Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Another goose step closer to the Nazification of Britain.

Too stupid to be a parent? Seriously?
The woman, who for legal reasons can be identified only by her first name, Rachel, has been told by a family court that her daughter will be placed with adoptive parents within the next three months, and she will then be barred from further contact.
As in forever apparently. So, this must be a stratospherically dense mother for such extreme action to be necessary, right?
The adoption is going ahead despite the declaration by a psychiatrist that Rachel, 24, has no learning difficulties and “good literacy and numeracy and [that] her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range”.
What? Sounds more or less average to me. So is the child super special needs or something? Apparently not (my bold).
Her daughter, K, was born prematurely and officials felt Rachel lacked the intelligence to cope with her complex medical needs Baby K was released from hospital into care and is currently with a foster family. Her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day medical care.
Okay, so the mother might not be rocket scientist material, though that's far from clear really, but is certainly not an outstanding example of the common or garden British mouth breather according to the trick cyclist who assessed her, and the little girl is over the need for day to day medical care. So what the hell are they playing at? Is this like a modern day Germanisation program of taking children away on any convenient pretext so they can be re-homed and raised according to the state's values? Or is it more like a well intentioned but appallingly patronizing and misguided attempt on the part of the authorities to act in the best interests of the child (also with some historical precedence)? I'm inclined to believe the latter since it smacks more of a well intentioned incompetence than a more sinister calculated conspiracy, and it kind of fits in with the fuck-off-we're-right-you're-all-wrong attitude the wankers are showing.
Her attempts to fight Nottingham city council’s adoption of her daughter have been hampered because her case was taken over by the official solicitor, the government-funded lawyer who acts for those unable to represent themselves. He was brought in to represent Rachel’s interests because she was judged to be intellectually incapable of instructing her own solicitor. He declined to contest the council’s adoption application, despite her wish to do so.

After the psychiatrist’s assessment of Rachel, the court has now acknowledged that she does have the mental capacity to keep up with the legal aspects of her situation. It has nevertheless refused her attempts to halt the adoption process.
Yep, seems like a lot of arse covering going on. Maybe there's more detail to emerge on this story, but right now it looks like they decided in their all knowing and infallible wisdom that they were dealing with someone who's a bit of a thickie, who not only couldn't be trusted with a child but was too dopey even to deal with a solicitor herself, and maybe something bad might happen to the kid because of it. Obviously the fact that so far fuck all has happened is neither here nor there - in modern Britain there are plenty of victimless "crimes" that are illegal purely because of what might possibly happen, and this preemptive removal of a young child from her mother fits in just fine with that kind of thinking. Of course, now it turns out that the woman whose child they legally kidnapped is of normal intelligence after all they dig in rather than admit they fucked up, the cunts.

Not being a parent I can't imagine what the poor woman is going through but it's a warning to everybody about the creeping authoritarianism that's taking over what would otherwise be a pretty decent country. When's it going to fucking stop? In the meantime I hope Rachel wins her daughter back and I hope she sues the fuckbag bastards responsible for enough to get them both a comfortable distance away from the putrid Orwellian pit the UK is becoming, and most of all I hope the said fuckbag bastards are then slowly and painfully consumed by genital warts.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Proportional Polly parroting.

Seems Polly Toynbee is well aware of what's in store for Labour.
What happens on Thursday night and Friday morning may decide the future of the Labour party for the next 10 or 15 years – or even for ever. Has it the will to live? Or is it dead already and beyond resuscitation? We shall know soon.
We can but hope.
Assume a crushing defeat in next week's elections: everyone does.
Like I said, we can but hope.
Downing Street will call it a frightening failure of democracy, since the Conservatives will do less well than expected, while small parties enjoy a protest flowering. Gordon Brown will rush for an eyecatching cabinet reshuffle: fallers may include Smith and Blears, maybe Darling too, and who knows what other big heads. It must be dramatic enough to dominate the day's headlines. Blunkett back to the Home Office is mooted (by himself, among others). Who knows if Brown will use John Reid or other retreads to amaze, as he did with Mandelson. Anything that makes enough splash to stop the one story that really matters: will the cabinet and leading MPs seize this last chance to sack their failed leader?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, boo fucking hoo (read the whole thing for more whining or, for something more enjoyable, savagely smash your face against the wall a couple of times). The wonderful leader you once adored is, as so many thought, a fucking liability after all and you and your kind are filling your drawers because those around Broon lack the balls to slide the knife in. Well, I wish I could sympathise and despair with you over the state of the labour party, but frankly I'm delighted. The only reason I'm not dancing a jig is the Tories are as just unpalatable, often for the same reasons, and because of the utter cuntishness of Gordon and the gang the fucking Tories are likely to end up with the same sort of solid majority that the UK suffered under during the Blair years, even if for just one term.

But Polly has spotted that problem in a one sided way, though she knows the solution too.
Labour faces annihilation. The party is £11.5m in debt, with no donors – putting it in a firmer grip of a few union barons who themselves represent a smaller fragment of the people than ever. In many hollowed-out local parties, mandated union branches pick the councillors and parliamentary candidates. As the parliamentary democratic deficit is uncovered, Labour sees its own moral corrosion. One in seven MPs begs Brown disgracefully for a peerage: count them out of rebellion. The corruption of party power and patronage was left untouched by Blair. Now the lid is off the whole system, it reeks as never before. If entry through these corrupt doors is the only way a progressive person can hope to enter politics, Labour deserves to die. That's why proportional representation, keeping the constituency link – but with open top-up lists – would force a blast of oxygen into the fetid system.
Yep, Labour does indeed deserve to die, and may the millions who've suffered from it's evil take the opportunity to piss into the coffin at the wake. But PR Polly? Really? Because being the rabid Labour supporter you are I very much doubt you've arrived at this conclusion over any real desire for reform. Could it possibly be because, as we all know, PR both favours small parties and leads to coalition government more often than not - in fact practically guarantees it given the relative support of the big three parties among British voters. In short, PR in the UK is likely to lead to the smallest party holding the balance of power and becoming the tail that wags the dog. So Polly thinks Labour is going to get buried at the next election, which reading between the lines could mean it being the third party behind the LibDumbs, and at the same time she's being supportive of an electoral system that would hand the balance of power to the third party in Westminster. A system that would not only keep Labour in the game but give them the ability to make demands, if not actually make the Labour leader the Parliamentary king maker. Even if Labour remained the official opposition party it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that the LibDumbs will tend to cosy up to Labour rather than the Tories, so it's a win for Labour either way. Coincidence, Polly? Yeah, right, with bells on.

And that's aside from the other problems with PR. Full PR means breaking the link between constituents and their representative at Parliament and also encourages cronyism by means of the inevitable party lists, and the alternative favoured by Pol reduces that but doesn't eliminate it. But the big deal breaker for me is that it's a system favoured only by people afraid of party majorities or who actually have a vested interest in eliminating them. Polly is trying to sell this as good for democracy, but that's bullshit. It's good, very very good indeed, for the Labour party and would give them an excellent chance of being in power or at least pulling some of the levers while simultaneously shutting the Tories out much of the time. I might despise the bastards as much as the other two main parties but at least they're a fucking alternative to some kind of LabLib Reich. For all its faults First Past The Post avoids this: everyone knows who represents them personally in Parliament, you don't end up with the smallest party having more influence than its popularity in the country merits, and the government will usually have a working majority which enables it to actually get things done. Sure, governments having an unfettered ability to get things done isn't always desirable, and is usually pretty undesirable in fact, but there are other ways of dealing with that. A strong and unambiguous Bill Of Rights for one thing, an equally strong upper chamber with real independence from the Commons for another - there are more options besides but those two things alone would be a big check on government power. So what about reform of the Commons? Well, as lots of others are saying (and as per The Plan) there are a few things that can be done to improve accountability of individuals and to reduce the power of parties to make Parliament their whipping boy. Bringing in Single Transferrable Vote or Optional Preference would allow smaller parties a realistic shot at a few seats and should be a disincentive to the big three parties to parachute in unpopular candidates over the wishes of local people. Add a recall process so that a sufficiently large number of pissed off constituents can drag the MP kicking and screaming to a by election and safe seat, which are the root of many problems, would be abolished. The rest - reduced expenses (travel and office stuff only), fewer (far fewer) MPs, no second home allowances etc etc - is, as Pol Pot says, minor stuff. Worth doing, sure, but safe seats are the rotten boroughs of the modern age and with something like two thirds of MPs in one dealing with them should be the priority. Polly's suggestion would do it, but at the cost of a big boost for third party power. And I'd bet that's exactly what the disingenuous boot faced bitch really wants.

