It seems Cyclops has been talking to his Dog over Christmas, as the only person still listening to the ravings of this fucktard over the festive period will have four legs, pant and enjoy chasing squirrels for a hobby. Luckily his insane ravings to Spot were caught on a podcast for us all to enjoy.
"A Decade of shared prosperity"!!! We're broke, and the blithering imbecile responsible for our being broke says we should keep him. We're the worst performing economy in the G20 and this so called "Recovery" will be wrecked by voting this bunch of clowns out? This fool has finally worked out playing only to his Client State in the form of class warfare against the middle classes has failed. He now wants to widen this class war by including the middle classes against the so called "Privileged few" and believes that they are gullible enough to vote for him. This government is a failure that offers the country nothing except hatred and incompetence. Leave now.
One of the comments on the Times web page believes Brown is a foreign agent bent on total destruction of the UK. This is incorrect. No foreign power would recruit such a moron. It is merely a case that Gordon Brown, amongst his many delusions and illnesses is “Pumpkin Positive”.
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
It seems Cyclops has been talking to his Dog over Christmas, as the only person still listening to the ravings of this fucktard over the festive period will have four legs, pant and enjoy chasing squirrels for a hobby. Luckily his insane ravings to Spot were caught on a podcast for us all to enjoy.
Thursday, 24 December 2009
I get the occasional troll here. I either tell them to fuck off, or in the case of my licensed idiot, North Briton Hunter (with whom I am spending New Year), wait until one of my Myrmidons here does it for me. But actually I do welcome every comment here as a little boost to my fragile blogger ego; even those from NBH, apart from when he agrees, because I worry if he agrees with me. Every moral compass needs a but-end.
I only delete comment spam and anything likely to get me in trouble with plod. And given a recent thread about the best way to execute an intruder and dispose of a corpse wasn't deleted, I am pretty generous in that regard.
Tom Harris MP (tip of the hat to Comrade Bob) on the other hand complains about the "land of Angry" people he gets commenting his blog.
I accept that, as a blogging Labour MP I invite criticism, and the overwhelming majority of even the most critical comments are published. But it is soul-destroying to have to plough my way through so much...Well Tom, you could try not shilling for the worst government in recorded history. Apparently "these people" have the temerity to suggest to him, one of the chosen representatives of the people's party, which has a God-given and permanent right to rule, as part of the inevitable dialectic of socialism; that Britain is...
...a nation on the verge of violent revolution, of a nation about to take its revenge on Labour by utterly destroying us as a party at the first electoral opportunity. Labour faces not just electoral defeat, they claim, but permanent oblivion.It is, they are and it does, Tom. Perhaps not in your rotten Borough of Glasgow south, Alas, but south of Hadrian's wall in the lands occupied by your Scottish raj, the natives are in a mutinous mood.
I agree with your Angry commenters, and yes. I do get invited to dinner parties. Some of us are angry... really angry with your betrayal on the Lisbon referendum, your creation of a police state and your disastrous handling of the nation's finances. And leaving angry screeds on your blog, Tom is an entirely reasonable thing to do. Because the other option is for the people of England who have not spoken yet to string you and your party up from the nearest lamp-post with piano wire.
So my Christmas message to Labour MPs everywhere is I hope your dog shits in your Christmas dinner and your wife leaves you for the local Tory, for your Gotterdamerung is nigh. And be thankful we're just going to leave angry comments on your blogs and vote you out, because Nicolae Ceausescu (awarded a knighthood by the Labour party in 1978) knows what happens when we can't.
And a Merry Christmas to anyone who doesn't support the Labour party.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
This is one of the most visually gorgeous movies I have seen. The CGI makes Lord of the Ring's Golum look shabby, and the 3D works without distracting from the movie (or indeed adding anything to it) However as the Phantom Menace showed, there is more to a movie than special effects. Indeed it is now at the stage where the ease with which a film-maker of sufficient means can create entire worlds, generate enormous explosions, collapse megastructures and give human faces to aliens is detracting from the primary purpose of a movie, which is to tell a story. Because spending money on CGI is easier than developing a character the audience cares about, and blowing something up takes less effort than developing a narrative arc.
Avatar - the name given to specially bio-engineered aliens with a link to particular people, which are able to be controlled, in order that scientists are able to communicate with and study these aliens called the Na'vi. Each avatar is able to be controlled by only one person, and following the death of one scientist, his disabled Marine twin Brother is offered the chance to go in his stead, thus introducing the aliens to the first soldier, the first non-scientist they had met. Naturally they take to our new protagonist, who inevitably goes native.
