Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not that desperate, then...

Via Timmy's Other Place, I see that a number of defence charities have turned down some £3 million donations.
Defence charities have snubbed the News of the World by refusing to accept millions of pounds in donations in protest at the alleged hacking of dead soldiers’ families’ phones.

Paul McNamara, the paper’s fomer defence correspondent, said he had to make “50 phone calls” to charities before Barnado's, the Forces Children's Trust and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity agreed to take donations.

Timmy, of course, makes the obvious and ancient point that "money doesn't smell"...
Pecunia non olet*, after all.

What the people who used to run the paper did is one thing and that the paper has now closed would seem to be at least in part a compensation for that. Yet that last issue of the paper did raise £3 million for charity and it’s that money that is being refused.

Personally I’d take money from pretty much anywhere, judging neither the source nor the reason for donating, looking purely at the good that could be done with it. Clearly it’s me that’s out of step though.

These charities may well be snubbing the News of the World but it is the beneficiaries themselves who will suffer—you know, those brave troops who are supposedly the raisin d'être of these organisations.

I don't know how many wounds could be stitched up for £3 million—or how many prosthetic limbs, or psychological counselling sessions—but I bet it's a lot.

It's so fucking pointless too: if these charities had any common sense they would have taken the money as compensation for the damages done to their clients by the News of the Screws—you know, like the damages payments that those assorted pointless s'lebs got out of the paper—which the charities were keeping in trust in order to try to right the wrongs done by these evil people, blah, blah, etc. (Do be careful not to condemn the government that sent your brave beneficiaries off to die on the basis of total lies at this point, of course.)

The most egregious thing is that, apparently, charity funding is being colossally squeezed and, we are told, any moment now, hundreds of charities will collapse and millions will starve on the streets. At best.

But, apparently, these defence charities can afford to turn down £3 million that could have helped awful lot of people; obviously, they cannot spend their funds fast enough or something...?

And just remember, next time that any of these organisations tell some tragic story in order to solicit a tenner from you, they turned down £3 million from News International—which makes them either stupid or wasteful.

Either way, it means they'll get nothing from me...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quote of the day...

... comes from MummyLongLegs on the whole Norwegian atrocity...
Whilst most Governments, most notably the UK, post 9/11, encouraged Islamaphobia and used the resulting fear of Muslims and terrorism in general as a way to terrorise their own people into giving up a lot of their rights whilst accepting legislation that severely limited what rights they had left. Norway did no such thing.

Do go and read the whole article (which I was tempted to quote in full, such is the quality of its blazing common sense).

In the meantime, I am fantastically busy...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lyn Brown MP: bitch

Lyn Brown MP: oh god, no, Jesus, I've gone blind...

Via Down With This Sort of Thing, I see that Labour whip Lyn Brown has been caught abusing a blind man.
A Labour whip unleashed a four-letter tirade at a blind man for getting in her way during a fraught exchange in the Houses of Parliament.

Lyn Brown, the burly MP for West Ham, barged into the back of Talksport political editor Sean Dilley, and his golden retriever guide dog, as he was walking in a corridor towards Portcullis House.

Witnesses were shocked to see a clearly stressed Miss Brown bulldoze into the back of Mr Dilley before overtaking him, shouting: 'For ****'s sake, move out of my ******* way.'

The journalist asked her to be more careful as he did not want to crash into his guide dog, Chip.

Miss Brown then sniped back: 'You are such a rude ******* man, you just walked right in front of me.'

One source said a frustrated Mr Dilley then replied: 'I'm blind, you stupid woman.'

He then demanded to know Miss Brown's name, as he could not see who had bumped into him...

I have to say that—having seen a picture of Lyn Brown MP—I think that, in this place and time, Mr Dilley is the lucky one here: were he not blind, he would have had to look at a reflection of this Medusa, lest he be turned instantly to stone.

