Thursday, January 20, 2011

The problem with education...

Via Timmy, here's the teaching unions' attitude to education... [Emphasis mine.]
Unions said a proposed review of primary and secondary school subjects would render the curriculum unfit for the needs of a modern education system.

They insisted that a renewed focus on detailed subject knowledge was “elitist” and would alienate thousands of children, particularly those from the poorest backgrounds.

So, knowing about stuff in anything greater than the most cursory detail is "elitist", is it?

And poor people cannot possibly be interested in learning because, presumably, they want to ensure that they and their children remain poor for ever...?

These people have got to go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Penny's dreadful

It will hardly be a surprise that, like The Appalling Strangeness, I had a bit of a giggle when Guido highlighted the rampant hypocrisy inherent in Laurie Penny's advert for a researcher.
The job is to “find statistics and quotes and case studies, talk over what I’m writing and hunt down sources and stories for me, and keep meticulous notes of all sources in academic format.” For this the lowly researcher will be paid the grand sum of £500 for 85 hours work. As a fearless left-wing campaigner for higher living standards for the workers surely Laurie must know that £5.88 per hour is short of the minimum wage and far from the “living wage” she publicly supports (£7.85). Apparently the job would “suit someone who is currently out of work, working part-time, or parenting”. What planet is she on that she thinks parents can afford childcare on £5.88 per hour?

Even more controversial than the flouting of minimum wage legislation is her contempt for sexual equality legislation. She clearly states: “I’m probably looking for a female researcher”. The EHRC clearly says: “Stating a preference for a man or woman in a job advertisement is unlawful sex discrimination unless the requirements of the particular job mean that it is lawful to employ only a man or a woman”. Form an orderly queue…

All jolly hilarious but, to be fair to Laurie, she does point out that the research could be done at home and, in the main, through the internet—as such, it's not as though a parent would necessarily need to get childcare.

Although, of course, if one is not working alongside the great Penny Red, then it is going to be extremely difficult for Laurie to make good on her offer to "make you tea at any hour".

What really grips my shit though, is that darling Penny says that "this will be a lump sum coming out of my own not terribly well-stuffed pocket" and that she wishes she...
... could afford to pay the living wage for this rather than just minimum wage, but that's not an option for me at the moment.

First, £500 divided by 85 hours works out at £5.88—not the minimum wage of £5.93. So, not much of a problem: you just need to work fewer hours. After all, Penny is paying a lump sum for a certain amount of work to be done, not a certain number of hours.

However, if Laurie Penny cannot afford to pay £7.85 an hour, why the living fuck does she think that anyone else can afford to? Does she think that every else's pockets are considerably more stuffed than hers? Is she, as I suspect, one of these utter morons who imagines that companies—or, indeed, individuals—have vast amounts of magic money that they can just splurge around with gay abandon?

Yes, she probably is.

Because, like most socialists, she will be unable to connect her impecuniousness with anyone else's. After all, in Laurie's world, everyone is considerably richer than her, eh?

Second, as I did with the equally delectable Kezia Dugdale, it is worth looking at this "living wage"—because it is a complete and utter nonsense.
  1. A person working a 37.5 hour week on the minimum wage earns £11,563.50 yearly. Once tax is deducted, that person takes home £9,903.02.

  2. A person working a 37.4 hour week on the "living wage" earns £15,307.50 and, after tax, takes home £12,486.38.

As Timmy has repeatedly pointed out, we could practically eliminate the difference between the minimum wage and the living wage simply by extorting less money from the poor.
Then we have the living wage enthusiasts, those who would insist that wages should come up to the £7.60 an hour which constitutes the pre-tax income needed to live not in poverty as defined by the public through the Joseph Rowntree Trust. That’s 58% of median wage.

Now, I’ve long contended that there’s a trick being missed here. The difference between £5.91 an hour and having a personal allowance for tax and NI of £12,000 and £7.60 an hour under the current tax system is, for post tax income, if I remember my calculations properly, something like 3 pence an hour. So we can achieve our (joint, yes, I desire it too) desire of taking the working poor out of poverty simply by not taxing them so damn much.

Quite. Plus, of course, we will avoid all of those unfortunate undesired consequences discussed in Timmy's post.

Do we see her backing lower government spending in order to afford lower taxes for the poor?

Do we fuck.

