Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tom Harris: just doesn't get 1984

For all that Iain Dale keeps praising him (insert your own insult about Tory fuckwits here), we all know that Tom Harris is lying shitbag. One of the distinctive traits of Airstrip One's Party was their eagerness to rewrite history, and we all know that Tom Harris is very adept at that, do we not?

Now, it seems that Tom has (a little prematurely) received his copy of 1984 and is dismissive of the book.
An Orwellian nightmare? Oh, wake up!

Why, thank you, Tom, for your patronising order: do you mind if I fucking ignore you, you wanker?
AN ODD thing arrived today at the office: an Amazon package containing a brand new copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It’s not the book itself that is odd - I read it for the first time nearly 30 years ago and it’s a rollicking good yarn, with a great plot and a very dramatic ending.

And that, of course, is all that Tom took from it: the appreciation of a book that described, very well, the state of Stalin's Russia—before it became so fucking obvious that even (most of) the Labour Party had to acknowledge what was going on—has been lost on this moron.
Well, first of all, how about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s “masters”?

Fuck you, sunshine. You pass laws that were not in your manifesto; you skip the bits of your manifesto that you don't like; you rape our fucking money from us and pay it into your own deep fucking pockets. You know what, Tom, it looks to us like you think that you are our masters. Perhaps you would like to announce that you will come out into the streets of Westminster and take whatever anyone can throw at you and see just how well respected you are, you corrupt sack of shit?
Secondly, there seem to be an awful lot of people out there - perhaps dozens of them - who seem to get strangely exercised at the prospect of a “police state”.

Ah, yes: that's right, Tom: you denigrate those who disagree with you, why don't you?

You aren't in the House of Commons now, you cunt: you can't get away with that. It's not people getting "strangely excited": it's people getting scared.

You know, one of your commenters summed it up rather well...

“Well, first of all, how about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s “masters”?”

Oh God I’m spitting here, clarification notwithstanding.

In a democracy, as you proudly boast that this country still is, who is master and who is servant? It’s a no-brainer isn’t it? Call it employer if you like but it doesn’t change anything and there is nothing arrogant about reminding the Labour party (or any of the other MPs) that this is the case. You all seem to have completely forgotten.

Your blithe dismissal of this ‘gift’ is stunning in its lack of understanding of how strongly many people feel about how the minutiae of their lives are being constantly interfered with. This isn’t Jim Baxter’s cherry-picked instances we are talking about, this is wholesale destruction of everyday life.

… and a new restriction is brought out EVERY day.

Today it was:

Prospective MPs not required to give addresses anymore (yet contrast this with Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 where it is an offence for a member of the public to refuse to give their name and address to the Police when asked, whether they have committed an offence, or even been suspected of one, or not - your lot brought that one in).

I could list one of these EVERY day if you like but I have a business to run and I would expect someone whose business is Government to know these things and to recognise when civil liberties are being cut out. You don’t seem to think there is anything wrong!

It’s not all about CCTV, it’s about tiny things that add to a whole that is unacceptable and should be stopped. YOUR party have encouraged this and should be ashamed of yourselves.

OK. Here’s a list of the recent ones that have staggered me and which your party should be thoroughly ashamed.

Separate queues for buying alcohol in supermarkets so buyers “will be subjected to scrutiny of fellow shoppers”. What? Why?

Smokers being banned from fostering children when there is a shortage of 2,000 foster homes. What?? Why??

History & Geography being scrapped from schools in favour of ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ and ‘Multi-Culturalism’. What? Really?

Compulsory … note, not available for veto by parents … compulsory sex education for 5 year olds. (I haven’t mentioned the finger-printing, that’s so last month isn’t it?)

Bans on fast food outlets opening within 500 metres of schools. Funny, I don’t remember voting on that particular issue in this wonderful democracy that you seem to think exists, much as I didn’t vote on the idea of a blanket smoking ban but DID vote on a partial ban and a manifesto pledge of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

That is just the past couple of days.

Your copy of 1984 is richly deserved after reading your blog post. Read it again and take note of how your party have passed so many laws that are so very similar to those mentioned in the book.

Here’s an example - a guy accosted in Middlesbrough for taking pictures on his mobile phone, the reason for being stopped for doing something legal? Anti-Terrorism laws. His crime? Nothing. The Police officer’s reasoning as to why he may have been committing an offence? He may have been a voyeur. Is the officer examining the man’s thoughts? Is this a ‘Thought Crime’?

My local paper (today) has the story of a 15 year old on a Geography field trip being accosted by PCSOs and made to sign forms under the Terrorism Act. His details were to be stored on a database as a potential terrorist for 6 years. Fortunately he has a Dad who is educated and can get it erased. Your lot talk about social justice, can you imagine the son of a builder living on a council estate getting the same result? YOUR laws Tom.

Labour is rotten. Orwellian nightmare under Labour? Absolutely.

Quite. But, Tom being a party political animal, can't resist getting such a dig in.
We live in a democracy, and just because those - including my anonymous benefactor - who get excited about such things are unhappy that Labour is in power, that does not make us anything other than a democracy.

You total fuckwit. As you will see, come the fifth of November, every single MP will be receiving one fo these, irrespective of party. You are all as bad as each other, and we who can think for ourselves loathe the lot of you.

Yes, we live in a democracy (and why is that a virtue, precisely?) but as I have stated many times before, you represented yourselves to us falsely.

I need to sleep: I shall address this lying slag's crap more fully in the morning...

1984 and other stories

First of all, thanks to everyone who joined in the 1984 campaign: we got the required number of pledges in at 1pm on Tuesday afternoon, so every one of the 646 MPs will be getting a copy. Further, it seems that, thanks to donations, the party ordered so many copies that the publishers had to do a print run especially for us (we know, because we have a couple of copies with still-wet ink smudges on the cover)!

Those of you who have pledged to send a copy yourselves, remember that we want them to arrive by November the Fifth (or on that date, if possible) or the greatest impact.

In the meantime, the details of the first UK Libertarian Party Conference are up on the party's website. It's at the end of November and we have chosen to hold it in York, so that (hopefully) as many people as possible have as short a distance to travel as possible.

The plan is to start at 1pm, get the business over with as soon as possible (slated for about 6pm) and then go and have a colossal piss-up. Well, that's my plan at least...

We hope to see you all there! Or at least a goodly number of you...


An interesting article comes via Tom Nelson...
Antarctic flights could help reveal what drives climate change

But... er... I thought that we already knew what drives climate change? It's CO2 emissions from human activity, isn't it? I mean, we have a consensus, right? The science is settled...?

Now, just wait a cotton-pickin' minute: are you telling me that the scientists don't actually know the whole story and that climate may be a fuck sight more complicated than they're painting it?

Well, who'd'a thunk it?

On a more serious note, these people are investigating a particular aspect of past climate, rather than the future one.
According to the University of Texas, Antarctic ice cores have revealed aspects of the Earth's climate dating back 800,000 years.

About 1 million years ago, research shows, the Earth's climate changed in a way that caused ice ages to come and go more rapidly than before. Scientists have long wondered what caused the shift.

Well, I would guess that the Earth got warmer, but what do I know? But, whatever it was, I think that we can agree another ice age would be A Bad Thing for human civilisation in general.

And this brings us on to another aspect of this global warming thing (assuming that it's actually happening): given that the Medieval Warm Period—when the northern hemisphere (we have little data from the south) was about 1°C warmer than it is now—was a time of then unprecedented wealth expansion, why would a similar rise in the present day be so disastrous?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alex Lockwood: paper tiger

I'm hiding this post for the moment, in light of John B's comment. I wouldn't normally be so coy, but my internet connection is behaving very strangely at present: I am able to access some sites, but a great many others seem to be either inaccessible to me (Timmy's site) or intermittant (Blogger: it's taken me seven tries to get in to do this edit).

I'll return to this when my internet's better and I've re-read the paper.

UPDATE: yes, I am using Be and I know that they are doing some upgrade work. However, it does mean that I am unable to tell reliably, which of the sites that I host are up or down. Anyway...

Regarding Lockwood's paper: he very much does not, as John B states below, reject the idea of blog censorship. The only caveat that he puts forward is that, if censorship is seen to exist then it may denigrate the mainstream media.