UPDATE: Matthew Parris thinks they could end up as the third party too.
After that would come the question of what the modern Labour Party as a third party would be for. Well, what? The link with organised labour is no longer a selling-point. There's no distinctive modern reason for Labour to exist, except as the most electable centre-left alternative to a Tory government. Cease to be that, and they may cease to be anything, and sink very fast indeed.

What, then, if not victory, can be hoped for? What might a new, interim leader achieve? Just a steadying of the ship, a neutralising of hostility, a gentle return of morale within the national party, a decent fight at the next election, and 30 per cent or so in the final poll: ahead of the Lib Dems.

Alan Johnson could achieve all that. I refuse to believe that this shrewd and likeable English working-class moderate would attract the same national animosity as Mr Brown. There is a mood to get Brown. Who can picture a “get Johnson” mood?

I'm not sure Mr Johnson is up to being Prime Minister for long, and I'm not sure he believes so himself. But he's up to navigating the months left before the general election, calming the mood, healing internal wounds, and delivering the party in one piece, and at peace, the other side of that poll.
And in what way is this a good thing you twat? Don't give them any fucking ideas for Christ's sake. Better the weakening of all three of the big parties starting with Labour because they're the evil cunts who got Britain to its knees, and with any luck soon to be followed by the Tories and LibDumbs as Britons gradually wake up and take their freedoms back from these egregious cunts that have ruled - not governed, ruled - for so fucking long.

Well, I can dream, can't I?

A ten year old can understand it...

A ten year old can understand it so why does the difference between what's right and what's "within the rules" still escape so many troughing MPs

Guido's poster campaign.


Women, children and Labour MPs first.

Good news and bad news again. The good news is that even a significant proportion of the Parliamentary Labour Party think they're fucked. The bad news, well, not so much bad as fucking outrageous, is that they're starting to form a queue to get the last peerages of the Gordon Clown era (audio here).
In the clearest indication to date that increasing numbers of Labour figures believe the party is heading for a heavy defeat at the hands of David Cameron, the Guardian has learned that at least 52 MPs have formally approached Downing Street to be given places in the upper house.

Hey, we know we've fucked up. We know we've been useless toughing cunts trying to find ways of feathering our own nests by maximizing our expenses claims instead of holding the government to account, which is what we're fucking supposed to do, and that this took place without a peep of protest. We know that either by action or inaction depending on who you're talking about we allowed the most feckless of fuckwits to become Prime Minister without a contest, and that this too took place without objection on our part. And then we allowed the spineless cunt to bottle out of having an election when the Tories were still weak. We have been below standard as representatives of the British people, we have been below standard as Parliamentarians, we have been very fucking far below standard as honest men and women. In fact we've even been bad examples of socialists and bad news for our party both in Westminster and the country as a whole. We realize that a lot of us are going to be out of a job within a year or so, that the incoming Tory government is going to have to slash public sector expenditure because of the economic damage done by the unelected and retarded Prime Minister that we inflicted on the country and failed to hold to account, which fucks up our chances of a cushy public sector sinecure, and also that our employment prospects in the private sector are thinner than a supermodel on a heroin binge. So despite a willingness among some of us to fight the next election it's more in desperation than expectation, and in order to have the taxpayer keep us in the style to which we've become accustomed and so that we can still lurk around the corridors of power, hopefully whoring ourselves and our votes to industry and business, we'd each like the safety net of peerage please.

And since the English language lacks an ideal word I'm going to have to shout.
Cunts cunts cunts CUNTS!!!

What the cunting fuck do these cunts think gives them the right to use the House of Lords as a fucking lifeboat? The feckless, dishonest, thieving, fucking parasitic minge worms should thank their lucky stars if they're still free to sit in a cardboard box under Waterloo Bridge, though if there's any fucking justice left at all on that septic fucking rock some of them will indeed continue to feed off the taxpayers' back for however long a judge thinks is appropriate for being a lying, thieving cunt.

This, if nothing else, should drive home to everyone in Britain how fucked up it is to keep the House of Lords in its present form. It may have been the best brake on some of the worst of the legislation that's come out of the Commons these past twelve years, but I can't help but feel that that's largely because the Lords has usually been the only fucking brake. A large majority of supine, lobby fodder MPs too busy filling their fucking boots hardly makes for effective scrutiny of legislation in the Commons, which leaves only the Lords and the Queen. The Queen won't refuse Royal Assent, which to republicans like myself (small r) just shows that keeping the institution of monarchy even peripherally involved in the affairs of a nation does no fucking favours at all to the poor sods who have to fucking live there. And the Lords... well, I'll concede that until the end of the twentieth century the House of Lords worked fairly well despite its undemocratic, part religious, part hereditary and part appointed form. But NuLabia's so-called fucking reform of the upper house really did little more than give that grinning fucking mutation with the awful wife the ability to fill it with placemen and cronies - personal pals, failed and/or disgraced former MPs, business and meeedjah folk with leftist sympathies, etc etc.*

Nope. It's got to change and change in a big way, and since there's so much talk going on among all three parties and the press it seems that now is an excellent time to do it. Right now before those 52 scheming cunts get a foot in the door. I reckon the choice is either a return to the pre-1997 form or ditch the whole thing in favour of an elected chamber. The problem with a return to the status quo ante is that it doesn't in itself do anything about the cronies appointed over the last decade or so. Lord Mandelsnake, for example, will still be slithering around, as will any new ones created between now and the obliteration of NuLabia general election for that matter. But would it be possible to somehow keep a certain number of appointees and tell the rest to fuck off when you call the old bishops and hereditary mob back in? How would you decide who to kick out and who to allow to stay? And who should make that decision? Is there anyone who could be impartial enough for all parties? I doubt it, so it seems like a good time to replace it with an elected and representative chamber, ideally with considerably fewer people in it than at present - there are 738 of the fuckers after all.

Naturally I'm going to suggest the Australian Senate as a possible model, partly because it's the only other upper chamber with which I'm at all familiar and partly because I happen to think it works reasonably well. The Senate is a revising chamber only and is constitutionally unable to propose legislation, and that makes enough sense that it could be copied as is. That would preserve the principle function of the upper house as a check on the power of the lower house. Since the Senate proposes no legislation at all there's no need for it to have the same kind of makeup party wise as the lower house, so it can be elected using a more representative system such as Proportional Representation or Single Transferrable Vote (ours is STV with a group voting option). There are only 76 Senators, barely a tenth of the number of Lords in the UK. Australia has a much smaller population of course, but not that much smaller. It's about 20 million, so roughly a third of the UK. But the population is misleading since the Senators come from the states and territories rather than electoral districts within them. So for example, while I have a federal MP who sits in the House of Representatives I do not have a Senator as such because there are twelve Senators for the whole of Victoria, just as there are for the other five states. The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have two each. One possible criticism there is that a small state like Tasmania (population half a million or so) has the same weight in the Senate as Victoria or New South Wales with more than ten times the people (quite a bit more in NSW). In practice this isn't a huge issue because of the voting system and in the UK it would be even less so if there were, say, two or maybe three Senators per county. In The Plan (which I'm still working my way through) Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan suggest a Senate made up from representatives of local government from all over the  country meeting for a few days a month. Yeah, not a bad idea but there's what, 350 or so councils of one form or another. Is it really necessary to send that many, even for maybe one week a month? Besides, if Carswell and Hannan got their way and this localism idea takes off local government representatives might actually have enough on their plate. A couple of Senators for each of the top tier of councils - metropolitan and non-metro counties plus the unitary authorities and Greater London - would make 180 Senators fairly evenly spread throughout the country. Three Senators each would make 270, which might sound a little excessive, but if they were elected by proportional representation or something similar then only two per area seems a bit restrictive and likely to keep the small parties and independents shut out. Or, shock horror, the otherwise pointless regions could actually serve a useful purpose - ten Senators per region would allow for a sprinkling of popular independents and minor parties while keeping the size of the Senate down to a manageable 90. Twenty each would practically guarantee small parties*** and independents a few of the 180 Senate seats that would result. Again, if the Hannan/Carswell localism thing took off there'd be less to do in Westminster anyway and the Senate would have less legislation to revise, so it'd probably be a part time job for all or most of them - a week or two each month depending on whether you let 'em sit on committees (and I can't see any reason why not). The rest of the time they can bugger off and do something else - paid, unpaid, charitable, business, public sector, whatever. I'd like to think it'd be possible to structure it in such a way that non-professional politicians could become Senators and spare the time to attend most if not all sessions, but I haven't thought that far ahead. Similarly there's an obvious objection to the inevitable effect of party lists, but there are ways round that (see the links for the Aussie system). The main thing though is to make it more representative, to perform a proper job as a revising chamber, and above all to stop it from being treated as an ermine lined fucking lifeboat for greedy MPs that anticipate being buried alive at the ballot box for their transgressions.

