November 30, 2006

Petitioning our master

The Devil wants your signature on his sinister petition. Also there are a couple more directly related to blogging about reforming the libel laws, and not having to buy for stuff off the government that we already paid for by reforming crown copyright. Sign up and get ignored.

November 29, 2006

Welfare, a Mug(ger)s game

The Devil has a few pointed comments about the findings that most muggings are nothing to do with the few odds and ends that they get off their victims and are committed for the thrill of the offense itself. The Dark Lord has some ideas on how to dissuade this kind of behaviour, since we cannot change the rewards of a mugging (since the reward is the mugging itself) we must change the risks if they are caught:
May I humbly suggest a solution? We all realise that prison is not a perfect solution since many inmates come out more hardened than when they went in. So, I would suggest that a few hours in a public pillory would be sufficient for these people.
Chris Dillow however argues that poverty is still the main reason why it is the underclass that commits most of these crimes, not for what they get out of it but because they have less they risk losing less.
I’d find it fun to beat up public schoolboys or Guardian writers in the street. But I don’t do it. This isn’t because I’m a decent person. It’s because the cost of getting caught would be high for me, as I’d lose a well-paid job and prison would entail a significant loss of utility.

By contrast, someone in poorer circumstances might well feel that the fun of the attack outweighs the cost, as he’s got less to lose.
But normally it is the marginal effects that are most important. So while the absolute cost to Mr Dillow would be higher. The lost of some of his well paid work, being shunned from certain people, and maybe more sought out by others (with the Gordon mask on ... Oh yes! Harder, HARDER. Tax my limits. Show me who's in charge you prime stud!) the marginal effect on him wouldn't be great. For the very poor however being shunned or losing some work would have a much larger marginal effect, even if the absolute change was less, because that loss represents a so much larger part of what they once had.

The explanation for the seeming lack of the normal importance of marginal effects is actually simple and explained by James Bartholomew:
In the former [self reliant, pre-welfare state times], there are various pressures to be what we regard as 'virtuous'. There is peer pressure. There is the pressure of knowing that we will be helped only because of the deal whereby help we must help others. In the benefit-dependent estate, on the other hand, the need for mutual help has been taken away by the state. The people are put in the position where they are perennial takers. That develops a different attitude.
The pressures that society can induce on it's problem few is no longer of any importance as they (unlike Mr Dillow) have no real need of the normal web of society. The underclass that is the problem here takes all they need from the state, knowing that it will always support them so long as they do not try to support themselves. So there that they are more violent than him is to be expected, thanks to the largess of the welfare state what they risk losing in both marginal and absolute terms is no longer significant since the state will always provide. They can get the rewards without risking anything.

Both Dillow and the Devil are right that we will only get on top of this once we have shifted the risk/reward balance so that crime is no longer such a good option. That might mean harsher penalties. But better would be simply having the penalties that already exist used, get the police to patrol and catch the buggers or dissuade them from trying anything in the first place by their presence as the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it. Then have the courts actually apply these penalties would also help. So would letting people defend themselves without fear of judicial sanction for showing up the ineptitude of the state when they do. Most of all get rid of the Welfare State, so that the underclass has to view the rest of society as a source of their livelihoods rather than as prey.

Christianist meets Islamist

The christian nutters seem to be learning from the Islamists as to new ways of forcing their world view where it is not wanted. Such as small, but very loud, movements claiming to represent all of their group and that any resitance to their bigoted oppression of others represents an unacceptable oppression of themselves. And of course that everything is all the fault of a great big Jewish conspiracy.

November 27, 2006

Olmert peace move rejected

Did you hear about the latest ceasefire? Maybe not it was broken quickly even by Palestinian standards. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a release of prisoners, dismantle settlements, and free up funds in exchange for peace with the Palestinians. He had the Palestinian answer within a few hours, a rocket attack. Hamas does not want peace, it wants the destruction of Israel and the Israelis driven into the see, until the Israelis offer that the attacks will continue. Like these attacks by the Palestinians earlier this week. Will the moderate Muslims that we hear so much about, but never actually see, condemn this rejection of peace? Unlikely, unless they want to get thrown out of their Mosque.