What we do see is Laurie campaigning for everyone else to be forced to pay a certain wage level, whilst crying crocodile tears because she, herself, cannot—or, more likely, will not.

Why doesn't she follow the example of her favourite Labour government and put it all on someone else's credit card...?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fake Charities...

Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to disturb you—however, I thought that some of you may be interested that is back up again. It's looking a bit empty the now, simply because the transfer has removed some info (though we're working on that) and because, of course, charity funding has also moved on.

We would very much like you to register—if you are interested—to be either a submitter or verifier (or both).

You know what it is about—check with the Charity Commission website: if a charity has receives over £1 million from the state, or garners more than 10% of their cash from the state, then they are designated a Fake Charity.

As always, it is massively important that we can prove the above: as such, submissions should be accompanied with a bunch of proven accounts. We will verify your submissions and make sure that they are legitimate: after all, with a name like Fake Charities, we have to be.

Please register: please help. With Dave committed to giving yet more of your money to these organisations as part of The Big Society, we need your help more than ever. It will be a resource to all of you and, if we get enough donations, then we shall hold a big Christmas party.

But, mainly, we need to get a handle on these thieving gits—they are taking our money, without our consent. And yet the British media paint them as saints.

And, as saints, they have a rather moral hold over all of us—even though they are no better than government agencies.

These disgusting organisations are held up as better than us—as our betters. We are forced to fund them, and yet they are our betters?

Fuck that.

If these organisations are of so much value, then they can surely persuade people to give money to them without having to steal it from those of us who earn our own money...?

Or maybe not?

Probably not.

These people take their salaries from us: their money is extorted from us. Under threat of force. Help us to expose them. Help us to do it in a decent, verified way. Because, you see, we don't need to tell lies about them: they are bleeding us dry and all we need to see is their accounts.

Fake Charities: the place you need to go for the information about thieving bastards who are nothing about you—except the best way in which to steal your cash.

Help us expose them: help us make them pay.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Devil...

Yes, the Kitchen has stumbled on and your humble Devil today celebrates the sixth anniversary of using Tekkon-style combo-swearwords to slag off politicians, rent-seekers and other assorted scum—over a total of 5,724 bile-filled posts.

Thanks to all the contributors, commenters and readers who have made this place what it is today...

UPDATE: thanks for all your kind words!

I've no time to post until this evening—when official thief Eric Illsley will be in the spotlight—but in the meantime, I thought that I'd point you to another post on The Liberty Cabal which says more or less everything that I wanted to say about prisoners and voting (plus, he mentions this blog's mascot).

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Banking on the government

Don't. But that's not what this is about: it's about the fact that MPs are intending to give Bob Diamond, boss of Barclays bank, a bit of a hard time.
Britain's best-paid banking boss, the Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond, will face intense pressure from MPs to waive his multimillion-pound bonus this week in recognition of the austere economic conditions and public intolerance of outsized City pay cheques.

An appearance by Diamond in front of the Treasury select committee on Tuesday is set to become a key clash between Westminster and the City as the coalition's efforts to tame bankers' pay falter.

Last night MP John Mann, a Labour member of the committee, said he and others would call on Diamond to forgo any bonus for 2010, when he was head of Barclays' investment banking arm.

"He will be asked not to take any bonus at all," said Mann. "We will want to know exactly how much these executives are getting in bonuses and other payments and why. There will be some tough questions."

So, here's what I think: MPs should shut the fuck up.

No, really.

Timmy deal with this whole affair in a rather more nuanced fashion, naturally, but the gist of the argument is this: Barclays was one of the few banks that did not go bankrupt in the crash; where they needed to shore up their capital, they found private investors willing to give them the loans. The simple fact is that Barclays took no taxpayer bail-out and, as such, it is none of our business—nor the government's—how the bank runs its business.

So, what the fuck do MPs think that they are doing in attempting to force the head of a private business to forego some of his renumeration? I mean, how fucking arrogant can you get?

In the meantime, the banks that the government does own are languishing in the realm of shit share prices and no dividends—perhaps our oh-so-wise MPs might turn their attention to the fact that those banks still aren't delivering any return for taxpayers, rather than sticking their fat, alcohol-bloated noses into affairs that simply don't concern them.

So, my suggestion to Bob Diamond is that he tells the Treasury select committee to go fuck itself.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Oh Frabjous Day!

