... by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith , lord of Mann, Duke Of Normandy, Paramount Chief of Fiji, Queen of France, and Commander In Chief of the British Armed forces
Nominally the most warlike and powerful ruler on earth and the only person to be simultaneously head of state in more than one country (she has sixteen realms, even after having mislaid a few during her reign) apparently has a MySpace page too.
Apparently she's a lovely person too. I think now would be a suitable time to add, I would urge anyone dreaming of a British Republic to stick this in their pipe and smoke it.
Friday, 30 March 2007
Despite Robert Mugabe's declining grasp of reality. Despite the beggary of the people of what was, until recently the bead-basket of southern Africa. Despite the use of bulldozers to clear "Slums" (actually areas where support for the MDC ran highest). Despite the homelessness of up to 700,000 people, Despite the vicious beating of an opposition leader. Despite the banning of dissenting voices, the harassment of journalists, the blatant intimidation of voters and subversion of the democratic process, What do African leaders do?
They suggest politely, that Mugabe might, if he's so minded, and if it's not too much bother, talk to the Movement for Democratic Change (through the South Africans if necessary). That's it! No condemning the brutal suppression of Zimbabwe's people. No mention of a totally out of control executive, the total suspension of the Rule of Law, the endemic corruption and violence of the security services, as Zanu Leaders jostle for position.*
The view of African leaders is simply that Mugabe is one of their own. An independence leader who has earned the right to rule. Until African leaders accept that, even amongst black leaders, there are acceptable norms, then Africa will remain benighted, poor and oppressed. This is why he presents his remaining in power as a snub to the "Colonial Power". He's stroking the egos of the independence and post-independence leaders who surround his country into thinking that they are part of the big struggle against whitey. But it is the black citizens of Africa who suffer the most from the depradations of their rulers.
Yesterday's statement from the Southern African Development Community was worse than a non-event. It was a green light to any and all of them to use whatever means necessary to stay in power, which will be condoned, if not actually supported by every other southern African leader.
This is why, no matter how much "aid" (taking from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries) we in the west piss into this welfare junkie of a continent, there will be no improvement in the living standards of ordinary Africans until African leadership improves. There is much good in Mugabe. He loves Cricket and he's a natty, tasteful dresser (actually I think I've exhausted his good points there), but he really must go and go now. To be a good national leader, you must surrender your position in the national good, when the time comes. That is the lesson that Africa must learn - and that will do more to drive African efforts against poverty than a thousand Lenny Henrys.
At the moment, Mugabe is facing a struggle within his party, which could cost him his job. That's the problem - the last thing Zimbabwe needs is continuity and a smooth handover once the dapper octogenarian departs his office, or shuffles off his mortal coil. If another Zanu PF heavy takes control, do you really think things will get better for the average Zimbabwean? (Probably - they can hardly get worse). So whether it's Security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa , Zimbabwe's richest politician or Armed forces chief, Solomon Mujuru (and husband of the Vice President) who takes the reins, diplomatic pressure needs to be brought to bear on not just Zimbabwe, but South Africa too.
Until South Africa demonstrates itself to be a responsible regional power, by condemning the actions of the Zimbabwean leadership and taking action to bring about sensible democratic reform, any hope for the African continent will continue to be in Whitey's hands. The West can bring pressure to bear, perhaps not on the Regime itself, but on its friends - South Africa in particular. Yesterdays SADC Communique was nothing less than an admission that African Governments can't be relied upon to police each other.
*Hat Tip to the Bearded Man, who comments on Zimbabwean Affairs for the video.
Thursday, 29 March 2007
This is by David Miliband in the Telegraph, and It fisks itself it really does.
It's entitled "I'm in tune with the "I can" Generation". No Really, it is.
I am convinced that a fourth election victory, and fundamental changes to the landscape of Britain, are possible precisely because a more demanding, educated, savvy population want the power and control that modern progressive politics can offer. This is from a Minister in the most authoritarian government since William the Conqueror - what a sophilistic little cunt
The politics of "I want" collapsed under its own weight. In the end, no society can be the sum total of individual desires. My Bullshitometer just exploded
It is the late flowering of individual autonomy and control. It is, in other words, one of the founding ideas of left-of-centre politics: to put power in the hands of the peopleHas he any Idea what this government has done to civil liberties or has Tony and Co.'s propensity to ban stuff, monitor and snoop and otherwise interfere where they're not fucking wanted, passed him by? What a drooling, syphilitic penis of an excuse for a piece of shit.
In the battle against climate change, an "I can" society enables citizens to become producers as well as consumers of energy. Within ten years, all new homes will need to sell energy back to the national grid, with citizens getting a fair price for their electricity. The power stations of the future will draw energy from a million roofs, rather than just a central generator. "I can" must be combined with a sense of "we can" - the belief that there is a shared willingness within each community that individuals' actions will be reciprocated by others.Look you fucker, I had just fixed my bullshitometer, you complete fucktard.
The best way of getting citizens to invest in energy-efficiency measures is not just to appeal on the basis of individual self-interest, but to target a whole street or ward and make citizens feel part of a wider drive to tackle climate change. That is why energy policy in future must be a matter for local government as well as national government. So what you're saying is that because individuals don't want to spend money to advance you eco-weenie agenda, you'll force councils to make people do eco stuff to their homes. How does this square with "empowering the individual" bullshit you spouted in earlier paragraphs, you total, total cunt?
Can communities manage public spaces, from parks to community centres? Can the criminal justice system become more connected to the communities it serves, with courts based within communities, and citizens able to have influence over sentencingHow does the first bullshit sentence connect with the second, which seems to espouse ideals which led directly to the Terror of the French revolution as sentencing was outsourced from the courts to the Parisian mob? Your vision is scaring me you nasty, illiberal, incoherent piece of pig's afterbirth.
In the economy, "I can" companies and public sector organisations will inspire their employees to go the extra mile and apply their creativity in the workplace. Employees will be offered more power, responsibility and autonomy, from options to buy a stake in the company to the opportunity for further training. These changes must be underpinned by changes in the way we govern.This is just laughable wank speak. You actually said "go the extra mile". Do you have no sense of Irony, penis-breath?
