June 29, 2006

big is not always best

In macroeconomic management, like so much in life, size matters. However big is not always best for, also like so much in life, it is possible for things to get too big, or that they simply be the wrong shape. From this you get the conglomerate discount, with the whole is worth less than the sum of it's parts, or the permanent crisis in the NHS because it is imply far too big to manage. Or even in completely different arenas such a software where both Apple with their Copland project and Microsoft with Longhorn found their projects becoming so complex that they had to either scrap the project completely, or wipe the slate clean and restart it.

The same is true of nation states. If you lump several smaller states of provinces together artificially then the result will not be as good as state that evolved naturally. Stumbling and Mumbling points to some economic research that shows how artificial states perform worse than natural ones with a view to the possible break up of Iraq.

Now there can be no more artificial a state than the state the EU was designed to become. The process that created the EU, of absorbing existing nations wholesale, makes trying to count partitioned groups a poor measure of artificiality since it's artificialness does not come from splitting groups, as was the case in the African countries studied in the paper that Stumbling and Mumbling is linking to, but in lumping them together. There is luckily another measure of artificiality than the ones that they used, Ethnolinguistic Fractionalization.

Fractionalisation can be calculated with the following formulae.

where there are N ethnic groups, group i has population pi and the national population is P. I have taken my data primarily from the CIA World Book. I have been forced to exclude France because of the French government's refusal to collect any statistics of ethnicity, so there are none of the populations of the ethnic groups of France included and the population of france has been removed from the EU total.

This leads to a fractionation value of between roughly 0.905 and 0.904 depending whether the populations consider themselves currently to be hypernated (like for example an Italian-American) or partitioned (like the Kurds who often consider themselves part of a single nation of Kurdistan which just happens to have been split between 4 different states) respectively. For comparison the fractionalisation value of the UK is 0.289, the UK being itself an artificial country which has several political parties that have been set up specifically to break it apart.

The Ethnolinguistic Fractionalization was used in William Easterly and Ross Levine's 1997 paper Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions showed that per capita GDP growth is inversely related to Fractionalization. Luckily with good enough institutions these problems can be mitigated which despite the rampant fraud, inability to get their accounts signed off for 11 years, and massive democracy deficit the EU probably does have when compared to the Kleptocrats that have cursed Africa for so long. This is a good thing since the levels of fractionalization in the EU are also higher than in Africa, and as the Alberto Alesina, William Easterly and Janina Matuszeski paper that Stumbing and Mumbling linked to shows it is at the outside edges where these effects really take off.

But enough reasoned argument, back to ranting.

More drivel from the groan

An anti-capitalist hypocrite campaigner is writing in the Guardian today about how her son was mugged for the £400 iPod that she bought for him (I wonder why she denied make sure an example of extravegant consumption knowing as she did the evils of consumerism. Oh yes the evils come from other people consuming, silly me). She is of course not surprised when he was mugged, but knows exactly what to blame. Not the mugger of course, a simple automoton with no independent moral functioning driven by a mindless programme to consume forced on him by TV and advertising. No the problem is that we buy things, if nobody bought anything then nobody have anything to get stolen. We could all just sit around naked in the forests scratching out an existence scavanging, and inbreed.

There are many things that I would like, but I have never mugged anyone to get them. Not even a writer for the Guardian. I work, save up and then I can buy whatever I have chosen. If there is a problem related to consumerism it is at this point, the scrotes have forgotten about the need to work to be able to get things. They have been taught that it is morally right to get things that other people have paid for simply because they cannot be arsed to work for them themselves. They believe that they should be given everything they need, be it a new mobile, fancy trainers, or massive amounts of cheesy jewelery solely because they think they need it. And I wonder what has givern them that idea.

June 26, 2006

Hong Kong as an experiment

Milton Friedman uses Hong Kong as an experiment into the effects of a laizze-faire approach to running an economy, compared to several more statist governments (Isreal, Britian, and the USA). Uncerprisingly Hong Kong has performed much better than any of them. He concludes:
The real lesson of Hong Kong for the United States is that we’re using our resources inefficiently. Our government is spending our money to subsidize tobacco and to penalize smoking; to subsidize childbearing and to discourage childbearing; to build new housing and to tear down housing; to subsidize agriculture and to penalize agriculture; and on and on—not to mention converting square miles of forests into billions of paper forms and spending many man-years of labor filling them out and then filing them.
A lesson that Britian should learn as well, especially as we are far more government controlled than the USA and therefore stand to gain far more by removing that government control to more Hong Kong like levels.

