Friday, October 31, 2008

Abolish The BBC.

The Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand crap really is taking up an inordinate amount of column inches. Even I as someone who has called for their violent deaths find the coverage excessive.

Still I may as well use the incident as a hook a hobby horse of mine- the abolition of the BBC.

Supporters of the BBC and the licence fee like to claim that it is essential to ensure quality programming and compare it favourably to British commercial television as well as to American television.

The comparison with British commercial stations is fair enough and the BBC does indeed produce better television than any of our commercial broadcasters. Although this is hardly surprising when they have to compete against a state behemoth which can outbid them for talent and monopolise various niche markets. The sole exception to this is sport where Sky is clearly superior to the BBC. In other words the BBC crowds out the commercial sector who therefore have to resort to lowest common denominator stuff.

American television provides a picture of what commercial television can do when it is allowed to thrive in the absence of a national broadcaster. For all that BBC supporters like to mock US broadcasting, which is portrayed as a non stop drip of Jerry Springer, police chases and ads, the fact is it outperforms British television in almost every field.

The output of C-Span puts the BBC;s political coverage to shame, the original drama series produced by the likes of HBO and FX are far superior to anything the BBC has done in the last 20 years and Comedy Central doesn't consider it to be the height of comic genius to bully elderly actors. It's noticeable that a lot of the BBC's quality output is made in association with an American channel for example The Blue Planet was made in association with Discovery and Rome was made in league with HBO.

If we had no BBC our television output could develop in this direction.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm A Trendsetter.

On the subject of those two tossers Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross can I just point out that I hated them long before it became fashionable. As I said on another blog in January:

"After Moz left the stage, "celebrity fans" Jonathan Ross, David Walliams and Russell Brand took to the stage to pacify the crowd."

And yet no one had thought to take a hand grenade along in case of this eventuality!

See I was calling for their violent death way before they started bullying an elderly man and his grand daughter!


How Much Damage Can A President Do?

I suppose a lot of people thinking of voting for Obama assume that there is only so much that a president can do, so he is unlikely to do that much harm. Yet history shows that this isn't the case, the last time that the Democrats were as powerful as they will be if Obama wins was from 1965 to 1969 under Lyndon Johnson.

The measures he enacted in that period caused damage that lasted for decades. The explosive growth of crime in the United States more or less began with his creation of a vast welfare state and pro criminal activism from a liberal supreme court. By my back of an envelope estimate*, the explosion in homicide rates from the start of Johnson's "War on Poverty" up until welfare reform was passed 30 years later left around 200000 Americans dead. That's around 50 times as many Americans as have died in an actual war in Iraq.

Obama's voting record on crime suggests that he too is likely to to enact pro criminal legislation:
his eight-year voting record in the Illinois Senate shows the Democrat was on occasion an agent of isolation who took stands - particularly on anti-crime legislation - that put him to the left of his own party.

Mr. Obama was the only member of the state Senate to vote against a bill to prohibit the early release of convicted criminal sexual abusers; was among only four who voted against bills to toughen criminal sentences and to increase penalties for "gangbangers" and dealers of Ecstasy; and voted "present" on a bill making it harder for abusive parents to regain custody of their children, a Washington Times review of Illinois legislative records shows.

Incidentally was anyone surprised to see that the man arrested for the massacre of actress Jennifer Hudson's family in Chicago should have been in prison at the time of the crime?

Obama is going to have big majorities in both houses of congress for at least two years, and will have the ability to cause lasting damage to his country. Seeing as how he isn't even a Clinton style centrist this is an opportunity he is likely to pursue. At least the press will keep a critical eye on him or a slobbering tongue on his backside.

* Assuming that the murder rate was an average of 3 per 100000 higher over that 30 year period and the US population averaged about 220 million in that period this makes the total number of excess homicides around 200000 (3 * 2200 * 30).

Obamacons & The Obama Con.

A lot of conservatives, even real ones, have endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency. There are times when it is reasonable for a conservative to endorse the left candidate, if for example the right of centre candidate is too extreme or the left of centre candidate is a pragmatic moderate or if the incumbent needs to be punished.

There is no incumbent in this election. The Republicans have nominated a centrist with a long tradition of moderation who until he became the GOP nominee would receive lavish praise from liberals for this trait and his running mate is a governor with a track record of integrity, competent government and pragmatism. Meanwhile the Democrats have nominated the Senator with the most extreme left wing record in that chamber and a running mate who has been wrong on every major issue for three decades (experience isn't much of a virtue if you have no capacity for learning from it).