But, in truth, new Labour has been better at strong national leadership than at nurturing strong local institutions of self-government. Yet look at our membership cards: they say clearly that we are pledged to put power, as well as wealth and opportunity, in the hands of the many not the few.I'm sorry David, how does that follow? ID Cards? Empowering? How? You are a cunt, David and I loathe you.
The concentration of power in Westminster is as antithetical to our ambitions of a more equal society as is the concentration of power in the private sector.Either Power is in Westminster, or it is in the private sector. You don't make sense, David.
The remaining couple of paragraphs collapse under the weight of their own bullshit. This man, this drooling fucktard of a cuntbubble, whom I wouldn't trust to run a bath, let alone a ministry of state, is an incoherent, rambling authoritarian posing as a "progressive" whatever the fuck that means. His argument seems to consist of cramming as many PC Wankwords into one sentence as possible, whilst giving away nothing.
What does it tell you about his Ideology? What he might do as a minister, or heaven forbid, PM? That he knows that the public think Labour's been authoritarian, that power has been centralised like never before, so he'll mouthe platitudes and then carry on bossing us about, like there's no debate on climate change, like there's no debate on ID cards, and throw those who disagree to the mob.
Consider then that this sophilistic fool - duped into self-satisfaction by his own management-speak, bullshit of a class that would embarrass David Brent, is thought to be a leading light of the Labour Party, a possible successor to Blair and a probable successor to Brown.
This man may be Prime Minister in 12 weeks or so.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
Surely when you're captured by a foreign power, you give your name, rank and number. You don't use the words "Yes" or "no" lest they be recorded and cut to answer any question, you say "I'm sorry, sir, I cannot answer that question". Repeat ad Nauseam.
You certainly don't don a head scarf and mouth enemy propaganda.
Or am I being harsh?
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
About 25 years ago, the Argentines invaded British Territory. On the 19th of March, South Georgia and a couple of weeks later, the Falkland Archipelago itself found themselves occupied by Argentinian Marines, in clear violation of international Law.
The Right of self-determination of the Islanders was clear, the British task force sailed do enforce this, under UN resolution 502, against the army of a nasty little right-wing dictatorship, who invaded the island to prevent popular opposition at home from overthrowing the military Junta as the result of economic meltdown.
Yet much of the left in this country believes this whole thing was set up to ensure Conservative victory in the 1983 election! They really think that the withdrawal of HMS endurance (an unarmed survey vessel) was a green light to Galtieri. They think that the sinking of the Belgrano, despite the British government making clear to the Argentines that the exclusion zone did not prevent offencive action being taken against Argentine forces anywhere, was a war crime (because it was sailing away? Jeezus do you people know what a feint is? Even the Argentines, to their credit didn't whinge). Much of the British left, it appeared, actually wanted the Argentines to win.
Basically, by any sane measure of morality, the British Government was right to take the actions it took. And the British military was successful despite an 8000 mile supply chain and insufficient air cover, at huge cost. But the left will oppose any military action, no matter how justified taken by any western power. They hate this country and our allies, and everything we stand for. There's a word for this attitude.
Given that much of the left opposed the Falklands (and a generation earlier opposed taking action against Hitler), can their perpetual bleatings about the Iraq be taken seriously? If someone dresses to the left, their view on the morality of war can and should be ignored, because no matter what the provocation, they will always say "no". The Iraq war is controversial, but British forces are there in defence and at the request of an elected government, one elected by a better turnout than our elections. We are trying to bring stability, and are succeeding to a greater extent than has been portrayed by the media. (I know it's not good, and barely improving - but it would be worse were coalition forces not there). The left's harassment of western governments and their forces just makes a difficult task harder. That's not to say the strategy and continued occupation of Iraq aren't legitimate targets for debate and criticism, It's just that Galloway and his ilk go over the line into providing succour for our enemies.
Which brings us to Iran.
What on earth are they playing at? I think their protestations that the British servicemen and women were in Iranian in territorial waters last week can be dismissed. They captured our servicemen against all norms of international law, whilst they were involved in anti-smuggling operations in Iraqi territorial waters. Wars start over this sort of thing, yet they have the sheer chutzpah to make 300 a diplomatic affair. They may be playing a diplomatic game with the UN security council over their right to use Nuclear technology, but I cannot see what good it will do them. I though long and hard about what they hope to achieve, and the only plausible answer was the most scary.
There's a millennial, apocalyptic insanity at the heart of the Iranian state - something their proxies in the Mahdi Army in Iraq have too. They seem to want to provoke war, bring on the end times and hasten the appearance of the Mahdi - a sort of Islamic messiah. The Iraq conflict is appearing to fulfil many of the prophesies of the Shi'ia concerning his appearance. Just as confronting the death cult of Al Quaeda or Shi'ia militias is proving problematic as they do not recognise defeat or victory in any terms we understand, how can we confound this on a national scale in Iran?
I just don't know, but I do know that George Galloway and Tam Dayells' opinions can safely be ignored.
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
I found an interesting study which linked a rise in suicide rate in the UK and Australia to Conservative governments. That is the bad news. The good news is that most of these extra suicides are socialists.
I found this snippet whilst looking for statistics on Scandinavians' propensity to throw a seven, in order that I may beat Polly up with the information. Apart from those alcoholic Ice feinds, the Finns, they aren't that much more likely to pull the plug than we Brits, so it looks like I was wrong to use this to berate her for her love of the Scandinavian social model.
I still think high taxes are a silly idea though, because I would rather spend my money myself on me, rather than have a do-gooder decide that someone else was more deserving of my money (after taking his salary, pension and 5 weeks paid holiday a year out of my contribution). In any case I doubt politics have much to do with suicide rates.
The professions most likely to buy the farm are Doctors, Dentists, Vets and Farmers. Not noticably economically opressed. Why? High stress, long hours, lack of social contact? Possibly, but I think Tools and Ability have more to do with it. The data are inconclusive, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was little variation in the liklihood of attempts at suicide between professions, but that a Doctor if minded to cash in his chips, will do it properly. Farmers usually know how to make things die, and have guns. Drug users, and the unemployed are also cited in studies of suicide rates. It seems intuitively plausable that despair makes attempts at suicide more likely amongst these groups.
We just don't know.
