Commenting.


COMMENTING
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

Friday, 28 May 2010

Tree stuck up Britney Spears...

... or just evidence of drug use at The Telegraph.


Possibly they've just stuffed up and included an unrelated picture, but possibly Britney was indeed safely rescued by being shot with a dart gun. To be honest part of me wishes it was the latter just because The Daily Mash would almost certainly go one better than they did with "Britney To Be Frozen Until Pop Standards Collapse".

Incidentally, this was going to be a sensible blog about legalised prostitution touching on the murders in Bradford and also wondering why a St Kilda brothel is being prevented from advertising its services in the way it wishes, but due to a temporary inability to cut and paste without fucking it up I lost what I'd written. And since it's Friday evening and also since this is my 999th post I decided that being sensible could go piss and I'll do it again (along with other sensible stuff, much of it overdue) at the weekend instead.

Nicking something that can never be given back - UPDATED

They can't be serious, can they?
Australian doctors are considering introducing a controversial form of genital mutilation carried out on baby girls.

The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) says the practice of "ritual nicks" could meet the cultural needs of some women and potentially save some people from drastic surgery.

Although illegal in Australia, female genital mutilation is common among some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities but has been known to leave some young girls scarred for life when not carried out in proper clinical facilities.
What the fuck? They are serious? Jesus Christ on a fucking pogo stick, my eyes popped when I saw the Ambush Predator's blog on the American Academy of Pediatrics giving thought to the same thing, but reading that a second self-proclaimed civilised country is doing the same thing raises it to head-pop territory.
RANZCOG secretary Gino Pecoraro told News Ltd, "We will need to start to think about [its introduction] but we would have to speak to community leaders from Australia."
And when you do, Gino, I suggest you say that if they want to mutilate their daughters they should give some serious thought to staying where they are. When in Rome you don't set about some poor infant girl's groin with a knife when the Romans not only don't but specifically ban the practice. And yes, that means even a little bit.
"But we need to make sure we do not legitimise the ritualistic maiming of children."
Oh, really? So what the fuck do you think you're doing by offering the concession of "ritual nicks" if not legitimising it?

For fuck's sake, I'm all for legalising a lot of things that are banned but invariably they all have one thing in common: they're victimless crimes. There is no way you can describe the process of ritual child circumcision to me (and, with apologies to my Jewish neighbours, who I do really like, I include the ritual circumcision of boys - just because it rarely does any lasting physical harm doesn't make it right) that doesn't include a victim of a medically unnecessary procedure, because by it's nature the act takes place when the individual can't possibly understand, make an informed decision or offer up any meaningful resistance. I can understand that those in the medical profession who are toying with the idea of allowing just a little symbolic mutilation, er, nicking of the female genitals are probably looking at it as the lesser of two evils, that the small concession of allowing a little nick might be enough to reduce the numbers of badly maimed girls as well as the obviously unsafe environments in which the 'operations' are currently performed. And you know what, I'm prepared to believe it could work. However, I'm also prepared to believe that chaining school children to their desks would prevent them nicking off at lunchtime and lacing cheap takeaway food with oral contraceptives would eventually solve the housing crisis (as well as destroy the audience for at least one soap opera and, if tried in the UK, probably bankrupt the other Iceland as well), but that doesn't fucking mean we should actually do it.

The same goes for allowing infant girls to be just a little bit maimed for reasons of cultural sensitivity, but it's even worse than that. You might reduce the absolute number of badly maimed girls at the expense of increasing the number of lightly maimed ones both through people who would otherwise have obeyed Australian law and done nothing at all taking advantage of the option to "circumcise them a bit", and through allowing the fucking practice to continue instead of encouraging it's rapid and permanent demise.

So, for what it's worth, and speaking as a migrant who's also adapting to the way things are done in Australia*, here's my suggestion. If Australia is such a tempting place to come and live then it must also be worth giving up the idea that one somehow has a right to mutilate one's offspring and accepting the more western concept of the individual being free from the threat of a parent setting about their crotch with cutlery. But if mutilating children is more important then don't fucking come here in the first place, because if you're caught doing it we'll send you away for fucking decades, you sick fuck.


UPDATE - and this morning there's a... retraction, clarification, call it what you will (also mentioned by Wakefiled Tolbert in the comments, who saw it in the SMH). Whatever, an entirely different RANZCOG bod is now quoted as saying the first was misquoted, that really they have no intention of a change in policy (which is good because they don't fucking make public policy - not their job), and that the issue is just "likely to be discussed" next month as a result of the AAP story the Ambush Predator blogged on.

Make of that what you will, but the phrase
"We will need to start to think about [its introduction] but we would have to speak to community leaders from Australia."
is a hell of a thing to misquote. Sure, there's the parenthesis and the intent of what was really said might have been different, but then why speak to community leaders from Australia if the concession of ritual nicks is completely off the table to begin with?


* Okay, being a Pom there isn't really anything major and I can't pretend any real upheaval, but all the same I'm not going around demanding that the pubs serve warm bitter and that the country becomes crap at sport in general and cricket in particular. Yes, in the last few years Australia not only was beaten in medals at the Olympics by Britain but lost the Ashes and the Twenty20 to England, but I never asked for that to make me feel more at home.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Apologies.

Blogging still light and about a zillion other things on my plate. Sod's law I expect I'll just about get them all out of the way and the fucking roof will fall in or something. In the meantime....

Friday, 21 May 2010

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 24

The deep and abiding love of beetroot. Actually I do kind of get this because I'm pretty keen on beetroot myself, but I'd probably never have thought of putting some in a hamburger much less inventing special jars specifically for storing beetroot. And beetroot pizzas? Never in a bazillion years would I have thought of that. Not so much odd as just surprising, and not remotely a criticism because the weirdest beetroot serving idea I've ever heard of is beetroot fucking ice cream. And the madman responsible for that is a Brit.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Sarcasm detector.



Yeah, right.

(And yes, that does still mean I'm too busy for any blogging that takes more than a few minutes).

What's wrong with this picture?

This bloke can stay in the UK despite being, or so we're told, an Al-Qaeda "operative".* Apparently this is because he might be tortured if he's deported back to Pakistan, and is a decision defended by the Younger Twin. However, this gay woman has been refused asylum and certainly can be deported back to Iran, where they are renowned for their understanding and tolerant attitude towards homosexuals. Oh, wait, no... that should read "where they deny the existence of homosexuality while simultaneously flogging - executing, if they keep at it - anyone found guilty of being gay".
[Kiana Firouz] came to Britain two years ago as a student, but while she was here the Iranian intelligence services discovered footage of a documentary that she had been making secretly about homosexuals in Tehran. The Home Office rejected her asylum appeal on the ground that she could conceal her homosexuality if she went home, and that ruling was been upheld by two appeals tribunals this year.
Did the Home Office fucknuts not consider that since the Iranian intelligence services know her identity they almost certainly know she's a lesbian too? What fucking use is there in concealing her sexuality now? Why isn't the same logic (hah!) applied to Abid Naseer and others suspected of being terrorist operatives? Anyone telling them simply to conceal any desires they have to blow up Manchester shopping centres?

No?

Thought not.
“The UK Border Agency only enforces the return of individuals when we and the independent courts are satisfied they’re not in need of protection,” the Home Office said.
So Naseer and his mates need such protection but Kiana Firouz does not, despite being gay, playing a gay character in a film and making a secret documentary - and let's face it, she probably wasn't being secretive about it so as not to spoil the fucking surprise - about people the Iranian President says are non-existent?**

The Younger Twin said of the Naseer case:
"We, like any other civilised nation, abide by the very highest standards of human rights."
Very admirable of you, Nick. But unless you think that doesn't apply to dykes and poofs, and in fairness I very much doubt you do, why not say the same for Kiana Firouk? Why the silence, Nick?

