April 29, 2005

The Spectator

Originally following a link from Tim Worstall about my potential MP Stanley Kohnson to this article inThe Spectator:
"The best rejoinder I have heard was from my father (Tory candidate for Teignbridge, in case I forgot to mention it) who said to some pesky questioner: ‘This immigration business is a (pause, cough) tricky one. It is very important not to exaggerate the (cough) problem, but it is certainly real. Here in Devon we have to cope with people who come from as far afield as (cough) Somerset and even Wiltshire. I am having some difficulty living down the fact that I was born in Cornwall.’ Collapse of questioner."

There was also another nice story about the errosion of power to Brussels
If you are a Christian Aider worried that free trade is worse than slavery, where should you put your X? What if you are a workaholic wanting to preserve the right to put in as many hours of overtime as you want? What if you are an art dealer angered at being compelled to give a percentage to the undeserving descendants of dead painters every time a picture is sold? Should you vote Tory, Labour or Liberal Democrat?

Actually, for all the say your MP will have on these policies, you might as well vote Monster Raving Loony party. Once, in my naive cynicism, I believed the golden rule of politics was that the main aim of all institutions was to accrue power. And then I moved to Brussels. It is not the EU institutions that shy away from the Darwinian struggle for power, of course. From Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, one can only watch in admiration the deft and determined way Eurocrats talk about, plan and succeed in taking power from national parliaments in their campaign for the ‘construction of Europe’.

The House of Commons and our humble MPs, on the other hand, have apparently given up the will to legislate. Like teenagers terrified of responsibility, most MPs actively support giving away their power: they support more Europe, which inevitably means less Westminster.
This last sentiment, while true, is bizaar considering that within this country they are power mad and constantly trying to suck power out o the hands of local democracy, and individuals, and into their own hands. It is like they think, "we could do so much better than them, lets take power away from them and do it all ourselves. Then things will be great!", then when they have sucked powers away from people they think "argh! we've got to do something now, and we might be held responcible. Better give it all to brussels, everybody hates them anyway." and hence
Today, the Mother of Parliaments has lost half its power, with Brussels making half of British laws. In some areas — such as environmental and consumer protection — Brussels makes the overwhelming majority. In other areas, it makes all of them. The European constitution confirms that ‘the Union shall have exclusive competence’ in customs, including trade; cross-border competition policy; and conservation of ‘marine biological resources’ — that’s fish. It is actually illegal — a breach of treaty punishable by the European Court of Justice — for Westminster MPs to pass laws on these issues.
According to the Cabinet Office’s regulatory impact unit, ‘around half of all new legislation with a significant impact on business, charities and the voluntary sector now emanates from the EU’.
When the Commission legislation factory recently announced a bonfire of red tape, the only law it said it could do without was harmonisation of the size of packets of chicory coffee.
Then he finally gets to the nub. It is not that they are afraid of the power, they are afraid of the accountablity and actually having to explain their polices. By using the EU any moonbat proposal can get pushed through behind closed doors without them having to tell anyone why, as nobody will know until it is too late and another chunk of power is ripped away.
It is easy to see why the government agrees to transfer decision-making to Brussels. It means that it can avoid the legislative gauntlet of disgruntled MPs on one side and stroppy lobbyists and media on the other. Instead, ministers just decide a policy with their clubbable EU counterparts behind closed doors in the pink granite Council of Ministers, and then announce it in a press statement to Brussels correspondents and hand it to Westminster to rubber-stamp. With minimal public scrutiny, passing laws in Brussels is so easy that, as with the fridge mountain fiasco, the government sometimes has little idea what legislation it is agreeing to. The Labour government has recently signed up to four separate EU laws that set minimum standards for asylum, enabling them to avoid the annual catfight of forcing through immensely problematic asylum laws in the full glare of Westminster.

ALL NEW! 2005 General Election Estimation Quiz

ALL NEW! 2005 General Election Estimation Quiz, general knowlede about the level of various things.

my score is...

That means that you're...

* better informed than 66% of people who've already taken the quiz
* better informed than 63% of Labour supporters who've already taken the quiz
* better informed than 57% of Conservative supporters who've already taken the quiz
* better informed than 65% of Liberal Democrat supporters who've already taken the quiz
Now going from the relative results notice how the Conservative supporters (which as of writing I am, but I may change to Lib Dem) are much better informed than either Labour or Lib Dem supporters. Perhaps this is somethign to do with if you are interested in the news then you cannot possibly have missed the way that Labour is systematically trying to destroy the basic freedoms enjoyed by this country and so want to vote against them.

I don't have voter apathy, I just have voter rage

I don't have voter apathy, I just have voter rage - Comment - Times Online
Every single election since I have been entitled to vote, I have thought hard about whether to do so. I think about the nature of democracy and, even more painfully, about the suffragettes of my great-grandmothers’ generation, who fought so hard to win me the right to vote. And then I think about the value of that hard-won vote, and the way in which, if I use it, it endorses the party for whom I cast it. And it seems to me that refusing to cast it for anyone is the most powerful statement I can possibly make. It isn’t voter apathy that prevents me from voting. it is voter rage.
And no PR is not the answer, all that leads to is a group of untouchable career politicians that are impossible to get rid of. Working yur way up the Party hieracrcy becomes a much more effective way of remaining in your very lucrative job than actually doing what you are paid for and serving the interests of you constituents. She also says "I see the effectiveness of direct action, when a celebrity such as Jamie Oliver or Bob Geldof embraces a cause with passion." This is unfortuantly true. Since true local democracy has basically been stamped out, initially started by Thatcher to get her economic reforms across, and then continued by Blair because of his iinstinctive hatred of Democracy. celebraty power is everything, without it your cannot get onto the national media, and without the national media you are simply not on the radar screens of the top level politicians who are the only people with any power to do anything having stripped it from everybody else.

April 26, 2005

NuclearSpace: Opening the Next Frontier pt. 10

a fasinating extended essay on how to build a nuclear space ship.

Blair Lied and Admitted it to Paxman on Live TV

Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: Blair Lied and Admitted it to Paxman on Live TV

The Public Whip - How They Voted 2005

Another electoral poll thing, this one by The Public Whip, this one compares you with your current MP and the major parties. I wish that it had more questions, but it seems like I share so much with my current MP, Richard Younger-Ross, that I should vote for him again. However I have been attracted to Stanley Johnson his conservative opponent, mainly to return a major opposition party to parliment and get rid of the Tyrant Blair's massive majority. Guess it's time for more research.

Tory Policy Generator

Tory Policy Generator, scarily accurate ;)

No2ID Hustings Guide

No2ID have put out a guide for questions to ask at a political Hustings to try and get to the truth about candidates position on ID cards (while pointing out what a bad idea they are). It is a PDF, but the link on their home page does not work so here is one that does: HustingsGuide.pdf (application/pdf Object)

They have fixed the link on the home page.

Grammar schools where good

A good education leads to higher social mobility, shock.

Judges reveal anger over curbs on power

The guardian has an article about the anger of Judges about governemtn interferance with justice. The things that the article point (to which a cliassical liberal like myself would add many more) out are:
  • the recently implemented Criminal Justice Act 2003, which imposes mandatory and minimum sentences, reducing the judges' discretion to fit the punishment to the individual case;
  • the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, which allows the home secretary to restrict individuals' liberty on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities, with minimal oversight by the judges;
  • the Inquiries Act 2005, which restricts the independence of judges appointed to chair inquiries, allowing ministers to decide what evidence is given in public and to block the disclosure of evidence.
This last one they claim is because of the costs of the Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday, which is false. Had that been the problem then they could have introduced the legislation any time in their second term as for all of that time the the never ending Saville inquiry has been running, with obvious great expence. Not the Hutton inquiry is a much more likely cause as it did cause real embarrasment for New Labour as it gathered evidence by bringing to the surface the real reasons that we had gone to war, and the lies that the Tyrant Blair used to cover them up. It was only the tightly limited terms of reference, which basically stated that all the blame must be put on the BBC, that saved them. The Inquires act of 2005 is there to make sure close shaves like Hutton do not happen again, if the judge starts to investigate the 'wrong' things (e.g. stuff that is embarrassing to Tony Blair), then they just change the terms of reference to stop him. If the judge looks like coming to the 'wrong' conclusion (e.g. one embarrassing to Tony Blair) they shut him down before he can report.