I could not remember the name of the alien race and had to look it up to write this review, nor can I remember the name of a single character in the movie. Which shows how much it gripped me, which is a shame, as a lot of the sci-fi ideas, such as a living network which allows communication between all living things on Pandora, are interesting. There was even a Na'vi language with a thousand-word lexicon and internally consistent grammar. Cameron manages to make it... ordinary and repetitive: Sigourney Weaver's Character, whom I shall call 'Ripley' dresses her Avatar as Diane Fossey. This revealed the fundamental hollowness at the centre of the story. I've seen it all before. There are nods to dozens of other movies, but without the geeky fun of a Tarantino Movie - with Cameron, I've actually seen it all before. So. The Plot is Last of the Mohicans, with visuals from Apocalypse now, characters and sets from Alien and monsters from Jurassic Park. The Alien good guys might just as well have been hanging around with Galadriel on Middle earth, and the bad guys are from Wall St.
Naturally the baddies are human and American, with the aliens filling the "Noble Savage" role. The military guys are gung-ho, and just want to kill... OOOh Rah. The mining executive is cynical, greedy and just wants to destroy, whilst mocking the "tree-hugger" scientists. He will stop at nothing in the pursuit of "unobtanium". These were entirely one-dimensional cardboard cut out villains, for whom there was no redemption, no struggle with conscience nor apparent motivation for being so... evil.
What is it about the po-mo self-loathing of our cultural elites which has to cast 'us' as the bad guys and 'the other' as the misunderstood and oppressed? The anti-capitalist environmental message was laid on with a shovel, and it began to grate pretty quickly. "there is no green on our world" said Dianne Fossey at one point to the Alien chief. This is not borne out by the facts - the hated, capitalist west is getting "greener" as we get richer. Japan, for example has rapidly reforested over the past 50 years, as has the UK, Germany and the USA. Mining is becoming ever more environmentally sustainable as people are prepared to value trees over cheap resources. Are we to believe that a few hundred years into the future, mining companies would be allowed to conduct genocide against the first sentient alien race we've met? If the soviets won the cold war, yes. But they didn't. We did.
If you can put aside the miserably adolescent political angst, then this is an OK movie. It's a forgettable blockbuster with good action scenes and plenty of explosions. Utterly derivative, predictable, and completely mediocre. But it is just good enough to hold your attention for its entire length. I wouldn't have bothered reviewing it had not cost a quarter of a billion dollars to make. The fact is you don't expect better from Hollywood and its inverse relationship between cost and quality.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Where is the initiation of force? Would Walid Salem have been beaten to within an inch of his life by Munir Hussein and his brother, had the former and his gang not held the latter's family at knife point?
Allowing householders to use disproportionate force (making illegal only Grossly disproportionate force), as the Tories propose, will give confidence to householders having a go. This will protect you if you go a bit over the top in the heat of the moment, and beat a scrote to half death with your bare hands, but extended and imaginative torture and execution of an intruder will unfortunately remain illegal. Because lefties have been misusing the law to "send a message" for a decade, this "sends a message" to the police and prosecuting authorities that the half dead intruder is the one who should be prosecuted, not the person whose home and family have been violated at knife point.
Hussein and his younger brother chased their intruder and his gang out into the street, beat him with an Iron bar and broke a Cricket bat over his head as he lay defenceless. I suspect this would be Grossly disproportionate, and still illegal under the Tories' proposals. That said, I shed no tears for Salem, who got all he deserved, and I hope the rest of his life is spent in dribbling pain - 20 years of sunshine coaches with the window-lickers is better punishment than gaol, and a few more householders breaking cricket bats over burglars' heads would do more than a billion on the Police budget. I suspect my plan to deal with intruders involving impaling a Lion Spear through the gut, before taping the miscreant's head to a radiator till he expires, whilst you line the boot of your car with bin-liners to dispose of the mutilated corpse in a shallow grave in Epping forest, would be against the law too. So under no circumstances try it at home.
A Tory suggests that the Blood of Homeowners will be on Grayling's hands should one die in a fight with a burglar. He's clearly been at the New Labour teat too long. The Police have systematically failed to protect the people, choosing instead to Police to the targets set by NuLab. Time for a bit of rugged individualism. The Police can't or won't so we have to protect ourselves. At least the Tories' plan will protect the people from vexatious prosecutions for defending themselves.
Christmas is not a Christian Festival.
In fact it celebrates the Winter Solstice, the pre-eminent festival of most religions, with a bit of Levantine mumbo-jumbo tacked on by the Church in the fourth Century, to soften the Blow of the rather po-faced creed becoming the state religion under Constantine. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, partied, exchanged gifts and decorated their houses in December with evergreen branches. During the festival, they swapped places with slaves and social inferiors (something that still happens in the Army today). The popular cult of Mithras is thought by some to have celebrated the birthday of Mithras/Zoroaster/one of the sun Gods, also possibly a virgin birth, on the 25th December. Christ was simply shoe-horned into existing Roman traditions.
Similar festivals of the solstice were common in Northern Europe, where the return of the sun was of the utmost importance, which is why Newgrange and Stonehenge were built to calculate its date.