* And if it's not reformed the Tories will no doubt pack it to the fucking rafters with their personal pals, failed and/or disgraced former MPs and business and meeedjah luvvies** with rightist sympathies.

** If there is such a thing as a meeedjah person with right leaning sympathies.

*** I expect that people would worry that some seats would end up in the hands of the BNP but for fuck's sake, the country is supposed to be a fucking democracy. You don't have to like the fuckers or agree with them but should they be denied a voice completely? So far that's only helped make headlines and generate sympathy for the pricks and besides, they'd be outnumbered by all the wankers supplied by the big three party lists.

Times are hard.

One careful owner.

Things I Still Don't Get About Australia - 1

This may be the beginning of an occasional series, or may be the result of incoherent Saturday morning thoughts and will never be spoken of again.

Something I still don't get about Australia is teabags with strings on. I mean, why? I can think of only one other commonly used product that has a short length of string on, and in that case it's quite obvious that the string is necessary to get it out again. Without going into too much detail it seems to make sense that a string is there instead of expecting the users to rummage around with a teaspoon. But for the purposes of brewing a cuppa a teaspoon is perfectly adequate to fish the teabags out of the mug, and since plenty of people take milk, sugar or both they're going to get a teaspoon out to stir it anyway. So why have a string on the teabag when it mostly won't even save the trouble, such as it is, of rinsing a teaspoon? I know some upmarket brands in the UK do it and fair enough even though it doesn't make any more sense for pricey tea, even if hoteliers have somehow got the strange idea that it looks good on the fake wood tray by the kettle in the complimentary tea and coffee making facilities. But in Australia it seems that every teabag has a string on whether it's Twinings extra mellifluous or regular Tetleys. A normal round or square teabag just doesn't seem to exist here, or is at least comparatively rare. Why is that?

It's no big deal and it's not a whinge because it doesn't irritate me even slightly. I just don't quite understand it, that's all.

Friday, 29 May 2009

The Plan.

I finally got round to buying a copy of The Plan and started reading it last night. I had an idea of a fair amount of what it would be about from reading other blogs, not least Daniel Hannan's in The Telegraph, so I've not come across anything disagreeable or surprising so far apart from wondering what the pair of them are doing in the Conservative party. Oh, and not sharing their misplaced admiration for the USA which, strangely for a country founded on a desire for liberty, seems to have become very authoritarian and getting more so despite some of the things (recalls, elected sheriffs, elected second chamber, etc) that Hannan and Carswell admire. Don't get me wrong, I admire the same things and have a lot of respect for the Yanks for coming up with it. I'm just saying that on their own they don't guarantee a small government keeping out of the lives of it's citizens as much as possible. I don't know if Hannan and Carswell propose an updated Bill Of Rights as an answer to this, but the American example shows that the wording is absolutely crucial if you want to prevent some court in a hundred years or so from twisting the intent of a clause to empower the state instead of ensuring freedom of the citizens. I'll probably finish The Plan this evening and see what they have to say about it.

Sadly I think the drag factor of the enormous state dependent population in the UK - those millions caught in the benefits trap, the millions more who are outright welfare junkies who prefer state handouts, and the millions and millions of people working in the public sector who see the big state as their job security - is going to be very hard to overcome. I'd seriously consider persuading the missus to move back to the UK if there was some sort of electoral miracle and it did happen, but these ideas take time to spread and gain popularity. Has the UK got that much time left before it's finally swallowed by Europe or implodes on its own? It'd be nice to be wrong but I wonder if change on the scale proposed by Hannan and Carswell or by the Libertarian Party is even possible without the destruction, probably self inflicted, of most of the UK's state mechanism as a pre-condition. The only way I can see it happening is if one major western nation goes tits up in a big way and serves as a wake up call to the others. I've said before that I think it's Australia's best bet, although authoritarianism here is mostly of the low level irritating kind with a few outrageous things thrown in as opposed to the UK's apparent attempt to turn itself into Airstrip One. The question becomes which country will be the warning to the others. Hmmm. Well, put it this way, I've more or less bet that it won't be Australia, but as for the UK... I just hope it won't be but I'm not optimistic.

Bye bye Kirkbride and Moran.

But why can't you and the other troughers who are just bright enough to see the inevitable (but too stupid to tell the difference between what's right and what's permitted by the fees office drones) just fuck off now? Still, good riddance for whenever, and with luck sooner that'll be sooner than the madman of Downing Street would prefer. Don't let the door hit you on the arse on your way out.

Eleven down, best part of 600 more to go.

UPDATE: Why can't they fuck off now? Money of course, as pointed out here. [headslap] I can't think why it didn't occur to me before that there'd be filthy lucre involved.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Oh dear.

Joanna Lumley was doing so well, but now thinks a vote for the tree hugging sandal crowd in the upcoming European elections is a really good choice. Well, like anyone else she can vote for whoever she likes and be as vocal about it as she pleases, but I'd suggest that the sort of people who think Earth Hour is a good idea might not be the type to fully and critically consider legislation before obediently rubber stamping it.

What the fuck am I saying? They'll fit right in. Welcome to Brussels, drones.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Girls with guns.

What's the problem? I'd have thought there's a whole DVD sub industry on the theme in the US. More seriously why waste time on periodic reviews of the issue because of EU diktats? The MoD should simply say that these are the physical and mental* criteria for each job in the armed forces and and absolutely anyone who meets the criteria, contents of underpants notwithstanding, can do that job. It's not a tricky decision. I know the feminazis will immediately get their ladycocks in a knot because the criteria will often discriminate against women. Yeah, true, but the criteria for being a beach lifeguard discriminates against me because I'm a shit swimmer, and you know what? I got over it. My wife can't get things of very high shelves as well as I can because I'm several inches taller, and you know what? She's over that too. Hardly a problem as she just gets me to do it or stands on a chair, but you get the picture - we all have physical and mental* differences that make us better at some things and worse at others. And in general men tend to be bigger and stronger than women, and to have more endurance to boot. There's a big overlap where women towards the bigger/stronger end of the scale are tougher than men at the smaller/weaker end of the scale. Also many women can no doubt train to a similar level of strength and endurance as many men, which will blur the differences even further. But for fuck's sake, the needs of the role are far more important than the abilities of some of the potential applicants, and it makes no sense to lower the bar so more of a certain sort of applicant can get in. If an Army tank mechanic has to pick up a certain weight quite often the criteria has to exclude everyone who can't, and unfortunately that will be more women than men.

It might perhaps help if the MoD changed the way it looked at applicants. Instead of recognizing two sexes, along with however many religions and ethnicities, perhaps they should begin by dividing all applicants into one of three categories: soldiers, sailors and air force. Whether a soldier, sailor or, for want of a gender neutral term, airman gets cranky for just a few days a month or most mornings is of far less importance than whether they aim a rifle accurately, drop bombs on target, know how the engine of a destroyer works, can fix a tank, fly a helicopter, set up a field kitchen, build a runway under fire, or do whatever it is that particular one of the thousands of different military jobs requires.

Of course I have no expertise and not a lot of knowledge here, and it could be that there are genuine reasons that I don't know about to rule women out from certain military jobs. Would they get reproductively fucked up by working closely on reactors in nuclear subs for example? I have absolutely no idea, but if it could be shown that medically there's an issue there I'd say sorry ladies but that's probably not for you, though even then if a woman really wanted to do it (and signed a waiver - probably a necessity in these litigious times) then what the hell. Up to her. So Defence Departments of the world, I have this to say. Don't change the job requirements for anything, but if the girls can do it then let them. I'm all for it personally as Mrs Exile looks goddamn sexy with a shotgun - the thought of her in an F/A18 .... ooo, I think I'm going to need a lie down.

