Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Environmental Pot-Boiler

The Stern Report - Now I'm not a global warming denier. I'm reasonably convinced by the evidence that the climate is getting a bit warmer. What I'm not convinced of is that it is entirely our fault, nor am I convinced that global warming is an entirely bad thing.

I'll leave the fisking of the stern report to Tim Worstall, who clearly has more time on his hands than the dude.

I'm a scientific rationalist. Which begs the question "why don't you believe the scientific consensus?" Well I've read "the Skeptical Environmentalist" and followed the subsequent debate with interest. The Environmental movement answered none of his principle points and instead resorted to ad-hominem attacks and questioning his motives. Secondly, every doomsday scenario which comes out of the environmental scientists' camp over the past few decades has been demonstrably wrong or exaggerated to the point of absurdity. (See DK on Global Cooling or Burning our Money on this piece of nonsense). The hysteria generated is at total variance with reality, as perceived by me. As far as I'm concerned, the environment is getting better, in the UK at least, you should see the biodiversity in my garden. Even ex-Soviet nations and the Chinese are cleaning up their act. The UK, Western Europe and the US are marked by Clean rivers, plenty of deciduous woodland and improving biodiversity. Good environment and economic progress are positively correlated. All the solutions suggested by the environmental movement are economically damaging and worse, regressive and opressive. So even if the science is sound, which even most scientists agree is still very speculative, why should we listen to the scientists on the economics?

So whilst alternative theories to CO2 and Methane induced global warming receive scant funding and the funding they do recieve leads the rest of the scientific community to treat them as capitalist stooges - the shrill tone coming out of the rest of the environmental scientific community sounds more like a political clarion-call than scientific debate - I remain to be convinced. It looks like science, but is smells like leftist political ideology.

Monday, 30 October 2006

Big, Angry and Welsh


Keatonmask over at "A miracle of rare device" is a new blogger. He's 17 1/2 stone of angry welshman whose interests include rugby, getting big in the gym, and hitting people*, so don't argue with him. Don't let him hustle you at chess either. He's bloody good. He's also my flatmate, so don't tell him about the picture I used to illustrate this post....

* (Boxing)...

Taxes (or the British Electorate are a bunch of Bastards)

There is, apparently little support for tax cuts in the British Electorate, something left-wing comentators have made much of. But given that much of the electorate gets its news from the likes of the "Daily Mail", you could be forgiven for ignoring their opinions. Indeed it is beholden upon politicians to lead occasionally. In any case, looking at the polling data a little closer, your realise what an absolutely spiteful, envious bunch of priggish bastards the electorate have become. (thanks to UK Polling report)

Given the choice 25% of people say they would like to see taxes cut, even if it did mean a reduction in government services, 23% of people are happy as things are and 34% would like to see government services extended even if it meant tax rises.
However, this obviously doesn't mean that they are prepared to pay more tax themselves. 61% think they personally pay too much in tax. Basically this support for high taxation boils down to "anyone richer than me should pay more tax than they do presently, because I'm a spiteful bastard who hasn't the guts to go out and earn lots myself and I am deeply envious of anyone who does"

It boils down to ignorance. People do not seem to realise that taxes, even taxes on "the Rich" whoever they are, have economic costs. That low-tax economies grow faster than high tax economies. That everyone pays corporation tax through lower wages and higher priced goods and services. That the government is always less efficient than a proper market. That a tax-cut does not equal cuts in services. They are totally unaware of the amount of government money that is spent on Lambert and Butler n' Special Brew.

They do not realise these things because everything that informs the British people is run by leftists. When did you last meet a right-wing school teacher? The BBC and other news media is infused with drippy, instinctive leftism. "The Sun" is hardly informative on economic matters. Without any party or mass media making the counter-intuitive case for low taxation, the socialists will continue to have their agenda at the forefront of peoples' minds. So whilst I agree with Cameron's refusal to make specific tax promises now, I wish he'd show a bit of courage and use his position to inform the electorate of the benefits of tax cuts - no-one else is making the case, so no wonder the electorate think (is "think" the right word?) the way they do.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Where our money goes...

I thought I'd do an experiment to see how much money I can get off the state, by finding out what benefits I qualify for. Now I'm a single man, of robust physical health and no catastrophic mental illness. I earn reasonable money - though things are a bit tight as I've just bought a house. In any sensible society, If I asked the government for money, I'd be told to fuck off, and rightly so.