I can only hope he's simply not gotten round to it yet, because watching someone sent off to where they're likely to be flogged or executed for being gay and telling them simply to hide it at the same time as claiming to be a civilised nation who won't send terrorist suspects where they may be tortured is either deeply hypocritical or breathtakingly naïve.


* Not actually charged with anything, though a judge is apparently satisfied that he's a threat. Personally I don't pretend to know how a judge can say that without there being anything so tedious as a trial. Make of it what you will.
** When they're not being publicly whipped for possession of more than one CD of show tunes, that is.

Olympic mascots.... are you serious?

Not that we needed much more evidence that the London Olympics are likely to be a shining example of pissing away truckloads of money on 24 carat wank, and at a time when the UK really hasn't got the spare cash having spent much of the past decade pissing away truckloads of money on qyite different 24 carat wank, but to really drive message home we have Wenlock and Mandeville.


A couple of weird looking one eyed monstrosities - far, far weirder than the one that just left Downing Street - and possibly based on on what someone on acid thought a Cyberman's cock looks like. Yeah, great mascots, fellas. Dear God, please tell me nobody put their hands in their pockets, or more likely the taxpayers' pockets, for this. No, surely nobody would... oh, what am I even saying? Of course they paid for it, and I wouldn't be surprised if the fucktoons who approved it really believed it was worth £400,000. Yep, four hundred grand! As far as I'm concerned the only excuse for spending so much on such total tat is if the people saying they liked it were getting blow jobs at the time, and given the choice of the Olympic logo I think that's entirely possible.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

When strong with The Force you are...

... smoke ban will matter not.


Oh, and incidentally, I am your father.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

In lieu of blogging.

Still a bit busy to put fingers to keyboard to any meaningful extent, but since I can spare a few moments to copy and paste I'd like to share this gem from The Australian's Jack the Insider blog. The title is "Sucking Canberra’s teat can be addictive" but could just as easily say London. Bold is mine and my comments in red.
Former New South Wales treasurer Michael Costa is an amusing man.

Back in October 2009 and then having retired from politics, he told the New South Wales Business Chamber that he planned to write a book entitled “I’m Fat, Ugly and Stupid – What is the government going to do about it? Memoirs of a failed politician”.

...

Costa’s gag book title says a great deal about the relationship between government and the people now and in the recent past. It alludes to the fact that Australians have developed an unhealthy dependency on government to solve their ills
 [in fairness to Australians they're far from unique in this - Angry Exile].

In the days before last week’s federal budget, the TV cameras were whirring away, while reporters vox-popped families and small businesses.

The responses from those interviewed were many and varied but invariably there were cries of desperate circumstances and pleas for more money. One small business owner seemed to believe that the government was somehow responsible for the decline in his turnover. Did he want Kevin Rudd to wander into his shop and order a gross of sausage rolls and a dozen vanilla slices? [Depends on what his business is and what the government might be doing to stuff it up for him. It's quite possible for well meaning government actions to have the effect of hurting turnover of certain businesses. Still, the point is a good one: stop relying on the damn government - AE]

Our view of government as the universal fixer is not new, but it has dramatically increased in the last two decades.

Let’s take the example of a woman who brings a child in to the world. As of today, that woman will receive a benefit of $5,185 paid in 13 fortnightly increments. The Rudd Government now means tests the baby bonus so a mother earning more than $150,000 per annum receives not a cent, but in the Howard years the bonus was paid holus-bolus to any new mother.

If the government’s paid maternity scheme gets up in the parliament, mothers who give birth after January 1, 2011 will receive another $4,000 as part of an 18- week paid maternity leave scheme. With the baby bonus, that’s almost an even $10,000 courtesy of Canberra.

...

When I was born, my mother received an extra 50 cents a week in her kick (I’ve decimalised the currency to spare my mother and I any unkind ageist remarks). There was no sense then that the government would provide. Parents coped, children grew up, and it must be said, we seem to have done reasonably well without the Commonwealth’s largesse.

...

An annual cash payment to old aged pensioners was another such measure. The OAPs struggle on a pittance of a pension. The one off payment did little to change this but once put in place, it could not be taken away without a hue and cry. The expectation that the cheque was in the mail had been created and pensioners became reliant on the payment for their household budgets.

In the wake of the GFC, the Rudd government hurled even more money at the general population. There were a series of cash payments made to virtually all and sundry. The methodology was as Kevin Rudd put it, “go early, go hard and go household.” The payments were made to keep the retail industry ticking along and the benefits would flow through into other industry sectors.

...

Kevin Rudd’s cash splashes may have made sense as a one-off payment but they have served to increase our dependence on government.

In our sensible moments we would acknowledge that this government or any government for that matter are not going to solve our problems for us. Let’s face facts, no government can or should. Governments can’t raise our children and we wouldn’t want them to. Small businesses must sink or swim on their own trade. If they can’t get by without another government hand out, they shouldn’t be in business at all. [I'd go further and say that all businesses must sink or swim on their own trade - AE]

If we are fat then a government might tut-tut us with grim stories of obesity, diabetes and heart attack but it’s we who have to put the fork down.

If we’re ugly, we shouldn’t expect a government to pony up for the plastic surgery.

If we’re stupid, we could always pick up a book.

None of us want our lives to be intruded upon by government but when we’re cash strapped, too many of us moan, “What is the government going to do about it?”

We’re addicts; junkies, sucking on the government teat, always wanting more.

We should not expect governments to make our lives better because they can’t. They might think they can but they inevitably fail short of our bulging expectations.


If you don’t believe me, let me ask you how you feel about that free insulation in your roof. 
[If that doesn't ring a bell see this blog for more on the federal government's insulation program balls up - AE]
Go read the whole thing. It's a must read not just for libertarians but anyone who's ever found themselves muttering "bloody government" under their breath.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Light blogging.

I've certainly got thoughts on the coalition's first week, and while it's not all good it's by no means all bad either. But Jeez, I've got a lot on my plate at the moment. I probably should have made time over the weekend because I'm probably going to struggle to fit anything in till mid-week now. Shite.

On top of that Australia lost the Twenty20 to the hated enemy, which means my accent is going to ensure instant deafness on the part of every Aussie cricket fan I deal with for a few days. No takeaways for me until I can be sure I'm not buying a phlegmburger and chips.

Friday, 14 May 2010

New tag for the gestalt Prime Monster.

Following on from yesterday's ideas along the lines of Davick Camregg I was thinking maybe either "The Cleggeron" or "The Cameregg" depending on who's most relevant. Cleggeron sounds like a Doctor Who monster whose body consists entirely of winnets, which seems a gratifyingly revolting tag but seems to be more about Nick Clegg. Trouble is a cameregg sounds like something laid by a Nikon that will hatch out into a small, black, three-legged creature with one giant eye which goes around upsetting policemen.

More thought needed.

Polaris Missing.

Another blogger hanging up the keyboard? I thought Mummylonglegs and Polaris had both vanished, though it turned out Mummy was simply the proud owner of a shithouse computer. But Polaris? Anything in her being a Scottish blogger? I'm vaguely aware that there were rumours of nasty emails, possible outings and other unpleasantness in that corner of the blogosphere a while back but I've no idea how true that really was. Still, as when Shibby dropped out of sight (with good reason that was perfectly clear had I not overlooked it in my RSS reader) I do wonder. If you read this, Polaris, I hope everything's okay. In the meantime, with no posts for a couple of months now, I'm going to take Wholly Rude off the blogroll.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Paul Valley of The Independent owes me a keyboard...

... because that's what happens when you swig a mouthful of tea right before seeing David Cameron and Kick Clegg being described as "political Jedwards" wearing different colour ties so people can tell them apart. That's worth a new tag since my Gordon Clown one isn't go to see much use from now on. Hmmm. Davick? Camregg? Davick Camregg?

At some point I'll get some proper blogging done on all this coalition stuff but right now I've got a pile of things that need doing.

