July 31, 2007

Rent boy lawyers

Just as the lawyers try a bit of rent seeking to get the government to increase the number of divorce cases they can bring by declaring everybody that lives together married The Volokh Conspiracy has a nice summary of why rent seeking is such a bad thing.

July 30, 2007

Referendum on the not-a-constitution treaty

Looks like Ireland is going to have to have a referendum about the not-a-constitution treaty, which means that the odds of Gordon Brown announcing one here have got slightly better. This is not just because the Irish referendum proves that this isn't a tidying up exercise and it will have constitutional implications in Ireland (which is why they have to have it) and therefore presumably here as well. It also means that Irish might destroy the not-a-constitutional treaty before it reaches here meaning that he can call a referendum here as a way of spiking the Conservative's guns with less chance of actually having to fight (and possibly lose) it.

56 days

Labour's wish to extend the length of time people can be held without charge, again, has been blocked by Parliament. Certainly a good thing, but it will be back. The governments current power to hold people indefinitely under house arrest without them being able to see the evidence against them was also critised.

The committee's report said "no right-minded person" would think the suspects had a fair hearing when they often had no idea of the case against them.

It likened the system to the Star Chamber, a secretive and oppressive English court abolished in 1641.

"This is a process that is offensive both to the basic principles of natural justice as we know it and to British ideas of fair play," said Andrew Dinsmore, chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

So far the power that the government has already has proved perfectly than adequate. Back when the IRA was active the maximum length that people could be held without charge was a mere 2 days, rising to 5 days but only with the special permission of the Home Secretary. Yet that campaign was far more prolonged, effective, and competent than the current Islamic threat including two attacks on the very heart of the government of the time. Given their record had it been Labour in power when the mortars fell on Downing Street, or their hotel was demolished, we would most likely have been under martial law shortly afterward.

July 29, 2007

Top 20 Blogs

Iain Dale is going to do his list of the top 100 political blogs again. Unlike last year where it was decided by a benevolent/malevolent dictator (depending where people ended up) this year there is going to be some interaction with the reading public, as should be expected from this interactive medium.

We are being asked to list our favourites in order of preference, this means that it is not a simple first past the post system as used in our electoral system and could well be something more like Single Transferable Vote or one of the other proportional representation systems. The most know PR system is the Party list used in the European elections. This system has the dubious honour of being one of the few that is worse at keeping our elected representatives in line with the wishes of those they represent than even the first past the post system.

Under the current First Past the Post voting system there was on average a change of:
55 Conservative seats
56 Labour seats
7 Liberal seats

Due to the nature of the First Past the Post system this will not exactly corelate with the percentages of the vote they got.
Conservative vote percentage standard deviation = 6.43
Labour vote percentage standard deviation = 5.76
Liberal vote percentage standard deviation = 6.6

This means that under a party list system on average there would be a change of:
37 Conservative Seats
41 Labour Seats
42 Liberal Seats

So under a First Past the post system on average there have been 18 Conservative and 15 Labour MPs or candidates worried about there jobs, and therefore more eager to please the voters that they rely on for their jobs, than there would have been under a Party List system. This makes a parliament under first past the post that bit more keen to represent their constituents well under a first past the post system because more MPs jobs are likely to change at the next election if they are not seen to do good job. However both of these system would be worse than a Single Transferable Vote system, like Ian may well be using for his list, where every single MP can loose their seat if they are not seen by the voters to be doing a good job, and therefore every single MP (not just the unlucky few) has to work hard to please their constituents, which is how it should be.

self test meme things

Via Peter Risdon

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

How to Win a Fight With a Liberal is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Conservative Identity:

You are a Free Marketeer, also known as a fiscal conservative. You believe in free-market capitalism, tax cuts, and protecting your hard-earned cash from pick-pocketing liberal socialists.

Take the quiz at www.FightLiberals.com

Basically what used to be called a Liberal, until the socialists decided to take this word socialism having been discredited by its association to Socialism.


Heathrow wants to get a private injunction against groups that might protest against its planned new runway. I hope they don't get it as the right to peacefully protest in the public areas is important.

Not that they have much to protest about though. The main purpose of the Climate Change Camp, that is that the extension of the airport will be bad for the environment, has already been dealt with thanks to Gordon Browns increased taxes on air travel last year. These taxes add the external costs of climate change into the price of the ticket quite precisely and so all we have to do now is let the market work and the socially optimum level of air travel will result.

July 27, 2007

Cow pie

You really shouldn't take the piss out of a few religious nuts having their beloved pet killed by goons from the State, but this is very very good.

