Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Olympic Costs Rise Faster, Higher, Stronger.

So Tessa Jowell, aka Mrs Shit-for-brains, has admitted that she doesn't have the foggiest idea how much the Olympics are costing us.
More than seven months after Jowell announced the project would cost £9.3 billion, she admitted in the House of Commons on Monday that "line by line" analysis of what she called the "baseline budget" was a work in progress.
Bearing in mind that the budget has already risen from £2.5 billion to £9.3 billion this is just taking the piss. Yet it misses the point, the real cost of the Olympic Games isn't merely the amount of taxpayers money the organisers pay out to get the facilities built but the economic ruination of a large part of London. The talk of regenerating London is nonsense for the simple reason that littering the landscape with large sporting facilities that will almost never be used to capacity ever again creates a black hole of economic activity. How many people will a Velodrome employ in years to come? A couple of dozen at most, but it will take up space that could be filled by productive businesses employing hundreds or even thousands of people.

I linked to the Telegraph's report of Jowell's admission but really they should bear some of the responsibility for this looming disaster too. They were by far the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the Games in the press and can in some ways take the credit for the London bid being launched in the first place. I even heard that they actually banned any of their journalists coming out against a games bid". This is from an article back in 2003:
The Daily Telegraph has unashamedly campaigned for London to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games for the last three months on the basis that it would be one of the best things to happen in sport for generations. Beyond sport, it would electrify the capital, its populace and the country as a whole.
....

Increasingly isolated, the sceptics have droned on about cost and past failures. Nothing else.

Those failures, including the Dome, Picketts Lock and Wembley, are beyond dispute, but it is time we left them behind. In this context they are easily dealt with. No one - politician or serial sports administrator - who had anything to do with any of those fiascos should be allowed within a marathon distance of an Olympic bid.

Cost - which has ranged between a possible profit according to the Arup report, and a deficit of £10 billion (Tony Banks!) - is a much more emotive subject, but the official report put the worst case scenario at less than £2 billion
Even Tony Banks had a better idea of what was likely to happen than the Olympics propagandists at the Daily Telegraph whose predictive abilities make Paul Ehrlich look like Nostradamus! So it cannot be argued that the problems could not have been forseen. Is it too late to withdraw?

Prescience.

Dumbjon on the 26th of August:
"One thing that's being missed in coverage of the Learco Chindamo case has been the precedent set by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Yes, as an EU citizen, this pond life can't be exported anyway, but now our friends on the Left has established as a legal principle that even non-EU murderers can't be deported, if only they've had the nous to bring their family over with them."
In the news today:
A serial sex offender from Sierra Leone has been allowed to stay in the UK after a judge ruled deporting him would breach his human rights.
....
Mr Justice Hodge, who is the husband of Government minister Margaret Hodge, said article eight of the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the "right to a family life", meant the sex attacker could not be deported.

{Second story via A Tangled Web}

500

Did I mention that my last post was number 500? Well it was.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dummies Denounce Dummies.

Further proof, if any were needed, that in the absence of any actual racism self appointed 'anti racism' groups will invariably try to use their positions to inflame racial tension by directing a two minute hate against completely innocent targets:
A chain of fashion stores has been accused of racism over a window display of black mannequins hanging from the ceiling.
...
Police arrived at one branch, in Exeter, to investigate claims that the display was offensive and the Rural Racism Project says it has been "inundated" with complaints calling for it to be removed.

Spokesman John McKenzie said: "These disturbing displays are reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan and the lynching of black people in America.
Uh huh. It doesn't really seem likely that a fashion store that wants to sell its products is going to celebrate the KKK, unless their biggest sellers are white hoods.
"The chains used to hang the mannequins also bring to mind slavery and some of the complainants have commented on this.
They really don't unless any use of chains for anything evokes slavery. The store's spokesman points out one of the more obvious flaws in the argument that hanging black mannequins represents hanging black people:
"The models are not black – they are grey."
Presumably John Major ought to get indignant about the mannequins now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bigmouth Strikes Again.

Cherie Blair writes in the Guardian that:
Even in the UK, where there has been huge progress, women in full-time work still take home 83p for every pound that men get paid and the glass ceiling at the top is as unbreakable as ever.

