Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And another thing...

As you wil know, one of my bugbears is that we who work should have to support the lifestyle choices of those who don't. Regular readers will also note that I regard having children as a lifestyle choice. That may seem harsh, but fuck it, frankly.

So, here is a nice short post from Snafu (sorry for quoting in full) that sums up my feelings (and if anyone has the answers to Snafu's questions, do feel free to let me know).
How many of the 5.5m children "living in, or on the brink of poverty" have parents who can afford to drink and smoke!?!

Who is responsible for "lifting" Karen Matthews' family out of poverty when she has had seven children by five different fathers.

Government targets for reducing child poverty should focus on discouraging the feckless and work shy from having more and more children rather than paying them more and more.

Although I sympathise with the children, they are seeing little benefit anyway: it is far better to stop people viewing children as an economic asset rather than... y'know... a human being, than to keep on paying people to procreate. It's not helping the children, amongst other things.

Let's set a date, nine months from now, from which point there will be no child benefit. At all. No preferential place on the housing list, no Child Benefits, nothing.

Give people the information and watch the pregnancy rate fall like a fucking stone.

Home. Finally.

An absolute fucking nightmare of a journey has ensured that, despite
leaving Brum at 8.30 pm, I have just walked in my fromt door at 1.20 am.

I may elaborate tomorrow, or I may not. However, I will say this: it
should be made widely known that, if you throw yourself in front of a
train (near Milton-Keynes, say), your family will be liable for
unlimited compensation claims and will end up fucking destitute,
before being flogged through the streets of the nearest town.

Oh, and a swift note to the police: seriously, guys, how long does it
take to clean up some guts.

I shall deal with the fucking shocking state of our transport
infrastructure tomorrow...

UPDATE: I've yet to deal with this fully, but why the hell should Virgin have to pay me compensation for something that is not their fault. The suicide's estate should pay the compensation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Live-blogging from the Freedom Zone: Iain Dale and David Davis

David Davis maintains that he resigned simply in order to highlight the freedom issue; however, he also admits that it was because he could see no other way of highlighting this without ruining his career.

Davis maintains that there was no bust-up between him and Cameron. He can remember when Howard was booed for condemning ID cards; Davis was then cheered for speaking against them.

Iain asks whether Davis felt that he "was letting the cause down" because Davis was good at getting headlines. This is a Dale bugbear, of course. Davis does say that he is still going to be around.

There is no difference between Davis and Grieve, David maintains.

Davis says that he has not had one moment of doubt about his decision; he did think that he might lose his nerve, but he has not "for one minute" regretted his actions.

Davis: Gordon Brown keeps talking about what it is to be British (it's a terrible word -- almost German!). Britain is almost unique in their balance of freedom -- the only others are those that we influenced (the Anglosphere).

All of the innovations that we made, science, technology, engineering, all of that innovation came from that freedom.

Davis told Clegg what he was going to do immediately after he told Cameron. "You can't always trust the Liberals to do the intelligent thing, so I wanted to give him time to think about it."

Whether or not Labour would run was in the balance.

Davis's conference with Cameron was rushed and Cameron said, "why?" Davis replied with is reasons. Cameron said, "but it might not work." Davis: "But I think that it will."

Davis maintains that, although he had planned it out logically, in the end it was "an emotional decision" taken almost on the day. Amongst other things, he didn't want Dale calling every half hour saying, "no! Don't do it."

Your humble Devil can't help feeling that David is slightly over-egging the "big decision" pudding.

Iain points out that Davis has said remarkably little about civil liberties since.

Davis maintains that "well, it was August." He says that he will be spending about "25% of my time on this issue"; he will mainly be concentrating on it again when the 42 days Bill comes back to the Commons.

If the House of Lords holds its nerve and keeps punting the Bill back, April or so, that's when Davis will start being very vocal again.

Davis tends to run campaigns off news events. And he will spend 3/4 of his time on other things. What they might be is not elucidated.

Davis is not going to be the standard-bearer for any particular party faction. He wants to ensure that Cameron is PM, and he will be.

Davis wants to see lower taxes for the country, but he doesn't believe that lower taxes are the central issue at present. "People are thinking will I still have a job, will I still have a house..."

Your humble Devil thinks that all this might be helped if people were allowed to keep their own cash, e.g. lower taxes.

Davis maintains that this government has been astonishingly wasteful (true enough); as a past member of the Public Accounts Committee, he knows that you cannot cut taxes "willy-nilly".

Davis points out that Chief Secretary controls expenditure and that it should not be, as at present, a new boy taking on Ministers, but vice versa.

We need to be able to manage public expenditure properly.

However, the Tories need to be able to talk about public spending without people yelling "Tory cuts!"

"Everyone says that Brown is a wonderful Chancellor. He never was; he never was!"

Davis maintains that he warned about NuLabour's creative accounting in the nineties but that no one listened; now it's too late.

He believes that Afghanistan will be the issue at the next election as Iraq was last time. He says that he pointed out, "never mind achieving victory in Afghanistan: can anyone tell me what vitory looks like?" Davis believes that we have a moral and tactical commitment to finish the job (as do I, in fact). Davis is off there soon to assess the problems on the ground.

Davis does not believe that there is an appropriate job on the next government for him; he knew when he resigned that his Parliamentary career might be over.

Dale maintains that Cameron may have a problem with those with little experience in his Cabinet; would Davis not see himself there?

Davis points out that Cameron's facing a tough first few years, at least. It is the worst economic situation since 1979. He has to do it in his own way. Cameron wouldn't want Davis offering advice from the side.

People on the Brum street are apparently saying, "can you not get these fucking cunts out sooner?" [I paraphrase, of course.] Davis thought that Brown would do better than he has; the first three months was what Brown should have been. And then Brown fell to bits.


Chris Gill (TFA): I admire David for standing up for his principles. But where did this drive come from. Why did he not draw attention to the corpus juris?

It wasn't the issue. Brown thought that he could make himself better than Blair. It was cynical Labour Party politics.

But corpus juris is important, but he didn't want to conflate the issues.

[Fingers tired.]

Next question: might your next principled stand be on the European Project.

No. He's basically pro-EU.

OK, the same question being asked a few times. Bored. That's it for the moment.

UPDATE: your humble Devil asked why Davis spoke in favour of 28 days, but not 42.

His reply was two-fold. First, that they had less than a month to come to a concensus on the Bill. Davis found that some police officers believed that 14 days was too little. So, they needed more.

Second, realpolitik. 28 days would defeat 90 days: keeping it the same would not have.

However, having had over a year since then and being able to gather proper data (which he couldn't do in a month), he believes 28 days is too high. For instance, the recent "liquid bomb" plot had evidence sufficient for conviction at 4 and 12 days.


UPDATE 2: properly controlled, Davis is in favour of surveillance. He is in favour of "very severe penalties for the misuse of this technology". He believes that databases, etc. make us less secure. The reason for cancelling ID cards is not merely to save money, but to stop the very possibility of the Big Brother state. And he does not want ANY council to have access to cameras, and other surveillance sources, etc.

Generally, he seems like a decent and sincere guy: I shall not open his trapdoor...

Something of the night about my train

Truly, we are honoured! Your humble Devil's immersion in the world of
the Tory political mainstream has begun even before I have left Euston.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, only two rows away from your
humble Devil sits erstwhile Conservative leader Michael Howard, and
his wife.

And gosh! we're only in cattle-class...

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quote of the Day...

... comes from Shuggy in a very good post about whether it is good to be or not to be your job.
As it is, I'm pretty tired of reading about what the 'real' Gordon Brown's like in private already—not least because we already know it's completely irrelevant to how he does his job. For example, we were told that Brown, because he's from a dismal Calvinist background, is 'careful with money'. Fair enough—personally, I'm sure this is true. However, since this obviously serves as no guide as to what's going to happen to tax-payer's money, I don't see how the fact that he served fairly cheap but agreeable champagne from Sainsbury's at his wedding is that relevant.

Quite. It's always worth, at points like this, reminding ourselves of the four ways of spending money, as espoused by Milton Friedman and summarised by P J O'Rourke in All The Trouble In The World.
  1. You spend your own money buying something for yourself—you therefore try to get the best possible product for the best possible price.

  2. You spend someone else's money buying something for yourself—you still try to get the best possible product, but you are not so concerned about the price.

  3. You spend your own money buying something for someone else—you are deeply concerned about the price, but you are not nearly so worried about the quality of the product.