Ming attacks

Via Chicken Yoghurt Sir Ming was able to get a solid hit it to (dour) Gordon over his lack of respect for civil liberties, where Cameron could only settle for Brown dodging his questions over the EU not-a-constitution treaty
[I]t was left to the much-derided Ming Campbell to make the best intervention about the prime minister’s statement on security. “Consensus,” he said, “cannot be achieved at the cost of principle … of course the public has a right to security, but that includes security from the power of the state.”

There’s no answer to that, and he didn’t get one.

Peadophile Zoo

Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads has another little post about the copyright infringing lad's mag Zoo stealling this image. But unlike when they ripped him off personally this one has a twist. Because it included a penis of a person under 18 by stealling that particular image they made every single person that bought that edition of Zoo potentially liable to be arrested as a peadophile.

It does not matter that the penis in question (that is the one in the picture not the editor of Zoo) was put on public display completely willingly, nor that should its own have wanted to use it for sex rather than art the law considers that completely OK. It does not even matter that it cannot really be established if the owner was 16 as he claims or not. He could even have been 80 and used some photoshop skills to take out some of the wrinkles, if it look like it could have belonged to somebody under 18 that would still have been a crime. It is only what the police think that counts thanks to the way that Labour drafted this law, not what actually happened.

July 25, 2007

habeas corpse

As I expected Labour is planning yet more erosions of Habeas Corpus. It looks like Gordon Brown did not want to be reminded of Tony Blair's only defeat in the commons by trying again for 90 days detention without charge. 56 days is a little less than the 60 days that I predicted that he would get, but would be yet again double the length of time that people can be held making it the fourth time the period that people can be held without charge has doubled since Labour gained power in 1997.

These proposals also allow "judges to set a limit on a case-by-case basis", which since they would automatically have 56 days could that means that it would allow judges to set a limit greater than 56 days on a case-by-case basis, potentially a lot longer than 56 days. This would give them the de facto power of internment in prison (as opposed to internment under house arrest, which they already have).

The plans also include compelling people suspected of wanting to go somewhere to cause trouble like with the Football (Disorder) Act 2000. Like the Football (Disorder) Act 2000 this is not people that have been found guilty of anything at a trial, Labour does not like trials, merely be suspected of planning to do something for whatever reason.

If there really was a desperate need for it, a bad headline for example, then a minister could verbally declare an emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act extending the detention period by 30 days. However the Civil Contingencies Act also allows the government to do just about anything, so reminding them of its existence probably isn't a good idea until we can get the damn thing repealed.

July 24, 2007

another petition

There is a petition now online for the government to ignore about the really shitty way they are treating the sacrificial lambs Iraqis working for the British forces in Iraq.

Cameron talks the talk, but can't walk the walk (because of the EU)

While sunning himself in Rwanda so as not to get his hair wet Mr Cameron has put forward some ideas as to how the Conservatives would deal with the third world should they get into office which the BBC has summarised.

Increasing the proportion of aid money allocated to infrastructure and trade

Great, help them to help themselves

Publishing individual aid entitlements of individual hospitals, schools etc - to help them scrutinise the way it is being spent

But targeting at a more local level it is morelikely to actually be spent on the people, rather than disappearing into numbered bank accounts

A curtailment of NHS recruitment of doctors and nurses from the developing world - which leaves some countries short of medics

Not so sure about this one for two reasons. Firstly immigration is a good thing, both for us natives and for the immigrants. Second the way that hospitals recruit should be up to themselves rather than set by government diktat, for exactly the same reason why it is good that aid would be targeted at individual hospitals and schools. It is the hospitals themselves that know what their needs are and so it is the hospitals themselves that are best placed to decide how to fill them. We have already seen the way that central planning for medical training and recruitment simply does not work.

The British government should help train medical staff and meet part of their salaries where necessary

Not so sure about that one either. Is this really an area where the British tax payer should be forced to contribute? If they choose to give voluntarily then there are already many charities doing good work such as Medicine Sans Frontiers, the Red Cross, Sight Savers, UNICEF etc. The UK cannot even run it's own medical training programme correctly (due to it being centrally planned) so it is highly unlikely to be able to run successful one in a different continent. Just give the money to the hospitals and let them decide where it is needed, they are the people that actually know.

The World Bank should track corruption which hampers progress in the developing world

You mean it doesn't? They give out multi-billion dollar loans and they don't track how likely they are to end up in the numbered bank accounts of the political elite rather on what they where actually requested for. If they don't they obviously should.