Monday, 26 March 2007
Tom Paine (the blogger not the enlightenment thinker) puts into focus the problem with democracy. I have often said that democracy isn't the end in itself as Americans seem to demonstrate with their foreign policy, nor does being democratically elected give legitimacy to incompetence and mismanagement as the Labour party seems to think (especially when running councils and LEAs).
The end those who want good governance seek, is freedom and the rule of law. Democracy is merely a good way to ensure this. It is the best way yet devised, but it is not perfect. Without adequate checks and balances, you have a democratic tyranny. With excessive checks and balances you have the weak and ineffectual Wiemar Republic.
The Problem as pointed out in his recent post at the Last Ditch is that the people have worked out that they can vote themselves the state's largesse. This is always sold to them as "The rich" paying their "fair share". This is the reasoning behind progressive taxation. The rich are supposed to pay not only more absolutely, but more as a proportion of their income than "the poor". The Rich being defined as "someone who earns more than me".
Whilst I support a flat-tax, this is not as important in this regard as the complexity and opacity of the tax system which appears generous, but in fact traps the very lowest paid into serfdom with 90% marginal tax rates. What we need therefore is a simple tax system where everyone can see how much they contribute to the exchequer, and the debate about fair marginal rates of taxation for all members of society can be had in the open. This may or may not include different tax bands. People may actually be persuaded as to the merits of high taxation - Polly is no imbecile and she seems sold on the idea.
Stealth taxes are therefore anti-democratic. They prevent the mass of people who don't watch the Budget with an open spreadsheet, from properly assessing just how much of your income the Government takes away from you.
What united most early democracies is a property bar. The franchise was typically only open to the Nobility, then male property holders, who paid a certain level of taxation, then all male property holders. Slowly the idea that the franchise was a right to all adults came to be accepted. Non property owners and even women* have been given the vote in most democracies. Children are next - if the Liberal Democrats get their way.
This was the Case through the evolution of the British Constitution, in accelerated form during the French revolution. Eventually sheer selfish mismanagement by "the people" voting for endless boondongles and pork at others' expense or a simple desire for strong government and charismatic leadership lead to the collapse of many previous attempts at democracy like the Wiemar republic or the 1791 French constitution or systems that were groping towards that end, like Russia in 1917. Typically the reasoning behind this limitation to the franchise was paternalistic. There was also an explicit view to the moral hazard. The late monarchical and Early revolutionary French constitutions, were aimed at that section of society who had a stake in its success - property owners. Once the deputies fell under the influence of the Parisian Mob, the result was the terror, state appropriation of private property and 20 years of international war.
So is it time to bring back a qualified franchise to ensure sensible government? There are many possible ways of shrinking the electorate. All have their advantages, and disadvantages, but if there's to be a serious debate on this radical proposal we must first work out what we want to achieve: We are trying to disenfranchise the apathetic, and those who do not contribute to society, and we are trying to prevent those voting for continued state largesse at the expense of others. Therefore Voting must not be hereditary - all people must be able to achieve the franchise, and realistically the electorate must be a majority of the population.
I am aware that this policy was last advocated by one Alan B'stard, MP for Haltenprice. I wonder if the current incumbent would dare be so bold?
Very simply I would recommend civil servants (in return for their jobs for life and state-funded pensions) should be denied the vote (though perhaps they should be able to vote in local elections), as should people who take more in state benefit than they pay in tax. Exceptions would probably include those who are in receipt of benefits through no fault of their own such as the disabled. As this policy would only be fair if the tax and benefit system was clear and transparent, there would be benefits for all through the necessary simplification of the tax system. Should you therefore fall into any of these disenfranchised categories, you simply change jobs or get one in order to qualify for a vote. Taken to its logical conclusion, perhaps any tax-paying entity should get a vote - companies' boards of directors for example.
In short, those who pay the piper should call the tune. Those in the pay of the state should have no say in how it is run.
*I'm joking, ladies.
I spend a lot of time trawling the internet, looking at company websites. This means I am exposed to more than my fair share of corporate Wankspeak. This is typical of the platitudinous bullshit taking up words, whilst saying precisely nothing about what the company does, that I endure daily. Read and Enjoy (Wankwords in Bold)
...our clients benefit from our ability to take an holistic view of their business and personal finances, understanding their unique requirements and then developing integrated solutions."By Rights they should be taken out and hung for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue."
Our business has been built by doing things differently. For us, the client is at the centre of everything we do. Whilst it’s a common claim, at the [company name] it is far from being an empty promise. We’re not content with paying lip service to the idea of putting customers first. For us, the needs of our clients are the drivers behind everything we do.
We’re not merely a supplier and we don’t just sell products (unless that is really what our clients want). We strive to form long-term partnerships, meeting the needs of our clients’ businesses through the design and implementation of bespoke, integrated, solutions. Working together, we help to address known problems, as well as identifying the ones that aren’t evident. It’s an approach that our clients appreciate....
Friday, 23 March 2007
It now seems that Pakistan Coach, Bob Woolmer was likely to have been Murdered.
Bob Woolmer seems to have been a genuinely likable chap. There's no hint of any other side to him - no words like "Driven", "Single-Minded" and "Focused" that excuse unpleasant personality traits of successful men in the obituaries.
I'm appalled. There is no place for this anywhere, but Cricket's appeal is that of a Civilised and Civilising pursuit, but it seems possible that a good man died because of betting syndicates. How low can you get?
The Guardian Has Reviewed the new Zak Snyder movie, 300 and found it to be "racist". Now this is mostly because the goodies are white and the baddies are (where identifiable) mostly black. This idea is dealt with well by Mr Eugenides.
This movie is also about an individualistic western culture standing up to an agressive de-humanising eastern culture in the name of "Freedom". Though is should be noted the "freedom" the Spartans practiced would not satisfy most libertarians today, including as it did eugenic infanticide and enslavement of an entire population. Hey at least their women were liberated, which is more than can be said for the Athenians. Neither Athenian nor Spartan society was homophobic and both were democratic(ish), so you'd think that there'd be enough for the lefties to love about the Ancient greeks, but as they had the termerity to stand up to their enemies and fight, you'll find no support from the left. There's no enemy no matter how evil, whom the left will not appease.
I think what gets the lefties really riled is the sheer manly self-confidence of the movie.
