November 30, 2007

Teddy boy Mohammed

This country has an awful lot of stupid laws. The rate they have been placed on the statute books has increased substantially over the last ten years, but they have always been plenty of legislative turds that you could step in where you unlucky. There are the idiotic regulations imposed on us by our masters across the water and of course there are the ones that we impose on ourselves through our elected representatives.

However I do not think that there are any quite so mind shatteringly moronic as goaling somebody for allowing a teddy bear to be given the wrong name, and if we did there would certainly be no protests saying the punishment was too lenient and the poor woman in question should be shot. It would appear that we have discovered the reason that the Sudan is festering in the dark ages, it is the backward, violent and utterly stupid culture that prevails there.

November 29, 2007

Morality and the markets

Unable to criticize a market based economy based on how well it works in practice, especially compared to all of the known alternatives, markets are often criticized on moral grounds. It is argued that because they are based around individual selfishness that they are immoral. However this logic is wrong, it is because they are based around individual selfishness that guarantees that the result of market interactions is morally right.

The moral measure that I am talking about is of course Utility. First formulated by Jeremy Bentham this system is part of a thread of moral thought that goes all the way back to Aristotle. The principle of Utility is simply that the aim of a morally correct action is to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people

As the critics of markets state a voluntary exchange, as in a market, will only happen because both parties involved in it think that the result will make them happy. Knowing themselves and their desires better than anybody else they are normally right in this belief. So for a voluntary exchange will only happen if it makes all those involved in it happier than they where before. Though their selfishness of looking out for their own happiness and interacting through a market they ended up happier than before, so that over time and hundreds of these selfishly driven exchanges the sum total of happiness goes up and up.

This contrasts with coerced action, even for altruistic reasons (and lets face it pretty well all coercion is claimed to be for altruistic reasons). The coercer will not necessarily feel happy about it, other than a smug self satisfaction, and the coerced certainly won't, if this wasn't the case they would be willing to do it voluntarily. Result a net decrease in happiness.

Therefore it is coerced action, such as by the State, that is morally dubious not that done through a market exchange, which is normally morally right.

November 28, 2007

On Free Speech

1. Talking harms nobody

Pretty standard Mill here, talking harms nobody so it should not be banned. In certain cases such as holocaust denial then when people come to believe these views then they can go on to cause actual harm, but the talk itself does not. Which leads me strait onto my second point.

2. Contrary views makes sure that the arguments for a position are strong

In a free country there is no way of absolutely suppressing a point of view, his arguments will find a way to be expressed through one media or another. Even in such unfree countries as the USSR and communist China dissidents still found ways of getting their opinions known.

By letting him speak openly you let the opposing arguments be pitted against the best he can produce. When this happens Irving's views are crushed. Without somebody to argue against however there would be no need to create such strong arguments backed up by such strong evidence. Therefore in an alternate world where hid views where censored should somebody come across Irving's samizdat it would seem to present a far stronger case than it should do as there would be nothing to oppose it. It may not be true that Irving will change his mind when confronted with strong arguments contrary his beliefs but other people are likely to be more open, though even he has been willing to move a bit.

3. Self Interest

In the movie "The People vs. Larry Flynt" the Larry Flynt character says "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you."

Anybody with minority views (which will include everybody on some subject or other) should want to protect free speech. This is because of rational self interest because should the majority with opposing views want to shut you down you will have support for your right to speak, if perhaps not what you speak. To me this right to free speech, even for unpopular views, comes fairly easily out of a Rawlsian Social Contract, as nobody in the Original Position would know what their views where to be. The calculating the probabilities would show most people would be in the mainstream for most views, but everybody would be in a minority for something. Therefore only by being liberal on Free Speech would they maximise the chance of their not getting censored themselves.

The Left, a brain disorder?

