There are only three certainties in life. Death, Taxes and Nurses.
Friday, 29 February 2008
Thursday, 28 February 2008
So Prince Harry's in Afghanistan.
I had heard rumours, as I think did lots of people with friends in Britain's tiny military - an open secret, kept so by most people. Shame on Matt Drudge for putting young men's lives at risk.
Call centre Monkey "To do that, you need form E sir."Which is becoming the "'elf 'n safety" for the service age. The real reason is they want the trading commission on any sale, and want to make it as hard as possible for anyone else to get their claws into "their" client. No professional (except lawyers, for whom society is run) can do anything on behalf of clients any more. This is the method by which big business seeks to eliminate the independent professional, in favour of call centres and centralised accounts run by a computer which invariably say "no". They'll then ask you to believe that it has always been thus. Control the past, control the present.
Me "Well, Where do I get form E? It's not on your website"
Monkey "Your client needs to ring to request it?"
Me "Can I request it for him, or download it off the internet."
Monkey "No. Your Client must ring to request it himself."
Me "But I have always been able to download form E off the internet."
Monkey "No you haven't" (a corporate lie - but the call-centre monkey knows no different. Just like when the banks tell you "it's always taken 4-5 days to clear a cheque, sir"...)
Monkey "Data Protection"
I look round my desk. All I see are forms. W8BENs, Nominee, Crest Transfer, ISA application the list is endless. All prevent me doing stuff if not presented, in soft and hard copy in advance. I have barely had time to look at the reports of the dozen or so companies which have reported today, which is my main job.
In a way, it's totalitarian - certainly corporatist. And it is run by people for whom no instruction is too ludicrous, no request is at all suspicious as long as it is presented on the correct form. That's why there's data theft. The system is run by poorly educated monkeys who are incapable of abstract thought.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Acabion is a builder of "streamliners". It appears to be what happens if you take a dash of British Engineering brilliance, German technical know how and take a lot of drugs. I mean 350 mph in a glorified motorbike. Yes. Faster than the Veyron.
I am looking forward to the top gear road test, but these 2 or 3 wheeled personal transport solutions are being built by loads of small manufacturers. A lot of men with axle grease on their hands seem to think such vehicles are the solution to congested roads: You've got the Dutch-built and clearly bonkers carver, the electric ZAP alias from the USA. Mainstream manufacturers want to get in on the act: Here's VW's concept: the GX3.
All of these are released to the press with promises of low emissions: They're right. But the real advantage is the high power to weight ratio that Colin Chapman worked out was proportional to the amount of fun you can have in a car. Despite this insight being several decades old, the Americans still haven't worked it out. Finally, there's BMW's crappy scooter thing, which is like a motorbike without the fun.
These bonkers engineers are right though: There isn't enough space for everyone to have a car in the city. But people will still want their own vehicle because public transport is Nasty. If you think otherwise, you're a socialist and can bugger off. These 2 and 3 wheel loony-wagons are small and nimble, and easy to park. Who knows... London to Lucerne in one and a half hours? Better than a bus.
Maybe these people are onto something, but at £1,500,000 the Acabion is a bit steep....
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Martin Johnson demonstrates why he should immediately take over as England Coach
"...coaching England is scarcely rocket science. Eight Goliaths up front, and a bloke who can kick..."But there was more to it than a win in Paris. England did outscore the exemplars of champagne Rugby by two tries to one. For me though, this...
...was the seminal moment of the match: Jamie Noons Try-making hit, which demonstrated early on, just how much they wanted it. There was a moment in the second half, when England having no ball for 15 minutes or so received a kick. It was Wrigglesworth, a man cursed with a playground nerd's name, who caught it. Instead of kicking it away for position, he took it into contact, allowing England to start playing with the ball in hand for a while and get their shape. This moment was the difference between this weekend and the previous rubbish performances by England in this six nations championship.
Enough of the commentary: It's important to get the French view, of such a profound stuffing. A friend spotted this gem from French supporter, Dal Pais at Silver Fern
"If I got a dollar for every time we got screwed by Honiss and Walsh I'd be on a beach somewhere in the Bahamas, getting a blowjob from Heather Mills."If it's any consolation, Dal, we don't like Honiss either.
I Agree with almost every word in Polly's latest offering, in which she - apparently with no sense of Irony or self awareness - rejects banning stuff - casinos specifically - of which she disapproves.
No-one is suggesting banning gambling or casinos, any more than I would ban pornography, or drugs or all manner of things that might do people harm. But there is an important social difference between freedom to do what adults please if they deliberately seek out those things from regulated places - and aggressively thrusting them at everyone in everyday life.Which is fair enough. The Government shouldn't be promoting anything. In the case of the super Casino, they rejected the one place, blackpool, where most locals were in favour in favour of somewhere where there were more marginal constituencies. But if she's against banning stuff, why did she support the banning of smoking in private members clubs? Fox-hunting? And why does everything have to be "regulated". Can't the government just let people get on with it rather than sending some incompetent drone round with a clip-board?
Monday, 25 February 2008
People flee communism or even its wet-arsed sibling, socialism. This means it is demonstrably a rubbish political system which has catastrophically failed in its stated mission: to improve the lives of "the people". Those people vote with their feet for capitalist oppression. This destructive political creed is the scourge of the third world, creating refugee crises in countries neighbouring every socialist state and killing millions in the process. The countries with the highest per capita rate of exodus are just such third-world toilets, generally as a result of decades of such socialist misrule causing the most able people to seek better lives in better governed places - yes lefties, even America. But it's not just communism which makes a mess, its aborted foetus: progressive leftism or social democracy (or whatever you want to euphemistically call drippy PC leftist whingeing) does so too, but in an insidious and subtle way.
The highest rate of exodus in the OECD is the UK, which is not yet quite as bad as somalia - which is why Somalis still want to come here. This exodus of highly educated Native Britons is because of Labour policies like taxing people to penury, then spending the proceeds to subsidise crime, using the welfare state. In a vicious circle, the state tries to replace these migrants by recruiting Somalis, who aren't quite the paragons of virtue presented to the immigration officer. The state then sets its attack dogs in the police to criminalise the rest of the British population for driving, whilst turning a blind eye to
labour voters benefit recipients burgling your home. None of the money expropriated from the productive classes in this way is being spent on services they use. Councils can't even empty your bin once a week any more! Over a third of Government managed expenditure is being pissed away on Lambert & Butler in the form of direct benefit payments. To little cash is earmarked for roads, and what is, is spent on speed bumps and road narrowing, increasing frustration on your ever lengthening drive to work. The schools, still in thrall to leftist dogma, seem to think that actual teaching facts and morals is a denial of a child's human right to be a grotty little chav, while little Tarquin no longer gets any dosh to spend on his 3-year drinking sabatical university course. The poor too are betrayed: They are herded from sink comprehensives on un-policed estates to universities which used to be polytechnics, in order to take degrees of zero credibility, which simultaneously raise expectations whilst offering no advantage in the Labour market, which they enter £16,000 in debt. This at vast cost to the tax-payer for the simple purpose of massaging the unemployment statistics. Meanwhile, the only job open to many disadvantaged young men without a university "education" is the Army, which is being eviscerated by decades of underfunding and 10 years of over use. Ancient regiments are being amalgamated, whilst shiny arses in the MOD argue about procurement programmes while denying the boys the kit they need now, fighting two (soon to be 3) hot wars simultaneously. There are now more civil servants in the MOD than Front-line infantrymen - a microcosm of the growth in the utterly pointless bureaucracy by which this Party seeks to cement its regime: by the creation of a bureaucratic client state.