The Spartans are absolutely convinced as to the superiority of their civilisation and are prepared to die defending it, taking as many of their enemy with them as possible. They make the same HOWAH noise that anyone familiar with the US Army would recognise (the Marines pronounce it HOO-RAH). They talk about freedom and the need to prevent the world falling to mysticism and tyrany. The Baddies are from Iran, so the parallels to today's war on terror are clear.
But this isn't about today. It's about a battle that has become a legend - a foundation myth if you like for more than classical greece, "the West" too. Salamis, is where the persians were actually routed, by "those philosophers and boy-Lovers", the Athenians but heroic defeats have always had a place in mythology above their military strategic significance. As Napoleon remarked "In war, the moral is to the physical as three is to one". The movie ends at the battle of Plataea, where Leonidas' sacrifice forms the backbone of a rousing speech.
I loved it, despite the leaden dialogue because it stirred the warrior (or is that the 13 year old?) in me. It makes you want to go and enlist to fight the Taliban. This is war porn at its finest. Complaints about the dialogue are irrelevant. This is the Helicopeter attack from "Apocalyse Now", A montage of all the best bits of "Black Hawk Down", Sgt Alias getting slotted in "Platoon", all the fights from Gladiator and Troy and the Training sequence from "Batman Begins" rolled into one - all stylistically shot with total reverence to the original Graphic Novel by Frank Miller. Unlike Sin City however, there's real nudity from plenty of gorgeous women.
Unlike every critically-acclaimed war movie in history, this one does not have an anti-war "message". The message isn't hidden at all. Better to die free than live a slave. Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.
Basically, if you want to get your bird back for makeing you sit through "The Holiday", this is the one to take her to. (Mind you, my girlfriend was eulogising the Male Thighs and torsos on display: if your chick liked Brad Pitt's Leather mini-skirt in Troy, she'll love this)
Thursday, 22 March 2007
I can't stand the sight of the office anymore. I'm off to see 300 in the IMAX with the bird.
I don't mind admitting that I've been looking forward to this more than is reasonable.
There will be more than one review of this movie in the blogosphere tomorrow, but I suspect that Matthew Sinclair's will be better than mine...
Update: I Was Right.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Well, well, well. The one-eyed presbyterian fucker delivers a tax-cut, eh?
Basic rate tax cut to 20% from 22% Hooray! But the starting rate of 10% has been abolished. Boo. Which means that (assuming personal allowances would have gone up anyway) someone on £10,000 pays an extra £162.50 in tax. He may get that back in tax credits, but the "cut" in income tax isn't a cut until you earn around £18,000 a year.
More disincentives to work for the low paid who already suffer obscene marginal tax rates - a point Cameron made well.
I'm better off by around £150 per year, but I still think he's a bastard.
This cheap measure, (1 billion off the income tax bill overall offset by increases in NI banding so probably revenue neutral) costs the low paid dearest, just so he can get some favourable headlines. It's a political stunt, aimed at the Tories' Achilles heel (or so he thinks). Nothing less and I hope the British public see through it. Sure he cut Business tax rates too, but this will have been clawed back by increased taxations on small buisnesses and reductions in capital allowances.
There's certainly nothing to delight thouse of us who want a simpler tax system, the British being the most complex in the world.
Cameron made hay with the "Stalinist" joke and this epithet is beginning to stick. The wheel is already coming off the Brown Premiership!
This is my immediate reaction to the budget - no doubt there will be more to come once I've had a look in more depth. So in summary, Gordon Brown is a Thieving Shit and I hate him. But that's not news is it?
UPDATE: A good roundup of the blogosphere's take on Gordown Browns latest five year plan can be found over at the Kitchen
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
She Titles her most recent offering:
Tory-run councils prove the party makeover is skin-deepGood.
[Gordon] can and certainly will boast shamelessly of 10 spectacular years.... And he kept his own golden rule (with only minor goal-post shunting).Which translates as high taxation and wasteful, inflationary spending, during which he hasn't actually kept to his golden rule.
Even so, the party battle lines are already well defined for the next election. It needs no clairvoyant: it's the same old story. Tax and spend always marks out the great divideWhich sounds like a good reason to vote Tory to me.
Labour did hold its breath painfully for two years but after  spent far more than its most ardent supporters ever imagined, outspending and out-redistributing every previous Labour government.... So Cameron and Osborne plan the same trick in reverse. Just as Labour camouflaged its spending plans, so they hide their tax-cutting intentions.Something I've been arguing for ages, though they aren't hiding their tax cutting agenda, they have proposed a "growth rule". Grow spending slower than the economy and you can cut tax and not cut services. The British people like this so...
..Now that Tories run so many councils, with more to come after May......told you...
we can see the colour of their spots by what they do in office. Are they putting into action those softer, gentler words their leader speaks? Are they spreading wellbeing, social justice, green activism, concern for the disabled, the old and the poor in their localities? No, is the short answer. Cutting council tax comes top, and that means cutting services.Again, I will dispute the extent to which Tories are cutting services, but Tory councils do cut taxes. Her Pollyness helpfully lists them.
Take Hammersmith and Fulham, seized from Labour last May, where young council leader Stephen Greenhalgh holds a placard to the cameras promising a 3% cut in council tax, with another 3% every year. How? By shutting mental-health day centres (£530k), cutting the vulnerable children's budget (£223k) and cutting £150k from occupational therapy visits for the sick and old. Plainly these ambitious young leaders still reckon cuts are the way to Tory success - and they are not hugging hoodies but cutting youth services by £317k. They are not green or clean, but cutting nearly £1m from street cleaning; nor caring for the weak, but charging £200 more a year for meals on wheels.So by the admission of Labour's most ardent cheerleader, Tory councils cut Britain's most hated tax, by not spending on wasteful services that the majority of tax payers never use. Awww thanks Pol!
In Croydon, the Tories set a zero tax rise for next year - and they have just cut 10% from the voluntary sector despite Cameron's promises to charity. With £6m cut from social services, a family centre on the New Addington estate is to shut: what happened to Cameron's family concern? In Harrow, the Tories have put a £12 daily charge on their day centres for the frail. In Havering, they have just stopped school uniform payments for poor children. In Westminster, they are shutting sheltered housing.
