Sunday, 31 October 2010

Farewell, Mr Eugenides...

I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr Eugenides once, in St Stephen's Tavern, Westminster, which is also where I first met Trixy, The Devil, The Nameless Libertarian and other potty-mouthed Labour-haters. Stout fellows, all. I can confirm Mr Eugenides is as entertaining in person as he is on his blog. And he had? has, by far, the best Avatar in the blogosphere. He is alas hanging up his στυλό.

I share the scepticism of some readers towards many aspects of the new government's platform, and worry that their reforms will be too timid, their policies wrong-headed, their instincts far from libertarian. I worry, in short, that they will disappoint us, as I know you do too.

But what I don't have now is that same hate. The last administration filled me with disgust; the mere sight on my telly of a Charles Clarke, a John Reid, a - God forgive me for even typing the words! - Patricia Hewitt, sent me flying into almost uncontrollable loathing. And without fury, without rage, without spite, this blog is nothing, really - or at least, not what it was - because the way it's written, it is set up for polemic, not placid discussion.
Rest assured, though I too don't feel the same rage as I did when Gordon Brown was placing his Hex on the United Kingdom, I will be continuing in harness until Labour's corpse stops twitching. I am enthusiastic in my support for much of this Government's agenda, but will continue to point out their stupidities and failures. There is much, much stupidity still out there, the Unions are flexing their muscles, Polly Toynbee still draws breath, and inexplicably gets paid for her "thoughts"; Will Hutton manages to persuade people that he knows what he's talking about when the Think Tank he runs has just gone bust, and the Government contains its fair share of Authoritarian nanny-staters. (Just please don't forget just how dreadful the last lot were in comparison). There is much work for the Libertarian movement to do, and many of us are disappointed that one of our most consistently entertaining advocates will not be providing daily belly-laughs.

I for one am leaving his Blog in my reader. I've seen it many times: it's not the end, it's a break for the creative juices to get flowing again. I give him 3 months before his apologetic and embarassed return. Blogging, you see, is harder to quit than crack. He recently joined Twitter, which as many of you know, is a Time-eater extraordinaire. Is this the real reason for the demise of the Angry Baby? Anyway, whatever the reason. I hope you join me in wishing him well.
I've been Mr Eugenides, and you've been a wonderful audience. Good night, and good luck.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Labour "Debate"

Tory suggestion that perhaps we shouldn't be subsidising people to live in the smartest parts of town (perhaps aware that such subsidies create artificial demand and therefore keeps the rent/house-price artificially high to everyone's detriment) and set a limit of £400 a week on rent which is MORE THAN MOST WORKING PEOPLE, whether renting or mortgaging spend on their housing.

Labour calls this "social cleansing" of the poor, likening it to the "final solution" and threatening millions of homeless. And they're not joking. They Actually think this is evil.

Why should I or someone who's earning minimum wage and living in a studio in Hearne Hill, commuting into the centre for the job be subsidising someone to live in Knightsbridge, when neither of us can afford to live there?

Why? Can you explain why suggesting the non-working poor move to join the working poor in a grottier suburb, one perhaps less convenient for the central business district, is like the holocaust? Can you imagine anyone of the right suggesting that welfare slavery promoted by Labour is like the gulags without being accused of Hysteria. Can you explain to the cleaner why someone who's not working should live somewhere the cleaner would NEVER be able to afford?

Dan Hannan has it right. The left really does think the right is evil. I, however think leftism is a mental illness, part self-loathing, part fear and the rest a Stockholm syndrome about wishing to pay more tax. Leftism is ambivalece towards the poor: I think the left despise the poor, and don't believe the poor are capable, which is why the policies espoused to solve the problem of poverty will always be PEOPLE LIKE THEM forcing the poor to mend their ways and be grateful for the hand-outs good people deign to give them. I think the left is fearful of competition, what might be proved better, which is why the free-market is an anathema. If a free market gives freedom to demonstrate preferences of which the Lefty disapproves (smoking, drinking, low-brow culture, home-ownership etc...) then that would challenge his world-view, which is that everyone SHOULD be like him. The lefty, when challenged always retreats into THATCHER, EVIL,CUTS, JOB-LOSSES, whilst the righty is calmly pointing out that every job saved through "social protection" costs at least one not made in the first place. The Lefty won't, can't listen, because he's on a 2-minute hate, motivated by fear, a lack of confidence and self-loathing springing from distaste at his emotions towards the people he claims to be trying to help.