He does obviously believe in anthropogenic, catastrophic climate change: he is wrong, but never mind. He does use terms such as "denialist" a number of times, and also slyly attempt to paint the Englishman as some kind of lunatic little Englander—the citation of that blog comes immediately after Lockwood states that "the UK sceptic sites are fewer, but are well read and bound up with concepts of nationalism." The Englishman's site was, of course, named as a piece of wordplay, i.e. "An Englishman's homepage is his castle..."

No, what I have decided to do it to go through the paper much more carefully and provide rebuttals in a fisking style. This will take me rather longer to do (and is quite impossible with such intermittent service), but it is worth it, I think.

However, as a preliminary, what makes this paper so absolutely worthless is that Alex Lockwood assumes that the science is settled; the entire paper is predicated upon this assumption. For, if the science is not settled, then the side that blogs take is not important and, therefore, neither is the question of whether they should be gagged.

Unfortunately, Lockwood is a lecturer in journalism; it is entirely fair that he discuss how blogs are disseminating the debate, but he should not be quite so obviously taking sides in said debate—especially since he is possessed of no scientific credentials nor, it seems, any real understanding of either the articles being presented or the characters behind them (Steve McIntyre is not merely a "sceptic blogger"). Quite simply, Alex Lockwood is not in a position to make that kind of judgement.*

The whole point of science is, in fact, to question everything and never to assume that anything is utterly correct—citing Galileo is the Godwin's Law of science discussion but is, nonetheless, entirely relevant.

As the world, as not predicted by the climate models, continues to get cooler (as far as we can measure these things), people like Lockwood are going to look steadily more silly and hysterical as the evidence against anthropogenic climate change piles up even more.

A demain...

* Many will argue that nor am I; however, I am willing to bet that both my scientific training and my reading of original papers are rather more extensive than Alex Lockwood's.

Oh dear, oh dear...

Some time ago, on the fourth of August, your humble Devil first bumped this disgusting piece by some young totalitarian fuckwit named Alex Lockwood.
I’m preparing a paper for an upcoming conference on this, so please comment if you can! Thanks. Many people have urged for there to be some legal or moral consequence for denying climate change. This urge generally comes from a number of places. Foremost is the belief that the science of anthropogenic climate change is proven beyond reasonable doubt and that climate change is an ethical issue.

I’m an advocate for something stronger. Call it regulation, law, or influence. Whatever name we give it, it should not be seen as regulation vs. freedom, but as a balancing of different freedoms.

Young Alex was severely beaten with a cluebat by a number of knowledgeable bloggers and appeared to repent of his massive, totalitarian stupidity.

Unfortunately, despite being gently and not-so-gently informed that his support for legal gagging orders for those with whom he disagreed and being sent links to posts that cast considerable doubt on the anthropogenic climate change catastrophe itself, it seems that Alex—despite describing himself as someone who is an absolute supporter of free speech—has decided that personal aggrandisement should come well before any notions of freedom.

Yes, Alex Lockwood has, it appears, removed his site and given a paper [PDF].
Seeding doubt: how sceptics use new media to delay action on climate change

Alex Lockwood, University of Sunderland

Paper delivered to the Association for Journalism Education (AJE) annual conference, “New Media, New Democracy?” Sheffield University, 12th September 2008

Alex's first task, he says, is to "provide a (very) brief summary of the scientific consensus" and fuck me, but it really is very brief indeed.
On 3rd August this year, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri told the Chicago Tribune: “The science about climate change is very clear. There really is no room for doubt at this point.”

So, to introduce his summary, Lockwood has chosen the IPCC Chairman, whose nice little sinecure absolutely depends on anthropogenic climate change being beyond question. Excellent!
Since publication of the 4th IPCC report in 2007, the mainstream media has, in general, accepted this position.As Andreadis and Smith (2007) note, UK journalists are no longer required to balance each warning voice.

And as the world continues to get colder, those MSM journalists are going to look more and more stupid.

Furthermore, just what, precisely, do the vast majority of MSM journalists know about scientific process? How many of them do anything more than simply rehash a press release? Precious fucking few, frankly.

Let us take, for instance, a round selection of the BBC's science reporters, shall we? You might remember, for instance, the BBC's Environmental Analyst, Roger Harrabin.
Incidentally to my research on the previous posting, I came upon the surprising fact that Roger Harrabin is a graduate in English.

I don't know about you, but I find it pretty gobsmacking that someone who is paid to interpret complex scientific papers and reports on our behalf doesn't actually have a flaming clue what any of it means. In fact take that back, he presumably doesn't read any of the papers at all because he is incapable of understanding them. He regurgitates press releases for a living.

He's semi-educated.

It does rather explain the quality of some of his reporting though.

And what about the rest of the BBC's environment team?
  • Margaret Gilmore was an environment correspondent until 2005. She studied English.

  • Tom Fielden, science and environment correspondent - not sure what subject he studied, but it wasn't scientific.

  • Richard Bilton, previously environment reporter - studied Communication.

  • Matt McGrath and Julian Pettifer - I can find no record of them ever having been to university, although presumably they must have been.

So here's the challenge: can anyone find a BBC environment reporter with a scientific background?

That's a very good question. Actually, how many journalists in the whole of the MSM have a science background: I am willing to bet that it is pretty fucking few.
Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Cristine Russell concurred, suggesting that for US journalists “the era of ‘equal time’ for sceptics... is largely over.”

Well she, at least, does seem to have some sort of scientific qualifications, although she seems to have spent most of her life as a journalist. But she is simply another Lockwood—the kind of totalitarian creep who would stifle those views with which she does not agree.

As Longrider so eloquently puts it...
Yes, they said something similar to Galileo. Science is not “settled”. Science is always open to challenge, new discoveries, new theories; there is always room for doubt. Attributed to Einstein, but whoever said it, it remains valid; “a scientific consensus can be undone by a single fact”. Something Lockwood might like to bear in mind before blathering on about there being no doubt – I’m pleased that he is so certain, however, it does tend to confirm his arrant idiocy and arrogance. Only a religionist claims that such things are settled. There is always room for debate and Lockwood is one of the nasty little totalitarians seeking to stifle dissenting voices. He is an enemy of the people – along with the politicans who likewise pursue an anti-freedom agenda. That so many are now sceptical is not – although I suspect that the Englishman is flattered – due to a few bloggers; it is because people can see when they are being consistently lied to. Eventually even the dimmest start to get it.

But let us get back to the delightful Lockwood.
It is my contention that new media is providing the spatial and temporal freedoms that, when combined with the ability to publish free from peer-review and from journalistic codes, provides the ‘room for doubt’ for which Pachauri says there is no longer any time. Do we have time for ill-informed scepticism and disinformation?

Of course, if the answer is "no", then you can stop reading Lockwood's paper now, for it is full not only of totalitarian bullshit but of more than its fair share of "ill-informed scepticism and disinformation".

I feel rather weary of this; we tried to help the young man out and he has decided that appeasing a bunch of stupid, new media gurus is rather more important than telling the truth or defending basic freedoms. Instead, I shall hand you back to Longrider.
As for journalistic codes, frankly, when journalists like Alex Lockwood stop peddling lies and disinformation, I’ll give the matter some thought. But don’t count on it. Freedom of speech doesn’t comply with codes, watchdogs or censorship.
… I would argue that climate disinformation online is a form of cultural and political malware every bit as threatening to our new media freedoms, used not to foster a forum for open politics but to create, in Nancy Fraser’s term, a “multiplicity of fragmented publics” that harms not only our democracy, but our planet.

Then you are every bit the ill-informed jerk I took you for the first time I read your totalitarian nonsense. Freedom of speech is sacrosanct in a representative democracy – even if it is speech that you don’t like or find inconvenient. Of course, this is the same plea this mindless moron was making before; fuck freedom of speech that I don’t like and regulate blogging – censor inconvenient views and stifle dissenting voices. That harms democracy, not climate scepticism.

Alex; read my words very carefully – I will never register with a watchdog, I will never abide by any government approved code of conduct and I will, absolutely, continue to promote a sceptical viewpoint – and you can stick that where the sun doesn’t shine, you nasty little specimen. The first time I read your work, I came to the conclusion that you are a pompus wanker. Reading the latest steaming pile of horseshit that has slithered from your keyboard, I realise that I was right.

As for the Englishman; congratulations on getting under this little wart’s skin. Keep up the good work.

I will add my congratulations: and I would also add congratulations to Steve McIntyre...
Perhaps the best known example of political impact has been the work of sceptical blogger Steve McIntyre, whose criticisms of the hockey stick graph used in the IPCC reports led to a US Congressional Committee to examine its validity.

