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

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

An overdue idea

There are as any fule no a number of problems with the UN. As an international talking shop the UN has few peers, sadly when it comes to doing anything more than talking you run into problems. This can hardly be surprising, if you set up a system where vastly disparate values are represented then you are unlikely to get a coherent voice.

If the charter of the UN was confined to the preamble it would be an admirably brief document but even in this section we run into difficulties:

to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and


to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

The first clause is sadly unobtainable at the moment and the last can mean whatever you wish it to. The second and third clauses are possible but only in a specific model of government, Democracy (I am aware that there may be some hypothetical mode of governance where they are achievable without democracy but I have yet to see it).

So it is interesting that McCain (and others) have postulated the idea of a "League of Democracies". I think it would be a worthwhile project, simply to help coordinate the response of democracies to regimes less favourable to the human condition. The UN could remain but be acknowledged as what it is, a convenient place for negotiators to meet rather than an international force.

The League would not always agree and nor should it be binding in matters such as war or sanction (though it should require those who disagree to state their reasons publicly).

Those governments that fail to meet the criteria of democracy have no interest in obtaining the second and third clauses for their or anyone else's countries. It's time we stopped pretending that they did and freely condemn them.

Striking Policeman

Police in England and Wales have voted for the right to strike in the absence of binding arbitration. The whole thing is a typical Browny pigs ear because the phasing in of the recommended pay rise effectively reduced it from 2.5% to 1.9% and it is entirely understandable that the police are somewhat narked by this. The police are in a severely disadvantaged position at the moment, they are bound by arbitration, the government are not and with no right to strike they have no effective means of fighting for their position.

The above said, it would be disastrous if the police were given the right to strike. This right would shift the power too far the other way, allowing the police to hold the country to ransom over pay, conditions and even legal powers. The government must agree to be bound by arbitration as this provides the best balance of power.

Elephant spotted at the BBC

Our sub-"lords and masters" have come up with another stupid idea. They're trying to give agency workers the same rights as permanent staff after twelve weeks. So, if you're an agency worker on a rolling contract look forward to a compulsory unpaid holiday every 12 weeks. Bravo you bloody idiots.

However, as the BBC has noted (and very unusual for them do so) this cannot happen until the EU passes a directive that the UK government can then implement. Of course we don't know whether the EU will give us what the government wants, (stupid idea as it is), something better, (long live the ice cream in the blast furnace), or something even worse, (guess where my money is on this one). Nevertheless, it is pleasing to see the EUs role being noticed for once.

It is frustrating for those honestly arguing both sides of the debate when little about how the EU affects our daily lives is mentioned. It is possible, if you hack through the scare nonsense, to find reasonable anti-EU arguments, (though very seldom in the MSM), pro-EU arguments are somewhat more difficult to get hold of.

Were I uncharitable I might be drawn to the conclusion that the reason that the pro side does not wish to put their case forward is because they know they don't have a very good one. This would explain why the obvious goal of a European superstate is obfuscated when there can be no other intention from "ever closer union". However I will suspend judgement, (rather sceptically), if someone can point me in the direction of some decent pro-EU arguments, ("it prevents war in Europe", "we need the EU to trade", etc will not do unless you can show that such arguments are not the total bollocks that they very much seem to be).

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Mirror, pure comedy

While going through the news today I stumbled upon this form the Mirror regarding the draft Queen's Speech and the OEGK's relaunch. Frankly I think Stalin would have been pleased to get such a positive response from Pravda. Let's have a look at the proposals and the Mirror's interpretation:

IMMIGRATION

Newcomers will be made to learn English and contribute economically under Citizenship, Immigration and Borders Bill.

What It Means For You: End of whole streets where nobody speaks English.

Translation: We promise not to let any more darkies in.

COUNCILS

Councils may be forced to respond to petitions. Community Empowerment Bill also gives residents a greater say in how they want services run.

What It Means For You: End of "town hall knows best".

