Ein Neger mit Gazelle zagt im Regen nie.
Friday, 30 November 2007
Wiki's been updated already.
I do have some sympathy for the old gal, but there's clearly a typo here. The article* would make more sense if it kicked off like this:
"Things can only get better. Every week another landmine blows up under government benches ..."
* Via Harry Haddock.
David Bergland gives the purist-libertarian attitude to immigration:
"All individuals have the same rights, regardless of where they were born. Anyone willing to take responsibility for himself or herself has the right to travel and seek opportunity. America has always benefitted from immigrants. They tend to work hard, start businesses, become educated, improve our economy, and make America a more culturally dynamic place"
... which is not too far from Gregg Beaman's take on it:
"Paraguay ... also had an open border policy at that time. The only control was that if you entered the country but could not find work, you received no state support whatsoever. As a consequence, they had a small but thriving immigrant community that had greatly contributed to the economy"
Right. Let's look at this in the context of the UK*.
Old Commonwealth countries
We know perfectly well that there are plenty of Australians, New Zealanders, white South Africans who have overstayed visas and are working here 'illegally'. Sure, so what? There are loads of Britons who are doing the same in the USA, Australia or New Zealand.
London is the centre of global commerce and banking
There are also loads of Japanese businessmen and American bankers over here for the short or medium term, working hard, making money, paying their taxes, not causing any bother.
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
In the 1980s, loads of British construction workers went to Germany to work, right now, the tables have turned and there are loads of Germans and North-East Europeans who are over here working in construction or in agriculture. Give and take. Not a problem.
One of the many things that Nulabour did to completely f*** things up is this idea that half of people should go to University to take Mickey Mouse degrees and that everybody can be a star. Everybody can't. By definition. So the government creates loads of taxpayer-funded soft jobs to keep people from the harsh realities of proper work, thus sucking in immigrants to do it. Even worse, at least half-a-milion of these taxpayer funded jobs have been taken by (or given to) immigrants...
... and if we had a less savagely means-tested welfare system, under which claimants weren't penalised for taking a low paid or menial job - in construction or agriculture - then it'd be people (who are now on the dole) in those jobs, not East Europeans.
If we are to have a welfare system, then I am totally in favour of a Citizen's Income-style welfare scheme. The operative word is "Citizen". I would suggest that people are only allowed to claim the CI if they have lived here legally for ten years following entry on the basis of a work permit and/or marriage (or 'civil partnership') to an existing British citizen and supported themselves for that whole period. That deals with this problem.
We in this country have certain societal norms, which do not need to be justified. Those are our values. There are plenty of groups - Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, Chinese - who don't quite buy into these norms and who 'preserve their own culture', but who nevertheless work hard, toe the line, keep themselves to themselves and do not ask for special treatment. I don't think that anybody has got a problem with them.
This is where it all went wrong. Yes, in the 1950s and 1960s Labour and Tory governments invited people from the New Commonwealth to come here as cheap labour, what they did not reckon with was the inherent racism of the indigenous Brits, it was quite shocking. Instead of calling a halt to immigration or telling people on both sides to put up or shut up, what we ended up with was a vast race-relations-industry, positive discrimination and so on of the worst sort.
When faced with the statistic that one-fifth of crimes in London are committed by foreigners and the government's admission that maybe, just maybe, foreigners get priority in the allocation of social housing, is it any wonder that social cohesion is starting to break down?
It's a numbers game
There is no doubt that a country of 60 million can easily absorb tens of thousands of people who were born abroad every year, provided they try and fit in. Hell, my Mum and my wife were born abroad - and I lived abroad for 9 years - it's a question of trying to fit in as best you can with your host country. What is silly is expecting us to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people a year, that's too much too quickly.
The Australian system
The expert on all this is Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch. I once asked him whether we ought to go for an Australian-style points system, he said, with a smile, "Yes, of course".
* Harry Haddock has picked up the theme and makes some good points.
The poll has closed after one week. I am pleased to announce that there were 28 votes in total and that the final results were as follows:
Thanks to everybody who took the time to vote!
Thursday, 29 November 2007
OK, time for the pragmatic answers to the last six of David Bergland's questions:
What should the government do about the rising cost of health care?
Pragmatic: Starting from where we are, the least-bad way forward must be to offer a choice of NHS treatment OR taxpayer-funded vouchers, equivalent to cost of having that operation on the NHS (or maybe a bit less?) which patients can redeem at competing providers, topping up with their own money (or out of private insurance) if they want better/faster treatment, single room/better catering, whatever.
What should government policy be toward abortion?
Pragmatic: Provided a woman can look a doctor straight in the eye and tell him that she really doesn't want the child, then she should be allowed to have an abortion, as easily and early as possible to minimise distress and to enable her to get on with her life.
What should government policy be toward nuclear power?
Pragmatic: The government should not favour any form of energy over another, whether by subsidies, tax breaks or the planning system. The subsidies that the nuclear industry gets are very well hidden and/or difficult to quantify: there are far too many unknowns, such as the remaining life of power stations; the eventual clean-up costs; the very small risk that even a minor accident could cause billions of pounds worth of damage, a risk which is borne by society at large, not the nuclear industry via insurance. There is also the angle, that nuclear power is used as a front for nuclear weapons programs (in the UK in the 1950s as much as in Iran today).
Do we need the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that medicines are safe and effective?
