Libertarian meat eater, right wing in the sense of conservative with a small c.

Friday, 14 December 2007

How the left was lost

The left have two basic problems:

1. They have a misconstrued view of humanity.

2. They find solutions and then go searching for a problem.

With 1 it is easy enough to understand where they went wrong. In viewing humanity solely from a collectivist viewpoint they missed the importance of the individual, not so much failing to see the wood for the trees as failing to see the trees for the wood. In doing things for the collective it is necessary to compel the individual to act regardless of whether it is in their interest to do so. This skewed viewpoint will, inevitably, lead to authoritarianism because compulsion is the very weft to the warp of socialism.

Point 2 happens because socialists seeing that humanity does not fit their ideal, see problems that need bringing into line with their vision. This take on life shows so many problems that any mechanism of change, however useless or inappropriate, is seized upon and touted round to see whether it is possible to shoehorn the solution into one of the problems. Using it in some way is far more important to them than making sure that it is the right one for the job.

Hence we have ID cards being touted for everything from fraud to scrofula, "Oh, OK it wont work for that but I'm sure it will help endangered bees if we all carry one.". The EU is another example where we have our agent of change, (moving powers from a national to supranational level), and this will cure all ills. No analysis of where each power should be located for the best effect, just wave your magic EU wand and all the little EUfairies will fix everything.

Then, when it has been shown beyond all doubt that their ideology is flawed and they have used solutions that only make problems worse they understandably, (given human nature), get miffed when you point this out to them. Well despite it being human nature to throw a tantrum when things don't go as you hoped it is time for them to grow up, stop sniveling and look at things sensibly.

I hold out little hope that they will though.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Insanity

I and some of my fellow masochists are going to attempt the summit of Ben Nevis on the Second of February. Apart from laughing and going, "Ha, ha, ha you're all going to die!", does anyone have some advice for this trip?

Justice




It's not been the best of years for the old scale and sword wielding lady. Battered by the loss of jury trials in some cases, infected with the venereal disease of detention without trial, shat on by those who would reverse the burden of proof and now Neil's got in a tiz about Clarkson.


I can sympathise with those who found jury trials for fraud too difficult, those scared of terrorists, those who desperately want to convict more rapists and even Neil being affronted by Clarkson being in the clear. However, the safeguards that were in place to prevent multiple trials, interminable detention, a reversal of the burden of proof and having no recourse to one's peers, were in place for very good reasons. Now we could go into each one but that is unnecessary, I trust the occasional perusers of this blog to be familiar with the issues and what it all boils down to is Murphy's Law.

With the best intentions in the world, if you allow a situation to exist whereby someone holds power over you without adequate safeguards, then sooner or later, with malice or without, you will be on the sharp end. Such safeguards must be built into the very bones of any power, adding them on as a last minute, Heath Robinson style "have a go" is insufficient.

There will always be difficult cases, rape victims who are denied the pitiful consolation of seeing their attacker locked up, trials that require jurors to think, suspected terrorists that you don't have quite enough on to hold and speeders who get away with it. There will always be a terrible temptation at such moments to discard the protections just this once but if they don't apply every time then they have no use.

We don't have perfect justice, we never will. What we do have is the law that puts the might of the state on one side and a defendant on the other and on the whole it works very well. Those times where the law fails justice, cracks open the door for our protections to be removed and tyranny ushered in. It is a sad fact that we have to accept that there will always be a few such failures but trying to prevent them by putting the defendant at an ever greater disadvantage will produce less not more justice.

Monday, 26 November 2007

How fucking dare they

They're at it again. Does anyone in the Labour party imagine for a moment that a single person in Britain will think that it's all sorted because Peter Watt has resigned?

The bint, (didn't notice who, I hadn't had wake up juice by this point), they threw onto BBC breakfast obviously didn't care that everyone knew she was lying. There was the air of a tired old lag up in front of the beak for the 100th time, knowing how obvious the lies were but unable to stop themselves going through the motions yet again.

Following this post over at Mr E's, I hope this turns out to be an example of what I am tentatively terming Eugenides' Law of Political Idiocy:

"However bad the situation a cover up is more likely to kill your career but despite this politicians will almost always try it."

Claiming that Peter Watt was the only one to know about this is evidently untrue. You don't have big donors being schmoozed by just the one schmuck, you get in the big guns to keep them sweet. I hope that there is proof that several cabinet ministers knew about this, including the OEGK, but even if there were it is unlikely to be found, you can almost hear the shredders from here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The joy of stats

I wrote in the post "The poor are stupid..." that I would come back to this when I got a reply. Well, to give them their due a lady at the RCP has replied to my question of where they got the data for the "alcohol related deaths double" statement and it's here.

Now there is of course more than one way of looking at statistics. On the basis of their figures it is legitimate to say that of the proportion of people dying, the number of men doing from alcohol related somethings has, (roughly), doubled.

Of course it is also fair to say that the percentage of men dying from alcohol related somethings has gone from 0.009% to 0.018% and that for women the change is from 0.005% to 0.008%.

I may be doing something wrong here but that doesn't seem like a significant change to me. This is however, not the only issue. There is a question mark over the reporting due to a change from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes in 1999, (it doesn't seem to have any immediate effect on the stats but I hope to find the raw data at some stage and I mention it for the sake of completeness at the moment).

There are, at least, two other possibilities for the increase. The first and most likely is reporting bias. As people, particularly the medical profession, have become more obsessed with the dangers of alcohol, they are more likely to report a death as alcohol related. What may once have been put down as a heart attack, may in a few instances become part of the alcohol rated statistics. This is not to say that it is not alcohol related but that it would not previously have been considered so. The second is related to immigration, if your genetic background does not include those who drank beer because the water was foul you will be badly affected by alcohol. We have had rather a lot of such people come into the UK and it would be surprising if some of them didn't have a few problems in this area. (No idea if stats are even collected on this but it is an example of how other possibilities can account for small changes in reported incidence).


Any ideas, further data or ability with statistics is welcome.