June 25, 2006

Tony Blair is a fascist

King Tony is continues to try and govern by headline, with the resultant war on civil liberties, now thinks that summary justice (why does that make me think of death squads? Oh yes) is the way to make the red tops love him. Much of the debate going on is about how he thinks that there should be less of that awkward proof as to whether someone actually did what they are accused of, and once they have been found guilty prison sentencing is apparently too lenient. He is wrong on both counts, but more to the point he is also trying to deal with the problem arse backwards.

The problem is nothing to do with courts and sentencing, it is to do with people committing crime. Once the crime has been committed the system has already failed. The courts and prisons are just there to try and clean up the mess afterwards, but the real solution is to stop the crime happening in the first place.

In the words of Sir Robert Peel:
The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

There are very strong correlations between certain factors and people committing crime.

One is education, if you don't even have the educational ability to register an order or get the correct change in McDonalds then you are not going to have much in the way of legal career options.
Some 7 million adults in England - one in five adults - if given the alphabetical index to the Yellow Pages, cannot locate the page reference for plumbers. That is an example of functional illiteracy.


60% of people in prison suffer from functional illiteracy and/or innumeracy.

Another know correlation is with the most un-telegenic of all aspects of health care, mental health.
A study undertaken by the Office of National Statistics, for example, found that 7% of sentenced men, 10% of men on remand and 14% of women in both categories suffered from psychotic illness in the previous year as compared to 0.4% of the general adult population. (Fryers, T., Brugha, T. (1998) 'Severe mental illness in prisoners', British Medical Journal, Vol. 317, pp.1025-6). A 1996 study indicated that over 60% of unconvicted male prisoners held on remand were suffering from mental disorder and some of these were judged to have an immediate treatment need that was not being met. (Brooks, D., Taylor, C,. Gunn, J., Maden, A. (1996) ‘Point prevalence of mental disorder in unconvicted male prisoners in England and Wales’, British Medical Journal, Vol.313, pp.1524-7.)
An individuals mental health never going to be helped by being locked up in prison, and not just on people with a preexisting condition.

A better system of education that gives enough options that everybody can be educated to the best of their ability and a health system that does not focus on whatever the health minister of the day thinks will get them the best photo opportunity will therefore provide a better cure to the problem of crime than the bonfire of civil liberties so beloved by Blair. That will help reduce the number of people predisposed to crime, but what of crime itself?

There is one known, tried and tested way of reducing crime. You increase the risk of getting caught by putting more police on the streets. It works with the evidence being not just anecdotal like Henry Porter's piece in the Observer but hard statistical evidence such as by Steven Levitt in Freakonomics that he wrote with Stephen J Dubner. Sir Robert Peel understood this two centuries ago (so much for Blair's 21st century crime requiring 21st century methods), he also understood that the best way to get the most police on the street would be if everybody where the police:
Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Unfortuantly the ever centralising forces of so many governments, and ever expanding list of uncrimes have broken this link in such a way that may be hard to recover.


Dr Crippen tells us about the current state of mental health provision within the NHS. Being so media unfriendly it could be cut without any public uproar. So Thatcher did, replacing NHS mental health with Care in the Community, where they recieve no care and so end up a blight on the community.

June 23, 2006

Blair attacks justice

Law and Order is in the headlines. Again. Tony wants to be tough. Again. He says that we must rebalance the legal system, for the fortieth time. He says that we should be willing to give up yet more civil liberties in exchange for a little more civil order. Tony thinks that just a bit more power to central government and he can find a way of managing the problem. He's wrong.
On Friday Prof Loader told the BBC: "We have had 25 years of government that have taken law and order very seriously, shall we say. We have had 40 pieces of law and order legislation from this government.
"We have had countless new criminal offences, we've got a prison population that is bursting at the seams and we have got sentences in aggregate terms going up not going down."
And yet people no longer trust the police to tackle crime. Yet they also feel no longer able to deal with what are in reality very minor disturbances relying instead on the police.
"Believe it or not people will ring and complain that kids are playing football on the grass.
"The new way to get the police there, because people know we won't come for kids just playing football, is to say they are taking drugs, they are lighting fires or they are causing damage."
In the past instead of calling the police anybody sufficiently annoyed by any behaviour would have done what Sir Robert Peel expressed in his Nine Points of Policing as:
police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
They would have moved them on themselves for the good of the community. But not anymore, the police are now an organ of central government rather than an extension of the the local community. Any citizen knows full well that should they try to attend to the duties which are incumbent on them in the interests of community welfare and existence the full might of the state will come down on them.

