Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alternative comedians to flee Britain

May the sun never set on Viz magazine...

The powerful cabal of left-wing comedians that run comedy in Britain have threatened to leave the country if David Cameron wins the election for the Conservatives this year.

The ego-mad likes of Ben Elton, Mark Thomas, Alexei Sayle and Vanessa Redgrave have got together to gang up on the impending Tory government, claiming that they will all emigrate to a country that has "higher taxes" and a more "progressive, centralised style of government that controls our lives for the general good."

And the posh, middle-class chortle-makers—probably all Guardian subscribing, public school educated trustafarians who grew up in privileged surroundings with fathers working as financiers in the city—are threatening to take their cutting edge comedy with them.

Hard-left Jeremy Hardy, a regular guest on Radio 4's News Quiz alongside Liberal Democrat cohort Sandi Toksvig, often uses the programme to rant on about his dream that Britain should be a peasant economy where no-one earns more than anyone else—split into collectives run by a centralised power in Farnborough, Hampshire—where he just happens to be from.

Modern alternative 'comedian' Marcus Brigstocke also launches lengthy tirades on Radio 4's Now Show about why WE are all FASCISTS for taking foreign holidays and believes that we should all move to Russia. Or Iran.

Alexei Sayle—who is descended from Communists—is rumoured to be making an annoying protest song called 'Ello Dave, Gotta New Fascist Government' whilst the Scouse republican's mate, power-mad former cockney barrow-boy Mark Thomas—a fully paid up leftie who would join Al-Qaida if he could—uses his stand-up routine as a cover to lecture his trusting audience for hours about why the UK should follow Pol Pot's murderous Khmer Rouge regime, where capitalism was conquered and anyone wearing glasses was killed.

Meanwhile, Sir Ben Elton issued a statement through his publicist that 'no way does he want to see a return of the breadheads,' and that he will be moving from his beloved Hampstead home to his other home in Provence if "Mrs Thatch get in."

It is believed that whereas Elton will head for his second home in France, the other leftie comics will all move en masse to Denmark, where the highest basic rate of tax is 42%, and everything is perfect.

There is more of this, but Viz employs a realistic business model of not giving away all its content for fuck all, so I can only point you to the subscriptions page. If you require a definition for 'cunt flump', 'beef teabag', 'cockwomble' and 'wank chaser'—and who doesn't?—that is the place for you.

Rats are not people

(nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen)

Christ, The Daily Telegraph usually waits until the end of the week to publish this kind of trash...
Junk food 'as addictive as heroin and smoking'

Here we go then...
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida found laboratory rats became addicted on a bad diet just like people who became dependent on cocaine and heroin.

Did they really? Well, here's some news: rats are not people, so fuck off.
While the findings cannot be directly transferred to human obesity, it found that overconsumption of high-calorie food triggered addiction-like responses in the brain.

But the study, published online in Nature Neuroscience, suggests for the first time that our brains may react in the same way to junk food as it does to drugs.

For the first time? I don't think so, sunshine. That's dopamine you're talking about there. It's a neurotransmitter that rewards pleasure and we've known that it gets released naturally by eating food for many, many years. 
Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist who led the research, said the study, which took nearly three years to complete [the experiment lasted 40 days - TFS], confirmed the "addictive" properties of junk food.

"Obesity may be a form of compulsive eating,” he said.

What the hell does that mean? Obesity is a physical characteristic. Compulsive eating is an activity. Compulsive eating may lead to obesity. It's not a form of obesity.
"The new study explains what happens in the brain of these animals when they have easy access to high-calorie, high-fat food.”

You are, are you not, the same Dr Paul Kenny who was banging on about this last year in the, er, Daily Telegraph? Alright then, you publicity hungry rat-fucker, let's hear about your little experiment.
In the study, the research team divided the animals into three groups.

One got normal amounts of healthy food to eat, another was given restricted amounts of junk food and the third had unlimited amounts of cheesecake, fatty meat products, cheap sponge cakes and chocolate snacks.

There were no adverse effects on the first two groups. But the rats which ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing.

You don't say. You gave unlimited tasty, high calorie food to a bunch of stupid rodents and they ate it and got fat. Thank God for scientists.

Since you can't believe a word ill-informed Telegraph hacks say about scientific research, it's necessary to read the actual study. In it, you'll find that the first group was given nothing but standard, unappetizing laboratory chow pellets to eat. The other two groups were given what the researchers tellingly describe as "palatable food"—or the "cafeteria diet"—which consisted of "bacon, sausage, cheesecake, pound cake, frosting and chocolate." One of these groups had 1 hour's access a day, the other group had 18 to 23 hours access.
When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found the rats on unlimited junk food needed even more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets.

Yeah, after 40 days of feeding them sugary puddings that have no place being in a rodent's diet and would never be in a human's diet at anything approaching that level. But they also found (not mentioned in any news reports)...
Consistent with previous reports, there was a tendency for consumption of the cafeteria diet to decrease over time in the extended-access rats. This may reflect the development of tolerance to the palatability of the food items provided as part of the cafeteria diet over time.

In other words, the rats got bored of eating nothing but bacon and high-fat desserts, got less pleasure from doing so and—despite unrestricted access—ate less of them. Hardly "as addictive as heroin" that, is it?
"They always went for the worst types of food and as a result, they took in twice the calories as the control rats,” said Dr Kenny.

The worst food being the "palatable" food, yes? You'd be eating the laboratory chow, I presume, Dr Kenny?
"When we removed the junk food and tried to put them on a nutritious diet – what we called the 'salad bar option' [laboratory chow - TFS] – they simply refused to eat."

"The change in their diet preference was so great that they basically starved themselves for two weeks after they were cut off from junk food."

This statement is—there is no other word for it—a complete lie, unless the good doctor chose not to mention it in his study, where it merely states that...
After 40 days, rats were no longer permitted access to the palatable diet but continued to have ad libitum access to standard laboratory chow... There was a marked decrease in caloric intake and a gradual decrease in body weight in extended access rats.

Nothing there about the rats "simply refusing to eat" or "basically starving themselves". If the scientist can't describe what happened in his own experiment, what chance has some twat from The Telegraph got?
The scientists fed the rats a diet modelled after the type that contributes to human obesity: easy to obtain high-calorie, high-fat foods. Soon after the experiments began, the animals began to bloat.

Let's say it one more time. Rats are not human beings. Rats might be intelligent by the pitiful standard of other rodents but, let's face it, they're still incredibly fucking stupid. If you give unlimited cocaine to a rat it will be dead within days because it will forget to eat, drink or sleep. Even the worst coke-heads don't do that, because they belong to the most intelligent and self-aware species on earth.

Unlike rats, we know that over-eating will make us fat and unattractive. We know that eating nothing but chocolate is unhealthy. Unlike rats, we have to pay for our food. Unlike rats, our dietary choices are more sophisticated than a toss up between chocolate cake and chow pellets. 

Above all, we have free will. The trouble with neuroscientists is that they spend so much time dicking around with mice and rats that they start to think that human behaviour is as easy to predict and manipulate as that of pea-brained vermin. The same mentality has infected the medical establishment, who view the population as rats and themselves as scientists in control of a giant experiment. Restrict access here, provide incentives there and, bingo, behaviour can be manipulated in whichever way they wish. Idiots.

All this experiment shows, for the umpteenth time, is that pleasurable activities produce dopamine. Or as Leg-Iron puts it:
The results prove only that rats have a sense of taste and smell, and don't like the crap they are routinely fed. It's junk science.

The frequent references to cocaine and heroin are there purely to allow excitable journalists to declare that tasty palatable 'junk' food is as addictive as hard drugs which—and this fact that has not gone unnoticed by the obesity crusaders—are illegal. It is the same line used by cranks like John Banzhaf and David Kessler (both former anti-smoking campaigners, incidentally. Enjoying that slippery-slope yet, nonsmokers?) 

Similarly, references to "easy access to high-calorie, high-fat food" are there only to encourage scum-bag politicians to clamp down on what and when we can eat, as if giving rats endless high calorie snacks for 40 days and 40 nights is comparable to having a McDonalds down the road. 

From the study itself:
Ease of access and consequent overeating of cafeteria-style diets in humans is considered an important environmental contributor to the current obesity epidemic in Western societies.