False Dichotomy

This is a favourite tactic of many debaters but does seem more prevalent on the left. The basis is to give a two horned argument and in doing so make it so that refuting one horn gets you speared by the other. For example:

"If you care about people you must be a socialist"


This gives you two options, grasp one horn and declare that you care about people and are therefore a socialist or go for the other and state that you disagree with socialism and therefore do not care about people. It is of course bollocks because of the excluded middle, it is not only possible to care about people and not be a socialist, it is entirely possible not to be a socialist because you care about people.

However, this false dilemma, a Morton's Fork if ever there was one, has had a profound effect on our society. The reason that so many people are so hostile to the right is because we have failed to deal with this issue.

There is an instinctive feeling that the typical lefty solution, (hand over cash), is nicer than the right's way of doing things, (create conditions so that it is possible to earn cash). The thing is that only one way works, (no prizes for guessing the obvious). I recommend that you go and have a look at this Samizdata post for another example of the problem and also a solution:

Don't let them set artificial terms of debate.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The poor are stupid....

....according to the Alcohol Health Alliance, (AHA), anyway. I have a number of problems with this lot but lets just have a quick look at their solutions:

1). Dedicated funding for alcohol treatment and prevention strategies
2). Increased taxation on alcohol
3). A ban on alcohol advertising before 9.00 pm and in cinemas apart from 18 rated films
4). Promotional material to carry information on health related harm
5). The drink driving limit to be reduced to the EU standard of 0.5g/l and a near zero limit for new drivers

1). Is simply a plea for more money by the organisations involved in such work, (check the member list at the bottom of the link). Most of these are charities and it is entirely reasonable for them to get involved in fundraising, it does seem like a cheeky way of doing so though.

2). You can just see the meeting can't you;

"There's terrible problems with pissed people!"
"OMG what can we do?"
"Lets raise taxes, that'll stop the proles in their tracks!"
"But I thought middle class drinkers were the problem, a bit more tax won't stop them drinking!"
"Never mind that spurious bollocks, the proles are too thick to think for themselves. We must do so for them!"

3). Will make sod all difference to alcohol consumption. We already have very tightly controlled regulation of this. People do not drink because they have seen a sodding advert.

4). Bollocks. We know that alcohol can harm us, not only is all the information freely available but hangovers are rather indicative. We do not need "YOU ARE EVIL" shouted at us every time we have a beer.

5). It makes no sense to have two separate drink drive levels. There is a possible advantage in having a zero limit in that it would at least be easy to work out how much you can get away with drinking. However, any reduction would also require justifying, (some data showing that such a measure would reduce accidents). As our abilities to regulate anything are going to be taken away by the EU ratchet clause it seems a bit pointless to bother though, the EU never requires that an idea be sensible to think that it's a good.

The AHA have kicked all this off with a startling statistic:

"Alcoholic liver cirrhosis has increased by 95% since 2000, and by 36% over the last two years to 2006 and is still increasing"

Now this gives rise to a few questions of the lies, damn lies or statistics sort. I can find no link to anything other than the above statement about where the above numbers come from so no reliability, methodology etc assessment can be made, (I have e-mailed the Royal College of Physicians, (RCP), who seem to be coordinating the AHA for further info).

Well, I will let you know if and when I get a reply but I would like to leave you with a quote from this study, (pdf), by the RCP from 2001:

"By historical standards current levels of consumption are not remarkable....."

UPDATE: I do like the Daily Mash's take on this one.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Driving can be fun...

...but not in the UK.

They seem determined to kill any joy that can be had from the evil motor car. They claim that "speed kills" and to some extent this is true. Get into an accident at vastly increased speed and you are far more likely to get someone hurt than if you were going slowly. This argument is missing several factors though:

Speeding, in and of itself does not cause accidents. People driving like total numpties is what causes accidents. One of the ways that they act in a numpty fashion is to drive faster than they and the car can cope with the circumstances but this is going to vary with the different combinations of circumstances, drivers and cars. It's not easy to police the actual problem so they just try to police something else and do so in such a way that it raises rather than costs money to enforce.

Does this deal with the problem of dangerous driving? Fuck no. It catches one or two dangerous numpties who could be caught in more sensible ways and penalises everyone who goes over the arbitrary, (most of the speed limits we have don't make a huge amount of sense due to bad planning, changing technology and idiots in charge syndrome), limits.

What's the alternative though? Well, go and have a drive in Italy. It is bonkers in many ways, speeding is ignored and people drive like maniacs but on the whole they are better drivers, (nothing like necessity to teach you lessons quickly), and, by ceiling cat, driving in Italy is so much fun.

I would never expect the new puritan socialist cunts to take any of the above into account though. Doing something is important to them regardless of whether its a sensible idea or not, add in ruining peoples fun and they positively cream themselves over it.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

BBC - please learn how to do news

I am pleased that the BBC covered the creation of the UK National Defence Association which is calling for increased spending, (so far the only area I've noticed where the government don't describe spending as investment), on the forces. There are several good reasons for bringing spending up but they boil down to being asked to do too much with too little and it's time to bring the forces back up to full capability.

What did piss me off no end though was BBC breakfast. I watched the program for about two news cycles from 7.15ish and after a brief introduction regarding the UKNDA they launched straight into the MOD response and spewed it out verbatim. No attempt at criticism was made, not even to mention that the "sustained investment" period has included two wars, (these tend to be a tad expensive). Nor was there any interpretation of the 7.7 Billion rise in expenditure by 2011. Now call me a cynical bastard but given Labours record on promising the earth and then quietly reducing what said they would provide a question there might be in order.

The other thing about the 7.7 is that at the current rate of inflation the government would have to increase spending by about 6 Billion pounds just to maintain the same level in real terms. This leaves you with a promised 1.7 Billion extra with a purchasing power of about 1.4 Billion in todays money.

It has not taken long to work this out, it's not that complicated. So why didn't they report what the figures meant and take the government to task over their lamentable treatment of the forces?