Translation: Councils may be forced to tell you to fuck off rather than just ignoring you. The Community Empowerment Bill, (the weasel wording of that makes me feel slightly nauseous), will allow you to waste your time and taxpayers money for no effect because the residents will still have sod all power over the council compared to central government.

COASTS

Walkers will get beefed up right to walk along beaches, cliffs, dunes and rocks with the Marine and Coastal Access Bill creating a national path.

What It Means For You: Stunning new views opened up.

Translation: If you own any coastline we're going to take away your property rights and allow people to sue you if they twist an ankle.

HERITAGE

Old buildings protection to stop demolition will be simpler. The Heritage Protection Bill will stop Government having say on statues put up in London.

What It Means For You: Old buildings saved, more statues.

Translation: Waffle, waffle, rhubarb, people like old buildings and statues and this might make them think we're doing something to help but will have sod all effect.

EQUALITY

Public bodies must show they treat workers fairly. Equality Bill allows all-women shortlists when parties pick candidates.

What It Means For You: More women MPs, checks on equal pay in town halls.

Translation: Public bodies must comply with existing employment law, (which they have to do already). Equality Bill will result in piss poor female candidates getting ahead in politics, (see Blears, etc.), but will give us something to shout at the Tories about if they don't go along with this stupid, illiberal, counterproductive idea.

POLICE & CRIME

The public will be able to vote on members of local police boards who will have some control over police priorities.

The Policing and Crime Reduction Bill will set national standards of numbers of bobbies on the beat.

It promises reduced police paperwork, more seizing of criminal assets and better protection for witnesses and victims of gun and gang crime.

What It Means For You: It will force police out on patrol and concentrate on crimes which cause the most misery.

Translation: Public will have so little control that it's simply not worth bothering with. National standards will be set, when they fail they will be reset, no overall effect other than wasting money coming up with standards. There will be no reduction in paperwork but they feel they have to say it. If charged with a crime you will have any chance of defending yourself removed as you will have no assets to hire a lawyer and you will be effectively denied legal aid. Witnesses and victims will get a leaflet on how to hide in hole in the ground.

SECURITY

Tougher airport security agreements and Navy powers to tackle piracy would be brought in by the Transport Security Bill.

What It Means For You: Less chance of terrorist attack.

Translation: We will produce various nonsense theatre that will help convince you that WWIII is about to break out. That way you wont object so much as we spend the rest of eternity stamping on your face while wearing jackboots, after all it's for your safety and protection.

BANKING

The Treasury and Bank of England can intervene when banks face collapse - and Banking Reform Bill will ensure savers get their money back.

What It Means For You: Less chance of a Northern Rock.

Translation: We're not making many changes apart from giving the banks yet more forms to fill in but again, we felt we had to say something.

SAVINGS

Savings by the less well-off could be matched pound for pound by the Government under the Savings Gateway Bill.

What It Means For You: Poorer savers could get hundreds out of the Treasury.

Translation: Look aren't we clever, we can bribe you with your own money!

HEALTH

Cash will be withheld from hospitals that get the thumbsdown from patients.

Patients will fill in questionnaires on what they think of the quality of service when they leave hospital.

The Health Service Reform Bill will bring in a constitution for the National Health Service which will guarantee that patients set standards.

The long-term sick will get a greater say on how money allocated to their care is spent.

What It Means For You: Good hospitals could expand and get busier. Bad hospitals will get worse and could close.

Translation: We want more paperwork and to give the illusion of competition so that when it all goes to hell, (next stop), we can blame the concept of competition, (oh and even more paperwork, it makes us feel all fuzzy inside).

BUSINESSES

The top tier of local government could tax bigger businesses to help local development under the Business Rate Bill.

What It Means For You: Business owners paying more to boost deprived areas.

Translation: Having bled you white we're going to put up taxes even more.

INTERNET

More powers for police to probe what people do online are provided in the Communications Data Bill.

What It Means For You: Will make evading authorities tougher for internet criminals.

