Saturday, 29 August 2009

Another problem solved

Have any of you ever thought "I would love to play golf AND have a couple of beers in the 19th, but I have to drive, so I'll drink coke instead"?

If so, it is possible to get Golf clubs on the back of a Brompton so you can get squiffy in the bar. I like to think we offer a public service here at 'A Very British Dude'

In other news, Network Rail staff are a bunch of illiterate'sIlliterates.

Friday, 28 August 2009

The Voices in my head

Yet another whack job has decided that he heard the voice of God inside his head, and ordered him to kidnap a girl for the purposes of sexual abuse. I have devised a cut-out and keep questionnaire that you should follow should you believe that God is speaking to you personally.

1 - Where is your home located…
A) In a trailer park by an airport.
B) In a small swamp area with a population severely affected by Rickets Disease.
C) Near some disused oil wells, although we tend to sleep underneath the house.
D) The Vatican.

2 - How would you describe your headgear?
A) An Oil stained John Deere hat
B) Plastic with space for beer on the sides
C) A balaclava
D) A Sort of rhomboid white hat about 1ft tall with a big cross on the front.

3 - How would you describe your job?
A) Household Sanitation.
B) On the gutting line of a slaughterhouse.
C) Removing dubious stains from the $1 a minute peep show booth.
D) The man who gets to press the button in the Nuclear football.

4 - Where were you when you first heard the voice of God?
A) A Meth lab.
B) Masturbating over pictures of feet.
C) Amongst the slum dwellers of Detroit.
D) Amongst the slum dwellers of Calcutta.

5 – What are your views about women
A) They are evil and must be punished.
B) They are naughty and must be tied up and punished lightly with a whip.
C) So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. "This is what you are to do," they said. "Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin." Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.
D) They make very good Nuns and Nurses

6 – What is your mean income
A) $0-10,000
B) $10-$20,000 plus 50% of what you find in the Foreign Objects filter of the sewage plant you work for.
C) Whatever my mother gives me.
D) $ 60,000 + and OTE commission

Mostly A – God is not speaking to you, you are not important enough. Time to get the meds upped again
Mostly B - God is not speaking to you, you are not important enough. Time to get the meds upped again
Mostly C - God is not speaking to you, you are not important enough. Time to get the meds upped again.
Mostly D There’s an outside shot God MIGHT be speaking to you, unless he’s telling you to press the button in question 3 in which case God isn’t speaking to you.


Gordon Brown has been invisible for the past 6 weeks or so, during which time the FTSE 100 has returned a creditable 12%.

Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Unintentionally funny post of the Month

This post is one of the funniest I have ever read. According to Dave Osler, soon...

...we will find out whether or not Trotskyism is deemed legally equivalent to religion, after the decision of Socialist Party members Brian Debus, Onay Kasab, Glenn Kelly and Suzanne Muna to take one of Britain’s largest trade unions to an employment tribunal under these very regs.

All four have been banned from holding office in Unison for between three and five years. Mabledon Place says that is because they are racists; the four activists say they are being singled out because they are Trots.

It is almost always a bad thing to hand jurisdiction of internal labour movement democracy over to the legal system...
Almost always?

Leftism a religion? So not a thought-through political theory, but the gibberings of a delusional schizophrenic, taken on faith by its adherents? It's amazing what they admit when they're talking amongst themselves.

Old Enoch: Making Lefties Cum since 1968

Dan Hannan noted that he admired Enoch Powell, in a list which included Hayek, Rand and Friedman. The comments are at the beginning of this interview with a bunch of Republican pot-heads from California

I have no doubt there's a bit of mischievousness there. He must know that, even if he talks of Powell's economic liberalism and conservatism, and his commitment to national democracy, the left will jump on any mention of Enoch Powell as if the only achievement of his political life was the 'Rivers of Blood speech'. Sunny Hundal over at Leftist Conspiracy:

The importance of national democracy and living in an independent country? More like Enoch Powell was someone who wanted a racial war in the UK merely because a few immigrants had come over to settle here
Powell was an intellectual politician, whose economic thought, along with that of Keith Joseph underpinned Thatcherism. But for the left, any mention of his name is Haraam.

The left is not a system of thought. It is a religion. These people cannot be argued with because they do not recognise argument. For them, if one person has a 'bad' opinion (and I've dealt with 'Enoch was right' before), then all their other works are tainted. It means anyone referencing Powell must automatically subscribe to their views on Race. But everyone else referenced in that list is in favour of free immigration: the Hayekian position, with which this blog, and for that matter, Dan Hannan agrees, is that you can have free immigration only if you don't have a welfare state subsidising it.

It is obvious to me that if someone finds sense in the works of Marx, and there were interesting observations in his work about the nature of oppression in capitalist systems, it does not follow that that person desires the Stalinist purges and a Gulag Archiapeligo opening up in the outer Hebrides. But for leftists, Conservatives are merely on the way to being Hitler. Voting Conservative means you secretly want to gas the Jews, and send the Blacks 'home' and will look for evidence, however tenuous to support that pre-held opinion.

Witness the NHS debate. The Labour party sought to defend the staus quo with scare stories about the US healthcare system, whilst arguing that Hannan's cogent arguments in favour of NHS reform, which have been ignored until Barry O threatened America with an NHS, were presented as "the real face of the Conservatives". To the Left, it is axiomatic that Tories eat Babies, and want to remove healthcare from the poor. The idea that the NHS might not be the best possible solution is Haraam, as is the idea that there are other ways which maintain the "free" service, but lack the gargantuan national bureaucracy.

This isn't debate. Not about immigration, welfare reform or the future shape of the NHS. This is name-calling. This is Cum Hoc Ergo Propter hoc. This is Ad-Hominem. This is the Straw Man. This is fear-mongering. Because on all subjects, at all times, the collectivist left is wrong, and will be demolished if they debate intellectually, and their 'arguments' fall flat under the weight of evidence. Only the faith that the state can and should provide, and save us from the devil Conservatives sustains them. Over to Sunny again:
I suppose praising the BNP, as long as it’s not immigration related, is ok too? After all Nick Griffin must be a lovely chap as long as you ignore his mad, racist conspiracy theories. Why not invite him around for tea Mr Hannan?
This shit fisks itself. I'll tell you what Sunny, why don't you invite that nice Mr Stalin round for tea. We'll ignore the 20 million corpses and just pretend that he's trying his best, eh?

The reason the Conservatives are 16 points up in the polls is that the journalistic "Mr Cameron, someone Junior in your party has said something you disagree with and which isn't party policy. Are you going to excommunicate execute anathematise withdraw the whip from him?" no longer works. People want to see debate, and Hannan is sparking it. People want to see politicians coming up with ideas after 15 years of deliberate attempts by Labour and their shills in the BBC to close it down. Not all ideas will become policy, but please let's stop pretending that all Powell's (or indeed Marx's) ideas are evil simply because of who said them. Let's not try to put leftist shibboleths like immigration and the NHS off limits for debate.

Let's start thinking about how Cameron, the next prime minister is going to clean up the financial, bureaucratic and constitutional mess left by your fucking useless lot. Because he's going to need all the ideas he can get.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Pity the poor drug-dealers...

Raedwald is a bit of a puritan when it comes to drugs. In response to Guido's call to legalise everything on the basis that in most towns past 1am, drugs are easier to get than booze - the billions we spend interdicting supply are spent in vain and it would be better to regulate, tax and control the drugs market, he asks "what happens to the drug-dealers?

Legalising drugs won't eliminate criminals
. As arguments go, 'prohibit a substance in order to provide something profitable for criminal classes to do' has to be the most wrong-headed and fatuous example of an attempt to justify ones prejudices that I've seen from this normally excellent, or indeed any other, blogger.

The drug-dealing scum would just turn to alternative criminal activity. At best this might be burglary, mugging and robbery. Or the profits to be made from dealing illegal handguns (and would those who advocate legalising drugs also advocate legalising handguns on the same basis?). At worst, our welfare ghettoes may grow to resemble Brazilian favelas, where a 'hit' can be bought for $50 and human life becomes cheaper than beef
The problem is, Altria, sometime most profitable company in the world, and the likes of Diageo and many, many others will tell you that recreational drugs are a very profitable industry. The murders and violence associated with the illegal end of it are a result of turf wars over that highly profitable trade, which in a legitimate business result in advertising hoardings, not corpses. Al Capone demonstrated that prohibition merely changes the destination of the profits: to whom would you rather profits from drugs went: Shareholders and pension funds (via legitimate companies), or gangsters? Without these profits, many of the Drug dealing scum would indeed do something else, and it may not even be criminal.