Geddit? Sentences like that don't appear in scientific journals by accident. And how well the media have responded, with much more to come later in the day, I'm sure...
The stage is set. By now, you should know what to expect.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cameron: in thrall to the unions too

Although a great many unofficial posters have appeared, slapping the Gobblin' King and his henchmen for the massive amounts of our money that they have thrown at union leaders, I haven't seen any official Conservative ones (there may be some—I just haven't seen 'em). I wonder why that could be...
I was a bit disappointed to read this morning, therefore, that the party is likely to continue with the Labour government's taxpayer-financed union modernisation fund. The FT has the full story. [I've asked CCHQ for a confirmation of the FT's story but haven't heard back yet. 10.30am - CCHQ has confirmed the story IS true. The Trade Union Modernisation Fund will continue if Cameron becomes Prime Minister].

After a long strike-free period when Labour gave them all they wanted in terms of higher public sector pay and protected pensions, the unions are already awash with money and have a £25m warchest with which to "unleash hell" on any Tory government. The trade unions don't need extra funding and they are unlikely to be bought off with even more.

Tim Montgomerie maintains that this is a "discouraging sign". It isn't. It's far worse than that.

It isn't just that it is barking insanity to fund a bunch of people who hate your guts—surely a fact that would make most people doubt Cameron's sanity—or that Call Me Dave has pledged to take on the "vested interests" (apart from some); no, the worst thing about it is that this is our money, and Cameron is going to keep on throwing millions of pounds of our money at a bunch of creeps who couldn't give a fuck about anyone other than their members.

If the unions want to "modernise" then they should pay for it themselves. If they do not have the cash—ha!—then they should appeal to their members for extra funds. These cunts should not be entitled to fleece millions from taxpayers who simply do not support them; if the taxpayers did support the unions, then more taxpayers would be members of unions.

This does not bode well for Cameron's tactical nouse, fiscal responsibility or his supposed belief in individual liberty. In the massive fucking financial hole that this country is in, we simply cannot afford to keep giving tens of millions of pounds to the unions so that they can ensure that their members—who are overwhelmingly in the public sector—can continue to squeeze as much money as possible for as little work as possible.

Cameron is not only continuing to fund his enemies, he is continuing to fund our enemies—and he is doing it with our fucking money.

Further, from the angle of liberty, Cameron should be able to see that it is absolutely flat-out wrong for the general public to be taxed so that a vested interest can continue to operate how they please. I mean, for fuck's sake, I never expected the Tories to be much different from Labour, but surely even they can see that this kind of thing is wrong in principle, as well as practicality.

One can make a case for any number of things being of benefit to society as a whole and, thus, eligible for funding through taxation. The unions are not one of those things.

So what the fuck is Cameron playing at?

Fuck knows. But if you don't mind, Dave, could you stop playing at it with my fucking money...?

UPDATE: writing about the BA strikers, TravelGall at A Very British Dude maintained that the strikes "could be the gift that keeps on giving for the Conservatives". Indeed. So perhaps Cameron's decision to keep on flinging millions of pounds of our money at the unions is him keeping his side of a bargain that he cannot lose...

After 13 years, Labour realises that slavery is wrong

Now, your humble Devil had thought that Britain abolished slavery 177 years ago but, quite obviously, I was mistaken—because Labour are now claiming that they have abolished slavery with (guess what?) yet more new laws.
New laws which make it easier to prosecute those who exploit some of the most vulnerable people in society are about to come in to effect.

The new offence of holding another person in slavery or servitude, or requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour, is set out in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Those found guilty face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Riiiiiight. So, let's think about this for a moment, because there are a number of points—both mildly facetious and entirely serious—to consider here.
  • If Labour believe that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 did not, in fact, abolish slavery, then why has it taken them 13 years to make illegal one of the most fundamental of crimes?

  • If the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 did, in fact, abolish slavery then why the living fuck are Labour passing yet more laws duplicating the currently existing ones?

This is symptomatic of all governments these days—but especially NuLabour—and the answer is always the same: don't pass more laws, you stupid cunts, simply enforce the laws that we already have. If you cannot enforce the laws that we already have, then passing yet more unenforceable laws will not solve the fucking problem.

Of course, NuLabour like passing as many laws as possible—many, many thousands over the last 13 years, creating nearly 4,000 new criminal offences—for two main reasons.
  1. The first is that the government can embed mini-Enabling Acts into the statutes, thus ensuring that more and more of our rights can be circumscribed through Ministerial fiat, rather than having to go through the tedious business of having a vote in Parliament.

  2. The second is even more sinister than the above—although they are linked—and was articulated by the character of Dr Floyd Ferris in Ayn Rand's dystopian nightmare, Atlas Shrugged. I first quoted it almost exactly a year ago, in March 2009.
    However, it was a particular passage that I wished to quote; in it, one of the looters is threatening one of the "selfish" industrialists.
    "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against—then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.

    Please discuss this quote, with special reference to NuLabour's creation of an unprecendented number of new laws and criminal offences, and especially focusing on the particularly badly-drafted laws that make it almost impossible for said legislation to be codified—or "objectively interpreted", if you will.

    It is all about control, as any authoritarian tyranny always is. But NuLabour have gone about it softly, softly so as not to scare the horses voters. Just as people are not really that concerned about this recession because most have not felt the pain—that is being reserved for their children and their grandchildren in the form of colossal debt—most people have not yet felt the state's jackboot upon their throat.

    It's just here and there, and only very occasionally, that the media dare to report an isolated case of disgusting injustice—of the laws being used to punish people entirely unjustly, to bankrupt them and destroy their lives out of all proportion to their offence—and the general populace can afford to ignore such incidents. For the moment.

And it is only "for the moment": whilst Labour may be kicked out at the next election—and that is looking far from being a certainty—neither of the other two big parties have promised to repeal these assaults on our civil liberties. And it would be so easy for the Tories, for one, to pledge to do so: a cry for freedom would galvanise the people of this country in a way that Cameron's message of "more of the same" simply isn't doing.

So why are they not pledging to repeal all of these disgustingly authoritarian laws? Because they have absolutely no intention of doing so—they will use them as Labour has done. The last thing that the Tories are going to do is to remove the fenceposts of Absolute Government that Labour have put in place. The Tories are just the same as Labour, which is why the Tories are only 2% ahead in the polls.

Cartoon courtesy of Hoby. Click image for bigger version.

Returning, however, to Labour's "abolition" of slavery, Leg-Iron has come up with a rather splendid extrapolation.
Pub landlord Nick Hogan was prosecuted, fined more than the average baby-thumper and then sent to jail for far longer than a Labour peer who flattened someone with his car. For what exactly? Because he refused to act as an unpaid enforcement officer for a law he disagreed with. Note that he was not prosecuted for smoking - he was prosecuted for not stopping other people smoking.

Fresh from the unwiped bottom of MiniJust comes another dry clinker of wisdom. The same people who demand that all owners of private premises act as unpaid police and put themselves at risk so the Righteous don't have to, have come up with a new law to stop people forcing other people to do work they don't want to do... no, don't try to make sense of it, it will make your head hurt.
The new offence of holding another person in slavery or servitude, or requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour, is set out in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. Those found guilty face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

So, when the police charge you with 'allowing others to smoke', you can now immediately countercharge with 'requiring another person to perform forced labour' because that is exactly what they are doing. Act as an unpaid enforcer or face the wrath of the Righteous. Forcing landlords and other business premises operators to work for free as frontline law enforcers, at personal risk, is a direct violation of this new law.

You might get six months. They'll get 14 years.

Now, I am not sure that this will hold water—and certainly could not if we lived in a country that still acknowledged the Peelian Principles of policing. Said principles state the following...
  1. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

As such, it is incumbent on every citizen to uphold the law, regardless of whether they are being paid to do so or not: the police are simply people who happen to be paid to uphold the law full-time.

However, this new law might apply, in theory at least, to taxation. The text of the law appears here but, because it needs to be considerably cross-referenced with other parts of the Bill, it is easier to refer to the notes at the bottom of the MoJ press release.
  1. Forced or compulsory labour will require a level of coercion or deception between the employer and the victim, beyond that which might be expected in a normal employment arrangement.

Well, that would certainly apply to the government—except, of course, the government is not my employer. It might apply if I were any one of the 6 million or so people who are employed by the state though...
The employer must know that the arrangement was oppressive and not truly voluntary, or must have turned a blind eye to that fact.

