Thursday, 30 April 2009

IT Wallah Karma

Can anyone tell me why a "hard reboot" only works to repair a crashed PC when you're told to do so by an IT professional, or if one is hovering over your shoulder? I've turned the fucking thing on and off three or four fucking times.

Mystic communication

The only thing I can think of, is that the priesthood, y'know vicars 'n priests 'n that, are wasting their time and ours, and the real supernatural power is wielded by those in service to the God of the microchip. Real Arcane knowledge and all that.

PJ O'Rourke

Some of the most Glorious Invective I've read, ever. You should go read it all, but just for TravelGall, I've extracted the bit about the French.

"...France is a treasure to mankind. French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of lodestone for humanity. Because a moral compass needle needs a butt end."
H/T to Timmy.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Parliament gets off its Belly.

Today, parliament got off its belly and did something good. It took a moral case: that of soldiers who had served a country for a decade who should be given the right to live in the country, the rich country, they had served; and who were being denied the right to settle the country for whom their friends and forefathers had died, and they were being denied the this piece of natural justice for base reasons of cost. This vindictive and spiteful policy was being supported in all its cheap meanness by the Labour government despite the previous, similar policy being declared illegal in the high court.

Gordon Brown is not fit to clean this Gentleman's sandals

That's the compelling moral case which finally persuaded parliament to deliver this disgraceful Government a bloody nose - finally, having been supine in the face of a decade of unimaginable assaults on British Civil Liberties parliament finally speaks justly.

The Gurkhas. Not a wise enemy for Gordon to pick. Because of tenacious courage backed by absolute loyalty to their regiment, they tend to win their battles. Because of their exemplary conduct in the face of the Queen's enemies as well as personal loyalty and humility, they are viewed with deep and abiding affection by the people of the UK.

Even Gordon must realise that he's on the wrong side of the argument this time. And it's ironic that the Author of a book on Courage gets into trouble with that subject's real experts. But he has not yet met his Waterloo. there's still an opportunity for him to demonstrate for once and for all what a snake in the grass he and all the other vile party drones who voted with the Government are. The vote today is NOT legally binding...

Britblog Roundup # 219

Is up over at the Wardman Wire... And apologies for the belated post to tell everyone!

Rats deserting a sinking ship

You have no idea how enjoyable a Tory will find reading this thread over at LabourHome. Even the Labour faithful think Brown's a disaster. I hate to do this twice in a week, but I told you so.

H/T to Mike Smithson

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Free Journalism, Inquests and The State

Ben Goldacre takes the Daily Telegraph to task for publishing what he describes as an "instruction manual" on a particularly grisly occasion where a man killed himself with a chainsaw using a snooker table, timer and some string. It appears to have been an unedited wire story, which can still be found here. The PCC concurred with the complaint citing "intrusion into grief", with specific guidance on reporting suicide to prevent copy-cat suicides.

Bad Science again:

" has been shown repeatedly that suicide increases in the month after a front page suicide story. There is also evidence that the effect is bigger for famous people and gruesome attempts. You may want to remember that fact for later."
So it is not just that reporting of a story changes the way someone offs themselves; it also changes the likelihood. If you sensationalise a case, people copy it. Which leads us to personal responsibility and risk.

It would be possible to stop all car crashes by banning driving. But the risks to people's freedom would be too great, and the downside to the economy would be too great a price to pay. People are prepared to wear the risk of dying in a car crash, in order to enjoy the flexibility of owning a car.

So Ben's conclusion
The media have made it quite clear that they cannot be trusted to report sensibly on coroners’ inquests, and so they have made it quite clear that they should be expelled from them.
Is interesting. The idea that journalists should be expelled from hearings because of the way they might report the findings is one which he is later forced to retract.
to be clear, commenters are absolutely right, my suggestion that the press should be banned from coroners courts outright is poorly thought through. the end goal is that they should write about this kind of thing a bit more sensibly. shaming them or regulating them might be another route to make this more likely, and i’d be pleased to hear if people had any other ideas.
The problem is that cases in the coroner's courts are the ones most in need of scrutiny. Suicides, like deaths in custody, may be suspicious and anxious families need to know that justice is being done. A campaigning journalist is a useful ally in such cases. The risk of purient reporting is a small one to pay for the benefit of open coroner's courts, and whether or not sensationalist reporting does lead to higher rates of suicide, the responsibility for a suicide remains with the person taking or attempting to take their own life.

The Labour Government is going to try to allow for secret tribunals in coroner's courts, and people like Ben Goldacre, though well-meaning should not provide ammunition to a savagely authoritarian Government to argue that these dangerous proposals are well supported, for a secret tribunal is not justice, and were they allowed it is doubtful whether the De Menezes family for example would have received what justice they did, had the coroner been compelled to deliberate in secret, on grounds of "national security"; because you can bet the Police would have used this to cover their terrible mistake.

There is another type of court - the family courts - which also meet in secret. They have just been opened to journalists, though restrictions abound on the reporting because of Children's privacy. This is an example of a catch-all justification which prevents miscarriages of justice being exposed until it is too late. This is affecting families which are being broken up on the say-so of social workers, examined in a closed court, where justice cannot be seen to be done.

India Knight suggests that secrecy is important, though she calls it "privacy". In the Times she argues that
Given that about-to-be-divorced couples are often in combative moods, lawyers are concerned that the reform will allow “parties in divorce-related cases to use publicity as a bargaining weapon”, according to a report in The Times on Friday. Mark Harper, a partner at the law firm Withers, called the changes a blackmailer’s charter. “Divorcing spouses who believe that they have sensitive information in their possession will use it to extort the maximum financial settlement, on the threat that otherwise all may be revealed to the media in court,” he said.
But again, the feeding the prurient interest people have in 'celebrity' is a small price to pay to ensure that justice is seen to be done in many more mundane, but much more important cases. It may even go some way to changing the notion that Social Workers are breaking up families to meet targets set by the Government (but since repealed) for adoption. That is if Social Workers are above board - we do not know, because the proceedings of family courts are not open.

Then there is the idea floating round the ether that the family courts are anti-male, and will never enforce fathers' access rights and will automatically grant custody to women except in exceptional circumstances. Fathers4Justice think that's the case. We don't know because the tribunals have always been secret.

If the state is going to grant its agents the power to change people's lives - whether the police shooting suspected terrorists, or Social Workers taking your children into care, they must demonstrate a very, very good reason to have done so. They must do so in the full glare of publicity and scrutiny, otherwise gross miscarriages of justice will slip through the net. Is that a price you're willing to pay to prevent 'insensitive' reporting or protect a celebrity's privacy?

True. British journalism is a debased currency. They do not examine or analyse Government spin. They sensationalise that which they don't distort, and cannot be trusted to report in an unbiased, considerate way. A free press is, however vital to democracy and tribunals and courts must be open to journalists so that the people can see justice be done - all views are equally valid, if the reader is free to make up his own mind who to trust.

But they must be opened up to more than professional journalists. Bloggers (meaning in practice more or less anybody), who may yet take over from a decreasingly profitable news media, in their capacity as 'citizen journalists' should be granted access to family courts, coroners courts in order that their proceedings may be seen to be fair. No privacy or moral considerations are more important than open, free, fair and uninfluenced courts where justice can be seen to be done by anyone minded to check.

Monday, 27 April 2009

It's Not Faiiiiir.....

Sometimes I get bored with saying the same thing over and over again, but the reaction of the Labour tribe to the 50p tax rate is staggering in it's incoherent chippiness, and I can't deal with the idiocy without taking it apart.

Going over to Labour List - now that Draper's not involved you no longer need to wash afterwards - I found an article, almost at random suggesting raising of the higher rate of tax to 50% was "Common sense, not class war". Ed Mayne starts with a rundown of the papers, suggesting that the only reason they are opposed is the class interests of the proprietors, rather than a consistent political position against high marginal tax rates held by the likes of the Telegraph and Evening Standard for decades.