Aid distribution should be simplified under a single agency

Everything should be as simple as possible, and no simpler. But I suspect that aid distribution (like most things done by the state) can get quite a bit simpler.

That is all quite good, but for any liberal he also said something that was very very good (if brutally obvious):

In a speech in Kigali, Mr Cameron called for an immediate end to trade barriers, saying: "Forget the endless tortuous negotiations about getting something in return.

"Just do it. We can afford it, Africa needs it, and we will all benefit from it."

Quite right but it is even better than that not only can we afford it, by opening up our markets to Africa we get more wealthy (because we want their produce) just as they do (because they want our capital). With free trade we do all benefit something that has been known for centuries, quite frankly why on earth are we still having to have this discussion? We got rid of the corn laws two centuries ago to everybody's benefit. Oh, that is right. Thanks to the EU we have also now got them back, and because this is an EU area should Cameron become Prime Minister despite these fine words he will have absolutely no power to do anything about them.

July 23, 2007

Open letter to the statists

Pommygranate has a great open letter to the statist bastards responsible for attempting to legislate on everything it concludes
But most of all i despise you for carrying out these destructive, nihilistic actions in the name of progress, of the poor, of charity, of selflessness, of helping one's neighbour, of doing one's bit. No such moral reasons are in your thoughts. It is power that drives you, intereference that delights you and bossiness that appeals to you.

Seriously disorganised criminal

Getting from Devon down to London is a bit of a trek at the best of times, so on the odd occasions that I do it I like to try and get quite a bit in and this year I finally managed to actually get to Parliament and Brian Haw's protest outside it. Peaceful enough (though the traffic certainly wasn't) and with rather a lot of tents for on man but certainly in the great British tradition of harmless eccentrics. So while I was there I realised that I was in fact a criminal, yes I had just broken the law and hadn't actually realised I had done it. You see I was wearing my NO2ID badge and that would classified as a political protest, and one conducted right on Parliament Square itself. Oops.

With Labour's legislative diarrhea of the last ten years it is becoming like that, there are so many stupid laws that accidentally breaking them becomes almost inevitable. The only sensible option is to ignore them, because the constant checking to see if what you where doing was allowed would make life intolerable. This phenomena can be seen everywhere, that the more law there is the less respect for it there is; Common Law countries with the fairly lax general attitude of 'everything that is not banned is permitted' tend to have more respect for the few laws they have than Roman Law countries where 'everything that is not permitted is permitted is banned', and everybody has more respect for the rule of law than in totalitarian countries where everything is subject to the requirements of the state and so the only way to get anything done is to do it illegally.

July 20, 2007

a good week for labour, bad for tax payers

This has been a very good week for Labour (and an even better ones for the Lib Dems). Despite losing a lot of votes in two safe seats the Conservatives did even worse, and that is what is going to be over the news.

There are to be no charges in against Labour for selling honours, the CPS has droped the case. This is despite the rather remarkable correlations between handing over a chunk of cash to Labour and getting a seat in the 'reformed' House of Lords and therefore a direct vote on legislation and the chance of putting forward your own.

The correlation between making large donations to the Labour Party and receiving an honour is extraordinary. Statistical analysis shows that 58.54% of all donors giving more than £50,000 to the Labour Party receive an honour. This compares to just 0.035% of non-donors. Large Labour Party donors are 1,657 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor and 6,969 times more likely to receive a peerage.

People paying Labour in order to buy their way into the legislature of Labour's 'reformed' House of Lords was very important to their precarious finanacial position.

  • 80% of Labour's election funding came from the covert Loans for Lordship program.
  • Every donor who has given the party more than £1 million has been given a knighthood or a peerage.
  • Three quarters of those individuals who have given more than £50,000 to the Labour Party since 2001 have received an honour.

Already the calls for state funding of political parties have started up again. That the only way to avoid this in future is for the state to provide the cash rather than supporters. Bastards want the cash without having to do any work at all for it now the easy way of trading honours, which aren't theirs to trade, has become less viable. State funding of political parties **will not stop corruption**, it is used in both Germany and France both of which have also had corruption scandals reaching into the hearts of their respective governments. What state funding *will* do is make the political parties even more remote from the public as they no longer have to even pretend to listen in order to get the cash. State funding *will* squeeze out the smaller parties and independent candidates, because there will have to be a minimum size requirement in order to get access to the cash which will reduce the sccope of debate. State funding could even be used to directly control what can, and what cannot, be debated at all by ruling that any party which esposes certain views is unfit for public money as was used in Belgium an attempt to shut down debate over issues that the main political parties find unpalitable.

