Thursday, January 31, 2008

He's a real Conway man

It seems that Derek Conway will not be putting himself up for reselection at the next General Election; further he is facing suspension (on full pay, I assume) and the prospect of having to repay some £13,000. Oh dear, what a pity, how sad.

The man did at least have the decency to go with a bit of grace though.
I have had tremendous support from my local party, my family and friends but have concluded that it is time to step down. I stand by what I have said in relation to the report by the Commissioner of Standards and do not wish to add to those comments at this time. Since joining the Conservative Party nearly 40 years ago I have had the privilege of serving in public office since 1974 and have done so to the best of my ability.

I have advised the Chief Whip and the chairman of my local Conservative Association that I shall not seek to continue as the Conservative Party Candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup at the next election. Though not an original supporter of David Cameron for the leadership of my party, I believe that he has shown he has both the ability and the character to be Prime Minister of our country and I do not wish my personal circumstances to be a distraction in any way from the real issues that have to be addressed.

No bitching and whining, no backstabbing or skeleton rattling (as yet, anyway), for which he wins a bit of kudos from me. It doesn't alter the fact that his is a thieving, fraudulent bastard though. But Iain Dale thinks that the spectacle has been unedifying (whereas I, you see, find it highly amusing).
The last forty hours have not shown the Conservative Party in its best light. The baying mob is something I hope not to see again for a very long time. Whatever Derek did or did not do he did not deserve some of the comments that have been thrown his way.

Conway was in a position of trust and he quite deliberately defrauded the taxpayer.

What was it that people were saying about Hain?—"No ifs, no buts", wasn't it? As far as I am concerned, Conway deserves precisely the same comments as any other thief would get from me: whether Labour, LibDem, Tory or ordinary scrote.

I also liked HF's comment at Iain's place.
The baying mob could have been avoided if Conway had had the sense to have announced all this when the report came out.

Of course, Conway wouldn't have needed to announce anything if he had not quite deliberately decided to steal money from the taxpayer so there would have been no baying mob.

Unfortunately, Conway decided to spend other people's money so that he and his family could afford an affluent lifestyle beyond the wildest dreams of most people: fundamentally, the decision that he made when he decided to purloin that cash was what brought out the baying mob.

In his Heffer Confronted video, Iain attempts to justify his friend's actions by using the "administrative errors" defence. Let us assume that this is, in fact, the case; that he was not actively dishonest. Well, that won't cut it, I'm afraid: he is being totally cavalier with our fucking money and so should not be allowed anywhere near it.

Either way, he is theoretically unfit to be a representative of the people; in practice, of course, he fits right in with the rest of the crooks in the Commons.

Last night, I happened to be watching some stuff on the BBC's iPlayer, and happened to catch The Late Edition, in which Marcus Brigstocke absolutely lambasts Conway. I have reproduced the relevent bits below. Do watch it: it's like Brigstocke has been channelling the poor, little Greek boy.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unspeakable Cunt Of The Day: Dr Rowan Williams

Many fine people have come from Wales: Sir Anthony Hopkins, for instance, or Donald Swann. However, Wales has also produced its fair share of total cunts too: one immediately thinks, for instance, of Neil "Welsh Windbag" Kinnock and his equally awful family—turds of the very first water.

Wales also produced today's Spectacularly Unspeakable Cunt Of The Day.
In the James Callaghan Memorial lecture, Dr Williams challenged the argument that free speech must always prevail, saying that society had to protect the sensibilities of people who were not in a position to defend themselves.

"It is one thing to deny a sacred point of reference for one's own moral or social policies; it is another to refuse to entertain - or imagine - what it might be for someone else to experience the world differently," he said.

"And behind this is the nagging problem of what happens to a culture in which, systematically, nothing is sacred."

Whilst it might be amusing that one useless bastard might be speaking at a lecture named after another totaly useless bastard—with all due respect, i.e. none—go fuck yourself, Williams. As Harry Haddock says...
You are a bastard of the highest order. I will not deny myself and others free speech in order that you can worship a sky fairy, others can worship kiddy fiddlers, or Tom Cruse can worship aliens.

Lots of people think your religions are at best shit, and at worst fucking evil. Many others think that you and your kind are twats for putting on various styles of frocks and mumbling nonsense to a non-existent entity every so often. I may or may not think this; it isn’t relevant.

What is relevant is that I have every right to say such things, irrespective of your sensibilities, just as I have a right to call Gordon Brown a one eyed evil cunt irrespective of how that makes his wife feel.

So yes, free speech must always prevail. Now piss off.

Quite so. The only good thing about Dr Rowan Williams is that, being a Christian, once I've stabbed him in one side of his face, he has to turn the other cheek so I can easily pierce the other side of his smug, hairy twat-face.

And then we can start calling him "Kit" Williams. As in "assembly kit". As in one lamp-post; one length of rope; one illiberal, Welsh, Archbishop of Canterbury: some assembly required.

Promotional promotion

It seems that young Master Worstall has gained yet more recognition, being elevated to what is, surely, one of the highest positions in the land.
I’ve just been appointed as a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute.

An honour and an ornament, not worthy etc.

The major benefit (and one explicitly intended) is that when approaching a commissioning editor I actually have a handle to use, something to say in response to the inevitable "Well, who are you then?"

Can a peerage be far behind?

A private function

Your humble Devil has been meaning to flag up this excellent post, by Tom Paine, on the state of medicine—and, in particular, those leaving that profession—for some time. I recommend that you go and read the whole of Tom's post to get the full thrust of his argument.
One of many reasons I never expect to return to the UK is that—after experiencing excellent care from polite and courteous private doctors abroad—I could not face standing in line with bored pensioners filling their days, malingerers looking to be signed off work and others that I would cheerfully pay good money to avoid. All this, just to get five minutes with a GP who would probably not look up from his desk. Yet starting a private service to sell their hard-earned skills for profit simply does not occur to these bright young people.

They are gifted, intelligent and well-placed to serve their fellow man. Their potential for a satisfying, rewarding career is enormous. Yet they feel impotent in the face of state incompetence and bleat like unemployed dockers. Yes it's difficult to compete with "free" services. Yes most people will stand in line rather than pay. But in business you don't need everyone to be your customer; just enough people. A substantial minority would pay a premium for time, attention and courtesy. Why does that not occur to these talented, presumably highly-intelligent individuals?

The problem may be that in choosing medicine in the first place, they had already ruled out a life in business. Their most likely career path was into the socialised health service, so presumably that (to me) grim prospect was appealing? Perhaps they see themselves as "caring" types and are snooty about "money-grubbing." Perhaps, in short, like so many in Britain, their spirits have been neutered by Socialist indoctrination.

Tom quite correctly points out that many people would happily pay to see a GP and, indeed, there are private practices out there (that one's in Scotland, no less). His services do not come "free", but neither are they expensive. In fact, they are rather less than one would pay to a plumber or an electrician. So, why is it that these trainee doctors bleat, as Tom puts it, "like unemployed dockers"?

As Mr Paine points out, those who leave the profession are pissing away an expensive qualification which is, to a great extent, paid for by taxpayers; indeed, as Doctor Crippen consistently points out, it cost some £250,000 to train a doctor. I wonder, would these young medical students be less inclined to throw their qualifications away were we to charge them for the cost of their qualification? Possibly.

Long-term readers will know that, for personal reasons, the idea that a doctor should qualify and then chuck away that opportunity enrages your humble Devil for personal reasons. On a purely philosophical level, that someone should come so far in such a demanding and valuable (both financially and in the matter of potential future earnings and future good that might be done) profession and then quit is quite simply ridiculous.
These unemployed new doctors blistered their brains studying to qualify in a demanding profession. Outside Soviet Britain, it is perhaps the most respected and valued profession of all. If they don't want to cash in on their investment by emigrating, why don't they just "hang a shingle" and offer private services?

Quite. Medicine is a vocation: had I not buggered up Chemistry A Level and had thus entered UCL to study medicine, I would not have left because I felt that the NHS was being fucked up. I was never a big fan of the NHS anyway but, most importantly, I didn't want to do medicine so that I could be looked after from cradle—or university—to grave.

