Wednesday, 28 February 2007
Via Bob Piper, Who, having seen Terry Kelly, I'm coming round to. Not all lefties are entirely bad eggs you know. George Galloway is though. In fact as eggs go, he's one of the worst. I read this in the Guardian with astonishment. Are there no dictators and questionable rulers the nutty left will not support? All you need to do is call Bush nasty names, use the word "worker" a lot and the entire pinko population of the world will roll over an purr while you, lay waste entire economies and murder your population.
The chilling Oliver Stone film Salvador got a rare airing on television this week. It was a reminder of a time when, for those on the left, little victories were increasingly dwarfed by big defeats - not least in a Latin America which became synonymous with death squads and juntas.Because communist regimes never murder their own citizens...
Yesterday US Vice-President Dick Cheney came uncomfortably close to the reality of Afghan resistance to foreign occupationAfghan resistance? Foreign Occupation? Last I checked, most of the forces fighting against the Taleban (who derive most of their strength from a small part of the country on the Pakistan Border) were Afghan national army, backed up by a few thousand Brits and Americans, who have the clear support of a government constituted by Loya Jirga and supported by the majority of the population.
On the same day Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez delivered a mightier blow to the neocon dream of US domination, announcing an extension of public ownership of his country's oil fields - the richest outside the Middle East.It's all about the oil... Riiiight.
Much more is at stake than London mayor Ken Livingstone's welcome oil deal with Chávez, which will see London bus fares halved while Venezuela gets expertise from city hall and a bridgehead in the capital of the US's viceroy in Europe.Purple prose doesn't make Ken any less of a wanker or your paranoid fantasies any more true.
Washington's biggest oil supplier is now firmly in the grip of a social revolution. This month I watched with Chávez as thousands of soldiers, French and British tanks, Russian helicopters and brand new Mirage and Sukhoi fighter bombers passed by: the soldiers chanting "patria, socialismo o muerte" - enough to make any US president blanch. Chávez answered the salute with the words: "the Bolivarian revolution is a peaceful revolution but it is not unarmed"It is certainly in the Grip of revolution: whether this is a good thing is at best, open to debate. Chavez has developed the taste for military parades from other, less than savoury regimes. He's also passed an enabling law, allowing presidential rule by decree. This is hardly a good sign. Gorgeous George goes on:
The music played throughout the event was the hymn of Salvador Allende's 1970s Chilean government, declaring that the people united will never be defeated. But Chávez's socialism is a good deal more red than Allende's - and its enemies seem no less determined than those who bathed Chile in blood in 1973.Well we all split down left/right lines on the Allende/Pinochet question. At least Pinochet did better than the average result of a communist revolution, which is total economic meltdown and 10% depopulation of the country. In fact he left freely after an election, with an economy and country in good shape. Bathed Chilie in blood? A few hundred commies? Pah! Pinochet was an amateur at mass-murder compared to Geroge's late chum Saddam, or even Red Ken's bosom Buddy, Castro.
Despite complete control of Venezuela's national assembly - the opposition boycotted the last elections after being defeated in seven electoral tests in a row - Chávez has been given enabling powers for 18 months to ensure he can pilot his reforms through entrenched opposition from the civil service, big business, the previously all-powerful oligarchy, their vast media interests and their friends in WashingtonAny checks and balances are removed "in the democratic interest". Yes... Right. I'll sell my property and move to another country now shall I?
Among those friends we must include our own prime minister, who only last year declared Venezuela to be in breach of international democratic norms - though when I pressed him in parliament he was unable to list them.Two Words, George, ENABLING LAW.
The atmosphere in Caracas is fervid. The vast shanty towns draping the hillside around the cosmopolitan centre bustle with workers' cooperatives, trade union meetings, marches and debates. The $18bn fund for social welfare set up by Chávez is already bearing fruit. Education, food distribution and primary healthcare programmes now cover the majority for the first time. Queues form outside medical centres filled with thousands of Cuban doctors dispensing care to a population whose health was of no value to those who sat atop Venezuela's immense wealth in the past.So Hugo's buying the votes of the poor, at the cost of their long-term good. What does he do when the economy collapses or Cuba no longer can afford to send those nice doctors over for free?
Chávez, who regularly pops over to Havana to check on the health of Fidel Castro,(Mass-murdering dictator)
is at the centre of a new Latin America which is determined to be nobody's backyard. Reliable US allies are now limited to death squad ridden Colombia, Peru and Mexico - and latterly then only by recourse to rigged elections.Something Our friend Hugo would never do.Hugo certainly wouldn't close down opposition media, harrass journalists or arm paramilitary militas would he?
But Chávez's international ambitions are not confined to the Americas. He became a hero in the Arab world after withdrawing his ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest at the bombardment of Lebanon by US-armed Israeli forces last summer, and has pledged privately to halt oil exports to the US in the event of aggression against Iran. This all represents a challenge to US power which, if Bush was not sunk in the morass of Iraq, would be at the top of his action listI'd love to see Venezuala buy the votes of the peasants without all those petro-dollars. The US economy can easily absorb $70 a barrel, and buy it from Canada and elsewhere. There's plenty to go around - who else is buying Venzuela's sulphur-rich brew.
Not that his supporters are marking time. The mendacious propaganda that Chávez is a dictator and human rights abuser is being spread with increasing urgency by the Atlanticist right and their fellow travellers, such as leftie-turned-neocon Nick Cohen who told his London newspaper audience last week that Livingstone's relationship with Chávez was making him think of voting Tory.Heaven forbid that someone should dare to vote for a reasonable, centre right party when they could vote for a bunch of dinosaur trots and terrorist apologists like Respect.