So if you've worked hard, own a home and drive a car, this place is shit - especially if you've committed the thought-crime of doing so in the private sector. The Dude will never leave - I have faith that the great tradition of liberal England will return after a century's hiatus, but my parents have already left for Costa-del-Solshire along with most of their friends, where the sun is hot, the beer is cool and the tax is reasonable - as a result, the locals don't have to beat you up for your pension money (or at least they do so less often than they do at home). It is the best people who are leaving, because they can. The politics of the UK will soon be that of the shit that's left behind: and ever more insanely socialist as a result. Perhaps that's all in the Labour plan, though that would be giving them credit for a competence and forethought I doubt they possess.
Gordon Brown, you really are an incompetent cunt who, despite the brilliant economic legacy bequeathed to you by your predecessor in No11, has fucked the country up, and it's only the remaining checks and balances, which I notice you're still busy trying to "modernise" away, have prevented you turning this country into 1978-9. Why don't you fuck off and kill yourself, you mendacious socialist bastard, before you do more harm?
So, Southern snobs are turning their nose up at the north, eh?
One doesn't tend to visit communist countries - the drabness and repression, the stink of the human spirit being crushed. One would rather go somewhere sunny where people are free to serve you pina-coladas with little paper umbrellas, with a smile on their faces. That is why people don't choose to go to North of Britain. Unless you're going to places like the Highlands, or the Yorkshire dales, where the absence of people is rather the point, there's no reason to go there. The Peoples' Republic of North Britain, a communist country. Not a great place to visit.
Sunday, 24 February 2008
I've come across some prize pricks in the blogosphere - Terry Kelly leaps lipidly to the fore. But having tired of winding him up - he didn't really engage: merely burying his head in the sand and questioning one's sanity doesn't really count as debate, I am constantly on the look out for new objects of derision. Having noticed a link from someone to my post calling the Iraq blogswarm "lefty twats", I had a look. I can understand why someone would call me a "right wing extremist". I'm not, but I do love overblown rhetoric. But Dizzy?
I urge you to check out the apotheosis of smug, the high priest of left-wing twattery, the self righteous prig extaordinaire: The Godless Liberal Homo. What a ludicrous person! He's just earned a link - to the right under "blogs by idiots".
Friday, 22 February 2008
Bob Piper is having a rant about that tiresome obsession of the drab municipal left: Local Authority housing.
From my experience, which consists mainly of knocking fruitlessly on council-owned doors on behalf of Tory candidates at various levels for the last 20 or so years, the main thing I remember of these pockets of squalor is the sound of children being shouted at, grubby unmanicured lawns and a slightly unhealthy smell coming from within.
Now there are advantages to council housing. Because everyone else drives a car, scum shovel routes are easier to plan - from the centre of the estate, via the job-centre plus to Iceland and back. Much like the original concept of concentration camps, they co-locate undesirables for easier management, so the police know where to look for stolen goods, should they ever feel like bothering with, you know, actually investigating crime. They also represent tidy pockets of Labour voters. This appeals to politicians because Tories won't bother canvassing, Labour don't need to, and the ever-hopeful Liberals waste their time leafleting the estate, competing with the BNP and Respect, keeping these non-entities all out of the way of grown-up parties.
These estates, like South-African concentration camps cause unintended problems to those interred:
- They distort the housing market. By driving down rents at the low end, it inevitably becomes un-economic for a developer to build social housing without specific legislation. The Government took the legislative approach, which perversely drives rents up in the long run, and contributes to the housing shortage in the UK. Why would a developer build on his land bank, if he has to get rid of 25% or more of his investment at sub-market rates? Sitting on the land bank watching its value go up is much better business. Insufficient houses go up, prices go up and so on in a vicious spiral, 'till no-one without a generous or dead relative can afford a shoe-box to call home.
- The council house queue offers a gross incentive for teenage girls to fuck their lives up, and that of the brat spawned by some acquaintance or other, in order that the single mother could feel some validation for her life, and jump the council house queue in the process. This access to council housing issue has been a causus belli in many political troubles from Northern Ireland to Oldham and is a rallying cry for the BNP (p14), especially when combined with the political poison of immigration.
- Getting housing on these estates favours those born to it - who know how to navigate the Byzantine paperwork necessary to get a house. There is a working class aristocracy subject to sub market rents for life, despite earning perfectly acceptable wages. If you can drive a 2-year old BMW, then you shouldn't be in a council house - it is after all subsidised by John Q Taxpayer.
- Concentrating the poor does nothing for their aspirations or an accurate sense of what is "normal". If you are surrounded by people, the majority or large minority of whom have no job, then rotting on benefits seems like a reasonable career option. Most council tenants believe erroneously that they're "normal" and in this world view, those with houses for which they pay market rents or mortgages, are "middle class" and therefore posh oppressors of the working man.
The council should not be a landlord, except to those in the direst personal circumstances. The fact is, the greatest redistribution of wealth from public to private was the right to buy programme. What we need to do is follow the logic to its conclusion: rather than subsidise the rents of an arbitrary group of people, based it seems on a tendency to drop 'h's (amongst those in work, council tenancy is barely correlated to income as far, as I can see), we need to stop taxing the low paid. Rather than providing boondongles for the the idle, we need to remove the incentives to rot on benefits. We need to remove the financial incentives to lone parenthood. Above all we need to stop concentrating poor people into islands of despair. Council housing is an anachronism which shouldn't have survived the 1980's, and I suspect Councillor Piper's attachment to it is based in part on electoral expediency.
Why does the Government have a target to cut the smoking rate to 21% by 2010? What possible business is it of the state's what legal products people buy and use?
Thursday, 21 February 2008
The BBC's flagship morning
political indoctrination current affairs programme, Today usually has my blood boiling at some point as some totalitarian wank-stain is brought on to tell me that the way I and many others live my life is bad and should be banned, usually in response to the the same stupid problems. In response, I would like to ban the BBC from commenting on the following issues:
- Britain's Binge drinking culture. The Romans tried to deal with this one too, and they failed. It's hard-wired into northern European genes. This morning, the supermarkets, being blamed for cut price booze contributing to this scourge, pointed out that competition law would prevent them operating effectively a cartel - that is co-operating in raising prices. The BMA, totalitarians that they are helpfully suggested ... you guessed it... legislation. Cunts.
- Climate change: I'm not a hard-core climate change denier, but I doubt that we're entirely to blame, the sun, I believe has some effect on our climate, for example. Nor do I believe that it will be entirely a bad thing. Great civilisations flourished where there are now deserts and ice in periods of comparatively recent history which were warmer than presently. I do believe that Government's attempts to stop climate change are likely to be worse by some margin than the effects of that climate change. I am suspicious of the ultimate motives of the red-green axis, who I suspect have latched onto scientists to give them an excuse to tax capitalism out of existence. This is why they focus on SUV's driven by a few rich white people rather than wood fires in Africa and India, or power stations in China, which aren't.