But we don't live in a sensible society

I have chanced my arm at working tax credit. £32 every 4 weeks. This took a long time to process and I spoke to no fewer than 6 different poeple. Admittedly I did apply for backdating, and refused to answer most questions, but it took a lot of civil servant's time to give me an extra night on the piss every month.

Now I'm having a go at council tax benefit. Upon speaking to the call centre, they suggested, no insisted upon a home visit, to help with the monstrously intrusive 18-page form. Going through it, line by line, it transpires that much of this data is unnessesary - but they collect and store the data anyway, like good little facists.

I checked. North Herts pays out more in housing benefit than it spends on roads, housing, Culture, sport & Recreation, Planning, Waste Collection and the Environment combined. It represents 3.6 times the total council-tax receipts for the area and is roughly equal to the central government grant. North Herts is a rich area. Why is so much benefit being paid? How many civil servants process this? How much are they paid - complete with unfunded, taxpayer guaranteed pensions - at our expence?

Surely wouldn't it be better to not tax the poor in the first place? Isn't that more efficient than taking money off the low-paid, swilling it around an army of bureaucrats, who make the applicants beg for their money back - before handing back a miserly ammount, whilst the grinning mendacious bastard in No11 claims he's doing the poor a favour and we all should be glad of his munificence, creating a fairer society. Bollocks. What a crime against efficiency. Not to mention the assault upon human dignity. Not to mention the disincentive to work. (This is before the Bureaucrats realise they've made a mistake and demand money that's already been spent back, with all the menace that the state can muster)

This is what the welfare state represents - a view of poeple as the the government's chattels. The state decides how much you should have, and in many cases what you are allowed do with it. No matter how hard you work, you can't escape their clutches. It's so wrong - I'm beyond rage.

I weep.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Now, the dude doesn't review many movies. This one however can be reviewed in one word. TWADDLE. The Script - appalling. The plot - Derivative and unorriginal. The acting, Sir Ian aside - wooden. The leading lady - no better than a 4 or 5. The leading man - Tom Hanks.

This is a sentimental rehash of tedious anti-catholic mysticism and conspiracy theory mumbo-jumbo which represents 2 hours of my life I'll never have again. Thank goodness I didn't bother with the book.

Monday, 23 October 2006

A New Ambition

The dude has an ambition : I am convinced it is possible to Board surf the wave at Hurley on the Thames when it's on 3 gates or more. I'm going to do it before the winter is out....

I shall add it to my list of things I have to do before I die

Thursday, 19 October 2006

New Start for London

Dr. Lee Rotherham, co-author of the Bumper Book of Government waste is standing in the primaries for the Conservative ticket in the Mayoral elections.

His tax-cutting, red-tape busting, euroskeptic credentials are without doubt. He is also a thoroughly good bloke, and I would enthusiastically recommend him to any city which needs to get rid of a troublesome parasite.

What Ho! Proles

The Hon J.P Murgitroid's man writes:

The simple understanding I have is that the web empowers those it enthrals. With this unusual freedom comes a means to action. Some people use it to act wisely, many use it to act foolishly, and a few use it to act maliciously. Of course, some might say that the actions we define by each of these terms – ‘wisely’, ‘foolishly’, ‘maliciously’ – depends on your point of view. Light may rid us of darkness but we have a preference depending on whether we’re a bat or a bird. I make no bones about it. I choose to be secular. To enter into any kind of religious debate would be to admit (albeit unconsciously) to the possibility that another competing set of (unproven) values may take precedent over your own.

This blog is thoughtfully written, and often hilariously funny. I hope he carries on in the same form....

Go on Read the whole thing

Creationists are Losers

I would like to invite 87% of the American population, the Kansas board of education, the loons responsible for Answers in Genesis, Pat Robertson and that silly god-botherer wench I met on Kings Cross platform 8 a couple of weeks ago to stick this in their pipe and smoke it.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

P J O'Rourke

Last night, I came accross a couple of quotes I hadn't heard,

  • "Turn left at Sex n' Drugs; turn right at taxes and go straight on to paradise"
  • "The bad news is that although airbags save lives, they tend to kill women under 5'4". The good news is that most of these are Democrats"
so I thought I would treat you to some more:
  • "Neither conservatives nor humorists believe man is good. But left-wingers do."
  • "Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I'm worried about the difference between wrong and fun. "
  • "Idealism is based on big ideas. And, as anybody who has ever been asked "What's the big idea?" knows, most big ideas are bad ones."
The man's a genius.

