Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Honduras and the rule of Military Law

As some of you may be aware, there has been a little spot of bother in Honduras – the place Starbucks gets its Coffee from. There has been a coup where the democratically elected President has been deposed by the Army. Hardly news for Central America you would say. But this one is quite interesting and harder to pick than a broken nose on who is going to come out on top – the deposed President or the Army.

Furthermore I find myself in quite a quandary over this one. On the one side you have twats like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Luiz Da Silva supporting the guy. So you know he’s a demagogue and bullshit artist driving his country towards a one party state; and the economy of his country down the lavatory. On the other hand I agree with Democracy and the Rule of law. Short Recap of what happened in Honduras. The Demagogue government got elected, the constitution said that they weren’t allowed to hold a referendum within 180 days, the Supreme Court of judges upholds constitution and says government can’t hold a referendum within 180 days, government asks Army to help with constitution – Army says can’t hold referendum within 180 days. Government fires head of Army. The demagogue government ignores constitution, Judges and marches into army bases to collect ballot boxes (where they are stored) to hold referendum within 180 days. Army gets the arse and frogmarches President onto plane in his Pyjamas (which since they had Snoopy on them is against constitution) and sends him to Costa Rica. World’s politicians moan about how deeply unfair it is that politicians can’t ignore Constitution, and how Army shouldn’t have the right to frogmarch Politicians onto planes. Army says “Blow me”.

The only military dictator I’ve liked is the chap in charge of Fiji. But he bought me a beer so he can’t be all bad (see my pictures on Facebook); and besides he sends his political prisoners (who ironically were punished for starting a coup) to an island beach with palm trees, which even Amnesty Insufferable has a hard time comparing to the Gulags of North Korea and the Burmese treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi. On the other hand I’ve also met a bloke in Angola who chopped people’s hands off (again in a drinking establishment) so Military rule can be a double edged sword. Obviously in most all countries in the world the Military is the only efficient state run organisation in the nation (including the UK). Can you imagine if the Health Department tried to take a country over? They would have to reopen all the patients they left scalpels and Artery Forceps in to arm themselves; mis-identify the Radio Station and bridges about three times before pure chance got them to the structures in question. They would then announce they could not cure the problem as the medicine required would be too expensive, and then send the country home with some paracetamol to die. I suppose the Fire Service could be called efficient, but they’re too busy trying to get into the knickers of housewives whose Cat they just plucked from a tree. Basically the Army takes over or nobody does. This causes great angst amongst politicians, as they don’t like reminding that they are included, nay, are indeed the pinnacle of the non-efficient end of the State curve.

So what have we learnt about Military Coups, kids? Well obviously you can derive great enjoyment from the fact that Hugo Chavez is squirming, and having a quick reminder of what happens to Lefties when they inevitably mess up - no matter how many peasants they arm. South America hasn’t had this much of a demonstration of the limits of political power since Salvador Allende blew what few brains he had out with an AK-47 inscribed “To Sal – love and kisses from your buddy Fidel”. Furthermore I’m bemused by the staggering incompetence of Obama and the US State department who are kissing ass to the Saudis, Syrians and assorted Islamic undemocratic whack jobs; yet get all misty eyed for democracy when a pro-American Army overthrows an Anti-American president. You haven’t seen such a catastrophic failure of American Diplomacy and power projection since President Carter. On the other hand we must mourn the death of democracy in another country in Central & South America. To support such actions would be hypocrisy of the highest order. Just because it's Right doesn't make it right.

For those of you wanting to read more this is an excellent piece.

Michael Jackson Still Dead

More news on this story as it breaks.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Britblog Roundup # 228

Is up at Philobiblon, who also being added to my Blogroll. Natalie Bennett's a feminist greenie, but she writes well about history and politics intelligently, even if I disagree. Always good to have different perspectives, which is why I'm such an enthusiastic supporter of the Britblog project.

Building Britains Future - a Mountain of Debt

Mr Eugenides has a lovely piece of invective about Gordon’s plans for the future of the UK. Building Britain’s Future is the title of this unmitigated disaster, and it is accurate in that the only future Britain will have is under a mountain of debt. The fact that he is doing this because he has been caught in a lie by Cameron is transparent. The fact that he will leave this nation with an eye watering level of debt to pay for “Private tutors” for children his education policies have comprehensively failed is a staggering indictment of this government. This must be a deliberate plan to ruin the country, you couldn’t be this incompetent by accident; game theory would rule out the possibility of making every decision you make the wrong one.

Interestingly G. Brown has also said “Local residents will be given priority over immigrants and people from other areas on council housing queues”. The Labour party is shitting itself that its welfare client state might stop voting for them, and go for the party with the spiffy black costumes and arm bands. Because despite what Lefties tell you ad-nauseum; pissed off Socialists vote National Socialist. Disaffected Tories run off to UKIP. So Labour have gone for the “British Jobs for British workers” line again in hope of combating the attraction of their welfare state supporters to the Blonde Haired, Blue eyed Volk party. And yet again they will have no plans to actually go through with their rather disturbing invective, which is probably one of the few times you’re happy the Labour party are a lying bunch of shits. Of course what they should do is cut down on illegal immigration, but that would mean running something (in this case the Home Office) competently.

Cheating Yaarpie Bastards

The Lions game over the weekend was marred by a cockend who goes by the ridiculous name of Schalk Burger. A name reminiscent of the description of a bowel movement after a heavy session at McDonalds. He was caught by a linesman eye gouging his opponent Luke Fitzgerald - it can be seen here. And instead of sending the seeping cock wart off they gave him a yellow card. They have since given the shitbag a pathetic 8 week suspension where he should have been slapped with either a 4 year ban or been locked in the dressing room with the lions squad armed with rubber truncheons. I also noted from the video that Pierre Spies tries to stop Luke Fitzgerald from protecting his eyes by yanking his hand away – he’s a dickhead too. This violent cheating on the part of Mr Burger is understandable as Schalk Burger’s mother was part of a secret plan by the Apartheid government to mitigate Black anger over the Sharpeville massacre. She willingly volunteering to take it up the arse from any man in that township. His father offered an equivalent sacrifice for the Republic for those that bat for Lancashire but was refused on grounds of public health.

Meanwhile the head twat of the Yaarpie team amazingly defended the actions of this venereal rash on the game of Rugby, by saying this is part and parcel of the game! Since when did deliberately trying to blind your opponent for life become part and parcel of this noble game. Peter de Villiers said it didn’t even deserve 10 minutes for trying to deliberately cripple your opponent. This is partly understandable as De Villiers is born of a long string of illegitimate children whose great grandmother serviced the 12th Prince of Wales Royal Lancers during the Boer war.

The Yaarpies kicked and punching their way to victory like they always do. But I have a solution to this problem. My suggestion for the future of the Lions tour. Announce now that the Lions will tour Argentina and Uruguay instead of South Africa the next time round. The Yaarpies always put out teams of borderline psychopaths who are there to do nothing more than cripple Lions players during the warm up games anyway. The individual nations have to play them in tests, we don’t have to boost their economy.

Oh and Ronan O’Gara is a wankstain too. Never liked the bloke, don’t know why, but he seemed to have been born a nasty moron.

Friday, 26 June 2009

How Could You Rebekah?

Yesterday's Guardian contains an article, of quite stunning spitefulness (which I will attempt to outdo) by some lumpen-faced harpy with a mouth like a dog's arsehole called Michele Hanson complaining that former Sun Editor and

"Smasher of glass ceilings"
Rebekah Wade Brooks has decided to take her new husband's name. Hanson thinks...
"...she'll be letting down all those thousands of women, from 1850s Massachusetts suffragette Lucy Stone onwards, who have fought for women to retain their own names and independence"
But women have a man's name anyway. Either that of their father, or if they are from a single parent family, that of a Grandfather, or if they're from a council estate of special grimness and there are multi-generational single parent families, a great grandfather; whichever man was the last one to stick around.