Camden (where 14 Tories rule with 21 Lib Dems) received the country's most generous settlement - a 6.2% increase, due to local need. Did they spend it on services? No, on tax cuts instead with a zero increase this year, as four after-school clubs close, door-to-door recycling on council estates stops (but continues in Hampstead), £200k is cut from social work in hard-pressed schools, and meals on wheels cost 20% more. Are they green? No, they have cut all night-time cleaning in Camden Town and Covent Garden.
Such stories are pouring in from Tory councils everywhere. But since council tax is a low proportion of most people's taxes, will these cuts be politically popular?Yes Pol. They will.
By the next election, voters under Tory councils will know what tax cuts do and they may not warm much to Cameronisms such as these opening words to his speech last weekend: "We've shown our commitment to community campaigning and making a real difference locally, in every part of the country. We've focused on our new priorities - public services, the environment, improving everyone's quality of life." Locally, it may not quite look that way.Or another way of putting it - "we understand the hypocrisy of the British public: We know they want tax cuts, but they don't want to feel like cunts asking for it, so we'll cut your council tax and make changes to our rhetoric that reflect the current eco-weenie soft-left zeitgeist".
What a brilliant piece of political sophistry. Just like the Labour Government - but without the damage to people's take-home pay. Tories know that public services will always be crap, no matter how much you throw at them (Gordon's tested that theory to destruction) so tax cuts are the best way to limit the damage. If you cut taxes, services will not be noticeably worse but you will be noticeably richer.
So I'll leave you, with the most remarkable piece of doublethink from Pol. She opened with this. I'll close with it:
high public spending is part of the secret of economic successMwahhahahahhhahhhah hahahhhhahhhahah ahah Mwmwmwmhahahhahhahahahahahahahah hahhahhahhhahhhahh. What a silly fucking bitch!
(Unless of course they have prior knowledge)
19th March 2007, Citigroup initiates Whitbread as a "Buy" citing amongst others the possibility of a breakup by a third party.
20th March 2007, Whitbread up 10% on bid speculation
I wonder who is going to be acting for the suitor company? Citigroup by any chance?
It's good to see chinese walls working well....
Monday, 19 March 2007
One of the oft-used excuses for extremely bad behaviour in school is that the disruptive boy (this is an almost exclusively male excuse) is too intelligent for the class and feels frustrated and to compensate for having to spend 8 hours a day in the company of dullards on subjects he finds boring. So he breaks windows, daubs graffiti and plays truant. Occasionally this means also beating up your classmates, taking drugs, stealing and otherwise making a nuisance of himself.
Now if you are on the right hand three quarters of the bell curve, adult life is no different. Does anyone else feel like a patronised schoolboy when they read this latest wheeze from the Royal College of Physicians demanding higher taxes on booze (especially cider - why does the west-country have to suffer more than say, Newcastle?) because people are drinking too much at home. Has anyone been to Scandinavia? - they get twatted on Vodka, then kill themselves because it costs more to buy a beer in a bar than it does to fund Africa's aid budget. Even if people are drinking too much at home, what the fuck business is it of yours, you bunch of arrogant, interfering cunts?
What about those of us (grown-ups) who are capable of knowing when we have had to much to drink? Why should we pay more because simpletons who can't tie their laces without prompting from some state agency or other, think it's OK to put white lightening in their children's lunch pack?
It's like watching these morbidly obese brats and their bovine mothers who are making such a splash on TV at the moment. These are people who can't see the link between the processed junk food that they make available for their lipid offspring, and their little darling's inability to see its feet. They think that food companies are to blame. Worse, they think that it is the state's fault that they can't cook a nutritious meal for their brood. They think they should be "put in a clinic" or offered liposuction, on the state's tick, of course, so that they aren't harpooned by the nearest Japanese whaler.
As a result of the media outcry over fat plebs, the RCP funds research that obesity is linked to diet, not activity. How about the two being co-incident? a child with a good diet will be more active and therefore less obese, on average than one who eats nothing but chips. The report doesn't seem to accept that cross country running might be qualitatively better exercise than "activity" in the home. That's clearly bollocks.
The state therefore steps in, because they always do, taxing foods perceived as "unhealthy" and booze too for good measure. And this is supposed to change behaviour, is it? The bien pensants of the RCP know about medicine, but clearly precious little about the dismal science of economics, which is the study of incentives. Food has a very low elasticity of demand. So do booze, and fags. If you tax what people like to eat, they still buy it. All these demands from the Royal Society of interfering fuck wits mean is that the sections of society who are currently eating, smoking and drinking themselves to an early grave will continue to do so, because they know no better, and pay more to the government for the pleasure.
The tax system should not be used to change behaviour. Government has a role in public information and education, but to tax booze and Fags out of reach is horribly regressive. It disproportionately hurts the poor.
I know this, but I feel the whole of public policy is directed at the section of the population whom blame the state for their ill health, their poor housing, their lack of jobs. They have become children, infantilised into expecting the state to provide. Perhaps a little tough love from nanny might bring out hitherto untapped reserves of resilience and intelligence. Perhaps, if freed from the state's teat they might develop a bit of pride in themselves and take the trouble to learn how to improve themselves. Perhaps if benefits were limited, they might look a little harder to find a job. Perhaps they might stop getting drunk and hitting each other if they had to go to work the next morning.
I am caught in the crossfire of policy and I don't like it.
The welfare state is the cause of infatilism. It crushes the poor. The attempts of the state to improve behaviour through the tax system have served to increase inequality, and, perversely, decrease the incentive to get a job, through obscene marginal tax rates for the low-paid. Welfare as safety net? - yes please. Welfare state allowing a life on benefits? - no thanks. Can we demolish the welfare state now, please?
And as a result of giving people responsibility for their lives, they can have responsibility for how much they drink.
And me? Well I'm just angry that the state, which appears to know fuck-all about anything and has constructive solutions to less, appears intent on taking all my money, pissing into the pocket of adult children, while telling me, in nagging tones what to do in minute detail, (backed up, of course by the threat of coercive violence). No wonder I'm pissed off. So I'm going to drink too much tonight, and two merry fingers to the Royal College of Physicians, and the government and everyone else who pisses me off by trying to tell me what to do.
FUCK YOU, you bunch of interfering twats and while you're at it, Physician, heal thyself!