* I emphasize "differences", not superiority/inferiority. According to a book on our shelf  there are physical difference between male and female brains. The bottom line is that the sexes tend, and yes that does mean it's a generalization again, tend to have variations in what mental skills they're good at. Men, it is claimed, do not multi task as well as women, and looking at the way so many women seem able to effortlessly organize... well, practically anything, personally I believe it. On the other hand women tend not to be quite so hot at the 3 dimensional spatial awareness stuff, which is apparently why some turn maps around when navigating for their bemused partners. Probably this means that women should be the generals and decide what needs to get blown up, but leave throwing the actual hand grenades to men. Unless it involves dropping bombs since flying and fighting is multi tasking again. That might also mean that whoever we had a war with we'd be friends with again by the time their children's birthdays came around. Or something.

Environmental symbolism too noisy.

The owner of a £20,000 bird mincing white elephant wind turbine has been told to take it down because his neighbours are complaining. Actually I do have a certain amount of sympathy with the guy because the noise levels are apparently within the limits specified when he got planning permission for the thing in the first place, but only a certain amount. After all it does seem that he's been rather unneighbourly, even if unintentionally. But what really got me is the cost of the fucking thing. £20,000! Twenty grand. Fuck, for that much money I'd expect to be powering half the fucking neighbourhood and kicking back while the whole block shoveled $100 notes through the front door, or at least to be able to sell a shitload of power to the electricity company. But (my bold):
It generates five kilowatts of electricity a day - the equivalent of boiling 300 kettles - and provides two thirds of his energy needs.
So if I read that right and making the highly unrealistic assumption that it'll never need any kind of maintenance and that the owner's electricity bill is £3,000 a year it'll take a decade to pay for itself. Frankly that's being pretty optimistic. Looking at my electricity bill and calling the price of the monstrosity* $40,000 for the sake of simplicity I'd call the pay off a back-of-an-envelope calculated 30-40 years. Still assuming that I'd not need to spend a cent on keeping the fucker going during that time of course. Now when your "energy saving" product might not pay for itself before you die, let alone before you finish paying your fucking mortgage off, doesn't that kind of limit the market? You'd think, but it's green and when it comes to greenism (for which the wind turbine is as symbolically important as the crucifix is for the Catholic church if you ask me) making much economic sense seems optional.

Tax evasion.

I think that's what you call it when you put non-deductible expenses down as deductibles. Actually it's what most people have been calling the avoidance of Capital Gains Tax by playing musical designations with second homes sorry, I mean main homes of course. Annoyingly that turned out to be kind of legit, though since it's something that nobody in the UK outside of the Palace of Bastarding Westminster would be allowed to do it's pretty offensive to the public. But then we find that some of the shites have even gone so far as to use accountants for their personal tax returns and put the cost of doing so down as a deductible. Now ignoring the point that we might think that someone who can't do their own tax return indicates either that the tax system is way too complicated or that they're not a good choice for Chancellor of the Exchequer or both, on top of that not only are they are not allowed to fucking do that anyway but it seems the bastards were told this years ago, but evidently decided to do it anyway.

Fuck's sake! Can any of these shits honestly (ha!) say they don't deserve to be kicked out on their arses right away? And they wonder why there's demand for an election.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The latest in the world's longest running soap.

I really can't understand what the attraction is, especially with everything else that's going on, nor why the Beeb are pissing away money making a doco about William and Kate when everyone who'd watch it will almost certainly be the type to have read every fucking word printed about the pair of them for the past 5+ years. Admittedly it's not quite as trivial and irrelevant as Sarah Palin's daughter's child's father or whatever but I still don't give a stuff, and I hope ABC or SBS don't buy the bloody show whenever it's made. Good luck to the happy couple if they get engaged (or not, whatever) but keep it off my TV screen.

And is Kevin Rudd ever going to stop dicking around and give us a referendum on a republic?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Off with their heads!

Yesterday JuliaM blogged about the horrific murder of an old man by a gang of crackheads. She makes the point that the CCTV system the victim, Reginald Baker, may have helped the police identify and convict his killers but did square root of bugger all to save the poor man's life. She makes the point that the semi-human scumbags responsible tortured him and beat him with his own walking stick before going off for an evening drink, leaving Reginald Baker to die. She makes the point that they were work averse, drug addicted, scrounging filth who'd probably never taken responsibility for anything and perhaps had never heard (or listened to?) any suggestion that they should. I'm not going to argue with JuliaM about any of those things, but there's one thing I can't agree with:
...having supported them throughout their short lives of idle pointlessness, why should the taxpayer now continue to stump up the money to clothe, feed and cage them?

After all, even the bleeding hearts can’t object that there’s that ‘shadow of doubt’ here over whether the death penalty is warranted.

Certainly, none over whether the right men are in the dock…
Ah. This would be my cue to raise my hand and say that I don't consider myself a bleeding heart but I don't agree that the death penalty is warranted. I'll quote my own comment in reply to JuliaM.
JuliaM, I have to disagree on one point. I wouldn't shed a tear if I heard that they all carked it inside... [but] I'm very uncomfortable with the state killing prisoners on our behalf. ...they've fucked it up in the past and executed people that really shouldn't have been, and bringing back capital punishment would virtually guarantee that it would happen again. And that's just wrongful executions through ineptitude. With the fuckwits in Westminster as an example of the political class would you trust them to have the death penalty back and not abuse it in the future? There's some worry about the potential for abuse with the Civil Contingencies Act and the Legislative And Regulatory Reform Act, and the bastards have already begun by misusing RIPA and the Proceeds Of Crime Act. ... would you really want the power of life and death to be put back in the hands of government? I wouldn't, and that means if I want to be sure I'm not legally murdered by the state in the future I have to support protecting the even most vile criminals from the noose now.

That doesn't mean I'm a bleeding heart. I don't give a fuck about their oomin rights, I wouldn't lose sleep over rock breaking or making rego plates, I'd object to taxpayers funding help to get off their drug of choice and would rather they went cold turkey, I don't want them to have games or toys or fun distractions, I'd give them 5 minutes of personal/social phone calls per month ... [etc]. In fact the only "nice" thing I think should be on offer is the opportunity to reform themselves, which should be the only alternative to three decades of mind numbing and dreary routine. I'm all for real punishment and treating this shitebags like the animals they are, but I'd be really worried if the state began wasting them for my convenience and safety.

First they came for the crackheads and street thugs, etc, etc.
I meant all of the second paragraph, so I hope that shows my opposition to capital punishment is coming from a not-at-all-bleeding-and-not-remotely-heart-shaped point of view. I didn't go into it there but I have some sympathy for the argument that state sanctioned killing of unarmed and helpless prisoners makes our society little better than the scum we're ushering into the beyond, but my biggest concern is that I don't fucking trust governments, full stop, end of. And on that basis the last thing power I want them to have is the power of life and death, even over the worst kind of criminals and even when their conviction is beyond doubt. JuliaM responded:
I take your point about the possibility of wrongful executions (though with strict safeguards on the cases applicable, and the increasing use of DNA, I think that could be massively improved), but it would be the judiciary, and more importantly, the jury, that would have the say, not the government.

I quite like the 'penalty phase' idea they use in the States, where the sentence is 'seperate' from the capital aspect. I think this would be a useful safeguard, rather than applying the previous 'blanket sentence'.

Of course, it's all moot anyway, since we are in the EU!
Although I did leave a reply I think this needs a bit more space than normal for a blog comment.

Taking the last point first, I don't think the EU makes it moot. For one thing JuliaM may be in the EU, but I'm not (though I expect I'm probably still technically a fucking EU citizen, and if so may I say that it doesn't thrill me in the slightest) and the arguments apply just as much to Australia as to the UK or the EU. Then there are the rumours going around that the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty has, either by design or by accident, provision for allowing capital punishment again in the future. Now that might very well be utter bollocks spread by anti-EU types to try to boost the No votes in referenda, and I wouldn't be surprised. But the UK (a) hasn't had a referendum (b) seems highly unlikely to get one, and (c) is in any case about as likely to vote Yes as Gordon Brown is to get lucky with Joanna Lumley on the PM's desk in 10 Downing Street the weekend after the next general election, so why spread the rumours in the UK? That really is moot. But assuming they are bollocks (and they probably are) given the highly undemocratic nature of the European project does anyone trust the bastards not to move the goalposts later on? Look how they're forcing the Constitu.. er, I mean the Lisbon Treaty on the people of Europe in general and the UK in particular. The current lot may all seem to be softcock abolitionists who like to think fluffy thoughts about criminals, and for all I know they are, but they're certainly happy to inflict whatever they see as the right laws on people without their consent. It only takes one complete bastard with the will to do it and political prisoners could be facing the needle, or perhaps worse.