Steve McIntyre is a little more than a "sceptical blogger", Alex: in fact, his scientific qualifications are considerably better than yours.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Toronto. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford.

McIntyre has worked in hard-rock mineral exploration for 30 years, much of that time as an officer or director of several public mineral exploration companies. He has also been a policy analyst at both the governments of Ontario and of Canada. He was the president and founder of Northwest Exploration Company Limited and a director of its parent company, Northwest Explorations Inc. When Northwest Explorations Inc. was taken over in 1998 by CGX Resources Inc. to form the oil and gas exploration company CGX Energy Inc., McIntyre ceased being a director. McIntyre was a strategic advisor for CGX in 2000 through 2003.

Prior to 2003 he was an officer or director of several small public mineral exploration companies.

Furthermore, the hockey-stick evaluation was undertaken with Ross McKitrick (who is not important enough to feature in master Lockwood's thesis—I'm sure that he's gutted) whose qualifications also rather dwarf Alex Lockwood's.

It goes without saying that Alex Lockwood favours calling these gentlemen "climate denialists", bringing in the language of Holocaust denial to the debate. Which is appropriate, really, since this little shit would make an excellent Hitler.

You can't pick and choose free speech, Alex: you either have free speech or you don't: you don't want it, and so you are an enemy. And it seems that you will not be told.

For, a little while ago, young Alex posted this whining post to his blog, which included this pathetic little point.
One lazy, ill-thought through comment in a previous post had quite large repercussions across the blogosphere (e.g. here), particularly for my reputation as an academic and for my students;

Ah, diddums. It was, apparently, "one, lazy, ill-thought through comment" that has gone on to form a basis for your paper: I am so glad that we could help you advance your career advocating that the opinion of those with whom you disagree be silenced. What a brilliant, shining example of journalism you are, Alex.

I simply cannot be bothered anymore: Alex Lockwood is an evil little turd and I wish him ill in his future life. I feel sorry for the poor wee bastards that he teaches though, and hope that they see through this pathetic, opportunistic, illiberal charlatan.

Farage on LPUK

There is an interview with Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, in this month's Total Politics and one of the questions concerns the Libertarian Party.
What about the new Libertarian Party? That is a threat to you. You have lost people to it.

[Shrugs]. Of course. People join organisations and they think that they are destined to lead these organisations and when it doesn't work out they seek pastures new. You get thwarted ambition.

Outside the three main parties you find this all the time. It tends to be people who have got a lot of time and the reason they have got a lot of time is that they are no use at anything else. They haven't got a proper job, they have never achieved a damn thing in their lives and they see joining a political party as a way of putting something on their headed paper. It's human nature.

When they find they don't do as well within UKIP as they ought to do, they are happy to go off somewhere else. You'll never stop that. We have suffered as a party from the angry old man syndrome—people with too much time on their hands and a wholly negative view of the world.

Hmmm, I wonder who he could be talking about. Nothing to do with your humble Devil standing for the UKIP NEC a few years ago, one would hope. Ah well, even if that is what Nigel is referring to, I really couldn't give a shit: I'll still happily have a pint with the man.

The fact is that the Libertarian Party will (hopefully) be something different from UKIP: the latter has always (and sometimes almost solely) existed in order to extricate Britain from the EU, and this is a very worthy cause—and the reason why I urge you to vote for them in the EU-elections.

It is a worthy cause because we cannot even contemplate the possibility of a more liberal society whilst an unelected bureaucracy makes so many of our laws. Most egregiously, once those laws are in place, they cannot be removed by subsequent governments: in this way, our membership of the EU contravenes a fundamental plank of our Constitution—that no government may bind its successor. This "rachet effect" that means that the EU gains more and more power—and relinquishes none.

But the problem with UKIP is that what binds all of the disparate wings (and there are many) of that party together is this one, single objective. It makes little difference that UKIP have developed a full manifesto when, should they achieve their objective, their party will fracture. In some ways, the development of the manifesto is in support of the main objective—that of leaving the EU—in order to make UKIP more credible as a party of government and thus more worthy of giving your vote to.

LPUK is different: our objective is a libertarian country and a tiny state. To be sure, this aim can never be attained whilst we are in the EU but it is not the leaving of the EU that is the reason for our existence: it is not a hatred of the EU that binds LPUK together (as it does UKIP) but a common belief that libertarianism is both the right moral and practical choice for this country.

Our manifesto has been put together to achieve that end, not simply to provide a incentive for people to vote for us that we may achieve another end altogether. Yes, we must leave the EU but ultimately that is not the endgame: it is just another fight along the way. And, should we ever leave, whilst UKIP shatters, the LPUK will merely be in a better place to achieve the libertarian state that we all believe in.

When that happens, of course, we will be happy to welcome Nigel and the other UKIP libertarians (such as this enterprising young chap) into LPUK...

UPDATE: With none of your humble Devil's past baggage to hinder him, Patrick Vessey is rather less kind...
Nigel, dear fellow, the aim of the Libertarian Party is to dismantle the apparatus of the state. Our membership have few delusions of grandeur, and even less interest in seeking power for its own sake. We're more than happy to leave the tawdry grubbing over privilege and lining of one's own pockets to those in the other UK political parties—yours included.


Not with a bang but a whimper

The Nameless Libertarian has written a really excellent essay on how classic works of dystopian fiction tend towards... well... fiction. They tend to rely on some massive cataclysm to enable the totalitarian governments, when this is not, in fact, the case.
All of this literary criticism does have a point, and it is this: dystopian works of fiction have their place, there is no doubting that. But they are fiction: they do not represent reality. As I’ve already mentioned, the reality of the slide towards totalitarianism is far less exciting, or obvious as it is presented in fiction. Don’t imagine that there will be terrible war before the state takes complete control; they won’t need to do that. And they are not going to utter clear statements of intent, like burning books. The warning signs will be subtle; it will be the gradual erosion of cherished yet mundane freedoms. And by the time the population realises what is happening, it will be too late. There will be no room for manoeuvre, no freedom let to resist or protest.

Unless we start fighting that process now.

The slide towards authoritarianism is happening; right here, right now. The government is slowly taking control of what you eat, what you drink, who and how you fuck, what you can say and what you can eat. It is doing it in a slow, paternalistic way and I believe the politicians think they are acting in the best interests of the nation. But there is no positive outcome if this slide towards total state control is allowed to continue. The best case scenario is that you are allowed to live comfortably as long as you do not dissent; the simple truth is that a continuation of the drift towards authoritarianism means the day will come when you will not have the freedom to think or choose for yourself. The loss of freedom is like cancer; it will spread slowly but surely across all parts of society until our liberty has been utterly eaten away and we are left with nothing but a half-forgotten idea of what freedom was.

Please do go and read the whole thing: it is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of work...

But it's something that I never was...

Britblog Roundup #193 is over at A Very British Dude's place, and I feel that I should answer a couple of comments thrown at your humble Devil.
Devils Kitchen, a rightie monomaniac, thinks it's not the welfare state, It's those dastardly eurocrats, and anyone who thinks the Tories are going to be any better are "delusional".

Apart from the concept that the Tories won't be significantly better than NuLabour, this sentence is almost entirely incorrect. I wouldn't call myself a "rightie monomaniac" (some might, but coming from Jackart, it's a bit rich frankly) as I write about a number of subjects on this blog, and maintain an interest in considerably more areas outwith it. But, Jackart is entitled to his opinion.

Aside from that, I have argued many times that the Welfare State is at the heart of our problems, even so far as to say that it has changed the culture and attitudes of the British people for the worse. I don't think that anyone could accuse me of giving the Welfare State an easy ride.

Furthermore, I certainly didn't mention EUcrats in the post that he references. It is, however, no secret that I believe the EU to have such a stranglehold on our legislation that not one of elected representatives can make any significant changes. As such, voting for any party which is pro-EU (which all of the Big Three are) seems utterly pointless unless you want more of the same (or very nearly the same).

Lest anyone should have forgotten, what I did say in that post was this:
And for all of Jackart's nit-picking—especially as to who the real Guido Fawkes was and what he was fighting for—this is what V manages to do: he not only makes people understand what has been done to them (one of the hardest tasks) but he unites people in indignation and gives them the inspiration to do something about it. It is for that reason that I find V For Vendetta so very uplifting.

