Fresh from the party that brought you the ignoring of a tradition of fairness in Parliament - by appointing two Labour speakers in a row. The inherent unfairness of the boundaries so the Conservatives need a 9% lead to enjoy an overall majority; a politicised Civil Service that trots out the Zanu Labour line. You also get “Charities” funded by the government that spout government propaganda that even Goebbels would blanch at saying that voting for the Tories will result in dead babies/puppies/kittens. Oh and the Police being set upon opposition MP’s because the government doesn’t like being made to look like the fools they are. So the fact that the Labour government doesn’t even pretend to respect Parliamentary democracy now is hardly a surprise.
What isn’t another surprise is that this isn’t anything new. Labour fiddled a 50th anniversary of women getting the vote performance so the female leader of the Opposition was kept out of the picture. It seems the Labour Party only supports Female Members of Parliament when they are Labour Female Members of Parliament. The fact that the first female leader of the British opposition wasn’t welcome at an event celebrating women’s suffrage because Labour had a hissy fit is par for the course. The “Saviour of the world” tm* is merely following a long and undistinguished Labour party tradition.
On a related point…Can anyone explain why the hell this is covered by the 30 year rule? It’s hardly a bloody state secret that Labourites are chippy and petty tosspots. Anybody with half a brain knows Labour is driven by envy and spite.
* “The Saviour of the world” is Labour Trademark – all rights reserved.
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Fresh from the party that brought you the ignoring of a tradition of fairness in Parliament - by appointing two Labour speakers in a row. The inherent unfairness of the boundaries so the Conservatives need a 9% lead to enjoy an overall majority; a politicised Civil Service that trots out the Zanu Labour line. You also get “Charities” funded by the government that spout government propaganda that even Goebbels would blanch at saying that voting for the Tories will result in dead babies/puppies/kittens. Oh and the Police being set upon opposition MP’s because the government doesn’t like being made to look like the fools they are. So the fact that the Labour government doesn’t even pretend to respect Parliamentary democracy now is hardly a surprise.
Tom Watson MP has an open thread on his site where you can go and put your thoughts on Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham's plan to put Cinema-Style age ratings on internet content. Predictably, the entire comment thread on Watson's site is resolutely negative: A stupid, unworkable idea principally aimed to get a good headline in the Daily Hate. However even the Mail's readers appear to realise that this is ludicrous and unworlable.
Most offensive to my mind is Burnham's view that it isn't about "censorship" but
If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldn’t reach.Heaven forbid people could do something without a Government's say-so. It is, absolutely about censorship...
I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now. It’s true across the board in terms of content, harmful content...Just what is "Harmful" about content? The really nasty stuff is already illegal - why don't you police laws you've already got, Burnham, you totalitarian little squit? This is New Labour again, reaching for the statute book before previous laws have been made to work.
There is content that should just not be available to be viewedSays Who? You? I say again: There are already laws against child porn and the like. Enforce them before putting a meaningless age rating on sites which use earthy Anglo-Saxon to describe nasty, officious, ignorant New labour Culture Secretaries. If it is the Government, the Lord Chamberlain's department for example, then what you are proposing, Burnham, is censorship.
That is my view. Absolutely categorical. This is not a campaign against free speechYes it is; if you're proposing censorship, then it is precisely a campaign against free speech, and we don't trust you...
far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.There we are, the nebulous "public interest" which like "social justice" or "security" is used to justify the bacon slicing of our fundamental freedoms. I point you again to Tom Watson's comment thread. He's an MP, so play nicely. You never know; they might even listen for once. But it is clear that Andy Burnham is a nasty little totalitarian oik, without the first idea how to construct an argument, so feel free to go and point this out.
Monday, 29 December 2008
Good Morning and welcome to this, the Final roundup of 2008, certainly one of the shittiest years in recorded history. 2009 promises to be worse, but it's good that we've got one of the years of Gordon Brown's miserable term out the way. Just 17 months of catastrophic misrule and serial incompetence to go. The clock is ticking to the Right...
Right... let's see what the inbox brings up this week:
Harold Pinter died over Christmas with no-one in the mainstream media daring to point out that brilliant though his plays were, his politics were beyond dotty and out the other side into offensive apologia for vile dictators. Late in his life he shared the extreme left's girly crush on extreme Islam on the basis that they hated America too, so they must be alright. Like English Buildings, I prefer to remember the plays rather than the man, and while he sidesteps the politics, Perry De Haviland at Samizdata is not so squeamish, being unable to separate the man's art from his politics.
While we're on the subject of dead people, Chicken Yoghurt notes the pope's tribute to Gallileo (a bit late), and What's new Pussycat wonders who gave Karl Marx an orange...
So we move into the inevitable politics. Just in case anyone was thinking of getting into debt this Christmas, the New Labour plan to allow Bailiffs to kick your head in, is drawing fire from both Left and Right. There's a blogoshpere sweep stake going for who's going to be the first to die: A Bailiff knifed by a householder defending his home, or a householder strangled by an overenthusiastic Bailiff? My money's on a Granny, viciously kicked to the floor, by a tattooed thug inexplicably given powers of forceful entry and restraint by new Labour...
The Enemies of reason deal with the Governments dotty plan to introduce "Cinema Style" ratings for websites. Won't someone think of the Children? Naturally I think any attempt to police the web is futile and likely to catch the unaware, the ignorant and the occasional poster rather than the real baddies who will take care to cover their tracks. But while people think an opinion expressed online is more dangerous than one in a book, any policy to clamp down on extremists (for the children, naturally) will gain favourable headlines in the Daily Mail, which is the real constituency of this most evil of Governments. I think all bloggers are united in the message. Andy Burnham: Fuck off.
Environmentalists can fly, but only if you use an airship. It's official: Two Doctors say so.
Ruscombe Green thinks it's terrible some people sell guns to people fighting wars. Well people who aren't fighting wars don't need as many guns. That's nothing personal, it's just business. There's a petition to sign or something. Whilst we're on the subject of faraway lands of which we know little and care less, Scribio Ergo Sum deals with the Internet commenter talking about the Israel Palestine conflict. He uses the word 'Zionist' a lot. In a tortuous link by way of an intractable conflict, we move to Northern Ireland where Slugger O'Toole gives us a mischievous view of the old Hymn 'There is a green hill far a way without a city wall' (Free Derry?), whilst discussing Cecilia Frances Alexander, the Northern Irish Poet and Hymnodist who is also responsible for 'Once in Royal David's City'.
The slew of Wimmin's and Gender issues posts is kicked off by a bloke: Neil Robertson at Liberal Conspiracy deals with domestic violence. Penny red thinks divorce is actually good for the kiddies at Christmas (because marriage is rape, or something). The F Word thinks the Daily Mail is blaming Old lesbians for something to do with a granny farm, and doesn't like what she reads. Who'd have thunk it: a Feminist disagreeing with the Daily Mail! Stroppy blog brings up the pope's anti-gay message. Duh... he's a Catholic. Hating poofs is what they do.
Philobiblon talks about Athenais, the Sun King's official mistress, and Marie Antoinette; the powerful women of the Ancien Regime.
More topical posts include Diamond Geezer, who gave us a misanthropic list of Christmas pet hates, and a list of things to do over new year. Meanwhile Swiss Toni tells us how it is to be a Bad Santa. The Daily Maybe delivers the story of the Elfs' Christmas union meeting and Lady Bracknell bemoans the demise of Whittards of Chelsea.
People still inexplicably like Dr Who, which generated two posts in the inbox: HarpyMarx was less then whelmed by the Dr Who Christmas special; while Lib Dem Voice asks the important Question: Which Liberal Democrat MP would make a good Dr. Who? Surely Lebit Opik is the clear winner, but then what do I know. I don't wear sandals.
There is only one review of 2008: 'I like' gives us a Year in Pictures.