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Party political braodcast by the conservatives

Well, according to the "Yes Minister Rules" The Conservatives are going to be doing some radical stuff. They're sitting in a dark wood panelled office with leather bound books behind them wearing dark suits.

Interesting times ahead then?

Update: My God they must be strapped for cash, sixth formers would do more a professional production. It looks like they filmed it with a mates camera.

Liberal Conspiracy

The other day I wrote a sweary ripping into the new blog Liberal Conspiracy. However, I decided not to publish it on the basis that it was unreasonable to simply launch into the attack on the basis of the words Libertarian and Left being combined so I decided to wait for a bit to see if the articles would convince me I had been wrong.

So did they? Did they bollocks. They are not Libertarian, they are left. I thought that the combination would be odd but it's not a combination at all, just lefty wibbling.

Authoritarianism and leftyness go hand in hand of necessity, (taking peoples money away and controlling their behavior "for their own good" requires compulsion).

I genuinely do not understand why they have adopted the Libertarian label since it seems antithetical to their views.

An excellent article for your perusal

This article by Matthew Sinclair, provides a very useful framework for seeing how Libertarianism and Conservatism can work together. There will always be a certain amount of tension and I cannot see how how pro-EU Conservatives can fit into the mix of a small government ethos but the best hope we have is to bring some radicalisation, (what an ugly word, suggestions for a better one gratefully received), to the Conservatives. Perhaps the Conservatives can in turn stop things being messed up by the socialists again.

Questions for the left.

How many times do you have to try big government solutions that suffer from massive dis-economies of scale before you realise they don't work?

How can you justify social engineering? In other words, what makes you so sure that your ethical position is correct that you are able to justify imposing it, (in a jolly hockysticks authoritarian way), on others?

Monday, 5 November 2007

Mwhuhh

With the shower of shits governing us it's no wonder that swearblogging has become ever more popular as a way to mock and vent one's feelings. However, this Grauniad piece, (via Chicken Yogurt), leaves me not so much wanting to swear as strap Gordon "protector of your freedoms" Brown to a chair and force him to watch as I make faces and gurning noises as the only way sufficient to demonstrate the level of contempt in which I hold him.

The particular object of my ire is this:

"But a number of ministerial sources did confirm that the PM was concerned enough about introducing such a huge multi-billion pound scheme to insist that the technology must work before it is introduced."

Unlike every other thing he has ever done he's finally going to start doing using a process known elsewhere in the world as "being even slightly sane", (his methodology, not introducing ID cards which is a ludicrous idea). Well, it is a start I suppose but after a decade of this nauseating bastard we deserve better. Listen up Gordy:

MGHHNNNGGG, HUNUKKKKGNNN, WUHHHGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

England, my England

There are times when you just have to sit back and wonder in the joy that is winning the lottery of life. I have come back from the pub to have a treat of jam and butter on bread. Those who don't understand this never will, to those who do; I salute you sirs.

Sincerely,

Falco

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Different Strokes

I have been reluctant to comment on this story without finding some more detail but the Hate Mail, (a despicable rag if there ever was one), seems to have the most information on this, (reliability not withstanding).

The major hu ha has been about the "downgrading" of Christmas by giving religious festivals from other religions the same weight and importance. It doesn't seem to occur to this think tank, (using think in loosest sense possible), that there are very good reasons why we don't. Christmas is, for better or worse, a long established tradition in this country and the origins of a celebration at the dead of winter have rather older roots. Christian festivals are part of the history and fabric of our society, (please don't get the idea that I'm getting soft on religion), and while change may come eventually it will be a gradual evolution rather than yet another top down socialist piece of idiocy. These other celebrations do not have the same value for the UK and trying to force such things invariably give people fantasies about lampposts, rope, politicians and think tanks, (so not a total loss then).

The rest of the proposals apparently include:

1. "Birth ceremonies", at which state and parents agree to "work in partnership" to bring up children

Fuck off, no really fuck off and insert rusty razor blades up your urethra before sinking 5 pints in two minutes. The state should only intervene between parent and child if the child is being abused. It is not a cunting partnership you driveling schmucks.

2. Action to "ensure access" for ethnic minorities to "largely white" countryside

Clearly it's a damn good thing that we have these large walls around the ghettos that we keep the darkies in. If people don't go to the countryside it's because they don't want to. The moron who came up with this one should have a fox disemboweled over them and then have a bit of a cross country race with some hounds.

3. An overhaul of Britain's "imperial" honours system

Change it to what? To be honest I'm sure that there are a number of problems with the current system but the only one I've noticed is that you get loads of civil servants getting honored for "services to paper clips" etc. Even that is not too much of a problem, a short ceremony that makes people feel valued can be very cost effective. In short if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it, (not that Labour would know anything about fixing honors).

4. Bishops being thrown out of the House of Lords

Yes, good idea. There is no good reason to have the ceiling cat nutters having special access to positions in the legislature, just make sure that when chucking out the bishops you don't end up swapping them for people who believe in a different ceiling cat.

5. An end to "sectarian" religious education

By this I assume that they want multi faith religious education, moronic little shits that they are. The reason that religions don't tend to get on with each other is that they have fundamental disagreements about what they believe, (because ceiling cat has told them), are absolute truths. You can have non-religious education or religion specific education. There is no way to have nonspecific religious education.

6. Flying flags other than the Union Jack.

I would say great idea but I have a nasty feeling that they are talking more about a blue background with gold stars than the Cross of St George.


Monday, 29 October 2007

Fuckwit

It's not often that I get to correct idiots for misspelling condescension but even if you forgive the spelling EvilEuropean has got the wrong end of the stick.

I don't believe that I have ever given a lefty the impression that I have sunk to their level.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Wrong way

Once, in an argument with a lefty, I managed to gain a small amount of ground by the process of beating him over the head with something so obviously true that eventually he had to admit it. This took some considerable time as my statement was very controversial.

"The government should have to justify every penny they take from us."