Booze and fags are highly taxed and regulated. From whom and to whom one sells and how the product in marketed are all subject to controls "for the children". The products themselves are subject to quality control and are reasonably safe. The Government generates tax to pay for associated health costs (and then some, so the NHS argument is bunk too)

Many of the health and social effects are caused by the muck the drugs are cut with, and the fact that users (lets get away from the idea that all drug takers are 'addicts') do not know the strength of the junk they're taking in advance. There's no quality control. Nor is there any meaningful attempt to prevent selling to minors: Heroin and crack in particular are subject to a highly effective pyramid marketing scheme by which the only way to fund a habit is to become a dealer, thereby causing users to recruit other users.

The "drug-dealing scum" might have remained functioning members of society if their tipple was legal, and wouldn't have to deal to fund their habit. If their junk was of high quality, injected with sterile needles, then they would be at less risk of the infections which make junkies so ill.

Every argument in favour of retaining drug prohibition can be shot down by anyone prepared to apply logic. The war on Drugs is insanely futile and counter productive. Anyone, who thinks the 'war on Drugs' is winnable, or even worth fighting, is an idiot.

In Memorium

So Long Teddy, Time to go.
146,000 days later than Mary Jo
The Provo Bomb planters will raise a cheer
For the man who did little except drink too much beer.

The endless expansion of the government state
Will be the legacy of a man who ruled to mate.
A patronising speaker twenty four seven
Unlikely you're with your Nazi daddy in heaven.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Just a Recession, or the Change the world needs?

Now I don't normally blow my own trumpet (erm.... is that strictly true?) but in January this year I wrote "It's just a recession, not the end of the world". I was a tad premature, the Market's bottom was a few weeks later - it touched 3,500 on the 9th March, Since when, the FTSE100 has climbed a magnificent 1,400 points to its intra-day high yesterday. This rally of 40% is the biggest gain of the last 50 years, and clearly signifies that either

  1. The Markets have lost their minds now
  2. The Markets lost their minds in Q4 08 and Q1 09.
Bears will be arguing (1) whatever the market does. They cannot be persuaded. I, however was arguing (2) during the crash, and argued that the markets had lost their minds in October last year. We'd seen it all before.
There's the "Derivatives exposure is going to kill us all" argument which definitely got an airing when LTCM went tits up. There's apocalyptic arguments about how houses are too expensive which I certainly remember from the early '90's. There's the high level of personal indebtedness which I definitely remember from the recessions of the 1980's. There's Sky-high government borrowing, which again featured strongly in every recession since the 1970's. There's the elliott wave theory bollocks, which tells us we're in a bear-market even when the market's been going steadily up for four years, and is based on the startling observation that if the market's been going down a lot, it should go up a bit some time, and vice versa.
The comments I made in that post about regulation are coming to pass, though there is a bit of back-pedalling on a lot of the more ludicrous ideas coming from the left like taking the entire banking system into public ownership, and banning fractional reserve banking.
Sure, what's left of the investment banking industry, which has done such a good job of spreading risk and capital around since the 1980's thereby generating the fastest growth since the industrial revolution, is probably going to get regulated to death. This will mean pulling out of this recession is going to be a lot less fun, as the people making funding decisions will be at the bri-nylon end of financial services. It also means people spotting opportunities in the rubble are going to have to fight through a more risk-averse class of bureaucrat should they wish to finance it. For what 'safe' lending actually involves is restricting lending only to those who don't need it because they already have it, and limiting risks to ones they understand - thereby stifling innovation. This is not meritocratic, and expect fewer small businessmen to own their own companies in the coming decade. The result: If you're working class, the Labour party will see to it that you stay that way.
But this isn't just a normal rally out of a recession. This is something else. The private sector has cut costs, and de-leveraged to deal with the new environment. With the companies now outperforming analysts forecasts at a ratio of 60:40, the evidence is the that the private sector has weathered the storm with some aplomb. The Banks have been recapitalised, and those which aren't supported by the Government are now profitable again and therefore will be able to extend lending soon.

This crisis was originally sold as an existential crisis of capitalism. It wasn't. Business has proved itself flexible and responsive to the environment. Once more Governments have been implicit in causing the crisis through inappropriate and politically motivated bubble blowing (keeping interest rates too low) and stupid regulation (the FSA, community reinvestment act etc...). Hedge funds, for example did not cause the crisis, and only regulation prevented some of them from profiting from it more. Indeed, the tighter the regulations on the market, the less liquid it became. Corporate debt and equity markets crashed and liquidity dried up, but CDOs remained liquid even after MBS markets had totally ceased to function. Instead it is the state, whose balance sheets have been most affected because they were already spending far too much when called on the implicit guarantees they gave when regulators encouraged banks to merge and get too big to fail. The problem now is massive, ludicrous, insane Government debt. Which I've been talking about since my 22nd post way back in 2005.
The Public finances are at the worst they've been for a long time at this stage of a financial cycle, due to a huge increase in the public sector salariat and the Government's desire to spigott ever increasing floods of cash at totally unreformed public services. No amount of tinkering with start dates will change the fact that Gordon has broken his golden rule and taxes will have to rise soon. Heaven forbid that a Labour Government will ever cut spending.
So... the public finances are a mess, the public services are broken, we've just come out of an oil shock, there's a 9 at the end of the year and a Conservative Government is about to be elected. Does that remind you of anything?

The boom of the 1980s was driven by the Governments not just here, but around the world retreating from things they shouldn't be doing. With western Governments broke, they will have to do the same - get out of huge areas of business - which will provide opportunities for people in areas previously 'crowded out' by the state. Hopefully the civil service will be cut, as the 'credit crunch' fades into memory, financial regulation will eventually become sane once again, local government re-invigorated by regaining powers from the central state leading to faster growth. As a result of tax-revenues rebounding faster than expected tax cuts can appear earlier. All those parasites redeployed into productive work mean the economy will grow faster in a virtuous circle of tax-cuts, deregulation and economic growth, in a new re-run of Ronald Regan's Successful Laffer curve experiment.

So... if I'm right, we're knocking at the door of a party which will go on for a decade or more. It's time for the girls to dust of the shoulder pads, leg warmers and back-comb their hair. Chaps, dig out the Kraftwerk records and reach for the red braces. Cocaine and electropop are going to be huge. Mobile phones are even getting bigger again.... Over to you, Mr Gecko.
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the [UK]
Did I mention I was a stockbroker? I can't fucking wait!

Monday, 24 August 2009

The mouse that Roared

The release of Abdel Baset Al- Megrani has caused the most gargantuan shit storm on both sides of the pond. And as far as I’m concerned nobody comes out of this with their head held high. Now I’m not here to argue whether the Lockerbie bomber is innocent or guilty. I have seen many people claim that he is “blatantly innocent”; but have yet to see any real evidence that he’s not guilty of at least being involved in delivering a suitcase with a bomb into the hold of the Pan Am airliner (which having been proved guilty you have to cast doubt on the evidence – which the defenders of Megrahi have not got even close to producing despite conspiracy talk about secret withheld CIA files). Now whether this guy was the criminal mastermind of the Pan-Am or not is a lot more open to debate. Whether the Libyans did this alone, or whether the Libyans were proxies for Iran or Syria (Iran just had the US shoot one of their airliners out of the sky 6 months before, so they were itching to get even) is also open to debate. But the mere fact that he might be innocent of setting the detonators is yet to be proved, that he was involved is most certainly not, and his arse should have been kept behind bars until his lawyers got him off on a technicality.

So who is responsible for the screw up that got him released but not found innocent, and damaged British relations with the US for some considerable time? Damage them so much so that there are talks of boycotts amongst the US public of British – Yes Not Scottish - goods and services. Because despite Mel Gibson and your cool books about Heroin, Scotland isn’t seen by the rest of the world as anything other than a county in part of England. Who screwed up so much that the US may no longer share intelligence with the United Kingdom – including your wee little bit of the British isles Scotland? Well that honour surely must go to the Celtic Gobshite in chief – Alex Salmond M.P., M.S.P. The Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill claims that he made the decision alone, but why don’t I believe him? Maybe its because we can see the way that the SNP party is run, it makes Gordon Brown look positively generous in delegation in comparison. Alex Salmond makes the decision, the rest of the SNP nod their head in agreement. Secondly, Have you heard Mr MacAskill? The man hasn’t had an original thought since a doctor smacked his arse and he decided it would be a good idea to breathe.