Proposed EU taxes

Following a link from The Village Hampden I found this document on proposed direct EU taxation. I've tried to summarise and analyse it below, but would be interested in anyone else's views on it. Particularly the detailed economic implications.

"Tradition has it that any serious discussion on the financial perspectives of the European Union (EU) also leads to heated debates on the EU's need to decide on its own resources. This is not surprising since the power to raise taxes is often seen as a central element of state sovereignty"[page 6]
the EU plans to become a sovereign state, strait from the horses mouth. It also explicitly states that Tax Harmonisation is already happening
"illustrated by the failure to complete harmonisation for the VAT in the Community despite decades of efforts."

They give Eight criteria to judge any EU tax proposal

  1. Would the revenues of the EU tax be sufficient to cover the expenditures of the EU in the long run?
  2. Would the EU tax bring about stable revenues for the EU budget?
  3. Would the EU tax be visible to the EU citizens?
  4. Would the EU tax be simple to administer and involve low compliance costs?
  5. Would the EU tax lead to an efficient allocation of resources in the EU?
  6. Would the EU tax involve income redistribution?
  7. Would the EU tax have an equal impact on equivalent taxpayers across the EU?
  8. Would the EU tax raise revenues from the Member States in line with their economic strength?
point 7 being in direct conflict with the combined effects of 6 and 8. The whole bundle of 6, 7, and 8 being in conflict with 5. Point 1 being impossible until we actually know what the EU spends, something that has not really been known for the last 10 years since the EU accounts last added up enough for them to be signed off by the EU's auditors.

They then go on to describe the various taxes based on the criteria that I have at the top of my post.

taxSufficiencyStabilityVisibilityLow operating costsEfficient allocation of resourcesHorizontal equalityvertical equalityFair contributions
Modulated VAT++++~+~~
PERSONAL INCOME TAX++++/- *~-/+ *~+
*depending on system of collection

The reasons that they give for direct EU taxation are not exactly great

"Creating an EU tax may increase transparency of EU financing and thereby foster the involvement of the Parliament in budgetary matters. This in turn could have positive consequences in terms of efficiency. Indeed, as taxpayers tend to question the use and the amount of the taxes they pay, they also force the tax authorities to better justify the use of their resources and to make the best use of them. Increased transparency may thus impact on the accountability of a government and on overall efficiency. "[page 9]
By vastly increasing the size of the tough it may be harder for Eurocrats to get their snouts in. Or tax payers don't like endemic corruption and waste, so by increasing the amount of money thrown away in this manner the uproar might be enough to force some reforms. However this requires democratic accountability, something in almost as short supply amoungst teh Eurocrats as disliking graft. Personally I would prefer the EU to reform itself before taking any more of my money.

"Operating costs of taxation could particularly decrease in the case of taxes characterised by so-called Òregional arbitrarinessÓ that are transferred to the EU. Regional arbitrariness refers to situation where it is difficult to determine what the exact share is of a tax base that should be attributed to one or other Member State. In this case complex tax-sharing rules have to be defined, e.g. for corporate income taxation, which sometimes prove costly to both taxpayers and tax administrations. In these cases, it may be more efficient to assign the tax to the ÔhigherÕ level of authority, as is for instance the case for customs duties in the EU."[page 10]
There are cases, such as corporation taxes of multinationals, where it is hard to decide which country tax revenues should go to. So it will be easier settle these disputes if neither gets the revenue and it all gets syphoned into the accounts of the EU instead. This is quite clearly already beginning with the Cadbury and Marks & Spencer cases going through the ECJ at the moment, the judgments' from which will almost certainly lead to EU-wide corporation tax harmonisation.

"Taxes may modify the structure of prices in the economy. This may in turn affect the behaviour of economic agents. In some cases, a change of behaviour is precisely the objective underlying the creation of the tax. This is, in particular, the case where there exist market imperfections or externalities, such as in the environment field. In other cases, such a change of behaviour is not desirable and it can be a source of economic inefficiency. This is, for instance, the case when the tax treatment of a specific investment differs according to its location in the Internal Market. The ultimate location of the investment may then be determined by tax rather than by productivity concerns.

"Hence, an EU tax may facilitate the efficient allocation of resources on two grounds. First, it can potentially provide leverage for Community action and foster EU policies in fields where there are cross-border externalities and limited co-ordination of tax policies among Member States. Second, it can also lead to a harmonisation of some tax bases, with potential benefits for the Internal Market. An assessment of an EU tax should take into account these allocation effects."[page 10]
Central planning to facilitate the efficient allocation of resources, have these people ever read any economics? The command economy is back, and with it the EU plans to continue it's unparalleled economic success.

when it comes to assessing an EU tax proposal, the focus is only placed on the tax having an identical impact in the various Member States for a given taxpayer. At European level, this principle has an important symbolic value. Unequal tax treatment of equivalent EU taxpayers across the EU would probably be considered as discriminatory and against the ideals of the European construction.[page 11]
France isn't going to like this one, French people having to pay as much as the Anglo-Saxons? Don't they understand it is their role to be the milch-cow for subsidising the French way of life? It would be good if it where to happen, but the chances are very remote. Most likely taxes will simply rise to the harmonise at the highest level to accommodate bloated social welfare states. But with this in mind consider Excise Duties on Tobacco and Alcohol and the very low scored given to them. Europe á La Francais?

It is quite clear that the preferred method would be through Personal Income Tax. Everybody hates income tax so this will be a hard sell.
The next best 'Environmental' taxes (Energy tax and Aviation tax), these would also be the easiest to sell to the general public by claiming that they are their to help combat climate change, whilst not talking about the fact that the real purpose is to fund the EU. This one is especially likely as the document says
"Corporate income tax, energy taxation and a climate charge on aviation could have an impact on, and help foster EU policies."

After this there is VAT, minimum levels for which are already set by the EU, which is very similar to the current system of EU funding and could therefore be slipped in by the back door with the minimum of fuss of oversight by thoughts pesky national governments.

The document is also clear that the EU need not just limit itself to one tax,
"In principle, this problem of revenue insufficiency can be overcome by combining several resources, including contributions from the Member States, to make up for the needs of the EU budget."[page 37]
it could choose all of them. Which since the EU has never seen any of somebody else's money that it did not like it probably will over time. I think that we can expect VAT harmonisation through the ratchet mechanisms built into the current system, this will naturally lead to Modulated VAT as a basic extension of the current system of funding. Energy and Aviation taxes will also probably be coming out of Brussels in short order, disguised as a way to save the environment when they really have nothing to do with it. The ultimate goal must be EU levied Income Tax, but that is probably some time off, the EU works by stealthy assimilation and that is simply too 'visible'. It should also be noted that the ECJ is working at turning Corporate Income Tax into an EU tax, despite it being rather unsuitable by there own criteria, the only two points where they claim that it would be a good tax are Horizontal Equity, so everybody is stung by the same amount, and (the ironic) Efficient Allocation of Resources, so Old Europe Socialism in play there.

The most dangerous of the proposed taxes seems to be TRANSFER OF SEIGNIORAGE REVENUE, which going from the document seems to be simply allowing the ECB to print as much extra money as is required to run the EU. This is quite clearly very very dangerous, and worrying that the EU is even considering especially considering the ECB's record of (mis)managing the EU economy. We in the UK should not think that this will not be applied to us simply because we are outside the Eurozone,
an equivalent treatment would be applied to the Central Banks of Member States outside the euro area.
If I understand this correctly, and quite frankly I hope I don't, then should the EU ever take this power then it is time to get the hell away since it is about to collapse, and spectacularly, leaving a big smoking hole in the economic map of the world.

April 25, 2005

EU Law Web Log

EU verses freedom of the press to report fraudEU 1 justice 0.

Porn swallows 20% of NZ police IT capacity

Porn swallows 20% of NZ police IT capacity, well my twisted sence of humour found it funny. Using porn at work, that must take balls.

EU has tax setting powers

Despite being a complete Euro anorak I had no idea about this before a very informative post by the Village Hampden, but the EU already sets minimum national tax rates. I had up till now believed that this was one area that the EU had kept it's grubby mitts off, despite recent attempts in the ECJ to change that. So it appears that Tony Blair’s 'red line' on tax was in fact a red herring, the EU already had limited tax setting powers. He could not stop them getting them, as they had already been given, and thanks to Aquis Communitaire can never be taken back.

