March 31, 2005

Why I Am Not a Conservative (F.A. Hayek)

Why I Am Not a Conservative (F.A. Hayek)

Both Blair and Howard echo the rhetoric of fascism

An article by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian about how Guardian Both Blair and Howard echo the rhetoric of fascism, however Blair is not only using the language but setting up the policies of a totalitarian state.

'Drop council tax' pledge made

The, increasingly attractive looking, Lib-Dems are commited toDropping council tax, in favour of a local income tax. This is good as the massive recent increases in tax have lead to the first fall in household incomes in 15 years despite the robust performance of the economy. But will they get to the real nub of the problem and try to get councils to do less, and do what they do more efficiently? Probably not, there appears to be no current party willing to offer that the classical Liberal approach.

Economy focus for election battle

Labour was always going to try and focus on the economy, they don't have much else to cheer about, but amoungst their record there is one blemish official figures show household incomes fell for the first time in 15 years, former cabinet minister Mr Milburn claims that this was because "self-employed people had been affected by the world downturn which had hit their profits" small problem Mr Milburn that was a lie there has been no "world downturn" last year with all the major economic areas, except the Eurozone, growing strongly. The last "world downturn" was in 2001 and household incomes grew happily through it. As the real "world downturn" of 2001 did not have a major effect on household incomes, and the British and world economies are currently growing well there must be another cause for the sudden change in household income. What else is happening that could account for it? Could it possibly be the tax rises that have been happening recently, and will only increase should Labour get re-elected, such as the massive rises in council tax?

March 30, 2005

Science too hard for juries

Yet another attack on jury trial, the bedrock of the british justice system for the last thousand years. They are already going to be removed in cases of complex frauds, the legislation has already been passed but is currently not used, and now cases involving complex science are to have juries exluded from them, complex science such as forensics perhaps? New Labour seems absolutly desporate to get rid of our Civil Liberties as fast as is inhumanly possible, the real shame is that nobody seems to be trying to stop them, none of the major parties care about the freedom of individuals and all of them have the tendency to think that they know how to run peoples lives better than they do.

Return of the Mac

An essay by Paul Graham on the return of the Mac as the hackers machine of choice, and by "hacker" I mean computer expert that can get their machine to do tricks that it was never designed to not the people that break into other peoples systems. Interesting to read, the Mac world should be getting even more interesting in future.

March 29, 2005

European Arrest Warrant

The European arrest warrant has come into operation and whom is it being used to arrest, drug dealers? Crime lords? People sumgglers? Corrupt transnational politicians (come off it)? No it's actually being used to supress freedom of speach and extend censorship to a transnational level. Story found via EU-Serf, who found it via Natalie Solent, via Public Interest.

March 24, 2005

Europe's centralising dynamic must be checked

A petition by over a hundred universities and think tanks has been sent to the FT pleeding the EU to stop centralising everything that it can lay its hands on. Fat chance, Aquis Comunitaire is still slowly rachetting power away from the member states as it has since the Eurolands inception in the Treaty of Rome. Everything in Euroland will eventually come under the auspices of Brussels, leaving the people of Europe stuck with economic stagnation, corruption, and inefficiency that it leaves in it's wake.

March 23, 2005

Tony Blair is a liar

I really can't resist a good googlebomb, and this one is even true. Following Bloggerheads (UK) I would like to say that Tony Blair is a liar. Should you need proof of the lies that liar Tony has been telling over Iraq then it in the Bloggerheads post.

CAP, the wealth subsidy scam

From North Sea Diaries is a post detailing some of the obsurdities that are produced by the C[r]AP:
  • The Duke of Marlborough, who owns Blenheim Palace and estate in Oxfordshire, receives £511,435
  • Duke of Richmond, who is ranked 865th in the Rich List and is worth £45 million, was paid £456,404
  • Queen received a cool half million
  • Tate & Lyle got £127 million
  • Sir Richard Sutton, who already has £120 million in the bank, was sent a cheque for £1.1 million
But a poor farmer, you know one of the people that this abomimation is supposed to be helping, only got 31p. While some of the more ludicrous bits of CAP are being reformed, such as being paid to farm and then being paid more to not produce anything, it will still be the case that it is going to be the richest landowners that get the most and the poorest, again the people that they claim it is there to help, the least. CAP is simply a way that tax payers get to subsidise rich landowners and food export corporations, whilst ignoring the poor european farmers, destroying third world farmers (and therefore stoking up the resentment that leads to terrorism), and meaning that we have to pay more for the food as well. A typical EU measure.

