Friday, December 31, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere (Except In The Taps).

Northern Ireland is suffering water shortages despite being the wettest part of the UK. This old post by Tim Worstall about the difference in water standards in the UK is worth looking at again:
England got for profit private companies, Wales a not for profit mutual, Scotland a government run company and Northern Ireland direct government supply. In terms of cheapness of supply, higher purity of that supply and lower environmental damage from that supply a decade later the best to worst in order was England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.
It probably isn't so surprising that Northern Ireland is the place having trouble.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spot The Spin

From some neurological research into brain structure and political leanings:

Scans of 90 students' brains at University College London (UCL) uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matter and an individual's views.
Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion while their political opponents from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates.
See what they did there?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Words Mean What I Want Them To Mean

One way to win an argument is to completely redefine the English language so that what you say must be true. Take this blog post about the success and failure of the US military over the course of the last half century:
The US military has fought five large-scale wars in the past fifty years, resulting in a draw in Korea[1], a defeat in Vietnam, and three inconclusive outcomes in Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan. 
It's fair to say that anyone who argues that the first war against Iraq is lying through their teeth to prove a political point. In fact it would be difficult to find a more conclusive victory by any country in any war at any time. Not only were all of the USA's objectives met it was done quickly and with very little loss of life by the USA or its allies.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Guide To Guardian Pundits.

Most pundits in the MSM or blogs with MSM pretensions are fairly interchangeable. I'm thinking of working out ways to categorise them so as to save time.For instance at the Guardian most of the regular columnists  come into one of these categories:
  • Identity pundit: someone like Gary Younge or Julie Bindel for whom every issue is addressed through the prism of identity politics. This has the great advantage of rendering much of the criticism directed against them as invalid because it is from people who are the wrong colour, have the wrong genitals or want to sleep with the wrong people.
  • Trustafarian Radical: Someone who is from an absurdly privileged background who compensates by taking radical stances to an extreme level presumably due to unresolved Daddy issues. They can be nice (George Monbiot) or nasty (Seamus Milne) but one thing they will always be, is extremely silly.
  • Party Harpy- Middle aged women with an iron clad loyalty to the Labour Party, fond of making bold predictions and wish fulfilment fantasies. Usually insert calls to action which are widely ignored. Polly Toynbee and Jackie Ashley fill this slot.
  • Olympian God- Someone who is so assured at their own righteousness and sensible outlook that they issue columns like Delphic prophecies that aren't meant to be questioned by lesser mortals. The late Hugo Young is the best example of this although Michael White and Timothy Garton Ash also fit the bill.
  • The Hitchens- Someone who makes a living being a professional martyr to the the rest of the left by criticising other elements of the left. Ususally denounces everyone else for selling out the principles of pure liberalism. Nick Cohen is the Observer's resident Hitchens at present.
  • Will This Do?- Someone whose job it is to write about anything that pops through their head, preferably tying it to some event in the news. Has nothing to say but insists on saying it anyway. Often convinced of how terribly witty they are but have usually only got the gig through nepotism or sleeping with the editor. Examples include Marina Hyde and anyone whose name is "Coren".
  • The Celebrity- Similar to the "Will this do?" merchant but the column is usually even worse unless it's ghost written. Think David Mitchell or Maureen Lipman.
  • The Specialist- Someone who knows what they're talking about and who even people like me have to acknowledge are worth reading. Ben Goldacre and the occasional foreign correspondent are the main examples of this.
Next time- a guide to Daily Mail columnists.

Ownership & Control

Even if one takes the view that Rupert Murdoch is the antichrist, I don't get the opposition to his proposed purchase of the BSkyB shares that he doesn't already own. Given that no one seriously doubts that he already controls the company despite owning around 40% of the shares it is hard to see how his influence will increase because he owns more shares in BSkyB.

Besides which in the era of the internet and satellite broadcasting it isn't as though other broadcasters can't challenge Murdoch if he tried to misuse his position.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Google Search Results To Be Proud Of

On the front page for the phrase "Tommy Sheridan is a swinger" for a post I originally made over 4 years ago. My favourite Tommy Sheridan gag from this blog was this one from January 2007:

One of the overlooked facets of the recent Saddam hanging is the fact that George Galloway has a lost an indefatigable friend. What's more it came as a terrible surprise to him, the day before Saddam went to the gallows George was informed that one of his closest allies would be swinging that night but naturally he assumed that it was a reference to Tommy Sheridan's plans for the holiday season.

Better Never Than Late

I'm thinking now would be a good time to start the Christmas shopping, mind you motorway service stations are open on Christmas Day and have an impressive range of products....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Think Of The Children

No I am Pornacus.

Actually I'm not and want to keep the site work safe for now but I approve of the idea.

The government's proposal to ban porn from ISPs is probably the worst idea they've come up with yet. Whilst I can appreciate why they want to keep pornography out of the reach of schoolchildren- after all teaching kids about felching in sex education classes is much less fun when the element of surprise is lost it is a very slippery slope to be on. If the government can ban ISPs from delivering porn it isn't much of a stretch to suppose that they will soon be banning other stuff.

Moreover it isn't just bad because of what it may lead to, but bad in itself- like most adults on the internet, including I am 100% sure the minister behind this idea, ED Vaizey- I sometimes look at websites that might be classified as pornographic (and cruel to penguins but that's an issue for the RSPB). I don't want to have to write to a government agency to ask for permission to continue my viewing habits. There is zero evidence that pornography is harmful despite numerous attempts to find such a link.

The presence of Ed Vaizey at the heart of this is interesting, he was for a long time one on of the Conservatives' self proclaimed social liberals. He probably still is. Yet it is clear that he doesn't have socially liberal principles from his actions here, instead socially liberal is a euphemism for socially fashionable- a means for ingratiating themselves with younger urban voters rather than a principled stand.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Can I Claim Royalties Or Something?

There are plans to start broadcasting NFL games with a musical soundtrack. This is an idea that I had for football games years ago, except I was thinking more along the lines of giving each player their own individual tunes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Self Pity Week

Since Tuesday I've been ill with 'flu and it really isn't nice. Blogging will remain light until every part of my body doesn't ache.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quote Of The Day

From an article on the unusual family background of Charlie Gilmour- the cenotaph disrespecting student rioter against tuition fees:
But the occasion ended in chaos when a fight broke out at the studio between two members of Williams’s [Gilmour's father] anarchist group, who were dressed as a gorilla and a wizard. The ‘wizard’ pulled a knife on the ‘gorilla’, who promptly kicked the ‘wizard’ in the testicles.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dodgy Stat Of The Day

According to Time's Healthland column:

In numerical terms, people with red hair are a decided minority. They comprise just 2-6% of the population of the northern hemisphere and 1-2% worldwide.
Given that the Northern Hemisphere has about 90% of the World's population I don't see how if the red menace comprises 2 to 6 % of the North's population they could only comprise 1 to 2% of the total population. even if there were zero gingers in the South.

The Assassination Of Yogi Bear By The Coward Booboo

Pure genius:



via

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Real Danger Posed By The Swedish Suicide Bombing

It might play into the hands of the EDL.

In fairness in this instance I can see why Muslims might be aggrieved by the coverage of the self detonation- Muslims are frequently criticised for not integrating into their host societies and adopting local culture so when someone does something as quintessentially Swedish as ending his existance in a desolate Nordic landscape shouldn't he be praised?

Fair Enough

What could possibly drive someone to detonate themselves in a Swedish street?

