Friday, 30 January 2009

Things Lefties Hate

George Osborne. I'm not sure why he arouses such ire, but whenever I mention my deep and violent loathing for Gordon Brown to a Labour 'person', Osborne's is the name spat back at me. He seems to be an ideologically sound Thatcherite of a sort common on Tory benches, but without a particularly big political punch, so I'm not sure where the vituperation comes from. It certainly means that the leftist trolls are wasting their energy savaging someone of almost zero public profile.

The fact we (mostly the Americans, but still 'we') won Iraq. No? When was the last time you heard of bombs in Baghdad? They are still happening, and it remains somewhere I would not choose for a holiday but there is no doubt that the place is on the mend, largely thanks to the Bush administration's 'surge' which required a political courage for which, one day, historians will thank him. Even Iraq Body Count credits the surge with a dramatic fall in the lethality of the insurgency, though it does so in a mealy-mouthed way, through gritted teeth. Deaths are running below 2003 levels, even with the absurd methods used by that website, and by now probably below the murder rate of the Ba'athist regime.

The public still support our forces' operations in Afghanistan, despite the death toll amongst our soldiers, and recent wobbles in morale amongst Senior British officers, which is not shared by the troops on the ground. This is another battle in the 'War on Terror' that will be won so long as there is political will in Washington and London. Lefties cannot be supportive ever of British Forces being deployed overseas, and in the lefty world view, Britain or America are always in the wrong when asserting our interests whether forces are deployed in support of democratic governments or even on Humanitarian operations.

Lefties hate the Armed Forces and will starve them of funds, even as they fight at WWII intensity at the behest of a Labour government.

The scale of the dissapointment in Gordon Brown. The ever ludicrous Ms Toynbee was waiting for her Norse Warrior to cover her with his gushing social spending, and releasing a great wail of dissapointment as he turned out to be entirely inadequate for the role.

Families. Lefties think that the state is more important than the family. The nuclear family consisting of a man and a woman who love each other remains the best environment to bring up children. It is not one lifestyle amongst many. There are many on the left who, following the Baby P case, have called for more children to be taken into care. However bad some families are (and those being taken into care rarely come from a stable nuclear unit) they are rarely worse than the local authority "care" system. The incentives built into the welfare state actively and deliberatley discriminate against the nuclear family. These policies have destroyed the life chances of millions of British children and ensured the existence of a festering underclass which lives a parasitic life entirely dependent on the tax-payer, for generations to come.

Freedom. Lefties may think they're for 'freedom' and even define themselves thus, but it's 'freedoms' of their choosing, typically defined by group rights. For Example, the recent Julie Bindel article in the Guardian's CiF (via mr. E) which suggested that freedom of speech should be curtailed to prevent God-Botherers saying nasty things about homosexualists. That is, put simply, you should have the freedom to agree with lefties, but anything outside their narrow belief set should be ruled offside, and to express opinions of which the intelligentsia disapprove should result in the full violence of the Law being deployed. This is not freedom as I understand it.

Economics. Lefties seem to beleive that taxes are an abstract concept which are only levied on 'the rich' who can, of course 'afford them'. Lefties think that 'Government' money is in some way inexhausible, and somehow different from that which everyone goes to work for 8 or more hours a day to earn. Thus there is always a billion or two available to salve a concience or placate an interest group. After all, the logic goes, if we can afford Trident, or new Carriers (military spending is wasted in the lefty world-view) we can afford whatever costly, counter-productive job-creation scheme for social science graduates, which is the solution to the Ishoo of the day. Eventually, the money runs out, and economics bites them on the bum. This attitude is linked to and stems from a loathing of Business.

Lefties hate Excellence, because it is elitism, or something. This is especially true in education. The one which is driving up standards is being threatened with the withdrawal of charitable status. Because of the insidious 'all must have prizes' mentality of the state system, and the progressive dumbing-down of exams, State educated people aren't very good at anything, and alumni of the Private schools dominate the public life in this country more than any time since the introduction of universal male suffrage. The State fails to educate people, so the few well-educated people float to the top quite easily. Perversely it is the very chippy egalitarianism of the left which creates an appallingly unequal outcome. As a result of political pressure, universities are having to take illiterates in their thousands and attempt to teach them to read. This is destroying their ability to produce excellence in teaching, feeding through into the nation's ability to create worthwhile research. It's hard to imagine anything more comprehensively broken by leftists than education - and it is broken precisely because of their obsession with it.

Britain. Lefties hate this country and seek to destroy its institutions and denigrate its symbols. They love the fact that the Union Jack is perceived by some as a racist symbol because that is how they feel about their country too. The more power the left gets, the more their charge that the UK is a small, declining, insignificant province of Europe becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Despite a century or more of strenuous leftist effort, we remain a great country.



Thursday, 29 January 2009

Ten Great things about America we couldn’t do without

Lest you think “A very British Dude” has suffered a severe case of Leftie Media knee jerk anti Americanism of the sort that can found between the pages of “The Independent” and the Op-ed of the “Tehran Times” (obviously the Independent is more anti-American than the Iranian press). I have come up with a handy guide to all those things we on the right love about America. Jackart did the Yang, I will cover the Ying.

Culture.
Regarding the American contribution to culture, Henry Crun is quite mistaken. “We gave the world Shakespeare, the US gave us David Hasslehof, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Spongebob Squarepants”. My response was “Don't ever criticise "The Hoff". Any man that manages to get Erika Eleniak and Yasmine Bleeth's jublies bouncing towards me in slow motion in the desert that is pre-watershed TV deserves a fucking Nobel Prize". I would like to expand this theory to other forms of culture. The Yanks gave us Vince Flynn shoving phosphorous grenades down the throats of terrorists, and Tom Clancy gave us the sights and smells of a Nuclear submarine ramming its opponent. This beats Mr Sodding Darcy any day of the week. 3 Hours of fat Germans with blonde pigtails warbling that they are dying, or an hour and a half of Bruce Willis blowing terrorists knee caps off? Anorexic Birds prancing about pretending they are swans, or Beyonce Knowles video? And you get to turn the sound down on a Beyonce video if you just want to look at pretty things, you don’t get that option with the Homosexual bouncing all over the Covent Garden stage like Captain Kangaroo. The simple fact is that America invented exciting popular culture.

Food
Is American food good for you – probably not. But the fact is that the Americans have the best collection of different foods in the world. Cajun Gumbo and Jambalaya, Tex-Mex, Tennessee smoked ribs, great Steak, Crabs by the basket and waffles covered with winter fruit. That’s just the stuff they invented, they also have some of the best foreign food in the world. Italian, French German, Mexican, Japanese. Their foreign food is as good as, or even better than the food found in the country that invented it. And I guarantee you, if you’re on Death Row the last meal you will have is going to be a steak, ribs, a Hamburger or fried chicken. Unless you’re stalling for time it isn’t going to be Ortolans and Fois Gras.

Drink
Obviously I’m not talking their beer as – with the exception of a few micro-brews it is bloody awful stuff - Cue the Sex in a Canoe joke. However, even if the Colonials didn’t invent the Cocktail they bloody well perfected it. Heavy on the booze and served in style, drinking a cocktail in the states in a chichi bar is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in life.

Generosity
Not the US Government of course, they robbed us blind during World War II, sending us out of date destroyers in return for prime real estate and British owned US companies and technology bought at rock bottom prices. But the ordinary American is as generous a person as you could meet, they certainly put us to shame. Walking through New York in an England Polo top after the London bombings, there were 5 or six people who came up to me and said how sorry they were that it happened and thanked me personally for our nation sticking by them after 9/11. And it isn’t just bombs that prompt Americans to be kind and generous. I’ve been welcomed into houses and bought beers by complete strangers in the States because they wanted to meet somebody different and show off the best of their country.

Patriotism
Granted they have a national anthem that nobody knows the words to. But the Americans have a pride in their country that we could do with over here. I’m not even talking about overt Patriotism – you don’t need a flag flying from to your house to be a patriot – but it doesn’t hurt. I’m talking about a general pride in your nation and its achievements. The pride that applauds Soldiers coming home from war.

Sports
The Yanks treat Football aka Soccer with all the contempt it deserves, and for that alone they deserve to be admired. They certainly don’t let the male half of the population play a game that whenever tackled, the footballer writhes around on the ground like he’s been taken out by an Elephant Gun. They play sports like American Football and Ice Hockey where a hearty tackle by what looks like some form of armoured vehicle against another armoured vehicle is applauded. If only we could get them to drop the padding they would be perfect. Besides their sports have women dancing, and I’m not talking a disinterested and slightly rotund 14 year old British cheerleader with co-ordination issues. I’m talking a woman who wouldn’t look out of place in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

Joie de vivre
The French invented the word, and then returned to their Marcel Proust novels, drab clothing and moaning. The Americans get on with it and play hard. In pretty much every suburban garage in the States you’ll find a motor boat, a jet ski, several sets of skiing equipment and a small armoury of shotguns and rifles. And nothing in life is as much fun as shooting traffic signs with a shotgun – nothing!