The Commision has also deciding that EU farmers should be growing GM crops, despite there being not only no market for them, but a general dislike across Europe and in the face of moritoriums banning the growing of GM crops in some countries. They claim that they have to right to force this despite the wishes of both the European people and the colective parliments of Europe as the parliments of europe have failed to do anything, that is they have not allowed the growing of GM crops. Another victory for EU style democracy, the only course of action that we will recognise is the course of action that we approve. And if you are just doing nothing (with nothing being anything other than the EU way) then we will force you to do it our way.

March 22, 2005

No democratic choice in the EU

A nice, long, post by EUREALIST about the EU's contempt for the democratic process as just as the ratification begins to look shaky with the polls in France, the only country that really counts, turning against it the EU is beginning to implement the consitution anyway. Forget about it not having been ratified, and may not ever be ratified, and therefore has no legal force the EU does it anyway.

Nuclear Terrorism False Positives

There are two excuses for the police state, the state that New Labour seems to want to create, that are used more than any other. The first is 'If you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide' neatly reversing the burden of proof that is the basis of the our judical system. This is fairly easy to counter, just asked them precisely how and to whom they last made love. When they start to look flustered and try to tell you it is none of your business as you've won, since they just admitted that there are some things best kept private.

The other excuse is that some lost liberties are worth the price of the Horror™ that the Evil Terrorists™ want to unlease on us. The problem here is that they simply do not understand the problem of false positives. For example if someone who is having life saving radiotherapy can trigger shutting down an area whilst the security services search for a non-existant neucleur weapon then yes had there been a bomb there they might have found it. But the terrorist has just created the same effect of disruption, and general fear without having to go to the expence of planting a bomb. He is getting a victory, by making people affraid without lifting a finger. Whenever we let our lives be disrupted by terrorists they win, as long as are lives carry on as normal and the pathetic little fanatics are left screaming at the moon we win.

The IRA learned this trick so that they would give out coded warnings before setting off a bomb so that the area could be evacuated and everybody knew who had done it. However later they would give out the coded warnings without planting the bomb, tieing up the security services for hours and getting them the news coverage that they wanted without having to spend any of their cash on Semtex which could be better invested in drug running. The terrorist want to caurse distruption and fear, both of which are created just as easily by people thinking that something bad is going to happen as by something bad actually happening.

March 21, 2005

ID scheme will be a costly, dangerous failure, says LSE report | The Register

According to the most comprehensive study yet the ID scheme will be a costly, dangerous failure, it will massively errode civil liberties, and not even be compatible with laws such as the Human Rights Act, and everything that it seeks could be done better, for less money, with less risk, and fewer infingements of civil liberties where it done in a more decentralised way. However since the Modus Operendi of the Blair Government seems to be getting to a police state as quickly as possible from their point of view all these negitives suddenly look positive.

England Expects: How much do you think that drafting the Constitution cost?

How much do you think that drafting the Constitution cost? 136,892,468 Euros apparently, or roughly 456,300 Euro's per page (over 20 times my annual salary).

March 16, 2005

business friendly EU

Apparently the UK tax laws are incompatible with EU legislation (and what does tax policy have to do with a free trade area? Nothing, as usual. But it is one of the few powers of a Nation State that the EU hasn't taken for itself yet). It was only a matter of time really until the EU got it's hands on tax policy, and it is something that they have been creeping towards for some time now.

Police Bill needs 'robust scrutiny'

Apparently the new Police bill creating the Serious and Organised Crime office needs some serious scrutiny, which it will of course not get, as it
"plans to remove the office of constable from officers transferring to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Hansard, January 11, cols 22-38). This would mean a loss of political independence and direct control of operational policing passing to the Home Secretary for the very first time."
Yet another step towards the creation of the police state that appears to be New Labours guiding principle. But there would be someone needed to enforce the Home Secretaries will to imprison people under house arrest, and since he has already bypassed the courts to lay down the judgements why not bypass the police as well to enforce them?