Names in this society are patronymic. Get over it.

Now let's think about it from the point of view of the man marrying one of these women who insist on keeping their father's name. She keeps "her" name, it says something about her view of the permanence of the marriage and the extent to which she identifies with the union. I'll call the divorce lawyers and open a secret offshore bank account now, shall I? Or should he cut off his balls instead? His wife would rather have another man's name than his. The family is not going to carry his name, but that of his Father-in-law.

Hanson is clearly of the 1970s Androphobic school of activist feminism for whom marriage is slavery, an attitude she sneeringly reveals. Rebekah Brooks is
"...the last sort of woman you'd expect to opt to take the back seat, yet here she is, giving up her own name like an ordinary little wife."
Well done Rebekah, for doing what most sensible, happy women do when they get married, and no doubt you'll ignore stupid, old, ugly, envious feminist harridans like Hanson with their well-thumbed copies of "the Female Eunuch", hairy armpits and seething resentment of the international phallocracy. Most women I know are delighted to send round their new e-mail address when they get married. How dare Hanson take such a patronising tone to women who take their husbands name? Surely, if feminism means anything, it is the right to choose whether to accept the traditions of marriage or marry a floppy-cocked wimp who moisturises daily. Or become a lesbian. Or any of the other options open to women in the 21st century.

The fact is most of us want to get married. Love is what we ultimately live for, but I don't to hitch myself to the sort of woman who would decline to take my name (or heaven forbid, do something ghastly with a hyphen). Men like me are one option open to modern women. Herbivores and orgasm-free sex are another. Hairy-arsed women who play prop-forward are a third. And finally there's the 'Hitachi Magic wand and a cat' option.

"I never married"

"I never married" Hanson reveals later in the article... I wonder why.

Jackson Jokes

Michael Jackson's dates have all been cancelled......James 10, steve 7.......

MJ is not going to be cremated. He’s going to be made into carrier bags. That way he can stay white, plastic and dangerous for kids to play with.

Hospital staff don't know what to do with Michael Jackson's body as plastic recycle day is not until next Tuesday

Tee Hee – Ooowww

Michael Jackson has shuffled off this mortal coil. Never a big fan, sorry the bloke is dead. Even sorrier for the creditors his estate owes $400 million. Now I’m no forensic accountant but I reckon a bunch of vases, a chimpanzee and a life size gold statue of Macaulay Culkin touching his toes isn’t going to be worth that much. There will be a few Sheiks in the Middle East who are understandably upset this morning too. Ditto the Plastic Surgery industry who will be distinctly un-chuffed that their Frankenstein’s monster will be getting several days of front page coverage with photos.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Miscellaneous stuff...

Via DK, here's another addition to the blogroll, the estimable Juliette who seems like my kinda woman. The blogroll hasn't been updated much so if anyone has any suggestions as to blogs which should be there, and blogs which shouldn't... let me know.

Anyway, while I'm blogging about blogging, I've just started using google reader. How did I exist before? (do you know I used to go through my Blogroll daily and check to see whether anything had come up?) Now everything is nicely laid out, and all my work websites too. And the newspapers. All on one page, with no clicking. From being stuck for something to get worked up about to BANG! suddenly there's a new article at Lefty Conspiracy to get the fisking juices flowing.

I know. I'm slow at catching on at all this technology stuff. Feel free to take the piss.

And given this is a miscellaneous post, here's Labour's response to yesterday's Tory attack ad.

Bless them - they think the electorate are scared of spending cuts. Whisper it, in case Gordon notices, but I think the public realise that monstrously unsustainable public spending plunging the Nation into catastrophic debt is not best solved by a Government who boast about spending ever more. If you don't believe me, listen to Mervyn King.

Labour list

There’s a ridiculous piece of work on ZanuLabours website by a Mr Croucher saying that we need a change of the voting system, and we don’t need an election just yet. You can read it in all its chippy glory here.

“The First-Past-The-Post system is archaic and unrepresentative. Votes are routinely wasted at elections as safe seats allow swathes of peoples’ voices to go unheard. I favour Proportional Representation as it’s a means of breaking down the two-party blockade that we currently suffer under”.
. Of course so is proportional representation. The leader of the party picks his closest mates first and they are the ones with safe seats. If a party gets 20% of the vote then that first 20% of the total number of MPs the party puts forward are in safe seats so PR doesn’t really do much to solve that. Secondly it also means coalitions where what you promise to do when elected - your Manifesto pledges – get dumped the minute you’re elected in order to “Work” with the other parties. I know Manifesto promises are something that mean nothing to Labour (Referendum on Lisbon Treaty, Tax increases etc), but the people are keen on parties that promise something and then actually do it.

Secondly, we have the strong possibility of a Conservative landslide, in the current climate. We need to allow Labour a chance to recover before the next General Election, otherwise we’ll see an almightily powerful Tory administration
Basically he’s saying we need to rig the system (as if an inbuilt 8% advantage wasn’t enough) so those nasty Tories never get in. For a chap that’s advocating a change in the voting system to promote democracy he seems remarkably deaf to what the Prols actually want – an election now.

Thirdly, there are claims that Labour has lost all ‘moral authority’ and that the European and County Council elections show that it’s time for a General Election. The last time I checked, Labour has a mandate from the previous General Election – and by the law they have every right to serve their full-term. Whilst the election results from June 4th may highlight Labour in crisis, it certainly does not mean Labour have to call an election.
True, Labour don’t have to call an election. But the point is – in case you missed it – that this government are an unmitigated lying shower of shit that is destroying the country. You can’t blame people for being a tinsy winsy bit keen to remove the incompetent fuckwits from the levers of power. A drunk in charge of a traction engine on private land may have a mandate to drive his steamroller, doesn’t mean that the police can’t taser his arse (provided they don’t shoot themselves with their own stun guns first) when his machine is heading for a china shop.
Usual Tribal chippy crap from the party whose supporters gut instincts are from the Robert Mugabe school of politics. The people are new Labour and New Labour are the people. The comments section is worth a read too. Comments like “A spoof surely” and “A dreadful article” pretty much sum it up.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The FSA. Less use than Unisex Facial Hair.

I am regulated by the Financial Services Authority. And because I am self-employed, I pay their fees myself, out of the money I earn the state sees fit to let me keep. This is not some abstract post about the costs to business, this is about a serious cut to my disposable income. These fees used to be a fairly reasonable £58 a month. But from now, it has tripled, and there is nothing I can do but pay, if I want to continue doing what I do.

This means the bits of the investment industry that didn't spectacularly fail are having to bail out the people whose failure was the most egregious: Gordon Brown's shiny modern regulator. Now, you know I think that "regulation" beyond the enforcement of the law of contract is, at the best of times, somewhere between useless and counter-productive, but at £58 a month, it was worth it to be able to say to my clients that "I am regulated" and give them a warm cosy feeling. But I resent paying £160 a month or so for the same privilege, only to have some wet-arsed prat who couldn't make it anywhere else, come round, interrupt me for a day to ask stupid questions which merely serve to show what a complete useless bunch of cunts they are.

Oh yes. They did not ask a single question about the assets I advise my clients to buy, merely that I had ticked all the boxes. That my records were kept. That my phone calls were recorded. That I had passed my exams. That client agreements were MiFID compliant. Not one question designed to measure my actual competence (for exams are next to useless at that), or the suitability (or even existence) of the stock-selection process I use. Or at least none that demonstrated any sort of understanding.

And every day, the compliance department, a sort of statist fifth column in every regulated business, bombard me with stupid queries that could most accurately be answered by someone who knew what they are doing interrogating the dealing system. Some form has to be filled pretty regularly to the effect that the retired warehouseman who sold his hard-earned Tesco's shares to go on a retirement cruise with his wife, is not laundering money for the Taliban or some offshoot of the Medelin cocaine cartel.