The mind i the brain so it really shouldn't be much of a surprise that people with different mindset have slightly different brain wiring. What is interesting is that these differences in brains are actually measurable.
Brain recordings taken using electroencephalogram (EEG) technology showed that liberals [socialists] had twice as much activity in a deep region called the anterior cingulate cortex. This area of the brain is thought to act as a mental brake by helping the mind recognize "no-go" situations where it must refrain from the usual course of action.
Which would explain why the socialist mentality is that everything anybody does should be constrained, regulated, or stopped. For your own good, of course.


Today's Prime Ministers Questions is being promoted elsewhere but it is a real corker. Gordon Brown had his ass handed to him on a plate by Cameron who laid into him with some vicious attacks to which Browns only reply was mumbling that 15 years ago the Tories didn't put as much money into the NHS as he had. No attempt at all was given to explain how Labour had, again, been found to be flouting the law over political donations.

The best line though goes to Vince Cable asked gordon brown how in a matter of weeks he had transformed from "Stalin to Mr Bean". I don't think that Mr Cable should be too worried though, Gordon Brown still has the mind of Stalin, its just he has the competence of Mr Bean.

November 26, 2007

More Islamic Rage

Islamic Rage is at it again, the same day as I hear that under Islam it is blasphemy to give your teddy bear the wrong name yet another cartoon war is blowing up around another cartoon in South Africa. The cartoon is below via the Pub Philosopher


blasphemy against free speech

Perry de Havilland writes about the need to get rid of the stupid blasphemy laws in the context of a bunch of Christian nutters trying to use them to sue the BBC for Jerry Springer: The Opera. He is perfectly correct, even if JS:TO wasn't haft as good as it was that would be no reason for not wanting to get rid of an affront to the freedom of speach like the blasphemy laws. That a stupid superstition should be able to hobble free speach is wrong in itself, but it also provides an excuse for other stupid superstitions to demand the same. For example the recent thought crimes introduced by Labour about religious hatred, or try this for what blasphemy means in Islam. Let some children choose the wrong name for a teddy bear and you get arrested with the prospect of 3 months in prison or maybe a lynching. Perhaps it is too much a reminder for Islamic sensibilities of the way their peadophile prophet used to screw a girl so young she was still carrying her dolls around with her. Fuck you Muhammad (the 6th century mental case, not the teddy bear).

MPs crap shock

Steven Forde writing for the Rant Foundation shows what MPs would look like if they where portrayed in the same way they do doctors. The results would not be pleasant reading for our political masters.

Pornographic quicky

A quick note on Labour's attempt to legislate its own sexual tastes onto everybody else. This heavily whipped bill is still progressing its way through parliament without any evidence yet to be shown that it will be anything but counter productive. One of the things that this law will do is that it will outlaw looking at images where you know everybody involved is consenting to, and really getting off on, whatever sexual practice if it happens not to be what the police also enjoy. However an interesting loophole however is brought up by the results of the Spanner case.

In the Spanner case a group of men decided to video themselves while taking part in some consesual BDSM activities, and a copy of the video somehow found its way into the hands of the police. The police launched an investigation believing that they where being assaulted. Eventually the men where found and explained exactly what was going on. They did not hide anything as they did not think that they had anything to fear. As far as they where concerned they where just having some consensual fun. Despite this it turned out there was quite a bit to fear and they where eventually brought to trial on charges of assualt.

This is where things become relivant to porn. The judge decided that he had to impose his own moral standards on them and refused to accept that there was anything sexual involved in BDSM and so that it could only be an assault. This meant that in the eyes of the law it was impossible for them to have consented to what happened, because under laws originally designed to protect the insurance industry it is impossible to consent to an assault (an law that would, if taken strictly, makes sports such as boxing and rugby illegal). This meant there was no option but to plead guilty as they had already explained exactly what was going on. The dominant partners where jailed for assault and the submissive partners where jailed for aiding and abetting an assult.