Next, the wrongful execution bit. As I said above, and again in reply to JuliaM, I think that's a smaller concern. I agree with her that DNA and some strict evidential standards would probably keep that to a minimum and avoid another Derek Bentley or Ruth Ellis, but is that enough? Even if minimum meant 99.99% reliable convictions about once every eight years or so some poor bastard is going to get sentenced to death for a crime they didn't do, and I imagine knowing that mistakes are kept to a minimum will seem pretty cold comfort.

However, I worry more about the possibility of a gradual increase in the number and type of crimes considered capital offences. Just say for the sake of argument that a future government in an unspecified and financially fucked country had a huge problem with the prison population. Might there be a conversation like this:
Minister: Can we release a few more of the minor criminals early?
Advisor: Sorry Minister, that's political suicide.
Minister: Alright, what about speeding up the death penalty procedures and executing more of the worst criminals? Surely that would be popular?
Advisor: Well, we could certainly streamline the process a little more.
Minister: Only a little?
Advisor: To be honest Minister, after removing the right to a final appeal for clemency to the Queen there's no that much scope left beyond processing the paperwork more quickly.
Minister: Right, do that then. Anything else? Could we extend execution to other serious crimes?
Advisor: Such as, Minister?
Minister: Well, what have we got now? Murder, obviously.
Advisor: Yes, and terrorism, rape and sexual assault of minors.
Minister: Okay, then we just need to know what the papers are baying for blood over at the moment. You take The Daily Shriek and I'll look through the Gnash Of The Teeth.
Advisor: People seem very concerned about drugs again Minister.
Minister: Okay, shall we say any second offence of dealing Class A?
Advisor: I can draft it this afternoon, Minister.
And then who's to say it won't be Class B next, and then motorists who've run over and killed someone because they were stoned or pissed when they drove the car? As I said, first they came for the crackheads and street thugs. Now I realize that this hypothetical example is actually going in the opposite direction from actual experience and that here and in the UK capital punishment was actually used less and less, and the circumstances in which someone could expect a death sentence tended to shrink rather than expand. Still, with the habit of governments in general to expand their powers and introduce more and more new laws, and to be extremely reluctant to reverse either, I'm not particularly inclined to encourage the cunts to take back one power they have given up. Especially not this one.

Okay, what about safeguards like the US style penalty phase that JuliaM mentioned? Well, yeah, it sounds good at first, and it's certainly better than nothing. But it seems to me that it opens up the possibility of two people found guilty of almost identical crimes receiving wildly different sentences because two different juries decided their sentences. If two similar criminals committed two similar killings one might get life if the penalty phase jury had a few jurors who just couldn't look a man in the eye and condemn them to death, while the other one might get a jury of retired Majors who have been fed up with yobs ruining the village and are happy with the idea of permanently getting rid of at least one. Wave bye bye to the principle that we're all equal in the eyes of the law. Yes, okay, judges can be pretty inconsistent with their sentencing as it is, but currently no one is put to death because of it.* The other problem is that jurors are only human and are open to be swayed by clever lawyers or by the circumstances of the particular case. They may be more inclined to return a death sentence than is really appropriate in the circumstances. For that matter if I was of the hang-'em-high persuasion I might well be concerned that the juries might sometimes be insufficiently inclined to sentence someone to death, which would blow the one and only chance the state has of wasting the scumbag in the dock. See? Cuts both ways, and while that means it ought to come out around even that's hardly a good basis for law. We might just as well go back to fitting up likely looking crims because even if innocent we all know they'd be guilty of something. Another problem with juries, though not really penalty phase juries I suspect, is that the possibility of a death sentence being handed down may put some jurors off finding the accused guilty in the first place. That's not so good if they really are guilty, but it remains a possibility even in the face of very solid evidence. For similar reasons I imagine there'd be fewer guilty pleas if execution is even a remote possibility for the accused - there'd be no incentive to give victims or relatives closure and every reason to extend their worthless life as much as possible by opting for the longest and most drawn out trial they and their lawyer can achieve.

Perhaps other safeguards could be used in addition or instead of penalty juries, but I keep coming back to the fact that the government make the law and a government with a healthy majority composed mostly of obedient, uncritical and unthinking lobby fodder can easily change any safeguards to suit itself if more executions were desired. The UK the government might not even need the lobby fodder. Blair and Brown have got some shocking legislation through Parliament (such as this and this among others), and although I'm not a lawyer from where I'm sitting it appears that it allows them to do pretty much whatever the fuck they like with no more than a Minister's say so. I'm hardly the first to suggest the resemblance to a certain toothbrush-mustached nutjob's Enabling Act, and even though I don't believe Blair would have used it, or that Brown or Cameron will, the fact that the legislation exists and no-one seems terribly interested in repealing it should ring ear-splitting alarm bells. With that in mind do we really want to give them back the power of life and death? Over my dead body, because by giving the bastards that power it might become literally true anyway. No, not even here in Oz where the government lacks some of the more scary powers of the UK junta government (and has an arguably stronger check on it's power in the shape of the Senate than the House of Lords provides in Britain).

So while I think there's something in the usual objections about possible miscarriages of justice and the lowering of society to the level of the murderers we execute, what my main objection boils down to is, as I said in my original comment on JuliaM's blog, that if I want to be sure that I can't be legally murdered by a future government then I have to support protecting even the most vile criminals from the noose (or whatever) in the present.

*Coming at it from the other direction I recognize that deaths can and do occur where a killer has been released only to kill again. Many won't of course. Crimes of passion are sad but unless prompted by mental illness (in which case indefinite care in a secure hospital obviously makes more sense to me than "care in the community") seem unlikely to be the work of a repeat offender. Nor are crimes of passion deterred by the death penalty - think red balls in Minority Report. But going back to the killer who is let out and kills again the solution needn't be execution when you can as easily chuck the key away. More expensive, yes, but it also offers the opportunity for genuine reformation. That may be small but would we be civilized if we wrote someone off as utterly worthless and beyond redemption? Hmmm, probably a whole new argument to blog about on another day.

Friday, 22 May 2009

I'd rather live in a box of pins than the UK.

Brilliant as usual.

Can governments go to CashConverters?

We may find out if the UK's credit rating gets downgraded, and that seems to be a possibility. I admit I know little about this sort of thing but thought that seeing Gordon popping down to the local pawnbroker with a nuclear submarine or a health service under his arm would be interesting to say the least. However,
A cut in its rating from the prized AAA - the highest available - would be damaging for the economy, pushing up the cost of borrowing for the Government, which would then feed through to higher taxes and higher interest rates nationwide.
Well, I did say I didn't know much about it, but still this sounds as bad as having to hock submarines and hospitals, so I suppose everyone in the country will be hurt if it happens. Good old socialism, equality made possible by evenly spreading misery.

UPDATE: More here from someone who does know what they're talking about.

Your tax pounds at work.

Do you know, for the amount of money the UK taxpayer is paying this family each year the Aussies could have paid for two years weight loss classes for some civil servants. It's not like they didn't give you fair warning either. It may be harsh but at some point a line has to be drawn beyond which babies aren't the taxpayers' problem, and frankly that might as well be before the first child is conceived. I know that makes me sound like a bastard but look, babies that come with benefits are frequently being seen as benefits that come with this shrieking nuisance that consumes food, produces shit and demands attention at the expense of the parents' social lives. This couple sound like that actually do want the babies rather than the benefits but Christ, I've known plenty of people who couldn't really afford a child (or another child in the cases of some) so they simply avoided pregnancy instead of assuming everyone else will pay for them.

A child is a privilege, not a right.

A small victory for property rights?