And then, of course, the film ends and I am back in a depressing world where people barely comprehend the state control being stealthily imposed upon them, where no one can be bothered to do anything about it, and where alien-voters and their fucking Party tribalism effectively neuter protest and keep the same gaggle of corrupt rulers in power.

I think that I make it fairly clear where the blame lies, although I could have put more emphasis on the fact that the people themselves are very largely to blame. But then, I have posted that speech from the film of V For Vendetta enough times, have I not? But the relevant bit is this:
Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

My contention has long been that the Welfare State has been instrumental in the cowing of the British people—whether I have approached it from the position that we are now all in hock to the state and must thus dance to its tune, or from the stance that the state allows people to abdicate responsibility to other human beings (instead of seeing someone homeless on the streets, the thought is not "what can I do to help a fellow human in distress", but, "why hasn't the state done something about that?")—I have never been one to avoid blaming that (possibly) well-intentioned construct.
To which I point to America. If libertarians are going to have any traction, it is as a strong wing within the main parties arguing against authoritarianism, wherever it is found.

Why should I do so within the main parties? And what voice would I have? Some time ago, the Nameless Libertarian—once a Tory activist and now a member of that LPUK that Jackart so despises—wrote an article about the futility of this idea.
I've said before but I'll repeat it here again - there is no point in winning power if you have abandoned the ideas and policies that made you seek power in the first place.

I don't see that anything has changed since he wrote that piece.

As it is, over the six months, I have occasionally visited universities and sixth form colleges to talk to the people there, most recently to the Cambridge University Conservative Association (and I am back there on Tuesday evening with my LPUK colleagues). Maybe they will make a difference to the Tory policies, and maybe not.

But what could I do? Were I to be in a position to influence policy, I would also be in a position to be worth gagging. And I am The Devil's Kitchen first and foremost, and I will not toe any party line.
It is not going to be at a Libertarian party, which will be a talking shop, never to be elected and eventually foundering in a nightmare of inter-faction warfare.

Maybe: maybe not. We shall see, for it is early days yet. We are just finding our feet and are immensely grateful to those who have supported us thus far. Next year is when we shall start getting into action properly: these things take time, especially when you are learning.
By abandoning the Tories, Devils Kitchen and his ilk are leaving the party likely to form the next Government to Nadine Dorries' ilk with their obsessions about controlling human reproduction.

It is those who continually elect people like Dorries to be their representatives that are the ones at fault here, Jackart: those in your party. Now, go fight them: you don't need a loose cannon like me.

On another point, I have never been a Tory. I have never been a member of the party and, although I have voted for them, it was because I disliked them the least. I hated the social authoritarianism and I couldn't stand their pro-EU stance: they just happened to be the least offensive people on the podium.

Finding libertarianism was like coming home: it is the first time that I have found a political philosophy that I agree with in its entirety. Because the very foundation of libertarian thought is that you should live your life as you wish, as long as you harm no one else. To be able to vote for a party espousing that view will be a relief—no longer will I need a pair of Polly's famous nose-pegs.
Do you want the Tories to look like a post-McCain republican party purged of moderates and existing to further the interests of a narrow religious, authoritarian world-view?

If they are so close to it that that is a possibility, my dear Jackart, then there is little that I can do to stop it: let us not make the mistake of thinking that because I am a big fish in the tiny political blogging pond, that I have any influence on Call Me Dave, or the vast majority of the Tory activists out there presently.

If I have influence, it is on the youth of the party (although most do probably view me as a "rightie monomaniac") and on those who would not otherwise vote; or, of course, on those who, like me, voted for the Tories for the lack of anything better.

Well, now there is something better and, if people vote for us, then it will show Call Me Dave and his cronies that there is concrete support for a free society; just as voting for UKIP in the EU elections will show the Tories that there is a real and potent desire to leave the EU. There are only two things that will make politician change their ways: cut off their money supply or remove their votes (and the former often leads to the latter).

It's the only language, as my father used to say, that these teddy-boys understand.
You're an intelligent guy and a brilliant writer...

Why, thank you...
Why can't you use your talents where they might be useful?

And I do: I use them to try to convince people that freedom is good for everyone; that freedom also means tolerating those things that you disapprove of and not just the things that you like; I try to show that the state does things badly, that politicians are corrupt and that they lie; but mostly I try to make people think about what they believe, to wonder if maybe they are not being a little close-minded or out of touch with reality.

Whether or not I succeed in those targets, I don't know for sure—in many cases I do know (from the emails that I receive) that I have at least made people think again about their positions or encouraged them to be more active in making their voice heard. For many people, I have been a comfort, as they have realised that they were not the only ones who were angry enough to rail at this world.

And that is where my talents as a writer lie—if, indeed, I have such skills—and it is to this purpose that my talents are best employed. Some may take on board my rantings and decide to join the LPUK; some, of course, may (like you, Jackart) think that the Tories—as those most likely to get into power—hold out the best hope for freedom. Some may choose to do nothing at all.

It is not my place to tell them what to do (although I am happy to advise!); I seek only to get people to question their beliefs.

It worked for me: why not for others?

UPDATE: Patrick writes on a similar theme at the LPUK blog...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

24 Hour Party People

Filthy Leftie John Band has this absolutely right...
Every prediction I made in this piece from 2005 on 24-hour drinking has proved to be correct: on-trade alcohol consumption has fallen, levels of alcohol-related crime haven’t changed; pubs haven’t made any extra money; but puritan idiots have continued to rail against the rule change anyway.

The most offensively stupid puritan argument is that ‘24-hour drinking hasn’t cut violent crime, so it was a failure’. No - the point is, it means that law-abiding people can go out for a drink without having to obey insane rules created to stop soldiers in the trenches getting jealous of civvies back home during WWI. That is a good thing in its own right. If drink-related violence had risen, we’d need to weigh the good against the bad. Since it hasn’t, we can say that the licensing law changes are an unequivocally good thing, and crack open some booze to celebrate. Hurrah!

Quite right. The first round's on John...!

Hobson's choice

Via Longrider, I find that some miserable shithead called Theo Hobson has written an article about how James Bond is evil.
It feels like breaking rank with modern heterosexual British malehood, to which I more or less belong, but here goes. I hate James Bond. The continuation of his cult disgusts me, embarrasses me, depresses me. Yes, "cult" is the appropriate word. He embodies everything that's really awful about our national psyche. He mixes nostalgia with vulgarity, snobbery with hedonism. Because he's a semi-cartoon figure, caked in irony, he evades serious censure. Clever critics might sometimes scoff at the naffness, but the vast majority, including many intelligent ones, say stuff along the lines of "Cool!".

It's hard to dissent from this barrage of adulation. Call me Licensed to Killjoy, but it has to be said: this cult hero is a deeply malign cultural presence. He represents a nasty, cowardly part of us that ought to have been killed off long ago.

Of course there is a very serious case to be made against 007 on strictly feminist grounds. The women in the books and films are silly, naughty, flimsy things who need hard male mastery. I don't know how offensive this is to women, but it's offensive to me. Indeed I think the real victims of the Bond cult are men, who are impelled by a vile peer-pressure to worship at the shrine of this lethal lothario.

Theo Hobson, whoever the fuck he might be, is deeply offensive to me. And, one would hope, to all women too. Can you imagine being in a relationship with this tedious little turd? It would be hell, and utterly devoid of romance. Ugh.

People like Theo Hobson quite obviously consider all sex to be rape: the very idea that both men and women might actually enjoy sex is an anathema to this man. He is probably the kind of man who—thrusting ungracefully (tight with embarrassment, trying to get the whole thing over with quickly so as not to prolong his lady's pain)—does not murmur sweet nothings into his lover's ear, nor even heated cries of desire: no, Theo Hobson will be muttering, "sorry. Sorry. Sorry."

Either that, or he likes to slap women about and he is merely projecting his nastiness onto what is, let's face it, a fictional fucking character, Theo!

What a joyless shit he is. Still, there is a rather good comment underneath the piece-of-shit article...

Yes indeed, we can't be having any of that ironic fun business with our sex. Sex is a very serious matter.

I'm currently pitching my own movie in Hollywood. Titled Quantum of Angst, it tells the tale of New Age social worker Nigel Bond, a member of the Allotments Association who poses as a member of the Rotary Club in order to expose their plan to run a hosepipe from the Communal Tap to feed water to their bowling green sprinkler system. When a parsnip crop is badly damaged during a wheelbarrow altercation, Bond calls an emergency community committee meeting and the various parties agree to mediation. There are two sex scenes, both between Bond and his life-partner Frozilla Hemp, and any suggestion that sex might be fun has been carefully excised.