David Chaytor: officially a thief.

Well, it's finally happened—one of our thieving politicians has been put in jail for stealing our money, with malice aforethought. David Chaytor—a lying, dishonest little weasel—has been jailed for 18 months for diddling the taxpayer out of £20,000.
Ex-Labour MP David Chaytor has been jailed for 18 months for fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in expenses.

Chaytor, 61, the former MP for Bury North, last month admitted three charges of false accounting.

He submitted bogus invoices for IT consultancy work and claimed rent he never paid on homes owned by his family, the court was told.

I have been waiting so long to see one of these bastards behind bars that I should be cracking open the champagne—except, given the extortionate level of taxation, it must be cava—but there is a cloud hanging over this whole affair.

18 months is not nearly long enough.

Let us look at the litany of quite calculated fraud engaged in by this former bastion of the Labour Party shall we?
The court heard that Chaytor was paid £12,925 for rent on a flat near Westminster between 2005 and 2006 which he owned, using a fake tenancy agreement with a "Sarah Elizabeth Rastrick" - his daughter's first and middle names.

He claimed £1,175 over 12 months but the court heard he did not pay out any money himself.

He also claimed £5,425 for renting a cottage in Summerseat, near Bury in Lancashire between September 2007 and January 2008. A police investigation discovered it was actually owned by his mother, Olive Trickett, who had moved into a nursing home in May 2007 because she had dementia.

The claim for IT support services, made in May 2006, came as "something of a surprise" to the man named in the invoice - Paul France - the court heard, because he had not billed the former MP for any work. Mr France was a Labour member who did voluntary work at Chaytor's office.

I can only agree with Prosecuting QC Peter Wright who, as reported by Guido, told the court...
“We say Mr Chaytor knew the rules, why else would he produce false documents?”

Quite so: David Chaytor planned and executed this fraud quite deliberately, and with malice aforethought.

Chaytor probably didn't think that he was doing anything really evil though: like most other people in this country, he probably thought of it as just "government cash"—magic money that just falls from the sky.

The truth is that every single pound that he stole—each one of those 20,000 pounds—was, in fact, the proceeds of some ordinary person's hard work. At the National Minimum Wage rate, David Chaytor stole over 3,372 hours—at 40 hours a week, that's over 84 weeks—of our work, our skills, our experience.

That's 18 months of someone's life stolen by this dishonest bastard: Chaytor has not even been sentenced to that long in jail. And don't forget that, assuming good behaviour, David Chaytor will be free in 9 months.

Some might criticise my hard line, citing the fact that Chayor is "facing a large legal bill for both his defence and the costs of bringing the prosecution against him".

Good. I hope that he is bankrupted and lives his twilight years in penury.

Apparently, the judge took into account the fact that Chaytor pleaded guilty to the charges: let us remind ourselves, however, that prior to his plea, he and his fellow ex-MPs tried their very best to stay out of the courts.

They wasted their time and our money on judicial reviews and appeals designed to ensure that they should not face any legal sanction at all—they argued, quite literally, that they were above the law.

It was only when it was finally ruled that the law applied to these scumbags as it does to the rest of us that Chaytor finally pleaded guilty—presumably because he not only knew that he was guilty, but because he knew his guilt was irrefutable.

Because of the convoluted run-around that Chaytor and his mates gave the justice system—at our expense—I believe that no mitigation for a guilty plea should have been allowed for.

But perhaps that is because I am a vindictive little Devil who thinks that Chaytor is simply the most egregious tip of a very big iceberg, and that a really punitive sentence would also have served as a severe warning pour encourager les autres.

Still as we are reminded, there are some more trials to come yet—and hopefully we shall see some more of these thieving bastards imprisoned over the coming weeks.

So, let us put aside the disappointment of Chaytor's ludicrously light sentence and focus, instead, on the fact that one of these venal scum is now inside.

So, let us raise our glasses of cava, and yell, in triumph, "oh frabjous day! Callooh, callay!"

UPDATE: given the withering silence of the Leftie blogs, quite the most stupid comment on this whole affair comes from Iain Dale's sort-of blog, in a post detailing the topics for discussion on his LBC show this evening.
7pm: I think David Chaytor should have been punished heavily, but not by sending him to prison. What good will it do apart from appease parts of the media?

