Wednesday, 31 October 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Any so-called "Trick or Treaters" banging on my door dressed as zombies and vampires, bringing this ghastly transatlantic tradition unasked for to these shores, will find me dressed as Fred West, carrying an axe. My garden does need re-concreting....


Trick that, you little fuckers. Bah Humbug.



0%

Nada, Zilch, Zip, diddly-eye-squat are all ways to describe the UKIP showing in a recent ICM poll. Not one person, NOT A SINGLE RESPONDENT, went for UKIP. Which just goes to show how successful banging on about immigration is, and carrying on like they're motivated by a simple grudge against the Tories. They've competed for votes however, not with the Conservatives, but with the BNP; only they're not as good at bashing johnny foreigner as the skinheads, whose voters do not like all that libertarian rubbish. Suits, you see aren't practical attire for kicking darkies in the head. Devils Kitchen will argue that UKIP have successfully forced the Conservative party to promise a referendum and as this promise is not retrospective, should the constitution Treaty of Lisbon be ratified in this parliament, it is not worth the paper its written on. He may have a point. He will then go on to describe the Conservatives as "pro-european", but the truth is... No-one cares.
UKIP is an Ex party.



Monday, 29 October 2007

Gordon Brown and the Parliamentary debate on the Constitutional Treaty.

We know Gordon Brown is incompetent and psychologically flawed, even more so than his predecessor, Tony um... thingy... you know... Him with the teeth. We know that the the Tories have one or two popular policies, heading in the right direction, but they lack the courage of their convictions to turn them into a vision of a lower-tax, smaller state society. We know Gordon is hunkered down, tin hat on in his trench, defending the "no referendum, no election" position, and that he will stand there with some tenacity.

It this going to go on for two years? If so, It's going to be boring. But will it go on that long? There are signs that the GB premiership may be shorter than you think, and it hinges on one question: Is there going to be a sufficient parliamentary rebellion to bring about a referendum?

It's all down to the arithmetic: Will the Liberal Democrats abandon all principle and support the Government? Are there many Tories who don't want a referendum? Will any Labour MPs put country and principle above party and vote for a referendum? Those are the only questions which need asking in the months of parliamentary time scheduled for the debates on the EU Constitution Treaty of Lisbon.

Let's hope the Government fails in its attempt to sell parliamentary sovereignty to a foreign power without the consent of the people. If parliament does the honourable thing (which it does, from time to time), following the announcement of the inevitable "no" vote in any referendum, will the Government be forced to call a general election?

Gordon's prime-ministerial career hinges on these next couple of month's debate. If I was him, I would get the Liberal Democrats onside by calling a referendum on the big question: remaining in the EU, thus shooting the Tories' fox, triggering splits in the opposition and appearing strong in the process. He may win that one, but not the constitutional one, but such a strategy requires leadership and courage - both qualities we know the Cyclops to lack.



Friday, 26 October 2007

Libertarianism Vs. Utilitarianism

Invoked on the subject of Kerry Katona's breasts in this, quite brilliant post



Wednesday, 24 October 2007

10 people...

...I would like to hit in the mouth with a brick. I've been tagged by Keatonmask to give a list of people who need a good, honest potentially fatal hiding. Obviously for the Labour politicians in the list, this would form only a mild roughing up. A warm up, if you will for the imaginative public torture and execution by hanging from a lamp post that would constitute their eventual fate. So here goes:

10: Michael Bay for the horrors that were Pearl Harbour and Transformers.

9: The first politician in the list is Hazel Blears. God she's just so gut-wrenchingly awful. Platitudinous to a criminal degree, and short. Everyone knows midgets are evil.

8: Ben Elton. Yes he's been funny. Yes he's credited in part with Blackadder, but ye-gods! He's smug. He doesn't deserve to die, but knocking a few teeth out and then breaking his fingers with a brick seems to be adequate punishment for his tiresome faux-manic stand-up routines.

7. Imanol Harinordoquy (but only if he was tied down and unable to retaliate). Let's face it. He's a bit of a git, but a big one.

6: The entire cast and crew of Hollyoaks. Fit(ish) gaol-bait birds on TV do not justify crap plots unless they are naked and doing, well, you know... stuff... to each other.

5: Lewis Gilbert. Moonraker was that bad.

4: Polly Toynbee. She misses out on the podium, because she cannot put her poorly thought through ideas into action directly. She will, however share the politicians' fate, dangling from a lamp post with barbed wire round her wrists, despite her mere membership of the fourth estate. Hate Hate Hate.

3: Gordon Brown. No explanation necessary, nor is he worth dignifying with the top slot. Loser.

2: Peter Hain. I just want to punch him every time he opens his mouth. He's such a slug of a man. I doubt I could restrain myself with just one hit, and like Hartigan in Sin City, I would just end up rearranging the sludge that was once his head were I to ever start. Hateful, hateful man.

1: Ken Livingstone. He's the Mayor of our Capital city and he's in bed with Chavez, Castro and every Islamic militant loon this side of mecca. His one good political joke (which took 20 years to deliver) does not excuse him for his policy and rhetorical errors, The friends he chooses for the city, his gross abuse of his office for personal gain and his hubris. He needs to be reminded to that the "Mayor of London" and "Ken Livingstone" are not the same thing. This needs to be spelt out to him, preferably at length and in some detail, using Morse code by banging the brick into his teeth.
I tag Mr Eugenides and The Whiskey Priest...



Tuesday, 23 October 2007

As if by magic...

My last post is satire, this is deadly serious. What a Twat!



Monday, 22 October 2007

Racism in Rugby, not just a South African problem.

The Rugby team should accurately reflect the make up of a country and England is no different. Whilst progress has been made in getting some ethnic minorities into the team, Sackey and Robinson pander to a negative ethnic stereotype of the fast-running Black athlete which is holding their community back from advancement in other areas. Too many of the players benefit from an "old-boys" network from their time at fee paying schools - a quota system for disadvantaged children is clearly necessary with preference in team selection given to those who qualified for free school meals. Muslims are noticeable by their absence in all areas of rugby, whose hard-drinking culture must be changed to a more acceptable and inclusive model. More serious is the gross under representation of women, the LGBT community and the disabled in Brian Ashton's squad; he should pick his team with an eye to the hurt with which these communities view the make-up of a supposedly "national" team.

The shocking preponderance of Blondes in key decision-making positions at half back and centre should leave an impartial observer in no doubt as to the fascist nature of team selection process. In a shocking echo of Philip Toynbee's observation, Mere dark-haired men of potentially un-aryan extraction are left to do the donkey-work in the tight five, leaving blonde-haired, blue-eyed men to garner the glory in key half-back and central positions. Indeed it is noticable they rarely pass the ball to the back 3 (two thirds BoEM) who are used as tackle fodder in defence. This is a shocking and unacceptable echo of the atrocities of the Third Reich, which used gypsies and Jews and other dark haired people as slave labour to further racially exclusive goals.

