Friday, 30 October 2009

Leadership in Europe

One of the principle complaints about the new group formed by the Tories in the European parliament is that the Tories have "removed themselves from the mainstream", and therefore "lost influence". That is politicians should follow power, and ignore principle, as Bagehot's disgraceful article in this week's economist suggests.

This week's events have dealt a blow to this narrative. The EPP is avowedly federalist. The Tories are not, being in favour of a looser Europe of independent nations. Because of rules demanding a certain number of parties from a number of countries to form a group, the Tories had to compromise in the quality of some of their partners, in order to avoid sitting with Nick Griffin, on the fringes. Let's be clear, the Polish Law and Justice party is not a minor bunch of nutters. It is the party which provides the president of Europe's fifth largest country and key NATO ally.

Michael Kaminski may have been a member of a rum bunch as a teenager, but it was when Poland was a savage totalitarian state; a savage totalitarianism, as it happens, supported by many members of the Labour government who were then openly communist.

Labour supporters once delighted in telling Conservatives, who were then engaged in a civil war over Europe, that the voters did not care. The voters, if they can be persuaded to give a shit, are broadly in agreement with the Tory position of not yet wanting to pull out, but being in favour of a much reduced role for the EU. The voters are in the mood to believe the Conservatives, and the Labour party's ever more hysterical attacks on parties of Government in fellow EU nations just serves to remind the voter that on this issue of how much the Tory policy chimes with that of the electorate. David Camerons resolute refusal to talk about the issue indicates that Europe no longer obsesses the Tories. Save for a few hold-outs, the Conservatives are Euroskeptic, but it is not top of the agenda. The Tories are in tune with the electorate. The Labour party just sound shrill.

The Tories have abandoned the centre of power over a point of principle. I don't know about you, but I like that. What about the practical point about the loss of influence? Well, the British Prime Minister is a big beast, who ever he sits with. And even as a prime-minister-in-waiting, Dave's party appears to have influence.

The Labour party's disgraceful smearathon, still ongoing, has insulted at least one significant ally in Europe who have indicated that they will veto David Millipede as EU high representative. Obviously as this post is going to be decided by Qualified majority voting, Poland does not have a veto; but it is Europe's fifth largest state, it ammounts to much the same thing. William Hague's declaration that Tony Blair's assecision to the throne of Charlemagne would constitute "a hostile act" appears to have been successful in drawing other leaders, notably Merkel and Sarkozy to cool towards Tony Blair.

So the Tories have been able to weild influence, and khybosh any Labour chicken-run to European sinecures despite not sitting in the EPP, and without (yet) being in Government. The smear is to accuse the Tories of being homophobic closet Nazis because some Poles were a bit right-wing when the SB was torturing priests. And the British peole have seen it for what it is - a vile lie. Oh. And it's given the Tories a chance to show leadership, and lay to rest the Tory Euro-split ghost. I cannot see how this attack is supposed to work.

If I was millipede, I would apologise and shut up.



Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Noxious Gasses

A chap called Lord Stern – head of some climate change think tank has decided to pick on Daisy the cow and the people who eat her as one of the main reasons why Polar Bears have wet feet. He also said that the British will have to contribute about £3Bn per year by 2015 to help poor people cope with climate change (I assume so Britain can be sure those nice 3rd World Dictators have the latest Air Conditioning technology in their SUV’s).

Is anybody convinced by this argument? Or is it another case of Communism with trees. Militant Herbivores have failed with pictures of cute Piglets and Slaughterhouses despite pushing the images down our throats at university. This is because I’m sure you could get some shocking images of floating excrement drifting past Rats in a storm drain, but it doesn’t mean that we should stop building sewers. And now this has failed they want some environmental reason to push their eating disorder on me too. Bambi pictures didn’t work, people still won’t eat Lynda McCartney sausages and something called a “Nut Cutlet”, so its time to force people to do what you want in another way. Any Propaganda, no matter how mendacious, is fine as long as its for the cause of cute fluffy things.

If you feel humans are such a bad thing Lord Stern, why not lead the way? You and the environmental movement could all volunteer to stick your teds on something radioactive. That way you won’t have future generations of methane producing children and grandchildren. And in memory of your willingness to put your money where your mouth is and sacrifice your future rug rats for the cause – here’s a nice recipe.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra700g beef fillet
100g Pate, Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 300g button mushrooms,1 tbsp double cream, 2 eggs, 75g plain flour, 75ml semi-skimmed milk, 500g ready-made puff pastry
Method
Heat a pan over a high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil. Season the beef, add to the pan and sear quickly - about 30 seconds each side. Set aside to cool.
Chop the mushrooms in a food processor. Put a frying pan on a high heat, add the mushrooms and cook until all the moisture evaporates (10-15 minutes). Add the cream, season, and set aside to cool.
Beat one egg with the flour until smooth. Slowly add the milk to form a batter. Heat an 18cm non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add a tiny amount of oil, then pour in a quarter of the batter. Swirl around to form a pancake. Cook for a minute each side. Remove and leave to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Roll the pastry into a 20cm square and put in the fridge to chill.
When all the ingredients are cold, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Put a baking tray in the oven to heat. Beat the other egg. Take the beef, top with the mushroom mix and pate, and wrap the whole thing in pancakes (you may not need all four). Put the 'package' in the middle of the pastry and fold as if wrapping a gift. Turn so that the fold is underneath, put on the hot baking sheet and glaze with the egg. Cook for 35 minutes. Rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.



Via the Englishman's Castle, I see the Science Museum did not like the overwhelmingly negative response to their climate change poll.

So they've added a verification step "so that your name can be passed on to the Government". Given that Climate denialism is likely to be illegal soon, there's no way I want to be on a database for carbon gestapo to kick down my door to arrest me for being a "climate criminal". Just like the Irish in the Lisbon treaty, if the righteous don't like the answer, they'll ask again until they get one they do like.


This is despite my not having flown in a year, cycling everywhere and basically accepting that man is responsible for some changes to the climate. I just think that the responses mooted are economic vandalism, yet it is economic growth which will provide the surpluses which allow people to do something about deforestation, clean rivers and particulate pollution - you know ACTUAL environmental damage rather than THE FUCKING WEATHER.

The environmentalists hate the car and always have. Legislation changed, so the car was made so that it actually cleans the air (contrasted with buses which any cyclist will tell you pump out carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons and filthy particulate soot). CO2 was simply taken as a stick to beat the clean car over the dirty bus. The environmentalists want us to don a hair shirt. I'm not a denialist. I just don't believe climate change is going to be catastrophic. Letting the eco-wenies loose on the economy on the other hand....



Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Police: Not even trying.

This afternoon, I had reason to call the City of London Police on a matter - fraud where I am able to help with enquiries (no. I am not a suspect). So I go to their website, and ring the main number on the front page of the website.

It is not answered.

Pathetic.



Naissance Capital 'Women's Leadership' Fund

A fund has launched recently which will be investing in companies with large numbers of Women at the top, or as their website puts it "using gender diversity as a decisive criterion".

Is there an edge to be gained in investing in these kind of companies? We think so, and we’re the first to do it.
So says the project manager of this fund who is, of course, a man called Daniel. So... Has this been done before? Well Daniel is wrong - it has been done before by an outfit called the Amazone Euro fund. How did they do? Well they underperformed their benchmark, and as a result nobody was interested in investing in them. €18 million under management became €3 million now.

The women's leadership fund may be backed by Tony Blair's wide-mouthed wife, but it's only got €1m under management, which to put things in context is considerably less than I manage. Let's leave the last word to a senior female executive, somewhere in Europe quoted in the FT.
It must be very hard to prove any connection between female leadership and results...
Quite.



Monday, 26 October 2009

NFL Football and Wembley.

The Americans were in town at the weekend with New England Patriots thrashing the arse off Tampa Bay. It sounds like a pretty ordinary game of American Football played under the grey skies of London. And with this game every year for the last 3 years you have – a bunch of American Journalists whining about the lack of coverage the game got (tick), the UK papers giving it far more coverage than it really deserves (tick) the players themselves usually have a great time and say nice things about Buckingham Palace (tick) and the fans always have a great time despite the fact 75% support Green Bay or the Raiders, or the Redskins – in fact any other team except the ones playing (tick).

As a fan of America I think its great the game gets a showcase over here. It’s a bit of a laugh and a slice of Americana for us Brits, and it gives the NFL fans with tickets a nice junket and a chance to pick up some duty free booze. People have argued that it takes 7 hours to get to the game so it is unrealistic to expect the fans to travel that far. However this is a bunch of crap as fans will drive from another state to see their team play, Kansas City playing Denver is 9 ½ Hours away and they are the closest two Midwest teams to each other, yet the fans will drive it. London is a mere 5 ½ hours for most of the East Coast and you get to drink beer, watch movies with the dirty bits taken out and stick your feet up with British Airways. This is something you can’t do driving a Cadillac Escalade to Mile High Stadium. Some argue that American Football will never grow in this stony foreign soil, and on this point they may be correct.