Nigel Bond will be played by Ally Fogg and Frozilla Hemp by Bond-girl Kathy Burke.

Indeed. Hobson's choice would be that scenario above: I'll take the irony and sexual fun, any day...

Quote of the Day...

... from Counting Cats in Zanzibar, in his recent roundup of Islamic lunacy in general and one of our old benefit-scrounging scumbag friends in particular. [Emphasis mine—DK]
So, it’s aid-workers and video games (oh, how valiant are the mujahadeen!) but wait! They get worse! They are targeting Kylie’s little sister, Dannii. And who issued the fatwa against the ITV1 show, The X-Factor. None other than your friend and mine Omar Bakri Muhammed. He is an unmitigated cunt of the first water. Nah, that ain’t strong enough. He is a cunt tetrated. He has a double first in pure cuntology from Oxford and a PhD in Applied cuntological studies from Harvard. He’s an utter cunt. This is the cunt who scarpered from the UK after the 7/7 bombings and then pitched-up in Lebanon and then in 2006 when the IDF made their abortive attempt to clear Lebanon’s Augean stables of Hizbollah Shi’ite begged the Royal Marines to put him on a ship to Cyprus. No becoming a Shaheed for OBM. I mean if you’d listened to his furious rhetoric you’d have thought the bloated sack of camel shit (bloated on bennies from the likes of me, natch) would be totting an AK-47 in the first ditch to repel the Zionists. But no. He wasn’t just a cunt (have I made myself clear on his profoubnd cuntology?) he was a cowardly cunt and apparently cried like a girl when he begged the Royal Marines to evacuate him.

Poetry, sheer poetry.

Plus, all this talk of supreme cunts reminds me that I haven't fisked Polly for a while: maybe that is a task for a lazy Sunday...

Dizzy with laughter...

I did enjoy this joke, published by Dizzy...
Three doctors are bragging about their country's medical achievements. The Israeli doctor starts by saying "medicine in my country is so advanced we can take a kidney out of one person, put it in another, and have him up and looking for work in six weeks".

The German doctor says "that's nothing, in Germany, we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks".

Not to be out done the English doctor says, "we can take an arsehole out of Scotland, put him in 10 Downing Street, and have half the fucking country looking for work within 24 hours".

Well, I laughed. But then, I still have my job.

So far...

The Righteous

Leg-Iron has been outlining his experiences with that group that we so despise, whom he calls "the Righteous": it is also a sort of autobiography and really rather good—here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

I'd especially like to quote this long section from part 8, which describes how the Righteous operate.
The Righteous don’t get their way by rioting. They incite others to riot, where appropriate, and then calmly suggest means to control such behaviour. Usually by giving the rioters what they want. So if smokers riot, will we get our one smoking room per company back again? Of course not. We are not a Righteous-approved group.

The Righteous achieved the current state of the smoking ban, and will achieve its extension, by incremental means over a period of years. Start by the banning of smoking in one or two areas within an organisation. Extend until only a few areas, then one area, remains. Restrict the times at which smoking is allowed in that one area. Close it completely. Then repeat in other organisations. Then extend it to cover all public spaces. Then extend into private premises and finally into homes.

Non-smokers, and especially anti-smokers, will shrug and say ‘So what? It doesn’t apply to me.’

Well, consider this.

Start with a restriction on the age at which alcohol can be purchased. Add in ‘expert’ opinions on how much is safe to drink. Check ID at point of sale. Insist on increased prices to deter drinking. Raise the age limit. (Oh, they’ll try that again).

Once these start to bite, take steps to separate the drinkers from everyone else. Have a separate queue in the supermarket. Set the drinkers up to be objects of derision. That granny with her once-a-month bottle of sherry is in the same queue as the kilted madman with a trolley full of whisky. That makes her the same as him.

The smokers had to endure warnings posted on the cigarette packets. Not to warn them. The smokers ignored them. They were so that anyone else could see how the smoker cared nothing for the health of themselves or others. Cue passive smoking and evil, child-murdering smokers.

Drinkers will soon get those labels. Granny’s one bottle a month will be as deadly as Angus McFlatulent’s sixteen bottles a day. Soon you’ll have to buy your booze by queueing up at a special counter, like the smokers do.

Plus, as one of my esteemed colleagues has already pointed out, you will have to endure trite "cigarette-style health warnings about the dangers of alcohol for display in shops, bars and restaurants" and on the bottles themselves.
Or how about this:

Begin with health labels on food. ‘Suitable for vegetarians’ sounds harmless and informative. We soon grew accustomed to that. It provoked no objections. Why would it?

Add in calories, fat content, salt content. Move on to red-amber-green warning labels. Bring in Righteous experts to tell us how evil fatty foods are, how salty ready meals are, how cholesterol will harden our arteries until we can’t move, and so on.

If you work that right, soon you’ll be able to dictate to people exactly what they can and can’t eat, and they will accept it. The easiest place to start is school. Remove all salt and fat from school dinners (ignoring the detail that there is such a thing as salt deficiency). Remove any fast-food outlets from the surrounding area. The kids now eat what you tell them. They will get used to it, despite their initial resistance. Many will start to criticise their parents’ cooking. Too much fat and too much salt. Slowly, the parents will fall into line, especially when they see ads telling them that they risk diabetes if they deviate from state-sanctioned waist sizes. All from one little label. Good, innit?

Incremental actions pass unnoticed. Each step is a minor inconvenience in itself. Each step moves the bar forward. Each step elicits moans, but no real resistance. If the Righteous had tried a total ban on smoking or special queues for booze in the 1980’s, there would have been outrage and very possibly riots. How could we deny them that one non-smoking carriage on the train? It was only fair. When did it become a no-smoking train with only one smoking carriage? Does anyone remember the steps that led from one to the other? It was one step more, one increment, to remove that last smoking carriage. Imagine what the reaction would have been if they had done that in one move.

Now there are ads all over bus stops showing women with men, apparently happy and enjoying each other’s company (one shows newly-weds) with the slogan ‘This is not an invitation to rape me’. There is no indication that any of the men pictured intend any such thing. There is every indication that the women in those ads want to sleep with the man they’re with.

While five-year-olds learn about sex, any sex between adults is rape. Unless it’s been approved, with all the proper forms, and the Righteous signatures added. Children will learn, from an early age, to accept the State line on sex and to procreate or abstain on command with a State-approved partner.

Never happen? It’s not an increment?

Tell that to the folk who said ‘Okay, it’s only fair they should have one non-smoking carriage’.

He is, of course, quite correct about the way in which the Righteous operate: we are told that the slippery slope, salami-slicing argument is a logical fallacy, and yet we who have eyes to see have observed it in operation.

It is one of the reasons that I was so fucking livid at many of my commenters when I excoriated Boris for banning alcohol on public transport: I thought that those who read The Kitchen would understand that this would not be the end of the matter—that is was an issue of freedom and to remove that freedom was yet another slice of the salami removed.

As I said to the students of Cambridge last week, freedom means tolerating those things that you personally don't like, as well as those that you approve of. Or maybe you think that this ban is such a little thing and, because you have been taught that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, you think that the little ban cannot possibly lead to a bigger or more restrictive ban. But it does.

Because, you see, once you give people the power to inflict their personal morality on others, they have no reason to stop. If one aspect of their personal morality is correct, then why not all of them? Slice, slice, slice that salami...

And one day, Mr Morality-Power will ban something that you like—or, rather, the ban that you supported on, say, smoking in pubs suddenly becomes a ban on you smoking in your own home if anyone is there with you, and then eventually a ban on your smoking in your own home at all—and by then it will be too late to wake up, realise what is happening and protest.

LA Dinner

Your humble Devil attended the Libertarian Alliance Conference dinner this evening, and it was all jolly good fun. I met up with David Farrer, who I haven't seen since the dying days of my Edinburgh life, and a number of other good people too.

There was an air of positivity, a feeling that maybe, just maybe, our time is coming. Libertarians tend to be a patient and sedate lot—there was no air-punching, no whooping and hollering (although there was substantial applause when Brian Mickelthwait was (entirely deservingly) given a Lifetime Achievement Award)—but there was an upbeat air to the evening—an air that was distilled into the TPA's Matthew Eliot's speech.

All round, it was a rather nice evening. Until I got home and found that my flat had been ransacked.