Spanner was a travesty of justice but it places an interesting loophole into case law, thanks to it extreme sex is not sex. However porn has to be sex which means that extreme porn, if it does not actually show people obviously getting off on what is being done, is not porn. Somehow I expect that should this law ever be used (but lets be frank, I doubt that Labour actually think about their laws being used. They see them as nothing more than symbols of what good people they are) the definition of what is and is not sex when it comes to extreme sex will once again change so that people who do not share the same ideas of fun as the judge in question can be sent to jail.

November 24, 2007

the Immigration debate

There is a debate going on at Stumbling and Mumbling about immigration. Mr Dillow is correct that there is a problem for the 'right' who are calling for limits on immigration, the problem with this debate is that it revolves around conflating two issues. The first is immigration, which is generally good, the second is religion, which isn't. None of the 7/7 bombers where immigrants, neither was Richard Ried, nor was Omar Sharif or Asif Hanif who killed three people when he blew himself up in Tel Aviv in 2003. Their Islamic Rage was not fueled by their being new to the country, it was fueled by the example of Mohammed and his insane mumblings as they where eventually written down in the Koran.

November 23, 2007

Fascism is on the 'Left'

The Paternalist Conspiracy has a link log of a set of post about how started by Tim Worstall's post about how Fascism should be seen as an ideology of the left. Of course it should. Mussolini began his political career as a leading light of the Italian Socialist movement editing several socialist newspapers before creating Fascism. Mosley walked out of the Labour party, where he had served on the Labour National Executive Committee and on Ramsay MacDonald's cabinet, to form the British Union of Fascists. You just have to look at the Program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, the Fascist Manefesto, or todays BNP to see that they sit easily on the 'left' of the political spectrum with the talk of nationalisation, welfare, and control by the state for the people.

Fascists are nasty racists, and many that see themselves on the 'left' think that being nasty racists automatically means that you cannot be on the left. However compare Marx's answer to the Jewish question and Hilter's.
We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time, an element which through historical development – to which in this harmful respect the Jews have zealously contributed – has been brought to its present high level, at which it must necessarily begin to disintegrate.

In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.
Extremely similar and ringing with a bloody potential realised in Stalin's purges after World War 2.

Fasists where anti-communist, like the way that extreme leftist groups tend to split and splinter into strongly antagonistic factions as can be seen at the moment in the recriminations and back biting around the disintegration of the Respect Coalition. However today communists are also disclaimed from the 'left', in the same way that Fascists are, because of their murderous nature. This definition of the 'left' as 'that which is not nasty' is can be seen elsewhere in the rebuttals to Tristan Mills' original post such as this one that claims that every single instance of actually existing Socialism is not 'left' wing, despite their being supported by the 'left' before their collapse. This wishy-washy 'everything not nasty' definition fails with Cuba which is still seen by many that call themselves of the 'left' as a Socialist nirvana and its leaders, such as Che, idolised; but Cuba is definitely nasty and once the Socialist regime in Cuba falls everybody will see exactly why it is that every year hundreds of people flee across the open sea on make shift rafts.

'Left' and 'right' are not the most meaningful of terms but if anything it is on the 'left where Fascism belongs. Liberalism and authoritarianism are more useful, and it is amongst the authoritarians that most of the left resides because the constant calls to interfere in other peoples business that come from that direction.

November 22, 2007

All is not well in the United Soviet Socialist Health System

While the current government IT continues to hold the front pages Mr Salmon of the Rant Foundation shows us the continuing reverberations of one of the previous ones. The entire medical training system has been utterly destroyed by Labour's imposition of a single, giant, all controlling system from on high. This has left massive problems with getting the right number of staff to fill positions because messy things like the real world do not actually fit with The Plan. That is not to say that Labour are not going to claim that The Plan is not going perfectly, they are probably going to say that this year is an even better year than the Best Year Ever the the tractor production figures are so good. Shame about the patients, but then the Commissar has a Plan for that as well. Don't let patients into hospital! Surely a Plan worthy of an Order of Stalin for its perverse brilliance, by cutting the budget so much that they cannot afford to let patients into hospital they get to save even more on not having to treat them when they end up dead.

