December 30, 2005

The Devil's Kitchen, isn't Islam lovely

DK has a little story to say about that religion of peace and love, Islam. So fair, so just, and Islam has such good treatment of women compared to us eeevil Westerners. Not.

Unmarried free to adopt as couple

It' not often that I have anything good to say about New Labour, but this time tehy are actually doing something good. Unmarried free to adopt as couple, single (or gay) individuals where already able to adopt but their partners had not part in it unless they where married. It will also allow greater abilities for the birth parents to try and get into contact with the children that they felt they could not bring up themselves, but it is still up to the adopted child as whether they want to make contact or not.

December 29, 2005

Lenin publishes Murray letters

via Great Britian, Not Little England Lenin's Tomb has copies of Craig Murray's letters on torture in Uzbekistan.
So, the Foreign Office does not want anyone to understand that it has taken decisions, in collaboration with MI6, to continue to use information obtained by the use of torture despite the fact that it is, as Craig Murray points out "highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat" or, more prosaically, "dross".
big shocker that last one, torture people in to telling you what you want to hear and it will be garbage as far as actual new information is concerned. Torture does not work, it is morally reprehensible, is a propaganda home goal. We do not need it, it gives us nothing and lowers our civilisation to the level of the Islamists.

December 28, 2005

Internet Explorer Sucks

Internet Explorer really does suck very badly Bruce Schneier has the numbers:
"MSIE was 98% unsafe. There were only 7 days in 2004 without an unpatched publicly disclosed security hole."

December 27, 2005

Something to cheer about in the New Year?

ID Cards might be about to be forced to be voluntary. Rather than compulsory by stealth as is the current case. I will believe it when I see it, and I will still not be getting one of the things.

Cuba, socialist paradise

via Harry's Place Indymedia (so take that any way you want) has some pictures that where apparently smuggled out of Cuba, theses are not the normal holiday snaps but show a picture of what Communism does, and has done every single time it has been tried, in reducing people to poverty. Capitalism isn't perfect, but it is the best system that we have got.

I don't speak spanish but according to Harry's Place commenter Fabian the comments that come with the pics can be summed up as:
There are four types of comments on the Indymedia website:

1. Trostkists and communists deny that the pictures are real and are very very angry and insult everyone, and demand that the forum be censured.

2. Anarquists are happy about the pictures, because for them Castro is just another dictator, and Cuba is capitalism of state.

3. "Gusanos" speak about Fidel and show the pictures as proof of Cuba's policies.

4. Neonazis insult everyone with a left leaning.
But you can use google to translate and decide for yourself.

Multiculturalism - a definition I like

Mat has a good post on how multiculturalism should be
To me, multiculturalism is the ability to have a friend who's muslim, another who's jewish and to chase after a girl whose grandmother came from Africa. We learn from those who move here, just as they learn from us, we take on board the bits we like, condemn the bits we dislike (forced marriages anyone?) and the new communities do the same with us. Eventually, they merge together
Exactly, this is how it should be. In fact this is how it is most of the time, or at least was.

There was no special name because that was simply what had happened when people came here. Such as the Huguenots and eastern european Jews. Or more recently Caribbeans, Chinese, Vietnamese, or the Ugandan refugees. All came and added a new perspective, a bit more hybrid vigor to this mongrel nation. There is no special name for it because it is not special, it is simply what will happen given no other factors.

Multiculturalism does have a special name because it is special. What it is, rather than what it should be, is not the slow process of fusion between cultures. It is that the state has stepped in to stop the natural process that is the melting pot giving an immigrant community incentives so that they do not do what comes naturally and merge.

December 26, 2005

weird referal

A blog staple is to occasionally show strange search strings that people used to find their blog, such as "pissing" or "podding hutches". But I think that is is going to be hard to beat this one I just had:
advacates of sex with children
The post that this pointed to was actually on the dangers of Islam, such as being kill or at least driven from your neighborhood for losing your faith because of having second thoughts about a barbaric medieval theology. It had nothing to do with sex, and I did not eve mention that the Prophet married a 10 year old girl. I said then
This [Islam]* is a religion that publicly executes people, amputates limbs, promotes the mutilation [of] children so they can never fully enjoy sex [when they grow up]
And it was that last phrase that the search engine picked up.

*the stuff in square brackets is edits now to make it readable. I started this blog to help improve my written english, amongst other things, and as you can tell it still needs work.

That Hunting Ban.

New Labour is out to destroy more civil rights, no change there then. Fox hunting is again the centre of their anger, or at least the centre of their excuse since there is nothing like attacking rural people and people that Labour back benchers will assume to be their class enemies to get the lobby fodder moving.

Since the last ban was totally ineffectual, there has been an increase in people following hunts, they propose to:
Give the police the power to enter private property without a warrant (and without being in hot pursuit or anything like that)
which will of course not be abused, only used in a handful of cases, you have nothing to fear etc. ...

Islam is stupid too

Just to show that I give equal opportunity to stupid religions, here is a little piece picked up from the Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For WAR.
Abu Hansha has been convicted of terrorism and faces a lengthy prison sentence. He plotted to murder a decorated British soldier who had returned from Iraq.
David Cocks QC, prosecuting, said: "We say that looked at in the context of what else was in the flat, he had the piece of paper with Cpl Byles’s information on in his possession either to kill him or to do him really serious injury to exact revenge, no doubt with other people, for what the corporal had achieved in Iraq - the part the corporal had played in killing Iraqi insurgents. We say he was targeted for political purposes."

Christian love

Boxing day, what better day to find this bit of Christian love from earlier in the month. A university professor used as a punch bag because he has a course about a particular stupid religious myth that actually says that it is a stupid religious myth!

December 23, 2005

The spirit of christmas

As we come to celebrate the spirit of christmas by exchanging tokens of affection with family and friends so lets remember what the bible says of this wonderful celebration of generosity
"Exodus 23:8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous."
Oh well. Off to do my last Christmas sinning then. Light blogging till new year.

Politicalog: A Ban Too Far

Christmas the time to live and let live. Unless course you are addicted to nicotine, from Politicalog a charming new policy from north of the border
"THE public are to be told not to smoke in their own homes as part of plans to protect public sector workers from the effect of passive smoking."
If these people really feel so strongly about not being in an enviroment with smoke in it why don't they just ask the person to put it out when they are there. Or come back latter. Or swap with one of their colleagues that is a little less anal about it. This is something that can be easily worked out between the individuals involved. The state getting involved is just stupid overkill.

The case for the EU

Mat comes back to my argument against the EU
It's not opposition to China specifically, nor Russia, India or the US. It's the recognition that over the next 50 years, these will be the dominant power blocks.
No I completely understand the rise of China and others. The unipolar hegemony of the US is not going to last. Quite frankly EU growth is so tiny that even if it did whole heartedly support the USA (rather than reflexively opposing it) it could not prolong US hegemony long and stop the creation of a multipolar world.

So a world is coming with multiple power blocks. Each power block will have a different culture, and represent a slightly different set of ideas. The question then becomes which ideas are best? Which will lead to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people?

The EU has clearly set marked it's ground. It is protectionist, King Canute trying to order back the waves of globalisation. It is wedded to the failed European Social Model, so much so it is written into the constitution, that cripples the economies of its members. As I showed in my argument the EU is reflexively anti-american, and to that end has chosen to side with the emerging authoritarian powers. There is no evidence that this is going to change.