  4. You spend someone else's money buying something for someone else—in which case, who gives a shit?

So, as Shuggy quite correctly points out, the fact that Gordon Brown is a miserable, tight-arsed fucker as far as his own cash is concerned has absolutely no bearing on how much of our hard-earned money he is prepared to piss up the wall on his pet schemes.

Fucking hell, but I hate that monocular Scots cunt.

Why I joined the Labour Party

No, not me (I have never been that stupid): some guy over at LabourHome has poured out his wee heart on this topic.
I joined Labour because earlier this year I had a heart operation. And I only waited 12 weeks for it. Had I been waiting 18 months for my operation, I could be very ill.

I joined Labour because they gave enough funding to schools that they couldn't give up on me, even with a learning "disorder".

I joined Labour because they've given the economic security through redistribution for my mum to be free.

When my family has been poor and alone, a Labour government did not abandon us. They helped. Whether it is through EMA's, or SureStart, or the minimum wage, a Labour government didn't forget me. And I haven't forgotten their help.

Now, this is all very lovely, I think that you will agree. And, it is fantastic that some of the money has indeed helped people rather than being pissed up the wall.

However, it is also worth remembering that in order for Labour [sic] to help this character and his mother, the state stole a substantial amount of money off other people to do it.

If you are going to thank the Labour Party for all of this bounty, then I think that you should also thank the thousands of ordinary people who had the fruits of their hard work extorted from them, under threat of fines or imprisonment, in order to deliver the money that helped you.

Don't you think that's reasonable?

Oh, and whilst we are about it, why not have a quick peek at this wonderfully excoriating review of LabourHome by Unity, a Labour Party member...?

Hold onto your hats...

... coats, 'phones and everything else, folks: the Tories are in town...
Had my coat containing phone and conference pass stolen at a pre-conference party on Broad Street last night. I feel somewhat disconnected to say the least.

The [CF/YBF] event was very well attended—the party even more so. Some members of a CF branch or two (who shall remain nameless at this point) rather awkwardly gatecrashed the party and racked up the tab considerably. Wouldn’t have minded if they had paid the fee for the course.

Of course, your money's safe: they'll only start stealing that when they're in government...

Denis MacShane: unpleasant little shit

Denis MacShane: an unpleasant sack of shit who—unable to win the pro-EU argument on economic, cultural or influence grounds—prefers to resort to insults and smear tactics. (Yes, yes, I know: pot, kettle, etc. Except that I can win the argument without resorting to said tactics: I choose to insult the turd.)

Denis MacShane has written a piss-poor review of a book by Chris Patten (another pro-EU fuckhead) and has the temerity to wheel out the usual lies about opposition to the EU.
In Berlin recently, David Cameron promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty were he to become prime minister and the Treaty were not to be ratified. That would mean that the first period of any Tory government unleashing, as its main contribution to international politics, a festival of xenophobic hate against Europe. The Tories, BNP, UKIP and the Daily Mail would win the vote – but at the cost of reducing Britain's influence across the Channel and Atlantic to zero.

Look, you screaming little turd, it isn't xenophobia—an irrational fear of foreigners—as Timmy (a resident of Portugal for many years, and of many other countries before that) quite rightly points out.
You’ve still not got it, have you?

It’s nothing to do with xenophobia, nothing to do with Europe.

It’s about the specific political structure that is the European Union.

Quite. And fuck our influence over the Channel: why the hell would we want to influence—much less be shackled to—a continent in terminal decline?

Our influence, Denis, would be quite large enough were we to reconnect with the Anglosphere—in fact, our influence would cover far more of the globe than as part of the EU. Our military—over-stretched and under-funded as it is—is still one of the biggest and, objectively, the best in the world.

We are the fifth highest GDP in the world, and rated fourth for innovation. Both of these figures would be massively boosted once we have shaken off the EU albatross.

Our influence across the Atlantic is already great enough and, if our politicians could just find a pair of balls, it would be even greater.

My desire to withdraw from the EU is absolutely sod all to do with xenophobia and everything to do with wanting to improve the lives and prosperity of every individual in this country.

So fuck you, MacShane, and the fucking hybrid fucking car you rode in on: you are an ignorant, insulting waste of space.

Private education, public waste

There really isn't much more that I can add to this. But I will, obviously.
The Rev Tim Hastie-Smith, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, claimed that fee-paying schools work out cheaper because millions of pounds of public money is spent on bureaucracy.

His claims come as research for the Independent Schools Council found state school education cost at least £9,000 per child per year. The average cost of putting a child through private school is £9,069 per year, but some charge less.

Mr Hastie-Smith said that the total state education budget for the last school year was £77.7 billion but claimed that there were “enormous extra costs from bureaucracy and monitoring” that were unaccounted for.

Now, Mr Hastie-Smith may have a particular drum to bang—although since he's actually moving from a private school to one of the state academies, not as much as you might think—but he is entirely correct here.

Some years ago, when I was still living in Edinburgh, I saw an article reporting that, in Scotland, about one third of all education funding was being swallowed up by Local Education Authorities. And for what? To pay idiots to carry out pointless fucking bureaucratic tasks of no relevance whatsoever.

Now, whilst the Tories are flirting with school vouchers (and that is very good news), they have yet to point out what it is that makes the Swedish and Dutch systems so good: the independence of the schools—although Mr Hastie-Smith does recognise this.
“The attraction of academies is in their independence,” he said. “There is every reason why an independent schools head—or a deputy looking for headship—will see academies as very attractive."

For fuck's sake, Cameron! will you please find a pair of balls. Set out a simple plan: make all schools independent, introduce vouchers and, for fuck's sake, scrap the fund-stealing LEAs and any other government involvement in education.

And with this scheme, if people maintain that you are being too radical, you can point to Sweden and the Netherlands and say, "look, you reactionary morons! This system works! We Tories are not going to keep our children in ignorance and continue to fuck up their entire, cocking lives simply because you fucks think that state-directed education is the only way to do things.

"Read my lips: it. Fucking. Works."

If the Tories only did one thing in government, then this should be it: it would ensure them an entirely positive legacy for years to come. More importantly, it would ensure that children got a decent education and were able to make something of their lives: education is the key to social mobility and success.

Mark Clarke

Apparently, ex-Conservative Future Chairman and Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Mark Clarke is a hypocritical, deceitful, tight-fisted bastard who likes to pay for his jollies.
Tatler Tory is a deceitful womaniser who isn't fit to be an MP, says his ex-girlfriend

A high-flying young Tory featured in the society magazine Tatler as a future Cabinet Minister was denounced by his ex-girlfriend yesterday as unfit to be an MP.

Nurse Sarah Gill said Parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke, 31, had treated her ‘appallingly’ during their whirlwind romance, which ended last month.

She claimed Mr Clarke who is campaigning to clean up a red light district in the South London constituency he aims to represent:
  • Told her a previous girlfriend had once arranged a prostitute for him as a ‘present’.

  • Said he went on a weekend trip with male friends to watch England play South Africa at cricket this summer, during which one of them spent a night with a prostitute.

  • Left her in the street one night to be rescued by a black youth wearing a hoodie – and later, after the youth had gone, produced a knife hidden in a wrapped up T-shirt.

  • Told her he had slept with a pal’s girlfriend to get revenge on him – and threw £25 at Miss Gill when they split up and she reminded him he owed her money.

Not fit to be an MP? Well, possibly: nevertheless, it sounds to me like he will fit in nicely with all of the other hypocritical, deceitful bastards in the House of Commons. Yep, I can see a bright future in government for Mark.

Until, of course, he's dangling on the end of a rope alongside with all of the other MP cunts...

In which activity, his ex-girlfriend should probably join him: whilst he may be a shit of the first water, she obviously has no dignity or honour whatso-fucking-ever. Mind you, it may be that a life of spinsterhood awaits her in any case: would you date someone who'd revealed everything about a previous relationship to The Mail On Sunday?

UPDATE: is that glee from Dizzy?
What can I say, being turned over in the Sundays couldn't have happened to a nicer person. I am truly gutted for Mark who once displayed the most unbelievable arrogance and "up his own arse" attitude towards me and a couple of others.

And Guido spells out his alleged hypocrisy very clearly.
The article brought an ex-girlfriend out of the woodwork to accuse him of a history of whoring as well as being a tight-wad. Which is awkward now he is a candidate and campaigning against prostitution in Tooting.

Oh dear, oh dear: poor Mark...

Wanking bankers

What the bloody hell is our government playing at? Why the living fuck are they planning to nationalise Bradford and Bingley?
Troubled bank Bradford & Bingley is to be nationalised, the BBC has learned.

Officials from the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) have been in talks with executives from the bank in a bid to secure its future.