Chávez's decision not to renew an expired licence for an opposition television station involved in a coup attempt - there are plenty of others - is being portrayed as the beginning of the death of democracy. It's as if Country Life's diatribes against the fox hunting ban were taken as irrefutable proof of totalitarianism in Britain.No, George, because like it or not, Tony Blair is unable to close Country life down, because he doesn't (yet) rule by decree.
The so-called "dictator" Chávez is nothing of the kind. He has won election after election, validating his radical course. Still the fear of a coup - such as in 2002 when Chávez was removed and imprisoned for three days before millions descended to the presidential palace to reinstate him - is everywhere. One Englishman abroad who welcomed the 2002 coup as the "overthrow of a demagogue" was the foreign office minister Denis MacShane - a humiliating correction had to be issued following Chávez's restoration. That tale underscores the importance of the links being forged between revolutionary Caracas and anti-war London. Chávez is well aware that the people were defeated in Chile, the fascists allowed to pass in Republican Spain. Just as in Venezuela, the defence against counter-revolution lies with the poor and the working people who are shaping the world they want; so too must all those internationally who want to see this ferment reach its potential rally to Venezuela's side.
He isn't a dictator yet, but neither was Hitler at the start. It's just he's amassing a lot of power, arming a lot of gangs and not really brooking any dissent. You can bury your head in the sand and ignore the lessons of history, George, but I prefer that our Government doesn't support someone who plainly will not listen to the people if and when he fails to dominate the Ballot box. It's easy to be a democrat when you are winning. But that's what checks and balances do. They prevent the abuse of power by those who outstay their welcome.
Hugo Chavez is clearly abusing his office. His people, especially the poor are the ones who will bear the cost.
Cancel Your engagements people, the Very British Dude is Appearing, as himself on 18 Doughty Street* on Thursday Night from 10pm. Go on, you know you want to watch me make a prat of myself. Stick it in you diary...
*I'm aware that some of my readership are not right-wing political anoracks. For these people, I had better point out that 18DS is an internet TV station run by uber-blogger, Iain Dale, broadcasting the views of political anoraks, most of whom have blogs to insomniac political anoracks some of whom do not blog, from about 7pm every evening.
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Via DK and Right for Scotland: Our Friend on Renfrewshire council may, or may yet not, be an expense fiddling crook.
Apparently it's claimed that meals claimed for were not being eaten (often because the claimants were several miles away). Does this explain Terry's girth? Was he eating all those meals on other's expenses?
Well let's have it in the Great man's own words shall we? Terry. Are you a crook?
Is there any power to harass the motorist (or any other citizen) that the Police are to be prevented from having?
Sure, drink driving's a terrible thing, but really....
If someone gives a Policeman suspicion that they're drink-driving then they get stopped. If they're over the limit, then they get banned for 12 months, and get a hefty fine. Simple really and fair enough. Random breath tests really are an incentive for the police to further irritate the motorist who are already subject to the most draconian policing in the world.
Do the police need any more incentive to further ruin their reputation with the public? If given this power, the bastards will be lying in wait to catch people out (probably with more speed guns too). This will pull coppers off the streets, where they should be nicking chavs, onto the roads where they will intimidate and irritate the otherwise law-abiding, even if they aren't drinking and driving.
It reminds me of a time I was nearly arrested (breach of the peace or something) for suggesting to a policman lurking outside a pub, that instead of waiting to catch motorists out, why did he not offer his breathalyser to potential drivers in order to prevent a crime taking place? Enforcing the law and helping the public - no thanks, there's no "sanction detection" in that. Cunt. The police have become arrogant, drunk on the powers this evil government has given them.
Along with Road-Pricing, this is demonstration that the Shit-Sacks of this appalling government have lost all touch with the people they are supposed to represent.
There are a great many committed libertarians, Thatcherites and Monday Club hangers 'n floggers who think that "Call me Dave" Cameron is a bit, well, wet. I agree, sort of... The Nameless one over at The Appalling Strangeness sums this point of view up nicely, to satisfying applause from DK.
They are a bit pissed off because their chosen Party, UKIP for whose ideas I have an awful lot of sympathy, is going to have one effect at the next election - to make a Conservative victory less likely. If you think about what that actually means - best case scenario: Hung Parliament lib-lab coalition and the resultant constitutional vandalism of PR leading to endless unstable coalition government. Worst case - 5 years of untrammeled Brown as PM. The fact is the electorate have been schooled into a Pavlovian res ponce to "the public services" and "tax-cuts" that is wrong. You can complain all you like, or you can get into Government and do something about it.
The counter argument...
...anyone like myself, who is right wing but doesn't vote Tory, will be electing by default a further Labour administration. This is just so much horseshite. Because my counter-argument is simple - there is no point in electing a Tory party that is just a photo-copy of the Blair administration. Which, I am sorry to say, the Conservative Party under Cameron are......is just lazy. The Nameless one was at the same lecture as me. He knows the Tories will do things differently. There is hope of tax cuts in time. The reckless spending on pointless administrators and gender outreach co-ordinators will slow and eventually stop. THE TORY PARTY IS NOT THE SAME AS THE LABOUR PARTY, and to suggest otherwise is to employ political analysis at the level of Terry Kelly (see under "Blogs By Idiots" to the Right...)