Now where have I seen this pattern before? Oh yes every single other time that central government has got too involved in what should be something that is better dealt with at a local level. The original ad hoc social control system have been destroyed by state interference and the state provided substitute has turned out to be not up to the task, as being directed from central government it is unable to adapt to local patterns.


The Economist asks why there is such a greater problem with Islam in Europe compared to America, the cultural differences between Europe and america being on of the factors:
Some of Mr Ellian's criticisms of Europe are philosophical: it is too cynical and mercantilist a place to wage a war of ideas in defence of the Enlightenment. Some are personal: “Five years ago, my Afghan sister-in-law emigrated to the United States, where she now works, pays taxes and takes part in public life. If she had turned up in Europe, she would still be undergoing treatment from social workers for her trauma—and she still wouldn't have got a job or won acceptance as a citizen.”
The Welfare State having stopped them integrating with the rest of society the only option is to form a society of their own apart from the mainstream. The Welfare State is quite happy with this, as is Islamic theology which puts loyalty to the Ummah above loyalty to whatever nation happens to be hosting individual Muslims. Talking about Mohammad Sidique Khan Steve, the Pub Philosopher notes:
How come Iraqis are his 'people'? Khan was a Pakistani [actually he was British]. He had chosen to identify the Iraqis as his 'people' as part of his commitment to jihad. However, his rage was conveniently delayed until after the invasion of Iraq. He clearly wasn't angry enough about the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of 'his people' by Saddam to attempt a suicide bombing in Iraq or against the Iraqi embassy. Like most Islamists in the UK, he was unconcerned by the mass murder of Muslims by other Muslims.
Segragated into a victim group for the Welfare States convience to be love bombed is naturally going to make some people think that this makes them victims of everything, that has happened, ever, or else why would such a big fuss be made over such a small facet of their lives? The Welfare state has massively over emphisised one part of people lives, so it is no wonder that they also think it more important than it actually is. They are effectively paid to do so. The problem is that the culture that the Welfare State has chosen to use as the focus of it's attentions is a culture that is failing its people world wide. That is the reason that they came here in the first place.

But like all monotheisms Islam does not deal well with failure. When Islam was created it was conquering all before it. Islamic culture the most advanced in the world it. Obviously theirs really was the one true omnipotent god, and their prophet really had delivered the final perfect message of that god. However Islamic culture is now failing. Yet the god still the only one true god and the message still final and perfect. So either they are not following it correctly, with the logical course being to try and follow the message more closely and devote yourself to it more fanatically. Or there is a massive consipiracy against them. People taking either, or both, options are seen all to clearly throughout the Islamic world.

Luckily exposure to radical Islam is one of the best ways of building feeling against it, rather like how the vacination is the best way of preventing a disease.
Osama's approval ratings in Jordan have gone from 60 percent to 24 percent in one year. Good going, Zarqawi.
Similar things happened in Algeria where instead of trying to dampen down Islamist groups they where allowed to work themselves up, rapidly turning against each other, splintering, and turning against themselves.

The end of the world

An article on one of the nuttier aspects associated with many religions, that many believer think the world will end soon.
[President of Iran] Ahmadinejad hopes to welcome the Mahdi to Tehran within two years.
And I wonder what happens then?
Ahmadinejad in an address before the United Nations last year, suggests that the Imam Mahdi, a 9th century figure, will soon emerge from a well to conquer the world and convert everyone to Islam.

"O mighty Lord," he said, "I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."

At the appropriate time, according to Shiite tradition, the Mahdi will reappear and, along with Jesus, lead Muslims in a struggle to rid the world of corruption and establish justice.
And this is a guy trying to get his hands on nucleur weapons. Isn't that a comforting thought?