I don't hate lefties, (some of my best friends are lefties) but I do hate the way they do business, and I do think they're deeply, pathetically wrong. The right may not be OF the poor, though many of us are, but we are FOR the poor, those who want to be free, anyway.

Britblog Roundup # 285

I'm not sure it's within the rules, but there are 3 mentions of A Very British Dude (and only one of them a self-nomination) in this weeks Britblog roundup, ably and comprehensively hosted at cabalamat's place, Amused Cynicism.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

China's bubble

I'll remind Sunny Hundal of this when China has its democratic (if they're lucky) revolution. China is not "Leaping ahead of us", it is catching up, because the choke-hold of communism has been released a bit and the natural entreprenerialism of the Chinese is being allowed to flourish. Slightly less savage repression has led to rapid growth, not because savage repression is a good thing, but because savage repression is merely a bit better than the savage repression AND insane economic policies which went before.

Name something the Chinese has invented*? No? All China is doing to "leap ahead" is putting together things designed elsewhere, from the iPad to rubber dog shit. They are able to do this because the Chinese government is keeping the currency low. This means the chinese worker is denied the fruit of his wages in the form of any imported goods. The Chinese political class Sunny Hundal admires is using currency manipulation to keep an artificially low currency, which keeps Chinese workers relatively poor. This is done to further the mercantilist designs of the Chinese political class. Mercantilism is a failed economic creed (unless you listen to Paul Krugman, who's descending into Keynsian self-parody).

There is not the tradition of the freedom of thought which brings inventions, progress, problem solving. You have the gradiose schemes of the tyrant, and none of the advances of the free society. So they can build a pretty stadium, and get thousands dancing in time during the opening show. But it is the Indians who are taking the higher value jobs from westeners. BECAUSE they're free. India has seven times the number of Nobel Laureates of China. India is producing original science. Chinese in the diaspora are also producing original science. In terms of the thought that is going to solve mankind's problems, China's a back-water, and will remain so until the Chinese government tears down that fire-wall.

I'll believe the Chinese are leaping ahead of us when I am using consumer electronics designed in china by a chinese-owned company. When Chinese scientists with Nobel prizes outnumber the number of Asian-American scientists with Nobel Prizes. When the outcome of a Chinese election is unknown in advance.

For the vast majority of people living there China is, and remains a slave-labour camp. For some it presents opportunities to become camp guards, but "ahead of us". Only the kind of fool who would have admired Stalin 50 years ago could have been capable of saying that China is ahead of us now. Sunny Hundal is just such a fool.

*a bit more recently than "paper" or "Gunpowder".

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Take the medicine like a man.

Yes... yes... yes. Now the "cuts" are made concrete even good people who are losing their bondoogles are screaming. The fact is the poor benefit disproportionatley from "public services" and when these are cut, they are going to feel the brunt. The middle classes are feeling the pinch too, but they CAN absorb the discomfort of losing things like child benefit. This may seem unfair, but it is inevitable. Fairness which simply looking at income deciles and concluding that "THE POOR ARE LOSING OUT" without looking at the services CONSUMED is facile, and dishonest.. The process of adjustment to the new reality is going to be more uncomfortable for someone whose whole livlihood is comprised of state benefits, but a transition is happening, it is nessesary and it cannot be achieved without there being winners and losers.

But let's not beat about the bush here, it is the fact that someone's entire livlihood CAN be comprised of state benefits IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. And the people who benefit from the state must realise that the process of getting to the state where 1 in 6 of the British population is disabled, and a quarter of the population are out of work is profoundly uncomfortable for the people who pay for it. It is unsustainable. And insofar as the benefits system facilitates idleness it creates misery amonst the very people it is supposed to help.

The working population has endured since 1997 the greatest peace-time rise in taxation in British history. That means the tax bill, whether it is paid in stamp-duty, VAT, Income tax, National Insurance, corporation tax, CGT, IHT or income tax, vehicle excise duty or fuel duty is borne by a small portion of the population, and though the left rarely admit it, the burden rarely falls on the people expected - all tax, is in final analysis, income tax. Fewer than half of us pay for the rest of us to consume day-time TV. The left may like to have the debate about taxation based around Marginal income tax rates, but just because someone is taxed at a marginal rate of 40% on his income, doesn't change the fact that when you add NI the marginal rate rises to over 60%. 50% income tax isn't "fair" because it wouldn't be 50%, it would be a marginal rate of nearly 75%.