For fuck's sake, do I really have to spell this out? What it does, Iain, is show that the law applies to everyone—even MPs who think that they can get away with fraud.

How can I put this any more simply?

David Chaytor committed fraud; as I have outlined above, he quite deliberately falsified documents in order to steal £20,000 of other people's hard-earned money. The maximum prison term that Chaytor could have been sentenced to was seven years; in fact, he was sent down for a ludicrously lenient eighteen months, of which he will serve nine.

And you think that he has been punished heavily? Hardly.

And sentencing a fraudster to jail is not done to "appease parts of the media", Iain (although that might be a side-effect): it is done to hammer home the point that the bastard has broken the law and deserves to be punished.

Is that clear enough for you?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The road to hell

[NB: I am not the Devil]

Yes, I know I'm on a break. No, I honestly do mean it: I'm just putting my head round the door. But really, shit like this just fucking boils my piss:

A driver prosecuted for flashing his headlights to warn motorists of a mobile police speed gun has defended his actions as his "civic duty".

Michael Thompson, 64, was pulled over by officers in Grimsby in July after warning several oncoming cars. He was fined £175 and ordered to pay £250 costs after being found guilty of wilfully obstructing a police officer in the course of her duties.

It's worth teasing out the implications of this case, which for the sake of clarity I shall henceforth refer to as Cunts et al. v Thompson. Because it now seems as though warning someone not to break the law is itself against the law. Worse, it would appear that what the authorities want us to do in these cases is quietly to connive in the lawbreaking behaviour we see going on in front of us - even though that behaviour is supposedly endangering the lives of other road users. We are through the looking glass, people.

When I see someone committing, or intending to commit, a crime, then following the precedent laid down by Cunts et al. v Thompson I'm clearly supposed to look the other way because it's none of my business. But that is absurd. If I see an anti-war protester sneaking up behind Tony Blair to kick him in the nuts, am I supposed to say nothing and just let the assault take place?

OK, bad example. But Mr Thompson was warning motorists to obey the speed limit. The reason he chose to do this is entirely fucking irrelevant. There are many reasons we choose to obey laws; because of our moral beliefs, out of habit, or because we fear the consequences of being caught. Mere observance of the rules is enough; it doesn't fucking matter why and it's none of your business why, you jobsworth shitballs.

The finding of guilt in Cunts et al. v Thompson says it all, really: "wilfully obstructing a police officer in the course of her duties". Get this, you spunk-gargling fucktrumpets; your "duty" is to stop people from driving too fast on the motorway. Your "duty" is not to entrap people to juke up your arrest stats because you're a miserable lowlife excuse for a human being whose most meaningful moments in life have exclusively centred around sitting on the sofa with a bottle of Lambrusco whacking off to The Bill.

Michael Thompson was doing your fucking job for you, Plod. "Civic duty"? Damn right.

Quote of the Day...

... comes from Shuggy, as he tries to get to grips with "nudge" economics.
To avoid injury, people should not attempt to iron their clothes whilst still wearing them.

See, you were thinking of doing this but now you've been 'nudged' in the right direction. It's all very 'Big Society'. Think I'm getting the hang of it now. It's like the small society, only more stupid...

Naturally, he's referring to Richard Thaler's suggestion—accompanied, of course, with a not-so-veiled threat—that people should abandon rounds in favour of running a tab.
Richard Thaler, a professor at Chicago University, suggests that groups of three or more should set up a tab to be split at the end of the evening to stop each member of a party feeling obligated to buy a round for everyone.

Prof Thaler, a key adviser to the Prime Minister on behavioural economics or "nudge" policy, said of buying rounds: "It is just a tradition and it has this unintended consequence.

"So if I was giving advice, I would say if there were more than three of you I would run a tab. These are the kinds of things that policy makers and publicans should be thinking about."

Uh huh. Yep, it's "just a tradition" and we wouldn't want to hang on to any of those in this country, eh? Plus, as Shuggy also points out, only an American—and some of our more lippy doctors—would consider three pints to be "binge drinking".

Mind you, Thaler does make one useful point...
Prof Thaler questioned the usefulness of the minimum drinking age of 18. He suggested that some councils should see whether they could cut the legal age.