- Income Inequality. This is bound to exist in all free societies. You either have freedom or equality, not both. Some are rich, some are poor. If you're poor, work harder (or just work). If you're rich, well done, have a cigar. If you think it obscene that a private equity baron is charged a lower tax rate than his cleaner, I agree. The answer is not to punish the rich man for his success, but to STOP FUCKING TAXING THE POOR, YOU PIG-IGNORANT SPITEFUL SOCIALIST SHITFUCKWANKBIRDS. In 1947, the year the god-forsaken welfare state was imposed on the UK, income tax affected the top 20% of earners. The welfare state, nearly one half of Government managed expenditure, nearly a quarter of GDP, is paid for by the increase in taxation on the poor and middle earners, at the cost of jobs and economic growth for all.
- The gender pay gap, when normalised for childbirth, hours worked, education and career choice barely exists. Childless women are paid the same as men and in many cases for less work done. And they still can't lift things or open jars or regulate their own body temperature.
- Racism doesn't exist in any meaningful way in the UK any more. Laugh at the remaining hold outs, don't give them the satisfaction of proving their point by legislating against their stupid views.
- Child poverty doesn't exist in the UK except by a ridiculous relative measure dreamed up by socialists to justify nannying state interference and ever greater redistribution. The brilliant thing is (from the point of view of the designers of this scheme) the main cause of that poverty is the very redistribution which is meant to solve it. Thus it is both cause and solution to a non-existent problem and self-perpetuates, protecting those same busybody's jobs for eternity. Brilliant eh? (unless you're paying for it)
- The Credit Crunch. Just as every investor, who's been in the game for a while has the fag end of dog shit investments littering his portfolio to remind him of his mistakes, the banks have the same with sub-prime loans in the 'states (and russian bonds, and far eastern currency, and internet stocks and railway shares and south sea company and tulips... and probably flint chipping futures too). These are not going to cause the end of the western financial system, nor are they indicative of a failure of capitalism, much as pinkos would love it to be. With the British left getting a collective hard-on (look at his picture - he's almost climaxing) now that a Bank has been nationalised, when it should have been put into administration - the risk is they try the same trick with other companies with an optimistic business model and employees in
Labour heartlandseconomically deprived areas.
- England Football is shit, not because of the unfortunate manager, but because it is played by overpaid prancing prima-donnas who don't want it enough any more. Fine! watch the Rugby instead, where real men turn it on when it really matters...
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Democracy in the USA is alive and well. It even seems to be picking the right candidates. After years of picking either corrupt lotharios or strategically shaved chimpanzees, they have finally plucked the two roses growing out of the dung heap.
Hillary is a dreadful harpy, a machine politician running on the "I'm a woman, vote for me or you're sexist ticket". Her policies include bankrupting the country with welfare cheques, and crying if she doesn't get her way. The Republican also-rans are a bunch of religious extremists running on the "Vote for me or you'll go to hell" ticket. The lone glorious exception is Ron Paul, but he got smashed in a debate by Mike "Miracles, not Math. Yeeeee haaaaa!" Huckabee, and was never a serious challenger.
McCain and Obama are the two candidates who might not fuck things up. McCain because he's got the right policies (economically conservative, socially reasonably liberal) and Obama (ridiculously lefty voting record aside) hasn't actually said anything during the campaign, apart from threatening to invade Pakistan, which shows and admirable pugnacity on his part. His laughable vacuity and inexperience means he will probably be an acceptable sock-puppet for the Washington machine. "Change" my arse. On the other hand, he's black, which in itself might take some of the poison out of American racial politics, and probably here too. Obama has admirably not played on this himself, but has sensibly let other's point to the advantages this brings on his behalf: A black president will make it harder to argue that all the problems of black people are the fault of racist oppression and many of the cultural factors (glamorisation of violent, criminal lifestyles and rejection of academic learning) which hold many black boys back might fall into the spotlight. Whilst he remains merely a competent spouter of optimistic rhetoric, this remains his unspoken sales pitch.
I don't have a vote in this election, but if I did, I'd vote McCain (who was one of my early bets - the other was Fred Thompson, which shows how much I know) in part because I think he's admirable, but also because I think Obama will be back, older, wiser and less of a wet-arse pinko in four year's time, when McCain will be just too old.
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
Iraq Body Count estimates that between 81 and 89,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the 5 years of war. (as at 19 Feb 2008)
Given that this is less than the estimate of those killed in the Al-Anfal campaign alone by Saddam Hussein's forces, and that there were and estimated 600,000 executions in his 24 years at the helm, I think that backs up the humanitarian case for war.
The reason there are many who believe that it was better under the moustachioed murderous fellow who used to run the place, is because the horrors were kept away from many people. It was after all, an openly totalitarian state. People who think it's shit now, and it is, are free to complain without being fed, feet first into an industrial shredder. What's happening now is that there are plenty of Sunnis (who used to form a ruling elite) running around telling western lefties that it was better under Saddam. Meanwhile a load of Shi'as and Kurds who used to get very, very killed under the old mob, who are quite happy that they're on top for a change, and are busy killing their former oppressors.
I would have thought this class inversion would have pleased the international left - it is after all what happens after every communist revolution, right before the famine caused by collectivization. But hey-ho. Lefties never win prizes for consistency.
I can confidently say that Iraq is a shit place to be right now, but it is better for most Iraqis (as measured by gross statistical chances of an early grave) than it was under Saddam. Many lefties refuse to accept this, indeed many leading lights in the anti-war movement openly laud Saddam. This is why I call them twats. (see my last post)
Monday, 18 February 2008
To call the Iraq war "catastrophic" is uncontroversial, and is glibly trotted off by bloggers, confident they will not be challenged on the truism that toppling Saddam Hussein was the wrong thing to do. Uncontroversial, and Wrong.
Catastrophic for whom? Us? We have fewer and fewer troops in theatre. For most of the "catastrophe" it was about 7,000 men. The British Army's death toll* 150 or so over 4 years is roughly equivalent to 10 days' carnage on the roads in the UK. So Iraq is not a military catastrophe. We spend less than £32 billion on defence annually, which is less than that which goes annually to gilt investors in the form of coupons. So it is not an economic catastrophe either. I don't think it has affected our reputation: the same countries like and trade with the UK and the usual suspects still think we're evil imperialists. The blow to our reputation is in the eyes of tedious left-wing wankers, and who gives a monkey's what they think? - they've always been fifth columnists for whoever is fighting us anyway. And we achieved a main aim, which was to remove one of the more unstable and problematic regimes troubling a volatile region. Full participation in the war has however strengthened our relationship, both military and civil with the one remaining superpower. Islamic terrorism was a problem before 9/11, which was before the invasion of Iraq, in case you've forgotten. Terrorists now use Iraq as an excuse, but they'd be blowing us up anyway even if we beat our swords into organic lentil spades. At least home grown loons are often caught fighting in Iraqistan, rather than formenting chaos in Bradford. Americans call this "repatriating the war on terror": The UK homeland has not noticeably suffered as a result of invading Iraq.