And, importantly, these barriers and discrimination are not an accidental byproduct of gender. They exist simply because of it.

So if Cherie had been a man she would have taken £120 482 from a children's cancer charity for a 10 minute speech instead of a measly £100 000?

Dramatising Terrorism.

Various Muslim groups are complaining about an upcoming Channel 4 drama about a female suicide bomber. I can understand why most Muslims do not enjoy dramatic depictions of Islamist terrorism but the idea that it is the dramatic portrayals of Islamist terrorism that cause people to associate Islam and violence rather than actual Muslims killing people and proclaiming that it is in the name of Islam is bizarre. The complaint about stereotyping Muslims is foolish and misplaced, anti abortion activists and fathers rights campaigners have been portrayed as terrorists recently on TV yet no one seriously thinks that they are a significant danger.

However Khurshid Ahmed, chairman of the British Muslim Forum makes a very good criticism of the drama when he says that "A film which attempts to glamorise or rationalise the actions of suicide bombers has no place on our screens". The writer of the 'Britz' is you see a root causer whose previous work makes the same sort of arguments that most Islamist felow travellors would adore:
" Britz has been made by Peter Kosminsky, the director of the 2002 political drama The Project. It suggests that Britain’s foreign policy and draconian antiterror laws, particularly control orders which keep some suspects in effect under house arrest, have alienated Muslims."
So it is good that at least some Muslim groups are wary of these kinds of arguments too.

Human Rights & Wrongs.

Those of is who are old enough to remember the time before the Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 can well remember the absence of human rights before that date. We remember all too well how under the John Major junta people were regularly dragged off the street and out of their homes and tortured for months on end for daring to criticise the government. Well ok I can't think of any particular examples but I'm sure there must have been because we're forever being told that it is essential to upholding core human rights and to prevent the horrors of the Nazis being repeated.

Actual examples of Human Rights Act related cases (actually I'm including all cases made under the European Convention on Human Rights, which is what the HRA derives from*) involve nothing like this but instead consist of arbitrarily deciding that one groups interests outweigh everyone else's for example:

  • The interests of plane hijackers who may be mistreated in their home countries outweighs the interests of law abiding plane passengers who are at increased risk from our courts decision to incentivise hijacking.
  • The interests of a school pupil to wear clothing that advertises her affiliation to extreme ideologies outweighs the interests of all other pupils whose parents want a school that can set its own uniform policy. This verdict was overturned by the Law Lords but the fact that the law is so confusing that it even the two most senior courts in England & Wales disagree over who is right emphasises just how much of a hazard it is to law abiding citizens trying to behave well and mind their own business.
  • The rights of terrorists to murder police officers unimpeded outweighs the rights of police officers not to be murdered.
  • The right of murderers to be near their family outweighs the right of the citizens of a country to deport foreign killers.
These cases emerge because the very concept of 'rights' involves giving some arbitrarily defined interests the ability to trump all competing interests regardless of the circumstances. The vagueness with which human rights are defined put almost everyone at risk of being subjected to a costly and damaging nonsense suit, the Begum case must have cost the local education authority and by extension taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is hardly a surprise to see a local councillor claim that a couple's conservatory extension is a breach of the HRA. It is a charter for harassment, because let's face it one right that won't ever be upheld by the court is the right to be freed from nuisance lawsuits.

* The fact thatthe Human Rights Act derives from a conventions which we are already signatories to has led apologists for the Act to claim that it has therefore not made any real difference. This is untrue as noted here:
A Westlaw search against the Act in March 2006 produced a list of 4,459 cases citing the Act. Compare that to research carried out in 1996 which found that the European Convention on Human Rights had been referred to in 316 cases between 1975 and 1996 but had influenced the outcome in only 16.
The really pathetic thing about the rights culture is that it has done absolutely nothing to prevent genuine threats to free speech that are currently stronger than ever before.

Update: There's a good article on this subject Comment is Free by David Cox, whose relative common sense is something which I've noted before.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My MP Is Actually Quite Good.

