Thursday, 31 July 2008

Tooled up

Yet more bansturbation, this time from the Scottish Parliament; who want a register of hunting knives. As the Times states “The proposals include a ban on shop displays that can be viewed from the street and a requirement to keep full details of the type of knife sold and the purchaser”. One assumes that there will be a government department set up to keep track of these, especially since filing the descriptions might prove a tad tricky. “Taggart, there’s been a murder, better nip of to the Knife registration unit and look at all the files under sharp metal objects. I won’t expect you back any time soon.”

You’d think these people would have learnt the lesson after banning guns (which unlike knives that are generally retrieved, guns tend to leave a permanent marker in the victim - the bullet rifling marks so you can tell which type of firearm it was). Furthermore ban something, and all of a sudden it becomes terribly fashionable with the criminal fraternity. And how much has gun crime gone up since the ban?

The other tiny point worth mentioning is that guns weren’t kept in wooden blocks in collections of 12 in the kitchen. When you wanted to cut up a steak for a beef stir fry, you didn’t think “Shall I use the Uzi 9mm, the Ingram 9mm or go for a bit of finesse with a Steyr Aug 5.56 to chop it up. Pass the RPG, I've got to mix a salad". As a result there were a few hundred billion less of them in circulation. Are the knife registration teams going to do house to house registration on each piece of cutlery in every household? “Ok now I want to photograph all your butter knives”. What if you carry out an illegal modification on another kitchen implement? “I’m arresting you for being in possession of a viciously sharp cruet set”.

They also plan to ban Swords. Now I collect swords, and have 5 cavalry swords, various tribal weapons and a fencing blade at home. Apparently I will have to have a good reason or adding to my collection of antique swords. I don’t suppose “they look cool on the wall” will cut it. Does anybody have any suggestions to justifying me needing one? I was going to go for "swatting mosquitoes".

Now I know we bloggers are accused of offering criticism rather than solutions so here’s an idea… Instead of criminalising the general public, why not lock up people who use them to stab other people for a change? Just something you might, perhaps want to examine.

Dear Mr Brown,

You are the worst prime minister in British History. You have no mandate from the British People (Kirkaldy excepted) and you are clearly not up to the job. Even your record as chancellor is being revealed as a tissue of half truths, exaggeration and luck. You claimed credit for the good times and spent like a drunken sailor in port (to little effect) and in the process failed to store up a war chest for harder economic times.

Did you really think you had abolished the economic cycle? That sort of hubris is unforgivable in a leader.

Please, please, please go to the country. It's the only way you will salvage any dignity from your current predicament. Pushing on until either your party defenestrates you or 2010 (which ever is the sooner) will result in catastrophe for both you and the country, which will never forgive you. Think how much your tribe hate Baroness Thatcher and spread it across the entire political spectrum and you get some measure of the national contempt you're earning for yourself.

In short, fuck off, yesterday if possible, next Wednesday at the latest.

Yours etc....
I sent this today. Let's see if I get a response

Brown leadership battle

Over at Dizzy thinks, a very good analysis of the current leadership situation for Brown. Also a very interesting comment or two. This from Pete Wass "I just can't see how they force him out without a vote of confidence, and there are enough MPs who are too scared of losing their seats to do that. The other possibility they face that if they do successfully instigate proceedings, he could decide to go nuclear and call an immediate election to spite them. It wouldn't strike me as out of character".

Labour works

As I mentioned in the post Harperson below, Harriet wants equality amongst criminality (well actually a bias against male victims). And in todays Times we have the proof that even mentioning it has brought about the result she wants. What power she has, men cower in awe at her ability to shape issues merely by pronouncing them. Violence has overtaken shoplifting as the crime that most women commit. "Sisters! Harriet has taken us to the promised land already! Equality here we come".

Of course it might seem a tad strange that Harperson is advocating zero punishment for Murderesses within 24 hours of it being announced that female crime is up 11%. But that is outdated sexist male thinking. I suggest that you read this poem by the Doug Anthony All Stars to correct your thinking...

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Who’d have thunk it!

It seems that the Germans have found out something most people worked out before a single piece of legislation was enacted in any country. Banning smoking in pubs leads to a catastrophic collapse in the healthy profits of said drinking establishments. Amazingly those who don’t think twice about the health effects of downing a few pints after work are also smokers. They’re a tad annoyed that they have to stand in the rain every time they want a cigarette and are staying at home instead. So the German Bier Kellers have decided to get the courts to force a re-draft of the law before the nanny state puts even more of them out of business. To be fair on other nations, the Germans have had longer to learn their lesson; it has appeared in Germany periodically since the 1930’s

The mythological “If you stopped smoking in pubs, I’d go there a lot more often” bansturbating Health moaners who stage cough loudly every time somebody lights up a Marlboro are still at home with their Kumquat and Aardvark dropping protein shakes. Livelihoods throughout Europe, Canada and the States have been ruined unless you have a handy beer garden or roof terrace to let people smoke on. Banning smoking in pubs – a law so dumb even the Germans (who love rules as much as Sausages, leather shorts and Wagner) are seeing the (Camel) light.

What needs to be done to Shrink the State

The Government spends £185 billion a year in Social Services and Direct benefit payments, representing nearly a third of all Government expenditure. To put this in perspective - it is more than defence, Law and order, education and housing combined. Only health comes close to benefits as a drain on the exchequer. Obviously this third does not include the benefits administered by local Government, such as housing benefit. It is this massive chunk of money which needs to be shrunk, if there is to be any shrinking of the size of the state. If you have ever voted Labour, you may think that this is taking money off the poorest in society. It is, but the sheer poverty welfare dependency causes, in the long run, you're doing them a favour. When people realise just how much of the tax they pay is going to the estates on the edge of town, those hearts of darkness, those ghettoes populated by people who have been encouraged into long-term worklessness, politicians will be willing to accept the challenge of ending the corrosive effect of paying people not to work. It is the welfare state which has spawned two generations of people who know nothing of honest work, and everything about their "Rights".

Capitalism, as every Marxist bore will tell you, needs unemployment. Yet any economist will tell you this need not be unjust. 5% is roughly the structural rate at which the Labour market is efficient, yet uninflationary. 5% is roughly the claimant count - those actively seeking work. If you think about it, 5% is you enduring two six month periods on the dole in 20 years of work. What capitalism does not need however is a rump of 10% consisting of "economically inactive" people, most of whom, frankly, are taking the piss and are described in the statistics as "discouraged workers". This is required by politicians who wish to claim that the unemployment rate is lower than it actually is.

There is an excellent post at 'Burning our Money'

We on the right believe that the world is a better place if individuals - or more specifically families - take responsibility for themselves... From the economy, to education, to health, to welfare, the right believes when governments get involved beyond law and war, the long-term consequences are almost always dire.

The left believes the exact opposite. They believe the world is better if planned and managed by a benevolent dictator who goes by the name of "Society". For the left, the apparent randomness of markets is the law of the jungle, and individual differences in talent and interest a monstrous inequity....
But it's not the monstrous burden of the left's vision of "society" on the hard pressed tax-payer which so offends, but the effects that money has on its recipients. The left will not, cannot accept that it is the welfare state's perverse incentives (most notoriously the massive incentive to have children in order to get a council house) rather than lack of money and opportunity, which are at the root of the hellish, crime ridden estates ruining whole areas of towns. The idea that welfare payments subsidise crime, by leaving young men with nothing else to do, is repugnant. Repugnant, but true. The opposing, rather optimistic idea that people will work even though they could get the same money 'on the social' seems remarkably common on the left. It is common, but false. And it is this false premise, underlying everything the left does which is at the root of the social breakdown at the margins of society.

The left blame rampant individualism (and specifically Thatcherism) leading to an atomised society for recent increases in violent crime. I blame the welfare state for removing the middle classes obligations to those less fortunate. For socialism demands that, when you see poverty, you have to do nothing about it, for your obligation is already discharged when you send your Tax cheque (and today is tax bill day) - the thousands the tax man is getting from me does not in any way make me feel warm and fuzzy. Does it you?

By making charity the state's function, you see to it that delivery of welfare is expansive, bureaucratic and replete with perverse incentives. Who are the women least likely to be able to bring up a child alone? The young and poor. To whom is a home, independence and an income should they become pregnant promised? The young and poor! Without fathers, with uneducated mothers, and no culture of work beyond the most casual, it is no wonder generations have been brought up with no respect for themselves or the rest of society. Then there are the smack heads whose free methadone keeps them addicted, and the just plain lazy for whom work is popping off to the doctor to get his "bad back" signed off. And inevitable the result is a feral feckless self-spawning underclass of useless people, whose despair and ennui is inflicted on the rest of us.