Suicide bomber lived in Britain: Islamic fanatic in Stockholm car blast was radicalised while studying in Luton
Ah Luton, enough said.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Assanity

Julian Assange is a bit of a twat but he does have the knack of bringing out the crazies on all sides of the aisle. Among his detractors the craziest are those demanding that he be killed because he's a "terrorist", ironically the US Congressman who referred to Assange as a terrorist is the most enthusiastic supporter of the IRA in the US, Peter King- so planting bombs in shopping centres and forcing victims to become human bombs isn't terrorism but publishing the gossip from the Ferrero Rocher set is. OK.

Mike Huckabee who is probably going to compete for the GOP presidential nomination has called for the soldier who leaked the information to be executed- given his record of leniancy towards even the most dangerous criminals this seems surprising.

 Assange's supporters are perhaps worse, resembling a cult in which no criticism of the leader can be tolerated. The hackers targetting his enemies are a case in point- they are even targetting the Swedish prosecuters who want him extradited- I don't know whether Assange is guilty or not but neither do they so the fact that they are angry at the Swedes suggest that they think that it doesn't matter whether he rapes anyone or not. Like DJ I've been struck by the difference with how the left usually wants accusations of rape to be treated.

Pea brained American demagoge & TV host Keith Olbermann has even been promoting the prominent  Swedish neo Nazi Israel Shamir in an attempt to discredit Assange's accusers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Masterminding Equality

David Lammy writes about the low number of black students at Oxbridge. I think he underestimates the role of the media in perpetuating stereotypes about black academic performance, for example I remember seeing a comedy sketch featuring a black guy on Mastermind who kept giving comically wrong answers to really easy questions.

Seriously though most of his arguments are demolished in the comments so I won't go over every wrong fact and unsafe assumption- although the fact he uses different definitions of "black" for the number of people who apply and the number accepted is telling. The fact that other minority groups are statistically over represented is also interesting.

However one thing that is always worth remembering is that the differences in academic performance are evident from before children even start school, so it isn't obvious how higher education institutions can have proportional numbers of different groups.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Typical

Essex girls eh!

Behead Those Who Insult Aslan

Liam Neeson is probably just trying to be multicultural and inclusive when he claims that Aslan the lion from the Narnia books could just as easily be Mohammed as Jesus. Whilst he may be trying to broaden the appeal of his film, if Aslan could also be Mohmammed then he is guilty of depicting Islam's prophet which does get many Muslims somewhat irate.

Remember how upset the Sudanese got when they thought someone had portrayed Mohammed as a teddy bear?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Title

I'm sceptical about the benefits of hosting big sporting events like the World Cup, so I'm not too upset that England did not win. However the brazenness of FIFAs corruption is startling. The fact the the two winners of the contests to host the 2018 & 2022 events (Russia and Qatar) were also the two countries whose shortcomings were highlighted by FIFA's own technical committee demonstrates that they could not possibly have believed that they were the best bids. Qatar isn't much more than a city state and absolutely tiny compared to any cup host since Uruguay in 1930. Russia has the opposite problem- utter vastness with poor transport links. The one thing the two countries do have in common is a willingness to bribe FIFA officials.


It also shows what a waste of time England's kowtowing to FIFA's crooks was, appeasing the likes of this guy by sending the England team halfway across the world is not only undignified but also a waste of time. They were always going to be outbid by even more overtly corrupt.

I suspect that by diminishing their prestige event so badly they have ensured that the future of the game lies with the clubs.

Stuff To Read

A very good piece by Sunny Hundal (yes I really did write those words) defending Wikileaks. Certainly the latest batch of revelations is not especially harmful and individually nothing leaked is of a nature that has never been leaked before. The comparison of the criticism of Wikileaks with the praise bestowed on the Daily Telegraph for their expose based upon leaked parliamentary expenses is telling.

Actually the USA comes out rather well insofar as their private communications largely echo their public pronouncements except that they are politer. Certainly the US isn't operating under any illlusions about the nature of the world's autocratic regimes.

Other stuff to read is Mark Wadsworth's channelling of Will Hutton's enquiry into high pay.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Joined Up Government

Two of today's headlines which were juxtaposed on google news earlier today:

No more nanny state on health: Andrew Lansley

And also this:
Minister to set minimum prices in war on cheap drinks and force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets

The minister in question is Andrew Lansley.

It's for your own good..

Go Read

Counting Cats highlights a report by the Mises Economic blog about how Sweden is riding out the recession- with big tax cuts for everyone which has led to a scarcely believable growth rate of 6.9%.

Daphne of Jaded Haven finds even the Australians are victims to the most witless forms of political correctness- in this case the police making formal the media convention that crimes by ethnic minorities be misrepresented to avoid stereotyping. Not being able to describe criminals' appearance is an obstacle to law enforcement one would have thought.

Kevin Myers writes about the rotten core of the Irish body politic that has led it to financial penury.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Keep This between You, Me & 3 Million Trusted Colleagues.

Whilst I have no sympathy for wikileaks or their narcissistic founder Julian Assange (who believes he has the right to decide whether or not Afghans cooperating with the coalition and national government against the Taliban should have their identities protected), the latest wikileaks revelations reveal a more serious problem.

Given that the leaked documents are important enough to cause serious problems for the United States and their diplomatic efforts you'd think that access would be restricted. And sure enough it- to just a few million of the most trusted people in the US.

Yeah the Wikileaks mob are grossly irresponsible but it's hard to see how something like this was avoidable given the circumstances.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Blasphemy

Arresting a girl for burning a Koran ostensibly for inciting religious hatred, underlines a worrying development. We have essentially created a blasphemy law that grants Islam protections from the normal expression of free speech. Furthermore extremist Muslims have been granted the final say over what is allowed to be said- because it is the implicit threat of violence from those sources that gives the police the incentive to arrest blasphemers in order to keep the peace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coincidence?

The lawyer representing the thug who chucked a fire extinguisher from the roof of Millbank tower is Matt Foot ( son of Leninist ideologue Paul Foot). The last time I noticed his existence was when he wrote an apologia for some idiots abroad who had gone to the anti-globalisation riots in Genoa and were amazed to discover that there was violence.

Maybe he is only representing a client on the "cab rank principle" that lawyers abide by, The other possibility is that supporting left wing rioters trying to bring violence to the streets is something of a passion of his.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not Sure I Follow This Line Of Reasoning.

I'm not entirely sure that I follow this argument- there has always been a rich, vibrant and common European culture regardless of political divisions. However people who oppose the political unity of Europe are against a common European culture.

The periods of innovation and cultural exchange within Europe came during an era where political repression was common but political disunity allowed those being persecuted in one juristiction to seek sanctuary in other places. So to use that common history as an argument for a political union (complete with a pan-European arrest warrant) is not much of an argument.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WTF?!

81!!!!!


£250????

One way to stop the pensions crisis I guess.

Educate Me

As most people familiar with US politics will be aware there used to be a sizeable contingent of conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, not just in the sense that the phrases are used now to indicate that they were conservative or liberal relative to their parties as a whole but liberal or conservative in an absolute sense, so it was perfectly possible for Democrats to be way more conservative than conservative Republicans like Ronald Reagan.

I can understand the division among liberals between the two parties a little better because even when they aligned on social issues, liberal Republicans tended to be more conservative about things like spending and unions. The conservative split is harder to explain.

It was obviously partly a race and regional thing thing, but presumably there must have been reasons for conservative Democrats and Republicans to be in different parties in the first place, so what were the underlying differences between the two groups and why have they ceased to be relevant? The only obvious policy difference I can see is that Southern conservative Democrats tended to favour a more active foreign policy whereas the Mid Western GOP conservatives like Senator Robert Taft tended towards a more isolationist position.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mad Hatter

It's always a good time to bash Simon Heffer. Like Heffer, I do think that the hat should make a comeback. However it is simply untrue to say that President Kennedy was responsible for the decline of hat wearing. Usually this myth states that the decline in hat wearing began when he declined to wear the traditional top hat during in inauguration, and being such a style icon he immediately made head wear obsolete.