So is it a catastrophe for Iraqis? Depends on where you live. If you're a Kurd, or from the more stable provinces to the south and west of the country, you're much better off without being gassed by a genocidal megalomaniac. If you live in Baghdad, it's still pretty bad, and worse than before the invasion. The death toll, often cited by twats, was inexcusably published in the Lancet came from a study, deeply flawed in its methodology which was reliant on hilarious extrapolation from a tiny survey, and is nowhere near reality.
The 1,000,000 deaths number cited by lefty twats now is an extrapolation from that, lancet number and is even more laughable.
It is easy to forget just how nasty Saddam and his sons were: people did not walk in line of sight from Uday's villa for fear of being shot at random and his prediliction for rape, torture and murder went unpunished. Tens of thousands died at the hands of Saddam's security services. He gassed entire villages. I'll say that again. He gassed, yes gassed, entire villages.
The situation is getting better: Now the surge has had its effect, there are fewer and fewer violent deaths, even in Baghdad. In addition, more and more of the enemies of democracy are being co-opted into participation and AQI is defeated. It is by no means certain that the shia militas will win overall control of the country, and the Iraqi people's participation in democracy was enthusiastic. There's a long road to travel, but the Iraqi people are heading the right way.
I'm not saying Iraq's all a bed of roses, but catastrophe it ain't.
Now contrast your average lefty blogger's lack of faith in the ability of the state to achieve its ends militarily with his faith in the state's ability to do so socially. Using the word catastrophe would be more relevant to the welfare state, which costs 15% of GDP and condemns 15% of the population to idleness and squalor. What about the NHS which kills an unnecessary 17,000 people a year? The lefties are looking in the wrong place for murderous incompetence by a government. But that doesn't fit with their world view.
*I do not belittle the Army's efforts and I speak as one who may yet go for an all-expenses paid holiday to a sandy place, courtesy of HMG.
One of this Government's most pernicious fictions is that it is possible to "Target" tax at people who are unfairly avoiding tax, not paying enough, are politically unpopular, like Private Equity Barons, or in the case of Climate Change Levy (0.15% of revenues) or Landfill tax (0.2% of revenues), not paying externalities associated with the business.
Leaving aside the administration of the tax, who actually pays?
Starting at the top:
- 33% of tax receipts are from income tax, paid for funnily enough by individuals who have a job - despite the Government's best efforts, this remains most of us, for the time being.
- 21% from NI contributions. As far as the employee is concerned, this is another income tax. The employer nets his contribution against the budget for employing that individual. Employer's NI contributions are therefore paid by the employee in the form of lower wages.
- VAT, 18% of receipts is paid by the consumer either at the point of purchase, or in the form of higher priced goods as companies can pass any taxes they incur on to their customers.
- Corporation tax, 10% of receipts, is paid by employees in the form of lower wages. Lefties for whom a stick wasn't grown they couldn't grasp the wrong end of, believe it is a tax on company profits. It is not.
- 6% come from fuel duties, paid either by the consumer at the pumps or in the form of higher priced goods.
- 3% comes from stamp duties. Those on shares are paid by share owners: your pension fund for example, and property owners. It also serves to reduce liquidity in the property market, especially for 4 bedroom family homes because of the pernicious Slab approach to SDLT bands.
- 2% comes from Tobacco Duties, disproportionately paid by the low waged.
- Capital Gains tax, 1% of revenues, is the first tax paid exclusively by the asset rich. It is very distorting to capital markets, raises little and punishes the ill informed because it is often easily avoided by simple planning. It certainly does not encourage long-term share ownership.
- Inheritance tax raises about .9%. This is paid by the unlucky, the unwise and those who are unwilling to plan. It does not hit the rich: it hits anyone wealthy enough to die in their own home, if they live in the southern Britain.
- The remaining 4% is made up lots of little taxes, including 0.05% from cider and perry duties, which for example is paid mostly by teenagers in bus stops.
Because the same people, i.e. us, end up paying all significant taxation, the only statistic worth looking at is the total tax take of government as a proportion of GDP. On this measure Gordon Brown as Chancellor, and now Chancellors puppet master has taken tax from Around 25%, one of the lowest in the OECD to nearly 40%, one of the highest. Near to Germany and France. Yes, we are still below the EU average, but there's no doubt which way we're heading and if you think the EU average is something to aspire to economically, you're a loon.
Now high tax rates, whatever Polly Toynbee may believe, are bad for economic growth. Lefties may think that Government "investment" in public services pays returns by making the place a better one in which to live, but they're wrong. Governments spend, and spend inefficiently making poor use of scarce resources and therefore slow the growth of the economy by diverting much needed capital to activities which generate lower value added. I'm not saying spending on health or education should be cut, but that private sector provision would spend the resources so directed better. In any case, health and education make up a small fraction of Government expenditure: Direct payments in benefits to idle chavs form by far the biggest proportion of Government expenditure (about a third). So much of the tax take is wasted subsidising the 20% or so of the workforce to watch Jeremy Kyle whilst we pay for their council house, their frozen pizza, special brew and Lambert & Butler. The welfare state costs us roughly 10-15% of GDP in unnecessary taxation. This couldn't be cut immediately, but could easily translate into an extra 10% growth over a decade, if this was managed properly.
What I'm saying here is not new, nor is it particularly surprising, except to Labour politicians. But Gordon Brown has taken a country with great public finances, spending under control and a strongly growing economy in which the fruits of that growth were filtering down to people in the form of rising disposable incomes, into one in which peoples' post tax disposable incomes are FALLING despite continued economic growth, as ever more money is sucked into the Government's inflationary maw. Basically about half of the economic growth the country has seen on Labour's watch has been eaten by the Government's wasteful spending spree. The interest on Government borrowing, for example is now roughly the same as the defence budget (yes, while we're fighting two wars).
Have you seen a major improvement in public services? The Hospitals are still a bit rubbish, roads are in disrepair, your bin only gets emptied every other week, the Police have decriminalised burglary, and the Army still hasn't got the kit it needs (yes, even though we're fighting 2 wars). All that money has been spent instead on creating a Labour-voting client state, rather than improving your public services. Disagree? How much of the extra Money the NHS has received has gone into wages? Most of it. This is deliberate and political, and once the electorate see this, they (apart from those suckling at the teat of tax-payers cash) will turn against the perpetrator of this vast confidence trick. Every time you see a council tax demand, or a landfill tax charge, or even a speed camera or parking fine, you should mentally add it to your income tax bill and think "what could I do if I was allowed to spend my money myself?" Then you should take a step towards getting that money back by voting Conservative at the next election. Better still, double the electoral benefit: find someone who votes Labour and kick them in the head until they stop twitching.
The sad thing is it was all so predictable. Labour always spend like a drunken sailor in port, until the money runs out. Gordon Brown: Comfortably the worst Prime-Minister in Britain's history. Labour: constitutionally economically incompetent.
Friday, 15 February 2008
Yes. Especially if you're sitting next to Hasib Hussein on the No. 30 bus, but in the grand scheme of things; no. Terrorism does not pose an existential threat to this country, or our way of life. There simply aren't enough suicidal maniacs, even if the bombers always got through. And they don't always get through. Our security services aren't actually that bad at stopping the bad guys. As a result, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are vanishingly small - roughly equivalent to the number of deaths involving trousers in any given year. Certainly lower than the chances of being killed by a stray motorist on your way to work.