Imam Mahdi however will have some competition as Judaism still has it's own Messiah to look forward to, with some wanting to make sure they have enough kitch stockpiled in case he arrives sooner rather than later.
Artisans have re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets and solid-gold menorahs to be used in the Holy Temple — along with two 6½-ton marble cornerstones for the building's foundation.
All in the best possible taste, obviously. Pazing the road to the Messiah might require bulldozing one of Islam's holiest shrines as well, but when you have a world to end some sacrifices must be made. Including a blemish free red cow. Luckily the rebuilding of the Temple is also on the Christian to do list when it comes to judgement day so they have some help there:
Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah.

So far, only one of his cows has been verified by rabbis as worthy, meaning they failed to turn up even three white or black hairs on the animal's body.
This comes from a fundimentalist belief that we are in the end times
Underlining the sense of urgency is a belief that the end-times clock started ticking May 15, 1948, when the United Nations formally recognized Israel.
Hence the welcome if rather surpirising rise of support for Isreal amoung the christian fundimentalists of america. They will still have to convert eventually, or when JC comes back they end up toast like the rest of us.

The article does not cover the little religions, such as Aum Shinriko that tried to speed up the end of the world with their nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subways. Or the cults like Heavens Gate or the Solar Temple that decided it would be easier to end themselves rather that the world. Nor do they mention the Jehovahs Witnesses either who set a specific date for when the world was to end, and missed it. Twice.

So in the words of a bumper sticker from the US "In case of rapture, can I have your car?"

June 22, 2006

Eurosceptic enviromentalism

The guardian is propogandising again for the Labour Party, two columns in two days they must be worried. This time it is David Miliband and Geoff Hoon singing the praises of the EU and saying that Cameron is a hypocrite for trying to look enviromentally friendly while wanting to leave the EU. Cameron is a hypocrite (he has tried to defend himself here), but not because of his fairly mild eurosceptism.
the European Union, whic- without exaggeration - could be as important to the environment in the first half of the 21st century as it was to peace in the second half of the 20th.
Well since the European Union had no impact on peace what so ever in the second haft of the 20th century (other than making the Balkan wars longer and bloodier than necessarcary) there could be some truth to that statement.
EU agreements have already brought major environmental benefits, from dramatically improving water quality and waste disposal to achieving higher product standards and protecting endangered species and habitats.
Unless the endangered species happen to be fish, or the habitats farmland. Until the 2003 reforms CAP worked against the organic farming movement and in favour of industrialised chemical farming. Not that these reforms have helped that much Oxfam reports that "CAP is at the heart of problems that range from water pollution to soil erosion". The EU's directives forcing recycling even when it uses more resources (and is therefore more enviromentally harmful) than landfill, and the REACH ban on the use of lead in electrical products is threatening to destroy whole industries for no enviromental benefit at all.
Today, as the world slowly wakes up to the massive challenge of tackling climate change, it is to Europe that it looks for inspiration.
Having completely failed to even come close to meeting it's Kyoto requirements.
By negotiating as one block, the EU is a powerful force for change
Well it would actually be more accurate to call it a powerful block to change, especially in considering the Doha trade round (the 'development round' it was billed as) is being held up primarily by the EU's defence of the indefensible CAP.
without it, the Kyoto protocol would not have survived.
Who said it did survive in any meaningful sense? It has actually achieved about as much as the Lisbon Agenda, that is there is a peice of paper with some nice sounding words and a bunch of signatures. But no action what so ever.
The EU's emission-trading scheme is the most innovative and efficient method yet invented for reducing carbon emissions to manageable levels.
Emission-trading may be good, but it hasn't actually worked as well as not doing anything as happened in the USA. "The EU's emissions rose 3.6% between 2001 and 2004 (those in the US fell)".
David Cameron's hostility to Europe makes a mockery of his claimed green credentials. The gap between his rhetoric and his party's action is glaring - not only in the chauffeur-driven car that follows his bicycle to work.
While Tony clocks up the air miles in Blair Force One, or his ministers use the Royal Flight as their own personal taxi service or for private holidays.
By pulling out of the mainstream Conservative group in the European Parliament, Mr Cameron is putting his party's obsessive anti-Europeanism before Britain's national interest, and before effective action on the environment.
That pulling out of the EU is bad for the enviroment would certainly come as a surprise to the Green Party who are distinctly sceptical of the current EU arrangements. Perhaps we would end up like other countries that have never joined, ecological disaster zones like Norway or Switzerland.