EU Fraud

More from the Telegraph on fraud at the EU, how easy it is and how much of it there is:
"A fraud scandal brought down the entire Commission in 1999. Three years later, a pair of whistleblowers exposed the disappearance of �3m at the Eurostat data office, in a racket described by investigators as the tip of 'a vast enterprise of looting'. Yet Mr Muis reveals that even now the Commission has 'systemic control weaknesses' and rewards officials for turning a blind eye to graft. The EU may even have 'slipped backwards'."

EC's 'sordid accounting' damned in email from top auditor

The telegraph is covering the continued struggles of Mrs Andreasen, the woman chosen by the Prodi Commision after the mass resignation of 1999 when the rampant corruption of the previous Commision was finally made public. Unfortuantly they did not realise that getting an accountant to run their accounts department and asking her to try and root out the bad practices might actually lead to her actually doing that rather than just settling down on the gravy train like everybody else. It is also being coverered on the EU Referendum blog in several posts here here and here. Some good may have come out of this however as the EU is now going to replace the single book accountign system, which has been known as open to fraud since the 17th century, a system that is not even legal in some member states. Not that the EU has any particular problem with illegal actions so long as they further its course of political union and the creation of a single europe-wide state. The rampant institutional fraud of the Commission eurocrats is not the only way they waste vast sums of our money, there are all the little perks as well. Such as a creche that costs almost as much per child as Eton, hat-tip EU Serf. Of course if they had decided to use the creches that where already available in Belgium, but that of course would be to much of an anglo-saxon free market approach, it would have been more like £6,000 per year rather than the £20,000 that the special euro-creche costs. But apparently
"The standards are not Hilton Hotel, you won't find any gold taps, we have nothing to hide. We are simply following Belgian national standards."
Is it just me but for £20,000 a year I would expect the very best Hilton Hotel standards of creche. Where they just following the Belgian standards then why does it cost over 3 times more than a standard Belgian creche?

Harry's Place: Antifash fashion

Harry's Place: Antifash fashion

March 15, 2005

Europhobia: Thank the Lord for the Lords

nice, long post on the terrorist governments police states laws by Europhobia

March 14, 2005

Dutch may vote no

According to EU Referendum the Dutch may vote No to the constitution. The current polls says 32 per cent are against the European constitution, 35 per cent in favour and 33 per cent undecided. If they do then they will be told to vote again, and keep on voting until the give the correct answer, but at least it will stop this constitution and break the aura of inevitability that the Pro-Eurolanders use instead of rational argument.

Boris Johnson MP

A very good article about our terrorist government and their 'control orders' and the way that they are being used as an extremely cinical electeral ploy, sacrificing our basic civil liberties to try and win back some positioning in the polls on immergration and national security issues where the Tories are doing better.Boris Johnson MP:
"The more I listen to Labour ministers on this subject, the more I suspect that control orders have been pushed to the fore as an electoral device, to neutralise the advantage the Tories have claimed on asylum. It is a cynical attempt to pander to the many who think the world would be a better place if dangerous folk with dusky skins were just slammed away, and never mind a judicial proceeding; and, given the strength of this belief among good Tory folk, it is heroic of the Tories to oppose the Bill.

We do so because the removal of this ancient freedom is not only unnecessary, but it is also a victory for terror. It is an erosion of the very rights that we are struggling to promulgate in Iraq and elsewhere; and, in a key sense, it puts the Government on a par with the idiot IRA men who offer to shoot murderers.

Both the Government and IRA seem content to ignore due process of law, and both are wrong."

March 09, 2005

The price of EU membership

What is the price of EU membership, £180 billion according to EU Referendum, with us as the second highest net contributer. Without the rebate, which we will probably lose in the coming budget, we would be the single highest net contributer. We get basically nothing from the EU that could not be got by other means for basically the same price. Except for of course rafts of unrequired regulation to cripple business. The good news from this is that as stagnation increases over Euroland so does resentment to the caurse, or at least amplifier, of the problems, the EU.