July 19, 2007

unemployment and immigration

An interesting few facts from Stumbling and mumbling about unemployment and immigration. Long term unemployment isn't because of immigration, it is because of the Welfare State.

July 18, 2007

somebody is following you

The BBC has been running a story about the police gaining real time access to the London Congestion charge data. They seem to have not realised the full importance of the story. It isn't that they are getting real time access to the data that is important. The important point is they now have access to the data without having to produce any reason for it. The police tracking of everybody's movements in London, if by car (access to the Oyster Card data isn't going to be far behind), just became routine. Routinely following every law abiding driver is yet another of Labour's worrying erosions of Liberty especially as they are blackmailing various other cities to install road charging systems which will inevitably be used to give the police more power to track peoples movements and from the core of the nationwide monitoring system that will eventually track every single road journey in the UK.


Spyblog has more details on this appalling new piece of mass surveillance.

July 15, 2007

unlimited detention without trial

The government has seen the error of it's ways over 90 day detentions. Not because of those little things like due process of civil liberties, oh no, but because 90 days is simply not long enough. They want unlimited detention without trial.

My prediction that the time for detention without charge would be extended again before the next election is looking even safer now. Unfortunately I don't think that my graph of the erosion of habeas corpus has enough space for 'unlimited'. The government has already given itself the power of holding people under house arrest without trial for an unlimited time, but only on authorization of the Home Secretary. Should anything come of this proposal it will remove that safeguard, making it much easier to be applied to more people, and have the victims imprisoned in jail rather than their homes.

Why I am not Green

I and have been for a while am worried about the environment, the climate is constantly changing and has been since the planet was formed 4.6 billion years ago. I am also fairly convinced that the current changes are more than usual and could be detrimental to human life, I bloody well hope that this is because of human actions (because then human actions can change it back). But this post by Neil Harding is why I am not and never will be a Green.

we have to reverse population growth (especially in the developed world where per capita emissions are so much higher) if we are to seriously tackle our environmental problems

OK stop right there. Why should we be worried about environmental problems? Because they affect the quality human life. It is human life that is of prime importance with the environment being important because it affects human life. Any scheme to protect a secondary importance at the expense of the primary one is therefore getting everything ass backward.

And that means more than just climate change. We need to improve the environment for its own sake - to improve our quality of life.

OK which one? For its own sake, or to improve the quality of human life? If for its own sake then why exactly, and if to improve human life then how can you square that with wanting less human life.

And inequality is also a factor, I don't think the present levels of inequality can be sustained if we are serious about reducing emissions

No it isn't. If everybody on the planet enjoyed the same life style as the average Saudi Prince then there would be no inequality, but the planet would be in serious problems. To be charitable I guess the idea of leveling up never entered Mr Harding's world view this is something the state can never achieve not being able to create wealth, merely move it around or destroy it.

the richer you are the more environmentally damaging you are.

Not necessarily, go to any developing nation and you will find them conducting some highly environmentally unfriendly practices such as slash and burn felling of rain-forests for arable land, or in the even poorer countries deforestation for fire wood. China emits more C02 than america. The richer you are the more that you can care about the environment because, unlike in these poorer places, you do not have to make a choice between the very abstract notion of 'saving the planet' and the very real one of not having enough to eat. Environmentalism is a luxury good, we are only going to be able to get lots of people to really look at it when they are in the position to be able to afford this luxury.

All this middle class ownership of hybrid cars, recycling and careful shopping is all very good

Actually the first two aren't, hybrids take more resources over the full life cycle than a normal car. The same with much recycling, it takes more resources than making new and so is worse for the environment than making new. However so called environmentalists decided that these activities where virtuous and so lobbied governments to give them special treatment. If they had not then hybrids and recycling would be used where they truly are the best option for using the resources they take because of the wonderful system that we have for aggregating the total resources taken up in something and informing customers about it, the price.

The last of Neil's three points 'careful shopping' does have a good effect, and is something that I am personally careful to do. It is best done using that wonderful aggregate of total resources called the price, go for the cheapest option and you will generally find the one that took the least resources to create (despite the EU's stupid Corn Laws).

but their higher consumption overall has to be tackled if it is not just to be window dressing

but their higher consumption overall has to be tackled if it is not just to be window dressing

Maybe, maybe not. If the consumption was for a sudden craze for growing trees or shifting to using bicycles as the primary means of transport than that could well be good for the environment.

like Cameron - good PR but no substance.