The Harry's Place discussion links to The Times cartoon on the affair by Peter Brookes that sums it up nicely.

The stupid party

Via Cicero the Stupid Party is at it again. They want to impose a 35 hour week on Britain, an even bigger cut in earning hours than the EU wants to impose. Not that the 35 hour week helped anybody in France where many have changed jobs in order to avoid the cutting in earnings and it has has lead to an extra €100 billion on the national debt which is going to have to be paid of somehow.

The stupid party

Via Cicero the Stupid Party is at it again. They want to impose a 35 hour week on Britain, an even bigger cut in earning hours than the EU wants to impose. Not that the 35 hour week helped anybody in France where many have changed jobs in order to avoid the cutting in earnings and it has has lead to an extra €100 billion on the national debt which is going to have to be paid of somehow.

The stupid party

Via Cicero the Stupid Party is at it again. They want to impose a 35 hour week on Britain, an even bigger cut in earning hours than the EU wants to impose. Not that the 35 hour week helped anybody in France where many have changed jobs in order to avoid the cutting in earnings and it has has lead to an extra €100 billion on the national debt which is going to have to be paid of somehow.

November 26, 2006

Pigouvian taxation vs. Carbon Trading

I have no intention of going into whether of not climate change is happening (personally I have been convinced it is) but would like to discus the solutions that have been put forward for it. Of course there are those that would prefer everybody else to go back to a preindustrial lifestyle of hard work, inbreeding and death in middle age (that is if they are not part of the 80% of the global population needed to be killed to reach this utopia), but the more sensible tend to cluster around 2 options (unless they simply want to wait for technical advancement to sort the problems out, as it will) carbon credits, and Pigouvian taxation.

Now ignoring for a moment what actually happened in the debacle of the EU Carbon Trading system (which in reality turned out to a system for the various national governments to slyly extract a subsidy for anybody that took it seriously, which was only the British) and let assume that both will work as effectively, which should be chosen? Classical Liberals are normally extremely attracted to market based solutions, rabidly so some might say. They are also very wary of government taxation. I am a Classical Liberal, or Libertarian, but in this case I actually prefer the taxation option to the market. Here is why.

The carbon market is based around artificial scarcity. The only reason to buy then is because the government demands it. You get nothing directly from a carbon credit; unlike buying a physical product where you get the product, a bit of information where you get that information, a share where you get a share of future profits, or some kind of weird derivative where you get a hedge against some some event. A carbon credit gives you nothing except a government license to generate a certain amount of carbon. The government can issue as many, or as few carbon credits as it thinks are required. And there is the rub, carbon credits require some omniscient central authority that can accurately decide the amount of carbon that should be generated in order to maximise happiness. They are better than a pure rationing system as they can be traded so that people that really need them more can get more, but even with this it it still at heart reliant on a central government that can never know how much carbon production to allocate to maximise happiness, it simply does not have enough information to make an informed decision.

Pigouvian taxation on the other hand makes no assumptions about how much carbon production will maximise happiness across a society. Everybody is free to produce as much carbon as they like, but they have to pay for the damage it causes. It is about forcing everybody to take responsibility for the damage of their own actions. Each individual weighs their own individual circumstances and decides what will make them happiest. In this they will always have far more information about their individual desires and circumstances in order to make a better informed decision than any centralised authority ever can, and since the negative externalities have now been internalised, thanks to the Pigouvian tax, that is included as well.

So which is better comes down to who you think can make the decision better. Is decision as to the amount of carbon produced by a society best done socially by the government, or individually by the citizens? As a Classical Liberal I prefer individuals taking responsibility for their own decisions, and so on this occasion I think that Pigouvian Taxation is better than Carbon Trading. As a confirmation there is the Neil Harding Test. Yep, looks like I was right.