The EU is therefore not a power block aiding freedom, economic or social. If increasing happiness is our goal, then we should seek to help the power blocks that that help freedom since being free at least gives the chance of happiness and suppressing freedom is a sure path to unhappiness. Play the blocks off against each other sure (which we cannot do subsumed into the EU), but keep the ultimate goal in mind.

Which means that we should not seek to help the EU, or it's favorites such as China. But lend our weight to the more freedom loving powers for as long as they are freedom loving e.g. the USA, Australia and India. What is collectively known as the Anglosphere. We cannot do any of this while inside the EU and should therefore leave.

December 22, 2005

New Labour

From 2006 Britain will be the first country where every journey by every car will be monitored
The excuse as always is the threat from terrorism. The network will track the movements of every single car in the country, so the majority of people tracked will be innocent of anything. This does not even appear to be a flaw, but is apparently one of their selling points
"What the data centre should be able to tell you is where a vehicle was in the past and where it is now, whether it was or wasn't at a particular location, and the routes taken to and from those crime scenes. Particularly important are associated vehicles," Mr Whiteley said.

The term "associated vehicles" means analysing convoys of cars, vans or trucks to see who is driving alongside a vehicle that is already known to be of interest to the police.
guilt by association, of simply taking the same road as somebody that the police are interested in.

The database already exists and is operational. This is simply extending what is already in place. Some people are going to argue that this, like every other bit of New Labour authoritarianism, is a good thing. They are wrong. They will argue that it will help stop speeding, they are wrong on that one as well, they will say that speeding is unsafe, again wrong, and that speed cameras make the roads safer, wrong according to the governments own statistics.

This will have zero effect on crime. If anything it will cause mroe as criminals will simply either car-jack, or force an innocent to hire a car for them. The innocent person will get arrested, and the criminals get away. As has already happened in the case of Mr Shahid Khan who was forced to hire a car for the killers of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky. He was ignored when he told the police what happened, then later arrested for aiding the murderers!

Torbay Life: Oldway Mansion, Paignton

A wonderful post on the difference that the Civil Partnership Act is making.
Some times the government does get things right, even if they do take a long time doing it.

Rachel from north London: Amazing Grace

The Carol Service has gone off, without any arrests.
We did it! We protested, a loud speaker was used, a political speech was made.We sang carols, and we demonstrated our contempt for the stupid law which criminalises peaceful protest outside Parliament.

We were protesting against an unjust law; that was why we turned up. We pushed it, and 100 - 130 people assembled and demonstrated, and sang and nothing was done. Hooray. About time. A stupid law was defied, and well done to the police for treating it with soft hands. The law is an ass, so let's give it a sugar lump, and pat its flanks, and let it walk away. It's an embarrassment to enforce. What does that tell you, Mr Clarke? Mr Blair?
It could just be my cynicism but I can't but think it helped that there where TV cameras.

The Times Online guest contributors Opinion

Harold Elletson Tory MP for Blackpool North in 1992-97 and now chairman of the Liberal Democrats’ Foreign Affairs Forum talks about a possible coming together of the Conservatives and Lib-Dems to champion liberty against the authoritarianism of New Labour in The Times. A good thing? Certainly, likely? Well it is unlikely to be sponcered by head office given where the likely electoral battles are going to be next election, but hopefully the grass roots will have other ideas.

Not Little England's case for the EU

I said in my post following meeting
Mat of Not-Little-England at the pub
that I was not comlpetely convinced of his argument for the EU, but the argument was good and needed a longer post to do it justice. Here it is.

Mat’s primary argument was that a strong European polity was needed as a counterweight. The world is globalising, small players get marginalised. Not a counterweight to the United States as is often used in this type of argument, but to the Authoritarian powers of China and Russia. The United states will have a part to play is opposing them, but it’s political system is so wedded to the big money of the transnational corporations that it will not be able to do it properly. Corporate interest will always be drawn to the siren call of an emerging market of 1 billion souls. Another liberal power is needed to act as a counterweight, a federal one with power held at the most local level to maintain accountability to people rather than money. This could be what the EU becomes.

The counterweight argument is not an uncommon one for the EU. However the power to be counterweighted is generally not authoritarian China but the liberal United States.

This leads to a problem with using the EU to counterweight China since the ruling elite want the EU to counterweight the USA instead. In the words of Jacques Chirac:

"Reasons of international balance justify strengthening links between Europe and China, I’d even say between Europe, Russia and China."

So one of the current leaders of the EU, and a good representaive of a strong current within it's rulign structures, want's an EU that is the exact opposite
of what Mat is proposing, an EU strongly allied with the authoritarian powers against the liberal one. These are not empty words either, they are backed up with action with the EU working towards ingratiating themselves with the despicable regime in Beijing. For example:

There is of course a very good reason for the EU’s Sino-philia, other than xenophobic anti-Americanism, the fantastic growth (especially when compared to the rather poor growth of the Eurozone) of the Chinese market and it’s enormous potential. You see the EU is as much wedded to it’s corporate interests as the US is. There is a difference of course, in the US corporations live and die, pretty much, by the market. In Europe, especially Europe à la Francé, the winners are picked by the state as 'national champions' to be promoted for the good of the nation. If aiding a national champion means sucking up to a regime still actively trying to destroy the entire cultural heritage of a nation that it invaded, so be it.

It is not that the idea of what the EU could be is bad, it certainly is not. It is just that it is such a long way from what the EU is, and the direction that the EU is heading, as to not be at all probably as what is going to happen. So you end up back at looking at what the EU is now, which is not a pretty sight.

December 21, 2005

Intelligent design ordered out of class

looks like Intelligent Design is off the syllabus in the States again. Good.

It is a silly conjecture that can only be classed as science, rather than bull shit, by the broadest possible definition. As for this designer how intelligent do they really think He was? Take for example vitamin C.

Dogs have a gene that allows them to generate vitamin C themselves. Humans do not, we have a partial gene. What happened? Did this designer get haft way through then get distracted by "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" on TV? Realised He had not put the bin out? Perhaps He just thought "Oh fuck it. They aren't going to be taking any long sea voyages anyway." Must have been rather embarrassing when it came to Noah.
"Take 6 of every ritually clean animal, and two of every ritually unclean animal ... and ... er ... you might want to take some Limes along as well."
"Why the Limes Oh Lord?"
"Well ... if you feel a bit you know ... off. Suck on a lime and you'll soon get better ... Don't worry about Fido though. He'll be fine."

Public Carol Service in Parliament Square - Wed 21 Dec 2005

Public Carol Service
Click here for more information.

December 20, 2005

We call ourselves libertarians; Moonbat think we're antisocial bastards

Which is as much praise as you can get from the loon. In his current column he is railign against the anti-social nature of cars. I am not going to fisk it and pick up all of his factual errors, that would take to long. I just want to point out why people prefer private transport to public. It is better.

The usefulness of any network can be calculated as the square of the number of nodes. In a transportation system a node is where you get on or off.

For public transport nodes are few and far between. One per town in case of rail, one every few roads in the case of urban buses, or one for every village in rural areas (even if you only get one or two services a day). For private transport you can get on or off at practically every single house in the country, plus the car parks in every town or village, plus the small car parks scattered across the national parks and other countryside areas, plus the many many sidings where you can also park and get out. The number of nodes for private transport is vastly larger than that for public, so it's usefulness as the square of that is even bigger again.

The only way of making public transport more attactive than private is to make it more useful and more convient, which simply cannot happen until somebody builds a teleporter. But that would require more technology, and for moonbat technology is baaaaaaad.