Via the Fulham Reactionary at A Tangled Web I see that my constituency MP, Phillip Hollobone, claimed the lowest expenses of anyone in the house. As Guido Fawkes notes, his carefulness with other people's money comes in addition to him being effective both as a constituency MP* and a legislator. This is all the more impressive considering that he occupies a marginal constituency that was held by Labour from 1997 to 2005, his predecessor was both more costly and less efficient.

On top of this he wants to leave the EU too, what more could I possibly ask for?


* Although he is good as a constituency MP, I don't really like MPs doing constituency work as I have said before. It is not their job to be glorified social workers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Close The Beeb!

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is worried:
Last week I was contacted by apprehensive black and Asian staff working across the BBC – from journalists to support staff, including one of those many silent tea ladies. Most were fearful that in the imminent mass sacking, they would be the first ones to be cast out.
At first I thought that she was simply trying to stir up some racial aggro in order to make sure that her friends weren't affected by the proposed BBC cuts, but I have now decided to take her very seriously, because as the rest of her article shows it isn't as if she is in a habit of making preposterous squeals of 'racism'. The BBC is run by white racial supremicists who will try to ethnically cleanse the organisation if they get the chance, clearly we must shut it down.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ask A Stupid Question.

I'm always keen to resolve any questions Guardian writers may have so I'll have a go at solving this one from the Guardian sport blog:
is it really that ridiculous to argue that the disastrous invasions of Vietnam and Iraq were at least partly the fault of the games that America plays?
Yes it is, in the sense that it is an absurd idea. However it is a good career move for a Grauniad writer to be able to use any subject as a stick to beat Amerikkka with.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Hospitals Not Cesspits! Hooray!

I was watching Question Time just now and the topic of Britain's unhygienic hospitals came up. In the middle of the discussion someone in the audience said something like "I work in the NHS and we work very hard and most hospitals are very good", she got a round of applause. What has it come to when the fact that some hospitals don't infect all their patients is worth a round of applause?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Prosecute James Watson Say Race Groups.

The co-discoverer of DNA James Watson is being lambasted for making controversial remarks about race and intelligence:
The 79-year-old geneticist reopened the explosive debate about race and science in a newspaper interview in which he said Western policies towards African countries were wrongly based on an assumption that black people were as clever as their white counterparts when "testing" suggested the contrary. He claimed genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence could be found within a decade.
Obviously this is extremely controversial viewpoint and people are entitled to disagree and criticise Watson for saying it. What isn't on is for organisations and MPs to try and have him prosecuted for expressing an opinion.
Anti-racism campaigners called for Dr Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. A spokesman for the 1990 Trust, a black human rights group, said: "It is astonishing that a man of such distinction should make comments that seem to perpetuate racism in this way. It amounts to fuelling bigotry and we would like it to be looked at for grounds of legal complaint."
The 1990 trust is of course the organisation that promoted such laughably bogus accusations of racism against Boris Johnson earlier in the year, a fact which has a lot to do with their source of funding being from Ken Livingstone. Do these people really want Britain to regress to a country where Nobel winning scientists, or any scientists, cannot openly discuss ideas without facing the brunt of the law. It doesn't matter whether the ideas being discussed are right or wrong, it must be possible to discuss them openly.


Update: Incidentally whilst I deplore the thuggish efforts to prosecute people for what they say, it is a pity that James Watson will be cited by race cranks at tedious length for decades to come, much like a previous Nobel Laureate who delved into these waters. That can't be nice fate for the man partially responsible for the discovery of the century.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Still Rigging The System.

A couple of months ago I blogged about Labour plans to stop Michael Ashcroft, who was once the subject of vicious smears by the government in cahoots with the Times, from funding the Conservative Party for no obvious reason than partisan advantage. It appears that following on from the cancelled election fiasco these plans have been reignited. As I said in August these plans are both an infringement on free speech and tilt the system heavily in favour of the incumbents who enjoy enormous resources courtesy of the tax payer (and the fact that their opponents can't dedicate themselves to campaigning full time).

{via Chicken Yoghurt, who unlike myself can't be accused of having partisan reasons for opposing this (although I hope I would behave the same if the Conservatives pulled this crap) and who succinctly and brilliantly sums up Brownism:
It is doing what is easy rather than what is right. It is using power for the direct benefit of one’s political party. It is a childishness that takes rather than earns. It is mere tinkering; a sticking plaster here, a stitch there - the patient is dying but nobody is interested in why, just in keeping him going a bit longer.