Selling your car? BANNED! - UPDATED

Good laws are instinctively easy to understand, and given that ignorance of the law is supposedly no defence that's pretty essential. The opposite situation, where people find themselves breaking the law without knowing or even having a reasonable expectation that they may not have acted legally, is not only undesirable and unjust but is also likely to damage the relationship between citizens and the judicial system. Either this has been forgotten or never learned in Adelaide where, to the surprise of many residents, it is now illegal to put a for sale sign in your car. And it might not stop in Adelaide.
THE old-fashioned money-saving practice of placing a "for sale" sign in your car window could soon be illegal across the state, with councils starting to introduce a controversial new by-law.

Car owners are already being fined up to $100 by some councils for displaying the signs on their vehicle, even while it is legally parked at a kerbside.

At least seven councils have adopted the by-law - drafted by the Local Government Association - which makes it illegal to display advertising signs on your car when parked in public. Onkaparinga Council says it has issued more than 100 of the $100 fines since banning roadside ads in January.

Morphett Vale resident Megan Walkley, 28, said she was fined after she parked her car, with its for sale sign, outside her home just before Easter.

"I had only parked on the road because we were planning to have a (rubbish) skip delivered that day to the driveway," Ms Walkley said.

"I got a shock when I got the fine, I'd never heard of that by-law before and you see parked cars with for sale signs all the time."

...

Independent state MP Bob Such said the by-law was unjustified revenue raising and he would introduce a Private Member's Bill to State Parliament this week to overturn it.

"Council by-laws like these are whittling away people's basic rights and seeing them getting pinged by the petty hand of bureaucracy," Dr Such said. "This is of concern because the wording of the by-laws means they could also apply - if the council wants to get nasty - to the plumber who parks his car on the road with his name and phone number on his van."

Dr Such said visiting your sick mother in the wrong council with a for sale sign displayed on your car could result in a fine, even if you live in a different council area.
In other words not only must people in Adelaide be thoroughly familiar with their local by-laws but also those in force anywhere and everywhere they might visit. And why is this necessary?
Onkaparinga public health and safety manger Chris Button said the by-law was adopted by the outer southern suburbs council after complaints from residents about cars for sale left parked in prominent places.

"They are typically parked on arterial roads or busy intersections, creating a traffic hazard," he said.

"I know at least six other councils have adopted this by-law and another 15 plan to put it in place when they next review their by-laws."
Translation: some cars were parked inconsiderately or in unsafe places and we couldn't be bothered to deal with them when it's so much easier to just fine everyone who puts a home made 'For Sale' sign on the windscreen, not to mention more profitable.

I'm not sure if this upsets me more because it's liberty lost through laziness rather than from an actual attack. It's not like someone has decided that it's dangerous like the whole 'legal high' thing and therefore it must be stopped for everyone's good. It's just that liberty has such a low value put on it that nobody could be bothered to deal with this small problem in such a way as to not trample on the freedom of the sensible majority.

Your liberty... just not important these days. Not if you're flogging a car in Adelaide anyway.


UPDATE - courtesy of Chuckles in the comments I see this isn't just an SA thing but also a UK thing. Should we even be surprised?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

New winter fuel developed.

It's a special form of shit that you can burn without stinking the place up, and it may be available in High Streets quite soon. Apparently you can read it too.

Newsflash.

Nokia shares fall as Brown finally leaves.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Lord Brown of Kirkcaldy and Deadcowbreath - UPDATED.

I suppose that's what we're going to have to look forward to calling him now. Oh well, every silver lining has a cloud inside it.

UPDATE - per the comments left outside the Ambush Predator's cave it seems the bastard may be sticking around for a while yet. Note to self, read past the headline before getting too excited.

'Kinell.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Bend over and grip your ankles!

Here comes your Darling.

'Kinell.

Just a little reminder.

In the unlikely event that everybody's forgotten about the expenses scandal, this morning we have a this timely reminder.
NADINE DORRIES, the Conservative MP, faces the first expenses complaint of the new parliament after a row about a £10,000 claim she paid to a friend’s company.

Her former Commons researcher, Peter Hand, is writing to John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, questioning whether the claim can be justified.

The complaint will undermine hopes that the expenses controversy can be consigned to the last parliament.

Dorries, who last week retained her mid-Bedfordshire seat, claimed the money for an annual report in 2007 on her performance as an MP, and consultancy services, but Hand said he never saw the report or worked on it. Dorries claimed a total of more than £40,000 in expenses for services provided by Marketing Management (Midlands), owned by her friend Lynn Elson. They live near each other in the Cotswolds.

Hand, who worked full-time for Dorries in the Commons from 2005 until November 2008, said: “I gave her the benefit of the doubt and waited and waited. But the report never appeared.”

Dorries claimed £9,987.50 for Marketing Management in June 2007 for the design, layout and production of an annual report and for consultancy. She says she spent the money, and posted a copy of the report on her website. However, it does not appear to be professionally produced. The previous year, by contrast, she issued a glossy four-page professionally produced report with more than 25 pictures, news articles, an interview and a breakdown of her typical working day as an MP.
Anyone surprised? This is the woman who, by her own admission, spends little time in the house she designated as her main home and treats her Additional Cost Allowance as part of her salary, which presumably means she thinks it's there to be spent on whatever she pleases. Okay, this isn't a post election expense claim but one dating back nearly three years, but the point is that there was an opportunity for everything to come out into the open and not everything did. Well done to her local constituency party for retaining her as candidate and the voters for taking the her back, incidentally.

Anyone want to bet that she's the only one? Anyone want to bet that not a single one of the 232 new MPs is going to be quietly taken to one side, if they haven't already, and advised about how things work - especially since at least half a dozen had either a parent, sibling or spouse as an MP.* Any takers?

Thought not.


* In the cases of siblings and spouses it's worth noting that both Keith Vaz and Harriet Harperson were tainted by the expense scandal, somehow retained their seats and are now joined by Vaz's sister and Harperson's husband.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Commercial Break.



I'm too busy falling around laughing at the idea of this being a great wedding gift to check to see if this is a real product or not.

Quote of the Day.

An anonymous Labour source on the possibility of Ed Millivanilliband challenging for the party leadership (my emphasis).
"Ed is gearing himself up to go for it. He has told his mum he wants to do it."
Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Twat (the Even Younger).

The latest example of voting fraud in the UK turns out to be some insufferable bell end of a 14 year old kid, Alfie McKenzie, who was sent a polling card after his 19 year old sister accidentally told a registrar that he was eligible, and was able to use it after his mother did nothing more than "told him not to vote" and because the staff at the polling station failed to query it.
"It was just too much of a temptation to resist," he said. "I'm a socialist, I'm really, really interested in politics. I'd been reading up on it a lot before the election, and I'd got very interested in tactical voting. Nobody asked me for ID or anything, I was literally in and out of the polling station in about 15 seconds.
Unbefuckinglievable. How did he manage to avoid being spotted?
"I was at the polling station by 10 past seven. I dressed really carefully, in my trenchcoat, with my glasses, and I was careful to wear my posh shoes. I put on a posh accent, sort of southern. I reckoned if they thought I was a Tory voter nobody would suspect me, because it couldn't have made any difference in this constituency."
So the kid dressed like, well, like a kid playing grown ups by the sounds of things, and he wasn't spotted. When it was busy later on that might seem fair enough but at ten past seven? Couldn't have been that busy because he was able to vote, go home to change and get himself to school on time. In fact he said he was in and out in seconds. Is this an indication that the staff at the polling station were less than with it or just another example of how turning up with the right paperwork is more important in modern Britain and people rarely think to check if everything looks in order? For fuck's sake, at least the Gestapo men thought to check up on Gordon Jackson by wishing him luck in English.