Polly Toynbee, "I wasn't good enough, so I won't let you either"

"Like Prescott, I failed and I still find that hard to confess, along with millions who never forget the day the failure letter landed on the mat."
But like John Prescott not going to a grammar (or getting any grammar in the case of the Deputy Primeminster) didn't really hold you back did it? Not really, but forced mixed ability classes do hold people back. The bright because they are not pushed, the not so bright because they end up dispirited, and the people in the middle because of the disruption caused by the people at either end of the scale. Some kind of selection is needed, be it streaming or selection at the entrance exam.

December 19, 2005

The Devil's Kitchen: Ding dong, the Witch is dead...

Whilst praising the fact that Microsoft has finally buried Mac IE DK mentions that
Now, that firm, you see, got diddled by whoever built their site (it was in ASP-X, whatever the hell that is). That's one sale definitely lost to them, before I've even considered (and turned down) their deal.
I am very suprised that the log in didn't work, since it is a bloody simple bit of code however you do it. What ASP-X is I suspect .aspx the file extension used by ASP.NET Microsoft's web technology of the .NET framework. I use it at work (not through choice, I would prefer Python). Personally I think it sucks. It sucks less than PHP, but it still sucks. Here are some of the problems

The framework is enormous and the documentation system is crap. The easiest way to find anything is search MSDN with Google.

The C# language (crap name) isn't exactly lightweight either. When creating Java sun took C++ and removed a whole bunch of things. When creating C# Microsoft took Java and put everything back in. It has a Goto statement for gods sake. Why? K&R considered Goto bad when they where creating C in the 1970's but left it in for exception handling. Java added good exception handling, which C# inherited. So why put Goto back into the language?

C# is almost Java, but not quite. If you know Java then you can write code that will work in that language and expect it to work as C#. Well most of the time. Their naming conventions are subtly different, so writing toString(), the Java way, when I wanted ToString() for .NET got me a couple times when I was starting. Which brings me on to my next point.

Case sensitivity, who on earth thought that was a good idea? Lisp new better back in the 50's.

Strong Typing. Why? The only errors this ever picks up are errors that would not be errors in a dynamically typed system. Strong Typing and Object Orientation is never a good mix, you get a verbose system with far to much code to work around the type system. Where would could deliver the same functionality in far less code where it dynamically typed.

It's not like this hasn't been known for ages either. Smalltalk one of the first OO languages was dynamically typed, as is Lisp, as is Objective C which Sir Tim Berners-Lee praised as letting him make the first web browser much faster.

'Gay weddings' first for Belfast

Gay weddings have finally started, and not before time. The religious nutter fringe is as you would expect less than pleased,
The Reverend David McIlveen, of the Free Presbyterian Church - is among the protesters - said he was "very much opposed" to the "marriage in all but name" of gay couples.

The bible described marriage as "a relationship between male and female for the bringing up of children", he told BBC News.

"It is revealed as being an honourable relationship whereas the bible speaks of same sex relationships as being an abomination. You cannot reconcile the two."
And people are supposed to consider what that book says as a good moral guide? Actually what the bible says is that marriage is between a man and several women, often for the purpose of financial gain and political union. That is when it is not preaching the virtues of genocide.

George Orwell estate to sue Government over breach of copyright

So good it could almost be real. George Orwell estate to sue Government over breach of copyright.

European Demos

A good post by Helen at EU Referendum blog on the European Demos and the problems associated with creating it:
European history has few unifying factors and European countries have few interests in common, that they do not share with other countries as well. The European “idea”, such as it is, can be described vaguely as the idea of the West that has been spluttering since the Battle of Marathon. But the European Union wants to have a European idea that is all its own and has nothing to do with the West
The things that the EU sees as it's unifing culture are in fact part of the common culture of the West, not just Europe but North America Australia and elsewhere. But it cannot acknowlege that as it's ruling elite (I'm looking at you Mr Chirac) have been setting it up as a counterweight to the USA, to hold itself together through a common enemy. Just a shame they decided on what is a fairly Liberal country as the enemy, whilst to try to ingrate itself with the far from liberal China.

December 18, 2005

New Labour attacks on Freedom of Speech

7/7 survivor Rachel from north London continues the pressure on New Labour to hold an inquiry into the event that nearly killed her. She will also be singing carols with Maya Evans in Parliment Square as a protest about New Labour's draconian anti-Terror legislation, documented in the Times. I will not be there on account of being in Torbay

In a similar vein Tim Worstall points to a disturbing article on New Labour's ASBOs in the Telegraph
"Asbo can land an individual up to five years in jail, as it has done
for more than 1,000 people already. And the number of fresh cases is more than doubling every year, at a rate so Malthusian that if the current annual increase of 250 per cent continues, by some point in about March 2016 everyone in the UK will have one"
Which for some reason I do not think New Labour would be too unhappy about. This is not a conspiracy, conspiracies require competence of the conspirators, but the simple realisation of the basic assumptions of a Fascist government like New Labour.

Cameron considers asylum rethink

Cameron is looking better and better. He seems to be ditching Michael Howard's policies on Asylum and seems to be reverting to the correct position. That we have a duty to help people genuinely fleeing persecution. Asylum and immigration are often lumped together, but they are separate issues. Immigration is useful, so long as they integrate and don't act like colonists. Asylum on the other hand is a duty.

December 17, 2005

EU vs. little green men

All the good arguments for the EU tend to start something like this "Forget about how the EU is, this is how it could be ..." Except that you cannot forget how the EU is now, especially as it seems so unlikely that it will ever be different. Like Hayek said about the FDA "you are more likely to find a barking cat" than reform it properly. The badness is too deeply embedded into it's institutional DNA.

One particularly indefensible bit the EU, the biggest bit of the EU in fact, is CAP. It is for this the UK originally was able to justify the rebate, that is the rebate that just got slashed to the tune of £7 billion over 7 years. And the change to CAP? France has promised to think about reforming it in 2009.

£7 billion is a very large number. I'm sure that you will be able to find many different ways of looking at it with reference to schools'n'hospitals. But here is one that you probably not see.

At current exchange rates £7 billion is roughly $12 billion over 7 years. Or $1,769,600,000 a year. Over 20 years this works out to $35,392,000,000. In his book "The Case for Mars" former chief engineer at Lockheed Martin Dr Robert Zubrin calculated that you could get a sustainable progamme of Mars exploration, with crews exploring for months at a time, for $20,000,000,000 over 20 years to develop the hardware, plus $2,000,000,000 per mission, if done correctly. He estimated that a government would probably have to spend around $30,000,000,000.

So for less money that the increase that the UK is putting into the EU you can develop everything that you need for sustainable Mars exploration, plus two missions, even on his higher estimate. Even then you would still have money left over. We are putting aside exploring an entire new planet, one that might be able to solve the question of whether we are alone in the universe, for what? So France will think about reforming CAP.

December 16, 2005

no posts today

No posts today, I'm off to Dublin. Might as well use the cheap airlines before the denied boarding regulations stop them being cheap. Back on Saturday.

Not little England

After having a drink with MatGB of Not Little England he explained why he likes the EU, which turns out to be one of the few things we disagree on. I found his argument good, but on reflection again I could find flaws in it. However to do it justice needs a longer post and I need sleep.