Times have changed since your humble Devil was offered—after interview—three B grades to get into medicine; I sincerely doubt that any medical school will require anything less than three A grades. Minimum. The people who get into study medicine are not stupid.

So why, if they are really wedded to this profession (and however much I may disagree with any of the medico bloggers politically, I admire the tenacity of those still in the business), would they throw away their hard-won career because the state-run NHS is shit.

You are intelligent people: look at other options: go private. Apart from anything else, I feel sure that your NHS compatriots will be joining you in the relatively near future: an intelligent person would see it as advantageous to get in on the ground floor...

It's bugging me

Apparently, the government isn't doing too badly on MRSA rates.
The government is within touching distance of hitting its MRSA target, but opposition parties have accused ministers of manipulating the data.

NuLabour manipulate data? Surely not...
Latest figures show there were 1,072 cases of the superbug in England from July to September last year.

This approaches the target of half the 1,925 average quarterly 2003-4 figure.

But the Tories and Lib Dems accused ministers of moving the target back so it takes account of the period directly after the £50m deep clean of hospitals.

The latest quarterly figure represents an 18% fall on the previous quarter and comes after steady falls since September 2006. Decreases have also been seen elsewhere in the UK.

Well, NuLabour probably are manipulating the figures—I would be deeply surprised were they not—but surely any decrease in infections, especially in a steady downward trend, is a good thing, regardless?

That is good news. Let's move on, however, to the bad: that's right, it's yet another heart-warming story about how the government has happily rewarded failure with oodles of our cash.
BOM readers will recall Rose Gibb (see this blog). She's the ex-CEO of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust ("Kent and Snuff It") who presided over the deaths of 90 patients from C difficile. Following a damning enquiry she was exited, but not before the Trust very nearly paid her £400 grand "compensation".

It was a particularly outrageous example of the public sector rewarding failure, and there was a huge public outcry. Commissar Johnson was forced to step in, promising he'd stop it.

Predictably enough he's failed: last week we learned Rose is still getting £75K, a lot more than the C diff victims of Kent and Snuff It will see.

Seventy five fucking grand? For presiding over the deaths of ninety people? Who the hell is negotiating these fucking contracts?

Oh, and what happened to that idea of prosecuting company bosses for corporate manslaughter? Is that still around or does it not apply to public sector workers? This silly bitch should be fighting to stay out of prison, not being rewarded with tons of our cash.

But what do the civil servants care? After all, it's all magic fucking money, that falls from the sky. Or, at the very least, it's not their money. No, it's not: it's ours. It's our fucking money, you bastards.

But the whole thing gets even more farcical.
Even more jaw dropping, she has now set up her own company—Resolve Healthcare Consulting Services—"to tell doctors and administrators how to give a better service to the public".

I find the idea that anyone who knows who she is will actually hire that company.

However, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if we find, somewhere not too far down the line, that the NHS has hired her company as a way of paying her the full compensation (whilst dodging the opprobrium for doing so).

Unbelievable though all this is, there is yet another dimension of ridiculousness. Yes, that's right: it can get worse...
Her partner in this venture is her partner in life, one Mark Rees, "who also quit a senior NHS job with an £170,000 payout amid claims of weak leadership after the trust he ran accumulated debts of £30million."

Advice on how to fail. Surely even our blinkered self-serving management consultant sucking health bureaucrats wouldn't be stupid enough to buy that.

Would they?

Resolve are curiously coy, for nowhere on the company's (very amateurish) website does it say exactly who Resolve are. The About Us page does contain this wonderful blurb though. [Emphasis mine.]
RESOLVE offers expert skills and knowledge from its people who have substantive NHS chief executive and executive director experience in NHS England and Wales, covering acute and specialist care, community services, mental health services and health authority management.

As I said above, don't be surprised if we find that at least £375,000 of NHS money (£400,000 initially proposed compensation - £75,000 "actual" compensation) finds its way to Resolve Healthcare Consulting Services sometime very soon. As Tyler says, we need to be very vigilant.

And, of course, anyone who can get hold of Resolve Healthcare Consulting Services's first year accounts will get a special pat on the back from your humble Devil...

The BBC on the take

I'm a little late on this, but you might remember that, back in mid-December, there was a protest in the European Parliament by various MEPs who were demanding a referendum.

At the time, I pointed out that, although there were BBC reporters in attendance (I know from several people who were there), that nothing actually appeared on the BBC website. Nor was there much of a fuss from any of the BBC "bloggers".

We know that they filmed the event; we know that many of the journalists on the ground thought that it was a good story. It's just that, somewhere in between the journalists filing their story and the BBC reporting on it the whole thing just... well... disappeared.

A few days ago, Dan Hannan reported on another shocking piece of despotism in the European Parliament.
Yesterday, the President of the Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, asked for, and was granted, arbitrary powers to suspend the rules of the institution in order to disadvantage the tiny number of MEPs who want a referendum on the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty.

I have come to expect hypersensitivity to criticism, flouting of rules, intolerance of dissent, authoritarianism. But nothing had prepared me for such blatancy.

Hans-Gert openly admitted that the behaviour of his Euro-sceptic opponents was within the rules. And he wasn’t asking to change those rules – a procedure that would take time. No, he simply wanted permission to disregard them. Permission was duly granted, by 20 committee votes to 3.

It's worth reading Dan's article in full, to gain the full extent of the perfidy of the EP officers. It's a shocking and obvious piece of gerry-mandering and an utter affront to democracy. In fact, the glossing over of rules of a (barely) democratic institution in order to silence those with whom you disagree is the act of a totalitarian regime.

And yet the BBC was, once again, strangely silent. But why?

We know why many NGOs are pro-EU: they get money from the Commission. But surely the BBC—with its taxpayer-extorted £3.5 billion a year—wouldn't be on the take, would it?

Actually, yes; the editors of EU Referendum actually advertised this some time ago, but they revisit the topic in their usual detailed style.
The first piece was in response to a question from Lord Stoddart of Swindon, which established a remarkable number of loans and payments, while we established that BBC Worldwide Limited had opened up a loan facility of £25 million from the European Investment Bank, "to finance the expansion of BBCW's investments in BBC's new productions over the period 2002-2004".

We also established from the BBC's own annual accounts that the EIB had made two loan facilities available to "BBC Commercial Holdings". The first, was for an amount of £66 million, available for drawing until March 2005 and had either be repaid in full as a single repayment by March 2013 or on an amortising basis by March 2015. The second, which was the one for £25 million, then available for drawing until November 2003 and repayable in one single instalment by November 2007.

Also noted by us at the time was that the task of the European Investment Bank - which is the European Union's financing institution – was, and still is” to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member Countries.”

The British Broadcasting Corporation appears to be, if not actively cheerleading for the EU, deliberately suppressing inconvenient stories concerning that organisation.

It's because of the unique way that it's funded, you see...


Today I got one of those typical spam phishing emails. Here's a sample.
Good Day,

I am Wong Fong, an attorney at law. A deceased client of mine...

Wong Fong? Bloody hell, they aren't even trying anymore, are they?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fraudulent leavings

Whilst your humble Devil is more than happy to excoriate our hideous politicians for their corruption, one must not forget that some members of the electorate are not exactly above fraudulently stealing from other taxpayers.
Every year taxpayers lose at least £5bn to benefit fraud and error- £200 for every single British household.

£3bn is down to benefits administered by the Department of Work and Pensions, especially Housing Benefit, Income Support, and Jobseekers Allowance (see eg this blog and the NAO summary above). The rest is largely down to HMRC via its administration of Bottler's convoluted tax credits (eg see this blog).

And remember this: the c£5bn pa we lose in benefits/tax credit fraud is just the tip of a very large iceberg. We estimate that overall taxpayer losses to fraud- including old favourites like VAT carousel fraud and the broader black economy- probably amount to around £60-80bn pa.

That's around £3,000 pa for every British household, and for that kind of money we could abolish Stamp Duty, CGT, and IHT outright, and still have enough left over to cut the standard rate of income tax to 8p.

Do go and read the rest of Wat Tyler's post. As you do, just consider the fucking colossal sums involved...

