.
During the festival, it is as if the clocks in Edinburgh are put back a few hours, Edinburgh Daylight Squandering Time (EDST). In this local time-zone, 5am is the new 3am. Everywhere stays open later. This means parties and revelry finish later, which means bedtime is later, which means hang-overs are solved later… which means work starts later, which means work finishes later, which means parties and revelry start later, which means parties and revelry finish later. But the clocks go forward again tonight.

As it happens, I had a couple of drinks with Robert when he recognised me, during the first week I was up, sitting outside the Bedlam Theatre and he's a thoroughly nice chap. And entirely correct about the time-shift. Because it is not simply that places are open until 5 in the morning, but that they are also still full at kicking out time!

Leonie has some further comments on the whole malarkey.
I read somewhere today someone that someone said that, at the Edinburgh Festival, every night is like a Saturday night and every day is like a Sunday. I think that's a perfectly apt way of summing it up.

Indeed. It is a somewhat insane time, especially for those of us that both work and play during those three or four weeks plus, of course, her comment gives me an excuse to post this dated video (but still a good song).

It is difficult for the uninitiated to understand the sheer dislocation that occurs during the Fringe: time does not work in the same way, one is hanging around with people who may not be starting "work" until midnight, news of the "outside world" is utterly unimportant and everything seems to be one massive party wherein, just occasionally, you might find some small haven of peace in order to concentrate on other things (though that haven will still have a bar in it).

The NHS No Longer Exists...

because it's no longer all 'free' at the point of use.
Waiting in my doctor's reception room this morning, I noticed that those who wish to take the advices of NHS Direct must call a local rate non-geographical (0845) telephone number.
This means, of course, that you pay to call it - so it is neither technically nor ideologically nor actually free.
So that's the whole rationale of the NHS buggered, then.
Someone tell Alan Johnson.

"It is my legacy, see? My place in history."

One of the things that struck me about the long, drawn out death rattle of the Blair tenure in Number 10 was the pointless floundering and posturing done by the utterly tainted PM as he desperately tried to seek a worthwhile legacy for the history books. Of course, he couldn’t do it. By the time he actually got round to resigning, he had utterly fucked his perceptions for perpetuity through egregious blunders such as the Iraq War.

But it has occurred to me that, whilst people questioned whether Blair would be able to find a positive legacy or not in his final weeks in Number 10, everyone seemed to accept that it was his right to try to find a place in the history books. It was almost as if being Prime Minister meant you had an automatic right to try to be a key historical figure.

Actually, no. This is all completely and totally wrong. Being Prime Minister – or holding any senior role in government – does not earn you the right to seek a place in history. In fact, the mentality where senior politicians grasp at that legacy is precisely what is wrong with politics in this country. Whatever happened to the concept that you become Prime Minister – and, indeed, an MP – to try to make the country a better place to live in? When did being Prime Minister become nothing more that an ego boost for whichever slack-jawed narcissist happened to have got into Number 10?

Think about it this way. The Prime Minister is effectively the CEO of our country. How often do you hear CEOs looking for their place in history? You don’t. They would rather just get on with their job of running their company. Sure, they might try to change things when they first arrive at a company in order to make a splash, but their main focus is doing their job effectively. Not looking for a place in history to boost their egos.

We should expect the same mentality from our politicians – particularly those in senior positions. They should want to become PM so they can run the country more effectively, not so they can see their names in the history books in twenty years. And they should have the intelligence to realise that you can’t make a place in history – it comes to you with circumstance. Had he not been in the right place in the right time then Churchill would be remembered as a political underachiever who couldn’t decide which side of the Commons he wanted to sit on. He didn’t go out and create World War Two to get a legacy – he responded to the circumstances of the day.

Because when you do try to go out to make a place in history, that’s when things tend to go wrong. Witness Blair’s attempts to become a War Prime Minister – Iraq will be his legacy, but it won’t be a positive one. And this flawed mentality is not just displayed by members of the Labour party – one of the reasons why that corpulent fuck Ted Heath took us into Europe was to ensure history remembered him.* The Prime Minister should be happy just to manage the country if all that is required is to just manage the country. He or she shouldn’t be trying to mould events to get a legacy.

And I would go so far as to say we should bar from High Office in this country anyone who even thinks in terms of their place in history. They should want to be PM for more worthy reasons than massaging their flaccid egos by getting positively assessed tweed wearing academics in fifty years time.

*And, indeed, history does remember him. As a dick.