The rest of the post is also interesting and is about how the EU is going to use these powers to force an increase in VAT on many things that currently do not. But it was the fact that the EU has tax setting powers that really blew me away. That is one thing about the EU's slow stealthy usurption of power, there are always new things to find out about.

April 24, 2005

Blimpish: on the Lib Dems

Blimpish: In politics: being negative might be wrong, but it is fun

democracy to be ignored on EU constitution

The EU has a back up plan if the deomcratic will of the people goes against it, if the a report in the Telegraph (dead tree edition on Saturday) is correct. It will ignore it. On the surface there is no basis on holding further referendums if the French vote No. The European union constitution must be ratified by all member states and a French No should effectively kill it.

However the EU was not built on letting details like No votes sway its founding fathers from their mission.This won't be the first time of course, Ireland and Denmark where told to vote again when they gave the 'wrong' answer over Maastricht, however this will be the first time that France will have been treated this way. But that is what Jean-Claude Juncke, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and current EU president, is quoted as saying,
"The French vote is important but I don't believe that it should stop the ratification process under way in other countries."
This is due to some obscure text tacked onto the end of the draft constitution that says, according to the Telegraph,
if, by December 2006, four fiths of the 25 states have ratified the treaty but "one[they where probaably thinking of the UK] or more of the member states have encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification", then "the matter will be referred" to a summit of EU heads of state and government.
So it does not matter which way anyone votes it will simply be referred to the heads of state to ratify it anyway.

EU tax harmonisation continues

A follow on about the Marks and Spencer tax case going through the ECJ, and the EU's attempt to start tax harmonisation by stealth. This if from a most unlikely source, the Independent (dead tree edition on Saturday) which normally has a pro-EU editorial line.
Cadbury is bringing a test case against the Government over the way UK tax laws prevent multinational companies exploiting the different rates of business tax charged across the European Union.

Currently, the Inland Revenue does not allow multinationals to channel profits through subsidiaries in other EU countries where tax rates are lower.
So this is not the same as the Marks case, in fact it is it's flip side. In the marks case they where trying move losses around so that the total profit to be taxed would be lower. In this case they are moving profits around to wherever the tax rate is most favorable so as to pay the least tax.

Like the Marks and Spencer case we can expect this one to be ruled in favour of Cadbury Schweppes, and another step towards tax harmonisation taken.

April 22, 2005

Daniel P. Moloney on Benedict XVI

Theocon idiots don't understand moral reletavism, it is merely the name of the observable fact that societies attitudes change over time. Even the Catholic Church's attitudes change over time. So it is directly observable that societies moral requiresments are not absolute and unchanging. If you study history it quick shows that these changes, over time mean that there are no moral codes that do not change. (If anyone thinks otherwise just say in the comments, and I'll find you a counter example).

This fact that there are no absolute unchanging moral laws do not mean that there are no moral laws at all. Just because a society decides that one particular set of moral codes nolonger fit for it does not mean that it has no moral codes at all, just that they have changed.

The theocons cannot understand this. In there world there is only one set of morals, theirs, and everybody else is immoral or ammoral. This mental failure leads to such stupidity as thishaving fun is as bad as genocide (well genocide is endorsed by the bible, while fun isn't):
"In this regard, the consumerism and relativism of the West can be just as dangerous as the totalitarianism of the East: It’s just as easy to forget about God while dancing to an iPod as while marching in a Hitler Youth rally."
The difference is that nobody has ever attempted to exterminate an entire race due to their choice of personal MP3 player. There have been repeated attempts at exterminating races based on the rants of demagogues, and popes.

In western society this is an important difference, genocide being a big moral wrong. In the society of the theocons I guess they follow a different moral teaching. I acknowlege this, but it does not stop me from condeming them for it.

Mice put in 'suspended animation'

So hibernation like in Alien or 2001: A Space Odessy comes a little closer the only problem would be the horrible smell, I don't see many people going in for this unless they can be knocked out before being emersessed in a container that smells very strongly of rotting eggs.

Apple's Big Virus

A peice on The Register about MacOS X and how it's relative security, compared to Windows, plus ease of use and the iPod halo effect is having a dramatic effect of 43% growth in the number of macs sold. Good news.

Can't stop the wheels of Blairism rolling

Backing Blair may be disappointed but it appears that Tony has out smarted them. It does not matter if the New Labour majority is slashed in the new Parliment (which is unlikely any how) the Tyrant Blair does not actually need Parliment to carry out his manidesto pledges, and this is without even resorting to the Civil Contingences bill and declaring himself Prime Minister for Life. Most of the primary legislation to set up the various bodies he wants has already been passed, so it is now just a case of ramping up the numbers. Clever, despicable but clever.

Who Should You Vote For?

I just did the Who Should You Vote For? online test again. It appears that my views have changed since last time, when it was anyone but Labour. This time UKIP comes out top, with the Greens (who came out top last time) and Lib Dems lossing alot of ground. I wonder what has made such a dramatic difference as I don't think that my views have shifted that much, still dislike the EU, still hate New Labour, still believe in Liberty, still think Kyoto is a first step to dealing with climate change. Perhaps they changed the vote weightings.

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

UK Independence Party

Your actual outcome:

Labour -44
Conservative 35
Liberal Democrat -8
UK Independence Party 42
Green 10

You should vote: UK Independence Party

UKIP's primary focus is on Europe, where the party is strongly against joining both the EU constitution and the Euro. UKIP is also firmly in favour of limiting immigration. The party does not take a clear line on some other policy issues, but supports scrapping university tuition fees; it is strongly against income tax rises and favour reducing fuel duty.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Mick Hume on Respect

Opinion - Mick Hume:
"Respect acts as a reminder of why I describe myself as “on the left, but not of it”. It has been accused of flirting with the Islamic lobby in its campaign against the Iraq war, and it is noticeable that its manifesto commitment to defending civil liberties against the Government makes no mention of defending free speech against new Labour’s incitement to religious hatred laws. But even worse than that is Respect’s embrace of today ’s fashionably backward Western prejudices, opposing everything from GM foods and nuclear power to more animal research and road building. As the Left turns into the enemy of progress and the embodiment of self-loathing, Respect sometimes sounds like the most conservative voice in this election — a pretty remarkable achievement, given who it is up against."

April 21, 2005

Fragrant Margot’s Freedom of Information

An interesting incite into the workings of oh so Democratic Euroland in figures originally prised out by Dutch MEP Jens-Peter Bonde and brought to my attention by the always interesting EU Serf 85% of all rules are adopted in 300 secret working groups under the Concil of Ministers. There are aparently 3000 such secret Quangos and not even MEP's are allowed to know who sits on htem other than the chairman, and would not even know that where it not for the work of Mr Jens-Peter Bonde. How is the democratic element of Euroland supposed to perform it's scrutinising function when it cannot even know what names, let alone what they are saying, of people discussing our future?

Mine landfill for renewable energy, EU says no

According to the Register you can product energy from burning rubbish enough to power two million homes, by 2020, according to a report from UK engineers and green-energy lobbyists. This would also stop this rotting down to methane, a far more potent green house gas than CO2. One small problem, this is against EU law, so we can't do it (hat tip to Tim Worstall for that last link).

So the EU wants people to be enviromentally friendly, reduce the amount of land fill used, reduce the amount of green house gases produced, and produce energy from renewable sources and yet when a scheme is proposed that will do all of these things it is apparently against EU law. Well that is consistent with policies to aid poor farmers by giving vast amounts of money to millionare land owners with the most land (CAP), and policies for preserving fish stocks and fishing jobs that have decimated both (CFP).

The Real Che: The Legacy of a Leftist Idol

For anyone that wants to know why Che and Pinochet are equivalent and worthy of a merge here is a nice exposition of the reasons.

ban bread now!

Wonderful satire on the evils of bread (found via Samizdat):
1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!

6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.
7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
8. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
12. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

April 20, 2005

a very British insurgency: More education, another rant...

A rant on the state of the state education system bya very British insurgency, and the weird lefty view of it. What the lefties seem to singally ignore is that since the replacement of the Grammer Schools with Comprehensives the levels of social mobility dropped dramatically.