Luckily, they seem to have taken nothing of significance apart from the video camera that I got from 18 Doughty Street (easy come, easy go) and my MacBook. They appear to have examined my Mac Pro and my passport but, luckily, left both. And I carry most of my portable valuables with me, I am glad to say.

Naturally, I hadn't got around to getting contents insurance; ah, well, no one's fault but my own (and everything on that machine was backed up)—but this is the second MacBook that I have had stolen (the first was nicked, literally, from under my arse—or, rather, the bench it was perched on—at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe). The most irritating thing is that I shall have to go and change all of my passwords (although, again, I had not bookmarked most of the secure sites that I go to).

All of this was made possible by the fact that the block of flats is still surrounded by scaffolding (I live on the third floor): the thieving fuckers appear to have come in through the bedroom window: they are metal, warped, and freshly painted and thus quite difficult to secure, coupled with the fact that the heating makes the flat like a fucking furnace. I shall be making a (no doubt pointless) complaint about the poor security measures on said scaffolding.

Is it worth reporting to the police? I don't know: I've found that the police are not generally interested in victims of crime, frankly, and it won't help me get my laptop back. It might provide some kind of insurance if there are any further repercussions though.

Would I like to put wires on all entrances to the flat, with enough electricity running through them to kill instantly any other intruders? Were it feasible, definitely. In a libertarian state, I would have the right to defend my life, liberty and property in any way that I might see fit—ah well, one can dream...

Anyway, so that's my car and my flat done in the space of a couple of months (having had no problems for eighteen months previously): has the price of crack suddenly gone through the roof, or something?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fuck the French

What a load of flaccid wibble:

Exactly 593 years after King Henry V's legendary victory, a revisionist conference will be held at the scene of the triumph.

Academics will suggest that the extent of the feat of arms was massively exaggerated, with claims that the English were hugely outnumbered a lie.

More controversially still, they will say that the foreign invaders used numerous underhand tactics against an honourable enemy.

These included burning prisoners to death and setting 40 bloodthirsty royal bodyguards on to a single Gallic nobleman who had surrendered.

'There's been a distortion of the facts and this conference will attempt to set the record straight,' said Christophe Gilliot, a distinguished French historian who is director of the Medieval History Museum in Agincourt, where the conference will take place.

Utter fucking cock, of course, as the more historically minded among us point out:

The issue was tactically settled on the day by the Longbowmen, largely - and by careful and intelligent choice of ground and cover, as well as the weather! The French were faced with ground and confinement of their front which would have been difficult in the best conditions, without having to endure the archers on top. Their fate was simply terribly unfortunate. Furthermore, if they had not tried to mount a flanking attack on the English baggage-train, or looked as if they were going to, then a number of prisoners would not have been killed out-of-hand (some were.)

There had been plenty of years since Crecy or even earlier, for them to learn the art of archery with the longbow, and to encourage their peasantry to use it and own it: the same trees were even available to them. Other nations’ failure to adopt the logical and cheapest antidote to this medieval equivalent of a thermonuclear device can thus only be put down to destructive xenophobia and the wrong kind of conservatism. Or perhaps they feared its distribution in their populations?

No. This is what’s happening now: English liberal (which is to say, conservative) civilisation looks weak right now - weaker than at any time I can remember, having been under constant and probably co-ordinated attack since the 19th century. This latest jab, by French “revisionist” historians (with nobody else invited) is but one more way to bully and twist the tail of an already wounded beast, which unlike real beasts of the Wild happens unconditionally to be in the moral right.

The problem of how to preserve a polity, together with its historical and philosophic canon on which it is based, that can, or could nurture liberalism and libertarianism in the end, ought to be a keytone.

How do we make the world safe for liberty?

This does not, moreover, even begin to address the problem we have of how we initiate (or, worse, have to re-initiate) liberty, in conditions where it has been expunged. Like modern Britain?

These small events and attacks may individually be but pinpricks. But, whether or no, we MUST treat them as co-ordinated, for they ultimately are, in a Gramscian sense. While yet having grand conferences (ours is going on right now) to decide the broad strategy for the defence and extensions of liberty, we MUST defeat these attacks IN DETAIL.

If we do not, then because the fascist lefties currently control the terms of discourse, ground lost becomes ground we don’t any more occupy in public in front of the undecided - and THAT is what matters.

All I can say to Mr Gilliot is: "Casse-toi alors, pauvre con."

You cunt.

Update: Counting Cats feels equally strongly about cheese-eating revisionist monkeys.

Poisoning science

No, not anything about climate change, but an interesting New Scientist article that I was reminded of by the slightly pointless discussion about bottled water versus tap on this post.
"WHAT doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is a phrase often used to explain the resilience of people who have endured hardships. Like many aphorisms it contains more than a grain of truth. It describes the theory of hormesis - a process whereby organisms exposed to low levels of stress or toxins become more resistant to tougher challenges.

The theory of hormesis has been around for decades, but has long been met with scepticism or downright suspicion. In recent years, however, biologists have pieced together a clear molecular explanation of how it works, and hormesis has finally been accepted as a fundamental principle of biology and biomedicine. The question now is how to take advantage of hormesis to live longer and healthier lives.

The rest of the article is, unfortunately, behind a subscription wall and, during the massive clean-up that my flat so badly needed last week, I must have junked the issue (so, in what Timmy calls a "bleg", if anyone could email me the article, I'd be incredibly grateful).

However, the theory of hormesis has been around for some time, and can generally be described thusly...
Hormesis (from Hellenistic Greek hórmēsis "rapid motion, eagerness," from ancient Greek hormáein "to set in motion, impel, urge on") is the term for generally-favorable biological responses to low exposures to toxins and other stressors. A pollutant or toxin showing hormesis thus has the opposite effect in small doses than in large doses.

The biochemical mechanisms by which hormesis works are not well understood. It is conjectured that a low dose challenge with a toxin may trigger certain repair mechanisms in the body, and these mechanisms, having been initiated, are efficient enough that they not only neutralize the toxin's effect, but even repair other defects not caused by the toxin.

This was, in fact, the mechanism described—and apparently tested—in the NS article: effectively, one slightly damages the cells—put them under stress—and the bodies repair mechanisms kick in and repair not only the affected tissues but also any damage to surrounding areas. So, what you are doing is making the body repair itself before it would naturally do so, before the damage might become dangerous: and in some instances, these repairs can also create a future defence against the poison introduced—after all, the idea building up an immunity to a poison—iocane powder?*—by taking graually increasing doses has dominated many works of fiction!

In fact, one does not even have to introduce a poison, as such. As regular reader will know, your humble Devil tends to eat somewhat erratically, and rarely mor than once every other day. The reason that the article caught my attention was that the researchers had also shown, contrary to what so many people have warned me, that those who ate, say, every other day tended to be healthier than those who ate more regularly, because of hormesis.

An interesting idea, I think, and might be useful for medical purposes. It is certainly relevant to the world around us and to the state (and society)'s mania for ever more stringent toxin eradication. For, if hormesis does work, this may, in fact, be making ourselves more unhealthy than previously—a theory that might also apply to the ever-increasing incidences of allergies...

* A very fine film.

Party funding

Your humble Devil doesn't really have too big a problem with the ban on political donations by foreign nationals, but I did have my suspicions as to why the Labour government introduced it; Kerry McCarthy has very kindly confirmed those suspicions...
This would cover a situation, say, where an overseas donor gave money to someone in the UK so that they could pass it on to a political party, which would be solely to get round the ban on foreign donations. (A ban which, you may recall, was introduced because Greek shipping magnates—like John Latsis—and others were funding the Tories to the tune of many millions).

So, the ban was introduced in order to screw over the Tories. After all, Labour knew that they could always fall back on the the Unions' money-laundering of taxpayers' money for their cash.

A consensus

Effectively fisking Jackart's rather muddled review of V For Vendetta, Amused Cynicism finishes up with this rather splendid summary.
It’s now time for people to coalesce upon a consensus that:
  1. if the present political climate continues, Britain in 20 years time will be somewhere where the state monitors everyone’s activities and punishes every infraction. Millions of ordinary people will be in justifiable fear of walking a step out of line, saying a word out of place, or even thinking a forbidden thought.

  2. this would be a very bad thing. As the DPP puts it "something we can’t bear."

  3. therefore the erosion of civil liberties is the most important issue facing our society.

  4. neither the Labour nor the Conservative Party can be relied upon to do the right thing.