Courage & High Ideals.

Like most people when I think of Cherie Blair courage and high ideals are what come to mind. My sentiments are widely shared apparently.

{via Daniel Finkelstein}

Monday, October 15, 2007

Subsidising Misery.

The left wing blog Harry's Place currently has a guest post about homelessness by Martha Bridegam, who I'm not otherwise familiar with. She is angry at the campaign by San Francisco's main newspaper the San Francisco Chronicle, to get the city's politicians to get the vagrants off the streets, according to Bridegam it is a 'hate campaign' designed to ensure the wealthy don't have to mingle with the very poor. She particularly despises a certain type of people who support the campaign:
These scapegoating articles and comments are full of quotes from people who begin by describing themselves as "liberal," then announce that, after some dreadful personal experience with an individual they presumed to be homeless, even their own sainted selves have had enough of sharing a city with homeless people in general.
I think this is what used to be known as liberals being mugged by reality.

The Chronicle is the principle newspaper of the most left wing city in the United States so why would they feel comfortable adopting such a supposedly right wing platform for dealing with homelessness? Quite simply because the ultra liberal (in the US sense of the word) policies that the city has pursued up until now have created a disaster in slow motion. The city has more homeless than New York despite being less than 10% of the size according to some sources, although the exact figure is unclear and estimates range from 7000 to 20000 people. More than 200 of them die each year. The cause of the city's problem is pretty obvious though, they pay people to be homeless:
San Francisco still gives about one-third of its homeless population its benefits all in cash - as much as $395 a month.
Yes you read that right, being homeless has a starting salary of almost $5000 a year, plus there is lax enforcement of begging laws, perhaps a few homeless charities can top up the figure too and there are few overheads. Whilst the death toll suggests that it is not a comfortable living in the long term, in the short term it isn't exactly onerous. If you subsidise something then you will get more of it, it really is pretty simple. It isn't compassionate to support the homeless when the effects of that support are to make homelessness more entrenched than ever.

Ming Campbell Resigns..... No I Don't Care Much Either.

When Henry Kissinger was asked why academic politics are so vicious he famously replied "because the stakes are so small". This maxim applies in spades to the Liberal Democrats who have now knifed two leaders in the back since the general election. Blogs like Iain Dale's or Political Betting are probably the best place to go to see who is likely to succeed Ming but honestly- Clegg, Huhne, Davey, Kennedy, Hughes, Opik, why bother learning any of these names when they'll only be dumped by the party in a year's time? Think of all the time wasted learning that 'Menzies' is pronounced 'Mingis'! However since this is a political blog I still feel that I ought to provide a guide to the Liberal Democrats leadership options. There are in my view three main options:


Mark Oaten- I like the cut of his jib, in times of crises the Lib Dems need a solid family man like this to steady the ship. The contents of his brown box are more than a match for whatever Labour take out of their red boxes.


Charles Kennedy- Well how sober to you need to be to lead the Liberal Democrats anyway?


Gabriela Iminia- A strong candidate with rare gravitas among the parliamentary party, but her partnership with Lembit Opik might just make her hard to take seriously.

They Get The BBC In Sri Lanka Too.


The BBC's reporting of terrorists militants annoys people the world over it seems.

And They Don't Even Count The Sheep!

After their exit from the Rugby World Cup the other week I was beginning to feel sorry for New Zealanders, but not any more because they have won at least one world title, (of course this is from an Australian newspaper). Is New Zealand producing the wrong sort of hooker?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Welsh NUT.

Teaching Unions are an endless source of mirth/horror, take the reaction of the Welsh NUT to the restrictions placed by a judge on the distribution of Al Gore's misleading documentary:

NUT Cymru campaigns officer Rhys Williams said he was “outraged”
Are they ever not outraged?

... "outraged" by the judge’s ruling which appeared to imply teachers would not support the film with debate.

He said it was inappropriate for a judge to dictate how films or other creative work was taught in schools and that all literature from Shakespeare to Doris Lessing was political.