It's time for tough love. Remove the welfare teat and by doing so force the long term unemployed - discouraged workers - back into the Labour market into work by creating the incentive - work or starve. You'll be amazed how quickly people rediscover their initiative and work ethic when forced to do so. Work or become homeless or, if all else fails, find a charity prepared to support you. There will be plenty set up by the out-of-work social workers who are convinced that they are all that stands between us and armageddon. Remove the option of a lifetime on benefits, and bring back the work ethic. Without the subsidy to hang around, threatening people, the crime rate (actual not statistical) will be reduced. What's more people in jobs tend to both be, and look less threatening, thereby reducing the fear of crime.

The minimum wage too is part of the problem. By raising the bar, the unskilled are simply uneconomic to employ. It makes more sense for a business to buy a machine. Without unskilled labour, the habit of work, and the possibility of the long term unemployed people ever getting out of the welfare trap and into better paid, skilled work, vanishes. So the minimum wage needs to be abolished or seriously reduced to levels found in comparable countries. We have the highest minimum wage in the world - more than that in the richest country in the world, Luxembourg. Those paragons of Lefty virtue, the Nordics have no minima, and we're 60% more than the Canadian minimum. No wonder our illiterate chavs cannot get on the job ladder. They aren't worth what business is being asked to pay them; so our delightful government shovels them onto a scrap heap marked "discouraged workers".

At the margins, business cuts costs by paying immigrants who are cheaper illegally or legally. And the people who suffer most from this immigration are the poor whose jobs and prospects vanish. Why employ a semi literate Englishman when you can get a polish labourer who works harder for less?

Finally, you need to make work pay and remove the disincentive to work. At the moment the state taxes the low paid, swills the money round half a million Bureaucrats then asks them to beg for some of their cash back. As well as being disgustingly wasteful, this creates marginal tax rates for the low paid which can in extreme circumstances approach 90%. This isn't acceptable to my mind - it's revolting in fact.

Before the welfare state, income tax affected just 20% of salaries. The average working man just did not have to think about the tax man. Now, with the welfare state, a fifth of even the checkout girl at Sainsbury's salary goes to Darling's Labour re-election slush tax fund. Worse, with PAYE, no-one questions it. As tax is painless, so it has grown - the state grasping ever more from its poorest citizens through the dishonest process of tax-creep - failing to keep thresholds growing along with wages. Surely you want the Low-Paid to keep the fruit of their extra labours? This would be most easily achieved by taking millions of the lowest paid out of the tax system in its entirety. Raise the threshold to £10,000 or £15,000 - give tax cuts in the future by raising that threshold further and pay for it by slashing benefits to those out of work. That targets the benefits of tax cuts at the working poor far better than the bureaucratic nightmare of tax credits. Why don't they ever take this step? Could it be they are motivated by spite against the 'middle class' rather than the noble motives they claim for themselves? I'd never suggest that. It is if fact worse. They would rather the poor be grateful for the mean crusts thrown to them by socialists than ever stand on their own two feet.

Socialists desire power over their fellow man, and the independent-minded middle class are too strong for them. So they do what every inadequate bully does. They pick on the weakest. Socialism: an Evil creed. Thank God it's dying and we need to sweep the detritus it left away. In its place we need to build a society of independent people with a stake in society, not state supplicants begging for small change. The first step is simplifying, reducing and curtailing the reach of the benefits system. It was intended to be a safety net for the poor. Instead it has become a trap set by the bureaucrats who wish merely to extend their little empires. The welfare state like everything else the state does, is not immune from producer capture.

New diet. Most effective yet!

Read this and be put off food.

“Yet between the years of 1984 and 1988, John and I would meet regularly for fulfilling, fiery - yet utterly discreet – sex”.

“Women often lose weight when they begin an affair. They buy new clothes, change their hairstyles and are often suffused with that give-away glow that is imparted by illicit sex. I know I emitted such a glow during my affair with John”.

Ye Gad! Cripes! Now go read Jackart being sensible below…


Money launderer Harriet Harperson is planning her leadership challenge to be head of the Labour Party. Bwaa Ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… Well that should kill off the ever decreasing male half of the vote for Labour in perpetuity. This is probably a good reason why. Not content to build Jim Crow laws into the workplace that discriminate against men; she now wants to introduce discrimination against murder victims too (as long as they’re men).

Men who kill their wives will go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect £200 pounds. Fair enough you would think, why should murderers get off jail time because their wife nags or cheats on them? There’s a wood thing that fills up a gap in your house – it’s called a door and you should use it.

However the same will not apply to wimmin. Sisters! Harriet has a solution for you to get off scot-free. You simply claim that you have a “Fear of serious violence”. Then you can murder your husband and be drinking Mai Tai’s on a beach as soon as the deceased estate probate comes through. Of course the argument could be advanced – “wood thing, fills up gap in house – use it”. Harriet doesn’t see it that way. And she’s going to make damn sure the courts don’t see it that way either.

Most women of course will see Harriet’s’ legislation for what it is – criminally unfair. So I doubt she’ll get the vote from any women who don’t wear X is the new Y T-shirts, have “life partners” and own “I love Chocolate more than you” fridge magnets. Harriet claims that 86% of domestic homicides are committed by a man (which leaves 14% - coincidently what Harriet would poll in the next election). Obviously as obsessed as she is about equality; she wants to even the figures up by giving women the chance to kill someone for monetary gain and give them a good chance of getting off. “I thought he was going to murder me before nipping off to the Aston Martin dealership”. "I Swear he was going to batter me with his monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage". "He viciously poked me with a caviar spoon" etc etc.

The funny thing is that running for office you have to get these things called votes. The men of the country won’t leave from the nearest airport Harriet, they’ll just make sure you do because you won’t have a job, and nobody that has heard of you (i.e. anybody in the UK) will employ you.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

In Support of Local Democracy

The 'Labour is dead' Meme is one I've been pushing for a while. I do actually believe that Britain is Never going to elect a Labour Government ever again. That does not mean I think endless Tory Government would be a good thing. The beauty of democracy is the ability to chuck the rotters out when they get too big for their boots, so there does need to be an alternative.

But what form will it take?

Labour is not alone in being dead. The political party as an institution is a dead man walking - at least in its current form. What I can see happening, perhaps with an eye on what's going on over the pond - is the rise of the celebrity politician. That is a person already in the public eye, whom the public trusts and respects, using that platform to achieve political power. Some, like the current Governor of California, do so within the structure of existing political parties, but Schwarzenegger is hardly a mainstream republican. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, on the other hand are activist philanthropists in the style of 19th century industrialists who eschew party politics, but drive their agenda using their great wealth to influence anyone who happens to be in office.

Here too, we have some politicians who transcend their office. Boris Johnson was bigger than Henley, and now he's got the London mayoralty, which he took from another high profile independent, he has a platform from which to advance his agenda, whatever that may be. Moving down the food chain, there are MPs who are developing a following based on their ideas which are outside the policy think tanks of the Westminster village. John Redwood and Nadine Dorries spring to mind. I'm sure that there are Labour and Lib Dems who are doing the same thing. Whilst this is not sufficient to secure a seat outside Party politics, there have always been a number of independents, from the first Atheist to sit in parliament Charles Bradlaugh (yet another great man from my Home town) to Martin Bell and Dr. Richard Taylor, who secured strong local backing on specific issues without the (overt) backing of a Major Political party.

Political debate is moving off the comment pages of a dying newspaper industry and into blogs and discussion rooms. Party political identification is withering in favour of single issue campaigning using PR stunts organised on the Internet. Sooner or later someone will emerge from this as a serious political figure with a political following in their own right. At the moment, the good Iain Dale is the closest we've got and his profile is not high enough to win a seat in his own right (or even secure a Conservative one - yet). I am hoping that parties wither on the vine, and become nothing more than useful descriptors like Tory and Whig. MPs should regularly cross the floor of the house, if in all conscience the Government does something they support or despair of, as they once did. I am hoping that participatory democracy engages people in the running of their country so that a genuinely devolved local government can be made to work - throwing up motivated and informed people with strong local following for election, rather than the tribal lobby fodder favoured by political parties. This will Strengthen the local at the cost of the Central.

For Labour have done one great service in their decade of power: they have finally demonstrated that big Central Government interventionist solutions do not work. Just as public opinion turned against orthodox socialism in the 1970's, the Noughties may be remembered as when the big state finally failed. Whether the Tories can embrace this fully enough will remain to be seen, but they would be foolish to ignore the irritation people feel with high taxes and the failure of delivery in public services.

People want basic good governance. They want their bins emptied, the streets clean and in good repair. They want a reassuring police presence on the street. They want to be able to buy a home, though they don't want too many 'social' homes near them, thank you very much. Frankly they're not interested in outreach services, diversity audits, and much of what "social workers" do. Most are ambivalent at best towards the injustice of having to pay welfare to people who for the most part are perfectly capable of working. It is this last issue which represents the most egregious waste of public money which will form the central plank of any serious attempt to reduce the size of the state, and this would be most easily achieved from the town hall rather than Westminster, where people can see their local taxes going to neighbours whom they know (and more importantly know whether they're cheating).