The Independent analyses the apparent attempted suicide of Owen Wilson with all the subtlety and sensitivity of Satan himself manning the phones at the Samaritans, seeing what sort of a suicide tally he can run up for shits and giggles.

Of course, it is all very much holier than thou – The Independent can stand in judgement of not only Hollywood, but the media as a whole. They even have the temerity to use the phrase "to get the media vultures to back off". Hmmm. Something doesn’t seem right about their article. What is it, what could it be? Oh, yeah, The Independent is doing a rather wonderful impression of being a media vulture itself.

See, I agree that Hollywood could be an insensitive and dehumanising place to work. But my office can be a dehumanising and insensitive place to work. I think every workplace can be. I make the choice to work here, just as Wilson makes the choice to work in Hollywood. And I appreciate his problems may not be money related, but at £10m a flick, Wilson is far better rewarded for enduring his workplace than I am.

But what really does my head in about this article is best summed up by the final paragraph. In full, it reads:
"What happens to him now is anybody's guess; the answer probably needs to be found by Wilson himself along with his doctors, his family, his friends and his shrink. If he found himself overwhelmed by the relentless and inhumanity of Hollywood, though, the reaction to his hospitalisation is hardly going to reassure him that things will be better from here on out."
Yes, The Independent have the audacity to criticise the speculation surrounding Wilson’s hospitalisation and to note that such Hollywood practices might make his recovery more difficult – having written about 1500 words of frigging speculation! I don’t know what is worse – the complete lack of self-awareness of The Independent, or the fact that their readers allow them to get away with such unthinking shite.

I hope Owen Wilson gets the help he needs. And I hope that somehow someone makes it utterly apparent to every half-baked, pseudo-journalist working for The Independent and their patronising ilk what unremitting shit stains they undeniably are.
Unity comments on British street gangs.
Fuck all this banal wittering about to ‘fixing’ a society that isn’t broken in the first place, the message we really need to get across to these young people is that its really not cool to be a member of a street gang because you’ve got absolutely no sense of style and you look like a complete cunt.

They are poor rip-offs of the American gangs: and they ain't very good at it. As Unity says, that's you, that is...

Temperature Graphs: we are still being lied to

There's an interesting guest post, over at An Englishman's Castle, in which Willis Eschenbach analyses some of the temperature graphs and looks at the Parker et al. paper [PDF] that discusses the levels of... er... adjustments which have been made to raw temperature records in central England.

Much like Bishop Hill—who described his results, with typical understatement, as "a bit fishy"—Eschenbach has found some very strange anomalies.
Once again, questions arise. You would expect the UHI adjustment (which began in 1980) to be relatively smooth. Instead, there is an adjustment of about 0.3°C around 1980, and then no further adjustment until 1997. At that point, there is an abrupt adjustment of about 0.65°, followed by a steep climb. These adjustments seem quite odd.

Again, this is something of an understatement. I would say that the results are a little more than "odd": at best they are deeply incompetent. At worst, they represent a deliberate falsifying of the data to show that global warming is actually occuring.

Now, why one earth would anyone wish to do such a thing? I can't imagine...

The Electoral Commission just won't let it go

The fucking Electoral Commission—y'know, that bunch of fucks who couldn't be arsed to stir themselves over the Cash For Honours, nor over the £2.4 million donated to the LibDems by an offshore convicted fraudster, nor over the vast amounts of electoral fraud and fuck-ups in the Scottish elections—are, as predicted, determined to screw UKIP; so they are appealing against the ruling that UKIP only need repay a fraction of the donation made by a British resident with no fraud convictions.
The Electoral Commission is to appeal against a ruling that UKIP should repay only a fraction of £367,697 it received in "impermissible donations".

Earlier this month a district judge ruled the party should pay back £18,481 - but found the breach was accidental.

But the Electoral Commission said it was disappointed and was appealing in order to clarify the law on donations.

The Electoral Commission sees absolutely no difference, I should stress, between the three big parties and the smaller ones. Naturally, of course, the EC are doing this for our own good.
"We are disappointed that the court did not order forfeiture of all the donations in question which, by UKIP's own admission, were impermissible," it said.

Well, it's an interesting question, isn't it? UKIP's position was that Alan Bown was a British resident, and has been for all of his life: the relevant law states that the legislation is designed to stop foreign powers having any control over British elections (and rightly so). In the case of Alan Bown, this is clearly not the case: he is not foreign, his companies are not foreign and he is resident in Britain.