Easter (Coincident with the Roman Kalends or Babylonian New Year, around the time of the Spring equinox) is clearly the most important of the festivals according to Christian mythology, but it is noticeable that the people have naturally drifted back to a piss-up in December, perhaps the festival is buried deep within our folk-memory, despite occasional attempts by the Church to suppress it.
So I hope you all enjoyed your celebration of the true meaning of Christmas yesterday - the shortest day. The ending of the dying of the light and the return of the life-giving sun. Those of you who weren't stuck in traffic anyway. And though I am an atheist, it was noticeable that no-one could get in or out of Luton yesterday. I think that means something, somewhere is smiling on the rest of us on that most important day.
Friday, 18 December 2009
If you're in the habit of debating the rights and wrongs of socialism with the true believers, you will often hear that "socialism has never been tried". Thus the faithful will try to negate the fact that Socialism as implemented through history has been the ideology espoused by the most savagely repressive and murderous regimes, suggesting that the horrors of the soviet Gulag, Pol-pot's Cambodia or even Hitler's Germany (National SOCIALISTS) are something other than a necessary feature of regimes who subjugate the well being of the individual to the convenience of the state.
The problem is the state is amoral. The more power it has, the more it demands conformity to its ideals. Socialism has always had the idea that "soviet man" would, through indoctrination, better his brute nature and become a Stakhanovite hero, toiling for the greater good. There was, of course no room for an independent mind in this vision. Socialism simply cannot function in a democratic society because there will be people however cleverly to think you've designed the system, who will milk the welfare, refuse to work. They will accept "To each according to need" but ignore "From each according to his ability to pay". There will be people who just cannot accept the drudgery that the state may have decreed is his lot. In the end squaring this circle requires oppression. For the problem with socialism is that it falls foul of Human nature, and to rectify that is the Totalitarian project.
Even the "Communism is a nice idea" meme doesn't therefore stand up to more than a millisecond's scrutiny, but there are people who still believe. There is more evidence than intellectual thought-exercises. The Berlin wall was built to keep people IN. Every communist takeover in history has caused a refugee crisis in its neighbours. However much you think Pinochet was a git, he didn't depopulate the Chile by 10%, which is the average result of a communist regime (see here) - Allende's probable aim. A savage right-wing dictatorship is marginally less bad than your average Communist regime. Cuba, for example with its much lauded education and healthcare systems is so fantastic that people flee on rubber rings, running the gauntlet of navies, sharks and currents to get to the great capitalist nation, the USA. For many people living in Socialist lands, The USA is the shining city on the hill, as demonstrated by the effort hundreds of thousands made to get there, and other bastions of capitalist oppression like the UK.
The more extremely socialist the nation and the German Democratic Republic was considered pretty close, the more people are sacrificed to the ideal. Socialism demands that ever more individual lives are crushed or snuffed out. Even if you're a democratic socialist therefore you're on the intellectual road to the chankiri tree. Moderate readers will be horrified, but you'd be amazed how many socialists are prepared to condone the Gulag - the aim, unlike the Nazi death camps, you see, were "noble".
Then there's the economy. With the exception of a few nordic outliers with their homogenous populations of highly educated, nice people noted, there is a strong correlation between Tax as a proportion to GDP and per capita GDP. The correlation is negative. Because the state is an incompetent agent, money spent by the state generates less value to individuals than money spent by the private sector - about 30% the value. Which is why high tax economies grow slower than their low-tax equivalents.
More money, more freedom. Tax is oppressive.
Totalitarianism's opposite is liberalism. The idea that people should be free to choose their own paths. Most modern Liberals however still retain faith in a potentially benign state. If new Labour has taught us anything, it is that democracy can occasionaly put delusional nincompoops in charge. Worse, democracy encourages demagogues. Best therefore be on the safe side and not give them too much power to kill you, eh? And if you want to be free, it's important to be rich. So let's not let the state take too much of the fruits of your labours. It is worth stating again the state is truly amoral. Evil even. It may be a necessary evil, but it must be kept in check, and that means starving the beast of funds.
A Libertarian like me might decide that Libertarianism "has never been tried", but the libertarian has no promised land which is the destination. No individual is "expendable" for my political ends, which begin and end with the statement
"I do not desire power over my fellow man, and I desire none to have power over me"All creeds, beliefs and politics are acceptable to a libertarian. If you're a communist, go live in a commune. You'll probably make it work. If you're an objectivist, become a businessman and run a corporation. Just don't impose your world-view on me.
Without an ideal, there can be no revolution. With no revolution, there's no overthrow there no revolution to be "counter", and no need for re-education camps. With no opinion on how others live their lives (so long as they don't harm me), I have no need to repress their individuality.