Right: That's it for 2008. Next week we're over at Liberal England. Nominations to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
No doubt the good readers of this blog will be less than gasted of the flabber variety with the news that 140,000 households receive welfare payments of more than £20,000 Per Annum. This is of course what most working households will have to live on and naturally this is seen as a tinsy winsy lack of an incentive to work. Especially when you get paid more to increase the indentation in your sofa whilst watching Jeremy Kyle than you earn getting off the afore mentioned DFS recliner and working. The Shadow Work and Pensions secretary Chris Grayling said “Ministers will inevitably say it is down to the disabled but it is not”. A department of Work and Pensions spokesman said “in ALMOST all cases the money includes extra support for the most severely disabled”. The Employment Minister Tony McNulty said the figures “include disability related payments”.
So who is wrong. Well firstly the Tories are incorrect because the figures are incorrect. They haven’t included the fact that Karen Matthews is in gaol and currently getting her free room and board through the Home Office rather than the Department off Work and Pensions and thus should be revised down by 1. There are also undoubtedly about 30,000 people who are so badly disabled they actually cannot work, and make Stephen Hawking look like Usain Bolt. Add in another couple of thousand who had work injuries so horrific that the Claims Direct laywer physically came in his own pants when he fielded the telephone call. We’re talking ACME Anvil falling on somebody’s head and knocking them into a blast furnace severe, not tripping up over a forklift pallet.
Secondly Labour is wrong because the figures do not include the thousands of mentally deficient who - incapable of holding down any other job - are box ticking for the state. Diversity Outreach Co-ordinators et all are mentally incapable of anything else, yet their households are earning a damn site more than £20k and so the figures should probably be revised up by an extra 100,000 or so. According to the Travelgall figures the true number of “welfare” scrounger con artists who are so good that they have got the government to hand over vast suitcases of taxpayers cash is in the region of 107,999 x £20k (Naturally it’s more as the figures say OVER £20k but I’ll give the government the benefit of the doubt) = £2,159,980,000. That should make a small dint in paying off the national debt. If we include those who with training could work the Chip Fryer at McDonalds we could save the (£30K) diversity outreach payments and pay off a further £3bn.
This Black Hole in our Public finances is starting to look up.
Friday, 26 December 2008
When you drop the price of something, people tend to consume more of it. This is called the price elasticity of demand, and it really shouldn't surprise news organisations every boxing day. I could not be less interested in the price paid by a chav for the lovely Karen Millen coat she picked up for a song in Manchester, and I wish they'd stop reporting it as 'news'.
Has anything interesting happened in the last couple of days?
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Guest post for Christmas from the Reverend Tudor.
A Very British Dude's thunder box is counting down the days, hours and minutes and seconds until Gordon Brown leaves office. As the seconds tick by it reminds me of the privilege we have living in a democracy; you've have to feel for those who don't, such as the brave citizens of Zimbabwe- ably highlighted by the most Reverend Desmond Tutu this morning- and North Korea, Russia, and Saudi Arabia to name but a few.
The problem within the UK is maintaining that democracy. Thomas Jefferson once suggested "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." transferred to British parlance it suggests smearing someone's Claret around the Palace of Westminster every time you want a democracy refresher.
I am, as is the Church, against Jefferson's violent approach; it however reminds me of an alternative form of leadership that our Lord Jesus Christ offers, so memorably recorded by Luke:
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them like wise."*
If this golden rule was the foundation to an individual's sense of responsibility to society, there would be considerably less need for the government to chisel away at the rock of liberty with blades of law and regulation for every selfish act.
So in the defence of liberty, be kind to one another over Christmas and throughout the New Year. With the stress of financial Armageddon ever present and with the debt collectors at our doors, the salvation of the individual will not be found in retail therapy but within love and kind to others.
As with charity, the responsibility for freedom starts at home, so this Christmas wash the dishes for your mother and help your dad take out the rubbish. And as you venture out to the sales on Boxing day: don't drop that litter; smile to the cashier after queuing for hours; and most importantly, lower your expectations of the quality of 75% discounted goods.
The Reverend Tudor
* We Christians can't claim all credit for this as Plato said roughly the same in Greece in the 4th century BC. And honestly most other religions say the same thing at some point; yes yes, the Muslims and the Jews too.-
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Nouriel Roubini, is someone who has credited himself with predicting the downturn. He certainly did, but he predicted 7 of the last 2 recessions too, and can be viewed as a serial bear, one for whom optimism does not come naturally.
In an interview with the FT yesterday, he laid out what he expects to see in 2009.
He does, unlike everyone in my local pub, think that we will avoid a 'depression'. There is a 1/3 chance of a Japanese style slump and that further bail-outs will be necessary. The central scenario is of a return to Growth in 2010, but that it will not feel like that to the General population until 2012 or so. He's not calling the bottom of equities - and I think he's probably right not to: The economy is too weak and there are too many potential bear traps like sovereign defaults from emerging Europe and Latin American markets to be sure. He thinks there will be another leg down. That is certainly a possibility, but given the time-frame of a return to growth in 2010, I think there certainly is the possibility that we have seen the low and that the search for yield will support the equity markets through the remainder of the recession - after all the cash returns on every other asset class are to all intents and purposes, zero.
So while I don't expect him to ever become a bull, Dr Doom uttering the phrase "Light at the end of the tunnel" even if it is heavily caveated is one of the most optimistic things I've read for a while.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
My lack of love towards the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation is well documented. Jackart likes it because he has fond memories of Radio 4 and the Blitz Broadcasts. I think it is a nest of leftie vipers who should go live in the real world, rather than spout their Communist claptrap at my expense. If I was the Tory leader and was winning the election I would tell the BBC they might as well wind up their election coverage there and then as they’ll be looking for jobs in the morning. The very first act of Parliament I would pass (the second would be a referendum on the EU constitution) would be to abolish the taxpayer funding this politicised media organisation. They could go to the EU with their caps in their hands and see if their love is requited, after all they long since stopped representing British morals and ideals.
I also don’t think much of Jonathan Ross. His jokes rely rather too heavily on bodily functions, and rather too little on a rapier like brain. Nevertheless to say Mr Ross is an Icon of Greed because the money pit that is our public broadcaster are dumb enough to pay him £18million is a bit harsh. The Radio 2 DJ Paul Gambaccini said it was a “personal insult” (presumably because he didn’t get offered the same deal) to the people of the UK. Not really mate, you see those of us who aren’t Socialists tend to have the attitude “Good for you old boy”. Of course we may criticise what you do with the money, as there’s nothing more embarrassing than a nouveau riche chav (see Wayne & Coleen Rooney’s wedding photos in Hello), but we don’t criticise your right to make it. Indeed we celebrate it, if some “entertainer” or “Sportsman” with the IQ of a squashed grapefruit makes millions then there’s hope for me too. Despite what is written in the Fuhrerbefehl posted on the Diversity & Inclusion notice board in the BBC canteen, the British people aren’t all motivated by the politics of envy.
It is almost a Shibboleth of the left, no matter what the evidence to the contrary, that people do not make decisions to have babies on the basis of welfare payments or access to state-owned housing. Indeed so central to the leftie world view is this, that to even express the idea that the welfare state has vastly increased single parenthood, and the number of large families for whom the welfare state is the sole provider, and to then make the observation that this is, on balance, a bad thing, marks one out as a right-wing extremist. The idea that teenage mothers, for example would have a child in order to qualify for a council house and thus gain benefits is so offensive, that one of the key assumptions of the incoming Labour Government's consultation on the subject in 1998, explicitly ruled this out, when deciding whether to
end child poverty make it much more profitable for scum, labour voters the welfare dependent to procreate.
The left is wrong, of course, at least according the Institute for Fiscal Studies who found that giving people more money to have children caused them to... um... have more children. 'Moral Hazzard' is not just a problem in banking regulation, and in fact probably represents the single biggest reason for the failure of the Welfare State to improve peoples' lives. In 1998, the Labour Government started to increase child benefits paid to the mother, and thereby presided over a vast increase in fertility amongst those for whom this was the principal source of income - as a direct result of their polices when they came into power in 1997. Well Duh...
Expect a crime-wave starting in 5 years, which will be blamed on Tory social policies hurting the poor, and will (according to left-wing mythologists) have nothing to do with a huge increase in the number of feral 17-year-olds.