In other words if teachers like him want to use English lessons and science lessons to propagandise to the children in their care then no one has a right to stop them. Any if all creative work (and at least he admits that it is a creative work) is political then surely it must be within the remit of the judiciary to scrutinise it

“This response from the High Court in London is outrageous. It is scary.
Terrifying!.

It’s like the thought police. It’s 1984 arriving in 2007,” he said. “It’s a slap in the face to teachers to suggest they are incapable of chairing a mature discussion to go with showing this film
If you start screaming 'thought police' over something as minor as this then it is pretty safe to say that you are incapable of chairing a mature discussion about anything. In fact the NUT's enthusiasm for indoctrinating kids is rather at odds with what they were complaining about during their conference when they were denouncing the teaching of Britishness, the motives for the differing reactions to each form of politicised education are fairly transparent.

I Rigoreberta!

So Al Gore is too dishonest for school children, but not for the Nobel prize committee. Still out of the three main categories of Nobel Peace Prize recipients, Fraudsters ( Al Gore, Rigoberta Menchu), appeasers (Kellogg-Briand, Kim Dae Jung) and of course murderers (Yasser Arafat), his is perhaps the least harmful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hard Work & Religion.

Over at the Pub Philosopher blog Steve links to a study that claims that historically protestant countries are more economically successful than others with lower unemployment rates, and also noting himself that the same countries are also the least corrupt. It isn't an entirely new theory as Max Weber's idea of the 'Protestant Work Ethic' was written more than a century ago but it has been out of fashion for a while. Incidentally the same set of nations are also the most creative from a scientific point of view:

There is certainly a trend to be explained here, but instead of protestantism causing
the 'work ethic', it seems equally likely that societies with a positive attitude to hard work would mould their religious beliefs to reflect that.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

'Argentine Born Hero'

What BBC Bias? Oh that BBC Bias:
The memory of Latin American Marxist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara is being honoured in Cuba 40 years after his capture and summary execution.

About 10,000 people are attending a ceremony at his mausoleum in Santa Clara, the town where he once fought a battle during Cuba's revolution.

Raul Castro, brother of ailing Cuban leader Fidel, is at the event.

Other commemorations are being held in Bolivia and Venezuela, countries where the Argentine-born hero was active.

Che Guevara was a psychopathic mass murderer whose greatest joy was executing defenceless peasants. When he justifiably received the treatment he had meted out to so many others he squirmed and begged to be spared because he was special, "Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead." Some hero.

In the Guardian Richard Gott, who was formerly a paid KGB agent and is currently a Hugo Chavez groupie, writes that Guevara " He was a certainly a great and impressive figure, someone who clearly secured loyalty and affection from those he worked with", not really, even Fidel Castro thought that he was such a tosser that he made sure that he got sent off to Bolivia to be killed. Possibly Castro's first and last good decision.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The VRWC Strikes Back.

Whilst I am happier with the Conservative Party then previously, some of their MPs are still loonies. Take Simon Burns MP (please!), in an article on why British Conservatives should welcome Hillary Clinton as president, obviously any British government should have a courteous relationship with any American one but Burns goes well beyond that statement of the obvious:
This sensible approach to protecting the special relationship will raise hackles with some traditional Conservatives, especially the concept of smoozying up to Hillary Clinton. Sadly the reaction will be based on ignorance. It will be influenced by the pernicious drip drip drip effect of what has been a right wing conspiracy against both Clintons and a lack of understanding of what makes Hillary tick
Uh huh, I thought that belief in the 'Vast Right Wing Conspiracy' had gone the way of crop circles and reptilian humanoids, but it is apparently alive and kicking. Personally I'm not sure to make of Hillary Clinton, her husband was a poor president who squandered the post Cold War dividend, but didn't stand in the way of Republican achievements such as welfare reform and NAFTA, but that doesn't say much about Mrs Clinton. When Tory MPs can outflank the Daily Kos and MoveOn.org on the left then what is there to say? Peter Cuthbertson rebuts Burns on the same site in detail.

Party Games.