With all the structural beams of Labour thought - the nightmare of industrial planning, the ludicrousness of much of the equality agenda, the groupthink of multiculturalism, and finally the interventionist, paternalist state - being shown to be rotten, there is nowhere for the centre left to go. The people have tried it, and found it wanting. So the Labour party will wither and die, and with it, hopefully tribal party politics driven by animosity towards the other lot rather than in the interests of the people - who desire in the most part to be left alone to get on with it. So the Liberals will take over, at precisely the time their PR fetish will be most counter productive.

What is true for Labour, is also true for the Conservatives - Centralised solutions do not work. And St. Margaret of Thatcher (PBUH) was the most centralising politician since Atlee. Sooner or later politics will reflect the failure of the centre, because the people are demanding it. The Conservatives are proposing elected Mayors - Are judges and police chiefs next? This could be the start of the new local revolution which could and should spell the end for the Conservatives as we know them too. With the death of Labour, we no longer need a tribal left Vs Right; Private Vs Public; Low Vs High tax; toff vs prole contest. Nor do we need the quintennial "competence" beauty parade. What we need is politicians with honour and vision - and a personal local mandate, which PR would remove. Competence is for the town hall, where it should be demonstrated before you ever get anywhere near Westminster.

True Localism will shrink the state as the people become closer to where their money is spent and see the waste. Localism will increase efficiency by removing huge national bureaucracies where they're not needed, reduce welfare dependency by closing the gap between the payers and recipients of benefit. Most importantly localism will check the rise of the Petty Jobsworths which infest local government who are protected currently by the distance from the people to the place where decisions are made resulting in pure producer capture - the real reason for lousy public services. People will and do vote, if they think their vote matters. At the moment it does not.

I've made the call for direct democracy. Here's the call for local democracy, allowing Westminster to do much, much less, handing the power to town halls where it belongs. (They should reclaim much of the power currently ceded to Brussels to compensate). Let diversity thrive. Let a thousand solutions to the problem arise - and see which one works. Let people's vote matter again.

Time for elected judges?

The title of this is misleading. “Judge Cranston rules himself out of foxhunting case”. Mr Justice Cranston – a former Labour MP for that well known rural area Dudley North - didn’t excuse himself from the case when he thought he’d get away with it. He only excused himself when he got caught by the lawyers - acting on behalf of the landowners - with his knob in the jam so to speak. How typically Zanu-Labour. Make no mistake, like all Labour politicians (current or Ex) he’s only interested in being seen to be impartial. What this Judge should have done is drop the case, and hand it to somebody less prejudiced when they allocated it to him in the first place. But like our Prime Minister when it comes to economics; this judge was so blinded by his Labour righteousness he didn’t do what he was paid to do.

This brings me onto a slightly wider issue of the incestuous nature of the judiciary. Mr Justice Cranston isn’t the only, and probably not the worst activist judge. Since the Judiciary is already politicised, the obvious example being its interpretation of “Human Rights” legislation, should we as the people not have the right to have some choice in this matter? The Americans have the separation of powers, to stop the judiciary and the legislature acting in collusion which is a basic protection to stop us ending up like Zimbabwe. But at the same time they have the election of state judges (as opposed to Federal) to stop activists who think they know better ignoring the will of the people.

The results of this would be simple, if you wanted your Judge to hand out caring hugs to the misguided then you, the people of Islington, could vote for him. And if you wanted a judge who would ship convicts to Gruinard Island to see if it was inhabitable again you could vote for him too.

Monday, 28 July 2008

And so it begins…

The Nepali police have banned Tibetan refugees from marching to the Tibetan border to protest against the Chinese. Why would they do this one wonders? Is it because they are fearful of their powerfulneighbours getting the hump – probably. The Chinese take any criticism of their government and pretend it’s a racist attack against the people of China (which it is not of course). But Nepal is a deeply religious country and respects its monks, so I suspect the people would be willing to cock a snoot to China every once in a while. I also think that the Nepalese aren’t in line for winning any medals in the synchronised swimming, so they can safely tell China where to stick their games.

What is more likely is that this is the start of a government clampdown against dissent. Why would the government crack down? Because these delightful chaps just became the largest party in government this year, spouting the usual shite about the Proletariat that was dumb, wrong and out of date when it came straight from Lenin’s mouth 90 years ago. And like all Commies they’re no fans of people saying what they want. They also owe the Chinese for supplying the weapons they used in the civil war against the now ex-King.

Looks like the start of another case of the traditional Communist “One man, one vote, once”. When will people learn?

Refugee Airlines

I can’t stop smiling about this. Yes I realise Ryanair is a bellwether to the airline industry; and that it means higher costs for those that refuse to fly refugee airlines too. Yes as a capitalist I should salute the way them and others have lowered the cost of getting from London to an ex-military aerodrome; sited so far from any major centres of population that in the event of it being hit by a Soviet nuke the blast radius and airborne radiation would not affect the public. But let’s face it, you cannot like this company, you cannot feel sorry for it, because it despises its own customers (you). It’s like a state run industry of the 1970’s; it hates the very people it purports to serve.

Ryanair argue that those that refuse to use it are idiots because they pay a fortune for services they could get for practically nothing. But those refugee prices aren’t available 24/7, and if you book in the same calendar year you end up paying the same as Luftwaffe/BA/Air France. The flag carriers throw in a bag of peanuts, a drink, assigned seating and fly from a proper airport like Heathrow as well – not “London” Luton. There are a few seats at this famous bargain price (as long as you fly Tuesday evening and come back Wednesday lunchtime next week) but then it ramps up the cost dramatically. The flag carriers have staff that although just as rude in most cases (Alitalia / Olympic / Air France), at least will not collapse from exhaustion. As mentioned above Ryanair drops you off in the middle of nowhere, which means costly transport into the city the airline allegedly lands at. Oh and the seats on Ryanair are Indian fakir bed of nails uncomfortable, don’t recline, are painted migraine inducing colours and plastered with advertising for some casino or mail order bride service.

I don't begrudge people their success, its for chippy Socialist failures to envy the success of others. However a 90.5 Million Euro loss. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

Labour Leadership contest

No matter who they choose, be it John Reed, Jack Straw (or if they want to guarantee that they loose their deposits at every single seat in the country– Harriet Harman) it just won't matter. This government has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. Bereft of life it rests in peace, if the Unions hadn’t nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up Daisies. This is an ex government.

There’s a good Yorkshire expression that sums up any forthcomming Labour leadership contest “You can’t polish a turd”.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

What Gordon can Learn on Holiday

Raedwald brings us the Story of Dunwich and suggests the lessons Cyclops can learn from its sad story of inorexable decline

And perhaps, as with aching calves Gordon enjoys a cup of tea and an egg sandwich in the beach cafe at Dunwich, the realisation will come that when the tide of events turns against you and that there's no way back, it's time to go with grace and dignity and make the most of what you've got left.
Perhaps if someone could give him a bottle of whisky and a revolver instead, we'd all be better off!

Gordon Brown's Interviews

Interviewer: What's your reaction to the Glasgow East By Election?
Prime Minister: Well I think it is important to listen, and that is what we are doing. Taking the difficult, long term decisions is the Job i'm getting on with (false smile) and the job the people want me to do in these difficult times.
Interviewer: Do you think losing your 25th safest seat indicates that the electorate are just a Teensy Weensy bit unhappy with your stewardship?
Goblin King: Not at all. This is all down to rising fuel and energy prices, and I'm here to do the job of taking the long-term, difficult decisions which the people (false smile) want me to do.
Interviewer: Do you think you will be able to prevent challenges to your leadership following this Catastrophe for Labour?
Cyclops: I intend to get on with the job the people all want me to do, which is to take the long, difficult term decisions in the interests of the country in response to international events including rising energy and food price (false smile) s which is causing so much difficulty for the hard working families I am trying to support.
Interviewer: You're a useless cunt without a clue, aren't you?
Snot Gobbler: I'm getting on with the long job taking the difficult events and making people's decisions in response to rising hard working food prices and the global price of families that (false smile) people (look grave and serious) want me to.
Interviewer:If the people indeed want you to get on with the job and take the long-term decisions, why don't you call a General Election?
Gollum:I'm going to take the long term prices of oil and food in the interests of the people who want me to long term the (false smile) job i'm getting on with....

(Prime minister exits stage left at the behest of one of his army of SpAds, to the sound of Snorts of derision from the interviewer and the camera men)

Can anyone tell me that this is not an accurate portrayal of every media interview our spineless lump of a Prime Minister has given since about 3am Friday morning? He's lying to us. We do not want him deciding the colour of his underpants, let alone the Long term responses to the most serious financial crisis in a century. We want a General Election. Last Thursday, if possible, August 7th at the latest. Go sign the petition.