This is not about abortion, but altering the number of children born for reasons other than family love is the central hypothesis the Authors of Freakonomics make for the causal relationship between legalised abortion in the late 1970s and subsequent falling crime rates in the late 1980s. If increasing child benefits increases the number of children born to problematic sections of the community, and this is correlated to an increase in crime 17 years later, this would seem to support Levitt, Dubner and Donahue's hypothesis. A reverse experiment is being conducted unwittingly by the Government of the UK which should settle the debate in a few years' time.
Monday, 22 December 2008
One of the more disturbing elements of New Labour's savage assault on the otherwise law-abiding is the massive increase in the number of people whom we are expected to obey under threat of administrative retribution, backed by the full violence of Law. To the Police, Labour have added diet Police, Council Officials, Wheel Clampers, Parking attendants, Security guards, bouncers, anyone in a high-viz vest and finally bailiffs.
Now anyone who has a business relationship with anyone who demands you sign up to a contract has discovered that unless you give your bank account details on demand to the call-centre jockey, then the bailiffs will be round for your telly before you can dispute whether or not you do, in fact, owe them anything. In my case, I discovered that Television X rigorously defend their 12-month contract. If I can teach you anything today, under no circumstances be tempted to press the red button. The content does not improve after encryption.But it is not just soft porn: I have friends who've received visits as a result of long-forgotten Gym memberships and Mobile Phone contracts. Now that will teach us to open our mail, but that's difficult if it's going to a previous address. Of course the ability a householder has to tell bailiffs to bugger off so that the legal status can be clarified, addresses updated and debts paid off, is an enormous protection against abuse. But I have sympathy too for the people who are the "legitimate" victims of this industry - who do owe money and cannot pay - because they are some of the most desperate in society. Labour is now delivering them another kick to the bollocks, and just as the economy goes over the cliff.
Labour has seen fit to give this disgusting industry of Certificated and Non-Certificated Bailiffs, populated by some of the most unscrupulous people legally employed anywhere in the UK (though I'm sure there is a reputable end, I've yet to see it) the power to use "reasonable force" to gain entry into people's homes. They will be allowed to "restrain" householders and break in to people's homes but only when the occupier is "suspected" of being inside.
It does not take the clairvoyance of Nostrodamus to see the future.
The first dead Granny, smashed to the floor by a tattooed thug because she forgot to pay her phone bill, or something will be on the concience of Jacqui Smith, Jack Straw and whichever nasty little troglodyte in the Dept. of Justice dreamed this vicious wheeze up. Of course young fit and healthy men will be beaten to the floor, injured, and have their homes violated, many because of oversights or genuine miscarriages of justice, but because they do not tick enough "vulnerable" boxes, no-one gives a shit. Which is why I talk about your Granny.
Labour, and anyone who has ever voted for them are beneath contempt.
Friday, 19 December 2008
I have to admit my eyes got a little misty over this story of some of the old boys waiting in the cold to salute the remains of our fallen servicemen. Obviously whilst most of our thoughts go out to the 6 brave men who have laid down their lives for Britain in the last two weeks; we must also give thanks to those who give thanks. Bravo gentlemen, you do your country a great honour. Does anybody know whether an organisation exists to honour our returning dead like the US Patriot Guard?
Our servicemen are taking proportionally higher casualties than any other nation in the Afghanistan theatre at the present time, but this isn’t a competition*. We mourn all Allied troops that gave their lives fighting an enemy that duped a mentally retarded 13 year old boy into carrying a remote detonated bomb towards westerners. And to all those who claim some sort of moral equivalence between the Taliban and the West, you are beneath contempt.
*Even though this isn’t a competition, Robert Gates the US Defence Secretary will hopefully learn to shut his mouth when he accuses the British of not pulling their weight. Whining about the fact that the US needs to send air strikes to help YOUR ALLIES more than usual is pretty pathetic when your criticised ALLIES are taking constant hits. We need air strikes because Gordon Brown won’t give British Troops the right kit and support. We need air strikes because we’re in the most dangerous province in Afghanistan - because it’s the main drugs producing area in Afghanistan (and as such worth something to the Taliban) and because Helmand is next door to the Saudi Funded brainwashing schools in Pakistan.
There is a meme going round the Libertarian Blogosphere that the Olympic games should be scrapped. That £9bn of tax-payers' money is too much and that we shouldn't have bid for it in the first place. Only on the last point do I concur (though I made a tidy packet from construction and steel shares in the immediate aftermath of the announcement).
The International Olympic Committee is only concerned with the Grandeur of the Games. "Sustainability" and "Legacy" are mere window dressing to fit in with the parsimonious zeitgeist, but in order to win, you need to promise profligate spending; magnificent iconic stadia(ums?) and facilities for sports which normally only attract the significant others of the participants, to cater for one-off crowds of thousands. This inevitably leaves cities bankrupt and left with vast white elephants.
The London Games is going to feature, for example, a purpose built shooting range which will be demolished once the games are finished, when there are glorious and historic facilities at Bisley. A New mega-stadium will be built in East London then partially torn down and a new boating lake will be dug despite there being excellent facilities elsewhere. And London's bid is considered efficient! Naturally none of the Private sector investment promised is going to materialise, so the Taxpayer must foot the bill for the Quadrennial drug cheats' Gymkhana.
The Olympic games has become a corporate beast, a dictators' shop window, a vulgar parade of corruption and money sullying the Corinthian ideal. China's games allowed the communist regime to clear slums, keep unsightly peasants from the cities and stage manage a PR coup. On the plus side, the Regime was forced to allow protests and opened up the Great firewall of China for a few months, but it has subsequently slammed shut.
But I do not think we should Scrap the games.
£9,000,000,000 is the kind of money Governments lose down the back of the sofa. And the damage to Britain's reputation and prestige will hurt Britain and British business to a far greater tune if the Games were cancelled. Britain gets a reputation for failure to deliver? - no thanks! It's not as if that money would be returned to Taxpayers, is it? It might mean a few fewer diversity outreach co-ordinators are employed at the taxpayers expence. It might mean a slightly higher national debt for a few years. So like it or not, the Olympics are coming to London and the best thing we can all do is tighten our belts and put on a good show.
If we can do so at reasonable cost, that would be one good example for subsequent bids to follow.
I'm not sure I understand the Government's position:
By demanding the banks maintain a 10% tier 1 Capital adequacy (as opposed to the 5-7% which was normal 18 months ago) they are saying 'you must cut your loan-book'
Now there has been a massive injection of cash, but this has merely offset the collapse in the value of the assets against which loans were made, and replaced the money which has gone in "bad debt provision" as loans failed to be repaid. So either you want banks to rebuild their balance sheets OR you want them to lend to "hard-working families and businesses" You can't have it both ways.
Of course what this massive cut in the lending capacity of the banks represents is a massive cut in the amount of money in circulation, which the Governments are rightly re-printing, in part by by acting as a lender of last resort, as is their proper function. But in asking the banks to maintain the 2007 levels of lending, are they not asking the banks to reflate a bubble?
But - now the immediate problem has been solved my suspicion is that Governments around the world, who are by no means immune from blame for the root causes of the credit crunch, have found a scapegoat for the recession and inevitable unemployment even more unpopular than politicians:
Jews bankers. All those loans - nothing to do with irresponsible borrowing. It's all the evil bankers fault for making those tempting loans available. Businesses going bust - all the fault of evil foreclosing bankers. Repossessions - nothing to do with the liar's mortgage you took out, its the bankers' fault for letting you.
The people of the developed world, eager to be let off the hook for their own recklessness and greed are delighted that someone else can be found guilty, and in doing so are letting Governments who did so much to fuel this boom (in the UK in particular by ignoring property inflation during the boom, keeping interest rates too low) off the hook.
But if we're honest, we're all to blame.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
I have to admit that I find myself in a difficult position regarding the Church. For instance when Dr John Sentamu criticised Zimbabwe I cheered to the rafters, ditto when he did a Parachute Jump for injured servicemen. At the same time when you get a priest opening his gob on Israel or the Economy I cringe…
Rowan Williams – the Archbishop of Canterbury has said the following… the credit crunch was a “reality check”, the financial sector had been carried away by “sheer intellectual excitement” and should apologise, and "accepted the message that it's possible to have an endless spiral of accumulating wealth that has nothing to do with producing anything".
