Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Politics Of The Street

Six Asian Muslim men have pleaded guilty to charges of planning a terrorist attack on an English Defence League* march in Dewsbury.

However violently attacking the EDL when they exercise the right to protest is tacitly supported or at least tolerated by many in the mainstream society. The organisation "Unite Against Fascism" has repeatedly launched violent attacks on the EDL yet that didn't stop the likes of David Cameron lending his support to this Socialist Workers Party front group.

Once people start romanticising street brawling as a means of opposing movements that you oppose it seems harsh to jail people for taking the idea half a step further.

* I'm not under any illusions about the EDL, which does include many out and out fascists. Fun EDL anecdote- I was in Penzance a few months ago for work reasons and briefly spoke to someone managing a pub.

He asked where I was from and when I replied "Northampton" his follow up question was "what do you think of all the blacks?", I mumbled a polite reply.

He then told me that his mate Chris, who was a shopfitter from Weston Super Mare, had founded the EDL before being marginalised by someone called Tommy from Luton who spent all the EDL's money on cocaine. Chris had now launched a secret breakaway group called the "English Volunteer Force".

Monday, April 29, 2013

Time To Cut VAT?

Keynesian theory suggests that public spending ought to be counter cyclical- so during a recession we should run deficits to keep up public spending whereas when the economy grows we should run a surplus.

Most self proclaimed Keynesians only support the first part of that equation and also favoured ever rising public spending during the boom years. When Gordon Brown during the first four years as Chancellor, ran a surplus he berated by pundits and politicians in his own party for being stingy (after 2001 he turned into the spendthrift idiot we know and love).

However despite the political difficulty of running a surplus during a boom the basic theory makes sense. Which is why I am beginning to wonder whether it is time for a cut in VAT* to pump up the economy.

A cut in VAT would not undermine the ongoing project of reducing the rate at which government grows- but it would have an immediate effect in terms of boosting consumer spending.

* Of all the proposed stimulus methods, only a tax cut makes sense to me- as Barack Obama found during his stimulus programme- there are no "shovel ready" government programmes that can be started quickly enough to boost growth.

New Meme- Immigration Reduces Crime.

In an otherwise very interesting article about declining crime rates in the UK and the West more generally the Observer's Andrew Rawnsley discusses possible explanations:

More immigrants. (Immigrants are less likely to commit crime than the indigenous population.). 

This is in fact the opposite of what actually occurs. Foreign nationals make up about one seventh of the UK prison population which is far greater than their percentage in the population. That doesn't even take into account those immigrants who are now UK citizens. In some European countries foreign nationals make up an even higher percentage of the prison population. So unless our justice system is racist on a scale that makes Apartheid South Africa look like paradise his claim cannot be true.

What I suspect Andrew Rawnsley has done is either import a meme from the USA (because in the States immigrants do have a lower crime rate than the population at large.) or he has swallowed misleading propaganda from the likes of ACPO.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tweet Cops

The police are investigating more tweet crimes, including those of a blogger and those of a former youth crime commissioner. Tweet crimes are like normal crimes except they occur on Twitter, don't cause any harm to anyone and the police don't need to get off their arses to investigate them.

The commissioner is Paris Brown who wrote some tweets that "could be considered offensive" when she was 14 or so. One would have thought if there were likely to be incite crime then that would be evident in the years since she wrote them. The blogger is "Old Holborn" who was trolling Liverpudlians with comments about the Hillsborough disaster. They took it very badly- no one thought to tell them to "calm down, calm down!". However no one was harmed by his tweets.

The police have no business regulating petty insults and drunken boasts and it is worrying that they are unable to realise this.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Criminalising Terrorism- A Thought

The death of Margaret Thatcher has brought the IRA hunger strikes back into the news, with a lot on the far left of British politics and the far right of Irish politics blaming her for their deaths.

What the hunger strikers wanted was to be granted political status- not to be treated simply as common criminals.

Yet when after 9/11 the United States refused to treat captured terrorists as criminals but instead granted them a special status- in Guantanamo Bay- many people were outraged, and that includes almost all those on the far left who blamed Thatcher for letting the hunger strikers do the decent thing.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Oddballs & Misfits.

It is worth remembering that despite the disproportionate attention given to a collection of misfits and oddballs who are celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher- it really is a tiny number of people.

They have a lot in common with Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church who protest at the funerals of soldiers and gays. Like Phelps they represent no wider movement.

The agenda of the press in giving them such coverage is worth considering- the left is probably trying to make her appear more hated than she was, the likes of the Daily Mail are trying to hype something up so they can be outraged at it.

90% of prominent left wing figures that I have heard of have been respectful, 90% of lefties I know personally have been respectful. That isn't to say that they liked her but normal people can tell the difference between an opponent and someone to hate.

Secondly it is worth remembering that while politicians are inherently divisive, Lady Thatcher is not unpopular as this poll in the Guardian from September demonstrates:

Out of 20 national figures, Thatcher was the second most respected, only Boris Johnson beat her.

The least respected figure on the list, George Galloway, is one of the oddballs and misfits I mentioned earlier (as well as being an antisemitic totalitarian crook) . Galloway isn't divisive of course, everyone is united in thinking he's a twat.

These "celebrations" are about thuggery and intimidation- trying to dominate the public space for one fringe outlook.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ugh! She's Naked!

Vladimir Putin, is still gay:

Hat tip to Mark Wadsworth for the latest addition to the "Putin is in the closet" file.