Guns
Guns are dangerous and really shouldn’t be used by untrained people – viz Somalia. However the fact that their Government hasn’t been able to pry the guns from the hands of their people is a good thing. The gun is the ultimate symbol of freedom If it is held by the general public, it means that the populace can and will defend itself against tyrannical government. Places in the world where the gun has been taken from the populace have a scary knack of descending into dictatorship and death very quickly. Hitler was a big fan of gun control, ditto Pol Pot, Stalin, Idi Amin and Mao. And guns do not necessarily lead to large scale deaths. Switzerland is awash with Assault Rifles, every home has one, and Zurich doesn’t look like Bosnia. The fact that the American people trust themselves with this freedom, means that they are unlikely to surrender any of their other freedoms quite as easily too.

Freedom
The American doesn’t buy the racist hogwash perpetuated by left wing academics that some nations and people are incapable of freedom. Or that we’re imposing cultural imperialism on other nations. Do they always promote freedom the right way? No, not always. But at least they bloody well try and give other people of the world the opportunity to experience what they have. And they devote blood and treasure to the cause too. This is what links our two nations, and makes us different to those nations found to the East of the English Chanel.

And finally at No 10… THIS . God Bless America. Land that I love. Stand beside her.



The Environmental Movement…

…are an almighty pain in the arse and should go and pleasure themselves with some form of root vegetable. Not only do they block runways when I want to go on holiday but they’ve got my company to change its beverage container policy. Previously when I wanted a cup of Tea I was given a choice of two liquid storage receptacles. There were the paper cups for those who want a fruit tea to go with their environmentally friendly Tibetan Yurt Organic Grass Peace Crisps, and Styrofoam cups for those that didn’t want to spend the first 3 minutes of their tea purchase experience to be spent mopping half of it off the desk. My Styrofoam cup never leaked, never spilt and didn’t allow half the tea to leak out along the Twining's Tea Bag string through osmosis. It sealed the liquid in question inside the bloody cup – something that any aspiring cup designer should prioritise during the R&D phase of the cup production process.

The paper cup on the other hand leaks like the “Herald of Free Enterprise”. The lid has a bloody hole in the top of it. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but lids are supposed to seal something in its container e.g. Paint Pot Lids, Yoghurt Pot Lids, Jam Jar Lids, Uranium Fuel Rod storage lids. Not one of them, with the exception of Chernobyl, has a bloody hole in the top. If I want to drink the liquid inside I will remove the top. The sides leak too, and the paper cup is too hot to hold on its own, so it gets a bit of cardboard to wrap round it - which isn’t very effective so you add another cup. Add in all the paper towels you use to mop up half your cup of tea and I guarantee you that the paper cup will be more harmful to the environment.

Members of Earth First! Don’t believe me that Styrofoam is better than Paper ? Here’s a fairly comprehensive experiment. Hold a bag full of liquid tar and feathers in a polystyrene container over your head, and then repeat the previous experiment but this time use a paper bag as the variable.



Credit Crunch

Imagine a society where someone couldn't sell "credit crunch" chocolates like the ones brought to my office by a very kind person recently. For no state-planned society would ever invest in so frivolous or timely a product. Opportunity, idea, manufacture, sale: everything throws up opportunities, and it is an individual's desire to profit from these which drives wealth up and society forward, as well as, in this case at least, bringing a smile to the face of a stressed stockbroker...


There is hope, and it lies in the Private sector.

Which leads me to the IMF, who said that whilst the world economy is "fucked", Britain is going to endure the economic equivalent of a roasting by John Holmes, Rocco Siffredi and Ron Jeremy with the Sunderland association football team standing ready to take sloppy seconds.

Why, Gordon, is the UK facing a worse recession than any other major economy? Because the people and businesses of this land do not have any spare money to invest in anything more complex than a new label on a bag of gourmet choccies (which are delicious - they're available at Selfriges). Why is that? Because you've fucking taxed it all? And before you blame the banks, all banks around the world are enduring similar write-downs. The UK is not alone in enduring a property crash. And what have you done, Gordon, with that tax? You've wasted it on Diversity outreach coordinators' salaries in order to prop up your filthy party's electorate. And is that tax all you spent? No it isn't, because you were borrowing heavily even when the tax income was at boom levels. Even the most stupid of people must realise that you should be running surpluses when the economy is enjoying "15 consecutive quarters of growth". Failure to do so invites trouble when the inevitable bust comes. Oh... what's that? You've abolished boom 'n bust? Did you honestly believe that? It appears you did...

It's simple. The reason Britain is in a worse position than any developed economy, is because of a decade of Gordon Brown's economic mismanagement. Right now, the only thing which could shorten the recession is his immediate resignation and suicide.



Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Ten Ghastly American Imports We could do without.

  1. Creationism has never been a mainstream view in the UK, but is becoming a means by which aggressive Christianity is defining itself against secularism and unbelief. Creepy, brainwashed alpha-course types are encouraged to set their face against science with some truly sophistic argument. Meanwhile perfectly pleasant days out in London are spoiled by ghastly preachers trying to 'save' me using a loud hailer. Whilst I cannot see how anybody can believe anything so clearly absurd as god, I accept many do. How anyone can believe the Pentateuch is the literal truth, is even more beyond me. I suspect people just claim to believe it to annoy me. In any case, no serious, grown-up religious organisation actually preaches this as doctrine any more. Creationism is a creature of weird evangelical organisations usually run for personal profit by sexually perverted demagogues. By believing it, you're probably helping the likes of Ted Haggard pay for crystal meth and male prostitutes. Creationism is the main reason most Europeans think Americans are stupid.
  2. Savage pro and anti abortion campaigning. Imported along with extremist Christianity, comes the Pro-Life nonsense. This pisses militant feminists off, and in the place of debate, you have a hysterical shouting match, in which mutually exclusive positions clearly incapable of compromise dominate the debate: one we don't really need to have, because most European countries have already got a widely supported and reasonable compromise in place.
  3. The word 'Ass' to mean 'bottom'. It's 'Arse'. An ass is a Donkey, a stubborn, bad tempered animal which makes bad decisions wilfully. Hence 'the law is an Ass'. Otherwise it's Arsehole, Arse cheek, Arse-fuck without lube... etc...
  4. Obamania. This 1997 all over again. He might be better than Tony Blair. Then again he might not. He's black; that's important but let the poor man get on with the job, instead of tempting him to thinking he's the messiah. He's not the Messiah. He's a very high-spending politician.
  5. Santa Claus: The personification of the sentimental and commercial horror that is Christmas. He wears red because of an Advert for a vile super-concentrated sugar solution, so the tradition only goes back to the 30's. Santa and has done nothing since but bankrupt chavs as they spend money they can't afford on decorations for their house and plastic toys for their children every December. Ho fucking ho. Now piss off.
  6. Halloween. Trick or treating may be OK in American suburbs, where children are reasonably behaved. But it is not OK with the feral brats spawned by feckless chavs who see this imported tradition as an excuse to terrorise the neighbourhood with threats of petty vandalism, before drinking cheap cider and shagging each other whilst dressed as a vampire. Our festival at that time of year is the 5th of Novemeber where we English celebrate the religious persecution of Catholics in general; and the forced confession under torture and subsequent execution, mutilation, dismemberment and burning of one Catholic terrorist in particular. This is much better. I also like the current tradition which sees Guy Fawkes being replaced by an effigy of a politician, I understand Gordon Brown is popular. This is much more culturally relavent.
  7. WWE/WWF. It is not wrestling. It is borderline homosexual play-acting by steroid-using gits, and it is pathetic.
  8. Rap. I have no opinion on the artistic merit of Rap as a musical form though it's not what I choose for a soundtrack. However, if there is one thing in this post racist age which has damaged the life chances of working class boys in general and black boys in particular, it is the Hip Hop 'lifestyle'. A nihilistic celebration of un-worked for bling, bitches and cars; glorifying drug-dealing, gangsterism and a mindless cult of celebrity. It is hard to imagine a cultural meme more certain to condemn its adherents to lives of unredeemed shallowness and brutality.
  9. GI Joe. Action Man used to have facial scarring, carry British Army equipment, wear DPM and have sinister swivel-eyes. I remember fondly the battles a friend and I had in the trench system we dug for our action men in my back garden. When did Action man become a snowboarder?
  10. 30-second attention-span TV. If you've ever attempted to watch the "discovery" channel, the programmes take the same format. 7 minutes of shallow information in easily digestible soundbite form, followed by 5 minutes of adverts, followed by 2 minutes of summary of the previous section (because many viewers will not have bothered to sit through the adverts) and so on. The adverts render the documentaries unwatchable, even if they were on subjects I find interesting. 'Nature' Documentaries produced by Americans also tend to be revoltingly anthropomorphic, tediously shallow and hung on some fatuous 'shock' theme. That's the 'quality' programming. Only HBO mini series such as Rome, or Band of Brothers save American TV in its entirety from room 101, but HBO appear mainly to use British actors. With so many channels struggling for advertising budgets, ever more slots are offered, which causes ever more advertising, in TV of ever decreasing merit, meaning the Channel has to offer advertising ever more cheaply, meaning they have less to spend on programming so fewer people watch it meaning it has to offer more slots, cheaper. And so on - until you reach the apotheosis of Naff on the home shopping channels...
That's my top ten of transatlantic irritations. The Great Republic has given much to this world. Unfortunately the world also buys its dross. We didn't export Keith Chegwin, or drab municipal socialism, so why should we be lumped with Gushing coverage of your President and 'When Good Pets Go Bad'? Anyway. Here's a clip where Santa gets attacked by a Reindeer. Enjoy.



Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Britblog Roundup # 206

By Slugger O' Toole's Mick Fealty is up over at the Telegraph's Brassneck blog. Next week, we're at Natalie's place, Philobiblon. Answers on a postcard to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com



The Red-Bench Four

Four ignoble Labour Lords, Lords Taylor, Moonie, Truscott and Snape, apparently have been caught with their fingers in the till. This is traditional. They're labour creatures through and through. Usually, when there's sleaze, the labour party gets caught fiddling the accounts, the Tories get caught with their pants round their ankles and some painful looking red wealts on their well padded arses, whilst the Liberals have historically been Grecian in their tastes (though Mark Oaten has subsequently set the bar for political sex scandals that bit higher). Obviously this is not a hard and fast rule. Though plenty of grubby Tory back-benchers have been caught snout-deep in the trough, we still await a really good Labour sex scandal. Fatty Prescott chasing his secretary round the desk is a little pathetic when you have this to compete with. I digress.

Now Lords are allowed to undertake paid consultancy work, and there is a divide between the declared political consultancy, which appears in the register of interests; and lobbying for which you are not supposed to take a fee. (I think I have summarised the situation correctly...) It is this lobbying whic appears to be what the Lords in question were doing. Lobbying is just that: persuasion of the executive that your objections and comments on laws are worth doing. In such a business, it is not what you know, but who. A decent address-book of contacts, and the ear of ministers is something that all politicians know is valuable.

I've argued elsewhere that trying to keep money out of politics is pointless. You stand in Canute-like impotence at the tide of money seeking to influence law-making. The best you can do is declare who is working for whom, and trust the democratic process to weed out the most egregious troughing. This is the rationale behind the need to declare your outside interests. It appears the Lords were trying to get the cash on the sly, without declaring an interest, lobbying for cash, and they were caught red-handed. It appears likely that the rules they were bending were so opaque and badly-written, they will get away with it. Such is the motif of the New Labour administration.

Two contradictory ideas leap to mind: First. 'Cash for Questions' is less serious than 'Cash for Laws'. Why is this not being reported as "Labour Sleaze"? The last time this phrase was used by the BBC was 2002. Unconcious media bias?

The second is that distasteful as such obvious corruption is, we are talking about Labour politicians taking policy advice from business people. The net result is probably positive.



Monday, 26 January 2009

Punxsutawney “Phil” Brown


Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and “The saviour of the World” Gordon Brown (ZNL) has announced he called for financial reform 10 years ago. He says that he has been warning for ten years that the international financial markets needed to be more strongly regulated. I’m confused, was this before or after an end to “Boom and Bust”? I’m also confused to explain why, if this was such a long known threat to Punxsutawney Brown, why he freed up the money supply to get people spending like… well like him actually. With no thought whatsoever to the consequences of spending like a drunken housewife watching Price Drop TV.

I’m also at a loss as to why – with such excellent foresight he didn’t jack in this Politics game – a career he is quite clearly ill suited for – and go into managing a Hedge Fund. Even with the degree you can pad out your expenses as an MP (AKA Criminal Fraud if you try it outside Westminster) you can still earn more money managing hedge funds. And if you become as rich as Warren Buffett, as surely Gordon with his Oracle like abilities would do, you can do more good for the world than a Politician as well.
The Daily Mash take on the subject.



How much do I Hate thee?

As the long-time readers of this blog know, I have always loathed Gordon Brown with a passion which is matched only by the Left-wing Loathing for George Bush, and that of my brother for Brussels Sprouts.

Since 2005, when I started this blog, and before when I used to say this to friends and family I thought that running a deficit when tax receipts are rising was the hight of stupidity. When the wheel comes off, said I, there will be hell to pay.

Not only has he borrowed, he has taxed the rest of us to penury, so the ability of the private sector to finance all these jobs - for it is the private sector who pays - has been diminished. State spending represents an absurd portion of the economy, and this is unsustainable. It is clear that across the developed world, Governments have caved in to demands to give jobs for life in return for electoral support, and being unwilling to tax sufficiently, they have borrowed. The public have finally worked out they can vote themselves largesse at the public expense. The origins of this recession lie in the private sector, but its depth and severity are the fault of an overmighty and overspending state. Here and in Europe (with the Germans being an honourable exception).

The state may not bear the ultumate blame, buth they have allowed "moral hazard" to creep into banks' thinking. It is clear that the regulatory system as currently set up implicitly has the UK tax-payer standing behind deposits. This freed banks to take big risks - with little oversight, they were allowed to overgear their balance sheets bringing core capital adequacy ratios to very low levels, confident in the cash-flow. This banking crisis was not caused by "irresponsible lending" but by irresponsible spending by the banks, without sufficient fear that the assets they were buying would hold their value. The bad debt numbers are not vastly worse than previous recessions, what is being written down is the assets bought against which the irresponsible lending was secured.

The state was active in forcing irresponsible lending - I have pointed out the Community Reinvestment Act before - if this crisis started in the USA, it started with this piece of legislation from 1977 which forced banks to lend to poor credit risks. "innovative products" were aplauded by the regulators, who were instead focussing on investment advisors' dilligence in form filling. "Access" to credit was the byword of banking regulation under Labour in the UK. If bad debts are the problem (and they aren't particularly) then the Reglator is at least as much to blame.

The idea that the banking and financial system was "unregulated" is just ludicrous.

Which is why I am so irritated with the suggestion that this crisis represents some sort of failure of "Lessaiz-faire" capitalism, or that "more" regulation is needed. Sure the banking crisis represents both a failure of business to adequately manage risk, and equally a failure of regulation to demand that those risks be managed sensibly. But what went on in the Banks - spending and gearing at the top of the cycle is exactly what Gordon Brown did with the national account. All that is different is the size of the credit line he has been afforded.

Just as it will be several decades before British Banks return to their pomp of 2007, it will be the work of many years to undo the damage that Brown has wrought on the UK economy. He has overseen a vast bloating of the public sector, which will fight hard to maintain its headcount. Any attempt to reduce the number of Diversity outreach co-ordinators will result in failure, because it suits the Aparatchiks' purpose to fire front line service providors rather than administrators in the long bureaucratic tail. They will do this in order to make the "Tory cuts" charge stick. Which is why any attempt to prune the client state will result in strikes, campaigns by "concerned residents" orchestrated by the Socialist worker - who will remain in the background, but their influence will be obvious by the distinctive Helvetica Bold Condensed font on the placards handed out in huge numbers by the men in donkey jackets.

I mentioned this to a Labour voter at the weekend. He said, and appeared to believe that a Conservative Government would be in the same mess had they been in Government. I disagree - the Labour party bankrupts the country at every chance. The Tories, as a rule do not. It is a matter of Psychology. This Labour voter could not see that deficit spending during a boom was foolish, pointing to the "benefits" of "investment" in services. There is a deep seated and fundamental misunderstanding of the role and origin of Tax reciepts. They are not "Governmnet money", nor is it essentially unlimited. Borrowing does eventually need to be paid back, ususally by tax-payers under Conservative governments, who will be forced to maintain punitive taxation whilst slashing services. There is no other solution to the mess we're in. It is like the Labour voters' view of profits: "the difference between what you should and what you do pay", rather than an incentive for the provider of the service. They cannot understand that a Billion here and a billion there for whatever is the ishoo du jour represents money which must be earned by business and handed over to the Government.

Whilst this crisis is a recession - a particularly nasty and sharp one - caused ultimately by the failure of risk-management in private oligopolies, and the agencies they are regulated by. But the long and painful fight-back from it will be worse and longer because of a decade of sovietisation of much of Britain (only 2 regions are positive contributors to the exchequer), and catastrophic economic mismanagement since 2000. The state will have to shrink, and it will be a Conservative government which will do it. It will be the North, Scotland and Wales which will bear the brunt, and strikes will be common.