So the Archbishop is saying “the Reality Check” is punishment for wanting a better life for you and your family. The financial sector should apologise for attempting to be better than one of the dead end fuckwits who work for the state ticking boxes and sucking the taxpayers teat. That they should apologise for providing the taxes that paid for all those Nurses you want to canonize. And all those charities in the voluntary sector that will go bust due to those city folk running out of money is another one of those “Reality checks”. And in case you haven’t been following the news recently, finance does produce something – it produces liquidity, the ability to use assets efficiently. It produces the ability to own your own home and to borrow money so your company can grow. Sure if you’re French and consider Yogurt a strategic industry then it makes sense to make stuff. Anglo-Saxons worked out ages ago that you make money from ideas, not manufacture; as those in Bangladesh stitching trainers on 10p per day can attest.
"I think there are some huge moral lessons to be learnt about the nature of accumulating wealth...a lot of people are waiting to hear an acknowledgement of some responsibility for irresponsible behaviour." The moral lesson of the credit crunch is that banks shouldn’t lend money to poor people - because they don’t pay it back. They should stick to lending it to rich people who are good risks, so screw a poor person who has a dream and a belief that through hard work he can set up a business for himself and his family. Is that what you meant Archbishop, or shall we assume you stuck to your Theology and didn’t minor in Economics 101 whilst at University?
In Conclusion CofE…talking about somebody that murders his own people – Good.
Talking shite on Economics – save it till the second coming.
"It's really not for us. I mean I don't know if the British feel qualified to impose that on the people of Zimbabwe, but we feel that we should support and take our cue from what they [Zimbabweans] want,"
Errr, they did speak, they wanted Idi Mugabe thrown out on his arse, hence the fact that the MDC have a majority in Parliament. Now they can’t speak because they’re starving, riddled with Cholera and have the boots of Mugabe’s security police on their throats. Why not take your cue from that President Motlanthe?
And why does Britain feel qualified to speak on this issue. The same reason why Archbishop Desmond Tutu opens his mouth, or the presidents of Kenya, Botswana, France, the US and Zambia - we feel that it’s a moral duty to stop people dying under dictatorship. We may not always agree with Desmond on the best way about it, but both we British, Desmond Tutu et all comment because we’re better than you President Motlanthe. To cut a long story short - we have some morals.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Dear Strasbourg/Brussles (wherever the hell you are this week)
Thank you very much for caring enough about my health that you banned me from working as long as I choose. Honestly I don’t know what I would do without you. Only last week I was pulling a 169 hour week and was wondering why I was nodding off at my desk. Thank you so much MEP’s, once again you knew better than me how I should live my own life. Would one of you fancy coming round to my place as I’m having trouble boiling an egg too.
Just one small question, we’re in a deep recession - people loosing their jobs and homes you know. Could you explain how doing less fucking work will help the economy out of the mess it currently finds itself in? By your union logic, working less means that I am more productive. So that means for the 7 hours I am in bed asleep or scratching my nuts I am at my most efficient. By extending that logic the graveyards of Europe are the singularly most productive sectors in the economic cycle. Do you want me to wonder down there with my shovel now (provided of course it’s within my allotted 48 hours)?
Yours with deepest respects
Is there a more over-rated person in the City than Nicola Horlick? I always suspected that her "superwoman" status was mere PR and blairite politically correct wishful thinking whose status merely captured the zeitgeist during New Labour's pomp.
As a really successful investor said "it's only when the tide goes out, you discover who's been swimming naked".
Now it turns out that she had 10% of her assets with Bernie Madoff, despite there being concerns raised that there was "no single factor driving the returns" of his fund in 2005 and concerns circulating as early as 1999. Whilst she claimed to undertake "thorough due diligence" she is now reduced to whigeing about SEC incompetence. She too, like a good blairite, thinks there is no problem that more regulation cannot solve. Like new labour, none of whose ministers have ever fallen on their sword, she refuses to take personal responsibility for her very real failures.
I don't usually delight in people's failures, but the fall of poster-girl of the mid 90's PC bullshit seems to be something worth celebrating.
"A weak currency is the sign of a weak economy, which is the sign of a weak government"Gordon Brown, 1995
Care to comment on why Sterling is nearly at parity with the Euro then Gordon? 1.0888 and falling. Yet another sign that whilst the UK electorate are still buying what you’re shovelling, the rest of the world isn’t.
China has decided to put controls back on the internet after the Olympic games. As AP reports it has said it has the right to block Web sites it says breaks its laws. And by breaking laws it means anything to do with Tibet or Taiwan. It has also arrested two people for throwing eggs at the national flag. What the Chinese government doesn’t realise is that the greatness of a country isn’t derived by waving flags, or its economic power; but by the Patriotism of its people knowing that it will behave with dignity and a willingness to defend the rights of its own people and others. The country's legislature providing help without patronising laws, rules or oppression. It's what the Americans have in spades, it's what we had before Gordon Brown and his 42 day detention, EU constitution, arresting opposition MPs and politicising previously neutral bodies.
This is the start off a deeper malaise in China. The fact that it has a two tier people, those that work in towns and those in the countryside will exacerbate this problem. The country folk are poor with no rights, the city folk are better off with no rights. Unfortunately the better off will have to suffer the fact that the US and EU aren’t buying DVD recorders and the loss of jobs that go with that. Can China deal with a very upset farming class and a shortly to be poor middle class that has kept the CCP in power by acquiescence? The CCP has the advantage that the Chinese army owes its loyalty to the party, rather than the people of China so it can crush revolts. But could it live with the loss of Prestige another Tiananmen Square massacre?
Because believe me the one thing China craves above all others is Prestige. The main thing the Olympics delivered to China was a balm to their Superiority/Inferiority complex. A nation that considered itself the Middle Kingdom and expected foreigners to grovel before it, yet suffered the humiliation of defeats to foreign powers during the Opium and Boxer wars. The Olympics showed to the people of China that they had made it in the world. The fact that other countries people think no more or no less of China now than they did 10 or 20 years ago is irrelevant to them. Yet the greatest enemy China faces, as demonstrated by the Ming Dynasty conquest by the Taiping Rebellion, Opium wars, Boxer Rebellion, Civil War, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution et all is itself. The greatest threat to China is China; and it will continue to be so until its entire people have rights and freedoms.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
The Heresiarch is on fine form, explaining why Labour Home Secretaries are so illiberal
It is possible to be both a liberal and an authoritarian - and in quite contradictory ways.[David] Davis (like many instinctive Tories) is a liberal authoritarian: that is, he believes that society is generally self-policing, and is best regulated by families and communities; and that the role of the police and the courts is to come down hard on criminals, as far as possible leaving law-abiding people alone. New Labour ministers tend to be authoritarian liberals: their vision of society is one of generally incompetent and unevolved people who need to be coralled, controlled and told what to do in order to produce a re-engineered society that more closely resembles their ideal. Which is currently that of a tolerant egalitarian wonderland in which diversity of appearance is matched to a uniformity of behaviour and even thought. Right-wing authoritarians want to be tough on criminals; left-wing authoritarians want to be tough on everyone.Go read the whole thing.
I've been waiting for a while now, but have yet to see plod breaking into Jacqui Smith's Home and place of work for the leaking of the Knife Crime statistics. Obviously they aren't taking this one as seriously as Damian Green MP. As Bernard Wooley said in Yes Minister regarding the leaking of confidential information..." That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act".
Monday, 15 December 2008
Bernard Madoff, pioneer of electronic trading and general all-round Wall-St. big wig is being erroneously described as running a hedge fund, which went belly-up. He wasn't. Hedge funds rarely hold client assets - this is a business the investment banks, those that remain, specialise in. So this wasn't a hedge-fund collapse like LTCM, but a straight forward fraud. It was a simple, old school Ponzi scheme.
The "fund" attempted to pay 10% to investors per anum without having to, you know, get involved in all that messy 'business' stuff. The returns were paid out from the capital of new entrants, lured in by Madoff's reputation and track record of delivering such sterling returns. It doesn't take the brains of an Archbishop to see that eventually the newcomers would not deliver sufficient cash to pay this interest, leaving the fund with nothing - the ultimate collapse was the wave of credit-crunch induced redemptions which totalled $7bn.