LSE sabbaticals break charity law?

Back in October, we met two of the London School of Economics' sabbatical officers, who had written a somewhat anti-Israeli letter.
As Matthew [Sinclair] points out, the tone of the letter—signed by Students' Union General Secretary, Fadhil Bakeer Markar, and Mature & Part Time Students Officer, Ziyaad Lunat—is inflammatory and partisan.

Dear Fadhil is once more in a bit of hot water but, this time, his accomplice is not Ziyaad Lunat but Ruhana Ali, Education and Welfare Sabbatical. Matthew Sinclair has the details.
Remember Fadhil Bakeer Markar? He was last seen on this blog sending an inflammatory and highly biased letter about Israel to every LSE fresher. Now he's abusing his position again, this time in support of Red Ken. Signing a letter to the Guardian with not just his own name but also that of the LSE Students' Union. This is an abuse of his position and quite possibly a breach of charity law.

Indeed it is. Although it is not available online, Matthew has the full text of the article which appears in the LSE's Student Newspaper, The Beaver.

Do go and read the whole thing, which also lays out allegations of censorship and other shady dealings by Markar.

As I said last time, perhaps some other LSE students might like to ask their representatives some more pertinent questions...?

Conservatively awful

It seems that David Cameron has grown a pair and withdrawn the whip from the hideously corrupt sponger, Derek Conway MP. Good. Well done, Dave, and only a day or so late.

In the meantime, it seems that other Tory MPs have decided to show the people that they are as fit to govern as are NuLabour. Although possibly not as was intended.
Conservative frontbench MP Nigel Waterson has been arrested for allegedly assaulting two teenagers.

The Eastbourne MP, a shadow work and pensions minister, was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers at an address in Bromley on Sunday night.

The MP is understood to have called the police himself to report an assault. He was held for nearly 13 hours before being released on police bail.

The two children did not need any medical attention.

It seems that the NuLabour press office is going into overdrive in order to deflect attention from their own pathetic scandals. This seems to me to be a bit of a non-story, since Waterson called the police himself. Something slightly fishy there, methinks.

However, given the general quality of people in our Parliament, I can only concur with The Nameless One.
It is difficult to describe just how much I hate this shower of shit who run this country. Sorry, scratch that—who are running this country into the ground. They don't work for us. They don't work for anyone other than themselves, and their bulging wallets. Labour, Tory, doesn't make a blind bit of fucking difference. They are all as bad as each other, and worthy of nothing other than disgust and contempt. They are little more than confidence tricksters, defrauding the public of their money because, fundamentally, they believe themselves to be better than you and more deserving of your money than you are.

I don't know what we do to rid ourselves of these malingering theives. But part of me hopes that the House of Commons is razed to the ground with each and every one of the greedy, money grabbing bastards inside, frantically but vainly clawing at the locked doors to get out.

It is my considered opinion that governments need this sort of thing, from time to time. As the years pass, governments grab more and more powers whilst subduing the people more and more.

In democratic countries, this process is slower than in some of the less well-developed ones, but it is an inevitable process. And then the only option is to sweep the whole thing away and start again. It is something that has happened a number of times in our own history, and it will need to happen again. Soon.

So, here is how I would like it to happen. Except, of course, that we ensure that every MP is in the fucking building before the fireworks, quite literally, start...

Having said that, I rather like the Parliament building: there must be some really hideous building nearby that we could get those MPs coralled into instead. Any suggestions?

Capturing the ID

The latest ID cards document leaked to and annotated by No2ID can be downloaded here [PDF]. Guido notes several points of interest.
  1. [Page 4, bullet point 3] Despite current assertions they are sticking with fingerprints, the strategy clearly includes options to gather personal information and issue ID cards WITHOUT fingerprints, e.g. "rising 16 year olds could be sent pre-populated forms for the Inclusion card... which would only need to be signed and returned".

  2. [Page 4, bullet point 5] Indication that up to 10% of the population will be called in for 'interrogation' (ID interviews).

  3. [Page 3, bullet point 1] Language suggests it will effectively be compulsory to carry the card—counter to Ministerial assertion.

  4. [Page 5,'Next Steps', bullet point 1] Initial target groups ("trusted relationships") to be identified and confirmed by end of January 2008, i.e. within the next 48 hours!

  5. [Page 4, bullet point 6] They are explicitly pursuing a policy of "coercion" not compulsion because universal compulsion "cannot be delivered quickly due to the need for inevitably controversial and time consuming primary legislation and would pose serious political, enforcement and resource challenges."

This is utterly unacceptable and I fully expect would like to see a member of Her Britannic Majesty's Opposition to grow a spine and start waving this in the government's face, shouting, "what the fuck are you playing at, you lying sacks of shit?"

I'm not holding my breath though.

Batshit still lying

You might remember that, a couple of days ago, I examined Batshit Miliband's claim that a number of charities supported the Lisbon Treaty. One of those charities which Batshit quoted (and which was in receipt of EU money) was Action Aid.

A correspondant has now emailed me with the following interesting information. [Some details excised for privacy reasons.]
Dear DK,

I have been a supporter of both Action Aid and the NSPCC for many years and sent both an e-mail complaining vociferously about their support for the EU Constitution as expressed by the Foreign Secretary in the House of Commons debate.

I have today received a response from [an] Officer at Action Aid, to clarify what Action Aid has said about the EU Reform Treaty/Lisbon Treaty.

[The officer] makes 2 key points to me (these are verbatim quotes from [the] letter):

  1. "We have never stated either that we are for or against the Lisbon Treaty. Such matters fall outside our mandate."

  2. "We are aware our position has been misrepresented by the Foreign Secretary and have written to him to clarify our position."

I wonder if the Foreign Secretary will clarify at the next debate that he has misrepresented the position?

I take your point about the EU funding Action Aid receive, but on the basis they are not (seemingly) actively supporting this Treaty as originally stated by the Foreign Secretary, I see no harm in accepting funds to further their aims of poverty reduction.

I shall advise what form of response I receive from the NSPCC.

Best Regards

Your humble correspondent.

All of which is, I think you'll agree, rather interesting. There are a few possibilities here:
  1. Action Aid are either lying or their officer is unaware of some private commitment that the charity may have made.

  2. Action Aid, being in receipt of EU funds, are assumed to support the Lisbon Treaty and Batshit simply pulled their name—along with those of other random charities who are supported by that organisation—at random from a list of those so funded.

  3. Batshit is a lying bastard who is entirely happy to misrepresent the position of any person or organisation in pursuit of the ratification of this Treaty, and vindication of his position.

The first option is, I think, unlikely given the provenance of the quotes. Apart from anything else, Action Aid is a registered charity and is thus not allowed to get involved in any political campaigning.

The second option is entirely possible, and the third option is almost certain.

If either of the last two scenarios is the correct one, Batshit has, at best, misrepresented Action Aid's position and has, at worst, lied to the House. Admittedly, these days, that is likely to pass pretty unremarked, since there seems to be almost nobody in the House of Commons who is even vaguely capable of telling the truth (is it some biological mutation, I wonder).

Nevertheless, it is yet more solid evidence of what a lying bastard Batshit is and how desperate the hideous little scrote is to get this Treaty through the Parliament.

What tasty EU sinecure has Batshit been promised, I wonder?

Derek Conway: corrupt, lying thief

This is Mr Derek Conway MP. Mr Derek Conway MP is, as you can see, a big man. Mr Derek Conway MP's dewlaps were funded by us. Mr Derek Conway MP is a frauster, who has fattened himself and his family by shamefully battening onto the public purse.

The extent of the monies that Mr Derek Conway MP has leeched from the taxpayer is examined in the usual forensic detail by the Ministry of Truth.
In all, and on the back of the limited information I’ve been able to uncover (which amounts to almost nothing pre-1997 in terms of registered interests because these are not provided on-line) Conway presents an interesting little set on conundrums.

His background is, to say the least, pretty unremarkable - his biography on Wikipedia has him down as the product of a state school in Newcastle, Beacon Hill boys school, for which there’s insufficient information to determine whether it was a comprehensive or secondary modern, followed by Gateshead Technical College and Newcastle Polytechnic.