A number of factors may point to forced or compulsory labour. The kind of behaviour that might, of itself, amount to forced labour includes (but is not limited to):
  • violence or threats of violence by the employer or the employer’s representative

Hmmm. So, were I employed by government, it is possible that this could apply to taxation—it's a little tenuous, but a case could be made. Oh, wait... [Emphasis mine.]
  1. In line with the European Convention on Human Rights, the offence contains exceptions for labour that may be necessary to ensure public safety and the rights of others. Those exceptions are: work done in the course of lawful detention; military service; emergencies or life threatening situations; and work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

And—boom!—there's the get-out clause. Essentially, "normal civic obligations" is whatever the government say it is—and you can bet your last Rolo pound that "normal civic obligations" not only includes paying tax, but also upholding the smoking ban in a pub.

So, it's the same old story: slavery is wrong unless it is the state to whom you are indentured. And that compulsion is with you for all of your life and the amount that you must work is unlimited. We are slaves to the state forever, and we shall never, ever be free (not even after our deaths).

Truly, war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

UPDATE: Timmy concludes that the Act does make compulsory recycling illegal though.
These people aren’t entirely stupid of course. Normal civic obligations includes the unpaid time we must use to fill in tax forms, the unpaid time we must use to fill in the Census, the unpaid time ….well, you get the picture.

However, the requirement to sort your rubbish is not a normal civic obligation. It’s an attempt to create a new civic obligation. It’s also labour and it’s also performed under duress….don’t do it and they’ll arrest you, resist arrest and they’ll use violence.

And this would hold true for any new service which the government would force us to provide unpaid and with the threat of punishment if we don’t.

As Timmy says, isn’t that fascinating?

Cosmo: stupid name, stupid guy

Cosmo Landesman in the Times has a very silly pop at smokers. There's not much of originality in there—mostly it's the usual bitching about butts and smells—but there are a couple of sentences worth pulling out.
I notice that right-wing critics of the nanny state never call for the legalisation of drugs on the grounds that adults should be free to choose to be addicts or not.

Er... I do. Indeed, I was at Exeter University last week, giving a speech advocating that very thing.
When it comes to choice, we demand to be left alone; but when our choice leads to cancer or liver failure we demand that the state — in the form of the NHS — takes care of us.

Er... I don't. I have private health insurance. It costs me about £51 per month for the very best cover that they could offer me. And, interestingly, Cosmo, the fact that I smoke does not affect my premiums.

Some years ago, I was researching what my National Insurance premiums cost versus what those same services would cost privately. Inevitably—and even at the lower wage that I was then earning—taking out private insurance for medical care and unemployment, and paying into a private pension cost far less than the NICs*.

However, when talking to the insurance rep—to whom I had given the background of my research—I got a quote (which was based, mainly, on my age) and asked whether the fact that I was a heavy smoker (a fact that I had to volunteer) made a difference to the premium.

The answer was that, no, it didn't: basically, because I was likely to die earlier—even if I needed treatment for a smoking related disease—such treatment was likely to be considerably cheaper than having to spend years in a nursing home. Oh, and the insurance companies also recognised that there was an inverse correlation between smoking and Alzheimer's (one of the most expensive diseases as far as insurance companies are concerned).

Just thought I'd share that with you...
But the idea that we are living in a Britain where personal freedoms are curtailed as never before seems bizarre. I never hear young people complain about the nanny state. Why? Because they’re all out of their heads on booze or stoned on weed and having a wonderful time.

Uh huh. Which is why such a high proportion of the Libertarian Party is made up of people under 30.

And being consistently sober is tedious and stressful. Which is why, when you ban various drugs, it doesn't stop people taking those drugs, or looking for legal alternatives—such as the hilariously named "meow meow".

So, tell you what, Cosmo: you fuckers let me opt out of the state healthcare system entirely—let me keep my NICs and stick with my private insurance—and I'll not be a burden on your precious NHS.

Except, of course, that isn't going to happen, is it? Because, for all your whining, National Insurance is a fucking Ponzi Scheme and it is actually my subs that are going to pay for your treatment.

So shut the fuck up.

* There are caveats that I'm sure A&E Charge Nurse will, no doubt, point out. However, my medical insurance premium could double and I would still be paying less for those three services privately than I am under NICs.

I'm a Lefty too

No, really: it's true—your humble Devil is a Lefty. Shocked? OK, I'll let Tim Worstall explain...
I’m a lefty. No, really, I am. I’m a liberal, a progressive and a radical. Liberals are, as the word itself suggests, concerned with liberty, as I am. Progressives are those who believe in the power of the State to make things better and I most certainly agree with that. Radicals are those who think that we cannot simply tinker at the edges, we need some fairly major changes. About the only way in which I disagree with the basic propositions as usually understood is that in terms of progressivism I think that one of the ways the State can make things better is to stop doing some of the damn fool things it’s already doing.

Yes, the state (almost certainly) can do some things better than even the most harmonious collective, e.g. defence and, possibly, criminal justice. Maybe, in some far off time, individuals will have learnt how to eliminate the state entirely and live in a state of good-natured anarchism, but I do not believe that that time is now. So, whilst I believe that the state is bad and should do as little as possible, it is—at this stage of our evolution—a necessary evil.

Which is why I describe myself as a minarchist from an anarchist stance.

But how can I think that and be a Lefty? How can I be a Lefty and support free markets, free trade, capitalism and so on?
So, as such a lefty, why am I so in favour of things like markets, free trade, capitalism and so on? Those things which are generally thought of as the preserve of the “right”? (Let us leave aside that “the right” ain’t been a friend of free trade shall we?)

Because they work.

If what you want is that the poor get richer, if what you want is an improvement in general living standards, if what you want is that the absolutely poor become only the relatively poor, then capitalism, markets and free trade are the only games in town.

Quite. Timmy offers up his exposition as a justification for his continuing, and most enjoyable, critiquing of Richard Murphy. But I'm afraid that I must take issue with Timmy on one aspect of said justification. [Emphasis mine.]
Which is why I Rag on Ritchie quite so much. To the possible point of obsession. I do him the courtesy of assuming that he wants just what I do. A better and richer world for those currently stuck in the absolute poverty that has been humanity’s historical lot. Certainly he works with a lot of organisations who claim that this is their aim (Action Aid, Oxfam I think, Christian Aid and so on). It’s just that his actual suggestions of how to get from here to our jointly desired goal strike me as entirely wrong.

And as such, as suggestions which are entirely wrong, they should be critiqued in the hope that by doing so his suggestions can be improved. For we do both desire exactly the same thing. That those in Africa, indeed those anywhere, should become just as fat, rich and happy as we pinkish people who by historical happenstance were the first to leave the Malthusian world behind.

I'm afraid that Tim Worstall—by virtue of being a nice man—gives Ritchie far too much credit: I don't think that Ritchie gives two fucking shits about whether poor people become any richer. You see, Timmy assumes that Richard Murphy is, at heart, a decent human being: I don't.

I think that Richard Murphy is a deeply evil man: the kind of man who cares more about his reputation, his own bank account, his personal bugbears and his disgusting personal morality than he does about the poor or their progression towards being "fat, rich and happy".

How else can a man who claims to know anything about economics possibly support more taxation, more stifling of trade and more state intervention? All of the evidence shows that these things make people poorer—and yet all of these are things that Richard Murphy advocates.

Therefore, Richard Murphy does not care about the poor, and therefore Richard Murphy is a deeply evil human being.

After all, if Richard Murphy doesn't believe Timmy—or any of those others with economic training and experience—then he might, perhaps, believe the IPCC's SRES reports. These are supposed to be the pinnacle of economic modelling, and what measures do they recommend—in their A1 family of scenarios—that we adopt for maximum wealth?
The A1 storyline is a case of rapid and successful economic development, in which regional average income per capita converge - current distinctions between "poor" and "rich" countries eventually dissolve. The primary dynamics are:
  • Strong commitment to market-based solutions.

  • High savings and commitment to education at the household level.

  • High rates of investment and innovation in education, technology, and institutions at the national and international levels.

  • International mobility of people, ideas, and technology.

The transition to economic convergence results from advances in transport and communication technology, shifts in national policies on immigration and education, and international cooperation in the development of national and international institutions that enhance productivity growth and technology diffusion.