And Alfie's vote?
"I would be a Labour supporter, but I voted Lib Dem tactically: I would have been interested in a Lib-Lab coalition, but Clegg is in with Cameron right now, isn't he? I'm not really a Cameron man."
You're not a man at all yet, shit for brains, though you're clearly old enough to know that you shouldn't have voted because you fucking said so yourself.
'I realised I was breaking the law,' Alfie said. 'But I'm very passionate about politics, so when the polling card arrived by accident I felt I had a duty to use it.'
What a shame you're not as passionate about democracy. You might have seen your duty as reporting it - to the media if you wanted your fifteen minutes - before the fucking election so that the potential for fraud was highlighted well before polling day. I could also say the same thing about your parents, who seem to be too busy seeing the funny side of their country's electoral processes being fucking wide open to abuse.

You're in a safe Tory seat so your vote was insignificant as far as the result goes, but what it exposes is extremely significant as far as it shows yet more potential for electoral fraud. Ask yourself this, Alfie, passionate young socialist and dedicated non-thinker that you are: what would you be saying if a few thousand baby Tories in marginal labour areas had been able to do what you did?


H/T Bella Gerens.

Also interesting.

Very interesting. Sleep and more thought needed, but that seems like a good idea.

Oh, rapturous joy.

Via The Flithy Engineer, Gordon's 'Ides of March' moment (which in typical fashion is late and probably over budget).
A newly re-elected Labour MP has called on Gordon Brown to step down as the party's leader.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said that Labour would only have influence in the outcome of the current negotiations over the future of the government if Mr Brown agrees to give up the leadership.
Don't you take any notice of the nasty man, Gordon. You try to hang on as long as you can.

And John, best you start having a quiet word with some of the people who took a bit of a kicking and only just held on to their seats.

Now, buttered popcorn or salted?

Interesting.

At Is There More to Life Than Shoes? Trixy mentions that there are 21 seats where the Tories lost by a smaller margin than the number of votes that went to UKIP. I wonder how the Tory grassheadsroots will feel about their boy Cameramong when that's pointed out to them.

What do we call this one? Rant-gate?

Screw it, I'm going to get the 'gate' thing in early, but I do feel slightly ashamed of myself for it. However, on topic, The Tele suggest that the Prime Mentalist went mental down the phone at Nick Clegg for daring to suggest that maybe his time in No 10 was up.
It was claimed Mr Brown's approach was to begin "a diatribe" and "a rant" and the source said the Labour leader was "threatening in his approach to Nick Clegg".
Mr Clegg was said to have came off the phone assured that it would be impossible to work with Brown because of his attitude towards working with other people.
He needed to phone the guy to find that out? I'd have thought the monthly invoice from the Carphone Warehouse would have done.
Number 10 have denied the report of Brown's aggression, describing the chat as "constructive".
...
In an official statement the Lib Dems denied there had been a row, insisting: "Any suggestion that it was in any way angry or hostile would be wrong. It was perfectly amicable and both men just set out what they said in their public statements."
Which might even be true, but Brown being Brown the picture of him jumping up and down and spraying invective down the phone just seems so... well, plausible. It's a shame the Downfall makers have got all shitty about the parodies on YouTube because even though they were done to death (Hitler and fucking game consoles, I ask you) the scene could never be more appropriate than right now. In the bunker, hanging on by his fingertips. If Colostomy Brown owned an Alsatian it might even be worrying.

Still, doesn't sound like the Tories and LibDims are ready to form a coalition just yet, even if Cameramong and Cleggy are getting on fairly well. Gordon gets to play with his train set a little while longer before we know what's going to happen. Anyone want to bet on the date for the next election? October maybe?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

DNA evidence = 'Do Not Assume' evidence.

Millions to one against, that's what they used to say about the reliability of DNA evidence. Soon it became billions to one, and now juries around the world are given the impression, perhaps aided by TV, that DNA evidence is a magical standard on a par with several dozen eye-witnesses and a signed confession. So much faith is put in it that people will even say that murderers convicted on DNA evidence may as well be executed since no doubt exists.

Maybe.

DNA evidence has certainly caught and convicted criminals, though much of the time it's part of a variety of evidence and fairly few cases rest solely on DNA. But does that mean 100% reliability? It'd be convenient to think so but unfortunately DNA evidence is far from perfect. 22 year old Farah Jama can tell you that.
"Nobody will understand the pain I went through … or the stress," Mr Jama said. "You kind of lose hope."
What he refers to is spending fifteen months in jail for a rape which he did not commit. A rape that he was found guilty of because DNA evidence, despite a "mountain of improbabilities", is considered nigh on infallible. And it might be close to infallible when done right, but human beings are not infallible and the gathering of DNA evidence is carried out by human beings. Now and again they will stuff things up.
Mr Jama was found guilty of raping a 40-year-old woman at a nightclub in Melbourne's outer-eastern suburbs after the victim was found unconscious.

She had no memory of the crime but Mr Jama's DNA was later found on the victim.

The then 20-year-old denied ever being near the nightclub on that night, saying he was reading the Koran to his critically ill father at his bedside in their home in the northern suburbs.

The only evidence police had was the DNA sample of Mr Jama, which was coincidently taken 24 hours before the alleged crime after he was investigated over another unrelated matter but not charged.

Prosecutors told the court this morning that it had since been discovered that the same forensic medical officer who took the first DNA sample of Mr Jama had coincidently taken the DNA sample from the 40-year-old rape complainant 24 hours later.
It turned out that that medical officer did not follow protocols designed to prevent contamination of samples, and this hugely important point was not considered.
The report by former Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent - tabled in Parliament yesterday - slammed Victoria Police, the Office of Public Prosecutions, and forensic medical officers over the case and the authorities' failure to consider any other evidence connecting Mr Jama to a crime that never occurred.

...

Last December, Chief Commissioner Simon Overland banned police scientists from giving evidence in court until further notice after it was discovered that statistical analysis used to interpret DNA tests had not kept pace with new-generation DNA equipment.

The ban came days after Mr Jama's rape conviction was overturned because of contaminated DNA evidence, and lasted until January 12.

In his report on Farah Jama, Mr Vincent said: "The DNA evidence appears to have been viewed as possessing an almost mystical infallibility. The outcome was, in the circumstances, patently absurd," he reported.

"There were ample warning signs … but they were simply not read."
Consider the possibilities if the same thing happened in a murder case somewhere that still uses capital punishment. Except for the most obvious way of leaving getting off Death Row is probably tricky once you're on it. But even in non-death penalty convictions placing such faith in DNA that innocents are sent to jail is both costly, unjust and, given that the police stop looking for an offender, inefficient - a true lose-lose situation.

Nor is cross contamination the only potential pitfall, as pointed out here. You shed your DNA when you walk across the room so any DNA found at a crime scene is often circumstantial, it degrades meaning potentially coincidental partial matches may result, and despite the overwhelming odds quoted it's impossible to rule out a coincidence - a million to one means 20 other matches to my DNA just here in Australia alone, and even a billion to one would mean five or six other people worldwide.

So is it unreliable? No, quite the reverse. But mistakes are made and they're not being caught in time to prevent miscarriages of justice. This almost unshakeable faith in the reliability of DNA matches badly needs to be shaken.

Pots and kettles.

Do I laugh, cry or scream with incoherent rage? Having been caught in a hugely embarrassing, not to mention illegal, position with the 'Climategate' leak and the subsequent revelations the warble gloaming industry is whinging that the current scrutiny they're under is like McCarthyism.
The 'climategate' scandal and mistakes by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have led to a surge in attacks on climate scientists around the world.
In the US politicians have called for a criminal investigation of climate scientists, while in the UK eminent professors have received hate mail and even death threats.
In a strongly worded letter, the group of scientists likened the situation to the 'McCarthy era' in the US where anyone suspected of communist links was threatened with persecution. The period in the 1950s was named after the anti-communist pursuits of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
"We call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them," the letter read.
Presumably this is in some way entirely different from demands to put people on trial for being in the oil industry or telling sceptics that they "know who you are and where you live". Presumably it's completely different to accepting or rejecting papers on whether they are seen as pro- or anti-Anthopogenic Warble Gloaming rather than looking purely at the paper's merits, or withholding information from sceptical researchers in complete contrast to the openness and free exchange of data demanded by the scientific method. The greenhouse industry has been using McCarthyist tactics for fucking years - how fucking dare they, now they're under the microscope for more or less everything sceptics have been pointing at all this time, how fucking dare they scream "McCarthyists"? I'd admire their balls for it were I not wishing they'd all fall down the stairs and land on them.