Terrorism simply isn't a risk we need get worked up about. The Government's response, however does pose an existential threat to the way of life in the UK. I characterise their current approach at once strengthening the law by removing civil liberties and making illegal a number of preparatory stages of terrorism, and secondly appeasement of demands from the community from which the current terrorist threat comes. Both of these approaches are spectacularly wrong-headed.
This is exemplified by the Laws increasing the length of time a suspect can be held without trial, allowing the police to bang up extremist Muslims more or less on a whim. Control orders and extra-judicial extradition mean that sanctions can be brought to bear onto people who have not been convicted of an offence in Law. Hyperactive policing is an attempt to make the public feel safer, without addressing the issue at source. The appeasement strand of the Government's policy is the "incitement to religious hatred" laws: a shameless attempt to pacify the extremists in our midsts.
There will always be people willing to fight the status quo. From Guy Fawkes to Martin MacGuinness via every flavour of non-conformists, anarchists, levellers, Marxists, nationalists and finally back to square one with religious extremists. Any settled, stable society is bound to suffer from terrorists. Ignore them and they will go away, only to be replaced by another lot of extravagantly bearded loons willing to kill and die for whatever nirvana is promised by their chosen interpretation of their chosen book. The repressive laws you put in place, however crop up later to trouble subsequent generations.
Our strength as a society comes from our diversity. By this I mean diversity of opinion: freedom of speech and the need to defend your opinions in the open court of ideas - I am not short of commentators calling me an idiot. Sometimes I deserve it and modify my stance. That's freedom. One also needs freedom to act according to your concience and the responsibility to take the consequences. The only equality is before the law. As such members of the establishment suggesting that Sharia be introduced into British Law is an utterly wrong headed attempt at appeasement, pleasing no-one. Attempts to introduce thought-crime legislation lead to humiliating defeats in the court for the government whilst criminalising young, dumb men who are probably just fantasizing about jihad. The real tragedy is that these men, when drawn to a life of action chose Osama bin Laden over the British Army. This is a result of the failed creed of multiculturalism.
If you have large numbers of people who do not mix in wider society, strange ideas can become prevalent. I'm thinking of Marxism in University Junior Common Rooms and Jihad in closed Muslim ghettos. Why is multiculturalism so disastrous? Because it is administered by people who have no love for their own country: the leftist local Government official. If the only bit of wider British society you interact with believes that your grievances are real, that Britain is at fault for all the problems in the world that the Union Jack and our ancient monarchy are not things to which you feel loyalty: If the host nation despises itself, how can recent immigrants possibly learn to love the UK?
Secondly the welfare state causes then entrenches despair. It pays people for disastrous lifestyle choices. It subsidises ignorant village imams. It prevents the low skilled and those without English from making the effort to find work. Thus the welfare state is at the heart of why poor British-born muslims feel such a sense of alienation and despair. The low waged are the principal victims of mass immigration, and these are disproportionately found amongst immigrant communities. Witness the 20% unemployment amongst British born Bangladeshis and the continual importation of Bangladeshi curry chefs. The welfare state subsidises entirely inappropriate immigration.
So the result is an alienated community, some of whom are in thrall to a foreign mediaeval cult of death. And the government responds with laws which alienate the majority of that community who aren't busy blowing themselves up, whilst giving undue hope to those who are that their aims are achievable. And because racial profiling is not allowed, British subjects from communities uninvolved in jihadi thought (whites, principally) are caught up in the hyperactive policing. This causes resentment amongst the native British population. This in turn fuels racism leading to further alienation of the Muslim community.
The Government's policy is responsible for a vicious circle which led to home-grown suicide bombers and 7/7. Is there another policy?
First, as I outlined above, Multiculturalism and the welfare state prevents integration. Abolish the welfare state. End translation services. Force immigrants to learn English. Repeal much of Nu Labours oppressive police state legislation. The Youth do not need ASBOs any more than Muslims need sus laws. Make the police answerable to those they serve, not political masters. All of these have been argued at length in this blog, and this forms a coherent platform of individual responsibility, a liberal state with strong security.
This is more optimistic than the NuLabour manifesto (for what it's worth) of more repression, ever curtailed freedom (for our own good naturally) and appeasement of our enemies which form both the cause and solution to of Britain's descent into totalitarian nightmare in a self perpetuating downward spiral of statist solutions. We are standing at the top of a long, and very slippery slope. We are still a free country, but only just.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
Britain is a shit place to live. People are stressed and harassed. We are over-governed. This is manifested in two ways: We pay far too much tax - especially the low paid, which means we have no resources available to fall back on when the going gets tough. But its not that: its the sheer unpleasantness of people in this godforsaken land - especially those in small authority. It is that British beast, the Jobsworth, who knows that he will be backed up by the full violence of the law even though he's abusing his position, who make life so intolerable.
In two incidents I picked up from the blogosphere, Bendygirl, who has severe mobility problems was abused by a manager of JD weatherspoons because she wished, quite reasonably to wait until the crush at the door moved on before her friends attemped to help her out at closing time. The second is a train guard, blocked a perfectly serviceable door and manhandled a woman in order to prevent her boarding, because the "stand clear" had already been called. The door was open at the time because the little bully was chatting to his union slug of a mate on the platform.
Once a decision is made, no-one in any form of petty authority ever backs down. They will continue to throw their weight around, and if you ever get frustrated at the injustice of it, they will not hesitate to call the police, and you will be prosecuted for assault (if you so much as touched him) or threatening behaviour: a section 24 offence (if you merely told him to fuck off). You cannot win.
The police seem to enjoy this too. A man got himself threatened with a fire-arm and arrested (and put on the DNA database) for listening to a black Phillips MP3 player which someone myopically mistook for a gun. No-one said, "I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, sir. Please go on your way". No! they kept up the violence until they had crushed every last ounce of authority out of the situation. Arrest, DNA and Detention. For nothing. I doubt he even got an apology.
When the police are just armed backup for every thug and bully who have managed to get themselves a high visibility vest and a job which involves herding the general public (Train guards, Bouncers, Parking attendants, Airport staff etc...), what respect do you think they get from the general public? The police have become the provisional wing of the Jobsworth movement.
Now, the police are supposed to serve a purpose, but when you're the victim of crime, you get no satisfaction from the useless cunts (unless you're dead). They will however stop you for being in possession of a motor car with intent to drive. (3 points, an increase of 20% in your insurance premium and a £60 fine). Or being in possession of a beard with intent to be Muslim (Indefinite detention without trial, if the Police get their way) So I ask again. Would the UK be a better or a worse place if the police just buggered off and left me to defend my property myself? I'd make a better fist of it than they do - because let's face it, burglary has been decriminalised!