Sunday, 18 March 2007
This is the latest offering from our friend, Terry. His idiocy knows no bounds... just when we thought he had learned to write and had started to make sense by steering clear of topics on wider horizons than Ferguslie - becoming just another worthy councillor-blogger - he delivers this paean to a dictator. Read it, wallow in your own superiority and then think... He's a foot soldier of our government's party. No, More! He's an elected official of our governing party. People vote for this idiot. It's quite scary, really So join the campaign to have him voted out. If you live in Ferguslie - please vote for someone else.
He's probably the reason it's such a toilet...
Here it is:
Is Bush Winning, Is Capitalism Winning?I can't be bothered to fisk it now, so I have e-mailed it to The Devils Kitchen. I May come and Fisk it later...
IMO the answer to both of these questions is looking more and more like no. Socialism has brought great benefits to mankind the NHS is a good example, Cuba is another, does anyone still believe Cubans are no better off than when it was the rancid, debauched playground of American capitalist politicians / gangsters.
Capitalism by contrast is great at producing victims and losers, the casino economy, the devil take the hindmost. "You'll get pie in the sky when you die " so wrote the the socialist song writer Joe Hill member of the IWW the International Workers of the World, their song book carried the slogan " to fan the flames of discontent " American Copper mine owners had him framed for murder and executed by firing squad.
Fast forward and Bush tours South American countries to a chorus of boos and anti American demonstrations. Could it be that the left are fighting back ? America could, at one time do what they liked in Latin America including financing coupes and torture and all kinds of villainy, they still do this but people are resisting more and more.
You can't talk about this without mentioning Cuba though can you, recently elected as the leader of the non aligned movement of 118 countries while more recently still, the UN condemned the USA embargo by 183 to 4. Cuba now has official relations with 182 countries, they are exporting doctors to needy countries and importing thousands of medical students from these same countries and much more, I'm a member of a Cuban solidarity organisation and proud to be so, Fidel and his revolution make me proud to call myself a socialist, while Bush, Cheney etc make me ashamed to be a human being.
Thursday, 15 March 2007
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
I was reading an old post on this subject on Stumbling and Mumbling, (who I have just Linked) about the Daily Express' campaign to have inheritance tax abolished. Yes it's a crap tax, but should it be the priority for reform of the tax system? No - and that's the line I take.
The Gem is in the comments:
Look, this is the Daily Asian Diana Tits we're talking about. It's explicitly targeting the extreme left hand side of the bell curve. What do you expect?Brilliantly put by the Yorkshire Ranter
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
Polly Toynbee is not popular amongst activists of the Conservative party. Think George Bush addressing the Fabians. The Turnout was thin, and divided neatly into two camps: Those who wish to be MPs and were therefore prepared to holds their nose, pucker up and kiss some lefty arse, and those who were content to sit at the back and snigger incredulously at the drivel she spewed. I for one ceased to make the effort to conceal my contempt after five minutes or so, when I realised that I wanted to contest every single conjecture she made.
Her "Camel Train crossing the desert" metaphor for society is nice. Does it inform policy for the laggards? No!
She's talking ot an avowedly atlaticist group. You cannot just hold "America" or the Lefty caricature of The USA - Divided, credit cards swiped for health care, lack of opportunity, murderous and racist - up as the bogey man and expect to have it passed as an argument for Scandinavian levels of taxation (and suicide?)
On education, she denied that the demise of the Grammar school had anything to do with the loss of social mobility in the UK, and suggested that Sure Start would solve all problems. I reckon Sure Start is a good thing, though not as successful as La Toynbee makes out.
To summarise she said the Blair decade (priority: Education, Education, Education) was a
"missed opportunity"You Don't Say! To Summarise my view, and I think that of most sane commentators. The Labour Government has enjoyed a decade of landslide majorities and forced on the country the largest rise in taxation in British peace-time history. Given that, is Sure-Start enough of a landmark success? No! It's not enough, in fact it's criminally incompetent!
She answered the simple question: "What does the state run well?" With
"The NHS"HAHAHAHAHHHAHAHHHA HAHAHHAHHAHAHHHAHH AHAH aHaHAHAHahh.
Her policies for a happy Britain seemed to boil down to confiscatory taxation on income over £100,000 (even if it cuts revenue - well done DK for getting that admission out of her) earmarked as an "Opportunity Fund", Sure Start for all and more tax credits - yes, you heard me right. Tax Credits - that cruel apotheosis of a Brownite Bureaucratic nightmare is to be expanded.
She didn't even speak coherently or with any passion. When will people realise she's got nothing to add to any debate, and should simply be shot and boiled down for soap? That way she might be of use to someone, somewhere, even though you wouldn't get much off the dried up shrivelled prune of a woman.
Monday, 12 March 2007
Michael Portillo suggests that the political parties have issues other than good governance in mind when they voted to create a senate (ugh). This is indicative as nothing so much as a democracy fetish.
Now I like democracy. I like freedom and the rule of law more. Never forget the end is the latter. The former is just a good way of guaranteeing it. This democratic government has successfully damaged both freedom and the rule of law during its tenure, and has sought to remove any checks and balances as "undemocratic". Just like Chavez in Venezuela.
Now a democratic Lords may smell better to people brought up to equate "democracy" with "good", but it will spell more bad legislation. It will lead to unchecked power when a party has a majority in both houses comprised of party hacks. Democracy for the lords will remove a check and further entrench the elective dictatorship.
In the event of what the French call "Cohabitation", elected Lords (they'll probably be called something vulgar like senators) will lead to gridlock as you will not be able to fob people with democratic "legitimacy" off with the parliament act. The idea that our politicos schooled in Tribal mud slinging will behave like independent minded American senators is ludicrous. You need to be rich before you become a senator - this gives independence. Both parties (labour are naturally worse) are stuffed with career politicians dependent on their parties for their pay cheque.
The loss to the country of the ability to reward notable subjects with medieval flummery rather than a salary and a party whip will be huge.
Elected lords would be a disaster - better cronyism and corruption. Better still, let the lords decide their own composition independent of party machines.
It seems Iain Dale has the same view on the climate a me - it's always nice to be agreed with by someone who's seen as reasonable. Indeed I think my views are moderate and reasonable. I just put them in an unreasonable and immoderate way, because it's fun.