Much as I love Bendy Girl's writing (and I wouldn't invite her to contribute to this blog if I didn't find her insights interesting and her story compelling) it does not mean I agree with all her analysis. 'Benefit Scrounging Scum' does give an insight into the trials and tribulations of negotiating a freocious bureacuracy in persuit of benefits, those of us paying for those benefits would like some acknowlegement once in a while from the recipients of the benefits of the hard work those of us who pay taxes endure. Frankly the problem is that the Benefits are seen to come from a magical money tree called "the Government" and too many people forget that it is people like me, struggling to build a business, and build a family who have to write cheques to the government for sums of money we can ill afford, the benefit of which we will NEVER see.

Shot through Bendy Girl's post CSR posts is the idea that the poor, supported from taxation can NEVER have any of that largesse taken away. Well we tax-payers are struggling. I'm abroad for the first time in 18 months (to see my Parents, as it happens). I haven't had a full week's holiday in 5 years, because I'm working hard, and thanks to the vagiaries of the benefits system, I'm responsible for the financial upkeep of 2 women and one child, on top of the state taxation which I think borders on the rapacious. I see NO benefit from the state (NHS dosn't count: 15% of my tax bill would pay for a very comprehansive insurance policy, and leave some left over to pay a mediacal charity, and in any case, for someone like me, the NHS is shit; Roads let's take fuel duty and call it quits etc...). That's unfair. We tax-payers a feeling a bit put upon, and the majority of the population who benefit from our largesse had better start hoping that grumbling doesn't turn into something more concrete than voting Tory. Like a full-scale tax-payer revolt.

Without the "selfish, sharp-elbowed" middle classes, you're all fucked.

So, I find it difficult to get worked up abouthigher rate mobility allowance being taken away from people in care homes. Sorry. I find it difficult to get worked up about ANYONE enjoying a life of idleness at my expence. What I DO get worked up about is when the benefit system PREVENTS people who genuinely want to get work, getting work, and preventing work paying even when a job is offered. And I think the coalition policies will work towards an end which changes that injustice. So it isn't "shame" on David Cameron for taking a modest pair of pruning shears to the thicket of the benefits system (a process which is ALWAYS going to produce a parade of bleeding stumps). It's the start of a process which will produce a fairer, more productive and happier population.

But I wouldn't mind so much about the welfare state, if, instead of being demonised as "middle class" endlessly in the media, the beneficiaries of my taxation said "thank you" once in a while, and took the odd pruning of the money-tree on the chin, as we have taken the tax rises on the chin for most of the last decade when we were paying ever more for the fucking thing.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Homage to a Government

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings, 1964.

Why I am not a EuroSkeptic

Norman Tebbitt, one of the few Politicians to really get blogging, says

“A sovereignty clause on EU law will place on the statute book this eternal truth: what a sovereign parliament can do, a sovereign parliament can also undo”. That really does worry me. It is a general rule of life that if a man in a pub declares loudly that he is stone cold sober, the odds are that he is drunk
of course this is the central fear of the Euroskeptic, for whom the EU is nothing but Napoleon and Hitler's attempts to conquer Europe presented with a Ribbon round it. Now I am no fan of the EU, and on balance, were there a referendum on the issue tomorrow, I'd vote to leave, but I have flip-flopped on the issue. Such a policy would not be without cost, and frankly, I don't think it would change much. Most of the x% of British law that comes from the EU is perfectly reasonable attempts to keep the single market on an even keel. People jest about the relative lengths of the American declaration of independence vs. the EU rules for the importation of Duck eggs, but trade standards have to be detailed, wherever they come from. Does it really matter whether we write our own Duck Egg standard? Is that what you're going to the barricades for?

Of course some of it, EU arrest warrant etc... are potentially more sinister, placing Her Majesty's subjects under the legal jurisdiction of some foreign courts. And there is some idea that EU law has primacy over British law. And legally, it may do. For now.

But the idea that this cannot be undone, at a stroke is just ludicrous. At the international level, power flows from the Barrel of a gun, and Britain with the 3rd largest defence budget in the world, and the worlds second largest deployable military could simply say "no" to the EU whenever it likes. Who, pray is going to force duck egg standards on Britain? I've worked with German troops. They go home at the weekends for some soft drugs and hard sports, when British troops are still digging in. They've not the martial spirit of their grandparents.

So... EU law is paramount for now, but crucially it is BECAUSE, for whatever reason PARLIAMENT WILLS IT. In final analysis, whatever "EU law" says, Hague is right.