I am tired of hearing about how the Conservatives are the best we have got, or how politics is the art of the possible. Bollocks. This country has elected radical governments before (see Attlee and Thacther) and those radical governments are the ones, regardless of whether you think their policies were right or wrong, who actually managed to acheive something. Crazy when you think about it, but there was a time when political parties actually aspired to something other than good headlines and a nice photo opportunity. The fact that Blair has spent the last ten years terrified of moving from the middle ground - and in doing so has terrified Cameron into exactly the same position - is no reason for us to accept this post-Blair consensus that offers nothing other than more of the same to the British people.This government has been a government of Massive redistribution and tax and spend. The rhetoric is middle ground, but the reality is old labour spite. Can you not see that? The Tories are the best we've got and there's no appetite for radicalism when the economy's ticking over nicely (it is at present, the wheel is coming off, I know, but the punters can't see it). Politics is the art of the possible and the business of power. You may be as sick of that as you like, but its the truth.
Here is the brutal truth - it doesn't make a blind bit of fucking difference to me if Labour win the next election over a Conservative Party that is indistinguishable from that Labour party.No, Nameless one - here is the brutal truth: Cameron's the Tory leader who's getting into polling territory which puts him within a sniff of government, because he doesn't hector the electorate. They are comfortable with him.
I've said before but I'll repeat it here again - there is no point in winning power if you have abandoned the ideas and policies that made you seek power in the first place. I reject the idea that politics should be achieving power to the detriment of everything else outright - and, sadly, this seems to be the guiding idea of both Cameron and BlairAll that's changed in either party is the Rhetoric. Labour - Tax 'n Spend. Tories - Cut tax if possible. The Tories have never been radically imprudent (except the ERM debacle). Even Thatcher didn't cut taxes in her first term, because she couldn't.
By voting for someone else at the next election it won't be me wrecking the party for Cameron. It will Cameron wrecking the party for himself, by forgetting that he is a Conservative and that the valid, workable ideas for improving this country actually come from the right of the political spectrumWe aren't arguing for different ends, just what means to use. To use a military analogy, there are 3 ways to attack - left flanking, right flanking and "straight up the middle, bags of smoke". UKIP represents the last of these. David Cameron is leading the Tories Left flanking: using cover of greenery and the ditch of not promising tax-cuts (yet) whilst attacking the enemy's weak points on civil liberties and the family. This is not moral cowardice, it is the best and only way to achieve difficult tasks. Going straight at 'em while their defence on the economy remains strong presents an easy target to shoot at. (have I sufficiently stretched the metaphor?)
The Tories are the most successful political party the democratic world has ever seen. This is because they adapt to the political climate. There will always be backwoodsmen hankering for old certainties but the enemy has changed and the electorate has changed. You UKIP nutters can masturbate all you like over your minarchist fantasies, you aren't going to get what you want.
I'm sorry the party's broke - I think UKIP's been treated harshly, but it makes not a blind bit of difference. You can either rejoin the Tory party an pull it the way you want, or you can cast Euro scepticism into the wilderness of fringe party politics and make the collapse of the EU less likely.
Monday, 26 February 2007
Many* people will be wondering why I haven't mentioned the rugby in gushing terms on the monday after a 6-Nations weekend. It isn't because England lost In fact hearty congratulations I hear are due not only to the Irish team for delivering a royal trouncing to the English, but also to the crowd who Ignored the Sinn Fein protest outside and heard God Save the Queen with Respect. I am also disappointed in the performance of the Scots - giving away 21 points in six minutes... not good enough.No I'm not writing about it because I didn't see any of the games. I was otherwise engaged, and with England being so rubbish and all, I am much more overjoyed about this game than any mere international... Northampton, struggling to stay in the premiership ended Leicester's 3-year unbeaten home record.
Go on you Saints. Maybe we can have some grounding for our eternal optimism at Jimmy's end next season (though I seem to remember saying that before)...
*OK, about 2
Last time a person was killed on the Railways, they were effectively shut down for months. The railways, already very, very safe are getting safer.
Driving people onto the roads just kills more people and whilst finding out what happened to cause a train derailment in Cumbria is important, let's get accidents into perspective. They happen. Friday's death toll, is a morning's work for Britain's road network. Last time there was an accident, Labour used it as an excuse to mount a smash and grab raid on railtrack assets. Now that Network Rail is effectively nationalised, not a lot has improved and the Tax-payer is getting a worse deal (though there's no published accounts to bring this to light on a semi-annual basis). Who do they blame now?
Someone died, others are injured and making party political points is therefore distasteful, but that is how low I think this government is prepared to go. We must always keep an eye on the bastards.
This is too important an issue for party politics, but it is one of those issues which indicates where you are on the political spectrum and your stance on it can be seen as an indicator of deeper political views. The question is Family friendly policy - does the state have a role in encouraging couples to stay together for the sake of the children? Broadly, it seems that the conservative minded say "yes" and the progressive minded say "no".
Any attempt at legislating in this area is fraught with political throwbacks - the worst for the conservatives was the "Back to Basics" debacle. A compromise must be struck that ignores the straw men of Labour's fervent imagination: Let us look at two Deputy leadership candidates. Harriet Harperson and Alan Johnson's thoughts on the matter:
"Often it's two-parent families, not just one-parent families where things are going wrong."Yes Harriet, dear, but the statistics are clear on which is better at bringing up children. Citing exceptions is not informative, except to note that they exist. Only the dullest mind cannot grasp that.
"Not all children from married couples fare well and other family structures are not irretrievably doomed to fail."No-one's suggesting otherwise, Alan you chippy wanker, and you know it.
Support for two parent families does not have to involve discrimination (whatever that means) against single parent families, and often it appears that it is Labour who are prejudiced: Why do labourites so hate the traditional nuclear family? Why does any policy which advantages two people who live together and provides incentives to stay together hurt the single parent?