I love American football and have seen 2 NFL games and a couple of College games (which are nearly always better), so I’m not somebody who sneers at the game. I love the razzmatazz, the speed and skill of the game, and I like perving at the Cheerleaders too. But there is competition in the English speaking world, and its not girly Soccer. NFL isn’t competing against the world’s most watched and coiffured sport but against Rugby, and in this case the NFL push for global domination has missed the boat. Simply put Rugby is quicker, unencumbered with 3 hours of TV breaks, equally tough and most importantly cheaper to play. Rugby doesn’t require a school to spend $43110.58 in kit to outfit its team (not including ground upkeep, goalposts and all the kit parents buy their sons in terms of boots, gum shields and that excruciatingly embarrassing moment in every male child’s life – the mother bought cup/box). Rugby requires a ball, boots, shorts, Jumper and posts – that’s it. Total cost to the school - 19 Jerseys made of tough cloth with the school crest embroidered onto it, a Gilbert ball and a bike pump.

Because if you don’t play a sport at school, you aren’t really going to have the knowledge of the game to play it professionally. Ergo the only people who will be good enough to play American football are Americans, QED it will only ever be played by Americans. And sport dies without meaningful competition, which is why Yak Polo isn’t filling the sports stadiums of Europe, or why Bulls aren’t being stabbed with sharp sticks or thrown off bell towers outside the natural homes of animal cruelty – Spain and Mexico. Rugby has the 3rd Largest spectator event in the world, and it is about to join the Largest. Which brings me onto the second point, Rugby just became an Olympic sport. Big bloody deal you may say, Synchronised Swimming is an Olympic sport, but the Canals and Lakes of England aren’t full of ladies with makeup like a dockside tart, grinning like they all just won the lottery. But with the Olympics comes government money, countries that already play Rugby in international competition will have increased funding and preference for new facilities when planning stadiums – American Football will not.

I spoke to a friend who represented Italy in Rugby and he’s delighted. Sponsors of Rugby in Italy are pouring in because Italian business leaders have finally worked out Soccer is a game for Chavs - and they don’t buy £100k Luxury cars and won’t be seen on TV wearing your products whilst throttling a Policeman. And Government funding is directly tied to Olympic sports, and As a result Italian Rugby is the only sport to get an increase in Government Funding due to the Olympics and its good image. There’s no way the NFL will fund their sport in other countries bar the odd exhibition match, and the Democrats have already found a million ways of wasting American taxpayers money without needing to spend it on encouraging US sports overseas.

And countries that didn’t play Rugby will wake up and go, what’s this sport where I can win glory for my Politburo/Glorious Leader/President for Life yet is obscure enough in my country that I won’t get executed if I fail to bring home the bacon? American Football will never be played in these countries because the only Armour their countries will fund will be mounted with a 125mm Smoothbore and 7.62 mm coaxial Heavy Machine Guns, not adverts for Budweiser.

So we should welcome American Football to our shores once a year, revel in its pageantry and enjoy the show. We should then thank these American chappies very nicely for coming, before packing them back off home until next year. And then concentrate on Rugby where we get to kick seven bells of s*** out of foreigners. Because Americans will never EVER have the joy of watching your countrymen do this to a foreigner – unless you support the US Eagles of course.



5 Rules to Prevent Pointless News Stories

Jimmy Carr joked

Say what you like about the servicemen amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan but we're going to have a fucking good Paralympics team in 2012.
I'm not offended, and nor are the walts contributors to ARRSE who seem to be splitting 70:30 in Carr's favour, some even seeing it as a back-handed compliment, so "Soldiers join outcry over Jimmy Carr's sick Joke" should really be prefaced with "some", or even "a few".

Jimmy Carr already does work amongst limbless ex-servicemen, and may even have picked the joke up whilst visiting Headley Court or Selly Oak. He has not used this as an excuse but has offered to redouble his efforts for Help for Heroes to make amends anyway. He has, admirably refused to apologise.

I have just watched a spat on sky news between a bemused Patrick Mercer, former soldier and Tory MP who basically said that this probably would have been acceptable from soldiers or amongst soldiers, but the offended parties would be the Wives and Mothers who have much thinner skins. I have some sympathy for this view - the worry felt by those with loved ones on operations is often worse than the operations themselves. Against him was a silly tart called Grianne Maguire who could not hide her distaste for a Conservative politician whom she openly blamed for the "Pointless wars", despite the fact that Tories are in opposition and have been for over a decade. She was on in her capacity as a Stand-up comic, and she accused Mercer of "Censorship". Mercer responded that he was merely opining that this was in bad taste, not calling for censorship. If Grianne Maguire's witless, sanctimonious and inarticulate performance on Sky News was anything to go by, I have no desire to see her stand-up act, which is almost certainly shit. I have no doubt which is more offensive to me as a soldier: Carr's bad-taste joke, or Maguire's leftist crocodile tears. It's the latter.

Carr's joke was in bad taste, but so is the left's endless bleating about "illegal" wars. So are T-shirts saying things like "I'm with the ginger bullet magnet" worn by colleagues of Prince Harry. FUCKING GROW UP PEOPLE! "A Comedian tells a joke" is NOT NEWS.

Here are my rules, which the media would do well to learn:
  1. Saying something is "in appalling taste" is not "Censorship" whether it's Jimmy Carr, or Jan Moir. The laws against incitement to race and religious hatred however are Censorship. Especially when they're applied this widely.
  2. Public outrage, press campaigns and twitter-mobbing are mechanisms by which society may make itself more polite and civilised, running against the anonymisation of society which started with the industrial revolution which has allowed people to abuse those they are unlikely to see again. They are too not Censorship, any more than when you were a child, local curtain-twitchers telling your mum about your swearing on the street.
  3. Journalists, Comedians, Columnists, politicians and Lawyers are not uniquely privileged on the "free speech" front, and should not be encouraged to think that they are or should be.
  4. It is not clever, original, brave, interesting or even true to call the operations in Afghanistan or Iraq "illegal" or "pointless", and to do so betrays a lack of imagination.
  5. All humour is at someone's expense. Think about that before you get let your outrage out in response to a joke against one of your sacred cows.



"Planned" cuts in TA Training

Subsequent to my last post on the subject, all training has been cancelled until further notice. There is nothing planned about these cuts. They're a panic measure in response to the fact the money's run out. The money's run out because costs associated with closing units have not been budgeted for.

This is sheer incompetence at the MoD and the political level and demonstrates how little the shiny arses on Whitehall and Westminster care for the Army and the people who serve in it.

Nothing, NOTHING, this abortion of a Government has done has made me more angry than this careless shafting of people who strive to be twice a citizen and who are prepared to put lives and careers on hold to get shot at for £33 a day.



Shanghai Two Stroke

The Daily Mash's take on the upcoming census is quite brilliant

A Home Office spokesman insisted the information was vital to government planning and not related in any way to the unremitting creepiness of Gordon Brown.
It also contains a reference to a (presumably) obscene sexual practice, the "Shanghai two stroke". Being a connoisseur of these things and an avid reader of the profanisaurus, I was disappointed to learn that "Shanghai Two Stroke" is infact a neoglism which appears no-where else apart from that daily mash article (or at least google throws up only that page in response to the search term, a phenomenon I understand is no longer called a "googlebomb" Update: It's a Googlewhack).

"Dutch steamboating" I am assuming to be a European variant of the Cleveland Steamer and "Chocolate Marmalade" is also clearly the sort of thing that would interest Mark Oaten, (who along with Stephen Milligan should be congratulated for setting the bar very high for any subsequent British political sexual scandal).

So... because there may or may not be people interested in the definition of a "Shanghai two stroke" here is mine, which, by the way, I have submitted to the authorities on the subject at Roger's Profanisaurus.
Shanghai Two Stroke: v. revolting (and fictitious) sexual practice presumably invented in shanghai brothels, named after the action of a small combustion engine whose power and exhaust cycles are performed in a single rotation of the crank, instead of the more usual two, which are known for a loud, harsh-sounding exhaust note. A brace of ladies of the night service a single punter; one noshes the John, whilst a second waits at the rear to savour the 'exhaust gasses' which are expelled simultaneously with the vinegar strokes. To fart explosively in a prostitutes face at the point of orgasm.



Britblog Roundup # 245

Is up over at Philobiblon



Saturday, 24 October 2009

Climate Alarmism is Counter Productive.