November 25, 2006

10 Things I Will Never Do

My favourite drinking game has come to the web in the form of the '10 Things I Will Never Do' meme that is spreading and thanks to Martine Martin it is now my turn. revenge for tagging her with that annoying book meme.

1. Turn down a cuddle, who can?
2. Support the EU. It is unreformable.
3. Support Socialism. Over 100 million people dead, but the ideology somehow isn't. I find it hard to believe that some people are still so deluded to support it despite the misery that it has brought.
4. Support Islamism, or any ideology of the irrational god botherers.
5. Be born again. Once you've won the lottery of life no need to play a second time, and the Blood of Christ is not exactly my cup of tea.
6. Like big cities. Too many crowds, not enough green or sea. This is one of the reasons that I like living in Torquay. 10 minutes walk from work and I can be lying back the grass staring out over the clear blue waters of the bay, the air quiet and the only sign of human habitation Brixham miles away on the far side of the bay.
7. Respect postmodern art. Mr Huirst it might be big, but it's not clever. Mr Ofili, now that you have got your little incestuous relationship with the Tate why not dump the gimmick? Mr McQueen yes there is something that happens when you repeat a Buster Keaton joke again and again and again. What was once mildly amusing transforms into something utterly dull and pointless.
8. Drink larger.
9. Like programming with PHP. It sucks, there are much better alternatives.
10. Get any response from the people I'm about to tag. But you never know ...

Marcus Wood,
Adrian Sanders,
Margot Wallstrom,
David Cameron,
Muammar Gadafi of Libya
and of course President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran

November 23, 2006

No cheap booze via the net

I had been expecting to have to write a post today praising the EU about lifting restrictions of the purchase of cheap booze and fags from low duty countries via the internet. The free movement of goods and services has being one of it's founding principals I fully expected the ECJ to rule that EU citizens should be able to buy what they want from where they want how they want. This is what you would expect from a free trade zone. But the EU is not a free trade zone it is a Customs Union so that was not be.

November 22, 2006

Regulation without Frontiers

In my last post I mentioned that the bad points of the EU massively outnumber the good. Here is the lastest of the bad things to crawl its way out of the EU the Television without Frontiers Directive and a summary of this attempt by the EU to censor the internet is provided there by Civitas. The bit that worried me most about this latest turd to surface from the Brussels sewer is this:
the same Directive also seeks to reserve a quota of airtime for EU programmes, details rules of the content of television advertising and ensure free general access to events ‘of major importance to society’.
Not only do they seek to clamp down on the freedom that the internet offers the EU seeks to transform it into its own propaganda machine. I would really rather my pay per click porn streams where not interrupted by the visage of The Ever Blessed and Fragrant One. They are deviant and disturbing enough already thank you very much.

The EU, a good point

The EU does have some good points. Not many, and certainly not enough to outweigh it's many many bad ones. One of these good points is open borders.

If we where to leave the EU then we could well end up having a much worse immigration policy than we do currently, or we might not. You see the EU does not guarantee good policies on immigration. When the Eastern European states joined it was only Britain and Ireland that respected the treaties giving their citizens the right to move here and work unhindered. So it is perfectly possible to be in the EU and still have a bad immigration policy. As it is also possible to be outside the EU and have a good immigration policy. Such as welcoming (though admittedly somewhat reluctantly in some quarters) the large number of migrants that Britain took in after the Second World War from the S.S. Windrush onwards.

However be it a good policy or a bad policy there would be one important extra factor, the policy would be ours. It would be subject to democratic oversight by our own elected representatives, so which ever way it went it could easily be adjusted as to reflect what was needed. Fears about changes to this should not deflect from all the rest of the good things that would come when we leave.