No-one suggests that single parents can't, and they often do a good job in bringing up children. Indeed Alan Johnson is a case in point - his political opinions aside - he turned out alright. But let's not pretend that the two parent family is not the best for children. That stable, happy families is not a good thing, because they are.
There is a suspicion that Labour hates the family for the same reason they hate home ownership and self-employment. Freedom. These conditions each represent one less lever of power the state has over the individual. Families look to each other for support both financial and moral. Homeowners have the resources to be independent of the state. The self employed are independant of the large corporations which have been co-opted by the government as agents of the state's will. The state is less important to the traditional nuclear family than it is to the single parent, who often needs the full gamut of health and social services, and financial assistance too.
With the demise of the Unions in the private sector, the Labour party lost a large base of people linked to it. They needed new client groups to ensure the party's ideological (and financial) survival and replace the industrial proletariat. The long-term sick, Unemployed, the single parent and ethnic minorities appear to do the job. Get people to identify with groups other than the family, church and Nation and you can divide and rule, especially if you get them all blaming "the middle classes", or the Tory party for their predicaments. This explains the left's obsession with the failed creed of multiculturalism, and their drive to expand state spending - even where it's demonstrably counterproductive.
The Tories on the other hand have never had a client group and have actually sought to legislate for the whole country over their history. This is why (the last decade aside) they have been the natural party of government, and why the Labour party, seeking a role, tries to create a client state. The property-owning nuclear family stands in the way of Labour's totalitarian vision.
So back to family policy: How do you support families without discriminating against single parents? Easy! You just stop taxing people. If married couples were allowed to share their tax bands that provides an incentive to stay together. Single parents should not be discriminated against and I support any measures in the system that enables single parents to bring up their children successfully. This means decent child care, this means higher personal taxation allowances (something that is part of my solution to almost all problems) it means flexible health provision (you know, like we used to have - when doctors used to come out to see you if necessary). It means less bureaucracy, less means-tested benefits trapping people into welfare.
David Cameron's rhetoric:
"If it comes to a collision between our wealth as a nation and the well being of families - I choose families."is playing to the gallery. He knows there is no conflict. Business doesn't like increases in flexible working much, but many businesses have managed to work around them and will continue to do so. Business that can't will continue not to do so. He is however explicitly supporting the family, without the god-bothering rhetoric of morality which does lead to discrimination against single parents and gay people. Support an institution which works, whilst leaving people free to choose alternatives? Surely that's good libertarian conservative thinking...
Thursday, 22 February 2007
So The All England Club has finally caved in to the chippy bitch lobby....
The Women's game is less competitive, how many of the top 10 will get beaten by people outside the top 100 in the two gender's games? The women's game is less interesting to watch (squeals of protest from women, but compare black-market ticket prices to the two singles finals at Wimbledon). If that isn't enough, Women play at most 3 sets a game, men play at least 3 sets. So now women get paid the same for less tennis.
Is that equality? Again, I'm more pissed off than is reasonable... but there you go.
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Last night I went to Westminster for the Bow Group Lecture by Oliver Letwin. I smuggled the slavering UKIP nutter, Devils Kitchen in and also met up with the similarly ideologically suspect Nameless Tory, who does, in fact, have a name. Travellgal provided us with information on the issue sidearms of the police as we went into the palace of Westminster and made up the quartet. I also got to meet the radiant Trixy who joined the four of us (and my better half) for a beer and some enjoyable anti-eu bile spilling afterwards.
Not a lot was said at the meeting - no policy flesh on the Philosophical bones at any rate. Letwin laid out the ideological foundations for future Tory policy on social failure - to summarise, Socialism was an attempt to cure the ills of capitalism.
It failed - spectacularly.
Thatcherism succeeded in curing some of the ills of socialism so completely that the market mechanism as a means to run the economy is unchallenged, except by the ignorant extreme fringe of the Labour party. The Reds are Dead. Thatcherism, though did little for the very poorest in society - wealth only trickles down so far and those suffering from multiple deprivations - poor education, housing, drug addiction etc... are left behind. This tear in the social fabric of the nation demeans us all.
Since 1997, the Blairite agenda has been to use the vast power of the state to work on these people's lives, and try to heal the wound. To enable this, Gordon Brown is architect of a vast bureaucratic machine of means-tested benefits and redistribution which aims to alleviate poverty. Meanwhile a huge increase in public spending, allied to targets and micromanagement of the NHS, Schools, Police and social services was meant as part of an "activist state", to drive standard and improve people's lives. Targets were meant to ensure delivery, with the means being provided by huge Tsunami of tax-payers' money.
It has already demonstrably failed, with Blair starting to come round to the more flexible, human "market" approach in public services. The Goblin King, however believes passionately in BIG BUREAUCRACY.
Oliver Letwin talked at length about the a future Conservative administration providing an "Enabling state" rather than an activist state. Basically this means getting people to take responsibility for their lives and where necessary others'. The involvement of charity, even at the risk of religious evangelism, is to be encouraged. People, rather than the bureaucracy is to be the driver behind improvements. The professionals working in the public sector should be trusted to run things and not be endlessly striving to arbitrary targets set by Whitehall.
I agreed with every platitudinous, uncontroversial syllable (apart from the bit about climate change) and I await policy with eager anticipation (OK that's an exaggeration).
I asked about tax: Letwin made an interesting point. Since 1997, The brooding, Scots bastard in No11 has squandered a big war-chest bequeathed to him by the Ken and Eddie show. That is why £20bn of tax cuts were offered by the Tory party in 2001, just £4 billion of tax cuts in 2005 and none are likely to be forthcoming next time round.