Why the right-wing press reacted quite as they did is puzzling. The Guardian suggests it is a reflection of the hostility of highly paid editors and proprietors to being “hit in the wallet”. This is possibly true. But could it be simpler? Is this a case of both politicians and the press misreading the feelings of the majority of the British public about the tax system for far too long?
This is not just the usual Labour class-war argument ad Hominem, but also revealing of the Labour mindset as a whole. The idea that a political party could hold a position against tax rises on the well off, on economic theory or high principle doesn't seem to occur to him. All that matters is the next headline, arguing that a majority of people support higher taxes on people other than themselves, opponents must "have misjudged". I dealt with this in 2006. An obvious retort is that just because a given policy is popular, that doesn't make it either right - hanging or sending back the Muslims are obvious popular policies that I doubt will appear in an Ed Mayne manifesto, nor does it mean that the electorate will vote for it's proposer, especially if they think the policy was enacted for cynical party partisan reasons rather than the good of the country.

He then goes into the standard Leftie rant about "inequality", which always rises in times of prosperity as more people start successful businesses, get higher pay awards and those further benefit from investment performance. "inequality" always falls during a recession as many high earners get smaller bonuses or get fired, meanwhile there is very little difference between a low wage and benefits. The moderately rich do worse in a recession than the very poor most of whom have a very stable, if small income from benefits.

Now this is where there is a straight forward difference of political belief between those who vote Labour and those who vote Conservative: The Labour party in both its new and old guises thinks the state's role includes a duty to relieve inequality using the tax and benefits system. The Conservative does not think this is part of the state's role. This reflects a difference in the way Labour has been trained to think about poverty in relative terms and the Conservative, absolute. Again I've dealt with this before, but Mayne's argument in this case can be basically summed up thus. The rich have more money, and that's not fair, trotting out the old canard about the private equity boss and the cleaner's relative marginal tax rates. I regard the problem as simply that someone on the minimum wage faces income tax at all. In a just society, the cleaner would not pay tax. However, we do not live in a just society, we live in a welfare state.

Secondly he makes no mention of the sheer ease with which high marginal rates can be avoided by "the rich" few of whom are the
" slickers who have accumulated huge personal fortunes during the boom years, enhanced by unregulated trading practices, tax loopholes and tax havens..."
and who are instead usually company directors who can make choices about whether to pay profits into pension funds, company funds, wages, dividends or invest, and most will do so in as tax efficient manner as possible. High marginal tax rates therefore raise little in the short term, always less than is estimated. In many cases in the longer term they actually cost money, as companies become not worth the effort to maintain, businessmen find other ways to make money, companies close, tax-payers get laid off and the wealthy go somewhere where their capital is more welcome, a point Mayne himself accepts
"...a top rate of 83% in the 1970s – enough to make even the most patriotic of high earners consider tax exile!"
So high marginal tax rates hurt the average working man, who may lose his job, and can actually cost the exchequer money in the long run. Mayne makes no attempt whatsoever to address the Utility of higher marginal tax rates, and does not say why a top rate of 83% was too high, and a marginal rate of 62% is just fine. Instead he rests his entire case on their morality: fairness. This is an argumentative style I grew out of when I was 13. "It's not Faaiiiiiir.....". I can almost see Ed Mayne stamping his feet.

Labour's Rhetorical Guru

Thus his headline falls apart. Without utility, it is not common sense. And any attempt to address morality of high tax rates without attempting to explain how it is fair that an individual has to hand over more than half of his income to the state. No matter how rich he is that takes some explaining. It being a self-evident truth to a tribal leftie is not an argument.

What about the absolute levels of taxation? The rich pay much more than the poor. Many rich people pay more in income tax than even relatively wealthy people earn in a year. Does the rich person get an ambulance quicker? Bins collected more often? Smoother roads? No. The rich person's taxes may be supporting many people's services, and supporting the exchequer to the extent of dozens of average workers. Chasing the rich away doesn't help the single mum buy nappies. In fact it means the person paying for the nappies may ultimately be the one wearing them.

You're left with the statement that inequality of wealth is an a priori wrong, that must be addressed by using the coercive power of the state to expropriate people's earnings. I'm not convinced. The high marginal tax rate: It's economically counterproductive, and because it is motivated by a desire to punish the rich (because it won't help the poor one jot) it is Neither common sense, nor is it "fair". It is, in fact exactly what Ed Mayne says it isn't: Class war.

Never Let a Good Crisis go To Waste.

When asked "should the rich pay more tax" most people say "yes", especially when you define "the rich" as "people who earn more than you". Thus Labour have gone for the cheap and false populism. Gordon Brown with his steam-driven soviet issue brain thinks that such a policy, which the polls are saying is popular, will re-invigorate his chances of clinging to power. It won't because like hanging, another "popular" policy, it says more about the politician proposing it, than mere support for the policy. High marginal tax rates tend to be correlated to other lunacies.

The Labour view was epitomised by a gentleman on Question time this weekend, who argued that "it is the rich who got us into this mess, and should therefore pay to get us out". It got a cheer, but nothing like the cheer that David Starkey got for saying that Gordon Brown should "go, and go now". The Gentleman was wrong, though. It isn't the rich who "got us into this mess", but the poor, allowing themselves to be persuaded to buy houses they couldn't afford, with Governments eagerly egging them on. That was the proximal cause. The ultimate cause of this Downturn's severity is that the boom went on for so long, leaving over investment, debt overhangs and other structural imbalances which have survived too long, grew too big. The bigger the party, the more painful the hangover.

Labour's argument, allied to the 'tax the rich' populism, is that the Tory "thrift" would "take money out of the economy" at the height of the recession is also spurious. Thrift would involve increasing unemployment amongst the Public-Sector parasites to rise: Unemployment is going to go to 4 million, as the pain starts to be felt by the public as well as the private sector. But this would not take money out of the economy, instead, ricardian equivalence sees deficit spending being useless, when it comes with the expectation of higher taxes. Instead, cutting government spending leaves more money in the hands of consumers to spend on their priorities, rather than keeping the Labour party in power. The Labour line is that the "Tories don't understand the nature of the Global problem". It is Labour (and Obama) however who don't understand. If the major problem with the economy is a massive, and unsustainable fiscal deficit (for this is a problem dwarfing the mere recession, both here and the USA) then more spending is not the answer, and nor is sustaining people in non-jobs.

The politics of envy will not change the fact that there are too many diversity outreach workers, too many compliance auditors and too few people providing front line services. Above all there are too few bankers, engineers, metalworkers, hairdressers, cleaners, used car salesmen, estate-agents, stockbrokers and builders to pay for the bloated public sector, and taxing the few remaining rich pips till they squeak move abroad will not help sufficiently. To redress the balance, it is this over investment in management, audit and consultancy, and overinvestment in public services more generally which will need to be addressed, mainly by firing people.

I had a text from my tame socialist at the weekend.

"You will never appreciate what Thatcher destroyed. Genocide. Brown is a twat but not evil".
Forgive him the tone: I had spent an enjoyable half hour demolishing the record of the Party and movement he loved, explaining in detail the champagne I would drink as he and I watched Labour's Gotterammerung at the next election together. Thatcher destroyed the power of the unions, as far as I can work out. The mining industry was collateral damage inflicted as Scargill took on a prepared Government in a fight he couldn't win against an enemy who couldn't afford to lose. Thatcher was not evil, indeed she left the country a great deal better off than when she entered Downing st.. Instead 'evil' better describes the likes of Arthur Scargill and Jack Jones who saw power at the point of production, rather than the ballot box, and such people still exist. My calling for a retrenchment in the overinvestment in the public services does not make me evil. Calling for the dictatorship of the proletariat does. Deliberately bankrupting the country for narrow party political considerations, I would argue makes Brown evil too, though in a particularly banal and petty way.

The Tories are going to need to be just as ruthless as Thatcher was. They are going to have to take on the last bastion of union power. Expect strikes galore as every left wing drone bangs on about "Tory Cuts". They are not "Tory Cuts": they are reality coming to bite big-spending socialists on the Bum. The pain the public sector is going to feel is payback a decade of overspending and hubris by Gordon Brown. This is about to be visited upon the public sector who are going to have to learn the painful lesson that money does not grow on trees, and the business cycle cannot be "abolished".