People have different abilities. Wagne Rooney will never hold a mathematics Chair at Cambridge, and likewise Steven Hawking will never play football for England. Both have gifts in their chosen fields, but trying to get them to the same standard in each others field is simply pointless. That is the problem with the comprehesive idea it assumes that everybody is the same, which is false. So it has to either go at the speed of the people with most difficulty in a subject, therefore leaving the people with more bored. Or challenge the people with more ability in any area so alienating the people who need more help as they continually seem to fail even if trying as hard as they can.

George Galloway

A transcript of the confrontation between Slam Pax and George Galloway, and how his views have changed in the last year by Tim Blair. Last year Galloway was saying that Britian must leave strait away and give Iraq up to the insurgents (so that a brutal dictatorship sould be installed),
"The people of Iraq are well able to decide the kind of government they want, free of the armed imposition of a quisling administration"

Now with democracy beginning to sprout in Iraq and the Iraqis actually able to decide what kind of government they want suddenly the tone changes:
"It’s not a matter for you - it’s a matter for us"
In Georges world you can have any kind of government you want, so long as it is a brutal dictatorship.

April 19, 2005

The Edge of England's Sword: Murray falls off chair in shock

The Edge of England's Sword: Murray falls off chair in shock. A copy of the main sections of an article in The Times about the one policy stratergy that all of the main parties are studiously avoiding and yet could be very beneficial, as has been shown in many european countries where it is used. No not socialism. It's called local Democracy (not the Tyrant Blair's favourite word), scary and radical eh? Politicans give up power to people to run their own lives, it could obviously never work here [you can put the thumb screws down now SAOC Agent Smith, I said what you wanted didn't I?].

Tim Worstall: Anyone Any Good With Photoshop?

Tim Worstall is fed up with the icon of Che Guevara, a brutal revolutionary that murderered, tortured and was intrumental in setting up with friend Fidel. So he has asked for a merge with that other well known Latin American tyrant Pinochet (extreme left meets extreme right kind of a Third way tyrant?). Well here is my effort.

Could be better but I don't really like staring at the face of that man too much.

So so I win my aeroplane ride and swimming lessons now?


a comment has asked if the original image can be used on anyone elses site, the answer is yes feel free to use it as you wish. Even make a t-shirt out of it! All I ask is a link and credit for doing it. I also decided that that one wasn't really in the style of the famous Che picture, so here is my second attempt.

Cabinet tears itself apart over EU

No not a headline from dieing day's of the Conservatism, this time it's across the other side of the channel. Chirac Cabinet tears itself apart over EU constitution

EU Corruption

The same story as before, but in more detail fromNew Europe

yet more EU corruption

after only being in the job a few months Barroso has already fallen into the ways of the institutionally corrupt EU taking a free holiday from a man he is supposed to be investigating.

Canadian Interim Privacy Commissioner questions merit of a national ID card

the Canadian Interim Privacy Commissioner questions merit of a national ID card:
"In my brief, I suggest that this Committee consider certain essential questions about a national identification system, because simply asking them brings out the enormous implications of such a scheme-the practical and technological challenges of creating and managing it, the need to develop comprehensive legal and policy frameworks, the implications for privacy. These questions include:

* Who would be issued an identification card? Everyone? Canadians at the age of majority only? If children are issued a card, at what age?
* Would participation in and identification by the system be voluntary or mandatory?
* What would be the scope of the data that would be gathered about individuals participating in the system?
* Who would be allowed to demand production of a card from card carriers for proof of identity?
* Who could contribute, view, or edit data in a national ID system?
* What types of uses of the card and its attendant system would be allowed?
* What legal structures would protect the system's integrity as well as the data subject's privacy and due process rights, and determine the government and other parties' liability for system misuse or failure?
* Who would bear the full weight of privacy rights accountability and responsibility for a national identity system?
* What are the alternatives to a national identity system?

My view is that the challenges of putting in place a national identification system that is effective, affordable, and respectful of privacy are enormous. A strong case for the benefits of a national identification system has not been made; to the extent that benefits would exist, they would be marginal at best.

Accordingly, my recommendation is that this Committee reject the idea of a national identity card as unworkable and unjustified.'"

In the case of the current proposed British ID sytem some of the questions are easily answered:
* Who would be issued an identification card? Everyone? Canadians at the age of majority only? If children are issued a card, at what age?
Everybody that has a Passport or Driving Licence, or just has money to burn, will have to buy one. So most people over the age of 18, but not children.

* Would participation in and identification by the system be voluntary or mandatory?
New Labour like to claim that it will be voluntary, but that will soon be changed to mandatory. It is simply useless without compulsion.

* What would be the scope of the data that would be gathered about individuals participating in the system?
Well within the card itself there will be biometrics. But this isn't really the important part of the question which is really about how the database will be used to log peoples actions. This hasn't been talked about, but a good guess that the monitoring will be extensive.

The most important of his questions are the civil liberties onew, the ones that New Labour has studiously avoided answering.
* Who would be allowed to demand production of a card from card carriers for proof of identity?
* Who could contribute, view, or edit data in a national ID system?
* What types of uses of the card and its attendant system would be allowed?
* What legal structures would protect the system's integrity as well as the data subject's privacy and due process rights, and determine the government and other parties' liability for system misuse or failure?
* Who would bear the full weight of privacy rights accountability and responsibility for a national identity system?
* What are the alternatives to a national identity system?

The only question that he doesn't ask, the fundimental one, is:
* Why do we need an ID card at all?
For which there is no good reason. We got along fine during previous waves of immigration without. We got along fine during real sustained terrorist attacks without, unlike the current sustained absence of terrorist attacks. The public services worked, in so much as they have or will ever work, without.

April 18, 2005

Gorgeous George goes a’wooing - Sunday Times - Times Online

Some wonderfull writing by A A Gill on everybodeis favourette fasist symperthiser Gorgeous George
“This used to be Gladstone’s house,” he tells me. “His slogan was, ‘With the masses against the classes’. You know, Adrian, you’d be surprised that a lot of my social beliefs are probably to the right of yours.” No shit. Someone who believes that Saddam Hussein is a brave and far-sighted beloved leader of his people is pretty much likely to be to the right of everyone.
“We need manufacturing. What car did you drive here?” he barks at me while his minders smirk. “I bet it wasn’t made in Britain.”

Actually, now you ask, it was made in the Midlands by Manganese Bronze. It was a taxi. And what was that huge limo I noticed you parking? “That’s my Mercedes.”
King wants to save the world one person at a time. For her, you get the feeling that politics is muscular social work. And if you live in a deprived inner city, with all its dreary problems, then there’s no question who would be the more effective MP.

But Oona has a problem. She supported the war in Iraq. She had been calling for someone to do something about Saddam long before Bush or Blair thought there might be a backhander in it for them. But even so, it doesn’t go down well on Brick Lane.

Political survey - My results

a new poll with wierdly labelled axis. Aparently I'm slightly pro-EU (ha ha) and very much for the war in Iraq.

While I have come over to thinking that there might be good things coming from the war it hardly justifies my position as an extreme war monger in this poll. This position was probably warped by my fairly radiacal free market views.

As for the pro-EU bit that was probably warped by the fact that despite being deeply sceptic I am not a hanging/flogging person (except between consenting adults) and my liberal views in that area got mixed up with somehow being in favour of an anti-democratic authoritarian state. I don't think this poll was designed with Classical Liberals in mind.

April 15, 2005

Image is everything, unfortunately

Robert Kilroy-Silk, whom where I polically correct I would call chromatically challenged, has set out the manefesto of his Party Image which includes an entire section on Civil Liberties according to Samizdat:
stand for and defend freedom of speech and thought, freedom of conscience and belief

restore and protect our constitutional freedoms, like trial by jury and habeas corpus, which are being threatened

refuse to introduce Identity Cards, which won't reduce crime, fraud, terrorism or illegal immigration, but will cost a fortune and give the state too many powers

repeal the draconian Civil Contingencies Act and the government's Control Orders, both of which give the government unprecedented powers

refuse to introduce a new crime of 'incitement to religious hatred'

end the nonsense of prosecuting traders for selling in pounds and ounces

free ourselves from the power of the notorious 'E.U. Arrest Warrant' - British citizens must never be extradited without a Court hearing
A politician that talks sense, what a strange accorance, he even wants a Flat Tax! I won't be able to vote for him but if I could I would. Not that the mainstream media will actually broadcast something as shocking and radical as actually defending ancient liberties. No they where more interested in trying to get him to say the word 'Muslim' so they could use the story that they had already decided would be the news about Veritas, namely that it is another name for the BNP which it quite clearly isn't. I guess they must be prejudiced because of his skin colour.