Because I don't judge people, I don't seek to use the state to favour client groups, which is why many libertarians favour a Citizen's Basic Income. With less bureaucracy, and lower ambitions, the state can take ever less of the national pie, leaving the people richer and freer, rather than having to beg for some of their money back, and facing obscene marginal tax rates if they want to get into work and off benefits.
This cannot happen at once. Indeed the withering away of state apparatus of conformity and repression will only come by the evolution of tolerance by people. Which is why I am optimistic: We as a society first accepted that other denominations, faiths or none should have equal rights have accepted that people of differing sexualities are to be tolerated, then we expanded that acceptance (imperfectly but improving) to visibly different ethnic minorities. The state has played a role in this progression, and I would be a fool to deny it. But so has a broader enlightenment and civil society, and the power of the state to encourage tolerance is as nothing to the power of the state to repress and demand conformity.
The argument that in the shrinking of the state will lead to the UK falling to anarchy, and start to look like places like Somalia. The law of the jungle will prevail, and only the strongest will survive. This is nonsense. A withering state will be replaced by a network of civil society which will expand to fill the gaps left. Private provision can replace pensions, with charity covering the rest. People will still self-interestedly obey the rules of the road. They will also obey the rules of their Golf-club, and the rules of their work-place on pain of being blackballed or fired. Libertarianism is in favour of property rights, so theft, extortion and violence will remain illegal. A libertarian society is not one without laws.
Nor is libertarianism mere shilling for big business. Tight regulation of businesses favour only big corporations whose bureaucracies can cope with the slew of bumf needed to comply with regulations. This prevents competition from smaller, nimbler businesses, and turns big business into an arm of the state. Entrepreneurs are discouraged or bought out. The worker is crushed by an oppressive force less violent but less tolerant of dissent than the state. The corporation is a creature of the big state.
Just as society's attitudes to Jews, Homosexuals, Blacks has changed sufficiently to allow acceptance into a more tolerant society, so too should
And no-one's had to die. Which is the main benefit of Liberalism/Libertarianism over authoritarian and socialist ideologies. I DON'T want to kill you if you disagree with me. Socialists do. Don't believe me? Go and talk to a true believer.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Gordon Brown is pledging that Britain offers the highest cuts of all the EU nations in Carbon emissions. Now quite clearly this is another desperate attempt at drawing “dividing lines” and to try and create disagreements between the Tories using Billions of pounds of British taxpayers money to do so. That one eyed twat doesn’t do a single thing that is in the national interest unless it is in the Labour party's interest. Britain’s national interest is actually harmed by everything Labour does, ergo Labour does nothing – not a single god damned thing - that is in Britain’s interest.
“Europe needs a deal where we go to 30 per cent, not just for our environment, but for our economy”says Hillary Clinton pinup David Miliband. And how in the name of God’s Arse Mr Miliband, will saddling Britain with the highest costs of all the EU countries make our economy more bloody efficient? When, with the best will in the world, Green energy costs significantly more than Coal, Gas or Oil even with the recent gargantuan fluctuations in world energy prices. And these costs will be added to every household, to every good that we try and sell to people in other countries who are producing the same thing without the extra costs you have dumped on us.
If you were arguing that we need to cut our reliance on Fossil Fuels is due to energy security. Because the fact that the people who sell us our energy generally hate us (Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, and the rest of the Conga line of scumbags) and treat their own people like shit then I could understand. But that’s not what you’re arguing is it Mr Miliband? Are you arguing that by developing and manufacturing these alternative energies then we will be able to sell them throughout the world. Because if you are then you’re a lying piece of shit Mr Miliband, our Nuclear Expertise was sold to the bloody French, as Gordon Brown knows as his brother so happens to be a lobbyist and Head of Media for EDF. Whilst of all the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers, nary a fucking one is a UK company, the biggest one closed for business for good on your watch.. British jobs for British workers eh? The only possible benefit to the British economy is if we burn biomass fuel by drying and burning all the shit that spews from Gordon Brown’s mendacious mouth.
“UK government figures show that the 20 per cent EU target would mean a 34 per cent reduction in British emissions from 1990 levels”Errr No actually. An agreed 20% reduction in EU emissions and Britain being a member of the EU means that Britain should reduce its EU mandated emissions by…wait for it…20%. No more, no bloody less.
Have these Labour retards done anything that has not disadvantaged our economy in relation to our competitors? High Taxes, High Debt, a gargantuan unproductive box ticking collection of public sector workers, gold plating EU laws, regulations etc. When will you stop screwing up our bloody country you fuckwits just so Gordon can attempt another laughable “Saviour of the world” moment? You do realize other countries are laughing at us don’t you? It may not bother you but it sure as hell bothers most Britons.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
From Defence of the Realm asking...