So when Iain says
I do believe climate change is taking place, but I have an open mind on the extent to which it is (if at all) man made. I am unconvinced by both the Stern Report and the IPCC report, which seems to change its evidence according to the conclusion. I am prepared to listen to the arguments of the climate change sceptics, just as I am to those I respect on the other side of the argument.I couldn't have put it better myself.
So, DK and others think that Climate change is a load of bollocks, the EU is Evil and Dave is leading the party down a wrong path, then why vote for the Tories? Because as Iain says
I support David Cameron's policy of building a big tent, in the full knowledge that there will be some policy areas where free market, tax cutting Thatcherites like me will have cause to suck our teethjust as Labour got power by appealing to middle England, we have to too. We will then move the centre ground, just as we did under Thatcher.
In his decade, Tony has Lied to the electorate. He promised more of the same, but cleaner, but has delivered spiteful, old Labour tax 'em 'till the pips squeak and spend it to buy Labour votes, but with worse corruption and sleaze than any British Government in history. He hasn't moved the centre ground one bit, because His party never really changed. They are still fighting the wars of the 1980s.
We Tories (yes Dave too) believe in a smaller state and lower taxes, in personal responsibility. Like most of the British public, there is healthy euro skepticism but not immediate desire to withdraw. I suspect most of the British public want to see a bit more focus on saving energy in case ...this Climate thingy is y'know, like serious... but they still want to go to Torremelinos every year. Environmentalism has more than carbon to it, and people want to see clean rivers, healthy forests and oil-free shorelines. They want this reflected in rhetoric. They like the NHS, but can see that the wheel is falling off and would like to see it properly run.
The Tories can speak (and are speaking) to these people. They outnumber people like me, DK and well probably Iain too, who care and know about these issues enough to shout about them on our blogs.
All political parties are coalitions. And within those coalitions people argue their case.This is the line that Matthew Sinclair and I take. So When Dave gets into power, just as Labour's myrmidons tried to pull the party back to their bad old ways, the activists the councillors, the youth wing will pull the Tory party towards sensible policies on tax, the environment and others, whatever the rhetoric you use to get there. If you can't persuade the Tory party, you're probably in the wrong.
All UKIP will ever be is a home for barking, far right nutters with huge egos. I agree with a lot of what they say, because I am a goose-stepping flat-taxer with a freedom fetish, who thinks the EU is evil too. But I am also a Tory, and I don't want extremists in power in the UK. Even if they agree with me.
Friday, 9 March 2007
By way of following on from my comments on Patrick Mercer, he mentioned the army's treatment of Ginger people, or GWAs as they are known (it stands for "Ginger With Attitude"). I have to add that I'm not gingerist but... and some of my best friends* etc...
Ask what a GWA smells like, any ex-serviceman will answer "piss and twiglets". They are also known as "Daywalkers" because like Wesly Snipe's character in the movie, Blade they can go out in daylight, but they don't like it.
I do not believe these ginger myths to actually be the case. It's right up there with the popular playground lore that trebor mints, when inserted anally, last for a more considerable time.
Anyone who takes playground (and parade ground) taunts seriously is an arsehole, and this can mask genuine and repellent racism, which slips under the net while everyone's frothing at the mouth over a Tory's inopportune un PC comments.
*indeed mother and girlfriend, so probably future children too...
Thursday, 8 March 2007
I'm late on this story, and others have hit the nail on the head. He probably isn't a racist, but he demonstrated the political acumen of Ronald MacDonald at a healthfood convention. For that, and that alone he should be fired.
More offensive to my ears than Mercer's comments, which if read without a chip on the shoulder, aren't racist, are the self-righteous bleatings from the race relations industry:
Michelynne Lafleche, chair of the Runnymeade Trust said
"Other organisations have taken racism very seriously such as the police, as well as the Army and the Navy, in fact. Mr Mercer's reaction is entirely inappropriate, completely unhelpful, and really quite shocking."If she finds some un PC straight talking "really quite shocking", she really needs to get laid more.
Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Many right-wingers think the police are a good thing and there should be more of them.
Until they get their priorities right, I disagree. I'm glad they are stuck behind desks filling in forms. It keeps them off the streets where they are only likely to cause trouble.
Before you go further I should point out that this is not a rant about the treatment of motorists, speed cameras and the like, though this is part of it. It is about the attitude that underpins the way the police interact with the public.
I should also point out that this didn't happen to me.
Broken tail light. Now I totally agree that the police should point out this to a motorist. Indeed it is possible to drive around for months without noticing (when was the last time you checked yours?). So they give you a "producer". You must present yourself, with documentation (MOT, Insurance Certificate and driving licence) at a cop shop, with evidence that you have the offending illuminating article correctly luminating. This is reasonable.
So why did my friend have to endure racist abuse (he's Welsh) for ten minutes from the pig by the roadside? I can call him an inbred sheep-shagging knuckledragger. The police, frankly, can't.
So when he's dutifully trotted down to the filth lair, why do they take the attitude that he's done something wrong? If (heaven forbid) you lose your counter party driving license, the DVLA is too slow to get one in time so the clerk behind the desk will send your case off to the "central ticket office" an organisation that would have had kafka shaking his head in disbelief. Someone who has gone a decade without a blot on his licence is now threatened with prosecution. For losing a document.
When he asked "what's the punishment for this... ahem... crime", the clerk shrugged her shoulders. She actually said "not my problem". A search of t'interweb yielded no illumination and, frankly CSI on the box is more interesting. Is this really the best use of the police's and judicial system's time and resources?
The attitude stinks. Yet again the boys in blue are after their "sanction detection" by harassing the basically law-abiding (because it's easy) when "Here's a producer, get your tail light sorted, sir. I'm off to find a burglar" would do. They are cunts. When they learn that the public, even the ones under 40 aren't all perps waiting to be caught, and treat us with the respect due to THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THEIR FUCKING WAGES, then I'll start arguing for more police. Until then, I just want the bastards to leave us alone.
Monday, 5 March 2007
Via the Nameless one...
Friday, 2 March 2007
I think David Cameron was in a better drinking club while up at Oxford than the Prime Minister. I mean compare the images:
Dave is trying to affect "effortlessly cool" He almost pulls it off, but actually if more than a little, well smug and a the sort of wanker whom everyone slags off when he goes for a piss, despite pretending to like. The fact that the picture's copyright owner has successfully got every image off the web, is really rather smart though. (this is a copy of the painting commissioned by the BBC - It's your licence fee, people) [update the whiskey priest has the original here]
Tony Blair on the other hand can only be described as a total cunt (Third from right, back row). That hair can only be described as "unacceptable".