Now my heart would love what the Devil dismissively refers to "our new coalition overlords" to pick a fight with the EU. But if you were a Government having to pick a fight with the entire public sector, who are quiescent, for now; but are itching to trun the UK into France where the Unions call everyone out onto the streets because the retirement age is being RAISED TO 62, and who are going to resist every single "cut" with every last ounce of their strength. If you were having to take on the Major opinion former in the Land whilst doing so. If you were going to take on the Teaching profession, a fight st. Margaret of Thatcher shied away from, over a policy the public barely understand; would you really, honestly want to fight the EU too? Especially when the coalition contains one broadly Euroskeptic party and one bunch of filthy federasts, and a fight over the EU would split the coalition, and play into the BBC's hands. If YOU were Dave Cameron, would YOU want to fight the EU under these conditions?

Resistance to the EU will have to come when the damage wrought by Labour is undone, when every school is in the private sector, and parents are given vouchers, when the benefit system has been shrunk from 72 different benefits to a handful, when a flatter, fairer tax system is in place, which makes work pay, when the NHS has been given back to the Doctors from whom it was stolen in 1948, and when the banks are back in the hands of the Private sector, and when the Government accounts are in surplus again. Frankly the most illiberal, authoritarian, jack-booted nonsense as well as the fiscal lunacy and economic incompetence of the last couple of decades has come, not from Europe, but from Westminster. It is Westminster, not Brussels which turned the UK into a bankrupt panopticon.

The EU is not that important, to the UK, to the Electorate, and to the economy. In European elections, the people vote to indicate they don't like it much, by voting for UKIP in large numbers.. But they don't vote on the issue in the General election. As I predicted, UKIP polled fewer than a million votes. A Coalition battle over Europe would let Labour back in, and they're the people who left the UK in its current cancer-ridden state.

The best place for "Europe" as a political issue therefore is under the carpet.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Guest Post from Bendy Girl

If you've ever wondered why I hate bureaucracy, this post by BendyGirl, cross-posted from her blog Benefit Scrounging Scum illustrates what happens when the Broken NHS bureaucracy and the even more broken Welfare state bureaucracy collide: People who are desperately trying to do the right thing fall into inconvenient boxes, and don't get what they need.

Today I deathwalked a longer distance than I've been able to manage in 12 months. To say I was jubilant when I arrived home is understating the case, ecstacy would be closer to the truth after a year of injury after injury, hideous Oxycontin withdrawal and many other setbacks, just to get back to a distance I could acheive without as much difficulty 18 months ago is incredible.

I've only been home half an hour and that sense of excitement has been whipped from underneath me by a phone call from wheelchair services. I've written about this dilemma in the past, the rules governing wheelchair provision on the NHS are so surreal Dali would have shaken his head in bewilderment and wandered off to find something not in the 'too hard to think about' box.

My Occupational Therapist at the Wheelchair Centre is a lovely lady and excellent OT. She's known me since I was in nappies and is very saddened by the situation I'm facing, but her hands are tied by the national rules governing wheelchair provision.

The rules state that no-one will be supplied a power chair on the NHS which is capable of being used outdoors until they have used a powerchair indoors for a minimum of six months. A rule, which might just possibly seem sensible in abstract to politicians with no understanding of disability or it's reluctance to be shoehorned into bureaucratic boxes but not to anyone else, particularly not the people falling outside of those boxes and missing out on vital services and equipment.

Living in a very small one bedroom flat with standard sized doorways I could maybe just about get a power wheelchair into my home, but it would only be possible because I'm physically so petite. Given that Ehlers Danlos Syndrome affects the entire body, the demands of getting into and out of a powerchair everytime I needed to move to another part of the flat would be equal to, if not worse than the demands of staggering around the flat, I'd just be trading one set of dislocations for another, equally painful and degenerative set. The additional downside of using a wheelchair indoors would of course be a further, rapid deterioration in my overall condition, leading to more dislocations, more pain and more disability. Remaining a part time wheelchair user is optimum for my physical and mental health, the overall cost to the NHS and the benefits bill, but does not fit within the rules of the system.

BendyGirl sitting in her attendant wheelchair

I have an attendant wheelchair, the kind that can only be used if you have someone to push you. It's great, but means I can't go anywhere to use it unless I can find someone who's not busy and is both willing and able to push me around. It's also difficult socially as typically people walk or wheel side by side, and being in an attendant chair prevents that. I suspect it's one reason why small children get so fractious in pushchairs, being unable to see or properly speak to the person pushing you is conducive only to tantrums.