From there he appears to have gone directly into politics; City councillor (and deputy Conservative group leader) at 21, staying on until 1987, four years after being elected to parliament in Shrewsbury and Atcham in 1983. He also served as a councillor on Tyne and Wear County Council from 1977 to 1983, during which period he was Conservative Group leader from 1979 to 1982. The Shrewbury ‘gig’ ran through to 1997, during which period he never rose above being a bog-standard party whip, so he would have pulled down the standard MPs salary plus whip’s allowance (and if the two were roughly at the same relative level then as they are now then we’re looking at about a premium of around 40% over a standard MPs salary throughout), which was followed by his stint at the Cat’s Protection League (£75k a year in 2000) and then back in parliament as a backbencher in 2001.

So what we have is someone from a mundane background who’s spent pretty much his entire working life in politics and who, without information on any outside interests he may have had during his spell as MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, has what looks to be his best (verifiable) financial period between 2001 and 2003, where he was getting paid both as an MP and as Chief Executive of the Cats Protection League (so around £135-150K a year top whack in 2002) and who appears to have succeeded in putting his two boys through one of the UK’s most expensive public schools (and there’s a daughter unaccounted for as yet to go on the bill).

Mr Derek Conway MP is, quite simply, corrupt. And his response?
Mr Conway has issued an apology to MPs on the floor of the Commons. "I unreservedly apologise to the House for my administrative shortcomings and the misjudgments I made,'' he said. "No judgment from any quarter could be more harsh than that which I apply to myself."

You see? The man simply cannot stop lying: believe me, fuckface, the judgement that I apply to you is, I fucking guarantee, considerably harsher than you could ever apply to yourself.

You see, there are absolutely no circumstances in which this humble Devil would consider that helping himself to enormous sums from the public purse in order to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family would ever be acceptable.

You, Mr Derek Conway MP, obviously thought that it was acceptable; oh, you may be remorseful now (although I doubt it) but you didn't hesitate to do it, did you? After all, who gives a shit: it's magic money, isn't it? It just falls from the fucking sky, doesn't it?

You are a fucking disgrace, Mr Derek Conway MP, and yet the real tragedy is that I am simply not surprised. The longer that I examine the political system in this country, and those who inhabit it, the more obvious it becomes that the whole of it is rotten to the very stinking, putrid core. The system is rotten because those who inhabit it are charlatans, thieves, hypocrites, liars and scum.
He said he had let down his family "very badly indeed"'.

Let them down? I don't think so, Mr Conway: au contraire, you have supported them very handsomely indeed. You have supported a lifestyle unimaginable to the vast majority of people in this country on the back of their work; you have fraudulently enriched yourself and your family with monies extorted, with menaces, from the hard-working population who, unlike you, actually contribute something useful to the country and their customers.

And if these were "administrative failings", Mr Derek Conway, then you should have sacked your administrator. That would be your wife then. Or is it your eldest son? Or is it your daughter who is copying and pasting articles from the internet for you, these days?

I don't think that I can state the final case more simply or eloquently than the poor, little Greek boy.
No, let’s not mince words. You are guilty, Derek, not of “administrative shortcomings”, but of fraud. You are a thief. You have taken my money and used it to enrich your family. You are a thief, and if you were in any other profession you would have been fired for gross misconduct, your former employers would be suing to recover the £75,000+ that you have stolen from the public purse, and you would be facing criminal proceedings. But for an MP?
Mr Conway now faces 10 days suspension from the House of Commons.

Fuck me, that'll have the thieves quaking in their brogues. No, DK is right. Hang them all, and let the rotting carcasses be left in place for a fortnight, crows pecking at their eyes and rats nibbling on the entrails, as a warning to the others.

And to those who criticise me for the contempt I evince for those who govern us, I say this; it is as nothing compared to the contempt they display for me—me, you, and everyone else whom they purport to serve.

Quite. Hang them all, tear down this stinking edifice of corruption, this monument to fraud, and start again.

After all, once the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, those 646 MPs will be merely overpaid regional councillors, no more able to defend our interests than a dead dog in the street.

Hang them: hang them all.

The arts of being wrong

It isn't often that I disagree with the venerable Dr Crippen, but I am forced to do so on this occasion.
In Arts Angst [Wat Tyler] presents a characteristically well-researched and witty appraisal of the current state of arts funding. Not a pretty picture. The trough is large, and many are feeding.

For once, though, Wat’s conclusion is wrong. He makes the classic mistake of “the false alternatives”.

Let us imagine that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of a country with no arts funding and no health care is down to his last £1 million and faced with a stark choice. Does he build a hospital or an art gallery? The answer is obvious, but the question is irrelevant in a country like the UK. We are not down to our last £1 million. We can do both.

Yes, we can. But why can we do both?

The simple answer is because we tax people far too highly. In fact, as a proportion of income, we tax the poor—those least likely to participate in said arts—rather more highly than the rich. Thus, we extort money from the poor in order to subsidise those activities enjoyed, to the greater degree, by the richer members of the population. In fact, Timmy sums it up rather well.
Let’s get this straight shall we? There shouldn’t be any taxpayer subsidy for the arts. You like it, you love it, great, get out there and do it. If you’re not good enough to draw a large enough paying crowd to make money out of it then you’re going to have to do it for free. There’s really no reason to tax the dustman and the nurse for this indoor relief for that part of the population that likes to show off.

And nor should nice, high-earning, middle-class GPs demand that the dustman or the nurse fund their opera.
Next, Wat will say, “Ah yes, but there are always better things upon which to spend tax payers’ money than theatre and opera.” More difficult to answer in specifics – how do you argue the relative merits of “The Marriage of Figaro” and a heart transplant? - but still the question is irrelevant in a county like the UK. We can do both. The NHS may be in poor shape, the army may be underfunded, MPs may be underpaid – pick your own cause – but all of these problems can be solved without stopping the funding of the arts. It would not be possible to maintain the cultural heritage of this country without some central funding.

First, since when was opera, or indeed, Mozart, part of "the cultural heritage of this country"? You might make that argument about Shakespeare, my dear Crippen, but not for the Marriage of Figaro; nor, indeed, for your Bauhaus architecture or your Kandinskys.

Second, I seriously doubt that the person who requires the heart transplant will see the question as an irrelevance. Of course, your humble Devil would also argue that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should never have to make the decision because the state should be neither building hospitals nor subsidising theatres.

Because you see, I am also fairly certain that even the most ardent Mozart fan would rather have that heart transplant than fund yet another production of Mozart's opus. How many more lives would the Arts Council's £600 million per annum save? What would these people's priorities be?

Central government cannot know, of course. It may indeed be that Mr Mozart-Fanatic-Heart-Transplant might chose to subsidise a performance of the deeply un-British opera over the saving of his life, but might I venture the opinion that he should choose for himself? Might I suggest that, if he wishes this to go ahead, he donates the money that he would have spent on his heart transplant to the National Opera?

Perhaps the good Doctor might consider this when next he has a patient in such a situation?

"I'm sorry, Mrs Miggins, but I am afraid that you are going to die because a performance of The Marriage of Figaro is far more important than your life."

But he does not have the authority—and nor does the damn state—to decide these priorities for people.

I say that we should substantially reduce taxation: if people wish to fund the arts, then they may freely do so. Indeed, I don't really have a problem with the £200 million that the Arts Council receives from the Lottery: these people know the deal and they are freely choosing to attempt to get rich and to fund "good causes". But it is "choice" that is the crucial and operative concept here.

There is another obvious fallacy in Crippen's argument and that is the idea that art would not exist without central funding; it is something that I addressed with, regard to the cut in the NSDF's funding, a few weeks back.
I am sure that the NSDF is a valuable institution: it has been going for 53 years, after all.

Which rather begs the question: since the Arts Council has only been funding them for the last 14 years, what did they do before that?

Art has been around rather longer than organised governments, and what we call "fine art" (as opposed to the daubs of Neanderthals) has been around considerably longer than governments have been funding it.