Basically, the presbyterian shit has spent your income, your savings, the country's savings and re-leveraged the country imprudently, meaning you'll have to pay more in future without giving any noticable improvement in peoples' wealth or quality of life. God, I hate him so, very, very much.
Letwin's vacillation around the subject of promising tax cuts is telling: He compared the UK to the USA who I accept are the worlds reserve currency, borrow in their own currency and have a tendency towards optimism for their economic outlook. He suggested that the Laffer curve works for them, but not for us. He suggested that those who know that tax cuts will be revenue neutral are tin-foil hatted loons.
Yes, anyone who claims to have certainty in matters economic is a twat - but that's a straw man. Letwin accepted, however that "tax-cuts are worth the risk" is a viable viewpoint. The Reganomics approach of Tax cuts stimulating growth and being revenue neutral worked for US in the 80's. It appears to be working for Bush now. Even though Maggie's tax cuts were funded by big increases on consumption taxes, it worked for her in 1979 too. His answer therefore smacked of deep political cowardice. Without trimming the fat off the state, we'll never be competitive with low-tax economies of Eastern Europe, let alone India and China.
DK, perhaps inevitably asked about Europe, and was told to bugger off (I am of course paraphrasing Mr. Letwin's diplomatic and evasive response).
Dying of thirst we retired to the pub for beer and medals and discussed social policy, the EU and blogging in depth. I love the way confidence in a political point is proportional to inebriation and inversely proportional to coherence.
Monday, 19 February 2007
Following his assertion that British soldiers are too stupid to do anything else, Councillor Terry Kelly gives us more of his wisdom on the problems facing the British Military, this time it's the Officers who bear the brunt of the opprobrium:
What an arsehole!
Does he does include the MP with the highest expenses: Ex-Major Eric Joyce (Lab. Falkirk, late of Her Majesties' heroic pay corps) in that scathing analysis of the British officer corps?
In other news, some commentators have asked whether that picture on his blog is the best one available. I can report that it is. I wonder if the comparatively radiant Wendy Alexander had to wash after her close encounter with the Corpulent councillor.
Friday, 16 February 2007
It's been a year since I wrote this on the Langbar Debacle. For those of you who don't follow spivvy cash shells on AIM, Langbar told the market it had 205p of cash per share, in "term Deposits" in the Banco do Brazil and hard cash in ABN Amro, holland. Most people thought that cash was easy to be sure about. As it turned out the fraud was laughable in its simplicity. If anyone would like to make a film of it, I would love to be involved - there's a magnificent cast of characters .
Poor company disciplne has come to bite the market on the bum again. A software company, Torex Retail told the market in November that they were cashflow positive and had a raft of big new clients on the way, and everything was hunky-dory. Then a couple of months later announced the winning of the contracts. A week after this said that they would "materially miss forecasts", and by the way we've run out of cash and the banks are on our case. Que boardroom bust-ups, suspension of the shares. Hmmm.
Looking at the CV's of directors, sucesses like World-com and Enron feature Highly. As does the Isoft Debacle out of which Torex was spun.
Yet again directors of companies have abused AIMs light touch, and done so egregiously. At least this time the SFO appears to be doing its job - the chairman's home got raided by the boys in blue following the suspension. This one lacks the glamour of Langbar, which had rogues in Monaco condos, shadowy jewish investment vehicles, ex Nazi gold and international wheeler dealing. Torex sells tills to MacDonald's. But it demonstrates private investors are consistentley losing out to insiders.
Either you allow insiders to deal openly, telegraphing their opinions to the market, or you enforce insider dealing legislation, which is almost impossible. On both occasions positive news was met with heavy selling - dragging people in who trust the announcements allowing insiders who know the truth to get their shares away at an unrealistically high price. If you think about it, it's fraud. The Bullitin boards suspect, but if you lisentned to every BB dweeb pontificating on "banking covenants" then you'd have no speculative stocks in your portfolio.
The investors in Langbar are likely to get very little, legal action not witstanding. Torex should come back as a going concern, but with shareholders losing out badly. Never the less, the directors have destroyed value for shareholders through simple dishonesty.
Here's a tip - if you know that you're going to issue a profits warning get it out early. Don't cover it up. It's not getting better and whe you're found out, you could destroy your company.
Spain lost the right to be called Allies when they capitulated in the face of Bombs, giving encouragement and succour to Al-Qaeda. Furthermore their left wing judiciary that has carried out politically motivated court cases in areas they do not have jurisdiction (South America), and have a sketchy record on trying to arrest Pro-US dictators but ignoring the crimes of Anti-US dictators. If the US handed this man over to a nation that is currently castigating the US for "rendition" flights; the chances of the US getting this man back are absolutely zero. Spain would never return a terrorist to the US; because they believe the US would value the rights of Al-Qaeda victims more than the rights of this terrorist. And this is totally against "progressive" European legal thinking where the rights of the criminal come first.
Travelgall is the most recent guest contributor to AVBD - His musings on tropical paradises and hotel tea can be found here and they are well worth a read. Whilst he is less concerned with the presumption of innocence than the Dude, he is much better travelled.