So Megrani has got terminal cancer – so what, cry me a river, his victims have cases of Terminal Impact with the ground from 30,000 ft – all 270 of them. And make no mistake, despite what the woolly liberals bleat on about Britain (read the Jocks) being a compassionate society and how “proud” they are, the only person this decision is being compassionate on is the Executive Chairman of BP. Because I guarantee his shareholders will be more than Compassionate with him at the next bloody shareholders AGM when he announces a joint agreement with the Lybian Government. I suppose on the bright side we don’t have to stump up for his Cancer treatment any more, on the down side I’m sure most Americans would be happy to know that somebody who blew up their citizens was getting their care courtesy of the NHS. They’d probably double their Black Label drinking in honour of the NHS until he was dead.

Despite the fact that the British Government doesn’t make Scottish law doesn’t make them innocent. At the very least I see Gordon Brown’s sticky incompetent little fingers all over this. And the fact that the one eyed idiot is still not speaking says it all – dumb insolence – with the emphasis on dumb. Peter Mandelson denies Gordon Brown was involved in this decision “It’s not only completely wrong to make such a suggestion, its also quite offensive”. Well I believe the twice disgraced minister, don’t you? Prince Andrew merely went to Lybia for some booze and chick filled holiday fun in the Med. The fact that there’s no booze allowed and the women are all cutting around as SPBM* is of no consequence. Furthermore, how are we top persuade the Americans to change the blatantly unfair extradition treaty that Tony Blair signed, when our justice system – or at least the Scottish part of it - is a complete joke?

And the other minor little point is that our Scottish Raj gave that Tartan Turd Salmond is own little ant hill to piss from in the first place. It’s bad enough that we have to ship the cash up there in boxcars in the first place to prop up Zanu Labour rotten boroughs, without giving them a platform to destroy the rest of the UK’s relations with their allies as well. I’ve no doubt Salmond is having a little giggle that most Yanks have included us Sassenachs along with the Bonny Bonny Shores of Loch Lomond in with their boycott. Zanu Labour played with the constitution like a Sevres vase in the hands of a Chimpanzee, and now we have to reap their incompetence created whirlwind.

But the US hypocrisy on this issue is also staggering. Firstly President Obama has been glad handing every piss pot dictator from the Potomac to Pago Pago since Jan 20th. And just to make sure he’s seen as the Anti-Bush, he’s also pissed off every Ally he can that have served and died beside American troops in the oh so unfashionable War on Terror - you know, the one that the Democrats sneer about. And all of a sudden he’s surprised that the British Follow suit. Well Barrack, when you’re knocking head with the King of Saudi Arabia, President of Syria and assorted Islamic dictators to secure some nice cheap oil and decent press coverage then the British Monkey Sees, British Monkey Does.

The other rather obvious point is that the release of 1980’s terrorists into the arms of their supporters seems rather familiar, where have I seen that before? Oh yes, I fucking know. Practically every IRA terrorist that made it to the United States. Except you didn’t even deport their arses, you bought them beers in the pub. The US also used their arm twisting to force the UK government to release hundreds of them during their Peace Process in Northern Ireland. I suppose because they have floats with people dressed up as leprechauns and sponsored by Macy’s and don't wear Keffiyehs then the British should release them? And how Sir Teddy of Chappaquiddick has the chutzpah to ask the UK government not to release terrorists is beyond me, maybe that brain surgery removed any remaining vestiges of his shame gland.

* Self Propelled Black Marquee

Britblog Roundup # 236, and A Tory. Is He?

The "What's a Tory?" edition is up over at Slugger O'Toole. On that subject, A Tory has written a letter to William Hague bemoaning the Tory decision to "bring back foxhunting by the back door".

There's nothing "by the back door" about it. In fact Cameron's first firm policy was to offer a free vote on the repeal of the hunting ban. This Labour policy is a failure, and was introduced as a piece of vindictive class war, with the welfare of the countryside, and of the fox population coming a distant second to political considerations: it was red meat thrown to the baying mob of Labour back-benchers and party activists in order to help down the bitter pill of the invasion of Iraq.

You could argue that the repeal of the hunting ban is red meat thrown to high-Tory backwoodsmen to buy their acquiescence to the policies of the Cameroons, but that would be to massively overstate the divisions within the Conservatives. Such poorly drafted, unenforceable legislation has no place on the statute books, and in questioning the rationale for its repeal, the Anonymous scribe of his eponymous letters raises the question: is he in fact A Tory? Or merely a Conservative?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Trotts

Immagine a likely scenario (England are 140-2 as I write this).

It's the fifth test of a five and the series stands at one all. Collingwood goes for 12, and England are OK. You've been taken into the side to rescue the batting line up, it's your debut but anything less than 40 will probably lose England the Ashes.

No pressure Jonathan. Mind you Legendary* Geoffrey Boycott thinks you've got the stuff. And there's historical precident. Every time we've needed a batsman to add a bit of spine to the middle order, we've whistled for the nearest South African.

*It must be true. It's in the Times of India.

Just when you thought it was safe...

...To support the Conservative Party, they announce an alcohol crackdown.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.
I guess all we can hope is that the Tories are less enthusiastic bansturbators, and this is kite-flying to appease the bitter harridans with mouths like dogs arseholes who read the Daily Hate. Puritanism: the nagging fear that someone somewhere might be having fun cannot be sated, and the Tories are foolish to try. The Scottish Tories are, after all, opposing this illiberal lunacy in Scotland.

Afghanistan: Unwinnable?

Richard North is asking the Wrong Question.

I don't often post about matters military, because for me it is very close to home. But I've been reading Richard North's "Defence of the realm" blog for a while and there is no doubt it raises important questions.

Let's leave aside for the moment the fact that North is obnoxious on a heroic scale (which is why I neither read or link to his 'EU referendum'), and thinks everyone else is not just wrong, but wrong AND in the pay of the defence industrial complex. Boor though he is, there are areas where I agree: the dearth of mine-protected vehicles in Afghanistan is a scandal, the failures of procurement which led to the shortage of choppers is nothing short of criminal, Bob Ainsworth is a useless git, the MoD is a bunch of cunts and so on.

But he is rather too keen on criticising the Army command for decisions taken in an operational context, of which no blogger can know the details. In a recent post he says

"Then, on 6 June, an EFP "daisy chain" is discovered intact and successfully defused. It is taken away for forensic analysis, from which the Army confirms with no room for doubt that Snatch Land Rovers offer no protection at all to this type of device.

So what does the Army do? On 15 July it sends another Snatch patrol out into the same general area where the device is known to be used. Three soldiers are killed and two more injured. And then the Army does it again and again and again.

We are led to believe that the Army is manned by professionals – soldiers who know what they are doing. We can criticise the politicians freely, but not our "Brave Boys" who put their lives on the line.

So which politician was it that decided to send a foot patrol out into an environment where twice previously soldiers had encountered complex, multiple IED ambushes and experienced multiple casualties?"
Of course a snatch doesn't provide protection from an EFP (of which few are in Afghanistan... here he's talking about Iraq). A Main Battle Tank is vulnerable to these devices. So suggesting that a vehicle vulnerable to 7.76mm is at risk from EFPs and presenting it as an observation, is dishonest to say the least.

Blaming operational commanders for sending boys "into the same general area" for their deaths is bordering on the slanderous. Does he know what the "Brave boys" were there to do, because reading North's blog, you feel that he thinks commanders send their soldiers to act as target practice for Terry Taleban or Jonny Jihadi. If they're being sent into danger, it is because there is a job to do, which the commanders deem worth the risk. It would be nice if there were enough of the right vehicles to do the job, but in Iraq in 2005, snatches were all that was available.

Let's ignore the EFP for a minute. They aren't found in Afghanistan in any number. It's low Explosive, mostly made with fertiliser given by aid agencies, not a million miles away from the 'culvert bomb' familiar from the Northern Ireland campaign. In Afghanistan, the Taleban have long ceased to assault western forces - to go toe-to-toe with us, as they often did with the Russians, because to assault a position manned by Western forces is nothing short of suicide. Instead, they have learned the tactics of the Ambush - bomb, follow up with booby traps in cover, and rush in and shoot up anyone who's left.

The Taleban are good at this, and in the words of one soldier in my acquaintance, you have to be "a right ninja" to get out of a well laid Taleban ambush alive. In the excerpt above, North seems to be suggesting that British forces should not be sent somewhere where bombs are to be found, or have been found. Well given the sparse road network in Afghanistan, that's impossible. Eventually you'll drive over a device or into an ambush. Confining forces to base is not an option.