Friday, 25 July 2008

It seems I've pissed someone off.

For the record, I don't dislike lesbians - I play rugby and have pleasant social interactions with several lady players of a sapphic bent, and my opinion of those portrayed on the silver screen couldn't be more positive. It is man-hating lesbians who think all chaps are potential rapists waiting behind a bush to jump on them that I can't stand. To call me 'homophobic' for the comment I made over at 'no more porn on London Transport' (since deleted) shows the level of 'debate' she's prepared to countenance. Ie none at all.

The left in all its puritain, authoritiarian, chippy glory... Go and tell the silly bitch to get the fucking kettle on would you?

Do You Want the Good News?

That Gordon Brown's prime ministerial adventure is over, thanks to last night's Glasgow kiss.

The Bad news is that the interim leader is likely to be Harridan Harperson. It is difficult to see how much damage she can do without a mandate, but no doubt she'll give it her worst.

This demonstrates what happens to a party when you tax everyone to penury. The only people who end up voting for you are dole scum (if they can be bothered) and the few public sector workers whose pay rises are larger than the inflation caused by your policies. This is not an election winning constituency. So the only questions now are 'when and how large' is the Conservative majority at the next general election?

I've always loathed Gordon Brown, so watching his administration cave in so fast is a joy to behold. People accuse the Tories of not having any policies. It's difficult to see what announcing policies would achieve - certainly their implementation by the shower currently in 'Government' would serve no purpose and merely discredit sound ideas, and the delivery would be so poor that they may even be counter productive. In any case, they're just obeying Napoleon's dictum to "never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake". Which is also why Dave Cameron was giving Gordon an easy ride at PMQ's. They don't want the Labour party to ditch the PM.

The Tories, and their supporters should be content to sit back and enjoy the political gladiator contest as Labour fights for its political life. The longer Gordon Brown hangs on, the worse it is for Labour, but even if they choose a new leader, there's no hope for them for a generation. I imagine this is how Labour 'people' felt in 1995...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

"I want One Hundred Billion Dollars"

Dr Evil would be very upset if he got this in return... As Sky news says, it's worth more on Ebay than it is in Harare.

Temples & Holidays

As you gathered by the moniker “Travelgall” I tend to like my exciting holidays. Two weeks sat on a beach in Greece is, for me, akin to the ninth ring of hell. Unfortunately whenever I go on holiday I tend to get involved in Civil Unrest or natural disasters. Now usually this is a bonus as
a) I have a low boredom threshold.
b) Nations that have just undergone civil unrest are much kinder on the wallet. Nothing is more likely to swing the FX rate your way than air strikes.
c) The countries involved are not full of annoying Europeans with their Invicta rucksacks getting in my way, and babbling their nonsensical languages at a volume guaranteed to cause inner ear damage. This is because Europeans are generally cowards when it comes to gunfire, or Germans who always travel in tour groups of 260 (Ze Germanz aren't too hot on individuality) and their busses are a magnet for RPG fire.

The downside of all this is that if the war really kicks off; you are required to spend your holiday in a bunker with nobody except dreary civil servants for company. Furthermore, Her Majesty’s embassies have a very poorly stocked wine cellar if it’s situated somewhere outside the G-8 nations.

However this time I'm off to Cambodia and Thailand and right now they're just not getting on. I’ve got my girlfriend in tow, and they tend not to be as laissez faire as me when it comes to shooting. It wasn’t a problem when it was just me missing the Bali Bomb in Indonesia, being CS Gassed and shot at in Bolivia, enjoying the rattle of automatic weapons from the comfort of a 5 star hotels’ cocktail bar in Paraguay. Nor was it an issue when my plane force landed with a collapsed undercarriage in Antigua, a parachute collapsed on me in the British Virgin Islands, or the shelling in Beirut. This time I’ve got company and it could pose a problem if war breaks out.

The other issue is that Airlines tend not to operate in a shooting match , so I only have one option on a route that is as inflexible as Gordon Brown’s taxation policy- Cambodia or Bust. Therefore the only flights between Bangkok and Siem Reip will be a Thai Air Force F-16. These don’t have passenger seats so will be a bit cramped, and they don’t stop; but on the plus side Thai’s are short so if I'm sitting on him there will still be the same amount of legroom as found on a Ryanair flight, they have ejector seats which means I avoid baggage reclaim, and there will be plenty of aircraft on the way to the capital city of the Cambodian people.

Since there are politics involved in this I don’t expect either side to back down soon over the 1.8 square miles around the temple. To be honest I only know what I read in the papers so they’re probably wrong; but I read it like this... the Cambodians have a temple that is only accessible from Thailand (Thailand already agreed they could have the temple but then changed their mind as the Thai opposition are using it as a Falklands/Gibraltar to rally the prols) and they're both arguing about who should get the UNESCO logo to put on their tourist board website. I would ask that if they start a war over this, can they please get it over with before September?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A Public service announcement for all men.

Getting in the lift at work today reminded me about an important piece of advice to all A Very British Dude’s Male readers. In the name of all that is good and holy, never, repeat NEVER wear a Pony Tail.

We’re here to help.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Meet & Greet

It seems that Thabo Mbeki’s quest for a legacy after 8 years of failure has borne fruit. He’s managed to get Comrade Bob and Morgan Tsvangirai round the table. Obviously the fact that both of them claim to be president may prove a slight problem, but its nothing Comrade Bob can’t overcome to carry out his complete destruction of Zimbabwe. After all he managed it very well with Joshua Nkomo. After the fall of the Smith government there were two Independence parties… Mugabe’s ZANU and Nkomo’s ZAPU. Mugabe gave him a titular role and then ousted him from the cabinet, killing 10,000 supporters in Matabeleland when they objected. He ended up a gelded nobody.

Tsvangirai is a genuine democrat according to my Zimbabwe friends, who is unwilling to use any violence to further his aim of the peaceful overthrow of Robert “Idi” Mugabe. Despite the violence against both him and his supporters he is willing to sit down at the table with a mass murderer who ordered his brutal beating. It says much about the patriotism of the man in that he’d do anything to avoid his country being ripped apart. But just like Nkomo he’ll end up a gelded nobody too, without more decisive action from the South Africans. Don't hold your breath.

Annual Guide to Political Blogging

Go and Vote for Me on Iain Dales annual review of political blogs...

Or by email

You've got to nominate 10 Political Blogs... So Here's my list. Feel free to cut 'n paste:

  1. A Very British Dude (Naturally)
  2. Mr Eugenides
  3. Devils Kitchen
  4. Stumbling and Mumbling
  5. Heresy Corner
  6. Mediocracy
  7. Raedwald
  8. The Waendel Journal
  9. An Englishman's Castle
  10. Underdogs Bite Upwards

Scottish Whine

It seems that the Scots are celebrating their defeat 710 years ago by smashing English China, works of Shakespeare and other English items. Other than the rather heavy Nazi overtones of destroying works of art and culture deemed “Untermensch", this is a fairly pathetic spectacle. It is also self defeating. Because as Scotland has produced no real authors of note – farting on about “wee timorous beasties” and “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face” in Jocklitude gibberish does not a great work of literature make*; they’ll have to buy some more English books so they can learn to read their welfare forms. The English will also be allowed entry to the Edinburgh Dungeon only if they sign a scroll swearing allegiance to Scotland. Unsuprisingly English tourists spending their money in Scotland (why? - if you want scenery, go to Norway rather than somewhere second rate) are not very impressed.

We know where this ends up don't we - assaults on the disabled who wear England shirts north of the border, Get ready for more of this infantile behaviour as the SNP flexes their political “muscle”. Since we bought Scotland for £398,085 10s to bale them out of Bankruptcy it has given us nothing but grief. We keep pouring money into the place and get nothing but whining in return. It’s getting really boring, and it’s costing us extra taxes and other unpleasant side effects. Would we really miss it?

*To be fair the Scottish also came up with Sherlock Holmes – an Englishman, Ivanhoe – an Englishman, and Winnie the Poo – an English bear.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Tools Down II

The economy is to put it bluntly – screwed. So it was particularly interesting that in this time of economic collapse the Unions are urging a review of secondary picketing and other “Anti-Union” practices to tap a few more nails in the casket. This should really help return the economy to profitability – workers and flying pickets standing outside a business struggling to survive, warming their hands with a brazier just because a union worker was asked to do something an inch outside his designated work area. However you can’t blame these archaic Trots for trying, after all they have the advantage. Despite collapsing membership, the Unions still have some deep pockets; and are merely asking for their pound of flesh before bailing out a bankrupt Labour party. Despite G Brown’s bluster about no return to the seventies he’ll have to do what Max Mosley's party guests do, bend over and obey commands.