No wonder more and more people are smelling a rat.

PR is not the answer.

First Past The Post is looking increasingly obsolete so naturally thoughts are turning to the Liberal Democrats' personal wet dream, Proportional Representation. It's going to be talked about quite a lot because in Britain, thanks to the LibDems, it's the only other one that a lot of people have heard of. And to give PR its due it is a fundamentally more fair system than the current one that has allowed government after government after government to be formed by parties claiming a mandate despite nobody actually winning the popular vote. I've talked at some length about electoral reform (here, here and here if you've got a while) and gone into the pros and cons of PR, so in the interests of not repeating myself to much and keeping it quick I'm just going to repost a comment I left on Old Holborn.
As someone who lives with it let me explain what PR will give you.

Yes, it will give seats to the BNP, Commies, Greens etc, and on that I agree with Old Holborn. So what if it does? It'll also give seats to UKIP, probably a few independents and maybe nascent parties like LPUK. Goose and gander stuff, not a problem. The problem, or at least the first one, is that it will do precisely fuck all about the cronyism of the main parties and the unaccountability of their MPs.

Let me introduce Senator Stephen Conroy, a tool of the worst ordure, whose policy baby is government filtering of the internet to the entire fucking country. How do we get rid of the authoritarian prick? Answer: we can't because PR makes him at least as safe - probably more so - as any British MP in a reliably safe seat for their party. For a start he's a Victorian Senator so most of the country get no say anyway, but it's PR that keeps us here in Victoria from getting rid of the bastard. PR means party lists, and as long as Conroy is in the good books of the Australian Labor Party (please send spare vowels to Canberra) he'll be at or near the top of their list and absolutely guaranteed his Senate seat even if the ALP lose the popular vote in the Senate election here. The guy is literally fireproof since only the ALP has the power to fire him. We voters certainly don't.

Do you want that for the House of Commons? Do you want to give the Labial Conservocrats even more power to impose a collection of yes men, lobby fodder, fuckwits, spivs, tools and chancers on the electorate? If so then PR is just what you want. If not then look for something else.

The second problem is representation. Who is my Senator? Is it Conroy? Or is it one of the other five ALP Senators? Or one of the half dozen Liberals? Or the microparty madman from Family First? Because there are no constituencies the answer is none and all of them. Even if you consider the state of Victoria as a large multi-member constituency PR has weakens the link between representatives and constituents, particularly since nearly all serve at the pleasure of their parties rather than Victorian voters. That's not a huge problem here because we have constituency MPs in the House of Representatives for that - the Senators are there to represent the states and the role of the Senate is more or less what the House of Lords is for. For that PR is just fine, though party lists preventing easy dismissal of crap Senators is still a problem.

If you want to get rid of the Lords and have an elected chamber PR is a fantastic idea. But as a replacement for FPTP? If it happens I think many will soon be bitterly disappointed that the chance to replace the busted FPTP system with something that works was instead squandered on PR. You'll get your minor parties in but in the main parties, the ones that will actually form governments, you'll get even less accountability than you have now. FPTP has certainly got to go but don't jump from the frying pan to the fire.
So don't get all starry eyed and in love with the idea of PR. Supporting a new electoral system simply because it's less bad than the one you have is a bit like voting for a candidate who is less awful than the incumbent.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Wait, what? - UPDATE

I've just seen something astonishing in the comments at Captain Ranty's. Hazel Blears got re-elected. Hazel Blears. Hazel bloody Blears!

Yes, this one,  there, in the middle.


Hazel fucking house flipping ranga Blears. There are 16,655 people in Salford - and they know who they are - who've allowed this self-interested nest-feathering hypocrite not only to get away with milking the taxpayers' tits for her benefit but to get the chance to suck away for another few years.

Give yourselves a good pat on the back twat round the head.

UPDATE - and the same goes for the 22,860 witless pricks in Buckingham, without whose help John Bercow would now be seeking gainful employment rather than remaining head conductor on the fucking gravy train.

You should be so fucking proud of yourselves.

UPDATE 2 - And Kerry McHalfwit. For fuck's fucking sake!

"And the horns will grow out here and here."

Or not.

So much for a blogging break. That idea lasted about an hour before I saw two headlines in The Tele. First was this:


Shouldn't surprise anyone, that. We've all heard it now and besides, hate it though we should it's Colostomy Brown's right to do so. But then there's the second headline:


Clegg's already said he doesn't want to deal with Brown, and now he's saying that the Tories should form the government. Is he pallying up with them for a chance of a coalition, one that Cameramong has already said won't happen? Is he hoping that Cameramong will go back on that? Is he the kind of intellectually honest politician that's so rare in Westminster? Or does he just really fucking hate Gordon Brown?

Blogging break.

I thinks I'll take one for a couple or three days unless I see something that I just can't resist ranting about. No doubt the shitstorm will still be going on Monday morning anyway.

Interesting way of putting it.

Janet Daley in The Telegraph:
So a rejected government is going to try to cut a deal with the least successful party – which managed to maintain its lack of popularity even after being given the most staggering advantage of parity in media exposure. Can this be anything but morally unacceptable even if it technically legal?
The whole legitimacy of a LibLab arrangement in the event of Labour losing was based on the expectation that the LibDems would have proved themselves to be worthy power brokers: to have propelled themselves into the big time by winning a hugely increased proportion of the vote and a large swath of new seats. Neither of those things happened.
I find quite a great deal of it morally unacceptable, so as far as I'm concerned nothing's new there. But yes it is outrageous and it damn well should get people talking (though I'm still hoping for a large amount of self destruction from the Tories and Labour at least). If that proves to be the wake up call the place needs then great.

Old Holborn.

Just remembered to check the Cambridge result. Always likely but a bloody shame. Good for him for having a go though, and hopefully not for the last time either. Hope to see some video of him on a stage in the full get up.

Same goes for the four LPUK/LPUK endorsed independents. Bad luck, and better luck (much better) next time. The last result I have left to hop for is that Buckingham kicks John Bercow out on his pint sized arse.

Winners and losers.

According to Cameramong Labour have lost their mandate to govern, though the Tories sure as hell haven't got one either and arguably haven't done as well as some of them will have hoped or even as well as many, inclduing those who expect them to fall short of an overall majority, thought they would.. According to the Mandelsnake, who we should remember is absolutely not the leader of the Labour party and totally doesn't run things at all, that means 'oh no we haven't lost our mandate* nyer nyer nyer with nobs on to you'. It seems that as incumbent Prime Mentalist Colostomy Brown can, and I'm sure will, try to hang on to office by forming a coalition with the bloke from Last of the Summer Wine, who in turn said he'd be willing to work with anyone apart from Colostomy Brown. If there's to be a Lib/Lab coalition either Cleggy must eat his words or Labour must get rid of Gordon. But if they do that then shouldn't Her Maj point out that the deal is no longer being done with the incumbent PM but someone else in his party and ask in her inimitable tones what the cunting fuck they think they're all playing at? And over at CCHQ there'll be a different set of questions: should they keep their fingers crossed and hope that a deal can be done between Labour and the LimpDumbs, who then inherit the poisoned chalice that Labour probably thought would go to the Tories? Should they hope that Labs and Libs try and fail so they can step in? And should they just get rid of Cameramong for being the latest failure (not to mention for not being a fucking Tory anyway - I've never understood why they put up with that) or should they stop fucking around with their failures, set him on fire and push him off a building?

