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Cheers - AE

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Three nasty little tales of modern Britain.

I bookmarked these three Telegraph stories over a week ago and have been meaning to get round to commenting. Between them they illustrate much of the reason I regularly think "thank fuck with a capital F that I left the UK". First up, the instant marriage by state regulation idea:
Couples who have children outside wedlock should be automatically married by the State to discourage them from splitting up, a key government adviser is proposing.
Prof Julian Le Grand, the architect of a clutch of New Labour policies such as baby bonds, is calling for marriage to be the legal "default" setting for new parents.
Without having to undergo a public ceremony or take any vows, they should simply be regarded as married in law as soon as the child's birth is registered, Prof Le Grand, Tony Blair's former Downing Street health adviser, said.
Seriously, what the fuck? What about situations where the father isn't named by the mother because she doesn't know who it is, or knows damn well who it is and doesn't want anything more to do with him, or for any other reason? Or where the mother identifies the wrong person as the father? Who becomes the father then? The worrying thought that springs to mind is that Big Brother is father, but the UK is nearly there anyway. The bottom line is that there will be no-one to take responsibility in such situations, which makes it no different from now. And then what about when the father has got one or more other girls in the family way? Is he automatically married to all of them? Is Prof Le Grand advocating harems? After all,
Those who later decide to separate would have to go to court to seek a divorce in exactly the same way as a couple who had married formally in church or a register office.
So there are going to be a lot of polygamists, and Prof Le Grand gives no indication as to how the state would deal with them. And those are just the practical considerations. On top of that we must also ask what the fucking fuck it's got to do with the fucking state in general and cunts like Le Grand in particular. If they're worried about the cost to social services the solution is simple - stop handing the fucking benefits out and the girls will have a strong incentive to avoid pregnancy, which in turn will mean everyone starts taking more interest in contraception - the girls because being left holding the baby will become too fucking expensive and the fellas because they'll have to stick to wanking if they don't. Of course this involves the state doing less rather than more and so won't be of much interest to interfering busybodies like Le Grand (whose track record of lunacy includes smoking licences by the way). But seriously, what the fuck does an auto marriage statute achieve other than a meaningless status conferred on people who have absolutely no interest in it and who can be expected to ignore it? But what else can we expect from someone who claims to be a libertarian paternalist, which fucking well is an oxymoron by the way (my bold):
libertarian |ˌlibərˈte(ə)rēən|
1 an adherent of libertarianism : [as adj. ] libertarian philosophy.
• a person who advocates civil liberty.
2 Philosophy - a person who believes in the doctrine of free will.
ORIGIN late 18th cent. (sense 2) : from liberty , on the pattern of words such as unitarian.

paternalism |pəˈtərnlˌizəm|
the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest : the arrogance and paternalism that underlies cradle-to-grave employment contracts.
Or if you prefer Collins to whatever dictionary Apple include on their machines (again, my bold):
1 a believer in freedom of thought, expression, etc.
2 a believer in the doctrine of free will.

the attitude or policy of a government or other authority that manages the affairs of a country, company, etc., in the manner of a father, esp. in usurping individual responsibility.
So have we got that? If the dictionary is anything to go by libertarian paternalists are oxymoronic as well as moronic no, too predictable, so let's settle for patronising authoritarian cunts desperately trying to maintain a veneer of allowing personal choices. For that alone I hope Prof Le Grand falls down the stairs and lands on his cock. For the smoking licences and automated marriages I hope he gets his scrotum caught in the banisters halfway down, the busybodying bastard.