Translation: Dangerous thing free speech, we'd like to put a stop to it.

LEGAL REFORM

Murder laws changed by Law Reform, Victims and Witnesses Bill with tougher punishments, more security for witnesses.

What It Means For You: Fewer thugs escaping justice due to scared witnesses.

Translation: We recon that if we take away your legal safeguards and stack prisoners like cordwood you will think we're doing something.

EDUCATION & SKILLS

Town halls will get new powers to step in to sort out underperforming or "coasting" schools.

Parents will get the right to have more regular updates on their children's progress.

The Education and Skills Bill will also give all employees the right to take time off work for training.

What It Means For You: Bad schools taken over by private education firms or other schools. Emails to parents, possibly every week, on children's schooling.

Translation: We don't think teachers have enough paperwork to do, we also want yet more government interference in schools and to add to employer costs.

CORONERS

Families will be given new rights to appeal against coroner's verdicts by the Coroners and Death Certification Bill.

What It Means For You: No more complicated court battles to have verdicts overturned.

Translation: Coroners seem to have too much time on their hands or they wouldn't be criticising the government for shoddy equipment in Iraq or Afghanistan, this should keep them busy.

CONSTITUTION

MPs will have the final say over international treaties.

The Constitutional Review Bill also reduces restrictions on protesting outside Parliament.

What It Means For You: More rows over EU treaties.

Translation: We don't want to have you horrible little proles having a say on the future of your country even though we promised to do so at the last election. Protesting outside parliament will now be punished with a cattle prod up the arse rather than a bullet in the face.

THE UN

Aid workers will get the same protection afforded to UN staff under the Geneva Conventions and UN Personnel Bill.

What It Means For You: Reaffirms our commitment to the UN.

Translation: We like the UN, it makes us seem less corrupt by comparison.

WELFARE

The unemployed will be expected to learn new skills to help them back into work.

Medical teams will give incapacity benefit claimants a work "MoT" to try to get them back into jobs.

The Welfare Reform Bill will also toughen powers to make "deadbeat dads" contribute payments to their children's upbringing after a divorce or breakup.

What It Means For You: The unemployed will lose benefits if they do not take up training courses or turn up for Jobcentre interviews.

Translation: We're not going to do anything new with the welfare state but we will now have power to look at, disseminate, loose the details of and steal money directly from your account.


Still laughing?


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

When in a hole...

...stop digging you bloody idiot.

Alister Darling has a great many worries at the moment, ducking the clunking fist from above, dodging sideswipes from Ed Balls and the ever present danger of the voters from below, (and I'm sure that he sees the voters as being below). However, his job, the one we pay for, is balancing the budget, making sure that the country doesn't go ever deeper into debt and so what does he do?

Borrow an extra £2.7 Billion to bribe his way out of the 10% tax debacle. Clearly he felt that the public finances were not in a deep enough hole with unfunded pension liabilities, various PFI nonsense that has until recently been "off book", (hidden in one of the most pathetic attempts at cooking the books by the OEGK), and all the other costs and debts so he's swapping his spade for a JCB.

Before Darling manages to dig to the earths core, could we just get a magic 8 Ball as our chancellor, at least it wouldn't be wrong all the time.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Basic principles of Libertarianism 101

Libertarianism is grounded in the belief that Negative Liberty is paramount. You are free to do as you wish, use and dispose of your property as you wish, (including your body), provided that you do not interfere with the Liberties of others in the process.

The result of this is that you are both free to act and responsible for those actions. You are free to get drunk for instance but if you hit someone while inebriated you are just as guilty as if you had done so while sober.

Libertarianism, almost by definition, requires a small government. Large enough to enforce justice and defend against those who would interfere with your rights but not so large as to spend its time interfering itself.