Why? Look, you fucking morons, if you want to stop this kind of shit happening again, you have to teach these people that their actions—and their failure—have consequences.

A couple of days ago, I posted a Forbes article which pointed out that many US banks carried on with various dodgy deals because they believed that they were "too big to fail"—that the government would bail them out however stupidly they behaved.

It seems that they were correct.

Of course, as the same article highlighted, in the US the banks could justifiably claim that, since the Community Reinvestment Act stopped them from discriminating against customers using "arbitrary or outdated criteria that effectively disqualify many urban or lower-income minority applicants"—criteria that included most of the essentials of responsible lending: income level, income verification, credit history and savings history—that the government (and the taxpayers who had elected said government) should bear some of the financial fallout.

No such excuse exists in Britain. No doubt the UK banks would witter on about having to trade internationally, etc. but, ultimately, no one forced these banks to buy dodgy loan packages or to ignore their own loan rules.

And yet our government is bailing out these fuckers. I wonder why. Could it be that, like Northern Rock, B&B employs significant number of people in the Labour heartlands...?

I think that I would like to propose a Bill that ensures that the government has a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers: if the government takes an obviously bad punt with our money—Northern Wreck, B&B and fuck it! let's throw the NHS spine in there too—then the taxpayer can take them to court and make ministers personally fucking liable for the repayment of that money in the event that it all goes tits up.

I think that you would find government spending would start to drop like a fucking stone...

UPDATE: Tom Paine, revelling in his 13% flat tax in Russia, summarises this point very nicely.
If you insulate people (not just greedy bankers, but the foolishly greedy people who over-borrowed to go into buy-to-let or remortgaged to pay for short-term expenditures) from the consequences of their actions, you promote levels of irresponsibility which will bring you back to this point over and over again.

Entirely true. Has the whole world gone mad? Oh, no, wait: it's that people having to suffer in order to learn that their actions have consequences is frowned upon in our wonderful "social democracy", isn't it?

Fucking hell.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Unions are a law unto themselves

Apparently, the TUC believes that the unions should not be subject to the same laws as everyone else, as Croydonian has discovered.
Yes, that's what they are saying, via the European Trade Union Confederation, of which it is part:
"The ETUC therefore calls on Europe to fight for workers' rights, for fair and decent wages, for stable jobs and for strong collective bargaining practice, independent of and not subordinated to law courts and judges".

That is just one part of a frankly extraordinary document to which it has put its mark, 'The London Declaration: a call for fairness and tough action'.

Do go and read the rest of the frankly horrifying post, which outlines the unions' desire to nationalise just about everything under the sun, and then some.

Fucking hellski...


The five of us that founded the UK Libertarian Party come from different parts of the very wide political spectrum that is libertarianism; as such, we all had slightly different concerns—hobby-horses, if you like—that we particularly championed.

As you might have guessed, your humble Devil has always been particularly interested in the area of personal freedom—drugs, etc.—as well as reform of the education system ("teach a man to fish, etc."). In essence, I have always described myself as a Consequentialist: I believe that freedom produces the best outcomes.

Our Treasurer, Patrick Vessey, on the other hand, has always been far more towards the Rights end of the spectrum but, additionally, one of his bugbears has always been the fiat banking system. Although we have never really argued about this bone of contention, your humble Devil has never seen it as a priority.

On the other hand, as Patrick argues at the LPUK blog, perhaps now is the time seriously to reconsider that position.
What [President] Jefferson was writing about wasn't purely related to government loading up the public debt, but rather about private bankers creating debt amongst the public via the magic of fiat currency.

Jefferson was right. And, were he alive today, he would find that one UK political party shares his view that: "The issuing power [of money] should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs". And you're reading the blog of that party.

LPUK want to take back the power of issuing currency from the commercial banks. It must return to being a Crown privilege, not something to be done at the whim of private enterprise. Of course banks have a right to exist, and a right to make profits. But a 'right' to create inflationary spirals which affect not just their own customers, but every single one of us using the national currency?

Perhaps it is time to rethink our banking system...

Friday, September 26, 2008


I would like to point out that Ecstasy is a drug, the primary effect of which is to make you feel incredibly euphoric. So, obviously, I support this proposal.
The body that advises the government on illegal drugs is meeting to discuss whether ecstasy should be downgraded from a Class A drug to Class B.

At the same time, I am utterly unsurprised at this comment...
As part of the discussions, panel members will consider the submission from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), stating that transferring ecstasy to class B would send out an "unfortunate message".

Yup. The unfortunate message would be that being happy is perfectly OK.

It isn't, alright?

Being happy might mean that you no longer look to the state to assauge your aching sense of loss and might just realise that the state makes you miserable.

Additionally, you might realise that taking Ecstasy will not lead to you begging on the streets to feed your hopeless heroin addiction within mere hours, and instead you might find yourself dancing, having fun and wanting to end your night hugging someone rather than bottling them.

No! No fun. You must not have fun, do you understand?

You must labour at the coalface and pay your taxes so that MPs can spend them. You must not be happy, and you definitely must not realise that taking a drug that enhances music and makes you feel a sense of community with your fellow man might, in fact, be a good thing.

Now, go to work, you drones: your government is in control...

UPDATE: I do love to post these sorts of things occasionally, just to bring out the reactionary fear that so many of you seem to have about drugs. It's actually pretty funny. Still, I shall attempt to reply (again) to the same old, same old objections that are raised every time that I post about drugs.

Let's start with Miss Snuffleupagus's first contribution.
The point is that happiness should come from that which makes life worth living. It should not be induced by a drug!

That's pretty much what I have said to my Prozac-popping mother.
And the Government should not be encouraging people to seek happiness in a packet of pills, instead of living decent lives and seeking a sense of moral duty.

Wow! I must say that the phrases "decent lives" and "moral duty" really don't conjure up images of happiness to me, I must say.

I think that most people do live their lives like that anyway—but some people like to have a bit of fun occasionally.

A staunch opponent of drugs is our old friend, Wrinkled Weasel.
Sorry DK but if you need drugs to be happy then I feel sorry for you. Oh, and you are also a knob, an arsehole and a wanker.

Well, thank you but I don't need your pity and I certainly wouldn't accept it after you have just wheeled out the lamest argument in the book. I am happy (generally) when I am not on drugs: it so happens that this particular drug induces euphoria. But drugs in general are good at providing an alternative perception.

Go to a rock gig sober, and then go on MDMA; in the latter case you will find the whole experience so much more thrilling and immersive and powerful. You can feel the music and the atmosphere in a way that simply doesn't happen when sober. Most people get drunk in order to recreate that feeling but not only is that nowhere near as good, but lots of drink and lots of people crowded together often leads to trouble.
Please get real. Everyone who has been through this knows you have to stop or it will fuck you.

Sure, and as I have consistently said before, I and those with whom I took said drugs have, in the main, given them up. We like to indulge occasionally, but not with the regularity with which we once did. Many drugs are somewhat self-limiting anyway.
The argument for legalising drugs to ensure quality control does not take account of the fact that 80% of the population are morons. If you want to drive to work, knowing that most of the other commuters are off their faces or that the guy next door might kill you because he is of his face or that you cant have a sensible conversation will a call-centre worker because she is off her face...etc.

That applies equally to alcohol. And your point is?

Back to Miss Snuffleupagus who plumps for the "won't someone think of the chiiiiildren" route.
You think children should be allowed to make decisions to take drugs so that they can be happy? Wrinkled Weasel is right about adults too. But even if you disagree with him about adults, you cannot possibly think that all children should be allowed to do anything they want without any restriction!

Do you think that children should be able to do whatever they like? No? Good: the law agrees with you. The clue is in the difference elicited by the words "child" and "adult".

Do we let children take the decision whether to smoke and drink as much as they like? No. Why then should we feel that the same applies to drugs? They are powerful, I have never denied that; I have always maintained that drugs should be treated with respect.

Yes, come downs can be bad but everything in life has a price, even in the most mundane way. You want to make sure that you are home to read to your child every night—then you won't be able to do the overtime and your career will suffer. Or, you want to focus on your career, and your child will barely know you.

Everything has a price, and that price is not always paid in money.

Freeman goes with the old "drugs help you ignore your problems" line too.

You see, you can always tell those who don't really have a handle on drugs because they always assume that taking drugs must be a habitual thing. The idea that you might treat yourself to drugs in the same way that you might occasionally buy a really good single malt as opposed to the bog-standard blended stuff just does not seem to occur to them.