This is an opportunity for the Tories to complete Thatcher's revolution. It the Conservatives using the left-wing maxim to 'never let a good crisis go to waste'. For all those who argue that the Tories have no Policies, they are coming thick and fast:
  • Pay restraint across the public sector (strikes! Bring it on, if it demonstrates how little public services are used by the majority of the people)
  • Getting rid of regional Quangoes
  • Abolishing ID cards and numerous Government IT projects
  • Taxation Priority 1: Roll back NI increases
  • Taxation Priority 2: Roll back higher rate income tax rates.
Keep 'em coming. We are going to have to win all over again the argument in favour of lower, flatter taxes, but it is not a difficult argument to win, being right. I was already enthusiastic about Tory education policy. All the Tories need to do is think the unthinkable on welfare by time-limiting benefits and you're heading towards a manifesto we at AVBD can enthusiastically endorse. Perhaps Cameron does know what he's doing.

Found – Labour minister smart with money

The Times has found that a Labour MP that knows what they are doing regarding finance. Unfortunately as soon as he owns up who he is, he will be fired by Gordon.

Alan Duncan

I watched Conservative MP Alan Duncan on “Have I got news for you” on Friday and it was truly horrific stuff. He came across as an arrogant and fairly unpleasant individual, and was about as funny as a colonoscopy. Guido covers it here. Specifically when he said he was going to kill Miss California over her opposition to same sex marriage on religious grounds. Firstly people are entitled to their opinions, as long as they, unlike you Mr Duncan, are not calling for the deaths or persecution of those they oppose. Secondly and more obviously, She’s Miss California for God’s sake, she’s supposed to have the IQ of a squashed root vegetable. They have trouble saying “I’d like to work with small children and animals”.

Miss Worlds are there to look cute and say vacuous things, you wouldn’t call for the deaths of Chocolate Labradors because one took a leak on Graham Norton. Granted that Chocolate Labradors can be trained to fetch Pheasants, something you will never get a Miss World contestant to do. But Beauty Pageant contestants have their role in life too. They are put on this earth to marry equally dim pop stars and Major League Baseball players, thereby ensuring that the intelligence gene is not diluted for the general public – It’s the Circle of life Simba.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

I Told You So!

"In the worst recession for 30 years"... is the current BBC formulation. They could add, that 30 years coincides with the fag end of the last Labour government. Indeed I heard the phrase "the most incompetent Government in British History" immediately afterwards. I don't need to point out such an obvious fact, but hearing it from Pravda means the Labour government is in its death throes. We may have 412 days to go, But it is heartening to see the dawning realisation in the News media, which may yet filter through to electorate that which I have been saying from almost day one of this blog: That Gordon Brown's deficit spending was THE mistake.

The Wrong Man for The Job

Fucking ignorant lefties argued whilst I was writing screeds lamenting the steady, deliberate expansion of the state, and a complete failure to control costs, that borrowing was vital to correct "decades of underfunding of the Public Services". Labour parties in power cannot resist the temptation to throw money at their clients. Being unable to see that taxing the goose, the private sector, which lays the golden eggs, eventually kills it, Labour governments always always bankrupt the country.

For this crisis is not just about a financial collapse and worldwide recession which is unusually global in its reach. There have been recessions before and there will be again. For the Citizens of the USA and Subjects of the British Crown, this is about Government debt, vast, uncontrolled, growing debt which will burden the people for generations. George Bush racked up Government debt by failing to restrain spending, embarking on expeditionary warfare,whilst simultaneously cutting the amount of tax raised. Now a man whose only previous employment was as a 'community organiser' is planning to solve Bush's debt by... wait for it.... SPENDING MORE! For the Citizens of the Great republic however, they are starting this crisis with a tax burden as a proportion of GDP in the 30's%. Gordon Brown, by contrast makes Bush and Obama look like Warren Buffet.

When the Labour party came to power in 1997, they pledged to stick to Tory spending plans. The result of which was that by 2000, debt as a proportion of GDP was the lowest in the UK of any major economy, and tax was a relatively sane 38% or so. Since 1997, Gordon Brown has embarked on a tax-grab which has taken us from one of the lowest to one of the highest taxed economies in Europe. Because of 16 years of uninterrupted growth, tax reciepts would have grown anyway, but Gordon Brown nonetheless set about the greatest peace-time rise in taxation in British History.

Despite the economic growth, and the obscene tax-grab, he still thought it wasn't enough money. He thought it necessary to borrow a further 3% or so of GDP per year from 2000. He was spending even more than he took in taxes at the height of the boom. The result was, when the music stopped, and city taxes in particular dried up (many banks are unlikely to pay UK corporation tax for a decade) the public finances deteriorated rapidly. Unless Gordon cuts spending, and he appears psychologically unable to do this, Britain will be unable to service the debt he is running up.

He is now in denial. And the budget was not used to start putting the economy on a sound footing for example by restraining spending, but was used to prop the Government up politically. It was used to push red socialism into the body politic whilst the Labour party was still able to do so, and thereby secure the support of the unreconstructed socialist headbangers on the Labour benches. The budget was an admission of failure, and an acceptance of inevitable defeat. It was a scorched earth budget aimed at discomfiting the Tories, and to hell with the Country.

in 2005 I wrote this
Gordon Brown is going to break his "golden rule" because he spends to much, and weighs down the bit of the economy that pays for his spending with tax, costs and red-tape. When we look back we will see a squandered opportunity. He inherited the best-performing economy in Europe. He will leave it in no better shape than unreformed Germany. And he's lauded by a supine press as a successful chancellor.

The labour party have screwed things up more subtly, but more insidiously than last time. History will judge them very harshly indeed.
I wish it was as good as I Predicted. For Germany's public finances are relatively good. The country is now waking up to the sheer incompetence, venality and political vindictiveness at the heart of Labour, which I have been pointing out for years. The people have taken their first close look at Brown, and they don't like what they see. Even the BBC has turned on him. I take no pleasure is saying 'I told you so'.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

On the Downward Slope.

I have two friends earning £100,000 or more. Both are going to be hit by the 60% marginal tax rate on income between £100,000 and £150,000. Both called me yesterday in my capacity as their tame political wonk.

They are extremely angry about the budget, not just the counter-productive, class-war spite but mainly the tissue of lies Alastair Darling had the Czhutspah to call a "forecast" (3.5% growth in 2011? I don't think so either). The rich are being robbed and lied to at the same time. I have pointed them to nearby Lab-Con marginals and found the number of the local Conservative association. I told them that leaflets win elections, and if you want to hurt Labour (and they do), getting out there delivering and knocking on doors is the way to do it. This budget will enthuse the Conservative core, even those earning less than £100,000, even more than it will enthuse the Labour one.

Labour think people earning in this bracket can afford a tax rise on this scale. Yes. They can. But they don't think it is fair, not fair at all. And they will do everything in their power, even at the expense of their own earnings to prevent the Government getting their hands on the cash. Most don't care who gets the money so long as it is not the Badger faced sock puppet. Mostly such people will cut their salaries, preferring to invest the money in their businesses rather than "throw good money after bad at the Government". For most people in this earnings bracket are not employees. Most run their own businesses and have a great deal more control of their income than your average Labour MP, for whom anything other than PAYE employment is a mystery, will ever understand.

These rich people can afford to pay this tax. They can also afford not to. They can choose to work less hard, or invest more, or employ a spouse, or set up perfectly legal trusts, save into their pensions and otherwise avoid paying the super tax. All of these perfectly legal measures will cause the tax take from those currently earning £100,000 or more to fall.

A skiier demonstrating where we are on the Laffer Curve

That is how the Laffer curve works. And Labour has now put the UK firmly on the right-hand, downward slope of the graph. It actually costs the exchequer money to soak the rich, which is why this political budget, is so damaging and why I feel confident in saying that Labour and anyone who has ever even considered voting for them are a bunch of spiteful, envious cunts.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Red Meat thrown to the Pack

That 45% tax rate in George Osborne's first budget which Darling announced last year is now going to be 50%, despite the fact this will raise at best almost nothing and at worst actually cost money.