The NATO forces in both theatres rely not on armour to survive blasts, though that helps, but in what Soldiers now call TTPs. Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. It is these that must evolve, and do. We must get better at spotting devices before they go off. Because there are few vehicles which can survive the many hundred lb devices being deployed. Above all we must prevent the devices being laid, and just as in Iraq, that's about intelligence, and identifying the bomb-makers and interdicting supply of the most hard-to-get part, not about riding in ever more effective armour.

He seems to suggest that no road move should be in vehicles without boat-shaped hulls, which is just not practical. Yes. Vehicle procurement could and should have been better, but that is not why we're going to lose, and repetitive "I told you so" from North isn't going to save a single life.

It's not about kit. If we're going to lose, we are going to lose because of the decisions made at the political level. The army is going to have to deal with the tactics themselves. That is what they are paid to do.

The first principle of war is "selection and maintenance of the Aim". That is where we've gone wrong. The fucking Americans with their "war on drugs", the NGOs and development wallahs are paying bribes to the Taleban and the sheer corruption of the Karzai government all get in the way of the Clauswitzian victory necessary to allow an alternative to drugs for poor farmers and allow roads 'n schools to be built. We must degrade the Taleban's ability and willingness to fight BEFORE we can do anything else.

While the Taleban can set up ambushes involving multiple devices and many hundreds of lbs of explosive at will, then anything other than defeating them is going to be counter productive.

The fact is soldiers are there to do a job, and that job entails risk. If you mount a big, fuck-off offensive (what, like the one just done?), especially one which coincides with another in Pakistan, (what, like the one they just done?) then you're going to have to move men, materiel about more often. There will be more bullets flying and more men will die.
Incidentally, it was on 10 March 2007 that Anthony Loyd, soldier turned photographer and war correspondent, argued: "for once" an Afghan war is winnable, declaring that, "the tide is turning against the Taleban".

Some tide ... some Taleban.
This is defeatism. For all his forensic knowledge of military vehichles, North's is the knowledge of a Walt. The Taleban are fighting for their lives. Their commanders are at risk in Afghanistan, and increasingly in their bases in Pakistan. They do not have the manpower to launch an all out assault like they did in 2007. Nor do they have sufficiently educated footsoldiers to lay the most sophisticated devices - the EFPs he insinuated were in Afghanistan.

This is not to deny the Taleban are causing huge problems, but I don't think anyone underestimated how dangerous they are. The fact is North is ticking each death off, and using it to confirm an already-held opinion: That the Army should listen to him, because he knows everything. This monstrous ego is blinding him to the bigger picture: Afghanistan, like Iraq is winnable, but needs political support at home for this to be achieved (I am not suggesting that to Criticise the Army is unpatriotic). Like Iraq, soldiers will not be invulnerable, and will die both on the battlefield and on the road, and to use each death as a political football is offensive. Whether or not they are in decent vehicles, or helicopters, soldiers on operations get killed. The recent deaths around Sangin may be because of panthers claw, or despite it but, the current intensity of the fighting, like in the surge in Iraq of 2007, presaged a defeat of our opponents, not unless North and the Ignorant MSM get their way, a presage of defeat. No doubt soldiers on the Ground are modifying TTPs as we speak to deal with the relatively new Taleban tactics.

Unlike Iraq, the British Government is fully committed to the surge, and the British Army is taking a full part alongside our NATO allies.

In savaging the dead-tree press for fixating on the round-number of 200 deaths, he appears to be unaware that he's doing exactly the same. Coalition deaths, though terrible are inevitable if we're to achieve objective one. Was June 6th 1944 the greatest disaster of WWII? No. But it was the costliest in American, British and Canadian, lives. This is a price these nations deemed worth the result - the opening of a second front and the speedy demise of Hitler.

To talk about operations like Afghanistan, like Iraq and the Former Yugoslavia before it, as having a point when you can say "we won" is rubbish, and demonstrates you don't understand modern, low intensity war. These wars do not have victories, they have cost-benefit analyses. When the nation you're building is sufficiently unshit for it to be left to the natives to finish off, you leave. As I said about Iraq, In Afghanistan, we're playing for the point. There is no victory, and the absence of defeat is a simple matter of political will.

Richard North and others in calling the War "unwinnable" are way off the mark.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

International Air Transport Regulations

I had some drinks recently with a soldier recently returned from the 'Stan. During his 6-month tour, he had to take a flight across Afghanistan whilst carrying some items to an HQ for further investigation. Because he was a soldier serving on operations, he had the following equipment:

Guess which item(s), in order to comply with international regulations, he was made to check into the hold, and which they were happy to let him keep as Hand Luggage.

Yup. The only item which needed to be checked into the hold was the Penknife.

To be fair to them, the people who were tasked with enforcing this rule were well aware of the ludicrousness of the situation.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Britblog Roundup # 235

Britblog Roundup number 235 is up over at Charles Crawford's place.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Envy of the World

Why can't lefties take criticism of the NHS?

Read this bollocks about Dan Hannan from Jamie Sport at Liberal Conspiracy. You can almost smell the pre-cum as he frots himself to the thought of an NHS "large and noble enough to bring good health to an entire population ". I thought we were the fattest, illest population in western Europe, but there you go. And even if he was talking about healthcare, the NHS doesn't exactly cover itself in glory there either. Don't get cancer in the UK.

Why do they stick to the ludicrous line that the NHS is "an entity admired the world over, and one that many now could not imagine living without"?

It isn't admired the world over, because no other country has created something similar. Many cannot imagine living without it simply because they lack imagination.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good lefty NHS wank.

All critics of the NHS are saying is the NHS is not the best way to run health care. It is not a binary system with NHS a shining city on the hill and the USA where road traffic accident victims have their credit cards swiped by Ambulance crews on the other. 25 million Americans do not have "no access to healthcare". They have no health insurance which is not the same thing. No-one defends the American system for its treatment of chronic disease for the poor. But to pretend that uninsured people don't get any emergency health care is absurd. As Dizzy points out, the left calls critics of the NHS "ignorant" and then demonstrates ignorance (if I'm charitable) or lies (if I'm not) about the USA in order to create scare stories of their own.

What is needed in the UK is an end to the state monolith, which needs to stop trying to do everything, because it ends up doing everything badly. People support the NHS because people think the NHS = Healthcare, and people like healthcare.

In answer to the question posed at the start of the article. Lefties cannot take criticism of the NHS because They've identified one part of the post war socialist settlement that the public actually like, and subsequently used it to define themselves. A real public debate would mean Healthcare would no longer equal NHS in the public mind, and destroy their one great political success and their entire self image into the process. If the public actually thought about healthcare, there might be an environment where advocating reform would not be political suicide.

So critics of the NHS. The hate, bile and lies you will endure mean the criticisms are hitting the mark. The enemy is to your left. Carry on, Gentlemen.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Porn For Women (again)

Many of the links in this article are emphatically Not Safe For Work.

One of the most popular posts I've written in the past four years is entitled 'porn for women'. It does not deliver what the title suggests and is in fact my review of the god-awful chick-flick 'love actually'. However it's popularity in the search-engine hits suggests that women are interested in visual erotica though, without the all pervading single-mindedness of the fellas. And now, here is an opportunity to give my (male) take on what women want from their grot. Now you may say "what could a man possibly know about what turns women on?". Well, I'm 32 and single, with only a handful of relationships passing the 6-month mark, I've a lot of data points to compare. Most women only know what gets a small number of their close friends off. Men who have had a large number* of Girlfriends are quite likely to know what gets a broad range of women frothing.

Over at CiF, there is an article about the problems faced by a magazine, Filament which aims to show men presented for 'the female gaze'. In the first issue, men were not presented naked. Now, women vary much, much more than men in what flicks their sexual switch. I've been out with many women, and for every one who was turned on by naked men, there was another (straight) girl who was visually stimulated by female breasts. One thing they all had in common, as Filament found out was that not one single girl I've ever dated has been stimulated simply by pictures of naked men, which is where Playgirl fell down (though it is still available online).

The reason (or one of them) is the cock. It does not have the roundness and pleasing shape of the Breast which so excites men (and some women), and unlike the breast, is not in itself attractive. Female arousal can be faked - a good porn model will look lascivious, and appear aroused. What the cock does do is signal, unambiguously whether the man is sexually aroused or not. The ability to achieve tumescence is a very good unfakeable signal of good physical and mental health, which is the same biological reason men like firm, round, perky breasts - until the invention of silicone, it was an unfakable signal for health, nutrition and youth.