Luckily our nobel Commissars have pinpointed the source of the problems. It is those eeeevil Kulaks, the Doctors after having a new contract that they did not want forced on them Labour is now blaming them for the way that it means that they are getting paid more though it. Just like happened with the imposition of the new GP's contract. Or like how the imposition of the new Dentists contract pushed even more of them out of the NHS. Labour thought that by forcing a new contract it would give them more control, and Labour loves anything that they think will give them more control, however they ended up having to pay for the work that the medical staff where previously doing for nothing. The Doctors are being used as a scape goat but what this really shows is how the NHS relies on the exploitation of those with a vocation for medicine.

November 20, 2007

Corporations or the State?

An illustration as why the state is more dangerous than companies and corporations. Some people decide to compete with the state by producing their own currency, so the state breaks their down down and shuts them down by force. They where not trying to copy the state's currency but creating one of their own with each coin made of a pure metal rather than the debased stuff found in state issue ones.

In a free market the two could have competed for customers and so found what the customers wanted in their currency. However the state is lazy, it does not like to have to compete and because of it's monopoly on violence it does not have to. Private companies might want to be able to use force rather to shut down their competitors rather than having to out compete them at the market, but it is only when they buy a politician and so get access to the power of the state that they actually can. This is why the state is more dangerous than any company or corporation, businesses have to persuade you to do anything but the state can just put a gun to your head.

Liberty and Monarchy

A little discussion of libertarianism and the monarchy has broken out on the Longrider's blog. I will admit that any positive feelings that I have for the Monarchy are like my, diminishing, dislike of the Death Tax. It is more emotional that logical. The pomp and pageantry is a bit of a pantomime. But a pantomime is harmless and fun, unlike the less showy but far more intrusive areas of the state.

A monarchy is potentially dangerous because it places a lot of power into the hands of one person with no checks and balances. However our monarchy no longer has much power at all, that having transfered to the Prime Minister. The only check on his power is that in our train wreak of a constitution is that it comes to him from us via his boss, the Queen. The pressing need is to limit the power of the Prime-Minister, and the State in general. So for the time being there is no reason to throw away a potentially useful life belt before we have plugged the gaping hole in side of the ship of state.

Unfortunately the Royal Family does have to be paid for by the state, money which would be much better spent had it never been extorted from people pockets. On the other hand if you think that keeping a president going would be any cheaper you are misguided. At the moment campaign donations can be bought with a little ermine for whatever weasel is being bribed. Compare that to a multi-million pound defense contract.

Then there is the more emotional appeal of the way the Queen conducts herself compared to the rather distasteful attempts at rallying public opinion of the Jelly Bellied Flag Flapper. Having the Prime Minister acting as head of state and therefore even more easily able to wrap the flag around his ample waist whenever he gets into trouble would be even worse. Going against the Prime Minister would be twisted as going against the country. However having the Queen as a powerless and nonpolitical head of state takes that leaver on public opinion out of the hands of politicians, this is a good thing considering that history has shown how powerful a leaver this can be.

November 19, 2007

Of A More Civilised Persuasion

Through Samizdata here is a post as to the why it is good to let people be armed. However it also summarizes why it is negative liberty (true liberty) that is more important than the so called positive liberties that come through being coerced, either for your own or for somebody else's good.
Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. ...

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion.
If somebody does not want to do something of their own free will they will have a reason, and because their knowledge of their individual position is better than yours normally they will be right. Therefore normally whenever a rational adult has to be forced to do something against their will the negative effects that to them that the person with the whip hand may not know about will normally out weight whatever positive effect they are being forced into. However if given evidence and arguments about the choices a rational adult should be able to see for themselves which one is best for them. Should this turn out to be the choice that would have been forced then not only will all the negative utility that comes with having to force somebody to do something be avoided they will likely pursue it with more vigour since they can see for themselves that it is the right think to do.