Cameron has rather more substance (and substances) than many give him credit for, but because they are not about intervention by the state they therefore fall outside the cognitive horizon of statists like Mr Harding.

So far people have not got serious about climate change,

Because climate change is luxury good and people are not rich and most people enough to be able to afford this luxury, especially as it is a good that they themselves will never see any benefit from.

some people of course just deny it exists at all. Even if they were right (and they are not right) we should still reduce consumption and lessen inequality as the best way to improve quality of life.

I'll let the Devil defend himself, but there is no reason to believe that universally forcing people into a reduced lifestyle will improve quality of life. For some people all they will want for a good life is to live in a barrel and not have any warlords getting in the way of their getting a tan, for others more will be needed for them to be for-filled. The government can never decide who will want what, it cannot look into peoples heads (even if it thinks it can) so by arbitrarily declaring that some level of consumption beyond which people cannot go then obviously there will be people that want to go further. Probably lots of people. The state simply does not have the information as to what would make any individual happy, only the individuals themselves have that. Therefore it must be the individuals themselves that choose their own level of consumption if they are to be able to seek the one that makes them as happy as possible.

In the war years we had rationing and people had less possessions. Yet more equality had a strange effect - it improved everyone's happiness. People said they were much happier then

There was a war on, people where happy to simply be alive. Loosing your life is a lot worse than loosing your possessions. They also had a sense of purpose and national solidarity the hardship was for a very real and tangible goal (beating the Germans). This was achieved, a great achievement, and the people reporting that they where happier then are looking back at it comparing it to 50 years of socialist inspired decline. If anybody thinks that people would not resent that kind of hardship without the very real and immediate threat to life and limb they have clearly been sneaking some of Mr Cameron's stash.

There where other things that happened during that time as well. Every citizen had to carry identification papers. All the newspapers were censored, as were all letters abroad; general elections had been abolished, people were imprisoned without trial, and the government could tell you what job to do and jail you if you didn't do it. Some were forced to work in the mines. Should we reintroduce all of that as well?

their health improved dramatically (admittedly from a very low base)

Life expectancy has been steadily improving thanks to the modern medicines created by industrial society, it has higher in the middle of last century than at the start, and is much higher again now. It will improve even more in the future, so long as the government does not decide that we should actually all be living in mud huts and inbreeding in the name of being Green.

but isn't this more important than just chasing more and more products that we are persuaded we need when we don't.

Who is to decide what people need and what people don't? The government? It can't. The government cannot know what goes on in peoples heads, so it cannot know what people want. Therefore it has to be the people themselves. If you want something buy it. If it doesn't make you happy flog it on eBay, easy. The market distributes stuff to where it will make people happiest.

We cannot afford to ignore the environmental costs of things anymore

No problem with that. If there is an externality then it should be internalised in order for the market to weave its magic. Make the calculation, add on the correct Pigouvian taxation (the taxes on air travel it is about correct as they stand, with fuel duty too high), and job done.

I do think we can get round this

Yep, with Pigouvian taxation to internalise any environmental costs not already included in the price.

but it will need carbon rationing not just 'green taxes'.

No, we don't. Green taxes *are* carbon rationing, it is just that they do it in a far more nuanced and efficient way than by some bureaucratic fiat.

The easiest way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce the population.

Genocide and socialism, like an ugly iron fist in a spiked steel glove.

It does make me laugh when the same people on the 'right' who voice their concerns about overcrowding and immigration are usually the same ones who oppose abortion and call for 'English' people to have more children. They quite obviously are just closet (or not so closet) racists.

Hello Mr Straw man, I wondered when you where going to turn up.

Their policies would mean more overcrowding and lower quality of life as inequality widens (they even oppose house building despite growing demand that will leave many homeless or in squalid conditions. Where is their laissez faire capitalist ideas when they drag their feet over planning applications or call for tighter immigration or for that matter where are their morals when they stop people having a home?)

Us laissez faire capitalist are against the need for planning applications, for a laissez faire capitalist it is the market that should decide on housing not some bureaucrat in the planning department. It is the central government diktats and bureaucratic red tape that stop sufficient houses being built to meet demand. It is the socialists so in love with central planning that force people from their homes which are then their homes destroyed in order to create scarcity when it is much much cheaper (and less resource intensive) simply to modernise the existing properties.

What we really need is abortion on demand. Making women jump through bureaucratic hoops to get an abortion is currently helping no-one. It just mean more late abortions, more unwanted children with poor quality of life, more crime and more distress and unnecessary guilt placed on women by religion and vindictive moralising right wingers.