They all assume that, in the same way that they will come home from work and have a glass of wine, a "druggie" will come home and have a pill. It doesn't work like that for the vast majority of those who take drugs.

These people all assume (many of whom will be sipping their glass of wine as they post) that one takes drugs to mask some deep unhappiness and dissatisfaction. This is a deeply pusillanimous way of thinking. Drugs are simply a different experience: you might go out to a party and get a little bit merry—would I then be justified in turning around to you and lecturing you about trying to run away from your problems?

I do wish you people would attempt to understand these things before posting comments. But then, I wouldn't have so much to laugh at.

Testing out Blogger's email publishing...

... so that I can blog from Birmingham on Monday. I wonder if it works: this is merely a test.

However, if I have set it up right, I should be able to send updates from my iPhone, which would be excellent (and mean that I don't have to search for some expensive Wi-Fi...

UPDATE: yes, it does work, although formatting might look a little odd.

UPDATE 2: just as a swift reminder, I shall be taking part in a panel debate entitled "Freedom and the internet", with Dizzy, Guido and Mad Nad. Oh, and Iain Dale is chairing it: when I asked him if he was looking forward to it, his response was admirably brief.

It should be fun and, if you'd like to attend, you do not need a Conference pass.

And if my drinking schedule with Guido after The Plan launch is anything to go by, the day should involve a lot of booze...

England Expects more to follow

It seems that Gawain Towler has had to shut down his England Expects blog.
So long, farewell, auf weidersein, goodbyeee. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sad to announce that from henceforth England Expects shall be consigned to the dustbins of history. I say this with a heavy heart, but it is the case. And this is why.

Yesterday I was summoned by my Secretary General and informed that a formal complaint had been made about my posting on this blog. My activities were found to be in contravention of the Staff Code of Conduct.

A sad day indeed. Especially since Gawain has been rather good at giving us the lowdown on the absurdities of the EU from within the institution itself.

Of course, if you write insipid, naive, EUphile bullshit from a position of power, then writing a blog is fine.

Amusingly, of course, the EuroParl has recently been wittering on about journalistic integrity and media impartiality.

Can we leave yet?

Truth calling Harris

Via Iain Dale's recent roundup, I see that Tom Harris has decided to respond to a post of John Redwood's. Unfortunately, Master Harris seems unable to do so without actually lying through his teeth (but, then, he's a NuLabour apparatchik: what do you expect?). Here is the relevant bit of Master Harris's post. [Emphasis mine.]
Earth calling Redwood…

I rarely write as a transport minister on transport issues; this is a personal political blog. However, one of my regular readers has suggested I respond to John Redwood’s piece about transport on his blog, and for once, I’m more than willing to do so.

John is an obviously intelligent bloke who has a reputation for bringing an expert level of detailed analysis to his subjects, particularly the economy. But I detect an element of emperor’s new clothes in most of his writing, and his post on Ruth Kelly is a perfect example.

John, remember, is probably the only Tory MP who still thinks Railtrack was a good idea! As we all know, it was, in fact, an unmitigated disaster for the railway network and for the country. And John Redwood was a member of the government which created it.

Well, that last sentence is true: Redwood was indeed a member of that Tory government. But does he really think that Railtrack was a good idea? Well, not according to Hansard, the minutes of the relevant discussion appeared on Redwood's blog. [Emphasis mine.]
As someone who was involved in the decision for railway privatisation but who did not recommend the scheme that was chosen, I have no need to defend that scheme. The decision to introduce some element of private capital and some element of competitive choice and challenge did enough to transform the railways. We need turn no further than to the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), who has praised the way in which the privatised railway post-1993 moved from retreat and decline to an era of growth and development.

So, unless John Redwood was lying to the House—as near a serious crime as you can get amongst the criminal political classes—we must conclude that John Redwood does not think that "Railtrack was a good idea".

This is Truth Control to Major Tom...

So, what did Redwood favour instead?
My problem with the structure that we chose and with the Governments structure is that I think we left too big a monopoly element in the track. The evil is monopoly??it is not public ownership so much as monopoly. As all the economic textbooks rightly tell us, monopoly does in the customer. It always charges too much and delivers too little. It always looks after the interests of the owners and the senior managers. It does not look after the interests of the customers or even of the more junior employees, who do most of the work. So it is a nasty system, and even public ownership does not tame monopoly sufficiently to get rid its evil consequences.

At the time, I favoured splitting the railway into regional rail companies, which would allow competitive challenge over time, because they would have to re-bid for franchises; so it was not a perpetual monopoly for them. At the same time, it would allow others to come in and build new track or suggest new services, so that there was some element of contestability where the tracks could, in certain circumstances, be used as a common carrier and would not necessarily remain the monopoly preserve of the regional company. The basic structure was to go back to regional companies.

OK. Well, never mind: we all know that politicians can rarely be bothered actually to attend debates in the House—presumably they are too busy fucking rent-boys or spending our money in John Lewis or something—so maybe it's just the case that Tom Harris missed this debate?

But the above speech by Redwood does seem to be in response to someone's question. Perhaps we had better see who it was who intervened...
John Redwood: ... We seem to have some agreement that privatisation kicked off something that was rather good.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Tom Harris): In spite of myself, I am enjoying the right hon. Gentleman's contribution. It is good to know that we do not have to wait for the publication of his memoirs to see that he disagreed with his Cabinet colleagues on the nature of the privatisation of the railways in 1993.

Well, who'da thunk it? Major Tom was not only there during the debate, but he actually took part in it!

So, let us apply the Polly conundrum: Tom Harris has told a porkie—is he pig-ignorant or is he a lying little shit? Well, he was in the House and took part in the debate when Redwood pointed out that he was not in favour of the adopted Tory model of privatisation, i.e. Railtrack, and so it cannot be the case that Tom Harris is pig-ignorant.

So, lying little shit it is then. Unless, of course, Major Tom suffers from selective amnesia in which case I don't think that he should be a member of government. Although, of course, if many of the NuLabour lot were suffering from said amnesia, it might provide a more charitable excuse than the general accepted theory that they are simply a bunch of lying, incompetent, totalitarian bastards.

This is Truth Control to Major Tom...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A letter to Private Eye


I have been following your exposé of CDC and Actis for a little while and, whilst I applaud your dedication and doubt that said organisations' motives are entirely pure, I do feel that you are labouring under several delusions.

Your ire centres around the idea that CDC is investing, not in "agriculture", but in technologies such as mobile phone networks which is not an appropriate way to "spend the taxpayers' money intended for poverty relief". Fair enough.

Except that several reports have shown that mobile phones have an extraordinary and positive impact on development in poorer countries; one showed that a rise of 10 mobile phones per 100 people leads to a 1.5% rise in the growth of GDP. Amongst other things, they allow the farmers that you profess to champion to 'phone the nearest population centres—rather than having to pick one to travel to—and determine the best price for their products.

Further, another recent study showed that the building of reliable infrastructure had a far more positive impact on the development of Western economies than protectionism, for instance, ever did and so I would have thought that you would applaud the constructing of such infrastructure in Africa and other developing nations.

You also claim that CDC is "deserting third world agriculture"; it might have escaped your notice but the development of Western societies shows that everyone wishes to desert third world-style agriculture: in this country, for instance, people preferred to work down the coal mines—hardly a walk in the park—rather than continue in subsistence farming.

If our government was really interested in helping these impoverished nations, they would sponsor action to enact, and enforce, strong property rights laws: once a farmer can be sure that his land will not be removed at a moment's notice, and with no compensation, he may determine that land to be worth investing in. Further, his land would then provide collateral for loans to make that investment.

As things currently stand, in all too many countries, farmers do not have that assurance. As it is then, we should help them to make the best of their position and building a technological infrastructure—given the geographical and capital problems inherent in building a tight physical one—has been shown to be an excellent way in which to do that.

Yours faithfully,


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Plan

As readers will know, I generally think that Douglas Carswell MP is a sensible chap—his Direct Democracy site says some sensible things. Further, it was Douglas who—after a session on 18 Doughty Street—convinced me that devolving almost all taxation to a local level, via a Local Sales Tax, would not only be sensible but also feasible.

One of his partners in crime—and, I believe, best man at his wedding—is none other than Master Dan Hannan, with whom I have corresponded, on and off, for a little while now. I am delighted to note—having been prompted by Dan—that both of these gentlemen have discovered the wonders of Lulu.com* and are releasing a book through that medium.

The book is called The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain and is essentially a very libertarian manifesto. Dan explains...
What is needed is a completely different approach, one that tackles the root causes of high spending (ie, a bloated public sector whose chief purpose is its own expansion.) There are things that could be done to break the quango state and restore power to the citizen.