Or perhaps I am on the wrong side here? I like to think that some of the stuff that I produce—especially that which I do for my own amusement—is art. Would anyone be happy that their taxes were funding my ever bigger and better Macs, or perhaps the software that I use to create these pieces? After all, what is the difference between the art that I produce and that which Mozart produced?—mine is, at least, British.

No. I am quite sure that those who would be happy to fund my scribblings might choose to click on my Donate button; I am quite sure that I would never demand that those who do not wish to pay me to create fund my activities through that money that is extorted from them with menaces.

No music to P2P ears

On Monday, Dizzy gleefully reported that P2P networks had been authorised for music download.
After a decade of fighting the music industry appears to have given in and in a few hours (midnight EST) you will be able download Qtrax that will give unlimited, no fee, no membership access to a 25 million back catalogue of tracks.

Naturally, Dizzy was delighted that this might Apple's iTunes business model (although he failed to mention Amazon's MP3 download store which, admittedly, has not launched in Europe yet).
The files will have DRM on them, and it remains to be seen if you can play them on an MP3 player. Apple won't be best pleased about it when the OSX version comes out. Once you have so many people around the world stealing copyrighted material I guess they knew that they would have embrace it and find a way of making money from it (i.e. advertising).

Unfortunately, it seems that—like most thieves—Qtrax weren't being entirely honest.
Last night we told you about Qtrax, a new P2P service aimed at combating illicit P2P by offering a legit service that compensates artists and labels via enforced advertising. In that story we briefly noted that Qtrax didn't appear to have all of its ducks in a row: the company was saying that it had signed all four major music labels, when it appeared that they hadn't. At the time it was rather unclear, however, because Qtrax told both Reuters and Wired that it had the necessary signatures.

This turns out to have been... what shall we say?... slightly premature.
When midnight came and went last night without an official launch, it became clear that there were indeed problems. For its part, Qtrax now says that it is in negotiations with all of the labels, but that admission came only after it was discovered that Qtrax had somewhat misrepresented itself.

Late last night the LA Times called around to confirm the deal and found that only Universal would say that it was close to a deal. EMI and Warner denied a deal was in place, and Peter Kafka says that Sony BMG has also denied that there was a deal in place. In short, no labels have signed on yet.

All of this points to signs of trouble for Qtrax, whose business model changed sometime last year from being an ad-supported way to encourage users to pay for music, to being an ad-supported way to deliver totally free music. Originally, Qtrax's DRM would have only given users so many ad-supported plays before a song would need to be purchased (think Zune sharing). We can only speculate, but the move to providing totally free downloadable music without ticking timebombs likely gave the labels pause.

Oh well, maybe next time, eh?

Bizarre coincidences

When I got home tonight, I was going to write about how much cyclists irritate the shit out of me. But, having scanned the blogs whilst Blogger was down (briefly, it seems), it has become obvious that I don't need to, because Mike Rouse has done it for me.
With cars there is a respect for the rules taught at the early phases of learning to drive. Those rules are enforced by the use of signage and the sheer fact that not following the rules can kill people quite easily. Most drivers recognise the importance of these rules and their responsibilities. Cyclists, however, do not - or at least so it seems to me and others. Some disagree, of course.

They ride through red lights, even at pedestrian crossings, they attempt to under-take slow moving traffic and often occupy the driver’s blindspot. Then there’s those that use the pavement as a shortcut, the ones that think they’re invincible by cutting in front of traffic, and utlimately there’s those that think they are part of some Cyclist Army.

The Cyclist Army is the worst. They kick vehicles that get in their way, hurl abuse at motorists and pedestrians and generally think that the streets of Britain should be a cyclist utopia.

There's not an awful lot that I can add to that diatribe, except to point out the following because, apparently, cyclists simply haven't got the fucking message:
  • You are not allowed to cycle on the pavement.

  • If you cycle on the road, you must obey the laws of the road.

  • This includes being equipped with lights.

Mike thinks that one should license cyclists. Me, I rather favour stringing cheese-wire across the road and laughing in childish delight as another cyclist's head, neatly detached from its body, goes bouncing down the road.

UPDATE: in reply to some of the comments—mainly from cyclists justifying themselves—I would like to add the following points:
  • Yes, yes, I am sure that the majority of cyclists are wonderful people. I am specifically targeting those who do not obey the law. (There is nothing un-Libertarian about that, Newmania. As I have explained to you before, libertarian is not the same as libertine.)

  • Yes, there are many car drivers who are utter pricks too. However, cyclists (especially in London) tend to adopt a particularly irritating holier-than-thou attitude which is ripe for pricking.

  • Although I have a full and (almost unbelievably) clean driving license, I do not (and have not ever) owned a car and carry no torch for car drivers.

  • I am, however, a pedestrian and object to nearly being knocked over by cyclists. Red lights apply to cyclists too: they aren't an optional fucking extra and I shouldn't have to wait until that cyclist has definitely stopped in order to know that they are going to do so (all caveats about people running red lights in cars, etc. applying, of course).

  • Further, if cyclists continually run red light into streams of traffic (as I have seen them do), they can't honestly be surprised if, one day, they get hit by a fucking car. Those actions don't affect me particularly, it's just that demonstrable stupidity irritates me.

  • Having respect for everyone on the road—and being bloody cautious—would be a good thing (and that applies to drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians).

As for the danger of bodily fluids caused by the decapitated cyclists, perhaps we could try a high-intensity laser which would cauterise the wound on contact...?

OFF-TOPIC: is anyone else finding that Blogger is really playing up at present?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Loss of innocence

Thanks to Tim Almond for emailing me this amusing link.
There’s been an astonishing amount of terrifying wank written about Heath Ledger’s death and this is one of the few I’ve been sent that are written by men. A good 90% of it seems to have been written by young women who experienced moments of damp-gussetted sexual awakening in front of “10 Things I Hate About You”. They’re now hitting that distressing age when they realise that youthful romance less resembles the Hollywood version than a series of encounters with enthusiastic, amateur gynaecologists, hell-bent on using their mimsy as a mitten.

Well, it made me laugh! Go and read the rest...

Break out the party poppers...

... at the Department of Health, because they have achieved one of their aims! What aim is that? Why, killing people in the name of equality of course.

A little while back, I wrote about the case of Colette Mills, who wanted to buy a particular cancer drug and was told that, if she did so, she would have to pay for the entirety of her cancer treatment.
The Department of Health said: “Co-payments would risk creating a two-tier health service and be in direct contravention with the principles and values of the NHS.”

Naively, I thought the point of the NHS was to save lives, but I was obviously wrong.

Well, there's been an update.
A WOMAN suffering from breast cancer has run out of time to benefit from a potentially life-extending drug which the National Health Service (NHS) denied her, even though she was prepared to pay for it.

Colette Mills has been told by doctors that in the four months since she asked for the drug the disease has taken such a hold in her body that the cancer will no longer respond to the treatment.

She is the victim of a ruling which states that any patient who wants to pay for additional drugs not prescribed by the NHS should lose their entitlement to their basic NHS cancer care and pay for all their treatment. She was prepared to pay for the drug but not her whole treatment.

Mills, a 58-year-old former nurse, said: “I am just absolutely gutted. I just cannot believe people make these decisions about other people’s lives.

“It wasn’t going to cost them. I was going to pay for it. How can they say this policy is far more important than somebody’s life?

“The NHS has taken this opportunity away from me and, if they are doing it to me, they are doing it to a lot of other women as well.”

Yay! Kill the evil ex-nurse! Equality is all! Freedom is slavery! War is peace!

So, it'll be party time at the DoH as they prove that the principle of equality is far more important than actually ensuring that people don't die. That'll teach people to set a priority on their lives, eh?

What a fucking triumph.

New Britain

Whilst many of these suggestions to make Britain better may be—as Timmy points out—very good, some are absolutely abysmal.

First, the good ideas...
Paul Ormerod economist

I would make more explicit the connection between tax and services received by abolishing the PAYE system. Instead of income tax being deducted by employers at source, I would make everyone sign a cheque to pay their tax. While it would increase administration in the first instance, it would bring home to people what they are paying for. When you physically hand money over, you inevitably question whether you are receiving value for money. This system would put political pressure on public services to ensure they deliver efficiently and would prevent the waste of public funds.