In other words there is no intellectually coherent reason for conservatives to go gaga over Obama. It can only be seen as bandwagon jumping. In some ways it is reminiscent of the conservatives who flocked ofBlair in the mid 1990s, except that for all his faults Tony Blair actually was on the right of the Labour Party, in the zone where many right of centre figures could feel more at home with his polices than the Tories. Obama isn't an American Tony Blair but an American Tony Benn.

Sure McCain hasn't run his campaign too well but that shouldn't be a factor that knowledgeable people consider too much if they are aware of the respective candidates records.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Labour Still Doomed.

Labour's revival in the opinion polls to the point where some polls are suggesting a hung parliament isn't as bad as it appears. At the end of the day the same underlying factors that put Labour 20-30 points behind are still in play and will reassert themselves over the long haul. In particular Gordon Brown's personality will drag Labour down.

I've said before that I do not believe surveys which claim that alternative leaders would do no better for Labour. Brown is insecure, secretive, hyper partisan and indecisive so I cannot see how replacing him with someone who is not could fail to benefit Labour in the long term.

Whilst the Conservatives need to be more coherent in dealing with the financial crisis they shouldn't be too worried at this point. By cementing Gordon Brown in place Labour's boost in the polls might be the most damaging blow they could have incurred.

Our Next Home Secretary?

Sadly not, but Conservative MP David Davies (not to be confused with David Davis), deserves a round of applause:

David Davies said black police representatives in London had behaved worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa by urging ethnic minorities not to join the Metropolitan Police force.

In a speech to the National Black Police Association annual conference, he also slammed the organisation for not allowing white people interested in fighting racism to become full members.

His comments sparked an angry reaction from delegates. Up to a dozen walked out in protest and others slow-handclapped the MP for Monmouth, who was likened to a BNP extremist.

I had assumed the BNP would support the NBPA's campaign to keep ethnic minorities out of the police.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moonbat Versus The God Botherers

Despite being essentially agnostic I find the fashion to bash religion in all its forms to be rather tedious. Like almost any phenomena, religion has both positive and negative effects and the simplistic God-Squad-bashing which only sees the negative qualities is as ignorant and irrational as anything preached by men in dog collars. Too many supposed secularists don't understand that secularism isn't the same as militant atheism.

George Monbiot is a case in point, in an article on how stoopid Americans aren't sophisticated enough to embrace their intellectual liberal superiors, a theory which I've debunked before, he claims:

One theme is both familiar and clear: religion - in particular fundamentalist religion - makes you stupid. The US is the only rich country in which Christian fundamentalism is vast and growing.

This is nonsense. The most educated regions of the US, based on academic performance and the location of elite universities are the most secular parts so superficially this makes sense. Yet 300 years ago New England and the North East were the most religiously observant parts of what would become the USA, the Puritans of New England were far more devout that the Presbyterians of Appalachia which is why they were so keen on executing witches in the North East. Yet even then New England had higher literacy rates and had established Harvard. So clearly Monbiot's claim is nonsense.

The contemporary example of heavily Mormon Utah ought to dispel the idea that religious observance makes you stupid as it is one of the most educated and economically successful states in the US.

Comrade May Speaks.

The Socialist Workers Party's proposals for the economy are always good for a laugh, here's the latest bureaucratic monstrosity they're proposing:
We should bring in compulsory pay audits for employers found guilty of discrimination
Did I say the Socialist Workers Party? Of course I meant the Conservative Party.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Polling Paranoia

Gary Younge goes race baiting. He's peddling conspiracy theories about black voters being denied the right to cast a ballot in the USA. He cites this statistic as evidence:
A recent CNN poll showed that 42% of voters are not confident their vote will be accurately cast and counted - almost three times the figure four years ago.
Really so after four years of fearmongering by the left people are more worried about an issue, who could have predicted that! He dismisses Republican fears of vote fraud by Democratic organisations like ACORN on the grounds that:
fraud is a serious issue. The trouble is it barely exists. In the six years since the Bush administration has made it a priority, barely 100 people have been convicted and fewer than 200 have been charged.
So if the small number of convictions is proof that no wrongdoing has taken place, then how many convictions have there been for voter suppression, which he does claim is taking place? He doesn't say.

This conspiracy theorising is in one sense comical, but partisan efforts to destroy confidence in democracy when your side loses is a potentially dangerous game to play.

Posting May Be Light.

Not because I'm busy or don't have access to a computer, but because there is literally nothing happening right now. I've just checked the BBC's news site and two of the top three domestic stories are that it rained in the Lake District but no one was hurt and there was a weak earthquake in the Midlands but no one was hurt.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sex Education For 5 Year Olds- A Bold Step!