There are, of course, any number of books espousing low-spending ideas, but Carswell and Hannan have drafted in some well-disposed ex-clerks to lay out specifically how their ideas could be achieved in a single legislative session through some 30 legal acts.

And what are their proposals are? Well, here's a sample—again, in Dan's words...
  • A Singapore-style system of personal health accounts. This is not an insurance based system, since insurance has the same flaw as the NHS, namely that no one has any incentive to seek value for money. The doctor is in the same position as the builder who looks at your flooded kitchen and says, "insurance job is it, guv’nor?" before quoting his price.

    Our scheme does have a mandatory insurance component against catastrophe: getting MS, say. But this is a genuine insurance model, in the sense that most people will never need to access it, so premiums can be kept low. The rest of the account goes on day-to-day foreseeable healthcare needs.

    Singapore has a healthier population than the UK, despite spending less than half of what we do, not least because its system incentivises prevention over cure.

  • US-style welfare reform: ie, devolving social security to counties and cities, letting local authorities discern who are the deserving cases, and letting them keep any savings.

  • Allowing parents to opt out of state education, carrying with them a financial entitlement equivalent to what would have been spent on their child by the LEA.

  • Devolution of power to the lowest possible level: ideally the individual but, where this is impossible, the village or county.

  • Which will of course mean replacing EU membership with a Swiss-style free trade deal: you can’t decentralize power in Britain while centralizing it in Brussels.
    On the subject of Switzerland, we also want blocking referendums, allowing people to gather a certain number of signatures and force any new Bill to be submitted to the people. This rarely has to be activated in Switzerland as the very knowledge of its existence serves to deter lawmakers from being too ambitious.

    Result? The state is small, and the Swiss are rich and free.

It all sounds eminently sensible to me (I should apologise to the ASI's Tom Clougherty, with whom I disagreed about the Health Savings Plan. Although, to be fair, Dan has explained it rather better).

I shall be wandering along to the official launch tomorrow, netch'relly; in the meantime, you can buy the book—£5 for a download or £10 for a printed copy—at www.renew-britain.com.

* Your humble Devil has a number of book ideas in the works, and may well avail himself of Lulu too. I have, in fact, been compiling a book of my artwork for a little while (time flies!) and I have a few other ideas too...

So, seriously, who IS going to save us? And when?

A commenter in my previous post raised the inevitable comment:
Quite frankly I'm getting sick and tired of listening to you middle class wankers talking about stringing politicians up from lamp posts when it's patently obvious you are a bunch of fucking fairies who couldn't punch their way out of a wet paper bag.

And he has a certain point. I'm fucking livid most of the day and most of my anger comes from frustration. The frustration that arises from watching a government which has been quite staggering in its ineptitude, flailing around desperately, trying to achieve something (anything!) that will help it stay in power.

They couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery. Meanwhile, they're encroaching into every aspect of our lives with loads of new, unaccountable, untrained pseudo-policemen and hectoring, nannying bureaucrats.

We're faced with the prospect of a regime change soon enough (or perhaps not soon enough, given the scorched earth policies Labour are rolling out by the day) but even when it comes, what will change? Call Me Dave is a resolutely policy-free zone with every apparent sign of being another Tony Blair.

And where are the riots? We're being fucked in the arse every day by arrogant cunts, and who is standing up to them? Those same cunts who ran the poll tax riots are probably now comfortably ensconced in local government, pissing your council tax up against the wall of stupidity. We can't even arrange a petrol blockade.

When will sufficient people actually care enough to stop talking and start doing?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gorgon, please fucking stop, OK?

For fuck's sake! You can't open a paper or flick past a news channel without seeing some new fucking relaunch codswallop:

All schoolchildren will have access to the internet at home under plans to give families £700 to get online, Gordon Brown will announce.

Just fucking stop, OK? Enough with the headline-grabbing initiatives that involve pissing our money away on pointless fucking fripperies. Most people are going to use that £700 for groceries, the less mentally able will spunk it out on a new PS3 and a cock ring.

And please, please fucking stop with the "won't someone think of the children" shit. The children aren't going to vote for you, you monocular cunt. We know you're just trying to bribe us with all this family-friendly make-believe cuntwaftery.

The country's going down the shitter, it's time to batten down the hatches and stop chucking money around like a drunken sailor in a room full of prostitutes.

Stop fucking wasting our money. OUR money, money that we've worked for. Stop pissing it around in a desperate and futile attempt to keep your job. You're fucking useless at it. Accept it, it won't kill you.

But if you don't stop, we might.

Remembering Dead Italians

(Note - I am not 'The Devil's Kitchen')

In 1936, Gaetano Salvemini wrote of Italian fascist economic theory that "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social."
I can't think of a better description of Hank Paulson's Great Dead Cat Bounce Gambit. Liberty is dead.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Disingenuous Tory manifesto pledges

Well, thank fuck for ConservativeHome's breathless report on the Tories' latest manifesto wibblings.
Two weeks ago ConservativeHome exclusively revealed that the Conservatives were unlikely ["Unlikely"? Oooh, that's concrete—DK] to renew the pledge to match Labour on spending. A senior frontbencher has now told us that, as part of an ongoing review of economic policy, higher green taxation is very unlikely ["Very unlikely"? Oooh, that's so reassuring—DK] to feature in the next Conservative manifesto.

Well, that is good news, eh? Lucky old us, not having to pay yet more for the follies of our lords and masters. Whoopee-fucking-doo.

It's a pity that, as EU Referendum points out, that we're going to get higher Green Taxes imposed on us anyway, isn't it?
"Taxpayers in Britain face up to 5p in the pound in extra taxes because of the credit crunch created by the banks, leading economists have warned," says The Sunday Times, bemoaning in its leader that, "It's the ordinary folk who carry the can."

Indeed they do and it was ever thus but, while the paper is rightly getting excited about this latest raid on our wallets, another one is around the corner which will cost us, potentially, even more.

We are, of course, referring to our favourite hobby-horse, the EU's emission trading scheme (ETS) which, with other levies and taxes, is set to add anything up to £15 billion a year to our bills (no one knows precisely how much – so this is a conservative estimate) – also, by some strange coincidence, equivalent to 5p in the pound in extra taxes, and that is likely to be only a start.

Worst still, this "tax" is regressive, which means those on lower incomes are hit proportionately harder than the wealthy.

That the vultures are gathering to feed off this new income stream is already evident from this piece, where the boss of the consultancy LECG, Chris Osborne, is exulting in the prospect of a new "dot-com boom".

That snouts are already in the trough is clear from our other piece and, in a shameless appeal to the greed dominating the financial markets, the Carbon Trust is advertising in the business press a "business opportunity worth £1.2 billion in the UK". Aimed at encouraging investment in "low carbon markets" and "creating new products" it directs readers to its website, where no end of money-making scams await those who join the "green-con boom".

Amazingly, the political classes seem to be totally unaware of what awaits us. This is perhaps indicated by a post in Conservative Home today which "reveals" the exclusive news that a senior frontbencher has told the site that, "as part of an ongoing review of economic policy, higher green taxation is very unlikely to feature in the next Conservative manifesto."

I doubt that: I think that the political clases know precisely what is coming. But technically, ConservtiveHome are right: those taxes won't be in the Tory Manifesto—but the Tories know that they are coming anyway.

If ConservativeHome weren't such a collection of fucking dyed-blue, meglomaniac morons, they would realise that this is just a sleight of hand by Dave "Spam" Cameron and his Merry Warriors for Social Justice.

Although, just like their Conservative masters, one suspects that the fuckwits running ConservativeHome wouldn't care even if they knew about this stuff: they don't give two fucks about truth or what's right for the people of this country, they just want their side in power.

I suppose it's too much to ask that Tim Montgomerie gets it into his head to go on a great Crusade and dies of dysentry in Palastine? And is there any danger that "Call Me" Dave might bugger off back to his glacier and fucking stay there?

Fucking hell, can we leave yet?

Quotes of the Day

Thanks to my email correspondent, Dodgy Geezer, who has sent me a couple of most excellent G K Chesterton quotes...
"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."—G K Chesterton, Cleveland Press, 3/1/21

This is, of course, a situation which one hopes that the people of Britain might remedy—if they aren't too busy singing "Britons never, never shall be slaves" at the Last Night of the Proms to realise that they already are.
"It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them."—G K Chesterton, Illustrated London News, 3/14/08

And that is, of course, very true. However, at least the blogosphere is bringing together those of us who do curse them into one big, raging community. Perhaps when the last quote is contradicted, the problem in the first quote may be solved...