I am not entitled to a standard manual wheelchair as the system recognises that it would be dangerous for me to use one. I could attempt to persuade my GP to risk his professional reputation and a future negligence action by getting him to sign me as fit to use a self propelled wheelchair, but he should no more be put in that position than I should be put in the position of having to lie and say I would use a wheelchair full time indoors. If my GP were willing to claim that I'm capable of using a wheelchair I'm very obviously not, then I could obtain an NHS voucher and purchase a power assisted lightweight wheelchair myself, making up the rest of the cost out of my benefits. That is unlikely to happen, partly because my GP wouldn't deem me fit to use a self propel wheelchair and partly because the kind of lightweight, power assisted wheelchair I would need would be cost prohibitive.

It is possible to use High Rate Mobility Allowance to purchase a powered wheelchair...but not if you're already using that HRM to fund a car. I am currently not using my HRM for either, it goes into general living/travel expenses as I already had a car, but as I need to change my car to a more accessible vehicle, assuming there are no problems with my DLA reapplication the HRM will be committed fully to a vehicle leaving no money for a wheelchair.

So, once again I'm back at square one. There is absolutely no doubt that an appropriate wheelchair would make it more likely for me to obtain paid work. Access to work is the scheme set up to provide specialist equipment to disabled people to enable them to work. Unfortunately one needs an actual job, or concrete job offer to use access to work, and I have neither. The 8 hours a week I'll be doing from my sofa on a voluntary basis absolutely won't count.

I have three options. One; the situation remains as it is now, hopefully improved if BendyBus ever gets it's act together enough to leave the care of mechanics. Two; I lie. To my GP, to my consultants, to the wheelchair centre and claim I will use a power wheelchair full time indoors for six months so that they eventually consider me for a powerchair which works both outdoors and indoors. Three; I try to navigate the maze of charities and beg for funding, unlikely to be secured as EDS is not important enough a condition to have rich and powerful charitable representation.

The years of not being diagnosed and accused of being a liar have left me with a stubborn determination to cling to the truth at all costs. I am just not willing to put myself in a position where I have to lie to the clinicians caring for me, even if that lie weren't completely detrimental to all concerned. I don't have the energy or the mental strength I'd need to go cap in hand to a round of charities, which leaves option one as the only choice.

More than three years on...I'm still missing out.

Gaol works?

Obviously Gaol works in so far as an offender is off the streets for the duration of the sentence. That is why dramatically increasing incarceration drops crime rates in the short term. This is the approach the US takes and we are heading to. Incarcerating about a third of the cohort from problem groups (white trash and black inner-city boys) during their peak offending years 17-28 keeps that cohort off the streets. It works, but at enormous cost to the individuals AND to the state, who has to spend £40,000 a year keeping them inside. Prison works, but it's not ideal, and it would be far better to address the underlying social problems which lead to crime.

Jim Brown's On Probation Blog is worth reading to leaven the Daily Mail-tastic tone of much of the Blogosphere's crime reportage.

I cannot overstate the dramatic effect a girlfriend can sometimes have on a young man's offending pattern. She often replaces the control previously exercised by mum and says 'you're not going out'
I wonder how much of our feral underclass' bad behaviour is made worse by the disgusting, perverse incentives in the welfare state which force couples to live apart or lose benefits especially in the event one or other of them get a job? Until this changes, we will continue to bear the burden of an incarceration rate approaching that of the USA.

Iain Duncan Smith's reforms may cost £3bn to pay more in-work benefits to the low-paid, whilst cutting out of work benefits to the feckless, but how much will they save?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Understatement of the Century

David Nutt responds to his Critics, including me

Q.26 “Banning didn’t work in the US with prohibition, why should it work now?”

A: I didn’t mention banning but in fact, it did reduce alcohol health harms dramatically, however, the increase in social harms from crime was deemed to offset the health benefits

Was Deemed?

His new blog can be found here.

Orwell or Huxley?

Via, at The Liberty Papers, Michael O. Powell suggests Huxley's Brave new world, not Orwell's 1984 is the distopia towards which we are heading. He asks

"How does one become an activist in a society in which people freely subjugate, segregate and limit themselves?"
The answer, as any good libertarian knows, is to ignore what other people think. Say your thing, be good to your fellow man, and don't expect him to agree. If you can't persuade by force of argument, then that's your problem, not his. A society high on Soma, if happy, isn't a problem. If People subjugate themselves willingly, well, that's their problem, not yours.

As Chris Dillow regularly points out, a lack of political engagement is rational. The anger you feel is out of all proportion to the effect you can have. Better to concentrate on getting a better job, hotter wife, faster car or whatever you think will make you happy.