Cutting higher rate pension credit for those earning £150k will likewise raise very little money. It is simply a lump of red socialist meat thrown to the ignoramuses behind the chancellor to keep them sweet enough to put up with the monocular joy vacuum for another 415 days.

Labour MPs at work on the Economy

This is simply setting up the Labour narrative for opposition: When Osborne finally cuts these measures, probably around 2015, Labour will accuse the Tories of "only being interested in 'the Rich'". This is a shift to the left. The labour party is retreating to its ignorant, spiteful, envious, bigoted, socialist core.

And if anyone thinks these are economic rather than political measures, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Leaked Budget Statement…

Another AVBD Exclusive

To The Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Right Honourable Alistair Darling M.P.

From HM Treasury

Re Budget

Dear Sir,
It is my unfortunate position to discuss the fiscal deficit in the government account. There has been a failure to sell more Gilts as the financial markets now have more faith in the Republic of Paraguay than the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to repay our debts. There has been a huge and unsustainable ballooning in the Public sector and a huge shrinkage in the Private Sector with which have resulted in a fiscal narrowing and enhanced difficulties in macroeconomic... Oh lets cut to the chase – You’ve run out of fucking money.

Suggestions on how to deal with this announcement in Parliament…

Walk calmly up to the despatch box, and as you begin your preamble shout “OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT BIG HAIRY SPIDER” and point to the end of Parliament without the door. When the MPs backs are turned do a runner.

Fake a Heart Attack

Ask the Army for some Smoke Grenades and “Pop Smoke” just as you are starting.

Hire Paul McKenna and get him to send the House of Commons to sleep.

Lie like Baron Munchausen saying the economy will be right as rain, that Britain’s in a better position etc (due to a recent environmental policy initiative the Treasury is saving paper and ink by omitting the usual guff you come out with, as you’ve said it a million times before, we will simply use the phrase “It started in America” when we want you to waffle on for two hours without saying anything useful). Say that tax levels can be put off until after the next general election (when you won’t have to pay for them), and that the bloated public sector doesn’t need a major restructure and job cuts (when you won't get the blame).

Get one of your colleagues to phone in a bomb threat the minute he sees you about to stand up on the Telly. Try Derek Draper, he’s not doing anything at the moment – Ed Balls has his number.

Dress up head to toe in white and start “Speaking in Tongues”

Say “Shit, I’ve left the gas on” and run home. Make sure you add the caveat “Edinburgh Central” otherwise they’ll expect you back if it’s only 11 Downing street.

Yours with Deepest Respects

S McDuck Esq
Chief Advisor to the Treasury

Gordon Brown Shows Leadership

When asked at PMQs a few weeks back, whether he would meet with the other party leaders to sort out the issue of MPs' expenses, Gordon Brown showed irritation but grudgingly accepted.

Then he realised here was an opportunity to get one over the other two - he would announce a policy without the promised consultation. How masterful he would be! The people would flock to his banner because he alone could cut the Gordian knot and come up with a system which MPs could not abuse, and that would kick start Labour's general election campaign. He came up with the per diem.

You see, there is a school of leadership which says it does not matter, when you are in the middle of the road getting shot at, which ditch you jump into. What matters is that a decision is made and all the troops are in the same hole. Thus Gordon Brown thinks he's been decisive and everyone will cheer that he's saved them. But decisiveness is not the only charicteristic of a leader, judgement is important too: the leadership which requires a bit more thought. One where your plan needs to be sold to the troops, who will have faith that the risks of carrying it out are worth it. When the only plan, to further labour this military metaphor, you come up with is "straight at 'em, bags of smoke", eventually people will tire of having you in command.

Gordon Brown sees everything for party advantage. He feels he, and he alone must dominate the news agenda on each and every news cycle. He cannot consult. And when 'something' must be done, 'anything' will do. So he sends his troops over the top with the simplest and most transparently dishonest political message any party has ever taken to the electorate.

In this instance, he saw the press clamour for action on expenses and he came up with a plan. £174 per day for MPs to attend the commons on top of their salary. So wooden is his reading of the public mood that he though this would be a simple masterstroke to clean up politics. It is after all, how the Lords manage their attendence and it is similar to the not-at-all corrupt European parliament. The obvious retort - that you are paying MPs an allowance merely to do their job - clearly did not occur to Brown, whose motivation was simply to get one over Cameron, who had been making the running (as far as the limited attention party leaders had paid to it) on this issue.

Gordon has walked into a trap of his own making. He had the opportunity to work a solution with cross-party support. Instead, he has set himself at contrast to David Cameron who appeared ready to work on a cross party basis, and allied himself to the snouts in the trough by offering them a tax-free £25,000 just for turning up. I don't know how David Cameron would have suggested cleaning up politics, and I no longer care. All that matters is that Gordon Brown's plan is one of the few I could think of which is worse than the current arrangement, and it is all his. Cleggover and Call-me Dave will disown it.

This is the man leading the country. A man of Bull-headed arrogance, without the wit to speak to his opponents, even for the good of the parliament. Still, only 415 days to go.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Monday, 20 April 2009

Comment Spam

Over the years I have not asked you, my faithful army of trolls to submit to word verification because I welcome all and any comments, however illiterate. Because I only get at most a few dozen on any thread, I could delete the occasional spam when it arrives, and I feared that people would be put off commenting were I to put any obstacles in the way.

However over the past weeks I have been inundated by comment spam from someone calling himself LIWO, who is posting long comments, in a script which blogger cannot render, pointing to a Japanese Cam-Girl site. He has done so on nearly every post I have ever done, it is taking some time to delete them all by hand.

Does anyone know how I could delete every comment by an individual commenter? Is it possible to block commenters?

If word verification fails to stop this person, then I may resort to comment moderation. This will not be due to a desire to stifle debate, but instead a desire to keep comment threads clean of spam.

I thank all of you for your understanding.

The G20 and the Peelian Principles.

I've always thought "protest" to be win-win viewing for me. I get to watch hippies get their heads kicked in, and then the police get into trouble for it afterwards. So I am not going to pretend that I am not enjoying the police discomfiture over their handling of the G20 protests.

I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of the Police. I've complained at length and for many years about their powers, which have grown exponentially under this Labour government. I've always argued for discretion to be returned to the individual officer, with forces operating under local democratic control. Labour have destroyed policing by removing discretion from the officers, making them appear robotic and officious whilst simultaneously giving them untrammelled powers of arrest and a set of targets which rewards administrative sanctions being used in inappropriate situations: school playground dinner money thefts for example, whilst leaving most burglaries unsolved, or even investigated. But I try not to write from the gut. I try to look through what the crowd is screaming and see the big picture.

In this instance, after the G20, I felt the police were being hounded unreasonably. If you analyse the video of any confrontation, you are going to find footage, which taken in isolation appears the police acted with "brutality". Riot shields being hit in the face, women getting a slap, men getting pushed over. If you analyse any rugby scrum in enough detail, there would almost always be a yellow card offence at every ruck. It is not the tactic of kettling demonstrators I object to, for that appears rather fun. It is not even the smacking of the demonstrators' legs with sticks, or heads with riot shields, for this is part of riot policing, and if you can't take a joke, you hippies shouldn't have been there. My sympathy was therefore initially with the police.

However.... CCTV footage appears to have gone missing, post event. A post-mortem was conducted on Mr Tomlinson in unseemly haste, leading to an initial incorrect diagnosis as to the cause of death. Police exaggeration of the level of violence to which they were subjected did not stand up to scrutiny. Indeed the police appeared to provoke much of the trouble, and it appears officers were covering up their badge numbers in an attempt to avoid identification by hippies. They even attempted to move the press (who formed a cohort of equivalent size to the actual demonstration) in order to prevent their actions being filmed.

It is the attempts by the police to lie about what they did, the dissembling and disinformation and the straightforward dishonesty, where the allegations of demonstrators appear proven. Having waited for a bit more information I have concluded that many of the allegations made by NBH are valid. The closing of ranks against reasonable allegations, which has led directly to the witch-hunt they are now enduring. Now every hippy is searching through its mobile phone footage for the seconds of film which appear worst for the police, and more importantly, these complaints, and there have been hundreds are being taken seriously. Two officers have been suspended and one of these is facing Manslaughter charges.