Just as much loathed politicians instructing voters against supporting the BNP has precicely the opposite effect, and the hysterical, one-sided and rigged edition of Question Time on thursday night almost certainly resulted in a boost for Griffin's thuggish bunch of Nationalist socialists. Race alarmism alienates people.

The same is true of climate alarmism.

I have a scientific education - a degree in biology - and I am inclined to believe the "scientific consensus". I take the view that climate change is happening, and that man is probably partially responsible. I think this because the majority of people who study this field think so. However I retain scepticism.

The zeroth reason is that to be "scientific" is to be sceptical.

The first reason is the fact that I have sat through no fewer than 3 adverts in the recent 5 minute ad break telling me that "climate change is a FACT" and that if I don't stop driving a car, everyone in Bangladesh is going to die. Any "fact" that the state and fake charities spend so much energy and hysteria telling us about is almost always wrong.

The second reason follows from the first. Because the science is "settled" anyone who wants to work in climate sciences (mostly in publicly funded universities) will have to accept the theory of Massive Anthropogenic Climate Change (MACC), or not get a job or research funding. Science, of course is never "settled" and the evidence is at best mixed. Given the preponderance of resources poured into research aimed at supporting the current hypothesis, the fact that the science cannot convince me absolutely is itself damning. There are questions about water vapour, feedback loops, the location of ground stations, and the role of the solar wind in cloud formation - generally the role of the sun - which remain unanswered and worse, resolutely ignored. Anyone who brings these up is derided as a "denier".

There does not seem to be an adequate explanation of previous climate change - the Jurassic period was warmer than now, and I am reasonably sure that had nothing to do with Exxon Mobil. And previous warm periods - the classical period around 3000-0 BC appeared to be both warmer and more fertile than now. Indeed it is cool periods which appear correlate with periods of famine and societal collapse.

So whilst I am prepared to accept that man is one of the causes of climate change, I am sure there are other reasons and the sun plays a part. I am much less convinced that any climate change is unprecedented and remain unconvinced that it will be catastrophic. This is mainly because too many mainly left wing parties have latched on to climate change to cover their hatred of western society in general and business in particular, and are pushing this as an excuse to increase taxes, a policy they would advocate anyway.

Basically every TV advert or politician telling me that we "must do something", or the even more hysterical "50 days to save the planet" makes me more sceptical that they're right.

And if environmentalists spent a bit more time dealing with deforestation which is more likely to be the reason for the catastrophic floods in the third world, or over fishing, or chemical polution of the water supply or salination of irrigated farmland - problems which are solvable and where solutions would make life better for billions of people, then I would have more support for them.

If they paid attention to economists who quite reasonably said it would be cheaper to mitigate the effects than control climate change, until technological advance throws up the solutions then they would be more credible. If they accepted that economic growth is nessesary to deliver that technological advancement then I might think that environmentatlists were pro environment not anti human.

But the hysteria of the Global warming alarmists is evidence that their science is perhaps not as strong as they would have you believe. If you have the truth, you've nothing to fear from people trying to disprove your theory.



Thursday, 22 October 2009

Gordon gets the biggest question wrong.

In his divine comedy, Dante suggested that the deepest circle of hell was reserved for schismatics, people who split the church. I thought a 'son of the manse' would be able to come down on the side of good vs evil. Which is better League or Union?

You know, the funny thing is, I think rugby union is more and more like rugby league. The speed at which rugby league moves...and I have always enjoyed watching it because of the speed is now being repeated in rugby union and the games are looking more similar than they ever did.
Which is just untrue. There is no set piece in League. There are no 7ft beanpoles, no whippet-like wingers or terriers wearing no 9. There are no human wrecking balls shaped like strategically shaved beasts of burden wearing 1,2 or 3. In short unless you're average height, stocky and fast, there's no place for you on a League team.

League consists of 13 flankers running into each other four times, falling over then fucking the floor, before the ball is booted down field. The mystery of the scrum, the skills of the line-out and the competition of the contact to recycle the ball are completely missing from the game. Rugby league is like Rugby Union tackling practice. True they share the shape of the ball, and the fact the ball is passed backwards but that's it. Oh and the fact that Rugby (either code) is better than soccer.

Someone brought up with League would say that Union is for soft, southern, shandy-drinking nonces who enjoy sticking their hands between fat blokes' legs, but probably agree with the soccer part.

No true rugby supporter of either code would be without an opinion on which is better. (though everyone outside of Lancashire and Yorkshire knows it's Union). Gordon played Union, and remains a fan. Why can't he just answer the question, which doesn't matter to anyone's politics? League country will return Labour MPs come what may and wouldn't be offended by a Union man saying he "understood union better" or something equally anodyne. Saying they're starting to look the same will piss acolytes of both codes off. And the key electoral battlegrounds of the Midlands will have their opinion of Gordon Brown as a pathetic ditherer who even thinks of sport in terms of electoral triangulation, but lacks Blair's talent for hiding it, confirmed.

Gordon Brown is pathetic.

Roll on the election campaign. He's going to fluff a lot more simple questions it will be an entertaining ride for the next six months.



The Next Crisis

Anyone interested in where the next financial crisis is going to come from, they could do worse than look here. John Mariweather of Long-Term Capital Management fame is setting up another hedge fund.

Given that his first hedge fund nearly destroyed the world financial system in 1998 and his second failed to outperform the stock-market during the 2008/9 credit crunch, I wonder how many investors he will get?



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

AWS

Or All Women Shortlists. It seems Call me Dave is angling for the Grauniad vote when he announced All Women Shortlists. Ignoring the fact that unlike the ZanuLabour Party, the Local Conservative Associations aren’t there to merely work the shaft and fondle the balls of the Parliamentary Party. They can tell Dave to get stuffed. So what’s the point of this PC crap? The Grauniad “wimmin” who get excited about gender quotas aren’t going to vote for David anyway. At the same time I would hope this sort of thing turns off normal women voters as well.

As Sean T said on Political Betting “There are few sights more revolting in British politics than the functioning of Labour’s All Women Shortlists, as half the population in some poor northern town is barred from standing as their own MP, simply because they are men - so a rich well-educated lady barrister from London can tootle up the M1 in her Prius and take the job instead”.

Blairs Babes were all women shortlists. And what do we end up with – Jackboots Jacqui and Harriet Hateman. Indeed Harridan Harperson and her chippy gender spite is one of the main reasons I consider myself a Conservative voter, I’ll vote for anybody that can send that stubborn loathsome streak of diarrhetic splatter on the toilet bowl of British politics back to whatever disease ridden colon she came from. I don’t vote for bigotry and client state pandering, because if I did I’d vote for a party on the left – Labour, Liberals, BNP, Greens – take your pick. For Dave to go down this same PC route is not something I welcome to say the least. The Tories have traditionally not had a problem with the cream of women rising to the very top (PBUH), neither do I. As a result I don’t see why they should start pandering to Harriet Hateman and her ilk now.

I know lots of women who are fascinated by Politics. The Conservative Party should be putting in the effort and talking to more of them about standing in a fight against men for the post of MP. That way we get the best of both genders, and less dilettante’s like Harriet Hateman.



Latvian Nazis: The Final Word

Courtesy of Political Betting: following 3 opinion polls giving the Tories a 17% lead nationally, and an English poll giving the Tories 48%, a 23% lead. This comment, is a joy:

Strange silence today from most of our Labour friends?

That’s a shame because I wanted to ask Gabble and Tim [much derided Labour commenters] and Nick [Palmer MP for Broxtowe] how the Official Labour H0m0ph0bic W@ffen $$ Latvia Blah Blah Smearathon was going down.

There’s yet another article by Jonathan Freedland in the Groaniad, right now - wittering away about Eric Pickles hiding old Naz1s in his potting shed.

Oh dear.

Thing is, chaps, it just isn’t…. working is it? The Tories are 17 points ahead and cruising to victory. No matter how much you bang on and on and on and on - and on and on and on - no-one is listening, because NO ONE CARES ABOUT EUROPE, as you once delightedly told us.

Indeed I reckon there’s a chance this desperate, cranky and obsessive bleating from the left is putting people off.

Do carry on the good work.

Regular Commenter at PB, Sean T.



BNP. The Final Word

Mr Eugenides hits the nail squarely on the head.



A Policy Which Has Served Its Purpose

Unfortunately the rather noble rearguard defence of democracy against the Lisbon Treaty from the Czech president Vacalv Klaus is unlikely to delay the Lisbon Treaty sufficiently to allow a Conservative government to hold a referendum in the UK.

The Tory policy is to promise a referendum if the Lisbon treaty has not been ratified. If the Lisbon Treaty has been ratifed, then they will not let matters rest there.