If there were no Police, I certainly would be able to give jobsworth cunts the kicking they richly deserve, and the fear of kickings from the people they herd, may just persuade those who go to work in a high vis vest to be more polite and flexible to the general public. That will in turn make the UK a better more civilised place to live. Dead (and, if I catch them at it, extravagantly tortured) burglars and muggers would drop the crime rate. You'd be more polite to people if you thought they might kick your head in if you weren't. With no police, people would be forced to police their own neighbourhoods: community engagement! Perhaps then the herd will not go out and get drunk and act like animals. If you treat the people like scum, that's how they'll behave. The Pigs are failing so badly in their prime function (keeping the Queen's peace and preventing crime, in case you didn't know) that I'm not convinced we'd be worse off without them.
There's a saying in the Army: "if you need rank, you shouldn't have it". It's the same with the High vis vest and police backup.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
If any Labour supporter mentions "10 years of uninterrupted stability and economic growth" point out to them it is not 10, it is 15 years. Then punch them in the face. The boom started under Major, but the groundwork was put in by the Thatcher administration, who had a gargantuan mess to clean up after the last time the electorate were stupid enough to let the Labour Party lose on the country. Gordon Brown has not had to deal with a financial crisis since the Russian Debt Default/LTCM in 1998, which affected this country only marginally. He started from a position of great financial strength, and started to screw things up from the start.
Since he got the keys to the No.11 drinks cabinet, he has spent our money like a sailor in port. DESPITE THE GREATEST RISE IN TAX IN PEACE TIME IN BRITAIN'S HISTORY, Government debt has spiralled out of control: your taxes were clearly not enough, he had to mortgage your future too! Private savings have been raided and the taxpayer squeezed mercilessly. Restraint in the public sector was abandoned. In the USA, policy makers can cut taxes and offer cheap money to keep the economy ticking over. Here, no such stimulus packages are available. There is no more money to soak from the British public, and rates remain high because of inflation. Inflation, which if you look at RPI, is caused mainly by increases in taxes on fuel, exacerbating inflation caused by the high oil price. Housing costs (including taxes) are rising too, to form a bigger part of household expenditure than for a generation. This governments policy on biofuels is helping to stoke inflation in agricultural produce, which is the third component of inflation. But mainly we are fucked as a result of gross, criminal overspend by an ignorant, arrogant socialist fool. By the time a Conservative administration comes in, Brown will have created either a deep bust in public sector spending as tax receipts dry up or a stagflationary private sector bust as he prints money and stokes inflation by borrowing to fund his client state.
What does he have to show for this entirely avoidable fiscal crunch? Well if you listen to Polly Toynbee, the Doyenne of New Labour cheerleaders: a vague reduction in child poverty measured financially, and sure start, which Tony Blair described as "new Labour's greatest achievement". However, Child poverty may be falling, but Britain has become a much worse place to be a child. Not my opinion: UNICEF, who think Britain is the worst place in the developed world to grow up. Sure Start is a total waste of money. Some record, for the financial hardship which he is now putting us through. They have wasted your money and bankrupted the country for precisely no gain. It was all so predictable: wouldn't it have been better to leave the money in the pockets of the hard working people?
Now an incoming Conservative government will have to slash spending before they can cut taxes. The mess this bunch of over-promoted public-sector middle managers will once again take a decade for the grown-ups to put right. No matter how incompetent, venal and corrupt a Tory administration may be, it is never as bad for the country as Labour. At least the Tories let you spend some of your own money.
Now they're behind in the polls, the badger-faced sock puppet and his monocular boss seek the eye-catching initiatives, but realise that eveything they've come up with is poorly thought out. On capital gains tax and the Non-doms, they are being pulled this way and that, unsure of their ground and sinking in a mire of incompetence. Their inheritance tax proposals were at once a clear steal of rhetoric from the Conservatives whilst missing the substance and actually changing nothing. They have been exposed for the dishonest charlatans they are. I have been saying it for a long time, but never has a reputation for economic competence been so undeserved.
It's not often I get a comment from a boat, but one was clearly moved to write following my appalled reaction to the deployment of the Mosquito youth oppression device. I commend his comment on this which I have reproduced below:
I did a job last year on a site adjacent to a traditional white working class council estate. The adults were all scum - you could see the 32" plasmas burning away through the netties during the day, and the only time the bastards moved was to rush down to the betting shop or the offie, belying the disability benefit that no doubt about 80% of them were claiming. They were nasty, intolerant, ignorant, illiterate plebs, loaded with all the prejudice and bile that comes from being utter cunts and failures. They complained. They complained about delivery wagons waking them up at 9.30am, about plant noise, about dust that they said coated the windows of their council houses but which they hadn't been arsed to clean themselves for a year or more. They were after handouts. There was a constant procession of them to the site office, with all their petty spiteful grievances, and their whining supplicant 'rights'. Oh Jesus, I came so close to shouting at the cunts to fuck off and get a job ....Go read his blog.
The one redeeming feature of the place was the kids. They were anarchic, testosterone fuelled, BMX heroes who could find a way through two insurance padlocks and an engine immobiliser on a piece of site plant in 10 minutes flat. They were fit, lean, lithe, careless of any danger, disrespectful of any authority, infinitely crafty and resourceful and bored out of their skulls. The kids were at war with the whiny minging estate cunts. You can tell I liked them.
I had a visit from the local plod sergeant - a weasel faced little dickhead puffed with the stupidity of his own importance but who hadn't outgrown his acne scars. He wanted my help to 'trap' some of the kids. "We can't let PCSOs patrol here because the kids throw stones at them" he said. "Well, they don't fucking throw stones at me, mate" I said "Perhaps it's because I treat them like adults and have a banter and a laugh with them". He didn't like that.
What the place needed more than anything else was a paternal seen-it-all NCO with 20 years under his belt and a pile of attestation forms - these kids were God's own natural soldiers. Three months at Catterick and swapping their BMXs for GPMGs and I swear to God they would have out-soldiered, out-fought, out-thought and trounced any other foreign military force on the planet.
Weasel-face and the estate cunts lobbied their local NuLabour MP and my MD had a creamy Parliament letter on his desk recommending that I install these 'Mosquito' devices all over the development as soon as. I refused. I put up a great fight.I won.
Sorry for the length, but I know in the depths of my very soul that what a lot of these kids need is not to be driven away, feared, corralled and ASBO'd but hard physical challenges, danger and the opportunity to prove themselves for what many of them are - true Brits.
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Occasionally some news comes out which really appals me. I had never heard of the "mosquito device" which emits a piercing scream, audible to only those under 20 or so. These are deployed to disperse gangs of hoodies, but catches any youth in the area, causing discomfort even to those uninvolved in hoodiness. I'm revolted that they're allowed.
If I lived in a neighbourhood which deployed one of these when I found "hanging around" to form a key part of my social life, I would take on board how much society valued me. Signs saying "No Ball games", "No skating", "No hoodies". There are no playing fields, no adults prepared to give time and support, and genuinely nothing for many to do as a result. Even if there were, what's wrong with "hanging around"?
If I lived in the world many young people are forced to endure, I would have felt even fewer constraints about swearing, vandalism and graffiti - the message society is giving loud and clear to young people is "fuck off" and we're surprised at the reaction?
Sometimes the daily mail tendency shocks me to the core. This is one children's commissioner campaign I can support to the full.
Monday, 11 February 2008
Previous posts on the EU can be found here. To summarise, I am Euro sceptic, but the argument that we should stay in has won, but only just. 'Till now.