Papers please!

You know how the Nulabour politicos keep on telling us that ID Cards and the accompanying database (NIR) is for our own good, but there would be absolutely no obligation to carry said ID Card with you? Did anyone believe them?

No? Good. But just in case you were in any doubt, here's a story from Dizzy...
Last week, the Tory Leader of the Opposition on the Council was stopped by Police and accused of being a terrorist whilst he took a photo of the local Police station for a ward by-election campaign leaflet.

This is not a joke. Councillor Spencer Drury (pictured) was out in Plumstead High Street to gauge opinion on the issues down there in advance of a ward by-election next Thursday. He was also taking photos and when he got to the Police Station he took a photo of it.

After doing this a Police van pulled up, an officer got out, and then asked what he was doing. Cllr Drury explained that he was a local politician and that he was taking pictures for literature in the upcoming by-election. The police officer however did not believe him and demanded identification under the Terrorism Act.

When Cllor Drury asked if the officer thought he was a terrorist he was told the answer was "Yes".

There is something seriously wrong with this country and whilst the rot started with the scum in the House of Commons, they have, as my colleague Obnoxio points out, long since lost control.
Who's actually running the show here? Because Douglas Carswell, MP, reckons it's not parliament. Most of the rants I've had recently about nanny state interference have involved councils, not government legislators. We have councillors usurping and abusing anti-terrorist laws to spy on made-up rules about waste collection, we have unelected bodies like NICE telling us what drugs we can get out of the huge sums we piss out on the NHS every day, we have elfin safety telling us what kind of goggles we can wear in swimming pools.

And it's not just the egregiously fascist Labour Party that espouses this kind of shit at lower levels. "Call me Dave" is nominally the leader of the Tories, but when Tory-led Cuntcils indulge in this kind of petty fascism, "Call me Dave" just says, "It's got nuffink to do wiv me."

Anybody who thinks things are going to be better under the Tories is sadly mistaken.

Meanwhile, MPs are too busy feathering their own nests and shoring up their gold-plated pensions to give a rat's arse about what happens outside the Westminster Home for the Terminally Feeble. They like to see themselves on telly looking statesmanlike, but they won't expend the slightest effort on stopping the impending train wreck. Meanwhile, further down the devolved (but entirely unaccountable) power chain, unelected organisations, faceless cuntcils, civil servants and charities all vie to see who can fuck the man in the street a) the hardest and b) around the most.

Sooner or later it's going be pitchforks, tapers, piano wire and lamp posts. And these jumped-up little Hitlers better watch out, because we're not going to stop until every single one of the little fuckers is swinging in the breeze.

Either that day will come, or people in this country will just buckle under and accept their serfdom—and I am beginning to think that this latter option is the one that most will choose to take. As long as they have their Trisha and their fake fucking scandals cooked up by The Scum, what the fuck do they care? Are enough people angry?—that's the question.

As regular readers will know, I think that Douglas Carswell is one of the good guys (as far as there are any in that dell of iniquity that we call a Parliament), a man who turned down a position of power in order not to compromise his principles.

I wonder how wedded to the Tories he is, for there is only one party in this country whose central platform is one of freedom, and it will give me no pleasure at all to have to open Carswell's trapdoor.


I once tried to illustrate how much a billion pounds was by equating it to a man on the median wage—about £23,500 at the time. I pointed out that—even were he allowed to keep 100% of his earnings—it would take such a man 44 years to earn a million pounds and thus 44,000 years to earn a billion.

Via Question That, here is a CiF comment that puts it another way.
The NHS IT programme is a complete, utter fucking mess. It doesn't work and it never will work. It will eventually be scrapped, and if Liebour were still in power it would promptly be replaced by something even more useless and expensive.

It will end up costing the taxpayer twenty billion pounds. Do you understand what twenty billion pounds are? Let me help you:

On the day that Queen Victoria died, I put half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase, took it out into the woods, and burnt it in a bonfire. There wasn't any good reason for doing this—in much the same way as there isn't any good reason for much of Liebour's 'public spending'—but I did it anyway.

Then I did the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next. Every day of every week of every month of every year since the day that Queen Victoria died I have been burning half a million pounds in used fivers in a suitcase in a bonfire in the woods.

And I'm still not at twenty billion. I've still got nearly two years to go.

That's the sum of taxpayers' money that Liebour have spunked down the drain on one single foul-up in one single Department. If you're genuinely stupid enough to want them to carry on, then use your own money. Give them all of it. Tell them they can spend it on whatever they like.

They'll be delighted.—Cloutman

Queen Victoria died on the 22 January 1901.

It is worth pointing out that the state, in its multifarious forms, will be spending some £650 billion of our money this year.

Were I to take the steps that Cloutman suggests—burning half a million pounds a day—it would take me just under 3,572 years to burn what the state is spending this year alone. In other words, were I to start burning half a million pounds a day from the date of Queen Victoria's death, I would be done sometime in the year 5473 (roughly).

The trouble with such enormous sums of money is that even when you attempt to put them into some sort of perspective, the numbers end up so huge as to be as meaningless as the number that you started with.

Fucking hellski.

The stupidity and intransigence of the unions

I should probably go to bed, so that I can get on with some work tomorrow, but I thought that I would leave you with Travellgall's comment on the collapse of Alitalia Airlines, over at A Very British Dude's place.
Alitalia, the Italian state run airline has had a rescue deal pulled from it after the intransigence of trade unions meant those trying to save the company had to deal with workers who were physically incapable of adapting to real market conditions. Silvio Berlusconi said that this was a “catastrophe for Italian Society and trade unions”. Yet it was those Trades Unions that were responsible for the collapse in the first place, and every subsequent action made the medicine harder for them to take and the condition to get worse. Bad management had a hand in it too, but the lack of flexibility in the workers meant that the company was doomed by the unions. They refused longer hours for the same pay, well guess what Alitalia pilots, you’ll have all the spare time in the world now, just with no pay.

Yet the demise of the airline is best explained by this part of an article in the Times…
Despite the crisis, Alitalia's planes continued to take off and land normally. Fifty flights were cancelled yesterday, but the airline said that this was because of a one-day strike by a small trades union.

So let's get this straight, your Company is fighting for its life, everybody knows this is the last chance you've got to save your job, and YOU GO ON STRIKE!

And really, don't think that the Italian unions have a monopoly on utter, mind-boggling stupidity: the Trades Unions in this country are just as bad.

I told you so – but I wasn't the first

Roger Thornhill has posted a speech by Ronald Reagan...
... talking about Socialized Medicine in 1961 and how it bootstraps all manner of Socialist thinking and controls into our everyday life. Witness how this happens now with the "cost to the NHS" being used as a cudgel to beat people up over smoking, drinking, diet and exercise, while forgetting that those people are now denied the option over the NHS. They MUST pay for it, so they MUST use it, so they are no longer a customer but a COST. Therefore, to reduce costs they MUST OBEY the State in all manner of ways.

This is a theme that I expounded upon when I talked about all taxpayers being in hock to the state.
The state is the provider of a service: the National Health Service in this case. Because the state provides and "pays" (through taxes, of course) for this service, it has the power to dictate to the population.

Obesity costs money over and above a "normal" person's treatment. Even if the obese person has private medical insurance, they cannot opt out of the NHS because they are forced to contribute to the NHS through their NICs. And, in fact, because of various laws—an ambulance can only take you to a state A&E, all GPs are employed by the state—no one can opt out of the state-provided system entirely.

In this way, everyone is in debt to the state. And as long as everyone is in debt to the state, the state, fundamentally, has the right to tell the population how to behave. And this debt can never actually be discharged: you are in debt to—and thus subject to the whim of—the state from the moment that you are born until the moment that you die.

And, remember, there is no actual contract to sign (or not sign) so the government can—and does—keep on shifting the terms of this agreement as and when it likes.

As such, no one in this country owns their own body; no one in this country owns their own life. Everyone is effectively in hock to the state because you can never, ever opt out of state provision.

Of course, much of the power that the state has over you could be countered were you able to show that you are, in fact, a net contributor to these services. If you could point to your contibutions "pot" and say, "look! I have credit in my pot and you cannot tell me what to do because I am not using or abusing these services."

The trouble is there is no "pot": as I have pointed out before, National Insurance is a Ponzi Scheme.
Does this sound at all familiar?
Ponzi was bringing in cash at a fantastic rate, but the simplest financial analysis would have shown that the operation was running at a large loss. As long as money kept flowing in, existing investors could be paid with the new money, but colossal liabilities were accumulating.