Unlike, for instance, fraudster and liar Michael Brown—who was involved in some rather dodgy dealings before he gave £2.4 million to the LibDems—who was resident overseas and who donated the cash through a non-trading British shell company in direct contravention of not only the letter but also the spirit of this legislation.

Let us remind ourselves of what the Electoral Commission said then, shall we?
"The Electoral Commission has previously made clear its view that it was reasonable for the Liberal Democrats - based on the information available to them at the time - to regard the donations they received from 5th Avenue Partners Ltd in 2005, totaling just over £2.4m, as permissible.

It remains the Commissions view that the Liberal Democrats acted in good faith at that time, and the Commission is not re-opening the question of whether the party or its officers failed to carry out sufficient checks into the permissibility of the donations."

Anyone see a mild discrepancy here? After all, at the time that UKIP received the donations from Alan Bown, they were acting in good faith. And why is the EC asking of UKIP (a small party with a part-time Treasurer) "whether the party or its officers failed to carry out sufficient checks into the permissibility of the donations" and not the LibDems? There is clear partiality here.

Still, as UKIP leader Nigel Farage said, after the verdict:
"We have always admitted that we made mistakes over these donations, but they were human error, rather than evasion.

"Other parties have full time treasurers and receive money from the tax payer towards running costs, but a small party like UKIP does not have these luxuries."

Quite clearly this is the case and the lack of a full-time Treasurer is something of an issue but, on limited funds, what is a party to do, eh?

But the EC are atill ranting on.
"As it is the first time that the law on forfeiture of impermissible donations has been tested in court, we believe it is important to clarify the law in this area."

Um, hello? Mr Electoral Commission? The law has been tested in court; it was tested in court and you lost. Do you see?
"We will continue to intervene when parties haven't complied with the law, to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process."

Fuck that, you bunch of fucking spastics: go and crawl back under your rocks! You just keep drawing those fat, quangocrat salaries and pensions, you bastards, and fuck right off. Oh, and get yourself some decent legal advice too, because you were quite obviously in the wrong over this case.

You are wasting taxpayers' money pursuing a case that should never have come to court in the first place, whilst ignoring the far more dodgy practices of the Big Three parties. Go fuck yourselves: all you care about is your jobs. You know damn fucking well that if you went after one of the Big Three and they ended up in government, you fucks would all be pensioned off before you could say, "impermissable!"

There is no "public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process" because our democratic process involves cheating, lying politico scum. In fact, you EC cunts pretty much summarise everything that is wrong with our democracy: a lack of accountability, coupled with innate corruption, a petty-fogging desire to abide by the letter and not the spirit of the law and, above all, a sly and avaricious selfishness that ensures that the only real concern that you have is to ensure that you continue in your cushy job and retain your gold-plated benefits.

Fuck off, you perfidious cunts: there is little that we can do to restore people's faith in our democracy, but abolishing the corrupt, venal and party-partial Electoral Commission might be a really positive step.

Dale Watch

Your humble Devil has a whole host of things that he wants to pick up on, and so I will start with a couple of bits from young Master Iain Dale.

The first is amusing, for it is Iain laying into the Tories which is always an entertaining thing to read. And, in this case, he has good reason: Gummer is (and always has been) a fucking idiot.
What sane politician would actually try to cap ALL airport expansion in the three main airports in the country?

In addition to preventing these - and presumably other - airports from expanding, he wants to take the first step to abolishing all domestic flights by putting VAT on them. If I thought he wanted to stop there I wouldn't be so worried, but make no mistake, he agrees with Tim Yeo that domestic flights should be done away with completely (apart from the ones Yeo takes to play golf, of course). There is a slight problem, though, in that we don't have the rail (or indeed road) capacity to replace those flights.

Tim Yeo is a fucking faithless cunt and I laid into his stupidity at the time. You'll remember that Mr Yeo said that...
What we should be doing is tackling the domestic flights first. There is no reason at all why people should fly around the UK, fly from London to Edinburgh, London to Scotland, London to Glasgow, London to Manchester, London to Newcastle. Those flights should be knocked out. What we should do is tax domestic flights so heavily and use the money to improve the railways so that in five years time everyone is choosing to go by train within the UK.

I then pointed out that Yeo was probably endorsed by Cameron and his husky-hugging friends.
Mr Yeo is a fucking idiot of the first water; one must assume that his remarks are endorsed by the massive-foreheaded cunt Cameron and no doubt supported by the new, green Conservatives. What a bunch of fucking wankers the Tory leadership are.

