Sometimes I come across things in my line of work that are really insiring. Today I looked into the Shipbuilder VT Group PLC. Now they mostly make warships - pretty cool I think you'll agree. Warships speak to the 8 year-old boy in all of us.
They also make yachts. Not just any old yacht though....
Have a look at this, the Mirabella V. Looks pretty normal, except when you look at the superstructure and you realise this is BIGGER. She comfortably sleeps 16 in luxury (plus crew, naturally) and has a 20 person hot-tub on board. She can cruise under sail at 20 knots.
Its yours for $300,000. A week.
Now Johnny socialist looks at that and thinks "how many hospital beds could be bought with that". or "That could have been spent on the poor/schools/welfare/Nurses [delete as applicable]"
That attitude totally misses the point of being human - where would we be if the Chairman of Avis car rental wasn't able to think "I know. I think I want a boat with a 300ft mast" and then go to the company who makes the Royal Navy's warships and say "Make me a bloody big boat, with sails as big as a footaball field"
Capitalism enables people to make beautiful, magnificent, pointless things like Aston Martins, Ducatis, and the Mirabella V. I may never own one (or any other yacht). I may never even Hire it for a week. But I am glad it exists, and if I see it passing me in a shipping lane I will wave and smile. The people on board will ignore me and turn smugly to their pink gins. I don't care.
Thursday, 30 November 2006
Sometimes I come across things in my line of work that are really insiring. Today I looked into the Shipbuilder VT Group PLC. Now they mostly make warships - pretty cool I think you'll agree. Warships speak to the 8 year-old boy in all of us.
Wednesday, 29 November 2006
First I must define us and them.
Us: Libertarian right. Them: Socialists and PC nanny staters. The Left.
Now have a look at how we attack our enemies. Read some brutal line-by-line fiskings of poorly thought out leftist drivel at the Devils Kitchen or Mr Eugenides, or more scholarly efforts from The Polly Toynbee fact checker. Where are the same Fiskings from lefties on my missives? Where is the Boris Johnson fact checker? The victims of these verbal assualts cry foul, rather than dealing with the arguments. Why? We have evidence to back up our arguments. The left, doesn't. So when arguing its case it resorts to two tactics. The "Reducto Ad Hitlerum" attack:
"If Maggie or GW Bush think this is a good idea, it isn't. QED"It works if you're talking to a fellow leftie, but not if you're talking to the unaligned, or a human capable of independant thought. The second argument is the Straw man:
"So what you're saying is that all poor people should starve - well excuse me for saying they shouldn't" or "[education/health/social services (delete as applicalbe) is too important to be left to the market - only rich people will get them then..."Such arguments are beyond wrong and into the realm of "pathetic", but we come up agiant them every day. I find mypatience tested. I just want to hit people that spout such drivel. Even solid arguments backed by evidence, thought and practice, cannot demolish the lefty's faith - religious faith - in the state's right, and indeed ability to improve people's - especially poor peoples' lives.
We on the right, however know the state shouldn't be allowed to organise a piss-up in a brewery because they will fuck it up. Why should the state control anything with such a track record when the market will do much better, and not trample people's freedoms in the process? The Libertarians' solution works in practice. So, in argument, the left is reduced to immagining a possible outcome (often one which is directly contradicted by evidence on any given policy under discussion) and attacking that - suggesting more of the staus quo of state intervention.
"Hey I care - at least I'm doing something"So we will go on being right. And politicians will continue to pander to the Daily Mail and the Mirror, and listen to Polly-fucking-Toynbee. Everyone gets shafted and we remain a group of Cassandras shouting about the end of the world and offering a better way, but no-one who matters is listening. You can't argue with faith.
I've been tagged by Sinclair's musings to do this, so here goes...
- Believe in God (any God)
- Feltch anyone
- Vote Labour
- Betray my Country
- Work for the State
- Stop people hunting
- Become Vegetarian
- Read any books by Robert Fisk, Karl Marx, Polly Toynbee or Allison Pearson
- Own a ShiTzu
Tuesday, 28 November 2006
I recieved an interesting comment on "why the religious will inherit the earth" from an American correspondent who calls himself "MatthewMTT" which I think deseves a longer reply than a comment, as it deals with the "Eurabia" myth pedalled by many on the right - the Idea that Western Europe is in some way going to become an Islamic state, and is therefore an unreliable ally for the the USA.