Porn is about fantasy - it provides a face to the masturbatory thought. Not one girl I've ever met was interested in a floppy cock. That only interests men who like measuring and comparing (discreetly) in the shower-room. Women, on the other hand like cocks to be hard, because they like to fantasise that the gorgeous man in the photo shoot is excited by them. So the girls asked the magazine to show erections. But this caused problems due to the vagueness of the Obscene publications act, and the consequent unwillingness of printers and distributors to handle the magazine.

Women don't like looking at men, because there are no magazines for women, that must be the case. QED? But the problems Filament faced indicate that perhaps the feminists have a point. If women cannot actually get what they want from porn for legal reasons, then there are legal, social and moral issues which need addressing. There is a sexist hypocrisy surrounding what 'society' expects women to be, and that is passive partners in sex, which they don't always need 0r want to be.

The Heresiarch criticises Filament for its "its overwhelming, almost oppressive, air of moral seriousness". But surely this is inevitable for a ground-breaking publication. Playboy, for example has upped the nipple-count, and shrunk the number of interviews with politicians in order to compete with more explicit competitors, since its first publication and indeed from the 25th anniversary issue I nicked from my Dad when I was but a boy (containing the centerfold the magnificently named Candy Loving).

You cannot criticise Filament for not doing its research: In particular their desire for men who are not muscle-bound contrasts directly with playgirl, whose readership is 30% (according to them) gay. Instead, filament argues, it is the face which attracts women, though I am not sure that all women like "softer, more feminine faces", if that is what their communityy say, then who am I to argue? Much of this, however tallies with my experience - a muscle-bound body is only a turn-on to girls if it's a surprise (your new, charming man takes his business shirt of to reveal ... wow), or there's a non-narcissic reason for the muscle (like rugby, or an outdoor job involving heavy lifting). Gym-queens are boring and self-obsessed, and that is emphatically not sexy.

A world-cup winning sportsman, in the buff.

So, a woman who loves and fancies her chubby boyfriend, will still go 'Phoowar' at pictures of Jonny Wilkinson, not just because he's beautiful, but because he's a successful man, with a 'nice' public persona. She fancies her chubby boyfriend because she loves him, not the other way round. There's more than the six-pack to turn the girls on. Women need the whole story, not just the picture, which is why the guidance to photographers is to create "images that show the subject’s character and the environment he is in"

Female sexuality is bloody complicated (and bloody frustrating at times...) and consequently much harder to satisfy in a single publication, but I for one wish Filament luck in overcoming hypocrisy and prejudice and petty-fogging legal obstacles. I'm not going to read it myself, because I don't like looking at naked chaps, but I support the principle.

*I'm not telling you.

Missing the point by a country mile

Missing the point by a country mile

The Guardian comments here on David Cameron’s proposal to cut the salary of ministers. Whilst it talks about the pay cut being about rebuilding trust between the people and their elected representatives it completely misses the point. Whilst this “rebuilding trust” is a pleasant side effect in making the Tories look cleaner, it is not the main reason. Ironically the real reason is staring the Guardian right in their very own faces. They say

More problematically, it would mean a cabinet minister earning less than their permanent secretary or the chief executive of their local authority.

Errr… Do you want to bet on that. I suspect that it will be about 2 nanoseconds after this announcement that the Tories will announce that Sir Humphry will also be experiencing a pay cut. This is a clearing the decks exercise for major public sector restructuring. It is taking the wind out of the sails of the Unions who will already be planning strike action irrespective of the real and catastrophic burden the public sector is causing the country. It has finally dawned on the public that their public sector is the icing on the cake of the economy, rather than the economy itself. The State is a annoying minority shareholder in the country that doesn’t do anything but collects the company dividends year after year. The company is in dire straights now thanks to the minority shareholder insisting on flash company perks for himself, so it has to now reap the whirlwind of no dividends for a few years. The Tories have recognised that the penny has finally dropped in the general publics’ mind, no matter what Sarah Brown Twatters to Fox news and the Republican Party regarding the NHS.

Regarding the pay cut of Politicians - the Tories are always going to be able to wear a hairier shirt than ZanuLabour, because the average Tory MP is usually a success in the private sector before going into politics. Even nasty Gobshites like Alan Duncan are winners, Labour MP’s are not, whilst the Liberals might as well have loser tattooed onto their foreheads the minute their mother lifts them out of their Shaman blessed Tapenade birthing pools. Compared to the ZanuLabour drones whose previous experience consisted of working in the student union, a public sector non-job with a bit of Councillor work thrown in (or maybe a bit of Journailsm/Union “work”) before moving to a closed list in a Labour Rotten Borough, the Tories are card carrying Geniuses. So the Arms Race Gordon Brown started over outside interests has, like everything else he has done, backfired massively in his face.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Debate the issues?

Certainly not at Liberal Conspiracy.

A few days ago, Sunny Hundal left the following comment on this blog.

You guys can't have a discussion without throwing ad hominems eh?

Well, that's what I expect from right-wingers anyway.
Apparently failing to see the Irony in the fact that he'd just called everyone racist for opposing positive discrimination. So here he is again, suggesting that "Tories...want to cripple the NHS" and are being used by republicans in the USA to scare the voters out of supporting St. Barack of Obama's healthcare plan.

What tickled me pink is that Hundal uses voters' opinions to define "reality".
Guess how many people share Hannan’s view that the NHS was bad idea and should be abolished? A spectacular 1% of Britons.
No-one would argue that abolishing the NHS would be a spectacularly unpopular move, which is why it is unlikely to be Tory policy. But the UK, despite its supposedly universal healthcare has strikingly steep gradients in health outcomes which correlate well with socio-economic group, as indeed LibCon points out. In this, we are similar to the USA. In many conditions, of which cancer is the most pressing shame, the NHS fares extremely poorly when compared to other first-world health systems, and even the poorest, blackest Americans are more likely to survive than the average NHS patient.

The NHS badly needs reform, and no other country has replicated it, and to do so now would be perverse. Rather than setting up a straw man by suggesting that the likes of Hannan want to adopt the US model of health provision in the UK, which no-one supports and is held up as the bogey-man scaring the public off reform, why does the left not debate the issues? All Hanan is doing is advising the USA that the NHS is a really, really bad way to organise healthcare.

The Universal principle works for emergency and life-saving care (as is the case most sensible health systems, including the USA), but cannot ever hope to deliver the resources to enable the newest treatments for all. The NHS should be there to ensure that everyone is looked after to a basic level, and insurance should top-up the rest. Non life-threatening conditions, such as infertility and cosmetic surgery should not be covered by the NHS guarantee, but should be available privately, again as happens in most juristictions. The newest treatments should be insurance-funded, which NHS care limited by NICE striclty and clearly rationing which treatments are to be paid for by the NHS. Otherwise the NHS will continue to bankrupt the state.

You see, most people support the NHS, because they have no concept that there can be another way of doing it. But when people were told that top-up funding was not allowed, these 'supporters of the NHS' cried foul and the Government was forced to relent, as it offended the public's sense of fair play. Allowing people to die, in order to defend a socialist dogma of universality seemed grotesque. Most people accept that the NHS cannot fund everything, and most also accept that people should be allowed to spend their own money on potentially life-saving drugs, if they wish.

The British public, being a largely godless lot have raised the NHS to be their idol. It seems fair, and the principle is hard to argue against. And many people get decent care. But most do not have any comparators and if you've ever hurt yourself in Canada or France, as I have, you will see how it should be done. If most residents of the UK are asked to criticise the NHS, they feel they are criticising the Doctor who patched up their son, or the Nurse who cared for their Gran. Of course the NHS is popular.

That doesn't stop it being shit, when compared to healthcare in France Germany, Canada and yes, the USA too. And in reducing the debate to EEEEEVil Tories who want to "destroy the NHS", against Labour who are "for" the NHS, Sunny Hundal is not debating the issues or adressing the arguments. He is setting up straw men, indulging in hypocritical ad-hominem and blowing a dog-whistle for his leftist, state-worshiping, soon to be out of power for a long, long time, friends


Alan Duncan - What a whiner. Now it is debatable whether our Politicians are overpaid or underpaid. Jackart thinks they do a hard job, and that to avoid corruption we should give them a decent salary. I think if you paid them ½ million a year index linked to Zimbabwe’s inflation rate most politicians would still be corrupt snivelling moaners doing bugger all, thanks to their outsourcing most of their work to the EU. But I think we can both agree they are hardly on “rations” when receiving £64,000 PA plus what remains of their dubious expenses and subsidies (in Duncan’s case about £164,000 and yes I know he has to pay for the odd secretary and paperclip, but even still it gives him a decent amount of cash to buy some cheese rolls and rent somewhere nice in London). Twice the average wage isn’t something to be sniffed at, even if you didn’t get all those other perks of the job, and especially since you’re a Millionaire to begin with. If you don’t like it then go back to trading Oil. You’re a Conservative for god's sake; you're not John Prescott, you can actually earn a living in the real world doing something other than making Gin and Tonics.