March 08, 2005

Times Online - Comment

nice article on Tory's terror law's by Times Online

Terror bill faces more opposition

This terrorist government may be getting a beating in the house of Lords over their latest horrible illiberal house arrest law, but it is not over yet. So there is a call in the Guardian to remember that it is our freedom and civil liberties that make this country great, a preemptive strike to destroy them before the terrorists do will still lead to victory for the terrorists and us living in a police state. Obviously Tony's favoured solution, much easier for him to get people to vote the 'correct' way then.

European economics

On North Sea Diaries there is an article (in french) on the impact that the Euro has had on the economies of Euroland, you can translate with bablefish or go to the North Sea Diaries post on it which includes the important sections, but is translated well. What it says is what us sceptics where saying would happen has happened, it is a mess that doesn't work.

It was claimed that it would make Euroland an economic force to rival the United states. In 2003 the USA grew 3%, while Euroland ony managed 0.6%, in 2004 the USA grew 4.4% and Euroland only 2%. This year Euroland is expected to grow a mere 1.6%.
"In three years - of 2003 to 2005 -, the cumulated growth of the American economy would exceed that of the zone euro of almost seven points, which is considerable", underlines Patrick Artus, economist at Ixis CIB.
The ECB has not run the Euro well,
"Instead of us to protect from the fluctuations from the rates of exchange, the common monetary policy accentuated", deplores Philippe Brossard, director of the economic research for Euler Hermes FAC
This is not purely their fault as the economies of Euroland are simply to divergent to run it well.
The creation of the single currency was not accompanied by a convergence of the economies of the countries of the zone euro. To have the same currency and to be subjected to the same interest rates do not prevent the existence of important variations out of matter of growth, inflation and unemployment. In 2003, Ireland recorded a rise of its GDP of 3,7 %, while Portugal saw it his moving back of 1,1 % and the Netherlands of 0,9 %. In 2004, Finland had a rate of growth more than three times superior to that of Italy (3,7 %, against 1,1 %). Even heterogeneity with regard to the trend of prices. In January 2005, the annual rate of inflation was 0,1 % in Finland, but 3,1 % in Greece. As for unemployment, it was established, in January 2005, to 4,3 % in Ireland and 4,5 % in Austria, but to 10,3 % in Spain.

These disparities complicate the task of the ECB. Must it have a rather strict monetary policy adapted to Spanish economic strength and the Greek inflationary tensions? Does it have, on the contrary, to adopt a strategy of flexibility to answer the stagnation of the economies German or Italian?
This is not helped by the inabilities of the national governments to do much themselves to correct the problems thanks to the equally unsucsessful Growth and Stability Pact, which is supposed to limit the amount of borrowing that the varrious governments can undertake, as excessive borrowing could destablise the currency. Not that the Euro has ever been particually stable, having had 40% shifts in value since its inception. Nor has this pact stopped borrowing
In 1999, the budget deficit of the zone represented 1,3 % of the GDP. In 2004, it should have passed very close to the bar of 3 %. Since years, the public deficits of many countries exceed this limit of 3 % imposed by the pact of stability. France recorded in 2004 a negative balance of 3,7 % of the GDP, Greece of 5,3 %. the International Monetary International Monetary Funds still envisages, for Germany, a deficit of 3,6 % in 2005.
but it has prevented any use of the kind of Keynesian tools that could have been used to pull Euroland out of stagnation.

Nor has the Euro helped to force the Euroland countries to perform the kind of structural reforms that they need
The hope which the euro was going to allow to speed up the structural reforms in the zone euro is not concretized. On the contrary, by offering a relative impunity to the States, the euro had the opposite effect. The errors of the economic policies are not sanctioned any more by the financial markets as they were it before within the framework of the European Monetary System (EMS), by the means of pressures on the national currency or tensions on the rates of the Government loans.
The most dangerous reform that is needed being that of pensions, currently all the major Euroland economies, but not the UK, are heading towards having deficts in their pension funds of close to, or above 100% GDP by 2050:
A recent report by Standard & Poor’s stated that,

"Without further social security reform, the EU-15 public debt ratio could rise to almost 150 per cent of GDP by 2050, leading to average deficits near 10 per cent of GDP. Most of the fiscal worsening would take place after 2020."
The situation is getting such that Pro-Eurolanders are begining to tell the truth that Euroland is a political and not just economic project. Sceptics have always understood this but it is nice to see a bit of honesty, even if it is just because they can no longer possibly credibly argue that by giving away power to Brussels we will reap massive economic rewards.
Mr Liddle [Tony Blair's former Europe adviser] told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Britain's successful economy showed there was no longer a compelling financial argument for Britain to be at the centre of the EU.