Our political masters are proposing to tax us to buggery on the flimsiest of science, they salve their consciences by buying Carbon Points with our fucking money and then, nauseatingly, they turn around and tell us it's for our own good! What the fuck is going on?

And it seems that, on this occasion, Master Dale agrees with me.
These proposals are gesture politics of the worst sort. They give the impression of being highly enviornmentally friendly in order to add weight to the VOTE BLUE GO GREEN image, but in reality they are right out of the Liberal Democrat manual of looney tune policies.

If you stop any development of the big three airports all that will happen is that trade will be transfered to overseas hubs like Schiphol. People will then take short haul flights back to London - or - and it's a big or - they may just not bother and transfer their business to a city with good transport links.

I'm tired of politicians of all parties thinking that taxes are the answer to everything. The Conservatives say that increases in green taxes will be offset by tax cuts elsewhere, but it's clear that this won't be the case for everyone. The answer to so many environmental questions is to provide incentives not punishments. Why is it that so few politicians 'get' this?

These proposals will damage the economy of London and the South East, reduce economic activity and lead to job losses. There's nothing Conservative about that. It's the economics of the puerile to suggest that airports who are taxed won't pass the cost onto the customer. So the dear old tax payer is hit with a good old double whammy.

The Tories are looking increasingly unhinged, and especially on the issue of climate change and the environment. I simply cannot stress enough that anthropogenic global warming is a theory, and nothing more. Indeed, it seems that a good number of cracks are beginning to appear in the theory that there is any warming actually going on, let alone the idea that it is humans who are causing it.

Worryingly, our politicians seems to be proposing the severe curtailment of our life, liberty and property on some extremely dodgy science.

Still, it is not simply the scientists who seem to be doing some severely dodgy thinking, as demonstrated by Iain's comment on Waitrose's latest adverts.
Have you seen that new Waitrose advert? The one that has Love me Tender as the theme and ends with the caption "Supporting British Farmers", as Elvis sings "And I always will". As Mr Royal might say, 'supporting British farmers, my arse'. I'm surprised it made it through the Advertising Standards Authority checks for accuracy. For one moment I thought it said 'extorting British farmers'. For most supermarkets that would be a far more accurate slogan, and I doubt whether Waitrose is any different to the others.

Er... It seems that Iain seems to be a wee bit confused and many people have accused him, in the comments, of not believing in free markets.
UPDATE: I'm amazed at the comments on this thread and the number of people who attribute views to me I just do not have. Of course I believe in free markets. But the big supermarkets do not operate in a free market. They use their huge power to subvert the free market of supply. In other words they use their might to blackmail small suppliers.

Well, you might well argue so, Iain; interestingly, of course, farmers are not short of unions through which they might present a united bargaining front. But that, of course, is not the real point.

The real point is that farmers also do not operate in a free market: they are massively subsidised by the taxpayers of this country through the CAP. As such, I have very little sympathy for what might have been described as "the farmers' plight". That the supermarkets force produce prices down so that those massive subsidies don't stop people getting food is a good thing.

Of course, were the farmers not so massively subsidised, they would not be willing to sell their products at such a low price and might just... well... raise their prices.

Neither of these two parties are necessarily operating in a free market: but of the two, it is the supermarkets who are most in the right. They do not, ultimately, force the people of this country to subsidise them in the way that the farmers do (or, rather, the EU forces us to).

Can we leave yet?

UPDATE: more on supermarkets from David Davis at the Libertarian Alliance.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuppence Ten pence for your thoughts?

Your humble Devil is, once more, back in London. Having been unable to pay various cheques in (and having had to fork out for various unforeseen expenses in Edinburgh), your humble Devil is a little short of cash for a couple of days.

However, he was delighted to find that he had 48p in 2p and 1p pieces which, accompanied with his 30p in silver, would allow him to buy some milk and cheap noodles. Hoorah!

Alas, it was not to be: the shopkeeper at the local corner shop would take nothing smaller than 10p pieces. Is this allowed? One must imagine so.

It does raise an interesting question, however, and one which I have been considering for some time: are coppers about to become entirely redundant? After all, penny sweets do not really exist anymore and even tuppenny sweets are becoming ever rarer. Inflation did away with the 1/2 penny piece back in the 80s: are pennies and two pennies going to go the same way?

Surely, when it gets to the point when traders will no longer accept the relatively small quantity of coppers that I proffered, this small change has already become—effectively—worthless.