And, to paraphrase, I wouldn't wish anything worse on Lyn Brown than for her to be precisely the utter fucking cunt that she so obviously is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

More on an EU referendum

Following on from my recent post on why it is not yet time for an EU referendum, James Higham appears to have retracted his previous trenchant view on the matter—referencing Raedwald's similar post and counselling "let's wait".
Times change, the political landscape changes.

DK and I [as part of the Albion Alliance] fell out over this very issue in 2009, at a time when the referendum should have been put. The anti-Out forces were not nearly as well organized and Brown’s mess was fresh in everyone’s minds.

That was the time to do it, not at the end of Cameron’s first term. Three things altered that:
  1. Cameron didn’t get his majority;

  2. What Radders just described in this post has come about and they are much better organized now.

  3. The EU is falling apart and it’s the better strategy to let it now.

This third point is the critical one which tips the balance. If that were not so, then there would still be a cogent case for putting it—an ever-burgeoning juggernaut needs to be stopped somewhere along the line and needs be before it can even ride over piled up bodies of sceptics. However, that does not appear to be the case, the EU appears to have run its course and done its damage, as maybe the deeply cynical global socialists had planned for it to do anyway.

Either way, this is certainly not the time now.

The fact is that those of us who have watched and monitored the colossal amounts of cash being funnelled to pro-EU votes in various countries—not to mention the referendum being re-run in Ireland—knew that the British people simply don't yet understand the sheer scale of the EU's effects on their lives.

Every time that there seems to be some kind of movement against the EU, we see the practice arguments wheeled out: headlines such as "3m jobs 'dependent on the EU'" (lies though they are) are always going to give people pause for thought—and especially at the current time.

But even were we not in recession, these kinds of headlines are likely to turn the current slim rebellion into a vote for remaining within the EU. Things are going to have to get a lot worse before the British public says, "we don't give a fuck. Things are now so bad that we'll take our chances."

That point is slightly nearer than it was. But, then again, perhaps the whole thing will implode before we even need to vote.

In which case, we need to vote for withdrawal far more urgently: this country's reputation would be seriously damaged if it was still part of the EU when it collapses...

A message for the Huffington Post

Via @Charlotte Gore on Twitter, I find this timely rant from sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison. It's called Pay The Writer...

Now, i'm aware that some of what he says about "amateurs ruining it for the rest of us" might apply to bloggers—and we are proud of stealing the bread from the mouths of professional media whores—but his rant about a rich company asking someone to work for free most certainly applies to the Huffington Post.

Yes, as @wallaceme points out, the writers were indeed free agents and they chose to write for the damn thing, but given that it was largely their efforts that built the brand, they might have expected to see some of the cash.

Which is why I have a great deal of sympathy for the lawsuit against the Huffington Post in the US.
Tasini, who wrote more than 250 posts for The Huffington Post on an unpaid basis leading up to the site’s sale, said: “Huffington bloggers have essentially been turned into modern day slaves on Arianna Huffingtons’s plantation”. He said he was suing because “people who create content…have to be compensated” for their work.

The complainant and his lawyers believe that bloggers’ articles helped contribute to approximately a third of the sale value of the site, with about 9,000 people writing for the Huffington Post for free.

I don't necessarily think that these bloggers should win—after all, they signed a contract (I assume)—but I do, nonetheless, have a great deal of sympathy for them. The Huffington Post, after all, has no real assets or brand—other than the content that said bloggers donated.

Still, one can only assume that—even knowing that they won't get a share of any massive fucking payout—people think that the deal is worth it. After all, there appears to be no shortage of people signing up to the UK edition.