Pragmatic: Nope. Provided patients are told how well the drug has been tested (subject to peer review), how long the drug has been on the market and what its side effects have been so far, it is up to the patient to decide.
Do we need zoning laws to protect our communities?
Pragmatic: The local council owns parks and municipal buildings, so it is only fair that the local electorate has a say over what happens with these. Houses on estates built as a whole can be bound in to restrictive covenants that benefit the estate as a whole while restricting what individual owners can do.
By the same token, the idea must be the most efficient use of land/locations. If that means that bungalows with large gardens near train stations, businesses and other amenities are replaced with blocks of flats, then so be it. There is also the point that birds of a feather flock together, a developer would be mad to build houses on an industrial estate, or to buy expensive residential land and build a factory on it, so our strict planning laws (which are far far stricter than the concept of Zoning in the USA) are probably a Bad Thing, all-in-all.
Do we need the government to provide loans to entrepreneurs and small business?
Pragmatic: Nope. It is up to entrepreneurs to convince their families, their bank manager, stockbrokers and professional investors. These people are far better able to make a judgment and are risking their own money, not the taxpayers'.
There was a fine letter in yesterday's London Lite free-sheet:
"Think back to the powercut a couple of years ago - how smoothly the traffic seemed to move. Everybody just seemed to get on with it, without traffic lights.
Lewis, Rayners Lane"
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
DK laid into a BBC article, which says, basically "How terrible that rich kids get the best university places!".
Rather chucklesome is that the BBC article is based on this press release from the Independent Schools Council, which says "Send your kids to us! We'll more or less guarantee you a place at a top university!"
Collating the numbers from the BBC article, the Independent Schools Council, page 57 of the DfES report, the number of 18 year-olds per the ONS and total entrants to Higher Education (scroll to end) and everaging out the discrepancies, the facts appear to be:
1. 40,000 pupils leave private school sixth forms each year, over 90% get into university and 65-70% get into a Top 20 university
2. 160,000 pupils leave state-sector sixth forms each year, about 25-30% get into a Top 20 university.
3. There are 380,000 new UK domiciled entrants to Higher Education each year, so even if 90% of all sixth formers (whether from state- or private sector) go to university, that means over half of university entrants - 200,000 each year - don't even have A-levels.
4. In other words, out of the 600,000 kids who turn 18 without having done A-levels*, 33% get into university anyway.
* My bastard socialist parents took me out of a good grammar school at age 15, it took me until age 27 to sort myself out and go to university.
I'll reply to the penultimate batch of David Bergland's questions as follows:
What is the best way to deal with the current massive budget deficits?
Pragmatic: First, cut out wasteful government spending (about 15% - 20% of all spending, or around £100 bilion per annum). Second, try and boost economy by deregulating, leaving EU, reducing barriers to trade, unilaterally if necessary. Third, simplify and reduce taxes, esp. phasing out VAT and Employer's National Insurance (the worst taxes of all). Fourth, shift from taxation of turnover/income to taxation of land/location values.
Is there a solution to the long-term financial problems of the Social Security system?
Pragmatic: The welfare system is, in practice, a pay-as-you-go system. As long as this is clear to taxpayers and welfare claimants, hopefully, society as a whole will be able to strike a 'fair' balance between benefit and tax levels. Older workers may be happy to pay more in tax if in exchange they are likely to get a higher pension. Students may be happy to accept lower grants (a form of welfare) if they know that they'll have to pay less tax once they get jobs, and so on. As long as people aren't living in absolute poverty*, then benefits are generous enough.
Should the government send foreign aid to other countries?
Pragmatic: Nope. We have been sending tens of billions of dollars a year to The Third World for negligible benefit. It just ends up going on waste, corruption and warfare. Even the massive transfers from West to East Germany, both civilized, law-abiding societies, since 1990 have achieved very little. The best we can do is scrap barriers to free trade and, at the margin, send clandestine help to democratic forces inside the worst régimes.
Should children be required by law to attend schools? Should parents be allowed to teach their children at home?
Pragmatic: 'No' to the first, provided their parents keep them off the streets and out of crime, either by making them find jobs, or indeed educating them at home, so 'Yes' to the second.
Should the ownership of firearms be restricted by law?
Pragmatic: Yes. There is no harm in shooting at private shooting ranges or on private farmland, provided gun-owners are trained/supervised properly. In practice, the idea that all citizens should be able to carry guns for self-defence seems a bit misguided. Unauthorised use of firearms (i.e. not at places mentioned above) should be punished most severely, with no lower age limit - the recent spate of black teenagers killing other black teenagers has arisen because the penalty for carrying weapons is much less severe for younger age groups.
* Except working age adults who refuse to do what work they can or otherwise sort themselves out, as a pragmatist, you have to accept that a hard core will fall through the safety net, the only question is "how many?".
Just for a bit of light relief in the L&P series, how about a 'Name the teddy bear' competition?
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
David Bergland gives the purist-libertarian response as follows:
Isn’t taxation the only way to pay for necessary government services?
Libertarian: Taxation is immoral and indistinguishable from theft. We should replace taxation with voluntary methods of funding legitimate government functions. Besides, most “government services” can be provided by private sector business, charities, and other organizations.