The fund was audited in 2005, and found to have "no factor which was driving the returns". The Regulator, nevertheless only focussed on the broker dealer business (which appears to be above board) and failed to check the statements of the fund. The regulator was looking in the wrong place, checking the boxes were ticked in the broker dealer business, ignoring the accounts of a fund holding client assets despite there being concerns raised earlier. In this it bears stiking resemblance to another public-sector failure which has been in the news recently.
What Madoff was doing was illegal under existing law. The regulators didn't spot it because they're not as bright as people undertaking the fraud, and they trusted a big-name. The regulators, blinded by process didn't spot it. What evidence is there that clients of hedge funds would be better served by a box-ticking regulator manned by failed bankers enforcing ill-thought out rules than by the workings of a market which has not seen a major hedge-fund collapse during this crisis? The Hedge-fund industry is regulated mainly by the fact that the average hedge fund contains 50% of the manager's net worth. I find this more compelling than the incompetent pond-life who man the SEC and FSA, who should be tarred and feathered until they can enforce existing regulations adequately before asking for even more power.
Of course public-sector pensions everywhere (outside Norway) are a big Ponzi scheme. I'm looking forward to that one blowing up too. Maybe it will take the big, overweening state with it.
Fresh from accusing Britain of creating the Cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, a “Comical Ali” spokesman of the ZanuPF party - Patrick Chinamasa - is accusing Botswana of providing bases for MDC “rebels”. If only! With the Army unpaid and the country in total collapse it would take a disciplined fighting force a few weeks to kick down the rotten edifice that is the ZanuPF regime. But unfortunately for the people of Zimbabwe, I don’t believe any of their neighbours have the balls to get rid of Mugabe in the same way that Tanzania got rid of Idi Amin. Even Botswana, who along with Zambia is the only nation in the region that can hold their head up high and be counted as true friends of Democracy. Zimbabwe will continue to export suffering to its neighbours whilst they continue to do nothing.
This accusation is a smokescreen to hide the fact that Mugabe has kidnapped another opponent of his loathsome regime – Jestina Mukoko. It also gives them an excuse to go after the peaceful MDC.
President Bush in dodging the shoes flung by an Iraqi reporter showed the difference between Iraq now and 8 years ago. The reporter was working for a TV station that supports the few terrorists that are still able to operate. I guarantee that had he thrown his shoes at Saddam he would have got a far less pleasant reaction than an interview without Coffee he is currently having with the local police. I don’t agree with everything George Bush has done, but he acted with dignity and levity on this occasion. Toby Harnden has an attached You Tube of his welcome by US forces in Iraq. I wonder whether our Prime Minister would get the same welcome from our lads on the front line… somehow I doubt it. As Guido reports, and I know from my service in HM Armed Forces - Brown is as welcome as a Bacon sandwich at a Bah Mitzvah.
It seems that Rickrolling has become the number one hated pastime on the Interweb. The Urlies – the internet awards have been given out and Rick Astley has claimed the “Make It stop” award for the thing people would most like to see removed from the web for good. I have to admit I have a soft spot for it. It is harmless and kind of funny.
Rickrolling does some public good too. It has been used to attack the Luvvies favourite religion – the Church of Scientology who believe (after paying a couple of hundred thousand dollars to attain the requisite knowledge) that DC-8’s transported billions of frozen slaves to earth, stacked them around Volcanoes and then Atom bombed them. Their annoyed little alien souls inhabit your body, luckily you can pay the Church of Scientology to get rid of the little bastards.
If you want to see the great man in action… find his video here.
They also came up with 20 Bloggers we want to see in Bikinis here
Friday, 12 December 2008
Would you still read this Blog were it called "A Very German Dude"? I've been to Germany several times. The people are charming and polite, even the police and railway officials. The towns are clean and pretty the roads are smooth and the countryside is beautiful. Even the Girls there enjoy strategy board games - yes - the pretty ones too. It really could be a very pleasant place to live.
Wie komme ich auf besten zum bahnhof bitte?
Flash Gordon announced that now he had "saved the world" he was going to give economics lessons to everyone and also pronounce himself lord Protector, dictator for life, King of Scotland, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas, saviour of the World in General, and Britain in particular, the Germans jumped into the debate, putting the lie to the ex-prudent one's assertion that "the whole world is following his example" and pointed out that "In Germany we're running a budget surplus". Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, a man who actually is prudent with German tax-payers' money, described Brown's huge borrowing binge as "reckless".
The New Labour attack machine went into overdrive they said. "It's all about internal tensions in the German ruling grand coalition" they claimed. "The whole world is following our grand master plan to spend all the money 'till it's all gone and there's nothing left except the nuggets you may be able to dig out of the sofa, thus paving the way for the whole world to embrace socialism and the coming of the new man".
Herr Kampeter, The CDU spokesman replied, saying "No it isn't, you incompetent mentalist" (I think it might have gained a bit of venom in translation. My German isn't that good). "Fuck off" he added for good measure. Now all the Germans need to do is give their people a vote on whether they want the Deutschmark back, and you can start calling me Herr Dude.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
I had a discussion with two card-carrying members of the Labour party last night. For them here is a simple cut-out-and-keep guide to Gordon Brown's idiocy.
The Labour party inherited public finances in great shape, albeit improving after a recession. The Budget was balanced and by 1997, and the trajectory was clear. By following the Conservative party spending plans, by 2000, debt as a proportion of GDP at 30%, was as low as it had been at any time since before the first world war and comparable to that just before the 1990s' recession. The year 2000 was Brown's year zero. The Conservative Party, had succeeded in paying off this country's debts following two huge wars, and a subsequent disastrous flirtation with socialism in the 20th century, and the country had gone from being a basket case of Union trouble and low productivity, to a European economic powerhouse and the fourth largest economy in the world.
Even before Brown abandoned Conservative spending plans, he started raising taxation, hurting at first pensioners but eventually getting everybody. Tax-take as a proportion of GDP has risen steadily from 33% of GDP or so to over 40% of GDP. This represents the greatest rise in peace-time taxation in British history, and took Britain from a relatively low-tax economy up to the European average in under a decade. During this time, the UK's GDP has been overtaken by France and Probably Italy too, as most of the new jobs in the economy are in the non-productive sector. Now you may argue that these are 'stealth taxes' and are relatively painless, but all tax is income tax and high taxes lead to slow economic growth.
This rise in taxation happened during a time when the Government's revenues were rising naturally due to a rapidly growing economy - the longest period of sustained growth in history. Because of this, Gordon Brown thought he had "abolished boom and bust". I know this because he kept telling us he thought he had. And if you think that was just politics, then look at what he actually did: he spent all that extra tax revenue and more, signalling that he thought the good times would go on, and on, and on. That is during the boom, he spent more than he took in in taxes. This is called deficit spending.
Most economists are comfortable with deficit spending during a recession: that is what the Conservative administration did whilst repairing the mess Labour left after the 1970s, but got the budget in surplus from the late 80s. The fiscal Deficit returned during the 90's recession but was improving by the middle of the decade. Deficit spending occurs because taxes fall during a recession and unemployment rises. These are called the "automatic stabilizers". They help smooth the economic cycle for the people living through it. There are other things Government can do during a recession. Capital spending on infrastructure for example to use the slack capacity in the construction sector and prepare for coming investment. This is not what is being proposed by Gordon. His plan to build a few new council homes can only be described as niggardly.
The theory is that if you run a budget surplus when the times are good, you can borrow a bit during the recession. This is the basis of Brown's 'Golden Rule' (remember that?). But what happens when you go into a recession (and a big one) with yourself already spending more than you take, as Gordon Brown has done? Well the deficit, instead of being a manageable 3% of GDP, as demanded of the economies of the Euro zone instead balloons to 8% - that is you are borrowing 8% of GDP a year (and this under the laughably optimistic forecasts from Darling). Under these circumstances the Government, instead of spending on capital projects, is cutting capital projects or merely restating projects already announced, to keep headlines in favour whilst trying desperately to limit the overdraft. It is Gordon Brown who is advocating doing nothing, not the Conservatives.