Frankly the police brought this upon themselves. They have lost the consent of the people to police, because they seem to believe themselves to be above the law. That is why those officers currently in trouble acted, unlike the vast majority of their colleagues, without restraint. They believed they could get away with it. They believed it because, just like Stockwell, the police will seek to protect their own against reasonable allegations. The culture of the police has always been a "them and us" mentality, but the anti-terror powers and the targets culture have broken any link the police might have had with the basically law abiding, whose opinion appears on the side of the demonstrators and against the police on this occasion. That was not the case in 2002, when the tactic of "kettling" was first trailed and subjected to judicial review (and it has always been found to be lawful), nor was it the case at any other public disorder event of the last 30 years. At most of these events the police have been at least as aggressive, and yet there has been little public anger (outside the readership of the Socialist Worker). The police's actions at riots have not changed. The public, however have finally lost patience with the police.

I think the G20 protests were utterly pointless, and perhaps this initially prevented me seeing the big picture. Just as the expenses issue (another where I am at odds with the majority opinion) has led to people demanding change in politics, the G20 has been the spark which has lit the blue touchpaper and finally the British public has become aware of their lost civil liberties, and the end of policing by consent. This is to be applauded. I suspect the officers in trouble will suffer internal disciplinary action: The 'Tomlinson shover' will probably not be found guilty of manslaughter, but only time will tell. The police, on the other hand, as an institution will have to be forced learn once again the Peelian principles they appear to have forgotten.

  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
It is point 9 which is the most important, and the one most directly corrupted by the culture of the sanction-detection. It is New Labour's deliberate corruption of this, which has led to the police forgetting all the others. Conservative policy is to introduce directly elected police commissioners. I think this is a policy which can bring the police back into the fold of society, if (and this is a big if) the sanction detection target is scrapped. By subjecting the head of a police force to local democratic scrutiny, you force the police to address public concerns at a local level, not those of the Home secretary.

By forcing the Police to engage with the public, perhaps we can prevent the bad apples smacking swampy too hard at riots protests in the future, and more importantly prevent the police attempting the cover-up afterwards. Perhaps we can even get them to stop attending playground thefts and otherwise acting as social workers with handcuffs, and investigate break-ins instead. The G20 has demonstrated the Police have finally lost our trust. They are going to have to work extremely hard to get it back.

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Darkness at the Heart of Labour

Frank Field noted Harold Wilson's maxim that Labour was "a moral crusade or it was nothing". Field suggested that the McBride/Draper affair leaves labour members looking at "nothing". He's right of course, but the problem is that very moral crusade.

The Labour party believe themselves to be the moral force in Government. They "care", you see; not like those evil Tories. Throughout a Labour person's political development, this morality is drummed into them. Good/evil, Light/dark, Left/right, Labour/Tory; this is how the Labour movement sees politics. Thus, they think, because they are "moral" and they are fighting "immoral" Tories, it is but a short step to thinking that a Labour government is vital to the wellbeing of the country, and the ends justify the means in keeping one. That would include lying to the public, who in the eyes of many in the Labour party, are too stupid to know what's good for them. It would include gerrymandering the electoral system. It would include keeping incompetent ministers in office for psephological considerations. It would include taking absurd risks with the economy knowing the Tories would have to pay the bills.

We, the public stand aghast at the behaviour of ministers of state, who having been caught with their fingers in the till refuse to resign. We see the same minister having been caught abusing her power for party political advantage in seeking the arrest an prosecution of an opposition spokesman for a "crime" to which Gordon Brown has repeatedly confessed, once again refusing to see that her position is untenable. She is guilty of lying: was it a civil servant decision to investigate Green? No. Did she have prior knowlege? Yes. She lied about both, by her own admission. She is allowed to get away with it, because at the heart of Government is a Prime Minister of the "moral crusade" school of thinking, who sees everything in terms of party political advantage. He has nailed his colours to her mast, and cannot let her go... for that would weaken him, and by extension the Labour Government.

Brown is guilty too of abusing his office for party political gain. Gordon Brown has presided over a political machine serving one end: the elevation of Gordon Brown at the expense of any rival. Gordon Brown, in Gordon Brown's mind, is the Labour Party. And therefore anything is justified if it keeps him and his party in power. Being unable to cut spending, and probably knowing the next election is lost, he is making a political calculation that any risks in continuing with obscene deficit spending will be paid by a Conservative government. If they are able to win an election, then who knows what will happen. Here's hoping the IMF can cope. I think, even in Gordon Brown's diseased mind, he knows the next election is lost. He is therefore hoping that the inevitable tax rises and spending cuts will see the Tories branded as the nasty party once again, allowing a narrative which will propel Labour to power in 2017. This is known as the scorched earth. The worse it gets, the better for Labour.

The Parliamentary Labour party never was a "moral crusade". It was just those sharp-elbowed people who managed to persuade the gullible lumpenproletariat who make up the membership, that they were. So you have the grim prospect of Government by effective union thugs, and amoral lawyers, happy to lie, scheme and connive their way to power, happy in the self-serving belief that the mere existence of a Labour Government is an a priori benefit to the country.

Live long and prosper

Whilst not my cup of tea, I have a live and let live attitude to Star Trek fans. Like Train Spotters, Bird Watchers and the supporters of London Wasps Rugby club (the Pests) they are strange but essentially harmless individuals. However the Labour party has gone out of its way to attack Trekkies, after one of them started leaking government documents.

Whitehall sources unleashed an extraordinary salvo at Christopher Galley, the civil servant who leaked to Mr Green but was also freed from the threat of criminal prosecution. One labelled him a “complete loser”. Claiming that he had used a term from Star Trek as a computer log-in, an insider said: “That says it all, doesn’t it. The guy was a laughing stock.”
There are some great quotes on Political betting on this subject….

“Which in April 2009 would be the greater cause of comment and shame. Walking round your local town centre dressed as Captain Janeway or with a red rossette on ?”.

“Taking the piss out of Trekkies is a bit rich from this Government, the ultimate cling-ons”.

“Don’t upset the geeks or you may find your network crashes”.
"Also richly ironic for this nerd-ridden government, led by a misanthropic weirdo, to be branding him as some kind of social misfit".

Damian Green bile

You would have thought that Labour would have learnt their lesson in light of recent events when it comes to slander. Apparently not. Aides to expenses thief and blithering incompetent Jacqui Smith are saying that Damian Green MP (the man wrongfully arrested on a tissue of lies by the same Zanu-Labour civil servants now piping up) is not “whiter than white”. Compared to the venomous little dangleberries that are slandering him, Damian Green couldn’t be more whiter had he been dressed in Alec Guinness’s suit and dunked on a boil wash in enough extra whitening Persil to keep Harlequins Rugby team, reserves and 2nd XV going all season. They are also using the rather incendiary word “grooming” again to draw the line between Mr Green and being a nonce. Their gutless anonymous attacks on the gentleman who blew the whistle is that he used a “Star Trek” password. Thereby inferring he is a sad little individual who needs political re-education in the glorious future of Zanu Labour. After a spell in room 101 he will learn to love Big Brother.

Pathetic slander from a pathetic political party. Under the previous Conservative administration heads would roll. But as this lot has no honour I would expect Jacqui, the Speaker and all the poisonous little mandarins to still keep their jobs. At least until they can be quietly moved in the next reshuffle.

Oh and if there are any lawyers out there; can somebody please explain to me why Plod is not now arresting people for wasting their time and lying to them.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Panda Diplomacy

Whilst the rest of the world (bar the usual suspects) is decrying North Korea for launching its malfunctioning rocket, it seems the Chinese are trying something old again. They are sending a bunch of Tigers as “friendship envoys” to the North Koreans. Firstly let us examine the fact that if I was sending a friendship envoy to somebody else, it would be a Labrador puppy or a case of beer, not a 671 lbs eating machine with razor sharp teeth and claws. Secondly, millions of North Koreans are starving (thanks to China who won’t throw Poisonous Dwarf Kim Jong-Il out of office); what in the name of God’s Arse is China doing giving them 5 more very hungry mouths to feed?