The Tories have had a very good couple of weeks and I certainly feel far happier about supporting David Cameron and his close followers now than I did a few weeks ago, it appears that cutting taxes is popular after all. I still get the strong impression that many Cameroons basically despise mainstream conservatives. Whatever my qualms about Cameronism it is still a far more appealing confection than the Tax & Waste policies of Labour.

Same As The Old Boss.

A lot of the talk in the comment sections of various political blogs about the Broon election fiasco has been that it was a blunder that Blair* would not have made. I don't agree, Blair was every bit as cynical and contemptuous of the constitutional process as Brown, however if Blair had done it then it would have been a story for around a week before being forgotten. This is because unlike Gordon Brown, Tony Blair never had an image as being anything other than a lightweight opportunist, in fact it was part of his appeal because it meant that large parts of the electorate believed that he would be pragmatic rather than dogmatic. Brown has for the last four months been portraying himself as someone who was above the stunts and the spin of the Blair years, as a serious man for serious times. Being caught out spinning shatters the Brown public persona whereas when Blair was caught out throughout his tenure in office it simply reinforced his image.


* Blair, Tony Blair come on you remember him don't you? He used to be Prime Minister back in the beforetime.

How Communism Works (Or Doesn't)

60% of China's college graduates choose government as their ideal career.
Just one of the reasons that the rise of China to the status of an economic superpower at the level of the United States is far from a certainty. I wonder what the response to a similar question in Hong Kong or Taiwan would be.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Call Me Cynical But....

Given the attention being given to Gordon Brown's backtracking over the election date at the moment, isn't it a very good time for ministers to 'bury bad news' seeing as all the political hacks have their attention elsewhere? If I were in one of the opposition parties I'd be especially vigilant over the next couple of days to see which cock ups get released at the bottom of press releases about paper clip procurement.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Is That A Hosepipe In Your Hands Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me?

So a gay foursome is occuring in the bushes when some firemen turn up.... no this isn't my attempt at erotic literature for the gay market I'm writing about this strange story.
FOUR firemen have been carpeted after disturbing an outdoor gay sex romp.

The crew drove their fire engine to a common notorious for gay lovers and dogging.

They shone their torches from the machine into bushes — and interrupted four men involved in a sex act.

I'm not entirely sure that the newspapers are reporting this story accurately, as it does seem possible that the fire fighters were messing around and trying to embarrass the cottagers for a laugh, although interrupting an illegal activity does not seem to be the worst crime in the world. I've got sympathy for firemen though, I mean here they're being disciplined for intruding on a gay gathering whereas here they're disciplined for not doing so! They can't win.

What I don't understand is the next bit of the story:
One of the group later contacted the Terrence Higgins HIV and Aids charity, which backed a formal complaint against the Avon Fire Brigade in Bristol.
Why would someone contact an HIV charity about having their gay orgy with strangers interrupted? Isn't that like contacting a lung cancer charity to complain that a policeman told you to put your cigarette out?

Diana.

I'm not one for conspiracies about Princess Diana or anything else, but maybe this latest inquest will explain why all the Jewish passengers stayed away.

Bent Lumber.

Over at the Crooked Timber, the self satisfied academics blog, they are having a discussion. Following on from their debate in February over whether it was okay to shriek racial abuse at asian women if they hold political viewpoint different to ones own, they are directing this weeks two minute hate at uppity apostate muslim women who don't know their place. Well one in particular Ayaan Hirsi Ali of course. The author of the post declares:
people were a bit tired of hearing her views which never covered any shade of gray but were always rather black-white, provocative, and, at least in the opinion of some, unnecessarily insulting and divisive.
Evidence of her being 'unnecessarily insulting' isn't provided, but it's probably true that Ali hasn't yet reached the state of enlightenment where she can see the nuanced shades of grey between those who murder her colleagues, mutilate her genitals and threaten her with an honour killing on the one hand compared with those who don't. Funny that. The writer continues in about her problems paying for her bodyguards now that the Dutch state won't and then delightfully sneers:
since Hirsi Ali is a Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, can’t they pay for her security as part of her secondary employment conditions?
Classy! Though not as classy as the commentators of course who variously propose that it's a plot by the AEI to get Ali killed so that she becomes a martyr and that she's basically asking to be killed in any case for being so provocative. As I've stated before I think Salman Rushdie is an extremely unpleasant man, but I've never felt the need to slaver over the prospect of his bodyguards being removed from him.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Liberal Telepathy.