Interesting times, and possibly all I could have hoped for - actually more if Gordon can somehow stay on. Certainly the country would suffer even more than it has but with the choices on offer this election it was always a near certainty that things would have to get worse before they could get better. With luck the result, and possibly some legal challenges over cheating and disenfranchisement, should spark destructive civil war in all three main parties, not to mention wake up the millions of people the bastards have sold their lies to for so fucking long. And then? Then the place could begin to get back on its feet again and take the first steps towards becoming the free country that it once was. We can but hope.


* No sniggering at the back.

Silly Bercow.

This attitude is going to bite Sally on her arse if she ever stands as an MP, or at least it should.


Now admittedly I was much less kind to the people of Brighton Pavilion a short while ago, but I'm not the spouse of the Speaker and holder of political ambitions myself. Something for voters in Pimlico to bear in mind since they may be the next stage of her career represented in council by her shortly: if you don't vote the way Sally wants then you're losers. Unless of course she's just lying again.

Nothing better to do at The Graun.

Seriously, Graunies, staring intently at girls' knickers is terribly un-PC and I'm very disappointed that you don't all know that. I mean why, especially when there are other things to notice?
Did the Sun Photoshop the page 3 girls' underwear?
What, you mean like put knickers on them when they weren't wearing any?

Nope.
The Sun claims Labour and the Lib Dems would abolish page 3. But did it alter the colour of the models' pants to underline its point?
Seriously, who'd give a flying fuck if they did?
The scantily-clad, human rights-threatened women appear to have taken a united stand against such a grim scenario in today's newspaper, by all wearing blue undergarments in an apparent unanimous show of support for the Conservatives.
They did? I thought it was 'tits out for Tories' or something along those lines, especially given The Scum's recent Damascene conversion, and doubly so since the point is resisting any ban on having their tits in the paper. So what they're not wearing is somewhat more relevant than what they are wearing, even if somebody has been playing with Photoshop.
The online version of the same picture shows only one of the 16 models wearing blue apparel, while the rest opt for non-partisan colours such as lime green, purple, white and black. One is even wearing red (she'll probably be sacked by the Sun before any Labour/Lib Dem legislation comes into force).

The models are in the same positions, striking the same poses, in both images, so it would appear Photoshop has been employed to colour the models' political views.
What? WHAT? Do you seriously think the girls choose their underwear according to their politics? Are you completely retarded or is that what they use for rosettes on your planet?
But the burning question is: which is the original picture? Did the Sun change the colour of the women's pants to match the blue of the political party it is backing in the general election? Or has it acted to thwart this determined gang of right-wingers by painstakingly altering the uniform hue of their underwear to more varied shades?
Not much of a question, really. I'd suggest the one with multi-coloured pants and where're they're nearly all tanned is the original and the tans got lost with the change in colour of the knickers. Or looked too OTT and risked upsetting the tanning police. The real question should be, as I may already have mentioned, who on earth gives a rip about it?
Either way, it's frightening.
Not as frightening as the level of excitement this guy is showing. With more tits on show than tomorrow's Downing Street photocall this bloke is creaming it about having spotted a bit of pshopping in a (newly) Tory supporting red top.

Down boy, and if your keyboard has stopped working tell them it was a banana smoothie.

A good result.

Douglas Carswell kept his seat, so that means one vaguely libertarian leaning Tory in Westminster making an effort to keep the rest of the bastards honest (in every sense).

Liberals and dictionaries.

Not for the first time I'm going to have a go at the Australian Liberals about their name. There is nothing remotely liberal about banning things, and if the excuse is because a criminal used a burqa to commit a robbery what they're saying is that it should be banned just because it makes life too hard for law enforcement. Well, too bad, fellas, because that is an excuse to ban just about anything and everything. You've already banned guns for defence - actually banned a load for any reason whatsoever, and yes, that was the Liberals. But people use computers for crime, so let's ban 'em too. People use cars for crime, so that has to stop. Terrorists use rucksacks so clearly they mustn't be allowed anymore. In fact criminals are almost always fully dressed, so let's just ban clothes. Mind you that would mean a lot of criminally indecent exposure going on so probably everyone should be naked and confined to their homes where they can order their shopping online. Oh, wait, no, we banned computers, didn't we? So regulation clothes and a police escort to go down to the local shops.

Alternatively the Liberals could start acting as if their name is actually what they stand for and that that means something to them. Just a thought.

Who should I hate more?

Gordon Brown won his seat and - fuck me dead - Caroline bloody Lucas won Brighton for the Greens. Jesus H. Christ on a fucking pony, the fucking Greens? And Lucas? Seriously? Dear Lord! I've always felt she was mad even by green standards.

So if I could deliver a sharp twatting about the head with a cricket bat to all concerned would it be 29,000 or so people in Kirkcaldy and Deadcowbreath or about half that number in NotsofuckingBrighton?

Hmmmm.

It's Brighton. You expect main party leaders to be in ultra-safe seats and for their tame tribes to slavishly vote them back in, so I can understand Colostomy Brown winning. Brighton... well, I hope the old derelict West Pier is replaced by the plug-ugliest fucking eyesore of a power station, one that is a new hybrid design not only burning coal and using nuclear power but also the blood of endangered species. And I hope every single watt of power is sent across noisy and ugly wires to be used elsewhere while you freeze in the dark, you utter, utter, utter twats.

I don't say this lightly but I'd have fucking voted for the Labour candidate, any Labour candidate, ahead of someone who won't be happy until the civilised world consists of half a billion people living in wattle and daub huts and eating grass.

Casualties.

Bye bye Jacqboot. Bye bye Safety Elephant.

Casualties.

Bye Lembit.

Quote of the Day.

From Thoughts on Freedom, the blog of the Australian Libertarian Society.
Remember, the Government cannot make the world 100% risk-free. It can try, but in the process you will lose every liberty you have.
Something to bear in mind the next time some single issue fanatics, probably in the name of the chiiiiiiiiiiildren, kick off and petition the government to make something safer.

A long campaign and a longer result?

Even though the election campaign officially began on April 11th it does seem to have been going on for bloody ages - something else which is Colostomy Brown's own fault since everyone knew it had to be by June 3rd and all the parties could start an unofficial campaign months beforehand. Now it seems the UK may have a long wait for the final result since, according to what Tom Paine hears, in places voters were being allowed in to vote after the polls had closed. This is a bit of a no-no and could allow results to be challenged in court, to say nothing of the possibility of serious and/or widespread fraud being discovered as a result of the various police investigations into postal voting in some areas. So imagine if the Tories get the result everyone is predicting at the moment and fall a couple of dozen seats short of an overall majority, but a couple of dozen seats had questionable results due either to iffy postal votes or late votes that should have been discarded and may not have been. Not just the TV debates Britain is importing from the Yanks but the need to get a courts in to decide the result, or at least if areas with 'irregularities' should re-run their elections. Though perhaps that's being unfair on the Yanks - I've blogged on the postal votes before but the late vote issue is either down to voters leaving it till the last minute, in which case stiff, or poorly run polling stations with insufficient ability to cope with what many expected to be a much higher than usual turnout. From where I sit this situation looks entirely self inflicted, and if it ends up being sorted out in a series of unedifying courtroom spectacles the UK will have no-one else to blame.

The election - first thoughts.

Three seats declared, all in the north east (how come they always seem to be among the first up there?) and all for Labour. And from the vote share and turnout all will have MPs with the support of about a quarter of the electorate. That's no surprise of course. All pretty normal with the UK electoral system and there'll be more than a few Tory and LibDem seats that will be in the same situation.