Greg Clark, twat

Greg Clark you are mindless, blind, turd surfing, sewer rat. Drop Churchill and in favour of Polly Toynbee? I know that you and many of the cameroonies secretly, or not so secretly in your case, hate the Conservative Party but give us a break. Why? This is a woman that can be reliably counted on to be wrong on every single issue. This is a woman for whom the word 'choice' means; being able to choose what I tell you to do, and nothing else. Greg Clark, you rancid cock fungus, you might have the hots for the wicked witch for the Groan but she only has eyes for the one eyed kilt snake of Kirkcaldy. No matter how much you lust after a taste of her love custard you are not her viking warrior and never will be. Just forget it, her love tunel is closed to you. There is already a party for people that want to follow Polly's plans, it is called the Labour party. Perhaps you should join? Since you are obviously not a Conservative.


Tim Worstall points to Boris Johnson who has what Clark must have actually meant about being more like Polly. The conservatives must be hypocrits of the first order that proclaim one thing and do something different, indifferent to how if affects anybody else. They must be motivated purely by the money saying whatever bilge it takes to get at it. They must become rather more like Labour in fact. Well I guess that this kind of tactics have certainly worked well for both Polly and the Labour Party. But do we really want another set of politicians like that? You never know being a little less hypocritical might be a refreshing change that people will go for.

Reasons to leave the EU

Via The Serf I find Sinclair's Musings has a well argued peice on reasons for not leaving the EU. Personally I don't find it convincing and will try to answer his points here.

First, the descriptions of vast amounts that the EU costs us are based upon it hurting free trade.
No there is also the cost of the red tape spewed out from Brussels. Even the Commission estimates this to be a far greater drag on the economy than any trade benefits of being in the EU could make up for, but onwards.

This relies first on the EU, which would be our largest trading partner by some margin, not putting tariffs against us because it wouldn't be in their interests (as they sell more to us than we sell to them) but a eurosceptic arguing on the basis of the European Union's strict rationality and an enlightened French trade policy cannot be convincing.
This does not matter for three reasons.

1. There are maximum tariff levels set by the WTO that the EU is unlikely to break.
2. As Ken said in the comments:
80% of our trade is internal, 11% is with non-EU nations, and only 9% is with the EU.
3. Most importantly it is imports that make you wealthy, not exports. As to be wealthy is to have the stuff that you want, imports. Exports are simply what you pay to get it. So long as we stick to our guns as free traders their tariffs would not matter much. The EU's subsidies would in fact finally be to our advantage once we are outside it. As it would finally be the rest of the EU subsidising us for what we want rather than the other way around as has been the case ever since we joined.

Second, it relies on predictions that we could secure a more liberal trade policy from the United States as they really love us as good little War on Terror buddies. Anyone who knows much about American political history or culture can tell you they're unreliable free traders at best. Look at the Joint Strike Fighter Project where they are holding up the release of basic information to us.
Again there are several reasons why these worries are not convincing arguments as the the EU being a good thing.

1. The US did offer us a free trade agreement in 2003 that we had to turn down because we where in the EU and therefore not allowed to make any trade deals ourselves.
2. The US has been reluctant to give us access to the software of the Joint Strike Fighter (or Lightning II as it is now known) because we are in the EU and can therefore offer no assurances that the information will not find it's way into France and thence China.
3. Why just America? Why not aim at China? Or Brazil? Or India? Or in fact the whole of the world? Outside the EU we can trade freely with everybody, inside only other members of the EU. And remember it does not have to reciprical to get the benefits (though reciprical is better) as it is imports that make us rich.

Finally, it relies on the idea that we would be unilateral free traders; this sounds credible initially but we are a fallible political culture like every other and if, for example, farmers started to commit suicide under the pressure of losing the CAP are the euronihilists really confident a tariff couldn't pass?
Yes it is perfectly possible that some stupid politicians may decide to screw everybody over to protect some electorally sensitive industry. But that happens now in the EU, it happens alot, and we have absolutely no ability to stop it as we would where we outside the EU and it a British policy. It is also very rarely British industries that recieve this protection so we end up with all of the negitive effects and none of the positives.