This is a Big Subject and so has to be broken down into bits. My pragmatic view, for what it's worth:
Taxation is to pay for public goods (and merit goods)
There is no 100% agreement on what should be in either category. I think a reasonable answer is that public goods are defence; law and order; protecting private property rights; and, at a pinch, roads and transport infrastructure. Merit goods are decided by society and would appear to include education, health and social cohesion.
Taxation is (as a matter of fact) used to pay for vast amounts of waste and quangocracy, or 'pork barrel' spending
This should be stopped immediately. Work by the Taxpayers' Alliance and commonsense indicate that about 15% - 20% of government spending falls into this category, i.e. about £100 billion per annum. The two million extra taxpayer-funded jobs 'created' since 1997* could be scrapped with no damage to 'front line services'.
Taxes should disrupt the economy as little as possible
I am with Milton Friedman on this. The least bad tax is a tax on unimproved site-only land/location values. The next least bad tax is a low, flat rate of income/corporation tax (let's say, no higher than 30%).
Taxation is theft, but then so is, ultimately, private land-ownership
For this reason, and a million-and-one others, land value taxation is infinitely preferable to taxation of incomes.
Spending on merit goods should go with the flow of the markets
I (personally) am a big fan of taxpayer-funded education vouchers and health vouchers. Sure, raising the taxes to pay for them dampens the economy, but at least we should have competing providers. I also believe (I might be in the minority here) that a bit of redistribution and/or spending on social cohesion never went amiss. The least bad form of welfare is universal, non-contributory, non-means tested, non taxable benefits, i.e. a Citizen's Income.
Isn't a higher tax-free personal allowance better than a Citizen's Income?
Perhaps it is - taking my suggested figures of a CI** of £60 p.w. (=£3,000 p.a.) and a flat tax rate of 30%, everybody would be allowed to choose between a) taking the CI and paying 30% tax on all their income OR b) waiving the CI and having a £10,000 tax-free personal allowance, thus saving £3,000 p.a. in income tax.
Would a Citizen's Income be enough to cover housing costs?
Nope, certainly not. Housing Benefit is a direct subsidy to landowners and so just distorts the market for those who don't qualify. I envisage a universal CI of about £60 p.w. (for working age adults), if unemployed households need to pay rent, then instead of an extra £100 p.w. Housing/Council Tax Benefit and so on, the State should offer them Workfare jobs paying £100 a week, doing whatever they can that is of some benefit to society/the taxpayer.
* Multiply the % figure for "Public Admin, Education, Health" in column L by the total number of employees in column B of this.
** Half that for children, double that for people over pension age, let's say.
Monday, 26 November 2007
Turning to the next batch of six questions posed by David Bergland ...
Should government impose tariffs, quotas, embargoes, or other restrictions on international trade?
Pragmatic: No. Free trade is good. Being able to export means that we have larger markets. Being able to import means we can buy things at their lowest price. Both make an economy richer. This is not a zero-sum game - free trade is a positive-sum game.
Should the government mandate a minimum wage?
Pragmatic: No. You can't make employers pay more than a job is worth, they will just go out of business. What a minimum wage does is shut down those industries where the market wage is less than whatever arbitrary figure is chosen. It's a free world - nobody has to take on a low paid job if he doesn't want to. Low earners can be helped best by universal, non-means tested benefits. The effect of taxing profitable businesses to pay for such benefits is far less damaging to the economy than imposing a minimum wage.
I'll do the question on 'taxation' in a later post, this is a huge topic all of its own.
Should the government send troops to intervene in the affairs of other countries?
Pragmatic: No. However well intentioned this might be, and however easy it may be (in military terms) to invade smaller countries, history shows us that the aggressor always loses out in the end, whether for military, economic or political reasons. Except in extreme circumstances (Germany and Japan after WW2), the aggressor nearly always messes up the subsequent occupation.
Should the government continue to participate in and support the United Nations?
Pragmatic: No. The UN has become a bloated, expensive, ineffectual and corrupt talking shop, that has achieved precisely nothing in the last ten or fifteen years. It has passed its sell-by-date, just like all the other empires and supra-national bodies.
Should young people be compelled to serve in some capacity in the name of “national service”?
Pragmatic: No, certainly not. No sensible parent wants their children losing out six months or a year of their lives doing something pointless. Sensible children want to get on with studying and working.
Should the government help businesses during hard economic times with low-interest loans or subsidies?
Pragmatic: Nope. Government-backed low-interest loans or subsidies keep businesses that ought to fail afloat, and governments always end up throwing good money after bad. These loans have to be paid for out of other people's taxes (present or future) so making it less likely that businesses that ought to survive actually do survive.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
There are those who say that libertarianism is actually a belief system. I am not actually sure whether I believe in anything apart from commonsense and intellectual honesty, or 'pragmatism' for want of a catchy name, I am a political atheist and therefore only a libertarian by default.
Just for fun, let's try giving pragmatic answers to the first six of Dave Bergland's killer questions, which distinguish between traditionally left-wing, right-wing and libertarian replies and see how similar they are to the libertarian answers:
Should there be a draft for military purposes?
Pragmatic: Certainly not during peacetime, and only during war time if there is a real threat that the country will be invaded and conquered.
Should government own or control newspapers, radio, or television?
Pragmatic: No, why? It just ends up as taxpayer-funded propaganda. People don't like propaganda, it's boring, if nothing else, so that is just a waste of money.