Jackart, You are correct that the religious will inherit the earth. The Imams clearly see that: they understand that Europe is the colony now. They are the Cowboys and you are the Indians. It's like the bumper sticker says, "If you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns." Likewise, when you marginalize religion, (as you have done) only the marginalized will have religion. That's why France's impoverished ghettos display more cultural confidence than the wealthiest enclaves of the capitol. You have multi cultured, aborted and anti religioned yourself to the brink of extinction. A teenager in most European cities these days has a choice between identity with a robust, confident Islamic society or a tentative, post-nationalist, cringingly apologetic European Identity.I agree. We must learn to love what is great about our society if we are not to lose people to the most hard-line of religions and sects. We must stop appologizing for that which we did most to end. We must stop appologising for the empire, which benefitted vast numbers of its inhbitants. I think I'd rather be a subject of Her Majesty Queen Victoria than of many african and asian potentates who were not under her rule at the time.
Because you have marginalized Christianity you soon will have effectively replaced it with a religion that is antithetical to free thought,free speech (witness the cartoon jihad) and tolerance for others, least of all atheists. Almost by definition secularism cannot be a future.I'm afraid that's a logical inferrence supplied without argument. I disagree. Secularism does have a future, and it's had a long and glorious past, not least in the USA.
It is a present tense culture that over time disconnects a society from cross generational purposes and a belief in something greater than the here and now. Which is exactly why there are no examples of a sustained atheist civilization.Because the ancients didn't have radio telescopes or electron microscopes.
Really, Post- Christian European culture is already a post-culture, and with its surging Muslim population (birth rates of about 3 or 4 to 1) sadly will soon also be post European. Obviously you believe that we American people of faith, (85% by the last poll I read, not just what you refer to as the bible belt, profess a belief in God) us gun totin, sister marryin, pick up truck drivin, people of faith have it all wrong. That we should be more clever like you.Yes. That is exactly what I am doing.
I suppose that explains why we are so far behind you smart folks in technology, per capita income, military power, higher education, and overall standard of living.I would put that down to the USA's emminently sensible rejection of socialism. God-Bothering has little to do with it.
Not to mention that those of you who are left in about 60 or 70 years will be forced to wear birkas and beards if you want to pass unmolested through your streets, and God help you if you are gay. Thank you, but no thank you. This all makes me quite sad because I like most Americans, love England and acknowledge that most of what is great about America stems from our English heritage.Let's not forget the Scottish enlightenment shall we? It is the rejection of state religion that made america what it is. There are some on the American right who want to betray this principle. "Under God" appeared in the 1950's under Ike - America used to be a very secualar society. I would like to Suggest that the current religious maina in the states is a betrayal of the founding fathers, many of whom could be described as Deists if they weren't actively Atheist. They certainly weren't entusistic supporters of religion.
But I refer to the England of your fathers, which so many of you seem to have such contempt for. I pray that there will be some kind of turn around in your great nation before it is too late.We are witnessing a noisy band of extremists trying to foist a discredited ideology on us. Again. This is only the second time the Yanks have endured this - so we can forgive them if some overreact. The Extremists will fail to overthrow freedom and liberty, just as the Catholics, Puritains, Republicans, facists, communists and socialists have all failed. Apart from brief flirtations with God in the 17th and 19th centuries, England's always been a pretty godless place. We don't do Idealology here. When you're as Great as Britain who needs a friend in the sky (or a dodgy, plagiarised pop-economic tome)?
The Non-White population of the UK is 8%. Muslims account for about half. Most of this half is thorougly law-abiding, patriotic and decent - and intermarrying. In my experience, it really is a tiny minority of muslims who hold silly views. I wish the same could be said for American Chrisitans.
There seems to be a bit of a flame-war between some interesting and popular bloggers and a pathetic, semi-literate, ignorant, dinosaur socialist.
I'm not going to link Councillor Terry Kelly. If he googles himself, he'll find this post. But I think the Devil's Kitchen, Mr Eugenides, Right for Scotland and Freedom and Whisky should leave councillor Kelly to his pitiful number of readers. Seriously. Ignore the sad, sad imbecile and stop driving traffic his way. (He's had 3,650 hits ever - please don't give him any more). I've enjoyed your fisking of him - now leave him to play all alone. Bullying the retarded is not good sport. In any case, your rantings give him a sense of self importance that he just doesn't deserve.