This may be the type of scenario best represented in recent literature (e.g., Shinn, 1985; UN, 1990; Schwartz, 1991; Peterson, 1994; Gallopin et al., 1997; Glenn and Gordon, 1997, 1999; Lawrence et al., 1997; Hammond, 1998; Raskin et al., 1998). Such scenarios are dominated by an American or European entrepreneurial, progress-oriented perspective in which technology, especially communication technology, plays a central role. Wilkerson (1995) designed various scenarios that share features with A1. They emphasize market-oriented solutions, high consumption of both tangible and intangible commodities, advanced technology, and intensive mobility and communication.

Ritchie denies the weight of respected economists in theory and the plethora of evidence in actuality and—for the benefit of his own prejudices and his own fat wallet—actively lobbies people to pursue a selection of courses which he must know will keep people around the world in grinding poverty, suffering lives of privation, preventable disease and premature death.

In short, in the face of all the evidence, Richard Murphy not only supports but actively encourages measures that will lead to the unnecessary deaths of millions of people. In my book, that makes Richard Murphy a deeply evil man.

I did not always think this way: when I first encountered his particular brand of lunacy—back in June 2006—I thought that maybe he was simply stupid. As I have read more of his insane burblings—creating my own Murphy's Law series as well as following Timmy's " ragging on Ritchie" series—I have swung around to the idea that he is not (totally) moronic and that he is not ignorant. And if he is not completely stupid and he is not uninformed but he still advocates measures that will kill people, then Richard Murphy must, therefore, be evil.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Union boss Dave Prentis is a lying cunt

The TPA's Matt Sinclair sticks it to Dave Prentis, head of UNISON.

Say, Dave: you ever thought of becoming a politician? After all, it takes a special kind of person to lie like an absolute bastard on television knowing that the proof of their lie is in the public domain...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Libertarian Roundup #9

The Appalling Strangeness shows just how low support is for the ID card.

Constantly Furious has another delightful incidence of unintended consequences. And identifies the real story behind "Byersgate".

Meanwhile, the UK Libertarian tells us what the real crime of "Byersgate" was. And has a frightening video about the largest street gang in America.

Archbishop Cranmer says that Simon Cowell has bought the nation's soul.

Iain Martin of the WSJ points out how corporatism works.

Al Jahom translates union-speak for us.

The UK Liberty Network is now open for business!

And a stripper moans about government sticking their, um, noses in.

Toodle pip...!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Liar Byers

Stephen "taxi" Byers—one of those corrupt ministers caught in the recent sting—is a member of the Privy Council: Guido has started a petition to Her Majesty the Queen to remove him from this privileged position. Your humble Devil has signed, and left the following message in the appropriate box...
Your Majesty, this man, like all those who line their pockets in your Parliament, has brought disgrace upon your august personage and, motivated solely by sheer personal greed, has abused his privileged position to pervert the Parliamentary process and place an unjust burden upon the citizens of this country. I implore you to act now and remove him from the Privy Council—a venerable institution which this man, Byers, has sullied with his venality.

You too can sign the petition. If you want to.

Personally, any and all opportunities to make these people understand how much we all despise them is, in my view, worth undertaking...

So you'd like to emigrate to America?

British libertarians must be wary of advocating any action which presents itself as an escape clause to the present body-political cancer currently infecting in the U.K.

Emigration to an apparently slightly more free polity is one such escape clause. Some Britons go to France, some to Australia, some to New Zealand. Fine; chacun a son gout.

But many British libertarians look to the United States as a low-tax, smaller-government paradise, at least when compared to the United Kingdom. Do not succumb to this error, for erroneous it is.

British people, as anyone who's anyone knows, are far better educated about the US than Americans are about Britain. But do not be fooled by this into thinking that Americans are poorly educated. No, we can't locate Montenegro on a map, but that's because few Americans will ever even contemplate going there. Most Americans never leave the US, and content themselves with domestic holidays that provide by far more geological and cultural diversity than domestic holidays in Britain. From Florida to Oregon is a greater distance than Britain to Montenegro.

And one thing Americans understand as if born with the knowledge is the federalist nature of their home country. They know that there is greater political variation from state to state than there is between Wales and Scotland, for example; and they comprehend that not only is that variation acceptable, it's practically mandatory.

When Britons think of the United States as a kind of Mecca for the free and the brave, they are rarely taking into account that this view depends entirely on the specific destination envisioned. Consider, as an example, Delaware and Maryland. Two small states (at least by comparison with other American states) that share a border and a coastline. Delaware levies no state income tax or state corporation tax; as a result, a tremendously large number of American businesses have their headquarters incorporated there, and the average Delawarean taxpayer has to file (almost uniquely within the union) only one tax return every April. Delaware, by virtue of levying little tax, has a small state bureaucracy, which can be observed in the simplicity of procedures such as getting a driver's licence or purchasing a house.

Maryland, by comparison, is heavily bureaucratised. It levies taxes and fees for everything; it regulates practically all aspects of commercial and social interaction, at high cost to its residents in both personal income tax, simony, and corporation tax. (Not many businesses are incorporated in Maryland, though this is unsurprising, considering that 90% of Maryland acts as a residential suburb for federal government employees.) Maryland residents, to give one example, are required to bear number plates on both the front and rear bumpers of their automobiles. Car insurance companies will not insure a Maryland driver unless this condition is met; a car will not pass the Maryland equivalent of the MOT unless this condition is met; failure to meet these conditions will also result in heavy fines from the traffic police.

Therefore whether or not America is a paradise of freedom and prosperity depends entirely upon where you live within it.

Fortunately, if you have the clout, wherewithal, and minority status to get into the US (which is harder to enter than a Vestal virgin, unless you come via Mexico, in which case America is a bigger slut than your first high-school girlfriend), moving from place to place is easy. So is trade: the much-praised US constitution does not permit of interstate protectionism. You might fetch up in Maryland, but to move to Delaware would be easier than moving between England and Scotland.

There are currently-newsworthy exceptions to this rule, however. The most significant is health insurance. One of the things the Great Healthcare Bill does nothing about is the fact that health insurance consumers may only purchase health insurance within state lines; and health insurance companies, as a corollary to this unconstitutional privilege, are also granted exemption from anti-trust legislation specifically set up to prohibit the kind of monopoly the federal government permits in this one area of domestic commerce. As with all industries given state protection from competition, health insurance has soared in cost since the New Deal. The Obama administration's solution to same is to prevent such companies from not selling policies to sick people but without, naturally, controlling the cost of such policies, the Great Healthcare Bill promising to pick up the tab for those who can't afford to purchase policies on their own. And so the insurance companies cry like Brer Rabbit in the briar patch, 'Please, please don't give us more customers!'

It is a cry that goes unanswered; the federal government will give the health insurance companies more customers, goddammit, whether they like it or not.

British libertarians, do not deceive yourselves: the United States is the largest and best-run fascist nation the world has ever seen. It is not as overt about it as Mussolini, perhaps, but it makes him look like a rank amateur. Do you think that the health-insurance lobby would for one second permit their pocket Congressmen to pass the Great Healthcare Bill if it were truly detrimental to their interests? Of course not. The Great Healthcare Bill does nothing to help the consumer of healthcare. If it did, it would revoke the monopoly exemptions of health insurance companies and encourage a great flourishing of insurance competition, which as we all know would serve to decrease the price of same. It would allow consumers to purchase plans covering only healthcare they expected to need, rather than mandating that every plan include e.g. gender reassignment surgery, chemical birth control, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Instead, what it actually does is *gasp* force health insurance companies by law to take on new customers. Way to stick it to big business, there, Obama.

The fact of the matter is that all politicians, British or American, are subject to the same pressures from corporate interests. The corporate interests might differ—witness the cash-recirculation scheme operated between the Labour party and the unions—but the pressures never change. Large businesses, be they unions or health insurance companies, have money and influence individual voters can only dream of. As the left wing are so fond of emphasising, collective action is powerful. Whether the collective in question is businesses seeking legislative protection from competition or unions seeking public funding for their oh-so-necessary efforts not to be sacked makes no difference. The individual voter serves one real purpose, and that is to provide democratic legitimacy for whatever the legislature does to service its well-organised and well-funded corporate paymasters.

If this is true in Britain, it is doubly true in the United States, which has bigger corporations and more money. There is no better proof of this than the Great Healthcare Bill, which will enrich the monopolistic insurance companies at the expense of both the individual consumer and the taxpayer. Perhaps, being a non-federalist Briton, you think this bill will help the poor who cannot afford insurance. If so, I urge you to rethink your view.