Monday, 16 October 2006

The Thatcher Tribute....

This is Just Tory Porn (but I Like it)

So to add balance here's some Luck & Flaw

Issues the Today programme should shut up about

The Today programme on BBC Radio 4 represents the policy wonk's breakfast listening material of choice, but more often than not, it has me foaming at the mouth - when simple questions ("Minister, why should we legislate on that issue?, what about the law of unintended consequences") aren't asked.

It is however, a good barometer of what the politicos are thinking about, or at least what the politicos think the people want them to be seen to be thinking about (anyone with a degree in linguisitcs tell me what tense and person that was?) However 2 issues are now BORING me to tears and impotent rage and I wish Radio "Grauniad" 4 would stop going on about them endlessly.

  1. Climate change. There's fuck-all we can do without killing the economy, and even if we in the UK did return to the stone-age, this would not even deal a blow to the future emissions of China and India, populations an order of magnitude or two larger than ours. The effects, in any case are nowhere near as bad as people make out. Climates aren't stable. Recent warming isn't unprecendented, and I suspect some climate change is natural anyway. Wait for technology to provide the answers and stop going on about taxing 4x4s as if that will make one iota of fucking difference, you fucking sanctimonious, wierd-beard, sandle-wearing shit-eater. Stop trying to justify punishing the rich in the name of gia, you hypocrytical socialist cunt.
  2. Muslims. If some of them want to segregate themselves, wear veils, build mosques and eschew the pub, then its no skin of my rosy nose, until a law is broken. Then they're just another British Subject, just like you and me. Leave 'em be. If some Britons of other faiths or none want to disaprove of veils, they should be allowed to say so. (I don't like some girls' fashion of wearing jeans that show off flabby love-handles and a paunch but they don't get all homicidal if I say so). Either way John "a bit of a pinko but basically ok" Humphries should shut the fuck up about the Hijab. Stop giving nutters from the MPAC a platform. And to Muslims: If the British natives don't like you, please accept that at least some of it is brought upon yourselves. I for one, don't like people who subjugate women, threaten to kill those who disagree (Gordon Brown excepted) and I don't trust tee-totalers of any faith. I have met plenty of decent Muslims, however, who keep their faith private in this most Godless land. Please try to fit in like them, or at least make an effort not to offend everyone else - we've been bending over backwards to accomodate you. We aren't going to convert as we like getting pissed too much, and we rather like secular law, thanks. We will leave you alone to pray to whomsoever you chose, if you leave us alone.
Every morning, these two issues fill about a quarter of the airtime. I am no longer interested and "solutions" to the problems are unpalatable in the extreme, so we just need to muddle along like we always do. Problems ignored are problems halved - in these two instances anyway.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Iraqi Genocide

650,000 extra deaths in Iraq? An utter carnival of Bollocks, but Samizdata say it more elequently than I. While we're on the subject shall we run a sweepstake on how long General Sir Richard Dannatt keeps his job? My money's on less than a month.


The good General said in his interview "we don't Do surrender". Perhaps I should have seen it coming: Instead of firing him, Blair has surrendered with an abjectness that surprises even me. He has been outflanked by better men.


P45 Alert: Do not follow the links on this post at work.

So much porn is derivative, artificial and whilst pleasing to look at, doesn't really satisfy, accessing as it does utterly base male pleasure centres. I have, however found two sites where women have clearly had a big hand in their construction. Women are much better at erotica, and in my experience more sexually creative than men. If you want to see beautiful, interesting erotic images then check out "I shot myself". What goes on at "I feel Myself" is self explaitory, but I don't mind admitting I like it. A lot.

Go on. Check them out (But not at work)

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

If you want to tax junk food, you're an arsehole, and should be stabbed with a big knife.

First, you must define Junk food. High in fat, salt and processed sugars? Stilton falls into that category and even the most chauvanist French Epicurian wouldn't call the king of cheeses "Junk". So jsut how would you define your fat tax?

In any case, there's no Causal link between eating a high fat diet and obesity. I'll say it again another way, a high fat diet does not CAUSE obesity. True there's a correlation, but no causal link. Unfit, fat people tend to have shitty diets, but I know lots of fat people with good diets. Very simply - however you take your calories, if you burn less than you eat, you lose weight. If you eat more than you burn, you gain wait.

When Ranulph Feinnes and Mike Stroud were hauling full sledges up to the antarctic plateau, they were eating lard washed down with olive oil - the only way to get the calories in quick enough. They were slowly starving to death. Not malnutrition, they had all the essentials in their food, but the simple case of not enough calories. They were eating 10,000 a day (2,500 calories per day is about right for you and me). So you can eat a high fat diet and lose weight.

I know a lot of Professional British Officers. The Army does one meal very well and that is Breakfast. Eggs - poached, fried and scrambled. Bacon. Fried bread, mushrooms and beans. Eat that every day and run around the area - you're fine. You maintain the six-pack you were issued in basic training. As soon as you go on a long academic course - the prerequisite for promotion to Major or sergeant in most corps, you still eat the breakfast, but you sit in the classroom all day. Thus by the straining of the Mess-Kit buttons can you tell a senior Captain from a junior one.

Now, if you suddenly cut the amount of calories you eat, your metabloism slows. This is why dieting always fails. In any case, its easier to control your metablolism than intake. (Bacon and chocolate taste GGOOOOODDDD). Excersise raises the metabolism, and not just while you work out. If you run to the office, you'll burn more calories while sitting at your desk than you would if you drove in.

The difference between health and ill-health is Excersise. Fat deposits are neither here nor there. In fact it's healthier to be slightly overweight than underweight. This obsession with weight and food is missing the point entirely.

Food is, and should be a pleasure. Making people feel guilty about what they eat won't help. Nor will a regressive tax, hurting the people it is most aimed to help, solve the problem. These socialist social engineers would rather blame busineses who make food for their own narrow political and psychological issues, than the people who choose to drink a litre of coke and a slab of chocolate instead of preparing something healthy. It is just a sticking plaster on the concience of the middle-class nanny-staters as they stare in horror and contempt at the disgusting, fat underbelly of Britain's class system.

Encourage people to excersise. Hell, even walking to school will do more good than Jamie Oliver. Take Citizenship off the curriculum and put gym or soccer in its place. Take the kids, even the fat, wheezy ones, for a run (but that's considered child abuse these days). Sell no more school sports fields. A healthier diet will help concentration, health and wellbeing, but not as much as some good hard phys 3 times a week. The two together will work wonders. And accept the fact that there are some holes that only a Big-Mac will fill - I don't want to pay McDonalds and that arsehole Brown when I'm indulging in a Burger once in a while.

So if you think there should be a fat-tax, you don't understand the issues and you're an unspeakable bastard who should be killed.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

A new investment strategy:

The Price to earnings ratio PE is the most important valuation metric - alongside dividend yield in estimating the fair value of a Share. There are many ways of guessing what PE should be for any given company.

Heres a new way of calculating it.

Start with a PE of 100 and pick up the company accounts.

For each use of the following words and phrases deduct 1 point:

  • Synergy
  • Leadership
  • Grow the Business
  • five year plan
  • Key (if not applied to a device to open a lock)
  • downsizing
  • restructuring
For each instance of the following weasel phrases, deduct 10 points
  • At constant currency
  • Before exceptionals
  • in real terms
Knock off a further 10 points for each director with a double-barreled name.

Google and YouTube

Google has paid $1.65 bn in stock for YouTube (I've just noticed you can embed videos - how cool is that?).

The founders have predictably posted a short video explaining their rationale for selling their company. But its clear that they were totally blinded by cash. ($1.65 billion - who wouldn't be!) It took less than a couple of weeks to secure the deal.

Google: "We want to give you shit-loads of cash for your site and ruin it with loads of advertising."

Chad n' Steve: "How much?"

Google: "$1.65 Billion"

Chad n' Steve: "er.... OK"

No doubt they're tied in to their google stock, but at 45-50 times 2007 EPS, Google needs to maintain their 30% annual growth in bottom-line profits. Google are paying for eyeballs (just like the bad old days), which youtube have struggled to monetise, and the fact that they paid in stock, not cash (despite a $10bn war-chest) leads me to think Google's management aware that they are seriously overvalued.

That's not to say that they will fall right away. Companies can get much, much more overvalued before reality sets in. All it will take is a bad miss of a quarterly earnings forecasts and multiples will fall.

If like Chad n' Steve, you're a holder of Google, I wouldn't be overjoyed at this news.

Monday, 9 October 2006

The Dude's been Surfing

This Isn't me.

Nevertheless, surfing has to be one of the best ways to relax. It is hard physical work battling through the breakers, but there's long periods of sitting on your board in the swell, staring out to sea... waiting.

This encourages zen like contemplation.

Add to this the awe you feel when even a modest wave dumps on you, and the fact the energy may have travelled thousands of miles for the purpose of propelling you to the beach and you end up getting all pretentious.

One is also tempted to overuse the word "Dude".

Jack Straw and John "two Shags" Prescott. Both Right.

Jack Straw said he feels uncomfortable with Muslim women in a veil, which also harms community relations as a sign of seperation. I agree. Fat-Boy prezza wades in with the observation that "Women should be allowed to wear the veil, if they wish". I agree.

They're both still cunts though.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Connecting with the Public

Just what is DC doing? Not cutting promising tax cuts? Damn Him! Offering no policies... He's clearly all style and no substance! He's just a Blue-Blair!

Thus reads the rap-sheet from the right-wing blogosphere.

Now I am usually the most right-wing person in the room, so if you think Cameon's Blair-lite, read on. I hope I can suggest a reason as to why he's doing what he's doing, from the point of view of one of Thatcher's storm-troopers.

If you, like me are on the opinion fringes of one of the major political parties, you are not in it to get your agenda adopted by a government, fully and in its entirety. You are in it to pull the centre of gravity your way. So whilst I would love a Government to go through the entire civil service firing two in ten of the parasites, then scrapping the welfare state and privatising the NHS reintroducing hanging for petty theft and invading France*, it just aint gonna happen. So I chose the party that is economically liberal, euro-skeptic and likely to get elected.

What Cameron noticed is that, ever since William Hague was leader, if people were presented with a list of policies of the 3 major political parties, 60-70% chose the Tory list. If they were told which party they came from, this fell to 40%. This means there isn't a lot wrong with Conservative policies, but the public do not LIKE us. The old reputation for economic competence was surrendered on the European altar when the Pound crashed out of the ERM and that was the conservative's biggest electoral asset.

What Cameron is doing is therefore changing the conservative brand, tinkering at the edges - even green taxation is just mood music. If the tories are seen to be arguing about taxes and europe, then the people will associate the party with the old lot.

Cameron doesn't offer firm policies because if they are sound, then Labour'll nick them, fuck it up and the whole thing will be discredited. Secondly, because the policies aren't what is fundamentally broken, there's no need to focus on them.

If the people first like us, then they'll trust us and listen. Then we can present policies which have some chance of being implemented. They may or may not be similar to what went before. My guess is that tax cuts will be promised in time. My guess is the state will be shrunk, a bit. My guess is that foreign policy will be broadly atlanticist, but without Blairs messainic lunacy.

Dave Cameron's doing alright. Iain Reckons his speech was pretty good, and I agree

*I'll leave it to my readers to decide where I cease to be serious

Monday, 2 October 2006

A good walk...

If there is one man responsible for the greatest concentration of human misery; who is surely residing in the deepest circle of hell, deeper even than that reserved for traitors and schismatics, it is the man who invented Golf.

Who dares, categorically does not win. He loses his ball and suffers a stroke penalty. He also gets wet feet in the rough, and has to suffer the ignominity of calling the following game through. Yips, thins and a persistent slice (except for the occasional snap hook, as a result of overcorrecting) charicterise most people's game, yet we persistently go for the shot that will see the ball effortlessly sail over the water, bisect the bunkers and roll, unmolested to a point close enough to the pin where the opponent conceeds the put. It never, ever happens. Even if you do reach the green in regulation, that is not the point when you put at your best (Five puts on the 9th. Five, I tell you. From 10 feet)

I think it's stockholm syndrome. We love the game.

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