Anti-Europeanism is in Britain's national interest, and the worlds ecological interest. For example the CFP, second largest EU policy, isn't good for conservation as it is destroying the fisheries of Europe and Africa. Unless you consider it the EU dealing with all the fish that are poluting the pristine waters of Europe.
Bill Cash's amendment to the Regulatory Reform Bill was supported by 130 Tory MPs, including most of the front bench. This seemingly obscure proposal is a dagger pointed at the heart of Britain's EU membership: it means withdrawal.
Good, lets leave.


The EU-Serf also covers this concluding:
The Three most important cross border environmental issues are protection of habitats, protection of migratory species and reduction of pollutants. In all three cases the EU's policies are useless or even counter productive. So there is no merit in the EU helps the environment argument.

June 21, 2006

a few books

a list of a few books that can no longer be read, at least no longer be read anywhere other than on the internet via the links provided. Two where sued out of existence by Scientologists and Fred Phelps for revealing more than the respective religious nutters would like known. The third simply because the authors wanted it to be.

June 20, 2006

lets leave the EU

A good article in the Telegraph as to why we should leave the EU and what we should replace it with (bilateral free trade agreements, with everybody that wants one).

Shrink the state for better planning law

Jonathan Glancey is getting rather hot under the collar about planning law. He does not like the fact that the Commonwealth Institute is likely to get knocked down, to be replaced by luxury flats.
The Grade II* Commonwealth Institute is now likely to be delisted by some controversial act of parliament. It can then be demolished, legally, and its beautiful landscaped site, where Holland Park meets Kensington High Street, flogged off for hideous new luxury homes.
Luxury, cannot have that, everybody must queue equally long for their single state issue loaf of bread. He gets so worked up about the fact that it may be rich people that get to live in these flats that the real issue here gets completely ignored.

The real issue here is that a local planning desision is being decided centrally in Westminster. That is the reason that:
one of the richest London boroughs can't protect itself from such pathetic redevelopment games
The problem is not captialism, as he wants us to believe, but that decision that should have be taken locally in the borough is being taken centrally in parliament. That is why the borough is powerless to stop the developers, because their power has been taken from them by central government. The problem here is exactly the same as when Cocktail Sausage Man was bulldozing the north so that developers could put up coinlocker sized affordable housing.

Where the power to control these desisions lieing with the borough then the people of the borough would have a far greater importance in the decision making process. A single voter is of far greater importance at a local level where each individual makes up such a larger percentage of the total vote, and the money that large organisations can funnel into campaigne funds to bribe politicians is no longer such a powerful weapon. Politicians do not need the massive amounts of money for mass advertising to reach a mass audience when operating at a scale where they can go around to each potential voter and personally try and persuade them.

As Perry de Havilland wrote on Samizdata about the way that big government opens itself up to corruption:
Large corporations can coerce people because they can manipulate excessively mighty state power. The problem is the amount and scope of coersive power that the state has been allowed to accumulate. Make the state's power to do things less and you make large corporations less able to coerce people as an inevitable consequence.
Not that you could ever really expect a Guardianista to find anything wrong with Big Government.

June 19, 2006

the 'war on drugs' is being lost

Yet another person in the front line of the so called war on drugs (as these wars on abstract nouns tend to be) says that prohibition is pointless.
Wood said: "I spent much of my police career fighting the drugs war and there was no one keener than me to fight it. But latterly I have become more and more convinced that it was never a war we could win.

"We can never as a nation be drug-free. No nation can, so we must accept that. So the message has to be more sophisticated than 'just say no' because that simple message doesn't work.

"For young people who have already said 'yes', who live in families and communities where everybody says 'yes', we have to recognise that the battle is long lost."

June 18, 2006

Airbus A 380 Problems Worse Than Acknowledged

Via the Devils Kitchen's hosted Britblog Roundup we get this article on Nightcap Syndication by the Britblog Roundup's usual host Tim Worstall. According to Mr Worstall's source the Airbus A 380 problems are worse than acknowledged, these are not the electrical problems that have already delayed the aircraft's delivery date by 6 months but:
What Airbus hasn't reported is that at least one of their subcontractors is also behind schedule by 12-18 months in developing and delivering a certified subsystem.
So it looks like BAe Systems, and the directors of EADS (the company that owns most of airbus) where wise in their choice to try and get out. Not that the EADS directors had any knowledge about the problems going on in the flagship aircraft of one of their major subsidiaries. Oh no, they where obviously concentrating on the new EADS venture into pig aviation.