One of the most prevalent criticisms of American health insurance is that insurance companies are reluctant to take on customers with the much-publicised 'pre-existing conditions' and to pay out for procedures not even tangentially related to same. What do you think will happen to insurance premiums when insurance companies are no longer permitted to refuse customers who will cost the company more than they will pay in? What do you think will happen to the Medicaid budget when it is forced to purchase the healthcare of those who can no longer afford private insurance premiums? If you think the answer is anything other than 'There will be a gigantic increase,' you are living in cloud-cuckoo land.

An interesting unintended consequence of the Great Healthcare Bill has been the resolution passed by various Southern and Mid-western states to ignore federal action they deem to be outwith the 10th Amendment of the US constitution. We will not implement these programs, they say, or penalise federal offices that do not implement these programs. And in fairness to them, nothing in the constitution makes provision for vast incursions by the federal government into the American economy, regardless of the perceived importance of a particular commercial sector. By and large the states that have passed this resolution are ethnically homogeneous and economically self-sufficient, with a few notable (and notably contrarian) exceptions such as Alabama and South Carolina.

Such resolutions are in one sense laughable; state legislatures have absolutely no power to impede federal directives, or to impede the activities of the multiplicity of federal offices that abound within every American state. They might as well try to dam a river with a pebble. On the other hand, these resolutions are a powerful signal. American states, after all, have a history of secession, a will to the kind of self-government the United States supports everywhere else in the world. It requires virtually no stretch of imagination to view these 10th-Amendment resolutions as a waving flag to the other states of the union declaiming, 'We are ready to secede, if the rest of you are.' Eleven states have done this; they represent much greater than 20% of American land area, though not 20% of the American population. Alaska is one such; known for its bloody-mindedness and eccentric independence, it would not find it at all difficult to secede. Not only are there few people in Alaska, they are badass too. Even federal employees are more Alaskan than they are federal. Five minutes after secession would see drills all over the ANWR reserve and the start of a pipeline to Russia (who still unfashionably persist in this oil-drilling business). Dead caribou would represent what is commonly known as a bumper harvest. Mind you, the Alaskans wouldn't allow them to become extinct; they would farm them for their succulent meat and durable furs.

Ask yourself, after all: how many of our current domesticated mammal species would have been extinct hundreds of years ago if we didn't husband them for other purposes? Do you think the average sheep would have survived in wolf-filled Europe if we hadn't killed all the wolves in the name of protecting the wool-bearing, tasty-lamb-producing sheep?

Louisiana and Alabama are more puzzling in these terms; both those states are the recipients of considerable federal largesse as well as having an uncomfortable history of fighting for the continued enslavement of the black man. On the other hand, they possess access to Gulf oil. The Mid-western states produce a giant proportion of the world's grain. At the moment, they are subsidised by the federal government which places restrictions on where and how they can trade. Imagine how prosperous they might be if they could junk the restrictions and sell vast loads of wheat at rock-bottom prices to places like India, China, and Japan!

So there are some places in the United States that reject, if only implicitly, the fascist union of the federal government to federal business. But their resistance will be a long time in coming, if ever; do not count on emigrating to Wyoming to provide you with the libertarian paradise about which you have always fantasised. Better to go to Montana, where state troopers can scarcely enforce speed limits. You'll be branded as a Militiaman, of course (something which the New Hampshire Free Staters have not yet experienced, if only because New Hampshire is a miniscule state filled with agricultural white smallholders—or perhaps in spite of this, now that I consider it), but Montana is filled with vast open ranges wherein nobody lives and thus no federal officials intrude. It also happens to host numerous Native American reservations, where federal taxes and regulations are something that happens to somebody else.

Allow me to be reactionary, therefore, and say the following: America is great, if you can go there, and if you go where there are basically no poor people or immigrants. (Native Americans, ghettoised as they are, don't count.) Where the country is Anglo-white, suburban/rural, and largely comprises the descendants of doughty homesteaders, it is a vaguely low-tax, smaller-government paradise. But this cannot last. For one thing, places like California are getting a bit bolshie. Why? It turns out that, for decades, they've been fulfilling their moral mandate by subsidising states less rich than themselves though their federal taxes. Now suddenly they find themselves in a budgetary hole, and they can't convince those less-rich states to pull them out. You owe us a debt, they claim, despite the fact that the inhabitants of those less-rich states are still, per capita, less rich than Californians. Redistribution, it seems, is not a moral good, but a store of credit, much like a medieval indulgence. The Californians never helped the Louisianans (some of the poorest Americans) out of the goodness of their hearts; they helped in the implicit expectation of getting a return when they fucked themselves. And with their bizarre government-by-plebiscite-and-an-Austrian-movie-star, they did indeed fuck themselves, and now they expect the dispossessed poor of Louisiana (and Mississippi, and Alabama) to help them out of the hole.

Is this what a nation is all about? Monopolistic concessions to health insurance companies, preludes to secession, poor states bailing out rich ones, a government that ignores its own Prime Directive? Where big governments override smaller governments and vice versa, and the only thing holding the place together is the fact that breaking it apart has been tried and failed, and besides, it's still the best place in the world for making money, if making money is what you happen to want?

British libertarians, do not look to America for succour, for it is a sink of redundancy, corruption and fascism. Even if you manage to get in, which would be hard enough even for my husband who is married to an American citizen, expect not an end to ills. Recognise that it is a nation more moribund, more steeped in procedure, tax, and waste than even the United Kingdom. If you think Scotland is a millstone around your neck, imagine the weight of the shackles of California. You will have no relief, no extra freedom unless by accident, no respite from the predations of the moneyed and powerful. Take my word for it. I am an American in Britain. I see no difference, except that as a percentage of my income, I actually pay less tax here. There are many things wrong with the British body politic, but moving to the United States will cure none of them.

Briton: heal thyself.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Libertarian Roundup #8

The Spectator shows how Labour is using your tax money to fund pro-government propaganda. And how Gordon Brown is playing a confidence trick on us.

Leg-Iron finds something creepy.

Anna Raccoon shows how shamefully the government treats pensioners abroad. And points out the confusion within UNITE about supporting Labour. AND how the government has started co-opting grocery stores.

Boatang & Demetriou see children wrapped in cotton wool.

The Australians discover the consequences of regulation.

The UK Libertarian has a conniption about the reclassification of Mephadrone. And points out the lunacy of accepting taxes blindly. And also points out what happens when you hide the price of a scarce service.

Obnoxio is bored by party point-scoring.

And finally, The Daily Mash sums up Britain in children's verse.


Fly away, you Union cunts

I am not a fan of everything that Margaret Thatcher did, but she should go down in history as a hero for her breaking of the Unions. Had she not done so, not only would our economic situation be far worse than it currently is—more akin to 1978/79's Winter of Discontent—but you could be facing the daily intimidation that is being doled out to some BA cabin crew.
The emails, posted late on Friday evening, were chillingly concise and their content clear: "If any of you go into work tomorrow, your life won't be worth living,'' one read.

Hours earlier, as the news spread among British Airways cabin crew that last ditch talks between the airline and the hard-line union Unite had failed, a tirade of malicious text messages had been fired off to specifically targeted staff – those brave enough to have voiced contempt for the union militants – telling them they were "scrum" [sic] and "scabs" if they crossed the picket line to begin their shifts on Saturday.

"Suzy" wasn't surprised when copies landed in her in-box and on her mobile phone.

Inside Heathrow, [Suzy] says, menace and unease are everywhere. When BA suggests a new service Unite generally instructs its members to ignore it.

"Ridiculous things,'' Suzy says. "We were asked to distribute hot towels on short haul. Unite said no. We got on board and everyone was in a state.

"Do we give them out or not? Usually workers—quite rightly—fear not doing what the boss asks. But we are just as frightened not to do what the union asks."

In the 1970s and early 1980s, this kind of treatment would apply in almost any job; the majority of the workforce was unionised. In some businesses, the unions operated a "closed shop": if you weren't part of the union, you lost your job (or would never get it in the first place).

Last year, British Airways made a loss of £401 million: the airline is currently losing more than £1 million—every, single day. No business can carry on like this.

At the very least, these silly cunts are going to have to realise that they certainly can't carry on partying like this.