Should government regulate sexual activity among consenting adults, including prostitution?
Pragmatic: No certainly not. To be able to regulate what goes on behind closed doors properly and fairly, you'd need a surveillance state. Making (activities related to) prostitution illegal make it more dangerous for prostitutes. There are states where prostitution/brothels are legal/regulated and things work just fine.
Should drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin be legalized?
Pragmatic: People will take drugs anyway, whether they are legal or not. Making them illegal attracts criminals as suppliers, reduces the quality (so increasing the burden on health services) and increases the price (thus pushing users into crime or prostitution to fund their habits). These drugs should be legally available, suitable regulated and taxed to ensure that the user pays the 'social costs' of the drugs.
And, leaving the question about immigration until post 6 in this series...
Should government subsidize farmers and regulate what they grow?
Pragmatic: No, certainly not. One man's subsidy is another man's tax burden. Subsidies for land-owernship are the worst subsidies of all. The decision as to what to grow is best left to individual farmers, who in turn respond to what households actually want to eat. Conversely, if farmers are left to their own devices, then the government takes less of the blame when things go wrong.
In summary, I don't see any real difference between the libertarian answers and the pragmatic answers. Have I missed something here?
This is quite good fun actually, I think I'll answer the rest of the questions in the next instalments to this series.
Saturday, 24 November 2007
From the excellent b3ta website
Longrider laid into Blunkett's pro-ID card stance, I must admit I only skim read it and commented as follows:
"I don’t think that the ID card thing is particularly about power over the populace. The key to this is, there will be multi-billion pound contracts up for grabs, with massive profits for the lucky winning bidders, who might just make the rational calculation that a judicious donation of a million pounds or two to Nulab, plus a couple of directorships for ex-Cabinet ministers, could swing things in their favour …"
The last letter on the subject in today's Times spells this out a bit more clearly - to summarise:
DAVID BLUNKETT WORKS FOR ONE OF THE BIDDERS FOR THE ID-CARD CONTRACTS
F***ing hell, I knew these people were con-artists and thieves, I just didn't realise they'd be that blatant about it.
You'll probably hear this song several times over the next few weeks, just like you've heard it hundred of times before. Yeah, yeah ... it's that time of the year ... blah blah.
But you have to listen to it! It is pure unbridled genius!
The song is so slow that you cannot actually tap your foot to it; towards the end, the backing musicians actually nip out of the room for a comfort break, leaving Bing to stretch out "... and may all your ..." just long enough for the musicians to rush back in and pick up their instruments again.
And there's whistling on it. And it was recorded in one take in 1947. And so on.
Friday, 23 November 2007
His killers were today sentenced to 'life', which means they'll be out in 13 to 17 years at the latest, no doubt minus time off for 'good behaviour'.
As Kevin's father said, " ... life to me should mean life and they should come out of prison in a box".
I 100% oppose the death penalty - it's barbaric and there's always the chance you execute somebody who is innocent - but the "life means life" policy, as costed out in my previous post, seems like an affordable, sensible policy to me.
* I hope I have caused no offence if I am a year out on Kevin's date of birth.
Let's assume that there are 1,000 murders a year in the UK, half of which result in a conviction (see page 49 of this); that the average time served for murder is currently about ten years; and that the average remaining life expectancy of convicts at conviction is forty years.
If "life meant life" (for clarity, if "convicted murderers were locked up until they committed suicide or died of disease or old age") there'd thus be an additional 7,500 prisoners in the UK on average (500 x 40 years less 10 years x one-half).
The average cost of a prisoner per year is £35,000 (scroll down to 'per capita costs'), so the total annual cost of holding an extra 7,500 prisoners would be £262 million*. That's about £10 per annum per tax payer (31 million income tax payers or 23 million Council Tax payers, take your pick).
Where can I send my £10?
* That's the headline cost. Given that I'd cheerfully legalise most drugs and activities related to prostitution, there'd be plenty of prison cells left over for murderers. Similarly, the policy may have a deterrent effect and/or reduce recidivism - the £10 per taxpayer per annum is very much a ballpark figure.
Just in case anybody is wondering, I am not "Mark Wadsworth, Case Officer"*, whose name appears right at the end of this fascinating document on a planning application for a waste treatment plant published by the Greater LondON Authority**.
Neither am I the actor from Coronation Street, the musician/percussionist from Manchester, or the chubby geek from Tangent Techologies, California. And so on.
* "Mark Wadsworth" is, as you may have gathered, a two-a-penny name, which is why he jazzes up his email address with an extra "s", presumably his middle initial.
** Not to be confused with the LondON Assembly, of course. Or indeed the LondON Development Agency.
Geek points for the first person to track down an article or comment saying "Global warming caused a bit of the Antarctic ice to break away and float off, ergo, global warming is the direct cause of this maritime disaster".
Please click here and put a :) on his face; and stick a link on your own blog, if you have time.
Update 19.40 GMT, he had his 1 millionth visitor earlier this evening and has gone to the pub. Job done.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
* Richard Whelan was 28 when he was murdered in mid-2005, so he might have been born in 1976, if I have got his year of birth wrong, then I hope I have not caused any offence to his family and friends.
I've noticed that these cafés use the slogan 'The best espresso this side of Milan".
For this to be true, the espresso that they serve would have to get progressively better, the further that the café serving it is from Milan.