The one slight flaw in the theory is that during his inauguration he had a great big hat shaped item on his soon to be splattered bonce.

The Myth Of The Myth Of Winterval

Now Christmas is upon us (honestly, look at the shops!) there will be two traditions that will be making a re-emergence. Firstly some conservative commentators will refer to the liberal hostility to Christmas by the left citing the case of Birming City Council replacing Christmas with "Winterval" one year. Next various liberal commentators will refer to conservative scaremongering about "the war on Christmas" by pointing out that Christmas was a part of the interval celebrations so the controversy was in fact bogus.

In fact there is an important point about the original "Winterval" that is often overlooked. As the Birmingham Post put it at the time:


A LEADING churchman has launched an astonishing attack on council chiefs over Christmas.
The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev Mark Santer, has accused Birmingham City Council of replacing Christmas with `Winterval'.
He calls the decision madness - and says there is a danger of the secular world becoming deeply embarrased by faith.
The Bishop's hard-hitting remarks are contained in his Christmas message which has been sent to all clergy and churches in the diocese.
Last night, the city council said Winterval was not another name for Christmas, and the winter festival would have traditional Christmas at its heart.
The row comes five years after the city council insisted on Christmas lights being called festive lights to avoid offending religious and racial minorities.
In other words, it wasn't irrational paranoia to suspect that Birmingham City Council were trying to phase out Christmas to be politically correct, because that was exactly what they had done just a few years previously. Given that most of the same people were in charge it seems to me that Winterval probably was an attack on Christmas- after all Christmas isn't usually a secondary festival- albeit more subtle than is often acknowledged.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Funny

As the Chief Inspector of Prisons says, accidentally translating "exercise yard" into "execution yard" in a leaflet for Russian prisoners is very serious:

"You could treat it as a bit of a joke unless you were that prisoner and you didn't understand how the British prison service worked and came from a country that still had execution yards. It wouldn't be a funny thing for him."
 He's right, it wouldn't be funny then, because it would be hilarious.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Exclusive Interview With "Big Brother Burma" Champion Aung San Suu Kyi.

Whilst John Simpson and the BBC World Service are claiming to have the first interviews with freed Burmese democracy campaigner and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Aung San Suu Kyi. This sites special correspondent actually beat them to it. Unfortunately he was also working for Nuts at the time of the interview but it is very revealing nonetheless:

Nuts: You've been under house arrest since 1990, during which time your husband died. So you must be gagging for it by now.

ASSK: I am interested only in bring freedom to the Burmese people and if your readers want to support.....

Nuts: Talking of "support", we have to say you've got a magnificent pair of breasts, did you always wear a bra?

ASSK: That's not what I'm here to discuss. Do you not have any questions about democracy, freedom or my house arrest?

Nuts: OK love, keep your knickers on. We have loads of questions about that stuff.

ASSK: Ok thank you.

Nuts. You were kept in your house for years at a time.

ASSK: Yes..

Nuts: How long was it before you thought "why bother getting dressed, I can hang around naked all day watching Jeremy Kyle"?

ASSK: I never behaved like that.

Nuts: Yeah right!

ASSK: Don't you have any questions about the situation here?

Nuts: Alright, there have been a lot of female leaders from South and South East Asia- Benazir Bhutto, Corazin Aquino, Indira Gandhi. Which one would you snog if you had the chance.

ASSK: None of them....

 Nuts: Really?

ASSK: Yes really.

Nuts: Ironically, you've been released just months after the last series of Big Brother, don't you think you would have been awesome at that?

ASSK: Ha ha, I'm sure I would but let's talk about the Junta....

Nuts: I'd like to see what you've got up your junta! Geddit. Back to Big Brother. It's our Big Brother Big Boobs edition this week, so which contestant had the best boobs in your view, Jade Goody is ineligible?

ASSK: I don't care about Big Brother or boobs or Jade Goody or .....

Nuts: Did you really say you don't care about Jade Goody?

ASSK: Yes.

Nuts: That's very insensitive, don't you know the poor woman is dead. I'm actually shocked that you could be so hurtful.

ASSK: Sorry I didn't know she was dead or who she was.

Nuts: Yeah right, have you been locked in a darkened room for the last 10 years or something? This interview is over, get out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trashing Your Product

In the East Midlands one of the adverts that is on local radio stations constantly is for the University of Derby. It is plugging some kind of 12 week business courses. It features an employer being very impressed by the applicants commitment in attaining these qualifications whilst the applicant knows that it was actually just a three month course.

In other words they are essentially advertising as a feature, not a bug, of the course that employers might mistake the qualifications for something deeper and more expansive. So they are effectively telling employers that their qualifications are a bit of a con, and presumably diminishing the value of whatever proper students come out with.

Good work advertisers!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ordinary People Are Easily Alarmed

On the subject of risible twats who hype jocular comments on Twitter into "death threats", the man who joked about blowing up an airport, Paul Chambers, had his appeal rejected. The judge who ruled against him claimed that "any ordinary person" would be alarmed by the comment.

That's right, a sitting judge has such a low opinion of the general public that she seriously argues that a random post on Twitter threatening to blow up an airport by someone who is frustrated at missing a flight is likely to be taken as being a literal threat to do just that, despite the fact that he clearly had neither the means or inclination to do either.

My belief in the abilities of the general public is not vast but even I don't think they're that stupid. As with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's claim to find the quote by Gareth Compton calling for her to be stoned to death to be a death threat- it is clearly untrue.

Incidentally in the case of Yaz, her gall is even more breathtaking than usual, she is accusing her victim of calling for her stoning because he mocked her actual apologetics for a real upcoming stoning of an Iranian woman!

Rather extraordinarily, Mr Compton has been suspended from the Conservative Party on the grounds that what he said was "not acceptable". Seeing as he was defending David Cameron against Yaz's insistence that he had no moral authority to criticise Iran for stoning women to death, then I can only assume that it is now official Tory policy that Dave has no moral authority.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yaz Death Poll

In light of the police arresting someone for joking that Yasmin Alibhai Brown should be stoned to death the obvious question is- how should Yaz be executed?
How should Yasmin Alibhai Brown be executed?
She should be stoned.
Hang her!
Hangings too good for her, burn her at the stake.
Stake through the heart.
Firing squad.
Suffocated between a White Van Man's sweaty butt cheeks.
She should ritually disemboweled along with the rest of the Independent editorial board.
Crucify to satisfy her messiah complex.
Bury her alive in a mound of unsold "Independent's".
Taken apart slowly with a scapel
  
pollcode.com free polls

The Trustafarian EDL

In what sense are the student protestors demanding that poor people give them more money- and the borderline retards who are celebrating the violence* any different from say the EDL or other groups committed to street violence? Except the student trots who were doing this would look down on the chavs of the EDL.

* Sample quote from Arthur Baker, writing on the site Liberal Conspiracy which purports to be a forum for the mainstream left in the British blogosphere:
putting a placard or an effigy of David Cameron on a bonfire is not violence, writing on walls is not violence, smashing windows is not violence and dancing on roves is not violence. Even throwing bits of cardboard placard at police clad in bullet proof jackets and helmets, armed with sheilds and battons hardly seems “thugish”.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Workfare

The true benefit of the government's workfare plans- making the longterm unemployed to unpaid "community" work, is getting people back into the habit of work. As such it is probably going to be beneficial to most of the supposed victims in the long term.