The sad thing about this is that it was all so predictable. Recessions happen every 7-12 years. We were 15 years of growth and it doesn't take the brains of an
Chancellor of the Exchequer Archbishop to see that one was overdue. Gordon didn't see this coming, it appeared because he actually thought he had abolished boom and bust.
The other side of this is tax. If you maintain a lowish tax economy, you retain the option of raising taxes if the Government's deficit gets out of control. I refer you to Paragraph 3. So when you ask a Conservative "what would you do?" he has every right to answer "well, I wouldn't have started from here". A Conservative administration would have had the budget in balance or surplus during the 15 years of uninterrupted economic growth which Brown enjoyed. Now we're where we are, and the conservative solution is to make the public sector share the private sector's pain - cut spending. I've found some cuts here, and there is vastly more waste to be cut after a decade of the total absence of budget restraint across much of the public sector. Are you seriously telling me you couldn't fire one in ten local council busybodies currently abusing RIPA to snoop on people's bins or check that their Girlfriend wasn't spending too many nights at his flat, or enforce school catchment areas? What about 20% of the paper-shufflers in Whitehall. What about simplifying the tax regime and losing some of the drones in HM R&C. How about scrapping the Dept. of Trade and Industry? How about streamlining the foreign office and merging it with DfID? You could save billions without firing a single nurse, doctor, teacher, soldier or pig. By removing pointless bureaucracy, you could get more out of each Nurse etc...
The Labour party parasite will retort with allegations of prior underfunding. To which I retort Gordon has taken the money - all of it - and spent even more, and he may have made life more comfortable for those working in Schools 'n Hospitals, but services haven't improved much for the customers. I want an Aston Martin and a set of Matching Luggage from Swaine Adeney & Brigg. But I can't afford them, so I don't have them. Gordon has bought luxury for his client state, without offering anything to those who pay for it, and borrowed against everyone's wages to do so. The country simply cannot afford to employ diversity outreach coordinators and bin snoopers. To suggest that maybe cutting back on some of the more egregious job-creation schemes in Government would result in a "cut" in vital public services is disingenuous.
So what has this profligacy bought us? The NHS is still shit. State 'educated' children are not "educated" in any meaningful way (they're trained to pass ever easier tests and in many cases, not even that) I know. I see CVs every day and I can tell private from state education with some accuracy before I check the school. A university education is now a thoroughly debased currency. Does anyone think that council services have improved? Bi-weekly bin collections anyone? Potholed roads are still killing cyclists. The less said about children's services the better: social services continue to fail to spot abuse, and perpetrate almost the same abuse when children are taken into what is laughably called "care". Then there's Labour's towering achievement, Sure Start, which everyone in the Labour party assures me is doing wonders for the feral brats of the underclass. I've yet to see the data, though it is being promised... [UPDATE Commenter 'Just trying to help' has the promised study. I'm not sure Sure Start is worth the Billions spent, but perhaps it's not totally useless. As the principle tangible achievement of the New Labour regime, it remains weak]
Government services are shit because they are people spending other peoples money on other people. There is no incentive at all to deliver either quality or efficiency. They could swallow as much tax as you wanted to take, and they would still be shit. At least the over-taxed people of this land are finally seeing this fundamental truth. Gordon Brown's Labour party has tested to destruction the idea that it would all be OK if we spent a bit more.
No. What this profligacy has bought us is and extra quarter of a million civil servants. An army of compliance, diversity and awareness officials in local government. Millions of extra people employed by the state to box tick, intrude and generally hassle the people of this country. For almost all the extra jobs Gordon keeps boasting about are in the public sector, and the vast majority are not 'front line services' the Government boasts about - it's not the sainted 'nurses, teachers 'n policemen'. They're bureaucrats. That's not a healthy economy, it's creeping Sovietisation. That extra tax has not made life better, instead it has directly contributed to making it worse.
So in conclusion, this Government has squandered its inheritance on what it sees as "good work" but is in fact largely futile attempts to control people's lives, and put those who would otherwise be unemployed into state-sponsored non-jobs who justify their often extremely generous salaries by interfering in peoples' lives. In attempting to modify behaviour, the bureaucrat causes stress. In causing stress, they make people miserable. Britain, never full of joyful people at the best of times, is now more miserable and feeling overtaxed, over governed and joyless than I can remember. To do great evil, you need a bureaucracy. That's Labour's legacy, It's the sheer tawdriness of the vision, matched only by the incompetence in delivery, and is really just the same drab municipal socialism which takes its vocabulary from sociology text books rather than Marx 'n Engels, which makes this government live up to the description of the apparatchik of another viciously authoritarian regime, the banality of evil.
The Labour Government's economic policies have not therefore just led us into a recession ill prepared and broke, that's mere incompetence: they've created a viciously authoritarian bureaucracy bent on control; and done so, it appears, merely to massage unemployment statistics and create a client state solely for the Labour party's electoral advantage. 'Evil' is not too strong a word.
Enjoy the entire series: VI, V, IV, III, II, I
You are a Dumpkoff of ze highest order. My Dachshund is smarter than you. You are borrowing money like, vell, I do not know vhen you borrowed more money. Perhabs you borrowed a tinzy vinzy bit more vhen ze Kriegsmarine were sending your ships to ze bottom. You spend money you do not have…Zis Ve Tried during the Weimar Republic and our Kinder were making kites out of banknotes as ze rezultz. My morgen plate of Bratwurst and Pumpernickel is smarter than you Herr Brown. Mein Gott, how did ve looze ze fucking war when idiots like you were in charge of the Government of Ze Queen of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha.
He also said
“The speed at which proposals are put together under pressure that don't even pass an economic test is breathtaking and depressing,". And "The switch from decades of supply-side politics all the way to a crass Keynesianism is breathtaking." And "Our British friends are now cutting their value added (sales) tax," he said. "We have no idea how much of that stores will pass on to customers ... All this will do is raise Britain's debt to a level that will take a whole generation to work off.".
Now he has stated what a Very British Dude has been saying for years, this government has no bloody idea. So that Peer Steinbruck is obviously a smart chap, I have now found another reason to love the Germans to add to my admiration of Heidi Klum and the kitsch 80’s tune 99 Luftballons. He’s Right, Gordon Brown is a retard.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Over at the Devils Kitchen, The Filthy Smoker shows us how the Government abuses so-called charities in order to justify its Nanny state. Can anyone remember such ... Corruption? Waste?... as the level to which groups like Action on Smoking and Health are funded when the Conservatives were in power? Such "charities'" real purpose is revealed without too much digging: to provide a helpful, but inevitably favourable opinion which can be presented to a pliant media as "independent" in support of Government policy. As the filthy smoker points out
ASH - one of the most powerful charities in the UK - made eleven grand. If they were left to fend for themselves they wouldn't have the money to rent an office. They would be hard pushed to send out a solitary press release, let alone change the law of the fucking land every five minutes There are hundreds of "charities" like ASH whose job it is to "campaign" for something about which the Government has already decided. They serve to persuade the populace that there is "widespread public concern" about the issue in question, when there isn't. They provide helpful media quotes to support the Government in the "Public Debate" and when the law is passed, they are there to complain that the "law doesn't go far enough" either on the grounds that we have "not caught up with our partners in Europe" or, if the British law is already draconian even by EU standards, demand that Britain "show leadership" on the issue, usually by banning it (or making it compulsory - depending on what "it" is).
"Charities" like ASH are not charities as understood by most people because they receive no charitable donations from people or companies. They are entirely funded by Government; they are Quangoes. Did the Tories waste government money on what is effectively party propaganda when in power? Not to the same extent certainly and I would be interested in examples** where they did.
ASH is by no means alone. Let's look at some more shall we? We know the Government don't like you to have a drink: Alcohol Concern, the people "making sense on Alcohol" but who in fact simply toe the Government line by describing alcohol advertising as "Contentious" (not to me) and who describe "Mounting alcohol-fuelled crime" as "one of the most serious social concerns today" raised £696,002 in 2006/7 of which £674,002 or 97% was either directly or indirectly from Government (the £147,665 they raised from "Consultancy" for example was by their own admission entirely from the public sector). The tiny sums raised from individual donors indicates just how serious the "social concern" is about "alcohol fuelled crime".