Given that Negative Liberty has usually been associated with the Empiricists, (mostly British philosophers such as Lock, Hume and Hobbes), it is interesting to note that Libertarianism fits well with the Common Law system, (you are free to do anything that is not illegal). Those who based their beliefs on Positive Liberty, (the "freedom" to interfere with others), are more associated with the Roman Law system, (a simplification of which is that actions are legal if specifically permitted), including such luminaries as Hegel, Rousseau and Marx.

This leads us to such basics as:

You own yourself.
You have every right to your property.
Authoritarianism, Paternalism and the banning of things other than acts harmful to a third party will always decrease Liberty.

And people wonder why Libertarians are so opposed to the current government, (sticks head in bucket and screams).

Oh I Art More Authoritarian Than Thou!

In recent days we have seen Boris banning alcohol on the tube and now the government wants to ban alcohol on all public transport.

It really is a mutual spiral of fuckwittery lead authoritarianism. The thing is that if you accept the principle behind the no drinking on the tube idea then how can you object to this:

No Muslims on the tube.

Boris today explained that while he accepted that most Muslims were no trouble on the tube at all, those few who were caused such serious trouble, (far more than any drunk), that it would be best to "send a message" to crack down on tube explosions.

or

No Blacks on the tube:

Boris launched his new policy of a "Darkie free tube" today. He explained to the baying mob that just because most blacks were law abiding did not excuse the increased incidence of theft by this ethnic community. The best way to send a strong message on crime was to ban the lot of them. When asked what would be the situation if you had mixed parentage Boris replied, "We are making the tube a safer, better place. So frankly I wouldn't show up if you've got even a bit of a tan."

Do go and have a word with the bunch of bastards commenting on DK's post on this. They seem to have forgotten that bans cannot increase Liberty.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

God how stupid can you get?

Jacqui "I'm severely retarded" Smith going to push for cannabis to be reclassified as a class B drug against the advice of the commission set up by the OEGK to look into the matter.

I'm lost for non sweary words. I hope she catches a disease that only cannabis can ease the pain from.

There is no sense behind this move, cannabis is essentially harmless, (when was the last time there was an overdose or insane stoned maniac on the loose?). Just a piss poor, cheap, tawdry and pathetic trick to please the gallery of authoritarian bastards.

There are two possible effects from this; everyone will be so stoned that they wont bother to vote next time or the house of commons will be surrounded by a baying mob that burns so many bales of dope that the legislature is stoned for the next 10 months.

If the latter then there is some hope that they will do less stupid things, (don't hold your breath).

UPDATE: Yet another example of the jobbernowled bescumbers at the Hate Mail.

What works?

The only thing that all parts of the political spectrum can agree on is that they want to make life better for people, (although I'm sure the socialists believe that all the others are determined to make life miserable for the downtrodden), so lets take a look at a few policies from a pragmatic angle:

Drugs:

Current position: WAR ON NOUNS!!!
Does it work? No, not just a bit no but unbloodybelievably no. People keep taking them anyway despite having to break the law to do so. This leads some straight to prison and others committing crime to get their expensive hit. There is also a great focus on punishment and not all that much on helping those addicted break or manage their habit.
Any better ideas? Legalise the lot, licence, tax and use some proportion of that money, (and the money saved from not locking up drug takers), to fund treatment programmes.

Europe:

Current position: The EU, soon to be totally beyond our control thanks to the self amending Lisbon Treaty.
Does it work? While having free trade within it's borders, is in effect a protectionist block when it comes to world trade. There is rampant corruption, the usual problems with upscaling and trying to control diverse situations with one central rule combined with a total lack of accountability.
So it doesn't really work as intended and is drifting ever closer to a badly run United States of Europe.
Any better ideas? Whether you support the idea of a pan-European government or not, this one's broken. There have been many attempts to fix it but none of them have worked at all. Given that, it's time to break it up and either start again or just devolve things back to sovereign states.