Back to the 1980's, in fact.

The left will defend uneconomic left-wing jobs, and the Conservative Government will be trying to prune them, for the long-term good of the country. The question is whether Cameron has the stomach for the fight against the only industry where the unions remain strong? Whatever your doubts about his mettle (and I share them) Margaret Thatcher isn't on the Ballot paper, and Cameron is what we've got. He cannot be worse than Brown. Now that utilities are in private hands, and are not widely unionised, then so long as the bins get emptied people who pay the bills won't actually notice if the whole public sector goes on strike.

Digby Jones, who foolishly GOATed himself has made the first observation that the Emperor's got no clothes on, by pointing out that half the civil servants in whitehall are unessesary and "deserve the sack". The battle lines are being drawn. Nearly half the population work for the state and half of them deserve the sack, it is clear where the majority of Labour's 28% come from. I suspect this line of attack will resonate for the simple reason that it is true. For a Government spokesman to call civil servants "hard-working", doesn't make it so. As this gains traction I suspect Cameron's team will get bolder, but this is more hope than expectation.

The depth of loathing I feel for Brown is matched only by the inevitibility of his failure. Whilst the Tories are timid and lack the courage of their convictions, at least their convictions are in the right place. We libertarians need to be putting fire in their bellies; cheer for Brown's destruction and encourage the Tories too. The country needs you to.



This should be fun

Fatty Prescott's got a Blog.



Friday, 23 January 2009

It's just a recession. Not the end of the World

I work in finance. Suddenly research is much harder come by, as analysts have been fired. Clients are pessimistic in the extreme (though a surprising number are optimistic enough to buy Bank shares...). Some of my friends have lost their jobs, and many more are fearing it. Sure... that is what happens during a recession. Gordon Brown is borrowing something like a Quarter of a Million pounds a minute, and there is a realistic prospect of the loss of the UK Government's AAA credit rating. The stockmarkets have fallen, the pound is falling against most major currencies (though it remains off the lows against the Euro) and yields have fallen across the board.

There are people in the blogosphere suggesting that Britain is going to see the supermarkets' shelves empty, the coming of the Road Warrior and a breakdown in society, suggesting that Gold, tinned goods and steel hats are the only things that should be invested in. Buy a piece of land, and a rifle and prepare to defend your smallholding....

Get real people!

The UK economy is going to contract by up to 5-6% over the next couple of years, which means we will still be the 4th, 5th, or 6th largest economies in the world. British people will remain in the top 20 or so by per capita earnings. That's if you look at the most bearish commentators. Unemployment will reach 4 million. That means most of the readers of this blog will still have their jobs when the UK posts a positive quarterly growth number in 2010 or 2011. The UK will not suffer a sovereign default, because even Gordon Brown couldn't be that stupid, though we may yet need a bit of help from the IMF. Were this to happen, a run on the pound would be inevitable, but this would deflate the debt, given that this is denominated in Sterling. It would be a cathartic event, but it would in itself help the climb out.

After 16 years of economic growth, we've lost our sense of proportion when faced with a bit of a contraction. This is not the 1930s (unless the politicians start protecting markets or currencies). Hell! It ain't even the 1970's. This is a recession, people. It will end, though if it gets really bad, then the Government overspend and hyperactivity will be part of its cause. The best thing to be done is to present a calm and measured approach to the economy rather than announcing a new multi-billion pound package on a daily basis. It is Government spending which is causing the fear now, not the imminent nationalisation of a couple of banks whose value has already long gone.

The USA, a more optimistic country than the UK at the best of times, have a new president. Obama has the goodwill of the people, and is untainted by the causes of this crisis. I hope that the lessons he draws are the ones which say that the state is at least as much to blame as "Greedy bankers" and that a smaller state and, more importantly, sound money are part of the solution. I suspect, though that he, like Brown will be drawn to ever more regulation, ever more state "help" and ever more state "investment". But that doesn't change the fact that he has goodwill. Obama is a reason Americans are more optimistic than they were a few months ago.

Part of the solution to this crisis as it affects the UK involves a new Government who have the backing of the people and a plan to get us out of this mess. The Tories are not the finished article, but I trust Cameron more than I trust Brown. He can still do a lot of damage in the time he has left, just by continuing to borrow and spend at the rate he is currently doing. Getting rid of our Prime minister will help confidence, and an election would be healing. If Gordon Brown had any decency, he would take the "whisky and the revolver" like a man and call an election now. He doesn't, so he won't. So we have to wait one year, one hundred and thirty-eight days, 10 hours until Brown conceeds his inevitable defeat.

The petition is here.



Thursday, 22 January 2009

Dawn Butler, MP.

I don't think I have come across a story as pathetic as this from an MP. For those of you who haven't seen the story about Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent South, she apparently got an endorsement from every leftie's crush; either by photoshopping his signature onto a gushing missive, handily (and illegally) printed on House of Commons note paper, or she got "the one" to sign a blank sheet and subsequently printed her self congratulatory drivel, or she got him to sign the Endorsement. Like Unity, I cannot see #44 signing such a tawdry piece of self-promotion, though I can imagine him giving an autograph to the clearly star-struck Ms. Butler. Either She forged this, or she wrote it herself. Either way, why put it up on your website (subsequently taken down)

So Occams Razor suggests that Dawn Butler has been dishonest and stupid and has some explaining to do.

She has form in the "not at home to Mr. Self-Awareness" stakes. Complaining about your local paper not reporting your every doing, in a long and frankly illiterate letter to that very paper, indicates a rather inflated opinion of oneself. But the question remains how did this pathetic little girl become an MP? Because if it's tokenism, this is a gift to the her political opponents. The good news is that she's going to be in a dog-fight (f'nar f'nar) with the equally pathetic little girl who should never be an MP, Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather. If I had a vote in Brent, I'd vote for Dawn. Both candidates are equally useless, but ms. Butler is marginally easier on the eye.


The problem is that lefties - and I include the Libs in this - are so fixated on Group identity politics that they will take any woman, especially one from an ethnic minority because they tick the right boxes, rather than because they are effective or interesting. Dawn Butler is just lobby fodder without the wit to have an opinion which isn't downloaded from Labour head office. Of course the Labour party are just grateful that the appointment of such principle vacuums help secure the ethnic block vote whilst allowing them to get policies which are an anathema to their supporters, through the Commons. The Labour party still excoriate the Tories for their failure to appoint women, despite the fact that in the Tories, women are appointed to seats roughly in proportion that they apply (women, dispite all cajoling don't seem very interested in becoming MPs, which indicates some degree of sense lacking in the male of the species). Tories have form in promoting on merit, rather than X chromasome count. Labour don't.



From the Guardian

At the Fabian conference, Ed Miliband and James Purnell likened the last six months to the winter of discontent in 1979. An ideological watershed had been reached, they argued. I think there is no question that 2008 will be seen as a similar historical moment," said Miliband. "This is a moment of profound crisis for the idea that, in economics, as far as possible we should leave markets to their own devices; the idea that government is the problem not the solution."
Purnell, from a more New Labour position, said: "For the last 30 or so years, politics in Britain has been determined by the image of the winter of discontent. The idea of achieving a fairer society through state action was damaged. I think that unbalanced politics. I don't think we will rebalance to the other side, where markets are entirely dismissed, but I think we can have a more balanced politics as a result."

Come on James, 10,000 sperm and you were the fastest? I don’t know what Crack/Peyote combo you guys have been smoking but I think the members of HM Constabulary should stop chasing Motorists and get over there sharpish. This could be a greater threat to the health of the nation than Bathtub Methamphetamine. “For the last 30 or so years, politics in Britain has been determined by the image of the winter of discontent”. No mate, they’ve been determined by the fall of the Berlin Wall (you know, that day you couldn’t stop crying) and the notion that the State is more competent than the individual. They’ve been determined by the Tractor Production targets of state planning that have been shown to fail.You’re a think tank, the clue is in the name; you’re supposed to be more intelligent that those who are blaming an international conspiracy of Jews Bankers.

So Fabian conference - the Government has had absolutely nothing to do with this collapse eh? Nothing about government forcing banks to lend money to risky people and institutions? Nothing to do with the British government fiddling the inflation rates to give artificially low interest rates. It was nothing to do with the fact that the government was allowing the housing bubble to fund their profligate spending in diversity outreach co-ordinators? Nothing to do with the fact that the State Tax take meant that they had to con the electorate in spending more money, and ease the Central Bank money supply to banks so the public kept spending? Are the banks to blame – yes partially. But if you think that this has discredited Capitalism you are mistaken as the day Marx was when he saw his first factory worker.



Wednesday, 21 January 2009

AA

If there is a measure of Gordon Brown's fiscal irresponsibility it is the fact that the UK is probably going to lose its AAA rating from Credit agencies - the fact this is even being discussed should trigger a vote of no confidence in the Government.