This guy keeps putting his foot in it. I’m sure he has done good work, but I saw his “Have I got News for you” performance and he seems a fairly unpleasant individual. He’s unprofessional and a bad example of what we want from both our public servants and a future Tory government. I know he was nailed by a secret camera, but he was talking to a Journalist for god’s sake. If he doesn’t watch his mouth amongst this mendacious profession then he’s a fool. He should be forced to go.

Update This is not enough.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Blogosphere in the real world?

Charlotte Gore has come up with a brilliant idea to circulate ideas, which basically involves producing a easily printed black and white leaflet to be printed out by like-minded bloggers to distribute to those who don't pore over the rantings of political anoraks.

Her first suggestion is "the Free Market works".

I shall work on my offering now!

My only problems are that whilst the Blogosphere is largely libertarian (small 'L') in outlook, there is a significant minority which is hard left, and they are much, much better at this sort of thing. We don't want to give them ideas.

Secondly, politics is a small part of Internet discourse. Ask Tim Worstall, which of his blogs gets the most hits. The internet was invented as a means for scientists to communicate but now exists for Porn, Celebrity tittle-tattle, Porn, Gambling, Porn, Dating, Porn, Sports tittle-tattle and Porn. Political blogging comes way below porn, and knitting. I fear as yet there are few enough of us to make a difference.

At the next election maybe.

I still think it's a good idea and will be posting my leaflet here soon. You should all do likewise, and we will choose the best.


It’s not often that I look through the Times educational supplement – make that never. But I saw “Swedish Model” out of the corner of my eye, clicked on it and found out it ended up in the Schools section of the Times. Looking through there was one comment that really made my penis itch uncontrollably, and I have reprinted it in all its glory.

The Tories are still wed to the mantra of "choice". But what our school system really needs is homogeny - and less choice. As long as parents have the "choice" to move their kids to selective, religious or private schools, those parents with the financial means, religious beliefs or talented children, will deprive the rest of the system of their progeny, leaving a "rump" of children in failing schools. The precise reasons for these schools to fail is debatable. It could be related to motivation of either parents or kids (assuming that they did not attempt to send their kids to such selective schools), or it could be a very complex interraction of many socio-economic factors. But it is clear that if you allow the pushiest parents to move their kids to selective or private schools of almost any type, then those schools that take the rest of our kids suffer. You therefore need to encourage a system, akin to the Japanese one, where all schools give all children the SAME opportunites, even if it means that our talented little darlings have to sit side by side with the Great Unwashed…. Daniel
Where to begin with Daniel . This asshole is still wedded to the mantra of Comprehensive, despite the fact that it is provably churning out an ever increasing number of illiterates with worthless qualifications. Actually the precise reason why schools fail isn’t debatable on socio-economic grounds… its remarkably easy on where to point the blame – shit teachers who can’t get fired EVER no matter how disastrously incompetent they are, combined with parents who don’t give a toss. Does the writer of this asinine post think that good education is something to do with the water at Eton, or that if you stick the child of Amerindian Pygmies in 12 years of education at Harrow they will remain illiterate? It’s the schools and parents, dumbass, not the fact that people live in a dump and don’t have the cash for polo lessons.

Daniel plans on restricting the choice of parents even more (why do I get the sneaking suspicion that he’s either a teacher in a Comprehensive, or has a child that has followed his father in the IQ department). What he fails to point out is how he plans to do this, the state educational system is almost as bad as its going to get, how can he restrict their choice even more? Is he planning on confiscating the passports of all children so their parents can’t send them abroad to get an education? Or stop them believing in God so their kids can’t be educated by the Church (perhaps he could re-dissolve the monasteries so the church doesn’t have the cash to educate children). And regarding the talented children issue, he could carry out the same frontal lobotomy that he himself received on them to dumb them down a bit. Thereby creating a nation of morons with no leaders and innovators; and everybody being dragged down to the lowest common denominator.

The author of this post thinks that the Japanese model is better. I would disagree. Firstly my girlfriend educates Japanese people, and even those embarking on Masters and Doctorates have to be taught how to write an essay. All the Japanese educational system does is stick a child in a classroom for 12 hours a day until he learns everything by rote. It is useless at producing critical thinking. Besides sticking your kids inside a classroom for 12 hours a day means that the teacher would have to work for 12 hours a day. Do you honestly expect the workshy NUT to actually work for 12 hours a day Daniel - you mouth-breathing numpty?

“Then the rest of our kids suffer”. If you had kids, do you honestly think that your own child should suffer in order that Terry Fuckwit gets to sit in the same class as your child. Because if you do you are an unfit parent who is willing to sacrifice your child’s future over a stupid Political point that everybody save the NUT has rejected as out of date. If you don’t move heaven and earth to make sure your kids have every advantage in life then you’re unfit to have offspring. Your Children would actually be better off in care, learning to steal cars, than being left in your charge. At least they would learn something.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Cameron, the Latvian Nazis and the Polish Fascist.

The main line the Labour Party have used to attack David Cameron and the Tories is that he has hooked up with "extremists" in Europe and this "calls into question his judgement".

This attack, which does not stand up to any detailed scrutiny, will be used more to sure up the Labour base more than gain votes from floating voters. If the Labour drones hate Cameron enough, they can be persuaded to get their carcasses out to vote. By making the tenuous link with the far right, Labour alleges sympathy with all the views of their new partners and some of them don't seem to like gays. The charge is that pulling out of the European Peoples' Party was a mistake, and has forced the British Conservatives to team up with extremists, like the Polish 'Law & Justice' Party, and the Latvian 'Fatherland and Freedom' Party. The former is alleged to be headed by an Anti-Semite and has strongly socially conservative views on Homosexuality. The Latter is alleged to Honour the Latvians who fought in the Waffen SS during World War II.

Let's deal with the Latvians first. If you've been invaded by Stalin, and you are where you are, the only hope is in getting Hitler to help you. It's a piss poor choice for anyone and given the information then available (the sheer scale of Nazi atrocities was not then widely known) The Nazis could be seen as the least bad option, and many Latvians were subsequently conscripted into the Wehrmacht. A Nationalist party could reasonably commemorate them, and the ceremony in question is supposed to honour all Latvians who took up arms against the Soviet Union. This is so uncontroversial in Latvia, all parties send representatives. This lot in particular seem a solidly Conservative, religious and Nationalist party which is not uncommon in Europe. For the left though, any taint of Hitler, or even being sufficiently catholic to denounce Gay marriage is enough to condemn a man and his beliefs as Fascist. For many, me included, Stalin bears the same mark of Cain, but no Labourite will ever be alive to the nuance. I wouldn't vote for these guys myself, but hey-ho. I'm not Latvian.

The Polish Law and Justice Party is where the real attacks are going. The allegation is that the leader of the Party, Michael Kaminski, is an anti-Semite. The evidence for this is a Newspaper interview in which he argued against the Polish Nation apologising for the Jadwabne massacre of Jewish people by poles, saying that He would only apologise if 'the Jews" apologised for their part in atrocities committed by Soviet authorities in partitioned Poland. It is possible to manufacture outrage about this, but only if you suspend logical faculties.

Most people on the left regard themselves and everyone else as part of the collective. Thus it is reasonable to apologise to the ancestors of people wronged by your ancestors. Many people who subscribe to individualist views think "I didn't massacre Jews, so I don't see why I should apologise". This, despite the best efforts of the Labour party to muddy the waters seems to be a storm about a poorly worded response, which may be distorted by translation, and definitely taken out of context. Kaminski was arguing against an apology saying, in effect, "no-one's asking the Jews to apologise for their part in Soviet atrocities". This taken out of context looks mildly anti-Semitic. But in context, an argument against the sort of Blanket apologies by leaders for ancient wrongs, it is entirely harmless.