The two concerns that I have is the amount of time being talked about for the work- 30 hours a week for 4 weeks is quite a lot when they are also supposed to be looking for work. I realise it is less than a typical full time work week but I think it is too long for people unused to working regular hours.

The second concern is that the work shouldn't be demeaning, getting a qualified engineer to spend all day is a bright yellow jacket picking litter is not going to restore his morale.

It is probably most beneficial to people who have never really worked rather than those who have lost their jobs.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Lacks Polish

I decided my shoes were looking decidedly grubby and needed freshened up, so I went out to buy some polish. So I went to the recently opened polish shop on the high street and to my astonishment not only did they not sell polish or any shoe cleaning paraphenalia- most of the staff didn't even speak English!

If this is what the British service industry has come to then I despair, I really do.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Genuine Conversation

This is a conversation I had with a younger friend a month or so ago:

Her: I don't like Gays

Me: Er.... but you have sex with other women, or have done in the past, isn't that a bit gay?

Her: That's different.

Jokes To Be Re-Used

Last week I was at a halloween thing and talking with a bunch of people one of whom was dressed as Death, complete with a cloak and a scythe. The conversation got round to how death can have sex given that he's just a skeleton ( yeah alcohol was involved) my observation was that as Death's touch is fatal sleeping with him would would basically be like having sex with Freddie Mercury.

Of Mice & Men

My mouse is currently broken, which is one of the main reasons blogging has been light- it's almost impossible to cut and paste links without a mouse. I'll post a few random anecdotes that don't require any cutting and pasting in the meantime.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

HA Ha HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

Doesn't say much about Ed Miliband's judgement that the sleazy little pixie was appointed a shadow minister even with this hanging over his head.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ex Lifer

I'm not really too bothered about votes for prisoners but this may be one of the most revealing phrases in the English language:
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg was only able to pass judgement on this matter because of an individual case lodged by an ex-lifer who had pursued his claim relentlessly for years
If you're an ex-lifer than you were never really a lifer to begin with.

Just Because You Got Stabbed Doesn't Make You An Expert

We have laws against inciting violence so what exactly is Stephen Timms proposing here:
An MP stabbed by a high-flying university student inspired by al Qaeda told how it was like a "bolt out of the blue".
Stephen Timms backed calls for an overhaul of websites hosting terror videos as he said Roshonara Choudhry's online radicalisation was "puzzling and alarming".
Indeed given that he acknowledges that his assailants radicalisation is "puzzling" he appears to acknowledge that he doesn't actually understand what motivated her so he is essentially calling for a ban on a wide range of unspecified material.

Happy Times Are Here Again

The Republican wins in the US mid terms remind me of what PJ O'Rourke said the last time the GOP won the House- "Repuiblicans have always argued that government doesn't work, and now we're going to prove it".

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cruel & Unusual Punishment.

SOHAM monster Ian Huntley has a topless photo in his cell of his secret girlfriend - sent to him by the besotted saddo.  
To be honest after seeing a photo of the woman in question I can't help feeling that this is part of his punishment.
Still it is weird how serial killers and sexual predators get fan mail from besotted women when they're identified, I mean how low do someone's standards have to be before murderers become sexy? Why not go a step up and forge a relationship with a tramp or an MP?

RIP Paul The Octopus

We should have seen it coming, well Paul should have given that he's psychic, but the eight legged soothsayer has passed away.

If a football pundit had to die why couldn't it have been Alan Shearer, at least that would have spared him from dying each week on Match of the Day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Sense Of Proportion

Polly Toynbee writes of the government's spending cuts:
At last the Tories have a final solution for the poor

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quote Of The Day

This quote by Liberal Conspiracy contributer Kate Belgrave, exemplifies the intellectual ri gidity, intolerance, and overwhelming smugness of a considerable chunk of the left:
Companies that support the CSR [Comprehensive Spending Review] are failed corporate citizens

Having a different point of view to the hard left (as most of the country do over the budget) then you aren't considered merely to be mistaken or misguided but a failed citizen in need of re-education.

Irish Politics- Confusing But Interesting.

I don't follow Irish politics as much as I probably should, mostly because I find it baffling- the main point of difference between the two major parties- Fianna Fail and Fine Gael- isn't socialism versus the free market or social liberalism versus conservatism, instead it appears to be whether you support the people who supported the treaty that granted Ireland independence in the 1920s. Even so as Ireland is one of my favourite parts of England* I think it is worth looking at.

Fianna Fail appear to be ideologically flexible with no real principles whereas Fine Gael are like a European Christian Democratic party except they are in semi-permanent coalition with the Labour party when they govern.

Ireland's economic woes have been more severe than the UK's though and unlike the UK the party in power making the cuts (much more severe than ours) were also responsible for getting into the mess. Anyway the current polling suggests that enough damage has been done to Fianna Fail to push them from being Ireland's permanent largest party to lagging in 3rd place. From the outside that suggests the potential for a realignment in Irish politics.

It also suggests that the British Labour Party may have been lucky to lose the 2010 election- getting into a mess is one thing and cleaning it up is another but when you're responsible for both things the electorate don't like it one bit.

* I tried a variation of that line on a Welshman once, he didn't like it.

Britain's Worst MP

Whilst Denis Macshane hangs around for now like a recalcitrant floater it seems that even if he does avoid spending the next few years being bummed by a cellmate in Wormwood Scrubs he isn't going to be as high profile in future as he is now.

So clearly someone else has to step into his shoes as the most obnoxious MP in Britain. For me there can only be one possible successor- Nadine Dorries. It is in some ways tempting to defend her on the grounds that some of her fiercest critics are complete and utter nutjobs. I'm sure some liberals and socialists were probably willing to give Macshane a pass on account of the loathing he inspired in hardline Eurosceptics- but a good choice of enemies does not a hero make. Whilst I am late to the anti-Dorries bandwagon that's no reason to jump on board with enthusiasm.

There are three main problems with Nadine- she is as dumb as a rock, she is a shameless hypocrite and a relentless self promoter.

Dorries is by her own account a liar- admitting that her blog is mostly fictional. This is a woman who is so devoid of shame or self reflection that she described the revelations about MPs' expenses as a form of torture- putting people who have fleeced the public purse of hundreds of thousands of pounds as latter day Solzhenitsyns. This is a woman who at the height of the outcry into MPs' expenses saw no problem with giving her newly graduated from Bournemouth University daughter, with no experience, a £28000 year job as a PA- even after bleating that she was finding the job market tough (if you are looking for £28000 as an entry level job for an arts graduate, I assume she's an arts graduate,  then maybe that's why you aren't finding work).

This is someone whose lust for self promotion and lack of self awareness is so monumental that after denouncing benefits cheats she goes on a Channel 4 documentary about living on benefits for a week and cheats. This is a woman who believes that anyone who tweets cannot be disabled despite proving that you can be a borderline retard and still blog regularly.

I don't doubt that there have been MPs more stupid than Nadine or more shameless or even more self promoting but no one beats her in two out of three categories.

Except Diane Abbot of course.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Meet The New Boss

Whilst British politics is usually characterised as being more left wing that the United States, compare the very real cuts in public spending being made by the very centrist coalition with what is on offer from the Republican Party in the upcoming midterm elections.

Even propelled on a Tea Party inspired wave, the GOP's platform pretty much rules out any cuts in spending, with promises to protect the most bloated areas of federal spending- social security, medicare and defence.

When you're being outflanked on fiscal conservatism by a coalition that includes Simon Hughes then it is hard to believe that the likely electoral success of the Republican party in November will mean any real change from the big spending ways of Obama.