This is not because of the "global financial crisis", though that is the proximal cause. The real reason is that Gordon Brown oversaw an economy which kept interest rates too low, because the wrong measure of inflation was chosen in order to "align" the British economy with that of Europe. This created a dangerous property bubble and allowed struggling businesses to limp along, putting off the day of reckoning, and giving an entirely false impression of the health of the UK economy.

Despite inflated tax receipts which arose from the interest rate-led boom, which happened despite the greatest rise in taxation in British peace time history, Gordon ran a fiscal deficit since 2000. When the wheel came off, all those struggling businesses collapsed together, tax receipts plummeted, especially from the financial services industry and Gordon's vast bloated client state, which has achieved precisely nothing for the billions pumped into it, is no longer affordable. Because we, the taxpayer have taken on the liabilities of the financial services industry - RBS's balance sheet for example is the same size as UK GDP (yes I know, a financially illiterate comparison, but it illustrates the size of the problem the UK faces), Britain has gone from a relatively low debt economy, by means of an 8% deficit and the "bail out" to a highly indebted economy, and done so in a matter of months.

The Credit rating agencies can see how much the UK needs to borrow simply to manage that debt, and realises that the markets are simply not going to swallow that issuance at the rates being offered. This may be reflected in a downgrade to AA status, as has already happened to Spain, and the markets are pricing in here. If this happens, a Gilt auction will fail, triggering a run on the pound and Britain will have to go cap in hand once again to the IMF. This will not be the fault of the "global financial crisis" but will be the fault of Gordon's spending plans since 2000.

It is difficult to immagine what this means unless you're a finance wallah. There are only a handful of countries who have NEVER defaulted on their debt - the USA, Switzerland and the UK amongst them. The UK managed to finance 2 huge wars with a depression in between - the debts from which were finally paid off (by which I mean debt reached pre-WW1 levels as a percentage of GDP) in 1992 and 2000 because of Conservative fiacal prudence. Since they abandoned the Conservative spending plans in 2000, the Labour party reverted to type. They've taken the best economy in Europe, and made it into the worst in a little over 8 years - the UK economy is more ruined than it was in 1945 and this means the UK is no longer a good credit risk.

That's the heroic scale of the incompetence we're dealing with, people. They've bankrupted us again. And what is so depressing is the sheer tawdriness and lack of vision. They've ruined everything merely to keep power. You might accuse me of offering no solutions, but there is one and it is simple: Ebarassingly so. Unemployment is running at nearly 2 million. Much of that is from private sector pain, which needs to be shared by the public sector. There are fewer tax-payers supporting ever more public sector make-work schemes for Labour voters. You need to cut spending by getting rid of millions of worthless public-sector drones. Labour will argue that this is "taking money out of the economy", which would be true if these people were doing economically useful work, but who will miss a Diversity outreach co-ordinator? Fire a Labour voter today for the good of the Country - what are you waiting for?



Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Live streaming the BBC coverage of the Obama Inauguration

After literally seconds of negotiation, I managed to secure exclusive rights to live-stream the BBC's coverage of the Inauguration of the Forty-Fourth president of the United States of America. I am the only blog able to offer this service.



President Gall’s State of the Union Address

I love America, I have some great American friends for whom I have a deep and abiding affection. I think the country is fantastic, the food superb and the scenery fantastic. My American friends are Lawyers, Financiers, Army Officers, Businessmen and Reporters. They are good and honourable people and above all not stupid, but even many of them are getting overly and excessively excited about this Inauguration. Now I don’t blame Americans having some hope that a Politician might do some good, that’s what Politicians practice faking every day and night. They’re superb at it. They’re like Snake Oil salesmen, every once in a while you’re going to be suckered into buying something because they are experts at doing what they do – conning people. But even still, in the back of your mind there should be that blinking warning light that they will screw you, even if its luminescence is as low as a 3 watt LED, it should still be there. I also accept that the British have had to put up with a political leader that is about as useful as Anne Franks Drum kit**, so we have more experience at being cynical.

But for God’s sake America – wake up and smell the Coffee – or in this case some Ammonium Carbonate. He’s a bloody politician; he’ll let you down just as they always do. You’re being set up for a fall, no scratch that, you’ve set yourself up for a fall. And especially you - you gullible suckers that paid $5000 a head for the privilege of being thanked for working 12 hours a day for no pay stuffing letter boxes. Obama will really REALLY let you down. The dumb bastards I can see on the TV currently queuing on the Mall to see the sunglasses of a secret service agent – he’ll let you down as well. It’s Washington DC in the middle of January people! Its bloody freezing, even God is telling you that standing out in the cold waiting for a politician is an act of stupidity and btw - borderline Idolatry.

When I read this Grade A USDA certified rubbish vomited from the mouth of America’s Only famous living poet I can’t help but cringe*. Come on chaps, you’re an intelligent people; you shouldn’t be this damn gullible. I know the fact that “hope” gives the New World its “get up and go”, but we work damn hard too, we’re forward looking too, and we just laugh at this Weapons Grade stupidity. We British believe in Hope too, I currently hope to see my politicians tap-dancing on air from the nearest lamp post, and that England win the next Rugby World Cup and win the Ashes. You see hope is a positive thing only when it is channelled in a sensible and only slightly self delusional way.

Obviously Maya Angelou was encouraged by the Bolshevik Broadcasting Coropration to spout this Barf Bag inducing rubbish. So we British should take our share of the blame too.

* The only other American poet who is famous is Ezra Pound. And he’s not famous for his poetry.
** Thanks to Mr Eugenides



Pedantry today

Does anyone else get riled when they see a sign in the Supermarket saying "five items or less"?

Sainsbury's are a good corporate citizen, and do actually give to local schools and sports clubs. They also sponsor a local homeless shelter, but they shouldn't be drafting its denizens to write the signs over the checkout, thereby undoing all their good work on the educational front. When a mistake of grammar is made by someone who should know better, in professionally produced signs, distributed nationally around the 785 branches of Britain's second biggest retailer, people will think "it doesn't matter". It does matter. This is part of the "dumbing down" of language: The newscasters on the BBC get this right, why can't Sainsbury's? When writing, accuracy does matter, and habitual use doesn't make an error correct any more than Star Trek corrected "to boldly go", which remains a split infinitive. (YES! I know there's a debate, but Shakey didn't so I won't - to my mind "to go Boldly" reads better too).

'Less' and 'Fewer' are not synonyms, because they mean different things. As a rule of thumb, if you can express the amount in integer terms, you need to use 'fewer'; and if not, then use 'less'. There should be enough English Literature graduates working the tills to ensure gramatical accuracy in the signage.

Tesco have got the idea, and where possible, they will get my pound too.

Right. I'm off to count the gravel outside to find which word to use.



Monday, 19 January 2009

I'm so happy...

...I could shit.

It is not the prospect of an incoming Conservative administration which pleases, but the prospect of a long, slow death rattle of the Labour movement. Is there any sight more appealing than hubris revealed, arrogance demolished, and incompetence exposed?

Cameron does not fill me with the hope of the sort with which his supporters greeted Tony Blair in 1997, because I am a realist and Cameron is a politician. At best Cameron will be competent in his first term, and at worst, not as bad as the current shower. But hopefully the Labour party is doomed to everlasting electoral irrelevance. And that is a thought which should have the corks popping.

For democracy is not about voting in the good. It is about getting rid of the bad idea or the incompetent leader. Labour are yet again revealed to be simply not up to the job. The idea is Darwinian in its simplistic elegance and just as powerful.

The socialist experiment failed in all the guises in which it has been tried. We Libertarians can ignore the Tories' policies or lack of them for a bit; and just enjoy watching Brown slope off to his Manse with his beard and be forgotten. Our job in the meantime is to persuade the Tories that, whatever the Daily Mail says, the Libertarian philosophy is one of the strands woven into the Tory rope and that we do have some sensible policies for a happy Britain.

Nonsense like this does not help though. It's 'Brown out', not 'Cameron in'. Ideological purity is for adolescents.



Anne Widdecombe

I noticed Ms. Widdecombe voted with the government to steal taxpayers money under the Don Touhig amendment, just as I noticed she voted with the government on 42 day detention. She also voted with the government on the chippy class warfare that was the Foxhunting Bill. Thank god she is standing down at the next general election. I expect Labour to be corrupt (just as I expect Tories to have sexual practices that would be found under the “Niche” section of an Adult Entertainment vendor, though not quite in the Oaten leage). Labour can’t help it, their entire raison d’etre is to steal money from people who work for it and give it to their supporters who don’t. Believing in the primacy of the state and an individual not being capable to look after his own property, is what Labour do. So why the hell not pick the pockets of the workers to buy their Smallbone of Devizes fitted kitchen? But Anne Widdecombe should bloody well know better.