I quite agree: I think that people should be encouraged to drink in pubs from a much younger age—16 as a minimum, or lower when accompanied by a responsible adult.
"What are the limits on the abilities of councils to experiment? Could they raise or lower the drinking age?" he said.

Well, not as the law stands, no. And, if they did have the ability to change the law, the gits in local government would almost certainly raise the age rather than lower it. Because they're idiots.

So, given that Thaler's good suggestion is unlikely to come to pass, let us hope that his other suggestions are similarly ignored.
Prof Thaler is author of the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth And Happiness, which heavily influenced the Prime Minister in opposition.

Oh. Shit.

The Dark Side of the Moonbat

"My, that's a nice house, George. A little large for one divorced man to live in though, don't you think? Why don't you find a couple of poor winos—I'm sure they'd appreciate the use of a room or two..."

A great many bloggers have rightfully excoriated George Monbiot's latest piece of arse-wibble, in which he calls for people to be heavily taxed for not filling their homes to capacity with... well... anyone at all.

And it's for the environment, naturally.
Yet the new homes the government says we need – 5.8m by 2033 – threaten to mash our landscapes and overload the environment.

Well, hardly. There are roughly 25 million households in Britain today, and just how much has that managed to "mash our landscapes"? Well, not massively, to be honest.
Scale down the UK. To 99 football pitches.

All built up areas plus gardens would be 6 of those football pitches.

All very interesting. But there was one particular sentence, in particular, that leapt out at me...
While most houses are privately owned, the total housing stock is a common resource.

No, it fucking well isn't. I mean, why not just declare that whilst most food is privately owned, the total food supply is a common resource? Or that clothes are a common resource? Or just about any other bastard thing?

Strangely, however, the only person that I have seen explicitly making this point is Shuggy—who sums it up very succinctly in talking about his mother's place.
Anyway - and I appreciate some might find this an unsettlingly rightwing argument - the house isn't part of some 'common stock'; it is hers because she bought it.

Quite. What Monbiot is, essentially, arguing for is outright communism—if a house that you have bought is, in fact, not yours but "common stock", then anything is "common stock". And if it belongs to everyone, it belongs to no one.

Leaving aside any concept of the tragedy of the commons—something that an idiot like Moonbat will be entirely unaware of (because he's a fucking moron)—if nothing really belong's to anyone, then we are in a communist state.

If you really want communism, George, why not be honest about it?

Anyway, any number of other people, of course, have pointed out Moonbat's colossal hypocrisy—living, as he does, in a four bedroom house which is, since his divorce, presumably rather in need of some lodgers.

Mind you, and perhaps because of his own situation, George is not planning to force you to fill your house to capacity—yet. He would like to see you clobbered under the tax system though.
The next step is to reverse the UK's daft fiscal incentive to under-occupy your home. If you live by yourself, regardless of the size of your property, you get a 25% council tax discount.

Yes, George: that is because Council Tax is supposed to pay for the services provided by the council. One person uses far fewer services than two or three: and that one person will use far fewer services than a family (single-parent or otherwise).

The idea of tax, George, is that it is used to pay for services used: it should not be used to punish people who happen to have a lifestyle that you disapprove of.
The rest of us, in other words, subsidise wealthy single people who want to keep their spare rooms empty. Those who use more than their fair share should pay for the privilege, with a big tax penalty for under-occupation.

So, you would tax the self-employed who might use one of their "bedrooms" as a study, perhaps? Do you have a study, George, or do you toss this drivel off whilst lying in your plush bed, or posing at your trendy breakfast bar?

Actually, I imagine that you concoct this crap whilst sitting in the loo: you can take a big shit, wipe your arse with a few sheets of foolscap (a name well-suited to your profession) and—hey presto!—that's another few hundred quid shoved into your bank account by the tax-dodging Guardian Media Group.
If it prompts them either to take in a lodger or to move into a smaller home in a lower tax band, so much the better.

This is a man who, I imagine, has railed against the Tories' "ethnic cleansing" of our cities through reducing Housing Benefit from levels that most taxpayers would describe as "obscene" to merely "disgusting"; he has most certainly drawn a parallel between the Coalition's dangerously modest spending cuts and the "shock doctrine" and Pinochet of Chile's tendency to "imprison, torture or kill anyone who dissented".

For someone like Moonbat—as for far too many lefties—any deviation from his desired lifestyle makes you evil.