If a sufficient number of people can agree to this, then the Orwellian nightmare that you and I dread can be avoided.

Unfortunately, gaining that consensus—and finding people willing to act upon it—is the problem. And for all of Jackart's nit-picking—especially as to who the real Guido Fawkes was and what he was fighting for—this is what V manages to do: he not only makes people understand what has been done to them (one of the hardest tasks) but he unites people in indignation and gives them the inspiration to do something about it. It is for that reason that I find V For Vendetta so very uplifting.

And then, of course, the film ends and I am back in a depressing world where people barely comprehend the state control being stealthily imposed upon them, where no one can be bothered to do anything about it, and where alien-voters and their fucking Party tribalism effectively neuter protest and keep the same gaggle of corrupt rulers in power.

Fuck this, I'm off to watch V again, and dream of a world where people give a shit about their liberties and mine...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Call Me Dave The EUphile

Dave Cameron: "I've just wiped my arse with my hand and... eurgh... it smells like my EU policy."

Oh dear, oh dear! It seems that poor old Call Me Dave is having a few problems with high-profile members of his party calling for Britain to leave the EU. And now, apparently, there's another one...
Maurice Golden, a 28-year-old campaign manager for Keep Scotland Beautiful, was asked by a political magazine which one law he would repeal, if given the chance. "European Communities Act 1972," he told the Total Politics website, without a moment's hesitation.

Good man. You'll notice that your humble Devil chose precisely the same law.
Which one law would you repeal?

The European Communities Act 1972, which is the lynchpin upon which our membership of the EU turns. Repealing that one law would enable us to strike down all of the legislation imported through the EU's corpus juris and pave the way for a return to the common law system of which we were justly proud.

I have become convinced that even the vague possibility of a freer society—leave aside a libertarian one—is dependent upon us leaving the European Union.

Maurice Golden was a little more brief but, nevertheless, pretty damn clear.
Which one law would you repeal?

European Communities Act 1972.

However, as observers of politics might remember, this was never going to guarantee Master Golden any plaudits from his treacherous party leader.
The act took Britain into the European Economic Community and its repeal would entail withdrawal from the EU. Cameron declared only a few months into his leadership that MPs advocating withdrawal would be barred from serving on his front bench.

Mind you, Dave has said a long of things: I seem to remember, for instance, something about leaving the EPP in "a matter of months, not years". Was anyone else at all surprised that this was a massive, stinking lie?

So it seems inevitable that Spam has decided to reign in his errant child...
After Mandrake informed the Tory leader, who was campaigning in Glenrothes yesterday, about his candidate's remark, the pair appeared to have had a frank exchange of views. "David has spoken to Maurice and there is no question of him wanting to pull out of the European Union," said his spokesman. "Maurice believes that there should be changes to the act, but not that it should be repealed."

Really? You know, he seemed so unequivocable on the Total Politics website; obviously it was just an oversight by Maurice—what he meant to write was...
Which one law would you repeal?

I don't want to repeal any law, because all of the laws on the British statute book are so utterly wonderful and brilliant—even the NuLabour ones. I can't imagine living without any of them.

However, if I must give an answer [it's made clear that you do not have to answer all of the questions, by the way—DK], I would say that I would like to make a few changes here and there to the European Communities Act 1972.

I don't want to repeal it, you understand—just make a few syntactical amendments.

Hey, Dave! How about not lying like the slippery politico cunt that you are and just coming out and saying what you mean?—that you love the EU with all of your heart and you absolutely will not countenance leaving under any circumstances.

And whilst you are about it, why not admit that all of that bollocks about "renegotiating Britain's deal with the EU" was just a massive fucking lie; oh, and why not carry on and admit that there is no way to renegotiate anyway?

Come on, you fucking bastard: why not tell the truth for once—you might find it liberating. I know that we in the UK Libertarian* Party do...

UPDATE: it has just occurred to me that I may have underestimated David Cameron (although I doubt it)—let me explain.

Cameron has been cracking down particularly heavily on anti-EU dissent amongst his elected members: but why now? Well, were I to credit Mr Cameron with any intelligence and, crucially, a more than healthy EUscepticism (I don't), I might wonder if his thinking did not run along these lines...

It now seems inevitable that the next government will be a Tory one; that being the case, it now seems equally inevitable that the lights will start to go out in about 2012. Our powerstations are almost all now beyond their rated lifetimes, and some seriously so.

We all know that wind power simply won't do the job and also that, unlike Germany or Denmark, we do not have the infrastructure to import or export large quantities of electricity.

We also know that the EU will impose harsh penalties for building conventional powerstations and that, in any case, a coal-fired installation would take at least five years to come on-stream, and a nuclear reactor would take more like ten years.

There are two results then: either the lights start going out or we keep running those powersations into the ground—leading to a British Chernobyl. Either one would spell a swift end to the Tory government.

However, if Call Me Dave can hold off on the EUscepticism until one of those results actually comes to pass, he could easily call for withdrawal from the EU "whose insane adherence to unrealistic goals have brought us to the brink of disaster/have caused this disaster [delete as appropriate]**"—and he would win by a landslide (he could also publically hang Zac Goldsmith in front of a cheering crowd).

But, as I said, that requires Dave to be strategically intelligent, unbelievably Machiavellian and virulently opposed to Britain's EU membership. And I don't think any of those apply.

So, he's just a lying, fucking EUphile then...

* Oh, Dave? Just for your reference, that is libertarian and not libertine, you spineless wanker.

** I should be a speechwriter really, eh?

Remembrance Day approaches...

... and you can follow the travels of the ever-so-slightly terrifying Poppy Man—a cross between the Wicker Man and a massive, scary creature made of poppies—at The Poppy Man blog...

Just like a war, he's frightening children everywhere!

Oh, and do buy a poppy: our soldiers do deserve our help, especially when our government treats them so incredibly fucking shabbily. In fact, the government could actually be summed up in that one word, for everything that they do is just so shabby.

Many a true word...

... is spoken by political cartoonists (apart from Steve Bell).

Seen over at Total Politics...

From the archives...

You know? I can be quite pithy occasionally—especially when kicking the Gobblin' King.
As I have said repeatedly, socialism is about taking property from those who have earned it and handing it to those who have not. It is theft, pure and simple, and no amount of whining about fucking "social justice" will ever detract from that fact.

It's still true. You might argue that it is "right" to do this, but it doesn't alter the fact that morally it is beyond dubious.

Telescreens will soon be a reality...

As your humble Devil has mentioned before, I was taught that the political spectrum can be imagined as a torus—described simplistically, on one point of the ring you have anarcho-libertarianism and, diametrically opposite, you have totalitarianism: it doesn't matter which way you travel around the ring—left or right—from the anarcho-libertarian position, you will end up at the totalitarian position.

This is not to say that all societies start off anarchic and then reach totalitarianism (necessarily) but that end point, a totalitarian state, is the same result irrespective of whether you reached it by travelling Left around the torus or Right.

Now, one of the usual arguments in the blogosphere is whether or not the Nazis were of the Right or of the Left; yes, they were called the National Socialist Workers Party but many of their tactics are adjudged to be of the Right (and a turd by any other name...). The point about the torus theory is that it doesn't particularly matter what creed got you there (although the torus, being a three dimensional object two-dimensional object in three dimensional space, does, of course, allow for such shades of interpretation).

The only point is that a totalitarian society was created; in the same way that it doesn't tremendously matter whether Hitler (in Germany), Stalin (in Russia), Mao (in China) or The Party (in 1984) were of the Left or the Right: the end result for the people was much the same—oppression, slavery, constant monitoring by the state, imprisonment without trial, war, disease, famine and death on a truly grand scale.

The favourite tool of 1984's Big Brother was, of course, the telescreen: although it was primarily a mechanism for saturating the population with state propaganda, the telescreen also served as a high-tech and ubiquitous panopticon—although the state could not watch every individual constantly, no individual could be sure that he was not being watched at any one time. Combined with swift and dreadful repercussions for non-compliance, the telescreen was the ultimate tool of state control.

Thus it was with some weariness and resignation that I saw this article in July and predicted where it would go...
It is promised that besides showing news the screens will be used to promote culture; that they will be “digital canvases for local artists, film-makers and students”. But there is an ulterior motive, given away by Bob Belam, of Waltham Forest council. The screens, he said, would be used to “provide important information and will be able to get out messages about antisocial behaviour”.