Soft Furnishings

Travelgall is moving to a house in the provinces after enjoying the Metropolis life for a good 11 Years. It will be a shock to the system to return to a state of affairs where I will be located more than two miles from Fortnum & Mason, but I have steeled myself to the challenge. The property in question is a Victorian Terrace with good period features. My question to my trusted readership is this… I need some new sofas and wondered if anybody had any suggestions on which type of Wing Backed Chesterfield I should buy.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Domino Effect.

Air France to shed 2500 jobs
French fisherman block ports
Manufacturer strike

Energy Strike

As I mentioned previously, we’re in the Brown stuff thanks to Brown’s stuff. However despite our dreadful budget deficit we’re not in the same piss poor shape as the Vichy. This is due to the fact our Economy isn’t run by peasants and Communists. We can change our government, the French can never change the fact that they’re French.

Update. And so it begins. P&O look at Belgium to use as a base.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Making things

Yesterday James Dyson, maker of expensive vacuum cleaners, said that the UK needed to Make Things, lamenting the 'decline' of manufacturing industry. This demonstrates profound ignorance of the economy, development and what people actually do when they go to work. Let's ignore the hypocrisy of this for a moment - Dyson himself manufactures his irritating and ugly yellow and grey objects in Malaysia, a fact not publicised on the company website. And it is simply not true that Britain does not make things.

We have more car manufacturers native to the UK than the next 2 countries (the USA and France) combined. It is true that British-owned volume car manufacture is no more since the demise of Rover, and most of the remaining British-owned car companies consist of 2 men in a shed, building really fast things with big engines, but British volume manufacture is highly productive, which is why Nissan still has a plant in Sunderland, despite decades of an over strong pound.

And there are British success stories: Brompton bicycles (of which I am, as of yesterday a new customer, thanks to my public sector bonus) has recently moved to a new factory yet struggles to meet demand. We in Britain make some of the best weaponry for military and sporting use. There's a thriving surf-board shaping industry in Cornwall. If you know which streets to go to in Birmingham, You can still get anything made by a man with engineering skill and a lathe, to a design sketched out on a napkin. These are things I've bought, used or thought about buying in the last year. Think about when you actually buy things... How many things do you actually buy?

When British people make things, they tend to be high quality, artisan products. It's what we're best at. These are the products which justify the high wages paid to a British manufacturing worker. One in seven jobs is in Manufacturing, yet British Manufacturing is as productive as when that figure was half. If Britain was buying the stuff that British workers could make were half of workers hammering metal, we would be swimming in abandoned TVs, cars and washing machines. Instead these things are built to last longer than their equivalents from the 1970s, and they are made overseas by people paid a lot less than the UK worker.

This means the UK worker can buy his washing machine, TV and Dyson vacuum cleaner or whatever cheaper than if it was made in the UK, and therefore spend more of his wages on something else: Scotch whiskey, surf boards, fast cars or a new bike. He has more money to spend, because he is productive and that gives him the freedom to choose what to do with it. And having bought his consumer durables cheaper than if they were made here, he can then go to get his hair cut, or eat in a restaurant, or take a weekend break, or play golf, or buy something imported, or sit on his arse watching TV whilst someone else mows his lawn because he has the surplus cash to do so. Imports therefore make you rich, because you would only import if they did. Exports are merely what you do to pay for them, and it doesn't matter whether you're shipping an engine to China or taking the commission on an American's currency deal. It's still export.

Dyson makes some valid points: that British universities don't turn out enough engineering graduates, mainly because engineering is hard and media studies is easy and Britain's school leavers are lazy illiterates. Britain doesn't patent much. We could and should use Tidal power. But his call for state support of industry, just because Germany does, is flawed. Government shouldn't privilege one form of industry over any other. The lie is given in his final paragraph which starts: "The recession is teaching us a hard lesson"... Not as hard as the exporting countries like Germany (any left-wing commenter who takes this as an endorsement of Gordon Brown's "best placed" bollocks will be beaten to death with Britain's fiscal deficit, which given its world-beating size, won't take long. Germany can afford a slowdown in tax revenues because it was in surplus before the crisis. Britain wasn't and can't). Germany's economy has slowed sharply, mainly because demand for manufactures like cars has plummeted. Manufacturing is highly cyclical and basing a modern economy on it means an inevitable return to Boom 'n Bust, which the dear leader has... um... abolished. Instead we should develop services as well as our efficient agriculture and primary industries and manufacturing too. A balanced, modern economy is going to employ most people in "services" because that is what we spend most of our disposable income on.

1000 years ago 95% of people were subsistence farmers. As agriculture got more efficient, this freed some people to do something else. And so it goes with manufacturing. There is nothing fundamentally more worthwhile, economically or morally, about making something you can drop on your foot than doing something for someone else for money.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Press Coverage of McBride

International Papers

Le Monde Carla Bruni in a delightful pink suit by Chanel thinks Anglo-Saxon Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work. And what is zis “Dolly” Draper? Is zis ze famous English humour about intimate relations with the Welsh sheep?
Washington Post And in other news over in Englandland Special advisor to Gordon Brown (the dull patronising incompetent one that isn’t Blair or Thatcher) Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work.
New York Times And thanks to the Bravery of the Rochester Fire Department, Socks the cat had a happy Easter after all. In other news over in Englandland Special advisor to Gordon Brown (the dull patronising incompetent one that isn’t Blair or Thatcher) Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work.
Tokyo Yomiuri Special advisor to Gordon Brown Mcbride is a nasty poisonous taxpayer funded piece of work who didn’t do the honourable thing and commit Seppuku. Here’s a picture of “Hello Kitty” to encourage him to do the Honourable thing.
El Mundo (Venezuela) Damian Mcbride is a nasty poisonous piece of work, if anybody embarrassed our Glorious Presidente like that he would be “Jungle Dumped”.
La Reppublica Roma Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of Shit, and we can swear all we like because Berlusconi owns us and what are you going to do about it?

UK Papers

The Times Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work, and the stink goes right to the top.
The Telegraph Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work, and we’re sorry we copied the Downing Street press statement Verbatum on Saturday
The Mirror Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Government investment funded piece of work who doesn’t reflect the will of the Labour party, and has in fact nothing to do with the Labour Party, and it’s all the fault of those evil Tory bloggers.
The Guardian Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work who needs care and understanding shown to him so he can realise the consequences of his actions.
The “Independent” Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work, a symbol of the oppressive bureaucracy that is preventing the Proletariat reaching solidarity with the Palestinians.
The Yorkshire Post Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work, and we wouldn’t like his sort around here with their fancy Southern Ways.
The Scotsman Sassenach Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work. Just like all those Englishmen whose ancestors stood at Culloden.
The Daily Mail Mcbride is a nasty poisonous Taxpayer funded piece of work (unlike Diana Princess of Hearts) that can add inches to your waste say scientists, luckily our new Pineapple diet on page 28 of FeMail can help.
The Sun Jade Goody is still dead.

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Right to "Protest"

When the Guardian video of the events leading up to the death, from a heart attack of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests was released, I thought that the evidence from it does not support the idea of a state gone bad. I did not, and do not think the police tactics on the day were inappropriate, though I do feel uncomfortable about the agents of the state pushing people around, there were dozens of images of the police pushing people around bank station on the news all day, to little or no criticism. The only thing which made Tomlinson different to everyone else who got a shove that day was the fact that he died shortly afterwards. The images on the video do not, to my mind represent a gross abuse of police power. Pushing someone over, however roughly does not meet the standard that, say Rodney King, or even Gandhi might have for "police Brutality". He died later, but that does not post hoc ergo propter hoc follow that his death was caused by the police.

Tomlinson was, after all, at a riot, and people get much, much worse at such events. Many high-minded commentators, aware that the Guardian video was not itself evidence that the police were systematically beating people, just pushing them around a bit, have used the post-event evasiveness to beat the police. Commentators said "the police lied" about not coming into contact with Tomlinson before his death. Hopefully the inquiry will clear up whether the police knew whether they had come into contact with mr Tomlinson, when that assertion was made. Certainly that is one of the questions the police have to answer. Certainly the clear exaggeration of the "pelting" with bottles is another smear against the protesters of a sort the police should not be making. I have no doubt that the police have uncomfortable questions to answer, and in closing ranks, the police demonstrate they have not learned the lessons from Stockwell: the public expect the police to be open. But from the evidence we have, it does not appear that the police killed him.