What this “return to the roots” (if their tax and spend policies ever actually left in the first place) will deliver is an ever shrinking voter base for ZanuLabour. Their head is already in the gas cooker, the weed killer drunk, the wrists slit, now the unions are trying to get severed muscles to work just enough to squeeze the revolver in the cramped oven space. And jolly good luck to them I say. How much longer are these idiots going to be in power, can’t somebody develop some sort of clock?

Also having his say was ZanuLabour’s minister of Work and Pensions, a mister James Purnell (I’d never heard of him either, but that’s the joy of government bureaucracy, it gives ever piss-ant his own mini ant hill to piss from) who says Labour MP’s should “…pick themselves up off the floor…. “I profoundly believe that Britain is a better country today than it was 11 years ago”. Interestingly enough I met a chap who profoundly believed that Shape shifting Alien Lizards rule the planet through Jews. And I must say his Rubber wallpaper and white cuff less jacket was very smart, albeit slightly dribbled on. The reason of course he was in this predicament is that nobody else profoundly believed this as well.

We Told You So....

In 1997 the Tories warned the country that behind that nice Mr Blair, there lay the old Labour monster. Tax would rise, and the economy would suffer. This resonated with the public not at all. That the propaganda was derided at the time doesn't make it false.

Since 1997, The Meeja, dead tree press or the commentariat have been happily trotting out the "Iron Chancellor" epithet, describing Gordon Brown as a colossus and happily took him at his word, when he said he had abolished "boom and bust", and his claim to be supportive of "hard-working families" despite his very old-labour rapacious taxation. Despite the decade of fair economic weather, this poster also proved true (and then some).

While the pundits were swallowing Gordon Brown's semen spin, hook, line and sinker, some of us in the Blogosphere, many with serious knowledge of the economy and its workings were not so sure. Few in the MSM credited the previous Tory administration with giving Brown a head start - a rising economy, solid public finances and rising tax receipts combined with tight spending plans to make the situation even better over the first 3 years of Labour's rule, until it has become fashionable to do so. Labour are now crying foul - citing 'global events'. Well if you claim credit for the rain, be expected to cop the blame for a drought....

I started blogging in 2005, but entries in my diary from as early as 2000 show that I thought it was inevitable as night follows day that a Labour Government would bankrupt the country, raise taxation to strangulation levels and fail utterly to create "economic stability". I'll let Chris Dillow explain why "economic stability" is not even desirable. Even if you accept that the role for Government is in creating stability, and I don't, the means by which you achieve this is by creating demand. This in turn is achieved by cutting taxes to increase the spending power of the people, whilst simultaneously increasing Government spending - borrowing to smooth out the demand cycle. This is known as the Keynsian demand boost and is more or less what that old leftie, George W Bush is doing in the states. It doesn't always work, but it is easier and less inflationary when you're the world's reserve currency. Which we're not.

In any case the odd recession every now and again is healthy for business in the long run - all part of capitalism's great creation-destruction cycle. As uncle Monty observed "There can be no true beauty without decay", likewise there can be no true productivity growth without bankruptcies. The idea that anyone can manage a big company to survive anything the economy throws at it is just fantasy. Likewise the idea that anyone can manage an economy as large and complex as the UK's is just hubris. The best you can do is to get off people's backs by not taxing them, allowing people to make decisions on a horizon they understand - themselves and their families. But Gordon is too arrogant to let the little people make their own spending decisions.

Because the Ex Chancellor spent and spent and spent when times were good, he did not leave any room for tax cuts (even if the rapacious bastard was so inclined) or, because of his 'Golden Rules', extra borrowing to stimulate demand when the inevitable downturn came - instead, with tax reciepts falling, he must now raise money or cut spending - deepening the recession. This is the exact opposite of what should be done at times like this. Thus, even by his own flawed measure, Gordon Brown's management of the British Economy failed its first real test.

Perhaps the reason for this were psychological. Perhaps Brown actually thought he had abolished boom and bust. Perhaps he had such faith in the wise men on the MPC, and by extension his power to pick the right people, that he invested all his political capital on the continued uninterrupted success of 'UK PLC'. If this is indeed the case, then he is hubristic to the degree of mental illness. Unlike Canute, who was aware that he couldn't stem the forces of nature, Brown is acting out the role unwittingly; believing the yes-men and lick-spittles with whom he surrounds himself when they flatter his gargantuan ego. Right now he is a tragi-comic figure who will serve as a reminder of what happens when people claim credit for things, such as economic downturns, that are as much natural phenomena as the tide. Maybe he just gambled that the downturn would happen on someone else's watch - the Musical chairs hypothesis; or having "delivered" 11 (no, not 15... ) years of uninterrupted growth, he would be forgiven for one teensy weensy recession. The 'what have the Labour Party ever done for us?' hypothesis.

My favoured explanation for the Ex Chancellor's behaviour for the last 11 years is a combination of all of these: he's an economically illiterate, but lucky, scotch fucktrumpet who's only where he is because everyone else in the Labour party is even more useless than him, and he has now been found out as such.

The writing is finally on the wall, as Kavannagh in today's Sun points out

GORDON Brown’s days may be numbered as Prime Minister, but he can at least be sure of his record as one of our greatest Chancellors.

Not any more. That prize was brutally dashed from the PM’s fingers by his own Treasury successor last week. Alistair Darling demolished Mr Brown’s reputation for prudence as surely as he shredded Gordon’s sacred Golden Rule on borrowing. This was a landmark moment as catastrophic for Mr Brown as “Black Wednesday” was for John Major. Indeed, it is worse. Saving the Pound hurt Major but it sowed the seeds for the longest period of unbroken growth in our history. Last week’s U-turn simply exposed Mr Brown’s record as flawed and, in the long term, potentially disastrous for the UK.
With that, the Labour party in Government is doomed. Say what you will about The Sun and its readers. You cannot deny they back a winner. It may not have been 'The Sun Wot Won It' in 1992 - papers after all reflect their readers' opinions rather than vice versa, but the paper is more accurate a predictor of the way the wind is blowing than the most scientific of polls.

The entire new Labour project was built on the observation that if you keep repeating simple messages, they will eventually be accepted as true. I would like to counter this machiavellian observation with another one of greater vintage and moral weight.

The truth will out, eventually.

And the truth is Gordon Brown's a useless cunt, I've been saying it for a long time, and It is glorious for me personally and the Party I support to be proved right. Finally.

Britblog Roundup #179

Is over at Liberal England.

Friday, 18 July 2008

What the Feminists think of the Military

When I've been short of things to write about, the best thing to do is go read some lefty feminist or other idiotarian blog and give them a good fisking. Fortunately the Grown-ups in the movement, our esteemed present Government, are providing plenty of targets (make no bones about it, the present Government is on the left, in all its self-loathing, Britain-hating, statist glory). But the ever drippy Cruella (was there ever a blog so miss-named?) has put something up recently, which staggered me for its sheer ignorance, offensiveness and chippy spite.

No-one, I assume, labours under the illusion that military institutions are a bastion of gender equality and opportunity for women. It's taken women a very long time to get even so far as to be allowed into most branches of the military. Some are still out of reach - like anything involving fighting on the front lines. Those who do join up meet a culture of sexism and misogyny, sky-high rates of rape and sexual abuse and bullying.
The links are telling - The first to some book, which appears entirely irrelevant, one to a post on her site, detailing some research from the US about the returnees from war zones and what they do when redeployed to 1 US civ div... so not really relevant to what service women face in today's Army; and the other dealing with allegations against Private security contractors (mercenaries to you and me) in Iraq, so again, not relevant to trials faced by women joining today's Army. She's got her theory - Soldiers, indeed all men are rapists, and she'll find the evidence to fit the fact. I suspect this, and her obsession with rape generally tells us more about her than it does about the Army, and its culture, of which she clearly knows nothing.
Not to mention the culture of rape WITHIN war that is just sickening, and of course would be rapidly undermined if much larger numbers of women were involved in combat.
This is a Logical inference supplied without argument. She knows war clearly mainly from Vietnam movies. Women can be just as Nasty as men. In any case, is she alleging that rape is perpetrated in a large scale way by the US or British Armies on operations? This is just prejudice, pure and simple - and frankly wrong. The allegation should be met with a snort of derision. Rape is perpetrated by the Armies we're fighting, and we need female soldiers to help deal with the victims in a sensitive and appropriate way. This is just one small way women are vital in the British Army's effort against tyranny and terror around the world.
You would think it was obvious that something needed to be done at the highest level to make it clear that women are valued in the military and misogyny fought firmly against
Trust me, they are. Women in the forces are valued and respected in exactly the same way as men - i.e. if they're a team player and capable of the Job. Most women in the services accept the role that the Infantry play requires a level of physical strength that most women just do not possess. Those that do would be so small in number to make it not worth while - the separate housing and associated costs would be immense - not to mention the problem of team building when one or two members of a platoon live in a different building.