I must say that I am very impressed with BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh: not only because he has stepped up to the plate and made public statements personally, rather than through some press officer, but also because he has obviously got down onto the shop floor, as it were, and talked to his staff and customers; he has reassured customers and supported those staff who, like Suzy, are facing down Unite.
Suzy and her colleagues say they are more than happy to work harder if crew numbers are reduced. "We are just glad to have a job in this climate. And we already have more crew than the recommended CAA minimum.

"Becoming an air hostess was my dream as a little girl," she says. "I've always been proud to wear the BA uniform. It means I work for the best.

"But yesterday I stopped at a filling station to buy petrol and, before walking in to pay, I put on my coat. I know the public has no sympathy for us.

"Who can blame them? And I couldn't be sure what sort of reception I would get in a BA cabin crew uniform. How sad is that?"

It is, indeed, very sad. But the choice is clear: Willie Walsh must be allowed to sack those who strike, and those cabin crew who disagree with Unite's bullying must stop their union dues.

This isn't the 1800s: much of the support for workers that used to be dealt with by the unions is now enshrined in law. The unions are not only redundant, but actively malignant. It is time for the union bosses to be deprived of their big, fat pay-cheques and thrown onto the dole queue.

Note that I am not saying that they should be made illegal, or that the state should destroy them: I am simply saying that ordinary workers who do not want to be bullied and threatened because they disagree with the actions that a union is taking—actions that could potentially bankrupt the employers, thus ensuring that all of the workers lose their jobs—should stop paying their union dues.

As a happy by-product of the utter destruction of the unions, the Labour Party would go bust and we could all sleep easier in our beds, knowing that our money and our freedoms were not being handed over to thugs in order that maleficent politicians can continue to line their pockets with our money.

What's not to like...?

UPDATE: I see, via Timmy, that not only have we been lining the unions' pockets through the Union Modernisation slush Fund—also known as The Labour Party's Money-Laundering Fund—but we have also been subsidising them through staff placements.
Ministries and Government agencies spent more than £17 million paying staff to carry out “trade union activities” last year.
Some departments are paying staff to work full-time on trade union business.

And some full-time civil servants spend three days a work carrying out union activities and still receive a full salary from the Government.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are being stitched up by our government: our freedoms are being sold down the river to vested interests, whether those interests be the unions or big business.

It's time to make these politicos pay for their treachery: is it too much to hope that, after the General Election, we are faced not with a Hung Parliament but a Hanged Parliament...?

Lobby fodder

"Bureaucrats want bigger bureaus. Special interests are interested in whatever's special to them. These two groups bring great pressure to bear upon politicians who have another agenda yet: to cater to the temporary whims and fads of the public and the press."All the Trouble in the World. The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague and Poverty by P J O'Rourke

Via Guido, I see that various ministers have been caught in a sting in which they promise to deliver government influence in return for cold, hard, cash.
A FORMER Labour cabinet minister has boasted about how he used his government contacts to change policies in favour of businesses.

Stephen Byers, former trade and transport secretary, was secretly recorded offering himself “like a sort of cab for hire” for up £5,000 a day. He also suggested bringing Tony Blair to meet clients.

He was among several politicians recorded by an undercover reporter posing as a company executive looking to hire MPs for lobbying work.

The others included:
  • Patricia Hewitt, a former health secretary, who claimed she helped to obtain a key seat on a government advisory group for a client paying her £3,000 a day.

  • Geoff Hoon, the former defence secretary, offered to lead delegations to ministers and told the reporter that he was looking to turn his knowledge and contacts into “something that frankly makes money”. He said he charged £3,000 a day.

  • Margaret Moran, the Luton MP who was forced to pay back £22,500 in expenses, boasted that she could ring a “girls’ gang” of colleagues on behalf of clients. Among those she named were: Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary; Hazel Blears, the former communities secretary; and Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour party.

The interviews were part of a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme in which 13 Labour MPs and seven Conservatives were approached.

Guido turns his fire in the lobbyists, maintaining that they are "scum"—and they probably are. However, the lobbyists are simply taking advantage of the fact that our Parliament is full of greedy, grasping, corrupt, dishonourable cunts who are willing to screw the ordinary people of Britain without the slightest qualm.

These absolute fuckers were willing to pass laws—indeed, have already passed laws—that compel us to do the bidding of their corporate masters. They were willing to take money to fuck us—that's you and me—so that they could stuff their own wallets.

This case is reminiscent of the sting of January last year, when four Lords eagerly courted "some businessmen", each vying to claim that they were the most able to screw the people of this country for the sake of big, fat corporate bribes. And what I wrote then applies in this new case too, because these fuckers...
... are just another branch of the legislature who are willing to sell our liberty down the river in order to line their own pockets. They are evil fucking cunts and they should be ejected from the House forthwith. Hopefully, the shame will lead them to do the honourable thing, although I doubt it...

... because it is becoming more and more fucking obvious that not one single individual in our Parliament has the least shred of honour or decency. As Cromwell so eloquently put it...
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

"Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

"Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

These people are cunts and they must be removed. All of them. Our Parliament is corrupt to the core and rotting from the ground up. Our legislators serve no purpose but to enrich themselves and, if it requires them to put the sell us into slavery, then they will happily do so.

This has gone beyond a little light-fingered thieving: this is the selling of policy to corporate interests for money; this is collusion with big business to enslave the nation: this is fascism.

Raze the entire place to the fucking ground and hang every single inhabitant: let there be a bonfire of their vanities. These people are colluding against the people of Britain for their own selfish gain and there is now surely no reason to tolerate this disgusting state of affairs.

It's time to clear out the rot and start again.

But we really shouldn't be surprised for, as P J O'Rourke said, when legislators decide what can be bought and sold the first thing to be bought and sold will be the legislators.

But we can—and should be—outraged. And worried. For the defining trait of fascism is corporatism—that unholy alliance between the state and big business.

These cunts should be hanged for treason against the British people—and the fact that I particularly loathe the named participants would just bring an extra frisson to the proceedings.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The truth about non-jobs

There's been much huffing and puffing in the mainstream media of late about what shape political campaigning will take online. The blogosphere and new media at large are in a state of constant flux - that's the great thing about them - which means that no-one can quite tell how things are going to work out. Really, it's going to be a process of trial and error.

Here's one example. A few days ago, UNISON put out a video which absurdly claimed that any cut in public spending would mean there would be no-one to answer 999 calls, and old ladies would be abandoned in hospital. In a few hours, we were able to release this spoofed version, featuring a selection of the non-jobs that bedevil the public sector:

So far, UNISON's original video has 2,914 views, while our response is sitting pretty with 19,517. Let battle commence!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mad Nad: declaring war on scantily clad women

Corrupt Tory MP, "Mad" Nad Dorries has another target in her sights right now—posters of scantily-clad women.
If you live or work in London you simply cannot help but be confronted by posters adorning the sides of all TFL buses depicting three beautiful teenage lingerie models. The poster is frankly OTT. Since when did it become acceptable to have larger than life posters of provocative and scantily clad women moving up and down every street in London? Where did the mystery go?

Woah! Could this be the same Nadine Dorries who carries a prominent picture of a scantily-clad ropey old boiler surrounded by other scantily-clad (and possibly under-age) girls on her blog's header banner...?

Yes. Yes, it could.

Oh, where did the mystery go, Nadine? Where?

Oh woe.

A message to the voters of Scotland...

... from Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart and can be summed up thusly.
Dear people of Scotland,

Fuck you: fuck you very much. You are of absolutely no account, you cunts.



The relevant quote was brought my attention by my colleague, The Filthy Smoker, in his recent excellent rant: it struck me as being so stark, so obviously a great, big "Fuck You" to the people of Scotland that I thought it was worth highlighting.
Let me clarify: everybody in Scotland is for minimum pricing, whether they are health professionals, chief police officers and the licensing authorities. The only people against minimum pricing in Scotland are the Labour party in the Scottish Parliament, the Liberals in the Scottish Parliament and of course the Conservatives, as we would expect.

That's right. The people of Scotland—you know, the ones who aren't health professionals, chief police officers, the licensing authorities or other state agents—are absolutely supportive of more expensive alcohol. In fact, they can't wait.

Having lived in Scotland for ten years, I find it very hard to believe that Pete Wishart's assertion is even vaguely true. In fact, I would say that his assertion that "everybody in Scotland is for minimum pricing" as a massive fucking lie.