So, the Girl didn't want to read the proffered Huxley paperback as a reward for finding your phone?
That girl did go to extra trouble to give me my phone back, with no advantage to her... That means she had a decency and sense of altruism that her lack of reading hadn’t impeded... Perhaps then we really are on the road to progress.
Quite. What matters is whether they are decent, not whether they read.

Something for the Milliband Brothers perhaps.

Why would anyone buy M&S padded briefs for men wanting "frontal enhancement". Imagine picking up a girl whilst wearing these (surely the reason one would buy them is because they think this might be easier). At some point before "making the beast with two backs" is a little bit of manual exploration. "Are those padded briefs?" she'd ask. "Yes. Yes they are", you'd reply.


And before you ask why I was brousing "Lingerie Buyer", a good friend runs Amoralia, who make pretty maternity underwear, and I follow their blog. So there.

From Tiny Acorns, Mighty Oaks Do Grow...

Revolutions like 1917 don't come very often. Revolutions don't normally come from people who usually think of themselves as revolutionary: idiots like Plane Stupid, Climate rush or any of the alphabet soup of Marxist wankers smoking in east-london pubs whilst calling each other "comrade". Revolutions instead usually happen when someone from the broad mass of working and middle class people says "enough" and makes a stand. Someone in authority overreacts, but the public back the person making the stand, rather than "THE LAW". The governing authorities either catch the mood or get swept aside. Rosa Parks springs to mind. I'm not going to compare the myriad small injustices of British jobsworthery with the civil rights struggle in the southern USA - the latter clearly is a moral absolute, whereas the former is grumbling by people who are in any historical context, enormously wealthy and lucky, but I am going to compare the process by which change happens. Rosa Parks defied the law, and eventually the law caught up with the people who backed her. Today, in the UK, Every day, working and middle class people break the law. Speeding (remember 80mph on an empty motorway is "speeding"), Running red lights on a bicycle, smoking pot, snorting coke, enjoying a lock-in at the local, taking or offering a discount "for cash". Next year, millions of us will write "none of your fucking business" on a census, risking a £1,000 fine. Maybe one or two of us will be prosecuted. Buglary and robbery are decriminalsed, and it's only possible to get the police interested in rape, murder and strict-liability motoring offenses.

The law has already become arbitary, ridiculous and widely ignored.

Given the fact there are going to be a lot of people losing their (mostly parasitic) livlihoods in the next couple of years as a result of benefit changes and public-sector cuts, those of us in the majority, paying for the whole shooting-match ought to see some benefit, but probably won't, and will endure ever higher taxes to pay for it all. There are going to be a lot of pissed off people. At what point does the dissatisfaction with shitty services, rapacious taxation, jobsworths abusing their positions, turn into politicians dangling from lamp-posts on lenghts of piano wire? Instead of remaining small acts of rebellion like a commuters wandering across an area roped off by workmen?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Rhetorical Question for Inspector Gadget.

And if there's no point in arresting "Wayne", for failing to attend his community service, why bother flagging down "Colin" for speeding?

Oh. Right. Colin has something to lose and can therefore be forced to co-operate with the criminal justice system in pursuit of the sanction detection target.

True, it's the criminal justice system's fault, not the beat bobby. In that I agree with Gadget. But the police can lead, by patrolling, and arresting (for this does indeed have a deterrent value, whether or not there's an custodial sanction at the end of it) or they can admit defeat in the face of the underclass and a pathetically dysfunctional criminal justice system. The underclass, who have long since worked out that co-operation is a mug's game, will still respond to force judiciously (and legally) applied. Eventually either the police will work out who they serve - the respectable working people who pay their taxes (and parking & speeding fines), and act accordingly, or there will be a revolution when even the middle classes cease to co-operate with the law.

So. The police can either do their job, and get out from behind their warm, safe desks or walking in large groups around safe areas where there might be pretty tourists, and get in to the grotty estates and start putting it about a bit. Aggressive patrolling in the shitty areas on foot will work - it's what we mean by "bobbies on the beat", and it's fiercely resisted by the police because they would have to deal with uncooperative scrotes or even members of the public, instead of watching their arses grow in a flash motor. Car chases, you see are more fun for the police than foot races.

Inspector Gadget has admitted defeat. I sincerely hope there are some police out there with balls, because gadget clearly blames the people he serves "the few remaining law-abiding citizens" of ruraltown should be offended, and if outed, Gadget should be quietly retired for this contempt for the people who pay his wages, and generous pension.