No Gloating

Incidentally, whilst I do support the cuts I would also add my support to the point that no matter how much the cuts are necessary they will still cause real pain in the short term at least to many blameless individuals.

Even the occupants of non jobs are hardly responsible for the creation of those posts. So gloating over "parasites" losing their jobs is not something that anyone should indulge in, at least unless the people in question were in the key decision making roles that chose to waste the money in the first place.

Minorities Not Hardest Hit

On a weekly basis an article will appear in the Guardian or Independent claiming that ethnic minorities will be hardest hit by the cuts in public spending. However the coalition government's dedication to keeping the WaBenzi in the style to which they are accustomed belies the idea that they don't care about black people.

Quote Of The Day

They paywall protected Times has a "Speak your branes" style voxpop on the merits of the spending cuts announced yesterday. One member of the public came out with this gem:
Cuts should not be made at the expense of the public sector.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interesting Defence

Wouldn't it be less embarrassing just to admit the doping offence, even in the unlikely even that he is telling the truth?:
AMERICAN 400m Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt received a 21-month ban for an anabolic steroid which his lawyer claimed was contained in an over-the-counter penis enlargement product.
It's like trying to get yourself off a speeding fine by arguing that you were having sex with a sheep at the time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Lesser Crime

I wonder what the Saudi authorities are most annoyed about- the gay sex, the drinking or the murder. This quote says a lot about our immigration laws too:
Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, argued that if he was convicted and recommended for deportation after serving his sentence he would be able to claim asylum in Britain by arguing that his life was in danger, whether or not he actually was gay.
Oh great, commit a murder win asylum!

That's A Bit Extreme

Defence cuts: David Cameron attacked by Royal Navy Harrier pilot
How did he survive?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mine Shaft

Here is a game for evertyone to play- which well known people would you least like to be stuck down a Chilean mine with for 66 days. I think my list would be:
  1. Piers Morgan
  2. Jeremy Kyle
  3. Esther Rantzen
  4. Wayne Rooney
  5. Jo Brand
  6. Jodie Marsh
  7. Susan Boyle
  8. Danny Dyer
  9. Gore Vidal
  10. Peaches Geldof

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The EDL's Hearts & Minds Campaign.

The EDL march in Leicester unsurprisingly descended into violence. En route to the rally a large group of them stopped off at Market Harborough, a place I spend a fair bit of time.

The people I know in the town are generally younger and less middle class than my wider circle of acquaintances and are all white, in other words tending towards the EDL's target demographic, yet they largely came to the conclusion that the EDL were a rebranded National Front and were intent on causing trouble*.The homoerotic overtones were also mentioned.

As this was not the EDL's main event there was no mob from the SWP front group- Unite Against Fascism- to oppose the EDL. Yet just seeing the group in action was enough to put people off them and their message. In fact the only thing which can win wide scale sympathy for them is allowing the impression to develop that they are only thuggish because they are being confronted by more thuggish groups who are intent on restricting their freedom of speech.

So can people please stop pretending that the UAF are anti-fascists when they are the prime recruitment tool for groups like that.

* They didn't actually kick off, but they were drinking in the street, chanting aggressively and generally being a nuisance.

Marrvelous

Andrew Marr claims that bloggers are "inadequate, pimpled and single".

Harsh.

No one could accuse Andrew Marr of being single of course. I would personally not be calling other people "seedy" if I were in his position.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Provisional Wing Of New Labour Strikes.

The headteacher who has ordered her deputy to "work from home" after she spoke at the Conservative Party conference turns out to be the same headteacher who let her school be used for the launch of the 2001 Labour election campaign. So speaking a party conference is too political but inviting one party to actually use school premises is perfectly fine. This is like Richard Hammond suspending a member of the Top Gear team because he jumped a red light.

The school issued a statement:
‘Teachers will always have opinions about the ways in which schools should be run. Our concern is that the position of the Academy should not be misrepresented.
‘Generalisations about teachers and schools can be seen as insulting to many teachers who have worked hard to make a difference.’
Arguing that the speech was wrong because it "can be seen as insulting" is basically saying that Katherine Birbalsingh isn't merely responsible for what she says but for what morons could take away as being what she said. In so far as the school's argument is that their teachers are too stupid to understand a simple speech, they actually are insulting them.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Honour"

Not often I say this, but Robert Fisk's column is a must read. It's about honour killings and the examples given are horrifying.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Defend Sally Bercow- Being A Moron Is Not A Crime.

Sally Bercow is so unpleasant that she can actully make people feel sorry for John Bercow whereas Andrew Green of Migration Watch seems like a pretty decent sort of person who has been useful in bringing facts into the debate about immigration.

His sensitivity to being smeared is more than understandable given the nature of the topic but by deciding to threaten the less charming of the Bercows with a libel writ he has managed to make her deserving of support.

Yes her comments were offensive and both slimed Andrew Green and trivialised the holocaust but stupidity should not be punished in a court of law.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quote Of The Day

The Obama administration will issue a warning Saturday to U.S. travelers in Europe to avoid places frequented by Westerners
Er should someone tell them?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Information Bleg

If someone wants to give a friend a driving lesson, for free, what is required under law? I gather that paid instructors need to register with some kind of licencing authority. What I am mainly  wondering is whether standard comprehensive insurance would be sufficient and whether there are any unforeseen restrictions that need to be considered.

Hay Found Near Horses

Who could have imagined finding a stash of cocaine on a trip with a bunch of celebrities?

The Thin Blue Picket Line

The problem with electing a left wing extremist as leader of the party is that they will inevitably use their power to enable bolshie unions play havoc with the countr.

Which is why it is no surprise that David Cameron's government are considering whether to allow the police to go on strike.

How can that possibly work, the whole point about the emergency services is that they need to be available in an emergency- are we really going town centre's on Friday night to become free for all zones because the police aren't happy with their doughnut allowances? Who would police a picket line of striking police officers?

Finger On The Pulse

Newspaper pundits like to refer to popular cultural phenomona of the day to make their commentary seem relevant and modern as well as to show how tuned in to the zeitgeist they are. Here for example is the Telegraph's Nile Gardiner showing that he is down with the kids:
When über liberal Hollywood director James Cameron had a global box office hit back in 1997 with his epic depiction of the 1912 sea disaster, I doubt he thought the name Titanic would later become synonymous with the most left-wing presidency in American history. Thirteen years on, instead of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet clinging for dear life, it’s now Obama’s desperate White House team struggling for survival, but without the CGI effects.
Has he really been waiting 13 years just to make that rubbish and obvious analogy?

Observation.

Last month was the first on over two years where I've averaged under one post per day.

Best Burqa Ban Protest Ever

I like this protest for three reasons, it supports the principle of allowing the burqa, it mocks the burqa itself and it features two women wearing hot pants.

Update: I've had to remove the video because it plays whether you press play or not.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Told You So

My most viewed post of the last few days has been this one I wrote in May- Ed Miliband's Marriage Problem- in which I predicted that his unmarried status would be a problem, fairly or not, simply because it could make him appear anti-marriage. Sure enough, to much tut tutting, the Daily Mail did run an article highlighting it.

I think a direct attack like the Daily Mail's will make people sympathetic to Miliband and will piss of people in a similar position to him. The greater danger is that every time the government launches an initiative to do with the family or marriage  any criticism by the new Leader of the Opposition will be taken as expressing hostility to the traditional family.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Eds Are Better Than One

Now tha David Miliband appears likely to quit politics the undoubted front runner for the post of Shadow Chancellor is Ed Balls. He has shown himself to be a surprisingly effective communicator and would undoubtedly be better than any alternative candidate at harrying the government.