But a thought struck me - what if the sort of localism proposed by Hannan and Carswell in The Plan took hold, and maybe went even further. What if people were voting not just for the political flavour of their representative in Westminster but what manifesto they wanted to apply in their area? What if the 59,571 people who voted for other parties, to say nothing of the ≈95,000 who didn't vote, did not have to abide by the result chosen by the 58,247 people who voted Labour because where the LibDems or Tories won those areas were run according to their manifestos? What if you weren't just voting for the MP but the policies that would apply where you live for the next few years? To a large extent it would mean an end to national politics since the governing party would not get a say over the whole country except on truly national issues such as defence and foreign affairs, but would have to accept that those areas that had rejected them were going to be run a different way. Of course this is kind of what's supposed to happen with local councils anyway but since the government controls the purse strings and since some of the services are national - the term 'local NHS' has always seemed oxymoronic - there's not as much local variation as there could be.

The downside is obvious. It would be very difficult for a government to balance income and expenditure since it wouldn't know how many areas would be paying tax and consuming services at the rates it had in mind and how many would be at the rates suggested by the opposition parties. The solution is equally obvious - one national tax to pay for the truly national services, such as defence, and everything else determined locally. It would be a more libertarian system but not necessarily one that favours libertarianism if most people wanted to live under one or other set of Labial Conservocrat rules. What it would mean is that those who want to live free of unnecessary government intrusion can pick the most libertarian place in the country - which could be just one small town or a single rural seat - and move there. What could be more libertarian than to allow the Lib/Lab/Con voters, and those who don't object to their policies strongly enough to vote against them, to have half their wealth taken for the privilege of living according to those preferences if the reverse applied and libertarian types could all clear off somewhere that most suited them?

Naturally this isn't going to happen without a libertarian party first winning either an election or a revolution, either of which would be very difficult (and the second likely to get innocent people hurt or killed, which is not exactly libertarian). The trouble is that while it's libertarian to let people go off and be, say, socialists if having most of their money taken in return for shithouse services and being bossed around, it's not in the nature of the Labial Conservocrats to allow people to go off and be libertarians. Sadly that doesn't look like changing any time soon, and certainly not as a result of the UK general election.

Some Aussie culture - part 11

Australians apparently believe that unsafe driving habits cause ginger people and emos. Not cause them to do anything, just cause them.





Quirky perhaps, but no stranger than a lot of beliefs. And if they're right about what'll happen to Facebook I'll be on the phone without my seatbelt all afternoon until I run out of petrol.




Incidentally, these ads were the subject of literally some complaints. I'm relieved to say that they haven't been pulled or banned till after the watershed or anything. YouTube, on the other hand, gave me a content warning and made me sign in to watch them. Wankers.

The Aussie's preferred result.

The UK election result preferred by Australians, according to The Age and it's online poll, is... well, a little surprising in this particularly lefty state (so they tell me) in this currently lefty country (again, so they tell me).


Now we shouldn't read too much into it as it's barely 8 in the morning and only 131 people had answered when I screencapped it. Also, like the pasta book, it seems The Age is really a newspaper for cannibals if this story on a losing Masterchef contestant is anything to go by, so you'd think the readership might not have much interest in British politics except how ex-Prime Mentalists should be served.*


Or perhaps there are more expats here who still give enough of a shit about the UK to follow what goes on there.



* With a fruity red and served on a bed of failed ideals.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

No fly zone.

Coincidence or subtlety?

Some Aussie culture - part 10

Law in Australia... it's the vibe of the thing.



Look, just watch the whole of The Castle if you haven't seen it already.

Outcomes.

The Tele have a range of five possible outcomes for iDave and the Tories ranging from a clear, though probably small majority, through minority government and perhaps an early election, too few seats forcing a coalition with the LibDems, so few seats that Labour can attempt to form a government, and even fewer seats than Labour. Personally I prefer the scenario suggested by Counting Cats, a variant of the Tele's number four.
The Tories lose. Blood on the carpet tomorrow, a Tory leader elected in place of Cameron, and the Saul Alinsky Big Society crap stuffed into the shredder.

A LibLab government of all the talents with the most slender of majorities, civil war within Labour, a large UKIP vote rubbing the Tory noses in the support they could have had, and a new election within a year or two.

...

Ed Balls/Hattie Harperson being leader and Peter Mandelson as the eminent grease in this setup, so much the better. Can’t think of anything more likely to guarantee they are hated.
Yep, I get the appeal, I really do. Certainly Balls or Harperson as PM would be horrific, perhaps even worse than Brown in some ways, but why elect an unTory Tory instead? Cats' scenario would lead to both the Tory party and Labour ripping themselves apart, though in the short term it would mean yet more pain for the UK. But sadly I think there's no way the UK can avoid more pain no matter what the outcome of this election.

Gordon's economic record.

More than once in the election campaign Colostomy Brown has talked about the economy, his opponents' inexperience in running it (as if anyone else can have experience when Colostomy Brown himself has been running it since 1997) and his own economic record (as if that's somehow something to be proud of). It occurs to me that in a weird kind of way he's sort of got a point, and while it's a bit late in the day now the polls are opening I've come up with something that would have helped him get that across.


Vote early, vote often.


H/T to GOT for the poster.

Clegg's wife's bosses' law firm says hung parliament bad.

From The Tele:
The law firm where Nick Clegg’s wife works has issued a warning about the dangers of a hung parliament.

...

Paul Stone, a partner and public law expert at the firm, said: "A hallmark feature of a coalition government is the sheer time it can take to achieve consensus. From a legal point of view, this often results in laws being passed that are of high quality and well scrutinised, but unfortunately, are often watered down to the point of being anodyne as a result of endless rounds of review and compromise."
The Angry Exile's wife's dog's owner's husband says this doesn't sound like a bad thing.
“The main risk to UK legislation is from the perverse results which can arise when the extreme agendas of minority fringe, or single issue parties, actually gain a disproportionate ability to influence policy in return for keeping a minority government in power. In such a situation the silent majority may well find itself being forced to bend to the will of the hard line minority; such situations can result not only in ‘bad’ laws but laws which are clearly outside the scope of what the broad majority of a voting population would be prepared to support.”
Wait, what? A moment ago you said they'd be high quality and well scrutinised.
However he added that Italy’s “weak coalition governments” helped the economy in the 1970s, as the political “vacuum” allowed businesses to flourish without state interference.
"Flourish without state interference"... music to my ears. Sounds more and more like Britain could do with a hung parliament just so people can see what life could be like without a government that can do pretty much what it likes just by bossing a few hundred mouth breathers through the division lobbies.

Good advice for Britain from Europe.

No, seriously, this sounds really good.
The next British government must take early measures to reduce the country’s huge deficit and stabilise debt, the European Commission warned today.

The stark message from the EU’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner will be seized on by the Conservatives as Brussels’ endorsement for their economic programme.

Introducing the Commission’s latest economic forecasts, Olli Rehn said: “The first thing for the new government to do is to agree on a convincing, ambitious programme of fiscal consolidation in order to start to reduce the very high deficit and stabilise the high debt level of the UK.”

He added: “That’s by far the first and foremost challenge of the new government. I trust whatever the colour of the government, I hope it will take this measure.”
So if someone said there was a potential £118 billion a year that could be saved on one single big ticket item then that would be met with approval by the Commission, right? Or possibly not, since I'm talking about the money the British government hoses at the EU every year.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A little extra time before lights out.

Four whole years, in fact, courtesy of Britain's EU masters friends. Will that be long enough to construct some much needed new generating capacity in the UK, or will a combination of starry-eyed, soap dodging eco-campaigners and the fact that Britain's wallet is as empty as the promises in a Labour manifesto just mean the lights start to go out a little later?