People like George weep bitter tears over "the poor" only receiving a maximum of £400 per week in free rent, but ignore the ordinary people who—hammered by the heavy tax burden that pays for George's dreams—worry about being able to feed their own families from the fruit of their own labours.

People like George witter on about how "astroturf libertarians are the real threat to internet democracy", whilst ignoring the fact that not only is the internet not a democracy but a collection of individuals expressing themselves—a model of a libertarian society, if you like.

Indeed, whilst fetishising democracy, people like George will whine about oppressed minorities but ignore the fact that democracy, as practised today, is a system the very foundation of which is the legitimisation of the majority's oppression of the minority.

People like George are, not to put too fine a point on it, evil.

And now, George has decided that you don't own your house—despite the fact that you have paid for it. No, your home is "common stock", a resource to society: it is an asset that highly-paid, bien-pensant hypocrites like George should be able to appropriate and dispose of as they see fit.

In short, we have seen the truly dark side of the Moonbat—and it's called "communism".

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Adults or otherwise

There are some things—sorry, a great many things—that are seriously fucked up in this country, but surely one of the most urgent and pressing issues is that of responsibility.

Yes, sure, the Coalition is happy to bang on about "personal responsibility" and all of that, but that's not what I am talking about—what I am referring to is the majorly stupid way in which the law recognises personal responsibility.

My thoughts were sparked by this extraordinary story, which I found via JuliaM.
A social worker who had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in his care has avoided being sent to jail.

Eh? What? I thought that was supposed to be THE big no-no, surely?

Well, no, incredible as it seems, it wasn't having sex with her that got him into trouble. It was taking pictures:
Richard Superville, 51, of Ceylon Road, Westcliff, was caught out after explicit photographs of the teenager were found on his laptop, a court heard.

Although Superville had not broken the law by his affair—because the girl was 16—he had committed a criminal offence by taking pictures of her topless.

OK, let us leave aside the issue of "care"—for we must assume that the law that applies to teachers in this situation does not apply to social workers. What a surprise!—and just imagine that this is two people having a sexual relationship.

In that context, it should be obvious that the story outlined above is utterly insane—it's OK to fuck a 16 year old but not OK to take topless photographs of her? Barking. Naturally, this sparked off some thoughts about the utterly loony laws surrounding "ages of consent".

And yes, I meant "ages" because we have several. Let's have a look, shall we?
  • You must be 18 to: vote, sell naked pictures of your own body, buy cigarettes or buy alcohol (if you're lucky: I'm sick and tired of seeing signs proclaiming that such and such a place won't sell booze to anyone under 21. Or even 25).

  • You must be 16 to: leave school (until the Coalition arseholes bring in Educational Conscription), get a job, join the army (and be trained to fucking kill people), get married, bring up a child and to fuck (or be fucked).

  • You must be 10 to: be held responsible for a crime that you've committed (yes, yes, we all know that was brought in so that the politicians could appease those baying for the blood of the Bulger killers, but it wasn't much higher before—twelve, maybe?).

Now, can we please get this shit sorted out?

If you are responsible for crimes that you commit at the tender age of ten, then you should be responsible enough to do anything else, including buying booze and fucking people. If you aren't responsible enough to do those things with your own body, then you are not responsible enough to know that you've broken the law.

And if, at the age of sixteen, you are deemed responsible enough to fuck and be fucked, then you are most certainly responsible enough to know when you can allow your lover to take photos of your naked body. Damn it, if you want to earn money by selling pictures of your own body to whomever wants them: you are allowed to fuck and you're allowed to work—why the fuck shouldn't you be allowed to sell the pictures of you doing one or the other?

And if you are responsible enough to make love, and to get married, have a child and to hold down a job and get taxed on your bastard wages, then you are most certainly responsible enough to vote for the politicians who are stealing 50% of everything that you earn.

And yet these things are not put on the same level at all—and it's utterly insane. At what age are you responsible for yourself in law—is it 10, 16 or 18?

Successive governments—including the Coalition—quite obviously think that the age is 18: however, they have all lacked the balls to tell people that they cannot get married, they cannot get a job and they cannot screw each other at 16.

Personally, I think that the age of responsibility should be somewhere around the 16 mark—possibly lower. If there is a possibility that a crime has been committed—a very much older lover inveigling a young girl into sex, for instance—then that is for a court to decide.