Kate Sumerthwaite will point to the all-women units fielded by the Soviets, and the women who fight for rag-bag armies around the world. They just don't have to carry the kit that a British soldier does, and their small-unit tactics were and are less physically demanding. If you want British soldiers to be killed more often, put women in the infantry and take some of their kit off them. But funnily enough, soldiers do not want to be killed to satisfy your pathetic idealogical egalitarianism, Kate.

Secondly, many women I know in the Army would be offended by your view that they get "nowhere near actual fighting". They do, and indeed many units - Medics, Logistics and Intelligence for example go out on the ground in small groups without the protection that a fighting unit takes along to a scrap. All parts of the Army take risks on operations and are proud of the Job they do in support of the mission. Your belittling of them is offensive to women, and the men who serve alongside them.
especially when they seem to be having so much trouble recruiting anyone at the moment.
Less than you'd think - and with an economic downturn occasioned by the Labour "Government", recruitment shortfalls are likely to ease anyway...
Instead the Royal Marine Commandos are sponsoring an assault course challenge through soft-porn "lad" mag Zoo under the heading Are You Man Enough? Man enough to read soft porn and play on an assault course? Pass the bucket!
Of course, the Royal Marine Commandos require tough young lads between the ages of 18 and 24 to wank on biscuits, wear women's clothing and kill people undertake one of the toughest recruit training regimes in the world before joining a unit which is perpetually on operations. Such fine men are rarely to be found reading the Guardian. Given that the Marines do not recruit women for the reasons laid out above, advertising in a magazine widely read by just the sort of chaps they're looking for, by appealing to a sense of competitive spirit is to my mind entirely apt. Competitive spirit is one of the many things that you will need to get you through the training. And your word "play" on an assault course indicates to me that you've never done one after a 10 mile run.

Perhaps Kate's final line should read "Are you so Deluded that you think Zoo causes rape? Are you feminist enough to think that Women should be allowed to serve in the Royal Marines and think Assault courses are child's play? Pass the straight jacket!"

Update: After engaging with Kate in the Thread to the post dealt with here, La Sumerthwite got some support from Bug, who used a TV reality show to make the case that women should serve in the Infantry. She used the word 'rape' no fewer than three times in one paragraph making this assertion. Furthermore, her own blog is a magnificent self-parody alleging that reading Zoo on public transport is a form of sexual abuse, which leads to "Sex Assault, Rape, Battery and Murder". No really. It says so on the sidebar. If you want to see a feminist tilt at windmills entirely ineffectually, go read the Magnificent 'No more porn on London Transport'. And yes, she does include Page 3. Another one with a link under 'Blogs by Idiots'


Jackart has had his 4 pennies worth, this is mine. It has been announced that the Government are going to borrow their way out of Britain’s economic problems. That’s what I always do to be “Prudent” when I run out of money, keep buying stuff and putting more money on my credit card. Treasury officials claim that its senior officials had made plane three months ago that there would be new rules for the new cycle – Great, so they knew they were a bunch of fuck-ups 3 months ago and A) Neglected to tell the people, and B) Decided the hole wasn’t big enough and added another £25 billion to bail out Labour voters Northern Rock.

I can only assume Labour is carrying out a scorched earth policy so that the economy is destroyed for their successors. They have saddled us with debt that will take a generation to sort out. All so they could pay for their political chums in the public sector who deliver a broken product. I cannot begin to describe how much of a blithering wankstain Gordon Brown is. Come the 1997 election I didn’t think that they could possibly be as bad as last time they fucked the country up in the 1970’s; but Labour yet again prove what a bunch of incompetents they are in government. If I were the next Tory government I’d tax their public sector pensions to help pay for this gargantuan miss-management, just like they did to the private sector ones.

I don’t like to inflict misfortune on others but I’d also make sure half the Civil Service, Quangos and 100% of those Diversity officer jobs in the Grauniad were waving P45’s to bail us out of this mess. After all it was hiring them that put us in the manure in the first place.

Scuttling the Good Ship 'United Kingdom'

A Saboteur at Work, Yesterday

You Know how the "Liberal" "Democrats" can make policies, safe in the knowledge that they'll never be called on it? Well it seems the Labour party is doing the same now. Labour's Golden Rules that borrowing would only be for "investment" and not break 40% of GDP over the economic cycle, are about to be relaxed.

The Badger-Faced sock puppet has been told by his boss to opine that the new economic cycle started in March. This allows the Labour party to continue to finanace its client state meet its spending commitments during the downturn, but the taxation needed to pay for this will be raised by the Conservatives when the economic climate is more favourable. And, of course the Labour has always defined state spending as "investment" anyway. With the definition of the economic cycle now being demonstrated a mere matter of political convenience, the "golden rules" were pure, refined, 24 carat bullshit.

As a result, anyone hoping for a tax-cut in the first term from Cameron's Conservatives is going to be sorely disappointed. There just isn't any cash left in the biscuit tin. The Labour party has acted like a junkie, spending everything they can get their hands on, on that last fix of "public service 'investment'" hoping that the hit of public adulation and electoral success was as good as it was in 1997. Just like heroin, the returns diminish with time.

Just as St. Margaret of Thatcher was forced to raise taxation in her first term to deal with the economic wasteland bequeathed to her, Cameron will, at best be forced to maintain tax at current levels, even as spending is cut, until the Balance sheet allows him to start finally cutting the burden. This is Labour scuttling the ship ahead of capture. They're entrenching as much of their client state as possible, knowing they've got just two years to prepare traps for the Tories, get as many of their people feather bedded on long-term contracts with Quangos as possible and make sure the only course open to the Conservatives is one of deep Pain for the country. The biggest trap is massive spending commitments combined with huge borrowing and a stagnant economy forcing unpopular taxation, combined with deep spending cuts.

I've often noticed that Labour "people" hate the Tories with a passion rarely felt by their opponents towards them. With good always waving the red flag, such economic vandalism seems, to them, like a right and moral act to damage the Tories as soon as they take office in 2010, to hurt the Tories by forcing them to be the 'nasty party' once again. We all pay, through the nose for their spite. Such is the Labour party's collective delusion. Never, ever elect the bastards again.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Koninkrijk Belge / Royaume de Belgique / Konigreich Belgien

It seems that the Belgians can no longer live with each other (again). The Dutch speaking Flemish Majority and French speaking minorities just aren’t getting along. Probably due to the monster hangovers that their beer induces. One tiny point, If one nation with a shared history going back to 1830 can’t get along, what chance does the EU have with 27 nations and countless different races and peoples? Just thought I’d mention that, M. Sarkozy.

Equitable Life

The regulator, yesterday

Following on from my previous post, today we're treated to the Parliamentary ombudsman's report into Equitable life which details "serial regulatory failure" by the FSA and Predecessors, being accused of acting in a "passive, reactive and complacent manner"

That's what regulators do. They fail. They are staffed by people who couldn't make it in the industries they police. How can a bunch of unincentivised, lowly remunerated failures police the bright, driven and highly remunerated people working in the financial services industry? Where there's an incentive to do so, the professionals will run rings around the regulators, who content themselves instead with making sure the average broker in the street has filled in his fucking forms correctly, at huge cost not only financial terms but in terms of time and actual client service.

What is worse, the regulator increases costs for business, decreasing competition and preventing new entrants from coming into the market. Secondly the presence of a regulator lulls the customer into believing guarantees, which perversely encourages the regulated firms to take more risk. A guarantee, as in the Case of Guaranteed annuities at equitable, or in the case of Zero-dividend preference shares, or even defined benefit pension schemes represent a major risk to the firms providing it. But in a regulated environment, there is an incentive to provide generous promises. If you can get away with it, you'll sell more product, generating commissions for your salesmen and bonuses for the bosses - at least until the bomb goes off. Thus the presence of the regulator probably prevents many small crises, but instead creates a few huge ones, and creates a massive unfunded liability for the tax-payer - several billion in the case of Equitable, Northern Rock, and so on... When the inevitable happens, the guarantee merely causes bankruptcy.

If you're investing, steer clear of "capital protection" or any form of financial engineering. Guarantees are impossible to give. At best, they're just an expensive way of telling you that 'time ameliorates risk', and at worst they represent a risk you'll lose everything when the firm or product goes bust. Get as close to the underlying assets as possible, invest steadily over time and diversify your holdings. Anyone who tells you that they can time the market is lying, as is anyone who makes a promise.

Instead of the FSA there should be a single cost-effective and above all, effective regulator. The Market policed by Caveat Emptor.