Education:

Current position: "Comprehensive" Education with some private schooling available for a, (high), price.
Does it work? The private sector does pretty well, the state system, (with a few honorable exceptions), has not worked for a very long time. The comps are a victim of central planning that takes no account of local variations, devalues the exam system, adds progressively more stupid things to the dumbed down national curriculum and has too little discipline in many areas. (That's a no by the way).
Any better ideas? The Swedish voucher system seems to work fairly well, that doesn't mean it would be perfect for the UK but it does appear to be a vast improvement.

Abortion:

Current position: Elective, (after jumping through a hoop or two), up to 24 weeks with the vast majority done before 20 weeks. Late term abortions available in cases where the foetus would develop with severe abnormalities or to protect the health of the prospective mother.
Does it work? Fairly well, there is still an ongoing debate as to whether the elective limit should be brought down to 20 weeks but the arguments to support such a move are far from clear cut. Further restrictions would be more likely to cause overall harm than help.
Any better ideas? Not so far as I can tell.

Prostitution:

Current position: Prostitution is not illegal but soliciting for it is, (you are free to sell your body as long as you don't go telling people your body is for sale), paying for sex, (with an over 18), is legal.
Does it work? The aim of the law is to reduce the amount of prostitution, to keep it away from those who object to it, to prevent anyone other than the prostitute making money from the prostitute's work and to prevent anyone being controlled / forced / coerced into prostitution.
Given that prostitution is famously the "oldest profession" the only way in which you can reduce prostitution is to improve the economic circumstances of those who would otherwise go into the industry. The sole way in which the law is reasonably effective is that it provides the police a means to arrest or move on prostitutes who are in an area where too many residents are objecting. There are dire health consequences, exacerbated by this trade being illegal, and a conviction for soliciting will make it harder for a prostitute to leave the trade and find better work. All in all, the law makes conditions worse for sex workers, makes leaving the industry very difficult and leaves them open to abuse, (there is no hope of extracting you fee from a non paying client through the courts, giving pimps an in to provide "protection").
Any better ideas? Liberalising and bringing some degree of legitimacy to the sex trade is the only way I can see to improve conditions for sex workers. Licensed, health checked etc. brothels would be a safer environment for both workers and clients. If the trade were not illegal and therefore a conviction less likely, the trade would also be easier to leave.

Let the sad, small roman candle begin. I'll be back with more of these as and when.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Just laughed so hard I tripped over the bed

Charles Clarke is calling for a free and open debate about the 42 days issue etc.

What fucking planet is he from? If he murdered both his parents and then through himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan he would have displayed no less chutzpah, the twat.

UPDATE: Blears is making the most pathetic fist of an interview with Paxman I have ever seen, even by her low as a tuppenny sheep whore in Wales standards.

Them bloody post offices

There's a new report out about the disaster that has been the opening up of post services to competition.

It is of course the EU that has demanded both that the sector be opened up to competition and that the Royal Mail can no longer be subsidised to the same extent. Now I approve of competition and dislike subsidy but it should be a matter for the UK to decide rather than being handed down in edict from the lofty heights of corruption that exist in the EU.

Quite apart from antiquated working practices, an over strong and stupid union and a massive pension deficit there is one simple reason why the liberalisation would never work as proposed; you cannot have a system where one player has a universal service obligation and the others don't and expect it to work. Its like setting up a Las Vegas fight night and the stabbing one of the competitors in the eye just before they step in the ring.

The Royal Mail needs to be free to charge more for deliveries in the middle of nowhere to reflect their higher costs. If people want to save their local post office through subsidy then let that subsidy be locally collected and paid.

I do fear that even if the above were permitted, the unions will still bring down the Royal Mail and the union member's jobs will go with it. A hard line union in a company stuck in the breech between the public and private sectors will cause immense damage and there is no subsidy in shining armour that is going to save them this time.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Boris

I'm glad he won, Ken had become too corrupt and it was time for him to leave. I have a fair degree of confidence in Boris' ability to handle the challenges that London will throw up but I do worry that he may be drawn to authoritarianism.

He will be competent, (at least as much as the previous administration), let's hope he remembers that freedom is the most important thing to preserve.