Yes, a good idea although, of course, still not radical enough for my liking as it is predicated on the idea that the state is, in fact, still taking substantial sums of people's money off them.
David Starkey historian

I would remove everyone earning less than £25,000 a year out of the tax system. At the moment we have a ridiculous circular system in which people are taxed, then given their money back in tax credits. It produces the idea of the state as provider – for something like one-third of the population. It imprisons people we should be liberating.

Quite so.
Chris Woodhead former chief inspector of schools

I would introduce an education voucher for parents with school-age children. The voucher would pay for a state education but could be cashed in at independent schools as payment or part-payment. It would help to make the rhetoric of parental choice a reality; would promote new providers of education in to the market and at a blow, would destroy the state monopoly which has created appallingly low standards which we see in so many schools today.

Yes, definitely agree with that.

But now, what with me being the negativist bloggertarian that I am, let us have a look at some of the really stupid answers—and please, bear in mind that these are the selected s'lebs singlwe biggest idea for a better Britain.
Rory Bremner satirist

I would introduce compulsory youth community and environmental projects for 18-year-olds. A six-month programme split between community projects in the UK and abroad – like a flood relief programme in Bangladesh – it would apply to everyone whether from state or public school and would work like conscription but, instead of military training, school-leavers would learn the importance of contributing to their community.

First, Rory Bremner probably does have to be labeled a satirist rather than a comedian simply because he is not fucking funny and hasn't been for some considerable time now.

Second, his solution for a better Britain is to greet all those who have just become adults with a six-month period of indentured state slavery. Why am I not surprised?

Third, I don't see how forcing young adults to contribute to arbitrary state projects and then the projects of foreign states is going to teach them the value of contributing voluntarily to their community. I mean, for fuck's sake, I know people who have done that kind of thing voluntarily (they call it a "GAP year") and they don't contribute to their communities (although, to be fair, for many of them, the nearest "community" is a fifteen minute car journey away).

Rory Bremner—satirist? Or fuckwit?
Bob Geldof campaigner

I would get a submarine, throw a rope around the island and drag it 300 miles south. That way we would all be living in a tropical paradise.

Says a man who campaigns against global warming. I mean, I know that he's probably being tongue-in-cheek but seriously...
Nicholas Serota director of the Tate

I would like to see art as another “R” in the school curriculum. Visual education is as important as being able to read and write.

Righty-ho, Nick. And that would involve getting a lot more funding for your museum business, would it? And lots of school trips to boost the numbers passing through the door?

Typical rent-seeking.
Andrew Motion poet laureate

I would like a project called WhizzGo to take off. Instead of owning your own car, you hire small, environmentally friendly cars. We should set a target date within the next 10 years for all vehicles to run on something other than petrol – something green.

And that "green" substance is...? Oh, that's right, you don't know, do you, Andrew? That's because such a technology doesn't exist yet (or not in the way that you would define it). But despite this inconvenient fact, you still want to set a target date to replace all petrol cars and the accompanying infrastructure within the next decade.

Fucking hellski, Motion, you are bad enough at poetry but I am still going to recommend that you don't give up the fucking day job. As the saying goes, don't call us: we'll call you. You nut.
Sarfraz Manzoor writer and broadcaster

It should be harder to buy alcohol and drink it in public.

Why? Why would you wish to punish the majority of people in order to control a particular element of society? Although one does wonder, given his Pakistani heritage, whether Manzoor is, in fact, a Muslim and thus merely projecting the prejudices of his religion.

So, something of a curate's egg there; there are a few more suggestions, by the way: I have simply picked out the most notable. The one that I most agree with the sentiment of, though, is this one.
Grayson Perry potter

Ban chewing gum. It makes you look dumb and makes the street ugly.

Chewing gum is utterly crap.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

British Fascism Revisited

Being a student of incipient British fascism, I am wondering whether anyone else has noticed the similarity between Vince Cable's comment on Northern Rock, that "(t)he taxpayer is standing behind the taxpayer and we have a private sector solution without private money as well as nationalisation of liabilities and losses and privatisation of profits" and Gaetano Salvemini's description of Italian fascist economic policy, that "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social."
When Cable went on to say that "(i)t requires a special sort of genius to dream up such an idea", we know precisely just who that genius was.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What's the point?

Much seems to be being made about the fact that the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty is being carefully debated and scrutinised in Parliament. I have a question.

What's the fucking point?

First, our elected representatives can alter not one line, one word, one letter, one comma, one iota of this document.

Second, the Labour MPs—who have a substantial majority in the House—are under a three-line whip to vote for ratification of the Treaty.

So, I ask again, what is the fucking point of wasting weeks of Parliamentary time—and hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money—on a document which cannot be altered and is guaranteed to get voted through?

Irish spirit

Via The Englishman, here's an inspiring tale.
A millionaire businessman singlehandly fought off three armed burglars after they put a knife to his teenage daughter's throat, he told a court.

Bernard Dwyer, 51, who runs a construction business, said he believed they would all be killed and decided he "would rather die like a man than a dog" defending his family.

Despite being temporarily knocked unconscious and then stabbed three times in the head, he said he became "invigorated" by the sight of the attackers threatening his 13-year-old daughter Aisling.

In a rage he wrestled a gun from the arms of one attacker and then beat and chased the masked raiders from his home.

The Old Bailey heard how the armed trio turned up at Mr Dwyer's luxury home in Uxbridge, west London, a day after battering to death restaurant owner Helen Chung, 65.

The extraordinary bit is that the police seem to have made no attempt to arrest Mr Dwyer for assault or some such. That's very unlike them—what were they thinking?
The burglars fled empty handed in the car they had stolen from Mrs Chung minutes earlier, the jury has heard.

Mr Dwyer was left with broken ribs in the attack as well as 30 cuts to his body and head including a gaping 3cm wound in his thigh.

Dean Atkins, 26, and his brother Michael, 25, are accused of the attack on November 6 2006.

It is claimed the two also murdered Mrs Chung the previous night after she refused to reveal the hiding place of her £218,000 life savings when they broke into her home.

The third man was said to be Joseph Carty, 21, who later hanged himself in prison.

Assuming that Dean and Michael Atkins are guilty, might I recommend that they follow their mate's example and hang themselves? They are blight on the face of society: may they rot in hell.

Quiz of the day

Your starter for ten...

Which bunch of evil fucking turds would advertise a conference against racism with a poster like this?

Visit Matt Sinclair's place and find out*...

* Clue: it's the same organisation that gives deeply unpleasant regimes a voice on the world stage, and specialises in pimping kids.

The Fragrant One: a fucking numbnuts

Last Saturday saw your humble Devil in fifth columnist mode, as I attended the Fabian Society Conference—so many people, so little intelligence.

Anyway, there was a debate on whether the EU could ever be sold to the people, and the panel consisted of Nigel Farage, James Purnell, that evil, cowardly little wanker, Quentin Davies, and two of the people that I hate most in the world—Polly Toynbee and Margot "cunt" Wallstrom.

Make no mistake, this evil bitch is... well... evil. Whilst it is inevitable that Polly "thicker than two short planks" Toynbee should endorse this deeply silly woman for EU President, here is my reply.
... she made a rousing case for the European Union - and it's high time someone did.

I was at that meeting—and I note that Polly is far too modest to state that she, too, was on the panel; indeed, I was sat in the front row, directly opposite her—and TEBAF Margot made no case for the EU beyond the tired old mantras of environmentalism and being a counterpoint to the US (the first irrelevant and the second little more than a bad joke).

Darling Margot did distinguish herself in one way though: she accused Farage and UKIP of sitting in the same European Parliament grouping as the various right-wing fascist parties.

They do not: UKIP sit in the Independence and Democracy Group, not the (now-defunct) Identity, Sovereignty and Tradition Party (which included the parties of Mussolini and Le Pen).

This demonstrated either a worrying lack of knowledge about—and, thus, an implied contempt for—the state of the supposedly democratic part of the EU, or an opportunistic mendacity that would beggar belief if we didn't know that 99.9% of all politicians are fundamentally dishonest. A bit like many journalists, really.