Mind your language

I’m sure this has been covered throughout the blogsphere but here’s my take…A leftie think tank has said that we should no longer use the word “Chav”. Saying it is on par with the words “faggot” and “pikey”. The Fabians will be pleased to know I would never use these offensive phrases to describe a homosexualist or charming person of Romany extraction (now where did i put my wallet, I swear I left it on the table). I was particularly amused by their suggestion "From now on - embarrassingly PC though it may seem - we shall audibly "tut tut" and wince whenever we hear the word used. You should too." PLEASE NO, not the dreaded “Tut tut”, I couldn’t take that from you Fabians. They also said “This is middle class hatred off the white working class, pure and simple”. Obviously they have misused the phrase “working”, the “middle Class” are sneering at them precisely because they don’t work.

I am reminded of British soldiers stationed in the Falklands giving the local inhabitants the derogatory nickname “Bennies” in honour of the mentally slow and poorly dressed character from the 1980’s soap opera Crossroads. An order came from the Ministry of Defence that this was offending the locals and the nickname was banned. To circumvent the order the Locals nickname changed to “Stills” as in they’re “Still Bennies”. When “Stills” was banned too they became “Andy’s” – “And he’s still a Benny”. The simple fact is that if you’re wearing more jewellery than Ratners, dressed like you play point guard for the Boston Celtics and use the word “Respect” and “Posse” we will find a name to call you because you’re fucking retards A bit like the Fabian Society then.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Tools down!

An unusually productive and successful council session in Tower Hamlets.

In the old days when the councils went on strike we noticed because the rubbish started piling up. Now we’ve switched to collections once every Halley’s Comet how are we supposed to know? “Jan Parkinson, the managing director of the Local Government Employers, said: “Our greatest asset is our staff”. Obviously Jan never needed a parking permit from her council or she wouldn’t be making ludicrous statements like this. Striking council workers – oh how we’ll miss you.

Moral Compass and its butt end

This says it all really… Israel is swapping five Lebanese prisoners; including one who went into a Jewish house and herded a father and his four year old daughter onto a beach, shot the father and then killed the 4 year old child by smashing her skull against a rock with his rifle butt. He also killed a Policeman. In return they are getting two uniformed soldiers who were captured (alive – how often do you use the words captured with dead people) and then executed at some time. Their bodies will return to Israel. I suspect the BBC won’t be giving this much coverage as there is hardly a starker example between the Israelis who want their sons home; and the scumbags that they are releasing.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Incorrect Drill

For those protesting against the Household Division they are demonstrating rather shabby salutes. Don't they know that Salute (Pictured) is the way the Royal Navy salute – not the British Army. The British Army salute palm facing the recipient of the salute, not palm down like the Yanks. They are also incorrectly attired for parade. Either you go full Capt John Yossarian order or Working Dress, No 2’s / No 1’s depending in the ceremonial in question. They Chickened out by wearing Thongs. You also have to wonder whether the average looking women of Latvia have nothing better to do on a Tuesday?

PETA – is an animal rights organisation that attracts pneumatically enhanced Luvvies like Pamela Anderson and Dolly Parton; and persuades them to hang outside KFC or Burger King to promote their militant Vegetarianism. For those of you that don’t know what Vegetarianism is, it is an eating disorder akin to Bulimia or Anorexia that makes you believe that Broccoli is something other than a side dish. They also have a side line in writing to Terrorists to wag their fingers. When somebody loaded a Donkey with explosives and blew it up Peta sent a letter to Yasser Arafat and asked him to keep animals out of the conflict. They are also better at killing the animals they "save" than re-housing said creatures.

The naked thing is getting really tired now too PETA. We'd rather go naked than wear fur, naked "Running of the Nudes" in Pamplona - yawn! Time for something new.

What the Regulators do

When you have process managed shit-sacks making decisions based entirely on whether the computer says 'yes' or 'no', you get banking crises.

This one started because of irresponsible lending in the USA to people who would clearly never be able to pay off the loan they had applied for. What the bank was hoping for was that the individual could find a bigger fool to ship it on to a couple of years later. When I say 'irresponsible' lending I am talking about self-certified 125% LTV negative amortization mortgages, which existed in the 'States at the top of the market.

The reason such products existed was in part due to Government pressure to allow the poor to 'get on the housing ladder', and in part because the banks risk 'analysts' decided that house prices wouldn't fall. Further more, inappropriate remuneration meant people sold such products knowing they would not face the consequences of their misselling. Instead of professional advice, people got a fucking salesman. Banks were initially praised by regulators for coming up with such 'innovative' products.

The party's over, and the regulators will probably get tons of new powers to prevent such abuses ever happening again. Of course they will deny their role in creating the crisis in the first place, and banks will continue to lend to the inappropriate (ie poor) whilst lending to the deserving dries up; because computer models cannot replace a human judgement and a client relationship.

The problem the banks have, is that real client relationships give power to the professional bank manager (remember him, rather than the greasy oiks in bri-nylon who processes your loan application now?) who will be able to take his loyal customers to another bank should he decide to move. The current system of ill-educated drones trained merely to operate their computer terminals gives the power, and the client's ongoing business to the corporate, and they can pay their terminal jockeys appropriately - ie peanuts. Because they're paid peanuts, you as the customer, get a monkey.

This is as the Mediocracy puts it so well

We will, for example, be reminded of the need for more socialisation, and the desirability of keeping backroom intellectuals (now habitually referred to, even by supposedly serious writers, as ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’) in their place.

banks have become so dazzled with their powers that they have ignored how they interact with the rest of society ... the industry has slipped, almost unthinkingly, into an assumption that "credit" is a collection of abstract equations, stripped from any human context ... credit [is actually] a social construct (Gillian Tett)
We will also, no doubt, hear much about ‘greed’ (or perhaps ‘individualism’) as a culprit. If greed can now be blamed for knife crime, it can surely be invoked as a convenient scapegoat for the shortcomings of a dumbed down banking system.
Until big firms start to give their employees power to decide, there will continue to be floods and famines of credit. Unfortunately big business cannot trust its employees, and requires the process management to comply with the regulations. Whole armies of box-ticking cunts (who self-describe as 'compliance professionals') weigh down big business and make sure that they are merely arms of the state - not just ensuring 'access' to the poor who get mortgages they cannot afford, but also ensuring such lunacy as 'diversity' audits (make sure you've got some token ethnics, just in case), endless 'money laundering' workshops (to ensure that you alienate your client right from the outset by treating him as a criminal until proven otherwise) and so on.

These compliance procedures are a huge burden on business, but bearable for big corporates because they prevent smaller, better, more nimble players from destabilising their profit stream. The big corporate can pretend to be a 'responsible' business by 'welcoming' increased regulation, knowing they can cope and they can buy their smaller competitors when the compliance burden becomes too great and they go under.

Regulation makes us all slaves.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Translating Religion

We all hear words bandied about the religious. But what do they actually mean? The following Dictionary is applicable to all religions, and may prove useful to those of us not infected with the Ceiling Cat meme.

  • Agnostic - atheist/humanist who doesn't want to offend God Bothering friends.
  • Baptist - noisy and lacking in taste
  • Catholic - anti Gay (except choir boys) abortion and condoms.
  • Church of England - The Tory party at prayer. Faith optional.
  • Conservative - doesn't like gays or women, but is only prepared to go as far as a strongly worded letter to the Telegraph (or national equivalent).
  • Cleric - see 'Firebrand' Hates gays
  • Deist - Agnostic
  • Ecumenical - questioning his faith. If CoE, thinking of converting to Catholicism.
  • Evangelical - Hates gays and doesn't mind telling you about it. Makes a lot of money, which he regards as his God-given due. Otherwise see 'baptist'.
  • Firebrand - Eloquent Ultra-Conservative. Rabble rouser who thinks God smites people. Hates Gays.
  • Fundamentalist - violently hates gays, women and the society in which he lives.
  • Socialist - Atheist who has merely replaced Jesus/Muhammad etc.... with Marx. Should not be confused with 'Christian Socialist', which means 'self-righteous twat'
  • Liberal - Similar to 'Moderniser' but Practising homosexual
  • Messianic sect - death cult
  • Moderniser - Similar to 'Liberal' but Non-practising homosexual
  • New Religion - cult. Hates gays. Leader has sex with acolytes
  • Orthodox - has a bushy beard and doesn't like gays
  • Presbyterian - miserable. Hates Gays.
  • Reformed - See 'agnostic' or 'fundamentalist'. Probably gay.
  • School - indoctrination centre.
  • Spiritual - takes drugs.
  • State religion - vicious oppression (apart from CoE) in the name of God
  • Traditional - hates gays and women, probably in the closet himself.
  • Ultra Orthodox - has a beard and a silly hat and doesn't like gays or women.
  • Ultra Conservative - as 'Conservative' but will do more than write a letter. Whips himself. Hates Gays but is probably in the closet.
If you can think of any more.... you know what to do.

"D" Listers beware

It’s amazing that somebody as famous as Gaby would cavort with a Lib Dem MP from Mid Wales”.