All of which takes time from stock selection, reading and talking to clients, which is what I do for a living. NOT FILLING IN MORE BASTARD FORMS.

Make no bones about it. When regulators fail, we pay. And not one person is better off, not one client is better managed because of this vast bureaucratic monstrosity peering over my shoulder with all the understanding of a curious toddler with severe learning difficulties and a full nappy. All that extra grand a year being stolen from my pay means is yet more failed bankers telling the successful investment managers who have managed to survive (and believe me, it's been pretty fucking Darwinian out here in the markets for the last 18 months) to tick more boxes. As if that stops a single client losing money.

A more effective regulator than the FSA

I wouldn't resent them as much if the FSA had the foresight to... I dunno... tell RBS that it was sailing a bit close to the wind by reducing its core capital ratios to 5% on the acquisition of ABN Amro (like the Bank of England probably would have done with a simple raise of the Governor's eyebrow). But they didn't. And they're tripling my fees anyway. If you think Fred Goodwin's been rewarded for failure, have a look what's going on at the FSA. More of the feeble-minded, uncomprehending box-ticking, clipboard Gestapo, on bigger money.

All paid for by me.

Speaker Bercow's First PMQ's

My Verdict: Yup. He's Labour's man (unless he can actually prevent ministers prior briefing the Meeja - and there's close to fuck-all chance of him succeeding in that).

"The public hate the noise" he says. Bollocks. I love it. An last time I looked, I was in the public.

No other legislature puts its executive to such a hostile environment, and PMQs is the one piece of Parliamentary theatre which serves its function. Gordon Brown dissembles and loses votes every time he fails to answer the question. Everyone can see the idiot squirm, and that he's wrong about more or less everything.

The beautiful thing is that Brown actually thinks that state spending is the engine of growth, and the public are scared of "10% cuts" a line he repeats over and over and over. Brown thinks the public don't know that the public finances are a mess, and most people are thinking "10% seems pretty modest, I'll vote for that nice mr Cameron then".

Bercow did not criticise the Tractor production statistics method of question evasion, Nor did Speaker Bercow did criticise Brown for asking questions of the Leader of the opposition (though he did criticise backbenchers).

So he hasn't improved Brown's behaviour. Nor did he show any inclination to.

It is not the hostile atmosphere, nor the wigs and tights which the public hate. It is, if the daily politics e-mail inbox is anything to go by; pathetic, planted questions from feeble-minded Government back-benchers. Mike Smithson should be ashamed of his 'Mate', and St. Douglas of Carswell should be ashamed of who he voted for on Monday.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Neda Soltan

She was somebody's friend, daughter, girlfriend. Plain-clothed operatives create fear by knifing and slashing from within the crowds, provoking violence in order to justify savage reprisals. And before you start getting inured to the news about Iranians dying on the street, watch what happens when someone gets shot.

They look imploringly at anyone for help, as their life pumps out of their body. Then they are gone. It is profoundly disturbing, and it makes me seethe with impotent anger. How can a state take the life of a young woman, merely to scare the crowd and cling on to power? Why?

But in shooting the innocent, the Basiji may have provided the opposition with the Martyr. The regime shows weakness with every act of repression, and every day people are on the streets demonstrates the impotence of the regime to prevent their power from slipping away.

For this is starting to look like a Berlin Wall moment, rather than Tiananmen Square. The Mullahs are losing their window of opportunity and the protesters' courage may yet be rewarded. Every corpse reveals the true colours of a vile Government and an evil system, from which they cannot hide, however many websites they shut down. I am impotent, but the people protesting are not. Strength to their arms, and courage; Let's hope Neda Soltan, and hundreds like her didn't die in vain.

The Ayatollah described the British as "the most evil". From him, we take that as a compliment.

French Military Victories

Enjoy it, Labour; for the Speaker will be the last election you win for a very long time...

Which brings me to a thought with occurred to me as I climbed the hill into work. Labour, it seems are like France, who only win wars when not led by a Frenchman, and even then, not very often. Indeed many claim the last PM, him... you know... The one with the big teeth and ghastly wife, wasn't really Labour. When they did elect a Labour person, a big, fat, useless Scotsman with deep and unpleasant personality issues, they conspired to lose everything since, only "winning" votes when choosing between Tories.

Napoleon. John Bercow, Labour's choice

Let me make this clear. I think Bercow will probably do a fine job as speaker. He cannot be worse than the shambles he replaces, and indeed it may be that the Labour party have been sold a pup. I am aware that there is no such convention as the Party "buggin's turn" for the speakership, but a speaker must... MUST have support from all sides of the house, and it is clear... ABUNDANTLY clear, even to the most Stupid and blinkered Labourite that Bercow does not enjoy this. He is therefore the second speaker to be foisted on the commons by a Labour party which arrogantly doesn't care what other parties think. It is this arrogance which is destroying Labour. Well that, and an incompetence which borders on the heroic.

Because as yesterday showed, Labour when displaying their full chippy, tribal plumage, waving their manifest uselessness about like a peacock's tail, they are about as attractive to the electorate as a dose of genital herpes, without being as much fun to catch.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Speaker Bercow

On the bright side, at least it wasn't bloody Beckett. And he will be better than Martin. But Bercow was elected by (within a few votes) of the Labour majority. It is clear to whom he owes his speakership.

However, If I was Cameron, I would get Bercow in, and tell him, in no uncertain terms that he's an interim speaker, nothing more. The last time a speaker was refused assent by the new Parliament was 1835.

This is another unnecessary constitutional crisis caused by Labour tribalism and ignorance. Another nail in the coffin of Labour as an electoral force. One more stupid, venal thing which makes me hate the Labour party and its pathetic, chippy drones in the commons. I can't wait to see tomorrow's papers.


Britblog Roundup # 227

Is up, over at the ever fragrant Trixy's place.

Vote Margaret – Or else

The Telegraph and Guido are reporting that the government is trying to stitch up the new speaker of the house. ZanuLabour are going to try and make damn sure its another of their tribe, and also that it’s somebody who won’t reduce the power of Government over its own MPs. How they plan on doing this in a supposedly secret ballot is beyond me. But not being able to control every facet of own MPs actions has caused the Brown Premiership to “does not compute” when it comes to free will; although they’ve trotted out Harridan Harperson to say that 12 years of ZanuLabour tradition has miraculously been suspended. Even the Americans, who consider International News the Next state but one over, are hearing what a total arse Brown is making of yet another decision. Whilst others are speculating that Brown (or more likely Mandelson as Brown wouldn’t think that far ahead) deliberately sacked Beckett to get her elected to the Speakers Chair.

Others, such as Blinky Balls are pressing for Bercow merely to piss David Cameron off; although considering his age this could be a bit of a strategic error for a short term practical joke. Like the Venetian Doge, you pick a speaker with a short life expectancy just in case he turns out to be a stinker; because you’re stuck with him until the icy hand of death removes him from the post. Thankfully it doesn’t look like Ann Widdecombe, who actually voted with ZanuLabour on the redacted expenses issue – along with a couple of other familiar names, will get the job.

What we of course need is a speaker that will force that Monocular fuckwit in charge of us to answer a bloody question (preferably without Tractor Production figures but I won’t hold my breath on that one). Any hope of that with a ZanuLabour speaker?

Neo Nazi, Holocaust-denying, Gay Bashing scum.

Oh Sorry, that's a member of the EPP.

The next Labour person who claims that Leaving the European People's Party was equivalent to holocaust denial because one MEP from the polish Law and Justice Party might be a bit of a nutter, or something please just fuck off before I kick them in the guts. I will not take lessons in political extremism from a party which has harboured both George Galloway and Ken Livingstone, and seems to revere the palpably insane MP for Bolsover as some sort of moral giant.