Thus, I can say for a fact that Pete Wishart MP is a liar.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

UPDATE: to interpret Pete Wishart's motivations, one has, as always, to follow the money. And, under the minimum pricing suggestion, the increase in cash would go to the producer of the booze. And, sure enough...
I represent three fantastic whisky distilleries in my constituency, two of which support minimum pricing.

Well, ain't that a surprise, eh?

Interesting Factoid of the Day: Pete Wishart used to be a member of Runrig, thus continuing the tradition of popular music stars who should shut the fuck up about politics.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Den of liars

(nb. I am not the Devil's Kitchen)

Years of lies and half-truths from the temperance movement culminated in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday. Regular readers will know how the supine media, the fake charities and the quacks have been drip-feeding the public scare stories and bogus statistics about the pretend alcohol epidemic since—oh, let's think now—shortly after the smoking ban. In all that time, barely a word of truth has escaped their lips and on Wednesday it all paid off. The venal cretins in the House of Commons fell over themselves in their rush for legislation.

Dick Puddlecote has already filleted the debate in expert fashion but, as the psychiatrist said of Basil Fawlty, there is enough here for an entire conference. The campaign for minimum pricing is being led by Kevin Barron MP, an anti-smoking weasel and temperance nut who has been well briefed on demonising the drinks industry and playing the think-of-the-children card. While regurgitating every myth about alcohol, he accused everyone else of making myths of his myths:
Kevin Barron (Rother Valley, Labour): A myth is widely propagated by parts of the drinks industry and politicians that a rise in prices would unfairly affect the majority of moderate drinkers.

It would, you devious fuck. Even assuming you would keep the minimum price at 50p unit—which I seriously doubt—everyone would pay more for their drink.
It would effectively mean that a woman who drinks the recommended maximum of 15 units a week could buy her weekly total of alcohol for £6. Of course, probably not everyone drinks industrial white cider only.

Well, precisely. But we soon will be if you get this illiberal and illegal law through.
Unlike rises in duty, minimum pricing would benefit traditional pubs—the on-trade, as Greg Mulholland suggested—so, unsurprisingly, it is supported by the Campaign for Real Ale, which also gave evidence to the Committee.

CAMRA can suck my balls, the thick-headed, narrow-minded, pot-bellied, do-it-to-Julia cunts that they are. It's only a matter of time before the head of CAMRA gets off a plane saying that he has a piece of paper in his hand. As Mr A points out at Leg-Iron's place, CAMRA should be a verb:
I wonder if "doing a CAMRA" will become an accepted phrase for stupidly rolling over, attacking your potential allies and cosying up to the enemy when they are clearly out to get you, like the term "Quisling" did?

Sorry Kevin, you were saying...
We are all concerned about the closures of public houses in this country.

Are you concerned, Kev? Are you really? Let's see shall we?
How Kevin Barron voted on key issues since 2001:

Voted strongly for introducing a smoking ban.

I thought not.
They are closing for many reasons, not necessarily just the price of alcohol...

No one look at the elephant. The room is going to be just fine so long as we don't look at the elephant.
According to calculations undertaken by the Treasury at the Committee's request, for our report, if the duty on a bottle of spirits had increased since the early 1980s at the same rate as earnings, it would now be £62.

That statistic reeks of bullshit, but let's go with it. Surely you're not proposing that the price of a bottle of gin should be £62?
Neither I nor the Committee recommend an immediate leap to those levels of duty on spirits, but we should certainly make a start.

Are you fucking insane?! Your ultimate goal is to make a bottle of spirits cost £62?
We think that a start should be made. We recommend that duties on spirits be returned in stages to the same percentage of average earnings as in the past.

Ride my face to Chicago, you're really serious! Listen Kevin, waste of eggs and semen that you are, tax on alcohol has risen above inflation since the 1980s. If alcohol is more affordable today, it is because the working wage has risen and living standards have improved. These were—as your daddy might have told you—the aims of the Labour movement before it became infested with paternalistic cunts like you.

Being able to afford things was once since as a good thing, even by the pricks in your party. If you start setting a minimum price for everything you don't like, just because the working class can afford more than a crust of bread and a copy of The Morning Star, you will be doing it to everything. But then you'd like that wouldn't you, you sordid, totalitarian lefty cunt?
And what do Cameron's hip young Tories have to say on the matter?
Robert Syms (Poole, Conservative): I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 earlier in the week about marmalade.

John Grogan (The turgid member for Selby, Labour): A couple of years ago, I suggested that Sir Terence Leahy was in danger of becoming the godfather of British binge drinking, given the low prices at Tesco. Some alcohol was being sold more cheaply than water.

Liar. Next!
Howard Stoate (Dartford, Labour): When I was last in Washington on a Select Committee inquiry, I was refused alcohol on the grounds that I could not prove that I was over 21 as I did not have my passport with me. I was not sure whether to feel flattered or insulted.

Fascinating. Next.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): My hon. Friend is obviously very youthful looking. No one challenged me, I have to say, but other staff were challenged, and the age limit was rigidly enforced.

Look, dickheads, we're trying to have a debate here. Have you got anything other than feeble anecdotes to contribute?
Indeed, not so long ago, two British sisters were on holiday in Florida, one over 21 and one under. Their holiday flat was entered by the local police who found them both drinking. The older sister was sent to prison for corrupting a minor-that is how seriously it is taken. I am not suggesting that we should be so draconian, but there are countries that take the issue a bit more seriously than we do. We have a long way to go.

"A long way to go"? Cops bursting into houses arresting people for drinking. That's what we're working towards, is it? God, I hate you.
Anne Milton (Shadow Minister, Health; Guildford, Conservative): I know a little bit about Canada, which has quite vicious laws on alcohol. Instead, it has a significant problem with cannabis misuse.

A salient point, at last. Crazy drinking laws in North America have only led to endemic, tedious pot smoking by the under-21s. A bit of an unintended consequence there?
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): In Sweden, they have had serious problems with alcohol.

Yes, yes. Another avenue of sanity has opened up. Time to grab the bull by the horns. Sweden has the highest alcohol taxes in the whole EU but serious problems with alcohol. Riddle me that, fuckers.

No? Nobody? No one even going to respond?
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): There is an argument even for raising the minimum drinking age. In America, it is 21, but it is much lower in Britain. That is something that we should consider, and in time we may do so—but not at the moment.

You people really are the pits.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): The minimum price argument is overwhelming. The Chief Medical Officer said that it should be a minimum of 50p per unit of alcohol. I would be happy with that.

Let's be very, very clear about this. Liam Donaldson has been the most deceitful, scare-mongering, incompetent, unhealthy, dishonest, unscientific, pus-filled, overweight, pasty, waste-of-space turd polisher to ever rise to the high office of Chief Medical Officer. From the smoking ban to minimum pricing and from bird flu to swine flu, there is not one thing this pernicious ball-licker has touched which hasn't turned out to be based on a shit-heap of lies. When the crank dies I will cry tears of joy, so do not even think about quoting him as an authority on anything.
It would also save a valuable cultural feature of our society—the great pub—which is suffering greatly at the moment from cheap alcohol being drunk elsewhere.

Can't think of anything that might be making pubs suffer, Kelvin? Maybe a little ban that you, too, voted for? So, how can we find a way of forcing people back into the pubs that your smoking ban has crippled?
We should make all cheap alcohol sales techniques, such as happy hours, illegal, and enforce that rigidly.

More bans. More bans will make everything all right. We're only ever one ban away from Utopia.
And then we have the voice of the esteemed medical profession, Dr Richard Taylor, to give us the measured and rational facts upon which less learned members of the house can base their judgement on what is, after all, a complex issue.
Richard Taylor (Wyre Forest, Independent): Dr. Stoate did not do this, but my job in these debates is to terrify people.

So speaks the medical man. Of course your job is to terrify people. You are, after all, not only a doctor but a politician, and therefore—in your own eyes—God almighty.
If women drink heavily at the end of pregnancy, their babies can be born addicted to alcohol and will have to go through the withdrawal process. That is absolutely horrendous... Alcohol in excess is a drug of addiction. It is a poison in excess, leading to comas and things that, in the past, have led to deaths in police stations... Alcohol is not a stimulant; it is a narcotic... jaundice, cachexia, a grossly swollen stomach and distended veins, and vomiting blood...