The second argument that the euronihilists rely upon and which does not stand up to scrutiny is that the EU cannot be reformed. "We've been trying for decades" is usually the response to anyone claiming the EU can be improved. The problem is that things have changed and our past record of failure might not imply failure in the future.
It is however a very good indicator. Especially as there is no indication that the reforms that the EU needs, decentralisation and taking the concept of subsidiarity seriously, are ever going to happen as the EU continues in presisely the oppersite direction now looking to take over matters of criminal justice. Centralisation is too deep in it's institutional DNA, you are about as likely to get a properly reformed EU as a barking cat.

The rejection of the constitution before it even came to us is an early sign that the integration train has been derailed.
Perhaps integration should have been derailed when Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty, but is wasn't. They where simply told to vote again until the correct answer was given. Or when Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty, and where told to vote again until the correct answer was given. Especially as despite being rejected the constitution is being implemented anyway, completely ignoring the 'no' votes in France and Holland.

Finally, the euronihilist case relies upon the argument that nothing significant and positive has been achieved by the EU. Enlargement is, again, the reason this argument does not hold. Just as the Marshall Plan created economic incentives to a liberal economic development and softened the blow of adopting such a system the European Union did the same for creating relatively stable political societies and would appear to have played an important role in the remarkable success story of Eastern Europe over the last decade and a half. This is a remarkable, significant and positive achievement of the European Union.
Except for the riots caused by the EU forcing Eastern European politicians to tell lies morning noon and night. The current sucsess of Eastern Europe has much more to do with their adoption of Laisse-faire economics inspired by America, the country that freed them by breaking the Soviet Empire. This is exactly the type of economic policy that the EU rejects.

There is however somethings that we can agree on:
The CAP is truly disgusting, there is massive corruption and a growing burden of regulation
So I would urge anybody that hasn't already signed to join the petition for a referendum on our membership of the EU.

November 21, 2006

the path to liberty

Back in the days of yore the whigs as they where known then where the party of liberty. But they did not express this in the way that most modern parties do by attempting to legislate liberty, they recognised that to be at liberty is a persons natural state and so simply legislated to get rid of the government imposed restrictions on liberty.
They combed the Statute-book, and when they found a statute which bore against "the liberty of the subject" they simply repealed it and left the page blank. This purgation ran up into the thousands. In 1873 the secretary of the Law Society estimated that out of the 18,110 Acts which had been passed since the reign of Henry III, four-fifths had been wholly or partially repealed.
So that the Liberal Democrats seem to be groping their way back towards this method with The Freedom Bill, which I have blogged about before, should be applauded.

ID Cards, a story yet to come

A tale from the future of what will happen when ID Cards and their related National Identity Register come into force, of how a simple prank could be turned into a kafka-esque bureacratic nightmare.

Welfare and Liberty

One of the points about the Welfare State is that by acting as a safety net it gets rid of consequences. Made some bad choices? Don't worry help will be there when you need it, the Welfare State says (even if it often isn't). But getting rid of consequences is not itself without them. How do you deal with people running around (or not) acting as if there where no consequences to their actions if this turns out to be socially bad? Well there are two options:

You could let people face the consequences of their actions again, but that is not an option as it would mean saying that they where wrong, something that nobody likes to do.

Or you can use the hammer of state intervention to crush these foibles and force everybody into the 'proper' government approved lifestyle. Hence they choose to ban things, smoking, drinking, or eating. If it can be over indulged in then it must be banned for the sake of the few that overindulge when they do not have to face the consequences of their actions.

Hence the presence of a Welfare State will always lead to greater government restrictions on liberty, as they nolonger have any other method of curtailing socially damaging behaviour.