There is something to be said for the government's new plan to have sex education for 5 year olds. Not for preventing teenage pregnancy or reducing std rates which have grown steadily alongside the expansion of sex education. No, it is useless for the stated purpose.

However we all know that recruiting teachers is hard, the low morale, low pay and lack of respect for the profession have all been well documented by the teaching unions. This has led to a sharp reduction in the quality of teachers entering the profession with many barely literate or numerate.

Yet there is one group of intelligent and highly qualified people who are still willing to become teachers despite of all these problems- latent paedophiles. These people are a valuable source of talent for our schools and we need to encourage them to remain in the profession and the best way to achieve that goal is to provide them with regular opportunities to talk dirty to small children.

So three cheers for education minister Jim Knight for this brave new initiative.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Considered Reflections On Religion.

I have no strong views on the "Atheist Bus" controversy either for or against but the involvement of Richard Dawkins in the stunt makes me want to post this:

I am an equal opportunities offender so if anyone has similar quality footage of that nutter from Christian Voice I'd be happy to post that too.

The Sun Says....

Over at Conservative Home they have the reactions of some of the newspapers to "Yachtgate", the Sun's editorial is worth quoting:

"The integrity of the BBC is coming under question for the way it has treated the case of the Russian billionaire and his British contacts. Hundreds of viewers are complaining of unbalanced reporting — and with good reason. According to its own internal memo, hundreds of listeners accused the Corporation of bias against the Tories — pointing out that the party received NO cash at all. And it’s strange that the BBC only went into overdrive on the story AFTER George Osborne’s name was linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska. When just Labour’s Peter Mandelson was involved it boasts it resisted making much of any allegations. Strange, that. And reason enough for their own enquiry into left-wing bias."

The BBC cannot be reformed, it's institutional left wing bias is too deeply ingrained. The Conservatives should cut their bdget massively when they are next in office.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joe Biden Should Sign Up For This.

Can African American males attend a course on "Effective Interaction with African-American Males" that is currently being offered by the University of North Carolina?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Political Cocoon.

I'm inclined to believe George Osbourne when he denies any wrong doing about discussing illegal donations, if only because the sum of money involved, £50000, is hardly worth breaking the law over in the context of a multi million pound party budget. It also feels like a Mandelson smear campaign.

Having said that anyone who can't see trouble ahead when dining aboard the yacht of a Russian Oligarch with an EU Commissioner and a scion of the world's most famous banking dynasty needs their head examined. It reinforces the idea of Britain being run by a small political class who regardless of nominal ideology have far more in common with each other than with those they represent.

Update: The Pub Philosopher has a good post on this subject. The role of Nat Rothschild in this is particularly interesting, how dare he find it outrageous when someone blows the whistle on a secret meeting between Oligarchs, politicians and EU Commissioners! His attitude is disgraceful.

Nature & Nurture.

In the previous post referring to a study showing ethnic differences in 5 year old, I stated my belief that the differences weren't innate. Something in the study reaffirms that belief, but I'll just provide a bit of context before I explain what it is.

One of the strongest argument that racial differences in intelligence are down to genetic factors rather than cultural factors has been the long standing IQ gap between blacks and whites that has been observed in the United States since mass testing was first undertaken by the US Army during World War One. The difference then and now is about one standard deviation or 15 points.

However if this is a consequence of genetic differences in IQ, then blacks and whites in the UK ought to show a similar gap. However the results of what appears to be an IQ type test from the Millenium Cohort Study are:

White: 102.2
Mixed: 101.3
Indian: 98.3
Black Caribbean: 98
Other 95.7
Black African 91.4
Bangladeshi 88.6
Pakistani 87.4

In other words White children score 11 points higher than Black African children and just 4 points ahead of Black Caribbean children. The difference in both cases is much smaller than the US differences.

Ethnic Differences In 5 Year Olds.

This is interesting; a study has found that there are significant differences between British 5 year olds depending on their ethnic group. The results largely reflect the outcomes that are observed in older children in terms of GCSE results and other indicators.

Much of the conventional wisdom attributes ethnic differences in life outcomes to racism or institutional racism. I have never believed that and having read up on the subject (particularly the works of Thomas Sowell) I have long been convinced that the differences aren't imposed by society as a whole but rather generated internally. The fact that the differences are already present in 5 year olds pretty much torpedoes the racism argument and the policies that follow from making those assumptions.

The only viable causes are either innate differences or the idea of cultural capital. I favour the latter theory so it isn't a surprise to see that different groups treat their children in different ways.