Moving on to the second of the trio of offensiveness, we have a council bullying a property owner into funding one of their projects.
A wealthy hedge fund manager has been ordered to pay for low-cost council housing in his neighbourhood in return for planning permission to overhaul his £20 million mansion.
Two years ago, Chris Rokos bought a run-down four-storey hotel for £18 million in the London suburb of Kensington with the intention of converting it into an eight-bedroom palatial home.
In his 168-page planning application, 38-year-old Mr Rokos - who also has a home in Manhattan - said he wanted to restore the Grade II-listed building to its "former splendour and original use".
The application was greeted with concern by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, but was finally approved with the proviso that he contribute £500,000 towards social housing.
Such conditions are normally only imposed on commercial property developers, but a council spokesman said the renovations were so extensive that the house fell into this category.
Yes, sure he's rich, and sure rich people are about as popular as syphilis at the moment. But is that any fucking excuse for saying hand over half a million quid or we'll prevent you, quite legally by the way, from doing what you choose with property that belongs to you even though you intend to restore it to the purpose for which it was fucking built in the first place. It may not meet a legal definition of blackmail but if it looks like a duck. And quite frankly I find it pretty fucking offensive that commercial property developers have this sort of condition forced on them, though presumably they're happy enough or they wouldn't keep doing it. On that basis I'm not going to get too outraged and I'll just say that if it was me wanting to develop I'd be farting sparks if I was told I had to fund social housing as well. I might be inclined to do it anyway, but if told I had to my first inclination would be to say "fuck it, I won't build anything at all then" and walk out*. Apparently no comment from Chris Rokos on being singled out as an individual for similar treatment seemingly just on the grounds of having made a bob or two, so again I'm not going to be outraged on his behalf. But again, in my opinion a good reason to steer well clear of Kensington & Chelsea if you're wealthy and want a house in the UK.

Lastly, we have a good old fashioned stealth tax:
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, is considering extending a £15 surcharge for victims to those handed on-the-spot fines and fixed penalties.
Currently the extra payment is only added on to fines handed out by the courts, but any extension to fixed penalties would pave the way for millions of people including speeding drivers to be hit as well.
The point here is a very simple one - what fucking victims? Speeding may be annoying, it may be antisocial, and it can be intimidating. But it's overwhelmingly a victimless crime. Cue outrage from the Helen Lovejoys... why won't you think of the children Angry Exile, you fucking bastard. Well, actually I am. Speeding, despite what many governments (the UK, Australian Commonwealth and Victorian state governments among others) like to say, is not a big killer. Driving like a fucktard is the real problem, and since many people who drive like fucktards also exceed the speed limit we have simplistic policies from simpleton governments to try to achieve road safety by tackling speeding because they haven't a clue how to tackle fucktardishness. And if we're truly thinking of the chiiildren we really must concentrate efforts on the fucktards regardless of what speed they're doing. Here in Victoria we're fast (no pun intended) approaching the point where almost any example of fucktard driving below the speed limit goes unpunished unless it happens right under the nose of a cop with nothing better to do, and since they're often looking for speeding they do have something "better" to do (I'd just argue that it's only better for a given value of "doing any good at all"). Conversely regularly exceeding the speed limit is likely to get you a pretty hefty fine sooner or later even in the complete absence of fucktardary. And the UK was getting much the same way when I left it although a £60 fine, even £75 if Jack Straw's proposal goes through, is pretty light compared to here. But what really winds me up about the UK idea is that even though it'd still be cheaper to commit the victimless crime of speeding there it fucks me off that a victim surcharge could be levied where no victim exists. It's not like I'm the only one:
Andrew Howard, head of road safety for the AA, said the organisation objected to the surcharge being used with fixed penalties when the scheme was first proposed for the courts.
He added: "We are concerned about this. A court penalty is normally where there is a real victim.
"The fixed penalty (option) just worries us as there is a view that anything done in road safety is being done to raise money."
Mr Straw was accused of abusing the surcharge instead of properly funding victims' groups through other means while magistrates criticised it for not helping victims directly.
Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It is concerning that the Government increasingly exploits fixed penalty notices as a revenue stream rather than a tool of justice.
"Speeding tickets have long been viewed as a cash cow, and now it seems they are going to be used to fill the gap the Government has left in victim support funding. If the levy is meant to provide some reparation, it is absurd to make a speeder pay the same as someone who has actually burgled or mugged a person."
Which is about what I thought. Supporting victims is one thing, but extracting money where for victims where there are none is clearly about the money itself.

And people wonder why I don't miss the place.

*Evidence of both a short fuse and why I probably wouldn't be a great success as a property developer.


kensington said...

These stories were not seen as that big over here.

Angry Exile said...

And? So what? Does how big a story is have any relevance on its blogworthiness? I'll blog about what I think is important, thanks all the same. And if most sheeple are less interested in the continued erosion of liberty than in which premiership player is currently dipping his wick in which D lister or whatever (and depressingly I'm forced to concede that they probably are), then fuck 'em sideways with a splintered chair leg. We can add it to the growing list of reasons why I'm glad to be away from the fucking place.

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