My abiding interest in politics is the advancement of Liberty. Because of this, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Enlargement of the EU to the East, where Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and others can now breathe a lot freer than a decade ago. The EU, for its faults, has a role in cementing that process. Furthermore, the freedom to move and trade unmolested by borders From Dublin to Bratislava and from Helsinki to Madrid is an undoubted boon to liberty which has not been seen since 1914. Who actually does the governing is neither here nor there. All government is oppressive, whether home-grown or imported, and our own vicious, illiberal Government is the worst of a very bad bunch.
In many countries in the East, there was a need for a strong hand to prevent the countries slipping as Russia did into a new totalitarianism. Thus The EU had a role in advancing freedom. They have thrown all that good work away.
I do not deny that the EU is a total fucking disaster for Britain: the third worst thing to happen to the UK since the war (the Welfare state and the NHS, in case you're wondering), and even so I have not advocated withdrawal until now. There are some who will say that it is inevitable. The EU has always been undemocratic and corrupt. Yes, but never until now has it abandoned the pretence at democracy. To secure the safe passage of the
constitution Treaty of Lisbon, EU lawmakers ignored their own procedures. Filibuster and debate are to be stifled to advance the concept of ever closer union: The EU taking on the status of a country, starting with an EU president, foreign minister, police, army and courts. Governments throughout the continent have connived with the EU that the treaty of Lisbon is in some way different from the rejected constitution, whilst sniggering behind their hands that it is not. Whilst national parliaments technically remain sovereign, for how long will they be able to say so with a straight face? EU law already has de facto supremacy. I don't think most people realise how far it has already gone, and wouldn't like it if they found out, which is why Eurocrats don't win plebiscites. The problem is that EU scepticism is a fringe activity and UKIP has drawn every nutter, racist and loon from the UK and beyond and made withdrawal seem an extreme position. Euroscepticism has been toxified by this pathetic party, who get far more press than they deserve.
In reality though, the people of Europe have had enough of this damned document, and are open to referendums, something that needs to be made clear to mainstream parties: We will not be sold out - it is not politicians' sovereignty to give away. We want a chance to vote it down, but have lost faith in our politicians to listen when we do. What happens when politicians don't listen to the people? They end up dangling from lamp posts.
Now that the the Liberal "Democrats" are going to support the government in denying the people their manifesto-promised referendum, the Constitution is as good as passed. This should give every Tory ammunition on the doorstep when fighting Liberal Democrats - how dare those mendacious cunts ever lecture us about fair democracy and PR? Just say "referendum" and tell them to fuck off. And I urge you to write to your nearest Tory MP, and ask him to urge David Cameron to make his promise of a Referendum retrospective: Even if the Labour and Liberals conspire to get this wretched, stinking treason through parliament Tories should be offering the people a vote to get out of it after the fact. It would be popular.
After careful consideration, I have signed "better off out". Yes. I reluctantly admit that the fucking edifice is unreformable, and it will do too much damage in trying to stay alive when it starts to collapse on its own. We should leave, now and hasten its demise.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
20-25% of young people have used cannabis in the last year. A far smaller number use Cocaine or heroin. That's the "gateway drug argument" dismissed as utter bollocks. There are huge numbers of Ex users; most of the Cabinet and shadow cabinet have at least tried the drug, which suggests it is not particularly addictive. It has demonstrable medical benefits in combatting pain and appetite loss (maybe the student who swallowed his key in fact had an extreme attack of the munchies).
Cannabis does seem to have some impact on mental health - schizophrenia, but only amongst heavy users and those already prone. This is also true of alcohol, which also causes violence and disorder in a way not associated with cannabis. You cannot prohibit one and not the other on this basis. Cannabis should be legalised on the basis that anything regularly done by huge numbers of people shouldn't be criminalised for fear of the law being an ass. The same is true of Ecstasy. Before you scream "Leah Betts" the fact that her name is so well known should indicate the relative safety of MDMA as a recreational drug: One well publicised death from water intoxication despite the fact that nearly 2% of the population take the drug regularly is testament to the safety, despite the drug's illegality. Imagine how safe it would be if there was a legal supply chain.
Both Cannabis and MDMA are safer than Alcohol, and don't generally cause people to kick each others heads in for spilling my pint.
I am a stockbroker. I've seen enough of cocaine to see that it is not that much more harmful than Alcohol, especially in reasonable use. Heavy use is, however a slowly unfolding disaster for users. There is a greater risk of psychological addiction with cocaine than almost any other drug, and human users act like lab rats: they take whatever they can get their paws on - it is a more powerful chemical "reward" for the brain even than sex, and this creates a powerful urge. There is a medical case therefore for criminalising it. Cocaine is the most widely (ab) used major stimulant in America, and even so, it causes far, far fewer deaths than Alcohol. Vicious prohibition fails to interdict supply or constrain use, and serves to introduce otherwise law abiding people to criminals whose modus operandi is far nastier (because of the logistic chain) than those involved in the supply of Marijuana.
Heroin is more of a problem to libertarians: the effects on the individual and society from heroin are severe, and can an addict truly be described as free? Many of the negative effects however are a symptom not of the drug, but of its illegality. Most overdose deaths, like Rachael Whitear are probably caused when an unusually pure consignment of smack hits the streets. As the drug is illegal, it is expensive. There are three ways to fund a habit: Crime, prostitution and become a dealer yourself. Clearly number one is not a long-term strategy, number 2 is only open to women, so to fund a serious habit, you need to deal. This creates a big pyramid marketing scheme, which is, in part responsible for the concentration of users on sink estates. It cannot be avoided whilst the drug is illegal. Therefore the social harm is likely to be reduced by legalisation: those who wantit should be able to get it, but the incentives to encourage use in others should be removed.
Crack is a derivative of cocaine, which will become less popular if cocaine is legalised. Crystal Meth is a Heroin substitute which can be made out of legal precursors. Legalise heroin and cociane, crystal meth will become less popular. Both fuck you up a treat. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. There are others:
We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... Also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.There are reasonable grounds for banning harmful drugs. But they all come up against one thing: The war on drugs is futile. You cannot, in a free society interdict supply. With that in mind, why try? In the UK, one estimate suggested that less than 12% of drugs were interdicted. We live on an Island. If it is impossible here, more so on the continent. Face it, you're never more than a 10 minute drive to a score. In many places at many times, it's easier to get illegal drugs than buy a pint of beer.
(Hunter s. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
All you do is criminalise users. Selling pot is a victimless crime - leave both parties alone! A regulated trade in Cocaine or Heroine would remove a lucrative revenue stream from organised crime and international terrorism - the argument that you're funding nasties by taking drugs is inevitable while they're illegal, and there has never been a business as profitable as illegal drugs. Interdiction merely raises profits to the successful smuggler. The economics mean the trade cannot be stopped except at the cost of a police state. Such liberalisation would free the £2 billion currently wasted - including the use of Britain's scarce special forces troops which are sorely needed elsewhere - attempting the interdiction of supply. Money could be pumped into addict support, working on the demand side far more profitably and significantly reducing harm, and reducing the number of problem users.