If the above seems so fundamental an axiom on the relationship between people and government that it does not even need to be stated that is because you have never had to deal with the rantings of a socialist. We, (my libertarian fiends), accept that some government is necessary, (and therefore easy to justify), some may be necessary, (possibly justifiable on case by case basis) and then we have the dross, slag and waste, (examples of which can be found in the Grauniad jobs section).

The left wing view is that the government are the people, there can be no conflict in taking money from your wallet because it was never yours in the first place. Everyone should pay and anyone who earns more than average should not object to having their wages brought down to the average through punitive taxation and if they do then they're evil. There is then no need to justify expenditure and we end up with Grauniad jobs.

It's your money and it's time for a smaller government.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Sleeping Giants

On the edition I have of Leviathan by Hobbes there is the image of a giant, the Leviathan, made up of many people. This giant wears a crown and represents the necessity of monarchy to direct the mass of the people. Hobbes’ view of people, however accurate for the time, was not charitable. He considered them and their lives to be “nasty, brutish and short”, needing the guiding light of the monarchy to steer them from abject stupidity and misery.

The Leviathan is a powerful image, capturing the might of a nation of people united under a common purpose. The crown however, is no longer the right icon, with the monarchy having only a shadow of their former power and the executive having taken their place. Another thing that has changed in this country is that the lives of the people are no long nasty, brutish and short. We may lament the standards of education and that there are still people “under the poverty line” but both these things must be seen in relative terms. Life expectancy has never been higher, we are richer than ever before, anyone who wants an education has the opportunity to have it and most have done so. Even the poverty line is ridiculous, being defined not as being poor but as having less than others. No one has to starve to death in Britain but because the top has got richer faster than the bottom we hear pleadings for those with less.

Today people are in a better position to look after themselves than ever before so why do we suffer under more and more government? Why do we ignore politics and let voting turn out slip lower and lower each election?

There are conflicting reasons for this. One of the side effects of an education in the working of democracy is that you learn how little your vote counts in a country of 60 million. Another reason is that because we are better able to deal with things ourselves there is less motivation to get involved in group. The other side of the problem is that any apparatus of power will tend to try to extend its competencies further. We can see this clearly with the EU, once simply a free trading block and a way for the Germans to make reparations to the French, the EU has branched out, taking control of aspects of our lives that we never envisioned. When the referendum on joining was made I doubt even the most radical sceptic thought that the EU would ban smoking and Routmaster buses. It wasn’t simply the power needed to do that, it was the fact that there was no good reason for the EU to have an interest in those areas.

This is not just a problem with the EU, any power structure will try to expand, as our own government has done. Petty rules are created to keep us safe that end up treating us like children and taking away the responsibilities that should be ours. We have allowed this to happen because we barely noticed each little salami slice of our freedom taken away. In a cry for something to done about the latest crisis, each time we have thought, “Well it’s only a tiny bit of freedom that I’m giving up, it doesn’t matter there’s plenty left.”. This is tragic because bit by bit we have lost it. Few have even noticed and it’s shameful because never before have we been more able to govern ourselves.

The struggle to take back what we have lost has begun though. The internet has allowed those with a common interest in fighting back a fantastic means of communication. Those who have the slightest interest now know each time another freedom is reduced or removed and their anger is starting to spill out into the world at large. One of the most encouraging changes that I have seen in a long time was the incredulous reception the MSM, (including the BBC!), gave to today’s announcement that smoking in cars was evil, wrong and to a certain extent illegal, (it is not actually banned but if you have an accident it will fall under “lack of due care and attention”).

It may sound desperate to be so pleased over a change in attitude over such a silly policy but it is a start. Our freedoms were taken away with salami tactics, maybe we can start to take them back the same way. What I hope for is that soon the Leviathan will wake and see how little government it needs.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Tax

The Tories have finally come up with a policy that doesn't involve taxes for breathing but the abolition of the loathed death tax. Although they haven't quite abolished it, leaving those with estates above £1M still liable. A bit pointless that though, anyone with that much dosh can afford to use a tax planner and get round most of it anyway. I am willing to bet that the proposed system will raise less than the cost of administering it, so why not abolish the tax altogether and get rid of the raft of civil servants that have to be payed to take our money away? A few more savings to got there then.

As any fule no, the death tax is particularly hated for 3 reasons:

1). It is a tax on previously taxed income.
2). It is a tax on a gift, why should there be taxes involved when you want to give away your hard earned dosh?
3). Grieving people tend to be a tad upset. The death tax, like kicking a man when he's down, is just fucking rude.


Apart from the obvious* the motive behind the death tax was to break up the big estates and whether you agree with this motive or not, it was fairly successful. We have now reached the point that none of the few surviving grand estates are going to be affected by IHT and so that purpose has been served as far as possible.

However, the lefties, as exemplified by the otherwise excellent Chicken Yogurt, are far from happy. CY complains that the Tories are happy for "Ike" to inherit whilst lambasting "Mike", (great names), for daring to be on the dole. This exposes a fundamental difference between the left and right that in one sense I am happy to see. A bit of clear water makes the choices we have that much easier. However, that doesn't make me think any more of the left's position which is that all money belongs to the government and those who have earned it are just holding it on a contingent basis. In contrast, the right wing view is that if you have earned something, especially if you have already paid tax on it, then it's yours and the state should fuck off.

Ike is inheriting because his mother wishes to dispose of the property she has built up and has chosen to hand it over to her son. Mike is getting money forcibly taken from others.

I hope that squares the circle for CY but somehow I doubt he will be willing to change his views on this.

* The government being money grabbing bastards.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Ethics

How to start this without sounding like a moaning old bastard despite still being in my twenties?

There is a severe problem with ethics in modern day western society. It's not people getting drunk and shagging, it's not even immigration, (the sincerest form of flattery), nor is it the gradual collapse of religion, (which if you've read some of the previous posts you would see I view as a positive). The problem is the pathetic loss of confidence in the values that we do have. There have been many causes of this but the one that has been most problematic for our code of ethics is the rise of moral and cultural relativism. Back in the day, (when this were all fields), we had no problems with saying "your system is crap, we're much better" but now you have to place everything in it's cultural context before making a judgement. You can see how this came about, you cannot have a true appreciation of history let alone the present day without being able to suspend your own judgement and view things through another's eyes. Perhaps we just got too good at this and found that when we tried to pull back we had lost the ability to have confidence in our own position.