Fine, it is the woman's body it must be the woman's choice. If they choose to have an abortion then they should be able to have it as early as possible to reduce the dangers and the trauma associated with it which increase the later it is left. This is just a matter of the freedom to choose what happens to your body, there is no need to try and conjure up a Malthusian nightmare as an excuse, no excuses are needed for a woman's freedom over her own body.

Then there is immigration. Firstly yes an admittance that immigrants in this country will consume more and emit more carbon than if they stop home - but they will also send home remittances that reduce poverty, inequality and ultimately slow population growth which have a much bigger impact in the opposite direction.

Well that is a bit of a bazar argument, and rather counter to everything else so far. People becoming richer is good for the environment, except in this country. No, people becoming richer is better for the environment *everywhere*, because it means that people can afford the luxuries of life. Such as environmentalism.

Basically, education of women is the key and this is something the developed world needs to grasp.

So that they can get involved with the economy, making everybody richer and therefore able to better afford luxuries like environmentalism.

At the moment the market (through films and some other media (usually the same media that bemoans a drop in morality) promotes sex rather than contraception.

Yes, because everybody always does every they see in the movies. Though personally I am still having trouble getting the transgenic spiders to work so that I can gain my superpowers.

There needs to be direct graphic examples of people with sexual diseases - people should be shown horrific images of people suffering such diseases, be given the probabilities of catching them and the problems they cause.

That would be diseases that are treatable in the developed world, and need no demonstration for people in the developing world.

They also need to be shown directly the responsibilities and difficulties of having children - financial, social etc.

You mean teaching people that because of the welfare state becoming a parent will give you a shed load of money off of the government for not doing anything. The Welfare system is so generous that it will actually hand over equal to the national median wage simply for popping sprogs, much more than the unskilled low income people that have the large families that Mr Harding is complaining about could get any other way. I don't think that they really need to be told any of this they already know, which is why benefits is seen as such a good career option.

Sex education can put people off sex and especially unsafe sex. We need a campaign as high profile as drink driving (if not higher profile). The sooner we get away from stigmatizing and moralising people the better

The high profile drink driving campaigns worked because they created a stigma about drink driving. Either you need a high profile campaign against irresponsible breeding, or you want to decrease the stigma. You cannot have both.

the right-wing media and parties and religions have a lot to answer for. As well as destroying people's lives they could also be destroying future human chances of remaining on this planet.

By trying to reduce the amount of irresponsible breeding by stigmatizing it? Wether of not the stigma is a good thing that flies in the face of the earlier argument of the need to campaign against irresponsible breeding.

I suppose given the religious prophecies, some of them are quite looking forward to the end of the world, nutters the lot of them!

rather like the Gaia worshiping Green religion.

July 13, 2007


On the heels of Taking Liberties (since 1997) looks like there is another pro-liberty film coming out about the serious organised crime and police act.

Libertarian Porn

A good post on Libertarian UK about the anti-porn bill that is being whipped through parliament. This is simply one of the areas where the government has no right to interfere, whatever two (or more) consenting people choose to get up to is their own and none of the state. It is absolutely not the states place to try and regulate peoples "naughty thoughts". If anything it is the governments constant Bansturbation that should be what is outlawed, people getting off on their moral superiority is not OK when it is not done with the consent of the victim.

July 12, 2007

Government Theft

Having proposed giving HMRC the power to raid peoples bank accounts should they not like the look of them it also wants the power to steal peoples money if it does not think it is being used properly.

If you don't like the car analogy that Dizzy used then here is another one. You have some money, you stick it under your mattress. Not having any need to spend that money (which was why you stuck it under the mattress) you don't touch it for a while. One day you find your door has been smashed down and the money under the mattress stolen. Clearly there has been a burglary. They only difference between this obvious theft and what Gordon Brown is proposing is that you have agreed with the bank to use their mattress rather than your own. Is that really so hard for people to understand?

As an excuse for this theft for 'social good' is used. There is a problem with this, the money is already being used for social good. That was part of the original agreement with the bank. It could be being used to create jobs, creating infrastructure, or helping people buy themselves a home. It could be in this country or more probably the developing world where the need for money is greater. There is no need for the government direct where it goes as it is already where it will be most useful. The only thing that government intervention can do is stop it going where it is most useful to people, and make it go where it is most electorally useful to the politicians in government instead.