And if traders stop taking coppers as payment, at what point should we stop accepting them in our change?

Fisk of the day

While the Devil makes his weary way back down from Edinburgh, here's the Reactionary Snob doing a quite splendid job of eviscerating Polly's latest broadside at the forces of common sense:
The ICM poll's first finding that most people think the courts are too soft is no surprise. People always think judges mad when verdicts are reported with no details of the case.

Polly Toynbee having a pop at people for jumping to conclusions without any supporting evidence. If things got any more ironic the space-time continuum would warp so badly I'd end up wanting to fornicate with her.
Recent research finds people are clueless about the current tariff of punishments. But they advocate sentences that are precisely the same as the ones judges actually hand down.

And who published this research? The Nonsense Brigade? The Horseshit Alliance? The Society For The Publication of Bollocks? Most Brits are a) in favour of tougher sentences b) in favour of the death penalty c) in favour of 'lock 'em up for life' d) in favour of ripping the balls off paedophiles.

Glorious stuff - go over and enjoy...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Search term of the day, or possibly the year; yes, someone has come to The Kitchen with the following search term: british girls are stiff arsed repressive lesbians

For what it's worth, I don't think that's the case...!

Sam Leith On Learco Chindamo

In today's 'Telegraph', Leith writes,
"Born in Italy, Learco Chindamo has spent 21 of his 26 years on earth in the United Kingdom. Irrespective of what passport he holds, Learco Chindamo bears a "Made in the UK" stamp as unmistakeably as if he had a Kitemark on his buttock or a Red Lion egg stamp on his unappealing bonce. Like it or not, he's a product of this country. There's no particular reason we shouldn't be lumped with him."
The fact that — what is it? 9? 10? — of those 21 years have been spent in jail serving life for murder seems to have escaped Leith's analysis; but I really do have to disagree with his assertion of Chindamo's Red, White and Blue Britishness.
Chindamo, the product of a marriage contracted in Italy between a violent Italian criminal and a Filippina mother, was only here in the first place because of his father's habitual domestic violence. Having been exposed to what was presumably a better life, he took the decision to emulate his father and murdered a public servant of some distinction (Disclosure - being the son of a retired headmaster, I do not like headmaster killers).
One can't help but wonder whether, if he had behaved in the same way had he been born to British parents on any washed up sink estate anywhere in Britain, the likes of Mr. Leith would spare him a second thought.
I have become a recent convert to the cause of the Iraqi interpreters; and one would hope that the same passion might be exhibited for the cause of 'Chindamo Out' as has been on display for 'Iraqis In'.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Iraq Farce

From The Telegraph:
Brig Gen John Bednarek, who commands forces in Diyala province, told CNN that "democratic institutions are not necessarily the way ahead in the long-term future".
So, just to recap, there were no WMDs and now senior members of the US military are talking about a future for Iraq without democracy.

No WMDs and no Democracy. And bitter sectarian violence. Sounds a lot like life under Saddam.

Just remind me: why, precisely, are we fighting this war?

Blog navelgazing

The Conservative Party Reptile has a reasonable assessment of the state of the British political blogosphere. I would take issue with one point.
Putting that more clearly - blogging is largely an anti-establishment thing, and the left are currently the establishment.

This is temporary and reversible. Read the Goldberg file from the 1990s, and indeed the Drudge report and the Instapundit and 101 other right-leaning blogs from the Clinton era. The wisdom at the time was that the right were on top, and the Democrats were just useless at this internet thing. Spool on through two Republican presidencies and the story is the opposite - Web 2.0 is supposed to be all about the Democrats.
But ultimately, the trends of the internet will all look very different if and when a Conservative Government comes into power.

Now, it may be that I will be proven wrong, but I do not believe that the Left will come to dominate. Britain is rather different from the US, its politics not so polarised. The real dominant force in British political blogging is that of the libertarians and the Conservatives are not libertarian (indeed, it can be argued that they have become even less so than they were).

Whilst the Conservative Iain Dale may find less to complain about, I am not sure that Guido necessarily will (although perhaps a Conservative government will prove a litmus test?). But these two are only the biggest; it is the libertarians who are the widest.

Your humble Devil will, of course, continue to lambast all corrupt, ignorant and perfidious politicians of whatever stripe, party, sex or race. I have no doubt that the vast majority of my libertarian blogging colleagues will also continue to do so: after all, we will always be anti-establishment; a minarchist libertarian is, almost by definition, anti-state and, until the state abolishes itself, peeling away the rotting flesh and leaving only the core, we will continue to attack and savage it.