This new grouping seems pretty reasonable. The Conservatives want to have a grouping in the European Parliament that actually agrees with Conservative policy: That the EU needs substantial reform, but that we don't want to y' know, withdraw at the moment. It should be noted that this is a view shared, it seems with a plurality of British Voters (or at least a plurality of those who care).

Democracy. An anathema to Labour "people".

The Inevitable partisan stitch-up.

If, as it appears, John Bercow or Margaret Beckett become speaker today, Labour will have delivered another demonstration of just how unsuitable they are for Government. The election of a speaker must be for the good of Parliament, not narrow political advantage, and speakers should have support from all sides of the house.

The calculation appears to be thus: Bercow is only just a Tory, and has more friends on the Labour benches. In a tied vote, the speaker goes votes for the Government, thus Speaker Bercow would effectively reduce the Parliamentary Tory party by one for the remainder of this parliament, but then be more sympathetic to Labour after their annihilation next year. He has no Tory support. How can Labour MPs see him as suitable?

Beckett is the Ultimate Labour insider, and even led the Party (as a stand-in, following John Smith's death). That alone should rule her out. Sir George Young, for example has stood before, and his former Transport brief was held against him. Beckett, a former Labour leader has no Tory support. How on earth can Beckett be suitable?

Ann Widdicombe has the support of the people (at least those interested in this process). She would be an interim speaker presiding over this fag-end session, is independent minded, and has the presence to impose Order on the house. Above all, whilst she is untainted personally by corruption, she has publicly defended parliament, and those MPs unfairly caught up, and is generally respected for her honesty and as a parliamentarian. She has support on all sides of the house.

As an Interim speaker, with a Public profile she could represent Parliament to the people, and has the integrity to remain impartial in the chair. she MUST* be the best choice, with a permanent speaker being chosen by the next parliament. The next best must be Sir George Young, who at least has a few ideas for reform. I fear, however a ghastly Labour stitch-up. If I thought that evil party couldn't sink any lower, they manage to surprise me.

Anyone would be better than Beckett, who is the current favourite.

*The £20 I have on La Widdi at 15:1 is entirely incidental to this post.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Boy from Brazil

Racist Left wing Idiot and President of Brazil, Lula Da Silva has said his four pennies worth on the Iranian elections. He compares the rioting between Iranians and their brutal police state that is killing numbers of them as nothing more than football supporters being upset their team lost. “"For now, it is a matter of flamenguistas and vascainos,", and for those of you that don’t watch Chavball these are apparently two teams in Brazil. Now I suppose if the only things your country has going for it is Football and the Shaved Vulva you might be tempted to bang on about the game. But as a President – even a demagogue – you are supposed to pay lip service to the type of process that got you a big - if rather ugly - house, shit loads of cash (both your state wages and through other means) and lots of soldiers saluting you.


Why is it lefties (even the so called moderate ones) have no idea about freedom and democracy? You expect it from dangleberries like Chavez and Morales, but Brazil? Perhaps we need to look again at our support for Brazil getting a seat on the UN security council.

Breaking News - catastrophic malfunction at Helicopter centre training Royals

The Ginger Bullet Magnet

A serious and potentially catastrophic sense of humour failure has occurred at the Helicopter Training Facility at RAF Shawbury. Lt Prince Harry was reported to have said "I think he's definitely got more brains than me, I think we established that from school. . . and his baldness.". Lt Prince William replied "It's pretty rich, coming from a ginger."

This was followed by a massive and gratuitous humour bypass from the Charity “Act against bullying”. “The comment was risky and could be taken out of context” said Louise Burfill – who suffers from severe Gingervitus. It is not reported whether there are any further people afflicted with the tragedy of lacking a life (and the necessary L’Oreal Paris Hair Dye).

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Nightjack, Exposed

Nightjack has been a feature on my Blogroll for a while, but alas, no more, and those of you who are not obsessive bloggers may not be aware that he has been 'outed' by the Times: Justice Eady ruled that because Blogging is essentially a public activity, there is no right in Law to anonymity.

Nightjack is a Policeman called Richard Horton, who told cynical tales of his life as a detective, most controversially his "guide for decent people". The 'public interest' in ascertaining his name is that he could be prejudicing ongoing enquiries by putting information in the public domain. Which is bollocks, because those cases were only identifiable if you had the officer's name. It's circular. Guido makes the point about Times leaders: why aren't they published under a byline - so we can judge the Author's standing and possible conflicts of interest: the Argument the paper used to justify the naming of the officer.

The public services are particularly sensitive about bloggers exposing to the taxpaying public the time-serving, bureaucratic waste: Civil Serf and any number of Police Blogs have been deleted, but as La Petite Anglaise found out, large private companies are not much better. (I argue that such corporations are merely an arm of the state anyway). Heresy Corner argues that without anonymity, the Public would be poorer without the whistle blowers exposing malpractice. Obsolete thinks it's a "disaster for Blogging and Journalism" and makes the point that, without the anonymity of Twitter, Iranian dissidents would be silenced. Chris Dillow on the other hand thinks the answer is to give employees the right to free speech, arguing that anonymity coarsens debate. Would the Devil's Kitchen, for example say what he says, in the way he says it were he forced to start out writing under his own name? (the answer in this particular case is Yes, he would. He makes a sewer puke with his obscenities in real life too).

I don't think either extreme is appropriate: a good writer with an axe to grind could do great damage writing anonymously and a right to anonymity would prevent victims seeking redress. A right to free speech should not be a right to free speech without consequences - as a libertarian I believe that a job is a voluntary contract: If you don't like it, find another. However employers should not be paranoid about employees having a public opinion, and as far as the public services are concerned we deserve more information than bosses' press releases. There should be a presumption in favour of openness. [update: this is the Line taken by former Diplomat, Charles Crawford]

The solution is somewhere in between: more tolerant of publicly dissenting voices but not a blanket right to free speech on professional matters covered by ones contract with an employer. Nor should there be an absolute right of anonymity. Expressing an opinion about your employer in public should not automatically be grounds for dismissal, as it effectively is at present. If an employer wants to expose and fire a blogger, they should have to demonstrate that the employee was acting maliciously or misrepresenting the facts. The Public interest may be served by retaining anonymity, but should be determined on a case by case basis. Justice Eady got it wrong, demonstrating the law needs to be changed (as does the Law on Libel). And where there is no public interest at all, such as bloggers who write about personal matters, exposing the god-awful Girl With a One Track Mind was clearly wrong and merely served to titillate prurient readers, however well Zoe Margolis has done subsequently.

Nightjack's blog was as successful as it was because he was an insider saying what the public already know: That the police have been given too much power and have been corrupted by the culture of targets. Every time a new-Labour home secretary suggested that the fall in crime was a success rather than an artifact of statistics, you could point to Nightjack's blog and say "you're talking rot, Home Secretary". There is clearly a public interest in allowing him to have his say, and the public interest is most definitely not being served by the Times' campaign to out prominent bloggers, nor is it by the deletion of an excellent blog, and it is increasingly looking like a dying industry destroying its competition. Chicken Yogurt and Gary Andrews note the hypocrisy of journalists who themselves rely on anonymous briefings and prepared to defend source anonymity in court. Why doesn't that apply to the Bloggers from whom they also lift stories? Nightjack wasn't a chief constable, merely a detective and his exposure was simply done for the sake of the story.

How the argument about waste across Whitehall, for example would look with Civil Serf's regular exposes of time-serving wastefulness is anyone's guess, but I think Labour would have a harder time justifying Gordon's "investment rather than cuts" argument. Miss Snufflupagus is brilliant at demolishing the lies of the race relations industry as far as education is concerned. The Law West of Ealing Broadway is great at talking about the cases that come in front of him. Random acts of reality chronicles the doings of a paramedic, or the the Good Dr Crippen who Blogs about the NHS. All of whom, and countless other bloggers detailing their jobs and lives for readers' interest and a desire to do good, would be in trouble if "exposed". All provide commentary which is certainly a public service. All are nervous after this verdict.