One of the things that pisses me off about, ooooh, almost everywhere in the western world is that there is so often a presumption that you can't do what you want with your land or what's on it in case someone else gets upset. This is listed, that's in a Heritage Area, the other doesn't fit in and the neighbours complained. What it comes down to is that other people want to exert rights over land they do not own, and that annoys me. Now it's one thing if development or land use changes have a negative effect the value of neighbouring properties, so if I was to put up a huge sign that read "Only twats buy houses in this neighbourhood" or change my house into a nightclub and play music till 4AM it'd be fair enough if people objected and had a means of stopping me from doing it. I would be buggering up the value of the largest investment any of them are ever going to make and that's not reasonable. But if I want to tear down the fence and hard landscape the front yard to create another parking space, or build onto the roof to create a terrace, or knock down a draughty old Fed era house that's barely more energy efficient than sleeping on a park bench and replace it with a well insulated modern house then why shouldn't I? But people, either neighbours or councils (i.e. local civil servants) complain about this sort of thing and interfere with what people want to do on their own land, even when the changes are minor. So when I read that a surgeon has moved a whole sand dune I think good on him. Better yet he's not the slightest bit repentant about it even though the neighbours and council big noses are getting bent out of shape.
Anne Heslop, of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: "We are looking into the implications of this action. There are protected species in the sandhills such as the very rare plant the Isle of Man Cabbage."
It's not how much has been lost but how much is left, and since the photo in the article shows that only the bit belonging to the property owner has been removed it's a reasonable assumption that unless the cabbage only grew on the 50 foot section that's now gone it'll be fine on the large sections of dune that remain. If it's where I think it is the dune, which appears to have been spilt in two in the past to make room for a pier and a car park, are a good mile and a half long between the northern and southern sections. A mile and a half. Fifty feet. I'd guess some cabbages will have survived.
Dr Newman, 65, a world-renowned vascular surgeon, said: "The only rare species I know are the inebriated and drug-affected adults who go onto the dunes and jump off them in what they call fun on a Saturday and Sunday night."
His home is one a few on the Promenade that owns a stretch of the sand dunes.
He added: "Obviously I can do what I like on my land although people may over the years have thought this all to be a public area."
That's your problem, Doc. The cabbages (the Isle of Man ones, not the two legged wasted variety you've see at the weekends) are really quite safe since the implication is that few of your neighbours would be able to bulldoze "their" bit of dune since it's not theirs at all, and it's a reasonable assumption that the rest is council owned or otherwise in public hands. The real issue is the commission of the cardinal sin of simply getting a dozer in and altering the plot of land you bought and paid for as you chose instead of prostrating yourself before the correct authorities and humbly begging their kind indulgence.

Our tax dollars at work.

In case anyone thinks that misuse of public funds taxpayers' money is unique to the UK, which I doubt, you might have a chuckle at this.
There are limits to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's quest for lean government. He seemed shocked yesterday to learn public servants were being sent to Weight Watchers at taxpayers' expense.
$30,000 well spent, because clearly fat bastards in safe public sector jobs can't possibly be expected to use their salaries to fight their flab. But I'll give Kevin Rudd credit in that he seems keen on scrapping it. Shame it's taken half his first term to find out about it in the first place.

UPDATE: Wonder if we also paid for this research into the possible extinction of men... I mean fuck, Mrs Angry will no doubt cope but that's scary. Or it would be except we're talking about possible extinction in five million years time. Meh.

Kiwi couple on run after bank error.

NZ$10 million, that's a lot of extra zeros to put on the end of the approval for a $10,000 loan but someone managed it. Ooops. Apparently the couple have done a runner abroad. Now I can't help but wonder if the various troughing MPs exposed over the last couple of weeks would see this as a criminal act, a theft of money that obviously didn't belong to them, or would they blame the bank and the system that accidentally dropped $10 million in their account?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

BBC's editorial independence in danger.

From The Telegraph.
The Opposition's Commons motion calling for a one-year freeze in the BBC licence fee seems to be causing distress in the Corporation's upper echelons. Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC trustees, last night told the Royal Television Society that such a move was "a recipe for curbing the editorial independence of the BBC".
What fucking "editorial independence"? How editorially independent is it possible to be with your collective mouth clamped firmly round IngSoc's NuLabour's cock? Mind you, in a literal sense that makes being their mouthpiece a little tricky as well.

Another 'thank fuck I left the UK' moment, brought to you in association with the British Parliament.

It's fucked. It really is.

As I mention from time to time I didn't actually leave Britain to escape and in a way I feel kind of saddened that I don't get homesick. In fact, as I mentioned the day I started this blog, I felt a bit guilty for looking out of the window as Heathrow went backwards and downwards and thinking thank fuck for that. My wife wanted to be in Australia for lots of reasons, family among them, so that got me on the plane. But when it came to the actual leaving bit of leaving I just couldn't get worked up about waving good bye to the land of my birth in the same way that it was hard to say good bye to people that I care about. I'm fond of the place, I'd like to go back sometime and I certainly don't want to see it ruined - well, more ruined than the fuckwits in charge have already made it - but I just can't seem to generate any feeling resembling homesickness or regret. Mostly it was and still is thank fuck. And this evening it's thank fuck again because of Westminster blowing the opportunity to reform itself in the wake of the expenses scandal and put oversight back where it belongs - in the hands of the electorate. Instead it's to be moved one stage further away and put in the hands of a supposedly independent regulator.

Yes, it's the sort of stupid, pointless, undemocratic, wank of a solution that anyone with a brain would half expect Gordon Clown to come up with anyway, but what really adds a dash of shit to the swine flu infested ham sandwich is that both Cameron and Clegg agreed to this as well. So, just as with the EU, all main parties are agreed and the British people have no choice in the matter at all, though some say this is by design rather than ineptitude, and I can't think of anything to point to that says they're wrong other than Hanlon's razor. Open primaries, recalls, complete transparency of MPs' expenditure, any chance the House approves? Nah, we'll just have different rules with a different set of boundaries to be pushed and still no thought given to whether the money is a justifiable expense, just whether it's claimable. And this in turn is to be overseen by a different body independent of the House of Commons, which we can be quite confident won't be the Fees Office by another name and staffed with the same people plus assorted party placemen and cronies. Sure, that's sooooo unlikely to happen, isn't it? Bollocks. It's fucked of course, and between resigning Speakers, victorious Gurkhas, the ongoing economic issues and the naming of yet more troughing MPs* the media, with the odd exception, seems to have given no thought about it whatsoever. Did someone say parliamentarians are going to emerge from this even less accountable to the people who employ and fund the, than before... oooooh shiny shiny, what were we saying?

So in short, fucked. Whether irreparably and irredeemably fucked or just temporarily fucked remains to be seen and depends a lot on what the minor parties and which ones can make of it. Some (Greens, BNP) are just as bad or even worse than the fucktards running things now, others are worth a vote in European elections but I probably wouldn't support them when the general election is called, and neither they nor the LPUK, my likely first choice, really have a prayer of forming a government and achieving any real change. A seat or two maybe, and even then I only get that feeling in my more optimistic moments, and if this blog doesn't seem very optimistic it's because right now I'm not. The glass is half empty, and what's been left in it looks and smells suspiciously like piss.

It makes me want to weep, it really does. But more than that it makes me think thank fuck I got on that plane.

*Jim Sheridan, shit that he is for buying a big, fuck off plasma TV, a leather bed and a heap of furniture out of the taxpayers' pockets, marks himself to be so much worse:
Mr Sheridan yesterday said he would vote for a candidate to replace Mr Martin who would ban sketch writers from the Commons.
Yes, I'm sure you'd just love to turn off one more light so that it's a little easier for you to keep your expense claims and any other iffy behaviour in the dark. If you come down with fungal chopper rot it couldn't have happened to a more deserving shit munching freeloading bastard.

Oh, the poor little things...

... They're so upset by the whole expenses scandal thing that they're getting all stressed up about it, the diddums. On second thoughts, fuck 'em. They knew it was a stressful job, or fucking well should have known, and they chose to make it more stressful by screwing extra money out of the taxpayer. Any sympathy I might have had has gone out the window with that knowledge.

The bravest man alive?

Could it be Michael Parkinson for daring to suggest that lots of people getting teary eyed over the death of someone they'd never met and couldn't stand a year or so before? Mark my words, he'll be asking for asylum in Afghanistan soon if he keeps this up.


I'm prepared to believe that a lot people would struggle if they had to re-sit exams years after leaving school. I'd certainly struggle if I had to re-take my O levels now (showing my age there). But I have a feeling, don't ask me why, that re-sitting a current GCSE paper might be a lot easier.

This explains a lot.