December 15, 2005


When talking about artificial countries I could not at the time think of one that is over 100 years old. Well I forgot the most obvious one in relation to the EU, Belgium! At 175 years old it still has nowhere near the track record of the UK or England for longevity but better than most. Not that this should be taken that an artificial country is more stable than one that has grown organically
In 1865, the year of his death, Leopold I, the prince who had been given the crown of Belgium, told his son that “nothing holds the country together” and that “it cannot continue to exist.” To his secretary, Jules Van Praet, he said “Belgium has no nationality and […] it can never have one. Basically, Belgium has no political reason to exist.”
The main thing holding it together at the moment is are large slices of pork, much like the EU.
Belgium needed economic expansion in order to be able to literally buy the adherence of the Flemings and the Walloons to their artificial state. The Belgicists were aware that Belgium could only become a viable country, if it was turned into a huge redistribution mechanism, a welfare state.
But for any welfare state someone has to pay, and as the current budget negotiations show, this is not an easy problem to solve. Especially with the demographic problems of the EU as increasing numbers end up retired compared to working, and it's structural problems of excessive socialist command and control economics.

The rebate? A disadvantage?

Another interesting European idea, Anatole Kaletsky is suggesting that Blair should give up on trying to defend the rebate. Her reasons are fairly compelling, first it really is not that much money.

a diplomatic breach now with Central Europe would splinter the increasingly powerful coalition of economically liberal, anti-federalist EU countries that are willing to back many British reform initiatives in opposition to the more protectionist, integrationist coalition centred on France.
If trying to defend the rebate leads to the next budget being stalled then the prospect of not getting other peoples money thrown at them by the EU commision (after the commision scrims it's cut off the top) and Britain blaimed this could alienate the countries that should be are best allies if the EU is to be trimmed down into something haft useful.

the need to defend the rebate has distracted British politicians from much more important European issues, often at crucial turning points in EU negotiations. Arguments over the rebate weakened Mrs Thatcher when she was trying to block the European exchange-rate mechanism and distracted John Major when he should have been focusing on the flaws in the Maastricht treaty
Defending the only thing that they have ever got out of the EU leads to not being able to get anything else, which could (but probably won't be) better. Of course where Britian to leave the EU entirely then the rebate, and everything else would become irrelevant.

Socialism is Greedy ... and dangerous?

Dangerous? Yes maybe, Laban Tall brings us the numbers.
I make that around half the [homocide] rate south of the Border, at 16 per million compared to Scotland's mighty 27 per million. Is it just coincidence that Labour have held power there uninterrupted for the last forty years, creating an underclass of considerable dimensions?

What if we booted France out of the EU?

The Pub Philosopher has an interesting suggestion, What if we booted France out of the EU? It would certainly make reforming it a whole lot easier. Especially getting rid of CAP, and getting more free markets and less social protection.

Socialist greed

Socialists are greedy. They don't like to help people in need. They claim they do, and try to get the government to look like it is helping people (which it does very badly) using other peoples money. But actual, personal, hand-in-the-wallet giving? No.

For proof I give the 2005 Generosity Index, colour coded by political party by the Pirate's Blog list of the most generous states. The bottom 5 are all socialist leaning (Democrat), the top 5 are all liberal leaning (Republican) with a quite clear spilt between the two parties.

December 14, 2005

MEPs vote for mandatory data retention

Tony Blair's use of the EU as a democracy by-pass has worked. The European Parliment has voted data retention through. The EP could never have stopped this proposal, but it could possibly have delayed it or maybe pulled it's teeth.
The European Parliament has approved proposals on data retention that would compel telecom firms to keep customer email logs, details of internet usage and phone call records for between six months to two years.

The plan - designed to assist law enforcement in the fight against terrorism and serious crime - leaves it up to individual governments to decide how long service providers will be obliged to keep data.
I do not think that it will be of much suprise when this winds its way back through Whitehall it will include many many more clauses that the original and be much much more destructive to civil liberties. Without any chance of democratic oversight. Just as was intended.

The large costs of this, one of the reasons that similar powers under RIPA remain inactive, will have to be taken by the ISP's themselves (which could drive small ones under) and from them the customers. Rather than governments and from them the tax payer since:
MEPs decided to drop provisions to make it mandatory for member states to reimburse telecom companies for additional costs incurred in servicing law enforcement requests.
Not normally one to like any government expenditure at least if it had been money coming out of government coffers directly they would have some reason to limit the retention times, and therefore costs. However since it will have no direct effect on government budgets there is no reason for them not to go as privacy erroding as possible. This will, like most unrequired regulations, increase operating costs add financial drag to the economy and therefore decrease eventual tax revenues. But the government will be far to short sighted to see that, blinded by the thought of all that lovely privacy they can invade.

This was not an EU initiative, coming from Blair and New Labour, but it was the EU's structures that let get get past with the minimum of democratic oversight. The sooner we leave the sooner this particular democracy by-pass will be closed.

Presumption of guilt

Many people seem to have picked up on Blair finally admitting that he favours the Presuption of Guilt. Even the dead tree media with The Scotsman, fellow inhabitant of Scotland DK is venting impressive quantities of bile over New Labour. The Longrider is more considered in his condemnation, but equally damning, as is MatGB of Not Little England. Perry de Havilland of Samizdata is also there, with a bit of 'I told you so'.

Spy Blog: why should the Home Secretary have the power to revoke your British Citizenship on a whim

It is hard to keep up with all of the authoritarian crap being spawned by New Labour. SpyBlog has found another, the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill which gives the Home Secretary the power to revoke the british citizenship of anybody that he chooses, for whatever reason he chooses.

December 13, 2005

Blair's bid to target presumption of innocence

From Talk Politics. It has finally happened. Tony Blair finally admits he prefers guilty until proven innocent:
"Mr Blair was asked if he was sticking to his principles on presuming innocence before suspects were proven guilty.

He told BBC News: 'You cannot deal with this type of crime by ordinary methods or by ordinary court processes. I genuinely believe that. I have tried it, it doesn't work.'"
Guilty until proven innocent has been one of New Labour's guiding principles all the way back to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act back in 2000 after only three years in office. They then tried to extend it to allow snooping from just about anybody that worked for government.

Falconer defends new protest law

Lord Falconer (of Cronism) is claiming that New Labour's ridiculously overdone freedom of speach destroying law, stopping unauthorised protests within half a mile of Parliament
was a "sensible" precaution to stop disorder rather than an attack on free speech

M&S wins landmark tax for EU Tax harmonisation

As expected the ECJ has ruled in a way to help create tax harmonisation by the back door.
In a landmark ruling, the European court today upheld M&S's claim that British tax law flouted European Union regulations, in a move that will see the retailer receive a £30 million tax windfall from the Treasury.
Dispite tax never being part of the EU's jurisdiction (until now) and one of Tony Blair's Red Lines that he actually managed to defend (more or less) from the EU Constitution
Mr Blair won a verbal assurance from the EU's Italian presidency in December that all moves to QMV on tax [harmonisation] would be dropped
The constitution may now be dead, but the process of integration continues as before.

December 12, 2005

seeking symmetry

Cicero's Songs has an interesting post on the limits to knowledge. In it he argues that people try to see symmetry even when there is none. This does explain one factor in politics. Why the 'left' is automatically considered to also be liberal.

In most developed world countries most politicians views are to the 'right', that is using markets where possible, and there is a tendency for them as they go further 'right' to get more authoritarian as well.

Seeking symmetry it is natural to infer from this that the further left economically a politician the more liberal. However, with some exceptions, you find a similar thing happening on the 'left' as the 'right', the more extreme they get the more authoritarian they get.