Ergo, if it is true, the best espresso in the world must be served in the Caffè Nero which is furthest from Milan, i.e. somewhere in the South Pacific.
There was a cracking by-line in today's paper Metro, which is unfortunately not in the corresponding online article. Under a picture of the spaceport was the caption:
"The spaceport will be dug into the New Mexico desert, where it will harness natural resources and be ecologically sound. Apart from the space travel bit, of course".
The incorrect use of a full stop rather than a comma before the word "Apart" makes it all the funnier. Of course.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Christina Speight has come up with a cunning plan:
"I think if I were in devious NewLabour I’d be making two new copies of the disks and by chance letting the police find them. But that would be dishonest - er - unless you have a good spin doctor".
I wonder what sort of reply Little Fat Bastard will get to this?
Plenty of socialist logic here.
1. "Grammar schools in England fail to alleviate poverty". Er, schools are not there to "alleviate poverty" as such, they are there to provide an eduation and hopefully equip pupils to get more out of their later lives.
2. There are 164 grammar schools in England, as against just over 4,ooo,ooo children of school age, so what sort of overall impact can they possibly have anyway?
3. Grammar schools take a disproportionate number of children from fee-paying primaries. Yeah, and? Doesn't this go to show that fee-paying primaries provide a better education than State primaries, giving those kids a better chance of passing the entrance exam?
Er, isn't the real question "Would it help 'alleviate poverty' if we had more grammar schools?", as usual, it's the real question that these socialists refuse to answer.
The real answer is, of course, is 'vouchers for schools', it's that simple.
The Daily Brute has more gory details.
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Of course, this is just another example of Nulab fuckwittery ("f***ed truly, f***ed all are we"*), what surprises me is that all this data will fit on "two computer discs".
Do they just mean common or garden CD's or DVD's or is it something more sophisticated than that?
* In a Yoda voice, or it's not funny.
I can't honestly say, from the comfort of my Safe European Home, that I agree with what he is thought to have stood for, but he certainly had principles.
And with the benefit of hindsight, might things not have turned out better had he not been forced out of office?
There was a cracking letter in today's FT as follows:
I have reread the headline “MPs in call for costly Galileo to be scrapped” (November 12). Do you have a list of these MPs, please? How soon can they be scrapped?
In which, in a few short paragraphs, they present the case for Land Value Tax by another name.
Monday, 19 November 2007
The eponymous Donald over at Tim W posted a link to these stat's, which I have added to my "Statistics (UK) and stuff" section.
I do hope that people find this section useful, I do prefer discussion based on facts and logic etc.
Inspired by Jewish Pride (and others) I have added a new widget at the bottom of my side bar.
They don't seem to have a category for "verging on the insane", so they gave me the next best thing!
From today's Metro ... yada yada, blah waffle, ah ... what's this..?
"More than half the 4 billion people in Asia live near coasts, putting them in danger from sea level rises, the report says."
Hey ... I've got an idea: move away from the coast! Asia's got plenty of land that is well above sea level.
Hurrah, another global problem solved by the application of logic and commonsense!
Sunday, 18 November 2007
This article in praise of libertarianism, which has been on the UKIP website for a couple of weeks, is well worth a read.
Gregg Beaman suggests, quite rightly, that both the smoking ban and the hunting ban should be repealed. Unfortunately he doesn't go as far as to say that drugs should be legally available (suitably regulated and taxed); that all the silly rules against prostitution should be scrapped, that traffic lights should be turned off and absolute speed limits on motorways should be ended, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
Gregg Beaman, you rock!
Rather worrying, near the end of the article we get this...
Nevertheless, the report for the Primary Review concludes that, as a general rule, children do learn to read in primary school. "Most cannot read before they start school and the vast majority of children are able to do so by the time they move to secondary school.
'The vast majority'? Jesus H F***! As long as 80% or 90% can read at age 11, that's OK is it? How on earth are the 10% or 20% who can't read supposed to learn a single thing at secondary school?
Who kept England's slim hopes of qualifying for Euro 2008 alive by beating Russia 2-1 yesterday.
Saturday, 17 November 2007
She wails on at length, as reported in yesterday's FT, that developers take too long to build what they're supposed to be building, and waffles on about "binding contracts which specify a time frame for delivery".
It's far simpler than that.
If, as suggested by Conservative MP David Curry, the government, aka English Partnerships*, were to grant itself planning permission first and then sell off the land, making it subject to an annual Land Value Tax ('LVT'), this would reduce the up-front price** that the developer has to pay for the site (LVT would act like an extra interest rate, so depress the price) but also act as an extra incentive for the developer to get the development finished ASAP.
* A totally evil quango, BTW.
** The State can grant itself planning permission at zero cost, but captures the windfall gain via higher selling price and/or future LVT receipts.
The alarmists spent years trying to persuade us that temperatures were already rising gradually but measurably, which has been pretty much debunked, as it was hotter in 1936 than in 2006. And it's no warmer now than during the Mediæval Warm Period.
"Never mind", say the alarmists, "we've changed our minds: temperatures aren't rising yet, but they will do at some unspecified point in the near future".
The end is nigh! Not.
Friday, 16 November 2007
I ask myself, who's the actual f***ing villain of the piece...
... the local council who creamed off £400,000 of Council Tax-payers money to give to some totally unqualified jobsworth to spend on 'works of art', or the dedicted husband-wife-son team who fleeced them?