And the state will never abolish itself voluntarily, so we libertarians will always be here.

Yet more climate change crap

Highlighted over at EU Referendum is yet another example of the stupidity of the anthropogenic climate change lobby; the first is a report from a June 2005 edition of LiveScience.
"Global warming makes North Atlantic less salty"

And the second article is from The New Scientist, August 2007, which breathlessly proclaims the opposite.
"Global warming makes North Atlantic more salty"

These people will claim anything, eh? Even if one accepts that each of these articles in not an outrightly mendacious attempt to shore up the AGW theory—and, of course, the fat wads of funding that accompany that myth—the only other conclusion that we can draw is that the sceintists don't have a fucking clue what they are measuring or, indeed, how the global climate actually works.

If they cannot even agree, in a period of two years, whether the Atlantic is getting saltier or not, why should we believe these idiots when they predict catastrophe deriving from the rise in levels of a gas that only makes up, on average, 0.003% of our atmosphere?

Whether we do believe them or not, we certainly should think really, really carefully before committing trillions of pounds to fighting a problem which may not actually exist. Especially when the costs are now expected to be higher than we initially thought.
As Booker reported last Sunday, Prof William Nordhaus, of Yale, has just published calculations showing that cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on the scale proposed by Gore might possibly save $12 trillion (£12,000bn) - but that their cost would be nearly three times as much, $34 trillion, more than half the world's GDP.

These are truly terrifying figures and we should be very wary of committing this cash on the say-so of a bunch of people who don't know what the fuck they are playing at.

If things go on like this I won't HAVE any goats.

The lunatics are running the asylum, as usual.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Transformers - There Is Just No Excuse For It

This has been bothering me for a while, but with other, more conventionally comment worthy stories flying around, I have held off posting it. But reading this article tipped the balance for me. I don’t care about the war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray – frankly the words mean next to nothing to me. What really makes me irate is this comment from film “director” Michael Bay:

"So I think I might be back on to do Transformers 2!"
Memo to Bay – please do go and fuck yourself. Spend the rest of your miserable excuse for a life in bed, masturbating furtively into the bed sheets. Because even if you did spend the rest of your life pleasuring yourself like a hyperactive teenage boy on speed, you still wouldn’t produce such a large pile of toss as the utterly worthless Transformers movie.

I mean, I have seen some shit in the cinema. I sat through Wes Craven’s Wishmaster, slowly realising that the tag “Wes Craven’s…” attached to any film is a by-word for “this film is reprehensible shite”. I sat through every one of the interminable Lord of the Rings trilogy, wondering whether it was possible to choke myself to death on popcorn rather than having to endure another hour of tedious conversations between irritating hobbits in the various uninhabited backwaters of New Zealand. And somehow I made it through the embarrassing mess that was Spiderman 3, somehow managing to hide my disappointment that whilst they spent a fortune on that film, they somehow managed to forget to pay for a script.

But none of them compared with the terrible pile of unmitigated crap that was Transformers. Genuinely, it was the worst thing I have ever seen at the cinema. The cheap and cheerful cartoon looked like the very best of Stanley Kubrick next to the big old bag of bollocks that was Transformers. The fact he was adapting a cartoon for the silver screen is no excuse*. In fact, there is no excuse at all for a film being this bad.

The script was beyond patronising. The special effects were completely wasted. The characters were poorly sketched to say the least – in fact, I would say they were so poor that they were sketched by a blind man with no hands. And as for the worst moment, there are so many it is nearly impossible to say. What about the cliched soldiers, preaching that sometimes fighting is the only real thing to do, and sometimes civilians must become soldiers whether they want to or not? Or how about the sack of shit beginning, filled with waffle about the Cube and the Allspark, without actually explaining what those fucking things actually fucking are to those in the audience who haven’t spent their adult lives shut in darkened bedrooms, reading Transformer comics over and over again? I could cite the moment when the Autobots hide in the hero’s house from the hero’s parents, like extras in “American Pie 17 – Yet More Jokes About Pie Fucking”; or the moment where the hard as nails, screeching evil robot who managed to take out several secret service agents is decapitated by a high-school girl. Or how about the shots of said high school girl that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a soft-porn movie?