EU and Tax

The EU's attempt to push it's way into the taxation system is coming to a head and we should get the result on Tuesday. Odds are that it will find in favour of M&S and suddenly a large chunk of taxation will get harmonised across the continent. The treasury stands to loose about £5 billion from this, which like the money that it is going to have to find when Britain looses some, if not all, of it's rebate has not been bugeted for by the Treasury. Finances are streched waffer thin at the moment so (yet more) tax rises are pretty well inevitable.

Low-Tech Fingerprint Fraud

The the Safety Elephant always trumpets the perfect security of biometrics as why ID Cards are going to be secure. Small problem spoofing biometrics is childs play:
"Fingerprint scanning devices often use basic technology, such as an optical camera that take pictures of fingerprints which are then 'read' by a computer. In order to assess how vulnerable the scanners are to spoofing, Schuckers and her research team made casts from live fingers using dental materials and used Play-Doh to create molds. They also assembled a collection of cadaver fingers.

In the laboratory, the researchers then systematically tested more than 60 of the faked samples. The results were a 90 percent false verification rate."

December 11, 2005

Where is the money going Mr Brown?

Back in 2002 Gordon Brown put 1% on Income Tax National Insurance so that
NHS funding would rise by an average of 7.4% in real terms each year, increasing from £65.4bn this year to £105.6bn in 2007/08.

It means UK health spending will increase from 6.7% of domestic economic output in 1997 to 9.4% by 2007/08, compared with a current European Union average of 8%.
So here we are in 2005 following
the largest ever sustained increase in NHS resources ... This will deliver the longest period of sustained stable growth in resources since the NHS was founded.
What do we see? Is the NHS now a shining beacon, the envy of the world? Not exactly. According to The Observer, hardly what you could call a 'right wing' paper, this is what happened to one 56 year old woman
'My GP said it wouldn't get any better and that I needed surgery,' she said. 'By the time I got to see the consultant last month I had suffered three painful episodes. Each time I was laid up for several days. I couldn't do anything, I was in such agony.'

But when she went back to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford last month, she was amazed to be told that an operation was out of the question. Her doctor told her that, because of problems with finances, they couldn't carry out a hernia repair.
This is not a complex operation, yet the NHS has squandered so much tax payers money that it does not even have enough for this. So much for the supposed cuts that Cameron is supposed to be wanting to make should be gain power, Gordon Brown has lavished money on the NHS at an unprecedented rate and still has to make cuts. Again from the Observer a picture of the NHS emerges:
In the last week, there have been bleak reports of ward closures, cancelled operations and even certain treatments being ruled out by health trusts at a time of record spending. The deficit facing hospital trusts is set to reach £620 million, but the true scale of the debts across the whole of the NHS is probably closer to £1bn, according to the leading health think-tank, the King's Fund.
Real reform is sorely needed, not just squandering yet more tax payers money. But that seems to be all that Gordon has on offer, even if the amount getting to the front line is wittled down to a mere 2.4%, and wow betide anybody that suggests anything different.

Blair is beatable

For the first time in ages the polls are showing that it might be possible to get rid of this fascist government. To win the opposition needs to regularly be polling around 40%, and for the first time in ten years the Conservatives have done so.
ICM also asked a voting intention question asking how people would vote assuming that Gordon Brown was Labour leader - like YouGov’s poll earlier this week this showed Labour doing worse under Brown than under Blair; with Brown as leader voting intention would be CON 40%, LAB 37%, LD 18%.

You can always trust an aussie to speak his mind

You can always trust an aussie to speak his mind, and they are better off for it. Can you imagine any european politician, except possibly Ayaan Hirsi Ali, saying this?
"Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown"

The state is not your friend

Tim Worstall on ASBOs, with his main objection being
There seems to be no understanding at all about the fact that such things as Magistrates Courts, juries, double jeopardy rules and so on, these did not exist to protect us from each other, nor to ensure that criminals got off scot free, but to protect us, the citizenry, from you, the rulers.

Sky Marshal Shooting in Miami

Bruce Schneier gives his views on the Sky Marshal Shooting in Miami. He thinks that it was not the same as the execution of Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Underground, and sympathises with the officers having to make split second decisions however:
"I'm not convinced the sky marshals' threat model matches reality. Mentally ill people are far more common than terrorists. People who claim to have a bomb and don't are far more common than people who actually do. The real question we should be asking here is: what should the appropriate response be to this low-probability threat?"

EU, why?

One of the best arguments for the EU that I have heard is from Nosemonkey at Europhobia
I reckon that although we may be able to hack it on our own for the time being, maybe even for another century or two, long term (VERY long term) we'll be better off having a bit of backup.
It's strength comes from acknowledging the current state of the EU and so not even attempting to say that it is a Good Thing in it's current unreformed state. The argument bases itself on the fact that all polities end eventually (which is true) and that if you know something is going to end eventually it is prudent to have a backup (which is a logical extension). That this is one of the best arguments does not mean that I think it without flaws.

First the EU is not sitting inert and unnoticed, like a spare tire, until the wheels fall of the United Kingdom and it is finally needed. It is an active political entity in it's own right and the product of it's processes create a significant regulatory burden.
40 per cent of new regulation comes from Europe
according to Gordon Brown. Not all of this is drafted in Brussels (Strasbourg one week in four), some of it is "Gold Plated" on by bureaucrats in Whitehall ("lead plated" would be a better description, this is anything but golden). Whether it is drafted in Brussels of Whitehall it is the structures of the EU that allows it all to be enacted without proper democratic oversight. A path that Tony Blair is using to bypass parliament to enact some more of his authoritarian agenda.

Second for this argument to work when the wheels fall off the United Kingdom there still has to be plenty of miles left in the EU. It is possible to form a new nation state out of several smaller ones. England was formed this way, as was Germany, China and the United States of America. But it takes time.

The Saxon kingdoms that merged to form England did so over centuries and all shared a common language and culture. Likewise the United States took a long time to coalesce from the States that form it. Even after 85 years of the United States existance, and his own service in it's army, General Robert E Lee felt a greater loyalty to his home state than the United States. Germany started out as a Customs Union, like the EU, then converted itself into a single state under the effective rule of Prussia thanks to the statesmanship of Otto von Bismark. But in all of these cases the formation of a single country took a long time and required that the countries that it was formed from shared a common language, culture, heritage. Some anchor points where needed to hold everything together. China acts as a slightly different example being formed in a 'big bang' through the conquest of Qin Shi Huang who overcame this by the expedient of autocratic rule and simply smashing any opposition through force of arms.

Looking at countries without a single language, culture, or heritage assembled quickly through political treaty (and so are a better model for the EU) things look a lot less rosy. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the USSR, Indonesia, Congo, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire all act as better models for the way the EU is being constructed. None are, or where, particularly stable (see my earlier post of the EU Demos). None of these has lasted more than 100 years, let alone the 300 years that the UK has lasted, or over 1000 years that England has lasted. So there is absolutely no evidence that the EU will prove to have a particularly long life when compared to the current UK polity.

Third why the EU? Why choose this institution to form the back up polity from? Nosemonkey says that the EU will need considerable reform before it can be used, which is true (we are not talking cosmetic changes here, more like a ground up rebuild), and so it is best that we are in it so that we can actually make the needed changes, which is logical since the only way to make sure that any reforms that eventually happen are the correct ones for us is to actually direct them.