July 11, 2007

The Erosion of Habeas Corpus

It seems to have slipped under the radar but today Labour's legislation for 28 days detention without charge was renewed. It wasn't the first time that this kind of liberty destroying legislation has been quietly renewed, of the acts in the last 60 years that have eroded our right to trial 4 have been quiet renewals of this kind. I've graphed the results of these acts and the result is striking.

Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1974 - 2 days
Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 - 2 days
Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 - 2 days
Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 - 2 days
The Terrorism Act 2000 - 7 days
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 - 14 days
The Criminal Justice Act 2006 - 28 days

All of the increases occurred while Labour was in power. The Acts of 1984 and 1989 refined the various restrictions but kept the number of days people could be held the same, it was the 1974, 2000, 2003, and 2006 Acts which extended it. Before internment comes up a a claim that the Conservatives are just as bad the Conservatives never instigated internment, it was signed off by the Ulster Unionist Party, and it was Labour's policy that introduced internment in HMP Belmarsh between 2001 and 2004 and then under the continuing power to jail people in their own homes, without any recourse to a trial worthy of the name, under Control Orders.

It should also be noted that the steady doubling of the time people can be held that has happened in this period of Labour power started before 9/11 with The Terrorism Act 2000. Labour's authoritarianism is not a just simple (over) reaction to Islamist terrorism (just as Islamist terrorism is not just a simple reaction to the West). Nor was it a reaction to IRA terrorism like the various Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts, the IRA was dormant at the time following the Good Friday Agreement.

Since Coming to power in 1997 Labour have doubled the length of time people can be held before being charged three times resulting in a 1400% increase. Given this trend I believe that there will be another extension to detention without trial before the next general election. I expect they will be again trying to get 90 days but result in a compromise of probably about 60 days.

July 09, 2007

BBC bias on show

One of the key things with polling is to try and avoid leading questions. Ask questions is a certain way and you can guarantee the answer that you will get out, so the polling organisations spend lots of time working out questions that do not lead their respondents in any direction at all so that they can get their true opinions. The BBC is not a polling organisation, and its 'have your say' forums are not their to try and get an accurate idea of what people really feel so it does not really matter if the questions they ask tend to lead to a particular answer when reading the respondents. The bias in the questions however is quite interesting to show the true opinions within the BBC. Take one of the latest one for example about the launch of the 787 billed as a very environmentally friendly aircraft because it has 20% better fuel efficiency.

Can aircraft be environmentally friendly?

Which rather begs to be answered with a 'no', especially given the neo-ludite extravaganza the BBC has been recently running about the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Now compare it with another aircraft launched a few months ago, the airbus A380

What impact will Airbus have on air travel?

A rather less leading question there.

Two very similar events about new aircraft, but with one question has a negative bias where as the other is more neutral. However all is explained simply because the 787 is built by Boeing, an American company and therefore eeeeevil.

Its not that I mind the BBC having an anti-American bias, all the media are biased in some way. I just wish they where more honest about their editorial line, and where not tax funded so the people that did not want to support this particular editorial line did not have to while still being able to watch other television.

Geothermal energy, its rocks

With the exception of the hot springs in Bath, the only hot springs in the country, I didn't thing that there was much geothermal potential in the UK. We are just to far from a plate boundary to be able to get at large chunk of our energy needs from this reliable non-polluting energy source. There are a few schemes and the one that brought it to my attention was the Southampton geothermal energy scheme. This is not a renewable energy source but rather mining a hot aquifer that has been kept warm because it is insulated by the rocks above it. The aquifer has no way of replenishing its energy and because of this any one bore hole will eventually run out of heat and another have to be built but in the mean time it does provide a very good energy source in the few areas where it is possible.

Unfortunately there isn't much of the UK that is suitable even for tapping this limited form of geothermal energy. via L'Ombre de l'Olivier comes an article from the USA Today about a new type of battery that could help to smooth over the lumpy nature of other renewable electricity production systems. Large arrays would store electricity when it is cheap to release it later when it is in greater demand. Up till now the only practical way of doing this would be a pumped storage hydroelectric system, conventional batteries did not have the durability to store enough energy to make them practical in this application, as every time a battery cycles from full to empty it looses some of its capacity. The new system is more robust and has greater energy density helping to overcome these problems. It might even be able to help overcome the unreliable nature of wind power and make it a more useful energy source.

July 06, 2007

Taxation by theft

Income tax errors hit 1m people, yet this government want to give HMRC the power to steal from people bank accounts as they see fit based on only there records without any recourse to such niceties as a trial.