If you forced me to chose one outstandingly bad moment from the litany of terrible, cliché ridden scenes that make up that movie, I would have to go with the one that shows just how stupid the film makers feel their audience is. When the convoy of Autobots are travelling to the city for the final showdown with the evil, and largely absent from the movie, Decepticons, Optimus Prime is seen driving on the other direction, for reasons that defy understanding**, in his distinctive lorry disguise. And what do we hear a character say? “Look, it is Optimus Prime!”
Yes we fucking well know it is fucking Optimus fucking Prime! You know it is Optimus Prime! We can all see the fucker on the screen, you patronising cunts!

And why, oh why, when you could pretty much write the entire script on the back of a beer mat, was the film about three hours long? You could have done the story justice in a half hour slot, and even then it still would have felt padded. By stretching out for as long as possible, the film seemed to last for several years rather than several hours. When I emerged, broken and blinking into the daylight, part of me genuinely wondered whether I would be seeing a strange new world after spending the best part of the decade wondering when this film was going to end, and whether I was going to break my life-long rule and walk out of a film halfway through.

Michael Bay – you shouldn’t be allowed to make Transformers 2. You shouldn’t be allowed near another film set for the rest of your days. In fact, you should be dragged through the streets behind a Peterbilt truck before being immolated in a public square for your various crimes against the cinema. The terrible Joe D’Amato could have made a better job of Transformers than you, Bay, and he’s been dead since 1999.

*However if you do want to go and seen a good big screen adaptation of a cartoon see The Simpsons Movie. 89 minutes, funny, and very much a faithful adaptation of the source material.
**OK, OK - there may be reasons, but frankly I had given up caring what they were by this point in the film.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My goat has been got.

Meet Colin Read.

Imagine, if you will, the following:

You're a management consultant aged 25, married to a medical student.

You get married in June 2006.

On September 19th 2006 you find that your wife hasn't made your sandwiches for the next day, so you slash her foot with a knife and then beat her up when she protests.

On September 20th 2006 she tries to talk to you about what happened and you beat her up again.

Eight days later, when you find your favourite palm-tree print shirt is unironed, you grab the hot iron and press it twice against your wife's back, branding the steam holes into her skin.

Your wife is so scared of you that she doesn't call the police or go to the hospital. Her friend tells the police what happened, and even then she is so frightened of you that she has to be summonsed to court to give evidence under threat of arrest for contempt.

You tell the police that your wife is "self harming", and then later you concede that it is "possible" that you might have attacked her but you "can't remember".

You maintain this bollocks through a three-day jury trial at the end of which you are convicted of 3 counts of causing actual bodily harm.

Gentle Reader, what sort of sentence do you think you might get after beating and torturing your wife over a period of ten days, lying about it to the police, subsequently half-admitting it, compelling your terrified wife to give evidence against you in court and costing the taxpayer three days of court time that it can ill-afford?

Well, apparently:

The judge said it was the circumstances of the marriage that had provoked Read and... now those circumstances had gone, sending him to prison would 'help no one'".

No prison, no suspended sentence, not even a community sentence lest it eat into your working hours.

You get a £2000 fine.

Which is fine, because you're earning £90,000 a year.

Abusive husbands and partners take note: if your wife doesn't iron your favourite shirt when you tell her to, £2000 buys you the right to brand her with the iron.

Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. If you, like Colin Read, were provoked by the "circumstances" of your marriage.

Monday, August 20, 2007

As regular readers may know, your humble Devil is—as he used to be one*—absolutely fascinated in the subject of stars. He would like to draw your attention to an interesting anomalous object that has been located near, in galactic terms, to Earth.
If confirmed, it would be only the eighth known "isolated neutron star" - meaning a neutron star that does not have an associated supernova remnant, binary companion, or radio pulsations.

And do go and read the rest of the short article for an example of astronomers' humour.

* Lucifer can be roughly translated as "morning star".

Helping keep the Africans ignorant

As we all know, and as has been heavily documented at The Kitchen, Britain must have one of the most useless and ineffective education systems in the world.

Last year, for instance, 148,000 pupils failed to get a GCSE grade higher than a D; 28,000—almost 1 in 20—failed to gain a qualification of any kind.

Need one point out that this is a fucking shocking state of affairs? Need one reiterate the fact that our education system is fucking up the lives of our young people; that we are totally fucking destroying the chnaces of many hundreds of thousands of our young people?

Well, apparently, not content with screwing the children of Britain, our government has decided to totally bugger, lubeless, the children of Africa too.
For too long, the centralised, top-down approach to running education has been holding pupils back. Remarkably, the UK government has been interfering in Kenya’s school system, becoming the largest funder of Kenyan primary education.