Give us money and you can be PM - UPDATED

Not even polling day yet but already people are attempting to make deals, and this one boils my piss.
Northern Ireland MPs have indicated that they will formally back the Conservative leader if he protects the region from this year’s public spending cuts. The move would cost up to £200million.
That's the going rate for the 18 people representing a couple of million people, is it? £200 million that has to be taken either from services elsewhere in the UK on top of any other necessary cuts, or simply right out of the wallets of the taxpayers there. Any agreement will confirm my long held suspicion that iDave will do and say practically anything to get into power and put to rest any fears that I may have had that perhaps voting Tory was worth it to get rid of Colostomy Brown. If iDave doesn't tell them to go fuck themselves with a rusty spade I'll be very disappointed, though not remotely surprised.

On the other hand iDave is the preferred choice of Exlax Factor judge Simon Cowell. So that's alright then.

Cunts.


UPDATE - Simon Cowell's support of the Tories has been Mashed.
BRITAIN finally hurtled beyond the point of no return last night as the political opinions of Simon Cowell were regarded as important.

Around the world dozens of nations have expelled British diplomats, closed embassies and commandeered British businesses after the voting intention of the inventor of Shit Factor and Britain Must be Stopped was the lead story in the country's biggest newspaper the day before a general election.

...

In Columbia, the leaders of the world's biggest drug cartels said British people were no longer good enough to buy their cocaine, while Osama Bin Laden insisted that he would not waste perfectly decent bombers on the British but stressed that if we continue to attach importance to any of Mr Cowell's opinions we will all be dead by the end of May anyway.

British National Party - every bit as bad.

I've blogged before on what I think of the BNP but via UKNewsNetwork I've seen something that at first glance seems reasonable.
A newspaper advertisement for a “climate change manager” for Nottingham City Council has once again illustrated just how dearly this fad costs the hard-pressed British taxpayer.

Exactly why Nottingham City Council regards the acquisition of a “climate change manager” as a must — and a very expensive must at that — when all the evidence shows that climate change has been occurring for as long as planet earth has been in existence, is not explained.

...

A British National Party administration would no more be seeking to employ a “climate change manager” than an alchemist with a remit to turn base metal into gold.
I don't really like the messengers or think much of the majority of their policies but I can't disagree with that particular message. They're quite right to criticise the waste of money and to point out the absurdity of hiring a council hiring someone to manage climate change as if 5 petatonnes of air and 1.4 exatonnes of water and the interactions between both them and the fuckknowshowmanytonnes of fusing hydrogen that our rock orbits has any chance of being managed by mankind, much less one person on 40 grand a year before tax. Unfortunately the BNP then go and spoil it all.
Instead, a BNP administration would spend council taxpayers’ money on real services that benefit the whole community — with the funding of a mental health manager’s post being a distinct possibility.
See? It doesn't occur to them not to take the fucking money at all and leave it in the pockets of the local people who earned it. It doesn't occur to them that the people themselves are going to be in the best position to decide how to spend the money on fulfilling what they want. Oh no, it's going to be taken away by force and used to benefit the whole community, just like any good socialist would want.

Far right, my aching ring piece. As has been pointed out both here and elsewhere before, they're just the old left with a particular tendency to get their cocks in a knot about foreigners and migrants.

Soothing a savage breast.

Having just been to the Salted Slug and seen the awfulness/awesomeness* of the Shat singing Common People I thought I'd put up another version.



And in the interests of balance...




* Somehow it manages both at the same time.

A reply to Sue.

In the comments here Sue took issue with my opposition to burqa bans, especially in the case of the woman in Italy, although my opposition is to bans and bansturbation in general and banning particular garments worn by a particular group is just a small part of that. Since Blogger comments is playing silly buggers at the moment and doesn't want to let me post a reply I'll do it here. Besides, it deserves a fuller reply than a quick comment anyway.

Sue said:
Did you read the rest of the article on the woman in Italy?

"A husband has vowed to keep his wife indoors after she became the first woman in Italy to be fined for wearing a burka in public".

You're telling me that you condone the fact that this misogynistic little git should be allowed to rule his wife in such a way?

The only way to ensure that women aren't being ill treated by men like this, is to outlaw this sort of covering.

I have known a couple of girls who were forced by the males in their families to wear these ghastly things.
Of course I read it all and of course I don't condone that. But consider a few points.

Number one, the Novara ban has got fuck all to do with female emancipation. Note the use of a law from the 70s, which I suspect means it was designed with the Red Brigade in mind more than anything else. Don't think that this was about how women are treated because it was just about making sure people are showing their faces for the cops and CCTV, and we're not talking here about individual premises like banks or shops asking for faces to on show - which obviously should be their choice, and anyone who doesn't like it should bank/shop/whatever elsewhere - but a whole town. Giving them the benefit of the doubt that it's not the usual anti-muzzie dog-whistle stuff then in theory my freedom to walk around there in a crash helmet would be similarly restricted. Why should I not wear a crash helmet if I want to? Why should Top Gear not be allowed to go there and film something with The Stig in it? So, with all that in mind does the ban increase or decrease freedom?

Point two, if women end up being confined to the house because the men in the family won't let them out - which is fucking appalling, it should go without saying - and that this in turn is because their veils are banned, has the ban worked to increase or decrease their freedom? In that situation however well intentioned the ban it would have made things worse. Better the poor girls are out and about with bags on their heads where they are more likely to be exposed to the idea of greater individual freedom, which might then tempt some to leave their men and chuck the veils away. However, that can't happen if well intentioned bans on their clothing simply lead to them not going out instead. Again, with that in mind is the effect of the ban more freedom or less freedom?

Third, and as I said in the post itself, how the hell does telling women what they may not wear make the state any better, any less oppressive, and any less misogynistic than their medieval brained menfolk? A ban assumes that none of those women are capable of making their own choice in the matter and makes the decision for all of them. Isn't that hugely fucking patronising? If a law was passed banning men from growing a beard without a moustache on the grounds that it looks a bit silly I'd want to fucking shoot someone for assuming that the vast majority of us couldn't fucking reach that conclusion on my own.

Finally, and along similar lines, a ban assumes that no women have made a free choice to wear a veil. Yes, you could say that a woman who has chosen for herself to wear a veil is deluded or brainwashed, but what if she's actually secular and just burns really easily? Or is just very shy or intensely private? Unlikely perhaps but my point is that a woman might have her own reasons for wearing it, and if so who is anyone else to say she must not? Beside, similar thoughts have crossed my mind about high heeled shoes. Most women wear them and personally I think they're all fucking nuts. Should we ban high heels because of what they can do to women's feet and knock on effects on posture, not to mention the increased risk of twisting an ankle and the way they hamper the ability, sorry the freedom ;-) to run? And while we're at it maybe we should ban pencil skirts for the same reason. Again, are women more free or less free if we do that? And if the answer is less free how does that not apply to the various veils as well? And going back to the previous point what does that say about our attitude to women and their ability to think for themselves if collectively we make that decision for them?

What I'm for is for women to be wear whatever the fuck they like, whether that's a tent with an eye height letter box or a swimming costume that covers no more than a first class stamp. I agree with you about some of the male attitudes surrounding the veil and about what it stands for, but to ban women from choosing either one - and while we might not like it the fact is that some women do choose the tent option for themselves - is as patronising, misogynistic and wrong as forcing them to wear the damn thing. Where that happens there is probably scope for intervention without resorting to a ban since threats, intimidation and physical violence has likely been used to force the women into the veils. All of those are wrong but are also already illegal, so why not use existing laws to prosecute and lock up the bastards responsible? Incidentally, if the Italians don't look at doing the same thing for the woman who's going to be housebound now then that just goes to show that they never really gave a shit about her freedom in the first place. Same goes for anywhere else it happens (and if burqa bans are widespread it'll happen a lot).

Banning burqas and veils makes us more like that which we hate, which should be reason enough not to do it, but on top of that it's damaging those we want to help. At best all a ban does is take away a choice and restrict the freedom of those women who have decided for themselves to wear what we don't like. At worst it indirectly develops even less freedom and even more mistreatment.
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