He's also supposed to have been a member of a far-right party called "National Rebirth of Poland". He joined this when he was 15, when Poland was a Communist totalitarian state, and, he claims it was not then a far-right, anti-Semitic grouping. Mr Kaminski is now an active member of the Friends of Israel, and received fulsome support from the Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and has stood up to genuine anti-semites in the Polish parliament, so I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on charges of anti semitism.

It is not as if there are not equally unpleasant or even worse caracters in the EPP or the Socialist group in which Labour sits. These arguments are utterly spurious.

Allied to these charges of having Nazi friends, the idea that the Conservatives are "losing influence" and "taken themselves outside the mainstream" of European opinion. First, the EPP is an avowedly federalist grouping. The British Conservatives are (with a few exceptions) not, so they were not able to influence the direction of Europe from within the EPP. What they are doing is creating a block, of which they are the core, to which reformist and non-federalist parties who nevertheless wish to remain in the EU, can sit. It is this which is causing the vitriol, because this will derail the Federalist train more effectively than the Anti-EU parties, who actually have little support. The Eurocrats know that the people of Europe are broadly in favour of the EU, but don't like where it is now, or where it is going. The Tories aim to tap into this, and I suspect they will be more successful than when in the EPP.

The vitriol, the spite, the smears and the innuendo; not to mention the legal challenges and attempts to silence individuals are all evidence of the fear of Cameron's new group in the European parliament. So, if you think that David Cameron is sitting with Nazis, and has committed a massive strategic error, you're an idiot, and I've a bridge to sell you. But then you probably demonstrate that most clearly by voting Labour.

The wrong question

There are people, who appear to genuinely love cricket, and who sincerely want England to win the Oval test who are agitating for a return to the England side of Mark Ramprakash. Ramps is a fine batsman no doubt, who is averaging 100 for his county whose home ground is the venue for the next test, so the prima facie case for his inclusion is strong.

But he's playing in the second division, and the Surrey ground is notoriously favourable to batsmen. He's not facing world class bowlers, so his average is that of a flat-track bully. But these are not definitive arguments against his inclusion, a batsman can only hit what is bowled at him.

The real clincher is the feeling that those of us who remember watching England in the 90s got when Ramps was walking out to the crease when England were in trouble (a familiar feeling then as now). It wasn't hope of the sort Pietersen or Flintoff can inspire, nor was it confidence that Strauss seems to generate. The sad fact is that Mark Ramprakash is a talented batsman who was given more than a fair chance, and yet never cut it on the international stage: 52 tests, averaging just 27. And now he's 40, he's not going to be much cop in the field - let a few fours go or drop a catch, and you've got to add that to your innings to justify a place.

I'm not going to argue that Bopara should stay in; he has to go and regain form in the county game, and that Bell and Collingwood's places should be in jeopardy too. But if you want an England retread, surely Marcus Trescothick, another person at the top of the county scoreboard, whose self removal from the England squad had nothing to do with his talent or average, but a battle with depression which is the subject of one of the best sporting biographies ever written, is more deserving of another chance.

If the answer to England's woes is Mark Ramprakash, I'm afraid you're asking the wrong question.

Scorched Earth

Mike Smithson at political betting via the Spectator is reporting that even our insane Prime Minister has finally worked out that there is no Walther Wenck coming to save him. The Jig is up, the goose cooked, the Final Brownie. Now this is silly season so you can believe information coming out of Der Bunker even less than usual, but is Gordon’s “volunteering” the first stage in brushing up his CV for his post ZanuLabour Government career? At the same time you have Mandy doing his attempt at a Churchillian “Fighting on the beaches” speech to try and position himself as a post Gordo leader. If that is the case then the EU will be delighted their Manchurian Candidate is so close to the finishing line – although you have to wonder how enervated ZanuLabour are that they would even consider a twice disgraced Minister to lead their party. It would be like the Liberals Picking Mark Oaten to lead them after catching him leaving an ex Ballet Dancer's basement flat with a dark brown face for a second time.

So what will Gordon do now that he has finally twigged? He could do a Brave Brave Sir Robin it and hand over the reigns after some spurious “health grounds” excuse. He could call an election now, but Mandy won’t let him until after the Orish have their second (and if necessary third and fourth referendum) and he probably doesn’t have the guts. Or he could prolong the agony, and smash the crap out of the economy and government whilst he’s at it, leaving at the last possible moment. I suspect the latter as he doesn’t care about the country anywhere near as much as he cares about leaving David Cameron with the mother of all screw ups to deal with. I suspect he will borrow a lot more to bribe encourage the unions in the belief that they will receive all the cash they want under Labour, and to force the Tories to cut this extra money the minute they are in power – thus causing the Public Sector Unions to “Tools Down”. I suspect there will be further vandalism in both the public and private sectors. I also suspect that if they try and pull this crap they will be punished even more by the electorate.

Monday, 10 August 2009

New Laws

The Deputy Prime Minister has now proposed that the law be amended to introduce mandatory incarceration for those males who leave the toilet seat up. Harridan Harperson is reported to have said “the link between the financial crisis and toilet seats is well established”.

“If the male traders had to look where they were urinating then they would concentrate more on their finance type stuff. I am also looking at mandating toilet roll covers in the Bank toilets consisting of an old Barbie doll (which is a sexist misrepresentation of the female form sisters) with a crochet ‘dress’ knitted by the grandmothers of the staff of the bank. All bank staff will have to be 98% female. The remaining two percent of males will have to undergo mandatory weekly “all men are rapist courses”.

Complaining that everything is all “so unfair”. Harridan Harperson is also looking at evidence that suggests that men can be bred to have babies. She has so far been unable to locate a Dr Alex Hesse and has asked the public whether anybody knows him “He looks like the Governor of California”. Despite the fact that she has failed to locate Dr Hesse she still plans to spend over £1bn of Public funds on research. All funds to pay for this research will be raised through a “windfall knob tax”.

Britblog Roundup # 234

Jonathan Calder is angry at the nominators for not sticking to the rules... Namely

  1. From the Last Week
  2. British (by a Briton or about Britain)
  3. Not more than one from your own blog
I think I might have been responsible for the FBI one (sorry Jonathan) but the rest of the roundup, the two hundred and thirty-fourth no less, can be found here. Enjoy!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Never Write an Australian Cricket team off...

...And never underestimate England's ability to collapse.

63-5 and though Broad can bat a bit, we're into the tail, and the game is, to all intents and purposes, over before lunch on the first day.

As I write this, he's just edged one for four past the keeper's fingertips. This is looking like a potential record breaker - time to dust off the lowest first innings total scores - of all time, at Headingley and Vs. the Australians. Then cheer if we tick 'em off.

Update: 72-6. Broad just flicked it to Katich at square-leg, and off they go for lunch. At least you'll get your money back if you've tickets for days 3,4 or 5.

Update 2: And that's it then. All out for 102. Which is shit. Harmison needs to do something pretty special pretty quickly....

Update 3: and the first 2 balls of the Australian innings go to the boundary. This test-match is not going to take a long time to complete.

Update 4: Maybe I spoke to soon. Harmison strikes taking Katich for a Duck. 14 - 1

Update 5: No. They're going for 8 an over at the moment!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Hugo’s got his gun

Cabo Segundo Hugo Chavez, fresh from stealing Starbucks and sending in his more violent supporters to tear gas the opposition media is now buying himself some shiny new hopelessly outdated kit to equip his army – specifically a bunch of T-72s that did nothing in the 1990 Gulf War except provide something for the US 3rd Armoured, 2nd Armoured and British 1st Armoured to turn into Swiss Cheese. And that was when the Yanks were equipped with M1A1 Abrams, not the mark II. So the chance that these tanks will protect him from Invading Americans is fanciful to say the least. The other problem with tanks is that they tend to be more mobile, and thus harder to kill, when the wars are not fought in what is known in military parlance as a big fucking jungle. So despite what El Presidente says, I really doubt he has bought them for that reason.

The Second reason they could have bought them is that Colombia has lots of tanks and they need their T-72s to protect them from the massed ranks of Shermans that are coming over the hill. Oh no they don’t because – guess what, Colombia doesn’t have Armoured Formations. Not even a Ford Transit with some wriggly tin over the windshield and a shotgun lashed to the offside wing mirror. And do you know why? Because Colombia has an awful lot of what is known in Military parlance as Rain, and combined with trees this creates a Rain Forest aka Jungle. And tanks don’t…

Furthermore, Colombia has a good Anti-Tank capability. It's not that they’ve been spending lots of money on it of course. Its just that their Anti-tank capability keeps being improved all the time because the things just seem to constantly show up all the time in the darndest places. Funnily enough they all seemed to have been bought and paid for by Venezuela. If they do cross the boarder its highly likely that 50% of the casualties will be by their own weapons in the hands of the Colombians.