November 17, 2006

ID Card and their conseqences

Another examples of the Guardian almost getting it. But not quite. Through Europhobia you might already know what happens in the US to people that don't show their ID Cards, and here is Dan Glaister's take on it in the Guardian, and what is most likely to get some kind of justice for it
Forget police oversight commissions and the bulky, lethargic bureaucracy of officialdom. YouTube is up and running faster than a cop with a primed Taser, and it makes embarrassing viewing for Los Angeles law enforcement in all its guises.
So individual students recorded the event on their mobiles (the terrible products of consumerism they are) and then uploaded the footage to YouTube (an eeeeeevil private corporation) is much better than the 'bulky, lethargic bureaucracy of officialdom'. Once again the product of free individuals is better than that provided by the state. Not that you are likely to ever get that conclusion published on the Groan.

big bad government

Simon Jenkins is a complaining about the bloated bureacracy of the health and safety nazis ruining everything they touch in an impossible quest to remove all risk from everything everywhere.
The HSE is like the Child Support Agency, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Rural Payments Agency, a state body whose introverted culture has polluted its own reason. Why should no seats be allowed at open-air concerts? Why should swimming-pool diving boards be banned? Why should people not walk under old trees? Can people never be allowed to make such decisions for themselves?

This is the product not just of bad government but of too much government, addicted to bossiness, crazed by control, and careless of the misery it brings to good citizens trying to help others. It is mad, and nobody seems able to stop it.
This is what always happens when the govenment tries to regulate what is unregulatable. But it won't stop them trying or the big govenment fanatics from claiming that the only problem is not enough government meddling rather than too much of it. But even on the Guardian there where practically nobody willing to stand up for the state, perhaps there is hope for them yet.

brain dead security

Remember back in August methods for cloning the German biometric passport was discovered? The analyst that did the work called it's security 'brain dead'. Well the British biometric passport follows exactly the same standard, and therefore has equally brain dead security, so it comes as no surprise that methods for cloning the British biometric passport has been discovered.

Currently this just means that people will be able to make perfect copies of passports if they can get hold of them for a few seconds, even if they cannot create a clone with different biometrics. Yet. Not that this really matters, people have enough trouble identifing people from photographs that only a passing resembelance is needed and when other biometrics, such as fingerprints, become involved these are even easier and more reliably fooled than checking the photograph.

The only good thing is that the breaking of these systems will not mean that we are any less secure from terrorism, since they never made them any more secure in the first place. But instead of helping to prevent identity fraud (also one of Labour's commonly used excuses for ID Cards which will have the same brain dead security) they will facilitate it.

November 16, 2006


Looking through the governments e-petitions site there are, as you would expect several calling for the Prime Minister to resign. A few of the others caught my eye as things that I will sign.

First of all I'm rather pleased that the current number one is repeal the Hunting Act 2004, 700 hours wasted on mindless prejudice on the part of Labour to try and persuade themselves that they are noble class warriors, rather than professional politicians with little to no connection to anything beyond the Westminster bubble.

Then there is this one by The Remittance Man calling for an english parliament.

Quite a few on the EU, with only one not very popular poll in support of it asking to join the Euro, but others demanding referenda on continued membership, a second on EU membership, regionalisation, and one to simply leave the EU and establish a free trade zone.

Some other goodies are a call to Repeal those provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and scrap ID Cards.

All good fun, even if I know that it will be totally ignored seeing as my post code shows that I am not in a Labour, or ever likely to go Labour, constituency. The confirmation emails do seem rather slow coming, I guess the site must be getting a real hammering.


Another one that I have signed is to stop the government banning violent porn.

Economist Friedman dead

The great Economist Friedman has died aged 94. The world will be a poorer place for his passing, but would have been a much poorer place had he not lived.

Public sector workers earn more than in the private sector. They also throw more sickies, such as the 'workers' at Swindon Borough Council where a 10th of the employees where off on long term sick leave at some point in 2005 (that is they where on the sick for more than 20 days) clocking up between them 60,000 days off. This is includes 6 for physicological reasons, possibly the physicological problem of being lazy work shy bastards. There where no numbers givern for the amount taken off on what is not considered long term, that is the lower bound of the amount of time that was had off. (H/T The Englishman)

At the same time pensioners are being thown in jail for not paying council tax as it rockets ever higher, increasing every year at much more than inflation or wages growth. This is despite there not being enough places in jail for criminals so they get released early.