EU gaffe could expose the Navy's chart secrets

The EU Parliament has voted in an amendment to a bill on regulations related to national mapping organisations. They wanted to make sure that all the data was released for free on the internet, which would be nice. But could have ended up giving any potential enemies useful information about the possible patrol routes of Tridant, and bankrupted Ordinance Survey. This being the directly elected EU Parliament there is no way that the clause will end up in the final bill that gets sent back to the national legislatures for lead plating. But still why exactly where they legislating on this in the first place? Why exactly is the exact relationship between a country and whatever organisation they use for cartography an issue best set at the EU level. There might be an argument for a data exchange format, like the already existing ISO/TC 211 standard. There might be an argument for a set of standard API's and protocols so that the software that uses the data can easily get it from any EU country, like the already existing OGC standards. There is certainly an argument that this is none of the EU's business at all. Perhaps somebody should point them to the concept of subsidiarity, only the things that absolutely need it are supposed to happen at the federal level, with everything else happening at the level closest to the people as possible. Not the way the EU actually operates where it attempts to get everything to happen at the federal level, starting with the things that should be happening at the closest level to the people possible.

June 15, 2006

off for a few days

Off until sunday too enjoy the current good weather, so anyone in need of frothing-at-the-mouth wingnuttery (but beware there is also insightful analysis and reasoned argument lurking in there) should check out the sites on the sidebar until then.

June 14, 2006

The EU costs

According to Civitas
the net cost of remaining in the EU ranges from the ‘rock-bottom’ estimate of £17.6 billion to the ‘most likely’ of £40 billion
These figures assume that we just left the EU and nothing else. However the EU also prevents the UK from many potentially good opportunities. Such as in 2003 when
a Bill was introduced in the Senate that would have created a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Alas, Blair had to decline this, shamefacedly (I’d like to think) having to point out that this country had no right to negotiate international trade agreements.
Free trade with the USA is not the only area that Britain could have been trying for, free trade agreements with fast growing Brazil, India, or China might have been possible where we not in the EU. Or Africa, allowing us cheaper food, and the African nations a way to build up their economies. But instead Britain is shackling to the slowly sinking states of old Europe and is impoverishing Africa thanks to the EU's CAP.

Estimating the costs of these lost opportunities can lead to total figures such for the cost of being in the EU that are truly horrendous.
when one adds on the costs described earlier to the opportunity costs, the current recurring annual net cost to the UK of EU membership is ten percent of GDP, or approximately £100 billion per year at present levels of UK GDP.
this from a newsletter in 2004, so the numbers will probably have gone up since then. That rather makes the 20 billion that Mr Hague claims that the UK gets from the common market seem rather insignificant. If it exists at all, the Civitas report also notes that
the Bundesbank could find no evidence that it [the single market] has helped German trade. The UK economy is unlikely to be any different.
But at least the EU is going to allow us to connect to the internet, all the years of whistling down the phone line, reconstructing images on graph paper, and then carefully typesetting them on the old Linotype machine will be over.

The Tories lost Devil's Kitchen's vote #94

The Devil's Kitchen dissects William Hague's posturing over Europe. And it is posturing, like when Michael Howard said he wanted to repatriate fishing policy, Hague even admits it saying:
Question: won’t the treaties need to be renegotiated to secure a more flexible Europe?

Answer: In my speech I advocated reasserting national control over certain areas such as social and employment legislation that would require negotiation.
And any renegotiating is not going to go our way, and even if it did the new treaty would require the agreement of every single other member of the EU. Which is not going to happen, especially if Mr Hague gets his wish and somehow the new treaty contains anything anglo-saxon, since that would never get past France.

We are not going to get a better EU, that produces better regulation. However as Helen of EU Referendum points out we do not need either. What we need is less EU, and less regulation. Let people get on with their lives and the crazy, unstructured, random search of people freely interacting will produce more happiness than the cleverest regulatory scheme
The truth is that these people do not really understand what the problem is. They quite genuinely believe that the way the world, its politics and economy, its social and legal structures, can function is by regulation. There can be no other way. The trick is to find “better” regulation.