Sticking with that theme, we could do what most other countries on the Continent do (and as Canada does), and make the law flexible dependent on the difference in ages between the two parties.

Whatever you personally think should happen, I personally think that a little consistency would be a really good idea—if only so that a man is not sent to jail for taking sexually-explicit photographs of the girl that he is perfectly legally allowed to have sex with.


Inspired by Capitalists@Work, and because I enjoy a gamble, near the end of this year, I decided to start a small trading portfolio. As regular readers will know, I used to have Apple shares, which did very nicely for me (bought a few years ago at about $70 and sold the last of them in May for about $290—in order to buy shares in the company that I work for).

In order to achieve this, I started putting a small amount away every month, paying into my account with my broker—who happens to be A Very British Dude. Compared to some dedicated trading sites, of course, he is a little more expensive—but given how short of time I am at the moment, I prefer the personal and proactive service that he gives me.

Having looked around at the markets that I thought might perform well, I thought that energy companies were the best bet at present—especially given this lunatic government's current Green obsession, and the severe danger of energy shortages in this country.

However, given the relatively paltry amounts that I was able to put in, I decided to look at the "juniors"—small exploration companies with shares priced, more or less, in pennies rather than pounds. After all, if a share priced at 4p moves up by 1p, then you're 25% up (ignoring fees).

I looked at various energy companies—including Ithaca, Chariot, ITM Power and XTract Energy.

But, at the very end of September, I eventually purchased Ascent Resources at 4.35p per share. Then, at the beginning of December, I purchased Xcite Energy at 258.9p per share. So, how have they done?

So, all in all, not a bad start to this little experiment. In 2011, I intend to strengthen my holdings in both Ascent and Xcite—as well as setting stop-loss positions for both—and start looking at other energy companies too. Having recently had a decent pay rise, I am also doubling (at least) my payments into the trading fund.

My plan is to use these small companies to build up some capital, which I shall then shift into "safer", dividend-paying shares: I shall then continue to plough more money into the smaller companies to build up more capital, and so on and so on.

So, let us see what the New Year brings...

Welcome to the stupid

The fact that arts students possess almost no conception of science is a regular joke amongst those of us who have actually studied hard sciences, and so one doesn't have high hopes for any magazine the tagline of which is "Arts. Culture. Spirit".

Even so, this piece of ignorancespotted by new environmental blog Haunting The Library—is quite brilliant.
The entire planet is affected by global warming, and polar bears in Antarctica aren’t the only ones facing changes.

Indeed. Because polar bears don't actually live in the Antarctic—they are exclusive to the Arctic. If polar bears are moving to the Antarctic, then that would certainly entail a great deal of change.

But they aren't. So, Chronogram magazine wins the Pig-Ignorant Loser Of The Day award.

Well done!

Of course, one shouldn't be too hard on the poor dears—after all, one of the main reasons that the whole Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) fraud has so captured the imagination is that those who report on it in the media have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.

As both your humble Devil and the eminent Bishop Hill have reported a number of times, the BBC, for one, seems to be extremely short of reporters who are actually trained in science.

Don't ask me...

To ease ourselves back into this lark, here's a quick post highlighting a couple of Hoby's Road To Nowhere cartoons. The first [click pic to enlarge] is—like the political party to which it refers, a little incomplete and rough around the edges—but I think that it definitely has potential...

The second [click the pic to enlarge] simply made me laugh, since it pretty much sums up what I think about the student protests...

Do wander over to Hoby's place to see more cartoons (or even to hire him): I particularly enjoy the Road To Nowhere strip.

And a Happy New Year to you!

Your humble Devil has completed the merging of the Knife and the Kitchen; in fact, the former was merged with the latter—hence the decor—because Blogger's import script couldn't deal with the vast number of posts and comments at the Devil's old home. And don't worry—because I ran a custom domain, all of the link back here should still work.

So, we're back—and now what?

I am becoming a pub bore again, and so I feel that having some place to vent is something of a necessity. However, as I have said at a number of other places, I do have another blog project on the go—and my real life work has not become any less busy.

So let's just taking it as it comes, eh? Although I definitely want to do give the old place a bit of a facelift—I'll shift it onto one of the new Blogger templates and then style it nicely (and Accessibly).

In the meantime, a very Happy New Year to you all...

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...