Lets have the Prime Minister in close up shall we? What a revolting piece of afterbirth... I wouldn't trust him to sit the right way on a lavatory.
There is no point finding embarrassing images of minor party leaders 'cos no-one gives a shit.
Of all the crap this government has thrown at this country, the treatment of the Military has to be the worst. (though it's up against pretty stiff competiton from the NHS, the constitution, transport, fiscal policy, education and policing) Tony Blair, at PMQs a couple of weeks ago gloated about how the spending on the Military had gone up over Labour's tenure. He compared this with the record of the Tories.
This is utterly mendacious: Under the Tories, the Army had one major commitment - the former Yugoslavia and Two short wars - the Gulf 1 and the Falklands as well as the usual assorted smaller ongoing commitments. Meanwhile there was a peace dividend that meant the massive tank army of the BAOR was no longer needed (We won the cold war, despite active opposition from, amongst others, the Labour party). John Major's successes in Northern Ireland further eased the burden on the Army. Meanwhile, this Government has committed the Troops to two major ongoing commitments while continuing to shrink manpower, cut ships from the fleet, vacillate on the carriers that this nation so desperately needs, refuse to fund the heavy lift that is vital to expeditionary warfare in this day and age and shrink the manpower that is so vital in COIN and OOW operations.
Funding has just kept pace with inflation.
The Navy has fewer ships than admirals, the army has only 300 tanks, there are only 50 odd Hercules in the RAF The Typhoon is good, but they're getting only a half of the aircraft orriginally promised. The Boys of our remaining 36 Infantry Batallions and the rest of our magnificent armed services are good at the job, just give them the toys. Please. That means no mothballing of ships, two carriers some JSFs to fly off them, a replacement or upgrade for Trident, some heavy lift for the RAF (based on the airbus if you must), and another half dozen or so Battalions of infantry, some decent wheeled armoured transport and radios that work. Oh and let the Paras jump out of planes from time to time. It means so much to them and it can't cost that much.
If you're going to tax the country to penury, you might as well spend it on the one branch of the state that does a good job, rather than pissing it into NHS IT, Gender outreach, the civil bastard service and fucking party funding. I hate these Cunts so very, very much
Thursday, 1 March 2007
The Dude is on 18 Doughty Street tonight, with fellow bloggers Dizzy Thinks who's cool, but I doubt I'll have much in common with the federast, Jon Worth. Still could be worse, it could be Devils Kitchen laying into the EU!... Be there or be square. From 10pm...
That's why people don't use it. No matter how much the Government Spends... sorry invests in buses, as soon as it is affordable, people get in their cars. There are exceptions. In London and a few other metropolitan areas, a car is impractical. Indeed I think the private car should be banned from central London, that's when 2 wheels are better than 4. Night buses get you home when pissed, but not as quickly as a Taxi, which smells less strongly of wee.
I'm a hefty 6'3". Bus seats are just too small for me to be comfortable. On the tube, apart from the Jubilee line, I have to stand in the middle of the carriage or I'm doing a Quasimodo impression. On a train, unless I get a table seat, forget sitting down. Did you know that the distance between the seat back and the seat in front on a bus is shorter than my femur? How the fuck am I supposed to take a bus for more than a short journey?
But worse than the misery of being too big, on public transport, there are people, in all their malodorous variety and inevitably in my fucking way. It's pretty bad when crones want to talk to each other within earshot, worse still when chavs yell "alwiggght, innit" in their ghastly patois into their phones, and the misery is absolute if the public-transport user tries to talk to me.
So cars are
- More reliable
- Less infested with ghastliness
- More comfortable (especially if you're over 5'7")
- (Metropolitan commuting excepted) better for the environment.
- Like the clothes you wear, part of a statement about you.
- There are no chavs in your car and you can choose what music you want to listen to.
Commies like buses because they limit people's freedom of movement. They tie people to a route and timetable, and create jobs for town hall jobsworths and unionised lumps in the vehicle park. Buses limit the amount of shopping that can be done in one go. They enforce a bland and ghastly municipal equality - most of the labour party probably think the Mao suit that Chinese peasants wear is pretty cool. It might be, but not if that's what everyone has to wear, on pain of a bullet in the head.
The free market is about choice. I choose to buy a car, and run it because it suits my lifestyle, and incur the costs that this brings. I did without when I lived in the smoke and didn't need one. I need one now.
One day the oil will run out and we may cease to be propelled along the road by a series of small explosions. The technology is developing to have electric cars, Hydrogen fuel cells, BioDiesel, and goodness knows what else. The only limit is man's boundless ingenuity. All of these solutions will be whinged about by lefties, should they replace the current fossil fuel Internal Combustion engine. The reasons may be environmental (heavy metals used in battery production, nuclear power used to generate electricity for electrolysis, deforestation caused by transfer to fuel crops), or they may be sociological (space on the road, congestion, parking, fuck knows what other excuses the commies will find, but the cunts will still call you "Mr Toad"). People need a personal transport solution, and lefties want to remove the freedom that gives you.
But there's more. Those nasty, stupid Americans the lefties so hate have gone and put a constellation of GPS satellites up in space that allow you to pinpoint your location instantly, without an OS map and a compass bearing on the church with a spire at Nether Heyford, bisecting that to the trig point at spot 183. This allows on-car navigation systems (your tomtom sat nav). I foresee a time when cars will drive themselves. You can get your car to drop you off at work, it will find a space to park and pick you up again at the end of the day. You will be able to call it with your phone. Imagine the freedom of your own car driving you to work while you read the paper, or catch up on some sleep!
That is a possible future, unless the lefties win. Their battle is not against the car, but against you and your freedom.
Can you see public transport being anything other than ghastly for ever? Public transport will die when people realise that it is uneconomic, polluting, a cause of fat unionised people and, well a nasty blot on the view.
Myself and others have been engaged in a long and fruitless "debate" with the oxygen-thief on the Renfrewshire council, on the merits or otherwise of the British Military. It is beautifully summarised here at the E Shotgun...