Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday Night Gear Changes

1. Spotted by Steven_L. Ladycop's "To be real". He adds "totally ruins a nice track, shame as the rest of it mixes nigh on perfectly with with the MK remix of 'My head is a jungle', which is one of my faves."

Quite. A spiteful semi-tone up at 2 mins 15:

2. From Now 95, Michael Bublé's "I believe in you", up a nice neat full tone after the well-signalled ponderous pause at 2 mins 36. Textbook:

I've read spy novels, I know how this works.

From the Evening Standard:

British spies are risking their lives daily in Islamic State heartlands to “take the fight to the enemy,” the head of MI6 said today.

Alex Younger stressed agents recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service had penetrated IS “upstream” to stop terror attacks on Britain’s streets.

But in his first public speech, the SIS chief laid bare the perils these individuals faced operating in “the most dangerous and hostile environments on earth” - where paranoid IS fanatics have executed hundreds of people wrongly suspected of being spies.

Spies spend most of their time spying on each other and searching for moles in their own ranks, so it's always good idea to give the other side the impression that you have double agents in their organisations, even if you haven't. Unless you actually have, in which case you have to try and disguise the source of your information etc, in endless twists of logic.

We know that ISIS is just Islamism taken to extremes, they love nothing more than raping, maiming, torturing and killing people and when they run out of victims they just slaughter each other for whatever spurious reason. (The Saudis are hardly better, but for some reason, they count as a reliable ally, go figure). No doubt people in ISIS are paranoid already, of their actual enemies and each other, so basically MI6 has now signed a death warrant for anybody connected with ISIS who has lived in the UK. In which case good work!

If we assume that the head of MI6 is acting rationally, the logical deduction must be that we have no British spies in ISIS. The gamble is, will ISIS assume that Younger is a blithering idiot who has just given away our trade secrets and turn on each other, or will they assume it is a bluff and ignore it? Or is it a double bluff? Or a treble bluff?

This is easier with novels because you can just read to the end and find out...

Thursday, 8 December 2016

"Brexit case simple enough for a child, Supreme Court told"

From the BBC:

A six-year-old child would understand why the government does not have the power to trigger Brexit, a lawyer has told the Supreme Court. Richard Gordon QC attacked the government's claim it does not have to consult Parliament, suggesting this could "crucify human rights".

The QC for the government countered that a six-year-old child would understand why the government does have the power to trigger Brexit. Gordon Richard QC attacked the claim that the government has to consult Parliament, suggesting this could "strip it of its prerogative powers".

A move to call a six-year child as an expert witness to decide the matter was declined.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Propaganda Fail

Not exactly in the MSM, but...

It will be interesting to see how the the Daily Mail readers in positions of power try to discredit this.
The article makes a good start, with a random picture of a lorry dumping tons of what is supposed to look like gold somewhere in Switzerland.

Feeble standard email reply from my MP

I sent my (Conservative) MP an email re Generation Rent's campaign against no fault evictions and received this feeble reply:

Thank you for your email of 17th November regarding the Generation Rent campaign on restricting evictions. I understand the points you raise.

I have read the proposals from Generation Rent and I agree that all tenants deserve to feel safe in their home. The nature of renting means many tenants do not have as much long-term security as they may wish and I would encourage tenants and landlords who favour longer tenancies to use the Government's model tenancy agreement. Longer fixed-term tenancies provide more stability for tenants and also means that they do not need to pay fees to renew a tenancy.

The two months' written notice a landlord provides before taking possession of a property can be used by a tenant to find alternative accommodation (1). This notice provides landlords with the flexibility to manage their property, however, it is important that people and [sic] not being made homeless because of this.

Most tenants are satisfied with their accommodation (2) and this is testament to the fact that the majority of landlords are hardworking(3) and responsible. They provide safe and decent accommodation and understand the needs of their tenants.(4)

I look forward to the publication of the White Paper on Housing and will bear in mind the points you raise during the course of my Parliamentary duties.

1) Not long, is it, especially if the landlord doesn't pay you your deposit back until long after you've left, if at all.

2) Are they? I doubt it, most are pretty unhappy with having to hand over a large sum of money each month.

3) "Hardworking"?? She's having a fucking laugh.

4) Landlords do just enough to ensure the money keeps rolling in, that's about it. Replacing the odd fridge is hardly evidence of some genius insight into "the needs of their tenants".

I wonder, is the standard email reply from Labour and Lib Dem MPs just as inane?

"Doom-laden Carney warns middle classes will be 'hollowed out' by new technology"

From The Daily Mail:

Robots could put 15 million Britons out of work, the Bank of England Governor declared last night.

In an alarming vision for workers, Mark Carney warned many jobs would be 'hollowed out' as huge technological advances meant roles could be automated instead. The Bank has said the march of the machines in the workplace puts administrative, clerical and production staff most under threat...

The 51-year-old, who earns £874,000 a year, said that as a cost-saving measure, he and the other members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee will be replaced with a flip chart with "0.25%" scribbled on it.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Never Mind 'Soft' or 'Hard', when Withdrawal wasn't even Withdrawal

We emphasise that our decision to bring about withdrawal in no sense represents any weakening of our commitment to internationalism and international co operation. We are not 'withdrawing from Europe'.

We are seeking to extricate ourselves from the Treaty of Rome and other Community treaties which place political burdens on Britain. Indeed, we believe our withdrawal will allow us to pursue a more dynamic and positive international policy - one which recognises the true political and geographical spread of international problems and interests. We will also seek agreement with other European governments - both in the EEC and outside - on a common strategy for economic expansion.