Wow! We are helping those poor, benighted kiddiewinks and helping Africa on the way to Western-style prosperity! Right? Er, not quite...
The effect has been to force many high-quality indigenous Kenyan schools to close their doors, replaced by lower-quality UK-funded ones. The policy has been a fiasco.

Fuck me, what a surprise! I didn't see that coming, eh? But wait!—could we have done it any better? Er, yes...
Had the UK offered vouchers instead, they would have been able provide funding without undermining the existing school infrastructure.

In fact, had we adopted the kind of system that would vastly improve our own ailing (nearly-dead) education programme, we could have helped. In fact, had we listened to the Cato Institute, then we might have done some good, instead of fucking up the Kenyan children as well as our own.

Now, surely, if there is one good thing that the UN might do, perhaps it should decide which countries are fit to give aid, according to how their own public services score. If that were the case, surely Britain would not have been let anywhere near the African education system.

In fact, our own system would probably score an F (that means "Fail", y'see) and maybe, just maybe, this might have shamed our politicians into sorting out their own disgraceful failure of Britain's young people, rather than throwing taxpayers' money away in helping to perpetuate ignorance in the countries that can least afford it.

For fuck's sake, what a bunch of evil, socialist cunts they are.

Don't be stupid, Darling!

Alistair Darling: looks like a particularly sinister, kiddie-fiddling version of Buddy Kane, the "real estate king" from American Beauty.

Via Mr Eugenides, who is suitably scornful, Freedom and Whisky was somewhat incensed at something that our new Gobblin' King Yes-man Chancellor said on the radio; in fact, Darling must be going for DK's coveted Total And Utter Fuckwit Of The Week Award.
I just heard my MP on the radio a few minutes ago. He was talking about the Tory noises about tax cuts.

Darling said:
Take £21 billion out of the economy and it's bound to have an effect.

Does the Chancellor really think that the economy consists solely of the state sector?

Seriously, what the fucking crap is going on? Are these avaricious morons really so utterly obtuse that they sincerely believe that removing burdens on business will ensure that there will be less money in the economy? If anything, it will increase economic growth.

This is so fucking stupid on so many levels.
  1. Reducing regulation and red tape, and thus allowing businesses to keep more of their productive cash is not taking money out of the economy.

  2. The public sector is the least productive part of the economy. Each pound that disappears into the Treasury has the spending power equivalent of 30p, because the state is so fucking useless.

  3. Businesses will spend their own money far more efficiently than the state and so, as David says, there will be a net benefit to the economy.

All of these are just different ways of saying the same thing; that Alistair Darling is a Grade A fuckwit with all of the economic faculty of a particularly stupid dildo (and, like said object, he spends more time at Gordon's brown-eye, tickling Brown's arrogant little G-spot, than he does doing anything productive).
What's being proposed is the transfer of money from the less productive part of the economy to the more productive part with a resulting increase in overall welfare.


If this is a true indication of the Darling's calibre, then I think we may have found ourselves a new Patsy...
Britblog Roundup #131 is up now.

Go and peruse the gems of this week's blogging.

We Can't Turn Them Away - Do Something

Further to DK's previous post on this topic, and indeed my own, and further inspired by uncharacteristically political noises emanating from a shed in deepest Norfolk today, I just wrote to my MP telling her to bloody well offer those Iraqis some asylum. Or else.

You should do that too. I mean, if you want to that is. Yes Martin I know you don't want to. But this needn't affect our friendship.

If you go to Dan Hardie's site, he tells you:
  1. how to find your MP, and

  2. how to write to your MP without even getting up from your computer, and even

  3. what to say in your letter.

Best to try and draft your own letter like what I did, rather than copying and pasting the template. But every little helps.
Quote of the day, taken from Perry de Havilland's critique of our government's obvious decision to cut and run from Iraq.
I thought the one thing the damn state was capable of was waging wars, particularly ones of its own choosing. If it cannot even do that, what the hell use is it? Even less than I thought, and that is saying something.

I am sure that the Gobblin' King will find some way to spin this as a victory. Or, at least, it will be hilarious watching him try...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An entertaining sighting of Neil and Christine Hamilton in the Pleasance Brookes Bar just now; the dynamic duo sang happy birthday to some random lassie which, I imagine, made her night.

"We're off!" sang Neil, in fruity and mildly slurred tones (though both adjectives are commonly applied during the Fringe, not least to your humble Devil). Rarely a truer word spoken, Neil; you are certainly a wee bit off...

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...