This is not to say that we had a once flawless system that has become corrupted. Not only was it far from perfect but such systems should gradually evolve to take new ideas into account and hopefully work towards better views for the day in question. The problem now is that though there is the rump of a belief set remaining, it is not strong enough to be an effective challenge to the idiot systems out there. This is shameful because we have more to be proud of than ever and all of it based on respect for the individual and noninterference unless one person infringes on the rights of another.

What we have to stop is the creeping depression of apologist little shits like Trevor Phillips who's latest assertions are more than ably debunked by Not a Sheep. There is room for multiculturalism up to a point but that point was reached long ago, (have all the fun, frolics and festivals you like but don't turn violent if people take this piss).

We have to be able to stand up and say that Islam is a fucking horrible, oppressive religion, that Darfur is a genocide in action and that we value our culture above others. Why is this so difficult for so many people and particularly for our political parasites? There is the very British desire not to offend, there are the realities of realpolitic and then there's the need to wake up and stop being spineless. It is the last of these we need to concentrate on.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Australians, very sporting chaps

I'm sure there are nice Australians out there but this is the sort of thing that gives them a less than wonderful reputation.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Best simile of the year

Over at Slow Hole to China I found this gem:

"cocking wasps, which do nothing with their lives apart from ruin picnics, kill my mates and make me run around flapping my arms like a spastic stuck in a particle accelerator"

Psi Corps

I was thinking about why it is so hard to convince the majority of the population that asking the government "to do something!!!" is usually a bad idea and I stumbled over this post at Libertarian UK by Longrider:

"When I see and hear people talking of rights and bans I wait patiently and am usually rewarded by a demand that government should do something. I am reminded of Babylon 5. The phrase used by the Psi Corps rings eerily true—'the corps is mother, the corps is father.'"

Why do people have this attitude to government? How can there be people who don't understand that any government is bound to be a bit shit and therefore you should restrict it's activities to those areas where there's really no sensible alternative?

The only rational argument is that, rightly or wrongly, people believe that the benefits they get from handing power over exceed the loss. They seldom do but in the same way that people will turn to God for answers they will beg that "something be done" about the latest scare and damn the cost. It's not often important that what is done is remotely useful even when the cost is severe, holding people without charge thanks to TWAT for instance.

What we have to do is work out how to engage with these people and it's not going to be easy. Getting up and saying that you are "going to do something", (usually by putting a ban in place), is easy, attention grabbing and simplistic. Telling the public that you don't think the government should do anything about a problem is not just more difficult to get across, it goes against years of big government mentality. Few will care unless we can show how much repressive, illiberal, big government harms them. It not that it doesn't, many of the ills that we face are due to too much government from the vastly inefficient health service to the way we are sliding into a police state, from our over burdensome taxes to the smoking ban.

We need to make the battle cry "let us be" become as well known and evocative as "something must be done".

Friday, 21 September 2007

Guns

We are a nation obsessed with the damn things for two reasons. They are used by criminals to kill people and they are really, really fun to play with. This week's silly gun story is here which I am willing to bet was one of these.

I used to be very much in favour of radical gun control, hearing the stats on the US made me believe that you would have to be stark raving bonkers to believe otherwise. However, several things have changed my view on this:

1). We have some of the toughest anti gun laws in the world and they don't stop people getting shot.

2). If you really want to get a gun it's not that difficult, the law simply means that only those who are already criminal will find doing so worthwhile.

3). If you go somewhere that has not banned guns and give them a go you will find they are very fun. (One of my abiding memories from my stag do was going to a bar in Poland with a shooting gallery. Not only was firing the guns fun but watching the recoil from a Glock wobble down a friends slightly corpulent form was pure comedy.)

I think a good first step would be to allow shooting galleries and let people fire as many guns as they like but not be permitted to take them out of the range. I don't see any good reason to disallow this but if anyone has some arguments against I would be happy to hear them.

Schilling and Alisher Usmanov

I went to have a look at the Schilling web site and oddly enough they don't think Alisher is worthy of a place in their what we do section. I suppose putting "we close down websites for really dodgy people who feel threatened by the truth" just isn't going to fit with their corporate image.

It's not that I have a thing against lawyers, both my parents are and I understand that there is a necessary divorcing of the legal and personal views of a client so I can't blame them for taking him on. The tactics that they use is something that they are responsible for though. There's also another thing that bothers me:

"As well as practicing law, our partners are pivotal in creating it"

Is it just me or do the rest of you think that's a job for Parliament?

Martin Samuel

Go and check out this by Martin Samuel. A very funny article with a disturbing idea;

What if all policy originates with the Lib Dems?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Arsenal His Ovum

This is deeply disturbing. Alisher Usmanov has managed to shut down the blogs of Clive, Craig Murray, Bob Piper, and Boris Johnson.

No laughs over this one.

Neil Harding is an idiot

Over at this post the mumbling idiot that is Niel Harding really outdoes himself. The Devil has made a decent fisk of this but I would like to add my tupennyworth on Neil's comments below the article:

"Sam, thanks for that. However I don't think it is very libertarian to say to people who want a smoke free environment - 'I'm sorry but if you want to drink in a pub you have to stink of smoke, or if you want to go to a concert or gig ditto.. get used to it'. That does not sound like their liberty is being taken seriously."

Yes Neil you fucking spacktard, it is being taken seriously. Before the smoking ban, if people wanted to have a non smoking event they were free to organise one. That was their liberty to do so as the owners of the event. If a group of smokers want to have a smoking event they are no longer allowed to do so.

Now you may think the above is proof enough of the power of Neil's cretinous, decayed excuse for a mind but it gets much worse:

"I really don't see how I am any less libertarian that anyone else on this - in fact I think the enhanced liberty of non-smokers is greater than the loss of liberty of smokers (who only have to step outside - it is only polite really) - so I am the one being MORE libertarian."