Not any more she won’t mate. It looks like one hit wonders “The Cheeky Girls” will no longer have a creepy MP hanging round their 99,000 viewer show. One dreads to think who Lembit Opik’s next victim will be. After a weather girl that looked like she’d been hit by “The Joker’s” Smilex gas, and a Transylvania pop singer; who can we expect next in Lembit’s desire to have his wedding photos in “Closer” or “OK”? I suspect the winner of “Celebrity Big Brother” Joe Pasquale or perhaps Jade Goody might be getting some unwelcome amorous attention soon. If anybody has any other D List suggestions for this lovelorn Lib Dem fame chaser please put them in the comments.


This should spill the Organic Muesli and pressed Kumquat and Aardvark Dropping fair trade juice of this morning’s Guardian readers throughout the country (or to be more exact N1 & W11 which is pretty much the Guardian's readership catchment areas). It seems that Lady Thatcher (PBUH) is expected to be granted the honour of a state funeral. Can the left wing press be expected to issue a sober and impartial judgement to its readers…Of course not. Expect enough bile to keep every medicine shop from Sichuan to Guangdong stocked until we colonise Mars.

Britblog Roundup # 178

Good morning and welcome once again to a Jackart-hosted roundup at 'A Very British Dude'. There's a good Haul of posts in the nomination box this week, as well as some more I added myself.

Blogging and the law: Though Guido was able to give the a similar reply as that given to the Plaintiff in the case of Arkell Vs Pressdram,when contacted by an MP over a caption competition. Let's hope Harry's Place is able to give a similar response to Dean and Dean who are representatives of Hamas' UK spokesman, and political mastermind, Mohammed Sawalha. Mr Sawalha has demanded an apology from Harry's place for daring to suggest that he might just be a teensy weeny bit of an anti-semite. Harry's place is standing firm, on the grounds that what was said was ...urm... true, and are using Mishcon de Reya to fight their case. Andrew at Dodgeblogium points us in the direction of the Blogburst in Support. Mr Eugenides at the Devils' Kitchen also gives us a good summary.

Craig Murray, the polyamourous former man in Tashkent brings us news of another legal action by schillings, this time concerning Tim Spicer and his attempts to get Murray's book suppressed. There won't be much disagreement on the Blogosphere that British Libel law is in serious need of reform.

It's not just libel law. It's copyright too. I'm sure many bloggers would echo Dave Hill's complaint about a recent piece in his local rag, which suggests bloggers who complain when they don't get recognition when their work is plagiarised are guilty of "breathtaking petulence". That attitude is why some local newspapers are dying. Is the Hackney Gazette next?

There's plenty of comment on the civil servant who got the 'tin tack' in Glamorgan for writing a blog. Miss Wagstaff, Matt Wardman, Mick Fealty, and Even David Jones MP all comment. Not all favourably. Go read the posts and make up your mind...

Meanwhile, on a lighter note Olly's onions noted the Beardy Wierdy nature of the CoE and suggests that their lack of whiskers is the reason the Anglican communion is split over women bishops. He then makes a potentially actionable allegation about Tom Cruise's homosexuality. Let's hope the diminutive closet poofter cultist serious actor and religious personality doesn't trawl the blogs then.

Finally the ever excellent Bystander over at 'The Law west of Ealing Broadway' is talking about the way the media exploit the grief of the bereaved families; in this instance he is talking about the cyclist who knocked down and killed a woman, before ending with the old, but oft forgotten maxim that "hard cases make bad law". How much better would Nu Labour have done, if they had remembered this lesson.

Politics: Starting with the Local, Suz Blog brings our attention to changes to King's Cross station entrances - they're thinking of closing the Harry Potter one, which will make travelling to London even more unpleasant than it already is. Read her post and go and sign the petitions.

John Spencer thinks it terrible that anyone should make a profit out of health.

Stuart Syvret gives us details of the horrific Haut de la Garrene child abuse scandal in Jersey, and alleges decades of cover-up. This one goes right to the top, if the length of the post is anything to go by.

Onto the national, there's and interesting roundup of political issues at Sadie's Tavern, and she and The Daily Maybe are the only ones to deal with Haltemprice and Howden's recent by election. TDM are rather chuffed with the Green party's second place (with 7%)

Samizdata brings to our attention the petty humiliations meted out to those Non-Eu immigrants, and notes the sheer incompetence of the home office.

Cabalamat at Amused Cynicism thinks Britain ain't as broken as some say, suggesting we aren't as much of a mess as, say Afghanistan. Damning the UK with faint praise, perhaps. I make a similar point when talking about imigration, or rather emigration except the country I compare this country to is Somalia.

Cabalamat also pops up with some thoughts on Religious teaching (he's against) but as he's agreeing with Johann Hari, I'll not go into too much detail for the good of my health. He and I are clearly on the same wavelength though, as he also deals with homosexuality teaching in schools. Islamic parents are able to get books addressing homosexuality pulled by the impeccably left-wing Bristol city council, on the grounds that it offends Muslims as much as puppy dog postcards. Which is a lot; but when the Thatcher government tried the same thing with section 28, everyone went potty. Who said politics was fair! Still on religion, Suz once again, gives us her thoughts on the Registrar who refused to marry Gay couples on the grounds that it offended her Christian faith. It's certainly difficult to reconcile faith with tolerance, when it means allowing people to discriminate. To whom are you supposed to be most tolerant? Neither Suz nor I have no real answer to that real dilemma.

(Perhaps now would be a good time to justify
my reaction to some of the posts on Suz's last BBRU: someone claiming that women aren't born is just asking for a fisking. Any biologist will tell you we all start out as women, and men are 'made'. And for the record, I'm not "frightened" by feminists. Quite the opposite really! Sorry about the 'kettle' thing though!)

From Religion to disability: Leg-Iron, over at underdogs Bite upwards, is lauding Dave Cameron for suggesting that people take some responsibility for their lives, which as a disabled person, he feels he is discouraged from doing by the very people who are trying to help:

You might be poor. You might be disabled. Do something about it. The PC buffoons don't want you to, naturally. They encourage you to play the victim. They encourage you to be dependent and weak and to bleat about how 'they' oppress you. It's all lies. There is someone oppressing you but it's not who you think. It's the PC sods themselves. They want you dependent...on them.
But I like leg Iron best when he's on full-on rant mode. Which let's face it, is what the blogosphere is best at.
Getting them out of power is not enough. I want to see them utterly destroyed. Not killed, not as some would have it, because that's too easy. Not even to have them tarred and feathered, then hosed off with sulphuric acid, hung, drawn and quartered, then stitched back together with barbed wire and given convalescence and NHS care for six months until they are well enough to be shot. Not even that.
Which is just glorious bile, (tip of the hat to Prodicus). There is my favourite pedant's point though - it should be 'hanged drawn and quartered'. Whilst we're on the subject of disability, Bendy Girl at Benefit Scrounging Scum gives her take on 'Britain's Missing Top Model', a show which I must confess I have mixed feelings about too.

Whilst were on the subject of mixed feelings, this week the F word is dealing with abortion.

Environmental issues get an airing at Liberal England where Jonathan asks whether the Environmental movement has made us terrified of the Natural World.

Over to the international scene Charles Crawford offers an explanation for the occasionally timid behaviour of the Foreign and Commonwealth office.
"It is in part because they know that it is not enough to be Right - in a democratic system where so many clever and urgent ideas buzz about, you have also to be Effective and Convincing"
Something that many single issue campaigners have learned to everyone else's' cost. Whilst we're on the FCO, the news that Russia is Britain's third most important security risk (after Al Quaeda and Iranian Nukes) surprised Andy at Siberian light. I think this is unsurprising... China and France are up there too in fourth and fifth slots.

Sal at the gloriously named farting through my fingers notes a letter to the FT which informs us that Zimbabwe is still, in fact a colony of the UK and we can dissolve Mugabe's regime, whenever we choose, or something. I'm not sure Britain asserting her Imperial rights would go down well at the UN or indeed in Zimbabwe, but it's an idea with a similar likelihood of success as putting Comrade Bob on Trial for Crimes against humanity as suggested by Doug at Courting Disaster.

Miscellaneous: So this is nearly the end of this week's round-up, but not before we look at the weekly buildings from Philip Wilkinson North Cerney in Gloscestershire, and Dr Roy at Early Modern Whale brings us England's only in situ saint. Meanwhile Lady Baracknell gives us sound advice on dealing charmingly with a Phisher. The wardman wire brings us News of a new level in sledging, mooning from the outfield; and notes that "twat o tron" is the top search term for liberal conspiracy. Finally there's advice from pandemian, where this piece of advice came from:
"24. Be suspicious of the originality of the self-declared cynic"
Next week the round-up is over at Liberal England. Nominations to the usual address: britblog [at] Gmail [dot] com

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