Civil Contingencies Bill

When this bill was going through the House I didn't really notice it, which goes to show the priorities of our media, so here is a summary of this little bit of horror from the Blair government Civil Contingencies Bill - Blair's 'Enabling Act', summary

April 14, 2005

the New Labour project

As the Tyrant Blair approaches his third term in office Peter Riddell of The Times attempts to compare is time to two Prime Ministers that can truly have said to have changed the country, Attlee and Thatcher, and he is not impressed. In his view most of the Blair changes have been small, managerial, just tweaks to keep the economic structure gifted him by Thatcher on track rather than attempts to radically alter it.
Everyone was quite clear what these governments were trying to do, at least within a year or two of winning office. But Mr Blair’s goals and record are less clear cut. That is revealed by the search for new overarching themes: first, the Third Way (unmentioned yesterday) and, now, the “progressive consensus”. At times, there has been the sense of looking for coherence.
The problem is he in looking in the wrong place, New Labour's project was very clear within the first few years however it was not economic, it was social.

Just like Thatcher and Atlee New Labour had shown it's project within the first coupl of years in office by dramatically altering the basis of British Law. It reversed the burden of proof. You where guilty until proven innocent. That is the New Labour project, they are at war with Civil Liberties.

Labour was Socialist, New Labour is Authoritarian.

The political spectrum between Right and Left is well known, it is what the present generation of journalists have grown up with and look for to characterise politicians. Right and Left are not the only political dimensions, as Hayek pointed out, there is also the difference between Authoritarian and Libertarian. This is difference is not in economics but the degree of personal freedom versus state power. Pinocet and Lenin where at opposite ends of the Right/Left spectrum but both where highly Authoritarian and opposed to personal freedom. Hippies and survivalists are also generally on opposite ends of the Right/Left spectrum, but both believe in a high degree of personal freedom. Blair however does not.

Big things like reversing the burden of proof are quite rare, but the small acts chipping away at personal freedom are legion, they even gained there own name 'the nanny state'. Which is the New Labour vision, the state knows better how you should lead your life than you do.
  • It is under New Labour that the number of surveillance cameras has exploded.
  • It is under New Labour that speed cameras have mushroomed along the road network, like giant grey toadstools, at an ever increasing rate.
  • It is under New Labour that encryption has been banned, and assistance to wire tapping made a legal obligation.
  • It is under New Labour that a person, for the first time, can be tried and tried again until the 'correct', that is guilty, verdict is finally established.
  • It is under New Labour that the right to trial by jury has been systematically attacked.
  • It is under New Labour that hearsay evidence has been made admissible in court, and anything 'unsocial' made an offense.
  • It is under New Labour that the right to any trial at all has been removed.
  • It is under New Labour that for the first time there is a separate police force that reports directly to the Home Secretary.
  • It is under New Labour that the independence of Judicial Inquiries has been curtailed.
  • It is under New Labour that the 90% of the people of the country, despite never even being considered to have committed any crime, will have their fingerprints taken to be stored for future reference simply for the privilege of leaving nanny's play pen.
  • New Labour is also committed to fingerprinting everybody else simply for the privilege of existing under the guidance of Blair and his cohorts, creating a national identity card for the first time while the country is at peace.
  • And a myriad of other smaller attacks on the simple right to live without constant interference from the state.

New Labour is Authoritarian, and possibly the most Authoritarian government that this country has suffered under for several hundred years. However, to lesser degree, so are all the other main political parties. There is no political voice that will stand against them and not just slow down the erosion but reverse it and restore the freedoms that have been lost. Until one emerges slowing erosion is the best that can be hoped for, so in that spirit I am going to vote Conservative, assuming my vote is not stolen in a New Labour vote factory, not because I like what they stand for. They are simply less bad than New Labour and the most likely to be able to reduce their massive majority.

Who Should You Vote For?

Who Should You Vote For?Green aparently, which is actually pretty good. They are pretty close to a true Libertarian party as we have got.
Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Labour -28
Conservative 25
Liberal Democrat 3
UK Independence Party 38
Green 43

You should vote: Green

The Green Party, which is of course strong on environmental issues, takes a strong position on welfare issues, but was firmly against the war in Iraq. Other key concerns are cannabis, where the party takes a liberal line, and foxhunting, which unsurprisingly the Greens are firmly against.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Clarke calls for ID cards after imagining huge poison terror ring | The Register

"Clarke calls for ID cards after imagining huge poison terror ring":

Savage Love by Dan Savage

Village Voice taking on the Papal Bull [shit] and hypocracy surrounding the Pope
What's maddening about this pope's signature gay bashing is this: When the pope—the dead one, the next one, the one after that—says something stupid about homosexuality, straight folks take it to heart. The church's efforts have helped defeat gay rights bills, led to the omission of gays and lesbians from hate-crime statutes, and helped to pass anti-gay-marriage amendments. But when a pope says something stupid about heterosexuality, straight Americans go deaf. And this pope had plenty to say about heterosexual sex—no contraceptives, no premarital sex, no blowjobs, no jerkin' off, no divorce, no remarriage, no artificial insemination, no blowjobs, no three-ways, no swinging, no blowjobs, no anal. Did I mention no blowjobs? John Paul II had more "no's" for straight people than he did for gays. But when he tried to meddle in the private lives of straights, the same people who deferred to his delicate sensibilities where my rights were concerned suddenly blew the old asshole off. Gay blowjobs are expendable, it seems; straight ones are sacred.

Taming of the shrewd inquirer

The Tyrant Blair (moto "if it ain't broke, we'll soon change that") continues his war on Civil Liberties, this time attacking public inquiries, such as the Hutton Inquiry that coursed so much embarisment for revealing the truth. The Inquiries Act 2005 has given ministers the power to wind up any inquiry whenever they feel like it, for whatever reason they feel like (such as it is producing evidence that could be embarrasing for the Tyrant Blair), or change the terms of reference whenever they feel like if they do not sufficiently railroad the judge into giving whatever answer Blair has chosen.

They had time to do this, but not to do anything about the postal voting fraud that has turned our democracy into something that would disgrace a banana republic. Oh, but I forgot the possiblity of unlimited voting fraud by Labour Party members means that Blair will get in next time with the same massive majority so it is of course a good thing.

The ricin ring that never was

The Guardian has a story about the ricin poisoners of 2003 and how they have a greater connection to the survivalists of the USA than Al Qaida. Nor can this guy really be called a terrorist 'master-mind' as he was on the BBc last night, as his plan was apparently to spread his poison on door handles of random people in order to course mass panic. Small problem, this would have killed nobody. Ricin is only toxic if ingested or injected, simply touching it does nothing. So he appears to be not so much going for the Bin Ladin Terrorist of the Year Award as the Richard Ried Incompetent of the Year Award. The only people he paniced where the ones in whitehall. The murdering gimp should however never been in the country at all, he was an illegal immergrant who had been caught numerous times for stealing. It was known that he was an illegal immergrant when he was arrested for stealing, so why didn't they just deport him then? He was quite clearly not supposed to be here, or doing anything constructive whilst he was here, and if he'd been thrown back to the Middle East (with the Sharia law that he so loves) detective Stephen Oake would still be alive and we wouldn't have had any of this mess.

April 13, 2005

ID cards by the back door

Ignoring the fact that the ID card bill has been dropped before even getting to Parliment the government has decided to introduce ID cards anyway (how European) under the guise of an update to the way that passports are issued. The simple fact that this very expensive waste of time is not actually required by the Passport initive that they cite, which only requires that the photo that is already there be there in a digital form as well, appears to have completely missed them. As has the fact that fingerprint readers are extremely unreliable and can be fooled 80% of the time using common simple means.