How much of fucking moron to you have to be to say that Neil? Taking away people's liberties makes you more Libertarian? The non smokers could always go to places that didn't allow smoking, it was their choice to make and many of them went to places that allowed smoking because they weren't that bothered by it. It was their CHOICE fuckhead.

How does the stupid, dog rimming cunt think this makes him "MORE libertarian"? (Takes deep breath). The twat continues:

"Nearly everything we do needs regulation of some sort. Getting rid of regulation does not necessarily improve anyone's liberty - sometimes quite the reverse. The 'fraud libertarians' out there think any reduction in regulation increases freedom of choice - it quite plainly does not - they have just fallen for cheap right-wing propaganda. The market is not always right - it is full of inbuilt imperfections and corruptions."

Now there are two possible interpretations for the above:

1). Neil really is so thick that he has no understanding of Libertarianism.

or

2). Neil is trying, poorly, to change the meaning of the word to fit what he would like to happen.

Most Libertarians recognise the need for some forms of regulation, a hell of a lot less than we have now but a few things would be required. Nor would many claim that the market is perfect, just that it is the most effective way we have and automatically deletes failures over time. Still, what the hell, I'll be charitable and assume that it's option 1.

So we reach the final part of Neil's blathering:

"I think one of the most powerful arguments for not having the smoking ban - was the inertia of the status quo or 'tradition'. Well, the tradition argument is the weapon of choice of the reactionary Tory (when frankly he hasn't got much else of an argument). That is all the pseudo libertarians are frankly - whether they understand this or not."

Hmm, we've got it all here. There's the crap argument, the straw man and even the "made up name to make people look bad"TM. Not to mention the old lefty connection of "it's what the Tories do so it's evil, EVIIIIILLL I tell you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Yes I know only the insane use more than three exclamation marks, that's the point.)

In conclusion the authoritarian felch dripping that is Neil Harding is, idiot or not, a total cunt.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Barnett, West Lothian, etc.

This has been rumbling on for some time now and is the result of the law of unintended consequences and some foolish moves by Labour.

Did they honestly think that in devolving power to the other countries of the UK that the English might not notice? The Barnett formula was supposed to go the way of all flesh with the establishment of the Scottish Parliament but it's vile, maggot ridden body still slouches on arm in arm with the rough beast of the West Lothian question. It is true that constitutional changes require careful consideration but the inequity of the current arrangement requires speedy repair.

It seems that our political leaders, both in the UK and the EU have little love for England with their ridiculous "regional assemblies", (washes mouth out with soap), that would have taken power not from the UK parliament down but from local councils up. This is hardly surprising, most of our executive has been Scottish for some time, (I have no issue with this other than with the current political set up they are in charge of England but with little motivation to look out for it), and being on average rather anti the EU, England can look for no assistance across the Channel.


So what is to be done? Firstly we should have equal representation in the UK Parliament per head of population, (see table below).

Country Average constituency population

England 92,890

Scotland 85,797

Wales 72,577

Northern Ireland 93,626

This shows Scotland and Wales are over represented despite having devolved powers.

The West Lothian question has a simple temporary solution: Stop non English MPs voting on England only matters.

However the whole thing is an imbalanced mess and I can only see it being resolved with either the break up of the Union or an English Parliament. The latter is the solution that I would prefer but if that never appears then we may end up with the second.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Spanky lesbian pixie wenches

I was having a think today about the joyfully untired subject of science vs religion. Now so far as I understand the two they can be described like this:

Science: Observation - theory - test of hypothesis - if it seems to work, keep testing and if it lasts a while regard theory as proven - if you have results that don't fit there is either something wrong with the theory or your test - check test and if it works you have something wrong with your theory and it needs to be altered / scrapped - observation - ......repeat ad nauseam.

Religion: We have all the answers because our book says so and that came from God - we know there is a God and that ours is the only one because our book says so - what do you mean that's circular logic? - La la la I can't hear you nasty logic people.

Of course this is not the whole story, to prevent accusations of bias I should point out that I am an atheist and that several religions tend to instruct believers to visit violence on non members because of shit in a book. Most of my exposure to religion has been in the form of Christianity which gets around the "for fucks sake this is bollocks" argument by creating a deity that one cannot argue for or against, (in the sense of existing), because it is neither rational nor irrational.
The Christian God is considered to be nonrational which is to say that you cannot, by evidence or argument show existence or lack of such. To illustrate this is where the "spanky lesbian pixie wenches", (note to self: there must be a manga in this somewhere), come in:

If I were to assert that every aspect of our lives was lived under the watchful eye of such pixies and that the reason you couldn't tell was because they were invisible and intangible but I knew what they wanted you to do so you'd better do it........well, if you were charitable you would see me off to the funny farm. However, bar the weight of tradition this is all the religions have to offer and while we're on it ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGIOUS POSITION YOU CUNTS it is the denial of such. To say otherwise makes no more sense than that denying the existence of the far more interesting "spanky lesbian pixie wenches" would give you a religious position.

So now that we have destroyed religion, (but not the pixie wenches I hope), let's move back to science. When I was kid we knew science was cool because it was going to give us flying cars, hasn't happened yet but I'm still hopeful. Still, science as a discipline has taken a few knocks over the years what with "THE ICE AGE IS COMING" and "MMMR WILL FUCK UP YOUR CHILD" making great headlines but not very good science. We used to view scientists as being the ones with the answers, years of declaring dodgy theories as fact lost us that illusion.

The scientific method is still alive and well, the problem is that that is no longer enough, (if it ever was), to get by. If you want serious funding then you have to do one of two things; come up with a new horror story; or support a prevailing view that has lots of research going on. The above examples show the first very clearly and there's an obvious example of the second, Anthropogenic Climate Change, (ACC). With all the claims and counterclaims from "we're all going to boil to death at half past two" to "it's getting colder really" what can we say for certain?

I believe that all we can say is: We've put a lot of stuff into that atmosphere and it may well have an effect.