earning hours limits

The laid back French lifestyle with their enforced 35 hour week, who wouldn't want that? Well many French people it turns out. The increase in employement that cutting the amount of time each individual can work was supposed to bring? Didn't happen, there has been no change in unemployment. The increase in happiness through extra leasure time? Again didn't happen, probably because those that do work find that they need to keep up the same hours as before to keep the same amount of money as before coming in. Since the introduction there has been a decine in the number of people working for large companies and an increase in people working for small, as people move jobs to avoid the government imposed limit on the anmount that they can work. There has also been an increase in the number of people with 2 jobs, again so that they can get around the 35 hour week. Limiting the number of hours that people choose to work having been shown not to give any benefits, just more red tape and inefficiency, the EU seeks to force it on everybody. Nobody should force anybody to work or not, your labour is your own to do with as you please (but nobody should be forced to pay for the choice of others either).

November 13, 2006

Free Will Prize

This is kind of cool. A blogger has decided to award a prize (small but fun) to anyone that can prove the existance of Free Will. I could have a go, but choose not to (which proves nothing).

November 09, 2006

Root causes

If you want to know the real 'root causes' for Islamic terror then follow the link to a lecture by one who knows having spent her childhood in Lebanon.

Starter for ten

The Liberal Democrats have a propersition for a bill that truely lives up to their name. Ten reasons to vote Lib-Dem, and all wrapped up in one bill. HT Guido
1. Restrictions on protests in Parliament Square - Sections 132 to 138; Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
2. Identity Cards - Identity Cards Act 2006
3. Extradition to the US - Part 2, Extradition Act 2003
4. Conditions on public assemblies - Section 57, Clause 123, Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
5. Criminalising trespass -Sections 128 to 131, Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
6. Control orders - Section 1, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005
7. DNA retention - Sections 78-84, Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, Sections 9-10, Criminal Justice Act 2003
8. Public interest defence for whistleblowing, Official Secrets Act 1989
9. Right to silence, Sections 34-39, Public Order Act 1994 - England and Wales
10. Hearsay evidence, Sections 114-136, Criminal Justice Act 2003

That will do to start with, but there is plenty more illberal crap where that came from (New Labour mainly). This is the kind of bill that Labour could not even contemplate. It removes legislation without replacing it, an impossibility for a party with such a monumental case of regulatory diarrhea as Labour. It gives up power, which is against the core goal of the whole New Labour project. And it is Liberal. Which Labour is not and never has been. Great stuff.

They also have a form for submitting your own things to repeal. I suggested the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act because nobody should be guilty until proven innocent and it should be legal to keep private corespondance private.

NHS medicine

We all know that the NHS is the wonder of the world, that is the world wonders why on earth we put up with it. But really, what the fuck is this about?

November 08, 2006

Wrongs and Rights

A little snippet of interesting conversation caught my eye on Harry's Place appeared on a thread relating mainly to the degeneration of much of the left into an alliance of authoritarians, it is about the basis of human rights. It begins with commenter Byzer:
Rights are not created and destroyed by governments or kings. They exist independently from the law of the land.
to which Chris Bertram replies:
Byzer, you are _confused_ . Some rights might plausibly exist independently of the law, the right not to be tortured being one of them. But other rights -- e.g. the right to vote at a particular age -- clearly depend on there being laws in place.
It is Chris Bertram that is confused, because things such as the right to vote at a particular age are not rights, they are simply laws. That some people have decided to call them rights makes no difference to that. That is simply calling a rose by another name and expecting it to loose it's thorns.

Universal human rights are the gift of our basic human nature, not the state. They will always exist, the state can only try and suppress them. If any supposed 'right' is the gift of the state then it cannot be universal as different states can decide different limits (as in voting ages) or even whether to allow them at all. No state is required by nature to do anything for it's people, as demonstrated by North Korea, but the people can do things for themselves on account of being people with arms, legs, voices, and minds capable of planning and forethought.