As with NI, the money was not actually invested: it was simply used as income and the liabilities were paid out of that income. The Ponzi scheme was a massive fraud, and so is NI. As with tax—or, as I prefer to call it, extortion with menaces—if it wasn't the state doing it, the whole scheme would be illegal.

As with the health service and NI in general, as it is with any other tax: whilst we are forced to pay tax in return for services, the providers of said services can dictate how they are delivered—especially, and I cannot stress this enough, because we have never been shown or allowed to sign a proper, binding contract.

This is why—along with the destruction of our ancient legal constitution—local councils are able to change the rules of rubbish collecting; it is why they are able to fine people for dropped cigarette butts (with no evidence) and why they are always, constantly, able to harry us and bully us.

Were there a plurality of providers, we could at least shop around. Even were said providers just as bad at actually delivering the services as the state is, at least we would not be sent to prison for refusing to pay for services that we did not engage or ask for.

The tax system makes slaves of us all: we have no option but to pay the tax, and thus we are serfs to our lords and masters. Because they have the law to back up their means of collection, and thus we must pay said taxes whether we wish to use the services provided or not, our lords and masters force other providers out of the market—both through monopoly laws and through ensuring that no one has the money left over to pay competing providers anyway.

I can only agree with Roger when he says...
Wicked is too mild a word for Socialism.

The state is really not your friend: it is the one, unassailable monopoly of the modern world and it must be destroyed or it will, most assuredly, make slaves of us all.

To the extent that it has not already done so, anyway.

Dame Carol Black is a shit

I'm a little late to this party (mainly because of time pressures) but Dr Rant has been covering, in detail, the events surrounding the suspension of Dr Scot Junior: the sequence is as follows...
The story so far:
  1. Dr Scot Junior, a well respected and well liked surgeon in Inverness, calls Dame Carol Black a shit on a doctor's discussion website.

  2. Prof Elizabeth Paice, london dean and pal Carol Black groupie, calls Prof Gillian Needham, Dr Scot Junior's dean in Highland.

  3. Prof Gillian Needham immediately suspends Dr Scot Junior from work, in breach of Department of Health guidelines on suspension:
    Exclusion of clinical staff from the workplace is a temporary expedient. Under this framework, exclusion is a precautionary measure and not a disciplinary sanction. Exclusion from work ("suspension") should be reserved for only the most exceptional circumstances.

    The purpose of exclusion is:
    • to protect the interests of patients or other staff; and/or

    • to assist the investigative process when there is a clear risk that the practitioner's presence would impede the gathering of evidence.

    It is imperative that exclusion from work is not misused or seen as the only course of action that could be taken. The degree of action must depend on the nature and seriousness on the concerns and on the need to protect patients, the practitioner concerned and/or their colleagues.

    The Directions make it clear that staff may be suspended and refused contact with their workplace only if they constitute a risk to patients or staff or if it is thought they may tamper with evidence. Otherwise they must be kept in touch, to keep up to date with developments and maintain their skills.

    As the complaint is not related to the doctor's clinical work, nor is there any suggestion or allegation that he is in any way a threat to patients, nor is there any chance that he can 'tamper with evidence' whether at work or not, there is no justification for suspension.

  4. Senior doctors claim that suspension is a 'neutral' act and that therefore no wrong has been done. This case takes place in Scotland, however under English law, NHS Exposed points out that the senior doctors defending Prof Needham's actions are wrong:
    In February 2007 a judge ruled that suspension is not a neutral act and cannot be applied to non clinical duties. The case law can be seen here. [Mezey v South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust] Further judgments are available here and here.
    I quote some of the most important extracts :-

    The judge states
    "I venture to disagree, at least in relation to the employment of a qualified professional in a function which is as much a vocation as a job. Suspension changes the status quo from work to no work, and it inevitably casts a shadow over the employee's competence. Of course this does not mean that it cannot be done, but it is not a neutral act"

  5. Reports surfaced from Inverness that the suspension had been lifted and Dr Scot Junior was returning to work. However, when he did not reappear questions started to be asked. Dr Rant received the following information from a source within Highland Health Board:
    [Dr Scot Junior] is still suspended, despite local advice to reinstate, regionally needham has blocked his return. The local disciplinary committee and LNC recommended no action to be taken against him, but the deanery has continued the suspension.

Dr Rant is unsure what the LNC is, but it appears to be part of the medical training system. They, and the disciplinary committee, appear to agree with the rest of us: that this suspension should never have happened, and that Dr Scot Junior is not guilty of anything.

So, why has Prof Gillian Needham continued the suspension? Is criticism of the establishment now a crime? Is thinking that the people who made such a mess of medical training last year were idiots now a crime?

No. But clearly any doctor who thinks it is is not fit to practice. Dr Rant thinks Gillian Needham is guilty of gross professional misconduct. Thankfully, Dr Rita Pal, champion of the NHS whistlblower, has reported her to the GMC. (Thank fuck someone is doing something constructive.)


Your humble Devil would like to show solidarity with Team Rant, and Dr Scot Junior, by pointing out that Dame Carol Black is a steaming pile of fresh, fly-blown shit; I would also like to state that Professor Elizabeth Paice is a filthy unwashed, pus-sodden cunt, and that Professor Gillian Needham is a rancid puddle of semen-stained poo.

However, it seems that the scandal goes a little deeper and that it may have been unwise for so many doctors to have been so candid on DNUK.
Dr Rant is disturbed by information circulating both on doctors.net.uk and sent to him by email from people close to the story.

We were aware at the start of the Dr Scot Junior trauma that there had been reports of other doctors who had been referred to the General Medical Council because of things they had said on the doctors-only website.

One of those doctors, Debra Shephard, committed suicide in June/July of this year [was it 2008 or 2007?—Ed.] after the GMC were allegedly sent details of personal things she had posted online.

Who would do such a thing?

Who indeed?
Doctors.net has been a hotbed of dissent for years, but had largely been ignored by power hungry people at the Department of Health and the deaneries. However, when the MMC scandal broke and the BMA - as usual - failed to mount any resistance*, thousands of junior doctors organised Remedy-UK online in a very short space of time.

Worse, the BMA later paid solicitors to argue against Remedy-UK and junior doctors (its own members!) in court. Is the BMA run by the same political elite that runs the deaneries? It would explain the joint letter from Carol Black and then-BMA chairman Jimmy Johnson. Online protest forced Jimmy to lose his job as BMA chairman.

Two online victories for bloggers and the doctors.net forums. Suddenly, the Big Shits were taking notice. Suddenly it occurred to them that this intraweb thingy was actually quite powerful. Suddenly they saw the future - a future without them!

Fortunately for the Grosse Merdes, not only do all the doctors on DNUK have their real names and addresses available to other doctors at the click of a mouse, but DNUK security is a joke. A five year old could hack the login system. Plus, most of the shits in question are doctors, so they have legitimate access to the site.

Reports started circulating that things doctors were posting - even on really private areas such as 'The Couch' meant for doctors in distress - were arriving at the GMC.

Well, well, what a surprise. It seems that the medical profession are tearing themselves apart, as those who have been corrupted by their politico mates and their cosy sinecures decide to systematically weed out and destroy their less tractable colleagues.

Still, it is interesting to note that the process works in the medical profession as it does in the rest of politics.
Note the process: find someone who criticises your political scheme, decide on the punishment, find 'evidence' to prove their guilt, decide on the nature of the 'crime' after you determine guilt and deicide on the punishment.

Does that seem familiar? Well, it should: all totalitarian systems that run by people who are unelected, unaccountable, and have limitless powers are the same.

These people are filth. They are scum. They have no insight. They have no empathy. They have no shame. They have no honour. They have no right to be where they are. They have no future.

Here's hoping. What a bunch of shits.

People make mistakes...

... but for really fucking colossal mistakes, well, you can nearly always look to the state for those. Let us take the Credit Crunch...

Now, this was partially caused by greedy bankers, it is true; but it wasn't entirely their fault. Y'see, what is at the heart of the Credit Crunch is a loss of faith in the value of mortgage loans. One of the reasons—or, rather, the main reason—for this loss of faith was that the bankers had been doling out mortgages to people who would probably not be able to make the payments. These people were not optimal borrowers because they had a high risk of default: in fact, they were not prime borrowers, but sub-prime.

As a result, because the risk of sub-prime borrowers defaulting, their mortgages cost more than those of prime borrowers. These higher-cost mortgages were known as "sub-prime mortgages", for obvious reasons.