The one real criticism of the study is that it fails to break down the "white" group into separate categories for the natives, for want of a better term, and the children of Eastern European migrants. I don't understand why the much smaller black and asian categories are divided into sub groups but whites are all lumped together. The absence of a Chinese category is also a pity.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quote Of The Day.

Even a couple of years of declines in GDP and relatively high unemployment will not overshadow the remarkable economic achievements during these decades. These include unprecedented growth in GDP in formerly poor to very poor countries, such as Japan, South Korea, China, India, Malaysia, Chile, Spain, Portugal, and others. Growth in mainly market-oriented developing economies swept away dire poverty from hundreds of millions of families in Asia, Europe, and South America. This sustained growth also led hundreds of millions of others into middle class status, where they could afford to buy cars, well-equipped homes, television sets, cell phones, computers, and other goods that not long ago were considered well beyond the means of the typical family in all but a few countries.

~Gary Becker.

The financial crisis does not prove that capitalism has failed any more than a plane crash disproves the laws of gravity.

McCain Can Still Win.

Back in early January, before the start of the primary season, I predicted that Obama would beat McCain in the presidential election because he is a better communicator. Unfortunately this appears to be correct. This is a position I've stuck to even when McCain was in the lead after Palin was announced and they had their convention.

However although Obama is the strong favourite at this point I still believe that McCain has a chance to win two weeks from now. Firstly with everyone now assuming that Obama has won turnout is likely to be lower, which normally favours the party of the right. Most polls are assuming that Obama's attractiveness to new voters means that turnout will be higher this year than in 2000 and 2004 but I am convinced that the opposite is true. It's noticeable that despite the fame of "Dewey Beats Truman" most examples of parties losing elections when they lead in the polls involve the right pipping the left to the post, the 1970 & 1992 UK elections or the 1994 Australian election are all cases in point.

Secondly the polls appear to have narrowed in the last few days, with the RCP tracker showing Obama's lead down from 7.3% to 4.8%. This 2.5% drop has occurred while the big talking point has been Obama's tax plan, thanks to Joe the Plumber. So if the McCain campaign can formulate a strong attack on Obamanomics and hammer it home for the next two weeks it is possible to eek out a win in unpromising circumstances.

Perhaps they should contact some of the leading economists who support McCain and ask them to make an estimate as to how many jobs Obama's proposed tax hikes on employers will cost and then run ads throughout the swing states repeating the message- "Experts say Obama's tax rises on employers will cost XXXXXX American jobs each year" or some pithier variant of that theme.

Whether McCain can take the opportunity is another matter because he always appears uncomfortable talking about the economy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Viking Rampagers Not Good Law & Order Role Models.

why is it that Finland, Sweden and Norway in particular, have much lower rates of imprisonment than other European countries?
Don't know, probably because they are populated by earnest Nordic types who believe criminals need to be understood. I'm not sure why we should consider them to be role models in crime prevention though, Finland has the highest murder rate in Western Europe, Sweden has the most crimes per capita in Western Europe. Norway is arguably a low crime country but a one out of three success rate suggests that the Nordic model isn't better than the system we already have.

Conservative = Rapist

Heh they have femiloons in Australia too!

Laughalong With Laughland.

It isn't just the left that are using the credit crunch to promote policies that would wreck our economy, in the Daily Mail John Laughland (better known as an apologist for Slobodan Milosevic) demands that the Conservatives abandon free trade:

Of all the lessons to be learned from the meltdown of the world's financial system - a catastrophe that will impoverish every household in Britain - none is more urgent than that the Conservative Party should abandon the ideology that got us into this mess in the first place.

I refer to the now discredited doctrine of free trade, which has been the Tories' central belief for three decades. It was only later adopted by Labour under Tony Blair - but it is now doing so much damage that it is time to get rid of it.

As he says, free trade has been British policy for 30 years now, yet who would seriously deny that the UK's economy has been far more successful in the last 30 years than in the previous 30?

He doesn't actually explain in what sense free trade has been discredited, other than the fact he opposes it. I'm guessing his reasoning is we practice free trade, we have a financial crisis, therefore the financial crisis must be caused by free trade, even though I can't think of an explanation of how this occurs. After all North Korea doesn't have a credit crunch do they?

Welfare, Not Well Fair At All.

Polly Toynbee writes:

A Financial Times poked from his briefcase to announce he did not belong in this London jobcentre. But there he was, a former Lehmans banker, signing on two weeks after his employer went bust. He had been earning £75,000 - but was left with virtually no savings. If ever there was a symbol of how everyone, high and low, feckless and thrifty, needs to feel the protection of a government that is always there in time of trouble, here it was.