This is why they prefer managerial governance to political and why they are so greatly in favour of transnational organizations made up of bureaucrats and lawyers to the messiness of genuinely democratic politics and the free market, the most efficient economic structure but one that frightens those who like to have everything in boxes.

DK does make one small mistake:
back in 1975 we voted to stay within the European Economic Community, a free-trade area.
The EEC was never a free trade area. It was a Customs Union, like the Zollverein that proceeded the foundation of Germany. Britain left a free trade area, EFTA, in order to belong to the EEC.

June 13, 2006

tax money at work

Public sector 'workers' get better pay, better perks, and better pensions than people that actually create wealth. Some may say that you cannot compare these with the private sector as what the jobs entail is uncomparible. Well maybe they are, since no private sector employer would ever pay their staff to spend their time leaping naked from filing cabinets and planting cups of vomit to putrify in cupboards when they should be working. Likewise no employer would tolerate the level of service given to Misty or Gary Harris by the last bastion of Socialism.

June 12, 2006

The god gene

A gene that causes increased sprituality has been found. This is not really a surprising discovery as it has been know before this that spiritual experiences where caused by a misfiring of a specific area of the brain, the Temporal Lobe, which causes a sensation of a presence. These experiences can be created on demand. This is then interpreted by the person through whatever cultural context they are in as a god, spirits, fairies, or aliens. That spirituality has a genetic component however does not excuse the pain caused by religion, such as when it drives people to brutally murder the weaker amoungst them.

June 09, 2006

eeevil drugs companies

Looks like another victory for the eeevil drugs companies. An experimental HIV drug with remarkable properties:
A small human trial of the drug, reported last August, showed that when given on its own it rapidly clears most HIV from the blood, driving down the levels tenfold in a matter of hours.
Plus also news on why some people are more suseptable to HIV than others, a genetic difference to the chemical structures the virus has to bind to to infect a cell. Not as immidiately useful as the new drug, but in the long term prevention is better than cure.

June 08, 2006

Why can't we just leave the EU

The CAP has impoverished the third world. This then means that any food that is allowed through the tarrif barriers is a hostage against African governments using DDT against malaria carrying mosquito, a disease that kills tens of thousands each year.

The CFP has destroyed both the small boat fishing fleets of Europe, the European fisheries, and African fishing fleets.

Sooner rather than later the EU's Denied Boarding regulations are going to cause a major air disaster.

The EU required VAT is a fraud magnet, and like all indirect taxes one that hits poorer people especially hard. Not that much else that gets touched by this institution doesn't end up as a source of large scale fraud, it hasn't been able to get it's accounts signed off for 11 years. Even Enron managed better than that.

Last year the EU constitution was killed in referenda in France and Holland. Since then opposition to it has hardened in both countries. Yet it is still being implemented, creating things such as the EU foreign service, without any legal basis and in opposition to the democratically expressed wishes of the people.

Why can't we just leave?

al-Zarqawi is dead

Ding dong the witch is dead. The terrorist (or millitant as the BBC prefer) and leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead, and has been confirmed dead by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. He apparently died in an airstrike, and nobody has seen the body. So hopefully they really did get him and not a Brazilian electrician.


It really is him, H/T Samizdata
Zarqawi's identity was confirmed through his fingerprints.

Cameron is a moron

Isn't it strange. Despite all the pleasant vibes that his media savvy team (mainly from the media and westminster bubble) weaves around Mr Cameron every time he opens his mouth he ends up sounding like a total idiot? He decided to stick his nose into music and has decided, in his imperial wisdom, that Rap Music causes knife crime.
Mr Cameron singled out the station's Saturday night schedules which feature DJ Tim Westwood's hip-hop show.
Brilliant, it has nothing to do with the fact that kids are bored, scared, and have to protect themselves as nobody else will. It is nothing to do with the Welfare State fostering a culture of being able to get what you want without work, and working against people looking to their own resources.

No it is the fault of the style music they prefer, and one DJ in particular. Obviously Mr Westwood must be hung from the nearest lamp post and huge tanoy system blazing out Classic FM set up in every sink estate and all the problems with the world will be set right.