Baroness Williams is former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords writes in the Guardian that:
The government invokes "security" to explain its actions. Enthusiastically assisted by some of the tabloids, it uses fear of terrorism and fear of crime to justify tougher sentences, more imprisonment in often disgusting conditions, more regulation and control over our daily lives. Yet other countries equally or more at risk, such as Spain and Germany, have seen no need to react in this way.
exactly, there is a terrorist organisation operating in this country. It is called the IRA. But the IRA is currently on truce so the security threat that we face is currently the lowest that it has been in probably 50 years. On human rights and freedom of speach so loved by New Labour (to get embarrasing thigns about their opposition that happened 10 years ago onto the front pages of the papers) she writes:
Failing to obey an order by a senior police officer during a demonstration within the so-called designated area around parliament, even on issues such as using a loudspeaker or waving too large a placard, can now carry a sentence of up to 51 weeks in jail. Not since Pitt the Younger have such draconian penalties been imposed where no violence is threatened.

Tim Worstall comments that:
What is sad of course is that when they start to tell us this will save us from foreign terrorists, no one will point out that foreigners do not, by definition, have British passports.
Just as ID cards cannot stop Labour Postal Vote fraud, as there is nobody (except that nice man from the Labour Party who has offered to take your ballot to the postbox for you) to check your ballot matches the ID on your card.

The No2ID campaigne are particually annoyed by this wholesale destruction of ancient civil liberties and the British constitution:
By using royal prerogative powers and without the chance for Parliamentary debate or recourse, the government has effectively ripped up the nearest the UK has to a constitutional rulebook – long established customs and practices – as also demonstrated by the announcement of the first 18 month Parliamentary session. The actions of the most autocratic government in recent history are making a fine argument for constitutional reform.
Why did the government do this? As the register article shows there was no need for this mass fingerprinting, it was not required by the excuse that they made. And why this way? Why not wait until Parliment had a chance to debate it? Royal Perogitive is normally only used in the most extreme cases, such as going to war, so what was so extreme and pressing about this? New Labour have after all reformed the House of Lords, it is therefore reformed and ready for the 21st century, the Tyrant Blair having explicitly rejected any elected element in it. So they cannot be that scared when it performs it's function and forces them to revise legislation should this legislation be faulty. Or perhaps the Tyrant Blair is simply getting bored with the whole idea of Parliment and has chosen to rule by decree, with this simply being the first step of a long road. I hope not, but that scenario is not as implausable as it should be.

Microsoft back to it's old tricks

Can't make a good product, or a new product, so they just copy someones else's and bundle it free with their operating system in order to maintain their monopoly.

Speed cameras target M4 drivers

More revenue raising from New Labour as speed cameras target M4 drivers. This is not about safety (or should that be security? That's the excuse New Labour uses for everything else) as motorways are the safest roads in the country and this section of road is practically roman in it's straitness. So it is simply another stealth tax, a way of raising revenue. With the added bonus that it adds points to your licence for not doing anything dangerous which will mean higher insurance costs and could lead to the loss of your driving licence and therefore most likely livelihood, public transport being the joke that it is. Everybody knows that people speed on motorways the average is probably 80mph or more, society has already decided that this is accepted behaviour. Perhaps the law should catch up, rather than using it as an excuse to raise more stealth taxes.

Froggy Ruminations: Worried About Enemy SCUBA Divers?

Froggy Ruminations: Worried About Enemy SCUBA Divers? don't be, as the article points out the cost/benefit ratio is utterly screwed.

EU tax harmonisation

Attempts to set EU wide taxes on alcohol have been rebuffed, this time, by oppersition from France and other wine producing. It will come back, like the harmonisation over Corporation Tax currently slithering through the ECJ, will eventually mean taxes set in Brussels. You can't have a state without tax raising powers now can you?

dieing twitches of the Growth and Stupidity Pact

The dieing twitches of the Growth and Stupidity Pact are in evidence as commision threatens Itally about its coming deficit, whilst letting Greece off for running a deficit. Will this make the Italians change any of their policies? Of course not they know the commision can do nothing so they have no reason to. However if Italy where not in the Euro it would be able to set it's own interest rates and so have a better control over it's economy meaning it might not need a high deficit.

Scale of EU fraud 'difficult to calculate'

according to the Telegraph the scale of EU fraud is 'difficult to calculate', but at least £620 million in 2003, the lastest accounts not to get signed off, which is higher than in 1999 when the anit-fraud office was created following the collapse of the Commission due to fraud scandels within it.
Edward Leigh, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: "The task of achieving strong audit and accountability arrangements in the European Union is one Sisyphus himself, endlessly pushing his huge stone to the top of the mountain, would not envy. Little has changed because of institutional inertia."
institutional corruption more like.

EU resists attempts to change it's institutional corruption

It has been a decade since the EU's Court of Auditors where last able to sign off it's accounts, and it is still inititutionally corrupt and resisting measures to clamp down on fraud. They refused last night to even hand over reciepts for the what they claim to be spending their expenses on, standard practice in business and other, less corrupt, governments.

April 12, 2005

Lesbian gains equal paranting rights

I can only say that this is good news, the judicial system is beginning to recognise the importance of same sex partners with the granting of visitation rights to a woman to the children that where conceived between her and her former partner using donor sperm. There is more to parenting than mere biology, something that the government fails to recognise as it is going stop annonymity to all egg and sperm donors to, against their wishes despite having nothing to do with the upbringing of the children in question and yet fails to recognise the contributions that gay partners make to the upbringing of each others children.
He said: “What has been said about the importance of fathers is of equal application in same-sex parents.”

The appeal judge said that there had been a “judicial recognition” of family diversity as the family had evolved in modern society. “I am in no doubt at all that the children require firm measures to safeguard them from diminution or loss of a vital side of family life.”

Tim Worstall: The Joys of the Euro.

typically good writing by Tim Worstall on the Joys of the Euro. This is based on an article in the Telegraph about how the one size fits all interest and echange rates of Euroland in fact fit none of them. This was obvious to everybody from the beginning, Mr Worstall points out that a single interest and exchange rate isn't optimal for even the UK let alone such disperate economies as Spain and Germany. however it was also obvious that the Euro is a political project rather than a economic one as a step towards a nation state of Euroland. Mr Worstall ends on a particually pity note
Italy’s screwed.

Aren’t we lucky little people, having the continental economy screwed in the name of a political project?
with a rather gloomy outlook also present in the Telegraph article:
Stephen Jen, an economist at Morgan Stanley, said there was a growing risk that the effort to rebalance the global economy to wean it from dependence on American growth may now be done through an ominous "balancing down" rather than "balancing up".
The European Central Bank can do little to boost demand since interest rates of 2pc are already at 40-year lows and barely above the rate of inflation, now 1.9pc.
the Japananese dease anyone?

The Rule of Law gets the EU Treatment

The Halifax Gets the EU Treatment it looks like the Rule of Law is too much of an Anglo-Saxon concept for them. The EU version being the law is what we think it is, not what we say it is, and you must obey, even if you have no idea what it is that you have to obey, or you will be punished

In their own words

The EU Constitution is the birth certificate of the United States of Europe.
– German Minister for Europe Hans Martin Bury, Die Welt, 25-2-2005

The European Constitution gives the EU a "legal personality" to represent member states in relations with the rest of the world, and in doing so takes over the function of statehood under international law. Any decision taken by the EU has priority over the democratically decided laws
of member states. Even our national constitutions are ignored if they are in conflict with a decision coming from Brussels…. The EU will get its own Ministry for Foreign Affairs and a joint military force. A President and a joint minister for Foreign Affairs will, together with a joint Prime Minister … represent the EU in relations with other countries in the world. The twenty-five member states will become constituent states akin to the US model, but with less freedom to legislate independently than American states enjoy.
Minority Report of the European Parliament’s Report on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, (2004/2129(INI), 9 December 2004.

Creating a single European State bound by one European Constitution is the decisive task of our time.
– German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Daily Telegraph, 27-12-1998

We know that nine out of 10 people will not have read the Constitution and will vote on the basis of what politicians and journalists say. More than that, if the answer is No, the vote will probably have to be done again, because it absolutely has to be Yes.
Jean-Luc Dehaene, Former Belgian Prime Minister and Vice-President of the EU Convention Irish Times, 2 June 2004.