.... why those at the top did not stand up for what they knew was right [In Iraq]?His answer is that, in the "super-politicised" environment that the MOD had become, a "good news only" culture began to emerge within the military – the culture of politically aware military advice. Pliant and conformist civil servants in uniform were systematically promoted at the expense of capable independent-minded officers. No one would get promoted for saying things are going badly. As a result, few were prepared to tell the Emperor that he was naked.I call this the 'Blair' effect (sir Ian, Not saint Tony). In Blair's case, either he knew that Stockwell was a clusterfuck when Jean Charles de Menezes was shot, in which case he lied to the media, and should have been sacked, or he presided over a culture in which the bosses cannot be told the truth, in which case he's a failure and should have been sacked.
No doubt the same culture will be revealed in the treasury, the home office etc... etc...
So rotten has the state become under Labour that they've even corrupted the British Army and the Police. A decade of failure, waste, corruption, constitutional vandalism and dishonesty - both personal and political, which will take a Conservative government another decade to clean up.
If, indeed, they can.
Do the Labour party have anything... ANYTHING positive to show for their decade-long time in Government to which they will be able to point in 2019 and say "we did that"? Thatcher halted the decline, both relative and absolute of the British Economy and Nation, and Major balanced the books.
Labour: Sure Start?To lighten the tone, many people have used the analogy to the problem faced by an incoming Conservative government to that faced by a Parents returning after a weekend away finding their teenagers have been having a party. To which I suggest it's not just cigarette burns in the carpets: that doesn't do it justice.
It's like your teenagers have had their sexual education from some more niche (links highly unsafe for work) German pornography, and have invited the entire European sexual underworld round for a bestiality, scat and bukakke party. And they forgot the rubber sheeting.
Here's the Marxist Chris Dillow admitting that inequality has, in fact fallen over the past century or so. He quite reasonably puts this rise in equality down to several policies and factors, which I will characterise as 'Labour' or 'Tory'.
1. Big estates were broken up in the mid-20th century, under pressure of death duties.Labour introduced punitive taxation deliberately to make the very richest families poorer.
2. Inflation in the 1960s and 70s eroded some financial wealth, such as gilts.Labour's policies dominated these two decades, and the inevitable stagflation caused the savings of anyone middle class enough to save, poorerm dragging middle earners towards the bottom. There were also super taxes designed to punish the rich "till the pips squeaked". This admirable demonstration of the Laffer curve served to leave Britain Bankrupt... like um... now.
3. House price inflation, plus the spread of home ownership, mean those below the top 10% have got relatively richer....Thatcher's policy of giving the working poor the right to buy made a great number of poor people richer....
...But not the bottom 20%. These have negative net wealth.Mainly because they're trapped in the welfare state, of Labour's making and have no access to work.
4. Rising real incomes have allowed some people to start saving. In the 1920s, and in the late 40s, the aggregate savings ratio was under 2%.Rising real incomes - wages rising faster than prices is a feature of... capitalist economies. The Soviet Union never managed that trick. The common thread is that the policies the Left broadly supports are focussed on taking away the toys of the rich, whilst the right is broadly offering up a ladder to the lower waged - home ownership, lower taxation on the poor etc. The right is also against the boot in the face keeping the poorest from climbing out of poverty that is the welfare trap. So... broadly speaking a combination of Labour spite and Conservative generosity and optimism has led to a more equal society. Does Chris pat society on the back and say "more of the same"?
Of course not. It's not real improvements because the poor don't march behind philanthropically provided brass bands under trades union banners any more - something he thinks represents a public good he calls "social solidarity".
Today’s unemployed might be much better off than were, say, the Jarrow marchers - certainly in absolute terms, and probably relative to the better off. But mightn’t they be poorer in terms of social solidarity, or is this to romanticize the past?Yes, Chris. That is exactly what it is. If the evidence doesn't support your high tax, state dominated society that you want, make up some spurious measure like "social solidarity"that freer and less state dominated societies will score worse on. Sort of like measuring Cuban healthcare by "equality" rather than infant mortality then comparing it to the USA and declaring Cuba superior. Leftists use such bogus statistics all the time to justify the policies they would have advocated anyway. No wonder the left so loves the climate change industry - they're using the same play-book.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
In common with the million dreary reading lists that every Blogger and his son is publishing this Christmas in the attempt to sound literary; along with reading lists of the entire cabinet, shadow cabinet and whatever the hell the Lib Dums call themselves. Travelgall hereby presents the Travelgall reading list for this Christmas period.
Bandits at 12 O’clock
Because nothing warms the heart during this season of Peace and Goodwill more than to see various Brits, Czechs and Poles machine gunning Jerry in the back to the cries of “Achtung Spitfeur”.
You bought it for your 6 year old Godson. He hasn’t had chance to open it since you confiscated it about 20 seconds after he unwrapped it. He gets to play with your new Saji Santoku cooking knife set with wooden block (that can send you to A&E just by looking at them) instead.