Not that Labour has ever been particularly in favour of trials or having to present evidence. There are currently almost 10,000 people under the threat of jail based on gossip, a system that can be easily abused and we are now starting to learn the ways in which it has been abused.

Or perhaps it is simply that they do not think stealing is a crime. They see, they want, they take. Under the greedy doctrines of socialism all property is theft, so theft is liberation. Should anybody then try to try to stop somebody stealing then the full weight of the law will come down on them.

Olaf and EU fraud

Conflicts of interests at the European Parliament fraud investigation office (or perhaps they where just overworked given all the fraud that the EU creates?)
According to today's Financial Times, the allegations relate to job applications for the role of director of investigations that were screened by a eurocrat who was herself under investigation by Olaf.

Dutch MEP Paul van Buitenen, who will be giving evidence to the European Parliament's budgetary committee on 16 July, said despite the "seriousness" of the case an internal candidate for the job tried to stop any disciplinary action against the female official.
Good thing the FT and El Reg are based in London not Brussels, trying to publish things about Olaf can get you in serious trouble if they aren't favourable.


Yet another assassination attempt on General Musharraf of Pakistan, the fourth so far. One day one is going to be successful and we are going to get an Islamist government with a nuclear bomb and a big grudge against their democratic neighbour (India).

July 05, 2007

Cameron on Copyright

David Cameron wants to bribe the music industry with an extension to copyright in order that they produce more music that is to his taste. Cameron is wrong on this, both practically and philosophically.

Practically because extending copyrights is simply a bad idea (PDF).

there is also freedom of speech. If a musician chooses to make music about the glorification of materialism, misogyny and guns then that is their choice. They should be able to express themselves as they see fit. There are no bad thoughts, just bad actions. So the state has no place trying to bribe people out of the Thought Crimes of misogyny and materialism (though this is better than the Big Clunking Fist's approach of wanting to imprison people for naughty thoughts). Speech is the expression of thought and so has to be free if thought is (on the proviso that they do not directly incite bad actions). If other people connect with this type of music that Cameron doesn't like and choose to buy it then fine, the art has obviously had it's intended effect. I would prefer that they didn't, but they should still be free to express themselves if they choose to.

Wine CAP

Now this is more like what we expect from the EU that we know and loath, the CAP in full swing. The EU promotes overproduction with no thought to the quality of the product, this inevitably leads to lots of wine that people simply don't want to buy because it isn't very good. So the EU then buys up the surplus to sustain the prices (turning it into industrial alcohol, not that that will affect the taste). Now we get to the final stage of an EU policy, it spends even more money to destroy vineyards to try and force supply and demand to meet at the point it chooses. All in all a series of utterly pointless wastes of money. Had the wine producers had to compete they might have made wine that people actually wanted to drink, and if not then the market would have adjusted itself its the optimum configuration without any need for hand outs or bailouts.

EU commisioner talks sense!

Amazing, Trade Commisioner Peter Mandelson is talking sense.

"Biofuel policy is not ultimately an industrial policy or an agricultural policy -- it is an environmental policy, driven above all by the greenest outcomes," Mandelson said in notes for a speech to a biofuels conference in Brussels later on Thursday.

"Europe should be open to accepting that we will import a large part of our biofuel resources...We should certainly not contemplate favouring EU production of biofuels with a weak carbon performance if we can import cheaper, cleaner biofuels."

Actually advocating producing stuff where it can be produced most efficiently rather than protectionism. Now there is a turn up for the books, but don't expect anything to actually come of it, there is no way a heresy like that would get past the Eurocracy as it would mean slaughtering a sacred (but TB infected) cow for the EU, the CAP.

July 01, 2007


Today the ban on smoking in public places in England comes into force, a ban designed purely to increase the stigma against people for whom their drug of choice happens to be tabaco. It is not to do with the risks of passive smoking because the risks of passive smoking are statistically insignificant.

The real reason for the ban was the government wanted to increase the stigma so as to get more current smokers to quit, the health risks of smoking are well known and significant (to try and prevent them having to have expensive cancer treatment on the NHS). I don't smoke but I don't support the ban either because the desision to smoke or not is not the governments descision to make. Taking these risks should be the descision of the people themselves. It is their body, not the state's, that they are risking. I don't like the smell of smoke so I simply used to take my money to were I don't have to smell it, either because they have invested in good ventilation or had decided to not allow smoking. That any individual landlord can decide wheyther to or not to allow smoking was up to them. The market provided places for people that liked smoke and people that did not, so allowing for everybodies needs in there glorious diversity.