On this basis, can you infer that I think the SA RFU, and Springbok supporters of all hues should tell the sports minister, Makhenkesi Stofile, himself no fan of the Bokkes, to fuck right off?



Sunday, 21 October 2007

This Afternoon...

Normal service is resumed on the British sporting front. Hamilton blew it on the first lap, then his engine cut out, and his team make him take a bizarre 3-stop strategy. He finished 7th, which means that Maclaren doesn't win the championship, bloody Raikionnen's Ferrari does, despite having one and two going into the race. What is still the case is that we produce people who are good at losing. Anthony Hamilton just gave a very sporting interview and the Rugby team were dignified in defeat.

Seriously, I though England was going to pull off a sporting miracle last night and Lewis Hamilton was going to be the first rookie to win the world championship. But Britain is still rubbish at sport. The sun still rises in the east and alas I still have to go into work on Monday.

On a lighter note, whilst watching another Brit lose this week, I noticed the striking similarity between Raphael Nadal and Mr Eugenides' angry baby.



Last Night...

There is no doubt that the best team of the Tournament won the Webb Ellis trophy. I'm not sure it was the best team on the night. They needed a bit of luck, which came with the very close call on Cueto's near try and two missed obstruction calls - the Boks got the rub of the green, and controlled the game very solidly from there. They played plan B very well. England did not take their chances and gave away silly penalties. Of course I thought it was a try, but I cannot be considered impartial. My tame welshman thought it wasn't. So there.

A close, ugly game, full of grit and determination, but not much else. Just a couple of breaks from Fracois Steyn and Matthew Tait to enliven things. Nothing from Habanna, of whom I would have liked to seen more.

Congratulations to South Africa, and best of luck to Lewis Hamilton this morning.

The result did not piss me off, but I felt that seeing Gordon Brown's grinning mug was a humiliation too far. I longed for someone like Dallaglio or Burger to punch his lights out, which would have beeen really funny.

To this end At the urging of a friend, I have petitioned the PM to stay away from the England Rugby team because of his demonstrable political cowardice in shying away from an election and constitutional referendum, he should not seek to gain political credibility on the back of efforts by men for whom he isn't fit to clean boots. I will furnish you with the link when available.



Saturday, 20 October 2007

What is the point of the Police?

Cross posted from Libertarian UK

I will start with a conclusion. The police are there to detect and deter crime, uphold the law and keep the Queen's peace.

The police have lost the battle. The Government can whitter all it likes about rising or falling statistics, but the fact is the police have given up. Let's look at the statistics. The police are generally well regarded by the public who generally clamour for "more police on the beat". The statistics for victims and witnesses of crime, however tells a different story. It is in positive territory - 57% satisfied, but only just. But in my experience, the police abuse their good will and blame their failures on the CPS, lawyers and the human rights act. Most people don't like lawyers and accept this, at face value.

Is this satisfaction justified?

In my area, just 10.2% of Burglaries are "detected". For thefts from the person just 4.3% are, though I accept the figures for more serious crime are better: 45% of "more Serious" violent crimes against the person are detected. Less serious violence (and this can be really trivial - a shove for example) is the one of only a handful of statistics on the table where there is a detection rate of over 50%.

Is there any point, in these circumstances in calling the police? These are a self-selecting sample of people who are either insured- you need a crime reference number to make a claim, or members of the public who think in their case there's a reasonable chance of a result. In reality, the figures for the number of thefts cleared up is statistically close to zero.

So what do the police do? Well they appear to spend an inordinate amount of time filling in forms, and achieving "Diversity"targets. Indeed the number of black and brown faces underneath the breast-shaped lid seems more important to the management of the police than burglary detection rates that would shame, well, any country. This is a direct result of a management culture which has politicised the police force. As a result of the total abrogation of responsibility for solving crime, fear of crime has never been higher. The police are wedded to their cars, and focused on the easy collar rather than doing a good job for those who really need it - serving the tractor production target rather than the people they serve.

The attitude of the police is that you're a potential perp, and they'll get you if they can. Usually for motoring offences. Look at the alacrity with which people who drive with their mobile phones are prosecuted. Or eat at the wheel, or flick the bird at a speed camera. Or have a toy gun...

So if you're in the section of society which shoulders the burden of tax - you're also more likely to be caught speeding, be the victim of crime and report it, and to have that crime undetected. You are also more likely to suffer penalties if you do step out of line. The police find it easier to prosecute someone who has a job and a mortgage - there are more levers that can be pulled.

An unemployed person in "social" housing who commits a crime can ignore court summonses - there's no better than evens chance the police will send anyone round to re-arrest. Any fines levied will not be paid, after all, is he going to lose his house? And a spell in gaol is by no means the punishment it is to someone who has a job and house to lose. Compare to what the press sneeringly call the middle class who commits a smallish crime (d&d, maybe affray outside a pub for example) As soon as the coppers know who you are, they can contact you. You will turn up to court, and any fines levied will be paid. You will co-operate, because you will fear for your job, and you will pay your fines because a CCJ will render your mortgage unaffordable. Thus the police, seeing the middle class stepping out of line are more likely to follow up - we're an easier, more co-operative collar.

We pay for the system, and we are not protected, endure a greater likelihood of prosecution for a given crime and get taxed with the bi-annual speeding ticket and the semi-annual parking fine.

Why?

Law. There are too many laws. So much voluntary interaction is criminalised unnecessarily, that the police do not focus on burglary and robbery. Why, when you get the same sanction/detection for arrests while enforcing the smoking ban or licensing hours as you do for doing some police work around a theft? We need to urge that incoming Conservative government to repeal much of Nu-Labour's bansturbation.

Targets. The police are policing to the target, and from the latest wheeze from Whitehall. What is needed is a police force embedded into the community and answerable to it. I imagine that they will have different priorities. Locally elected sheriffs is as good a reason to vote conservative as any - this will go a long way to mending the broken covenant.

I think that is the best a Libertarian can hope for.



Thursday, 18 October 2007

World United Behind South Africa?

South African sports writers are getting their knickers in a twist over the clash, suggesting that they need to "save the world" from England's "Anti Rugby". Australians concur, but they've never been good losers.

To which I reply England has saved the world from Tri-Nation's repeated attempts to turn Rugby into Basketball, which is a rubbish "sport". The Scrum and the Tackle are the heart of Rugby, you can watch men run on a football pitch though why you would want to is beyond me. It is the contact area and the competition for the ball at the set piece that wins games, not fancy running.