That's the policy, parotted word for word whenever a Tory is asked, prompting the question what does "not let matters rest there" actually mean? Every Tory asked to defend this equivocation is made to wriggle on the hook, and is made to look ridiculous.

The policy and the form of words saw off the Euro question for the conference. But if the Tories do not want to be asked endlessly the same question, and get the same ridicule for the next 6 months, then they have to come up with a plan - some flesh on the "what if" bones. Otherwise the media will focus on this issue, and the Tories will become associated once more in voters' minds with the toxic issue of Europe.

I have no doubt that William Hague and David Cameron are working on the options. A referendum post ratification would be a legal and constitutional nightmare and could derail an entire legislative program for the Tories first parliament. I can understand why this is not promised. But there does need to be more detail - unilateral repatriation of powers? CAP reform? In or Out referendum? Because just as Klaus will probably buckle under the pressure, Tory candidates in the Next election may not be able to hold what is fast becoming a ludicrous line.



Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Some perspective please...

Now I yield to no-one in my utter contempt for Gordon Brown. The UK is much poorer for his 12 years of myopic stewardship of the economy. The new Labour project is a vile authoritarian imposition with thousands of new things made illegal; and a pervasive surveillance culture has sprung up which threatens the very basis of our liberty. New Labour sucks.

But let's put this in perspective.

Even after twelve years of this, to have been born British is still to have drawn first prize in the lottery of life; just as it is to have been born the citizen of any of the Western European countries, or North America or an Australian or Kiwi because we westerners are the freest, richest, healthiest, longest lived people in history.

I think my friend the Devil forgets this. In his latest rant about 'politicians' (in answer to this post at Samizdata), he says the following:

when I say that I hate someone, I really do wish that they are burned to death. When I say that I loathe politicians, I really do mean that they should be fed to piranhas.
"Politicians". It's easy and cheap to hate an amorphous class of people, and in HATING "politicians" he renders any argument he has impotent. The fact is politicians are the way they are because they need to be. It's a darwinian process of evolution: they must appeal to the voter, who by and large do not pore over the content of political speeches or read think tank reports. His hate merely makes others, and in particular others who might be swayed by is arguments, and more those in a position to do something about it, think he is an extremist. Worse, it makes people think that libertarianism is a silly creed for unserious people.

Policy is summed up in an endlessly repeated sound-bite, dumbed down and sugar coated because this is what works to get elected. David Cameron and Tony Blair maintain(ed) an iron grip on their parties because they need to to get elected, and then their politicians can have a go at running the country. There are differences between parties. To pretend, simply because Chris Grayling says something illiberal about "booze Britain" that "they're all the same", is just nihilistic crap. Conservatives are different to Labour. The rhetoric may overlap, but the people aren't interested in "freedom" or any other nebulous philosophical concept. They just want the system to work, and they don't like stepping over vomit on their way to work. This playing to the gallery, and soundbite discipline cheapens debate, but until the media stop looking for "Tory splits on Europe" or "Blairites plotting against Brownites" whether or not these things actually exist, then politicians will remain resolutely and simplistically "on message", and they will play to the crowd. Unfortunately that crowd includes people who read the Daily Mail.

In Hating "politicians", DK is hypocritical. He claims to be an individualist libertarian, but the majority of MPs did not abuse the expenses system. The majority of MPs did not flip homes, or submit ludicrous claims. To pretend, as DK sometimes does that the expenses are some sort of bonus salary is absurd and ignorant. Researchers, and travel as well as the cost of a second home are reasonable things to pay for if we want MPs who aren't independently wealthy. To desire that MPs not profit from second homes (demand rent only, or some gilded barrack) is hypocritical in a libertarian. Not only is is absurd, it also appeals to a chippy, vindictive and envious streak of human nature that is unbecoming of such a well educated chap (DK went to Eton). In fact out of 646, a hundred or so are well out of line and 3 are criminal. Politicians are by this measure much, much, much more honest than the general population. To judge them all by the standards of the worst is just crass. Especially for a Libertarian.

Deal with the expense abusers, and in letting the likes of Jacqui Boots off, politicians have let us down, but it is our job to vote her out. Do you think she'll make a mint on the after-dinner circuit? Me neither. She'll be unemployed and unemployable in a few months. Hate the policy, hate the incompetence of this Government in particular, but remember, politics is the means by which the west has won and created an oasis of freedom and enlightenment for half a billion people, and if you want to change things, you have to play the game.

Thankfully we're beyond lamp-posts and piano-wire.

The other five and a half billion wish they could have the political "problems" we have. Because would you rather a politician run the country, or a warlord? How about instead of waiting a few months to kick Gordon Brown out of office (see countdown to the right), imagine waiting 30 years. That's why they're hanging onto the axles of trucks to get here.

We get the politicians we deserve, because the tone of the debate is meant for our ears. They may be contemptable, but they're better than all the alternatives.



Monday, 19 October 2009

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Nightjack Archives

Nightjack, disciplined for telling his truth was forced to pull his blog. The Salted Slug has resurrected the posts, though alas the pictures are gone.



The People do Trust Some Professions....

It's interesting that two of the Tories' primaries to select candidates have been won by GPs - Iain Dale failed once again in his bid to become and MP. Old Holborn reckons it's because Dale is a London Media wallah, and - whisper it - he probably thinks it's because Dale is gay (check the comment thread here). I reckon it's not Dale, but instead because the people like and trust Doctors.

Yesterday I saw the quack for a persistent cough, and was prescribed an inhaler (I am now officially one of the fat, wheezy boys with a note from Matron). Cough gone immediately.... Of course people trust Doctors, because they deploy arcane knowledge. It's like turning up to a primitive tribe and being in posession of a cigarette lighter and a gun. Being pro doctors, in my case does not mean, incidentally, that we're pro NHS: we wish the NHS delivered them to us more efficiently. If you say you're a GP for that matter, the people believe you'll clean up politics, because you also cleared up thier piles. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc.

It's not because Dale is a Media whore, or because he's from Tunbridge wells, or even because he's Gay. It's because he's a POLITICIAN.

So... if open primaries become the norm, is the parliamentary Conservative party going to become the provisional wing of the Medical profession?



Saturday, 17 October 2009

Graham Staunton. Who are you?

On Jonathan MacDonald's site, there were a number of comments supporting Ian, the tube worker caught abusing a member of the travelling public.

Basically the tone of these is "the travelling public are animals, and it can't be helped if sometimes employees react badly". That the British public are animals is undeniable, but maybe it's because they are treated as such by those employed to herd us.

The most egregious commenter was someone calling himself 'grahamstaunton'. I hope for his sake that is not his real name....

There are a number of exchanges but I thought I would copy his comments here:

U sad pathetic cunts! Go get a life rather than slating tfl! U DONT HAVE TO USE THE TUBE, walk u fat cunts!
There were some replies ChrisL
Wow, that's a fantastic argument that really adds to the debate.

Unfortunately the Tube is a necessity for those of us that have to commute across London.

Now fuck off and get a job you utter, utter loser.
He's not done:
I have a job Fuckin ur mother! U should get a life rather than sayin shit on here! U pricks are all jealous u havent got a union in ur jobs and that u twats can get sacked and no one will defend u! Thank god the transport industry still has unions, and thank god they're on more money than u! That way they can afford more condoms when they fuck ur mum, no one will ever go bear back on that ugly bitch!
Nice. Crowisthick responds:
Very elegant for a union retard! Ps you don't get paid more than the suits, I assure you.
And Sabz19:
Wow... At least go and get some primary school education on how to spell 'Your' and 'Fucking' ... and 'You'... Even my five year old sister knows how to spell it.
He responds with his now customary wit:
Im not suprised ur sister knows how to spell fucking, its propably because thats ur special thing u do with her u sick fuck!
Anonymous Londoner said:
Those TfL idiots are a waste of money, space, food and oxygen! Weren't they ever trained to handle passengers' complaints in professional, dignified manner?? I hope they never got the audacity to strike for a higher salary... or maybe that's a good thing if they're not working as it mean they won't be mistreating passengers...? :-\
I think by now you can guess the tone of Graham Staunton's response:
Good on them for striking! I hope they fuck up your day bitch!
Nice. He continues his abuse on Jonathan MacDonald's follow up post. Someone called Mat Hicks says in a reasonable and moderate tone, that perhaps getting the guy fired is an overreaction and itself, something of an injustice - a view which I have some sympathy, though I disagree:
Well all I can say is I hope you are happy with yourself now. Hypocrisy is the key word here.
Here you are making a big deal out of the fact that a member of LUL staff has "dealt with a situation poorly".......So what do you go and do? Give the press a call straight away and let them know.

Well handled!!!