Because nothing warms the heart during this season of Peace and Goodwill more than to see various English, Americans and Welshmen machine gunning Jerry in the back to the cries of “Achtung Tommy”.
Because I can’t persuade my girlfriend that an Oven Pizza Garnished with Fish Fingers* and Kebab Chilli sauce is a suitable Boxing Day meal to feed her mother. Apparently she has “Intolerances”. And neither can you, which is why you’re relying on a Glaswegian with Tourette's whose face looks like Malham Cove as well.So there we go, I could have written a load of Pretentious claptrap about how I’m sooo enlightened and cultured. But during this time of Holy worship you should realise that every time you tell a lie then baby Jesus Cries. Oh and you look like a prick too. You can all pretend you’re sitting on a sofa reading Prometheus Bound in the Original Ancient Greek. But you’re bloody well not. So there!
* Due to the fact that jar of Anchovies and Sun Ripened Tomatoes in Aardvark Dropping Oil at the back of the fridge expired about 7 years after your school exchange trip to Padova.
Monday, 14 December 2009
I would like to believe that we can see the start of European officers patrolling the streets of Britain. Specifically I would like to see the Italian Close Protection Squad guarding Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Because I have a lovely 4 inch high pewter copy of Leeds Castle gaffer taped to a section of Rebar I would love to show our glorious leader.
The debate at the Daily Mash continues the debate as to which famous historical building souvenir you should throw at Gordon Brown.
The Labour party have destroyed Britain's public finances. Whilst things are not yet disastrous - Japan for example does not enjoy the AAA rating currently enjoyed by Britain, no-one is running a deficit quite like ours. Debt is the outstanding amount you owe, the deficit is the difference between your income and your expenditure.
So the likes of Sunny Hundal may think the "Tory debt scare" is nothing, pointing to a muted reaction of the markets...
In accusing Tories of scaremongering, he forgets one salient point: there is an election coming up, and the grown-ups are going to have to clean up. Again. Because the polls look like the Tories will be in shortly, the markets are not panicking. Their lack of panic is emphatically not an endorsement of the Prime Scotsman.
At any other time the Tories would be furious at someone constantly trying to downplay the strength of the British economy. But when they’re doing it that’s ok.And so it came to pass that Boy George’s constant dire warnings about the economy’s creditworthiness came to nothing...
Just because the absolute level of debt is still modest by international comparisons, that does not absolve Gordon of economic vandalism on an epic scale. That lowish absolute debt burden is, unfortunatley for Sunny and co, a legacy of the Major administration, which bequeathed public finances which were in the best shape they've been for a century (ie since before the first world war). Sunny is merely picking a measure which appears on surface to make Gordon Brown look something other than a total buffon, but with the most simple investigation still reveals him to be an economic nincompoop.
Sunny and the assorted Polly-fancying leftist trogolodytes over at Liberal Conspiracy never make clear the difference between the deficit, which is Gordon's fault and the debt, which is still lowish, despite Gordon's best efforts. I'm sure Sunny Hundal does understand the difference, in which case he's dishonest.
If he doesn't, then he's an idiot.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
A note to the Labour "Government" and their proxies in the BBC.
We WANT the nationalised banks to make a profit.
Because Labour think 'profit' is a dirty word, Just in case you can't work out why, that way RBS will one day get above the 60p price of the Government's stake, and Lloyds Banking Group will get above the 90p level*, roughly the price of the Government stake in that bank. Then the government can sell the stakes at a profit to the tax-payer, putting the banks back where they belong, in the private sector.
Any profit-busting "insurance" scheme is for when the banks are PROFITABLE again. The longer you delay getting the banks PROFITABLE again, the greater the risk that more capital will have to be found. You see, those increased regulatory cusions you've imposed on the banks: Guess where they come from... YUP. The Profits. What's going to get the tax-payer off the hook? You've guessed it. Profits.
Bonuses are a populist side issue. They have everything to do with envy and greed, and nothing to do with a culture which supposedly caused this crisis. Many companies pay bonuses to staff based on the profits earned by an individual or the company as a whole. Why should finance be different? Imagine there's a currency trader, whose desk makes millions for, say RBS. You can either pay him a bonus commensurate with his profits, or he walks to another bank, leaving the currency trading being done by someone less profitable... do you think that's good business?
For the record, I am self-employed. I have 3 years of "bonuses" collected in my briefcase: £30 of oddbins vouchers.
*A guess. I'm not in the office, and if some kind person will furnish me with an accurate calculation, I will be eternally grateful.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Due to the bankruptcy of Great Britain Plc I suggest we make the following cuts. Fire anybody with the words “Diversity”, “Community”, “Communication”, “Engagement”, “Environmental” (with the exception of Rat Catchers who can go back to being called Rat Catchers), “Ethnic” or “Liaison” in their job title.