That's all we can do. The percentage concentrations of gasses in the atmosphere are not affected measurably because we are dealing with such a vast system and even if we were able to measure the Carbon Dioxide levels accurately over time that wouldn't help. This is for several reasons regarding other possible causes from solar activity to water vapour to sulphur compounds but they all boil down to one thing. The planet is far too complex for us to be able to model it with our current level of technology. There are positive and negative feedbacks that we cannot predict with particular accuracy and those are only the ones we know about. The "unknown unknowns" mean that any relationships we can show in this case are, at best, highly suspect.

So we can see that we cannot make sensible predictions about the future of the climate based on the science we have. All we can do is study a few aspects that we are unable to tell whether they will be important to the issue. Theories of man made climate change are therefore, whatever they are, not scientific. We have the observation and theory but no way, at present, to test these theories. ACC is not proven and to say that "there is a consensus" on the issue simply falls back into the nonrational category, it can't be falsified or verified. To take severe actions on this basis is no better than blindly following God's word.

What to do then? Well take my advice and start praying hard to the spanky lesbian pixie wenches, it will no less good and a lot less harm.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Idiocy twined with sanity

Norman Lamb has come up with some idiotic suggestions.

The first one is that Pubs should pay for treatment if they keep sending customers to A&E. Now, does anyone have half a brain out there and see the problem with this? Anyone?.....

.....Yes, that's right Mr. 1/10th of a brain. If pubs are going to be charged for this they wont send people who need treatment and they will at best, need more treatment than they otherwise would have and at worst die.


Norman has also suggested that people who are violent and abusive to NHS staff should have to pay for their treatment rather than getting it entirely free. Well fuck me sideways, if I'd known that by being sweary and violent I wouldn't have to stump up money towards the NHS from my wages I would have started being so years ago. The point being, Norman "shit for brains" Lamb, is that we already pay for the treatment that we receive. The NHS is not free, we just pay ahead from our taxes. So, unless what Norman really wants to do is withhold treatment from those who have never paid any taxes, (which will tend to be the sweary violent ones in A&E so maybe he has a point), he can sod off.

However, the above aside he does have a very good point to make;

"In today's highly centralised NHS there is a real 'democratic deficit', with too many decisions made in Whitehall."

They are also suggesting having a local health tax with a corresponding national reduction in income tax. Great, brilliant idea, give power to areas small enough to have some hope of providing a good service but this sounds too sane to be true. Know why? 'Cause it is:

"The Lib Dems are also proposing to create a "patient's contract" which will set down the entitlement of all patients, regardless of where they live."

What is the point of giving control to local areas with one hand and then taking it away completely with the other? The problem is that the NHS is a behemoth, funded inefficiently and too centrally controlled. Normans proposals entail breaking it up giving local control and then sticking it back together under central control. Why bother?

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Signs of stupidity

It's still the slow season for news then, however I have a certain sympathy for the Plain English campaign, (as long as they keep their noses out of the cookbooks).

Sure, notices such as "May Cause Drowsiness" on sleeping tablets and "May Contain Nuts" on a packet of nuts are very annoying as they assume you to be as thick as two short planks.

However, there is also the warning: "Do Not Iron Clothes On Body" on an iron. You would think this would be unnecessary or that only the mentally sub-normal would need it. That seems not to be the case as an acquaintance of mine, H, found out. While up at Cambridge she attended a house party at a place that six blokes were sharing and proceeded to get drunk and throw her drink all over her top. This being a student house full of blokes when she asked for a hairdryer to dry her top this was met with amusement. It having been gently explained to her that not everyone bothers with such devices they came up with an alternative method and set her up in a room that they assured her would be out of bounds while she iron her top with the iron and ironing board. Five minutes later a piercing scream was heard and H has burnt her nipple so badly in ironing the top still on that she has been branded for life.

The lesson to learn from this is not that warning signs are necessary because even Cambridge medical students, (now in H's case a doctor), need them. It is that there is nothing on earth that can stop people behaving like absolute fuckwits and it's best to let Darwin sort it out.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Tomorrow belongs to me

I was interested to note that the EU wants to talk to us and hear what we have to say, (via, Hat Tip, etc. The Englishman's Castle).

What also interested me was the method that they are going to use, Deliberative polling. This method involves getting a group of averagely ignorant citizens, giving them information and then asking their opinions after discussion. Deliberative polling is not very widely used at present, largely because it is inherently more expensive and difficult to do than simply asking people what they think.

What concerns me is that there are problems with the methodology itself. Group dynamics will tend to produce consensus opinions, either within the whole group or opposing factions within the group. This produces fewer results with more support but misses considerable information that is simply shouted down, if a few people have different opinions they will tend to give these up so as not to feel foolish, even if they are right. The worst case scenario, and most amusing form of groupthink is the Abeline Paradox. The Paradox results in everyone acting against their own and the group' interests but whatever happens your results will not simply be those of individuals but of a particular group under artificial circumstances.

The second problem that I have relates to the briefing materials. Considering how much propaganda the EU pumps out I suspect that even if they tried to make the material impartial they would fail dismally. As an admittedly partisan group I don't believe that Tomorrow's Europe will be impartial in doing the poll let alone reporting it. Any possible Anti EU sentiment will be buried and they will then present us with an "Impartial Poll" that massively supports the corrupt, lying, theiving shysters.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Some good news for once

Identity data in schools targeted

I'm pleased to see more movement from the Conservatives, (although I've no idea if central office were even aware of this), on the issue of Civil Liberties. However, (being a Libertarian nutter), I cannot see how these systems are justified in schools. They don't come for free and any benefits from the system could surely be obtained by having better discipline anyway. I know that discipline is easy to demand and hard to achieve but it is essential for the school as a whole, not just for the lunch queue.

The other disturbing aspect is that children will become accustomed to other people having access to their biometrics, (no I'm not referring to activities to the rear of bikesheds), and this I view as a very bad step. The more accustomed to something you become the less likely you are to challenge it.