Justice Eady has got it wrong. Again. The law is an ass.

For the record, despite my Nom-De-Plume, I am not anonymous, and can be contacted easily. Really good friends will know whence "Jackart" came, and it has been a nickname since before the Internet. I am also self-employed as these idiots found out, and nothing on here prejudices my professional judgment or relationships.

I hope they’ve got an Adobe license

This from Harry’s Place. Ahmadinejacket has been photo shopping his hundreds of fervent supporters (unfortunately unlike the general Iranian population they all have guns) to turn his political rally into the Pope visiting Ireland. He has previous form with this such as when he Photo shopped a duff missile or two to look like they actually went off, instead of petulantly failing to launch like a cheap Chinese firework in the middle of a rainstorm. I hope Adobe have agents in the country, because between Photoshop licenses and inflammable Israeli/US Flag salesmen it’s all the private industry the place has.

I have a horrible feeling this is going to turn into a massacre. The Mullahs have got power and money from their “Revolution”; and they’re not going to give it up. Especially when they also control the incredibly stupid, psychotic and no doubt sexually inadequate, to whom they have given guns and convinced them they have God on their side. But I really hope that the Iranian people who are sick of their country being little more than an ATM for Terrorists win out. They have the numbers on their side, and as Harry quite rightly says – when you’re photo shopping supporters, you’re in trouble.

Immigration & the Welfare State

Via Chris Dillow, whose 'top blogging' sidebar is actually a public service for lazy bloggers, Directionless Bones makes a case for immigration from a leftist view point.

...but united actions by both natives and immigrants (ideally in multiple countries), refusing to accept either their own exploitation or those of their competitors, is a more viable long-term answer than the Quixotic and, to be frank, incipiently fascist goal of exerting state control over mass movements of ordinary people responding to shared economic necessity.
Obviously I disagree that "united actions" are the answer to "exploitation", but that is because I am of the right. However he is absolutely right that a state attempting to prevent people obeying their economic self-interest is, if not "fascist" then certainly something a libertarian should be opposing. I put a poll up recently and it turns out that free immigration wins over a generous welfare state by some margin. Well I would expect that from the readers of this blog. But the country disagrees. Most people would like a generous welfare state and tight controls on who can enjoy its benefits.

Several people said "neither" but one commenter correctly observed that without a welfare state, the "problem" of immigration largely disappears. People arrive on the axles of lorries precisely because they've heard that they (us) give one money and a house, and one is not allowed to work. However grotty the bedsit, that's got to beat subsistence agriculture in a desertified war-zone. So they come, in their thousands from Somalia, Afghanistan and all over sub-Saharan Africa.

And because we subsidise the workshy native-born Briton to sit on their arse and watch Jeremy Kyle, he is unwilling to pick asparagus for the minimum wage, choosing instead relax on the sofa. The left pretend that this doesn't happen, or worse, seem to think that British chavs shouldn't have to demean themselves by taking poorly paid or menial work (who should do it? Immigrants? How is that not racist too?) without realising the habit of work is itself a qualification. Shitty work can and does lead to better jobs. So there are employers crying out for people to pick fruit and veg, stack shelves and clean floors, and even with the official bar on immigrants working, these jobs are largely done by foreign-born people. Even Chris Dillow concludes in his recent post that
"...Immigrants and Natives do different jobs"
And because some of this is black-economy the asylum seeker especially may end up keeping some of the state handouts too. This can however lead to problems as it can give the impression to the poor, ill-educated native that the immigrant is competing for benefit handouts and work that are rightfully "his", however much empirical evidence suggests otherwise. The BNP has two MEPs as a result of playing successfully on this fallacy.

So there are two sides to this "problem". The first is the economic push out of the third world. There is not much we can do about the wars, shitty socialist economics, and downright kleptocracy of regimes in the global south. They will remain shitty hell-holes until they accept that free-markets, liberal democracy and the rule of Law are what makes a country successful and rich. Like India and south-east asia are doing.

The second is the economic pull, and this is in our control. If we did not subsidise idleness so generously, then able bodied chavs would be picking some of the Asparagus in Norfolk rather than this being done entirely by Romanians and Poles, reducing the availability of such work to immigrants. Secondly, if we maintained an open borders policy, but made it perfectly clear that, whilst the UK offered freedom to prosper; cash handouts, minimum wages and free healthcare were benefits for citizens only; then the nature of our economy would see that only migrants certain of their ability to earn their keep, or genuinely desperate to leave wherever it is they are now (i.e. those we would welcome anyway) would come here. There would need to be an incentive to pay your way, and several years' contributions in tax should be sufficient to earn citizenship.

Nothing offends me more than the sight of people being arrested for nothing more than working, especially when we're paying our compatriots to sit idle at vast expense. Whilst I've nothing against a safety net, a few month's payments to tide one over between jobs, the Long-Term unemployed lose the habit of work. I simply do not believe that there are "no jobs" out there. But the risk of losing benefits means that casual work of the sort needed to maintain the habit of work will actually cost the jobseeker money in lost benefits, so these are the ones taken by immigrants. The welfare state therefore creates a perverse economic incentive to wait for a "good" job. I, for example, would love to be Heidi Klum's breast-massager on a quarter of a million a year, but that job isn't open at the moment. Instead, I sit in front of a flashing screen for eight and a half hours a day.

The job is not available.

Our grossly complex benefits system maintains unemployment needlessly high, keeps a class of permanent benefits recipients just above the subsistence line, and provides a massive hurdle to get into productive work. It also leaves a huge economic sector - the menial jobs - undone. Without immigrants this country would cease to function, unless we can mobilise that 15% of the population who choose to do no work.

My solution, for what it is worth, is to remove most border controls, stop controlling who can emply whom, and end the minimum wage. A much reduced and curtailed benefits system should see the jobs currently being done by immigrants being done by chavs. An anciliary benefit is the chav will therefore not be standing bored outside poundstretcher with a bottle of white lightning, looking for someone to mug, because he's picking Asparagus for me instead. After which he's too tired to go out on the piss, and kick off at Ritzy's. Furthermore, the prospect of working next to spotty Wayne rather than stunning Olga means that the shitty job on offer at home in Romania looks a lot more attractive.

The benefit bill goes down, the border bill goes down, crime goes down, employment and therefore tax reciepts go up. And we still welcome anyone who still wants to come here. Who doesn't benefit from a cut in benefits and open borders?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Driving School

It seems the Scottish executive is going to ban rain, hairy cows wandering in their nations thoroughfares in the dark, ice, falling meteors, 89 year olds with dodgy eyesight and terrorists seizing hold of the Forth Road bridge demanding 100 million dollars or they will blow it and its passengers up, requiring a hard bitten tough city cop who doesn’t like those pencil pushers at city hall to sort it out. They are also going to ban earthquakes knocking out the dam that threatens the A82 Ballaballachullisch to Loch Linnhe section unless Lassie can run home to notify Angus who works for the Fort William Highways agency. The Second Coming is also right out. In short the Jocklitude Executive has said they want zero road deaths. A laudable aim you would think, except when you read how the Health Nazis plan on achieving this preposterous goal.

Their 5 Year plan 10 year plan includes 20MPH speed limits, devices in cars to prevent drivers from speeding (which we will have to pay for), and restrictions on new drivers. Transport Minister and Weeping Cock Sore, Stewart Stevenson says “Zero Road deaths must be our ultimate objective”. No they shouldn’t you blithering idiot, you can never have zero road deaths. What you should build is the safest possible road system possible provided it is still capable of moving goods in an efficient manner. Furthermore he hasn’t covered all the bases with this ridiculous plan. Nowhere do I see funding for a giant Green Rocket Propelled blimp with Thunderbird 2 written on the side, or the insistence that every driver has his butler carrying a red flag in front of his car.