Fire anybody who has read this book.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
I am not a climate scientist, and do not have a vested interest in debunking the current widely-accepted hypothesis that man-made changes to the composition of the atmosphere are having an effect on the climate. Nor am I in the pay of polluting multi-nationals.
I am however naturally skeptical of any consensus, especially one which appears to take no account of the effect of the sun on climate. I am even more skeptical of the politico-scientific consensus that changes to the climate are going to be catastrophic, and that something needs to be done, like, right now. This smells to me of leftists taking useful science to fit their pre-concieved ideas that "capitalism" is evil, and the economy needs to be directed towards "sustainability".
I am prepared to forgive the climate scientists the CRU at Anglia university their advocacy for their hypothesis. Eveyone knows that is not how science should be done, the method calls instead for a disinterested search for the truth; but in the real world, scientists are people, who invest their whole lives into a field of research, and are emotionally involve in the result, and fight for the hypothesis they believe in. It is no different to the arguments between arcaeological anthropologists over the reasons for the disappearance of clovis people in the Americas when what are called now "native Americans" arrived. These too can be intense and personal.
What I am not prepared to fogive is the attempt to close down the debate, by sabotaging journals which publish dissenting views, and by attempting to prevent Climate change deniers a means to publish, by withdrawing peer review from those who dissent, to give the appearance of illigitemacy. The bulk of funding in this field already goes to people following one hypothesis: that Carbon dioxide is the dominant "greenhouse gas" and that Mankind is responsible for recent changes to the climate. Funding for scientists following any other path is denied in a self-perpetuating cycle: senior scientists are mostly working on one theory. Senior scientists are invited to advise the politicians, and decide where the funding goes. They decide to fund research they expect to support the existing hypothesis. Therefore if you want funding, don't rock the boat.
Despite this, there is dissent. Some of it is not pure of motive, but neither are the motives of the people who fund and direct funding.
Then there are the people who are most shrill, most aggressive and most certain that "the science says they're right" and that their interpretation of the politico-economic solutions which fall out of the science (which seem to me to be redistributive marxism, painted green); are the very people who've been wrong on almost every other issue, ever.
So. Yes. Man probably is changing the atmosphere. But I am not by any means convinced that this is so catastrophic that we need to re-order the society which has successfully dragged more people out of poverty than any other. Indeed, looking back through history upward movements in temperature have tended to coincide with advances in civilisaton, and the cooler periods which led to problems. Warmer and wetter means "more fertile" however you look at it. And more CO2 means faster plant growth. These benefits are ignored. Instead I see every weather event interpreted as "evidence" for catastrophic climate change, when flooding and storms certainly happened throughout history, and there appears to be no evidence for an increase in frequency or intensity. It's just more people means more targets. Better reporting means more news of hurricanes. This smacks of propaganda, not evidence - an abuse of the availability heuristic by those who should know better.
It is the sheer hysteria of the catostorphic climate change advocates which makes me think they're wrong. Not a few e-mails from all-too-human scientists.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
In a post which any thoughtful party political blogger should be able to write, Charlotte Gore describes why she's contemplating leaving the world of party politics blogging.
See, the ‘Lib Dem’ badge I carry on this blog is more than just a label. It’s a community to which I belong - a community that I’m actually rather fond of - actual friends and things. People I respect, admire and like. And the problem with that is the closer you get, the more you build these friendships, the harder and harder it becomes to remain objective and honest...So the sad, miserable truth is that my time as a Lib Dem blogger is coming to an end. I don’t know if this means leaving the party or just pulling out of libdemblogs.co.uk and changing the graphicsThis sort of semi-detached blogging is more common on the right. Most bloggertarians will end up voting Conservative and cheering when Cameron enters downing street, but are happy to excoriate the party when Chris Grayling says something all Daily Mail about booze Britain. Of the Out and Out tory blogs, there are few that are uncritical of the Party.
Bloggers on the left often pretend to be independent of the Labour party, and may even vote Respect or Green, but the assumption remains clear that the Tories are evil, whatever they may say and do, and are united in their loathing of the Conservatives. Labour has by far the strongest Tribal marker for its members for whom Party = Morality and no further thought is nessesary. Labour home, for example exists to parrot the party line, and whinge about the Tories, whereas few would call Conservative home uncritical of the leadership.
Perhaps this reflects the self-confidence of a movement heading for Government against one on the way out, but the Liberal Democrats online too seem more like Critical friends of their party rather than mere Party hacks a la Labour, and I am sure that Charlotte Gore will be able to remain a member of Lib-Dem Blogs, whilst criticising the Party where nessesary (and it is nessesary). One thing that makes me 2 policies away from being a lib-dem is their admirable openness and commitment to freedom of speech. Which is why I've long said that I'm 2 policies away from being a Liberal Democrat. Like Conservatism, Liberalism is a very broad church. Not like those silly, indocrinated socialists who've made such a pig's ear of running things for the Last decade.