I hope you sleep better at night now Jonathan Macdonald!
And then our hero, Mr Staunton makes a clear threat.
Matt Hicks you say it how it is. Now as for you Jonathan, Good luck cos you have fucked off all the staff at LU, just remember they only wear uniform at work mate!!! Karma is a bitch!
Jonathan Mac asked whether that was his position as a member of LU staff.
No but my wife works there and u slagging off LU is slagging of her! So sort it out! U got a lot of enemys!
I responded. His final word, so far is
Fuck U Cock.
I have written to TFL suggesting that if this Graham Staunton does indeed work for TFL, then perhaps he is guilty of brining his organisation into disrepute. We shall see, but I feel totally vindicated in my recent purchase of a Brompton to avoid such charming people on the London Underground.



Why Britain is Horrible

Via Old Holborn, here's some video of Public transport staff being cunts.



The full story is here. (But it is currently collapsing under the weight of traffic) It's jumped up high viz vest-wearing inadequates like this whose daily abuse their tiny dose of authority who make this country intolerable. You can see this across the public sector (have you rung your local council recently?), the NHS, and the Rail Network. Now twats might argue that the railways are privatised, but they haven't managed to privatise the public sector ethos out of the people who work on them, mainly because there is no competition on any given route. The same is true of that fucking useless company, BT.

And this is the challenge of the next government. Labour's terrorism laws are so widely interpreted by the High Viz Vestie, and the antisocial behavior legislation so broadly interpreted that it is essentially against the law to engage with anyone wearing a high viz vest with anything other than an attitude of complete subservience, something a well-connected moblie phone has the power to change.

Notice the willingness 'Ian', the abusive pony-tailed pillock to threaten the involvement of the police safe in the knowledge that the police will back up any authority however petty. Once the police are involved it becomes administrative and records are kept.

The fact that a man can endure that kind of abuse for getting his arm trapped in a train door is an appalling indictment of Labour's authoritarian state. Because it is the assumption that everyone is a criminal unless otherwise proven (and everyone is in contravention of some of the 3,500 or so new criminal offences introduced in the last 12 years) has filtered down from the top and now infests the entire state. Which is why Conservative plans for locally accountable police chiefs is such an important step. Allied to genuine local accountability for councils and a repeal of some of Labour's savage authoritarian legislation the Tories can really improve life for the decent people of this country.

The Conservatives must see the police become once again the servant of the people, not armed response for cunts like Ian, and their high-viz vest wearing Friends.

In the meantime, the blogosphere flushed with victory over Carter-Fuck and the egregious Jan Moir ought to have a go at Ian and try to get that bastard fired too.

Update: in the comments we have Ian's Facebook page. Is this him? And BoJo has Tweeted about it. It looks like Ian's days in blue TFL bri-nylon are numbered.

Update 2:Sure enough IanVisits brings the news that Ian Morbin (it was his profile) has been suspended. Are the social media now more powerful than an over aggresive union, who in previous decades would have ensured that Ian kept his job?

Update 3: More Comments: Nick Burcher, Terence Eden, Mobile Industry Review, The Telegraph Samizdata and the Guardian.

Final update: Perhaps the last word should go to the guy who kicked the whole thing off.

Yes, this means that we need new rules in company staffing, training, strategy and delivery and yes, if we work with people, we have to assume that anything can be caught on camera and distributed.
Like it or not, the only people who should have a problem with that are those who don’t want their quality of work highlighted.



More Motoring Madness

The Telegraph, on its website is carrying two stories which are contradictory. First is this piece of stalinist propaganda dressed as environmentalism by Sir John Whitmore, with the headline "the Private car must go the way of the Coach and Four" and this one on a bus with a Hydrogen powered internal combustion engine called "Just the Ticket".

Now the insulting opening line of the first article is based on two assumptions: That the global warming is the major problem facing the world today, and that congestion is an irresolvable problem.

Let's deal with these in order.

There is no doubt that the world has got warmer in the last couple of decades. What is not certain, thought the international left would have you believe otherwise is that man is largely responsible through carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. This may or may not be the case. I remain to be convinced. Even if it is the case, passenger transport accounts for a measly 13% of total carbon emissions with power generation being vastly more significant.

There is another assumption that carbon induced global warming is a bad thing. It is unlikely to be entirely bad. The sea-level hasn't noticeably changed since Greenland was green (in the medieval warm period that climate "scientists" want to "get rid of"). The reason is that the world can get warmer and paradoxically produce more Ice in Antarctica - evaporation/precipitation is increases as climate warms and, as Antarctica will remain frozen warmer does not necessarily mean less Ice.

The sea ice of the Arctic and the Ross ice shelf is irrelevant to sea levels (any one who says otherwise should take an ice-cube, and float it in a glass of water, marking the meniscus on the outside of the glass. Wait for the ice to melt - lo and behold! an unchanged water level is proof that sea ice doesn't affect sea levels). So that's the "I wouldn't want to live on a Polynesian island" argument dealt with.

A warmer, wetter world with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be, on balance more fertile. If you don't agree you're just an arsehole. Try shifting all the worlds climatic zones 200 miles away from the equator. The grain belt increases in size, the Sahara moves into the Mediterranean, and north Africa becomes more fertile. (Obviously Spain suffers, but that's no bad thing, they should develop a language instead of gibbering), but with global free trade and a bit of ingenuity (mankind has historically demonstrated a lot of ingenuity) the world will be able to supply a growing population with food.

Global warming may well be partially mankind's fault, though I'm inclined to suggest that present warming is around half greenhouse and half solar in origin. I do dispute that it is a wholly bad thing. Cold winters kill more grannies than warm summers.

The other argument that underpins Sir John Whitmore's argument is only mentioned in passing: congestion. This is the one thing that can be relied upon to drive the motorist off the road, but it needs to be bloody bad before the comfort and chav absence of motoring is less important that the frustration of waiting at the lights.

The issue is parking. Much congestion (as much as 30% according to some studies) is caused by motorists circling an area looking for a space. Indeed the car/supermarket combination has driven the town centre and high street out of business because people cannot be bothered to park in town, and supermarkets solve that problem. Milton Keynes though ghastly, has at least provided sufficient parking to allow its streets to function as intended, as have other new towns, who are prosperous as a result. Multi storey car parks need not be eyesores and new buildings should be encouraged to provide an appropriate level of parking within the design, rather than discouraged from doing so, as is the case now.

Congestion can be removed by simple changes to the lifestyle. Altering hours, getting up earlier, becoming self-employed and moving closer to work. Each of these is within the purview of the individual, and should not be for the state to dictate. People would move more often, probably

Provide parking. If your town centre is medieval, then park and ride might be the way to go - there are other options: Bicycle loans. Plan for car use. Buses are certainly not the future (metropolises excepted). They're for undesirable elements of society. As for the environmental aspect, you will be better waiting for technologies which render fossil fuels redundant than trying to force people to have less convenient lives. We're nearly there - the fuel cell is on the way. Batteries are improving. alternative fuels are being developed. Let the market decide which of these solutions works best. Don't guess and destroy the system that works perfectly well for now.

Instead invest in everyone's personal transport solution: small electric vehicles for the city, scooters, hydrogen powered buggies and above all the cycle. Larger vehicles (let's call them cars for the sake of simplicity) will still be needed for any people who don't live in London. I need a vehicle which is capable of carrying two men plus surf-boards, canoes and bikes for a weekend's river-running, beach bumming and mountain biking in Wales. You find me a public transport solution that can do that!

When will people involved in policy realise that people like and need their cars. It's good to be able to leave stuff in there. You can personalise your space - you know where the sunglasses and CDs are. You keep an old coat in the boot and some sensible shoes. You can dive into the car and see a friend on a whim without checking the timetable. That is not going to change, however good public transport is. So make policy to reflect this - not about forcing people to change their ways but embracing and enabling people to do as they like. It's about mitigating the harmful effects, not about limiting peoples freedom.

Cars aren't bad. Politicians are.



Friday, 16 October 2009

Wankstain of the Year Awards

Now I’ve done what could be described as "high jinks" whilst under the influence at university. The Socks on Cocks roof run springs to mind (Naked Parcour), climbing cranes at night in the ice, changing road signs to divert cars round in circles and “borrowing” the rugby kit of a hated opposition university after they sent two of our team to the hospital. What I have never done is piss on a memorial of those that gave their lives to protect me. Nor have I pissed on the war memorials of the 33% of the world’s countries I have visited either. But then I’m not, nor have ever been an utter cunt, even when a student.

As we know universities round the country are the ground zeros of the cunt virus. The university is the stagnant pool of fetid water in which the cunt vector survives. Universally the Cunt Pathogen is most prevalent between the ages of 18-21, and usually strikes the very Che Guevara T-shirt wearing mentally dumbest members of society. It is thus natural that University when the cunt virus is at its most virulent and immunity to the cunt pathogen is at its very lowest.