(I realise the irony of this system: after all, if their mortgages were not more expensive than prime mortgages, then the chances of these people defaulting would be a little less. However, that is not how risk works.)

Now, a large number of defaulters in the US led to a couple of small banks going bust. This then started something of a panic which escalated into the shit-storm that we see today.

Now, the real question that needs to be asked is "why were so many sub-prime mortgages dealt out?" The risk assessors in banks are generally pretty smart guys, and they have teams of researchers and reams of reports to help them to control their banks' exposure to such problems.

Via Alex Singleton, I have rediscovered a Forbes article, which I saw some time ago, which may go some way to answering the above question and may also provide a counter to those who are lining up to blame the eeeeeevil "free market". [It's worth reading the whole article, but here is the meat of it, with emphasis by me—DK]
All this overlooks a crucial fact: There has been no free market in housing or finance. Government has long exercised massive control over the housing and financial markets—including its creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which have now amassed $5 trillion in liabilities)—leading to many of the problems being blamed on the free market today.

Consider the low lending standards that were a significant component of the mortgage crisis. Lenders made millions of loans to borrowers who, under normal market conditions, weren't able to pay them off. These decisions have cost lenders, especially leading financial institutions, tens of billions of dollars.

It is popular to take low lending standards as proof that the free market has failed, that the system that is supposed to reward productive behavior and punish unproductive behavior has failed to do so. Yet this claim ignores that for years irrational lending standards have been forced on lenders by the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and rewarded (at taxpayers' expense) by multiple government bodies.

The CRA forces banks to make loans in poor communities, loans that banks may otherwise reject as financially unsound. Under the CRA, banks must convince a set of bureaucracies that they are not engaging in discrimination, a charge that the act encourages any CRA-recognized community group to bring forward. Otherwise, any merger or expansion the banks attempt will likely be denied. But what counts as discrimination?

According to one enforcement agency, "discrimination exists when a lender's underwriting policies contain arbitrary or outdated criteria that effectively disqualify many urban or lower-income minority applicants." Note that these "arbitrary or outdated criteria" include most of the essentials of responsible lending: income level, income verification, credit history and savings history—the very factors lenders are now being criticized for ignoring.

The government has promoted bad loans not just through the stick of the CRA but through the carrot of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which purchase, securitize and guarantee loans made by lenders and whose debt is itself implicitly guaranteed by the federal government. This setup created an easy, artificial profit opportunity for lenders to wrap up bundles of subprime loans and sell them to a government-backed buyer whose primary mandate was to "promote homeownership," not to apply sound lending standards.

Of course, lenders not only sold billions of dollars in suspect loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, contributing to their present debacle, they also retained some subprime loans themselves and sold others to Wall Street—leading to the huge banking losses we have been witnessing for months. Is this, then, a free market failure? Again, no.

In a free market, lending large amounts of money to low-income, low-credit borrowers with no down payment would quickly prove disastrous. But the Federal Reserve Board's inflationary policy of artificially low interest rates made investing in subprime loans extraordinarily profitable. Subprime borrowers who would normally not be able to pay off their expensive houses could do so, thanks to payments that plummeted along with Fed rates. And the inflationary housing boom meant homeowners rarely defaulted; so long as housing prices went up, even the worst-credit borrowers could always sell or refinance.

Thus, Fed policy turned dubious investments into fabulous successes. Bankers who made the deals lured investors and were showered with bonuses. Concerns about the possibility of mass defaults and foreclosures were assuaged by an administration whose president declared: "We want everybody in America to own their own home."

Further promoting a sense of security, every major financial institution in America—both commercial banks and investment banks—was implicitly protected by the quasi-official policy of "too big to fail." The "too big to fail" doctrine holds that, when they risk insolvency, large financial institutions (like Countrywide or Bear Stearns) must be bailed out through a network of government bodies including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Banks and the Federal Reserve.

All of these government factors contributed to creating a situation in which millions of people were buying homes they could not afford, in which the participants experienced the illusion of prosperity, in which billions upon billions of dollars were going into bad investments. Eventually the bubble burst; the rest is history.

Given that our government was behind the wheel, influencing every aspect of the mortgage crisis, it is absurd to call today's situation the result of insufficient regulation.

Having read a similar article a long time ago, your humble Devil put forward this idea at a lunchtime meeting of a certain think-tank, and was derided. It seems to me, however, a perfectly logical argument.

As usual, the state made a bunch of laws in order to fulfill a political objective and failed to consider the unintended consequences of said laws. These unintended consequences more often than not come about because politicians—despite being some of the most selfish and corrupt people on the planet—usually fail, wilfully, to recognise that humans are intrinsically self-interested. It is particularly stupid as this is something that Adam Smith recognised many years ago.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.

One of the things that is really pissing me off at the moment is the glee and self-righteous venom with which comedians, in particular, are seizing upon the misfortunes of bankers; not only are they spouting, in the main, tediously obvious material but comedians are, let's face it, one of the most self-regarding and self-loving strains of human being on this fucking planet. But the comedians' rantings are only the most obvious and pointed manifestation of the equally distasteful tendency towards self-righteousness in everyone else.

Yeah, right: because you guys definitely would not have seized upon the chance to stuff your pockets with money were you in the same situation, eh? You would have protested, wouldn't you? You would have held your hands up and said, "no! I don't want this massive, million pound bonus."

Unless you can look into yourself and absolutely, honestly tell yourself that you wouldn't have done precisely the same thing as these bankers were you in the same position (and I reckon that there are pretty fucking few of us) then I really suggest that you shut the fuck up.

Now, as for the fucking politicians...

Idling smokily

Via Barry Beelzebub, I find this humdinger of a story (eventually—Barry, me ol' mucker, any chance of you linking to your sources, please?).
Motorists could face £20 spot fines if they leave their engines running while stuck in traffic.

Traffic wardens will be able to issue the penalties - after a warning - in a bid to cut down on pollution.

A pilot scheme is due to be launched in January in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, and will be expanded if it proves successful. West Sussex Council said it would target areas where exhaust emissions build up unnecessarily, such as rail crossings and town centres.

But drivers branded the plans yet another round of the war on the motorist. The AA pointed out that to switch off an engine and start up again within a minute actually uses more fuel than letting it idle.

It is simply another stealth tax and, frankly, a disgusting imposition.
Cabbie Roger Turner, 30, said he was disgusted with the idea, adding: 'Who gave them the right to tell us to switch off our engines?

Well, Roger, we did. A minority of idiots elect these fuckers and then we call it "democracy".
'The ones I feel sorry for are the old dears, who won't know what's going on...

Maybe they shouldn't be driving then?
... and could end with a £20 fine for not turning off the engine in their Fiat Panda. It's another example of the nanny state.'

This isn't "a nanny state"—it has gone way beyond nannying. It is another example of the totalitarian state: little bureaucrats making up laws as they go along, and enforcing them with state violence.

Fucking hell, I am so tired of this continual bullshit.

The thing that really grips my shit is that much of the time, these queues of traffic are almost entirely caused by the councils themselves, through the installation of vast numbers of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, sleeping policemen, chicanes and the rest of the congestion-causing paraphernalia.

Edinburgh City became particularly adept at fucking up the flow of traffic when the y were attempting to ram through a Congestion Charge for that city, as I wrote back in February 2005.
Q) What is congestion?
A) Long queues of slow moving vehicles.

Q) What do "traffic-calming" measures - narrowed roads, chicanes, sleeping policemen, etc - do?
A) They slow down traffic, thus creating long queues of slow moving vehicles.

Q) What have Edinburgh City Council been spending their road budget on?
A) Massive amounts of traffic-calming measures.

Q) Has this caused congestion?
A) Yes, quod erat demonstrandum.

Q) Is it conceivable that ECC have been deliberately installing traffic-calming measures in order to create - or at least inflate - congestion in the city centre, and thus emphasise the problem and force through the congestion charging so that they can carry on with their grand scheme for trams (or plug a big hole in their finances)?
A) If you can possibly credit the city councillors with "joined-up thinking" of that deviousness, yes.

In fact, the only use that I can possibly see for this man-made global warming hysteria is that it might be feasible to introduce a bill banning councils from deliberately slowing down traffic on the very good grounds that the longer that a motor vehicle takes to get to its destination, the more fuel it burns and thus the more CO2 it emits.

Oh, and now that I have been driving regularly for some months (on the speed camera-less A3), high speed crash notwithstanding, I am definitely of the opinion that we ahould emulate the Germans and abolish upper speed limits on motorways and multi-lane A roads: there is simply no need for them.

NHS Fail Wail

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