No wonder Gordon Clown found it fairly easy to get Lloyds Bank into bed with HBOS - when it turns out that the Chairman didn't clock the thick end of half a million quid disappearing from his own account it takes most of the 'what the fuck' element out of whole the HBOS thing.

Tory morons.

If David Cameron is the brightest in the Tory party then they really are fucked (as is Britain given that they're likely to be the next government). But he's the one saying that local Conservative Associations should be thinking about deselecting troughing MPs, or at least the worst offenders, and the local Conservative Associations are saying they're more or less happy with their MPs.
But one day after Mr Cameron told local parties that they should deselect MPs they regard as unsuitable, only one ... local party contacted failed to express support for its MP. Heather Burwin, the chairman of Totnes Conservative Association, whose MP is Antony Steen, said that a decision on his future would be taken on Friday.
The article mentions rumours about deselecting, but that's as far as it goes. So not even one CA has positively come out and said that their MP is a troughing cunt and that they're going to bin the bastard in favour of someone who'll hopefully have a little more respect for taxpayers' money as well as being less of an electoral embarrassment. You can't count Douglas Hogg's CA since he's already agreed to fall on his sword or jump in his moat or whatever.
More typical was Vivienne Chapman, the deputy chairman of Surrey Heath Conservatives, Michael Gove’s constituency. Mr Gove has been forced to repay more than £7,000 that he spent furnishing his house in north Kensington.

Ms Chapman said: “Michael is an extremely hard worker in this constituency and very well regarded by the constituents. He’s one of those people with the highest integrity and honesty. I think he was the first MP to hold a public meeting and people felt that he had given honest answers.”
I expect UKIP are nursing semis if Surrey Thief Heath Conservatives are anything to go by. And just down the road...
In Bracknell, where Andrew MacKay was forced to resign as Mr Cameron’s Commons aide over his second homes claims, the local association said that as far as deselection was concerned “nothing could be farther” from their minds.

Mary Ballin, Mr MacKay’s agent, said: “He has been an outstanding MP over the last 26 years and the association and his constituents know it.”
You daft fucks, I am one of his constituents* and I don't call ripping off the taxpayers' hard earned anything remotely fucking near to outstanding performance as an MP. Never mind deselection, fucking defenestration should be on the agenda.
Christian Mitchell, the chairman of Horsham Conservative Association, told The Times that activists were “right behind” Francis Maude, who claimed almost £35,000 in two years for mortgage interest payments on a London flat when he owned a house just a few hundred yards away.

“Francis had already given an explanation of it to the association, which we had heard and accepted.”
I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. How the fuck can anyone plausibly explain the need for the taxpayer to shell out for a flat when the shit munching dog cock already had a fucking house nearby? Mr Mitchell must now be the top target in Sussex for any emails telling him he's won non-existent lotteries that he's never heard of, much less entered.
David Davis, a former Shadow Home Secretary, spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on home improvements in four years, including a £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire. Yesterday his local Conservative association chairman, Helen Gilmour, said that “not a single person has been in touch” regarding Mr Davis’s expenses. “We have no problems whatsover with Mr Davis.”
Has it occurred to you that while you may not have a problem the voters of your constituency might? After all David Davies has not that long ago been re-elected after he triggered a by-election on civil liberties issues, and since it now turns out that he may be more interested in taking liberties with his expenses some of his constituents might wonder if they made a mistake in re-electing him.

I don't doubt that the same thing is being repeated all over the country though it probably won't trouble them too much in the safe Tory seats, which is most of the seats they actually have these days. But if it shows anything at all it shows that the Tories can be just as fucking stupid and resistant to much needed reform at grassroots level. Why are people like this?

UPDATE: Not just Tory morons I see, but Margaret Moron Moran's local morons are supporting her too. This could be good for Esther Rantzen if she does decide to challenge for Luton South(ampton) in the next election.

*Okay, being as I'm an ex-pat this is a technicality but I can still vote in his constituency and no, MacKay can't count on my vote. I'd have voted for someone else anyway but if I'd been inclined to vote Tory I'd be wondering why the fuck I bothered to fill in the overseas vote registration in the first place.

Good news and bad news.

The good:
Gordon Brown said that Westminster would no longer operate like a gentlemen’s club, making its own rules, and said that the moves would change centuries of history for Parliament.
The bad:
The Prime Minister announced that the financial affairs of MPs would be taken over by independent regulators.
Whoopee fucking doo, another regulator. Because government in general and Gordon Clown in particular have got such a great track record in setting up successful and effective regulatory bodies, right? Er.....

The way I see it this is at best, and I emphasize 'at best', a sideways move for oversight of Parliamentary expenses. At worst it'll be a body as toothless as the Fees Office it replaces and stuffed to the gunwales with cronies and placemen who'll sanction the same kind of dodgy claims that we've been hearing of lately, and who'll no doubt expect a quid pro quo, or perhaps just a lot of quid, for giving it the nod. Either way the bastards still won't be accountable to their real employers except that one day every four or five years when there's an election, and even then there's the problem of wankers in safe seats being able to do pretty much what the fuck they like. If they really wanted to bring true accountability to Parliament and MPs they could just insist on completely transparent accounts, i.e. the full details of each and every expense claim submitted, approved or not, should be published immediately, and a US style recall procedure brought in so that if enough constituents feel their MP is taking the piss they can force a by-election. In addition to financial accountability recalls would also provide professional accountability - if an MP is some worthless party appointee who knows fuck all about the area and people they're supposedly representing but can be relied on to troop into the right lobby when the Whips whistle, or is a useless workshy twat who never bothers to vote at all unless they happened to be in Westminster for a shag anyway, then there'd be a potential means to get rid of them if the constituents weren't happy with that sort of performance. Somehow I doubt that many serving MPs would go for that, though since the government keep telling us that we've nothing to fear from all their authoritarian laws if we've nothing to hide you have to wonder what they have to hide if they are afraid of being genuinely accountable. Open primaries would be a great help too since a safe seat for a particular party wouldn't necessarily be a safe seat for an individual candidate for that party.

UPDATE: I suppose the other bit of good news is obviously that the feckless twat in the Speaker's chair is on the way out, but far from being replaced by a modernizer who'll lead the way in reforming this system that's been corrupting all these innocent MPs it seems the new Speaker will just be following a plan laid out in advance by vested interests who've already proven themselves untrustworthy. Did I already say whoopee fucking doo?

UPDATE 2: Another thought has just occurred to me. This abolition of the Fees Office and creation of an independent regulator wouldn't be carried out in a similar way to the abolition of MAFF and the creation of DEFRA would it?

UPDATE 3: Oh for fuck's sake.

Dear Mr Exile,

You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to "to remind his government that parents must remain responsible in law for ensuring the welfare and education of their children and that the state should not seek to appropriate these responsibilities."
And fairly predictably the government's reply is, reading between the lines, fuck off.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


I really hope that this was made up.
Hazel “Flipper” Blears was there, perkier than ever after writing her £13,000 cheque to the taxman. Had it been cashed yet? “I don’t know,” she chirped as guests fought — yes, actually fought — to have their picture taken with her. “I’ve given it to them!”

I looked (down) at her in amazement, even as I was dragooned into taking pictures. She didn’t know if a cheque that is more than some people’s annual wage had been cashed yet? Who says politicians live in a different world?

If enough people say it will it sink in?

Making up for David Aaronovitch's apologist dribbling the other day The Time's Libby Purves explains why Margaret Beckett didn't exactly win over the Question Time audience the other day.
... Question Time erupted into flames of fury on Thursday, and, for all my responsible and citizenly fears about the peril to democracy of inflated feeling, there was a purging quality in that fire. The housing minister, Margaret Beckett, the fool, kindled it with her excuse about members being “very busy” so “mistakes” get made (yeah right) and above all her incautious suggestion that ordinary people don't “understand” this business about MPs and money.

Cue panto shrieks: “Oh yes we do!” The thing about money ... is that ordinary non-top people understand money very well indeed. It is a constant in every adult life... the more ordinary you are, the more likely to know exactly what is in your account, what might be coming in, how much the taxman will be taking, all that.


We are not unkind: we can see which claims are reasonable and which ones mischievous reporters are simply enjoying. Flipping, double-claiming, millionaire-greed, scams and wriggles are plentiful enough without stooping to mock glitter bog-seats.