Thursday, 15 February 2007
I have tried to ignore this train-wreck of a blog. But I just can't... I read this wanker every day, jaw dropping with each sentence. Can anyone (an elected representative no less) really think like this? It's a parody, right. This guy couldn't construct an argument if it was made of Lego (this is cut n' paste - I take no responsibility for errors, punctuation and lack of paragraphs)
Our Scottish soldiers are in the news, they are being vilified and hung out to dry by the same papers who love to call them brave heroes and fearless Scot's warriors (it sells papers). Implying that putting on a military uniform makes you de facto brave and fearless is garbage, some will be cowards, some will be brave, some will be scared and some will be fearless, it's also dangerous propaganda. The ruling classes have been using this lie throughout history Wilfrid Owen said it better - "the old lie-Dulce et decorum est - pro patria more" (it's a sweet and honourable thing to die for the father land) these young men are using recreational drugs, big waow ! so do politicians and pop stars. Many of them are in the army because of unemployment, lack of qualifications and no prospects, if my next stop was Baghdad I would probably want to party as well, why does our society have to lie about this ? Some things never change, who said "I don't know what the enemy think of our troops but they scare the life out of me, they are the scum of the earth" that of course was the great British hero Wellington at Waterloo where all his front line troops were officially drunk on neat gin to stiffen their resolve. These squaddies and indeed 'the scum of the earth' at Waterloo would have to sink very low indeed to get to the level of the journalists who are writing this stuff. Finally, some French prisoners at Trafalgar were dressed as clowns because their fleet sailed from Cadiz where they had been 'press ganged' from a visiting circus. The British Navy was no better, there's nothing honourable about all this, it's squalid and barbarous, war zones are where young soldiers learn that adrenalin is brown.No only does he re-use out of context Wellingtons "scum" quote, he also ignorantly assumes soldiers to be fools, duped into the colours. That's not my experience of the modern British soldier. I doubt he'd have the guts to suggest that outside the Royal Marines' base in Arbroath or on the Castle Esplanade in Edinburgh or for that matter to my face. I'd kick his fucking head in, were he not such a good asset to the Scottish opposition.
Now we move into the comments. Consider that the above - not worth fisking - is his considered opinion. Scroll down the comments to his off the cuff remarks... Anyone who disagrees is "squalid" and so on. He tries so hard to be erudite, but with his paedophile's visage (I'm not saying he is - but would you let him babysit?) it just doesn't work. Check out this exchange:
I found this Gem by him in an earlier post
shotgun - please forgive me I'm just trying to have a bit of a laugh, I can't help finding some ex military types hilarious. You obviously take these things seriously so I will stop. Suffice to say, I don't have the same regard for the British military establishment as you doThe only reason I read this idiot is to reassure me that this is the standard of the opposition. The man's a twat. The saddest thing is that he's been allowed to breed. Apparently she's not quite so obnoxious. (less fun though).
We blog because we have something to say. Most of our friends are bored of it and we need a new audience. Therefore blogging is a deeply egotistical thing to take time over. It does, however prevent me from sourcing a Russian military surplus dragunov and lying in wait for Gordon Brown in a field overlooking his Kirkaldy nest. Because I can get it off my chest to the readers of A Very British Dude, I don't need to kill the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
We also find people online who say "There There. I agree with everything you say" There are some who are so extreme, they make even me feel like a reasonable part of the political spectrum. All in all it makes your anger seem reasonable and it gives hope that this country is not going to hell in a handcart. Then there's the massive ego-boost of reading Terry Kelly and his Spawn's Blogs. Surely no-one can be that ignorant and stupid unless they're joking and be elected representatives as well?
Now I have had two occasions (here and here) when I have been threatened with legal action, both laughable, both roundly ignored. But imagine the effect of this space being subject to statutory controls? Joyless pricks who want to control what you think or say actually having the power to censor you. No Devils Kitchen? No Mr Eugenides? No Rotweiller Puppy? No Bogroll Beverage? Hell, if the daily Kos had its way, no Chase Me Ladies either... (how humourless is the left?). There must be a space for people to let off steam - it's called free speech. You may not like what I say, but you can choose not to read it. Or you can read it, comment and counter argue. Hell, you might even change my mind. Just don't take me that seriously, please!
No... we bloggers do not want a code of conduct - (actually left-wing bloggers in their cocoon of progressive self-righteousness probably do) A voluntary one is a Trojan horse for a compulsory state-enforced order not to call people "arsehole" on t' interweb. I don't want that, and if you love democracy you don't want it either. Leave me alone. I'm harmless here.
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works.Quite.
The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.Calder goes on to point to the work of scientists working outside the consensus of Massive Antropogenic Climate Change (MACC).
We all know Bjorn Lomborg. There are others, Henrik Svensmark, on whom calder has written a brace of books, Lohman et Al at the University of Bremen, George C. Reid in Boulder Colorado and others which can be found after a search of t' interweb. Their articles go unreported and can only be accessed in peer reviewed journals, which must be paid for. They are massively outnumbered by those working on CO2 baased MACC. Why? There's research budgets in CO2 and MACC, which just isn't there in other competing theories. Calder is suggesting that the current "consensus" on climate change is as a result of political hijacking of the issue, and that the sun, the sun's magnetic field, its effect on cosmic rays, their effect on cloud formation and so on.... are improtant. Possibly more important than those nasty greenhouse gasses, which in any case keep us alive, otherwise we's be another frozen, dead rock.
I have been saying for a while that I wasn't convinved by the evidence for MACC. I'm sure the whole thing is being used by statists to raise taxes on nasty, nasty business and those horrid borgeois mums in their selfish 4x4s and fat-cats in their gas-guzzling jags. The sun does vary its output and I am intuitively inclined to disbelieve any theory that ignores the role of the sun in climate change as MACC does. In any case, a warmer world is a more fertile world (up to a point naturally - but we're nowhere near that yet) and anyone that says otherwise is a cunt. I shall therefore buy Mr Calder's book: "the Chilling stars". I suggest every Massive Antropogenic Climate Change fanatic does likewise.