Stay where you are, Charlotte. No-one sensible agrees 100% with every policy of 'Their" party. Change your party from the inside, just as I am trying in my small way trying to drag the Conservatives onto more liberal ground: leaving the party means the socialists have one fewer person to argue with.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Counting cats brings us the publicly funded job of the month. Needless to say I would love to be paid £30,000 to ahem research
The rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economyWhether or not I have to fill in the equal opportunities (white, heterosexual men need not apply) form.
My understanding is that lap-dancing involves tucking folding money into the thongs of the lady performing for you... perhaps at the bottom end of the market where fat munters bounce around for you delectation in Bridget Jones pants coinage is acceptable. I wouldn’t knowOf course everyone claims not to know these things. Well I do, having made a life researching the sleazy and sordid underside of life. The fact I used to live next to the Queen Anne, Vauxhall has something to do with it.
This was a pub in which sometimes bored looking girls, of hugely varied attractiveness gyrated for punters who supped their warm larger. Before their dance, they'd go round with a hamlet cigar tin, into which you deposited a pound. (folding money would buy you special attention - sniffing distance...). I recall this, because I went their with my friend 'Wart, where we discussed the venue. Probably the worst venue for a first date we agreed (actually we decided taking a date Badger baiting was probably even more optimistic).
But actually not unpleasant in a cheery, working class way. The idea that women who take their clothes off for a living are necessarily exploited is patronising. Clearly some are, some are desperate but most make a good living, do so honestly and provide entertainment to spooks from over the road whilst they are relaxing after a hard day leaving secrets lying on trains. Just because the likes of Hariet Harman coudn't countenance taking their clothes off for money, doesn't mean others are as squeamish.
I suspect the Queen Anne ladies are less exploited than the spearmint rhino girls in the thrall of the gorillas on the door. The strippers probably see a fraction of the money thrown their way at the more expensive venues, but The Queen Anne girls see the majority of the pound coins in their tin. But it is not just the money. The Queen Anne girls actually get to know some of the regulars, for whom the pub is a local boozer - albeit with titties on display. I saw less evidence of prostitution there than I did at supposedly classier strip joints in the west end, and much more human interaction between dancers and punters than in the more artificial and controlled environment of the "gentleman's club". There was also more menace - the gorillas on the door, supposedly protecting girls were extremely violent to punters in a way I never saw in the much less polished and rougher Queen Anne. The assumption is that these guys deserved their hiding, but you never know.
The tightly regulated system is not always best.
I think I would have more insight into this role than almost anyone who will apply, but for that reason, would be unlikely to get the job. They want someone to undertake research, but only if they have the prior opinion that "lapdancing" or "Sexual labour" is an a-priori bad, m'kay.
And thus the industry will be regulated, and people like the Queen Anne girls will lose their livelihood, and the punters their harmless fun. And the only people who can see dancing girls will be people who can blow hundreds in violent, malevolent, controlled and inhuman barns like Spearmint Rhino.
And the righteous will think they've done good.
Michael White asks whether the swiss vote to ban further building of Minarets means "Europe is following the Arabs down the path of xenophobia and self-pity", linking the recent plebicite with the Danish cartoons and the French headscarves. I don't think this is what the vote means, nor is it a response to a sense of alienation in response to the rise of asia. Michael White's article does however support the Heresiarch's hypothesis about leftist distrust of popular referendums, and indeed democracy- the people cannot be trusted to give the "right" result. [update] Chris Dillow makes the obvious point well, that democracy is often at odds with libertarianism.
It is not simply that most people don't like the "other" though If you ask Iranians whether Christians should be allowed to build churches in, say, Qum, they would say "No" too. There aren't that many churches in the Islamic world. The largest Hindu and Sikh temples outside India are however in the UK, and there is no outcry or objection to these. The problem is with Islam itself. It is not racism, or even xenophobia. It is a deep, and reasonable mistrust of Islam which is common accross Europe. At the moment, Islam is prickly and aggressive. Most of the world's wars are on Islam's bloody borders, and most of the bombs going off in cities world wide are set by muslim extremists. But most people are prepared to accept people who are prepared to muck along with their neighbours.
Minarets are not vital to the Muslim faith. The Swiss vote is not anti-muslim, at worst it merely panders to hostility to Islam amongst some of the population, including that from secularists and feminists. It is more likely therefore to reflect to the way Islam presents itself as an Imperial Arabising faith, moreover one which is totalitarian, and especially hostile to women. That may or may not be the reality for most Muslims in the west, but that is the impression given. It is up to moderate Islam to start making the running against the brutal strain being pushed by Saudi money, if they want the free peoples of the world to accept their architectural styles, their places of worship and their people amongst us.
Local democracy has seen off the Minaret from Switzerland. That such a poll is nessesary is a tragedy, and that it was passed an indictment of Islam, not of the Swiss.