RIPA Freedom

The RIP Act 2000 has started to be used, and the results are just as bad as expected. Maybe not a Section 49 notice as far as I can tell from the report but still the police and CPS wielding the illiberal nature of this law like a club. The Register has all the details including what purports to be the response of the woman herself in an anonymous posting on Indymedia.
"Now apparently they have found some encrypted files on my computer (which was stolen by police thugs in May this year) which they think they have 'reasonable suspicion' to pry into using the excuse of 'preventing or detecting a crime'," she writes.

"Now I have been 'invited' (how nice, will there be tea and biccies?) to reveal my keys to the police so they can look at these files. If I do not comply and tell them to keep their great big hooters out of my private affairs I could be charged under RIPA."

The woman says that any encrypted data put on the PC must have been put there by somebody else.

"Funny thing is PGP and I never got on together I confess that I am far too dense for such a complex (well to me anyway) programme. Therefore in a so-called democracy I am being threatened with prison simply because I cannot access encrypted files on my computer."
Which as a soap dodging animal rights protestor is perfectly believable, however here is where the pernicious nature of the RIP Act comes in. It does not matter if she put the encrypted data on her machine deliberately or not, to fall foul of this law all you have to do is follow this link, or whether it is the results of a failed attempt to use PGP that she has long since given up on. It could even just be a file that has become corrupted to the point where it now looks like encrypted data. It is up to her to prove that she cannot give them the keys for this alleged encrypted data, because of the way the RIP Act was drafted she is guilty until proven innocent.

Actually existing socialism

Via the Dude it looks like Hugo Chavez really is serious about turning Venezuela into a Socialist country, he's already managed to empty the shops of previously common staple goods.

Lyrical? Terrorist?

While I was away on my secret underwater Caribbean volcano island base (every eeeeevil capitalist gets one, didn't you know?) Samina Malik was convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 because she wrote bad, tasteless poetry. Many people write bad, tasteless poetry but to say that this is the same as deliberate killing of dozens of innocent people would be stretching poetic licence to breaking point (in most cases anyway) and if reading extremist websites is a sign of being an extremist then David T or Charles Johnson must be up there with Osama Bin Laden himself.

OK she had some dodgy files on her computer, but she did not act on them. There is no evidence at all that she ever intended to act on them either. She was causing no harm to anybody nor was she even likely to cause harm to anybody. Then because the state did not like what she was thinking, it put her in jail. By putting Samina Malik in jail the state probably did more to recruit real terrorists than any amount of bad poetry that the lyrical terrorist could have ever penned. These are people looking for a justification for Islamic Rage. They are seeking reasons to claim that they are being oppressed so that they can see themselves as freedom fighters rather than the murderous bastards that they are. And the state just handed them a good one.

November 17, 2007


Right, back after a nice week away and whilst sorting through my emails I found one from Phil Booth the National Coordinator of NO2ID. He is asking all of us that pledged to contribute to the NO2ID fighting fund to send a cheque to:

NO2ID (Legal Defence Fund)
Box 412
19-21 Crawford Street
London W1H 1PJ

Mine will be in the post tomorrow.

November 09, 2007

My not very original position

Off for a week's holiday so no posting for 7 days. However one more little post before I go.

Using Rawl's Original Position to draw up a social contract it can be argued that you should take the choice that produces the highest payoff for the worst outcome. However the worst possible outcome, by its nature as an extreme position, is an outcome with a very low probability.

Maybe you would decide to insure against such extreme events but surely the most rational course of action is to plan for the most likely outcome, since the probability is the only information you have to plan with. Therefore you would therefore decide on a world where the most possible people, since this is most likely to include you, got the best of the probable results. Or to put it another way; you would want to bring the best results to the greatest number of people.