Christ, that balanced and objective overview is enough to make anyone give up drinking. You are, I presume, a teetotaller?
However, I am with everybody else: not consumed in excess, alcohol can bring a great amount of pleasure, and I would never miss out on the House of Commons claret, for example, or several of the other potions that we can have here.

Gloating about the claret in the subsidised House of Commons bar while you scheme to rob the public of yet more of its hard-earned money. I hope your constituents tear you limb from limb.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): To reinforce my hon. Friend's point, I studied and taught economics, so I know about a thing called a demand curve, which shows that if the price is raised, consumption goes down.

Just think about that for a minute. That is the whole quote. I haven't edited it. He actually interrupted a debate in the mother of all Parliaments to recite the most elementary piece of information in the field of economics. That he felt the need to do so says something about him or it says something about the stupefying ignorance of his fellow MPs. I fear it may be the latter.
And then there's this asshole:
Pete Wishart (Perth & Perthshire North, Scottish National Party): Let me clarify: everybody in Scotland is for minimum pricing, whether they are health professionals, chief police officers and the licensing authorities. The only people against minimum pricing in Scotland are the Labour party in the Scottish Parliament, the Liberals in the Scottish Parliament and of course the Conservatives, as we would expect.

That's quite some support you've got there, Pete. Everyone's on board except the Labour party. And the Liberals. Oh, and the Conservatives. Apart from that, everybody.
And what do the Conservatives think about all this anyway?
Anne Milton (Shadow Minister, Health; Guildford, Conservative): In 1947, we drank 3.5 litres of alcohol per head in this country; now, the figure is well over 9.5 litres.

So what? As Dick Puddlecote has pointed out, we were under the yoke of rationing in 1947. Is that Tory party policy now?
The British Medical Association believes that we have some of the heaviest levels of alcohol consumption in Europe

In that case, the British Medical Association are lying cock-suckers to man. World Health Organisation figures show that the UK drinks less than the Czech Republic, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Finland. That puts us firmly mid-table, no?
Minimum pricing is regressive in that the capital made by increasing the price of alcohol will go straight to the supermarkets and shops that sell the alcohol. Instead, why not tax the alcohol so that the profits of any increase can, as the report says, go back to the Government.

Aside from the fact that this woman has no idea what the word 'regressive' means, you have to admire the Tories for being up-front about it. They want to screw the punter just as much as Labour, but they're going to make damn sure that it's the government, not the retailers, who get the money.
So, not a cigarette paper between the Tories and Labour on this issue, as usual. In a three hour debate, only one voice of sanity emerged from this den of liars and thieves. In these dark days it is only proper to give credit to a man who exhibits some balls and principles. To that end, I give you Philip Davies MP...
Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative): Given the Chairman's lack of complaint about his own colleagues appearing and intervening in the debate, I suspect that his concern with me is not that I am contributing to it after having arrived late, but simply that he will not agree with what I am about to say. I am afraid that I am going to disappoint him again.

The report is certainly a useful contribution to the debate on addiction—not, unfortunately, on addiction to alcohol, but on this Government's and the Health Committee's addiction to the nanny state. They have already helped to dismantle the pub and club industry with their smoking ban. Pubs are closing at the rate of 50 a week—many because of the ban on smoking in public places—and the same fate is being felt by many clubs, such as working men's clubs. It seems that the Health Committee, not satisfied with dismantling the pub and club industry, now wishes to direct its fire in other areas, such as at cinemas and commercial broadcasters, to try to close down those industries. Many sports will also be adversely affected if its recommendations are introduced.

Do my eyes deceive me, or is this fellow bang on the money?
All that would not be so bad if I thought that, in the end, if after all the Committee's recommendations were introduced, its members would say that they were satisfied. The problem, however, as with all these matters, is that the report panders to the zealots in society who are never satisfied. I guarantee that if all the recommendations were introduced, Committee members would, within a few months at most, come back with further recommendations because the previous ones had not gone far enough. This lobby is impossible to satisfy.

How did this fellow sneak into Parliament? Security!
The problem with the political classes generally, particularly in this House, is that when they are faced with a problem—there is no doubt that there is a problem with excessive drinking of alcohol—the solution that they propose has to be constituted of two particular themes. The first ingredient in any solution that politicians propose is that it must show that they are doing something; they have to be seen to be doing something. The second ingredient, which we always see, is that the proposal must not offend anyone and must be superficially popular. Once again, that approach applies to many of the recommendations, most of which would not make a blind bit of difference to excessive or under-age alcohol consumption.

Goddamn. That was good. I think we're going to need one less lamp-post. Naturally, the government's response was dismissive and patronising.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): It is clear that the hon. Gentleman and I come from polar opposite positions, but he is making the classic freedom speech. He is saying that we have the freedom to do what we want, without intervention from the state.

"The classic freedom speech". That's what centuries of political thought boil down for these fascists. John Locke, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill—it's all just a bit of verbal jousting to them.
The same speech will have been made against the breathalyser, crash helmets, the compulsory wearing of seat belts and a whole range of traffic regulations that are designed to save lives. Freedoms affect other people, not just the person exercising them.

No. No. No. Wearing a seat belt and a crash helmet does not affect other people and never has. It was with those laws that the rot set in. I've quoted it before and I'll quote it again, but when Ivan Lawrence spoke in 1979 to oppose compulsory seat belts, he predicted exactly where this would all lead:
Why should anyone be forced by criminal sanction not to hurt himself? That was never, at least until the crash helmet legislation, a principle of our criminal law. Where will it end? Why make driving without a seat belt a crime because it could save a thousand lives, when we could stop cigarette smoking by the criminal law and save 20,000 lives a year? Why not stop by making it criminal the drinking of alcohol, which would save hundreds of thousands of lives?

When will we realise that laws not only cannot cure every evil but are frequently counter-productive? Here the harm done to our criminal process may well exceed any good that the law can do. We can see that in advance, so why do we persist with it? If there was a law which made it a criminal offence to smoke or to drink alcohol, neither of which, of course, do I advocate, just think of the amount of bereavement that would be saved, the number of hospital beds that could be put to better use, and the time and energy of our doctors and nurses which could be more usefully employed. Yet we do not consider doing that. What is it about the motorist that requires him to be singled out and subjected to this sort of legislation?

The harm to justice caused by this legislation will be far more substantial than we think. When will we realise that every little infringement of liberty, for whatever good cause, diminishes the whole concept of liberty? If life is the only criterion, why did we sacrifice so many millions of lives in two world wars? Why did we not in the Second World War lie down and say "Because millions of people may die, we should let our liberty be taken away before the onset of the Nazis?" The answer is that more important than lives is the concept of liberty.

Since I have been in the House I have seen the cogent arguments and the telling pleas of hon. Members on both sides of the House persuading and succeeding in persuading the House that it is only a very little piece more of liberty that we are withdrawing and for such great benefits and advantages. As a result we have far fewer of our freedoms now than was ever dreamed possible a few years ago. In the end we shall find that our liberties have all but disappeared. It might be possible to save more lives in Britain by this measure—and by countless other measures. But I do not see the virtue in saving more lives by legislation which will produce in the end a Britain where nobody wants to live.

And he was dead right. If people had opposed that little law back then we would never be in the situation we are now, with authoritarian scumfucks like Kevin Barron citing is as a precedent to justify the state fixing prices. And once we accept that the state should fix prices for our own good, what will come next? Even now, with overwhelming evidence that these bastards will never stop, the basic principle of individual liberty is drowned out by the spastic yelps of the temperance zealots. Even now, a photo of some tart pissed up in a town centre carries more weight than centuries of hard-fought liberty. Even now, there are people thinking that it's only the cider-drinking plebs who will lose out from this bullshit law. From making it a crime to not wear a seat belt to banning happy hour in one generation. Silently but inexorably, the state marches on.

Never mind that, think of the children. You don't want babies being born addicted to alcohol do you? What kind of a monster are you? Look at our statistics. Feel my sincerity. Alcohol is cheaper than water. Is that what you want? Is it, eh, murderer? Won't somebody please think of the children?!?

No one heeded Lawrence's warnings in 1979 and no one will heed Philip Davies in 2010, because it's just one little law, isn't it? It's not as if thousands of little laws add up to one big tyranny, is it?
Richard Taylor (Wyre Forest, Independent): When parents are not providing adequate control, the nanny state has a place, if it is thinking of the good of all the people.

Fuck you, Taylor, and fuck your nanny state. I wish nothing but harm on you and your kind. Nothing.

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...