Er no. If someone who had been earning £75000 a year has no savings then it a symbol of the irresponsibility the welfare state encourages even in the affluent. Personally I think anyone earning that much really ought to insure themselves against losing their job.

The rest of the article consists of advice on how the government can spend even more money that it doesn't have.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe The Pummeler.

Anyone who has been following the US election will now be aware of Joe the Plumber, who having asked Obama a question that made the chosen one look foolish is now subject to a full blown smear campaign. This tactic will be familiar to British readers because Labour has been smearing members of the public who challenge them for years, remember Rose Addis or the Paddington train crash survivors? However I now learn that the smears against Joe the Plumber may not be wholly unfounded and have received video evidence of how he deals with late paying customers:

Life Imitates Art.

Liberal Larry at Blame Bush a couple of weeks ago:

With the economy collapsing all around us, I decided to give my dear, sweet Grandmother a call today to see how she was holding up.


There was no reply, but I could hear the dried up ol' hag wheezing like an asthmatic terrier.


"How does John McCain have anything to do with what's going on with the banking system?" Grandma finally spoke up. Too bad it was just another stupid Repug talking point.

"JOHN MCSAME VOTED WITH BUSH 90% OF THE TIME!!!!" I politely reminded her.

"And exactly which bills did he vote with Bush on that are responsible for the current economic downturn?"

You can always tell when the cons have been pre-programmed by their talk radio masters, because they'll question everything you say as if they actually have the ability (and the right) to debate you on your intellectually superior level.

Victoria Floethe at Comment is Free today:

Dealing with one's parents' troglodyte political views can be an exasperating business. But this campaign, perhaps because of its endlessness or because of its increasingly high stakes — the economy melting down or the prospect of Sarah Palin a heart beat away from the presidency — may have made many families more than ordinarily testy about the race.

"I get enough spam as it is, without having to weed through additional emails from family members to determine whether or not they are worth my time. The jokes and cute kittens emails are OK, but please discontinue the forwarding of political and religious emails," my brother wrote my mother earlier this year, precipitating several rounds of back-and-forth recrimination in our family.


What if you find yourself having to decide: my politics or my family? And having to conclude that these people who I've mostly cherished are cretins?
"Is your mother a complete moron?" Asked my New York boyfriend as a I tried to describe my frustrating and confounding conversations. Family pride briefly won out over political sense, rousing me suddenly to attack the boyfriend and defend my moronic mother.

Her article is subtitled "My mother loves Sarah Palin more than she loves me". To be honest I'd imagine she would like syphillis more than her obnoxious daughter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's A Mystery To Me As Well.

A Scottish Muslim group is outraged and bewildered because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that Muslims are being targetted excessively by police at Glasgow Airport, which was the location of an unsuccessful terrorist attack by an Islamist group less than 18 month ago.

They should really blame Al Qaeda for not having diversity policies that would allow wannabe terrorists of all faith traditions achieve occupational success.

How Aboot Those Canucks?

As has been noted elsewhere, the right has won at least one of the big North American elections. Canada is just as important as the USA honest. Anyway, the Canadian left appears to have learnt the art of graciousness in defeat from Ken Livingstone's supporters earlier this year:
Our prime minister, Stephen Harper, a strange man with an awkward gait, an absence of social skills, and the dress sense of that guy at the back of the hardware store who sorts nails for a living
I wonder what it is she doesn't like about him though:
Harper, the Conservative PM, is a rightwing extremist, although he doesn't suck up like Cameron. He is an anti-choice, pro-prison, poverty-ignoring, food-safety-privatising, arts-ridiculing, Afghanistan war-loving, cowboy hat-wearing guy.
Fantastic, can we have him over here too?

Auditing The Auditors.

The news that the Audit Commission, of all bodies, might £10 million in Icelandic banks is pretty droll. It was already known that many councils have millions in Icelandic banks, which begs the question:
how supposedly cash strapped government institutions, local authorities and quangoes have millions of pounds that they were keen to stuff into wobbly Icelandic banks in the first place.
I have no answer to that or to the other big question, given that Iceland's economy is primarily based on fish, how exactly did they think that their banks had the kind of security to guarantee large deposits?

Newt Tormenting.

I haven't got much to say right now, so why not go and join in the mockery of Ken Livingstone's plan to save the world economy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I've just looked this blog up on the Wikio rankings and this is supposedly the 74th most influential blog in the country!

Of course it isn't really, as the list has several notable omissions, such as any of the Times or Spectator bloggers and no doubt many others that i have not yet spotted aren't included either. Even so I'm pleased with 74th place because the last time I looked myself up on Wikio I was somewhere between 200 and 300 and I'm sure I will sink back to the depths of obscurity soon enough.