TAx credits fraud

With any system the more complex it is the more prone to failure. The Tax Credit system, like the VAT required by the EU, is very complex so it should come as no surprise that it is being used for fraud. The Revenue and Customs have admitted that it is worth more than £5 million, and has been done using stolen identities. The identities in question where stolen from mainly shop and factory workers, rather than using the planning systems website which puts just about everything you need to steal an identity in one handy place (or the coming ID Card database which will put more than everything you need to steal an identity in one handy place). This may only be 0.03% of the £15.8bn pa spent on Tax Credits, with a further £4 billion either not being claimed of overpaid and claimed back, but when the final figures come out it will probably be a lot more.

June 07, 2006

weird bill in the states

US Rep. Charles Rangel [D-NY] has sponcered a bill to instigate the conscription of every US man and woman. Pure politicing, since there is no chance that it would ever go though and as a Democrat Rep Rangel is probably just using this as a way of stiring up trouble over Iraq.

June 06, 2006

the state starts to wither away

Public Sector workers are paid better than workers that create wealth:
the Office for National Statistics calculated that the average public sector worker earns 20 per cent more than his or her private sector counterpart. The ONS’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows that public sector workers are not underpaid and exploited. Median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for a public sector worker is £10.50, compared to only £8.71 in the private sector.
Public Sector workers also have better pensions than private sector workers, and while we are working longer and longer to pay for them. And yet the services that the public services provide degrades, public servants pull more sickies than private sector workers and far more strikes. And us the tax payers that have our money extorted to pay for it all? Well they do provide something, if you are willing to wait long enough and aren't going to die from say a brain tumor that is not willing to wait for the NHS to finish it's collective Sudoku puzzling. However if you really need something done, like you have a brain tumor that will kill you in two weeks, then private charity and the private sector will get it treated.

Marx said that in a socialism the state would eventually wither away. But I don't think that he really meant that it would wither away because it became so inefficient that what is supposedly offered would get bypassed more and more, until it was simply a tax consuming parasite waiting to be cut down to the size as if the socialist experiment ever happened.

Religion is stupid

This being the Day of the Beast (or a bit of hype from another film trying to ring some cheap publicity from the faithful, and suceeding) here is the tale of another Beast. A man stupidly walks into a lion enclosure claiming that god will protect him, and gets eaten. I guess the lions must have been pagan.

June 05, 2006

so cute

This is so cute, an enourmous python and it's pet child. But really didn't the it's mother tell it not to play with it's food?

June 02, 2006

Parable of Prohibition

VIa The Germans Bombed My Chippy this is almost a parable of prohibition.

Because the kids where getting fat a school decides to ban sweets. 'Think of the children', as normal is the excuse for this bit of petty authoritarianism. So what happens? Do the kids deprived of chocolate and E numbers suddenly discover the joys of fruit and transform into the sports stars of the future. Well no, it's just that the supply goes under ground and a whole bunch of dealers spring up to supplier their fellow pupils chocolate cravings. They start off on the soft centres and end up taking harder candy, maybe a even hit coca cola. The price has even gone down since escaping the authorities approved monopoly supplier.

Well at least these kids are learning a valuable lesson in economics, and business studies. Probably a more useful lesson than much of what is on the official curriculum.

Labour don't do male modeling ...

This via Not Little England made me laugh our loud, great advert.

June 01, 2006

Your Relationship And "The State"

Mat of Not Little England has a post on our relationships and "The State", like him I do not like the state imposing responsibilities on co-habiting people even when they have decided that they do not want them.

Personally marriage should just be a contract like any other, and if it had been then so many things would have been easier. For example:
Gay marriage would have existed for decades, and wouldn't be the current second class not-quite-marriage.
Don't like the standard marriage contract, just draw up your own.
Want a pre-nuptual agreement, and want it worth the paper it is writen on? Then just include whatever clauses you want to cover it.

That the state gets involved and regulates is inevitable givern that it also sees fit to dish out other peoples money and give tax breaks based on them entering a marriage. So it sees the need to regulate it so that whatever social good it was trying to promote (normally claimed to be bringing up a family in a stable enviroment) is actually happening, rather than the couple simply being in it for the money. Not that there is much money either, since the amount of other peoples money that the government gives out for trying to bring up a family outside marriage can be larger than inside.

So once again it is the complex way that the state feels free to hand out other people money that lies at the root of the problem. Where it not for the conditions that it puts on it's largess with our money there would be no need to regulate marriages and you could get the one that fitted you and your lover perfectly rather than having to squeeze you love into the form dictated by the state.