They are less about entertaining us than about control – another part of the Orwellian machinery of the modern British city. It isn’t hard to imagine how they will be used: “We are interrupting coverage to remind you that bathing in the fountains is prohibited.”

Here's another Times article, from the same day, expanding on the this hideous proposal.
Civic experts, who recently heard a presentation by London 2012 after raising concerns about long-term planning issues, told The Times that the real ambition was for between 45 and 60 permanent screens. They claimed that Olympics organisers were being deliberately secretive about the true scale of the project.

I have no doubt that that is the case; after all, given that we already have CCTV cameras on every corner (some of which will bark orders at wrong-doers), wouldn't it be so very easy to imagine that these screens might be two-way?

Mind you, as the Libertarian Party blog points out, neither NuLabour nor Orwell were the first to imagine such a system.
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were working on a Big Brother-style cable television propaganda industry to be broadcast across Germany.

Plans for the system were first found when Soviet soldiers entered Berlin but have recently been reexamined by researchers for a new Russian documentary.

The Orwellian screens would have been set up in public places and would show "people's television", depicting how the Aryan race should live, with the Nazis focusing on news, sport and education.

Ideas included building rooms beside laundries so women could gather round the TV to watch the broadcasts.

Prototype programmes included Family Chronicles: An Evening with Hans and Gelli, which was an early reality TV show depicting a wholesome Aryan life of a young German couple.

Engineer Walter Burch was asked to make the idea a reality, and tabled a document to Hitler called "Plan to supply people's transmitter to German homes" which would result in the laying of a broadband cable between Berlin and Nuremberg.

Other plans included showing footage of executions of Nazi traitors.

Perhaps it is time to bow down and worship our lords and masters? For soon there will be no option.

But perhaps I am being paranoid and hysterical? Yes, maybe I am. Yes, yes, I must be.

Never mind, I shall still be going on that little stroll on November the 5th: why don't you watch us all on the Parliament Square webcam...?

UPDATE: it seems that even Banksy objects, although this Times article coyly misses out a part of the slogan.
The striking mural, painted under cover of darkness, was intended as a stinging criticism of Big Brother society. So it will come as little surprise to its creator, Banksy, that bureaucracy has ordered the removal of one of his largest works.

The Times has learnt that Westminster Council has demanded that a mural by the pseudonymous graffiti artist, a 7m (23 ft) criticism of Britain’s CCTV culture, must be painted over. While other authorities have turned a blind eye to Banksy, the council said yesterday that it would remove any graffiti, regardless of the reputation of its creator. Westminster said that Banksy had no more right to paint graffiti than a child – which, ironically, is the subject of the piece in question.

The picture used here, showing the artwork in its full glory, comes courtesy of The Englishman...

1984 update

Our little campaign to send every MP a copy of 1984 with some suitable message—along the lines of "this book is not a fucking instruction manual, you corrupt fucking cunt"—is ticking along rather nicely.I know that some people do not support the campaign on the grounds that the book might give our lords and masters some more ideas, but I happen to think that there will, at least, not be any excuse after this: the bastards were warned, and if they carry on down this route, we can put the Polly Conundrum to bed—we will know that they are lying and not ignorant.

Anyway, in terms of pledges, we are almost there...
Through a combination of pledges, donations and a lot of bile after one week 531 copies of 1984 are going to be sent to 531 MPs in time for November 5th.

This weekend is the final push for the last 115 MP's on the list.

Please pledge on

A good number of these copies have been donated by the UK Libertarian Party, thanks to the considerable generosity of some esteemed donors...

UPDATE: as of 3.50pm, we have eighty-five to go...

UPDATE 2: as of 8.50pm, we are into the final sixty...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The walk of shame

(nb. I am not The Devil)

Oh God, here we go again...

Shoppers buying alcohol at the supermarket face a 'walk of shame' to a dedicated checkout counter. The plan is being drawn up by ministers to curb Britain's growing binge-drinking culture.

What the fuck? Has nobody told these Labour arseholes that they will have to fight an election in the next eighteen months? They're not even trying anymore, are they? They actually want us to kick them out. How else can you explain their relentless, daily campaign to find more and more people to piss off until they've alienated every single man, woman and child in the country?

Stores would have to create the 'alcohol-only' areas manned by specially-trained staff.

Labour's new policy on alcohol: express checkout for drinkers. Now that's more like it. Except that is not the intention...

This would hopefully deter shoppers from making excessive purchases by putting them under the scrutiny of fellow customers.

I beg your pardon?! Putting them under the scrutiny of fellow customers? Is this some sort of fucking joke? Why stop there? Let's make them grovel at the counter. Let's get some badges made up for them to wear. Let's invite children to hurl abuse and vegetables at them as they leave the shop. For fuck's sake.

Leading stores have been attacked for selling lager at a cheaper price than bottled water.

And don't the newspapers love that little factoid? Look, a tub of lard is cheaper than a pound of potatoes. A kitchen knife is cheaper than a packet of cigarettes. Who gives a shit? They're completely different products. It is not an either/or choice.

The only scandal about the relative prices of low quality lager and bottled water is that there are enough fashion victims and hypochondriacs prepared to spend two pounds on a bottle of something that comes out of a tap for less than a penny. If the supermarkets want to fleece these dickheads then good luck to them.

A senior Government source told the Daily Mail that ministers were convinced the easy availability of cut-price alcohol is causing young people, in particular, to drink to excess. 'Having separate areas to sell alcohol will help us tackle this growing problem of young people getting tanked up on cheap supermarket beers and lagers,' said the source.

How? Fucking HOW? Oh Christ, I grow so weary of you cunts. I am so fucking tired of listening to your stupid crap. You have all the laws you need to tackle underage drinking and plenty more besides. You do not need "specially-trained staff" to ask customers to show ID, a fucking chimp could do it.

You do not need special lanes, more taxes, more powers or any of the other fascist policies that you insufferable bastards keep bringing in as you pile law upon law. If, as we are told, there are pissed up teenagers causing mayhem all over the place then get your army of coppers to get out there to round the little twats up, confiscate their cider or whatever the fuck it is they drink these days, caution them, take them home and give their parents a bollocking.

And if some Chief Constable complains about having to do his job for a change then sack the fucker and make an example of him.

Effectively, it would bring alcohol sales into line with tobacco sales in supermarkets.

So the campaign against smoking was just a rehearsal for a crusade against other sections of society? Who would have predicted that?

The draft code of practice drawn up by the Home Office and the Department of Health also proposes cigarette-style health warnings about the dangers of alcohol for display in shops, bars and restaurants.

Are we getting the hang of this yet, nonsmokers? It doesn't matter whether you're a drinker, a motorist, a gambler, a sunbed user, a frequent flyer or a bit of a porker, sooner or later everything you approve of in the war against smokers will be used against you.

The move would bring Britain into line with countries such as Sweden, Norway and Finland, which have varying restrictions on alcohol sales and in some areas, only allow it to be sold at state-owned outlets.

Or to put it another way, it will bring us out of line with every country in Europe with the exception of three grim socialist hell-holes in Scandinavia where there is fuck all else to do except drink heavily, watch animal pornography and commit suicide.

Families doing a weekly shop would have to queue twice, once to purchase their groceries and again to purchase wine, beer and spirits.

Fuck you. Who do you think you are? What right do you have to waste a single second of my time with your nonsense?

Retailers are likely to be infuriated by the suggestion of dedicated check-out areas. They will argue that it would cost tens of thousands of pounds in store refits and staff training, and would also inconvenience customers.

But who cares, eh? They're only evil capitalists, they can take it. Their profits just fall out of the sky, don't they? It's not like these costs will be passed onto their customers.

And the effect of these costs on the supermarkets will be nothing compared to the effect on smaller, independent stores when - as is inevitable - the law is rolled out to include all shops. At which point the supermarkets will suddenly get behind the government and watch their local competition go bust.

Of course those champions of the free market in
the Tory party are no better:

Earlier this month, Conservative MP Nigel Evans tabled an early day motion demanding that the government look at supermarkets' alcohol pricing policy after the disclosure that Asda had been selling four-packs of Skol for 90p, nearly half the price of a four-pack of Evian.

Sod the lot of them. If anybody should be doing the walk of shame it's this gaggle of cunts. The Tories can get in line to kiss my rosy red arse alongside Labour, LibDems, quack doctors, so-called health campaigners, Alcohol fucking Concern, lazy coppers and every other authoritarian wanker who wants to waste my time and fuck with my life.

NHS Fail Wail

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