Read about The Daily Brute's recent experience here.
Now this is very worrying.
To summarise, 52% of teenagers are either wierdos, prudes, Muslims, liars, or too stupid to realise that alco-pops and cider do in fact contain alcohol.
From today's Metro (article not available online):
"Helping the world's poorest could be hampered by Whitehall staff cuts, MPs warned yesterday. Annual global aid from the Government is to rise to £9 billion by 2010. But the International Development Select Committee said slashing jobs might lead to the extra cash being not directed where it was most needed"
Ah ... the First Rule of Bureaucracy in action: distract attention from the fact its your own cushy jobs that you are trying to protect by wailing that you losing your job will hurt the "vulnerable" and the "needy".
Further, this £9 billion costs twice as much to raise (deadweight and collection costs). So really it costs us £600 per taxpayer per annum
Finally, most of this £9 billion is spent on weapons, bribes and other little luxuries for the ruling classes in the Third World.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Like, er, Danegeld, or something?
What's wrong with a bit of good old-fashioned discipline? I don't mean caning or anything daft like that, but allowing schools to expel bullies, full stop.
These bullies would then be decamped into tough schools run by ex-soldiers and ex-coppers who take no shit; if they get expelled from there, they hang around on street corners; if they commit a violent crime they get locked up in prison. For life.
Hey kids, it's your choice! Behave and work hard, you'll do well and you'll be looked after. F*** about and the parents of the kids you bullied will be happy to pay to have you put away.
As mentioned before, an authoritarian government needs to generate a climate of fear to stay in power. This 28, 56 and 90-day detention stuff helps Nulab achieve this goal in several ways:
1. It scares mainstream Muslims and acts as a recruiting sergeant for Islamists, who in turn scare mainstream Muslims even more as well as scaring the pants off the general public.
2. So there's a knock-on effect that Nulab have an excuse to step up 'security' measures, like ID cards and also have an excuse to fund Muslim and Islamist groups to make it look they are on the side of Muslims.
3. It makes people worry about how bad the terror threat might really be, along the lines of "Crikey, if we have to go to such extreme measures, it must be pretty dire"
4. Having stoked up Islamism and wound up mainstream Muslims and the general public to hysteria via steps 1. to 3. above, Nulab can then play the "tough on terror" card, the Brave Protecting Party.
5. And of course, this generates tons of taxpayer-funded work for 'human rights' lawyers, doublesplusgood!
It's all rather neat and circular and self-fulfilling, without making people the slightest bit safer and probably making things worse all round.
From yesterday's FT:
"The [Security Industry Authority] establishes that applicants are "fit and proper" before giving them a licence, a process that involves establishing their identity and carrying out criminality checks.
"But Ms Smith said there was no requirement to check the nationality of the applicants - that was the legal duty of the employers. Her aides said later they expected "fairly hefty fines" to be levied against those who gave jobs to illegal migrants".
1. If the SIA doesn't know what country somebody is from, how can they check whether he (or she) has a criminal record in that country?
2. Don't forget that some illegal immigrants ended up working at e.g. Home Office*, so it obviously ain't that easy to check people's nationality and so on.
3. But there'll be 'fairly hefty fines' on the private sector anyway.
"Don't do as we do, do as we say", is the message as ever.
* Yes, I know that these were technically agency workers.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
"A Party member ... is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred over foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories and self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party"
Fast forward to the transcript of Tony Blair's interview with Andrew Marr of September 2006.
" ... the absolute essence of the moment, believe me, after the last few weeks, is go back to the public ... and talk to the public about the issues that worry them. I mean we will have a debate, for example, on immigration and law and order, this week. I think probably for the people out there these issues to do with migration, terrorism, law and order, are probably the single source of insecurity out there they worry about most. They will be the centrepiece of the Queen's speech later in the year. It's essential we go back and talk about these things".
Please note that the elected PM was not saying "do" anything about things that make them feel insecure, he was quite clearly saying "talk about" those things, i.e. whip up their fears a bit, make them feel even more insecure, but for Heaven's sake, don't "do" anything.
If anything, it is Nulab who are allowing unlimited mass immigration; who are releasing violent criminals to offend again, because they, er, forgot to build any prison places; and who are stoking terrorism by a combination of 'War on terror' coupled with State funding for Islamist organisations. So they are making things worse while at the same time presenting themselves as a Government that has either the skills or the will to do anything about it.
Oh yeah, and whip up hysteria about non-existent climate change and fatal bird 'flu while you're at it, you bastards.
Does what it says on the tin. Unfortunately
the photo only shows one of 'em, but who's complaining?
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
The deadly bird 'flu strain has killed 200 people over the past five or ten years.
So, out of a world population of 6,600 million, your chances of dying of it are like, slightly less than the number of decimal places after the full stop on your calculator.
"From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able, under-employed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own ranks.
"The problem, that is to say, is educational. It is a problem of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the directing group and of the larger executive group that lies immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in a negative way ... but since military and commercial rivalry are no longer important, the level of popular education is actually declining".
They certainly chose a very appropriate way of commemorating* the third anniversary of the death of the multi-millionaire terrorist. His family must be so proud.
* At the risk of labouring the point, imagine the FT's headline without the words "at Fatah rally".