This pact is the point of no return. Europe is becoming an irreversible project, irrevocable after the ratification of this treaty. It is a new era for Europe, a new geography, a new history.
French Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Le Metro, 7 October 2004

For Peter Hain to turn round and say that this EU Constitution is merely a 'tidying up' exercise is an insult to everybody's intelligence and should be treated with the derision which it has attracted.
Roger Godsiff MP (Labour), 26th June 2003

In Europe one needs to act 'as if' - as if what was wanted was little, in order to obtain much, as if States were to remain sovereign to convince them to concede sovereignty ... The Commission in Brussels, for example, should act as if it were a technical instrument, in order to be able to be treated as a government. And so on by disguise and subterfuge
– Giuliano Amato, Italian Prime Minister and later Vice-President of the EU Convention which drafted the Constitution, interview with Barbara Spinelli, La Stampa, 13-7-2000

The Constitution and law adopted by the institutions of the union in exercising competences conferred on it shall have primacy over the laws of the member states.
Article I-6: The EU Constitution

Our Constitution cannot be reduced to a mere treaty for co-operation between governments. Anyone who has not yet grasped this fact deserves to wear the dunce’s cap.
Valerie Giscard-D’Estang, President of the EU Convention, from a speech in Aachen accepting the Charlemaigne Prize for European integration, 29/05/2003.

It wasn't worth creating a negative commotion with the British. I rewrote my text with the word federal replaced by communautaire, which means exactly the same thing.
– Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Wall Street Journal Europe, 7-7-2003

If you don’t want to call it a European army, don’t call it a European army. You can call it ‘Margaret’, you can call it ‘Mary-Anne’, you can find any name; but, for the first time, you have a joint, not bilateral, effort at European level.
The Independent, 4th February, 2000

April 11, 2005

Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill rubberstamped by the Commons

Spy Blog Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill rubberstamped by the Commons, meaning amoungst other things the creation of a personal police force reporting directly to the Home Secretary, and stopping of protests near Parliment square. This can been seen in a way as a victory to the dedication of the lone protester who's constant vigil about Iraq War 2 lead directly to this draconian crap peice of legislation, showing the contempt that New Labour hold the electorate. Peaceful protest all you like, so long as nobody can see you, as that might reflect badly on the Tyrant Blair.

Liberal's on the Euro

From the old Liberal Party, not the Lib-Dems, about why they don't want the Euro:
Euro enthusiasts would have you believe that we need to be part of the Eurozone to protect jobs. Not so! Even if all Europe joins the Eurozone, it would still represent only 10% of the World’s population. Europe’s population is declining and EU markets are saturated. While EU countries are far more reliant on each other for trade - three quarters of Germany’s exports go to the EU - the UK’s EU trade is only 53%. Our trading future and job prospects lie beyond Europe in Africa, Asia and the Americas, as they have always done.

another good quote realating to the complete lack of any European Demos (which means that there will never be a true EU democracy).
Have you ever asked yourself why the Eurovision Song Contest is so toe-curlingly awful? It’s because the object of the exercise is to find a single song for all of Europe - one song to suit all. It doesn’t work because the cultures and languages of all European nations are different, so everything has to be dumbed down, with hilarious results.

what the arguments in the EU Referendum will be

An interesting post from EU Referendum on the kind of arguements that Eurosceptics are going to face if there is a referendum on the EU constitution.
It is, however, worth thinking about the whole conversation. In the first place, fear of America and American control will be used a good deal by the yes side in the referendum campaign. I have already heard Professor Stephen Haseler of the Federal Trust produce that argument.

The reason that can work and will work with many people is the widespread ignorance and lack of understanding of what is actually meant by having power or control.

Thus, American influence on a small part of Britain’s foreign policy, based on the fact that the US is the strongest country in the western alliance, is built up to mean that British affairs are somehow run by the American President. (An added piece of ignorance there is the assumption that somehow Bush is going to be President for ever and ever instead of only till 2008.)

The fact that the European Union is actually responsible for half of the major pieces of legislation and 80 per cent of all legislation in this country (and that, presumably, does not include the many rules and regulations that never go through Parliament at all but are implemented by agencies such as the Food Standards Agency) passes people by.
So the arguments generally have nothing to do with the EU and are based on the false assumption that the UK (nuclear power, permenant member of the UN security council, and 4th biggest ecconomy in the world) must either be ruled by the EU of the USA. The other option of being independent of either doesn't seem to register. So we have to actually explain the real meanings of power, influance and sovereignty (all concepts much abused by the EU) before even starting to make the case on what a terrible, unrequired, and corrupt, waste of money the EU is.

Jewish MP pelted with eggs at war memorial

Oona King, who probably does not own a vote factory, was pelted with eggs at war memorial:
"Ibn Alkhattab, 21, said: 'It will be all about the war. There is enormous anger. No one will vote for her.'

His friend added: 'She represented these people and then voted for the war. We all hate her. She comes here with her Jewish friends who are killing our people and then they come to our back yards.

'It is out of order. What do they expect?'"
She should have voted against the war if that was what would have best represented the wishes of her constiuents, that is what she is paid to do after all. But the anti-semitic blame-everything-on-Isreal attitude that this guy shows and is being picked up by dictator appologist George Galloway is pretty disheartening as well as utterly counter productive. Don't they realise that Isreal is the only real democracy in the Middle East? The only place where torture is not routine? The only place where equality and human rights are practiced (however imperfectly)? The occupation is a problem, but as far as the poor conditions endured within the Muslim states it is nothing. Instead of blaming everything on Isreal it would be better if they tried to emulate it. But of course they practice Sharia which being from the Koran must, by definition, be perfect so all the obvious imperfections have to be from some external entity.

April 10, 2005

OS's as aeroplanes

An oldy but goody

DOS Airlines
Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again, then they push again jump on again, and so on.
OS/2 Airlines
The terminal is almost empty, with only a few prospective passengers milling about. The announcer says that their flight has just departed, wishes them a good flight, though there are no planes on the runway. Airline personnel walk around, apologising profusely to customers in hushed voices, pointing from time to time to the sleek, powerful jets outside the terminal on the field. They tell each passenger how good the real flight will be on these new jets and how much safer it will be than Windows Airlines, but that they will have to wait a little longer for the technicians to finish the flight systems.

Once they finally finished you're offered a flight at reduced cost. To board the plane, you have your ticket stamped ten different times by standing in ten different lines. Then you fill our a form showing where you want to sit and whether the plane should look and feel like an ocean liner, a passenger train or a bus. If you succeed in getting on the plane and the plane succeeds in taking off the ground, you have a wonderful trip...except for the time when the rudder and flaps get frozen in position, in which case you will just have time to say your prayers and get in crash position.
Windows Air
The terminal is pretty and colorful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off. After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.
Windows NT Air
Just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a 40-mile radius when it explodes.
Mac Airlines
All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are told you don't need to know, don't want to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.
Mac OS X Airlines
All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. The wings and engines are made out of special transparent materials not only to improve teh asthetics of hte aircraft but so you can see all details of how it works. However you now find you don't need to know, don't want to know, and would rather just relax in your seat and watch the movie.
Unix Airlines
Each passenger brings a piece of the airplane and a box of tools to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, they build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations. All passengers believe they got there.
Wings of OS/400
The airline has bought ancient DC-3s, arguably the best and safest planes that ever flew, and painted "747" on their tails to make them look as if they are fast. The flight attendants, of course, attend to your every need, though the drinks cost $15 a pop. Stupid questions cost $230 per hour, unless you have SupportLine, which requires a first class ticket and membership in the frequent flyer club. Then they cost $500, but your accounting department can call it overhead.
Mach Airlines
There is no airplane. The passengers gather and shout for an airplane, then wait and wait and wait and wait. A bunch of people come, each carrying one piece of the plane with them. These people all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they're building. The plane finally takes off, leaving the passengers on the ground waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. After the plane lands, the pilot telephones the passengers at the departing airport to inform them that they have arrived.
Newton Airlines
After buying your ticket 18 months in advance, you finally get to board the plane. Upon boarding the plane you are asked your name. After 6 times, the crew member recognizes your name and then you are allowed to take your seat. As you are getting ready to take your seat, the steward announces that you have to repeat the boarding process because they are out of room and need to recount to make sure they can take more passengers.
VMS Airlines
The passengers all gather in the hanger, watching hundreds of technicians check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers. All the passengers scramble aboard, as do the necessary complement of 200 technicians. The pilot takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.
BeOS Air
You have to pay for the tickets, but they're half the price of Windows Air, and if you are an aircraft mechanic you can probably ride for free. It only takes 15 minutes to get to the airport and you are cheuferred there in a limozine. BeOS Air only has limited types of planes that only only hold new luggage. All planes are single seaters and the model names all start with an "F" (F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18, etc.). The plane will fly you to your destination on autopilot in half the time of other Airways or you can fly the plane yourself. There are limited destinations, but they are only places you'd want to go to anyway. You tell all your friends how great BeOS Air is and all they say is "What do you mean I can't bring all my old baggage with me?"
Linux Airlines (version 1)
Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, "You had to do what with the seat?"
Linux Airlines (version 2)
Many enthusiasts and opportunist saw that few people are frustrated with existing ones. So they made 100 different airlines with airplanes which have the same engine. Each comes with its own ways to print tickets, seat adjustments and other services. They publish it as the cheapest airlines but once you sit in the plane you need for every damn service, you even have to pay for getting water from stewards or else you need to jump out of the plane and take a dip in some river for water and somehow come back, not even thinking about how much time you wasted. Also the best feature of this airline is a lots of jerks (see subject) trying to tell you day and night that how good this airline is, even though 50% of people feel it sucks a$$, other 30$ feel which one...there are 1000 of them...who knows which one will crash where and another 17% tried it and tired of it...