There is one small flaw with his candidacy- his position on the economy is that the coalition policies are doomed and we shouldn't stop spending until some unspecified time in the future. If he turns out to be wrong, as I suspect he will be, then Labour will find themselves in an untenable position and will all too easily be painted as an unreformed tax and spend party still addicted to Brownenomics. Even if he turns out to be right the government will get the blame for any double dip anyway, regardless of whether Labour supported the policies (look at how Labour emerged unscathed by Black Wednesday).

Labour chose the wrong leader on Saturday but that mistake would be less serious than appointing the wrong Shadow Chancellor and therefore the wrong policies in the current climate. It would be a tactical masterpiece and a strategic disaster.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Aliens Amoung Us

From the Daily Mail- their science section no less:
They claim that since 1948, aliens have been hovering over UK and U.S. nuclear missile sites and deactivating the weapons– once even landing in a British base.
Furthermore, they warn, our governments are hushing the activity up.
Captain Robert Salas, who, along with six others is to break his silence on the subject, said: ‘We’re talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that.
The extraterrestrial CND'ers have "even landed in Suffolk" too, although why anyone would assume that a vaguely human creature with a bulbous head and weird fingers was anything other than one of the inbred natives* I don't know.

* Disclaimer: not all people from Suffolk are inbred and many of them have family trees rather than family telephone poles.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Wise words for jobseekers about the importance of looking smart at job interviews, by Leg Iron:
If it's a job cleaning sewers, you want to look smart for the interview. Turning up covered in shit will not be regarded as 'being keen to get started'.

The Famous Mr Ed.

It's too early to say what effect the election of Ed Miliband to Labour leader will have. During the campaign he seemed the less likely of the two brothers to take Labour back to the centre ground and a bit too willing to tell people what they wanted to hear. Labour members seem to believe he is less likely to win the election than Bananaman, which is perhaps why they voted for David. In the short term he will certainly get a boost in the polls and Labour should be ahead in the polls by next week but unless he changes tack and starts adopting a more moderate tone, in defiance of what his party wants, then he will never be prime minister.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dying Your Pussy

I can't actually see what is meant to be so "sick" about this, it's quite cute really:

The fur around her neck has a pattern suggesting she had worn a collar fairly recently.
RSPCA welfare officer Carl Hone said: "The poor creature has been dyed completely pink, except around her eyes and nose, so she looks like she has a white mask on."
The RSPCA think the dying was a sick prank. 
 I am really at a loss to see how it is cruel, the cat seems to be in good health, by the paper's own admission the dye is non toxic and care was taken to ensure it didn't get in the cat's eyes, so what is the problem?

If anything we should be insisting that all cats are dyed bright colours as a health and safety measure to prevent them from being hit by motorists.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weiner By Name.....

The lowlife who framed a colleague for possessing child pornography in order to try to take his job deserves every minute of his 12 year sentence for his crime. The fact that the crime was so heinous and the reward so petty makes it all the more extraordinary.
A handyman who planted child pornography on his boss's computer in a bid to get promoted has been jailed.
Neil Weiner, 40, hatched the "wickedly evil and vile plot" to get caretaker Eddie Thompson sacked from Swanlea Secondary School in east London.
However I do think one aspect of the judge's summing up is a little disturbing:
"You will go to prison for a long time. The prison population is not renowned for being particularly fair or reasonable," he said.
"You will be suspected by many of being a paedophile and, like Mr Thompson, you may find that you suffer, both in prison and on release, for the rest of your life."
If the judge is merely stating that as a fact of life then fair enough, but it almost sounds as if he is relishing the prospect of extrajudicial punishment for Mr Weiner with an implied threat about what prisoners do to nonces. I am not averse to such thinking myself but I really don't think that judges should be doing it.

It's That Bad!

How terrible must the athlete's village in Delhi be that the Scottish team were considering not going? I mean if a country that contains Dundee thinks it might be verging on the unlivable then we should take their word for it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

As Opposed To

This seems to be like saying "Titanic in even more trouble as First Mate quits".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Lucky Escape

The men accused of plotting to kill the Pope have been released as it was just a joke. It turns out that the only time the pontiff's life was in danger was when George Michael got assigned to drive the Popemobile as part of his community service.

Quote Of The Day

One of the 'Top Tips' from the current issue of Viz:
Homeopaths. Save money on petrol by filling up at the water pump. Your car will remember the petrol from your previous fill.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Questions To Which The Answer Is Always No

Andrew Rawnsley asks "Is there a question that you've always wanted Paddy Ashdown to answer, but have never seen him asked?".

Comment That Will Shortly Be Deleted.

Over at Comment is Free the former paid KGB agent of influence, Richard Gott writes:
Everyone who lives in Cuba and those who follow Cuban affairs closely know that the existing economic model has not been working well.
To which I have replied:
Why are the cheques bouncing?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cuban Cuts

It must be hard for the TUC and Labour Party to argue that public sector cuts are proof of the coalition government's right wing ideological zeal, when even the Cuban government are instituting major public spending cuts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

At The End Of The Day, Obviously, We're Over The Moon....

I don't know why anyone is surprised that professional athletes are more interesting in their Tweets than in post match interviews. The reason why post match interviews are so notoriously dull isn't because the interviewees are dull but because the questions that are asked give little room for anything but obvious answers, like "You must be pleased with your win today?"

The only way to provide interesting answers to questions like that is to do what Gordon Strachan does and answer sarcastically so as to highlight the ridiculous nature of the questions:
Reporter: Bang, there goes your unbeaten run. Can you take it?
Strachan: No, I'm just going to crumble like a wreck. I'll go home, become an alcoholic and maybe jump off a bridge. Umm, I think I can take it, yeah.

Reporter: Gordon, you must be delighted with that result?
Strachan: You're spot on! You can read me like a book.

Reporter: Welcome to Southampton Football Club. Do you think you are the right man to turn things around?
Strachan: No. I was asked if I thought I was the right man for the job and I said, "No, I think they should have got George Graham because I'm useless."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

My Compass

I take the Political Compass thingy once every few years. My current score is:

Economic Left/Right: 6.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.33

Feel free to enter your scores in the comments.

It's Different When You Do It

Like most people I have little sympathy for the publicity seeking pastor who is planning to burn some Korans to mark the anniverary of the World Trade Center & Pentagon attacks. The special pleading and double standards that have been revealed are interesting though; opposing the needlessly provocative Koran BBQ but supporting their legal right to do it is a sign of tolerance but opposing the needlessly provocative ground zero mosque but supporting the legal right to build it is a sign of bigotry.

For double standards though Anshuman Mondal is hard to top though, he explains:
The obvious precedent is the burning of The Satanic Verses in Bradford, which precipitated Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa.
To a point, because the loony pastor isn't actually calling for the Koran to be banned.
This was read by western commentators as a reprise of Nazi book-burnings, thereby indelibly associating in the liberal western imagination a relationship between Islam, fascism and totalitarianism. This was, however, a mistaken reading on at least two counts: firstly, there is no equivalence between mass book burnings organised by a powerful state and a street demonstration by marginalised working-class ethnic minority communities desperate to draw attention to their grievance when all previous attempts had failed
But the grievance was that a powerful state refused to ban books that the book burners didn't like, so the comparison is perfectly valid.
Secondly, western commentators took it literally: burning things is a common way of expressing protest in the Middle East and South Asia, especially within the context of regimes that are brutally draconian in policing public protest. In such situations, there is a tacit understanding between protesters and authorities alike that burning things (effigies and other countries' flags, mostly) is a form of symbolic expression that contains rather than unleashes violent sentiment
OK this is fair enough, burning is symbolic, fair enough. Sometimes things can be taken too seriously. So:

It's interesting to compare this to US sensitivity toward flag burning. Attempts to prohibit burning the US flag have a long history, and legislation prohibiting flag burning was on the statutes of 48 states until the supreme court struck them all down as unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment in 1989. Such is the importance of "protecting the flag" to Americans that every sitting Congress since has tried, in fact, to amend the constitution to allow flag protection laws only to be thwarted by the senate.

The Americans take burning things a bit too seriously, I get that.

It is not clear whether Pastor Jones has the burning of The Satanic Verses in mind as he prepares for DWOC's brief moment in the spotlight. It does not matter because symbolic incineration has become part of the lexicon of western media coverage of Islam, replayed endlessly on his television screen. In his mind he is probably fighting fire with fire; that is, he feels he is responding in a language "they" understand. The irony, of course, is that he misunderstands the idiom he is appropriating. It is a dangerous irony, though: mistranslations and misunderstandings can have dramatic effects, as the Rushdie affair demonstrated.

Nevertheless, Pastor Jones has upped the ante. Burning the Qur'an is guaranteed to provoke Muslim outrage. To believers, every word in it is the word of God, each verse is a sign (ayat) of the divine. They therefore treat each copy as a holy artefact. Whatever their relationship to other symbols, they do not take these ones lightly.

Right, so when Islamists burn things that are considered important in the West it is symbolic and should be taken in context however when people in the West burn items considered to be important by Islamists then really they should know better because it will inevitable cause outrage.

Quote Of The Century

Nick M at Counting Cats discovers this gem, from someone who discovered a WW2 grenade:
It’s a good job because the RAF said it was very unstable. They weren’t very happy with me when I told them I’d been holding it next to my ear and listening to see if it would go bang

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Moral Vacuum

I missed the Archbishop of Canterbury's remarks about Chinese communism when they were first made but they are actually quite disgusting:

SUE LAWLEY: I'd love to hear if there are any Chinese voices out there anywhere. If you'd like to put up your hand just to make a quick comment. But in the meantime, I'd like to go to the Archbishop of Canterbury no less who's sitting on the front row, Dr Rowan Williams, who went on an official visit to China a couple of years ago, didn't you?

DR ROWAN WILLIAMS: That's right and the contacts I've kept up since then. But one of the things which struck me there was that we were not talking just about a moral vacuum in general, but a vacuum in what was once before the Cultural Revolution essentially something which guaranteed everyone's welfare. In the absence of that is quite a development of small local NGO's, a volunteer ethos beginning to grow, civil society beginning to spring up. But my question really is how all of that volunteer ethos with its inevitably pluralist assumptions, how that sits with a Confucian approach to society?

As Andrew Stuttaford points out the period that the druid is referring to includes the great man made famine of 1958-1960 where tens of millions of Chinese peasants were left to starve to death by the Chinese Communist Party.

If there is a moral vacuum it is the casual indifference of Rowan Williams to human suffering on a scarcely imaginable scale.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Prezza Preaches Privacy Probe Priority, Pronto!

I don't approve of journalists hacking into John Prescott's phone, but everyone must remember they didn't do it to invade his privacy they just wanted an up to date directory of every fast food outlet in London.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ludicrous Spinning Of The Day

Guido Fawkes tries to play up the effect of his non story about William Hague and his former SPAD:
Well Over Half Query Hague
Well the poll in question actually shows that 46% believe Hague's denial of any impropriety, 12% disbelieve and 42% couldn't give a shit. For a politician to be only disbelieved by 12% of the population is extraordinary and shows that even partisan anti-Tory voters aren't buying the story.

Guido also reports that "Even the loyalists at ConservativeHome have registered a drop in approval. ". Which is true, his approval there has plummeted all the way from 92% to er 91% (which could mean support has fallen from 91.5% to 91.4%).

This absurd misrepresenation makes Staines look as though he is floundering, not Hague.

The Worse Blair

Is it me or is it terrifying that a man this stupid and wilfully perverse was once the most powerful police officer in the UK. You know in charge of important stuff like counter terrorism. Ian Blair conclusion that the lack of donations to novelty candidate Diane Abbott's Labour leadership campaign is evidence of racism has drawn derision.

However we should not let that one statement overshadow the rest of his argument, because the rest of it is utterly retarded too:

Since making its extraordinary pact in May, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has pronounced on many things - money woes, scroungers, bloated and lazy public servants, military mess - but it has said nothing about race and racial integration. The Labour opposition, meanwhile, has been preoccupied with integration problems of its own.

Yes it is almost as though wars in Afghanistan & Iraq and economic disarray are more important than racial bean counting.
The silence is loud and widespread. Apart from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's proclamation that diversity was part of the strength that helped London get through the 7 July 2005 bombings and their aftermath (which it was),
So just think how non-diverse London fell apart during the Blitz....
and some odd mutterings in the press about whether or not it is anti-Semitic to claim that some residents of the Jewish enclaves of north London can be rude, race has disappeared not only off the government's agenda, but out of the public discourse, too.
This is within a month of the government blocking an EDL march in Bradford on the grounds that is racially sensitive.
Concern has been expressed that the coalition's cuts to public spending will hit the poor and women hardest
The famous parody of a New York Times headline springs to mind "World to End: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit".
what seems to have been missed is that these cuts will have just as disproportionately adverse an effect on minority groups.
So presumably minority groups were benefiting disproportionately from spending previously. Don't get me wrong I understand the concern and no doubt London's Brazilian community need spending cuts like a hole in the head but when you cut spending the people who get money spent on them tend to lose out.
Are the Muslim communities that were so alienated by the difficult choices made in counterterrorism policy suddenly going to forget all about it and become cheerful?
I think the absence of a publicity hungry Met Chief will make everyone happier about counter terrorism policy.
And how could London's Conservative-run Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) announce recently that the Met is no longer affected by institutional racism?
Presumably because they believe this to be the case. Given that "institutional racism" didn't require any evidence of its existence in the first place I don't see how evidence of its absence could be provided.
I believe that the MPA was wrong to do so. The Met is, without doubt, still affected by institutional racism,
Plainly it is not "without doubt" as he has just stated that the MPA doubts it.
as are almost all British institutions, and will be for years to come.
What exactly is the evidence for this, because if he provided a definition of "institutional racism" that could be tested then maybe I would believe him. Without a standard to measure against it is an unfalsifiable statement.
In less regulated markets, with more opportunities for lateral entry, the question should perhaps be asked even more fiercely. Just how many black editors and journalists, FTSE-100 CEOs, think-tank chairs and hospital bosses are there? How many black judges and QCs? Or government ministers, not to mention MPs?
Statistical disparities are not evidence of discrimination. The statistical over reprepresentation of Asians in the medical profession is not because whites are discrimintated against, nor the over representation of Blacks among professional footballer. Groups with very different histories and cultures tend to behave differently amazingly enough.
The answer in each case is some, but not many. Institutional racism may have diminished but it is still alive and kicking. Opportunities for citizens from ethnic minorities have improved, but they are not equal to others'.
Yet amazingly some ethnic minority groups have higher income and educational levels than the majority group.
There are at least more minority members of the Lords than the Commons because, wisely, they can be appointed there.)
Says the appointed member of the House of Lords

I am getting bored now because brevity is not one of Lord Blair's strengths so I will skip down to the bottom (so to speak):
Do we think it has all been solved? When the next attack by individuals inspired by a perverted view of Islam is successful, will voices be raised in defence of a minority not yet fully reconciled with a British state?
I hope so, but I can't help but feeling that in planning for that hypothetical circumstance he is concentrating on the less important issue....
Will British citizens of Pakistani descent not be bothered by the apparent unwillingness of people around the world to respond to calls for aid for the flood-stricken Asian country?
Actually donations have picked up a fair bit but in any case I am sure that that those most familiar with Pakistan will be most familiar with why people are reluctant to donate.

It may seem strange to some that this is being written by an ex-police officer. But surrounded by the silence of others, and following conversations with friends, former colleagues and even perfect strangers from black and minority communities, I have concluded that it is perhaps best for these questions to be coming from an unexpected direction.

Unexpected? Given the trajectory of your career and priorities shown up until now this is exactly what I expect of him.

Anyone who wants to make a claim about racism should be obliged to state what they consider proof of racism and how an accusation of racism could be falsified.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Headline News!

Do defecting local councillors usually make headline national news? I don't recall hearing anything like this in the las 13 years, I wonder what has changed.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Cringe Inducing Prose Of The Week

One of many excerpts from Tony Blair's book:

I heard an interesting example of this once from, of all people, Nelson Mandela. Mandela - or Madiba as he is also called (his clan name) - is a fascinating study, not because he’s a saint but because he isn’t. Or rather he is, but not in the sense that he can’t be as fly as hell when the occasion demands. I bet Gandhi was the same.


Or this one where as one of the commentators at the FT's blog points out he sounds as if "Middle East Peace Process" is a euphemism for his penis:

The biggest problem with the Middle East peace process is that no one has ever gripped it long enough or firmly enough. The gripping is intermittent, and intermittent won’t do. It doesn’t work. If it was gripped, it could be solved.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This May Seem Callous

But surely the trapped Chilean miners should not only not be paid whilst they are trapped (because they aren't mining) but surely they should be charged for board and lodgings too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shroud Waving

I hate in when trades union leaders disguise a clear attempt to serve their members interests as concern for the public. This is brazen:

THE leader of Scotland’s rank and file police officers has warned that UK ministers will have “blood on their hands” if they axe 2,800 jobs in forces across the country.

Les Gray, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said “the murder rate will go through the roof.”

He believes that plummeting police numbers will give rise to lawless “no-go areas” across towns and cities.
No it won't, but lets play along, I have a solution that will maintain police numbers and save money- pay the police less. We are in a recession so they won't quit, but we will be able to tackle the deficit at the same time as maintaining poloice numbers.

Concept Of Alphabet Outrages Morons.

A few years ago I remember seeing a letter in Viz demanding that Alphabetti Spaghetti be banned because of all the filthy words that could be found within. This seems as though it is meant to be seriously though:

THE News of the World is spelling trouble for Scrabble bosses - after we found the game allows players to use vile racist insults.

Let's ban the alphabet to stop these vile words being produced, won't somebody please think of the children.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Something To Get Rid Of

Hugh Muir's remarks on the idea of teaching school children about scientists depending more upon how they tick diversity boxes than on what they achieved hasn't impressed many people.

I like this paragraph:

There is black history month, I tell him. We are lucky to still have that. No sign of a Polish history month, a Chinese history fortnight or even a Pakistani history week. But it's stuck, he says. On Mary Seacole, and Martin Luther King.

No there isn't, yet amazingly despite not being given a month dedicated to Chinese role models, British Chinese pupils do extremely well academically and I'm not aware of Polish students doing poorly either. All of which suggests that Black History Month doesn't do much for any black children in terms of improving academic performance. I doubt that "role models" matter that much either. It seems to serve the interests of professional race obsessives instead.

Like Hugh Muir.

But really the big problem with the idea of stuff like Black History Month, is that it seeks to turn history from an inquiry into the past to a tool to promote certain preconceived ideas based purely on the race of the subject.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Development In Hate Crime Hoaxes?

The stabbing of a Muslim taxi driver in New York was immediately linked to the protests against the proposed mosque at Ground Zero, until it emerged that the main suspect, Michael Enright, is an activist in a group that supports the proposed building and promotes interfaith understanding.

Since the story has been the subject of much speculation with various groups and pundits using it as an opportunity to condemn opponents of the Mosque for stirring up hatred I shall give my guess as to the motivation behind the assault.

It looks to me like a variation on the ubiquitous "hate crime hoax" craze, in which someone stages a bogus attack against themselves and then milks the ensuing publicity to denounce their political opponents and draw attention to the cause they are promoting. Except instead of staging a bogus attack on himself, Enright carried out a real attack on someone else in the hope that it could be used to delegitimise his opponents.

Comeback

Big Brother are running "Ultimate Big Brother" at the moment, where the biggest stars of the previous 10 series enter a final competition.

My money is on the late Jade Goody to be a final guest and surprise winner of the final Big Brother show. She is less gobby now so we shouldn't see a repeat of her last stint in the house.

IFS, Bears, Woods.

Apparently some people are surprised to learn that when cuts are made to the benefits budget people who are claiming benefits lost more. Some people are also surprised that when you count the benefit cuts but not the tax increases the burden falls more on those who are poorer and more likely to receive benefits that on those who are wealthier and more likely to pay taxes.

Double Standards

It is one of the great double standards of life that Tottenham Hotspur are lauded for beating Young Boys, yet schoolteacher Peter Harvey was condemned for the same thing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Problem/Solution

A female Muslim employee of Disney wants the right to wear the Hijab at work. Why not simply give her a Mickey or Minnie Mouse costume, then she can work at Disney in a customer facing role yet still manage to preserve her modesty in accordance with Islamic law?

In A Pickle

"Let's Pickle a few more costly commissions"
I don't think that the Telegraph's leader writers understand what pickling does. Yes there is a minister called Pickles so naturally they want to make a pun on his name but pickling is a method of preserving something in it's current state for a long period of time, in other words by asking to pickle costly commissions the Telegraph is asking that we keep them going in perpetuity.

Yes I do realise that this is probably the most tedious and trivial post that I have ever written.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Icarus Falls

Hmmm-

A 20-year-old was killed in a ‘Starsky and Hutch’-style stunt trying to jump 30ft across a harbour in his car.

Jamie Hocking had told friends he would one day use a pier as a ramp and leap over the water in his Rover hatchback and land on the other side.

Well who could have foreseen that this was a bad idea?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ban These Dangerous Books

I think these suicide textbooks should be banned.

Copycats

The Australians are copying our idea of a highly inconclusive and unworkable election result. Pick your own constitutional crisis, Australians.

Van Gone

What is the point of stealing highly recognisable masterpieces, like this Van Gogh that has gone missing in Cairo?

Presumably they can't be sold on the open market. The new 'owners' can't show the paintings off because they could get caught so presumably they just hang them in a private room and look at them on their own which seems utterly joyless.

Policing The Police

Apparently the police are free to confiscate people's property and refuse to return even after they have been ordered to by a judge. After trying to prosecute somebody for possessing child pornography even though they knew that he was in possession of the material due to being an expert witness for the defence team of somebody who had been charged with possessing it, they then refused to return it after being ordered to by a court.

So what happened to the Chief Constable who had refused to obey the law? Nothing:

Mr Port put his 35-year career on the line by refusing to comply with a High Court order made in May to return 87 hard drives and 2,500 photographs of abuse.

However he handed over the seized items on Monday night.

Mr Bates's legal team pressed ahead with an application to have the chief constable fined or imprisoned for contempt over his delay in complying with the court order.

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton, sitting in London with Mr Justice Wilkie and Mr Justice Calvert Smith, ruled there was no contempt because the order did not specify a date by which compliance was required.

Oh I'll remember that the next time the police ask me to do something- "Yes officer I know you wanted me to pull over and I was going to do so next Friday."