What has happened is that prima-donnas whose contracts are secure at Super 14 "franchises" (ugh... what a horrible word) do not have the frantic scramble for points at any cost that characterises everyone's season at a European Club, lost to those who do. In Europe, Mid-Table mediocrity can easily fall into relegation-zone horror or Play-off glory at the end of the season and as a Northampton Saints supporter, I know (twice) how unforgiving the European season can be. That is why England beat Australia, and France beat the All-Blacks. We in Europe know how to win ugly if that is necessary (unless, of course they play for Northampton or Harlequins).

A Franchise - an organisation designed to make money and produce players for national teams. A club - a voluntary association of individuals who come together for a purpose. In the Case of English Rugby - organically built up around the country for 140 years or more of amateur sport. What's going to get you to put your body on the line week in, week out? Both Australia and New Zealand thought that all they had to do was turn up to win. There was no plan B, trench warfare, grind out a win however it may be achieved, because you don't need to do that for a Super 14 team: it cannot be relegated.

Now South Africa are a great rugby nation, on paper clear favourites on Saturday. England are a team still finding their feet. But this represents one of the great mismatches in sport - the irresistible force against the immovable object. South Africa are grittier, nastier bastards than Australia with a clear advantage out wide. England will not have the total dominance in the scrum that they enjoyed against Australia but should still come out on top. England to not have Bryan Habanna. (fuck me, he's Quick...), and South Africa do not have Andrew Sherridan (fuck me, he's strong...).

As in all matches, it is the Breakdown where the game is won and lost. That second after the tackle, when the boys come piling in. If the tacklers are there in greater number first, there's a turnover. If the Attackers are there first you have quick ball. If they arrive together, it slows the ball down enough to allow the defence to reform. Back to phase one...

England did not do that well on the opening weekend. 36-0. Against France and Australia we did. The English team is a different one because they have that crucial aggression at the right time.

England do not Play Anti-Rugby. Limited, yes. But visceral and exciting too. All these Jibes just makes me think we've got you Southern Hemisphere boys rattled! But from the opinion polling I've made around rugby people I know, the world is dividing into Northern and Southern Camps, with even Scotsmen and Frenchmen supporting the men in white and the Tri-Nations boys sucking each others dicks (still) pretending their competitions are better, whilst admiring Percy Montgomery's bum and Highlights, and thinking it's awfully clever to run away from being hit, rather than taking your medicine like a man.

No Prediction. Just saying we can. That's all.



Yes. It's a cute animal video

But as the Girlfriend is a Piano tuner, it isn't ruled offside. (Drop me a line if you have a piano in need of tuning, I'll send her round)...



Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Dr Watson: Racist?

James Watson, co-discoverer of the Molecular structure of DNA managed (brilliantly) to generate huge publicity for his book, "Avoid Boring People" by suggesting to the Sunday Times that Africans were less intelligent than other races, causing a predictable storm from the usual suspects, demanding that he apologise to everyone, and probably pay reparations for slavery too.

The fact is Africans are on average less intelligent: That is because Africa is the continent with the highest rates of childhood malnutrition, which has a direct and obvious effect on brain development and therefore adult intelligence. Whether there is a genetic component is moot. Researchers in the area tend to find what they're looking for: racists say "yes". PC types and those who want public funding for any future research say "no". There's no doubt that Dr Watson's comments such as

“people who have to deal with black employees find this[black intelligence being equal to that of "us"] not true”
are inflammatory, but he's an old man, and they did things differently when he were a lad. All he is doing is saying that he doesn't hold to the "doctrine of zero group difference".
“there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so”.
Quite. What is not reported is whether Watson mentioned that the likelihood of the variation in intelligence being so great amongst individuals, whatever their race, that to put people together in racial groups, is so poor a predictor of the likely performance of individuals in any given task as to make the exercise redundant. Basically there is greater difference within races than between them. Failure to mention this vital point is racist, and his attempt to do so is distinctly half-arsed:
“there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level”
And merely indicates a widely held revulsion against positive discrimination. My instinct is to dislike the hectoring tone of the race relations industry every time someone suggests that the world is not as they would like it to be. However looking for differences between races has malign effects on individuals who may be treated differently by others as a result of such research. When you think about it like that, why ask the question in the first place? If you can come up with an answer to that without being racist, do so in the comments.

Race is best ignored, by treating people as individuals. I've found judging people by their shoes more informative than the colour of their skin. What is certain however is that a randomly selected cross section of BNP voters are likely to be considerably less intelligent on average than a random cross section of Black people. So let anyone judging people on the back of Dr. Watson's comments make of that what they will.



Shoot the messenger?

If there's one way to utterly discredit a good idea, it's get Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales to say it.

I've long advocated a total legalization of all drugs see here, but to see the first senior copper say it (he's been doing so since 2001) is the loony who likes to go catching speeding motorists for fun on his day off, just discredits the whole thing. Someone who compares speeding with murder

"It is against the law and there is no excuse for drifting over the limit any more than there is for drifting a knife into someone."
Is unlikely to be taken seriously on any issue. Nevertheless he talks a lot of sense in his paper on drugs which can be read here. I've put my prejudices (you've no idea how enraged traffic "policing" in this country makes me, I only need to see a jam sandwich while driving to get adrenaline coursing) to one side to support him in this, I think you should too.



Monday, 15 October 2007

The Wooly In-Betweens

Sir Menzies has stood down. Well tried. Not good enough. Next....

Let's hope that their leadership election is as much fun as the last one. My advice to all candidates is as follows: If you know that you like rent boys to shit in your mouth, or have similar perversions, and have indulged them recently, you might save yourself embarassment by not running. Likewise, if for example, you ran against a well known poofter like (and I'm picking names out of thin air here) Peter Tatchell on the not gay ticket as "the straight choice", it may (ahem) career limiting to come out as a pillow-biter during a campaign, especially if you've denied rumours to that extent explicitly.

I hope the "Liberal" "Democrats", who are normally ignored as entirely irrelevant, enjoy their time in the spotlight. I will too. It's lovely watching the intellectual and philosophical dishonesty of the party on display, as having spent so long being able to promise anything to anyone, are called on their mendacity. Having got used to saying whatever they think the listener wants to hear, presenting a coherent message is an anathema.

The first thing a new leader should do is change the name in the cause of honesty. They are in favour of punitive taxation, and any EU power-grab wheeze that comes along. They should thererfore be called the Socialist Eurocrats. I really hope they implode. They get far too much attention for a party polling in the low teens, with only one concrete domestic policy and that, transparently self-interested. Britsh Politics would be better without them.



More Lefty anti-Israeli Nonsense from CiF

This one is about how Tel Aviv's beautiful people don't care about Ishoos, because they are decadent and bourgeois, rather than seething and angry at the vast right-wing conspiracy by which Seth Freedman thinks the Israelis are governed. Comfortable Mediterranean cafe culture is "papering over the cracks" in the Israeli consciences, and rather dismisses the thought that use a wall to stop suicide bombers = good idea! might be an accurate reflection of Israeli attitudes. He indulges in the mating cry of the lesser spotted lefty and gets all indignant:

"Watching the complete disdain with which the public treated a serious political protest shocked me"
Given that the "serious political protest" was a group called (I'm not making this up) The Coalition of Women for Peace performing a "symbolic reaping" of the city's olive trees to symbolise the stealing of Palestinian farmer's land, I think that under the circumstances going
straight back to admiring one another's clothes and fawning over their latest partners
Seems a rather better use of one's free time than the
flyers being proffered by the hopeful protesters
Indeed I sympathise at the beautiful people's plight at having the intersection of Ben Gurion and Dizengoff obstructed by people whose idea of a good time is to go Sing the internationale with like minded soap-dodgers. Indeed if Tel Aviv's women are as beautiful as Seth Freedman says, I know who I would be paying attention to, and it ain't the ones in the loosely fitting, vaguely ethnic clothing. He goes on to find it
Alarming, because it shows how swiftly a state founded on zealousness and enthusiasm can morph into just another lackadaisical westernised country
as opposed to an undemocratic, corrupt, religiously fundamentalist theocracy with a violent persecution complex, which Mr. Freedman clearly thinks is preferable. Indeed he sees no hope in that
they're too busy with their own career and bettering their own status to care about the conflict.
I think that's evidence that the Policies, yeah, even the security wall, seem to be the ones that the Israelis want. If you can feel safe enough to be bored with politics, somebody is doing something right.



Transformers

I went to see transformers, the Movie at the IMAX.

Don't.

It is quite the worst movie I have ever sat through. It wasn't just shit, it was a chicken vindaloo, washed down with 8 pints of Guinness, cooked overnight, garnished with a midnight snack of pilchards in brine topped up with prunes in the morning and matured on a hot day's drive through France with no liquids to hand except cream soda. This movie wasn't just any shit, it was M&S shit.

The first half hour was entertaining enough, if you are 8, and can ignore the creation myth bollocks. The rest of the movie was overly long and filled with sub Ed Wood attempts at profundity which would have been laughable, had they not been so nauseating. They merely detracted from the special effects which were admittedly fantastic.

Really. It looks like fun, but you'll want to kill an American by the end of it. Two and a half hours you'll never have again.



Friday, 12 October 2007

The Union Game, IRB and the Form Book.

England face France in Paris tomorrow, in a glorious snub to the form book. Who's going to win? Naturally France start as favourites, home advantage and recent form, but they rarely have two great performances back to back. England have had one competent performance in 4 years, so it's by no means certain that les Bleus need to play like men possessed to beat their old enemy. What is certain is that The Frenchmen with single-digits on their shirts will be tougher opponents than the Australian scrum, but the team as a whole will be more fragile.

Whether this match is a fizz or a damp squib depends entirely on England. There is a swagger and a confidence in the team, which may be the missing ingredient which has seen them deliver so little and promise so much since 2003. The talismans are Sheridan, Wilkinson Robinson and Sackey. If these chaps play like they did last week (actually Jonny could kick a little better...) and strangle French ball at birth, then we can do it. If France play like they did in the second half last week, they will take some stopping. Give Gay Icon too much ball, and they could win by a country mile.

Prediction - France by 10 points, but this really is anyone's game.

Let's not forget Argentina against the Springboks. I do not think the Pumas have the strength in depth to compete with a tough springbok side, though I long to be proved wrong. The way this world cup is going it could yet be England vs. Argentina in the final...

I leave you for the weekend with a letter which occasional contributor, Travelgal is sending to the IRB in Dublin. The Dude concurs.

THE INTERNATIONAL RUGBY BOARD
Huguenot House
35-38 St Stephen's Green
Dublin 2
Ireland

Dear Sir,

I as a passionate Rugby fan wish to complain about a travesty of a decision I believe the IRB are shortly about to make regarding reducing the number of teams in the next World Cup from 20 teams down to 16 teams. In this excellent world cup in France it is these “minnow” nations that have provided the excitement, colour and good old fashioned Rugby decency to the competition. From Fiji and Georgia’s great performances; to the US Eagles making England work hard and Portugal’s try against the All Blacks, the “Minnows” have added immeasurably to this current World Cup. The two best games I saw were Georgia vs Ireland and Canada Vs Japan. These teams are the future of the Game and should not be thrown out of the next world cup if the IRB even pretends to care about the world game. To claim that these teams are being cut because the IRB doesn’t want too many walkovers is mendacious to the highest degree.

The amateur Portuguese team were greeted as heroes in when they came home, rightly so. You cannot buy that publicity for our sport.

We all know why these teams are being threatened with being thrown out; it is because New Zealand’s infrastructure is woefully inadequate to hold a competition of this size, the third largest sporting event in the world. They couldn’t cope with the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, hiring cruise ships to house the fans; what chance does New Zealand have with 20 nations' fans descending on them? New Zealand promised it would build a new stadium – they have now unilaterally re-negotiated in favour of re-developing Eden Park, the rest of the 30,000 seater stadiums being too pitiful to mention. Just because New Zealand can’t get their act together is no reason why the other nations who participate in the World Cup should have to suffer.

You as the IRB have a wider responsibility – the good of World Rugby. If New Zealand can’t hold the World cup without cutting teams then it is New Zealand who should be punished regarding their ability to deliver, not Tonga, the United States, Portugal and Namibia. Give it to a nation that has the capability to hold the World Cup; a nation with good transport infrastructure (both internal and international), stadiums that can hold more than 30,000, enough hotels; a decent time zone for everybody watching on TV – not just those in the Pacific. Japan springs to mind, Argentina and Uruguay have decent stadiums too. Worst case scenario - give it to France, Australia or another of the previous hosts. To cut these wonderful teams from the chance to play in front of tens of thousands is not what Rugby and sportsmanship is about, especially if it is only to suit the whims of a nation that told untruths to win the right to hold this fantastic competition.

Yours Aye

Jackart
Feel free to send this to the Bureaucrats who seem to delight in ruining the Glorious Union Game. Right. It's a quarter to five on a Friday and there's a Gin and Tonic with my name on it.

Have a good weekend.



Polly Toynbee: Gordon Brown is "Incompetent"

I cannot help but feel schadenfreude at this great wail of betrayal and disappointment from Polly Toynbee.

There is a stunned disorientation among Labour MPs, alarmed by both Brown's vision void and his sudden incompetence. Talk to ministers and wise old heads of Commons select committees, and they are reeling with shock. The backbenches sat through Darling's politics-free performance on Tuesday like the Animal Farm beasts gazing through the farmer's window in the final scene. Far too late they realised something awful was happening before their eyes: you could have cut their silence with a knife.
This change of heart from the pinko harridan-in-chief is all the more sweet because I've been saying it for ages. Everything the Ex-Chancellor touches turns to dust. Labours Authority and credibility is just the last of these: The public finances are a mess, something the shrivelled prune almost concedes:
The black hole at its heart was less the Institute of Fiscal Studies complaint about overborrowing
in addition to this, tax credits are a disaster, the tax system has endured a tripling of its length and complexity since 1997 putting massive compliance costs on business. His gold market timing can only be described as "shit" and he's crippled the once-solvent pensions industry. Despite the firehosing of money at public services, they are broke. This is entirely due to inflation in wage costs, but this is not the only hyperinflation. Housing costs and taxes have made Britons poorer because they are not covered by CPI and can run away unchecked. This beggaring of Britains households represents the most damning indictment of McStalin's stewardship of the economy.

Now that The Ex-Chancellor's record is finally coming under scrutiny - no-one believes that the Badger-faced sock-puppet, Darling has any say on policy - it is finally revealed that far from being a master of policy, arch manipulator of politics, he is merely lucky. Now the shit's hitting the fan, and he's got no Tony Blair shaped shield to protect him from flying ordure, he's revealed his true colours: Grasping, bullying, blinkered to the big picture, indecisive and frankly cowardly. There is no problem he will not let a minion take the rap for, there is no fight he will not shirk. He needs to go ever more urgently by the day. I cannot stand 2 years of this... Let's get an election. Soon.



Thursday, 11 October 2007

Gesture Politics

Lefties love parading their concern via meaningless gestures and resolutions which either have no effect or whose effects are entirely malign.

There is one large Muslim country which can be regarded as a functioning democracy, and a Congressional committee have possibly given it another nudge towards Islamism.Well done. That one country has just withdrawn its ambassador to the USA. So Congress may be right to call the massacre of Armenians in 1915-17 "genocide"; I certainly do not condone the Turkish government's denial of freedom of speech on the issue, but If the Americans are sitting in judgement on the Turks, who's sitting in judgement on the USA and its treatment of the Native peoples of North America? Some call it Manifest Destiny; one could call that genocide too. Highland clearances? French Huguenots? The truth is, the existing nations of the world have all survived by doing great violence to someone, somewhere in history. It sucked for the losers.

It's semantics. The past, it should not be forgotten, is a different country: they do things differently there. What is important is the culture of free investigation which can seek to learn lessons from that history, so by all means deplore the Laws Turkey has passed against describing those events as "genocide", but a pointless, provocative resolution by Congress is just grist to the extremists' mill, who are trying to drag a secular country back to the Middle Ages. It doesn't matter that it is "non-Binding". To the Democrats, this resolution is just another way to get at Bush, but at a potentially ruinous cost, to which they appear blind.



In the land of the blind,

The one-eyed man is Prime Minister

With thanks to Mark Wadsworth, who gets a link for that piece of genius.



Miss Smack

I am delighted to report one of the Blogosphere's best erotic bloggers, Miss Smack, is back. She has reneged on her decision to quit after having endured a stressful experience with identity theft, hackers threats, and so on. Whilst we political bloggers are a strange lot, I'm sure that sex bloggers attract some really scary people! They are however mining a valuable seam in the human condition, which is why we read them (that and, ahem, good honest titillation).

Hell! I'm a Tory. When caught, the Labour Party usually have their fingers in the till, Liberals, its usually boys. The Conservatives... well Miss Smack should be right up your alley.

If you do go over to the Naughty antipodean's site however, please be nice to her...



It's Your NHS...

Managers focussed on government targets to the detriment of patient care. From the healthcare commission report

Evidence from patients, staff and the trust’s own records show that patients, including those with C. difficile, were often moved between several different wards, increasing the risk of spreading infection. In some instances this was due to concerns about meeting the government’s target for waiting times for treatment in A&E wards.
What chance a "corporate manslaugter" charge against the Labour Government which has so warped priorities accross all public services, that people are now dying as a result? Make no bones, this is the same problem that sees an 8-year old with an orange plastic toy gun threatened with arrest for being in possession of an imitation firearm. The professions we pay through our (obscene) taxes no longer make any pretence at serving us. They serve our political masters, who desire only power.

This is Labour's fault.



Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Make the Ex-Chancellor eat more shit.

Sign this petition...

At PMQs (20 minutes ago) the PM said there were only 26 signatures. There are now 60...

Update: They've just made the same point on the Daily Politics, they must read AVBD!

Update 2: Now there are 1,200 signatures. It was AVBD wot won it



The Pre-Budget Report

And they have the gall to utter the phrase "the sums don't add up" referring to the most modest of Tory proposals, whilst having an entirely illiterate economic "policy".

The Ex-Chancellor's ventriloquist's dummy managed to deliver a piece of shameless economic sophistry and political opportunism, and you couldn't even see Cyclops' lips move. It has been seen as such, even by the Guardian, though not (you guessed it) by the BBC, who are still touting the "Doubling" of the inheritance tax threshold on the Today programme.

The worst thing is that during the stellar rise in the economy over the last decade, little of which can be credited to the Ex Chancellor, both tax and borrowing have increased. Now, as the economy inevitably slows, there's no more money to filch off the tax-payer, who has seen precisely no benefit from the strong economy, as a direct result of massive inflation in all the things that are not in CPI, but are in RPI. (thank you, EU). Household disposable incomes after tax and housing costs have actually fallen in real terms as a result. Borrowing must be raised still further, to the detriment of all, as this is even more inflationary. Public spending must be reined in, prompting howls of protest from the pinko simpletons of the Union movement. Expect another winter of discontent.

This pre-budget report is like putting a sticking plaster on a gunshot wound and, in a shameless attempt to hide it from the victim as he cries for its mother, offering a boiled sweet. By double counting as cuts that which could be achieved anyway, Brown has insulted the nation's intelligence: The Inheritance tax "cut" was a straight forward con. Couples already had the ability to plan to generate much the same effect. This was a shameless attempt to head off the Tories' proposals to radically raise the threshold, which proved popular, without it costing the treasury anything. What's that if it isn't spin?

The Non Domiciled levy, having been rubbished by the Labour party is now policy. After 8 days. The fastest U-turn in British Political history perhaps?