Blares the headline in today's Independent, followed by a jumble of letters to illustrate what dyslexia is about.
Monday, 12 November 2007
All a bit nasty and so on, but probably not much to worry about in the grander scheme of things, oil being a naturally occuring substance and all, but hey...
What I find tattifilarious is the reference to "scores of birds dead".
Dude, WTF? A ship nearly sank? Two dozen beaches closed? And a multiple of twenty birds dead?
Things have got so much better for the down-trodden African!
When asked "If you took over the world what changes would you make?", the Girls Aloud star hit straight back: "I'd sack Gordon Brown to start with".
You can't say fairer than that, can you?
I'm on the road again today, so there'll be no incisive and witty posts until this evening. Well, not on this 'blog at least.
"The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class...
"As compared with their opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition".
I tell you, George Orwell may have written that sixty years ago, but it is all so spot on, it is uncanny. He missed off 'lawyers' from the list, is all.
Sunday, 11 November 2007
I fully agree with the idea that if you can't stop the drugs trade, the least-worst solution is to buy up all the raw materials from farmers and, ultimately, chuck it into the oceans. The raw materials cost a tiny fraction of the 'street' price, which in turn is only a fraction of the damage that drugs cause overall, once you factor in the social costs. As well as legalising, regulating and taxing drug purchases as far possible, that's a slightly different topic.
So far so good.
But there is no plan that The Goblin King cannot totally f*** up.
He now plans to pay people for not growing poppies. Which, like all agricultural subsidies, will totally misfire. Who is going to check that that field could have grown poppies anyway? Who is going to check that they are not cashing in the subsidies and growing poppies anyway? Who is going to check that field even exists? And so on.
FFS, it is not growing poppies that causes the trouble, it's refining them into heroin. The subsidy has to be at least equal to the potential profit from growing poppies. The easiest way to do it is to buy the stuff at market prices. Any other system means we are either overpaying (and wasting money) or underpaying (and the bribe will have no effect).
This would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.
In fact, it is funny. And pathetic.
The Daily Brute has received an excellent summary of why we should be concerned about climate change.
Good to know that the country is in such safe hands.
Saturday, 10 November 2007
I was pro- and demoting a couple of blogs between my 'Top Twelve Blogs' and 'Other blogs I visit' just now and managed to delete the latter category wholesale. Oops.
I think I've reinstated most of them, but if there's anybody missing, please leave a message and I'll stick them back in. Ta muchly.
I'm pretty relaxed about them, you beardy twat.
What's with this 1930s Germany obsession? I don't remember fundamentalist Jewish people blowing up trains and buildings or anything. Hmm.
Well, what a f***ing blinding idea! I wonder why nobody else thought of it...
Friday, 9 November 2007
See my comment* at Tim W's here. Follow up here.
Offending article here, see last paragraph.
* My excuse for delay in commenting being I had a busy day today. and did not get round to reading FT until I was on the way home.
Daft bastards, honestly.
The number in private education is flat, the number of kids in the 11 to 15 relevant age group has gone down from 3.3 million to 3.2 million (falling birth rates, and all that).
So the correct headline would've been "Total number of live births in England was lower in 1996 than it was in 1992. Which, er, has been common knowledge since 1996 or so".
Quick, ban this sort of thing immediately in the name of Elfin Safety!
We all thought the damn' Arctic Ice was melting, reducing the risk of iceberg collisions and opening up the North-West Passage.
According to the 'Weather Eye' in Wednesday's Times (not available online), research carried out for a charity called Cape Farewell, strong winds have just blown some of the Arctic Ice a few miles south and jammed it all against the eastern coast of Greenland.
The good news is that the Gulf Stream is not affected, that keeps the UK relatively warm for its latititude.
Thursday, 8 November 2007
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
No posts today because I had to leave home at the crack of a sparrow's fart and make my way to the West Country. I'm using this computer now I've finished what I was doing and they've all gone home.
They have a great poster up, which just says "Discard Giscard". Damn! Why didn't I think of that!
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
You may or may not remember possibly the worst manufactured band of all time, from a few years ago, called Blazin' Squad.
A splinter band thereof, called Friday Hill, released a cracking single in the interim, called 'Baby goodbye', available on Now 62*, with the catchy chorus "I ... wanted you to go your way, I ... wanted you to go mine"**
I have now worked out why they called themselves Friday Hill***. Which puts them in the same pop-trivia category as E17, All Saints and Al Green****
* Disc 1, track 17.
** The word "I" was sung about one octave higher than the rest.
*** Which is right next to 'Pimp Hall Park'. Bizarre.
**** When he first started, he performed with his wife Beth. Their stage name was "Beth'n'Al Green"
After a long list of Statist crap, we get this ....
'Tony Woodley, [Unite's] joint general secretary, said: "... job security, housing and decent pay are still the bread and butter issues that our members need to see action on."'
Write out ten thousand times "On which our members need to see action", you piece of shit!
Monday, 5 November 2007
I have been tagged by The Remittance Man.
I think that other bloggers have been too UK-centric, so here's my global list (in no particular order), the reasons for each should be obvious:
Whoever's in charge in Burma
Whoever's in charge in The People's Republic of China
The Goblin King
Manuel thingy Barroso
Fidel Castro's brother
I tag Vindico and Simon Clark. I didn't tag Henry North London, because he's an ex-doctor and probably far too grown up for this sort of thing. The form appears to be that you don't tip off your tag-ees, so I won't.