A legalised drug trade would remove criminal elements' profits from the trade, ensure consistency and safety of product. International development would be improved by removing desablaising narco lords' profits and therefore power. Much of the incidental harm in western cities would be reduced by clean drugs of known strength available at lower cost. Addicts would be less stigmatised for seeking support, and like alcoholics now, many more would seek help before their behaviour became a problem. Habits would be cheaper to finance, and more would be able to do so from work.
There is no doubt that use of currently proscribed substances would go up somewhat, at least in the short term, but as many new users would not become problem users, this need not be a disaster. The system is broken at the moment, and almost any situation is better than the drugs policy we've got.
I've spoken to politicians, senior police officers and a huge number of professionals about this. Few argue with these ideas, but are aware that it is "politically impossible" to do anything. There are 2 reasons cited: International relations and the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail, and anyone who reads it can be ignored. Unilateral legalisation of drugs will, however cause Britain to become a pariah, and drugs tourism would become a significant problem. In addition, legalising drugs would simply mean that major criminals make the UK their home. They'll probably buy football teams. It would cause us to fall out with key allies, particularly the US whose hard-line attitude to drugs is quite ridiculous. All is not lost. One day the world will see sense that the prohibition of substances is futile. It will require a major country to go out on a limb first. Why not us? Cannabis is already effectively decriminalised on the continent and if the US can be made to see sense, then the rest of the world will follow.
Prohibition is a habit now, and so much has been invested the sunk cost argument means that people, especially law-enforcement types will be loathe to change. It will be seen as "giving the wrong message to young people" or some such nonsense. Whoever legalises it will be blamed for every single subsequent overdose death. It will take some political courage, but it is the right thing to do. Despite evidence that Cannabis use has fallen since its classification as a class C drug, Gordon Brown's intent to re-raise Cannabis to class B is just an attempt to seem tough on the Law and order issue, but it is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
50 years ago, some footballers died in a plane crash. Does anyone outside Manchester give a shit? This morning we were treated to the kind of lachrymose self-pity of which even Liverpool would be proud. Does this warrant as much news coverage as the US presidential primaries? The war in Afghanistan, or BHP Billiton's bid to takeover Rio Tinto? On BBC Radio northern toilet or talksport, possibly. On National radio? No. So can you shut the fuck up about Busby's Babes, please? If they inspire as much drivel as was spouted this morning, then talking about them should be a capital offence.
Of course the real question is how to ensure the same disaster befalls the current crop of overpaid tossers in nylon shorts who infest the Premier league.
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Bob Piper, February 4, 14:51
"And if anyone asks you why you don't support a national ID card scheme if you haven't done anything wrong, just tell them that with these people running around unchecked, you'd rather take your chances without one, thank you"making his point, which puts him directly in opposition to Labour Government Policy on ID Cards.
Bob Piper February 4, 21:12
"Are we to seriously believe that Conservative Party MPs who support a campaign or Party which stands candidates against other Conservative candidates are now free to do so? Not even John Major's total shambles of an administration would allow that."Mr Piper suggesting that Party Loyalty is important (on a European Referendum), and those who disagree should be kicked out of the party.
Bob Piper: Councillor, Blogger, Doublethinking twat.
Monday, 4 February 2008
The American dream runs thus: A penniless young man turns up on Ellis Island, fleeing tyranny, war or persecution and twenty years later can be seen sitting at a desk the size of one of the smaller European city states in an office on the 50th floor of a sky scraper, the master of all he surveys.
Give me your tired, your poor,You can argue whether that dream is still available to the millions of immigrants pouring into the Great Republic. Indeed some social mobility statistics suggest that the UK is more egalitarian than the USA, but that narrative is powerful none the less. You could argue that it encourages a dog-eat-dog competitiveness. I would counter with the statistics on charitable giving by Americans rather puts European public-spiritedness in the shade (probably because they're not taxed to penury). There are some on the left who sneer at the American dream, but they're the same ones who will never forgive the USA for winning the cold war.
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
Whatever the detractors the ideology of one self-reliant man, his efforts and his success; it is more optimistic than the high taxing, benefit paying nanny state of the European lefts' wet dreams. If a man of talent has a shot at the top then he can maintain motivation to keep going, and more importantly, he does not have the excuse that it is "the system" which has prevented his ascent.
There is, and always has been a similar English dream, but it is being steadily and deliberately strangled over the last 100 years century by death duties, Planning regulations, the welfare state and socialism.
The opportunity to gain a seat at the top table, for you and your descendants has always been at the heart of the aristocracy, which has never been a closed club. Anyone could, in theory by Valour in Battle, mercantile success or skilful politicking come from modest backgrounds and build themselves a country seat and get to wear ermine. This dream protected the England, and later Britain from the revolutions which convulsed the continent, by tying the newly wealthy, to the status quo. We English did not like it when in the 1650's the grasping middle orders ran the show without guidance from their betters. So we returned to the system which allowed anyone of talent and wealth, who would otherwise cause trouble, access to the heart of political power. The social dynamism lasted into the 20th century, but was killed by the nationalisation of education, which, by the 1970's had ceased any pretence of educating the lower orders . Want proof? Would an orphan, brought up by a cobbler who left school at 14 make it to Prime Minister today?
The old liberal idea is that you make what you can of what you've got: your situation is up to you to change. Perhaps the left's most insidious success is persuading the working class that they are oppressed and should not seek betterment by their own effort, and that society is something that does unto them, rather than something they can influence. The modern welfare state further encourages this negative attitude by encouraging even those with a job to beg for some of their money back off the state, rather than working a bit harder. For many, obscene marginal tax rates mean extra work is not worth the effort.
The American dream, and its slightly less vulgar British predecessor are founded on the principle that a man's wealth is his and access to political power is a rightful reward for success. This encourages a long-term stake in the society in which they made their cash, and can be regarded as a potentially good thing, if you get the incentives right.
Money and power are the same thing, like matter and energy. All Britain's recent political problems, for both Tories and Labour result from a denial of this fact. How many times have you heard a Politician talk of the "Corrosive" influence of money on politics? You might as well try to stop the tide coming in. A healthy system would recognise this and have the self-confidence to pay its politicians properly rather than encourage grubby trough feeding. A well-paid political class would attract a better class of politician - the kind of people who would currently consider a £64,000 salary for what it is: mean and paltry. Pay peanuts, get monkeys: At present, all you have in the commons are people who would never command that salary outside politics or those who have already made a mint.
Money is political power in transferable form, and any stable, successful political system recognises this fact or will sink in a mire of corruption (the EU) or become an irrelevance (Westminster). That is why the honours system is important: It is the means by which wealth is rewarded and access to power is formalised in the UK. As such it can prevent corruption if the process is open and above board (yes, even up to the point of purchasing titles) and it provides a route for all to get to the top. The British dream can be updated.
Friday, 1 February 2008
My lovely Girlfriend is appearing on Telly this at 5 this afternoon on ITV: Jasper Carrot's dreadful game show, Goldenballs, in which the delightful Jessica appears as a pristine diamond amongst the raw human sewage surrounding her. Her opponents include someone who admits unembarrased to working for a speed camera partnership, and an idle dishonest poofter who admits to only having read one book in his life: Learning to Fly, Victoria Beckham's autobiography.
Still it was a fun day out.