I know this is news to a Transport Minister, but roads are built for the quick and efficient moving of people and goods. They are not built for Traffic calming flower pots and somewhere for kids to play so they don’t get grass stains on their knees. I would pay particular attention to the first part of my statement - namely QUICK in the “quick and efficient moving of people and goods”. “We have got to change drivers attitudes” Said Stewart Stevenson. No we bloody well don’t, what we have got to change is the desire of government to interfere and legislate every facet of peoples lives.

Legislating this “ultra safe” world is creating a nation of drones and slaves, what we need to do on the roads is breed in the individual responsibility that if you drive past a school at a100 miles an hour you will take the unpleasant consequences when it inevitably goes wrong. What we (or in this case the Scots) need is a Roads Minister who has actually worked out what roads are for; and that as with everything in life there is a trade off between safety on one hand and utility and freedom on the other. What we also need of course is Health Nazi politicians to bugger off, and realise that every law they produce from their tiny little brains is another chain link in the shackles of human slavery.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Iranian Police Brutality

I wonder what the apologists for the Islamofascist regime in Iran make of this

The regime is fighting for survival, and has all the cards in its hands. In truth, I have no idea whether the votes were counted accurately. Perhaps the urban sophisticates are merely divorced socially and culturally from their rural conservative compatriots. Maybe the ballot boxes were stuffed. We just don't know. I know my prejudices lead me to want to believe in a liberal Iran brutally repressed, but at best that Iran is half the country. There is a large constituency in the country which remains actively and enthusiastically behind the Government.

But the beating that unfortunate man received - long beyond the point of restraint and well into torture (proper torture, not Guantanamo bay "torture") serves to indicate what the regime thinks of the opinions of its people. I know which side of the debate in Iran is right. And it's not Mr Armadinejad's thuggish agents of a theocratic mediaevalist state.

Mr Eugenides is rightly skeptical of the right of western Bloggers to opine from the comfort of our liberal state. But should an Iranian stumble upon this page or his, he or she might just take a crumb of comfort that the world is aware of what is going on, and that we wish we could do something. But it is an important lesson for us too. For whatever power the Iranian president has, it is as nothing to that wielded by the council of Guardians. Even if Mir Hossein Mousavi took Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's job, the policies which make Iran an opponent of the west: Support for less than savoury people in the Lebanon and the Palestinian territories; support for international terrorism and their desire for a nuclear arsenal with which to threaten Israel, would remain. The executive is too powerful and the legislature does not offer a check or restraint to that power whoever wins elections. The power remains in the same, unelected place, and all the legislature can do is talk about it. Another organisation a bit closer to home has a similar arrangement. The lesson is that ignoring your people can work for a generation or two, but eventually the people win.

So... there's nothing the west can do for the time being, but offer moral support to those protesting, and avoid playing into the regime's hands: they are wanting to portray the protesters as western stooges. We know they are not. It is up to the Iranians to make their Government obey their wishes, as it should be.

Your Vote is Needed

Constitutional Reform

Constitutional reform is one of those Memes which is particularly appealing to the political class: It involves ferocious complexity, is subject to deep idealogical divides and is totally opaque in its effects. Above all, the voting public don't care, so these issues can be thrashed over for years, without losing a single vote. It's especially popular amongst leftists, who fervently believe that they represent "the masses" and have been frotting themselves to this thought for decades. "If only..." they bleat, "we could make the system... 'fairer', then the eeeeevil Tories would not win the next election, or indeed, any election." It's a fantasy which has maintained the Liberal Democrats as a party for decades and now sustains some on the Labour benches, as they march towards decades of opposition.

The problems in Westminster are caused by in part Labour's badly thought out and half-baked constitutional reform, and the remainder by a shoddy and incompetently administered rule system which inadequately scrutinised claims by MPs leaving them open to temptation, to which some succumbed. The voting system has nothing to do with it. Though some have claimed that safe seats were more likely to be occupied by a "trougher" there are absolutely safe seats under PR too, however you structure it; and these problems will not go away: some politicians will always be corrupt.

The most important thing to remember is WHY constitutional reform is being grasped with such alacrity by the morose incompetent in No. 10: The people are saying "something must be done", this is "something", so let's do it. It has nothing to do with improving the system, and is being used as a means by which cyclops can hang onto power.

It has been said that it is better if major constitutional reform is undertaken by (small 'c') conservatives, because they legislate with the rub of the existing system. If you're too radical, you're more at risk of unintended consequences. That is not what is going on in the UK today. What is important is that any system be stable, (unlike, say, Jockish devolution, or Lords reform) and have democratic legitimacy (unlike, say, the constant power-grab by the EU). Most of what New Labour has wrought on the constitution has therefore been a disaster.

Constitutional reform, however much it bores the electorate, is hugely important. Get it wrong, and we're the Weimar republic. Which is why, whoever tinkers with the constitution, it must not under any circumstances be Gordon Brown.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Change in Cuba

There is a very hopeful article on Reuters about Cuban Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez; and her belief that since Fidel is about to pop his clogs, more freedom is inevitable. Of course it helps when the Cuban leadership is willing to be idiots like this recent prank. Hopeful stuff of course; but not as hopeful as this passage of text.

And Cuba's "revolutionary conquests" of free health and education for all may be wearing thin as people hope for a higher standard of living, with or without one-party rule.
"I don't think those things are free. They're paid for in freedom and with every monthly salary that doesn't amount to anything," Sanchez said.

Cubans are getting it, and I wish them the best of luck in forging a prosperous and free future. I really hope they break out of their one Party State and get the freedom they deserve. But there is also a message in there for our own benighted population too. Free healthcare and education isn’t free, you pay for it. So you should make damn sure you get decent value for money when you stick your little piece of paper in the Ballot box. Remember that Cuban when you are in a polling booth and tempted to stick a cross next to Mr Trillion Debt – Gordon Brown.

Forza Italia

Just been in Italy for 9 days and I thought I would share with you some comments and points about driving in the Italian Republic.

Firstly the Italians haven’t built a decent road since the death of Emperor Flavius. The Autostradas have no link up roads - whatsoever. You would think that if you want to get on an A road to a major town from the motorway there would be an off-ramp to that road. What actually happens is that the Autostrada dumps you at a major city where you have to drive through the city to get to the A road. Or you would if the fucking road signs didn’t disappear like a fart in the wind somewhere in the industrial area of town, where the only people you could ask are standing on the side of the road in ahem “professional attire”.

Secondly, Did I mention the Fucking Road signs. They don’t have any – don’t exist. Or if they do they reflect The Wiener Stochastic Process for predicting Brownian random movement, rather than where the roads actually go. They don’t number the routes either, so unless you happen to live in that particular Comune and know exactly where you want to go, you might as well use a sun compass like the LRDG. You know why Italians drive like cocks? – because they have no idea where the hell they are going.

The Italian truck drivers are intent on the overthrow of the state by completely shutting down the road network. They will see a truck going 4 micrometers an hour slower than them and will pull out into the middle and outside lane; acting as a rolling roadblock jamming everything up on the Autostrada. Like the fight against the Red Brigades, what is required by the Government is an orchestrated campaign of extra-judicial killings to rid the nation of this menace.

The Italian towns all have some sort of blockade system against cars driving in the city centre. If you drive in the towns you will be fined into penury unless it happens to be the winter solstice coinciding with the passing of Halley’s comet when you are allowed to drive in the city. I was shaking with rage every time I drove into an area populated with a greater number of souls than 8 people and a Donkey named Isabella. If you are intent on enjoying a “Driving Holiday” (when it comes to Italian roads there is no greater oxymoron than “Holiday” and “Driving” in the same sentence) with a wife or fiancé, Tom Tom can save your relationship. When you tip up at the Avis counter and they ask whether you want this device for the princely sum of 200 Euros say “Yes, Oh Most Merciful God YES, here’s my Credit Card, please take it”. If you don’t, you’ll spend 48 hours a week of your trip in an industrial estate surrounded by hookers.