But Chris Bertram continues to confuse laws and rights
Law does not determine what is right or wrong. [quoting Byzer]

Well it sometimes does, actually, by determining which out of a series of possible conventions gets selected for a given society. Unless you think it makes no moral difference which side of the road you drive on
It does make no moral difference which side of the road you drive on. That on the continent people drive on the other side of the road to the UK does not make them moral degenerates. This is not a matter of morality, just practicality. The laws of a state are the expression of the (sometimes moral) opinion of those that framed them on whatever matters they pertain to. Laws confer neither rights nor morality. To argue that they do is, ironically for somebody of the left, a position of extreme conservatism. Under this philosophy the sufferagettes should never campaigned for the vote, not having been given it by the law they had no moral right to it. Or the black majority of South Africa should have accepted their lot as subhuman under apartheit since they had no moral right to equality it not having been givern by the state. In fact this idea that morality and rights are the gift of the state makes every single movement against oppression illegitimate.


Now this is good news, scientists have genetically engineered a HIV virus to supress unegineered HIV providing a new treatment. The trial is very small but this is still an interesting new avenue of research that could in time help millions.

November 06, 2006

cliamte change and the control climate

If you assume that the rather dubious science behind the UN report on climate chnage is correct, and further that the economic worst case scenario is the one that is going to happen it still does not follow that the authoritarian hair shirt solution of carbon rationing is the only on possible. Instead of forcing everybody to reduce ourselves to poverty and shut off any hope of improving their lives to people that live in the third world there is another way. Reduce the heat source by shutting out some of the heat that gets to the earth. This is all possible with current technology, even if the launch costs would currently be $400 trillion, nothing compared to the amounts that they are forecasting that climate change will cost. This number could be reduced even further where technologies such as LiftPort's space elevator used instead the current, extremely expensive, lift technologies used. Oops, I forgot the worries about climate change have nothing to do with making sure that people can live well, and everything to do with forefilling the impulse to control the actions of others that is so much a part of the Left.

Gordon right shock

Gordon Brown is actually saying some sensible stuff about how good globalisation is and how Britain was leader in it during it's period of power (no coincidence that). He says that to help the poor we should try to get cutting tarrifs. The only small problem is that he has absolutely no power what so ever to do anything about these noble aims as long as Britain is part of the EU. One can only hope that realising this, and for all his many faults Gordon is certainly smart enough to realise this, he will go for the only course of action that will let him follow throw with action and leave the EU once he is Prime Minister.

November 05, 2006

creationism is not just a christian problem

With Islamic fundementalists having joined the Christian fundementalists in denying evolution what do we find on the other side of the world? Yep, its another transitional form, this time in a living creature rather than the fossil record.

Another beneficial crisis

Before you can say "beneficial crisis" it has been floated that it would be best if the EU was to control all of Europe's energy supplies so as to avoid any more blackouts like the one on Saturday.
"My first impression is that there is a contradiction between having European networks but not having a central European authority. It is somewhat absurd," Mr Prodi said.
So is the Common Energy Policy to follow such wonderful examples of management as the Common Agriculture Policy and Common Fisheries Policy? Given the EU's track record if it does you won't hear much about blackouts anymore, they will become so common as to not be newsworthy.

5th of November

Today many people will be celebrating that Guido Fawkes failed to blow up parliment. Personally I like to look on the bright side, so I shall be celebrating that he tried.

November 04, 2006

Six Arab states join rush to go nuclear

International Atomic Energy Agency has stated today that six arab states have joined the rush to go nuclear in response to the danger of Iranian nukes. This following the complete impotence of the EU and UN's to do anything about the Iranian danger, other than role over and give in of course.

Strangely CND despite campaigning against the renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent or its nuclear power stations does not see fit to mention this worrying new development in nuclear proliferation on it's website. Just a campaign to not attack Iran. Looks like from CND's point of view stopping nuclear proliferation is limited solely to western democracies that will probably not use the.