Reforming the EU to the stage where it is as good as the current polity, in terms of the democracy deficit, will take a lot of work. But since the EU does need so much work doing to it why use that as a base anyway, there are plenty of other possibles if we are willing to change them enough. Perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood's Caliphate? The old favourite Europhile scare of having to become the 51st State of the Union? Or perhaps you could try and find enough surviving communists to put together a bit of an Internationale? What about the Anglosphere? Or even go for broke and try to implement the US conspiracy theorist favourite of turning the UN into a kind of world government? Why does the back up have to be big anyway. What about a free trade area, not a customs union, of England, Scotland, Wales, and whoever else cares to join? Or even return to the pre-England kingdoms, again as part of wider free trade network? What is so special about the EU that makes it the best base to work from? Given the glacial pace of reform in the EU, especially the indefensible CAP, tends to indicate that it is not a good base to start from being so broken, and so entrenched in it's broken state.

So even the best argument that I have yet found leaves me still unconvinced. The quest to find a reason for being in the EU continues ...

Britblog Roundup #43

The Devil's Kitchen is hosting the Brit Blog Roundup this week. It includes many worthy nominations and, erm, me. Looks like I might get a reader, oh dear.

On Those Who Are Anti-Fascist

The drink soaked trots comments on anti-fascism and the merging of the old 'left' and 'right', labels appropriate for the 20th century where so many of the major ideological movement where Marxist derivatives are becoming less and less important following the collapse of communism and discrediting of socialism. The old 19th century split of Liberal vs. Authoritarian again rises. With much of what was the old 'left' (such as New Labour) firmly Authoritarian.

Happiness and the size of the state

Stumbling and Mumbling points to this paper comparing the relative size of the state with people happiness. The bigger the state relative to the rest of the economy the less happy people are. It also shows that the freer the trade people can engage in the happier they are. It should be noted that the countries listed with the largest governments also tend to be overall poorer, correlation ... or causation?

New Labour attacks Freedom of Speech ... again

The Inside Of My Head (via Great Britain, not little England) is posting about how New Labour has finally found a way of getting rid of the great Brian Haw.

Banning all protest within a kilometer of Parliament Square didn't work. Something had to be done to save New Labour from the horror of seeing someone with actual principles freely expressing their views day after day. They seem to have finally found something. Mr Haw has been arrested for breaching the peace, while he was asleep.
Mr Haw may be a dedicated peace activist and human rights award nominee to some but to the two constables standing over him, he was a criminal. "I'm not breaching the peace. I'm fighting for it," he said indignantly.
The Labour Party, not to be confused with fascist New Labour that has parasitically attached itself to it appears to be waking up to it's infection
John McDonnell MP, chairman of the Campaign Group of Labour MPs, added there was an increasing build-up of anger in Parliament: "Freedom of speech has never been under such attack in the UK and it is shameful this is happening under a Labour government. We need a concerted campaign in Parliament and if necessary in the courts to counter this full-frontal attack on our centuries' old democratic rights."
You only just noticed Mr McDonnell?

Beverley Hughes wants to bar-code your kids

The Jesuits are supposed to have a saying "give us a boy for 5 years and we will have the man for life". Perhaps taking leaf out of the book of Education Minister, and Opus Dei supporter, Ruth Kelly Beverley Hughes has decided to get them young (before they can object) for tagging with ">New Labour's ID Cards. Since they need a scare story and the terrorism canard isn't exactly going to work with little kiddies they have decided to resurrect the old child abuse tale.
If the government has this national database of children and is able to track them around the country, that still won't tell police and social services if they are being abused. Are they going to go make random checks on people? Will the computer churn out the names of children to have surprise visits from social workers? OK, local authorities need to keep records on children who are at risk and it would be useful for them to share the data when children move. That is still not a reason to put every child in the country onto a database.
Of course the real purpose is control, attempting to implement their ID Card system by the back door.

Speaking of the back door look who is forcing there way through it now. The council is coming to tax you on your view. As Tim Worstall says
Time was, with exceptions for the hot pursuit of criminals, firemen and the like, an Englishman’s home was his castle. Other than Customs and Excise (something I was never too keen on) everyone else needed a warrant to demand entry. There had to be a prima facie case, argued before a magistrate, before they, whoever they were, could insist on entering your property.
However this was before New Labour came to power. Now we have
Valuation inspectors, using a new £45 million computer system, are undertaking this massive exercise in England. They have also been equipped with 2,126 digital cameras at a cost of £438,749 to the taxpayer.

Parliamentary answers given by Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, show that anybody who refuses to let inspectors in could face a criminal charge.
Burn in hell bitch queen.

Hemel Hempstead Explosion.....!

The England Project is live blogging the results of the fuel storage depot explosion near Hemel Hempstead. He has some pictures from his house showing the large cloud of smoke. White Sun of the Desert speculates that it was probably an accident:
Being a risk engineer in the oil and gas business and all that, here’s my take on it: the root cause is a human error (most probably someone not following procedures) made during a non-routine operation (most probably maintenance). In short, somebody did something he was not supposed to when trying to fix something.
The BBC seems to be confirming this
The fire, which police believe was caused by an accident, could last days with more explosions expected.

Earlier rumours a plane was involved were unfounded, said a police spokesman.
If it was an accident then it will probably be one of the 36 casualties, 4 are reported seriously hurt but amazingly there are no current reports of deaths. For an explosion so powerful that it was heard more than 100 miles away this seems amazingly lucky.
Police said there was no indication the explosion would cause fuel shortages and warned against panic buying.

"We strongly advise against this as recent events have shown that panic buying alone can cause fuel shortages," said Hertfordshire Police Chief Constable Frank Whiteley.

A spokesman for Total said: "We are doing everything we can to support the emergency services and to bring the situation under control."
This was the country's fifth largest fuel distribution depot, so it will affect the cost of petrol. However the effects of a large chunk of the country fueling up now is what could cause shortages, rather than just price increases.

Labour Sleaze

Labour Sleaze: "Labour Sleaze"

December 09, 2005


Hollywood is well known the for a slash and burn attitude to historical accuracy (as seen in U571) and now they are after Beowulf, who was apparently african. The nordic tribes did travel far and wide, but Itally was the southern extent of their conquests. Skin colour is not, yet, irrelivant for films. Especially when they are set with a real historical society as a background (imagine the fury that would arise from a film with a white Zulu, or a japannese emporer of China), so if the directors purpose really was to
"depict a strong role model for Afro Americans"
why not Othelo? I can guarantee the script would be better.

Opinion - Ben Macintyre Times Online

Dave Cameron really seems to be chalking up a lot of metrics to measure his sucsess by. EU Referendum is looking at if Conservative MEP's are still in the federalist EPP, or have they moved saving roughly £4 million in the process (you didn't think that it would be principles that swayed them did you?).

Ben Macintyre of The Times gives us a metric by which to measure whether he as seen as more than his background, with the prejudice associated with it.
One measure of that will be whether, six months from now, the man who would be “Dave” is still routinely referred to “Old Etonian David Cameron”.

Expert evidence

When New Labour was call for 90 days detention without trial, broken bones heal in 42 to 56 days by the way, his constant refrain was that the police wanted it, so he had to give it to them. Likewise on ID Cards one of the major arguments is that they will help prevent terrorism, being such a great help against the Madrid bombing ... not. With this in mind littorally found a little quote by someone that really should know about security, Stella Rimmington, former head of MI5. According to her
"ID cards have possibly some purpose.

"But I don't think that anybody in the intelligence services, particularly in my former service, would be pressing for ID cards.

"My angle on ID cards is that they may be of some use but only if they can be made unforgeable - and all our other documentation is quite easy to forge.

"If we have ID cards at vast expense and people can go into a back room and forge them they are going to be absolutely useless.

"ID cards may be helpful in all kinds of things but I don't think they are necessarily going to make us any safer."