On the plus side the cops in Italy have Lamborghinis. You have to hand it to the Italians, they have style.

Britblog Roundup # 226

Is up over at Charles Crawford's place.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Taxing height

Via Stumbling and Mumbling, I find that Harvard professor Greg Mankiw digs out the fact that tall people are richer and happier than runts midgets short-arses people under 6', and proposes that utilitarians should therefore want to tax height. This is a favourite topic over at Chris's blog, and he brings it up regularly. Do economists think they are clever or witty by digging this old canard out? Is it some sort of academic in-joke to propose this and wait for screeds from irate lanky twats* whilst sniggering at their great joke?

It is of course an argument against utilitarianism rather than for height taxes and is guilty of the cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy: correlation does not imply causation. It is also an argument usually presented by *ahem* physically unprepossessing gentlemen.

Tall people are better nourished, have better genes and may have suffered fewer childhood traumas than their shorter colleagues. All of these things are also tightly correlated to intelligence and physical attractiveness, which are much more likely to be the ultimate causes of success, not height. I would also wager that the effects are vastly different between the sexes: do short women suffer as much as short men? I doubt it.

But above all, the idea of taxing physical characteristics is just repellent. Why should the poor Masai for example pay more tax than the rich Japanese? Wealth is also reasonably well correlated to skin tone... anyone want to deal with that can of worms?

Thought not.

*Jackart is 6'3"

Brompton Bicycle: Who says Britain Doesn't make things?

This is my new Brompton bicycle. Now I know there's a whiff of lentil about these things, and outside london they are usually seen under people with beards and sandals wearing loosely fitting vaguely ethnic clothing, but underneath the smug greenwash, they are very impressive pieces of engineering. I ordered mine in Team Lotus colours: BRG and yellow as an homage to another example British engineering genius.

Mine is the S3R - Meaning the sports handlebars, 3 hub gears and a rack, not a standard option pack. There are further options to have titanium componentry and extra gears. Other options include luggage, and hub dynamos, none of which justify the extra cost to my mind.

If you're a cyclist, you'll want to know what it's like to ride. It feels very different to what I am used to, which is an all-out road bike. Naturally, with small, fat tyres, the rolling resistance is much greater than the skinny ones on my Condor (also British-made). The Brompton is not a road racing bike, and if you are used to one, you will find it relatively heavy going, but no worse than an average mountain bike. The main difference is the stability: with the low axles and small wheels, you're pushing longer levers to move the bike from side to side, and there is less gyroscopic resistance from the tiny wheels. When you first get on, the bike feels twitchy. Getting out of the saddle for hills also takes some getting used to, for the same reason. Normally my commute takes about 16 minutes through country lanes, and it took 19 on the Brompton this morning. This gives an indication of the effect of the compromises. It is possible to get the skinnier tyres, but I went for maximum puncture resistance.

However, I have ridden just 4 miles on it, and by the end of the ride, the package felt natural, less a part of me than my road bike, but I've been riding that and bikes like it for 15 years. I've just been up one of the steepest hills you'll find anywhere, and I've only got 3 hub gears. The range was enough to deal with that, though if you lived in Hampstead, I think I would want a slightly wider range. I do miss the tight intervals on my Road bike. With 3 gears you cannot keep to an optimum cadence.

Of course the tricksy thing is the fold, and this is the genius of the design.

Kick the rear wheel under to 'park'

Fold in the front wheel

Flick down the handlebars and lock it all together with the seatpost. The folding pedal in particular is a very elegant piece of design.

Take it on the train, and you no longer care whether Bob Crow's brothers are out on strike or not... You can zip through the traffic. Small wheels, and narrow bars, mean the bike is nippy and agile in traffic... indeed, dare I say it better than my trusty old Condor. I bought this bike specifically so that I would never again have to suffer the indignities of the London underground and in that, the design is a glorious success.

Of course the Brompton is a compromise. It is not a road bike, nor is it a tourer and it certainly isn't a mountain bike, and it does the prinicple job of a bike - covering distance with minimum energy - less well than bikes built explicitly for the purpose. But if you want to carry a bit of luggage, commute and survive in traffic, and still have the option of a taxi or tube home, then there is no better piece of kit. They are not cheap, and the waiting list is currently about 2 months, but you get what you pay for, and if the e-bay markets are anything to go by they hold their value extremely well.

And they're still made in the UK, so you can wear your union Jack boxer shorts with pride.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Tube Strikes

Bob Crow massively well-paid baron of the Rail, Maritime & Transport Union, suggested that his lot didn't cause the recession, and therefore shouldn't suffer because of it. Hence he's taking his already generously remunerated brothers out because they want 5% over inflation and a guarantee of no job losses.

Obviously if we had a Government at the moment, the answer would be "fuck off". But we don't and this thuggery will work because Gordon and Co aren't spending their money, and they want to avoid a summer of Discontent. A part of the scorched earth policy ahead of a Tory victory.

I would never do anything as illiberal as ban strikes, but they shouldn't be cost free. So here's my solution to tube strikes. When the RMT go out, which is their right, some choose not to. The difference between these two types of worker should be made apparent to the travelling public the next day, perhaps by the wearing of a distinctive hat by the workers who chose to have a nice day out in the sun take part in industrial action.

A disgruntled office worker, modelling the head-dress suitable for a Striker...

I'm sure the equally "blameless" travelling public will make their feelings known in a civilised way....

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Against 'No Platform for The BNP'

My problem with the BNP is they are knuckledragging idiots peddling a nationalist socialism: British Jobs for British Workers, nationalisation etc...(oh sorry, that's Labour). The BNP are racist, hateful, socialist, ignorant, and have almost no support. It was therefore pleasing to see Griffin skewered on air on Election night - very easily. Just ask him how "you just know" who is "British", and watch him start blaming the Muslims. The BNP were given rope to hang themselves, and they did. Comprehensively.

The reason the knuckledraggers got elected is that senior Labour politicians persistently presented the issue of the "rise" of the BNP as the reason to vote Labour. Indeed this was the only message coming out of the Labour Party centre which addressed issues specific to the ongoing election campaign. The BNP vote didn't go up, it stayed about the same. Labour's on the other hand, collapsed. Two strategically-shaved primates now represent the UK in the European talking-shop. Mainly because the Labour party has given up. The BNP aren't a threat to British Democracy, nor are they "on the rise".

White Power: Not a racist.

It is time to use sunlight as a disinfectant. It is time for the mainstream parties to rethink the 'no platform' stance when dealing with the BNP. It hasn't worked, and now the knuckledraggers have democratic representation, such a stance undemocratic. The electorate wanted to send a message that they are disgusted with the mainstream politicians. Under these circumstances Labour politicians begging people to vote for "anyone but the BNP" is likely to have the effect of shoring up their support. The howls of outrage indicate the votes have had the desired effect. A Campaign by Harriet Harman to "vote BNP in order to give hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of tax-payer funded expenses to Nick Griffin" would probably have worked better.

If there is one thing, beyond Harperson telling you to not vote for them that is bound to increase the appeal of the BNP, it is the risible Unite Against Fascism, whose spokesman interviewed on Channel 4 News this evening used the word "hitler" about a dozen times. Do these people realise that they are playing into Griffin's hands? BNP "news conferences" would have been roundly ignored, had Griffin not been pelted with eggs by a tosspot. Griffin's unchallenged assertions about "lies" from the media would not have been on the evening news had a simpering left-wing twat not hit him with a placard. Instead of apocalyptic warnings of violence on the streets (tip: If you threw and egg at me, I would hit you too), try ridiculing them in debate. Laughter at the Roderick Spodes is more dangerous to them than any number of be-dreadlocked cunts with green hair and megaphones. If you give the BNP the oxygen of publicity, they will self-immolate rather than grow. If you fight them, they will enjoy feeling victimised, which will reinforce their hateful message.