Also given that under the Original Position you would have no idea what the best results for you would be, you would want to keep your options open and be at liberty to pursue whatever it was when you found out. Since everybody would come to the same decision and they would not want you to interfere with their pursuit of happiness either. Liberty unobstructed except by the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.

Not a very original position I know.

November 08, 2007

Conservative Co-Ops?

David Cameron is starting to flesh out the bones of what he means when he says "society is not the state" with his education policy.

"I want to explore how we can create a new generation of co-operative schools in Britain, funded by the taxpayer, but owned by parents and the local community," he said

Should be some interesting policies relating to how you can shrink the state and get power back to the local level if this is anything to go by.

Two teenagers (17 and 15) systematically abuse a man with severe learning difficulties over a period of months. The repeatedly beat him up and even break into his house so that they can attack and degrade him. Finally one of the assaults kills their victim, so they piss on the body and dump it into a river. Guess how long before they are eligible for parole? Three years and 3.5 years. They tortured a very vulnerable man for months and then killed him. They did it just for the fun of it, even boasting about it afterwards, and all these scum get is three years. The justice system is an absolute disgrace.

The moral right to resource extraction

Reading a post by Chris Dillow on the Paternalist Conspiracy about how we should have a form of pre-life insurance got me thinking about environmentalism. Given the historical evidence that almost everything is better now than it was in the past thanks to technological progress it is fairly safe to extrapolate that things will be even better in the future than they are now (unless the greenies get there way that is).

Now given the fact that life is getting better if we had the kind of rational pre-life insurance market that Chris Dillow argues for then the better off people, in the future, should pay a compensation to the less well off, those living now. Not having access to a temporal cash machine they cannot compensate us that way, but we can gain compensation by using resources instead of leaving them for the future. We do not owe it to the future to leave the earth pristine, they owe it to us to compensate us for not having their flying cars, robot housemaids, extraterrestrial blue skinned babes, or all the other things that we cannot even think of now.

November 07, 2007

The Serious Civil Liberty Destruction Act 2007

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 was bad, but it just got worse. Thanks to the Serious Crime Act 2007 it is now not only a criminal offence to mount an unauthorised protest it is also an offence to "encourage or assist" in such a protest, for example to talk about it on a blog, for which you can get up to 51 weeks in prison. Even longer than this government wants to be able to imprison people without charge. This law also attempts to stiffle whistleblowers, but there is a defence of 'reasonableness' however once again they have reversed the burden of proof and it is up to you to prove that whatever you did was reasonable. There is a lot more to be worried about in this law as well, all of which is covered by SpyBlog. Some on the left say that Libertarians complain a lot about Labour but this act amiably demonstrates the reason for this, Labour is simply the ne plus ultra of civil liberty destroyers in this country.

November 06, 2007

Peter Mandelson on trade

Now here is something suprising, Peter Mandelson arguing for a reduction in tariffs on the basis of the Laffer Curve! Could it be that poor Mr Mandelson has been abducted and replaced by a giant crab in a man suit? If so, then good on you that crab.

Bloggertarian Law and Order

Via DK I see that Shuggy of Never Trust a Hippy seems to have a problem with Libertarianism and wants to see how it would deal with law and order. Had he read up on Libertarianism a little he would have realised that defence, personal or national, is one of the few areas that the state has a legitimate role to play. However lets take this straw man by the hand and see where he leads us.

O.K. how about some Libertarian suggestions for law and order: it could be neighbours coming together voluntarily self defence (self defence being a right the UN claims not to exist by the way). Or maybe they would pay somebody else to defend them. Possibly it would be part of their insurance cover, in the same way that the fire service was originally paid for on a purely private basis by insurance subscriptions. Whatever was offered to combat crime wouldn't involve being reliant on a CCTV system, because CCTV does not work. Maybe it would mean paying for better street lighting. Perhaps the solutions on offer would involve gating an area off to control access. Or maybe there would be something else.