Counting up

Over at Orphans of Liberty, Angry Exile has been trying the perennial trick of attempting to put the government's spending figures into some kind of understandable perspective.
Well, this sort of thing has been done before of course, but since that picture has a bit of cash in it I thought it’d be interesting in a random kind of way to start from there. In it I can see a couple of tenners, a couple of twenties and 22 £1 coins. If you were to throw away that £82 and follow it up by throwing away another £82 a minute later and so on and so on then in 24 hours you’d have thrown away just over a hundred grand—£118,080 to be precise—and if you kept it up for a year you’d have chucked just over £43 million. But if you started a little while ago, actually just over two thousand years ago at midnight on New Year’s Day, year Zero AD, then by now you’d have thrown away only—hah, only—£86 billion and some change. Change in this case meaning £730,232,238. Clearly a long way to go to equal the UK’s debt by chucking away money at that same rate of £82 per minute—and let’s be honest if we saw someone chucking away eighty quid every sixty seconds we’d think he was an idiot. Starting from 0AD again, from today you’d have to keep going for another 44,373 years. Worse still, you wouldn’t finish until halfway through October.

Whilst on holiday (because we do these sorts of things), the wife and I tried to work this a slightly different way.

Assuming one number a second, how long would it take to count to one million...?

Well, there are 86,400 seconds in a twenty-four hour day; so, divide 1,000,000 by 86,400...

So, assuming one minute per second, it would take 11.6 days to count to one million (counting non-stop for twenty-four hours per day).

Now, these days, one billion tends to be counted as 1,000 millions, so how long (assuming the same rate) would it take to count to one billion? Well...

1,000,000,000 / 86,400 = 11,574.1 days / 365 = 31.7 years.

That's right: assuming one number per second, for twenty-four hours a day, every single day, it would take one person roughly 32 years to count to one billion.

This year, the government is spending roughly £700 billion which, by the same measure, would take one person about 22,197 years—yes, that's 222 centuries—to count to. So, starting now, they would finish in, roughly, the year 24208.

That's quite long time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Right. Again.

Some years ago, at the fag-end of 2009, I was excoriated by people in the Albion Alliance—indeed, they accused me of having been subverted (maybe even with large amounts of EU cash).


Because I said that the time was not right for an in/out referendum on the EU. My reasoning was, quite simply, that we would not win: the voting projections were too tight, I maintained, and the EUphiles have dined out* on a referendum victory of about 40 years ago (that wasn't even on the same issue).

So, I am interested to see this little post from EUReferendum...
In August 1974, a private poll conducted for the Labour Party showed that, should there be a referendum on membership of the Common Market, 50 percent would vote to leave, against 32 percent who would vote to stay in, a "huge" lead of 18 points.

At around the same time, Gallup confirmed these proportions, with a poll coming out at 47-30 percent in favour of leaving, exactly the "huge lead" about which the Mail is crowing. Then, as history will recall, when there was a referendum nearly a year later, 67.2 percent voted to stay in, while those voting to leave had fallen to 32.8 percent – a "huge lead" of over 34 percent.

And therein lies the most important issue in relation to those who call for, or argue for an in/out referendum on the EU. Those who advocate such a course of action must be able to show that a slender majority in favour of withdrawal prior to the event would be able to survive a prolonged sustained attack from the Europhiles, once a campaign had started.

To believe that a referendum is winnable on the basis of a helpful poll showing is self-delusion of the worst kind. And without the evidence and arguments to demonstrate how the UK could benefit from withdrawal from the EU, we would stand to lose any referendum.

Assuming the EU lasts as long, that could set the cause of euroscepticism back a generation. And, with that much at risk, with very little assurance that we could win, one really does wonder about the motivations of some of those who support the idea of a referendum.


So whilst some might think that I took a "moronic stance on the EU Referendum, through [my] lack of understanding of politics", I think that my understanding of politics—and the history of politics—is rather more complete than anyone who argues that "the EU Referendum must be now".

Let me state again why this last view is mistaken: because those of us who wish to leave will lose. It is as simple as that.

Back in 2009, I said that we needed at least another five years in the EU—ensuring that the pain is hammered home to the British people—before we might have a chance of winning such a vote.

And I stand by that, no matter what the current polls might suggest.

* And fucked us all up the arse.

Quote of the Day...