I've dealt with the changes to CGT in more detail here. But in short they decrease the attractiveness of investing in growing companies, simply to spite private equity bosses at the behest of Labours paymasters. They will increase volatility and cost of capital at a time when medium sized businesses can ill afford it. They actually represent a tax rise to middling investors and especially old people, who are capital rich and income poor, who used to pay CGT at the marginal rate. Higher rate tax payers therefore have received a nice fat tax cut. Sensible? Fair? No!

Whilst I can seethe with rage at the sheer brazenness of the stunt, I cannot match the glorious invective produced by Mr Eugenides:

These are the same people that have been fucking you up the arse for the last ten years. Now they’re offering a lemon-scented towelette for you to wipe the semen from your thighs, and they expect gratitude. Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt: you’re paying for the fucking towelette, too.
Go read the whole thing. That's an order.



New All-Black Merchandise

The Silver-fern Choker


Hat tip to Ou Grote



Tuesday, 9 October 2007

More Dangerous Criminals Exposed

Including an 8 year-old in possession of an "imitation firearm" and his sister, 6 was nearly in trouble for riding her toy car on the pavement. I wonder whether that was 2 sanction/detections towards the Tractor production target, or just the one.

Wiltshire constabulary refused to name the officer.



Up Front

My latest appearance on Up front can be seen here with the ever excellent Mike Denham I tried hard not to crow about the Ex-chancellor's indecision and I think I succeeded. We also talk about private military companies, a Disabled girl's rights, education and the constitution. Enjoy.



Ashcroft's Millions

Is there more to One Source's takeover yesterday than meets the eye?

Many Lefties will cry "foul" at allowing a rich man to bankroll a party, especially one who makes his money overseas. Is this really worse than how the pinkos secure their funding?

The Unions have a history of disrupting the country's services, Business provides them. Many unions barons hold political beliefs which are actively anti-democratic, and believe that power lies at the point of production rather than the ballot box. There's no evidence that Lord Aschcroft wishes to subvert democracy. He does not demand that the tax-payers of the country finance his political beliefs. The Labour party, on the other hand do - And it's not just state funding. They buy off their backers with public money. Your Money: The Employment relations act 2004 gave the unions £10m to "modernise" with no strings. Much of this will find its way directly into the coffers of Labour party HQ.

If one man is prepared to finance a party, and the Unions are prepared to finance another (now that the businessmen have abandoned the pinkos, and called in their loans), that means that the tax-payer doesn't have to. Lord Ascroft is open in his donations and his political beliefs. He gets little policy support for his business - he needs little. The Unions on the other hand. That's straight forward political corruption. In return for money, the Labour party removes the shackles on the most disruptive force in British industry. The most recent casualty is the Royal Mail.

What Next?



Monday, 8 October 2007

Party on....

I was watching the "daily politics" where the discussion, not unnaturally was of democratic mandates - specifically Cyclops' mandate to "change" the country or lack thereof.

One Labour politician, Tony McNulty suggested that

"we live in a Party Political System"
We do not, Tony you ignorant slug. We live in a Parliamentary democracy - parties have become formalised, but they are by no means vital to the system - the individual MPs have the mandate, not the party. The occasional independent MP or Major's reliance on the Ulster Unionists in the dog days of his administration is evidence of the ephemeral nature of the political party and its influence on the ability of an administration to achieve its goals. Rebellions by individuals still count. After all the Prime Minister is merely the Parliamentarian who can form a majority in the house of commons. That is why there is no constitutional need for an election right now.

This primacy of the Party is a misconception common on the left - DK has fisked Johann Hari on just this topic today. Parties exist because few people are sufficiently well known in their constituencies to campaign effectively - a party's manifesto is merely a shorthand for what a parliamentarian will do in parliament and has no constitutional bearing. If the voters don't like what you do or think you are dishonest, they can kick you out. Whether you stuck to the letter of a document they didn't read is neither here nor there - so long as you stick to its tone. The party is similar - there is broad overlap in policy, but in terms of direction and ideas behind their policy Labour and the Conservatives are streets apart - collectivist against individualist, State direction vs Markets, higher tax vs Lower tax and the voters know this.

So why is the left so keen on state funding of political parties? Simple: they subsume their political identity into their chosen faction with religious intensity - hence the belief that whatever Tony did to upset the Labourite, they consoled themselves with the idea that "at least he wasn't a Tory". This is the Party as the fount of Morality. It's a mental illness, and explains a lot about what's wrong with politics on the left - and explains why the most more excitable lefites take some strange idealogical bedfellows - my enemy's enemy is my friend and all that. The right, being more individualistic believes the party to be a voluntary aggregation of like-minded individuals which raises money to advance its ideas by appealing for donations on the open market. This is a more pragmatic approach to politics. The left believes that the tax-payer should be willing to finance political ideas with which he may fundamentally disagree, and forced to do so if he does not. The right, correctly, sees this as a gross intrusion into political freedom.

This lack of understanding of the unwritten constitution, and the absence of a sense of fair play which it requires amongst those who have governed us for a decade, explains the constitutional vandalism which has been wrought. The right time to have an election would have either been straight after GB took over
"Tony Blair said he'd serve a full term, If I call an election - he has"
or some time in 2009 or 10 i.e. an actual full term. The transparent abuse of the electoral clock for party political gain offends the British people because we have an innate, if subconscious respect for our organically grown way of doing things that the Labour party, which demands total idealogical subjugation from its adherents, has lost.

That's why Brown got it so wrong at the weekend, that's why he's lost his lead. However competent he may be (and that's up for dispute) he is fundamentally a creature of his Party, not a leader for the country.



New Zealand Press

Apparently it's all the fault of the Jersey sponsors. Naturally the Ref is to blame too, and the all blacks never pass forward....

So whilst the sin binning of McAlister was harsh, and the Second French try did contain 2 forward passes, I feel no sympathy for the All-blacks. Phrases including the words "Chicken", "Home" and "Roost" spring to mind.

When I saw Chabal's eyes as the French front up to the Haka, You knew this was France the World-beaters rather than Gay Porn stars who turned up to this one.



Sunday, 7 October 2007

Gordon's not the only Labour Politician Whose predictions are awry...

Tom Watson, Proppa Blogga also has bet to pay up.

Thanks to Guido and Dizzy

Update: He's coughed up. Good on you, Tom. A politician who keeps his promises.



Is this Mean?


Here's a list of some of the Ausralian Press Reaction to Saturday's Game.

It's a New World Order (Sydney Morning Herald)
Larkham and Gregan depart after World Cup defeat (ABC News, for whom this didn't warrant a front page spot, even on their main sports page)
England Causes huge boilover (Brisbane Courrier Mail)
A classic tale of Revenge (Canberra Times) They have yet to post their copy on yesterday's game.... I guess it's just too painful.

Enjoy the flight home, boys.



The Ballad of Brave Sir Gordon

Tony over at the Waendel Journal is resolutely refusing to crow. I lack the self-restraint, but then I'm not an elected politician. With apologies to Monty Python...

Bravely bold Sir Gordon rode forth from Chequers.
He was not afraid to lose, O brave Sir Gordon!
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways,
Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Gordon

He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp,
Or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken;
To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away;
And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Gordon!

His head smashed in and his heart cut out
And his liver removed and his bowels unplugged
And his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off
And his penis....
Sorry, Gordon appears to not like this minstrel's line of panegyrics and deploys the great clunking fist that he was so scared to use against his foes. Thus all but the final stanza is, alas, lost to history:
Brave Sir Gordon ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Gordon turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Gordon!

He is packing it in and packing it up
And sneaking away and buggering up
And chickening out and pissing off home,
Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge...
He has been caught playing with the constitution shamelessly for party political advantage, in a way unprecedented in history. Britain's unwritten constitution requires that the politicians play the game. Labour regard this as a weakness in the country they hate so much: they have attempted to abuse the rules in a shameless attempt to guarantee endless power to a thieving, corrupt, socialist clique of Britain-hating europhiles. Gordon's been exposed as a coward and a bully, the gloss has come off his image and the deeply tarnished reality is brought to the fore. More importantly the media narrative has changed. Gordon's authority will evaporate like the Tory's after black Wednesday, as the media cease to believe anything he says any more. I don't know how the labourites of my acquaintance are going to spin their way out of the fact that they've backed a man who can only be described as a total cunt, but I'm going to enjoy watching the attempt.

We can enjoy tearing apart a government which will lose its authority like a gunshot victim loses blood. As TNO at The Devil's Kitchen puts it, history will mark yesterday as the moment that Labour lost. They got the political mood wrong and they made the fatal mistake of underestimating their opponents, to whom some credit can be given for forcing the retreat. (Just as Australia and New Zealand did. I'm still over the moon about that!)



Saturday, 6 October 2007

Rugby

As the captain and Fly-Half (yes really!) of the fantasy blog rugby team put together by Liberty's Requiem, I thought it would be remiss of me to not mention the glorious displays from England and France today. Please be aware, when reading this that I am Blogging drunk, so bear with me. Everyone is my BESHT MATE at the moment (apart from the verminous little turd of a parking attendant. I mean, I cannot conceive of a situation where I would take that job. You may say that they are "only doing their job", but that was Eichmann's excuse. It's a cunt's job and only a cunt would do it.)

I digress.

A while ago, I posted my predictions for the world cup.

I was wrong! Argentina won their group, which means they face Scotland tomorrow. Ireland did not qualify and Wales failed to beat Fiji. And I forecast a humiliation for England. Thanks to Andy Sheridan, the human wrecking ball, I am delighted to be wrong.
I am delighted for the Pumas and I am delighted for Fiji, but seeing England play coherent rugby for the first time in 4 years was like watching four years of humiliation wash away. I've had the cheesiest grin on my phizzog ever since.

France New-Zealand happened a week early and I was right. As I said, every 4 years, someone gets their world cup ruined by Les Bleus. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of cheats, though this match lacked the fizz of 1999. So it appears that the demise of Northern Hemisphere rugby is exaggerated to say the least. Stick that in your Tri-Nations pipe and smoke it! For what it's worth, I think France will beat England (but there's hope), Argentina will beat the Scots, The Boks will beat Fiji (though I ache for another upset). My main money is on South Africa, though I have money France too. (Kerching!)

And then, as if it couldn't get any better, Amir Kahn won his fight. Lewis Hamilton's on Pole. Fucking hell, I wish Tim Henman was playing Wimbledon... Then there was this, this and this. I've got a belly full of curry and beer, Hampstead IVs won our game, England won. There's the glorious prospect of an Englisman as F1 champion tomorrow and the next government will be Conservative. For the first time in an awfully long time I can go to bed knowing everything's alright with the world.



Thursday, 4 October 2007

If you can dream and not make dreams your master...

What's cheering me up is the thought of Brown, that morose Manse-spawn fucker, brooding in his study, biting his nails to the quick knowing that he's blown it. He'll either be the shortest-serving PM ever, or a Lame duck Like Major in his second term. Couldn't happen to a nicer thief.



Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Cameron's Speech

Has he done enough?

I have deliberately not read any blogs, news or reports on the speech, so you are getting my unalloyed reaction from watching a re-run when I got home from work. It was long, detailed and understated, with no carefully scripted lame jokes - indeed his 70 minute oration was entirely unscripted, an more credible for it. That alone is impressive. Incidentally, I've seen Boris pull the same trick, and he's going to win an election too.

Cameron detailed Labour's decade of failure, the reasons for that failure and what he was going to do about it for several key areas, using themes already spelled out by other front-benchers' performances. In doing so he laid out a coherent vision of a less intrusive government, trusting professionals to see to the delivery rather than micro-managing from Whitehall. He committed to abolishing ID cards, and defending civil liberties like trial by jury. His policy to have directly elected local police chiefs is one which will go a long way to mending the relationship between Britain's politicised boys in blue and the people they are meant to serve.

He has committed to a lower taxing state, when he can. He reiterated Labour's dishonesty in failure to call a referendum on the Constitution reform treaty. Conference purred, though as I have pointed out before, the grass roots rebellion was a construct of the media hive-mind rather than rooted in any knowledge of the Conservative party, which was suffering from a temporary loss of nerve rather than a desire to defenestrate another leader. Indeed most of the problems recently can be laid at the door of the right wing commentariat, rather than the Party, which is having to fight journalists and opinionistas who should be on the Conservatives side.

That will all be put to one side, for now. The speech was good enough to shut the doubters up. I was impressed, and I think this was a sufficiently coherent performance to make Cyclops think again. More to the point my apolitical (and lovely) girlfriend was impressed too. She thought he was "lovely". I think the Tories are back in business, and as a result, there ain't gonna be a snap election.

The ex-chancellor is going to want to see the scale of the Tory's conference bounce after this assured performance. He will want to leave it longer than this weekend, which means that a November poll is unlikely. That means spring, or even longer. More than enough time to turn the polls around, because let's face it. The Ex-Chancellor is not exactly likable, nor does his record stand up to sustained scrutiny. Cameron, by comparison is likable, and the policies he laid out today do stand up.

Joel, my ton is safe. In fact I've already spent it (mentally) on a bottle of Champagne for us to share when the Tories sweep to power at the next general election, some time in 2009. The more pressing question is what to do with the proceeds from my big Lay against a 2007 election?



Playing Politics

Part 1. That tax cut.

The Tories have effectively sured up the conference by announcing a brace of cheap tax cuts - Ones the Labour party cannot say are fiscally disastrous, because they are so small. They can, and will say Inheritance tax cuts are targeted at the rich. My solution is to remove the first home from Inheritance Tax, thus removing everyone except the super-wealthy and transparently helping "Middle England" keep their family homes. There will be some resonance with this charge of elitism, but getting the Daily Hate onside easily outweighs any disadvantage. Their cut in stamp duty was likewise cheap, but politically astute. The fear of people's children being unable to afford local homes is one I came across on the doorstep time and time again. Despite the small monetary value of the cuts they were Nevertheless politically significant. It has given the party unity and belief in the tax-cutting agenda at a crucial time, and signalled the party's support for the home owner and those who aspire to be so. It has certainly played well in the press - even the BBC appears onside.

The accusations of "lurching to the right" and "dog-whistle politics" will fall flat, if (and this is a big if) the electorate decide they like the cut of the Tories' jib. These tax-cuts are popular, and insulting the bearer of good news may be taken as an insult by the people it's meant to scare into voting Labour. In short, how these policies play is a direct test of the David Cameron re-branding of the Conservative party. If the electorate still don't like us, and this is perceived as a lurch, then we're fucked.

Part 2. That Iraq trip

The ex-Chancellor attempted to overshadow David Cameron's speech to the Tory Party conference by announcing troop withdrawals from Iraq. He should, and did, go to Iraq during the recess, but the timing of the trip has backfired, spectacularly, with even the Baghdad times Independent's headline focussing on the fact that it is a political stunt, and that much of the drawdown has been announced before.

Update: Via Iain, the Army thinks he's a cunt too.

Conclusion

I think this week has done severe damage to Gordon Brown's credibility as a conviction politician. He's more likely to be seen as spinning, dissembling, and dishonest following accusations of playing politics with the Boys in a war-zone. The attempt to overshadow the Conservative conference was just too blatant. The Tories, on the other hand appear to have got the mood right. Only the polls will show the results, but I suspect that the Ex-Chancellor may back away from an early election, if charges of political opportunism stick so easily. A resurgent Tory party, having quelled a non-existent grass-roots rebellion (which in reality only existed in the minds of the Commentariat), with policies on which to fight, is a scarier adversary than the confused and directionless punch-drunk hulk of a week ago.

Of course, the other big factor in whether the one-eyed thief will go to the country is that he's a big, fat cowardy custard, lilly-livered chicken, with a yellow streak a mile wide, Bereft of guts, he flinches from the fight, hides at the first sign of trouble, and won't risk the job he's ached for for so very long. He enjoys his power over us too much to risk it.



Monday, 1 October 2007

Swing Voter

A while ago, I pointed you, dear reader to Giles' blog, Swing Voter. He's a centrish type and I am interested in what he thinks, especially as he appears to have a genuinely open mind about which party he's going to mark his X against. In his most recent post he makes the assertion that

"I'm proud of the amount of Tax I pay"
That's what we're up against people. He used to work in the city, and therefore hopefully has some understanding of economics, but it is this conflation of tax and virtue is what really pisses me off about the centre. It's just so fucking smug - not to mention idiotic.

The left are honest. They want high taxes because they want to hurt the rich. They are envious and spiteful and don't mind showing it, because it plays well with the grockles in their constituencies, who really don't care that tax is like glue in the machinery of the economy - which, being either employees of the state or unemployed, doesn't really affect them.

The centre doesn't want to upset the aspirational, but thinks that some redistribution makes society better. I agree, up to a point. Redistribution beyond a safety net to prevent absolute poverty however, means the state actively subsidises catastrophic lifestyle choices to everyone's harm. The welfare state is a disaster for its "beneficiaries" who lose aspiration and self-respect and everyone else, who pays for it. Not just because of its cost, which is vast, but because of the opportunity costs of paying people to do nothing. That's before I make the assertion that much anti social crime is because of boredom by nihilistic unemployed people.

The welfare state makes the UK absolutely poorer, but uses sophistry to sell it to the population. Income inequality as defined by academics and the Labour party is not perceived as a problem by most of the population, who assume that poverty is defined as
"not having enough to buy basics like food and clothing"
or
"having to struggle to survive each and every day"
rather than
"having a lot less than everyone else"
The report cited polled in Canada, but I would be very surprised if the numbers were wildly different in the UK - just 1.8% opted for the relative measure of poverty.I am not against public services, but Everything the state does, it does badly and expensively. The exception is the Military, but they have had 450 years of continuous warfare and they either get it right or get a sucking chest wound. Incentives, you see. The state is at once malign and incompetent because everything it does is replete with monopolistic producer interest - the incentives in the system are counter productive to good, efficient public services.

Economics is the study of incentives and the search for maximum utility with scarce resources. I have no problem with taxpayer funded services like health and education, indeed I think in health particularly, the poorest need the most and would therefore have the highest premiums in an insurance based system, which is unfair; it is the monolithic nature of the NHS that is the problem. Break it up, and let the tax-money follow the patient. I also advocate a tax-payer funded voucher system for schools. Let those with the most at stake guide the flow of money. It's called the market and it works.

Which brings us back to the original problem: Tax as a moral issue. Funding of the public services is not the problem, especially after a decade of fire-hosing money at them - this is an issue more of delivery, which is shit. This is what most centrists use as an argument for higher tax: so that there can be "investment" (don't get me started) in the public services. What high taxes are actually being used for is to pay public servants over the odds and to create a client state of welfare recipients which includes more or less anyone with a family, to Labour's electoral advantage. Is this moral?

This huge sum of money is taken off poor people at source, swilled around several hundred thousand civil servants and some of it given back to them. Is this "fairer" than raising the threshold at which you pay tax, when someone working full time on the minimum wage faces 90% marginal tax and tax as a percentage of income equalling that of the higher rate taxpayer? (because the rich pay accountants to drop their rate and the poor spend more on petrol, booze and fags as a proportion of their income) Why take it off them in the first place?

I do not think high tax is immoral - wrong, inefficient and stupid certainly but taxes' utility is a debate worth having. What I have a problem with is sophilistic argument, smugness and general cuntishness of the Blair/Brown project, in particular the dishonesty of the Gordon Brown tax regime. If you're convinced that high taxes are the way forward, vote lib-dem. The Tories will cut taxes when and if they can, because it increases utility from scarce resources, whether or not it increases revenues. But I urge you not to consider it as a moral issue.



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