And as for Carnage UK who organised the event, don’t even think of planning one round my neck of the world. Keep them in post-industrial socialist dumps like Sheffield – or I’ll set the dogs on you. I want to live in a world where we can have a pint without fear of being nudged by a student. Is that a crime? Is it a crime to want to live in a world of peace and harmony? Is it a crime to live in a world of love? Is it a crime to hit a student across the back of the head with a snooker ball in a sock?”



Wibble, or Woo?

He calls it "woo", I call it "wibble", but homeopathy and assorted bollocks supported by Tory MP David Tredinnick get a highly entertaining fisking from Unity over at Liberal Conspiracy.

He headlines this "another anti-sicience Tory" (the other being Mad Nad Dorries), but given that the Labour party is founded on the economics version of Wibble (or woo), namely socialism, I don't think the left can rest easy. For every David Tredinnick, there's a John Prescott. For every Nadine Dorries, there's a Harriet Harman. The difference between the Labour and Tory benches is that our fucknuts stay on the back benches, where they cannot do any damage. Whilst we're on the subject of fucknuts, one hardly needs to mention the "economist" in chief. Sure there are some ignorant sky-pixie worshiping wibble merchants amongst the Tories. At least we didn't vote Gordon Brown into Number 10.



Thursday, 15 October 2009

Futureology revisited...

Re-read this post from 2007 and tell me that I was not spot on...

The only thing I got wrong was describing

Des "two jobs" Brown, [as] quite the most useless Defence minister in history...
when of course Labour subsequently outdid themselves with the appointment of that useless piece of mustauchioed bog-wipe, Bob Ainsworth as Minister of Defence. But the longer they stay in government, their heroic incompetence means that the rest of the predictions I made are slowly being realised...
How are they going to arrest the decline in their post-industrial heartlands where the Liberal Democrats are starting to develop a base? What about Scotland - could the SNP gain seats from Labour there, even if people do not vote "yes" to independence in any upcoming referendum? In short, have Labour made such a hash of government that a further two years could seriously jeopardise their hegemony in the North of England and Scotland? There is even the prospect of a Tory revival in Wales.
All of this has come to pass. So what's next?
Could the implosion in the Labour party following a catastrophic defeat be worse than that which happened to the Tories after 1997? Could this then leave them vulnerable to the other Left of Centre parties? The Tories faced no opposition on the right and were given a decade to sort themselves out. Will the Liberal Democrats be that Generous? Can they and others collectively push The Labour Party into third place, and into a slow, lingering death.
How is it that Polly has a job at a national "news"paper and I don't?



Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Those TA Cutbacks

There has been a bit of a mention about TA cutbacks about the place, and since the Times has mentioned it, I figured it's in the public domain. Here's my answer to James Cleverly's question.

It's true. Man Training Days (the number of days you are allowed to be paid for) has been cut from essentially unlimited to just 50 in my unit. Last year I did over 80 days. (Admittedly 16 of those were skiing). This year there are fewer training weekends, range days and ammunition to train. The fun police are out in force, which means no Adventurous training - no skiing, hill-walking, canoeing or climbing and dinner nights have been cut.

But it is not just the fun that has been cut. I am struggling to meet my Military Annual Training Test commitments.

It is difficult to get loaded onto courses which you need for promotion: unlike regular soldiers, we have to be extremely careful about which courses we take, because one a year is about as much as it is possible for most STABs to do, unless you're a student or unemployed. And if that course is cancelled or rescheduled, it can be extremely difficult to get on another.

I have not been out 'in the field' yet this training year, and skills fade quickly. We are exercising our corps skills, but the green training - running about, shooting stuff - has been cut back. And a major problem some TA soldiers find when they deploy is often just these skills.

There are hundreds of TA soldiers in Afghanistan, and thousands have served in theatres from the Balkans, Iraq and everywhere else the British Army is deployed. With a trained strength of just 19,000 the TA too is overstretched, with some of my colleagues amassing a chestful of campaign medals which would embarrass many a regular.

To fail to make funds available so we can keep life-saving skills up to date is just a shocking dereliction of duty on the part of the 100,000 men and women of the MoD, which is now near the size of the Army. If there's pay to pay those cunts, there's pay to pay the soldiers. I've heard the explanation, involving the budgeting for the cut of 2,500 royal signals posts, and the failure to account for the costs associated with closing Territorial Army Centres and moving staff has been passed on to the rest of the TA in this training year.

Does that seem reasonable to you?

Me Neither.

This Government with the bloated, inefficient, self-serving bureaucracy it has nurtured needs to go.

UPDATE: Cameron has used two of his questions on this issue and that cunt, Brown has refused to answer the questions and delivered blather about the 100th anniversary of the TA instead. And he sounded much more enthusiastic about praising the Girl Guides than answering questions about men who put their careers on hold to fight for their country.



Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Battle of Trafigura...

has been won by the combined forces of the Blogosphere, before even the weight of A Very British Dude was thrown behind the campaign. I was hoping to knock up a post tonight, once I had familiarised myself with what actually happened.

Carter Fuck, as they are known in Private Eye can fuck off in attempting to prevent a newspaper (well, the Guardian) reporting the goings on in Parliament. Obviously this ensures a much wider audience for the allegations that their clients Trafigura, are a bunch of polluting bastards who dump crude oil residues all over the Ivory Coast. Unity delivers the details with his usual panache. By 'panache', in Unity's case as ever I mean 'length'.

It falls, however to Mr Eugenides to deliver the Coup de Grace.

Update: and the people's republic of Mortimer gives the first draft of history. And he's right. The system stinks, and there's no guarantee that anything designed (or likely to be designed by politicians) is going to be any better. Don't look to judges or (heaven forbid) civil servants, Because Judges are just as corrupt as politicians.

Forgive my tiny, legally naive mind. If the High court can fuck up so clear a principle of English law that the goings on in Parliament are uniquely privileged and must be reported, does anyone think giving absolute constitutional power to the judiciary in a 'Supreme Court' is a good idea, when their learned colleagues from the High Court clearly have such contempt for the principles of democracy? What is a supreme court going to do without a Constitution to enforce? Oh yes... apply the ECHR. Yet more power slips away from Westminster to Brussels.... Further away from where power should lie. With the people.

Another fine constitutional mess Labour have got us into.



Legg's Letters

You know how it's rotten that there's one rule for them, and one rule for us? Sure I'm disgusted that the likes of Elliot Morely and Jacqui Boots have got away with what amounts to Fraud. But MPs are people, and as such they need to be treated according to the rules of natural justice, rather than Mob Rule.

At the moment the Tax Man cannot retrospectively charge you for taxes that you paid correctly last year. (I know the appalling misuse of the 'Proceeds of Crime' act by the HM R&C can bankrupt you for a £400 VAT tax error, but that's a different matter). Nor can an employer claw back wages if you turn out to be rubbish at your job.

That is, a Government cannot come in and say "it's appalling that income over £100,000 isn't and wasn't taxed at 50%". There are a lot of people - a lot - who think that high salaries without high marginal tax rates are "unfair". Immagine if the revenue could say that not only were they taking the new, higher rate taxes on your future income, they were applying it retrospectively to the previous couple of year's income too, on the basis of "fairness", were delivering a bill to you for money you'd already spent on the mortgage and the Kids' school fees?

For that is what is happening to MPs. The rules they "obeyed" were grossly flawed and they have been changed. That is not in question. If you're pissed off with your MP (mine's squeaky clean, I'm pleased to say) then there's an election coming and you can stuff envelopes for his opponents, effectively firing the bastard. But just as the Tax man cannot go after income you earned in the previous year after you've been taxed on it, MPs should not be forced to pay money already received if it was within the rules as they existed at the time.

If MPs wish to voluntarily give back money they think with the benefit of hindsight that they shouldn't have claimed in order to appease their electorate, that is up to them, and up to you to decide whether to accept their apologies. But I'm with the MPs on this. Sir Thomas Legg's demands of money with menaces are an affront to natural justice, and set a worrying precedent - rules applied retrospectively.

Remember who writes the laws. We don't want to be giving the bastards ideas.



Monday, 12 October 2009

Britblog Roundup # 243

Bring a political Blogger let's start with the Conferences: There was much fun to be had by picking apart every proposal by every party and the Conservatives this week fared no better. They're all the same, bad as each other you know, only in it for themselves. The libertarian right was foaming at everything perceived as a continuation of the Labour nanny-state. Andrew Dodge thinks the occasional Tory jumping on the moral panic over Binge-drinking means that the Tories will be No Different to the Labour party. Simon Dyda thinks Dave's still a

"simpering, say anything Easter egg"
but at least admits that Cameron is not an idiot. At least he doesn't admit to "hating" Tories like Charlie Booker, a fisking of whose article forms a thread through Dyda's post.

Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling basically doesn't seem to believe that politicians of any stripe can do anything to influence the Budget Deficit, which clearly Magicked itself out of thin air without any input from Gordon Brown. Mark Reckons that Cameron will regret bringing General Dannatt into the fold.

There are criticisms from political thinkers, but then there's the one from the magnificently loopy Gaian Economics, long a feature in my 'blogs by idiots' side-bar. Anyway he's laying into the Baby-eating Tories. In one sentencehe says
"those on the right are so desperate to force others into unpleasant, poorly paid jobs, that generate little of value and a great deal of carbon dioxide emissions"
Which a novel development. Someone on the left thinking that unemployment is a price 'worth paying', but then goes on to say that Tories
"can't resist [their] in-built propensity to beat up on the working people of this country".
I thought the Tories were beating up the unemployed and disabled, not working people, who are going to get oppressed by um... tax cuts on the low paid. Nothing like an incoherent 2-minute hate from the left, is there?

Liberal England
(who's hosting the next roundup) too makes a preposterous statement in his post on the effects of the 50% tax band. No not the one about it being better if Bankers leave (taking not just their 50% tax, but their 40%, 20%, NI, CGT, Corporation-Tax and stamp-duty too), but the one about Art
None of us wants to be the sort of philistine who thinks it is clever to laugh at modern art
Which is rubbish. I do. Apparently Tracy Emin is leaving to infect France. If Alastair Darling had said that on the podium when announcing this ridiculous (and costly) measure it might have even got my support.

Man in a Shed laments the teaching of science in schools. I lament the teaching of the rules surrounding apostrophes in English too.

A Place to stand brings up Britain's new nuclear industry. I'm feeling generous, to I'll link to the other two posts nominated from that blog too. (the rules are one self-nomination allowed, you naughty boy)

The Daily Maybe thinks that a national newspaper should be used to subvert troops in the field. His plan collapses. His mistake is thinking that anyone reads the words in the Daily Sport.

And Ruscombe Green is making tree houses.

Law and Order next and I'm abusing my position as Britblog host in bringing you a couple of picks of mine, but I think this post by Ben, a convicted Murderer on the kafkaesque nature of the parole system, is very interesting. Many of my readers think 'life should mean life' but I am convinced that prison sentencing should have a punishment and deterrence term: the minimum sentence. It should also have a rehabilitative element: anything after. There should be an incentive to "go straight" - earlier release. There should be an element of fairness to the prisoner, a maximum sentence. Life could mean life for murder under this system, but everyone else should have a bracket of 8-12 years for example or 20-life. Ben has served 30 years, and knows the prison system well. The system is not fair on him, as a Prisoner, on us as Taxpayers and members of society and desperately needs reform and has done for a long time. Whilst Labour merely did nothing to improve prisons, they created a tier of savage authoritarianism and confiscatory state-retribution which falls below the legal burden of proof necessary in criminal courts. Of all the abuses of justice perpetrated by Labour, the proceeds of crime act, which sees the state bankrupt and destroy the livelihoods of citizens without the need for proof disgusts me the most. The Heresiarch deals with confiscatory justice.

Moving onto culture Camden Kiwi thinks that e-books are not as good as the real thing. And one example of the real thing is reviewed over at Early Modern Whale: Robert Baron’s 'An apologie for Paris for rejecting of Juno and Pallas, and presenting of Ate’s golden ball to Venus' (1649). He didn't like it.
This fawning, over-written and highly derivative book re-tells the story of the Judgment of Paris. I was initially interested in how Venus is described, for instance in getting Paris’s full attention with a timely wardrobe malfunction
I don't think this is going to trouble Amazon's bestseller lists. There's another book review Philobiblon: Edward Vallance's 'A Radical History of Britain'. Personally the less I hear about Mary Wollenstonecraft the better, but Natalie Bennett disagrees.

Which brings us finally to the Feminists. This week, Amy Clare at the F-word is taking issue with the motivation of the scientists who undertook a study which shows that working mums have less healthy children. Whilst I accept the frustration that there is much inaccurate misrepresentation of science in the Media, attacking a researcher looking for correlations is just crass. It is reasonable to ask whether working mums have less healthy children. It might be reasonable to find out whether the kids are less likely to get out during the day, and more likely to be fed on convenience food, or whether these effects are offset by extra cash might be interesting field of study. Of course, the motivations of scientists are not the only issue on the sisters' minds this week. There is the perennial issue of little girls wanting to play with Dolls Gender stereotyped toys. There is no impugning the motive in the reporting of this story, which clearly found exactly what it was looking for. I'm suspicious. I've never met any schoolchildren, even appropriately brainwashed right-on Swedes who would complain unprompted about "Gender Stereotyped toys", nor have I met any boys who wanted to play at being "princesses", who did not turn out later to be Gay. Obviously it is axiomatic to a feminist that little boys and girls are exactly the same when it comes to toys, but cannot admit to double think when it comes to sexuality. OF COURSE BOYS AND GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT and I will point you to a very thoughtful post about society's hypocritical attitudes to sex by Laurie Penny, and I urge you to read it. I would add that the messages going to boys growing up are just as confused, and normal boy behaviour (just hanging around, ya know... nuffin') is being increasingly criminalised. Anything active - getting into what in another age would have been called 'scrapes' and 'up to mischief' would have earned Just William an ASBO. So life sucks for little boys and girls. It's not a patriarchy you need to fear, but the nanny state which has simultaneously sexualised then moralised over children. Then it wraps them up in cotton wool, and gets surprised when kids try to break their bonds.

There's no posts by pidgeons nominated this week, so I'm putting one in. He's on the pull.

Anyway... next week, we're over at Liberal England with Jonathan Calder. Any nominations email to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.



Any Tartan paint left Quartermaster?

The SNP have looked like delusional morons again, this time regarding defence matters. The SNP are convinced that English troops will remain on Scottish soil post independence. You know, like when they used to do after Culloden, Methven, Berwick, Dunbar, Falkirk, Flodden et all. Only this time there will be no face paint, Anti-Semitic Australians in tartan hats or sharp objects involved. Angus Robertson MP says the English and the Scots will remain “friends and allies”. Angus Robertson MP is certifiably insane if he thinks the English and the Scots will remain “friends and allies”.

It has been argued that Scotland has ideal terrain for military exercises, well it’s certainly wet, miserable and a dump that is actually improved by high explosives so it ticks that box. As a result of its windswept and cold ditches the SNP thinks the English will be dying to come back as a sort of Military Tourist. However when I was in HM Armed Forces I don’t remember doing a single bit of training in Scotland. I trained in Thetford, Dartmoor, Otterburn, Salisbury Plain, plus various bits of Wales in the UK – Never Scotland. Why would a post-independence English & Welsh Army need to leave home for Infantry training and keep their Scottish Bases with English/Welsh Taxes benefiting Scottish people? We have enough dreary toilets suitable for nothing except Army Training and Sheep rearing in the remainder of the UK. So why are the SNP so confident the Sassenachs would continue to use Scotland? Furthermore England would remain a member of NATO and for the training that requires more space – Tanks/Artillery it can train in any of their bases for free, why would it pay non-NATO Scotland to train?

Britons have a mutual interest in defending this island”. “If a robust enemy takes our oil, then England would be in an undesirable predicament indeed”. Even if we accept that there’s anything left in oil terms, may I ask why? Granted the English bought Scotland for £1 after Scotland went bankrupt last time (Darien Colonies) in order to stop the French filling the gap. But this time England would have Nuclear Weapons, lacking in the English ORBAT of 1707, which should encourage the French to leave well alone (Helpfully moved by the SNP from Faslane to Davenport – that’s the interesting thing about Submarines - they move). With nukes the English don’t even have to place a single member of the Women’s Auxiliary Balloon Corps on Scottish soil, or pay a single peppercorn in rent to the SNP. Who else is going to pose a threat – Norway? The Faroe Islands? England will simply say – “This is our sphere of influence. Go away or pay the price”. And for all the SNP bluster there’s naff all they can do about it.

The SNP believes this will be a divorce with assets distributed all nice and evenly. Fat Chance! This is a divorce where the one not holding the Pre Nup gets screwed big time. Think of Scotland as Anna Nicole Smith and England as the Texan Billionaire – and its Anna that decides to walk. And believe me, in Military terms Scotland will get a few snatch Landrovers, a minesweeper tender and the Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial flight if she’s lucky. Of course the same will happen as regarding nice swanky embassies, nautical boundaries and the Royal Bank of Scotland debt (England will keep everything except the debt). That’s not a reason not to go for independence of course. But the SNP need to stop pretending that the English will play nice, their patience has been tested to destruction, and their electorate will lynch them if they don’t destroy Scotland in the negotiation. An £86Bn 5Million Population declaring independence from a £2500Bn 51Million population - I know who will end up with all the goodies. The SNP should be honest and say that Scotland is starting from scratch – because that’s a million times closer to the truth than what they’re peddling now.