... comes from The Appalling Strangeness because he's absolutely fucking right.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole host of laws that need to be repealed in order to enhance life in this country, and I would love to see that happen. But before it does, we need to stop the fuckers in Parliament adding to the sum total of legislative bollocks in this country. And as our starting point, suggesting that new restrictions on the press and public inquiries into the alleged misdeeds of News International are fucking pointless when what they did is already illegal.

I used to level this particular argument at NuLabour; and then I levelled it at Boris when he enacted his ridiculously authoritarian Tube booze ban; and now, it seems, I need to spell it out to this supposedly liberty-loving Coalition...

We don't need more laws: just ENFORCE THE LAWS THAT WE ALREADY HAVE.

You cunts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Refusal to see the irony

Sitting in Edinburgh airport, I have just watched a representative of the Dowler family [...]* earnestly telling BBC News reporters that this general furore has demonstrated "the power of the public can defeat an organisation, no matter how large" [from memory and thus possibly paraphrased].

And all of this delivered from in front of Number 10 Downing Street.

The righteous and totally hysterical attitude of people like this—when, let's face it, no one at the NotW actually murdered Milly Dowler or, indeed, anyone else—would be annoying enough.

But to deliver it from in front of what might be designated the effective headquarters to a "large" organisation that maintains its power through thuggery, extortion and violence—that derives its mandate from, quite frankly, mob rule.

Oh, and look...! Here's rent-a-gob Don Foster MP, telling us all that it is a "great testament to the power of the British people that they have forced Parliament to take the strong line that they have on this matter." [Again, from memory.]

And now Don Foster MP has just dropped a massive hint that Parliament thinks that, not only should NewsCorp not be allowed to buy the rest of BSkyB—through not being a "fit person"—but that the government should use the same excuse to steal the 39% that NewsCorp currently owns.

Thus neatly proving my points, above, about "mob rule", "thuggery, extortion and violence".

Thanks, Don, you fuckwit, for confirming that we should fear and loathe you and your endemically corrupt cronies even more than Murdoch.

* UPDATE 00.47 14/7/11: I have deleted the observation used here, since it detracts from the point of the post and some people got their knickers in a twist about it.

I would point out—as I have in the reply to the vicariously-outraged Anonymous—that the Dowlers have now made themselves into a political issue. Regardless of what happened to their daughter—which was (and I really shouldn't have to say this but, given the current hysteria, I must) really unpleasant—the Dowlers are using their situation and the accompanying media profile to drive some developments that I consider extremely dangerous to freedom in this country.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who should control the press? or The Madness of Green George

As a man who, for a few brief articles, looked like he might not be a total moron, one might have hoped that George Monbiot might not have been an utter arsehole about the current travails of the press—but no...
So what can be done?

I don't know, George—why don't you tell us...? Oh, wait, you're going to aren't you? This had better be good...
Because of the peculiar threat they present to democracy...

Um... I think that there are rather bigger threats to democracy, George. The European Union springs to mind, as does our own derisory system of "representative democracy".

But, OK, I'll humour you. What's your solution...?
... there’s a case to be made for breaking up all majority interests in media companies, and for a board of governors, appointed perhaps by Commons committee, to act as a counterweight to the shareholders’ business interests.

Aaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha! Aaaahaha!

You fucking what? This is a joke, right?

You think that the press should be—indeed, most definitely is (so much so that the shareholders' property should be appropriated)—a brake on the excesses of our lords and masters, and the people that you think should control the press are the fucking politicians?

Are you completely fucking INSANE...?

I would like to state this plainly, George: you seriously think that the people who should control what is published about our politicians should be our politicians?

I thought that you were on your way to some kind of Damascene conversion: it seems, instead, that all your recent articles were actually a slow-burning descent into raving lunacy.

So sad...

Monday, July 11, 2011

A day in Stony Stratford

As many people have no doubt already read, Paul Bartlett—a Puritanical Town Councillor in some place called Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire—has proposed a bylaw, banning smoking in public within the town.

Naturally, it's all for the chiiiiiiiiiiiiiildren.