*I'm in no way suggesting that he is a kiddy fiddler, but seriously. Would you leave him to babysit your children?
Oh go on then. Tezza's infantile jottings can be found here.
Monday, 27 November 2006
Thursday, 23 November 2006
This Morning, I recieved an e-mail from my buddy, Flash.
“What are you doing?”Came the accusatory, irritated and angry female voice recently distributed from her slumber. Bugger. I had woken her with my failed attempts to silence the TV whilst searching for the Teletext function. Or was it my muffled phone conversation with a friend in oxford to get the score after it became clear freeview has no Teletext...My sentiments exactly. I can't get sky until I get a phone line installed and BT are a total bunch of useless public-sector shits masquerading as a business, so until BT sort themselves out, I'm reduced to midnight use of the BBC's WAP site for my Ashes fix.
I replied with the patriotic and condescending tones that I imagine a self important Home Guard officer would have used during the phoney war returning from watch.“First test of the Ashes, checking the score” (Patrolling the skies for Jerry Paratroopers) "She replied with a dismissive sigh. And I with a “Harrumph”…. a slight shake of the head – females they really know nothing. It’s the first day of the most important sporting event of the whole year and she is completely ignorant. (There’s a war on you know)
I'm not going to mention the score though, though it does seem that Mr. Ponting is doing rather well.
Tuesday, 21 November 2006
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream.
Go on. Sign it. (And while you're at it, the ones about Fox-Hunting and Jolly-well resigning too)
In fact - I'm going to list the more you should sign
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to provide free monkeys on the NHS
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop smiling so much.
And (oh dear I'm about to be serious) Legalise Drugs. Here's the argument
So the normally sensible Iain Dale has suggested that we should boycott BA because they won't let a coptic christian display (not wear, display) her cross. This is a daily-mail-tastic piece of nonsense because the cross is not required by the christian faith in the same way that a turban is by the Sikh faith or the yarmulka is for some Jews.
You know those cravats trolley-dollies wear? Ms. Eweida wanted to wear her cross outside that. You know... sort of like BA Barracus, but less funny and more willing to fly. Now alright, she wanted to wear a tiny cross, and in reality BA should have said "alright, but if anyone complains please wear it underneath" but they didn't and on such trivia, the wheels of religious intolerance are oiled.
This is a non-story. BA has a right to set uniform policy, just as a school has a right to ban a girl from wearing a jilbab and a right to enforce it. The BA policy is "no Jewelry except wedding rings". This is an over-reaction in enforcing a policy. It is not anti-Christian, and God-bothering hate-mongers shouldn't see it as such.
Monday, 20 November 2006
England to win the 6 Nations at 11/4. Tempted by a Lay agianst Ireland.
This doesn't mean that I think England will win, just that the odds are good. There was enough to encourage me in the first game against the all-blacks to give me hope that they can do it against the odds. Ireland at under 2/1 just aren't worth a punt, though I think they're good for the trophy this year. I'm waiting before placing my Lay against France. I think their odds of winning will shorten in the run -up to February, but I think they'll bottle it this year...
I've just ordered SKY+ for the Ashes too - I'll wait until the end of the first Test to bet on the outcome of that clash yet. For the record I reckon 2-1 to Australia. (home advantage, revenge and troubles in the England camp just overcoming Engands advantages of youth and Andrew Flintoff)
Let's wait and see shall we.
So a top cop has suggested that perhaps a 16 year old boy sleeping with a 15 year old girl is not a paedophile - and he has met with a torrent of opprobium from child protection charities - notably kidscape's supremo. I know of no 16 year-old who would self - describe themselves as a "child". That is not to say they do not deserve protection, but so do young men who might be convicted of a serious crime and bear an undeserved lable of "pervert paedo monster" for the rest of their lives simply for engaging in consensual activitiy with a girl a couple of years his junior. Michelle Elliott described his view thus:
"We have been having this debate for ages. He is misguided - it is not a grey area."
Human sexuality is a grey area and to impose arbitary lines of 13 (Spain), 14 (Germany, Austria, Canada), 15 (Denmark, France) or 16 (the UK). 17 - 18 (much of the USA) causes as many problems as it solves.
Paedophilia is a sexual desire in an adult for pre-pubescet children. It is very rare. Ephebophilia is a sexual desire for adolescents and young post-adolecents. This is much more common. Perhaps the current paedo-baiting witch-hunt tabloid fear-mongering is due to a confusion of the two caused by an arbitary distinction at 16. Anyone having a look at a teenager is a "paedo monster" when perhaps, in reality and outside Tabloid-land, he is not.