Most egregious, though is the field of Drug policy: If you support prohibition, you get on the Gravy-train. If not, you don't. There won't be any Government grants for the Dude then...
Drugscope, for example are the people who popped up in the media to laud Gordon Brown's decision to reclassify cannabis a "Class B" drug and whose website describes them as "UK's leading independent centre of expertise on drugs and the national membership organisation for the drug field" whose aim is "policy development and reduce drug-related harms - to individuals, families and communities", but which in reality means calling for more, tougher laws. It too gets substantially all its £751,006 (excluding income from the sale of property) annually from Government. I'm assuming here that the £129,240 from "sale of Publications" is mostly NHS and Local Government drop in centres buying leaflets to scatter around the place. Just 0.3% of funding comes from private donations. Compare this £2,838 from donations received by Drugscope with those received by Release, a charity which "campaigns for changes to UK drug policy to bring about a fairer and more compassionate legal framework to manage drug use in our society" and who provides expert witnesses for people on trial, Who get over £70,000 from private donations and Urm... none of its £267,157 annually from Government*. This is exactly the same level of Government funding that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance enjoys, as it too is funded entirely by private donations (but isn't a charity). Perhaps that is an indication of where "public support" actually lies on these issues.
This will be the subject of a more substantive post when I have time.
In about an hour looking through the Charity commission website, I've found over £1,000,000 of spending that could be cut immediately without any harm to "society" or "cuts" in public services. All this would mean is fewer busybodies on the radio demanding stuff be banned and less sanctimonious bumwad littering the streets outside drop in centres and doctors' surgeries, to the benefit of the world's forests. If I can do it, so can you. Go and find some examples of wasteful spending and send them to George Osbourne, so one day, he may be able to deliver a tax cut, and in doing so, make the country just a little bit freer, and less infested with puritain shits demanding that stuff be banned.
But there's more to it than Government waste. I donate to three charities: The Royal British Legion, the RNLI and The Multiple Sclerosis Society. I do so because I support what they do. I would chuck a quid into a tin in support of Cancer research, but would be less inclined now I know that some of that money goes on supporting Labour propaganda. Let's be clear about it Government support is not about Cancer research (who get £262m of their £594m or 44% from the taxpayer). As well as the worthwhile, I am forced to support charities which I have no interest in, nor do I even agree with their aims. Government should not be using tax-payers money to cajole charities to deliver publically-funded services (and yes, I know what Tory Policy is...) because hidden in the Phrase "Government support for charity" is a politically acceptable way for party-political spin-doctoring to be done at the public expence. When people think of Governmental charitable donations, they think of the Millions given to Cancer research UK, but what they get along with it is Drugscope and Alcohol Concern.
Surely there must be a threshold. If a charity cannot raise any money from the public, then Government should not support it either. Perhaps something along the lines of a policy that Government will not provide more than 50% of a charity's funding... which would enable the continued support of Big medical research charities, who rightly have no problem generating public support for their work, but would deny Government the opportunity to employ a few dozen well remunerated rent-a-gobs to provide "independent" endorsement of Labour's nanny state.
Of course there's the Argument that if you didn't take 50% of people's income in tax then there might be a bit more money left for people to support causes they feel passionately about (Heaven forbid people take personal responsibility for their society). But that is, of course an extremeist position...
*It appears to be mainly funded by the Philanthropist, George Soros.
**Think-tanks don't count as they are an acceptable part of the political landscape
It seems that the British are pulling out of Iraq, leaving behind a few of “Them” in Baghdad, a small amount of training support and a couple of “Skimmers”. Despite the lies told to get us in my view of this war is simple – the Iraqis had a murderous dictator that killed millions in charge – and now they don’t. The Iraqis had to put up with suicide bombers who are responsible for the vast majority of the deaths in Iraq (not the Americans) and thanks to some good work now they don’t. The Iraqis didn’t have the possibility to be free – now they do. And our pull out puts paid to the notion that it was only about the oil. Sure this helped - as Mugabe being still ensconced in his Presidential Palace proves. Nevertheless as P J O’Rourke says, “its much cheaper to buy oil than to steal it”, had the West wanted, they could have left the Baathist party in power and cut a deal like the French did. No matter what you think about George Bush, it wasn’t about Oil you peacenik idiots, it was about trying to create a reverse Domino effect next door to the nation that bred the ideology of taking a civilian airliner and crashing it into a building.
The West might and I do mean might have the opportunity to point to Iraq in the future and say – “finally one Middle Eastern country is a success story because it has freedom, democracy and the rule of law”. It isn’t perfect, but they are better off than you in Saudi Arabia / Iran / Somalia / Syria / Algeria etc etc because they use the talents of their entire population to make their country richer, not merely the half with testicles. They have a competition of ideas where Muslims and Christians (and whisper it – even Jews), Sunni & Shia, Male & Female challenge the accepted way of doing things to find better ways. They don’t spend their God given oil wealth on education that only teaches you to get to God quicker than he planned with the help of a suicide bomb vest. The Kurds have started the good work, it remains to be seen whether the rest of Iraq follows suit, I’m not hopeful but then that isn’t a reason to do nothing.
We’ve taken some stick for our performance in the latter stages – specifically from the US. Part of it is well founded criticism – there were periods when we were pulling our punches. Our Rules of engagement seemed to be issued by Amnesty Insufferable rather than someone who has ever worn DPM in a professional capacity. Like everything governments do – they can’t help but stick their noses into things that should be left to those on the sharp end. I think that we’ll have a top to bottom analysis of our counter insurgency methods, taking into account the excellent work done by General Petraeus. And I can pretty much tell you what it will say… The guys on the ground need to be given more freedom for independent action; we need more soldiers and the right kit - not gold plated defence projects like Eurofighter. And we need to remember that we’re fighting a war, not engaged in a tickling contest. They said it in the last war, and they'll say it in the next.
However some of the criticism by the US is not accurate. I sent a copy of Sniper one to a friend in the US for two reasons. Firstly because it’s an excellent book (probably the best book on the Squaddies view of war since “Don’t Cry for me Sergeant Major”) and I thought he’d enjoy reading it. But secondly it illustrates how little the US knew about what was going on in the South of Iraq. Two parts of the book make this point. The first was when the US was sending soft skinned re-supply convoys in the middle of the toughest battles Britain has fought since Korea. Needless to say they didn’t work too well and unfortunately resulted in the loss of our cousins lives. Secondly when a British Sniper team from “Them’s” Nautical equivalent showed up they had no idea they were going to see so much action – more than Baghdad. Now for those of you not in the Army who missed the points behind these actions – 1) Sending Soft Skinned vehicles down roads -without telling the forces in the AO - means you believe that that particular area is free from bad guys. Secondly Snipers are not Regimental assets, they are controlled much higher up, and in this sniper teams case that meant the Americans. The fact that Baghdad didn’t tell them they were going into a heavy and prolonged firefight means that the US had no idea what was going on in the South, ditto the sending of vehicles. Which is why the Americans are wrong to say we weren’t pulling our weight.
Operation Charge of the Knights in Basra was the all time low of Anglo-American co-operation in Iraq. We know that the Iraqi government upset at some of our political masters and that was part of the reason why we were not involved – hell not even told about it. I also suspect the attitude alluded to above was also some of the reason why we were kept completely in the dark. There is a portion of US headquarters who thought we were sipping cokes by the pool and then all of a sudden this problem exploded. If anything the growth of the Iranian militias in Basra was a result of a botched US State Department peace deal with Muqtada Al-Sadr which forced us back to barracks, combined with our own gutless government who was quite happy to obey this State Department edict despite what the commanders on the ground thought. As Blair changed to Brown you went from someone who was willing to spend political capital to someone who needed the Anti-war anti Blair left for his power base. Gordon Brown simply didn’t have the courage (despite the books he writes) to allow Brits to get killed in Iraq, far better to let them cower in base. As Allan Mallinson says, “There has always been Anglo-US military rivalry, but it was founded on mutual, if grudging, respect. There is evidence now of a loss of respect among US officers for our capability and commitment. This will need working at (refocusing on Afghanistan is both a challenge and an opportunity), but we must accept that our influence at campaign level is weak”.