The third more obvious and real reason is control of their civil population. The Venezuelan economy is a disaster, and with Chavez in power isn’t going to get any better. So whilst he’s armed his mates in the slums (which has done wonders for the Venezuelan crime rate as you can imagine) Marxist peasants with an assault rifle are a lot easier to defend against when they are screwing up your country than Marxist peasants enclosed in 500 mm of Steel and Tungsten composite armour. However if all Hugo wants to do is buy tanks to crush any potential civil unrest he should have bought himself some T-54s. Hugo - They were good enough in Budapest in 1956, they’ll be good enough to crush dissent now. The bonus is that you’ll save yourself some cash as well, which can be spent on more TV cameras to cover your insane ravings.

Divide and Conquer

Bendy Girl, who writes at Benefit Scrounging Scum wrote an interesting post about the disability living allowance, which comes to an end for her in 2010.

It's impossible to explain how much people like me rely upon the extra income from Disability Living Allowance. My award ends in November 2010 and already I am worrying whether it will be re-awarded or removed because I've made a mistake on the form and not managed to translate the everday difficulties I experience into the required language of a DLA form. Without my DLA I would be housebound. I would not be able to afford to run a car, without which I cannot shop, access health care, collect prescriptions or pay for the care I receive.
No-one in their right minds thinks society shouldn't support the genuinely disabled. This country has a proud history of taking in the oppressed from around the world. What changed the ability of this country to achieve these noble ends, was the welfare state.

The welfare state has ceased to support the needy and instead subsidised the lifestyle of what in more enlightened times used to be called 'sturdy beggars'. People who could work, but decided that they can't be bothered and live on a sick-note instead. Often threatening doctors to sign off "their back". The idle scroungers are responsible for the lion's share of the abuse of the system. They are in a very real way taking money from the genuinely needy, and Governments of both flavours have been complicit: particularly in moving the unemployed onto the disability register. It is this fraud which sees the benefits system account for 25% of government managed expenditure, whilst ensuring there is not enough to guarantee someone like BG a living income.

It is the Bureaucracy of the welfare system which is so crushing to those at its mercy, yet so incompetent at weeding out the scroungers, which is in need of reforming. It is not the outcomes, it is the entire philosophy of the welfare state which must change.

Juliette, writing about Asylum seekers was apposite
Anyone who's ever been at the financial mercy of a huge inefficient bureaucracy will be able to imagine - if you multiply your own experiences by several thousand - how it feels to be ruled 24/7 by a system as capricious, unpredictable and powerful as a particularly psychotic Roman emperor. You might be waiting for the ultimate verdict on whether you can stay here or not for two weeks, two years, two months or two hours. Maybe you can stay and you wife and kids can't. Maybe your wife and kids can stay and you can't. Maybe none of you can. Maybe all of you can. In a second, everything in your life could change. And you never, ever know when that second's going to be.

And the bureaucracy's neverending.
Just reading BG's post, you're struck by the sheer number of awards to which you might be entitled. Because each recipient group is in receipt of a discreet benefit, which comes with its own few thousand staff to administer, a single benefit Disability living allowance or old people's attendance allowance can be cut "saving" money, whilst pissing relatively few people off. The Aged are campaigning for 'their' benefit to be saved, and against the disabled who are campaigning for theirs.

By dividing people into deserving and undeserving groups, which change according to political mood, the state is attempting to punish or reward lifestyles and behaviours that are, most of the time, none of the state's business. Instead of a free people, the bureacuracy maintains everyone in a state of subsurvient fear that the bureaucracy will not see the claim their way.

What is nessesary is a robust system, which protects the vulnerable, but does not subject them to the endless indignity of form filling, and doesn't require an Army of civil servants and local government goons to audit, inspect and review claims. Means testing leads directly to moral hazard, and actively mitigates against people taking on whatever work they might be capable of.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that a citizen's basic income, or some varitation of it, like the negative income tax, and an additional disability allowance would dischage society's obligations with the minimum bureacuracy, making everyone happier. Oh. And assylum seekers should be encouraged to work. After they've paid tax for a bit, they can become citizens too.

From the poor and needy being supplicants to a bureaucrat's will, to being free agents and masters of their own destiny in one simple policy. And you get to fire an enormous number of bureaucrats, so they can move on and finally do something worthwhile with their drab lives. What's not to like?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Why So Serious?

The American left has gone batshit over the depiction of their deity as the Joker. Claiming it is racist and “dangerous”. Whilst the image isn’t very funny – or even terribly clever (It has been done before) I will say this - You’ve got to be kidding me. Firstly it is in reference to a piece of pop culture with no racist connotations whatsoever. And secondly it is, after all only saying Obama is a socialist joke – there is nothing more to read into it than that. If it said “Hang all Negras” on the underneath, then yes, it would most certainly be racist, but it doesn’t, so there we go. Had the artist in question superimposed President Obama’s picture onto that still from the 1915 D W Griffith film “Birth of a Nation” then yes – it would be racist, but it doesn’t, so there we go.

Does anybody remember the crap George Bush had to put up with (he was portrayed as the Joker too in Vanity Fair, anybody hear an uproar about that one?). Bush as Hitler, Bush as a Vampire*, and even kill Bush T-shirts. Basically the only thing this poster does is make fun of a President - right or wrong. Now whilst the MoveOn crowd are upset that their leaders Honeymoon period is over in true Viral glory, they should answer back with why their Healthcare bill isn’t actually Socialist, Ditto their Fiscal Stimulus Bill. Or they could explain why the Democrats have managed to screw up foreign policy just as well as George Bush’s Republicans. Because whining about a poster on the underside of an LA Freeway is rank hypocrisy, bearing in mind they invented character assassination under Ronald Reagan, and perfected it under George Bush Junior.

Of course as a Brit, I yet again am truly grateful our Head of State is not a Politician of any political hue. And I apologise for the title of this piece – It has been done before and will be done again – just like the poster in fact.

*The Bush Vampire poster was done by the same artist that did the Obama “Hope” Poster

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Sunny doesn't get it.

Apparently Harridan Harperson was right to say "men are beastly" and "responsible for all that horridness in the world" and that everything would smell of petunias if women wimin womyn were in charge (though obviously not that woman). Not only was this the right thing to say, but terribly clever too. This is the key to exposing the Tories for the beastly sexist scum they are, and Labour should...

...force a political debate on why parliament has remained white and male for so long. Then they should ask what the Tories plan to do about it and watch them squirm.
I'll have a pint of whatever Sunny Hundal is drinking. Obvious retorts are Margaret Thatcher is a woman, or was last time I met her. That Tory poll ratings go up in proportion to the air time Cameron gets. That the Tories once elected a member of a minority reviled in much of Europe as their Leader. That Labour have been in charge for the last 12 years. What have the labour party done about it? To enact legislation to force companies to gerrymander their top people to meet diversity targets would be profoundly stupid. Are you going to chose the best person, or the person which ticks the box? Is a genuinely good minority candidate going to labour under the suspicion by others that they're there because of the colour of their skin or the location of their gonads.

But those arguments have been repeated (once more with feeling by Dizzy), and still the likes of Harman come out with this shit, cheered on by self-loathing simpering pinkos like Hundal. In truth, Left wingers have taken 'their' 'minority communities' for granted for so long that they actually think that 'oppression' or 'discrimination' can be measured by the number of women/homosexuals/black or other minority ethnic people in parliament or board rooms. A whole industry of professional minority 'community leaders' cheer politicians on, while most members of minorities get on with earning a living in this country which is getting harder for us all; man, woman, straight, gay, black or white.

They've lost sight of the fact that We're all supposed to be equal. All human. Isn't that the point of discrimination legislation? But instead, discrimination legislation asks (white, straight, male) people (who are assumed to be oppressors) to see people not as individuals but as a member of a group in a hierarchy of oppression from a patriarchal, racist and heteronormative majority; and to act to remedy the oppression. You're seen as part of a group you didn't choose to join, and treated accordingly.

Every time you apply for a job, you're asked to state your race. For 'monitoring purposes'. Left wingers did that. Just because it's done in a misguided attempt to help doesn't make it any less sinister. I don't like it. I don't like it at all, and nor would, I suspect the likes of Gandhi or Martin Luther King.

First they came for the Phallocratic oppressors*
And I didn't speak up, because (you get the picture....)

*apologies to Niemoller

There was an error in this gadget