After a quick shuffle through my archives I reach this post on law and order from 2005 with a link to a story about a neighbourhood coming together to pay for a private security guard to patrol their street. A truely libertarian solution through voluntary co-operation and to pay for a service from the market.

Wouldn't it be good if this kind of local street patrol could be rolled out everywhere, but obviously it would need a name. There is a precise word for an assigned or regular round, a beat. As this word is derived from Norman French, and is not often used in general conversation in this context, it is a little unfamiliar. So I'm sure that any haft decent marketing department would pair it with something more friendly that is familiar, something to humanise the patrols, a name perhaps, maybe Bobby (too pluck something from the air). Beat Bobbies ... hmmm ... sounds strangely familiar. Which is a little odd since you don't see anybody on these regular foot patrols around at the moment.

These Bobbies are unlikely to stop people would be free to wonder as they pleased. Detaining people takes time and therefore money, so it isn't going to be something they want to do unless they are contractually obliged. For example no private security firm in a shopping mall would ever harrass the people using it simply for the sake of it. It would drive away customers and so make the people paying them unhappy and therefore less likely to employ them. Likewise a private security firm employed to monitor a street isn't going go out of their way to hinder the people in it going about their business, as to do that would engender resentment to them which would be bad for business.

However what would happen if something did go wrong? Lets take an extreme example that could never happen with our state controlled police, perhaps an innocent man being shot seven times in the head. Now had Jean Charles been directly paying for the people that brutally executed him on the floor of that tube train they might not have taken it so lightly, by killing him they would be out of the job. Had he been part of the group paying for them likewise they would be out of the job when the contract was either not renewed or cancelled outright. Nor is it likely that they would get re-employed elsewhere. Having armed men roving up and down your street who are likely to kill you for no reason is exactly what private patrols are their to prevent. Mistakes like this would directly affect the bottom line as neighbourhood after neighbourhood switched security providers the officers in question would go, as would the CEO most likely for the enourmous damage that he had allowed to be done to the reputation of the company (a hugely valiable asset). Like the Merrill Lynch did to their CEO and Chairman within days of their having to post their first loss ever, but unlike what we have seen with the de Menezes case where you can completely ignore your responsibilities, so long as you have enough political connections.

The Snake's Speech

Not much talking about what the queen's speech contained, since it didn't contain anything that we haven't heard before. Everything was trailed in advance, no last minute surprises. No shock anouncements about letting people get on with their lives unmolested by the state. Just more quangos and bureaucracy, more attempts to control peoples lives, more bending over for our true government in Brussels, more constitutional wreaking, and yet more terror powers. Nothing good.

November 05, 2007

Remember Remember ...

It being the 5th of November, the day when the country celibrates a man for his attempt to blow up parliament, a quick look at what our Lords and Masters are up to at the moment in order that they can justify the massive increase to their already massive pay [H.T. DK]

Despite HMRC recently losing 15000 personal records ID cards are still coming, and of course there is nothing to worry about and our data wil be completely safe. Really. The excuse they are using at the moment is that it will "help control immigration" and will initially only be for foreign nationals. Almost certainly there will be court cases against this on the grounds that it is discriminatory. Which it is. The government will then solve the problem of this discrimination against foreign nationals by forcing everybody to have one, just as they always wanted. Just like the discrimination problem of their internment of foreign nationals was 'solved' by changing it to house arrest against anybody, and like how it was suggested that the discrimination against the innocent people stored on the police DNA database could be 'solved' by placing everybody in the country on it.