What Ian Tomlinson's death does not demonstrate is the police, government or political class is seeking to limit the right to "protest". The anti-globalisation protesters have for more than a decade caused trouble around every gathering of global leaders. Property has been smashed, people have been hurt. The whole "summer of rage" is a contact sport between 'anarchists', the police, and spectators. If anything "the state" has been too indulgent of 'anarchists'. Perhaps giving them an opportunity to let off steam means they will remain an irrelevance. But there was no attempt to prevent the gathering, just, well police it.

There have been criticisms of the police tactics, but I think compared to how these things go off in Paris or Berlin, the British police are rather restrained. The 'Hem 'em in, and bore them into submission' approach is effective in limiting the disruption caused and concentrates the damage to a small location and prevents the running battles of the past. It does not, as hysterical lefties seem to think represent "wrongful imprisonment" or any infringement of the "right" to "protest". The police are simply saying where the protest can take place, and limiting the opportunity of the troublemakers to move and reform to cause trouble elsewhere.

There are groups who were making a point - and the climate camp for example passed off more or less peacefully. But as Mr Eugenides pointed out, "protest" is a tool of the left, and sympathy for people who go on events which inevitably descend into chaos, is limited from those of us on the right. As I pointed out on the day - everyone who was there: Police, journalist, 'anarchist' or protester/voyeur wanted it to kick off, and sure enough it did. Sadly, someone died and that may or may not have been the fault of the police. We do not yet know, and thanks to coroners' courts still deliberating in public hearings, we will know what happened soon enough. Let's stop making allegations until we know the facts?

The problem with such protests (and in contrast to focused single issue protests like 'stop the war', or the countryside marches, which were peaceful) is that they are essentially meaningless: who knows what economic or social policy the Protesters wanted? Some sort of end to "globalisation" whatever that means. Traditional socialist ends like more state support for industry, probably (in which case, why trash the largely state-owned RBS?). More money for environmental issues? probably. A change of sides in the Israel Palestine conflict? But there is no-one at the protests who could speak for the crowd and give it a voice to which a politician could listen. It's the dull futility of nebulous protest - the desire for "solidarity" and little else which is the reason it's so important to the collective left, and of so little interest to the individualist right.

Without any idea, You're left with dumb, incohate anger boiling over into adolescent tantrums of violence. The "right" to this sort of protest is, and should be curtailed, and the police, part of whose job description is the maintenance of the peace have a duty to control unruly elements so people don't get hurt and property does not get smashed. The anger at the police is because they were perceive to be heavy-handed in achieving this aim. The fact that many of the bloody heads turned out to be paint indicates that case is not yet proven.

Just because I don't leap on every perceived excess by the police, and use it as evidence of widespread fascism in the heart of the British state does not mean that I am a secret Authoritarian, as some anonymous commenters have suggested, nor does not give the lie to my Libertarian principles. As I've explained, the right to peaceful protest should be, and is protected. The right to break things because of incohate rage is not.

Because I am a libertarian, I get worked up about this Government's curtailment of the right to express political dissent in public (in the words of Vernon Coaker, minister of state) because that denies the rights of the Anti-war marchers or the Countryside alliance, as well as the Anarchists. I get worked up when the police are used to interfere with the opposition who's guilty of a "crime" to which Gordon Brown has repeatedly confessed, and are allowed to do so because of the debasement of the great offices of state. I get worked up about the supplication of parliament to the executive. I get worked up about the Government plans to hold secret tribunals when agents of the state off brown people. I get worked up when the state announces plans to keep records of our journeys, emails, phone calls and Internet use. Because these allow the state to investigate thought crime. The right to "protest" is as nothing next to the right to freedom of speech, and this too is being seriously curtailed by this government, with plans on restrictions on "hate speech" and concessions to Muslim extremists on "disrespecting religion". Yet the same green-haired rock chuckers, who smashed up the city and their friends on the "progressive" left will be enthusiastic "anti-racists" egging the Labour government on in banning such non-approved forms of dissent.

All of these things are more important than the "right" to listen to speeches by superannuated lefties in a circle jerk of self-righteous indignation, at huge cost to the tax-payer and gross disruption to people who work nearby. Certainly the freedoms from state interference and surveillance matter more than the right to organised and pre-meditated vandalism of state and private property. Such liberties from government interference matter more than the right to threaten people with a violent death on the basis of their chosen profession (after all, there were plenty of placards saying "hang a banker". Hang a ... what... Jew? Black? Communist?).

"Protest" is childish. It speaks of a desire to simplify an argument, to demonstrate "rightness" by weight of numbers rather than weight of argument. It is nothing more than the thumbs in the braces, "you cant get me, I'm part of the union" attitude for the post industrial age. Placard waving demonstration is pointless, expensive and often violent. In the age of the Internet, where everyone is free to say what he likes to who ever is listening, protest and dissent are free. But the left wing romanticisation of the barricades of 1792 and since mean that people united in what they are against, cause trouble whilst glorying in the nihilistic thrill of "revolution". The leftie on the barricades, happy in a cocoon of self-righteous indignation doesn't have to listen to other opinions that his ideas are flawed, and he is, to put it mildly a student-union prat who should have a shower and get a job. When I express my opinion here, I do.

I may support with my life your right to say what ever it is you want to say, but when it's hammered out in the staccato rhythms of breaking glass at the local branch of RBS, the "agents of the state" can be forgiven for driving home their message to desist in the language of Plexiglas shield and baton. Violence begets violence, and everyone at bank station knew that the police and protester would play their part in a cliched and pointless piece of political theatre. The only people to benefit were SKY and the BBC who got to fill their 24 hour news with some good "newsworthy" action. After all, it's not a "protest" if no-one gets hurt.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vernon Coaker, MP: Totalitarian Oik.

A while ago, I raised a number of issues with my MP concerning civil liberties. Peter Lilley is right onside, providing me with a copy of an essay of his in which he raises many of the same concerns about the new Labour regime. Not that he was ever in danger of losing it, but his actions and private conversations I have had with him reassure me that Peter is a friend of liberty, and will be getting my vote in the next election. (And before a bunch of straight people with a bee in their bonnet about gay "rights" start banging on about it, I dealt with the Conservative party's tendency to vote against what TWFY call "equal gay rights" here.)

I specifically asked about the following pieces of legislation: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), The Serious and Organised Crime act (2005), Section 58A of the Terrorism Act (2000), The Civil Contingencies act and the Coroners & Death Certification bill. Peter helpfully passed my letter on to Minister of State, Vernon Coaker, whose response is a tissue of evasions, distortions and waffle. Whilst I did not get any firm proposals from the Conservatives about what they would do in detail, the responce from Peter and others was reassuring that the Front Bench Tories are leaning the right way on civil liberties issues.

Vernon Coaker, an inadequate schoolteacher from nottingham who is thankfully at risk of losing his seat at the election, did not lean the right way.

Despite dismissing my concerns as "misconceptions" Coaker did nothing to allay my fears of how the sect 58A of the Terrorism act will be used by the police in practice, citing a protection for "responsible journalism". Responsible in whose eyes? And he ignores entirely my fears about how the police will use these powers. Constables will be confiscating cameras and destroying evidence, because they thought they had a right to do this before this law came into force. What about the public? aren't their rights to collect evidence protected? Vernon? Vern...?.

RIPA is defended with a load of waffle about

"Public authorities are using these powers to bring [scam artists, benefit fraudsters etc...] to justice"
Again this is the problem with the law! People do not want local authorities snooping round your house to check whether you're shagging your tenant or sending your brat to the wrong school. Vague waffle about "safeguards" won't do when you're talking about such intrusions into peoples' privacy.

Likewise with regard to the Coroners & Death Certification bill "safeguards" and "exceptional circumstances" won't cut the mustard when you're talking about secret tribunals for terrorist cases in Coroners courts. The only safeguard is an open tribunal when agents of the state shoot people in the head (or indeed, push them over).