The EU

A little comment on the EU and it's love of our money by English Rights Campaign, the summation of which is you have to stand up to a bully not appease it. The EU will soon back down if we really stood up to it and had politicians at least willing to talk about leaving, they want our money far to badly to allow that to ever happen.

Chicken Yoghurt: KerBlunk!

Chicken Yoghurt reveals the cutting insights of David Blunkett:
"Of course, we should be immensely grateful that he's not still polluting our lives as he was a few months ago - in fact, from a certain point of view, keeping Blunkett out of our business is an act of breathtaking altruism from Rupert Murdoch"
exactly, and since he is now in the private sector I am no longer forced to support the authoritarian wanker as he vents nonsense.

December 08, 2005

The poor are being robbed in Labour's class war

Via Mr Worstall Boris Johnson has a good article on the hypocracy of New Labour and socialism. The poor are being robbed in Labour's class war

Lords reject torture evidence use

The Lords reject the use of torture evidence. Good, torture has no place in modern civilisation. I was shocked that they even allowed it in the Court of Appeal judgment passed in August 2004 said it was acceptable if the UK government was not directly involved. Torture outsourced is still torture.

December 07, 2005

Hague is back

Hague is back, as shadow foreign secretary. Good news, he is a great debater and has too much talent to be sitting around on the back benches. Watching him take Tony apart at Prime Ministers Questions was always a good show, shame he isn't going after someone that will present more of a challenge.

An anti-hachet job from Al Guardian

I said that I thought that the honeymoon from the socialist press would be over for Cameron as soon as he was Conservative leader, Jonathan Freedland of Al Guardian has just confirmed it.
The honeymoon's over - or at least it should be.

In one of his best lines, used before, he faulted Labour's top-down habits while simultaneously taking on the great she-elephant herself, declaring: "There is such a thing as society, it's just not the same thing as the state."
Good line, it sums up the liberal philosophy really quite well. In fact it seems very much like something Perry de Havilland would say:
Society is something emergent that occurs when people interact with each other, you cannot point at it and you cannot owe it anything. When any politician says the word 'society', you can be damn sure what he really means is 'the state'.
, but with rather less words.

Mr Freedland goes on to talk about Cameron's record,
In four years in the Commons he has voted against every extra investment in schools, hospitals and the police. He voted against the increase in national insurance that went on the NHS. He wants to abolish the New Deal and undo Britain's adherence to the European social chapter, the document that ensures a variety of rights and protections for British workers.
This piece is obviously supposed be making Cameron look like a monster. But for me if anything this is improving him in my eyes. He is starting to look less and less like Tony Mk II, all spin and no substance, and more like someone that actually believes in something. And better than that what he believes in is liberty. But it gets better.
Most striking, given his own circumstances, he voted against giving parents of young or disabled children the right to request flexible working.
Bloody hell, he believes in something. They kept that rather quiet during the leadership race! Now that is surprising, as it appears that Mr Cameron really does believe in the small state, it isn't just a front. He opposed something that would have been of great benefit to him personally because of a deeper respect for his principles.

Like Mr Harding Mr Freedland notes that Cameron likes education vouchers and the patients passport, and like Mr Harding he seems to think that people that use there own money to go private in either of these fields are somehow exempt from tax. Rather than what is the actual case, that they are paying for these services twice because they think that the private option is of that much better quality. Mr Freedland notes that his small state credentials could provide some tactical ammunition to Gordon Brown as Brown will probably lie and say that he wants to cut spending
That will allow the chancellor to use the same tactic against Cameron that destroyed each of his predecessors. Which services will be cut? Which school playground won't be renovated, which hospital ward will be shut?
Of course he has actually said that he simply wants to slow the growth of the wealth consuming sector to less than that of the wealth creating sector. Hopefully the way that, according to Mr Harding,
This guy makes Blair look a novice when it comes to spin
will come in useful there. Mr Freedland concludes
Will it work? That much is a test for the whole electorate. We will have to weigh Brown's record against Cameron's panache - and choose. What really matters most in politics, style or substance? We are about to find out.
From his own words it looks like they do not have to choose. Cameron has both.

What does David Cameron actually think?

To get a more rounded view of Cameron look at what his enemies are saying. They should be trying to put forward the best arguments that they can that he is the devil incarnate, and there fore if there really are any skelingtons in the cubboard here is where they will come to light. So What does David Cameron actually think? So apparently:

David Cameron was in favour and voted for the war
As did Tony and Gordon, in fact a majority of MP's. I wasn't but in retrospect there are good things happening in Iraq so it might end up with a reasonable utility value. Could be a minor problem in future, but only against the LibDems as they where the only party that did not support the war. So no harm there, more LibDem's would be just as good at reducing the New Labour majority as more Tories.

David Cameron wants to pull out of the Centre-Right, European Peoples's Party and join with the minor extreme right fascist parties and those that want to leave the EU altogether.
Ignoring the weird conflation of wanting out of the EU (and therefore more democracy, and a smaller less meddling state) and authoritarianism. Eurosceptisim and trying to form a new political antifederalist block in the (powerless) European parliment at least shows that he wants to block the EU's progress towards becoming a nation state. However on the other hand Cameron is not walking it as well as he talks it, having dropped one of the few solid Tory policies to repatriate fishing policy and get out of the CFP.

David Cameron is enthusiastically supporting George Osborne's comical look into Flat Taxes.
he likes fair taxation, great.

David Cameron was Norman Lamont's policy advisor and speech writer in the run up to the Black Wednesday disaster
This is about him not being a completely 'new broom', hopefully this experence will make him warry of the EU having seen it in action at close quarters.

David Cameron was author of 2005 Conservative Manifesto
Which means that he supports vouchers for education and health. Good, get a bit of the market into both systems and cut out some bureacrats. This is followed by the commical statement that this is to "help the middle class pay for private education using tax payers money", the middle class not being tax payers.

David Cameron never rebels against his party
Could be a problem, he may be loyal, but it also shows he is willing to put party advancement above personal conscience.

David Cameron wants support for traditional marriage
I would rather see marriage as a simple contract like any other contract, and without the government subsidies. However since it does provide a more stable enviroment for bringing up children this is at least better than the current subsidies for being a single parent.

David Cameron is passionately in favour of Hunting
And the problem here is? Hopefully he would reverse the stupid and useless ban on fox hunting, brought in purely to gain short term political capital.

David Cameron voted against elected House of Lords
Hmm bit of a problem here, but surely even he will be able to see that the current system is the worst of all possible worlds and needs replacing.

Wants a strict limit on immigration
immigration is good, but not at a level were the immigrants do not assimilate and become colonists like in Bradford.

Wants to reverse Human Rights legislation.
Well since the Human Rights act seems to only apply to Islamofascists and people genuinely fleeing persecution get no protection what so ever this is not quite as bad as it sounds.
On Privilege
some meaningless prejudice

None of this sounds that modern and compassionate to me. Don't be deceived by this Tory fraud. This guy makes Blair look a novice when it comes to spin.

So some bad points (Human Rights Act, House of Lords Reform) and some good point (vouchers, Flat Tax). By no means perfect but far better than Blair or Brown, and if he really can "makes Blair look a novice when it comes to spin" then that is to the good. Because he is going to have to, since from this point the media honeymoon is over and the socialist media will be out to get him.

December 06, 2005

the surveillance state points to this article on teh misuse of CCTV, now doesn't that make you feel safer knowing you are the mastibation fantasy of some low paid security guard somewhere, who will do absolutely nothing if there is an actual crime outside your house as he is too busy getting his (or her) rocks off over you?