tolerant Britain

Another piece from the Sunday Times about the World Values Survey, but again the paper version so not link known. It appears that Great Britain is particularly tolerant, despite what the Conservatives would want you to think, with the report author Philip Pullman explaining this broad tolerance
"'The more religious you are the less tolerant you are' he said 'It sounds as if Britain is a healthy secular society.'"
Some numbers for you:
  • 91% are not concerned with having neighbors of a different race (eat that Howard).
  • 25% think homosexuality is never justified (too high, but much better than the world average of 56%).
  • 90% felt that divorce can be justified (74% world average).
  • the views on adultery where about average with 45% believing it could be justified.
  • Only 33% believe that the church has answers to moral problems (perhaps because Britian also has a high level of literacy and therefore people might have actually read the Bible) even though 72% believe in a God.
  • 52% of people believe smoking Marijuana is never justified (compared to the European average of 75%).
  • 74% of people think that abortion can be justified.

Labour vote fraud

This is from the paper edition of the Sunday Times, however it was on the front page so anyone that wants too should be able to find it quite easily:
"A cabinet Committee chaired by Peter Hain, the Commons Leader, decided that the safe-guards where 'clearly needed' to prevent electoral fraud in postal votes.
"Ministers went as far as to draw up a bill but then dropped it after a government-commissioned study showed it would reduce the turnout of key Labour voters such as the young and poor."
So there is is not only did they create a system that has made a mockery of our democratic system, a system that would "disgrace a banana republic" but they not only knew it was dangerous but deliberately did nothing as it might lead to fewer New Labour votes. The fact that some of these New Labour votes came from vote factories set up by corrupt Labour Party members eager to exploit the fact that it is "wide open to fraud" made no difference, a Labour vote is a Labour vote. It didn't matter if the ballot was actually any connection to the will of the people so long as the tick was besides the Labour name. But this is from the party that thinks that reforming the House of Lords simply means getting many more of its supporters in, rather than actual reforms might give it some kind of legitimacy, 'Legitimacy' obviously being below 'Power' on their lists of objectives.

April 08, 2005

BBC NEWS | Business | M&S wins backing in EU tax case

It appears that the EU takeover of the tax system is not assured as France is opposed,
"Eight EU countries, including France and Germany, have backed the UK government in court, fearing they could also lose out if such a precedent were set."
So here is the test is the EU still a mere extension of French politics into other peoples countries or has it out grown them and is a menise to freedom in it's own right. I expect that this is the case and so, despite protests from just about everybody, tax harmonisation is going to happen sooner rather than later. This is a prospect that should particually worry the New Europeans with their Flat Tax and high growth rates.

Postal voting scandal Samizdata update

Postal voting scandal update by Samizdata.net, apparently the vote factory set up by Labour party members, using legislation pushed through by the Labour party, to make sure it got some Labour party members elected to the council can all be sloved by the magic of ID cards. Right, sure Mr Blunket, and who is going to check the ID cards? are they going to have to send them off with the postal ballot? And what about the massive possibilities of fraud opened up by the ID card itself? Or as Samizdat puts it:
"So, let's get this right. The government, having created a system ripe for fraud and abuse, has one of its former members suggest that it be dealt with creating a system ripe for fraud and abuse."

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Out of orders

Asbos and their problems

Wind farms

The Great Outdoors magazine has a column (not online yet) pointign out the hypocracy of the Tyrant Blair. A wind farm is proposed in his constituency and promptly squashed as it is in his back yard but the hundreds of others are pushed through in the teeth of local opposition to the way they spoil the countryside.

Underencrypted and Overexposed

During the late 90's and before RIPA reversed the burden of proof encryption was a hot topic. It looked like it would make online converstion that you wanted private really private and was the key to getting people to actually spend money on the internet. Of cause the anti-freedom types hated encryption as it meant that everything wasn't open to snooping by Big Brother whenever He chose to look. There argument was always 'If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide', as if it was constantly up to us to prove our innocence and justifie our actions 24 hours a day. This argument has always been wrong, and not just because it reverses the basic rules of a civilised society, but because there are plenty of things that people do, or are, that are not 'wrong' but that they would rather not have the world know about. Such as this case where a couple in love conducted a series of sexual exhanges via the internet as they could not be there to show their feelings in person. This is obviously a highly private exchange, but one that is not against any moral code, if they where married it would even acceptable to Islamofacism. Then the hard drive that the woman in question used to store some of the intimate moments that see had had with her boyfriend was stolen and now both have to worry about these private exchanges suddenly becoming public. Had the disk been encrypted that worry would simply not exist. Privacy is important, without it there can be not true intimacy. As how can you reveal things that knowone else nows about you when everybody knows everything about you?

EU takes tax policy

The take over of tax policy continues, fromEU Referendum

April 07, 2005

Eric the Unread: Francophobia

A few interesting snippets by Eric the Unread on racist Muslims in France.

The power of freedom

There are many theories, but very little evidence, about why the Neanderthals became extinct. Some Anthropologists think there was a genocide and the Humans simple exterminated the Neanderthals the encountered as they moved out of Africa, some think that Humans and Neanderthals breed and so eventually the Neanderthals simply became absorbed into the Human race, others think that Humans more flexable brains ment that they simply out competed them in hunting and they where selected out in the Darwinian fassion as less well adapted (there is some evidence against this one). However there is a new theory that free trade may have finished off Neanderthals, it is only really supported by computer modelling at the moment but an interesting result anyway.

Blair says postal voting is still safe system

Well we all know that the Tyrant Blair is a liar so when Blair says postal voting is still safe system it is quite obvious that iit must not be and Richard Mawrey QC was completely correct in saying that it was 'wide open to fraud' and a system that would 'disgrace a banana republic'.

Lord Ahmed's unwelcome guest

A peice on The Times Online about the rising levels of Anti-Semitism with it's focus being Islamists and their blame-everything-on-Israel attitude.

Too many bills

A review of some of the bills that have been axed due to the time constraints of the election byThe Guardian, with an interesting admission that most of these bills where never supposed to pass anyway, but merely where there to set up New Labours election platform to be able to outflank the Conservatives on Law and Order even admitting that this is an abuse of Parliment. Bills that got axed:
  • charity law reform
  • tightening road safety measures
  • strengthening the consumer credit laws
  • ID cards bill (which is coming back next Parliment)
  • incitement to religious hatred law

However some bills got through including:
  • Serious and Organised Crime Agency
  • the gambling bill (in a reduced form with only one 'experimental' super casino in Blackpool)
So the Serious and Organised Crime Agency is going to be set up, and for the first time we are going to have a national police agency that is directly accountable (and therefore controlled by) the Home Secaritary.

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water ...

Clarke has withdrawn the ID Cards bill, but is going to reintroduce it next parliment and include it as part of their manifesto. He claims that this is because of the Tories Conservatives, fat chance they where just as happy as he was to burn Civil Liberties, and wanted the ID Cards.