All Mr. Grange did is clarify how the law is interpreted by the police. Common sense is alien to monomainiac, campaigners who need public hysteria to generate interest in their organisations and secure their pay-packet. This is especially true where "paedophiles" generate hysterical comment. Mr Grange also voiced concern at the extent to which the News of the World (sister paper to the definiately Ephebophilic daily SUN) has control over home-office policy to the detriment of our civil liberties.
It is telling that the Policeman speaking out in favour of liberties and against tabliod fear-mongering is a former soldier. Dyed in the wool political cops will take all the power they can get. It's good to see some who have the courage to know the limits and apply the law with common sense.
Friday, 17 November 2006
I have a hangover, so I'll leave the writing to Bill's iambic pentameter...
Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!
Basically what John of Gaunt is saying is "Look - England's great. We're really, really hard. Everyone knows it, so why do we have to kick the shit out of the French?"
Unfortunately if no-one kicks the French every 50 years or so, they go and get an empire, and royally fuck anyone unfortunate enough to be colonised by the forces of Garlic, so on this issue John of Gaunt nil, Medaeval NeoCons 1. However wrong not kicking the French might be, he has a point about making a "shameful conquest" of oneself...
I do not desire dominion over my fellow man, and frankly, I despise anyone who does. All I want is to be left alone to get on with whatever I want to do without interference from agents of the state. My principle problem with some lefties, authoritarians and religious types is not their views - which I can disagree with profoundly and not let it cloud my view of them as a person. If a view spills over into a desire for legislation or increased tax rates, then it is personal. That person is inflicting his prejudices on me.
I'll end with a quote from Notes from a small Bedroom (hat-tip to Devil's Kitchen) defining Britishness thus
What sums up that ‘liberal individualism' that Unity correctly identifies as the core feature of being a Briton?
1. Mind your own fucking business.
2. I said, mind your own fucking business.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
If you believe that taxes should be primarily used to influence behaviour rather than raise maximum revenue for minimum pain then you're an idiot. Many people combine this beleif with one that cars are evil and people who use them should be taxed to penury in order to save the environment (pah) then you're an unspeakable bastard, who's hiding his communism behind greenery. However by this rationale, most of the electorate and the entire serious political class are unspeakable bastards. The argument that Stern is manipulating science for political ends, that cars aren't the harbringers of the apocalypse they're painted and that global warming is likely to be benign, isn't getting much air-time. So we might as well try to make the measures to cut carbon emissions as effective, and painless as possible. And if money must be raised, we might as well solve congestion and nudge towards road safety while we're doing it.
So let's start with road tax. Its regressive. It taxes the little old lady's ancient rover runabout (1,000 miles per year) just as much as the rep's v6 mondeo (20,000 miles per year), on the basis of an arbitary carbon rating based on engine size. Every year you have to troop down to the post office in order to get your tax disk - forgetting a vital piece of paper at least once and having to make another journey, stand in a queue and get your disc.
Its Counterproductive. Now I drive a Fiat with a 1.2 litre engine. This engine is not big enough, but gets into a lower band for road tax. It actually increases the carbon emmission of the vehicle which really needs a 1.4 litre engine, because to make progress you need to rev the damn thing so hard. To keep to the speed-limit up any sort of hill, my foot is flat to the floor. You can forget it if there's a passenger or two. On the other hand a big v8 can purr along at 70mph and comfortably make 40 mpg. The perverse incentives caused by a blanket assumption that Big engine bad, small engine good, actually lead to an increase in carbon emissions.
Its inefective, except as a political statement of your spiteful greeness. Do you seriously think that someone who spends £80,000 on a top-of-the-range Range Rover is going to be in the slightest bit perturbed by even the most excessive road tax being bandied about? What about the farmer already royally buggered by the governments abject failure of single farm payments, who genuinely needs a 4x4? How are you going to exclude him from your socialist spite?
Road tax is ineffective, regressive and counterproductive. If you're an authoritarian bastard, who thinks that peoples lawful behaviour is the business of the government, that cars are bad and that people need to be persuaded not to use them, then you need to make carbon from cars cost. Petrol Duty, is Progressive. It taxes as a function of miles done and efficiency of vehicle and driver. It taxes someone hammering up the A1 at a ton more than someone sticking to the speed limit. It taxes inefficent cars more than efficient ones, whatever their engine size. It rewards careful driving (in a roundabout way).
People can therefore choose how much tax they want to pay. A bit more to have a nice motor with a big engine. A bit more to drive it fast. Perhaps you can decide to take a bike on a short journey and save the 20p a mile it costs in petrol... Or you can opt to pay the tax and drive, or pay even more and drive like a frenchman on his way to an adulterous tryst.
That won't wash with our chancellor. No - he must demand that you hand over the keys to your "gas guzzler" or "chelsea tractor" (notice the spiteful language designed to suggest that you wont pay it, only "the rich"). He demands payment upfront for carbon you might emit. No choice there - because let's face it, cars aren't optional, unless you live in London. But then this chancellor has always held the public in the deepest contempt.
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
I've just Migrated to Blogger Beta - and I don't like it. I had worked out how to link blogs I really like using a picture and I can't seem to do that now.
And I've lost loads of the stuff that I have built up on the side bar over the years.
Has anyone else suffered the same?
Just a plaintive whine from a non-techie....
Monday, 13 November 2006
Of all the world's Rugby players, half are English. Of the remainder, half of those are French.
Some scores from the weekend.
England 18 - 25 Argentina
France 3 - 47 New-Zealand
It's not poor old Andy Robinson's fault - but he needs to go now I'm afraid - it's just the way the cookie crumbles. An end to Jonny's endless injuries would help too. The positives I allude to are that France's surrender to the All-Blacks was more abject than ours. The other is the performance of the Pumas, who must surely have staked their claim to a place in a top international competition. They'd fit nicley into a bi-annual 7 nations, and Buenos Aries... what an away fixture!
Friday, 10 November 2006
On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB.
The film was limited for technical reasons to 10 minutes; the course was from Porte Dauphine, through the Louvre, to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur. No streets were closed. The driver, an unnamed formula one driver completed the course in about 9 minutes, reaching nearly 140 MPH in some stretches. Upon showing the film in public for the first time, Lelouch was arrested. He has never revealed the identity of the driver, and the film went underground until a DVD release a few years ago...
I'm not condoning driving like a maniac round the world's most dangerous roundabout. I'm not denying I like it either! watch the video here...
A Dem* has won the final Senate seat in Virginia and the lefties have both houses. With a right-wing religious wing-nut in the whitehouse, despite the overuse of the horrible neoglism "bi-partisan" - nothing will get done for two years.
Were I an American, I would vote for legislative gridlock.
*it really spoils the tone of this post that I can't say anything perjorative about Mr Webb.
Thursday, 9 November 2006
I'm a libertarian. I believe that government is the worst thing possible and legislation causes more problems than it solves. Exceptions to this rule are so rare as to be not worth the risk of trying. Government is so bad, that were I American, I would be prepared to make common cause with the survalist religious nuts of the republican far-right, because at least they make the case for tax cuts, small governement and individual responibility (admittedly whilst foaming at the mouth in expectation of the rapture, whilst occasionally sloping off for a sly pull to Guns n' Ammo.)
They are useful idiots (hey! we righties can have them too) who can be relied upon to take on the other bunch of religious loons who need a good kicking. You know the ones. The hairy ones who think P4 is a fashion statement and are keen on marital discipline. The religious loons who have allied themselves with the far-left.
My set of useful idiots are very heavilly armed and quite good at killing people and breaking things. I'm trying to work out how to persuade the Religious right to go into an apocalyptic war with radical Islam and the international Left - and leave me and other secular humanists alone to munch lentils over a well thumbed copy of "The Road to Serfdom" while they do it. It's proving difficult.
So That's the colonies dealt with. Unfortunately I'm British, and there's no heavily armed libertarian faction I can manipulate into violence to serve my ends - so what do I do? I have to form my own.
In Europe, we're so infected with socialism that the state takes 50% of GDP and spends it (sorry invests), mostly in special-brew and Lambert & butler super-kings. The population have learned to love big brother, and we Nietzscheans are sucked into this velvet facsist hell of the weak's creation. As soon as anyone dares to suggest that not everyone needs public services to the extent they exist and that perhaps half of everything everyone earns (you pay for corporation tax in lower wages) is a bit steep - then you're accused of being a modern day Herod.
What are these public services everyone goes on about?