Update: So how do I install this badge in my sidebar?:

Wikio - Top Blogs - Politics

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote Of The Day.

Gordon Brown is asked by an interviewer whether it was a mistake to promise an end to "Boom & Bust":
'I actually said, 'No more Tory boom and bust,'
Can we shoot him now?

Voters Reward The Perps.

Every so often there is a story about a firefighter or wannabe fire fighter getting caught committing arson so that he can be the hero putting it out. This is much like giving Gordon Brown credit for trying to resolve the financial crisis that he caused, but that is seemingly what voters are doing.

The effect shouldn't be exageratted, Labour's standing in the polls has merely been upgraded from "catestrophic" to "dire", but even so this crisis does appear to be helping the left, both here and abroad as Daniel Hannan notes:

No one said politics was fair. Strikes always hurt Labour, however much Labour condemns them. City bonuses always hurt the Tories, even when the Tories are in Opposition. In the current climate, what people see are fat-cat bankers being bailed out by hard-pressed taxpayers. And, instead of objecting to the bail-out, they object to the bankers and, by extension, to the free market culture they are thought to embody. The world over, Left-of-Centre parties are benefiting: Obama in the US, Brown here.

The paradox is that what Britain most needs at the moment is to cut spending and cut taxes. In retrospect, we can see that the massive extension of the federal government during the Great Depression served to prolong the slump. (Why the court-packing, four-term Roosevelt is so kindly treated by history remains a mystery to me.) Sadly, we seem about to repeat FDR's errors, engorging the state and mortgaging its citizens in order to socialise the financial system.

Similar effects are occuring in Canada and New Zealand, where right of centre parties that were heading for big wins now look like having to settle for just getting across the line in first place.

The crisis has made Obama the big favourite in the US election and there is a danger that a combination of an left wing President Obama, a Democratic congress, a sycophantic media and a financial crisis could enact legislation that will harm the US and world economies for decades to come as any disasters that they inflict on the world economy will be blamed on the legacy of the current crisis.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Has Prince Philip Been To Austria Recently?

Austria's far right* leader Jorg Haider has been killed in a car crash, just weeks after his success in Austrian elections. Whilst a conspiracy theory is unlikely the timing of his death makes them inevitable as others have already noted.

As I understand it, poisonous personal relations between Jorg Haider and the leader of Austria's other party of a similar outlook made it very difficult for them both to enter a coalition together so that is one obvious beneficiary right there.

* I don't like the term "far right" as I consider fascism to be a cult of the far left, but am using the term because it is widely understood. The Freedom Party used to belong to the same international grouping as Britain's Liberal Democrats amusingly enough.

Friday, October 10, 2008

And The Winner Is.....

The "Biggest Twat" contest is now closed, and the victor with more than 50% of the vote is Sion Simon who beat his fellow minister Quentin Davies into the number two slot, so to speak.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Right Wing Myths Bunked!

I'm assuming that bunked is the opposite of debunked, you know how the left always complain about the tabloid myth of immigrants being given really big houses and benefits in return for sod all?:

A FAMILY living on benefits in a £1.2 million house in west London told today how they felt they had won the lottery.

Mother-of-seven Toorpakai Saindi gets £170,000 a year in benefits and the council pays the property's private landlord £12,500 a month to accommodate the family who fled Afghanistan seven years ago.

The house in Acton has seven bedrooms, two reception rooms, a dining room and two kitchens, as well as an extensive back garden.

Mrs Saindi's son, Jawad, 20, told the Standard: "If someone gave you a lottery ticket would you leave it? No. You take what you get given.

It should be pointed out that the fault is almost entirely with the law and the council rather than the family. Of course pointing this out means that you are "Playing into the hands of the BNP". Similarly do you remember the right wing myth about the welfare state punishing marriage and rewarding single parenthood? Well that happens too:

Jacqueline Maxwell, 42, of Lakeglen Park, claimed income support totalling £51,037 while failing to declare she was living with a partner.
As other reports make clear she is a mother of three. Whilst her fraud is the newsworthy aspect to the case, the fact that the benefit system rewards her for remaining a single mother is the more interesting point.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Is Putin Gay?