So, we expect bullshit from Margot (and I have never seen Farage so angry), and thus it is no surprise that she is at it again.
I am excited about the energy and climate change package that the Commission adopted yesterday!

That is because you are an evil moron.
It is a complex set of proposals...

Complex? From the EU? Who would'a thunk it?
on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening our emissions trading system, on carbon capture and storage, and on switching to renewable energy and developing new and better biofuels. Together, they set out a detailed and ambitious path to reaching the goal which Commission President José Manuel Barroso has so aptly called 20 20 by 2020:
  • To bring about a 20% cut in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and be ready to step up to 30% in the framework of an international agreement;

  • To reach 20% renewables in our overall energy consumption by 2020, including at least 10% biofuels in road transport.

I swear, these people actually only hear what they want to hear. Here's Timmy at The Business.
We have the French and German ambassadors telling us all how much we need the European Union in The Guardian today:
The single market and European cooperation enable European governments to deliver better outcomes; and as, for instance, the EU role on climate change proves, they give us sufficient critical mass to be an effective global player.

Whether you can influence matters globally is somewhat less important than how you influence matters. There's no point in having such worldwide power if your actions are in fact malevolent.
That is, to put it mildly, extremely alarming. That rise in N2O emissions (the RS is as always very gentle in its phrasing) means not that biofuels will reduce emissions less than previously thought, but that they will increase them, to greater than the levels using fossil fuels originally.

All of which leaves us in a rather uncomfortable position really. Well meaning attempts to deal with a perceived problem by means of international politics and bureaucracies has actually lead to a worse outcome than if nothing had been done. Said politicians and bureaucrats now having to admit that they hadn't actually thought through the issue before they made their pronouncements.
The effect of the European Union's actions on climate change and biofuels is in fact malevolent. So the fact that through unity we have global power is a bad idea, not a good one. Thus the distinguished diplomat's arguments in favour of the EU turn out to be arguments against its existence.

In other words, Margot, biofuels are a bad thing, you fucking moron. In fact, they are a bad thing in terms of emissions and they are a bad thing in that we are running short of food, and biofuels take over land mass that should be used for growing grain.
My colleagues who have worked with the new energy package have looked a bit like sleep-deprived zombies this last week. But looking back, in a few years time I hope we will all feel that it was worth-while and that we took the right decision on that grey Wednesday in January 2008. I believe this is one of the most - if not the most - important initiatives this Commission has taken.

We started a year ago, when we outlined the overall objectives. We got the support of the European Parliament and the Member States. We have now turned this general approach into a set of detailed proposals with a wide reach across all sectors of the economy and specific, binding national targets. I see these proposals as the beginning of Europe’s third Industrial revolution. (For the first two, see Wikipedia!) They read as a detailed roadmap to a low carbon economy and a sustainable way to growth and jobs – this is smart growth in concrete terms.

Is that concrete growth in the Lisbon Agenda way, or is it actual growth? And does anyone else think that that whole paragraph is worryingly Communist in attitude? When will you publish the next 5 Year Tractor Plan, Margot? You fucking moron.
Our calculations show that the whole package, as an essential step for preserving our environment, will be about 60 billion euros by 2020. That is just under half a per cent of European GDP our roughly 150 euros per person in the EU. Compare that to the Stern Report which put a 5-20 per cent price tag on in-action!

You really are a fucking moron, aren't you? I cannot believe that anyone is still quoting the Stern report as being anything other than a massively flawed fantasy. The whole thing was a massive fucking lie, Margot; a lie.

I really cannot be arsed to fisk the whole of her fatuous crap. But, when we come to hang all of these cunts, I bagsy the pulling of Margot's lever...

A struck record

Breaking the hiatus for a tick (whilst I have a cup of tea and a cigarette), I see that teachers are possibly going on strike for more pay.
The National Union of Teachers is to ballot its members in England and Wales on a one-day strike over pay.

The government has offered a rise of 2.45% per cent this year, and 2.3% in each of the following two years.

The union says the figure is below inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index which is currently at 4%.

The government says the award was recommended by an independent pay review body, and that a strike would only disrupt children's learning.

Really? I doubt that the strike will make one iota of difference to the attainment levels of the children. In other words, their education is crap and another day of not being in schools will probably make them brighter.

As for the teachers, fuck 'em. As Snafu points out...
Will teachers be striking for better pay during their six week summer holiday, one of three week long half-term holidays or during the two weeks holiday both at Christmas and Easter!?!

Look, guys, the cupboard is bare: you can strike all you like but there's no fucking money left, OK? You've had it all already.

As a matter of fact, the whole situation is comparable to the dilemma that Councillor Gavin Ayling faced recently.
Tuesday was a Council committee meeting of the Housing and Central Services committee. And an entirely frustrating rubber-stamping exercise it was. All of the decisions we had to make were no-brainers: Increase Council home rents because the government’s slapping us with a negative subsidy or (you’ll love this) burn our reserves and increase them by even more next year? I think you’ll agree there’s no choice.

Well, you might think so, Gav, but there is a choice: and Gordon Brown has, over the last ten years, taken the wrong one, i.e. he decided to burn the reserves.

Because he's a massive, monocular, Scottish cock.


Your humble Devil is unlikely to post much today. His landlady is coming around tomorrow and the flat is an absolute fucking tip.

Some severe tidying needs to go on before your humble Devil decides which of the five possible drinking sessions he goes to tonight.

Seriously, this is going to take hours.

This is absolutely a temporary, i.e. one day, hiatus, unlike that of Newmania, who has departed this blogging world. Another one bites the dust (although he is still a vocal correspondent, and I am glad for it!)...

UPDATE: at risk of being accused of live-blogging my tidy-up, that's all of the crap in the sitting-room thrown into plastic bags and ready to be taken downstairs to the bins.

I have a load of old boxes, bottles and bags to take down there too, so I shall do that before I address the kitchen. Actually, there are a lot of bottles: about a year's worth of heavy beer and wine drinking. This might take a while...

Oh god, the kitchen. Seriously, it's like something out of Withnail and I. Anyone who's seen it can testify to its hideousness. Ah, well, onwards...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The future's bright. The future's not orange

That incompetent (©2008, Gordon Brown), crooked, orange shithead, Hain, has resigned.
He quit within minutes of the Electoral Commission saying that it had decided to refer the late declaration of £103,000 of donations to the police.

Apparently he is going to clear his name.

Yeah, good luck with that one, sunshine.

As my good friend,The Nameless One, says,
And for what it is worth, I hope the police do investigate and that the incompetent, perma-tanned dickhead is dragged through the courts, convicted, and utterly humiliated.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy, don't you think?

UPDATE: The Nameless One is on fire. Well, not really; but he does think Hain should be.
And the Brown team are spinning this for all it is worth. Check this comment out from Gordo himself:
"I recognise that, given the circumstances and your desire to clear your name, this is the right and honourable thing to do."

See, this must be a new form of right and honourable that I haven't been informed about. It would have been right and honourable for Hain to go as soon as this ugly mess began.

Frankly, the right and honourable thing for Hain to do now would be to immolate himself publically in front of the Department for Work and Pensions. Anything else seems, at this point, a bit of a cop out.

Hear, hear!


Dr Rant appears to be coming around to your humble Devil's way of thinking, at last! In fact Team Rant succinctly sum up the reasons why the European systems are better than ours, and the whole post is worth reading.
So in these reports [the TPA's Wasting Lives... and Nick Seddon's Like Heaven] we find several suggestions to get the UK away from its miserable dependence on the monolithic, hidebound and bureaucratic NHS.

Maybe in the end a combination of doctors and patients will finally put a rocket under current NHS management and both sides could free themselves to work well with each other. The expansion of NHS management, for no clear purpose, under current structures is picked up in both these reports. These reports certainly provide additional strength to our model of “The Management Spaceship”- the proposition that if we sent ALL the NHS managers and DH civil servants on a one way ticket to Mars, it would be so much the worse for the Martians. The rest of us would get on better, and would feel no need to send a rescue mission to bring any of them back.

And just as we have needed to get an Italian coach to run the England football team, we need to admit we can learn something from our European neighbours about how to run a health service.