Caveat Emptor

You'd think that this lot would know a bit of Latin, I know they're Anglicans but really:

Diocese contemplates legal action

Some people never learn to count

It's been a sad decline for the Royal Mail/Post Office/Silly Made Up Name they had for about 5 minutes and they are now up the legendary creek sans motive device.

Being opened up to competition across the board, including the lucrative bulk mail market, was always going to be a painful process for the RM. They do have the massive advantage of having almost all the market:

"During the 2005-06 accounting year, Royal Mail retained a 97% market share in the regulated addressed letters market."

However they also have two millstones round their necks. The first is the requirement to provide a universal postal service with none of that evil capitalist charging more if the destination is in the middle of nowhere. The second is,
of course, the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) who have decided that will probably be going on strike again. You can have a certain amount of sympathy for them, the prospect of losing your job is not a happy one but they fail to grasp how their situation has changed. While the RM is owned by the Government it is not part of it, it is a business in it's own right and unlike the Civil Service massively underfunded pension schemes are not an option for it.

It is ironic that if the CWU succeed in making the RM give in to their demands then they will sow the seeds of their own destruction. The RM will eventually go bust if they win, that would require either a Government bail out, (followed by the Government being taken to Court by the EU Competition Commissioner), or being sold to a private concern. The first is unlikely and temporary at best, the second will only happen if it is sold without the handicap of universal delivery and only someone with the resources to completely neuter the CWU would take it on.

Rugby

Well that wasn't the most inspiring game and it looks like England vs SA is going to be painful. On a more positive note it's always fun to see the French having trouble, even if it is against the Argies.

Christ, we can barely put a full side together at the moment:

England team to play South Africa in Stade de France, Friday 14 September:

Robinson, Lewsey, Noon, Catt, Sackey; Barkley, Perry; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt); Shaw, Kay; Corry, Rees, Easter. Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Borthwick, Moody, Gomarsall, Farrell, TBA.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Smirk gone

Dear God NOOOO!!

Is it so much to ask that Wilkinson might last a few games without injury?

Times


It's only the septics but if he doesn't make the SA game we've had it, even with him the 'boks would be odds on favourites, without it's going to be hell.

Slight smirk

Don't go thinking that I have any sympathy for these bastards who have clearly decided that now the weather has improved a bit they want a day or three in the sunshine. However, Red Ken calling for a strike to end just because there is no reason for it can't help but bring a cynical smile to my face.

As for the OEGK, it's going to interesting to see how he does against the Unions if they get further out of control. (Folding like a sissy is what I'm expecting)

Monday, 20 August 2007

And / Or

Elmar Brock is a twat not only because he doesn't want the British public to have a referendum, (not that it's any of his fucking business given that he is a German politician), but because he gets 'and' and 'or' confused.

Smellygiraffe Ref

What Elmar said: 'Stop moaning or leave the EU'

Choices: Stay in the EU and stop moaning or keep moaning and leave the EU


What Elmar should have said if anything: 'Stop moaning and leave the EU'

That's more like it.

Hang 'em 'n' flog 'em brigade vs. It ain't my fault guv

In the latest bit of joy to hit our justice system there are complaints that prisoners are being held in inappropriate cells at Magistrates Courts because not only are the prisons chock a block but so are the police cells.

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2289194.ece

You have the usual loonies from both ends of the spectrum with one lot demanding that they're all hanged and the other decrying the poor prisoners broken homes and saying that what they really need is counseling.

Personally I'm, more on the right than the left on this, (quelle suprise), but I don't think that petty criminals deserve hanging and I can't even support killing the very worst. I can't agree that killing someone as punishment is always morally wrong, (pick your own 'evil people who don't deserve to live'), but it is with the practicalities that things fall down. No justice system is perfect and we do mistakenly lock up people for years and later find that they are innocent. Start executing people and no matter how hard you try to ensure that 'only the very, very, very guilty' will die and sooner or later you will kill an innocent man.

However, this does leave non lethal physical punishment as an option. The question is why don't we do it anymore? It is not enough to decry it as barbaric, cruel or painful and humiliating. Corporal punishment is supposed to be painful and humiliating, that's why it's a deterrent. It could also be described as cruel but is it any more so than prison? Finally to describe something as barbaric is merely to say that you don't approve, not why.

So what the hell, lets bring back the stocks and flogging , see what happens to the crime rate and then reassess. We would need to keep some prison places for those who need to be locked away for the public's safety but this would deal with prison overcrowding 'at a stroke', (sorry couldn't help myself). As for value for money, deterrent effect /cost to administer, what would you bet on?

Friday, 17 August 2007

Too damn good

Dear Go they're ....sane?

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0001c672-4cb9-11dc-a51d-0000779fd2ac.html

Hard to believe but it does appear that the Tories are getting they're act together. Personally I don't believe that inheritance tax is a particularly vital one to target in terms of cost. However, it is a very emotive tax that has hit more and more people as house prices have risen and allowances have failed to rise at the same rate. The main thing is that it is the kind of tax cut that all but the most rabid lefties will tend to support and shows a tax cutting agenda.

More important is the proposed reduction of corporation tax, though I would hope that the 25% is merely a first step. Socialists, (defin. fucking tosswankers with no clue how to run an economy who gargle the fetid felch juice of bansterbation, (this definition will be expanded and corrected upon my whim)), will cry "NOOOOO!!!!! You giving all the money to EVIL CORPORATIONS!!!!!!". This is presumably because they fail to acknowledge the rather direct relationship between corporation tax and wage depression, (0.8% decrease in wages for each 1% rise in corporation tax).

I have never voted Tory before, I just missed out on the 1997 election and then voted Lib Dem and was even a member for while. Eventually I had to give up on them, it was not Charlie's alcoholism, (better a pissed but decent chap than a sober puritan), nor was it the fact that they were never likely to form a government. No, what got me in the end was that they were no longer liberal in a broad sense. This is not to detract from the Lib Dems stands on some civil liberty issues, (although the Lords seem more effective), it is the high tax high spend mentality that will always end up interfering in peoples lives because "something must be done".