The process of withdrawal

On taking office we will open preliminary negotiations with the other EEC member states to establish a timetable for withdrawal; and we will publish the results of these negotiations in a White Paper. In addition, as soon as possible after the House assembles, we will introduce a Repeal Bill: first, in order to amend the 1972 European Communities Act, ending the powers of the Community in the UK; and second, to provide the necessary powers to repeal the 1972 Act, when the negotiations on withdrawal are completed.

Following the publication of the White Paper, we will begin the main negotiations on withdrawal. Later, when appropriate and in the same parliament, we will use our powers to repeal the 1972 Act and abrogate the Treaty of Accession - thus breaking all of our formal links with the Community. Britain will at this point withdraw from the Council of Ministers and from the European Parliament.

There will need to be a period of transition, to ensure a minimum of disruption - and to phase in any new agreements we might make with the Community. This will enable us to make all the necessary changes in our domestic legislation. Until these changes in UK law have taken place, the status quo as regards particular items of EEC legislation will remain. And this period will, of course, extend beyond the date when we cease, formally, to be members.

Nothing much not to agree with there. The 'Process' section is interesting though.You get the feeling that the country 'we' above, still had some power in the world; telling the EEC member states what 'we' would be doing. I have been pondering where we are along that timetable. I have also been pondering if Article 50 is one of those self-imposed legal or economic constraints that Western politicians love us to pointlessly discuss to distract us from simplicity? Anyway, in case you were wondering, this is from the 'longest suicide note in political history'. The 1983, Labour Party Manifesto.  Just saying.

Meaningless Alcohol-related Statistics Of The Day

From The Daily Echo-o-o:

The "enormous" toll of excessive drinking on Britain's emergency services is laid bare in a new parliamentary report. Police, ambulance and A&E personnel face a risk of violence and verbal abuse as they attend drink-fuelled incidents, the inquiry found.

Those are clearly punishable offences, the good news is that in most cases, the perpetrators won't be hard to identify and/or arrest. The other news is that alcohol consumption in the UK has been falling for years, so unless they want to claim that this overall decline results from a large number of people drinking less masking a smaller people drinking a lot more, their whole thesis fails.

The report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm painted a stark picture of the scale of resources devoted to dealing with alcohol misuse. It called for a number of steps including lowering the drink drive alcohol limit and introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Drink driving is already - rightly - a criminal offence, but don't they do the damage by crashing, not by stepping out of the vehicle and assaulting emergency services? And what on earth does minimum pricing have to do with this anecdotal..?

One statement [from a police officer] said: "I can take my team through a licensed premise, and by the time I take them out the other end, they will have been felt up several times."

a) Well bloody arrest them on the spot.
b) Pubs seem to operate maximum pricing anyway, so any minimum price will not affect the behaviour of people in pubs and clubs.
c) It's probably being in a crowd rather than being drunk which makes people think they can get away with feeling up female coppers.

MPs and peers took evidence from police officers, fire crew and paramedics. In one area, 86% of police officers surveyed had been assaulted by people who had been drinking.

Sorry to say, but being assaulted verbally or physically is one of the risks of being a copper, and we can assume that most coppers have been assaulted a few times, the fact that most of them have been assaulted at least once by somebody who was drunk is hardly surprising. The article does not say how often fire crews and paramedics are assaulted, so again, we can safely assume it is a much lower figure (although not something we can brush aside as a risk of the job).

Monday, 5 December 2016

Fun Online Polls: "You guys" and who whose responsibility is integration?

The results to last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

When somebody addresses you/your group as "You guys", he/she is…

Trying to be friendly - 35%
Educationally sub-normal - 4%
Being deliberately rude, but in a subtle way - 3%
Just a twat generally - 47%
Other, please specify - 10%

Good, so it's not just me then. A good turnout on 90 votes, thanks to everybody who took part.

Top comment: Markc: FWIW I think it's a bit broader and runs across several answers. It means they're a twat who's trying to be friendly but entirely lacks the social skills to carry "friendly" off properly and so might often be construed as rude - depending on circumstances. But they're still a twat.
From the BBC:

Segregation and social exclusion are at "worrying levels" and are fuelling inequality in some areas of Britain, a report has found.

Women in some communities are denied "even their basic rights as British residents", the Casey Review said. Dame Louise Casey accused public bodies of ignoring or condoning divisive or harmful religious practices for fear of being called racist.

So a surprisingly honest review by modern standards. In the interests of 'balanced reporting', the article tacks on this:

Faeeza Vaid, from the Muslim Women's Network, said migrant communities should not be blamed for failing to integrate.

"We also see segregated white communities," she told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme. "Integration is everyone's responsibility."

Well hang about one cotton pickin' moment.

I have more first hand experience of integration than most people, I'm half German/half English, have lived in both countries and tried to fit in wherever I was, at the very least, I do a normal job/go to a normal school and speak the domestic tongue wherever I choose to be. My wife is from Malaysia and due to self-selection as much as anything else, a lot of our friends are from abroad, aren't 'white', are in 'mixed marriages' or whatever. They, like Mrs W, all do normal jobs, speak English, send their kids to normal schools etc and we all get along just fine.

For sure, a minority of British citizens are downright racist and prefer being among their own i.e. "in segregated white communities". I feel slightly uncomfortable in their presence but that's their personal view and they are perfectly entitled to it (provided it doesn't spill over into actual bullying, violence etc).

So that's this week's Fun Online Poll.

Whose responsibility is integration?

Vote here or use the widget in the side bar.