One small step back for organised religion, one small step forward for the Darwinian gene pool.
If you enjoy a nice bit of hypocrisy, go and roll around in this.
My personal highlight is horsey-face Spelman talking about "the progress David Cameron has made on the issue of migration".
Er, DC is not in government and he has not made progress on anything. Nobody knows what his policy on immigration might be, short of the fact that he'd not take us out of the EU, ergo he wouldn't have much control over immigration even if he were in government.
Or is horsey-face referring to "the progress that David Cameron has made [in tricking the electorate into thinking that he has any idea on how to deal with] the issue of immigration [without actually coming up with any policies]?
Update: you can send Nigel your message of support here.
Sunday, 4 November 2007
One of the ways in which a ruling élite preserves its power is by lying to the public and whipping up an atmosphere of terror and mistrust between fellow citizens.
The NT was at it again yesterday, obtaining good coverage in The Times and on the BBC website. "Chairman Sir William Proby claimed some 10,000 acres of the green belt is at risk, which he said was 'terrifying'."
OK, about 10% of England & Wales is greenbelt, or over 3 million acres.
Further, only 13.5% of England & Wales is developed at all (inlcuding urban, rural and transport), see table 8.1 of this. OK, those are figures for 1998, but not much has happened since then. In any event, 13.5% includes gardens and parks and so on.
So by deduction, 86.5% of E&W is agricultural land, some of which has hallowed "greenbelt" status but most of which does not.
"Terrifying"? 10,000 acres out of 3 million, that's about one-third of a percent. Things look pretty rosy to me. Unless you're a first time buyer of course.
OK, say the National Trust, if we are to build more houses, let's build them on brownfield sites.
Oh no, say 'Garden Organic', we can't have more new houses in urban areas, because they are eating up gardens. "It says an area the equivalent of 2,755 Wembley pitches will be lost to new housing in Britain over the next decade".
"Lost"? Dude, WTF? Does anybody think that the plot of land on which their house is built has been lost?
The much maligned Nigel Hastilow (who has an unashamedly fine taste in music) wrote the following:
"When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most say immigration. Many insist: 'Enoch [who warned that that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably] Powell was right'. He was right. It has changed dramatically."
Now, it may be that Hastilow is lying in that nobody has ever said to him that 'Enoch* was right' (which seems unlikely**), but apart from that, this all seems fair enough to me.
I can't help thinking, if the Conservative and Labour governments of the 1960s and 1970s had been fast forwarded to Bradford and Tower Hamlets in the 21st century and back again, maybe they would have been a bit more cautious.
* My problem with Enoch Powell is that he was Health Minister in the early 1960s, and was responsible for recruiting nurses from the West Indies, which may have seemed like a good idea at the time ...
** I have heard plenty of people say this sort of thing. Fact.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
Mike Baker at the BBC explains all the unintended consequences that might arise from this Nulab strategy of threatening to "close failing schools". He seems to have put about twenty times more thought into it than the whole bloody government.
Friday, 2 November 2007
I checked my referrals just now, and am proud to announce that if you do a search on "Kate McCann's tits" from Swedish Google, I score nine out of the first ten places (directly or indirectly).
Link number ten appears to be a stream-of-consciousness/Clockwork Orange-style summary of my entire blog up to 1 October 2007 - including comments - in sort of reverse/random order.
Shit, did a human being type this up, or was it some cunning artificial-intelligence program?
This appeared in my in-box, so my immediate thought was to reply with a traditional "Go f*** yourself".
Having opened it, I noticed that it was in fact a perfectly legit e-mail from a recruitment agency.
I was mulling over whether to do a post on this most difficult topic, but The Sage King has already summed it up nicely.
For 'fair', read 'tightly controlled by thousands of meddling bureaucrats who will end up making things even worse than they are now. At a huge great expense to the taxpayer'.
'Fair' could mean, for example, that every class must have at least one bully and troublemaker, one drug dealer and one mentally handicapped kid.
Now, this is what I call a fair schools system (with further tweaks and fine-tuning in the comments).
Thursday, 1 November 2007
There's a nice summary in yesterday's FT, if you can be bothered to register.
In brief, number of jobs 'created' since 1997 = 2.7 million
Number of migrant workers = 1.3 million (splitting difference between possible lower and higher figures)
Number of additional jobs in 'Public administration, education and health' from Spring 1997 to Winter 2006 = 1.9 million (column L of this)
By subtraction, number of additional jobs in private sector since 1997 = 0.8 million
Creating that many new public sector jobs would be bad enough*, but even assuming that migrant workers primarily work in the private sector, at least half a million migrants must be working in the public sector
The bottom line? Nulab have been creating public sector make-work jobs to suck in immigrants and keep them happy.
* To massage the unemployed stats, to create an army of captive voters and to achieve Nulab's socialist Big State ideals etc etc.
1) The Nulab government is forever telling us that migrants 'add £6 billion to the economy', so it's only fair that local councils are given extra money to cover the actual costs of migration. Calling the government's bluff, so to speak.
2) This is of course also a fine argument for more local and less national taxation. If immigration is really good for the economy (opinions differ - I am agnostic on this one), then local councils would be welcoming them with open arms, knowing that the extra tax they'll get exceeds the extra costs.