I saw Vladimir Putin on the ITV news grappling with a fit young man supposedly practiscing Judo. This is the latest in a long line of publicity stunts by the Russian dictator that seek to make him appear more manly.
  • Shooting a tiger, with a TV crew coincidentally on hand to capture the moment.
  • Being photographed strolling around bare chested on holiday.
  • Having rumours spread that he is going out with a much younger woman.
I can think of two possible reasons for this, as a short, slightly built, middle aged man who has only ever worked as a bureaucrat he is desperate to appear more like action man or secondly he is in the closet. When you combine the rather desperate attempts to be more masculine with other aspects of his life, such as:
  • his membership of the KGB (MI-6 famously attracted a lot of homosexuals so I'd guess the same dynamic is true for the KGB).
  • Surrounding himself with young male advisers, including the Ken doll lookalike who succeeded him as president.
  • Holidaying with Prince Albert of Monaco, who is widely rumoured to be gay.
I'm not saying he definitely is gay and it doesn't bother me if he is, although being a mass murdering dictator does bother me, but it explains a lot. It might also be why he doesn't want a free press to operate in Russia.

Update : In the comments Alison points to Vladimir's rather flamboyant aesthetic tastes. It's very Elton John like.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I Blame Kerry Katona

Iceland is on the verge of going bust. If only they had stipulated in Kerry Katona's contract that she must buy all her family's food from them thenthey would be alright. Let's suppose she were to spend £2 per child per day on food, this would be £730 a year, multiply that by the number of kids and Iceland's $4 billion debt would be paid back in no time.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Curse Of Brown Finds Another Victim

So Peter Mandelson makes up with Gordon Brown after a 15 year feud, and is then struck down by kidney stones the moment he starts his new job. Does anyone still doubt the awesome and terrible powers of Jonah Brown?

Sorry Mrs Blakelock, Your Husband Has Been Attending An Uprising.

Marc Wadsworth writes at Comment is Free about some fringe political movement he was involved with in the 1980s:
None of the movement's achievements would have been possible without protest and agitation. The uprisings that occurred in the early 1980s in Brixton, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere acted as a wake-up call to a society that was either indifferent or hostile to the demands of disenfranchised and disadvantaged black people.
"Uprisings", nice!

I must remember that word the next time I want to excuse racially inspired violence.

Update: Wadsworth also says:
Furthermore, racial inequality in education, employment and the justice system still exists.
This is very true, the hindu, chinese & sikh cimmunities are all far less likely to unqualified, unemployed or in prison. Go and let Wadsworth know what you think about him.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Twat Competition!

The return of Peter Mandelson to the government has overshadowed the fact that other equally risible figures have been promoted in Gordon's barrel scraping re-shuffle. The question though is who is the biggest twat to join the government? Either vote in the poll which will be up until Friday or leave a comment. The contenders are:
  • Chris Bryant, the new deputy leader of the Commons, previously best known for sending around a photograph of himself in his Y-Fronts.
  • Quentin Davies, Tory traitor and all round figure of fun who jumped ship during Gordon Brown's honeymoon period when it looked like he was joining a winning team. Previously best known for having been convicted of cruelty to sheep (seriously).
  • Sion Simon, Labour traitor who was part of the coup that forced Blair out in the belief that Brown would lead them to victory. Most notable for his cringe inducing attempts at satire and arrogantly declaring that Labour were going to rule for a generation.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! Out! Out! Out!

Over at CiF, Robert Reiner uncovers the person who is really responsible for Ian Blair's downfall.

So yet another thing to thank the Iron Lady for.

'The prime culprit is the neoliberalism launched by Reaganomics and Thatcherism. This generated enormous criminogenic pressures, because of the social tsunami flowing from unemployment and inequality, and the egoistic amoral culture with which it went hand-in-hand: economic and moral laissez-faire'.


What Part Of "Free Speech" Don't They Understand?

I don't usually like defending Liberal Democrat spokesmen but this headline on the BBC website about Chris Huhne is utterly misleading:
Holocaust denier gets MP backing
Obviously if he backed a Holocaust denier then he would be unfit for office, but of course that is not what he has done, he has simply made it clear that he regards free speech as being for everyone even if you disagree with them.

The story is about the Holocaust denier, Gerald Toben, who has been arrested on an European arrest warrant in order to be extradited to Germany to stand trial for holocaust denial. Whilst I do not approve of Germany's laws regarding Holocaust denial I can understand why they have them, but Toben's didn't go to Germany to spread his lies, he did so online from his website in Australia. It is outrageous that Germany is trying to impose its restrictions on free speech against everyone else.

It goes without saying that the colossal self pity of Toben is hypocritical considering that he is an apologist for a far, far greater level of persecution than this mere inconvenience as this son of a Holocaust survivor wryly notes.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Half Assed Theory Of The Day.