Various bloggers, organised by Dick Puddlecote, are organising a protest to be held from 11am, on Saturday 16th July, in The Vaults pub in Stony Stratford.
With regard to Stony Stratford on the 16th, four excellent speakers have so far been confirmed, and the event has received support from The Freedom Association, Big Brother Watch, Forest, UKIP, Freedom2Choose, and—of course—our esteemed mascot.

Local press will be in attendance and today I spoke to BBC Look East who will be bringing their cameras along on the day.

Numerous non-smokers—such as Misanthrope Girl—are going along too because, as has been pointed out numerous times, whatever your own pleasure is, you're next, sunshine. Especially if that pleasure is alcohol.

Your humble Devil and Bella will also make strenuous efforts to be there to protest against this creeping fascism and to have a few pints (before that gets banned too)...

UPDATE: unfortunately, the wife has pointed out that we actually have stuff booked for Saturday. However, we'll be supporting from the sidelines...

Friday, July 08, 2011


Your humble Devil is having a nice holiday in Edinburgh at present but I thought I'd pass some comment on this phone hacking lark.

Others have made this point, but I think it's important to remember, amidst all of the furore and moral outrage, that the state doesn't need to hack your phone—they can simply demand that your supplier hand over all of their records.

And your mobile supplier, and your Internet service provider (ISP), keep extensive records of everything that you do—because the state demands that they do so.

So, if some tabloid arsehole wanted to get details of your conversations, or your browsing habits, or your emails they would be far better off simply paying a public servant to get them instead.

And with over 900 police officers and staff were disciplined for breaching the Data Protection Act between 2007 and 2010, I wouldn't imagine that such a person would be so terribly hard to find...

Strangely, I've not noticed that nice Mr Cameron announcing a "probe" into those figures...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Scottish Water is unique*

Over at EUReferendum, Richard points out that Scottish Water's bosses have decided to award themselves massive bonuses.
For sure, the latest dose of corporate greed doesn't help, when you see five directors of the publicly owned Scottish Water sharing in a one-off bonus pay-out of more than £450,000 for "meeting performance targets".

Chief executive Richard Ackroyd was handed £78,900 as part of the deal, meaning he took home £420,000 in total last year. Finance chief Douglas Millican and "asset management director" Geoff Aitkenhead both got bonuses of £103,000 to top up their total pay of £230,000.

Yet a spokeswoman for Scottish Water insists that the business is "unique" and that the salaries were below those of directors at water firms south of the Border. So that's alright then?

Actually, Scottish Water is unique, so far as I know.


Well, in most places in the UK, one pays a fixed bill for one's water and sewerage (mine is currently about £320 per year)—unless, of course, you are metered. It's very true that one doesn't have an awful lot of choice in one's supplier, but at least the bill is there in front of you.

In Scotland, however, the only supplier is, of course, Scottish Water but, more egregiously, the water rates are included in your Council Tax bill. That's right, Scottish Power not only have the entire power of government behind their bill collection, but they do not even have to make the effort to collect their payment from the consumers themselves.

This leads of course, to a particular loathing of students in large university towns (and most towns or cities in Scotland have a hefty student to resident ratio) because, of course, students do not pay Council Tax.

Edinburgh, for instance, has a population of 477,660: the University of Edinburgh alone has 28,394 students, or about 6%. If you add in Heriot Watt (10,225) and Napier (17,605) then you are at some getting on for 12% of the population using water but not paying for it (and I haven't included the one or two smaller institutions).

As long-time readers will know, your humble Devil lived in Edinburgh for ten years, and it almost goes without saying that the water part of my Council tax went up extremely rapidly: indeed, I remember one year in which the water precept went up by 18%!

So, yes, Scottish Water are pretty unique: but only in that they are able to rape the Scottish taxpayer in a way not open to their brethren south of the border...

* So far as I know, this payment system does not exist elsewhere in the UK.

I probably haven't said this before...

... because I am not a massive film and TV buff, but in my humble opinion, WALL-E is one of the finest films ever made.

That is all (for now)...

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...