The main reason for this lack of influence is of course due to Labour Politicians trying to grandstand on the cheap. When Maggie and John were in power the troops got what they needed, indeed defence spending went through the roof and was matching in % GDP terms the US during the Iron Lady’s tenure. Now it most certainly is not, and the current government can be blamed for this - and the men who died because they didn’t have body armour or the correct kit. This is mostly due to Political Culture, Labour politicians only really liked a military uniform if it was on the shoulders of a Commissar in the NKVD or a John Lennon album cover. They don’t like giving money to Right wing meat eating squaddies, much preferring good Labour voting herbivore Diversity Outreach Coordinators. Considering what they had to work with, and the political problems in their way our Soldiers, Marines and airmen performed bloody miracles. And they should be patted on the back for a job well done. The Navy were big girls blouses as usual.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
There is a breed of internet poster, who takes an idea straight from the Mainstream media narrative, which more often than not comes straight from the Dark hole at the centre of New Labour, and repeats it over and over whether or not it is relevant to the thread in question. Dry cycicism is just boring whether it's the "they're all in it for themselves" or "It's just politics, It doesn't matter to me", If that's what you think, why are you reading a political blog? Cynical ennui isn't clever, nor is it funny or interesting, so bugger off.
First, and most annoying is the "Thatcher deregulated the banks, therefore Labour is not to blame for the current crisis" and variations along this theme. This is nonsense and merely demonstrates the profound ignorance of the person saying it on political history, banking regulation or economics. Banks are absurdly tightly regulated. That is why they were able to take such risks. Now they're being told by the same Government that is blaming them for lending irresponsibly to solve the crisis by umm... lending irresponsibly. No-one seems to notice that where this all started was the USA where banks were told to Ummm... lend irresponsibly or face having your branch expansion plan vetoed. It is as much down to stupid legislation and inappropriate regulation as "greedy bankers" - rhetoric aimed at which wouldn't look out of place in 1930's Germany. Labour is to blame for the current crisis by indulging in deficit spending on a massive scale with no thought to what would happen when the tax revenues dried up... "No more boom 'n bust", eh Gordon. That absurdly hubrisitc notion has led you to forecast an 8% budget deficit this year, you Twat.
Second is the "Cameron is all hot air and no substance". This is clearly bollocks - you don't get to be party leader unless there's something about you. True, he's a Tory of the 'one-Nation' tradition but there is no doubt that he has the substance to beat Brown, and offer a convincing alternative to Labour. Mike Smithson, of Political betting, himself a Liberal Democrat, reckons that the polls improve for the Conservatives in proportion to the airtime David Cameron gets. He will go about the traditional Conservative good governance, cutting Government spending without upsetting the horses too much, eventually balancing the books and thereby offering a much needed tax-cut. It is merely a measure of how eggregiously the Labour party have fucked things up that this process will probably take a decade or so, much like the last time the Labour party got into power for any length of time. In the meantime attacking the Government without giving too much away in terms of policy seems to be an emminently sensible strategy.
Third (and closely allied to the second) is the "Cameron is not a real Tory" because he won't offer tax cuts. This merely demonstrates the ignorance of the poster of basic economics. Unless you're a reserve currency, deficit spending (also known as printing money) is inflationary. It debases the currency to the detriment of everyone. Sound money - balancing spending and offering tax cuts when the finances are right - is the Tory way and always has been.
Fourth there is the "Blue Labour" rant ususally in a post along the lines of "they're all as bad as each other, that's why I'm voting BNP/UKIP/Libertarian/English Democrat" (delete accourding to bee-in-bonnet of choice). Labour used Tory rhetoric in the '90s to get Middle England to vote for them. They voted for a cuddly version of the Tory party, headed by that nice Mr. Blair. We got, however, a traditional Labour 'tax 'n spend and bugger the consequences' administration run by that one-eyed scots cunt, Brown. Now, the Labour party have been in power for a decade and they've shifted the terms of the debate, from economic sanity to nebulous issues like 'fairness'. The Tories have to appeal as best they can to an electorate schooled by Labour into thinking public spending is above reproach, whilst acknowledging that costs must be cut. It's a difficult circle to square. History however shows us that the Tory party do not run the country as spectacularly incompetently as the Labour party do. They are different, with different ideas. If you want to know whay consider what happens when the respective parties 'retreat to the core.' who's going to do better? one whose core is social workers, teachers and benefits recipients or one whose core is the small businessman, the professional and the self-employed? The Tories do not bankrupt the country when they're up against the wall.
Fifth, and this comes from the Devil's Kitchen school of right wing ranting, is the Idea that the Tories are EUphile, statist cunts too, because the don't have detailed plans to dismantle the entire of Labour's police state, nor do they advocate withdrawl from the EU. Now this is fine when it comes from the estimable DK, because he argues his points well. But to simply dismiss an argument I make here in favour of the Conservative with someone else's argument, without the courtesy of a link makes me think you're a stupid wretch without the wit or talent to develop a readership of your own. The Tories have already said they will get the biggest Labour tanks off the Lawn - ID cards, some of the Databases and the Hunting Ban. They will have more respect for the basic civil liberties because messing with Trial by Jury just doesn't occur to the average Tory. They're too traditionalist. Nor would we have an overpromoted filing clerk as Serjeant at Arms, or an illiterate oatmeal barbarian as speaker under a Tory administration. They will not be as craven as the Labour party has been, and they have unequivocally rejected the Euro.
So. To sum up. If you have something to say, say it. But if you can't think of anything orriginal or interesting to say, the repetition of cynical ennui for its own sake will get you called a 'cunt'.
Ranted by Jackart at 12/09/2008 01:14:00 p.m.
It seems people have bought Gordon Brown's case of spending diarrhoea and plan to bankrupt the country. The Labourites have closed the polls and amazingly have an advantage over the Tories in running the economy. The Party that got us into this mess are seen as the best people to get us out. This is incredible, but no reason to hit the panic buttons just yet. As this recession bites, Labours grand announcements all unravel, our debt levels kick in; and more and more business up sticks and go to a country where success is rewarded - Labour will fall.
The mistake Tories make is that they think “I’ve never met anybody who would vote labour”, echoing the famous phrase “Nixon can’t have won, no one I know voted for him”. The simple fact is that there are people who will vote for them, and not just on sink council estates where they need their next welfare fix. Not just Diversity Outreach Coordinators who know that their Non-job is less than secure under the Tories. The Tories need to continue doing this, and only put up policies when the snot gobbler has the guts to call an election. We saw what happened when the Tories come up with policies – Labour steal them but make a dogs arse with implementation.
Cameron shouldn’t sit back and wait for the inevitable fall in this administration. He needs some more effective attack dogs. And he needs to widen his political circle of friends.
Monday, 8 December 2008
It seems that the Climate Change group “Plane Stupid” have given up their protest after blocking Stansted Runway for 5 hours. They are protesting that flights are causing a heating of the earths blah, blah, blah.
Now nobody will defend people’s right to protest as much as the Libertarian Right, after all it’s what our Grandfathers travelled in aircraft for – specifically the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane and the Avro Lancaster. But I wonder why these Middle Class hippies with too much time on their hands don’t do it in the Terminal Building? Is it perhaps because they would be at the receiving end of an almighty kicking at the hands of a navvy getting a couple of well earned R&R weeks in Portugal? One very much suspects so. If they genuinely had the courage of their convictions they would face down and win over a sceptical public shivering in their winter clothing.
Chaining oneself to the runway was the cowardly way to make your point. What BAA should have done in this ever warming environment is use this hiatus in their air operations to water the greenery surrounding the runway. Whilst the protestors have every right to protest, BAA should have thought of the Planet and given some much needed liquid to all those good CO2 absorbing blades of grass. Giving the protestors a cooling shower with a hosepipe in the midst of this Tahitian heat wave would have shifted them a lot sooner than waiting for plod.