The late satirist Michael Wharton envisaged a world in which racism could be detected not by what people said or do but by the prejudons they emit. It seems that the future has arrived with an outbreak of liberal hacks developing the ability to infer racism in a wide variety of people, particularly people waving things like facts around as if there's no tomorrow. Take Jasper Gerard in the Observer in response to Migration Watch reporting that one in four children born in the UK have at least one foreign born parent:
Should my children be sent 'home'? I only ask because Migration Watch and commentator Stephen Glover declare 25 per cent of babies born in Britain have at least one foreign-born parent
.....
'OK, they might look white, but what if they are darkies underneath?' seems to be the message. 'Good God, Binky, dagos are polluting British bloodlines.'
You see his wife was born in Istanbul and being a liberal he assumes that if he and his family are doing fine then there cannot possibly be any problem with integrating different immigrant groups. Obviously neither Migration Watch or Steven Glover suggested anyone here legally should be deprted. Of course I don't possess Liberal telepathy so I may be wrong. Jasper Gerard actually wrote a good article 7 or 8 years ago which puts him on a higher pedestal than Dave 'not the guitarist from Slade' Hill. Hill seems to be upset that people have had the temerity to question Trevor Phillips's unique interpretation of history, whereby Gerard's in laws defeated the Spanish Armada:
the anger directed at Phillips is revealing. It demonstrates not only the fear and paranoia of Britain's seething classes but also their ignorance about the history of which they are self-appointed guardians. Indeed, it shows that they know nothing about history in general
As opposed to knowing nothing about history in specifics. Presumably if Trevor Phillips had claimed that the Battle of Britain had been won by the Klingons it would still be the people who dissented from this view who were fearful and paranoid. In the thread which ensues Laban Tall demolishes Dave Hill's case by demonstrating that ignorance is concentrated only on one side of this 'debate'. For all Hill's raging against 'know nothings' he isn't very keen to actually know about the subject he is pontificating on so he falls back to mind reading:
I can detect only too easily what lies behind many of the attacks on Phillips.
Facts & knowledge would be my answer, but I'm pretty sure Hill means racism. There are people who are concerned about immigration because they dislike foreigners and equally no doubt there are a few nutters who hate Trevor Phillips because he's black but it is all too obvious that the cry of racism is simply being thrown around without good cause in order to preempt debate and shield members of the great and the good from substantive criticism. I realise that I've written quite frequently about the frivolous use of 'racism' to undermine debate and there is a reason why I do so. Playing the racism card without any good cause is immensely damaging to free speech in the short term and in the long term risks creating racial antagonisms and hostility where it has not previously been major problems.

Easiest Question Ever.

Which football club does this Ballymena man want to go and see?
A Ballymena man accused of explosives offences has had his bail conditions altered so he can attend ******'s football match.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reasons To Be Pessimistic.

The protests by the brave Burmese* monks appears to have been extinguished ruthlessly and sadly successfully. There is obviously an urge to 'do something' when regimes as vile as the junta go in for brutality on this scale, but it is hard to admit that there is very little that we can plausibly do as this article explains:
In essence, the situation in Burma is one where the Western Powers have played all of their cards to date, and have nothing to show for it.
We have no other sticks to use against the regime short of military action, and we know that this is not going to happen for the sake of a smallish country with a pwerful patron which has no potential to become a strategic threat even to its neighbours, not anymore at any rate.

* I'm using 'Burma' instead of 'Myanmar' because they are actually the same word, just different pronunciations. Burma is the proper English pronunciation and pretending otherwise makes about as much sense as calling Spain 'Espana'.

Monday, October 01, 2007

24

So a major British newspaper gets an interview with one of the head honchos from the television series '24' and the reporter spends most of the interview denouncing them for being right wing. Which newspaper is it, the Guardian? The Independent? Nope, it's Britain's leading supposedly conservative paper, the Daily Telegraph! It is particularly annoying because the producers of '24' have real sins to atone for.