As to the other few Conservative Trough monkeys who broke ranks and voted with the government to continue stealing money from our pockets, David Cameron should use this as an opportunity to get their snouts out of the trough on a permanent basis - telling them and their constituency party their services will not be required after the next general election.



The Brown Bounce, Anacyclosis and Ochlocracy

There were 2 polls in the papers over the weekend, which saw the Tories return to election winning leads: ComRes in the Independent had the Tories 9% up (they recently posted a Tory 1% lead) and YouGov in the Sunday Times which showed a 13% lead. During this crisis, fear of an unknown quantity - the Cameron conservatives has seen Labour pick up floating voters. Nationalisation of banks has seen the Labour core strengthen. But as perception of a sure hand on the tiller gave way rapidly to hubris, spin and hyperactive policy making - spending taxpayers' money with the accuracy and care of a man urinating after 20 pints, so the public support waned.

As unemployment rises inexorably towards three million, and ever more tax-payers money is shovelled into schemes to get banks to commit commercial suicide by lending to marginal companies in a recession, whilst being pressured simultaneously by a hyperactive and panicked regulator to rebuild balance sheets, that 'fear of the unknown' will give way to anger. That anger will be directed at the Government, and there is nothing they can do about it. The next stage in the cycle will be Hope, yet this will not save Gordon Brown.

Hope will be invested in the incoming Government rather than the incumbent, though as Conservatives, it will not be so euphoric as 1997; luvvies will not be leading the cheerleading. Instead it will be led by the middle classes, grey business people and others who will be doing the rebuilding of the economy once more. Hope will give way to optimism, though I fear that is many years away. A return to fear, and the completion of the cycle is a decade or more hence.

This is the political cycle in a democracy. But democracy is dying - it was already on its deathbed but is now being smothered by Labour who are hastening the move to Ochlocracy: the final phase in the development of societies in Polybius' Anacyclosis. This time it is not just the Rulers who have been corrupted, but the mob too: corrupted by a sense of entitlement. Alexander Tytler supposedly observed that democracies are...

always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship
Apathy has given way to dependence, and dependence is giving way to bondage. Look how the Daily Mail and the Sun - the best selling papers in the UK demand ever more surveillance and support CCTV, the suspension of Habeus Corpus and the draconian powers of the State. Even tax-cuts are viewed with suspicion. The British people have become slaves - at least the Northern half of them because they have become totally dependent on state hand-outs. This coming recession will merely complete the process.

Unless...

It is easy to go onto Wikipedia and find a cycle, see where our society is on that cycle - be it Tytler or Polybius and fear. But these cycles were written not as predictions but warnings. Polybius was lamenting the demise of Republican Rome - as was Tacitus when he put freedom-loving soundbites into the mouths of ancient British noble savages.
"they call it 'social justice' when it is part of their slavery."
But the fall of Roman democracy was not inevitable, it just became so with hindsight. People can influence history. It was inevitable that Germany would defeat the British Empire in 1940 but the British people pulled together. It was inevitable that Sterling would join the Euro (and aren't you glad that didn't happen?) but a coalition of papers and politicians made that politically impossible without a referendum. Just as inevitabilites were not so, these political cycles are warnings not forecasts. If heeded, we can become free once more. All it takes is that pressure be applied in the right places We should eshew revolutions until we have tried the simple things first: Have you written to a local Conservative MP demanding the end to the database state? Demanding the repeal of a specific law? because you can bet that plenty of people have written to the incoming party of Government demanding something be banned. Let's use our remaining democratic feedoms to persuade our next Government to relax the choke-hold a bit, and hope that the long-forgotten but ancient instinct for freedom gets rekindled in the British heart. It's going to take a long slog to climb out of the economic and political mire left by this most odious of Governments, but it is achievable with a bit of faith, in the country, its people and their capacity for hard work. Democracy has failed. Long Live democracy!



Britblog Roundup # 205

Is up over at Trixy's. Next week we're at Mick Fealty's blog - nominations as usual to Britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.



Friday, 16 January 2009

Q. How do you hide the fact you’re fiddling your expenses?

A. Bury it under a bloody great big runway

Whilst everybody* who considers Qourn to be an edible foodstuff and think that Dolphins should be given the vote is up in arms about Britain improving its transport infrastructure, our MPs have been pulling a fast one. They thought this was a great day to “Bury bad news”. Specifically them stealing from the taxpayers pocket to pay for changing last seasons “Sunrise Red” fitted kitchen for this years "Tuscan Sunrise Red" fitted kitchen. Yet again they have fiddled their expenses way beyond what the British taxpayer could hope to get away with it.

They can claim £25 per day on “Expenses” for the inconvenience of being separated from their constituency home. Now correct me if I’m wrong here but we give them a bloody big taxpayer funded grace and favour house to live in whilst they are in London when they are “working” in Parliament. And they get to claim food (to cook in their Tuscan sunrise kitchen) paid for by the taxpayer; ditto the taxi to get them to their taxpayer funded pad. Can I ask what the hell this £25 per politician per day will be spent on? How bloody stupid do they think we are? If Labour think they can bury this bad news under a long thin piece of concrete, just you wait and see what they will bury under "the chosen one" when he has his inauguration.

Hat tip to Mr Eugenides , Letters from a Tory covers the Freedom of information implications here.

* By everybody I mean the usual collection of Luvvie hypocrites who take private jets and chaufeur driven limos to their industry Circle Jerks.



Thursday, 15 January 2009

Secret Tribunals

If there is one thing this Government can do to facilitate a state of terror - not the feeble bangs created by a terrorist organisation, but the real, state orchestrated mass fear of a 3am knock on the door, leading to thousands of casualties - it is remove the public's right to see justice be done.

I am not saying that we should immediately fear the state and the police, that would be ridiculous. At the moment you really do have little to fear (unless you're a Muslim). But seeing authoritarians use the Slippery slope argument for banning drugs, I thought I would turn it onto their desire to allow the state to conduct some inquests behind closed doors.

One of the principles of the rule of Law is that even the state is beholden to that law too. The state retains a monopoly of legitimate violence and in order to protect the majority, it must occasionally kill individuals who pose a threat. Examples where this is legitimate include Terrorists in the act of planting bombs, criminals who resist arrest violently and in some jurisdictions as a punishment sent down by the courts. The principle that underpins this is that every time the state takes an individual's life, there is an inquest to decide whether it did so legally. This is open to the public and the press in order that we, the people can be reassured that the state is only targeting 'bad guys', rather than, for example using the police to intimidate its opponents.

The Coroners courts are an ancient institution who have the duty to decide whether a person was killed - and crucially they are charged with seeking out the truth, which is reflected in the narrative verdicts they sometimes hand down. When someone is killed whilst in custody or otherwise whilst in the power of the authorities, such an inquest must be held. This has proved a thorn in the side of the Government, not least over the Jean Charles De Menezes case where the narrative verdict went some way to making Sir Ian Blair's position as metropolitan commissioner untenable.

It is precisely cases such as the De Menezes case where secrecy could be argued to be "in the interests of national security, or in the interests of the relationship between the United Kingdom and another country, or otherwise in the public interest", and precisely where the powers of the Coroner's courts are most needed. For if innocent people are to be gunned down by the police, who are then able to concoct a version of events which bears little relation to the testimony of witnesses, we would not know about it. Sir Ian Blair's lies or factual inexactitudes after the event: that De Menezes ran from the police, was wearing an unseasonably heavy coat, was agitated, jumped the barriers, etc... would never have been exposed and police incompetence in identifying the terrorists would not be rectified. I don't know whether special branch, or whatever the Gestapo call themselves these days, still think it acceptable to have a single officer on a stakeout (calls of nature and the need for food, drink and sleep present a problem to such surveillance), but the fact is they did at Stockwell. Sloppy drills that any soldier schooled in the province could have told you was going to lead to at best, the team losing its target, and at worst, shooting an innocent man seven times in the head.

None of this would have come out into the open, had there been a system in place for secret tribunals, and the Police would still be shooting unarmed, innocent Brazilian electricians on their way to work, then get away with defaming the man publicly afterwards; had the Coroner been forced to operate in secret.

We are not a totalitarian state. Nor is the Labour government particularly malign. It is just spectacularly hyperactive and at the same time, stunningly incompetent. In 'modernising' the checks and balances inherent in the constitution, they have not created a totalitarian system, but they have put the fenceposts in, which will allow a subsequent government which may not be so benign, to enslave us. It was an exquisitely 'modern' constitution with carefully designed checks and balances which failed to check the rise of the National Socialist and Workers party's in the Parliament of the Weimar republic. The British unwritten constitution is so chaotic and unwieldy that opponents of such a party would be able to trip him up with some long forgotten medeaval flummery, unless the Labour party 'modernise' the constitution any further.