And there's no choking on cornflakes at this end, Team Rant: merely unconfined joy over the sinner that repenteth!

We the people...

Via Trixy, this video of a bunch of Lefties (I assume, since it is mostly filmed at the Fabian Society Conference last Saturday) badgering the brothers Miliband and Hilary Benn about the EU Reform Treaty is highly entertaining.

Much as I tend to think that Benn senior is wrong on just about every issue—and when he's right, it's usually for the wrong reasons—he is entirely correct about the sovereignty of the people.

We lend our power to Parliament for five years; at the end of that term, they are required to give those powers back. If, however, those powers have been given away, then they have broken that contract.

I have said it before and I'll say it again: we are ruled by scum. Let's hang them all.

Very cool technology

Via Mike Rouse, these infra-red gloves really are quite cool.

As you can see, they seem to lack precision at present but, given that they have been cobbled together from various bits of technology, it a neat little system.

Very sci-fi...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Devil's in the Telegraph

Many cheers to Boy Hannan for mentioning your humble Devil in his Telegraph column.
Well, well. It turns out that every one of the NGOs cited by David Miliband as a supporter of the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty is in receipt of Brussels money. This information comes courtesy of the brilliant blog Devil’s Kitchen (not advised for readers who are squeamish about language).

So, to repeat the question: is there anyone at all out there who genuinely supports the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty without being directly or indirectly paid to say so?

The answer is still, "no." Except, of course, for our politicians who wish to keep their snouts very firmly in the trough.
The EU has ceased to be an ideological project and become a racket. Fifty years ago, it drew support from idealists who genuinely believed that they were ending wars and bringing nations together. Now, it simply sustains an apparat—an apparat made up, not only of Eurocrats, but of local councillors, civil servants, big farmers, multinational corporations, contractors, quangos and, as Miliband inadvertently makes clear, “voluntary” organisations. It’s not about federalism or peace any more; it’s about mortgages and school fees.

Quite so. Let's hang them all. Better, let's let them know that we wish to hang them all. Send a letter to your MP, to your Councillor, to any representative that you have, and let them know that you believe them to be so corrupted that nothing would make you vote for them. I have received, finally, a letter from my MP (which I shall publish tomorrow) which shows how very touchy they are: they absolutely loathe the idea that they are not universally loved.
They are making a mistake, these NGOs: the NSPCC, Oxfam and the rest. Their support for the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty won’t make anyone think better of the treaty; but it will make a lot of people think worse of them.

I should say! They are willingly complicit in a scheme to enslave all of those whom they claim to protect. They shall receive not a penny from me, and I recommend that you act the same way. These NGOs are absolutely helping, or at least complicit, in letting our government sell our ancient rights down the river. You know what to do: deny them your money.

In the coming weeks, I would like to compile a dossier of all those "NGOs" who receive money from the state and from the EU: I would like your help. You can find the accounts for most of them on the Charity Commission website.

So, if any of you would like to participate, I would like the name of the "charity", and their income from the UK state and the European Union through the last year. Help me out: I don't want your money: just a few minutes of your spare time.



Batshit still a lying traitor

David Miliband: traitor, cunt and all round fucking demon.

Young Master Hannan has a good post up today on the continuing saga of the EU Constitution.
Is there anyone out there who just happens independently to come to the view that the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty is a Good Thing? Without being paid to say that, I mean?

No. Oh, apart from Nick Clegg.
I blogged recently about the way in which the EU likes to say it has consulted “civic society” when all it has done is talk to a number of front organisations funded by itself. Now, it seems the British Foreign Minister is doing something similar.

Defending the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty at the Dispatch Box yesterday, David Miliband told MPs:
“The NSPCC pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam”.

He added:
“Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition not of ideology, but integrity”.

Oh, really? All I can think is that Batshit has an entirely different definition of integrity from mine.

Is it just me, or are the NSPCC, One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam unelected NGOs who should have precisely no fucking say in how this country is run?

But.... But, think of the chiiildren. Fuck the children.
What about the others? Well, I’ve just put down a written question to the Commission asking whether they have had any dosh. I’ll keep you posted.

The answer, Dan, readily available on the internet, is that all of these so-called charities are up to their eyeballs in EU and state funding. Let's start with EU Referendum's information on the NSPCC, shall we?
Quite why the NSPCC is so enthusiastic about the EU, however, is not immediately apparent until one realises that it is a founder member of the European Children's Network (EURONET). This in the past has received funding from the EU commission, and will no doubt do so again in the future.

The NSPCC has also received EU funding for its Childline project, which is channelled through the commission's DAPHNE Programme. That programme has a budget of €50 million for 2004-2008, with €10.5 of offer for this spending year – funding a diverse range of NGOs in the child protection industry.

In other words, the NSPCC has its fingers in the EU pie up to its armpits. Its "third-party support" is simply another example of the EU buying up NGOs to extend its influence into organised civil society.

So, the NSPCC are hardly the impartial observers that Batshit would like us to believe that they are: in fact, they have been bought, and they are steeped in corruption.

What about Oxfam? Well, they are heavily funded by the British taxpayer so you would definitely expect them to toe the government line. I am busy researching whether they receive EU money or not, but given that Oxfam's Jenny O'Brien sits on the EC Funding Group Steering Group of Bond, which allocates EU money.
As for Bond, the "umbrella group for anti-poverty groups", its EU affiliations are even more transparent. It is one of these "network" organisations so beloved of the EU, formed in June 1993, on the initiative of 61 NGOs, and now has over 300 members. Much of its activity is in fact advising its members on how to obtain EU funds, for which purpose it has even set up a specific unit called the EC Funding Group [Word .doc].

Through Bond, however, these 300 members link with Concord, the European NGO confederation for Relief and Development. It consists of 42 member organisations: 20 international networks and 22 national platforms. Its aims are "to co-ordinate the political actions of NGOs for Relief and Development at European level and to stimulate exchanges of information among NGOs but also with the European institutions."

These are all part of this vast network of influence, all buying into the "project". And having been nurtured by the EU, the EU is calling in its marker, expecting them to spring forward to help the British government defend the new treaty, pretending to be independent "third-party support".

And that's by no means all: go and read the rest. Like the NSPCC, Oxfam are utterly corrupt. It is an entirely safe bet that all of the other NGOs quoted by Miliband are also hosed down—indirectly or, more likely, directly—with EU cash.

What about One World Action? Well, here's the details of their grants from their 2006/2007 Annual Report [PDF].

Oh, look! Over £1.3 million from the DFID and... wow! I wonder what that European Community entry could possibly mean...?

And what about Action Aid? Well, luckily, I've been able to have a quick scan of their accounts too.

Oh, lookee here! Funding from the British taxpayer—check. Funding from the European Union—check. Wow! What a massive fucking coincidence! Really, who would have though that all of the charities named by Miliband as being in support of the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty would derive massive amounts of funds from the UK government and the EU? If I were a more cynical person, I might believe that... No, no: I'm not that uncharitable. That would never happen, would it?

But what about the worshipful bishops that Miliband quotes? Well, leaving aside the fact that people who believe in a big fucking imaginary sky-fairy may bot be the most sane or rational people to consult on.... well... anything, as Hannan reports, they are not all that they seem either.
I’d never heard of the “Commission of Bishops” before. A good deal of googling revealed that its full name is the “Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community”. According to the ecclesiastical blog, Archbishop Cranmer, “it is a Roman Catholic-led ecumenical body which is financed by the European Union to produce reports singing the praises of said union with all glory, laud and honour,” and its stated objectives are:
  • To monitor and analyse the political process of the European Union

  • To inform and raise awareness within the Church of the development of EU policy and legislation

  • To promote reflection, based on the Church’s social teaching, on the challenges facing a united Europe

Yup: an organisation funded by the EU believes—get this—that the EU should have more power.

Who would'a thunk it?

And who would have thought that that evil little demon, Miliband, would possibly quote a whole load of third parties, in support of this Treaty, who were directly or indirectly funded both by the EU and his party's government, eh?

What a mendacious sack of shit he is.

NHS Fail Wail

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