Labour wants to force everybody to stay in education until they are 18. Because an extra two years is really going to make a difference, after a decade of schooling left 20% of pupils functionally illiterate. They will still leave at 18 without any qualifications but more embittered and with less experience for having been trapped in school for an extra two years. If they do not attend then they can be taken to court and fined. Of course not being allowed to work because of having to spend most of the day at a school there isn't much chance of their having the money to pay the fine. Forcing those that hate school to stay there for another two years will only increase their loathing of a school system that does nothing for them and their contempt of a toothless justice system until the day comes at 18 when they can leave, still functionally illiterate and without any qualifications ready for a life on the dole. It will however let Labour claim some better unemployment statistics and be able to control where more people are at any time, unfortunately for everybody else they will be at a school they hate making teaching impossible for those that want to learn.

The final example of this governments obsession with monitoring and controlling people is the most extreme. It still wants to, yet again, increase the length of time that people can be held without charge. The amount of time people can be held without charge in the UK is already the longest in Europe and they want to double it to 56 days, up from just 2 days when Labour entered office.

November 02, 2007

Education, Education, Education

On coming to power in 1997 Labour promised 'Education, Education, Education'. It created plenty of eye-catching iniatives micromanaging things from the top via a bevy of targets and threw a shed load of money at the problem. There are pupils leaving the school system now that will have spent their whole time under the New Labour way. We have spent the money and given it time to work, so surely there should be some results by now. Well apparently not

The independent study said the government's National Literacy Strategy had cost 553 million pounds in the seven years to 2005 but had had "almost no impact" on reading levels.

But what about the raft of statistics that Labour uses to show how good it is?

National test results rose strongly up to 2000 before flattening out in recent years but Tymms said there had been little actual improvement overall when measured against objective standards.

He said studies, including his own, had shown the rise in results was misleading and exaggerated the changes in pupils' actual attainment. The literacy strategy had also been distorted by the pressure on schools to hit government performance goals, with less able pupils falling behind.

"Resources and effort were targeted at those pupils who were within range of achieving a Level 4 because that is the standard by which the success of schools was judged," he said.

So just as in every other area the statistics where massaged to meet the target.

Why is the EU supported by the left?

A post by Richard North about the EU's regulatory burden got me thinking about why is the EU currently supported by so many on the left? In the post Dr North outlines how it is that the cost of regulation falls disproportionatly hard on small firms and so are used by the largest corporation (the bete noir of many on the left) to crush their smaller rivals. This isn't the only way in which the EU helps the largest corporations (which lefties hate) at the expense of craftsmen/partnerships/co-operatives/small businesses (that the left tends to promote, at least since their prefered option of state control was shown unworkable). For example:

  • Oxfam's claims about the problems that the EU's biofuel proposals could have on the third world.
  • To gain the supposed benefits of the Euro in lowing transaction costs across national borders first you must be operating across national borders at a large scale. The larger the business the more likely this is so the more likely that they will gain, rather than the small ones.
  • Likewise the costs from the deluge of regulation that originates in Brussels hurts small businesses far more than it does the large ones, where it is just absorbed into general the costs of being big.
  • The left often claims to be in favour of localism, but what is localist about transfering power even further away from the people to a supra-national government?
  • The left shows great consern for the impoverished world wide, such as in Africa, but the single largest thing we could do to help them would be to get rid of the EU's single largest spending item, the CAP.
  • The left (like the libertarian right) is against corporate welfare, yet so many of the EU's policies are exactly that.
    1. There is the CAP where the cheaques are handed out in proportion to the amount of assests you hold.
    2. The EU emission trading scheme which is little more than a system of corporate welfare for the most poluting under the name of enviromentalism.
    3. Or the simple fact that as a customs union the EU is set up in order to give the corporations within it an unfair advantage over their competitors; for example can the tarrifs on energy saving lightbulbs from outside the EU combined with the ban on incandessant lightbulbs be seen as anything than a fairly blatant attempt to funnel money into the one corporation that will not have to pay the tarrifs?

It used to be that Uber-lefties, like the Third Viscount Stansgate, where firmly against the EU and its predecessors. Now you will find that most on the left are for the EU. What changed? Well not the EU, that is still plodding towards its goal of supra-national government under the guise of economic integration.