We can see abuse when it is in front of our noses, because we too are tempted from time to time. Most don't succumb because either we feel embarrassed, or fear for our jobs. We can see bonus culture greed for what it is, too, because the odd extra million would come in handy for us.


The Westminster villagers and the defenders of crazy bonuses for “talent” can be as haughty as they like about public overreaction: nobody is listening. We know greed when we see it, because we have daydreams too. It's just that most of us don't get the chance to live them at our fellows' expense, while prosing on about the importance of a “just and equitable” society. Understand, Margaret?
Given Margaret Beckett's attitude on QT I very much doubt it, but maybe someone on her staff will read the article out very slowly for her.

UPDATE: This gave me a chuckle too.

If only...

Friday, 15 May 2009

More alco-nazism.

Christ, this is so depressing, not least because I find myself agreeing with Gordon Clown.
Setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol at 50p would save 3,400 lives a year without hitting on the moderate drinker, MPs heard.
Gordon Brown has already rejected the idea saying it would 'punish' the moderate drinker but this argument was 'specious' and 'selfish', the Commons Health Select Committee was told.
Researchers at Sheffield University said a 50p per unit minimum would add just £12 a year to the drinks bill of the moderate drinker however someone drinking at harmful levels would be forced to pay £163 a year more.
I have to be honest and admit that I expected it to have come from one of the usual fake charities, though I'd be surprised if they don't come out of the woodwork before long.
In a speech on Tuesday Gordon Brown said: "We are going to bring in a new mandatory code on the sale of alcohol – not as some have asked bringing in a minimum price, which would punish the majority of responsible drinkers – but to tackle binge drinking, targeting the kind of promotions – like "drink all you can for a fiver" – which can turn some town centres into no-go areas."
Gord you tool, you don't even need to do that. No-go areas are down to two things: the over indulgence of an irresponsible minority and the failure of the police and courts to deal with them properly. Let the market sort out the prices and the promotions, and then get the police to arrest those who allow themselves to get out of control as a result. No pressure, just when they can find time away from harassing motorists, guarding Jacqboot Smith's main home/second home/sister's home, calling her a third world dictator and beating up protestors and innocent bystanders.
But in evidence to the Select Committee, Mike Craik, Chief Constable of Northumbria, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Lead for Licensing said he supported a minimum unit price.
"The evidence is clear and unequivocal.
"It even accommodates the slightly specious and not least selfish argument around punishing the moderate drinker. I don't quite buy that and that is my personal and professional view not necessarily the ACPO view.
As I said, try arresting the troublemakers. The responsible majority of people can get off their dials and be no trouble at all. The rest should be encouraged to spend their Friday and Saturday nights somewhere where there's no alcohol. Prison for example.
In Scotland ministers are already considering introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol.
Which suggest the Nats are as big a bunch of authoritarian pricks as the rest. Poor bloody Scots, what the fuck have they done to deserve it? Other than vote for the bastards of course.
Dr Petra Meier, of Sheffield University was commissioned by the Department of Health to evaluate the effect different policies would have on drinking levels and associated harm.
Dr Meier told the Health Select Committee the 50p minimum would prevent 3,400 deaths and reduce the number of hospital admissions by 98,000 a year.
Harmful drinkers are defined by Government statistics as someone who drinks around 3,600 units a year.
These numbers wouldn't have been pulled out of Dr Meier's arse, would they? It's not like there isn't a precedent for it, is there?
Moderate drinkers are those who drinking within recommended levelso of less than 14 units per week for women and less than 21 uinits [sic] a week for men. Harmful drinkers are defined as more than 50 units a week for men and more than 35 units a week for women - levels that experts say it likely to lead to negative helth consequences.
That'd be the same 21 units for men and 14 for women that, as the Devil said, were made up on the spot over twenty years ago. So I think my doubts about the reliability of any claims of X thousand prevented deaths, or hospital admissions, or hangovers, or drunken shags, or whatever, have some justification. Perhaps if I drink a whole slab of beer this weekend it'll sound more convincing.

There's your problem right there.

Some Scunthorpe residents are having a Damascene conversion thanks to Elliot Morley.
Beryl Lound, 74, a former airfrcraft industry worker, joined a growing local chorus of disgust over the Scunthorpe MP’s claims for his non-existent mortgage.
“I would have rather ripped my arm off than vote other than Labour, but I think I’ll vote for a dog on the street corner," he
[sic] said.
Well Beryl, do you think that perhaps part of the reason the UK has the type of people for MPs that it does is because you and millions of others would dismember yourselves rather than vote for the same Lib/Lab/Con wankers that you've always voted for? I believe you when you say you'd vote for a dog on the corner next time, but the thing is you'd have voted for the same fucking dog last time, and the time before and the time before that, even if it had been dead for a week providing someone had brushed the flies and maggots off for the photo and nailed a red rosette to it. And of course the Tories and LibDems have plenty of reliable voters who they can round up, or in some cases dig up, to stick in a polling booth where they'll reliably, unhesitatingly and unthinkingly put an X next to the name of the appropriate candidate. Doesn't matter what the name is and many will know next to fuck all about the candidate anyway, but s/he's the Tory/LibDem/Labour and that's all that matters. Hitler with a red rosette could win a seat in some solid Labour areas or the LibDem south-west (well, the cunt was a socialist after all) and Chairman Mao could do the same in many Tory seats round the Home Counties. Tribal voters create safe seats, and safe seats discourage independently thinking Parliamentarians (even if they're nominally in one of the parties) and instead encourage cronyism and the parachuting of placemen into the Commons. Do you think such people are really going to have the best interests of either the taxpayer or their constituents at heart, Beryl? Some, yes, but precious few. The solution is obvious: 646 marginal seats.

Wanted: more just like him.

In the most surveilled country in the western world, or possibly anywhere, it's good to know that some people will stick two fingers up and take photos of "no photos" signs.

Capital Gains Tax

More than a hundred have been doing the Hazel, which must come as a great comfort to the long suffering British taxpayer who's just been asked to dig even deeper for the East London vanity project.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Incredibly, some consequences at last.

Two of the IngSoc NuLabour cash-for-amendments peers that were exposed by The Times are being suspended, and Andrew MacKay, one time MP of a certain angry ex-with-diminishing-amounts-of-pat, has fallen on his sword because of the ongoing expenses scandal. Well, I say he's fallen on his sword but more of a cheap plastic knife with a spring loaded blade from a joke shop really. As Obo points out, he's only resigned from being Cameron's advisor, so more of a symbollocks gesture to make the Tories look a bit less grubby and Cameron look tough on piss takers. That said the pair of them look like Joan of Arc and the Terminator compared to the troughing cunts on the other side of the house, still blaming the system and the fees office last I looked, and completely unable to distinguish between being reimbursed for reasonable expenses and putting in bullshit claims for absolutely anything "within the rules" regardless of how tenuous the link is to their work as an MP (if indeed there is a link at all).

UPDATE: Napoleon Morley has been suspended. Yeah, I know he doesn't really fit the Napoleon character, but he kind of looks like a pig and has certainly been more equal than others.

UPDATE 2: Guido says the shit has hit the fan at MacKay's local Conservative Association, and the fan isn't too happy about it.
To say they are livid is an understatement. They think he is in denial about his wrong doing and do not accept it was a mere error of judgement - they think it was a blatant troughing.
I'll bet. Guido's put MacKay's voting record on transparency up as well, which makes him look less than keen on the idea. Funny that.

UPDATE 3: "Get ready for a wave of de-selections..."

The Great Dictator.

No, nothing to do with Chaplin, but the comment of the decade from the boys and girls in blue about Jacqboot.
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, was criticised by members of the Police Federation of England and Wales. She was forced to defend expenses and allowances for all public servants, saying they were necessary for them to work effectively.
Steve Morley, of the Metropolitan Police, questioned why police allowances, from dry cleaning to extra cash for working on rest days, had been dropped.
He said: “Can you explain for the benefit of my members, your electorate, why all our expenses and allowances have been taken away?” Mr Morley added that some claims by MPs would be “jaw-dropping in a Third-World dictatorship let alone in the country of hope and glory”.
True, though perhaps we should draw a discreet veil over the usual role of the police force in sustaining such dictators, the recent behaviour of some police officers (H/T Obo) and the fact that you all work for the bitch. Still, though there's precious little hope and next to no glory perhaps there's a sign that the dictatorship's troops are getting restless and won't offer all the support the dictatorship would wish.
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