What ever happened to NightJack? He, at least hadn't forgotten the Peelian principles. Oh yes. The police machine (probably) shopped him to the media. His ideas might have led to the police doing some police work, and that would never do. Far better to harass the middle classes while sitting in the car. Gadget has also clearly drank the NuLab "Police should enforce the law" Kool-Aid. They've become merely the provisional wing of the Jobsworth movement, and they've earned our contempt - almost as much as your contempt for us, Gadget.

Britblog Roundup #284

Is up over at Mr Eugenides' place. Lots of Feminists in this one. Help alter the balance by submiting your favourite blog posts of the week to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, 11 October 2010

On Recognising Marriage in the Tax System.

I anticipate abuse from anyone and everyone from all corners of the political spectrum, and I hope there's something in it for everyone (to get all offended about).

I loathe the term "partner". For me, and all civilised people, the progression is Girlfriend-Fiancee-Wife. A "Partner" is someone with whom one does business. Anyway semantics aside, one's girlfriend, if she lives in the same place is now deemed in law to be a "partner", and as such deemed does not qualify for any out of work benefits should she become unemployed beyond Job Seekers' Allowance (assuming a history of recent NI contributions). The working "partner" is responsible for the non-working one, saving the country thousands in benefits, yet as far as I can see, the working partner (usually the man) sees no benefit from taking on this responsibility at some cost to himself.

No-one seems to bat an eyelid about the fact the decision is made on whether two people who live together are "in a relationship". The question is therefore one of sleeping arrangements and sex. Were you shagging your lodger, any benefits (s)he may claim would become fraudulent. This gives the state a prurient interest in people's bedrooms, hence RIPA and bin-snooping by council prod-noses. This represents a gross intrusion into people's privacy.

This is also grossly unfair on the working partner, who may find himself (for it is usually a 'He') with financial burdens he was not expecting and did not want.

Marriage should be the contract under which two people should be bound together by law, where they take fiscal responsibility for each other and any fruit of the union. Taking this logic one stage futher, surely women would take more care with their fertility if they did not have access to a man's wallet should they "accidentally" fall pregnant. After all, I thought the whole pill, 60's feminist revolution and all that was about the "woman's right to choose" put a woman in control, taking that control from the patriarchal phallocracic oppression rape-matrix, or whatever it's called in sociology classes these days. It should indeed be the woman's right to choose, but not at the man's expense. Sex is not an open offer of fatherhood. That, I thought was the other side of the whole 60's feminist revolution? Don't like abortion? Pay for the kid yourself, or keep your legs shut until you find a man willing to commit. It is after all, a woman's right to choose.

Marriage would be the contract under which a man declares that he takes responsibility for his wife's children (assuming they're actually his...). Marriage would be the contract that he agrees to pay his wife's bills when she's unemployed. In return, he (for it is usually a he) should get to enjoy his wife's tax allowances by allowing her to take some of his salary. Obviously, working women keeping a beta male at home should enjoy the same advantages. "House-husbands" will remain risible, emasculated creatures, however much the Guardian wishes they weren't, but the tax-system should not discriminate between the sexes, and should allow people to make life-style choices as they see fit.

At the moment, the tax and benefits system is a standing invitation for both sexes to behave appallingly to each other, but in financial terms, it is horribly weighted against men, who bear most of the risk, and enjoy few benefits of any form of relationship with the opposite sex beyond soulless condom-covered one-night stands.

And though social conservatives were wrong about gay-rights, for example, they're right about marriage: Because any form of co-habitation is now essentially the same as marriage in the eyes of the law, marriage itself becomes devalued. Thanks to liberal legislation without an eye on the unintended consequences, the flexibility of the genuine lifestyle choice of uncommitted co-habitation has become impossible, thanks to legislation generally opposed by social conservatives: the social Liberals have generally sought measures by which they perversely limit freedom. By all means campaign to remove social stigma, but by seeking to liberalise (by removing any penalties against unmarried co-habitation) any co-habitation, in essence becomes a marriage, whether the parties want this or not. Allow people to choose to be committed to each other. The state should not be forcing the issue.

The grey areas of co-habitation and "long-term partnerhood" should be relegated to mere social descriptors. Marriage should be the sole and only declaration by which any two people are bound together and have responsibilities to each other in law. Thus in the timeless words of the book of common prayer that marriage, and the responsibilities it entails should not be...

...enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly...
... are as true today as they were when they were written. Marriage is a life-style choice like any other, but it is one which entails enormous responsibilities and risks, especially that of child-rearing, and promising to support another person through thick and thin; and those risks should not be forced on anyone. And because everyone benefits from stable families, it's only fair that those risks should be recognised in the tax-system.