There is an old saw that the taller candidate always wins the US election. It isn't quite true although there is a strong positive correlation, and the average height of US presidents is comfortably more than of the average US man, which is remarkable when you consider that the office began in the 18th century when the average height would have been considerably less than it is today.

Anyway this got me thinking, do presidential candidates always choose running mates shorter than themselves? This time around Obama is 6'1 and Biden 6'0, McCain like a lot of fighter pilots isn't very tall at just 5'6 or 5'7, which would have made it tricky to find a shorter male running mate but Sarah Palin is shorter even in heels (despite being a college basketball player). Using the internet to look up the height of past candidates gives the following results:

John Kerry 6'5
John Edwards's 5'10

George W Bush 5'11
Dick Cheney's 5'6

Al Gore- 6'1
Joe Lieberman- 5'9

Bill Clinton- 6'2
Al Gore- 6'1

Bob Dole- 6'0
Jack Kemp- 6'0

George H.W. Bush- 6'2
Dan Quayle- 6'0

Michael Dukakis- 5'8
Lloyd Bentsen- 6'1

So since Dukakis back in 1988 the pattern holds pretty strong with eight consecutive tickets having a taller Presidential candidate. The likelyhood of this happening by chance are about 1 in 256. George H. W. Bush was an inch taller than Ronald Reagan to make him the last sitting veep taller than his President. What does this demonstrate? No idea, perhaps that presidential candidates are terribly insecure or are aware of the old trope described earlier.

This appears to be a particularly American thing, in Europe the vertically challenged have had fewer problems attaining the er heights of political office with the likes of Nicholas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin all currently in office despite being about the same height as McCain.

Oh Mandy!

Peter Mandelson's only been sacked from the cabinet for corruption twice so far, so he deserves another chance. Even Joey Barton would struggle to get as many "second chances" as Mandy.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Chief Commissioner Clouseau Steps Down.

New Labour place man Ian Blair has stood down (ie. been kicked out) as Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. About time too, he should never have been appointed.

What worries me though is whether there is an adequate replacement in the ranks of the MacPhersonised police.

Update: Comment is Free is a laugh riot with a number of eulogies for this very political policeman.

Damn You Skippy!

I've been shocked to see the rise of extremist parties in the recent Austrian elections, so much so that I've decided to boycott Castlemaine XXXX, Neighbours and Vegemite.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Crime & No Punishment.

I can see the purpose of open prisons, if certain inmates who aren't dangerous and are content to serve their time can be held with a minimum of security then it is a good way to save money. Obviously they should not be used for prisoners with a known history of violence and absconding. Well it's obvious to me and any sentient being I've ever met, but not to the custodians of our criminal justice system:

Robert Foye, 29, beat and restrained his 16-year-old victim before raping her after being allowed out of Castle Huntly open prison last year to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, in spite of a history of flouting prison discipline and escaping.


Foye was convicted in 2002 of the attempted murder of a police officer and sentenced to nine and a half years. Three years later he in was in the open prison. Lady Smith was told two police forces were trying to track him down last August after he failed to return from his day out.

The court was told yesterday that Foye had spent only two months outside prison since 1996, having notched up 25 convictions as an adult.

They decided that being in an open prison didn't give him enough opportunity to escape so they sent him out on day trips! There is no mention in the article of who was responsible for letting a dangerous criminal out and I doubt those responsible for enabling him to rape the girl will suffer any consequences whatsoever.

Two minor points that occur to me are, if someone is in prison shouldn't he be unable to get any alcohol, thus rendering the AA meetings unnecessary? Secondly shouldn't attempted police killers be serving more than nine and a half years, which for a prisoner more disciplined than Foye means about 4 or 5 years?

The Obama Youth.

(via ATW)

Update: Aaaaagh, they've removed it. For the benefit of those who hadn't seen it, it was a video of children, in an affluent liberal city, who had literally been taught to sing songs of praise about Obama. "Obama's gonna save us" is a sample lyric.

Update 2: It may have been removed but the video is described here:

The video was promoted on Obama's presidential website in an August 20 post. "What the children and a few adults accomplished in a few hours on a Sunday afternoon embodies the nature of the Obama campaign: its grassroots inspiration, its inclusiveness, its community building," Obama's campaign site said of the video.

The song begins with a young girl singing alone, "We’re gonna spread happiness/ We’re gonna spread freedom/Obama’s gonna achange it/Obama’s gonna lead ‘em/We’re gonna change it/And rearrange it/We’re gonna change the world."

The other children then join in, chanting Obama's campaign mantra "Yes, we can, yes, we can."

Update 3: Rejoice, the video is back up, as is Reason TV's own version: