Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Protecting Their Own.

I see that at Prime Minister's Questions today not MP from any party raised the issue of sleaze and corruption in the light of the Hain and Conway scandals. What is the betting that the parties are going to agree a ceasefire over sleaze scandals and agree to mutual cover ups?

There was a 'non aggression pact' in place a couple of years ago which resulted in scandals like this one being given vary little publicity. As Peter Oborne wrote about the 2003 inter party deal:
The origins of the sordid little deal go back to the summer of 2001, when
Labour business managers decided on the assassination of Elizabeth Filkin.
Filkin's crime was to take her job - parliamentary commissioner for
standards - seriously. When evidence of wrongdoing came her way, she
investigated. A number of Tory MPs - Teresa Gorman, John Major and William
Hague among them - were embarrassed by her inquiries. So were Cabinet
ministers like John Reid, Peter Mandelson and John Prescott. In many cases
her findings were so incendiary that the Labour-controlled standards and
privileges committee watered down her findings. Martin Bell, the
sleaze-busting MP who sat on this committee, has since claimed that the
Labour whips office applied improper pressure to ensure helpful results. A
striking number of its relatively obscure Labour members were given peerages
after the last election. Perhaps that is simply a coincidence.

Armed Robbers & Prison..

The gang responsible for the Securitas heist have been sentenced to 15 years in prison. This is too lenient because most of the £53 million the gang stole is still missing. If they are released after 15 years they will still be young enough to enjoy the fruits of their crime, there should be no question of any of them ever being released until all the money is returned. Most of them are young enough for the prospect of being released to spend their millions to be an attractive one.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Can't They Both Lose?

Henry Kissinger's remark about the Iran-Iraq war, "It's a pity they can't both lose" springs to mind today.

First up sleazy and corrupt murderer Nicholas Van Hoogstraten versus the sleazy and corrupt mass murderer Robert Mugabe.

Secondly the sleazy, woman-abusing Democrat dynastic patriarch Ted Kennedy slams the sleazy, woman-abusing Democrat dynastic patriarch Bill Clinton. Apparently senior Democrats have noticed for the first time that the Clintons have a tendency to lie and smear their opponents, they didn't notice this in the 1990s.

Enough Is Enough.

Derek Conway, the Conservative MP not the former character from 'The Bill, has been suspended from the House of Commons for claiming expenses for his son for doing nothing. This seems a lenient punishment for what would be a criminal offence in most lines of work. He has also single handedly stopped the momentum that the mounting sleaze stories about senior Labour
figures was creating, so good work Derek! As Conway said of Iain Duncan Smith as he stabbed him in the back a few years ago "There was a remarkable atmosphere in Westminster last week where people really felt enough was enough.", yes indeed. The Tories have quite rightly criticised Gordon Brown's dithering over the Hain affair, well now Cameron has the opportunity to act decisively.

Update: David Cameron has withdrawn the whip from Conway, a good decision. Hain retains the Labour whip. I'm obviously more influential than I realised!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Something Must Be Done!

A report has been released about ethnic minority attainment in higher education:

Universities need to act urgently to ensure ethnic minority students are not discriminated against, a report argues.
Urgent action is needed! What sort of problems do the authors of the report have in mind?

Government statistics show students from minority ethnic groups are less likely than their white peers to achieve top marks in their degrees.

The report said the exact reasons for this were complex and hard to identify.

So they don't actually know what the problem is but they know that it must be tackled urgently.

Director of research and evaluation at the academy, Professor Lee Harvey, said the study revealed that attainment differences are not a "simple function of ethnicity and gender but are affected by rather more complex factors".

Earlier research had suggested the cause of the gap in attainment was "a mystery".

Well thanks for that helpful input.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Me Has Done Nothing Wrong.

Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is the latest Cabinet Minister to get into a donations scandal. He isn't as unpleasant as Hain or Harman so I don't bear him any personal malice. He has said:
"I'm very keen and very interested - more than most people - to find out the truth about where he got the money, but there can be no accusation (that) either me or my team indulged in any kind of impropriety whatsoever."
It should of course be "either my team or I", I'm not usually a language pedant but the man is a former Education Secretary!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Story Of The Decade- Man Likes Potatoes!!!

As I'm sure everyone knows, 2008 is the United Nations' "International Year of the Potato" so there will inevitably be a mountain of half baked (geddit?!) spud related stories until January 2009. This one from the China Daily for example:

Former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan is a potato lover and has the carbohydrate-rich vegetable as often as he can.

The 54-year-old actor has revealed that he can't live without potatoes and tries to add as many as possible in his diet.

"I love potatoes - baked, mashed, roasted and boiled, or fried with cold, sliced tomatoes," Contactmusic quoted Brosnan, as saying.

"I could eat them every night of the week. I can't live without a good potato," he added.

Recently, a photographer sued Brosnan for allegedly punching him at a mall in Malibu.
In accordance with his national stereotype, he likes potatoes but the last sentence confuses me though. What has that got to do with the rest of the 'news' story? Are they trying to imply that the consumption of potatoes makes people violent or that having an unhealthy obsession with tubers is linked to aggression? If so should the United Nations really be promoting these dangerous vegetables?

I case you're wondering, yes I am extremely bored as I write this.

Heh Mister Tangerine Man...

When the cabinet next meets they will notice that the room is rather darker than usual as Peter Hain's luminous glow no longer illuminates the room. Of all the cabinet Hain was the one I most thoroughly detested both for his smarmy manner and his repellent support for terrorism. He was a prominent member of the IRA front group "Troops Out" for many years, a fact which should have disqualified him from a position in any civilised party. This transcript of an interview about his support for Sinn Fein/ IRA, gives an indication of the man's sheer sliminess.

Jeremy Vine: Well we are joined by Peter Hain himself, the new Northern Ireland Secretary from Belfast. So there we are, you have this history of anti Unionist views going back more than thirty years.

Peter Hain: It's been fascinating watching all those pictures of me with a lot more hair Jeremy, and looking very young. And we've all got things we've said, twenty, thirty years ago, indeed the whole world has changed since then.....

Jeremy Vine: But you say, we have all got these views that we've expressed, plainly we haven't. Not only that, we can't find anywhere where you've renounced these views.

Peter Hain: As I say, the whole world has changed. You know when - some of the quotes you got back twenty, thirty years ago, Nelson Mandela was in prison in South Africa......

Jeremy Vine: But you keep saying these quotes are twenty, thirty years ago. Some are more recent than that. In 1998 you said the imposition of partition was, and remains unjust and undemocratic. Now is that still your view.

Peter Hain: Jeremy, you can quiz me as long as you like on the history of Northern Ireland. What I find interesting is people here, in Northern Ireland as I am at the moment, are looking forward not backwards......

Jeremy Vine: I will ask you, I will ask you where the talks are going but I just want to get back to this very simple thing - you say it's changed everything. And I'm asking, has it changed your views. Do you renounce those views.

Peter Hain: Jeremy, you can keep quizzing me about the past, about things that were said thirty years ago when bombs were going off, when there was an impasse and all sorts of different avenues were being explored, and I'm happy to have an academic discussion about that......

etc, etc. Public life is greatly enriched by Hain's resignation in disgrace.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Livingstone's Stooges Smear Again.

Ken Livingstone's response to the rising tide of sleaze revelations concerning his channeling of funds to various racial grievence mongers is to get a racial grievance monger who receives finds from the mayors office to pen an attack on Boris Johnson. Michael Eboda is the editorial director of the 'Ethnic Media Group' which receives at least £38000 of taxpayer's money from Livingstone (there are probably far more indirect subsidies from advertising), a fact he neglects to mention in his Guardian piece.

I was going to do a complete fisking of Eboda's smear piece, but it scarcely needs it, the smears are so transparent that anyone could see through them. Apparently someone shouted "Fuck off back to Uganda, you cunt" at the Yazz monster, in a room that Boris Johnson was in, so therefore even though Johnson didn't say anything of that nature it proves that he is a racist. Ken Livingstone actually does tell ethnic minorities to go home if they disagree with him, as the Jewish-Iraq Reuben brothers found out when they had a planning disagreement with the mayor who told them, “They should go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs, if they don’t like the planning regime or my approach.”.

I would say that this demonstrated some Chutzpah on the part of Team Ken, but I suppose throwing a Yiddish word in there would send them crazy.

The lack of self awareness on Ebola Eboda's part gets worse though. After castigating the audience's racist resposnses to him and Yazz (which oddly enough the recordings of the debate didn't pick up) he provides a bit more context.
And it was towards her that this particular volley of abuse was fired after, in response to a question from a saner member of the audience, she had had the temerity to suggest that there might, in certain circumstances, be a case for affirmative action to be employed.

The crowd seemed to get even more upset when I agreed with Yasmin. And I went further, to say that Britain had actually been practising positive discrimination for decades, but that the beneficiaries had, by and large, been white men; so why shouldn't we level the playing field?

So the crowd's supposed outburst of abusiveness, which wasn't picked up by the racist recording equipment, was in response to him and Yazz advocating racist recruiting policies. If the thin skinned, corrupt, alcoholic, antisemitic, totalitarian mayor of London is going to conduct a smear campaign he really should look for allies who are at least competent enough to fool readers of Comment is Free.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Measuring Crime Again.

London mayor Ken Livingstone is pushing out propaganda about how crime in London has fallen over the last few years. What is interesting is that he is using the recorded crime figures which show a different trend to the British Crime Survey figures. This is after years of Labour insisting that the recorded crime figures are meaningless and that the BCS is the ultimate arbiter of crime levels. Still if the recorded crime figures are back in fashion then let's use them {edit: these figures are for England & Wales, not just London}:

Total Crime Levels UPViolent Crime, Doubled Since 1999:
Robbery Up:
Anyone notice a trend here?

Look I've been critical of the BCS in the past and my view remains that neither that nor the recorded crime figures are that reliable and should only be taken seriously if they show the same trends as they did in the early 1990s when Michael Howard started increasing prison places.

Update: The murder rate* is one of the best alternatives to the BCS or recorded crime figures and Ken Livingstone releases a chart showing that they are now falling. There are two problems though, first of all I think that he is lying about the numbers, as it appears that 2005 doesn't include the 7/7 Tube bombings, these weren't his fault (although his response was pathetic) but the fact that he simply omits them without mentioning means that he may have been similarly creative elsewhere. Secondly if he is responsible for the fall from 2004 to 2007 as he implies then isn't he equally responsible for the rise from 2000 to 2005?

* The murder rate for the England & Wales has risen by around 50% since Labour came to power.

Fascism & The Political Spectrum.

Having seen a lot of blog discussions of late discussing whether groups that are frequently referred to as 'far right' actually are on the right of the political spectrum I'll throw in my penny's worth. The debate is an old one but the latest round appears to have been kicked off by Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism". As I've taken part in a couple of discussions so a summary will be useful for me to write. Several points should be made, firstly that the revolutionary regimes of Hitler and Mussolini were quite different from the reactionary regimes of Franco and the various Latin American juntas, they are only grouped together because of their anti communism. The Franco type regimes could be said to embody a certain ultra traditionalist trend that is identified with the continental right, although it has little in common with the Anglo Saxon right of conservatism and classical liberalism. Even then they weren't exclusively right wing, the Falange for example was split between a Socialist and a Traditionalist wing.

Secondly the tying liberalism to fascism only makes sense if you use the American definition of 'liberal' which includes everything from Social Democrats, to Socialists, to Communists. Liberal in the British or European sense includes a lot of strands of thought that are closer to libertarianism than anything else. That said Jorg Haider's 'Freedom Party' did for a long time belong to 'Liberal International' the grouping that our own dearly beloved Liberal Democrats are members of.

Despite those two provisos it is obvious to me that Jonah Goldberg is right in saying that Hitler and Mussolini did not represent movements of the right. Well I haven't actually read Goldberg's book but I gather from his critics that actually reading the book is unnecessary in order to understand it. Economically the Nazis were obviously left wing, their manifesto resembles that of most major socialist parties when it comes to the role of the state in society:
11 That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.
12 Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13 We demand the nationalization of all trusts.
14 We demand profit-sharing in large industries.
15 We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.
16 We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalisation of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small trades people, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.
17 We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.
18 We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.
19 We demand that Roman law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by German common law.
20 In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.
21 The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centres, by prohibiting juvenile labour, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.
They didn't implement all of these policies, but that doesn't show that they didn't believe in them merely that Hitler's priority was war and genocide first, the economy later. In Britain we look back on the likes of British Leyland as examples of how widespread socialism was in the 1970s, yet the left like to dismiss the nationalised German car industries of the 1930s as irrelevant.

Communists are described as far left because they represent a more extreme and authoritarian version of the mainstream left, both regard the goal of equality as paramount and set about achieving it, though with much less coercion in the democratic world. Taking various right wing concepts (capitalism, stability, anti-populism) to their logical extreme does not end up with anything resembling fascism. In some ways fascism was contrary to left wing thought and was more cautious in throwing off their domestic order than communists were so whilst they aren't far right, their form of non-Marxist socialism can't simply be described as far left. If anything with the desire to be all things to all men it would be best thought of as a centrist philosophy applied with extreme ruthlessness. The far centre doesn't make geometric sense if you consider the political spectrum to be a straight line of course but that's an issue of representation.

The Big Vote.

With everyone paying so much attention to the US presidential primaries another knife edge election is happening that will keep us all glued to our seats. The Cuba Solidarity Campaign enthusiastically declares:
More than 8.4 million Cubans are expected to participate in the January 20 general elections to elect the delegates to provincial assemblies and the members of the National Assembly (Parliament), said the National Electoral Commission (CEN)President

A dynamic test run last Sunday across the island showed that the infrastructure is in place and ready for the elections to take place in all 38,353 electoral colleges of the country, said Reus.

There are 614 candidates running for Parliament, of which 46.3 percent were elected by local communities, 99 percent have high school diplomas or higher, 63.22 percent are first time nominees, and 56 percent of the candidates were born after 1959.
That's one pretty impressive election yet it has received scant coverage over here despite the fact that it appears to refute the general idea of Cuba as some sort of dictatorship. Is there anything that the Cuba Solidarity Campaign has failed to mention I wonder? The BBC reports:
Polls have closed in Cuba where people have been voting to choose members of a new National Assembly or parliament.

Only one person is standing per seat, including ailing leader Fidel Castro, even though he has not been seen in public for almost a year-and-a-half.

I guess the CSC had to omit that trivial detail for reasons of space.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cafe Hitler.

Samizdata highlights a bar named after the world's greatest mass murderer ever, Mao, with a quote from one of their commentators:
Kill six millions Jews in Germany, your name becomes a synonym with evil. Kill between 44 and 72 million Chinese, you get a café named after you. It's a funny old world, eh?
Actually there are bars named after Hitler or the Nazis, just not anywhere in the West where knowledge of his atrocities is almost universal. There are actually several Nazi themed institutions in South Korea:

Seoul - Israel's ambassador expressed outrage on Monday over a Nazi-themed bar in a South Korean city, calling it "revolting".

A report on the bar was published in Monday's Korea Herald, which carried a photo of a flaming-red swastika decorating the establishment's entrance, while a poster of a Nazi soldier wielding a rifle is displayed inside, the paper said.

"I think it's a disgrace, it's really revolting," ambassador Yigal Caspi told AFP.

Caspi said he was especially angry at the bar owner's explanation that he adopted the theme just to be different.

This isn't the first time that a controversy* over Nazi bars in South Korea** have hit international headlines. It isn't because Koreans are a nation of neo nazis, but because there is a level of ignorance about Hitler's crimes that doesn't exist in the West. The same level of ignorance that exists about the atrocities of Mao in the West.

* Is it really a controversy if almost everyone is on one side of the debate?

** I shouldn't single out South Korea, the same frivolous attitude to the Nazis exists in several East Asian countries, including Taiwan and Hong Kong.

{ Via Stephen Pollard }

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lewinskygate 10 Years On.

Guido Fawkes has a post up about the Clinton/Lewinsky affair that became public 10 years ago today. As he points out up until then the media could still choose to cover up the scandals and misdemeanors of their favoured politicians, but when Matt Drudge broke the Lewinsky story after Newsweek had chosen to sit on the story the dynamic between the press and the public changed forever, the blogosphere is in a sense the offspring of Matt Drudge. As Dan Rather found out 4 years ago the professional media is no longer the unchallenged guardian of what the public knows.

Mark Steyn republishes an article he wrote at the time for the Wall Street Journal about the American media's role in the Clinton cover up.
On Sunday, National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" opened by wondering if we shouldn't be "putting the brakes on a rush to judgment." A rush to judgment? The American media have been enjoying a six-year crawl to judgment, and there's really no need to put the brakes on when you've only just gotten into first gear. The current "feeding frenzy" is no more than a first, belated step toward an all-you-can-eat salad bar that has been blinking invitingly at them for half a decade.

In fairness the British print press was never as craven and pompous as their US counterparts, in large part because of the competitive nature of the British market.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

UN-PC PC Off To Tolerance Camp.

The race baiting industry usually try to portray themselves as trying to improve ethnic harmony by helping everyone get along. Actions speak louder than words though:
A police officer has been forced into resigning after he gave a Muslim colleague a pack of bacon and a bottle of wine as a joke present during a Christmas Day party.

Pc Rob Murrie gave the gift to his colleague as part of a "Secret Santa" at Luton station, though the consumption of alcohol and bacon is forbidden under Islam.

However, even though the Muslim officer did not complain and thought the present funny, senior officers in the Bedfordshire force were not amused. They declared that "behaviour of this nature is not tolerated" and welcomed Pc Murrie's resignation.

So in the interests of 'tolerance' Bedfordshire Police have forced someone out for being friendly enough with a Muslim colleague to have a joke with him. The fact that the designated victim refuses to be a victim doesn't matter much because it isn't about him, he is just the human shield that the diversicrats use to get their way. The message from Bedfordshire's police force appears to be "Don't become friendly with ethnic minority colleagues or else".

Update: I've just realised that Bedfordshire Police are also the ones who are harassing the blogger "Lionheart" over supposedly "Islamophobic" comments made on his site. Based on their definition of Islamophobia it is hard to see how anyone could be innocent.

The Ugly Face Of Terror.

Che Guevara's image has become an icon for the intellectually subnormal the world over, because despite being a mass murderer he was reasonably photogenic. I just going to hazard a guess but I reckon that 'Younes Tsouli', Al Qaeda's computer geek, could become the anti-Che of Islamism:

It isn't hard to see why he became so enraged at the World.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Schooling & Socialism.

Public school headmaster and Blair biographer Antony Seldon has claimed that:
fee-paying schools were perpetuating a two-tier education system by dominating "the best pupils, the best teachers, the best facilities, the best results and the best university places" - but doing little for children whose parents cannot afford fees.
Much as Ferrari does little for me as I can't afford one. Seldon appears to believe that public schools can fend off attacks from the left by offering a 50% surrender and accepting the arguments that independent schools do better because they somehow take from the state sector. There isn't some fixed quantity of good teachers that the private sector monoplises, it's just that the state sector offers few incentives for the most able people to enter or remain in the profession and often actively rewards incompetence. I've heard of schools promoting bad teachers in order to encourage them to take retirement (they have final salary linked pensions), because they are unsackable, whilst good teachers don't get paid any more than useless ones.

As for facilities whilst his tier of school probably has magnificent facilities quite a lot of the independent sector consists of schools whose fees are below what the government spends per pupil on education and so their facilities are in fact more basic than those of nearby state schools.

Unsurprisingly the Seldon approach of 'feeding the crocodile' doesn't work, and actually encourages further attacks on schools like his.

Right Idea, Wrong President.

Whilst trying to make their guest feel comfortable is commendable, someone should tell the United Arab Emirates that Bill Clinton is no longer the American president.

Good Luck.

When I first started reading blogs in late 2001 and early 2002, (after 9/11 really), there were a few sites that were daily reading for a while. I stopped reading most of these early sites regularly once a distinctively British blogosphere arose with the singular exception of Australian blogger and journalist Tim Blair, who has been consistently funny and incisive throughout that time. So it was a bit of a shock to log on to his blog today and see this post announcing that he has been diagnosed with cancer. From what he is saying the prognosis is pretty good, I certainly hope so because he has always come across as being a good man.

Saudi Hypocrisy.

Saudi Arabia is outraged at the human rights violations of its citizens:
President George W Bush will face a frosty reception today during a visit to Saudi Arabia amid anger at America's continued detention of the kingdom's citizens at Guantanamo Bay.
I don't know anything about the individuals involved here, although 'being Saudi citizens' seems to me to be pretty strong circumstantial evidence of involvement in violent jihadism. However for Saudi Arabia to complain about its citizens being mistreated by a foreign government shows an almost complete lack of self awareness. In any sane world Saudi Arabia would be the last country on Earth to take seriously over human rights claims. The urge by Western governments including the UK's to suck up to Saudi Arabia is puzzling. The obvious answer is that we do so because we need their oil, which is true but ultimately they need to sell oil even more than we need to buy it. Saudi Arabia will sell us oil regardless of how we behave because they have no alternative other than poverty and squalor.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun With Cut & Paste.

I might be to lazy to write anything original at the moment but I can cut and paste someone else's work just fine. There is an interesting piece on 'Comment is Free' about Iran's human rights abuses, the reaction of the commentators is predictable, but I thought this one by "Damntheral" might be the post of the year so far, this an abridged version:


1) Check if the article is about Israel - if not, got to 2. If it is, go nuts with disapproval, use hyperbole, and wish for the disappearance of that country. If the writer is from that country, shout at them as if they support the abuse even though they are highlighting it in the first place. Explain how Israel is a puppet of the US anyway. Don't be scared of getting carried away: remember, you can't be anti-semitic, you're left-wing! Keywords: genocidal, neocon.

2) Check if the country is the US or the UK - if not, go to 3.....

Keywords: lapdog, orwellian, neocon.

3) Does that country have links, however tenuous and interested with the US/UK? If not, go to 4. If it does, go nuts with disapproval, huff and puff and explain that the entire regime is entirely the fault of the US/UK as though its inhabitants are sub-human beings with no moral capacity. Hey don't worry: you can't be racist, you're left-wing! Keywords: neocon, lapdog, puppet, neocon.

4) Take a deep breath: this is the big one. The author of the piece (and anyone agreeing with them) is a toxic neo-con warmongering zionist neo-con warmonger (if white) or a toxic neo-con warmongering Uncle Tom/coconut/quisling neo-con warmonger (all other options) and needs to be exposed as such. Make this dirty, make this personal, repeat yourself a lot. Anything goes frankly, slander, insinuation, insults. .....
Keywords: neocon, warmonger, what about, neocon, islamophobia, empire, neocon, discursive machine of hegemony, neocon.


HELPFUL TIP: if you know absolutely nothing about the country in question and no one else has commented yet, a handy solution is to look at the victims instead. Are the victims Muslims? If so 3 probably applies. However keep in mind that Serbs and other Muslims are exceptionally allowed to kill Muslims and anyway it never happens ever so go to 4 instead or just ask what the point of the article is, and if someone answers call them boring.

Read the whole thing.

Multiculturalism, Hillary Clinton & The Bono Effect.

Due to laziness I can't be bothered do a series of complete posts so here's a mish mash of various things that are on my mind.
  • Former Islamist Ed Hussein in an article about recent claims of 'no go' areas in Britain sums up a certain type of multiculturalism enthusiast- "Prominent politicians and Canary Wharf bankers who reside in Tower Hamlets do not send their children to local schools, and yet claim that the locality is positively multicultural."
  • Hillary Clinton is annoying me, aside from being a paranoid incompetent control freak it is her supporters repeatedly trumpeting her supposed experience as a reason to elect her. I don't get this, I mean if she had been married to a neurosurgeon rather than to Bubba Clinton, would she be qualified to perform brain surgery?
  • It seems that the ostentatiously environmentally 'aware' are actually bigger polluters than the rest of us. I shall christen this "The Bono Effect".

Friday, January 11, 2008

Har Har!

I've got nothing to add to the latest scandal surrounding Peter Hain, but given how utterly I detest the sleazy permatanned gimp I cannot allow the chance to gloat to pass me by. It would be kind of understandable if a candidate broke the law to win a general election, but cheating so that he could get humiliated in a contest for a non job like Labour deputy leader marks Hain out as a special kind of idiot.

Man Finds Wife In Brothel.

So I'm wondering, who's got more explaining to do here?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

So Everyone's Not Dead Then?

450000 Iraqis have come back from the dead. It seems that a new survey of Iraq has estimated a much lower death toll than the earlier much hyped Lancet study. I wasn't a knee jerk dismisser, see my comments over at Laban's at the time for example, of the John Hopkins/ Lancet study but the figures did seem ludicrously high. At the time I looked at the number of car bomb deaths it estimated and the daily amount of killings needed to accomplish that was vastly higher than what was being reported in the media, despite the fact that the media were reporting blasts in Baghdad that killed no one, so it didn't seem right. Given the level of corruption in Iraq it wouldn't have surprised me that researchers collecting data on behalf of a noisily anti war campaigner would just happen to find sky high death rates.

As I said at the time seeing as there was no alternative study to refer to the John Hopkins report could not easily be dismissed, no though there is an alternative report.

150000 people dead is still vastly more than I would have anticipated at the beginning of the war though so there is no reason for me to feel vindicated at all. However combined with the success of the surge, the decision to invade Iraq looks much better now than it did 12 months ago.

Update: Incidentally the Lancet report estimated that there had been 426,369 to 793,663 excess deaths over pretty much an identical period of which over 90% were caused by violence, so even the lower bound of their 95% confidence interval is more than double the estimate made by the World Health Organisation. In other words any attempts to spin these two reports as complementing each other is nonsense.

As the later report doesn't make a comparison to the level of violent deaths before the invasion, it doesn't purport to assess the number of 'excess' deaths which is by definition lower on account of the fact that there was plenty of bloodshed prior to the invasion.

More 2008 Predictions.

I was realy planning on making some New Year's predictions about British politics for 2008, but with no major events due I find it difficult to see what will change much in the next 12 months. The polls will fluctuate but the basic fact of a Tory lead over Labour will remain. Other predictions:

  • The Lib Dems will do mildly better but won't be back to the standing they had when the drunk led them.
  • If the government does continue to flatline then there will probably be a panicky reshuffle this year with Alastair Darling either sacked or demoted.
  • Boris Johnson will win despite Livingstone running an exceptionally vicious campaign.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

So Does This Mean That US Voters Are Racist Hicks After All?

The Independent's front page, something about counting chickens springs to mind. I guess waiting for the actual result would have ruined the coronation.

Apathy, Who Cares?

First of all an announcement-My computer is playing up and I can only log on sporadically so posting may be scarce for the next few days (or my computer may completely recover).

Looking at the interest the US election has provoked over here has led many people to suggest that it puts the apathy and disinterest in Britain's own elections to shame. To some extent this is correct but there are two things to consider. Firstly is apathy really such a terrible thing, after all if you are asking 15 million people to accept that none of the people they voted for will run anything simply because 15 million and one people voted for the other lot then sure a certain degree of apathy is a good thing! I'm guessing that voters in Pakistan and Kenya aren't apathetic either.

Secondly to the extent that voters in the UK are apathetic it is because of the vast concentration of power in a few hands. Local elections don't matter much as most local services are run by Quangos or central Government. European Elections are a travesty with a grossly unrepresentitive electoral system that protects party insiders. In Europe power resides with the unelected commission anyway and there are no steps that I as a voter could take to attempt to change the President of the European Commission. This leaves Westminster elections, where I can influence the process with my vote (I live in a swing constituency). Even then the candidates are selected by a small group of activists whose decisions may be overruled on a whim from the headquarters.

Of course this process isn't going to engage voters as it is designed not to, because if voters actually got involved in making decisions then the party elites would lose the stranglehold they currently have on the democratic process.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Operation Clark County Mark 2?

Various Europeans are demanding to be allowed to tell Americans whom they should cast their votes for, despite the fiasco of the Guardian's "Operation Clark County" four years ago, when the residents of this poor county started receiving letters from earnest Guardian readers along the lines of:
Dear Stupid American,

I am writing to you to urge that you use your vote wisely, and not be tempted to vote for a candidate who appeals to your ignorant red neck nature, lynching homosexuals won't help you to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the rich. I implore you to vote for John Kerry so that he can restore Amerikkkas position in the world as a civilised country.

Under President Kerry you Americans, even hicks like yourself, will be able to live in a country where schools don't get shot up every week and where black people are allowed to eat in the same restaurants as whites. I'm not anti American, I've read several of Noam Chomsky's books and think that Michael Moore is a genius, so don't think that I am.

Surprisingly this did not have the effect which the organisers of the campaign had hoped. In fact Clark County had a significantly greater pro Bush swing than most comparable counties.

Anyway what I want to know is how come the various European hacks demanding a say in the US election have ever demanded that they have the right to elect the President of the EU commission, an organisation that has a much more direct impact on their lives?