- The NHS. Good value, but could do better on the delivery stakes. Probably could do with becomming more of a funding organisation, with more of the delivery being delivered by private companies and not for profit partnerships - like Germany.
- The Armed forces. Stunning value, achieves too much with too little.
- The Police. Should stop pissing about with the motorist and start catching crooks. otherwise, reasonable value. Shold have a large review of their powers.
- Education: crap value, crap delivery and in desperate need of privatisation. Like Sweden.
- Social Services: Merely do a really bad job at cleaning up a mess caused by half a century of welfare dependency. Get rid of widespread welfare abuse, you can get rid of most social workers, and a whopping benefits bill.
- Civil service: do we really need the DTI, DCMS, ODPM, DFID? If pared back to the Home office, MOD, DoH, Security services etc..., then the rest of the civil service can really just fuck off - the dole is cheaper than a Civil Servant's salary and tax-payer guaranteed unfunded pension - who knows they might eventually get a productive job.
Anyone want to make me dictator for life? Grab a pitch-fork (if you're in the Army, nip down to tidworth and pick me up a tank - it might come in handy) and meet me in parliament square tomorrow afternoon.
Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Meanwhile in regulation-land, BT have taken over 3 months to install a landline in my new flat, and I still don't have one.
Monday, 6 November 2006
I regard Richard Dawkins as a "a bit drippy" and "not nearly tough enough" in his espousal of Atheism. Therefore I am really enjoying this. (For anyone who saw "Root of All Evil?", mr. Haggard is the preacher whose heavies threw the good Professor out of church, shouting "don't call my people monkeys")
Now your average Joe politician caught engaging in a bit of Grunting man-love is neither here nor there so long as four words "consenting adults in private" can be invoked in his defence. The exception is when you go on about "family values" or have criticized oppositon politicians for extra-marital binky-bonky, then it's not the sordid coprophagy (or whatever) that gets people, its the hypocrisy. Which is why Mark Oaten got away with revolting sexual perversion and John Prescott did not get away with the perfectly normal shagging of a female underling.
When you're the mothpiece for the anti-gay, anti-sex, anti drug Christian Right of America as Ted Haggard, or "Art" as his really good friends are allowed to call him, as head of the National Association of Evangelicals probably is, and you're exposed as taking Crystal Meth and engageing in sodomy because it makes you feel "dirty" and who fantasises about sex with "6 or 8 young college guys" (allegedly) then any sensible human being can cast compasion aside and enjoy that person's self-inflicted misfortune with a clean concience.
Go on. HAHAHAHAHAHA
a deep belly laugh.
Feels good doesn't it?
Normally I'm the first to complain about the All-Blacks and the way they play, but yesterday's performace (pre-match chippiness aside) was devoid of the usual cynicism. This Kiwi side is simply brilliant from 1 to 15. Joe Rokococo looks like he can score every time he gets the ball. Ma'a Nonu is the most intimidating centre since Tana Umaga (both look like the predator). Richie McCaw is peerless at generating turnovers, and Dan Carter is a points machine.
I think even the most blinkerd sheep-shagger from the land of the long white cloud would not mind me describing the score as 27-41 rather than 20-41. Jamie Noon's try was a try. Look at his and Ma'a Nonu's body-language after the touchdown. That aside, I thought the Ref had a reasonable afternoon, considering he is a Frenchman.
England played well. We were soundly beaten by a team who, if the truth be told put England to the sword at a canter. If England ever got close, then there was always another gear from the All-blacks. That invincibility hasn't been seen by any side since Martin Johnson's - and for the same resons. They could always find enough extra to win the game. This All-Black side do it by playing really entertaining rugby. I can't see anyone challenging them for the world cup. Possibly France, Possibly the Boks could do it on the day, but unlikely. Kiwis know it, and they're already unbearable.
Friday, 3 November 2006
I was reading some poetry last night and I came accross "To a Mouse" by Robbie Burns. I have read it before, but it only dawned on me last night, just how brilliantly succinct a summary of the human condition it really is. It's best read aloud in the best Rab C Nesbitt impression you can muster, for those who are less than knowlegable in the dialects of Fife... a translation can be found here
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,The last two stanzas lead me to why I brought this magnificent piece of verse to you via the medium of my blog. The Precautionary principle: or
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!