With the wonders of Perv-O-Vision they don't even have to rely on their imagination to find out what you look like naked, they get given a massively expensive machine by the government to do it for them.

But at least we don't have ID Cards yet so that you can actually move about without harassment from the police for, well, existing.

The Devil's Kitchen: Polly is an idiot #94

In DK's fisking it seems that he missed one point, and it is the one that always gets me.

She conflates not increasing spending with cutting spending.

Next year I plan to win the lottery, if I do not does that mean that I have had money taken from me? No just that I have not gained more that than I did this year.

In fact Cameron isn't even planning on not increasing spending, so even taking inflation into account the amount of real money pissed away 'invested' in public services is not going to change. If anything it is going up. Polly even knows this as she says
"Cameron has promised to restrict spending growth to a lower rate than the growth of the economy"
So he is going to increase, not decrease as polly says everywhere else, spending. He simply proposes not increasing wealth consumption faster than wealth creation.

Roasted Polly

The Devil is roasting Polly Toynbee. Unfortunantly for her Gordon Browns mismanagement of the economy and eye watering tax rates mean that the hell fires have been set simmer in order to save money. So she burns for quite some time, and in a most amusing way.

Someone Needs a Sound Flogging

The General has unleashed his heavy artillery on the stupid Bureaucrats that run our school system. This is a point by point fisking epic ripping apart all that stand in his way.
Proof that the state run education system is the hands of unreconstructed wreckers who care more about their dreams of a socially-engineered utopia than for the children in their care is embodied in this woman.

I have VERY strong views on this topic. It is insane that teacher training and policy-making appears still to be in the hands of total morons.
read it all.

December 05, 2005

Europe: on building a Demos

MatGB of Great Britain, not little England is posting about building an EU Demos using as one of his examples
"300 years ago, do we really think that Scots and English felt a common enough kinship to think of themselves first as 'British'? No"
But 300 years on significant numbers still don't think of themselves first as British. The second largest party in the Scottish Parliament campaigns for independence for Scotland. This is despite sharing a common language, as the first language, and the financial disincentives of independence.

Scottish independence is not an isolated case, Ireland was conquered by Elizabeth I at the Siege of Kinsale in 1602, 403 years ago. And yet 22% of the population want independence in the only part that has not yet become independent.

The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia turned into the Velvet Divorce soon afterwards, with the people most in favour being the Slovaks again against their simple financial interests as
the Czech Republic's GDP was some 20% percent higher than Slovakia's
After a transition period of roughly four years, during which the relations between the states could be characterised as a "post-divorce trauma", the present relations between Czechs and Slovaks, as many people point out, are probably better than they have ever been.
No movement to re-unite Czechoslovakia has appeared and no political party advocates it in its programme. Political influences between the countries are minimal. Trade relationships were re-established and stabilized. After a short interruption, Slovakia's mountains are again the target of a growing number of Czech tourists.

That was a painless example, unlike close by Yugoslavia which disintegrated via a bloody civil war along the lines of the countries that it was formed from 50 years before as soon as the binding force of authoritarian Communist rule loosened.

The best historical model for what the EU wants to be is probably Austro-Hungarian Empire which saw repeated political turmoil every ten years as it renegotiated it's existence and only lasted 50 years before breaking up as a result of being on the loosing side of World War 1. It never developed a unifying Demos.

There are many more examples like these even the United States of America descended into civil war despite a the majority sharing a language, religion, history and heritage. The states that are being merged into a single nation by the EU do not have the advantage of sharing these. The current glorious diversity of European cultures presents a stumbling block for creating a single one to replace them.

Creating a single unifying culture is hard. Sometimes it takes a very long time, sometimes it simply doesn't happen. This is not helped by the contempt shown by the Eurocrats for the existing demoses when they democratically try to oppose EU integration, such as the Irish Referendum on the Nice treaty, or the Danish on Maastricht both of which where called again when the 'wrong' answer was produced.

The EU is a polity formed with the aim of replacing the current ones. This is why it needs a Demos in the first place. Without one democracy will be hard as people will simply tend to vote en bloc for candidates that belong to the same Demos as themselves, replacing the open market of policies that characterises a successful democracy with a static oligarchy based on population levels.

But why do the the current political institutions need to be replaced anyway? They have flaws, all human creations have flaws, but by almost any measurement that you care to take the EU is currently more flawed than what it seeks to replace. Why is it that replacing structures with flaws with a structure with more and deeper flaws seen as a good thing? If it ain't broke don't fix it, and certainly don't try to fix it by replacing it with something that is broke.

The Death of Private Property.

Under Labour the socialist policy was Nationalising industry. It failed, spectacularly. New Labour want to nationalise private property, assests such as houses and savings (such as pensions) do not belong to their owners, they belong to New Labour which graciously allows us to hold them for a time for it.

'Gay weddings' become law in UK

Good, but a long time coming.

December 01, 2005

Vlaclav Klaus on the EU

The Road to Euro Serfdom is blogging something by Vlaclav Klaus who explains why many people think the dream of the EU is a good idea (since even many Europhiles will admit the reality is somewhat lacking):
Europeanism is based on two assumptions:

1. Nation states are a left over from the past, they have no future.
2. The individual cannot be responsible for his own actions, he must be controlled from the centre.

Nearly all European Leaders, whether left or right have accepted this argument.
Vlaclav Klaus (one of the few openly Eurosceptic politicians) is certainly on to something so I would like to say a few things about this world view that he points out is prevalent amoungst other politicians in Europe.

Point 1 may, or may not be true. Only time will tell but at the moment coherent groups with a shared culture living in a single territory does seem to still be rather popular. This is evident is shown by the break up of Yugoslavia based on pre-existing ethnicities, the break up of Czechoslovakia even thought the people most in favour (the Slovaks) stood to loose more from the break up. There are also strong nationalist movements in Scotland and Wales that seek to break up the United Kingdom even though they stand to loose out financially. Plus many others, of with varrying amounts of democratic legitimacy, so at the moment the nation state seems quite a well like concept.

Even the European politicians that hold this view that nation states are on the way out act in the interests of their own nations rather than in the interests of the EU as a whole as can be seen by the current problems settling the EU budget.

Unlike nation states the EU is certainly is a relic of the past.
Created in the 1950's with ideas from the 1930's to try and stop a war between France and Germany that had already happened, and was not going to happen again.
with the development of nuclear weapons and the growth of the two superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union, the question of possible Franco-German wars became a non-issue. The enemy of the West was further east, just as the enemy of the West now is in the south and the east. European integration became an unimportant side-issue.

As for point 2. That it is true is especially obvious from the actions of Blair and New Labour. But it is also evident from the EU's tendency to micromanage and regulate for no reason other than the obsesive need to regulate the lives of it's 'citizens' (who in turn get little to no direct say in it's actions). That something is true does not mean that I have to like it as a Liberal I find this kind of excessive stiffling control abhorent.

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age

The Gulf Stream is slowing down according to New Scientist which will decrease British winter temperatures, exactly as is predicted from some climate change models. Climate change is happening. Some of it because of natural variation, some of it human enhanced. Renewables cannot sustain our civilisations energy needs let alone the increased energy needs as India and China develop, however Nucleur can. Bring on the Nukes!

Ayaan Hirsi Ali interview

The Pub Philosopher brings us a channel 4 interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is actually willing to defend Enlightenment values as better than Islamofascism. Rather more than can be said for any British politician, or even most european born politicians.