"We have got to be much more honest and open with people that Europe has always been a political project.
The UK economy is doing to well compared to Euroland for this to be at all credable, despite their claims that by not joining the Euro we would get left behind economically.

March 07, 2005

Software patent directive to be adopted

The commision has decided to ignore the European Parliment's request for this legislation to be taken back to the start of the legislative process (I had thought for a while that they where actually going to listen to the democratic part of the Euroland Government, how naive) it is back on track to become law now requiring an absolute 2/3rds majority to the parliment. That is not 2/3rds of the people that turn up, at this stage anything other than saying explicitly "no", including abstaining, is considered saying "yes".

So it looks like we will be seeing wonderful things like patents on basic boolean operators taken to stiffle competing products. This from a commision that was going to put the economy at the centre of everything it did. Good bye software industry, it was nice knowing you.

ID scheme to bite dust in pre-election terror rush?

Good news from The Register, the government might not have enought time to force us all to carry ID cards, at least in this parliment, as they are consentrating on getting the power to lock everybody up without trial. It will of course be back in the next parliment, along with a raft of other measures so authoritarian that we never believed could every happen.

School Uniforms and Thought Crimes

Last week a Muslim girl won her case at appeal to be able to wear the Jilbab as opposed to the shalwar kameez which had been approved by the local Iman as correctly modest. For not obeying school rules she has not attended for two years, and then people wonder why the education acheivements amoungst muslim groups is so low, but on winnning her case she claimed it was a political point and that she was doing it to defend Islam
"it was a consequence of an atmosphere that has been created in Western societies post 9/11, an atmosphere in which Islam has been made a target for vilification in the name of the 'war on terror'"
Rather than that she was just feeling awkward and didn't feel like obeying the rules anymore. Luckily this judgement does not give the right to disobey whatever rules interfere with your fassion sence as some, including the young woman in question, had thought, as both courts ruled that havign a school uniform was good, and the way that it was decided was good. The only problem was a small item of paperwork. So what you do and why you do it doesn't matter, so long as you have some bit of paper, drafted by a lawer in proper legalese, to cover you.

The filth column

A list of the great and good who take the european shilling from England Expects, found on Tim Worstall's weekly blog round up.

When will the Spanish grow up?

When will the Spanish grow up? An interesting critique of the Spanish attitude to Gibraltar.

March 02, 2005

govenment terror

more on the governments plans to terrorise us all. First an article from the times, which says
HE LOOKED like the Manchurian Candidate. The figure at the dispatch box was massive, unshaven, confused and bumbling. This was not the Charles Clarke of old, of nutritious school food, more homework and fewer truants. He had changed. Something had got at his brain.

The Home Secretary wants to “derogate” from human rights. He demeans the British judiciary as unsound on terror. He writes mad letters to the Opposition. He demands that the Commons pass a Bill he no longer wants as law. On every side he cries threat, danger, emergency. Everyone is in uproar. So who is controlling Mr Clarke? Is it the mad cackling laugh that we hear echoing down the ravines of Bora-Bora and out over the Kandahar plains? Does Osama bin Laden still have Her Majesty’s Government on the run?

The Guardian also has an article attacking this bill, not the fact that it is basically a bad bill but on the way that it is being pushed through the house of commons without any attempts at a proper consideration of what it means to destroy teh rights that the British people have held for 800 years:

A normal bill can expect to receive about 25 hours of detailed scrutiny during its committee stage, and at least a further four or five hours on report and third reading. Yet the combined committee and third-reading stages of the bill in the Commons on Monday lasted no more than five hours in total.