The best laid schemes o' mice an' menmeans that if possible we should do nothing if we do not know the outcome. I would contend that this applies to taxing us to penury as well as pumping carbon into the atmosphere. If you're in governement, if in doubt, do nothing. There is doubt about climate change. There is doubt about the efficay in taxes in stopping it.
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
It is most likely that the solutions proposed to CO2 emmissions will be a plaster on a gunshot wound if stern is correct (which he almost certainly isn't). If he isn't correct and it's just a piece of scare-mongering, why bother? Sit back and enjoy the sunshine until technology, rather than a hair shirt leads us to a low carbon future.
Retain a healthy skepticism of all things - especially when our leaders enlist science to persuade us to part with our cash - which is what Stern is all about.
Anyone who thinks the scientific community is totally united on the subject of global warming is an arsehole. Scientific consensus is almost always wrong to some degree. By definition knowledge can only advance by disproving hypotheses. I contend the apparent consensus on Global warming science is a feature of the funding bodies skew rather than the state of the science.
Basically speaking, any research proposal studying the climate which doesn't look towards CO2-induced global warming just doesn't get public funding. Are you seriously telling me that solar activity, which correlates pretty well to climatic change, has no effect? That's not scientific. Nor is it the fault of the individual scientists trying to work out a very complex system, they are doing their thing in their field, but their choice of field is influenced by where the money is. They are, after all human. This skew towards one hypothesis is the fault of the boards and committees which advise governments, many of which have been captured by people who are hell-bent on proving their pet hypothesis. This capture reinforces the apparent consensus in the eyes of politicians and the public. This is a real problem for publicly funded science and always has been: the Longitude problem was solved by Harrison's chronometer, who was refused the prize for a decade because the solution was assumed to lie in astronomy rather than a beautiful clock. That doesn't denegrate Halley and others who advanced our knowledge of the heavens, but it did work against the tireless mr Harrison...
17,200 American scientists have signed this...
Wednesday, 1 November 2006
1603 - the union of the crowns started a four-hundred year attempt to heal the wound of the Roman invasion - the partition of Britain. Every state in Western Europe except Ireland derives its political legitamacy from the Roman Empire, and the nations of the UK are no different. Scotland can be defined roughly as that bit of Britain which never really suffered Pax Romana ("They create a desert and call it peace" - tacitus), and therefore resisted the Vikings and Saxons more sucessfully than the Southern British. The Welsh are the South Britons who sucessfully resisted the Angles and Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries (or less charitably, Irish who couldn't swim).Now the Scots, having profited hugely from the Union want to leave it. And I am deeply saddened by the news. I love Scotland - my Mother is a Highlander, My grandparents spoke Gaelic as a first language. I represented Edinburgh University (and once, memorably Skye Camanachd) at Shinty. I wear the Kilt on occasion, with pride (pulling the ladies when wearing a kilt is like shooting fish in a barrel). My father's English with a bit of Welsh so I am forced to compromise. I shout for England at Rugby and Scotland at football. I am therefore British. I love Scotland but loathe its politics. Almost any scot of Talent of my Grandfather's generation left Scotland to work all over the world. I have cousins on almost every continent on earth as a result. Many returned, but what Scottish politics became in the years after the war was the "Politics of the Shit that's left behind". You cannot hear a porridge-muncher open his mouth on any matter political these days without hearing the most obscene chippy socialist drivel pour out like raw sewage.
Added to the left-wingery there is now a deep and abiding hatred of the English which pervades Scottish culture like a cancer. I have experienced genuine racism and violence on occasion - simply due to my accent.
Now, Scottish independence will make England a better place to live. We won't be run by grasping Oatmeal-Barbarian socialists for one thing. The Labour party will have to work bloody hard to form a government in Westminster without the tartan hordes packing the green benches. Hooray. But my heart is unionist, and independence will be a sore trial for Scotland. The Jocks, if left to their own devices will create a socialist hell-hole, and their talented and independent minded will flee as they always have to well paid jobs in Canada, London, Australia.
This great nation arguably the oldest nation-state on earth, formerly of John Knox, Adam smith, the enlightenment, of Imperial soldiers and Statesmen and mighty industrialists will create something no better than post-soviet Eastern Europe. On many Measures health, life expectancy, state involvement in industry for example, they're already there. If the Current collection of political pygmies in Holyrood is anything to go by there's no hope of anything better.
That's their choice, if it comes to it. But on the destruction of the union, I will weep as I suddenly become forced to call myself an Englishman.