If these "anti facsist" activists actually wanted to stop the BNP they should perhaps try to persuade the electorate. I wonder how many "activists" were pushing leaflets through letterboxes for a party which could have stopped them before the election. I wonder how many "activists" take the view I heard from activists in Camden last week, that "to vote only encourages them [presumably, by that they mean 'the man']". Instead of actually doing something as simple as voting, they scream themselves hoarse in stupid, pointless, counterproductive, self-indulgent "protest" when others vote in a way of which they disapprove.

This country is pissed off with politicians, not racist. The BNP on the other hand are, and all you need to do is let them show their true colours. The best way to combat the BNP is to debate them. Investigate them. Let their true message shine through. Hell, go to their website and find out for yourself. Then trust the British people to make the right decision.

Labour has signed its own death-warrant

Gordon Brown is a political master. Schooled in the gutter politics of the Scottish Labour Party when it regarded that benighted nation as its fief, he learned to twist arms, threaten and bully his way into positions of power. It is clear from the last few days that it is these skills to which he owes his ongoing political life. He has never needed to face a competitive election and owes all his success to such back-room scheming.

And in these dark arts, he is the most able man in the Labour party. That's not to say that he's anything other than a chippy, stupid, economically illiterate, short-termist, partisan disaster of a prime-minister, but I for one cannot see the genial non-entity Alan 'postie' Johnson, or any of the other potential 'leaders' being much better at running the country. After all, at least he's good at something.

The fact is the most damning indictment of the Labour party is that Gordon Brown is the best man for the job amongst the shallow pool of lickspittles, apparatchiks and lackwits who infest the Labour benches. Non-entities who ask leaden, stupid partisan full tosses at prime-minister's questions lack any qualification for the role. Such people have no inkling of concepts such as 'holding the government to account'. They see the role of a "good constituency MP" as identical to that of the social worker that so many of them were. Their hatred of the Conservatives is even deeper than my hatred for the Labour party, and thus they see 'party advantage' and 'good of the country' as synonymous. That is what is meant by a "moral crusade" which the Labour party is meant to be: Leftists cannot agree on anything except their tribal loathing for the Tories. For all their faults, no Tory MP would put the Conservative party above the good of the Country. But the Labour party were persuaded that they couldn't ditch Brown. Not one of them want an immediate election, and would rather have a year in office to draw salaries, and prepare for unemployment.

Last week I spent an entertaining evening debating 'the death of capitalism' with Terrible Tory Girl, The Devil, whose brand of anglo-saxon rhetoric it has to be said did not carry the crowd in Camden's Inspiral Cafe; Tom Papworth a Lib Dem councillor, who spoke sense and was roundly ignored, A dishonest fare-dodging harpy from 'climate rush' and an old man of left-wing activism, founder of Class War, and [suspended] professor Chris Knight. The last two of these in particular represent a breed of politician so deeply wrong that they have never had any appeal outside a faithful few.

And this is where the Labour party is going. In believing Gordon's protestations that he will change, and in accepting the power-hungry principle-vacuum at the heart of Brown's project, the Labour party has signed up to annihalation at the next election, from which they will not recover as a main-stream opposition. I see the faith of the remaining Labour membership and can fortell their future: one with few clubs in the old Northern heartlands, where bitter old men reminiss under fading trades-union banners as the world gets richer without them. Just as Chris Knight, and the malodourous climate Harpy enjoyed the plaudits of an activist movement which never numbered more than a few hundred, Labour politicians will talk to an ever declining band of Socialist faithful, and continue to believe they speak for the masses long after they've become risible..

It may be, as North Briton Hunter and everyone else says, that there is no love for the Tories. There never has been. The absurd optimism which greeted Blair, and now gushes for Obama is the exeption. The Tories are the natural party of Government because they are right on most issues, and the ERM debacle aside have proved themselves competent to deliver. Taxes should be as low as possible, not aim to punish the rich. The state should not seek to interfere in the average person's life. Property rights and free movement of goods, capital and labour underpin the functioning of a Market economy on which the staggering prosperity of the west in the last 300 years has been founded.

Capitalism and the free markets, even now, won. Comprehensively absolutely and completetly save for a few holdouts like Chris Knight who act like Japanese soldiers still loyal to their emperor long after the war is over. Labour is part of the same 'thought' process: but there's no need for a 'Labour' party any more. It's raison d'etre is no more, and like the dinosaurs, was unsuited to a new environment and will therefore die, out-competed by nimbler idealogical beasts. We need a left-of centre alternative to the Tories which is not wedded to an out-of-date totalitiarian economic screed, doesn't bankrupt the country every time it gets power, and has some comprehension that human liberty in practice means people doing things of which it is easy to dissaprove. It's time for the Liberals to make their return to the political front line after a century in the wilderness.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Nick Griffin: Labour's Fault.

15% of the voters who bothered to turn out, backed Labour. They came third, behind a Minor, single issue party, and were 5th across the whole of southern England, where just a few days earlier, they had been annihilated in the local elections.

Labour now hold NO county councils in England, have NO legislative agenda, and has No will for the fight. The party has given up and appears to be existing simply to enjoy their last remaining months in office, which is also the argument which is being offered to Labour backbenchers to continue backing Gordon Brown.

Despite constant repetition of the mantra that the Tories are the 'Do Nothing' party, Labour's plan it seems, is to continue the reckless spending which played such a large part in getting the country into this mess, rather than take the necessary action to reduce public spending and start to pay off the obscene borrowing run up by Gordon Brown as Chancellor. Any plan to deal with the public sector borrowing is going to involve massive public spending cuts, which the Labour party knows is going to fall hardest on their client state. Gordon Brown would rather lie to the electorate continue the spending: their plans only involve cuts after the election.

Their economic policy is based on low electoral concerns, not the good of the country. They are merely trying to avoid a catastrophic defeat from which they will never recover.

Regular commenter North Briton Hunter makes much of the cyclical nature of politics, claiming the buggins' turn means the Labour Party will inevitably come back. He, and other Labour people forget the opposition they face for centre-left votes. Labour has been a complete disaster every time it has got power. Everything it has wrought, from the welfare state, to uncontrolled mass immigration has been a disaster. Labour's legislative programme since 1945 has culminated in the NHS and and an overgenerous welfare state bankrupting the country, whilst maintaining piss poor standards across public services. We now have two neo-fascists representing the UK in the European Parliament, which must surely rank high amongst the damning indictments of the Labour party.

The Result of the Labour Project

As I write this, there has been another resignation from the Government - Jane Kennedy (no, me neither) as well as one more Back-Bencher, Sally Keeble who has come out and called for Gordon to Quit. One or two a day... the Executive is losing the last vestiges of its credibility, and every day loses another few thousand votes in the country. The longer Gordon goes on, the worse for the country, and the worse for the Labour party.

What are the Labour Party for any more? They aren't for freedom, their totalitarian agenda gives the lie to that leftist myth. They aren't for the old working class, who have deserted them for the BNP. They aren't for equality - the rich have done very well, and the bottom decile, who subsist mainly on benefits, have seen the ladder kicked away by the obscene marginal tax/withdrawal rates they face upon returning to work. These are the people who suffer most from pathetic state education and uncontrolled immigration. The only people who have done well out of this useless, incompetent Government are public-sector apparatchiks and their unionised, subsidised workforces.

If the Labour party is for anything other than the obstinate maintenance of Power for its own sake, then the Parliamentary Labour Party must get rid of their useless leader this evening, and force a General Election. For they will have to find a purpose whilst in opposition or sink slowly into complete and irreversible irrelevance.

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