Another public service blog - with thanks to
Have you ever sat down wondering whether the period drama you're about to watch with the other half is worth while, well the boys (I assume the gender to be male) at "In the best possible taste" will tell you whether blousy heroine is about to get her rack out, so you know whether to switch over to the Top Gear re-runs on UK-TV Gold, or get the tissues.
Right - I hate this iniquitous tax. But I can see two arguments for its preservation: That transfers of wealth are always taxed - why should inheritance be any different? and the idea that inheritance tax helps meritocracy by preventing the idle rich living off their assets for generations.
The second argument is just socialist spite, but as this is a political reality in modern Britain, you just have to accept that this vindictiveness passes for an argument for the state to expropriate a family's wealth at the time of the death of a loved one. (Aren't socialists lovely people?)
So a total repeal of death tax is not on the cards. Because this fact pisses the Daily Mail off, I feel better about it. But there are problems. It is essentially a voluntary tax and is often described as a tax on the unlucky and the unwise. Businesses are exempt as are farms. Potentially exempt transfers can usually see to the rest, and the threshold at £285,000 is generous. The problem is that it hits unexpected deaths harder than quiet passings in old age. Consider this: A family loses both parents in a car crash and the tax-man - as a direct result - also takes the family home. That's not on.
So there is a very simple solution to the problem, which prevents middle Britain being hit by a tax that is designed to punish the very rich: First homes should not qualify for IHT (subject to caveats such as time occupied and value to prevent abuse - you couldn't have everyone buying mansions to die in to avoid tax). To be fair, I would be happy with such a tax that effectively only collects from the Liquid assets of an estate - investment property and shares. That's fair - does what it's designed to do and doesn't punish the unlucky too harshly. Remove peoples' first homes from the taxable estate and the problem goes away.
Monday, 12 February 2007
Politics is the Art of Power: its acquisition and use. Money is intimately linked with power - if you have a lot of lolly, you gain influence. If you have a lot of Power you can gain money. Therefore no committee will ever prevent cash and parliament coming together. The job of parliament should be to see that this coming together is not CORRUPTING.
Until recently, being an MP was a privilege to be paid for. Most liberal and Conservative members were independently wealthy. Most Labour members were supported by their unions. There were no expence accounts to be fiddled and very limited salaries. This was the case till the 60's. It may not look fair, but the Members did not look to their party hierarchy for their seats, nor to the state for money. It was local associations who chose candidates, and the financial arrangements were flexible.
What we've gained in "diversity" we've lost in the freedom legislators used to feel to to defy their party machines. Now in this day and age - of group-think representative democracy and privileges and standards committees, being a legislator is a mere job, like any other.
Herein lies the problem: A job requires two things: That resources are made available to an individual to achieve his ends (hence expense accounts), and that the recipient uses those resources to achieve or appear to achieve measurable goals , in order to justify the salary (leading to legislative diarrhoea as every tuppenny-ha'penny backbencher tries to get his private members bill banning something fun through the commons). This brings "productivity" into the equation. Parliamentarians are therefore measured on how many times they vote, with whom they are paired, how many questions they ask, how much legislation they scrutinise and how may committees on which they sit. This professionalism breeds career politicians who immerse themselves in the Westminster village so thoroughly that they do not see the effect of their policies in anything other than the latest digest from the ONS.
In the good old days, many parliamentarians had jobs. They weren't driven to "achieve" and because they were on the green benches of their own volition (and not as of financial necessity - as now) they could afford to take principled stands, if necessary to the detriment of their careers. They could also be seen to be doing nothing - which is usually the best thing a politician can do.
Being supported by a company, rich individual or Union - if you are open about it - should not be a problem. Money does not necessarily corrupt. More corrupt, to my mind is the idea that parliamentarians and the parties they belong to should never face financial hardship. Parliamentarians will never know how debilitating tax is, if they can vote themselves and their parties more cash at will. Parties are not important. Free thinking MPs are.
The Public has therefore doubly lost out. We've lost independent-minded MPs to scrutinise legislation and we'll have to pay them to do this worse job. Worse still, it is clear that paying a middle-manager's salary to MPs is the cause of their current failings. Basically, you need to either pay them a shit-load (a couple of hundred grand to get the best people) or nothing at all (and get independent and independently wealthy people and allow lots of organisations to sponsor MPs). Anything else leads to corruption - is there anything more easily corrupted than the lower-middle-class on the make?
Today is the 198th aniversary of the Birth of Charles Darwin, and this this is Celebrated as Darwin Day . We like to think that this is less, well... vulgar and commercial than Christmas.
I would like to take this opportunity to send seasons greetings to all young-earth creationists.
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Is it just me, or are you finding DK a bit, well... Shrill on the subject of the Tories? Most conservative members agree with more or less everything UKIP says. Most, like me, however have taken the practical stance that "politics is the art of the possible" and advocating withdrawl would mean another term in opposition. That is not to say a genuinely Eurosceptic Tory party isn't a project for the future, it's just that it's counterproductive now.
The British people always get it right (though usually after "exhausting all alternatives"). We have rejected extremism - both facism and communinsm. We've kept our Monarchy. Our flirtation with socialism ended with not too much damage done. We will reject (are rejecting?) the EU and all its works. The Peoples of Europe are rejecting it too. There's no need to hurry the process and I doubt we could- the edifice is a house of cards and will collapse in its own good time.
With that in mind, my political priorities are to
- Get Labour out
- ....That's it.