So. The Coalitions slain the post-war shibboleth of universal benefits. In return for middle class mums losing their child benefit (spent mostly on white wine), Dad should get a lower tax-bill. Of course, though they might not say it, the reason the lefties are so against the means-test for child benefit, even though it means they have to argue in favour of state hand-outs to millionaires is the same as they argued against top-up payments for NHS treatment. The principal of universality is one by which the people who pay for the welfare state - those on middle and higher incomes - feel they get a little back. Now this principle is broken, we will see a steady decline in support from the middle and upper earners (who together form a majority) for the welfare state in which they have no stake. They will instead start arguing and voting for lower taxes. Middle and upper income earners are more likely to vote. This is something the more intelligent lefties have noticed.

The left would rather tax someone, then give some of that back as a benefit, simply to keep the tax rolling in to pay for Labour's client state. This is inefficient, unfair, and frankly idiotic.

The mooted recognition of Marriage in the tax-system is going to be presented as a sop to the Tory right. But will it be a means by which the manifest unfairnesses of the means by which the relationships between the sexes are governed will be addressed, by allowing the furious objections of the left to be dismissed as what they are: divisive political dogma.


... are plagiarising, myopic ignoramuses, who still inexplicably get paid to re-write AP copy (and sometimes read it out on t' tellybox), while pretending they have the faintest idea what they're talking about. They fail to see the irony in calling politicians "short-termists" for "looking to the next election" when most journalists can't even see into the next news cycle. Some even have the audacity and hubris to claim to be politically impartial and wholly without bias. They are parasites on the remaining reputations of the media organisations for whom they work and succubi on the reading population who would be much better informed were they to get their news from a selection of the best "citizen journalists" rather than relying on the repetitive drivel pumped at you by the 24-hour news media. The very worst Journalists are those who think we're interested in their opinions rather than the people to whom they're speaking or the facts they're supposed to be reporting.

I'm looking at you, Andrew Marr.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Police Pay & Conditions.

Inspector Gadget delivers a description of the underclass estate in "ruralshire" which demonstrates total contempt for the community he serves, then asks for a pay rise

...You want to ‘review’ the pay and conditions of the only people left who will go into these areas? What kind of nation fights two needless and ultimately unwinnable foreign wars while its own emergency services have their pay reduced? I lost thousands last year when our SPP’s were scrapped...
My heart is bleeding purple piss for you. I'll tell you what, take a leaf out of the Army's book (a Private soldier in the infantry is paid much less to take far more risk than the Police). Go in and do the job out of a sense of duty, it's what you supposedly signed up for. And don't bleat about the "risk". Most coppers are at more risk of a paper-cut than a bullet or knife, and you're no-where near the top 10 most dangerous jobs in Britain. You don't see deep sea fishermen or construction workers asking for special favours, and they've endured FAR worse at the hands of this recession.

The chavs aren't Wahhabi-inspired AK-47 toting jihadists. They're kids with nothing to do. Yet they terrify the "brave" police officers of ruralshire's constabulary. Maybe the police will be worth a pay rise, when they go in and sort out the sink estates rather than harassing the motorist, or chasing easy sanction-detections. Again, take a leaf out of the Army's book - agressive patrolling is good for friendly morale, and bad for the enemy's. Get out of your cars and get seen on the ground in the areas where the problem is. Help and support the decent people of the sink estate, because they exist but with their heads down, and keep an eye on the bad apples.

The police have lost their NuLab top-cover. It's time they started to do their job again. Just a thought...

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Obviously everyone's seen the video in which Climate deniers, or even those merely indifferent to Global Climate Chaos, or whatever it's called by the eco-loonies this week, get blown up. Richard Curtis is a talented film-maker, and the video has gone viral. Presumably as the makers intended. They may have apologised, but it's not an own-goal, it's a successful piece of attention-grabbing agitprop.

Of course everyone's fantasised about blowing up their enemies, and if you're in agreement, of course you'll find it funny. And defligrating snot-nosed school children in inherently funny. So if Michael Winner's available, maybe "the right" could put together a video of exploding "deficit deniers".

Who wouldn't pay a tenner to see Ed Balls' entrails splattered over members of the Labour party? It would be more effective than the faux outrage drooling over the web as a result of the eco-nutters' latest piece of hysteria.

But please, don't call this stupid, or an own-goal. It isn't.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Britblog #283

The much-delayed Britblog roundup #283 Is up at the wardman wire.

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