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell says…"An independent Scotland would have to rely on England's goodwill on defence and security." Do the Scots honestly believe after the last 50 years of whining about the evil English there will be any good will left whatsoever? The English will screw them over if it’s the last thing they do. They’ll probably name the first two Destroyers of the new English Navy HMS Hugo Clapshaw and HMS Ian Smith.



Saturday, 10 October 2009

Not a man who understands political debate...

English Defence League protester, Wayne:

Most of us are ex football hooligans, an' what have you, but we're not going round Zieg Heiling.
The EDL is, like the BNP with whom the EDL almost certainly share personel, even if they are not affiliated, is a reflection of the anger many feel at the encroaching influence of radical islam, and the success Muslim organisations have enjoyed at setting the terms of debate on what is considered "offensive".

Their opponents, Unite Against Facism are the same people, on the other side of debate. Angry young men, who think that they are unrepresented by main-stream political parties. This group does understand political debate in the media, and shares its membership, if not affiliation with extreme left organisations like Respect.

This was billed on the news as a "race protest". What I saw on the news was one group of young white men with short hair trading insults with another group of young white men with more varied hairstyles. Some of them kicked off and got arrested. The only non-white face was Unite Against Facsim's boss, Weyman Bennett*.

I like neither party, and I think Communism and Fasism equally vile. Nazism, Fasism's apotheosis, was no worse than the Kmher Rouge, so these punch-ups are really a "why can't they both lose?" affair. But in one important regard, the political left is to blame. In seeking to frame the terms of the debate which rules offside opinions that an awful lot of people in the White Working Class hold - multiculturalism doesn't work, there are too many Immigrants etc... means that they turn to groups like the BNP and the EDL who feed on feelings of alienation. Every time a Muslim demands to wear the Hijab in schools, or condones honour killings, another alienated uneducated white man, fearing for his country abandons the terms and forms of reasonable debate.

There is a lot of Islam that I find offensive (I'm not a fan of any religion). Every time I see a self-propelled black marquee, or hear about someone being prosecuted for "offending" Islam, my heart sinks a little, because these are offenses against human dignity and freedom of speech. Islam sees itself as the final covenant and brooks no criticism. I think its supreme chippy offense-mongering is a sign of weakness, but the Working class are less subtle. Then they are told that their views are "racist" or "offensive" and even "Illegal", and they lash out. Leg Iron puts it well.
Oh, they're angry, they're seriously angry but they don't really know why. They haven't focused it. Some blame immigrants, some blame a vague and undefined 'terrorism', some have it right and are blaming the government and the politically correct control freaks but mostly, there's no single focus for the fury out there. It just bubbles away under the surface, all the time. Once it a while it boils up and someone gets the crap kicked out of them, but then it sinks back into the cauldron. There's nothing to sustain it once it blows. There's no focus. Pick on one of the tribe, and they come for you. Once they've had their vengeance they go back to simmering.
These are just punch ups between young men who have picked different political football teams. I'm not worried that this will ever affect more than a few thousand people... Some people like to kick off and a sense of self-righteousness generated by fighting for a cause means that violence is sustaining on a spiritual as well as just physical level.

Both the EDL and UAF should be ignored. But the pernicious and oppressive offence mongering of Islamists does have the potential to feed these unpleasant political idealogies, and the left would do well to release the thought-crime thumb-screw a bit and let the Working Class have their say without them being called a bigot or racist for criticising Islam, disliking Hijabs or opposing immigration.

*Wikipedia and sky news disagree on the spelling of his name -Raymond? -, and because I do believe everything I read on the internet, I'm going with Weyman



Another Working Definition of 'Left' and 'Right'

Answer the following questions:

  1. Do some young women have children to get a council house?
  2. Is disability benefit routinely abused*?

Yes to both: Rightwing. No to both: Pinko

The point is that the main reason lefties fuck things up in Government, is that they indulge in this wishful thinking, rather than looking at reality when setting policy. No-one will abuse the system, they think, even when they create a benefits system in which the poorest face obscene marginal tax rates (and I'm not being a cameroon shill, I've been arging this for a while) which makes people barely better off working than subsisting on state handouts. And they sneer at anyone who says that people acting as rational agents will simply not work under those circumstances.

This is why they set targets. They believe that measuring something doesn't influence the thing being measured. This is as true of human beings as it is of sub-atomic particles.

This, along with spite, is the reason that lefties favour high marginal tax rates. Lefties fervently believe that people are uninfluenced by a high tax rate, and will happily continue to give 50% of their extra work to the Government, rather than prioritise leisure, or pension-stuffing over immediate consumption.

This wishful thinking is the reason we are bankrupt as a nation, because the Left believe that there is always more money, and nothing is more important than their 'Ishooo du jour'.

Left-wingery is a willful form of stupidity: A pig-headed unwillingness to face facts, which which is also, funnily enough my working definition of religion.

*ignore for the time being the fact that recent Governments of both colours have been complicit in this abuse.



Friday, 9 October 2009

I'm not a racist But...

I admit Obama's potential to achieve great things. He has goodwill at home (for the time being) and abroad, a landslide majority and control of the hill. He may yet, and probably will achieve much.

But potential does not deserve a Nobel peace prize, nor does the simple fact of not being GW Bush.

He has been given this award because of the colour of his skin - he's been held to a lower standard than white recipients, who need to achieve something in office before they get it. In what way is that not racist?



Defence of the Realm

Richard North's 'Defence of the Realm' is, or should be required reading for anyone interested in defence and the Afghan war (and yes, I am using that word without inverted commas). But in reading it, you become aware of why he achieves precisely nothing of his aim to improve procurement, and solidify strategy or even inform journalists.

Yesterday the man who will probably be the next PM made a speech which led with Afghanistan. Cameron talked of the country being put on "a war footing" and there being a "war Cabinet". This in itself says that, unlike the present Government, Cameron takes the situation out East seriously, which has t0 be an improvement. I don't deal with the military matters on this blog very much for various reasons but if there is failure in Afghanistan, it is t0 my mind at the political level. North on the other hand, thinks anyone over the rank of Corporal is an idiot, and he should be running the whole thing from procurement to tactical operations. The political failure in particular stems from the failure to abide by the first principle of War: the Selection and Maintenance of the Aim. Which is why I was so gratified to hear Cameron say

"We need a strategy that is credible, and do-able. We are not in Afghanistan to deliver the perfect society. We are there to stop the re-establishment of terrorist training camps.

Frankly, time is short. We cannot spend another eight years taking ground only to give it back again.

So our method should be clear: send more soldiers to train more Afghans to deliver the security we need. Then we can bring our troops home"
Of course that is not a strategy, it's a political speech delivered by a party leader to do "the vision thing" in preparation for Government and is designed for the creation of sound-bites for the evening news. It is at least a sign of a man thinking in the right direction - clarify the mission, train the northern alliance Tajiks Afghan National Army and let them do the fighting, then when Afghanistan can look after itself, we fuck off. What did North say? He criticised the use of the word 'war', suggesting Cameron should have used the word "Counterinsurgency" instead.

Twat.

Then there's the appointment of General Dannatt. I too have my reservations, but he's retired and even serving soldiers becoming ministers is not unprecedented. I think it is poor politics and Dannatt would have been be more influential as a Cross bencher, and his recent, valid criticisms of the Government are now tainted with 'politics'. Points North makes well. But then he goes straight into attack mode.
Some of the decisions for which Dannatt subsequently took credit he actually opposed. The operational allowance for combat troops is one of those. Dannatt was strongly against the idea, arguing that it was "devisive", calling instead for an across-the-board pay increase for the whole Army. Kirkup asks what might happen if those decisions start to come to light.His record in office must now be reassessed in the light of his new position.
His record in office must be reassessed because he asked for more money for the troops, all of them, not just some of them? Excuse me?

The reason no-one except bloggers and anoraks read 'Defence of the Realm' is because I have never, ever read anything positive. No-one gets a "well done". Not even a "yes, but..." (apart from Michael Yon, and that's because he's a defeatist misery-guts who has been sidelined by the eeeeeevil MoD for telling the "truth" too). The whole blog is just relentless, thrice daily criticism and nit-picking. No-one except North, it seems has any answers. And that, dear reader is the way to lose friends and alienate people.

He's right on so much, yet he makes it seem wrong.



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