I receive the Guardian's "Backbencher" e-mail about political doings in the Westminster village. Today's missive opened with this:
What is it that makes 18 Doughty Street's new attack ads so different - so appalling? You might have thought PPBs couldn't get any worse, but Tim Montgomerie, Iain Dale and their team have found a whole new way to inflict desperately unsubtle political messages on a gullible public.
The first ad, for those who didn't have the pleasure, featured a bloke so accustomed to swiping a "tax card" on demand that he tries to insert it between a woman's breasts. The second, a daring expose of MPs' cynicism about state funding for political parties, is little better.
Suddenly, the free airtime parties enjoy for their PPBs and PEBs seems, well, entirely reasonable - which is surely not what the free-marketeers had in mind.
"Desperately unsubtle political messages"? You fucking cunt! Gordon Brown is desperately unsubtly making the country poor. It's tax that's doing it and the people are getting fed up. The 18 DS team have come up with a message that this government is taxing everything it can, and the second one points out that MPs want to use some of the cash pilfered from the taxpayer to fund extravagant party machines. What does "The backbencher" think is an acceptable means of getting your message accross? A terrorist campaign? Or is any attack on high state spending "Appalling".
I despair of pinkos sometimes I really do. So to piss them off, here's the tax ad:
and here's the party funding ad - It's not on Youtube yet.
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
I've read the transcript of the conversation. The Pilots asked a number of times for their controller to confirm whether there were friendlies in the area. They were given clear guidance that there were not.
Ergo, the pentagon is right not to discipline the pilots. Someone else is responsible for the death of a British soldier. Someone's failure in the chain of command meant that these men were fired upon. This person or persons could be anywhere in the British or American chain that linked the soldiers to the roving aircraft. That person may know who he or she is, and will have to live with that. It is clear that the pilot has trouble dealing with it.
I hope the investigation yields results that make these events less frequent in the future. I don't want to see an unfortunate destruction of an individual. That helps no-one and doesn't help win this bloody war.
The fact remains that war is a dangerous business and I'd rather have the USAF on my side, blowing up the enemy at the small risk that they make a mistake and blow me up. They save more British lives than they take. This is no consolation to LCpl of Horse Hull's family or comrades, but the media is trying to make this an issue over which Britain and America fall out. That would be a disaster.
Sunday, 4 February 2007
On Saturday morning I wandered out of my gaff to get breakfast, and waddling down the high street was a swan, being gently herded towards the river hiz by some good people. As mothers swept children out of the way the swan remained unperturbed.
I joined the sheperding operation on Bancroft. The swan had tried to land on a car park 15 minutes earlier, thinking it was a pond. Luckily our plucky fowl wasn't hurt, and set out on a long walk.
Having guided this remarkably pliant swan to water, it* had a drink, and greeted its mate. If I was feeling anthropomorphic, I would almost say with relief...
The swan was happy to be home!
*I don't know how to sex a swan
Friday, 2 February 2007
But so low is my expectation of this England team now that there's a lingering suspicion that Australia Threw the game to ensure meeting England rather than New Zealand in the final (retired Hurt?). It's terrible to think like that and it reflects badly on me, I know. But there you go - one flash of brilliance last summer aside - the England cricket team is rubbish, masters only of the middle-order collapse.
Let's wait in hope rather than expectation of salvaging something from this winter's tour.
Thursday, 1 February 2007
With a Hat-tip to Samizdata, where I learned that a Labour MP, well known for his anti-drink-drive campaigning was caught ...ahem... drink driving. Don't worry though, the police let him off, scott-free.
Equality under the law, my arse. The pigs know on which side their bread is buttered. So they let an MP off, knowing that he'll continue to campaign to let them fleece motorists with more speed cameras and lurkers waiting to catch drivers out, rather than actually police crime. NO! heaven forbid the filth care about burglars and muggers (or even thieves, even when they're speeding) when there's an otherwise decent person doing 34 in a 30 zone, off whom they can get a nice quick sanction-detection and 60 quid.
let's see if we can start a campaign to get Mr. Turner prosecuted to the full extent allowed in law....
Is an Illiterate buffoon, as well as being Minister for Justice at the department of I can't be bothered. Let's just start at the top of her collection of ill thought out, chippy, feminist drivel that laughably passes for a blog:
No Capitals on her own name. The headline on the first post I came to, had an apostrophe in the wrong place, indicating (please let it be true..) that there is only one Labour woman in Wales, in a post where she compares Labour wimmin to their Tory counterparts like this:
Women of all ages - from over 80 to under 20 - met to give each other support and mobilise for the election campaign. Unlike Tory women, they are there to support and deliver for women in the community - they are not there just for “a career”. The only man in the room was Jude, aged 8 months.Her comments seem to me to be chippy, tribal, and obsessed with gender. In just what way are Tory women after "a career" in politics? Most Tory women I have met are committed to their wards, and often holding down a full-time job too. Most are mothers. All I have met are united in the desire to be judged on their abilities, not their genitalia.
I have never heard a Tory councillor, let alone an MP talk about the members and activists of another party like this, and certainly not in writing on their blog. If anyone can find an example, please let me know.
Her post on Hillary Clinton reads thus:
Great news that Hillary Clinton is going for the White House. She’s the first woman Democrat to go for the Presidency. It is certain now, that the Republicans will go for a woman vice-presidential candidate. Voters no longer want politics to be “men-only”. Hillary has broken the mould. American politics will never be the same again. Hillary is one of the generation of feminists who are in politics not despite the fact that they are a woman and a mother, but because they want women’s experience to be at the heart of politics. Go Girl!Insightful analysis and a lesson in spelling and grammar from one of our top elected Representatives. So, Clairvoyance aside, is this the best Labour women can come up with?