We are not a totalitarian state, but there are worrying signs of the slippery slope: If a prime-minister was so minded, he wouldn't have to work hard to turn The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland into The German Democratic Republic. The harassing of opposition politicians has already begun and the police are revelling in the fact that the checks and balances on their powers have either been removed, or are ignored. There are the constant appeals to security, the databases, the surveillance... The assault on the basic checks and balances which protect us from an over mighty executive are happening on so many fronts and so frequently that it is like fighting the hydra.

Having once defeated the proposal to allow the Government to kill its subjects without subsequent scrutiny - for a secret tribunal is in reality no tribunal, the proposal rears its ugly head again, this time in the new Coroners and Death Certification bill which will be published later this year.

They won't take no for an answer will they, and we must therefore remain ever vigilant.



Taken into care

I don’t usually support Children being made wards of the state. Stating the blatantly obvious - a child that grows up with a mother and father rather than an Orphanage worker as a parent has a much better start in life. However in this case I think we can make an exception. Anybody who names their kids Adolf Hitler and Arian (sic) Nation as a celebration of their “German roots” is quite unlikely to mentally qualified to look after children. I have added a handy list of names that on hearing a parent has called their offspring one of these names you should notify Social Services immediately…

Adolf Hitler
Arian Nation/Aryan nation (even if spelt correctly it is still a warning sign)
Joseph Goebbels
Mao
Osama
Fifi Trixabelle
Peaches Honeyblossom Coconut Buttercup Pumpkin Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lilly
Any other name Paula Yates thought up in-between hits of smack
River/Crystal/Leaf Mulch/Bong/Tie-Dye Phoenix
Apple
Princess Tiaamii
Brooklyn/Queens/Bronx/Manhattan/Staten Island/Fresh Kills (the child will spend the rest of its life learning to line dance in Surrey)
Kal-el
Any Crew member of the Starship Enterprise

I like to think we here at A Very British Dude offer a service.



Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A Racist Country...

...is not one where an immigrant can amass the kind of fortune which allows him to play polo, nor would a racist country allow him to hob-nob with the heir to the throne.

In reality, the real racists in this story are the professional offence-takers who wish to decide what is and is not an acceptable nick-name for a person of south asian ethnicity member of an oppressed minority.

"I have to say, you know you have arrived when you acquire a nickname. I enjoy being called 'Sooty' by my friends, who I am sure universally use the name as a term of affection with no offence meant or felt. The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice and both of his sons have always been most respectful."
Said Mr. Dhillon. However a nameless racistism campaigner who had neither met nor spoken to mr. Dhillon, speaking on behalf of Quango Charity 'Show Racism the Red Card' (another "Charity" substantially funded by public money) said.
"Get back in your box. We know what's best for you"
before ignoring the little man's opinion and launching a class warrior attack on the Prince of Wales' lack of education in modern double-think. The poor man went to Gordonstoun. They do rugby, buggery and thistles instead of sociology. Of course he's uneducated.

Meanwhile a spokesman for Republic, the anti monarchy pressure group, was found to not be supportive of the Prince.

I think I've got the gist of the Telegraph's reportage.



How not to fake your death…

Is the wife filing for divorce? Is your company going down the swanny? Need to run away from it all? Don’t do what a Mr Marcus Schrenker did… radio in a fake Mayday call from your Plane saying your windscreen has broken; and then parachute from your Piper leaving the plane in straight and level flight. By allowing a couple of F-16’s half an hour to scramble and catch up with your aircraft (and see you’re not in the afore mentioned airborne conveyance, the Air Force tends to insist on good eyesight) you are simply asking for trouble. For God’s sake man, you didn’t even point it at the deck before jumping! Oh and when you landed you claimed you were in a Canoeing accident whilst bone dry and wearing flying goggles.

I you want to do a Lord Lucan you get a false passport, point your aircraft in the general direction of the Bermuda Triangle in a downwards motion and then bale out over the last non-American piece of land you will hit before the Azores. Better yet, resist the desire to be flash. Simply leave some spare clothes folded in a neat pile on the beach a la James Blunt “You’re beautiful” music video - and then nip off to the nearest Plastic Surgeon you can find in a non-extradition country's Yellow Pages. You might then have a shot at sitting on a beach for the rest of your life sipping drinks with umbrellas in them.



Rugby Players: Not as Tough as Footballers.

For those of you who don't follow the pathetic spats which occur from time to time in the blogosphere, look away now. For years I've been baiting a fat socialist councillor from Renfrewshire called Terry Kelly. I've sort of given up, because the standard of his writing has improved as the subjects have become more parochial and dull. So there is less to get one's teeth into. But sometimes the old Terry, whose familiarity with reality is tenuous at best, slips into his old ways. As well as being prejudiced against anyone who isn't either a) on benefits or b) a member of a Trades Union, on the basis that such people are evil class enemies, and probably Tories too; he loathes anyone who plays any "elitist" sports. Shooting, Equestrianism, Kayaking (bizarrely) and of course, Rugby. Visceral class hate remains alive and well in the Labour movement.

A limp-wristed toff at play

You may argue that the sport of Rugby does attract a different class of people, better one may say, than Association Football. But it is not elitist, as anyone who has been down to their local club will attest - it will be full of stout fellows of all classes, occupations and social backgrounds - that is the charm of the game. I challenge anyone to go to South Wales, for example and say "All rugby players are Toffs" and walk away without a good kicking. Indeed it would be hard to imagine class-based abuse such as Greame Le Saux endured for simply being able to read, occuring in a rugby club. That does not mean, However that we are all silver spoon sucking public schoolboys, bumming each other in the showers after a game.

But I digress. Kelly's laughable thesis that "Rugby Players aren't as tough as Footballers" was, in his view backed up by the fact that a game recently was called off because the players couldn't hack the cold. This on a day when many football games were likewise called off - only 6 scottish cup ties were played that weekend. So it was very cold - cold enough for footballers to not take the field.

But it gets better - the game to which kelly is referring, was called off in the 79th minute, but only after 2 players collapsed with hypothermia. Whilst I feel sorry for the two Colonial cousins who perhaps were not hardend to a Scottish winter, maybe we can enjoy the stereotype that Kiwi rugby players are really not much tougher than footballers. Nevertheless, I hardly think the evidence supports his hypothesis of Namby Pamby rugger buggers and the tough honest Footballer, does it?



Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Pinch me I’m dreaming

The Tories plan to cut 10% of the House of Commons. Think about it, that’s 60 fewer Politicians telling me how to run my own life. That’s 60 fewer wages to pay for useless Members of Parliament. 60 fewer houses to pay for, 60 fewer Smallbone of Devizes fitted kitchens to pay for every two years because MPs can’t bear the horror of last season's colour when it comes to their bloody dishwasher, 1080 fewer rolls of £60 a shot wallpaper. 120 secretaries with whom an MP can discuss Uganda, that I don’t have to pay for. 7440 fewer dinners a year at a Michelin starred restaurants that won’t be coming out off my taxes, a staggering 78,000 pints of beer that I won't have to subsidise. I won't be paying for 60 sets of first class flights. The Chauffeurs, the Police officers and all the other crap that Joe Public has to pay for …gone… for good!

Any chance of when you’ve finished with that David you can have a go at the European Parliament?



Monday, 12 January 2009

Class War is Alive and Well.

Racism is once again in the news. Prince Harry revealed that he's a relatively normal bloke, with the handicap that an ill advised, but light hearted private video could come and dominate headlines for 3 days years after it was made. How terrifying it must be to be on your guard - to not be able to talk as those around you talk, whether or not you agree with the mess culture. That said, it's not rocket science to avoid using words like 'Paki' or 'Rag-Head'.

However stupid he was, and Harry is in good company of less than guarded Royals, there was clearly no malice in those remarks, but this is not the message coming from the professional offence-takers of the race relations industry. You can be sure groupthinkers are going to use this to argue that 'racism' in their absurdly broad definition of the word, exists from the top to the bottom of British society, which is a laughable proposition.

Which brings me onto HATE.

If you want to see HATE in the political mainstream, you need to go to the political left. My last post pointed to an essay, not a very good one, which lauded the Labour party for delivering everything from air to food and water, all opposed by the Tories. What is revealing was the comments:

Subsidised with what? Tax payers money!...its not Government money - they took it off Trev to start with. I pay a lot more tax than the state subsidises me...in fact I am subsidising a load of other people....
To which Mr Gray asked
I hope you feel very proud of yourself for paying more out in tax than you think you receive. Well done, long will it continue! You probably need to pay some more (and will do if the Government gets its way) it will make you feel even better!