Friday, January 04, 2008

Reheated Carterism.

As I said on Wednesday I think that the most likely next president of the United States is Barack Obama and his victory in Iowa strengthens that view. This is unfortunate because he will be completely crap in the office. There is a lot of talk about him representing a generational shift but his ideas are the most old fashioned out of any plausible candidate. He is the black Jimmy Carter. His domestic policy is a populist assortment of price controls, tariffs and inflexible labour laws, as Thomas Sowell puts it:
Senator Barack Obama recently said, “let’s allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country’s middle class again.”
Ironically, he said it at a time when Detroit automakers have been laying off unionized workers by the tens of thousands, while Toyota has been hiring tens of thousands of non-union American automobile workers.
Senator Obama is being hailed as the newest and freshest face on the American political scene. But he is advocating some of the oldest fallacies, just as if it was the 1960s again, or as if he has learned nothing and forgotten nothing since then.

He thinks higher teacher pay is the answer to the abysmal failures of our education system, which is already far more expensive than the education provided in countries whose students have for decades consistently outperformed ours on international tests.
So Obama is an idiot on domestic policy, so what about Foreign policy? A lot of his support is because he opposed the war in Iraq, however whilst that conflict was heavily mismanaged for the first three years Obama's criticisms of the war had little bearing on the actual failings, unlike say John McCain who pinpointed the lack of troops as a major failing quite early on. His criticisms of Iraq don't stem from a seriously considering the limits of American power either, judging by his statements following the Benazir Bhutto assassination he appears to believe that the USA could if it ran it's foreign policy correctly end radical islamism in Pakistan, and could have done so in the six years from late 2001 to late 2007. He is simply not a serious man.

On either foreign or domestic policy it is hard to see how he differs in anyway from previously failed presidents like Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson. However he has a highly telegenic personality and will be able to package his polices as serious thoughtful measures, proving that you can in fact polish a turd.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Newt Lover Backed.

Would it be possible to find a better reason for getting rid of Ken Livingstone that this? I wonder what London's Muslim groups see in the paranoid-about-Jews London mayor anyway?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

No Demos = No Democracy.

This is a version of a comment I originally posted at Iain Dale's site about the chaos that is breaking out in Kenya at the moment, and the more general democratic failures in Africa.

One of the main problems that Africa has is a lack of nation states. Almost every country is an amalgam of several different and distinct ethnic groups which encourages politicians to pander to ethnic prejudices and encourages voters to overlook massive corruption as long as their local politician can divide some of the spoils to his own ethnic group.

Be honest, if the EU ever becomes a country and controlled most of the continents public sector revenues wouldn't you be more inclined to overlook a corrupt British politician if he brought home some of the wealth than you would if a current politician did so?

Botswana is an exception to the rule in that it is basically a nation state (there are small minority groups but they aren't numerous). Botswana is also prosperous and stable in spite of a sever Aids epidemic and I don't believe that this is a coincidence.

Update: Julia in the comments points out this map over at Laban's blog which illustrates the point about the ethnic mish mash that is Kenya:

Lowlife Encountered.

I was attacked by some cretin in a supermarket today, I went in and saw this oaf shouting at another shopper, a middle aged woman whom he did not appear to be familiar with and after their altercation finished he started on me asking "what are you staring at?".

"A Twat!" I replied. We then argued for a minute or so. He then went away for a minute to do something or other before returning and continuing where he left off as he left he kicked me. Now not really appreciating being kicked I then chased him and kicked him back before getting entangled in a scuffle before the security guards arrived. It was probably a mistake to chase him I admit but I'm not going to just take that kind of thing passively. Anyway after this incident I went to the police station to lodge a complaint, where I was informed that if I reported it then because I chased the individual there was a possibility that I would also be charged. Therefore I declined to officially report and so the police recorded crime figures for my area now have one fewer assault then they otherwise would have.

I could make some broader point about why this shows that there should be a more clearly defined right to self defence or why it shows that crime figures should not be trusted, or why I should carry something sharp about my person but really I'm just pissed off and wanted to vent.


Since this is the time for making predictions about the year ahead I'll make some later this week.
However because the US election season formally begins tomorrow my predictions about that will be out of date if I leave it till Friday so my prediction is this, Barack Obama to beat John McCain in November.

My reasoning is this, with Guliani trailing in the key battleground states and Thompson tanking everywhere those two cannot win. Huckabee might win Iowa* but he is just too out there politically for many more Republicans to back him. So that leaves Romney and McCain, but because of Romney's early front runner status in New Hampshire and Iowa he will be dead in the water if Huckabee takes Iowa and McCain New Hampshire, as now appears likely.

As for the Democrats, Obama is the best communicator among all the candidates and can use that to recover from almost any setback whereas Hilary Clinton depends on getting people to vote for her because they think she will win so if she loses momentum she won't be able to recover. Edwards is too ridiculous to consider seriously.

Unfortunately Obama's easy manner and ability to make fossilised 1960s politics sound fresh will probably enable him to beat the substantial yet somewhat grouchy John McCain in the Presidential vote.

If a Republican does win though expect the inevitable barrage of conspiracy theories to emerge, despite the fact that electoral fraud is more accurately associated with the other side in US politics with their big city political machines and dead Indians on reservations.

* Incidentally as Mark Holland points out, the Iowa Caucus is a travesty of a democratic process. Also is it "Iowa Caucus" or "Iowa Caucuses"?

NHS Worship.

Mark Steyn highlights this piece of idiocy:
Gordon Brown should mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS this year by turning its birthday on July 5 into an extra annual bank holiday, a leading Labour thinktank will urge today.

The Fabian Society will say the prime minister has long dreamed of establishing a "British day" to celebrate nationhood. The most appropriate date would be on the anniversary of the health service - an institution which appeals equally to people in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Turning our mode of health delivery into some sort of secular religion is to make it impossible to argue for reform. It says something that the Fabians can't think of any more appropriate day to celebrate this country, the Act of Union for example would be a far more worthy event to celebrate but I suspect that the authors of this report would regard celebrating the actual nation state to be rather jingoistic, so therefore we should all celebrate an act of socialism instead. The 1970s Labour government did a similar thing by making May Day a bank holiday.

The NHS is no longer a British institution anyway, with essentially different organisations existing in each of the four parts of the country, with the health service in Scotland run by Scots, in Wales by the Welsh, in Northern Ireland by the Northern Irish and in England by the ..... Scots again. Although we do have the privilege of paying for all four services. This situation has given cause for concern by patients groups:
Joyce Robins of Patient Concern said the differences were "breeding envy".

"Patients are increasingly looking across national borders and wondering why they are not getting the care others are getting.

"I am not sure that is good for the NHS."

This is that blind NHS worship again, her role is supposed to be looking out for what is best for patients instead she appears to view patients as something that exist to serve the NHS.

If the government do decide to designate July 5th as a national day then they can, I suppose, but why not consider a different rationale for the date:

  • The birthday of Cecil Rhodes, I don't think much of Rhodes, but this would enrage the race baiters.
  • The signing of the Auld Alliance where the Scots and French plotted to shaft the English, this would also resonate with Gordon Brown's recent signing of the EU not-a-constitution.
  • My birthday, a truly momentous event worthy of celebration.
Update: Harry Haddock at the Nation of Shopkeepers blog has also go a post up about this story.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 Review Part Two.

The second part of my look back over this blogs last 12 months.

  • I Marveled at the ability of the left to believe that their political opponents can cause things to happen in the past.
  • I explained some of the flaws of the British Crime Survey, and why it shouldn't be used as the final word on crime trends.
  • As the BBC lionised Blair as he announced his resignation, Michael Howard spoiled the Newsnight hagiography by savaging Alastair Campbell.
  • Stalin ruined Eurovision again this year.
  • I highlighted how Labour politicians use selfish to mean people who don't want to give their money to be spent by Labour politicians.
  • George Bush is committed to destroying out way of life apparently.
  • Government Agency advises against falling off ladders. I haven't fallen off any since.
  • Greedy freeloading bastard John Prescott falls seriously ill whilst on his last holiday funded by the taxpayer. Ha ha ha!
  • A serious post criticising the no women in prison lobby.
  • Tony Blair whined hypocritically as he left office.
  • Two posts attacking Salman Rushdie which on reflection may have been over the top.
  • My most widely read post of the year thanks to links from Guido, the New Statesman blog and the Adam Smith Institute blog and several more. Basically as the cabinet was announced I did a bit of research on their backgrounds and discovered that not a single member had ever had a proper job.
  • Islamist terrorists attempt to bomb London and Glasgow, so naturally Ken Livingstone focuses on the dangers posed by disaffected white youths.
  • British asians are disenfranchised according to the New York Times.
  • The schools edition of Question Time convinced me that the voting age should be raised to 21.
  • The anti prison lobby claimed that the US drop in crime over the last two decades is actually down to unleaded petrol.
  • The head of the Congressional Intelligence Committee lacks any.
  • I liked this post on some idiot who attended an anti globalisation riot and was outraged when violence broke out.
  • I argued that the honours system is actually a good way of channeling corruption away from anything important.
  • A cut out and keep guide to blaming any global crisis on oil.
  • I advanced a not very plausible argument that the existence of inheritence tax will encourage the government to bump us off.
  • The lies and times of Johann Hari.
  • Ken Livingstone tried to smear Boris Johnson as a racist. His main supported rather suspiciously were all members of organisations who get money from the mayoral office. Rather thrillingly I got namechecked by one of Livingstone's race baiting front groups.
  • Neil Clark was an unpleasant moron in this month. Much like most other months in fairness.
  • A horde of left wing bloggers were enraged at Frances Lawrence for not wanting her husbands killer to remain in the UK after his release.