Of course the governments excuse is that the threat from the Islamofacist terrorists, who have never commited one attack in this country, is so urgent that they cannot possibly delay burning the Magna Carta and Bill of Rights. The governmet claims that there are several hundred people planing attacks within this country, perhaps attacks that can be initiated in 45 minutes, but as The Register points out this is completly bogus:

The "700" Clarke refers to is the total of number of arrests made under the Terrorism Act 2000 from 11th September 2001 to 31st December 2004 (701, actually). The Home Office's breakdown of this number shows that half of these were released without charge, 119 were charged under the Act and 135 charged under other legislation. Only 17 of those charged were convicted under the Act in the period, however, and some of the others have already been acquitted, so it's by no means inevitable that the 17 will increase substantially.

and as the Times article says:

From the 1970s into the mid-1990s Britain was targeted in a series of concerted and often lethal bombing campaigns. That the bombers were not “suicidal” made little difference to the death toll, which far outstripped anything perpetrated (or reputed) by Islamic extremists today. If Mr Blair really thinks terrorism undermines British society and wants to hang tough, why did he release all IRA bombers from prison, scot free?

We know that the IRA is still active, especially since it recently carried out the biggest bank robberies in the history of Northern Ireland. Of the 17 people found guilty of terrorist acts since 9/11 in the UK, only four of the 12 whose ethnic backgrounds were known were Muslim, so is Islamofasism really that big a threat? A threat so much larger than the IRA that it requires a complete reassessment of the most basic elements of our constitution? No, of course not. But looking tough makes for good poll ratings just before an election. This becomes especially obvious when you find out that he does not even intend to use these powers strait away. If there is no need to use them then they obviously arn't required strait away, so why the rush? As in the Guardian article points out this insane speed that they are pushing things through has lead to massive abuses of parlimentary procedure, even going so far as to say it was:

... an abuse of executive power. And not an unintended one, either. The government has known both the scope and the essential content of the bill for many weeks. It was obvious that its importance and sensitivity would rouse strong feelings and require careful scrutiny. The decision to push the whole bill through in less than a month therefore amounts to a deliberate attempt to deny parliament the proper time that the bill requires.

I think that the last word on this should go to the Times as it hits the nail on the head.

Terrorism’s latest triumph was the spectacle of Mr Clarke at the dispatch box on Monday night. He shook and looked miserable as he laboured against the clock to do Osama’s bidding, to dismantle British liberty from within.

The F Scale

Another of the little political view self tests that I like. This one was originally devised by T. W. Adorno in 1949 to try and find whether you had an authoritarian personality. The american average is about 3.84, I'm at 2.4.

European Divorce and Inheritance Laws?

Tim Worstall has found a bit of news in the Telegraph on the EU's plans to harmonise the inheritance laws. What exactly does this have to do with a free trade area? Nothing, as usual. His analysis is that this harmonisation will probably lead to the errosion of the rights to give your money to whomever you want currently operated in this country and towards a more continental style where you have to give it equally to all of the children.

March 01, 2005

Codecision step by step

A EUROPA handy flow chart on how laws get through the EU red tape machine

Bush II and Human rights

Not so much about Bush as our own little Fascists in Number 10 and their destruction of our constitution. A like from it should be brought to prominance is this one on how torture is being outsourced, so that the politicians don't get their own hands dirty they simply ship anyone they think is a terrorist/terrorist sympothiser/likely to vote against them to some other country that doesn't have any quarms about torturing them until they eventually say whatever it is that the torturers want to hear.

House of Commons Hansard Debates for 23 Feb 2005 (pt 43)

List of the people that voted for and against the governments detention without trial bill from Hansard

Worried you don't understand the rules of the Euro game? You'd be more worried if you did

From the europhile Independent the constitution enshrines into law two areas of EU governance which have been completely discredited, C[r]AP and the Growth and Stability [suicide] Pact.

Times Online

More on the governments Terrorist legislation by Times Online
Profoundly undemocratic; a nonsense; an outrage; a disgrace. All sides of the House of Commons were united yesterday in condemning the farcical proceedings in which the Government tried to rush through the committee stage and third reading of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill in a single day, and not just to rush it through in a straightforward manner. No: ministers, fearful of losing the vote in the Commons, let alone the Lords, first let it be known through the media that a letter had been written to all MPs explaining the Government’s Bill.

EU Commission Declines Patent Debate Restart

In a wonderful demonstration of the what Euroland thinks of democracy it has decided to ignore the request of it's only directly elected institution to restart the debate on Software Patents and simply carry on as if nothing had happened.

Update: another article on this, this time from The Register