BTW - Do you work for your living or did you inherit your dosh?
In the mythology, all Tories, or indeed anyone who thinks they pay a bit too much tax are "Toffs",who probably inherited their wealth, which is evil. Such lazy stereotyping is just part of the left's continued rhetorical war against their political enemies, when they are using hate speech every bit as odious as that used by the BNP against ethnic minorities. Whether it is excoriating "greedy bankers" or damning "fat cats", the rhetoric may not be "go home" but it is "tax them till they're like you". It is divisive, unpleasant scapegoating.

During the Crewe and Nantwich by election, The Labour party thought that 'the people' still hated their former masters. They pranced around with top-hats on, thinking that by appealing to prejudice against the Tory Toff they would secure the election of someone who is just as privileged, but who happened to be standing for the Labour party. When this is electioneering, then it's all good sport, but when such hate influences the great offices of state, then there is a problem.

Fear of getting a Tory toff led Labour back benchers to break with a parliamentary convention that the Election of the Speaker should not be a party political issue, and the tribal Labour man, Michael Martin was duly dragged to the Chair. He has hardly set the Commons alight, though I don't see any bias in debates. In the management of the Commons, though his true colours shone through. So prejudiced was he that despite centuries of tradition which saw the Serjeant at arms as a senior military officer, he couldn't work with Major General Peter Grant Peterkin. The rumour is that the difference in social class led to the problematic working relationship, and that it was a chippy Speaker who was more to blame than the decorated General. So he downgraded the office of Serjeant at Arms, removing many of the security functions, Fired Grant Peterkin and appointed a woman, Jill Pay - a Civil Servant rather than a Police or Military officer - as a more pliant servant of the house. She allowed the police to invade the commons without a warrant. The new speaker failed in her primary constitutional function at the first test. This is just one recent example of how the prejudice and hate for people because of their background which permeates how the Labour party does business damages the country.

The new Mayor of London hasn't set libertarian hearts on fire, but he is certainly not an incompetent - despite the extremely personal attacks on him by the political left. Liberal Conspiracy's Boris Gaffipedia hasn't been updated since June... Nor is he corrupt, despite the desperation of Labour to pin anything on him. The politician to whom the police force are partly accountable saying "are you sure this is a good idea" when the police were set to invade the Parliament on the flimsiest of pretexts, hardly represents political interference. Political interference could be better argued when it is an opposition politician being arrested for a crime to which the Labour Prime Minister has publicly admitted. Indeed Boris Johnson acted entirely properly, advising against the heavy handed arrest of an MP doing his job, but otherwise took no action to prevent the police acting as the paramilitary wing of New Labour.

It is Labour who have politicised the police, neutered parliament, ended the tradition of civil service impartiality and poisoned the well of debate with feeble ad hominem based on the school one went to. Anyone can be accused by one's political opponents of "Bringing the office into disrepute". If that's the best you've got on Boris, then his job is secure.

This post is in response to the comment by John Gray that "I would enjoy the post on Boris". I didn't. It was pathetic. All the post did is confirm where I put your link on my blog roll. It is to be under "Blogs by idiots".



Britblog Roundup #204

Is up over at Suzblog. Next week we initiate new host, Trixy. Nominations to the usual address britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.



Friday, 9 January 2009

A Day in the Life of John Gray, Trades Union official.

Openly plagiarised from an equally vile American essay entitled "A Day in the life of Joe, Middle-Class Republican," here is the British version: "A day in the life of Trevor, Working class Tory". The real reason John Gray, Trades Union official, penned this patronising drivel is because the author of the original was also called John Gray. Two smug, left-wing socialists with the same name 3,000 miles apart, united in their belief that "the state" is the answer to every problem. Right on, Brothers!

Its form is predictable. Everything Trevor, "Trev" to his mates, uses is provided ultimately by the state, which in leftie-world is synonymous with the Labour party. Thanks to the Labour party, the state provides, for free (40% of everything earned goes in tax...), everything from the air he breathes, via "safe" eggs and bacon thanks to Government inspection, through to Pharmaceuticals "safe" because of "Big Government Liberals" (yes, in British version!) demanding the state oversee their production. He ignores the fact that the Clean Air act was a Tory policy and thinks that all environmental protection and trading standards are left-wing, labour policy, all opposed by the evil Tories.

In short it is a tissue of misrepresentation, distortion, and exaggeration. Apparently trades unionists fought and died (do you mean WWII?) for "enforceable working standards" like "35 hour working week, overtime and a decent pension". Funny. I don't remember that from Churchill's "Blood, Tears, Toil and Sweat" speech. We were generally considered to be fighting for freedom, not the EU working time directive. In any case: Pensions? Gordon Brown's assault on British pensions has apparently passed by John Gray, Trades Union Activist.

He neglects to mention too, the 90% marginal tax rates thanks to Gordon Brown's tax credit policy (Trevor is single, male and on the minimum wage, full time) or the fact that the Government is going to have to tax him more for the rest of his life to pay for Brown's pathetic 2.5% VAT scam and profligate spending when neither the Government nor the people of whom the money is ultimately to be extorted can afford it.

Despite the dishonesty, lack of originality, errors of omission and general smugness of this pathetic tirade, the normally excellent Chris Dillow saw fit to give it a "top blogging" link, which is normally a mark of good writing, whether or not I agree with the sentiments. In this case, Chris, you've let your side down. If that's the best the left can do, there's hope for the country yet.



Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Willem Buiter and the Imminent collapse of the American Currency

Willem Buiter, a founder member of the MPC, and professor of political economics at the LSE, has reportedly warned that the US faces the prospect of a massive sell-off of dollar assets, leading to a sharp fall in the dollar. Well, yes it does face a sell off of Treasuries, Willem but whether this is going to lead to a collapse in the dollar remains moot. This is a great example of the media not questioning the underlying assumptions behind a view, reporting "a story" without offering any analysis - the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority. Basically what Buiter's saying, is that the US is fiscally overstretched. Despite this, the real return on US treasuries is effectively zero. So in asking "will the yield rise" and getting the answer "yes, in a couple of years, maybe sooner, maybe later" his post doesn't exactly represent a staggering insight.

He's also questioning whether there is such a thing as "American alpha" - superior risk adjusted returns from American assets. There is, because the USA is the originator of the world's reserve currency - they can print money to stimulate their economy and a fall in the dollar just is not as inflationary for them as it would be for us, mainly because Oil is priced in $. Being the world's largest, most diverse economy, rich in science, capital, resources and people the US is actually less risky, and that highly specialised economies such as Iceland the UK face greater problems when the crunch comes. So when people get scared, they rush for safety - the US treasury note. This is why the Dollar has been resilient, and T-Bills' real yield is zero.

So if the central thesis - that the US is broke - can be equally applied to other economies (and it can), the US will still look relatively attractive to risk-averse investors, whatever Buiter says. After all, where else will they go? and if an appetite for risk returns, with the largest economy in the world, the US can satisfy that too.

So whilst I agree that the US T-Bill will sell off in the next couple of years, I don't agree that

"The past eight years of imperial overstretch, hubris and domestic and international abuse of power on the part of the Bush administration has left the US materially weakened financially, economically, politically and morally"
Much of the moral nonsense has been undone in the eyes of the world-wide commentariat by the election of Obama, and the American economy is no weaker than, say Germany, France, Italy or Japan. Money does not follow the concience of a passed over left-leaning academic - it follows the best risk adjusted returns. Nor, therefore does it follow that
There is no chance that a nation as reputationally scarred and maimed as the US is today could extract any true “alpha” from foreign investors for the next 25 years or so. So the US will have to start to pay a normal market price for the net resources it borrows from abroad.
The real reason he thinks investors will abandon the US, is because he thinks they should. His whole post represents leftist wishful thinking dressed up with graphs and that, delivered by someone who by his own admission is a bit of a leftist, and was given credibility as a "founder member" of the MPC by none other than the financial genius himself, Gordon Brown.

Whether you think the USA has lost its dominance of the world comes down to politics: Lefties think (hope?) it has, Righties (who control the money-flow) don't. It's as much a left-right divining rod as Israel/Palestine.

America is a lucky country. Despite this, she needs to pay off her debts and this is going to be hard - which is what Buiter's post is saying. But so do we, the Germans (who will also be required to bail out the Italians and Spanish, aren't you glad we didn't join the Euro?), the Japanese and everyone else. In what way is the US Government's commitment to medicare different to the UK government's exposure to public-sector pensions. Governments are going to have to spend less and tax more across the whole world, for decades to come for the simple reason they've spent too much on tick. That too doesn't represent a staggering insight.

No. America is not in an exceptionally weak position. Indeed, in many ways, the US economy remains the best placed to weather the storm, simply because everyone else is as bad or worse. That is the real story of financial risk in a crisis, and it leads me to a point made recently by Ambrose Evans Pritchard in the Telegraph:
If in doubt, cleave to those countries with a deeply-rooted democracy, a strong sense of national solidarity, a tested rule of law – and aircraft carriers.
He reckons the USA, the UK don't look too bad, and I agree.



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