He doesn't even try to do defend the Serious and Organised Crime Act 2005, and his description of it is particularly inadequate, even by his low standards.
The Serious and Organised Crime Act 2005 significantly extended and simplified the powers of arrest of a constable and introduced unprecedented restrictions on expressing political dissent in public.
Yes, Vernon you totalitarian tick, that is the problem with the law. He says nothing else on the subject. He is essentially admitting that the aim of the law was to impose restrictions on political dissent. There you have it, from the Government's mouth. They deliberately and with malice aforethought "introduced unprecedented restrictions in expressing political dissent in public".

I think that says it all about this Government. 428 days to go, then we can get rid of them, unless they invoke the Civil Contingencies Act, about which his response was to point me here. Make up your own mind, but I think they're evil enough to do it. Think you live in a democracy? Think again.


The Vichy has continued their “Bossnapping” with the imprisonment of 3 British executives, who work at a UK based company that produces glue for the Auto industry. Its one of the most basic laws of the world - that the State has a monopoly on imprisonment, not unwashed French peasants who are pissed off about their jobs. And it seems that the French government are standing around like potted palms rather than doing anything to get these people released. If the Police don’t get them released the businessmen would have every right to sue the arse off the French Government for stupendous amounts of compensation. Whilst they are at it they could sue their gaolers too.

This is the perfect example of why “les Anglo-Saxons” should tell the French and Germans to go forth and multiply next time we hear about the evils of Anglo-Saxon capitalism. Does anybody honestly think that this sort of nation is a better long term bet for Jobs and Prosperity than Britain or the US? Does the French public honestly think that this will benefit their country, and encourage other businesses to set up there? In a recent poll, only 7% of the French population are against these Bossnappings. Quite clearly 93% of the French public are weapons grade retards.

The Tories Have Hit the Nail on The Head

George Osborne today announced that an incoming Conservative government would break up the nationalised banks so that none in the future would be "too big to fail".

Bravo! Though I have been saying this for a while.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Ian Tomlinson video

Now I'm pretty indulgent of the right of Swampy to kick off and break things (It's called 'protest') and I am also pretty indulgent of the right of the police to break a few heads when they do (it's called 'policing'). I like neither group involved, and couldn't really care less if a green-hair or a copper gets hurt in the process. Everyone was there for a ruck. After all, what's a protest but a contact sport for the unwashed? The police, however have a duty of care to not over-react, and the death of a protester at the G20 has raised serious questions.

Ian Tomlinson, if you believe the Guardian video was 'on his way home from work'. Whatever he was doing, he was clearly pushed to the floor pretty roughly by a policeman, but he was not obeying instructions to move, choosing to shuffle aimlessly instead. He does not look like a man 'on his way home to work'. He looks like a man at a protest deliberately disobeying the police, and he is treated as such. The footage of the "beating" in particular is inconclusive: the baton seems to stay in one place for rather longer than it would were it a 'strike' to the legs.

"Minutes later", the video reports post hoc ergo propter hoc, "Ian Tomlinson collapsed and died". Naturally, the left are taking the Guardian's report at face value. North Briton Hunter is typical in complaining that

No officers try to help Tomlinson at all
Because there's clearly nothing wrong with him! Sure, in isolation throwing him roughly to the floor looks disproportionate by the policeman in question but it does not amount to murder, because the "last footage of Ian Tomlinson alive", as the guardian breathlessly puts it, sees him walking quite normally away from the scene of the "assault". And in context, there was a riot going on just round the corner, where a branch of RBS was smashed up and heads were being opened all over the place, this treatment seems almost reasonable. When you see riot police, you've got two options - do as they say quickly, or get a slap. T'was ever thus, and Tomlinson knew it.
There are also reports that Tomlinson was attacked by dogs
though this is not shown on the video, nor is there any evidence provided and probably represents a leftie extrapolating from seeing a large scary German Shepherd. According to NBH, Tomlinson was
prevented from leaving the site of the protests. He was on his way home, he was not a demonstrator.
but he was on Cornhill, ambling towards the protests at bank. I suspect the claim that he wasn't a protester will fall apart pretty quickly. He's certainly dressed as one with a T shirt with a political slogan over a long-sleeved shirt - an outfit common on teenage skaters but not on middle-aged men. Whether or not he was going home, the police reasonably treated him as a demonstrator. NBH goes on...
The officer in charge of policing the protests said after criticism over police tactics that people were allowed to leave. this is clearly not true.

Police denied people the right to protest peacefully, they penned people in for hours upon end, without access to toilets and water,
Boo Hoo! My heart bleeds... Did swampy have to swamp himself?

None of this contradicts the police statements since the man's unfortunate death. People were allowed to leave, slowly so they couldn't reform and break things elsewhere, which seems like sensible policing to me. And NBH's whining about "peaceful protest" are crocodile tears. I know he wanted it to kick off, because I spoke to him on the day and he shares my enthusiasm for such political theatre.

Unless footage can be shown of the events surrounding this death, then both sides can argue until they are blue in the face. Unless you were there, you don't know. If you were there, you're biased. And this video sheds no light whatsoever on Mr Tomlinson's death.

The fact is that if you put thousands of people in a small space and make 'em angry some of them, especially old, overweight people (and I'll wager who smoke copious unfiltered roll-ups) will get stressed, have a heart attack and die. Much as I dislike the police, Ian Tomlinson is not another Jean Charles de Menezes, because the blame for a heart attack can be shared with the victim whereas seven bullets to the head without warning cannot. The police tactics - pen 'em in and bore 'em into submission were, and are appropriate. Tear gas was not used, and whether or not bottles were, in fact, thrown (I've no doubt the police exaggerate too), Mr Tomlinson was not denied medical treatment. Whether the police acted appropriately is no clearer as a result of this video, and attempts to use it to blame the police for murder on the basis of it, as some more hysterical people are doing is just ridiculous. Nothing but Marxist cant and crocodile tears. Let's wait for the whitewash inquiry to report before we start calling for police heads to roll.


Iain Dale thinks this is another De Menezes
Mr Eugenides thinks the police over-reacted, and points out why 'the right' aren't up in arms.

Yeah! You like that don’t you, bitch?

For those of you that haven’t seen South Park – Bigger, Longer, Uncut the above phrase is probably the highlight of a very crude and very funny film. So it amuses me no end that the US Army forced Saddam Hussein to watch the film repeatedly during his captivity. Whilst hardly penance for this disgusting torturer and mass killer, I am glad the US 4th Infantry Division made this thankfully dead moustachioed murderer suffer the indignity of being mocked repeatedly. The creators of the show – Matt Stone and Trey Parker got a signed photo of Saddam from the unit that was guarding him, which is again rather funny.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Cry me a river

It seems that Short-arse North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il is weeping buckets over the fact that his government was spending its money on his shiny new rocket rather than his starving people. I don’t know Kim, if you want to save money for your rocket you could always cut down on the Cognac, Cigars and those Lobsters you get flown in for dinner. That should pay for the food of a couple of thousand people that are currently starving to death in your bankrupt state.

Meanwhile, in the parallel universe that the North Korean media operates the North Korean people are singing "Chants of jubilation (that) are reverberating throughout the country on the news that our satellite is beaming back the 'Song of General Kim Il-Sung' and the 'Song of General Kim Jong-Il,'". If Kim Jong Il’s song writing is as bad as his film directing I suspect the “Chants of Jubilation” are a desperate attempt to drown out the song. That would be if they actually managed to put a satellite up – which they didn’t, and whether their people actually have TV’s – which they don’t, and whether those TV’s would function even if they had them – which they wouldn’t.

The Chinese government continue to back the mass starvation and murder of the North Korean people, calling for the Security Council to act in a prudent way. Basically the Chinese want a buffer state against those evil Capitalists. The problem with this theory is the fact that there won’t be enough North Koreans to stop those evil Capitalists – since they have all starved to death. The Russian Government is backing the Chinese because the Russian government are duplicitous wankers too. Do these idiots not know the phrase “Be careful what you wish for”. The Japanese won’t be short of cash forever.

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